Three Months And A Year On. Breach 33. 20th March

Three Months ago today we learned of the breach on the Aire and Calder. The canal was doing a good job of emptying itself into fields, the flow of water heading for the villages of East and West Cowick. That all feels like a long time ago.

This morning my computer binged at me, a message from Mark Penn with new photos from the breach site. His initial comment was that there was no change. This was right in some respects, no progress on emptying out the cofferdam ready for inspection. But on the other hand there has been quite a bit happening.


Four days ago we received the notice from C&RT regarding a temporary fix to where the cofferdam meets the piling on the south eastern end. They would be implementing a more secure seal here, which is in progress and visible on Marks photos.

The first thing noticeable is that the floating pontoon is back on site. It had been stored through the other side of New Bridge. The pipes pumping water round the breach have been extended towards Goole, meaning that the pontoon and workers wouldn’t be drenched whilst working.


Water is actually being pumped into the cofferdam from the western end. This at first seems strange, pumping water in to where there is a breach, only for the water to flow out and into the drain below.


But thinking about it, it must be to help relieve pressure on the cofferdam whilst they make a more robust seal. We all know that lock gates open easily when the water level is equal at one end of the lock, yet the water pressure at the other end is immense. So keeping the water level between the cofferdam and the canal will mean less stress on what they are working on.

By the pontoon you can see a lot of new piling being put in along the bank where aggregate had been added last week. The void has been filled and now they are reinforcing the piling where it meets the cofferdam.


The above photo shows this better. A better fix than some blue tarpaulin and a roll of gaffa tape would do!


From above you can see the new piling lines up with the dam and the aggregate. Here’s hoping that this fix is nearing completion and that no more voids will hold up the cofferdam from being pumped out fully next week. Then the investigations can start and the engineers can get to work on a solution.

20-3-21 A boom has been positioned downstream near the bridge

A year ago we had arrived in Nantwich to stock up before continuing northwards. Little did we know we’d be there for months. The world was a different place, everyone getting used to what social distancing was, panic buying and hand sanitizer were new things. Supermarket shelves were empty and queues were long.

Tomorrow, Saturday, we’d have our first Geraghty Zoom.


In all our minds back then we knew lockdown was coming, but only imagined it would last for a few months. Then life would return to some form of normality. Kath, Micks sister had left a plant on her office desk hoping it might survive, she’s not been back.

Theatres closed their doors on the 16th March 2020. A year later it was apt to have a panto meeting. Showing my white card model to the creative team and producers was a little strange on a Zoom meeting. Mick had enabled my phone to be an extra camera so that I could show people round my model whilst giving them motion sickness! A good meeting.

Muddy Cows

On Wednesday I caught a bus up to Scarborough Rugby Club where I joined the queue for the local vaccination centre. I’d last stepped foot in this building eight years ago when collecting old rugby shirts to be used in the premier production of John Godbers Muddy Cows at the SJT.

SRUFC Vaccination Centre

This time I left with my vaccination card and a sticker. My photo on social media has caused some unrest from those who didn’t receive one. Mick is miffed and so is Kath from Herbie along with numerous friends. Sorry!

This morning I have received my NHS vaccination letter, I’m glad my doctors had everything in hand as the nearest hub to us is Saltburn 31 miles away. The 3.5 miles on the old railway line is much better. Just a shame I’ve had a few side effects, hopefully todays vertigo will pass soon.

0 locks, 0 miles, 1 dam filling up, 1 reinforced joint, 2 boaters still with fingers crossed, 3 months, 53rd Geraghty zoom, 1:25 scale white card model, 18 rugby shirts, 1 jab, 3.5 miles home, 1 sticker controversy, 1 wild flower bed planted, 6 more houses to go, 2 thank you’s to Paul (Waterway Routes) and Dave Scouts for blog advice, 1 map from last year to check it still works, 1 window open all sunny day for Tilly, 1 Mrs Tilly stamp of approval.

9 thoughts on “Three Months And A Year On. Breach 33. 20th March

  1. jennie230

    Great news that you have had your vaccination, Pip. I am another that is a little green around the gills that you got a sticker! What a strange year it has been on so many levels. I am sure none of us ever thought when this began last March that we would be in lock down again this March. The vaccination programme is dong really well – we just have to hope that we can get back to some sort of normality very soon. I also hope you find a way of escaping from Goole once cruising is allowed. Take care. Jennie xx

  2. Adrian Moore

    Great the like button worked for the first time since the move!
    Hope the breach is in the repair phase very soon.
    Glad you have had your jabs!
    A crazy year a year ago when I went from office to home to work I thought when Boris said a review in 3 weeks it would all be over I didn’t grasp the size of the Pandemic then!
    Let’s hope we are on course to be restriction free late summer.

    1. Pip Post author

      I don’t think anyone other than Chris Whitty had any idea that we’d all still be at home now. Glade the like button is working for you.

  3. Tom

    That Geraghty Zoom photo is a worry. The couple in the top right look like they might be calling in from Wormwood Scrubs ?

  4. Dave (Scouts)

    I don’t think anyone would have thought it would be 12 Months+. In fact if i had got a hint it would i would have sold my car as its only done a few hundred miles if that in last 12 months.
    One of my colleagues retired last April, had to have special permission to go to office and left his laptop and a few bottles of wine for us but none of us have been in since or are likely to for another few months.

  5. rhillip1

    Great photos of the breach but do confirm my layman’s thought of why on the breach side a crescent coffer dam leaving a flow gap for water. This would have been stronger than 2 straight lines and save the need for pumps. Still as long as C&RT bosses pull their finger out and resolve it the quicker we and industrial traffic can move.

    1. Pip Post author

      Hi. Sorry I don’t know why. Leaving a channel would make sense to keep the flow of water to the docks going. I suspect the amount of water, the depth of the canal being 3m in the channel, necessitated the use of piling and they wouldn’t have wanted to risk driving that down into the bed of the canal over the culvert below incase that caused more problems. Apparently there is also an unmapped culvert along there somewhere.
      I so hope the local MP is correct when he says that ‘getting the section isolated could be more challenging than the actual repair’.

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