The Big BCN Cleanup

This years BCN clean up will see us return to an area not visited for many years, based at Ocker Hill on the Walsall Canal the teams of Volunteers will clean the lower Walsall, Tame Valley Canals and Ryders Green Locks.

Day Volunteers can sign on at Ocker Hill Depot from 10am, or at the Malthouse Stables in Tipton at 9am, where you will be transported to Ocker Hill.

Safety foot wear should be worn as well as water proof clothing. Bring your lunch if you do not with to purchase the lunch provided by Waterway Recovery Group.

For further details please email or call Chris Morgan.

The big annual BCN Cleanup, with the BCN Society working alongside Coombeswood Canal TrustDudley Canal Trust, the Canal & River Trust and the IWA (Birmingham, Black Country and Worcester branch Waterways Recovery Group.)

Come along under the auspices of any of the groups.

If you want accommodation and food provided, book through the Waterways Recovery Group website.

If you are staying with them, accommodation is available from the night of 15th, at the malt house stables, Tipton.

You are welcome to come and join us – wear stout footwear and old clothes.  Waterproofs could be a good move.

Tea and coffee are provided for everyone but bring your own pack lunch, unless buying it through the WRG.  (If you are doing this, check with Chris for details first)

Chris Morgan will be leading the group, and can be contacted by email on the link.

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Albion Foundation Workparty – A sleep(er) on the job

We had a great workparty with the some of the Albion Foundation staff.

Clearing the narrows above the railway bridge, in addition to the usual motorbikes and supermarket trolleys, we hauled in this railway sleeper, complete with chairs.

I’m not sure what is the heaviest lump we have got from the canal –  the (empty) safe we got last year or this sleeper – but we definitely needed the muscle that the team provided !

For the railway buffs, it was it was clearly an old GWR sleeper – classic GWR two bolt chairs.  How it got from the railway bridge, which is twenty yards or so away, to these narrows is far from clear.

It was interesting to learn more about some of the things the Albion Foundation does – working with young people on the margins of the education system, or excluded from school, and using sport – not just football – to encourage them to learn.  Seriously impressive stuff.  Find out more on the link.

Staff from the Albion Foundation joining us on a workparty clearing rubbish from Titford Canal

Staff from the Albion Foundation joining us on a workparty clearing rubbish from Titford Canal

The team. (A big bunch – Jon, the “short” one at the front – is over 6 feet tall)

The Albion Foundation team work party at Titford Pumphouse

The Albion Foundation team work party at Titford Pumphouse

Thank you very much guys!

Worcester Bar aqueduct leakage

Having put the coffer dams in, C&RT set about pumping out the water.

Pumping the water out.

Pumping the water out.

 

 

Fish Rescue - and loads of film crews.

Fish Rescue – and loads of film crews.

 

 

 

 

 

Come Sunday morning and the fish rescue started.  There was an amazing number of film crews and photographers about (including me).

The weather was definitely damp.  I think the guys in the canal were probably the driest people there!

Fish rescued, pumps off, more work tomorrow.

Fish rescued, pumps off, more work tomorrow.

 

Fish rescue complete, the pumps turned off, waiting for work to start on Monday.

Gas Street Basin stoppage (continued)

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Isn’t the water lovely!

Midnight last night (19/20 Feb), it was clear that the pump was not coping with the leakage in through the emergency stop gates.  I was told that the plan was to stanch off  the section from Worcester Bar almost to Salvage Turn.

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Assembling the staunch.

 

This morning, the work started on the coffer dam.

Though those guys are in decent dry suits, rather them than me.  

 

The stop gate that caused the problem - finally wedged shut.

The stop gate that caused the problem – finally wedged shut.

 

In addition to the pump in the workboat just behind the stop gate, there are now two larger pumps beside the footbridge, ready to start go.

To clarify exactly where the aqueduct / tunnels are, I have taken a photo of the 1899 10 foot to the mile ordnance survey map, and marked out the two rail tunnels (the one to Midland Railway’s Worcester Wharf  goods yard, the MR Birmingham and West Suburban line (the current main line to the West Country) and Holliday Street tunnel.

Salvage Turn Tunnels

 

Isn’t the detail on maps of this scale amazing!  Click on the image to see it in more detail.

 

 

 

Exploring the part completed coffer dam!  (or you see why CRT put up barricades when the work was finished!)

Exploring the part completed coffer dam!
(or you see why CRT put up barricades when the work was finished!)

 

The frames were left in, to be completed on Saturday.

 

The tunnel that the aqueduct runs over - five ways end.

The tunnel that the aqueduct runs over – five ways end.

 

 

 

 

 

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Inside the tunnel – you could hear but not see the water flowing from the leak.

 

Water flowing from the tunnel

Water flowing from the tunnel

Emergency stoppage at Gas Street – continued

Will only take a moment to close the gate

Will only take a moment to close the gate

Having moved the boats that wished to go out of the Worcester & Birmingham side of the basin, the next thing was to shut the emergency gates, in preparation for pumping out the cut.

The tug came up from Granville Street bridge, and closing the emergency gate would only take a moment.

Snag – though the gate in the Worcester Bar had been checked this morning, it certainly wasn’t moving now.

When I nod my head, hit it!

When I nod my head, hit it!

Get a bigger hammer!

Across several hours, from about 16:30 to 21:30 and continuing – the gate has been moved about a foot!

At least the gate has moved a few inches - maybe even a foot!

At least the gate has moved a few inches – maybe even a foot!

 

 

 

 

Still, the pump is ready to go as soon as the gate is shut.  It looks like being a long night for some.

Pump all ready to go.

Pump all ready to go.

Atlas & Malus at Alvecote Working Boats Gathering

Atlas and Malus are at the working boats gathering  at Alvecote Marina, along with a beer festival and, craft stalls and music this bank holiday weekend.

Come along and join in the fun.

They are heading back to Hawne Basin next weekend.  If you belong to either the BCN Society or Coombeswood Canal Trust, and would like to crew them, contact Paul Smith using the link on the page.

Exploring the BCN on foot.

Received from Mike

Since retiring in Jan14 I decided that to ensure I didn’t spend the next few months deciding how to plan to be busy , my mission would be to walk the entire BCN network asap.

I commenced on 19 March taking photos of all structures on route and the odd swans nest!!

Using National Express and Arriva bus timatables getting to all points is organised with military precision. I try and trip once a week, the last one incorporated Coseley tunnel on the non towpath side and got a good drenching to boot.

I still have 50% to do and its a fabulous way to keep fit and glory at the unfolding canalscape.

I own a share on a narrowboat . I live in Codsall married with two sons and three grandchildren.

 

(Webslave’s note – I have asked Mike to send in some of his photographs and items of general interest)

Pelsall – a great success

Pelsall this year was an outstanding success.

While the weather made its gesture (30 seconds after the opening at 12:00 on Saturday, the heavens opened up) – but though heavy while it lasted, it didn’t last for long.

After a few subsequent minor attempts at a little rain, the weather stayed gorgeous for the rest of the weekend.  I believe there was a record 126 boats!

I hope that people with a better signal than I have can post some photos.

Many thanks to all the hard work put in by so many.