Sol­diers march on Western front

Canal Boat - - News -

MORE THAN £ 60,000 has been in­vested to help bat­tle with the in­creas­ing prob­lem of weed growth in the Grand Western Canal. A new weed boat has been paid for by money from Devon County Coun­cil, which man­ages the canal and coun­try park.

“Al­though the canal suf­fers from sev­eral other in­va­sive plans, none are prov­ing as prob­lem­atic as wa­ter solider,” ex­plained Coun­cil­lor Roger Croad. “Canal Rangers have been op­er­at­ing the ex­ist­ing weed har­vest­ing boat five days a week since April, but they are still strug­gling to keep on top of it.

“This new boat will make the rangers’ work much more pro­duc­tive as it can clear weeds at four times the rate of their old boat. It is also much cheaper to run and main­tain.

“Hope­fully, those who enjoy the canal, in­clud­ing the an­glers whose fish­ing has been af­fected by the weed growth and the boaters who have had to clear weeds tan­gled around their pro­pel­lers, will no­tice a big im­prove­ment.”

The new boat has an ex­ca­va­tor-type arm for at­tach­ments such as a T-cut­ter for chop­ping through weeds, a rake for col­lect­ing float­ing and cut weeds and a dredg­ing bucket for small-scale spot-dredg­ing work. It also has a trail­ing V-shaped knife sys­tem that is pulled along be­hind the boat to cleanly cut weeds just above the bed of the canal.

The new weed clear­ing boat, called Whirligig, will work along­side the old weed har­vest­ing boat for as long as that one is eco­nomic to main­tain.

Whirligig in ac­tion and, above, the dreaded wa­ter sol­dier

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