KESCRG run WRG
summer Camp on the Wendover Arm, Grand Union Canal July 2012
Report from Claire Westrop
The Chilterns were invaded for a week in July by a hardy band of
volunteers determined to make a difference to the local canal. With
tools in hands and mud on boots we set to work on restoring the
Whitehouses pumping station. Located in the dry section of the
Wendover Arm, the site will eventually serve as an overflow point
for the canal when it is in water once again. The excess water will
be used to top up the nearby reservoir. Our mission was to restore
the brickwork in the original settlement tank and arched culverts.
Working alongside members of the Wendover Arm Trust we made good
progress over the week, although there is much more still needing to
Our lean, mean fighting team arrived in earnest on Friday night,
taking over a local village hall. The group included newbies to
canal restoration both young and old, as well as a strong backbone
of experienced volunteers. A special mention must be made for our
two pairs of volunteer cooks, without whom I doubt we would have
survived the week with such high spirits and full stomachs. Our
introductions were made, dinner was served and the team had been
formed ready to start work the next day.
Saturday morning arrived and we
travelled to site for the first time. The vast quantities of mud
were a shock for the less experienced among us. There was lots of
preparatory work to be done first: erecting fences around the gaping
holes on site and clearing earth away from the settling tank walls.
From there on the real work could commence: deconstructing the
failed sections of wall and arches and cleaning the intact bricks
ready to be used again.
Hard at it (Stephen Davis)
Brick Cleaning (Stephen Davis)
By Sunday the arches were beginning to be rebuilt and some of the
remaining brickwork in the front wall of the settling tank was
already being repointed. Monday saw marquees erected ready to
protect the bricklayers as the rain came down. In the evening we
were treated to an excellent presentation by Ray from the Wendover
Arm Trust. For Tuesday afternoon three intrepid bricklayers and
pointers stayed behind to continue working whilst the rest of us
enjoyed a tour of the Chiltern Brewery. Wednesday lunchtime four
young volunteers were given a break from work to have first lessons
in operating an excavator, which were thoroughly enjoyed.
The Archers (Stephen Davis)
Tent City (Stephen Davis)
Paddle Hole (Stephen Davis)
Before we knew it, it was Thursday - our last day on site. The last
courses of bricks were laid and our strapping lads loaded the dumper
with heavy kit for the last time. With our work completed we sat
down together for a stunning meal courtesy of our cooks. All that
was left to do was to visit the local pub once more, before finally
heading exhausted to bed.
Tank Wall (Bobby Silverwood)
Wharf wall finished (Bobby Silverwood)
Overall the camp has been a great success. We had a fantastic
mixture of many different ages and backgrounds in our group, and I
suspect many long friendships have been started over the week. We
all had the satisfaction of doing good quality work, with lots of
unexpected fun along the way. Thank you again to everyone involved!