Soldiers march on Western front
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