IWA Manchester Branch

2 January 2020

This work party was organised in cooperation with Waterway Recovery Group (North West) and the Hollinwood Canal Society. 

We had a very good turnout on what was a bright, dry weekend, which ensured everyone was in good spirits and ready to work off their Christmas sloth. Tasks included clearing vegetation out of the canal bed along the Fairbottom branch. 

Willows spreading across the breadth of the canal were cut back or down with the stumps being removed by tirfor. This entailed building a plank ‘bridge’, resting on the mud just below the surface, to get to the offside. For safety, the ‘bridge’ had to be dismantled at the end of each work session. In these conditions, it was very easy to step into water deeper than your wellies and for those wellies to become, almost inextricably stuck in the mud causing the wearer to adopt a dance routine to extract their footwear without pitching into the muddy water. 

We also dug mud and vegetation out from the chamber of the infilled lock immediately preceding the Medlock aqueduct. (This is the same lock where in July we had cleared the fore bay and part of the pound during our ‘Balsam Bash’ event). Coping stones, edging stones and sets around the lock were also cleaned. 

As we packed the vans and said our goodbyes, the sun, car park and trees disappeared in a quickly descending thick mist. Fortune was certainly with us in terms of timing.

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