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
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
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
HOME | NEXT STORY