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Ian Mac

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About Ian Mac

  • Birthday June 9

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    All things transport related, Computers, Farming.

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  • Occupation
    Retired Professional Engineer
  • Boat Name
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    Leigh Lancs

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  1. Listing is an interesting problem! The one example I am aware of is lock 15 on the Ashton Canal which is listed, unfortunately this is as restored in 1974, and not as original, 1956 would have been great! So the silly hydraulic paddle gear and the metal balance beam without a strapping post had to be restored. I meet the guy enforcing this, from the council, and played hell with him, and said it was a total mockery of history, his reply was that all he has to go on is the listing statement, and pictures which accompany it. If we want to challenge this we have to go though a very long formal process. This is basically to stop developers taking the piss from the system.
  2. Unfortunately I don't have access to the Cyril Tongue and Groove photo Archive, however I was there! I have just been through my pictures and I cant find one of the locks as restored then. But I do know what it was like in the late 1960's. Marple locks where fairly sophisticated in there original design. The bottom eight locks were restored to full working order by The Peak Forest Canal Society in the late 60's early 70's including making all the bottom paddle gearing work. This was done under the guidances of Cyril Tonge and Groove. His initials being carved into all the new woodwork, which was installed, or that of PFCS in the same sort of oval shape. The locks all had weir bypasses, such that the locks would fill with water before the main by-washes on the pound came into operation. Basically keep as much water uphill as possible, so each lock has a small weir built into the head apron on the offside and another built into the tail behind the bottom offside gate. When the pound filled the first thing that then happens is the lock fills, to stop this flooding there is a second weir at the tail. The paddle gearing. The top of the locks have basically remained unaltered except that the gate paddles are marginally smaller and have single reduction gearing now, rather than the original (pre restoration in 1972-4). There was a large ground paddle with a single wooden post in the forebay on the line side and then there were two danny paddles as they were know in the gates one on either side with two racks connected to one drive shaft, again operated from the line side. I can't remember if they all had two paddles or some had just the one paddle like the modern gates. The ground paddle waters went down a vertical culvert which then twisted and joined the shaft from the weir on the opposite side and exited into the chamber in the middle of the head, about 1 foot off the chamber floor. The culverts where about 2ft in diameter. These have not altered. The chamber floors where all brick except where the bottom cills were, where the floor may be wooden depending on how tight the ground was, ie where the surrounding water table level was normally above the level of the canal water, or maybe a stone floor. The main chamber floor was a brick invert at about a 10ft radius, and at the head of the lock it was all rounded up like quarter of a ball. The sequence of operation was draw about 1/3 of a top ground paddle draw the boat onto the cill, fully raise the ground paddle fully, start to raise the danny paddles, as the risk of flooding the boat passed, fully raise the Dannies fully. Lock levels open the gate, and off you go. The Bottom of the lock had two wooden posts mounted in the recess of the lineside bottom gate. These were bolted to the wall each post had two bolts. These were connected to two paddles mounted in the face of the lineside gate recess, This was an arch construct about 4ft high and 4ft wide, it was constructed of wooden boarding with a centralish pillar, this chamber connected onto a culvert behind which exited into the tail of the lock below the tail bridge, opposite the exit for the weir culvert. On the wooden boarding where two iron paddle frames one about 18inches wide and about 2ft 6inches high the other was about 9inches wide and the same height. In the offline side tail gale was a large gate paddle about 3ft square. At the top of the connecting rods mounted on the appropriate posts was the paddle gearing. The gearing for the narrow paddle was double reduction, the next post had single gear reduction - same as the top ground paddle, then the gate paddle which was on the offline side gate was on a direct drive the same as the Danny paddles at the top. The sequence of operation to empty the lock was to open the double reduction paddle first, then the single reduction and then walk round and open the gate paddle, All of which was done in the time it took, one person to operate them. It was wonderful to operate and was a sad loss, as children rather than very fit butch people could operate the locks. When leaving, at most of them, there was a wooden landing platform on the offside, which was about 3ft wide and 6ft long, it was reached by a set of steps from just beyond the far side of the tail bridge. When the canal was restored in 1972-4 the decision was taken by BW that it was all too complicated for the "modern" boater to cope with and it was a maintenance nightmare, due to leakage into the bottom culverts, so the culverts where blocked off at both ends, and are probably full of concrete grout, and they installed two middling size gate paddle in the bottom gates, with single reduction gearing. However as the first foot was removed originally by the small paddle being opened, it made cracking Marple bottom paddles really hard, as it is too this day I have suggested on more than one occasion it would be a really good project for volunteers to do is to restore the bottom ground paddles. However C&RT have not seen that this is an excellent idea YET!
  3. I found it fascinating that the Tipton green canal was built first and went down the hill further that it did by 1900, when the last few locks had become disused. and the communication link had been built. Did they have to be abandoned back then or not? Or are they still legally open? An interesting research project for those that like going to Kew. I also became intreged by the arm which went off just below the mainline as it too appeared to have locks on it in once source I skimmed by.
  4. The whole point as I see the BCN challenge (both virtual and real) from the point of view of the organisers is two fold. 1) it is to get the canals used that is why the bonus scheme exists so that the less used canals give you more points, 2) to prove to other boaters that actually the BCN is somewhere well worth exploring, and that it is as safe if not safer than any other place on the cut. To achieve these aims they have to encourage a wide range of people to join in. There are those that attend to win. There are those that are there for the Beer, and other for the camaraderie or some both. There are those that attend because its a fun, and/or a personal challenge, and others who do it because they see it as the right things to do and want to uphold the organisers aims. I fall into this later category, well I would have to say that, using one of the deepest draught boats to use the BCN, 2.5mph is so much faster that my wildest dreams when planning normally, 1mph for the Daw end is what I use. So this challenge has been no different than any of the other challenges I have attended, in the past, I did not do it to win, but to travel canals I wanted to bag. I failed to touch the Lichfield and Hatherton, because hopefully within my lifetime I will be able to do these for real It has been illuminating just how the competitive ones go about winning. Personally I think the time has come to change how the points are now distributed, rather than a fixed system which definitely favours the NE segment, and doing lots of locks, I would make it a lot harder, I would have satellite tracing in real time, visible to all, and points for being the furthest away from other competitors, this would mean that the whole system would be more used. How is that for a radical idea? In all the times I have done the challenge this is only the second time I have reached the end point, normally we are stuck with a bladeful somewhere near Walsall or some such place Again I would like to thank those that put this together and all those others over the years that have done the real comp, it is not easy and it can seem to be thankless, but you are achieving your aims, I think so please carry on .
  5. One thing this virtual challenge has really brought home to me is just how the scenery has changed, even in the last 50 years. It has gone from sparse barren industrial with open panoramic views across the area, to tree enclosed urban housing,or white boxes, in lots and lots of places, with hedges and trees everywhere. The Canals have become very green corridors. It is now so very very different, even from when I was a lad, and going back 100 and 200 years it is amazing what the differences are. Contrast and compare!
  6. I'm well impressed with a score of over 500 well done Team Indigo Dream 🥇 And well done to the other 5 teams which beat us and to all the other teams for being part of the great event. I for one have learnt a lot and I will be sending a donation in too The BCNS do not have a clickable link where you can donate but you can do so via online banking by using these details: BCN Society Barclays Bank Sort Code 20-84-13 Account Number 60176419 Also this forum does not run on fresh air and could do with some help too. If you wish to donate to the forum you can do so here: https://www.canalworld.net/forums/index.php?/store/category/6-make-a-donation-to-canal-world/
  7. Total tallies for NB StyxL are we covered 80.7 Miles and operated 86 Locks
  8. Its a good job they brought all that Mild
  9. So back to the real world of "Goat Zooming" VID-20200509-WA0004.mp4 For more details see and booking https://www.cronkshawfoldfarm.co.uk/goatsonzoom-1 also read https://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/no-kidding-farmer-hiring-out-18183020
  10. Well its been hard work and fun we have all learnt a lot. I'm going to have a beer or three now, and I would like to thank my crew, @captain birdseye Richard Nichols and Andy Cutting for their help and moral support, Its been fun. just got to work out how to get the Boat and Hos' home now
  11. Linky to todays virtual boating. https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/edit?mid=1RVsULw4WKr1tcv8G65EkzHpBKeuRq6Xw&ll=52.58048788338888%2C-2.0490851904296505&z=13
  12. Saturday 10th May 4.45pm Bradley Loop We carry on along the loop and passing under Bradley Lane the canal does a sharp right turn, we smell a bar-b-Que! we wander around Bradley Hall and pass Britannia through Works home of Iron Man Wilkinson. Lots of activity flames and smoke., loaded boats everywhere There is a pit, with its own wharf and tramway, on our right and a straight bit of canal and Pothouse bridge, There is a short arm on the right. We dail 1912 into the " "Automat Sehnsucht" " again and wind, that is it. we turn our magic machine off and head back in the present towards the pump hose and Bradley Works we appear to be a tail ender, but hey ho! what fun we have all had. The beer seems to have arrived excellent!
  13. Saturday 10th May 4.15pm Top of Bradley Mar Locks , Wednesbury Oak loop of Brindley's Old main line. We left Bradley lock and hung a left and after about a furlong we joined the old Wednesbury Oak Loop the Hos' having passed under the two bridges at the junction left us to strap the boat round the junction to the left, being unloaded she heels over well. Soon there is a wharf with lots of coal boats being loaded on the offline side and then a bridge over the cut, Richard Leads the house under then over so the the hos' is now on the left of the boat, this is so we can enter the Wednesbury Oak Colliery Branch. Its yet another tight 90 degree junction into this short branch but we are getting quite good at them now. A quick trot up the branch wind and then back to the main loop, where we have to send the hos and richard back whence they came to gain the towpath again, as we get the boat out of the branch. On our way again, we soon get to the point where the cut off come in and the short length upto the Bradley Mar junction. We set the "Automat Sehnsucht" to 1803
  14. Saturday 10th May 4.15pm Top of Bradley Locks , near the Wednesbury Oak loop of Brindley's Old main line. We left the "Automat Sehnsucht" set at 1912 and returned back up the Walsall Canal and turned left up the Bradley Locks cut , at Moorcroft Junction. One does not realise just how few trees there were back in these times, we now think of canal as tree lined corridors, back back in 1912 there is a basic fence and that is it between you and the almost barren lunar landscape. It is very poor grass that grows on this slag heap polluted ground. We soon rattle up Bradlley locks and reach the Rotton Brunt Cutoff. We are going to head left here towards Tipton to start with. Had a bit of a put us on to keep us going till we arrive at our final destination This really would be a great bit of canal to restore. this is the view of the canal as it is currently, thanks Mr Googlemaps. it also may explain why are hos' got spooked coming up the flight. please see https://www.bradleycanal.co.uk/ and their facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/bradleycanal/
  15. Saturday 10th May 3pm Monway Branch , Walsall Canal We have plodded back down the Walsall and past the line up to Bradley lock so we can visit the Monway Branch system. The Walsall is green enough these days but it still isn't treasured, especially by the locals. On arrival in the approximate area of the Monway Branch we activate the "Automat Sehnsucht" set to 1912. On the left is the Monway Iron & Steel works. We only go up to the branch system to the first junction where the branch splits into 3 arms, 1 long and 2 short. The long one goes past Brunswick Works, however none of the arms have anywhere to wind, or so we are told, so we turn here and leave the huge hive of industry. As we leave the Arm there are basin on the offline side and a large chemical works generating horrible smells. Credit Brunswick Works - The History Of Wednesbury facebook page.
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