Cheshire Locks News – 2022

2022 Working Parties
(Note that clicking on a small picture will show that picture larger)
(All photos © John & Sandra Lawson, unless otherwise shown)

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Thursday 21st January – Having completed all tasks on Locks 44 and 45, we moved down the canal at Red Bull to Lock 46 for our first Work Party of 2022. The weather in January is always unpredictable, with a cold but dry day forecast and so it proved. Our dedicated group of eight enthusiastic volunteers set to work preparing the lock , scraping, wire brushing and sanding all the wooden and metal surfaces. The temperature was below the minimum required for the application of any paint but the day was very well spent and all the effort put in ensured that on our next visit, the lock will be ready for painting.

A frosty start Sunny later

Thursday 17th February – Cancelled by CRT because they couldn’t provide lifejackets.

Thursday 17th March – Six volunteers assembled at Lock 46 (Townfield) to commence painting the metalwork and wooden gates prepared by the team in January. The weather was dry and the temperature above the minimum required for the paint. We focused on the metal surfaces in the main as the balance beams were drying out after some overnight rain, so the bridge rails were completed along with the top gate handrails. Lock ladders and metal strapping posts also. By lunchtime, the beam ends had dried sufficiently to apply a coat of white paint and lock numbers were applied to the bottom gate towpath side. Wooden strapping posts also received a coat of white paint. Another good days work by our volunteers.

Lock 46 before Lock 46 after

Thursday 21st April – Glorious weather for painting. We were leaderless today as John Lawson had to stay away because he tested positive for Covid-19 after a big family gathering. Nevertheless, with the help of Jane from CRT, we managed to complete all the outstanding work on Lock 46. The numbers were painted the following week by John (after a full recovery) to finish the sequence of locks that have occupied our efforts over the past year. 

Lock 46 Bottom Gates (© John Brighouse) Lock 46 Top Gates (© John Brighouse)
Bottom Gate numbers Top Gate number

Thursday 19th May – Another great day for painting, as we started work on Lock 60. This lock (and Lock 59, which we will do next) are the last 2 pairs of locks which we have never worked on.

The 8 volunteers rubbed down and painted lots of woodwork, including the fence by the bridge, as well as lots of balance beams.

At lunchtime, John Lawson (our leader) was presented with the Wedgwood Trophy (the Trent and Mersey Canal Society award for the person who has done the most to further the cause of that society during the previous year) by Chairman Roger Evans.

Fence and Gate (from track) Fence and Gate (from lock-side)
Railings painted Wedgwood Trophy presentation
(© Margaret English)

Thursday 16th June – On the warmest day of the year so far, 4 volunteers assembled at Lock 60 to continue the excellent work completed by the Work Party the previous month. We were reduced in numbers due to holiday and other commitments on a day when the canal was very busy with boat traffic, heading in the main towards Middlewich for the Folk and Boat Festival .

We decided that 2 volunteers would prepare and paint the previously untouched bywash fence, and the remaining 2 would focus on paddle gear, rails and balance beams which inevitably also meant much opening and closing paddles and gates for the boats passing through the single lock chamber in use. Despite all this and the increasing heat, much was achieved. In addition, we had the first visit of the year of the CRT grass cutting contractors , who, to be fair, worked alongside us, prioritising areas of the very long grass at our request to give us some clearance in the areas where we would be working.

All round, a good day and a special thank you to Laura from the adjacent stables who very kindly supplied us with mugs of tea.

Bywash Fence – just started Bywash Fence complete (© Jane Hargreaves)

See Diary for news of next planned working party

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