Sunday, 26 February 2012

Wolverton Iron Trunk Aqueduct Open Day

( posted by Alan)

Graffiti gone, but still awaiting final colour scheme.
Well it was a gorgeously sunny day, we needed to go and check "Sickle" was in good health, and we fancied a pub lunch.

Mock up lock to replicate the days before the aqueduct.
It just happens that the Wolverton Trunk Aqueduct is not a lot further on, and BW were having an open day in connection with the renovation works currently in progress.

A very small tunnel under the canal
What's more, despite passing over it on a regular basis, we have repeatedly said, "we really  should stop one time, and go and take a look down below", but somehow we never have.

You still need to be close to have no pipeline in your picture!
Actually there is more to see than I was really aware of, with the line of the original canal that used to drop down each side through 4 locks, and cross at the valley bottom, still very much present.  There is even a "dummied up" lock, on the site of one of the originals.

Apparently the underside has never been painted.
What I had not previously realised is that the fact that the remaining Cosgrove lock, (the only one for miles around, since the aqueduct was built), is on the rather unusual line that it is, because it actually points out towards the original line of locks descending into the valley.

View across aqueduct towards the Churc
The aqueduct is still in a grey primer, or undercoat, but will shortly receive top coats in a three colour scheme that should further transform its appearance.

"Large Northwich" working boat "Purton"
The BW chap who gave a talk, explained that the project has grown, and as third parties have been found prepared to put in money, additional improvements are being added to original plans.  These are as diverse as resurfacing a car park that was in poor condition at Cosgrove, (with much help from local volunteers), to the planned removal of the very ugly gas pipeline bridge that crosses the valley just beside the aqueduct, and completely spoils the apperance.  (Apparently this pipelkne has not been used in many years).

"Small Woolwich" working boat "Southern Cross" and new owner
A further interest to us was that some ex working boats had come along for the event, and we were able to chat with the long standing owners of "Purton", as well as the fairly recent new owner of "Southern Cross".

"The Galleon" pub looked to be doing a roaring trade, including many dining outside on this rather fine day.  On investigation it was obvious it would take a long while to get a meal, so we instead went to "the Plough" a few miles to the South at Simpson.  I suppose our one regret that we were very short on time this weekend, or I'm sure we would have gone up in "Sickle".  The problem is that it is the classic "half a day each way by boat, but only half an hour each way by car"!

Well done BW, anyway,including managing to get a lot of money for this project from outside places.  One hopes it is a good omen for CaRT!

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