Cheshire Locks Project News - 2020
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2020 Working Parties (most recent first)
(Note that clicking on a small picture will show that picture larger, but NOT at better quality) 

Thursday 19th November - A dry day meant that we were able to finish off the painting and declare that locks 65 and 66 were complete at last. 

Thursday 21st October 2020 - Eight volunteers this month on a dry and reasonably warm day. A further coat of white Hammerite paint was applied to the remaining nine sections of by-wash rail. The bottom gates on the offside lock chamber were prepared and painted including the paddle gear and beams. The bridge rails were scraped and painted. Four strapping posts were prepared and painted. The rails on the top gates of both chambers and the paddle gear was scraped and painted. Some additional painting was completed on Lock 66 (mooring posts and top gates). Finally the area was cleared of litter.

Thursday 17th September 2020 - Seven volunteers spent the day at Lock 65. The remaining 9 sections of the railings around the by-wash were scraped to bare metal and two coats of white Hammerite paint applied. All three lock ladders were painted with a second coat. The mixed hedge behind the by-wash (and beyond) was trimmed back and topped, and the towpath-side vegetation was trimmed. Also the balance beams on the bottom gates of the offside chamber were prepared and painted.
Starting on the other 9 railings        Trimmed Hedge behind by-wash             Nearly finished painting  
Photos: John Lawson
Thursday 20th August 2020 - Finally a real work-party at Lock 65 took place (with "social distancing" in effect). The main job was the railings surrounding the by-wash. Twelve (of the 21) sections of the railings were scraped to bare metal and white Hammerite paint applied. The mixed hedge around the by-wash was trimmed back and the concrete apron cleared of all moss and vegetation. All three lock ladders were prepared and painted (by Margaret who had rubbed down the first one at our previous working party in January!). Towpath side vegetation was trimmed along the hedge and strapping posts. The whole area was cleared of litter.
      Scraping Railings                                      Painting Railings                                    Where we got to (9 to go)
Painting the Lock Ladders
Photos: John Lawson (outer 2 of top row), Roger Evans (middle of top row and single photo above)

Tuesday 21st July 2020 - A "trial" work-party took place to try out a whole new set of Covid-19 related Health and Safety rules, and safe methods of working to incorporate social distancing. It had to be limited to 3 invited volunteers + 1 from CRT so that it could be carefully controlled and evaluated. We had to work without sharing tools, brushes etc. and make sure that there was only one person on each gate, railing etc. at any one time. Given good weather and not too many boats coming through, we completed a good amount of work including painting the new top gate towpath side on Lock 52 at Church Lawton.

CRT have indicated that future work parties should be limited to six volunteers per group. Given our usual numbers of around 10-12, we would have to divide into 2 teams. Depending on our location, the teams could work on the same day or a different day to suit. More details to follow, but we hope to be allowed to resume with our August working-party.

Thursday 16th July 2020 - Cancelled as CRT still won't let us resume work

Thursday 18th June 2020 - Cancelled as CRT still won't let us resume work.

Thursday 21st May 2020 - Cancelled by CRT because of the Covid-19 outbreak

Thursday 16th April 2020 - Cancelled by CRT because of the Covid-19 outbreak.

Thursday 19th March 2020 - Cancelled by CRT because of the Covid-19 outbreak.

Thursday 20th February 2020 - Cancelled because of forecast bad weather.

Thursday 16th January 2020 - Our first work party of the New Year, and nine volunteers attended on a dry, overcast morning to complete work on Lock 66 (Wheelock Lower) by finishing the painting of the top gates . The majority of the team moved up to concentrate on preparing Lock 65, scraping paddle gear, balance beams and fittings, strapping posts and bridge rails. We did manage to apply some paint to the metalwork before rain halted proceedings (as forecast) at lunchtime. An early finish but a worthwhile day, nevertheless. 
Painting Top  Balance Beam on Lock 65                                Painting Metal Safety Strip on Top Gate
(Photos: Jane Hargreaves)