'Engineers and Customer Operations Teams have spent the last few days assessing the breach and prioritising works to be carried out including undertaking a fish rescue and tree assessment
The next steps include putting a portadam in place this week, downstream of the breach which will then enable water to be pumped from the Trent & Mersey Canal into the Middlewich Branch allowing boats in the affected section to be in water
The navigation will still be closed to other boats as passage cannot be gained through Stanthorne Lock
Check out our twitter page @CRTNWalesBorder for more regular updates
Thank you for your patience whilst we work hard to find a solution.

24/3  6 volunteers help out at Wardle Lock, bowhauling stranded boats to the lock so that they can descend to the Trent and Mersey. More leaflets are delivered to householders whose gardens back onto the canal. Now the hard work begins for CRT to reinstate the embankment and canal. 

23/3 At 7am CRT start pumping water from the Trent and Mersey canal into the dewatered section above Wardle lock bounded by an artificial dam. By midday there is enough water to refloat one of the stranded boats. The boats will be taken through the lock today and tomorrow with the 'pound' being replenished by the pumps each time. SUMBA will be on hand tomorrow to help with the lock and deliver more leaflets to the affected householders.


​We learn that SUMBA has been awarded IWA North West Region's Tetlow Trophy in recognition our work on the Middlewich Branch and for our prompt response during the recent breach. The trophy will be presented on April 7 at the Region's social meeting at The Fidlers Ferry Sailing Club, Penketh, Warrington WA5 2UJ. We are delighted!

17/3 On a very cold, snowy  and windy day several volunteers help out at Middlewich, informing  the many members of the public who have come to view the breach of safety issues. We also deliver 60 leaflets published by CRT to home owners whose gardens back onto the canal on the offside. The towpath is unusually busy and parts of the canal side are still slipping into the abyss. A canoe is deployed in an attempt to rescue fish. The lock -  being empty - is fenced off to prevent a nasty accident!

23/3 Whilst on a visit to our equipment store at  Cholmondeston hut to pick up life jackets and windlasses for tomorrow, we are heartened to see that scaffold is being erected around the hut in preparation for repair. CRT have promised this work for some time as we have had to learn where to store equipment to avoid drips from the roof.

20/2        9 SUMBA volunteers meet up at Wardle Lock to help the CRT team with the removal of rubbish from the canal bed. All 'expected' items are found including several bicycles, supermarket shopping trollies, radios, a mound of tyres, a kettle, buckets and traffic cones. The more unusual included a  gear box, several golf umbrellas, a household cold water tank and a hose reel. A protesting, wriggling 3 foot eel is also given a new home in the Trent and Mersey canal. This was an extremely messy and muddy occupation for our volunteers who worked hard all day to recover such a haul.

16/3NEWS WE DIDN'T WANT TO HEAR! Just as we are organising ourselves for Saturday's workparty we get a call from one of our volunteers asking if we'd heard about a breach on the Middlewich Branch. On further investigation we find out that the canal has breached just before the aqueduct over the River Wheelock, and the canal has drained between Stanthorne Lock and Wardle Lock.  CRT were due to deliver materials for our workparty and have now been diverted to help with the breach, so we have to cancel our plans. Two of our volunteers station themselves at Wardle Lock and Barbridge Junction to warn unsuspecting boaters that the Middlewich Branch is no longer a through route, until CRT arrive with warning signage. The unfortunate boater in the v bottomed Springer boat is rendered homeless and helped by CRT/the police to find other accommodation. 15 to 20 other boats are left stranded on the bottom of the canal.

17/2/18 WORK PARTY 163
After 4 years, Saturday's work party completes the cutting back 5 1/2 miles of offside vegetation on our adopted stretch. We also litter pick 3 1/2 miles of towpath. Considering it was only done a month ago it's amazing how much litter there is. The collection of rusty gas cylinders at bridge 14 has been added to.

20/1/18WORK PARTY 160 

​In rather damp conditions 17 volunteers divide into teams to tackle the offside vegetation between bridges 2 and 4, (using workboats Gowy and Malvern), litter pick from bridge 11 to Barbridge and clear the steps at bridges 11 and 6 from weeds. For such a rural stretch, a surprising amount of litter was collected.


6 SUMBA volunteers attend the IWA meeting at Fidlers Ferry Sailing Club. Graham is presented with the Tetlow Trophy by Sir Robeert Atkins, Chair of North West Region Inland Waterways Association.


​Our team of hardy hedge layers start off the 2018 work parties with a rather chilly session. The hedge previously laid below the lock is also given a trim.


SUMBA‘s volunteers spend over 100 hours assisting boaters through the locks, steering the trip boat  and helping visitors at  the weeknd’s festival. It was good to be back!!