click here to goto the Millennium Link Resource Home PageUnion Canal Dredging
22nd July  and  8th August 2000
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Jim Coyle spent a weekend on the Union Canal with the Land and Water dredging team, Redding near Falkirk. 

 

These first pictures are of the yard that was set up to hold the "waste" after dredging.

 

Quite an investment in plant here alone!

The routine of pushing the dredging 'pans' was quite a task in itself. The pans were a fair size and were hard to manoeuvre especially through the narrow sections of some of the bridges and the tunnel at Glen village. 

They would be full of the sediment, branches, weeds and rocks etc and it took a lot of to-ing and fro-ing to get them moving and trying to keep them in a straight line was a hard task. The pilots became quite adept but it took a while to get the feel of them and there was quite a few bumps into the bridges etc on the way.

They actually pushed the pans along with the tugs. They would lash chains from the pan to bollards on the tug so that in effect the tug and pan became one vessel.

The longer the job went on the further away the jobsite became. They were dredging a 7 kilometre section of the canal so of course eventually they were having to push these barges for the entire length back to the processing plant which was stationed across from the Young Offenders place. This took ages and the whole job began to slow down accordingly. They employed more tugs and pans but it didn't really help a lot.

Was the whole exercise futile? All they did in the end was disturb the sediment so that it ended up a lot further along the canal. Instead of draining the canal down and digging out the crud they merely distributed it far and wide. This is why they eventually did drain the canal and dig it out.

Pictures and text: Jim Coyle

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