North Wilts: rebuilding River Key Aqueduct and digging up bombs!




Canal Camp 0311: August 2nd - 9th North Wilts Canal: River Key Aqueduct

End of Term Camp Report

Saturday: Arrived safely at Purton Stoke Young Farmers' Club Accommodation.  Could do better.

Took a trip to the canal - it is obvious that the canal has been absent for quite some time.  It must try harder to convince me that it actually knows what it is aiming for.

Sunday: Weather was100% present, and of the hot type.

Work: digging in various places, which managed to get everyone hot.  Leaders, being sensible, had a water fight.  It is really time they became more mature.

Outing to the slides and swimming pool - much appreciated by all.

Monday: Weather again turned up and was even hotter.

Not only was the Inspector (Dave the local) around, but we also had another visitor, the digger.  A few individuals went to get bricks: a good show on that front. Digger dug a big hole: an excellent effort.  I was more impressed with its effort on lifting a large coping stone out of the river.  A Gold Star for that one!

Evening was spent hunting for a canal that looks like one.  Eventually it turned up, looking good with a few locks (Caen Hill) - nice to see what it can do, but it needs to put in more effort at Cricklade.

Tuesday: Shady at start, with drops of rain, but once again it turned out to be a scorcher.  The bank we are digging took a real beating in the morning, those doing this have shown a very good effort.  North Wall is now looking good: excellent work.  Today's work (shovelling mud in the oven, more mud in the culvert, and moving bricks) overshadowed by The Inspector finding a WWII bomb!  (He was convinced it was a bedstead).

Bomb squad were called out, and at least half of the leadership team was pleased to see a man in uniform.  He let her press his buttons.  SUPERB!  It was also Robert's birthday, so that certainly went with a bang - making up for lack of room on the cake for candles...

Wednesday: Weather turned up again, even hotter.  Someone needs to tell the caretaker to get the thermostat fixed.

Most of the day spent cleaning the river of weed and muck, and the aqueduct of broken bricks.  Too many bricks came out, and work had to stop, due to over-enthusiasm of the rest of the bricks in trying to fall on heads.  Those on that job need to concentrate less on the task in hand.

Evening outing: biology field trip, on a boat.  The canal does actually contain water occasionally!!  Due to large quantities of weed it was a long trip, as samples were collected and inspected on a propeller.  Saw blanket weed, duck weed, Grebes, and met some pond life walking along the tow-path.  Redirection of the bomb detonation yesterday was suggested, an excellent suggestion.

Thursday: Weather - hot AGAIN - this is getting tedious, and a change would be welcome.

The slave Drivers, (leaders) allowed us a morning off, and then worked us until 8pm.  A very good job.  The bank of weeds has now been re-moved, and excellent effort from all those involved.  Millions of bricks were taken for a trip across Wiltshire, and swapped for a different class of bricks. An exercise in giving the volunteers something to do?!

Friday: Weather - well, no surprises there; a little truant from the sun would not be frowned upon.

Lots of final finishing and tidying today, as well as a last opportunity for hippos to wallow in mud.  Gold (with mud) star to Freya for all-over body mud pack, with silver stars to the rest of the crew who couldn't hit the barrow with their mud.  They all needed a brief cooling down in the river.  All very end-of-term.

Report Summary: Liz produced vast amount of excellent food.  SUPERB.  All male volunteers now bank with Barclays.  The slave drivers gain an A* in laid back leadership.  The slaves get an A** in working under hot and interesting conditions.

This week was brought to you by the words “Superb” “marvellous” and “bollocks”, and by the number 6 (or was it 9).

lain Spencer


Reprinted from Navvies 

Wessex Waterways | Wantage Waterway | Abingdon's Canal | Wiltshire Waterway Festival | Latton Basin


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