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Volunteers install paddle gear at Ryeford Lock

A report by Ray Talbot 

Paddle gear for Ryeford Double Lock that dates from when the canal was working, has been refurbished and fitted by a team of Cotswold Canals Trust Volunteers. 

The whole Ryeford Double lock paddle installation project has spread over several months as there was a great deal of initial preparation work. This included:

  • Acquiring reclaimed Greenheart timber and sawing it into 4" thick jack posts
  • Cutting & shaping the jack posts at the CCT Eastern Depot – Latton
  • Refurbishing original gearing and re-bushing bearings to remove 1/4" of play
  • Fabrication of new connecting rods
  • Final shaping and drilling of the posts at CCT Western Depot – Eastington
  • A 'dry run' test fitting of the castings

The contractors Hargreaves built and fitted the three pairs of lock gates. It was then that the Western Depot team of volunteers stepped in. Over three weeks or so of Monday & Wednesday work sessions the team carried out the following tasks: 

  • Erected scaffolding across the lock just above the centre gates
  • Fitted the jack posts – this involved lowering each half of each post into position using a winch and jenny wheel, drilling through the posts into the lock walls to take 20 mm galvanised studding, fixing the studding with epoxy resin and bolting on the posts See first picture
  • Attaching the main castings to each side of the posts. See pictures two, three & four
  • Fitting the toothed racks and connecting rods
  • Painting the top sections of the posts
  • Removing the scaffolding

Ray comments, "Most of the volunteers from both the Eastern Depot – Latton and Western Depot – Eastington have been involved in some way at some time and the final fitting was done by a team of five people over three sessions."

"The whole operation was interesting and satisfying – especially as it all went smoothly and to plan"

Western Depot Manager Ron Kerby was similarly happy with the way that this challenging engineering procedure was carried out.

"We have a wealth of experience, skills and knowledge in the CCT volunteering team."

"This was a great example of what volunteers can do. It was also a brilliant piece of teamwork that involved people from the Eastern & Western Depots working together"

Would you like to Join the Team?

Check out the Information for Volunteers page on this site or simply click on the icon below to register on the Cotswold Canals Trust Volunteers Management System.