Category Archives: Llangollen Canal

Not Enough Or Too Much. Breach 16

Stop planks as well as the caisson gates

Last week C&RT put out an update on their website regarding the beach on the Aire and Calder, which I missed until I noticed something different on Mark Penn’s drone photos from this weekend. There appeared to be an extra barrier across the canal by the caisson gates.

Update 18/01/2021

We expect to start work onsite next week to put in place a cofferdam (two dams across the canal).  This important step in the project will allow the site of the breach to be drained so the team can gain access and identify full extent of damage and the cause of the breach.  We can then determine the next steps in the repair programme.

At present, metal stop planks are currently on their way to Goole caisson (these are the gates across the canal located above Goole Docks) to help control of water levels within Goole Dock and provide another level or protection to prevent any flow from the docks into the canal.  These will be installed later this week.

With sustained heavy rainfall forecast this week we appreciate this may be of concern, especially on how this will impact on repairs to our network.  At the Aire & Calder Navigation breach we continue to carry out daily inspections to ensure any changes in the condition of the bank are fully monitored and reviewed should any changes occur.  Our team is on hand 24-7, ready to assist should we need to support a cross-agency response to ensure communities near to our waterways are safe.   

Back in December it was obvious that the caisson gates were leaking, so at least now the water being pumped round the gates into the docks will have a better chance of staying there rather than returning to the canal.

Gates strapped together as the water pumps round

Gaz Wilson took a walk down to the gates and took these photos. The gates are currently tied together with a blue strap. Without this, if the levels equalised then the gates would open by them selves, they would only stay shut if the level in the docks is higher than that in the canal.

The metal stop planks on the canal side

The area around the caisson gates has been cleared since we first visited before Christmas presumably this was to help with installing the metal stop planks. Five big pipes constantly work to keep the level in the docks up, ships are only being penned at high tide at the moment to help conserve the levels.

Looking west

The news that the cofferdams will start to go in this week is great. The sooner they get to drain the affected area and see the extent of the breach the sooner they can get on with coming up with a solution to mend it.

Hello Oleanna!

Mark Penn’s photos also showed that one of our neighbours in the marina has left. A Dutch Barge that arrived after we did in September and was still there the last time we visited before lockdown. Maybe they took advantage of the offer to escape along the Aire and Calder or headed out onto the Ouse.

Another Dutch Barge near us has winded, at times when the level dropped their stern was ending up on the bottom, now moored bow in I suspect this happens less frequently.

Towards the docks and the Ouse

Whilst the docks have had low water levels friends of ours across the network have been having the opposite, far too much !

The Pirate Boat with Heidi and Jackie has been stuck in Todmorden during lockdown. Last week with the arrival of Storm Christoph they and many other boaters on the Rochdale braced themselves for flooding. The river runs very close to the canal and the towns of Todmorden and Hebden Bridge sit at the bottom of the valley so have been deluged with flash flooding. New flood defences were put to the test and thankfully water didn’t cascade through the town this time. The pirates are looking to move to higher ground to escape any further possible nights without sleep watching and waiting for levels to rise.

The River Weaver has also had serious flooding. New floating pontoons in the town were within about a foot of not being tall enough for the rising water. However the flow did manage to catch several boats which are now piled up against a weir down stream. Some people were evacuated, others were stranded with no means to reach dry land. The levels in Northwich have now more or less returned to normal levels.

The Dutch River and the Aire and Calder stretching off into the distance

We watched as the levels of the Ouse rose in York. About a meter higher than when we were stuck in Naburn last August, but still a way off the highest level recorded. One report on the local news showed Cawood Bridge, the water level with the road way!

Levels of the River Derwent in Malton and Norton rose to new record heights. Back when I first moved to Scarborough the Derwent flooded causing masses of damage to property including the railway which is the only line in and out of Scarborough. Lots of work was put into the area which thankfully has made a big difference.

On the Shropie they have had too much water resulting in too little. During Storm Christoph the canal overtopped the towpath between Beeston Iron Lock and Wharton’s Lock, overnight the flow of water eroded the towpath and by morning the piling had given way emptying the pound. Another breach had been spotted further south at Bridge 80 a couple of weeks ago. Both these are being worked on an update is expected this Friday.

Here in Scarborough we’ve had rain, but not much of it. Our micro-climate here also means we’ve had frost, but no snow yet.

Life in the house has been busy. Mick has been busy putting photos back into the blog, these disappeared from posts for a while a couple of years ago. So he is painstakingly finding the relevant photos and putting them back in. Apologies to email followers who most probably got an email about one of the posts which must have seemed a bit random.

Whilst he has been sat in a chair, I have been up and down ladders reclaiming our bedroom. Wallpaper was stripped, paintwork was rubbed down, but whomever last painted the room didn’t do their prep, so I’ve had to strip it right back. Two layers of lining paper was hung and then two coats of emulsion. A good clean up of mucky fingers on doors, all that is left to do is hang some pictures and get a new lamp shade and it will be complete.

Up on the Esplanade with no snow

Saturday we moved the bed through from the other side of the house, where we can now cut down on heating, but it does mean we’ve totally confused Tilly at night time. They like to keep me on my toes and because they are too lazy to move the outside anymore they have to move the inside! A shame because I’d found a really good place to wait and hide ready to pounce on my fishing rod!

We are lucky to be by the seaside.

0 locks, 0 miles, 1 set of stop planks, 2 more breaches, 2 much water everywhere, 2 pirates headed for the top, 2 sunny walks in Scarbados, 2 layers lining, 2 coats, 1 bedroom reclaimed and moved into, 1 landslip at Anderton, 2 big thank you’s to Gaz and Mark for photos, 1 bored confused cat.

Where Were We

2020 Pelsall Junction, Wyrley and Essington Canal LINK

2019 Stoke Lock, River Trent LINK

2018 Wrenbury Frith, Llangollen Canal LINK Sadly this is a post Mick hasn’t got to yet so no photos. ( Edited by Mick to add “Just done”!)

2017 Macclesfield Pontoon, Macclesfield Canal LINK

2016 Kings Marina, Newark, River Trent LINK

2015 Bulls Bridge, Grand Union LINK