Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Raising Mossdale after 25 years!

You heard/saw it here first!

Mersey Flat boat Mossdale has sat on the bottom of the dock at Ellesmere for the last 25 years and this week the staff commenced raising her with the intention of conserving the boat as a static exhibit.

click here for more information regarding Mossdale’s history

The National Waterways Museum at Ellesmere apparently has
£1M to raise and conserve Mossdale and George.

When we arrived on Friday last week Mossdale already had a ‘skirt’ fitted to help with the ingress of water during the floating and yesterday the pumps arrived

This is Mersey Flat George which will also benefit from some conservation work.

Mossdale's anchor was the first thing that came to light from the depths

The pumps have started but there is a problem - water is pouring in from a hole in the side ...

… looking to see where the problem is ...

… there’s as much coming in as being pumped out!

But the leak is soon plugged 

There were various problems with the three pumps - this one appears to pumping air!

Looking at that waterline there Mossdale does appear to be rising.

The leak has found its way in again and the guys in drysuits go in ...

… using plastic sheeting, bits of foam and anything else they can find that might plug the hole!

This pump was not working well when suddenly it spouted all this water over the volunteers!

The chap who I think is ‘in charge’ of the operation to day explains that they can now see the bottom of the boat in just a few inches of water.

An air pump is being readied for use to blow air into the heavy congealed silt under the last few inches of water to help it to be dispersed via the water pumps.

The plan is to slide a tarpaulin under Mossdale’s hull.

The divers are now in the basin attempting to thread the tarpaulin underneath, but it’s difficult ...

… and discussion takes place ...

… with the volunteers who were letting out the liner ...

A wooden frame has been constructed to help push the liner under the hull, but was unfortunatley unsuccessful

The divers are up to their knees in silt and although it’s a lovely sunny day today ...

 … it looked hard work and so uncomfortable being in that cold, filthy water often up to their chins

A decision is made -
it’s not going to work.

The divers climb out ...

… and take a well earned break and a welcome cuppa

In the meantime the air pump was put to use in an attempt to loosen whatever it is that is stopping the liner from sliding under …

The divers suggested that the front edge of the liner needed to be less flexible to allow them both to manoeuvre it together ...

 … and a metal bar is fixed and bent to shape

Back in the water ...

… they have another go ...

… it seems to be going quite well ...

… and the liner is slowly lowered into the water a little at a time ...

… but once again it doesn’t work and the tarpaulin is withdrawn.

The divers remain in the water attempting once again with the air pump to loosen the silt and any other obstruction under the boat.

They recovered and removed 2 tyres and a scaffolding pole in just the first yard or so of the hull

A quick modification is made to make the air pump more manouverable  

Just before 5pm it was decided that the tarpaulin plan was not viable and it was unceremoniously carried away.

That was it for today - a decision has been made for tomorrow - they will position the harness/slings under the boat in readiness for the lift out of the water in a few weeks time.

All the volunteers and staff have left for home and I’m sorry that we won’t be here tomorrow to see the next operation - perhaps they’ll start early and we’ll see just a part of it.

It’s been a fantastic day watching them working - at times I found it rather frustrating that I couldn’t help.  I wish them good luck in getting Mossdale  and George out of the water, stabilised and exhibited - I shall certainly look forward to our next visit here.

Life in and around the museum continued while I was busy snapping away - more of that in my next posting.


  1. Great pics. We knew they were hoping to raise her before Easter as we blogged when we were there a while ago. Let's hope they are sucessful.

    1. Thanks - it really was quite exciting and as I’ve just mentioned to Sue - we’ve decided to stay now until Saturday and hope to see this part of the operation finished.

  2. Fantastic pictures there Carol, I am sure they will be asked for by the Waterways Museum. As you say, pity you didn't see the finished operation completed.

    1. Thanks Sue, we’ve decided to stay put and see it through!

  3. Looks entertaining, and frustrating for the team involved. Now back online for a bit so lots to catch up with. Thanks for all your help - we've put an offer on an NB and have now seen a few for comparison sake. With a bit of luck we should be living afloat within a month.

    1. Welcome back online in the UK. Good luck with your purchase and hope to meet up sometime.