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Winter works include six long-term stoppages

The final list of planned works on Canal & River Trust waters for the coming winter was published on 16th August, and contained few surprises. However, there were a number of long stoppages which could alter winter cruising plans and which are tackling some long-running problems.

Hurleston lock widening cuts off the Langollen 

One all-winter stoppage, from 4th November 2019 to 23rd March 2020, is of Lock 1 on the Llangollen Canal, at Hurleston Junction. One side of the lock chamber has been slowly leaning in over the years, and boats over 6ft 10in beam, including most historic working craft, cannot therefore gain access to the canal.

The leaning wall will be dismantled and rebuilt, cutting off the Llangollen for five months. One payoff should be the ability to see historic boats on the Llangollen Canal for the first time for many years, perhaps at a gathering next summer.

Bollington leaks

Another all-winter relining project will attempt to stop a long-running leak from the Macclesfield Canal at Bollington. For over three years residents have complained about water leaking onto the town's recreation ground, 50ft below the canal embankment, making the field in parts unusable – "neither pitch nor pool," as one local wag joked.

In addition, there appear to be leaks on the offside, at Clarence Mill. The two leaks appear to be related; after attempts to fix the leaks last year on the embankment side failed, engineers suspect that water may be seeping through the canal bed and wash wall into the mill foundations, and then passing back under the canal to the towpath side, finding its way into the recreation ground. The work will involve concreting 90 yards of canal channel and rebuilding a further 72 yards of wash wall alongside the mill.

One local canal expert told WW: "This project has arisen out of the observation that the mill front has started to move or settle, cracks have appeared in some of the apartments, and a lot of surveying has been carried out over the past six months or so to determine how much and how fast.

“I understand that the mill is not very well founded (by modern standards) although the stair tower (built c.1870) is below the canal bed. Consequently, I think the wet ground between the canal and the mill may have reduced its side thrust to hold the mill wall in place. Several voids were found under the roadway between the canal and mill.”

Anderton Lift shuts 

The Anderton Boat Lift will close from 2nd December to 13th March to allow extensive repairs, including the renewal of the lift's control system. However, CRT says the visitor centre will remain open, and the Edwin Clark trip-boat will be running river trips from below the lift.

Lune leaks to be fixed 

On the Lancaster Canal the Lune Aqueduct is being shut from 4th November to 13th March to resolve persistent leakage. This will include de-watering the length and re-lining 330 yards of channel between Lune and Bulk Road aqueducts.

Islington Tunnel stops London boaters

On the Regent's Canal in London, CRT is closing the 960-yard Islington Tunnel for two months from 13th January for brickwork repairs. The stoppage will either be a boon or a nuisance for the estimated 2,200 London liveaboard boaters, who will find it harder to meet their continuous cruising obligations – or will find more excuses to stay put.

Rochdale 3 miles

Another two-month stoppage from 6th January to 13th March will close 3 miles and 16 locks of the Rochdale Canal in Manchester for assorted repairs, from Ancoats Upper Lock (above the junction with the Ashton Canal) to Failsworth Top Lock 65.

Leaks on the Clarence Mill side of the Macclesfield Canal at Bollington are now thought to be responsible for the leaks under the other side of the canal embankment. Photo: Tim Boddington.
Hurleston Junction Lock – closed for five months from 4th November for widening. (Photo: Roger Kidd, CC BY-SA 2.0)

Tuesday 6 August  | Andrew Denny  | 1.56pm, Tuesday 6 August 2019

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