Changes to the Harp – January and February 2021

or What's been going on whilst we were away.

The Canal and River Trust lowered the water in the Harp starting on 26th January so that they could inspect the columns supporting the shed which sticks out from the dam wall. They had divers going down there on the coldest days of the year. The inspection seems to have been a success and they are now filling it back up again so the lake should be back to normal by the end of February so the birds can start nesting. At the same time, we were all in lockdown so sailing could not take place anyway.
The Laser beach has long been a problem because the grating is forced up by the shingle underneath it and makes a peak which combined with worn grating becomes a hazard. The Tuesday Team were planning to increase the concrete apron further into the water but Covid reduced the team to a few members. So, we brought in the B team of Maciej’s men (or Magic Men if you prefer).
The original remit was to extend the Laser Beach by about 4 metres into the lake. One additional task which seemed a good idea was to increase the fence at the east end of the site to prevent people walking round the end of the fence. While the Magic Men were here, we got them to erect a new fence.
Maciej suggested that this was a good opportunity to dredge parts of the harbour area using mini-excavators.
Another of Maciej’s ideas was to erect a retaining wall along the front of the single-handed area but about 5 metres further out. This would give another row of boats and replace the existing wall which was beginning to fall apart. The wall is constructed of blocks filled with concrete and reinforcing. It is capped by a slab of concrete with grating on top of that. The wall has fendering on the front edge so that boats can be moored alongside; the area has been dredged to enable even power boats to use it.
The main harbour area has also been dredged so that power boats should not need to raise their engines when approaching the quay.
The work has cost a considerable amount in WHSA terms but has vastly improved the facilities. It could only have been carried out while the lake was so low and also by using Magic Men who worked hard in pretty awful conditions at times.


Welsh Harp Sailing Association

Laser beach 1 Deepening the 'harbour' where the power boats are moored.  Silt from the feeder streams had been gradually filling in the lake.Laser Beach 2A view of the 'harbour' - deepening progressing.  Only when we start using the water again will we realise how much deeper it will be here.Laser Beach 6A view of the new 'sea wall' enabling the bank to be flattened allowing for more boat parking space in the Laser area.

There have been improvements made to the Laser beach in that the hard ramp has been extended into to under the water and non slip grid fitted to help with getting boats out of the water.  This grid material has been added to the other launching ramps as well.  At the eastern end of the site, a new fence has been installed to prevent intruders onto the site as it will run right into the water preventing people from getting around it.  The  collection of photographs below shows the tremendous amount of work which has been out into improving our facilities.     Many thanks to the Tuesday team Maciej and his workers.
There are two new Lasers too waiting for the season to start - wow it all looks so good.

Laser beach 10Launching ramp 2Launching Ramp 3New fenceP1000845New Lasers



Cleaning up the Harp

There has been much adverse publicity about the state of the rubbish in and around the Welsh Harp brought about by being able to see it all once drained.  Unfortunately, the feeder streams, River Brent and Silk Stream both flow through built up areas and along the backs of many gardens so that there is much opportnity for 'stuff' to fall or get blown into the water; heaven forbid that it might be thown in.  With heavy rain, all this ends up in the Harp and blown onto the banks.
There have been teams of club members volunteering to pick the rubbish from the banks on behalf of Brent and Barnet Councils but they could not do anything about the rubbish in the bed of the lake now uncovered.
The Canal & River Trust  were so embarrassed by the bad publicity that they hired contractors to clear some of the rubbish in the Harp. They brought in a steel boat (see picture) and three men spent two days pulling rubbish out of the Harp. See second picture. This included a number of tyres which we kept on one side and an assortment of shopping trolleys, bikes - including one Boris bike - a number of traffic cones and other detritus. It must have been a revolting job and I suspect only touched on the surface as they could not get to some areas. They collected some of it from the south east corner of the dam.
The haul filled two skips although we took advantage of them and probably helped by getting rid of an old tree trunk and lots of wood left over from the construction work.
 Rubbish 1Rubbish 2