This week’s working party, our first in the new year, took place up at Ynysmeudwy Upper and Lower locks (numbers 12 and 13 respectively).  We continued the task of removing encroaching weed from the pound between the upper and lower locks.  The massive build-up of sedge, couch grass and rye grass had reduced the width of the canal by two thirds and had allowed an unwanted build-up of silt.  The aim was to increase the area of open water and, in so doing, allow the current flow to scour the silt from the open channel.

The weather was perfect for the time of year with no sign of rain and a comfortable working temperature.  We were fifteen strong and eager to get started.  We had a common goal but chose an interesting variety of methods to achieve a successful result.

Ronnie & Gill

John A. Davis and Dominic opted for the trusty long-handled drag forks and were able to clear weed all the way along the canal edge on the tow-path side.  Gill and Ronnie used shovels to remove weed and debris from the edge of the tow-path.

John lends a helping hand

Meanwhile Gordon and his team set up the ‘mechanical dragging rake’ to tackle a massive build-up on weeds mid-stream.  This weed encroachment is too far from either bank to reach using conventional handheld implements so Gordon’s, 1 metre wide, mechanical rake is dragged across the canal using a system of block and tackle.  The resulting mechanical advantage of five to one means the 1 cwt, or 50 kilograms of weed is removed with each pass.  The photos show Gordon, John, Alan and Mike doing sterling work with this ingenious device and in the process they cleared approximately thirty square metres of encroaching weed.

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loading barrow

 

 

in action

Yet another method of weed removal was successfully undertaken by Martin, Gareth and Michelle as seen in the photo.  By use of a ‘Youngman’s Board’, a wheelbarrow and shovels they were able to stand on the compacted weeds ‘in the middle of the canal’, dig out blocks of weeds and silt, transport it safely out of the canal and deposit it on the off bank.  A significant area of open water was thus created.

A much-welcomed break for tea, coffee and cake was taken at eleven o’clock, after which, further work continued until one o’clock.  The gathering-up and cleaning of the tools was then meticulously carried out.  The final group photo is testimony to the satisfaction and collective feeling of a ‘job well done’.

 

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by Michele Davidson and Paul Rapsey