Working Party at Stainton 10th-11th December 2016

Over the weekend six volunteers acted as navvies to move several tons of clay from the car park at Bridge 172 (Stainton Crossing) to the other end of the First Furlong at Bridge 173. We did have some mechanical assistance but not for the hard shovelling part.

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As part of our plans to reline and water the First Furlong we need to determine where the main leaks are and divide the length up. This will be done by installing clay bunds. There was already a pile of clay in the car park area at Stainton and we were fortunate to be offered 10 tons for free, which was duly delivered to the car park.

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As we didn't have enough volunteers with wheelbarrows we had to hire a motorised track barrow that could carry 400 Kilos yet be small enough to run along the towpath. Digging out the clay proved to be hard work and we began to realise the work required by the original navvies who moved several thousand tonnes to build the length.

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The initial deliveries of clay were used to fill a gap in the bund under Bridge 173. This had been made after Storm Desmond and caused serious damage to Stainton aqueduct and they wanted to get rid of water rather quickly. Clay was installed in layers, each layer being puddled with fence posts and boots (in the traditional manner?) The later deliveries were tipped onto the bank ready for bund building.

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Although the delivery procedure became fairly efficient it has been decided that at the next working party, in January, we would hire a digger to speed up the process and provide enough clay for a second digger to build the first bund near Bridge 173. We will then be able to assess the leakage in the bridge area.

Some work was also done to tidy up the vegetation around Bridge 173 although there is a lot more to do.

Thanks to all the volunteers who turned up. We do need a lot more as we build up our plans for 2017.