The team met at the sunny Ynysmeudwy Upper and Lower locks for yet more vegetation clearance – there seems no end to it!

However on this first visit to the area in many months we found that a stop plank – a board used to control the water level above the lock chamber – was in the water. A great team effort saw this mighty beam hauled onto the bank and reinstated above the upper lock.

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Work then focused on the main events – bashing the expanse of Himalayan Balsam and pulling up reeds that were virtually blocking the cut in some places.

Helen, Gill and Kath pulled balsam to clear the path around the old Lengthsmen’s Hut, the white building by the lower lock, and Kath found a mysterious beastie in the undergrowth (yet to be identified).

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Alan T and Paul removed weeds and grass to expose the steps leading up to the upper lock chamber, whilst Sharon cleared vegetation from the wooden sleeper edging above the lock.

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Alan T had trailered our maintenance boat ‘Nellie’ to below the lower lock and Alan W and Martin stepped aboard to begin clearing the reeds and overhanging willows on that stretch of water – as always the silt made it a dirty job! John Grav had brought his own small and highly manoeuvrable kayak to add further flexibility in the heavily obstructed channel. One photo shows the extent of reed encroachment across the canal and the overhanging willow trees they had to contend with. John Grav did his best to tackle this mighty task!

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After tea and cakes at the upper lock, John Grav stayed on the bank with Gareth, David and Malcolm and used drag forks and a throw-line fork to retrieve floating reeds that were pulled up earlier. Good progress was made, but we will need to return several times to ensure a clear channel which maintains a good flow of water.

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We were also pleased to see Mark Prosser from Canal and River Trust who joined us for a cuppa and a chat with Gordon about other projects along the canal route.

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The day was yet another good team effort with very visible improvements in several areas, well worth all the heaving and perspiration in the warm sun!