A few pints led to a major canal project!

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A discussion over a few pints at the Stubbings pub near Hebden Bridge has resulted in a major project to repair a 150 metre section of the Rochdale Canal.

Volunteers from the Calderdale Boat Club have joined forces with the Canal & River Trust, a charity caring for the nation’s 2,000 miles of canals, on the two week project which started last Friday, January 23.

The drive for the project came from the boaters who wanted to see repairs carried out on the canal where they moor their boats.

Now a 1.2km stretch of canal between locks 11 and 12 will be drained and then up to 30 volunteers from the boat club will work with experts from the Trust to repair damaged canal walls and install extra mooring rings. The Trust will provide all the materials and before the canal is completely drained, specialist contractors will carry out a fish rescue, using a technique called electrofishing, which involves using an electrical current to temporarily disable the fish from swimming so they float to the surface. They’re then scooped up and transferred to large bins filled with fresh water. The fish aren’t harmed and can be moved to a nearby unaffected stretch of canal, said a spokesman.

Paul Bowerman, Rochdale Canal supervisor with the Canal & River Trust, said: “Once the fish rescue is complete, we will have up to four Trust staff a day working with the volunteers to prepare cement foundations and then rebuild the dry stone canal wall.

“The impetus for the job came directly from the boaters who hold regular meetings at their local pub in Stubbings Wharf.

“They wanted to see repairs carried out to the area where they moor their boats.

“We explained our financial challenges and came up with this solution which is a win win for everyone.”