Fringe Box



Riff Raff Diary – November 2018

Published on: 18 Nov, 2018
Updated on: 18 Nov, 2018

Riff Raff Cottage and Weir

Riverbank tales from the local St Catherine’s lengthsman and weir keeper

by Robert Craig

I spent the beginning of October getting locks and visitors moorings mown prior to taking some annual leave.

Autumn on The Wey, a little downstream from St Catherine’s Lock. Photo – M Giles

My return coincided with a change in the weather that brought some much-needed rain, meaning that for a few days I had to make some weir gate adjustments – something I have not had to do for some time due to the dry weather that we’ve been having.

The large beech which fell across the towpath behind Langton Priory. Photo – R Craig

After the rain, one of the large Beech trees belonging to Langton Priory came down, which is a shame as they look especially beautiful at this time in their autumn colours. Growing on a steep bank and set up high the main trunk bridged the towpath about eight feet in the air with the top branches of the tree in the navigation.

Another tree fell, this time an Alder, near Broadford. Photo – R Craig

This required the closure of the towpath between Flower Walk passageway upstream to Ferry Lane with a suggested diversion along the Portsmouth Road.

Fortunately, this was only necessary for a day and a half as the agents managing Langton Priory were able to find contractors to deal with the tree quickly. Also luckily, the towpath, river bank and retaining wall were not damaged.

Other work that I’ve been doing in October included replacing one of the signs on the Railway line walk which had been vandalised and repairing a section of riverbank damaged by dog use.

Then, to round things off, I had another fallen tree to clear, this time an Alder near Broadford. Being on the non-towpath side of the river with space to work was an advantage.

A fieldfare, a usual visitor not yet spotted this autumn by Rob. Have you spotted any by the Wey?

It meant that I and a colleague had room to winch the tree out of the river and up onto the bank to be cut up.

On the bird front, I am not seeing Redwings and Fieldfares yet, something still to look forward to. But I did see a good-sized flock of Siskins pass by the other day, about 20 to 30 birds.

See you by the river.

Narrow boats heading upstream on a late October evening at St Catherine’s Lock. Photo – M Giles

Rob reports that he has broken his wrist so it is uncertain there will be a Riff Raff Diary for December. Ed

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Responses to Riff Raff Diary – November 2018

  1. Gordon Bridger Reply

    November 20, 2018 at 4:55 pm

    Congratulations. A well written and well-illustrated diary.

  2. Stuart Barnes Reply

    November 21, 2018 at 10:05 am

    A very interesting article. I am sorry to hear of Robert’s injury and hope that he will recover quickly.

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