Thursday, 16 February 2017

Lapworth (to stank or to stop)



Wednesday started well as I received an email from CRT.  They had looked into my recent issues with the pump out machine at Lapworth and were offering to send me three new pump out cards.  As I had only wasted two cards and was successful on the third try I accepted CRT’s gesture and they will be posting them to one of my daughters as we will be seeing her in the middle of March.

The towpaths had dried out this week so I got my bike off the back of the boat and Buddy and I went for a ride – the first for quite some time.  I was careful not to cycle too many miles as I knew I would be using muscles that hadn’t been exerted for a while.  As it was, my calves still ached in the evening.

Heavy rain was forecast all afternoon and it started just as we got back from the bike ride at lunchtime.  We stayed in all afternoon doing those annoying adminy jobs that I keep putting off.

It was still raining when I took Buddy out for his last walk of the day and he ran back to the boat as soon as he had done what he needed to do.

Looking down the Lapworth link from our boat as the rain began to ease off when we went for our late afternoon walk

I have been wanting to put up a record on the blog of all the hire boat holidays we had before we bought our first boat so being shut inside it was finally time to do it.  The main thing was to find photographs of each holiday, work out the dates and also where we went.  I have so far managed to find details of three of the holidays and these are now recorded in the blog archive against the relevant years.

Some people have been commenting about me calling stop planks, stanking planks.  Whilst I accept that the common usage is for stop planks I will continue to call them stanking planks as I explain further down.  The planks are inserted in narrow sections of canals, such as bridge holes or lock heads and tails to hold back the water as a dam.  The dam is called a stank and can also be referred to as a cofferdam.  The planks are lowered into the water, puddled with clay and hence cause a watertight barrier so water can be drained out for maintenance on the drained section.

Karen and I were walking along the Aylesbury arm a good few years ago to have a look at the works that CRT were carrying out on the locks.  We went along on the day they were stunning fish to remove them from a partially dewatered section to a section still in water.  One of the workers kindly explained what they were doing and started with how they dewater a section of canal.  He showed us the stop planks but referred to them as stanking planks.  I just loved the expression so from that point on I also called them stanking planks.

When we were on the Montgomery canal a couple of years ago we took a walk along a section that was being restored and, again, a CRT guy explained what was going on and he too referred to the stop planks as stanking planks.  A similar event happened at Wheelock on the Cheshire flight last year.  So whilst I accept stanks are created by stop planks, there are some who refer to them (rightly or wrongly) as stanking planks and I shall continue to be one of those. 

Stanking planks in use on an unrestored section of the Montgomery canal - mind you they don't look to have been puddled with clay judging by the leakage


Stanking planks in use at the bottom lock of the Cheshire flight last October






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