Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Strines (I’m not a gambling man, but…)


…I wouldn’t put much money on the locks being ready for us to go down on Friday.

In the morning we went for a bike ride and, as we went through Marple, we thought we’d have a look at the latest progress.  In September last year subsidence was noticed at lock 15, the second lock down, and the flight was closed for investigation work.  After the initial investigations they hoped to be able to do some temporary work and allow passage for boats no wider than 6’ 10” and then effect full repairs during the winter.  They soon found shifting of the lock walls further down the chamber and had to close it until the full repairs could be carried out.

Since then they have completely removed the lock chamber and rebuilt it and plan to have it open at 5.00pm this coming Friday.  We have now realised that there is a bank holiday this weekend and that is probably the driver for what seems a tight timeline for the latest scheduled date.  There have been many communications from CRT over the months, several of which announced further delays as more problems have been found.

 The bottom end of lock 15 on Tuesday


They had filled the canal in in order for heavy machinery and vehicles to gain access to the works.  All this earth has to be removed by Friday and, as can be seen the work to remove it had started.

  The top end of lock 15 on Friday

An earth dam was put in in front of the top gates as can just be seen above.  This will have to removed by Friday too but before that can be done the pound will need to be drained.  To the right of the lock can be seen one of the large water saving ponds that are present on some of the locks on this flight.

Removed lock gates can be seen in both of the pictures above and they seem to be just slung down in a haphazard style.  When we have seen lock gates removed before they are usually laid on a barge or on the side of the lock.  I do hope they are OK 😉

    

There must have been about two dozen guys working on site so that shows how serious they are about getting the job done on time.

No room to store lock gates on the side whilst these works are going on!



Back at the bottom lock

The pound is drained below the bottom lock and the empty pond can be seen with its dried clay base – a mallard seems quite happy in the little water that remains though 😊

Chatting with the guys it appears that there is still a good chance it will be ready on time, so we will go and have a look at progress every day from now on.

We spent the afternoon relaxing and doing stuff around the boat.



We sat looking across the cut rather than looking across the valley for a change.  It’s not there in this picture but most of the day a heron fishes from the opposite bank.  Later in the evening we turned round and spent a happy 15 minutes watching a buzzard circling over the valley - the thermals must have been just right as it hardly ever seemed to move its wings.



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