Whats Happening ?

Rolle Canal Society guided walk

A guided walk, organised by the Rolle Canal & Northern Devon Waterways Society has been arranged to go from R.H.S. Gardens Rosemoor  at Torrington to the head of the leat at Darkham Weir.  Chris Hassall is the guide for the day but Hilary and Adrian attend, as society representatives.

The walk is very well supported with a total of 75 people participating.  A full report on this and other guided walks can be read in the society’s quarterly bulletin.

Heavy jigsaw puzzles

Trevor and Adrian begin to assemble the winding mechanism required to raise and lower the ground paddles.  Because the ground paddles are much heavier than those in the gates they decide to incorporate a reduction drive.  Modifying the mechanism means that the main winding shaft which connects with the rack has to have one end shortened and ground down from a taper to a square.

Having assembled the various cogs and the rack and bolted it down loosely everything appears to work well.  When the bolts are turned down tight nothing moves so something is obviously out of alignment and much head scratching ensues.

Trevor has driving lessons.

While waiting for the falling tide to drain from the lock chamber Alistair gives Trevor a lesson in operating the RB crane.  As soon as the apron is clear of water John sweeps clean the cills.  Alistair once again uses the RB to lower the gate stop boards into place.  Helped by Trevor the boards are finally manoeuvred into place.  John and Alistair clamp the new boards to the remaining timbers and then drill holes through both so that threaded bar can be inserted and bolted tight.  In the meantime Adrian is selecting pieces of timber and cuts them with his chain saw roughly to size suitable for replacing the damaged apron.

Replacing the gate stops.

A whole gang of volunteers are on site today to help install the new gate stops.  Firstly Trevor and Adrian connect newly charged batteries into the RB crane and Alistair starts the engine.  Despite having not been run for nearly 6 months it fires up instantly.  Alistair works the controls for a while to ease all the clutches and brakes. Then assisted by Norman and John, the replacement timbers are lowered into place and tried for size.  The rest of the day is spent  ‘fettling them in. By the end of the day both planks are sitting correctly and ready for bolting permanently into place. Unfortunately they have to be lifted out again in case they float away on the evening tide.

More shoveling!

Adrian collects a load of rubble which he takes to the site and uses it to fill in hollows in the ground against the coping stones along the wharf wall.  He then climbs down into the lock chamber and clears the build up of silt on the apron in preparation for replacing the gate stops the next day.


Alistair and Viv’ arrive later in the evening.