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WINTER 2012 | ISSUE 238




IWA AGM 2012

News from the branches

Meet Les Etheridge

A full report

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IWA waterways - Winter 2012 |

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Winter 2012


AGENDA The Column of the National Chairman


IWA AT WORK What’s been happening around the branches



We talk to Les Etheridge – the new National Chairman

18. OVERSTAYING THEIR WELCOME What is to be done about continuous moorers’

22. A WEST COUNTRY WATERWAY Exploring the Bristol Avon

30. NEWS A round up of the main stories from IWA and beyond

36. FREIGHT Commercial carrying developments at home and abroad

39. THE NEXT GENERATION Attracting young people to the world of the waterways


41. CUTTINGS What the media has been saying about waterway issues

42. BUSY YEAR FOR WRG What the navvies have been up to in 2012…


45. INBOX Readers’ letters

COVER PICTURE A hotel boat is dwarfed by SS Great Britain in Bristol’s Floating Harbour.



WATERWAYS EDITOR: Keith Goss Tel: 01283 742951 E-mail: ART EDITOR: Kerry Hogston ADVERTISEMENT MANAGER: Ian Sharpe Tel: 01283 742977 E-mail: ADVERTISING DESIGN: Jill Brown ADVERTISING PRODUCTION: Samantha Lloyd E-mail: EDITORIAL BOARD: Neil Edwards, Jo Gilbertson, Keith Goss, Les Etheridge, Peter Johns, Jim Shead REPROGRAPHICS: Waterways World Ltd, 151 Station Street, Burton-on-Trent, Staffordshire, DE14 1BG. Printed in England by Warners (Midlands) PLC, Bourne, Lincs Articles may be reproduced provided permission is obtained and acknowledgement made. ISSN 0969-0654 G


Ten Good Reasons to be an IWA Member YOUR SUPPORT HELPS IWA TO: • Campaign for properly funded waterways • Provide a voice for you • Help improve your local waterways • Defend the waterways from unwelcome development • Give practical financial and political support for waterways restoration • Provide expert advice for waterway managers and restoration groups • Organise restoration holidays for young people • Provide over 5,000 days of volunteer labour each year • Arrange affordable insurance for waterway organisations • Enable greater appreciation of the waterways through education and experience

MEMBERS’ SERVICES The following special offers are now available exclusively for IWA members: Channel Glaze - 10% discount on double glazing Cotswold Outdoor - 10% discount Europcar - Special hire rates to IWA members Lee Sanitation Ltd. - 10% on orders over £100 Midland Chandlers - 5% discount Narrowboat Services - 10% discount RoadPro - 5% discount UK Boat Hire - 15% discount - Free Listing Willowbridge Marina - 10% discount on chandlery purchases and services in the yard Worcester Marine Windows Ltd - 5% discount

Please note: All discounts and offers are entirely at the organisers’ discretion. To take advantage of these offers please go to: area/member_discounts_special_offers_public IWA has teamed up with both Navigators & General and River Canal Rescue to enable an insurance facility that is unique to the market, with the added benefit that every policy taken out and subsequently renewed helps IWA, and thus furthers our charitable work for the waterways. These specialist inland waterway insurance policies are tailored to fit your needs, covering loss and damage to your vessel, protecting you against legal claims, paying for injury and damages caused to other property and providing the security of inclusive breakdown cover. Obtaining a quote couldn’t be easier, simply fill in a few details on our online form, and one of Navigators & General team will call you back.

A non-profit distributing company limited by guarantee (612245), Registered as a Charity (No. 212342)

Founded: 1946, Incorporated 1958 Registered Office: Island House, Moor Road, Chesham, HP5 1WA Tel: 01494 783453 E-mail: Web site: Chief Executive – Neil Edwards Company Secretary – Helen Elliott-Adams Campaign & Communications Manager – Jo Gilbertson G

Nothing printed in Waterways may be construed as policy or an official announcement unless stated, otherwise IWA accepts no liability for any matter in the magazine. Although every care is taken with advertising matters no responsibility whatsoever can be accepted for any matter advertised.

Where a photo credit includes a note such as CC-BY-SA, the image is made available under that Creative Commons licence; full details at

The policy incorporates many features that are unique including: • Membership of River Canal Rescue • Dedicated insurance cover for owners who permanently live aboard their boats (additional cost) • Personal public liability • Marina benefits • Medical expenses cover • £3 million pounds third party cover The Inland Waterways Association is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority.


•Joint/Family £37.50

Details of all other rates are available from IWA Head Office – see the Directory on the address sheet.

| IWA waterways - Winter 2012

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The Column of the National Chairman Where did we come from? In November 2008, when I became National Chairman, the waterway scene was very different to that of today. I had been a trustee since 2003 and in that period we had seen Government’s funding fall seriously in real terms with frequent changes in waterways minister, and each change needing a new approach to get our key messages over. We worked with others who shared our aims, and together we got involved in direct action involving blockades and protest cruises past Westminster. Many had an appetite to do more of the same, but we doubted this would achieve a reversal of funding cuts at a time when the world was entering the period of recession that is still with us, and shows no sign of ending any time soon. As government funding fell, navigation authorities sought to use their muscle to get more money from boaters through above inflation licence increases. We fought these to ‘win’ a reduced annual increase of 8.3% from British Waterways but we warned that such increases would ultimately hit usage, an activity we support as a charitable aim. These fears had been made worse following a change in fuel duty regulations and rising oil commodity prices. Our predictions have been born out, with relatively static growth in boat numbers being hidden behind an overall picture of modest growth in boat registrations which can be explained by much reduced licence evasion over the period, the latter a trend we of course applaud. My first chairman’s contribution to this magazine in Spring 2009 now reads as a reality check and an attempt to lower expectations of anything getting easier or better in the short term and a call to keep trying to widen the supporter base for our waterways by enthusing about the joy of the waterways. I said that there were signs in my first few months that supporter groups seemed increasingly to be working together with a common purpose towards the greater awareness and support that is needed. The project to refresh the Waterways for Tomorrow document had, at the time, served to unite this wider group of interested parties. I thought then that this presented an opportunity to give the waterways a secure and improved future. As it turned out my vision has come about. Not in the way or the timescale that I may have dared hope then, but will I hope prove to give that secure and improved future.

What did we do? We became even more active on the political scene to support members’ letter writing activities with widely distributed, and read, briefing documents for national, and local, politicians and public servants. We continued our ‘Boaters Alliance’ with others to have a waterway presence at the main political party conferences. We firmly established IWA’s ‘Parliamentarian of the Year’ award and dinner at the House of Commons, initiated by my predecessor, and showed we were as effective and professional as lobbyists, as we were as protesters. With the memories of high profile protests, and groaning in-trays always in the background at government level, we drew attention to the quantified funding shortfalls of £30m at BW and up to £12m at the Environment Agency. Our submissions on the review of Waterways for Tomorrow showed that we needed government to urgently update its vision for the waterways to avoid further deterioration and risk the nation’s heritage. The urgency produced


our S.O.S. campaign when a further cut in funding came about in addition to plans to remove BW’s property portfolio put forward by the Treasury, who seemed to wield excessive power apparently without considering the consequences of these proposals. Once again we had to use the power of our members and others to fight to save the essential contribution that the portfolio made to funding sources. We helped win ‘round one’ before the General Election brought in the coalition government, when we found we had to fight a similar battle all over again with fortunately the same outcome: the property portfolio has been retained for future generations. The support for BW’s position lead to us working more closely with them, rather than against them as we had done at some times in our history. Many uninformed observers criticised this development and yearned for the days of conflict and protest, despite the evidence that those tactics may have been effective at just delaying or minimising short term issues rather than progressing our long held dream of a sustainable long term independent future for the waterways. We were supportive when BW themselves realised that government and other stakeholders were looking for a shared vision and produced their 2020 proposals. The government change brought in Richard Benyon as waterways minister, and he supported the new direction and BW’s desire to help shape its own future and to work with others to achieve it. I was invited to join the board of BW with observer status and was able to make what I think, and was told, valuable input to shaping the new third sector body that has now taken over BW’s responsibilities. Progress was rapid and, despite some reservations in some quarters, timescales shortened drastically and Canal & River Trust (CRT) launched in July this year. We welcomed it and many of our members have taken on the challenge to engage with the new charity with internal and external roles and they now make valuable contributions in helping to make it a success. We now have many things that we could only dream of four years ago. Those members who have the time and commitment have the ability to use their knowledge and experience and have a say in how CRT develops its strategies. At a local level members can be found actively working as part of the 13 waterway partnerships to improve the management and operations where it matters. Other members have been invited to join advisory forums to give the benefit of their experience. Our members and branches are now welcomed in providing volunteer input to practical work and education matters as well as continuing our long held role as the Friends of the Waterways. There is widespread acceptance and support for our desire for CRT to take on responsibility for the EA’s navigations in a few years time. I know we will work to ensure that this comes about.

Would I do the same again? Looking back, we have had critics over the last few years. Some of the criticism has been directed at me personally from those who thought that I had become too involved with BW and even blurring IWA’s independence or purpose as a result. Sometimes this criticism has come from our members and, when I discuss it with them, it usually arises as they don’t know all the facts. I freely accept that the speed of what has happened has often meant that I and others were so busy doing things that we didn’t always have

time to keep everyone informed of progress. Furthermore, in many cases, I was subject to confidentiality restrictions on what I knew as a result of my role as observer to the BW Board, but that never prevented me using the knowledge to seek the best outcome for the waterways and, as a result I think, IWA and its members. I would do the same again because I am delighted at the results. I may be naïve to believe that all waterway supporters should agree on that, as it is clear that some take pleasure in criticising the efforts of others but never direct their energies into getting involved or improving something themselves. They sit back and expect others to do it but are never happy with the results. Fortunately they are a small, if vocal, minority and it has been easy to ignore them and get on with the important tasks.

The way ahead You will read elsewhere some thoughts from my successor Les Etheridge on what he sees as the challenges facing IWA and the waterways in the years ahead. I will give him all the support I can. As an elected trustee for a further, and final I think, term of three years I will continue to do all I can to ensure the health of the waterways for future generations to enjoy as well as enjoying them myself. That’s what it has all been for. More money is needed to dredge to acceptable levels and action is needed to enforce continuous cruising guidelines on those who seek to use that licence option, but the signs are good that these priorities will be dealt with and that wider support and funding can become a reality, especially when EA waterways join CRT. There is an ongoing role for IWA to help bring such things about.

The final word I have enjoyed my last four years and I think I am entitled to look back with fondness on what we have achieved together. I could not have played my part without the help and support of our members and in particular the board of trustees and our branches and committees, as well as our head office staff. I thank all of you. I have been fortunate to work with excellent people at BW and now CRT, other navigation authorities, MPs, government and Defra officials, members of the British Marine Federation and other groups, and I know that their combined contribution to today’s waterways agenda will live on for many years to come. I have been fortunate to chair our board through one of the most interesting and constructive periods in recent memory, if not our last 66 years. Thank you all for your help and support.

Clive Henderson IWA waterways - Winter 2012 |

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| IWA waterways - Winter 2012

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IWA at Work rties a P k r o W A W I Round up of Manchester

We publish on these pages a round up of some of the branch work parties that have taken place recently. If your branch event isn’t included here, do let Alison Smedley, Branch Campaign Officer, know next time you are organising one, so that it can be included in the overall publicity for work parties that Alison is now promoting for the Association.





Chelmsford Chiltern




IWA Chiltern Branch members with Garry Timberlake, CRT Volunteer Co-ordinator - from left to right: Hillary Winter, John Brice, Lyn Horridge, Garry Timberlake, Brian Horridge, Brian Harris, Peter Winter. Vegetation management at Paper Mill Lock, Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation. IWA Chelmsford Branch held a work party on Saturday 21st July, on IWA’s very own waterway, the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation. The original plan had been Himalayan Balsam removal, but due to high river levels on the day it was decided to concentrate on mowing and vegetation clearance at Paper Mill Lock. The branch are hoping to organise further work parties on the navigation – if you would be interested in joining in please contact Alison Smedley – email or telephone 01538 385388.


A productive morning’s work on Saturday 4th August saw volunteers from IWA Chiltern Branch, accompanied by Garry Timberlake, the Volunteer Co-ordinator from the Canal & River Trust, help control the spread of Himalayan Balsam. The objective for the day was to clear the side pond at Lock 44 on the Marsworth flight of all visible Himalayan Balsam, before the seeds had developed, to prevent it from spreading. Some of the plants were over 2 metres tall and had grown substantially since an initial site visit at the end of June. All the weed was removed from the site and it is hoped that the clearance will have helped significantly towards the elimination of the plant in this area.

| IWA waterways - Winter 2012

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– you just need to wear old clothes and stout shoes and bring waterproofs in case of rain. Future tasks will include vegetation clearance from walls and bridges, removing weeds and grass from cobble setts and painting handrails, balance beams and bollards. Further information about the work parties, and about the Cheshire Locks Project, can be found at


Volunteers tackling the Himalayan Balsam on the Caldon Canal in Cheddleton.


Volunteers sprucing up Lock 54, Rode Heath, Trent & Mersey Canal.

BIRMINGHAM, BLACK COUNTRY & WORCESTERSHIRE BRANCH IWA Birmingham, Black Country & Worcestershire Branch have started a series of canal clean ups and work parties, in addition to the annual BCN Clean up that they are involved with each year.

WYRLEY & ESSINGTON CANAL CLEAN UP The first of these was run in conjunction with the BCN Society, at Bentley Bridge on the Wyrley & Essington Canal on Saturday 11th August. The Canal & Volunteers clearing River Trust supplied canal and towpath on the Bentley Canal. tools and equipment, and a workboat from the Wolverhampton Probationary Service was used. Volunteers cleared the basin (which is the end of the former Bentley Canal) of rubbish, repainted the bridge handrails and carried out some vegetation clearance. The improvements encouraged a boat to moor in the basin that night.

IWA waterways - Winter 2012 |

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IWA Stoke-on-Trent Branch, in conjunction with the Trent & Mersey Canal Society and working in partnership with the Canal & River Trust, have launched a regular monthly work party on the Cheshire Lock flight, otherwise known to boaters as Heartbreak Hill, where 26 locks take the Trent & Mersey Canal up the hill from Wheelock to Kidsgrove. The first work party took place on Saturday 18th August when volunteers spent a rewarding sunny day sprucing up Lock 54 on the flight, at Rode Heath. All the railings, bollards and parts of the lock gates were painted in black or white, as well as weeds and grass being cleared from cobbles around the lock quadrant. The second work party on the Cheshire Locks took place on Tuesday 18th September, a day of bright sunshine and sudden heavy showers. Despite the showers, good progress was made with finishing the vegetation clearance at Lock 54, starting clearing brambles and nettles at Lock 53, wire-brushing the handrails and making a start on painting them, and some painting to the lock gates. Work parties are scheduled for alternating Tuesdays and Saturdays in the third week of each month. The plan is to work up the flight towards Kidsgrove carrying out similar tasks at each lock. Volunteers can turn up just for the morning or the afternoon, or come for the whole day and bring a packed lunch. All tools will be provided


Himalayan Balsam has become a real problem in the Churnet Valley in North Staffordshire, particularly where the Caldon Canal shares the course of the River Churnet, but in recent years it has also spread elsewhere along the canal itself. The local IWA branch, working in partnership with the Caldon & Uttoxeter Canals Trust and the Canal & River Trust, held five Himalayan Balsam Bashing work parties during July. Last year’s method of pulling and bagging was replaced this year by slashing the larger areas of the plant, which enabled greater areas to be tackled. An aluminium trailable boat was used to access plants that were growing on the offside or very low down on the bank on the towpath side.


24/10/12 12:04:13 pm


KIDDERMINSTER CANAL CLEAN UP The second branch clean up took place when volunteers from IWA and the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal Society joined forces to spend an enjoyable day in the sun on Monday 3rd September, tidying up the canal in Kidderminster in advance of the Kidderminster Canal Festival the following weekend. ALISON SMEDLEY.

Volunteers retrieving shopping trolleys from the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal in Kidderminster.

mbers prior Birmingham Branch me an up. to the Kidderminster cle

The towpath was cleared of weeds around Weavers Wharf and a mile of towpath between Round Hill Bridge and Limekiln Bridge was cleared of litter. Meanwhile teams with grappling hooks retrieved a total of 24 shopping trolleys (including nine all attached together and in very good condition which were returned to a certain well known high street store for re-use once they have been hosed down and sterilised!). A couple of bicycle wheels, one whole bicycle, the remains of a sprung mattress and several heavy fence blocks were also removed from the canal.




On Saturday 15th September, IWA Manchester Branch hosted a meeting between local volunteers and the Canal & River Trust, to discuss future volunteering projects in the area around Dukinfield Junction, where the Ashton, Lower Peak Forest and Huddersfield canals all meet. A good turnout of interested people (a good mixture of experienced and well established local boaters as well as some people new to volunteering on the waterways), discussed some of the local issues and how their collective experience could be used to work together in partnership. There was enthusiasm for a regular monthly work party to carry out vegetation clearance and clearing rubbish from the canals in the area. These monthly work parties will start in November (dates still under discussion) and will follow on from the big Dukinfield Canal Clean Up that is planned for 13th/14th October to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Ashtac. The meeting was followed by a work party which saw volunteers clearing vegetation from the towpath in the area around the junction and on the Lower Peak Forest and Ashton canals. This work will be continued during the October weekend, along with pulling rubbish out of the canal itself. The monthly work parties will tackle similar tasks but perhaps over a slightly wider area.

Some of the volunteers clearing vegetation from the bridge at Dukinfield Junction.

| IWA waterways - Winter 2012

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Is your branch doing something that demonstrates the great work that our members do? If so let us know - send your story and pictures to


Other IWA News



IWA Warwickshire Branch held a lock-ransom at Hatton over the first weekend in August. The lock-ransom was not as successful in financial terms as last year’s event at Calcutt – due to this summer’s poor weather combined with the Olympic attractions. However, a positive side to the weekend’s much reduced ‘traffic-flow’ was that it gave event organiser Nick Nicholson, and his wife Carole, time to do some ‘gardening’. This was an action of growing importance on our inland waterways - the fight against Himalayan Balsam. Warwickshire’s waterways may be more fortunate than some in other parts of the country, and other IWA Branch areas – in that (as yet) they don’t appear to be suffering from the relentless spread of this invasive species. Hopefully, the sighting and removal of the first few small samples of this pernicious pest, will help keep it that way for some time to come. This action marks yet another example of IWA Warwickshire’s Branch’s commitment to help make boating and towpath walking through Warwickshire as enjoyable an experience as possible, for both locals and visitors alike.

IWA’s Milton Keynes Branch has adopted Fenny Stratford Lock in response to the general call for more volunteer input to our waterways by the Canal & River Trust. A set-up meeting was held with CRT, represented by Martha Holdom and Miriam Tedder (Volunteer Leader for the South East), at the lock on 15th August. The Branch was represented by Rodney Evans, Branch organiser for the project, Peter Caswell, Branch Chairman and three other member volunteers of the 15 who have signed up to participate. It was agreed that the Branch would be responsible for the general tidiness and vegetation control of the area from the pump house to the railway bridge; painting, as required, of the lock, bridge, towpath side fencing and pump house doors; and flower beds and hanging baskets at the pump house. CRT and its contractors remain responsible for the lock paddle gear and bridge operating gear maintenance and non-slip surfaces; grass cutting and sanitary station care/ operation and refuse disposal. Supply of materials and equipment is being organised with CRT. The first working party to generally clear up the site was held on Wednesday 29th August. Future work is being planned and working party dates will be arranged in conjunction with the Project Volunteers.

THE IMPROVEMENT OF THE CANAL CORRIDOR FROM CHESTER TO ELLESMERE PORT IWA Chester Branch, Dee Branch Bottom lock and Rive working with the Boat r Dee. Museum Society, were the instigators of a project with CRT to discuss ways of improving the canal corridor and thus encourage visitors down to the National Waterways Museum. This project team has now expanded to include members of Cheshire West & Chester Council and Chester Canal Heritage Trust, resulting in significant proposals being put forward, including a runaround bus to cover all the key destinations in the area and a “huge steel structure – similar to the Angel of the North’ (proposed by the Council) which will become a tourist destination in its own right but also give access to the canal. A project officer from CRT has now been assigned to lead on all these proposals. Wendy Capelle, Waterways Manager for the area, also reported that they had put a successful bid into the national dredging team which will result in the whole corridor being dredged in 2014, plus the area from Chester Basin down to the Dee Lock. It is hoped that all this attention will result in rising visitor numbers at the National Waterways Museum as well as creating a greatly improved cruising experience on the way down there.

WATERWAYS STRATEGY FOR CHESTER IWA Chester & District Branch has been very involved with ensuring that a coherent strategy for the inland waterways features in the Chester One City Plan, which is headed up by Chester Renaissance. Working in partnership with CRT and the Chester Canal Heritage Trust, the branch ensured that a key element of the plan now includes acknowledging the huge benefits that could result from linking the waterfront to the canal, to provide a vibrant area in a similar way to Stratford. This plan should now be developed within three years and includes suggestions for a lock in the present weir, a half tide weir and lock downstream from the entrance to the sea lock, leading to the Shropshire Union Canal. CRT have also been commissioned by the EA to provide a study of the Dee Lock and its use and Chester Branch will be part of a small team appointed to directly engage with Chester Renaissance and the Environment Agency regarding the Waterways Strategy section of the One City Plan. This work will link in with the Canal Corridor Improvement (see left).

IWA waterways - Winter 2012 |

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24/10/12 12:05:49 pm

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| IWA waterways - Winter 2012

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20/7/12 3:17:02 pm

Meet the

Chairman We talk to newly appointed National Chairman Les Etheridge Firstly can you tell members something about Les Etheridge. How long have you been interested in inland waterways, and when did you first join the IWA? My interest in inland waterways started in 1971. The previous year my sister and her husband hired a boat on the Norfolk Broads and tried to persuade me to go with them. As a nonswimmer with a fear of water, the idea didn’t appeal at all so I said no. When they came back they had clearly had such a good time that I agreed to go the following year and that was the start of a passion that has lasted for over forty years. Plenty more holidays on the Broads followed and then the desire to explore more waterways took over. In 1976 my wife and I decided to try the canals and in June hired from Morgan Giles at Aynho on the Oxford Canal. Not knowing anything about canals at the time, I didn’t realise just how short of water they were as a result of the drought. We went aground so often that I took this as normal even for a glass fibre boat. It was only much later when I discovered the canal was closed a few weeks after that I realised how fortunate we were to have had a splendid week travelling between Thrupp and Cropredy. On return I told my work colleagues what a fantastic experience it had been and one of them said he had just read a book which he thought might just interest me. The book turned out to be Narrow Boat by Tom Rolt. I read it and a more detailed interest started and I went on to read much more widely about our inland waterways. We joined IWA as a family in 1982, three years later bought our own boat and over the last 27 years we have cruised the system at every opportunity. We have also taken other opportunities to walk or boat on non connected parts of the system. My active role in IWA started in 2004 when, after responding to an advertisement in Waterways, I joined the Finance Committee and was subsequently elected as a trustee in 2006. For the last four years I have been National Treasurer and last year worked with WRG in respect of our Inglesham Appeal. Locally I am the Treasurer of the Kent & East Sussex Branch and Chairman of the organising committee of the 2013 National Trailboat Festival.


What made you become a member? Having read widely on the history I knew how absolutely vital IWA and its early stalwarts had been in saving the inland waterway system for the nation and appreciated the difficulties that those early pioneers had faced. That made me want to be a part of IWA and when the opportunity arose, play an active part.

When do you officially take over from (current chairman) Clive Henderson? I was officially appointed at the trustees meeting on 13th October.

At this early stage, have you thought how your approach to the job may differ from that of Clive Henderson? Clive played an important part in the transfer of British Waterways to the third sector. However, in achieving this he was seen by some as having become too close to BW and the Canal & River Trust by association through his roles as an observer at the BW board and now as a member of CRT council. I think he best explains his difficult position and his motives in his own words on page 3. For myself, other than being a licence holder, I have no direct involvement with CRT and intend to maintain that position whilst I play an active role in IWA. What is important is that our inland waterways have the best possible future so that the whole nation can enjoy them to the full and that is what my approach will be based on.

How do you see IWA’s future role – specifically with regard to the fact that the Canal & River Trust has now taken over the responsibilities previously discharged by British Waterways? It is important to remember that IWA is concerned for all of the nations waterways, not just the 50% managed by the Canal & River Trust.

| IWA waterways - Winter 2012

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The Interview Whilst CRT and IWA have similar objectives, we clearly have different roles. CRT is a navigation authority, whereas IWA is not (other than for the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation) and that potentially leads us at times to different views. A comparison was made at our AGM to CRT being the landlord and IWA being the tenant’s association and I firmly believe that is a valid way of looking at it. As two charities it is natural for IWA and CRT to work together for the common good in terms of delivering our charitable objectives. So hopefully we can celebrate each other’s successes and equally tell each other when we think something is wrong. My intention is to ensure that in a professional and constructive way CRT is well aware of IWA’s views.

How do you feel about the criticism - both from within and outside the IWA - that the Association has over the years become too close to both Government and British Waterways? What matters is doing our very best for the inland waterways and that requires different approaches at different times. Some years ago I had the opportunity of a lengthy discussion with an MP as to how IWA was seen by government and whether or not we made a difference. He told me that when Labour came to power in 1997 they were keen to work positively and constructively with organisations like IWA. Experience soon changed their view in that some organisations were responsible and constructive and others were not; so they listened to those who were responsible and constructive and ignored the rest. IWA were very clearly in the responsible and constructive category and thus able to have influence. Cross party support for the waterways has been maintained and this was a vital part of ensuring that the move of BW to charitable status was achieved. Most of this work with politicians of all parties necessarily goes on unseen but the benefits of it have been very considerable. Just think about the following that was achieved for CRT: a 15 year funding contract from government as opposed to no certainty from one year to the next; the property portfolio fully protected from the Treasury; the fear of in year cuts removed; a better governance structure with the potential to develop. The alternative of staying with government simply didn’t add up and the results justify the approach.

As and when IWA believes we need to act in a different way have no fear that we will grasp the nettle.

Are you optimistic about the long-term future of the waterways under the management of the CRT? I believe the creation of CRT is a big step forward and all the supporters of the inland waterways need to work together to ensure its success. If we are all positive in our attitudes and work constructively together then I believe we can have cause for optimism. The history of IWA shows very clearly what can be achieved.

What pitfalls lie in store for the new charity? Moving from a government body to a charity is an enormous culture change and realistically won’t happen overnight. CRT trustees need to work hard on ensuring that the necessary cultural change happens throughout the organisation as quickly as possible. Equally we as users of the system need to respond to dealing with a different organisation and change our behaviour accordingly. Funding is clearly still an issue and CRT needs to prove their ability to fundraise.

So would you say that funding is still the major issue to be faced? Yes, it is still a big issue so CRT needs to ensure it meets the requirements to get the additional £10m government funding from 2015 and get the fundraising team to meet its targets.

IWA believes that one body – ie the CRT – should be responsible for all inland waterways. How realistic is it that this could be brought about within the next few years? I don’t believe that this is achievable in the next few years. However, I do want to see the Environment Agency waters included in this time scale. Other inland waterways should come in as and when there is a sensible case for them to do so. If the facts don’t add up then it shouldn’t happen. The best interests of the inland waterways must be paramount.

EA waterways, such as the Thames seen here at Godstow, should be taken over by CRT within the next few years.

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What steps could be taken to recruit people into the ranks of the IWA? ABOVE: The Fenland waterways (this is Hermitage Lock on the Great Ouse) should also be absorbed into CRT within the next few years.

We have to keep spreading the message about how wonderful our inland waterways are and the enjoyment and benefits they provide. Increasingly our branches are involved in practical activities around the system and encouraging non-members to join in. The Waterway Recovery Group (WRG) does fantastic work around the country and in my view is one of the most important parts of the Association. Seeing the practical benefits IWA brings to the inland waterways in general is a good way of convincing the general public that we are an organisation that is well worth belonging to.

Will you continue to lobby government on this issue? Definitely in terms of the EA waters and we will want to ensure that they come with an appropriate level of funding. That has the potential to be challenging and we will need to ensure that government doesn’t think it can get away with doing it on the cheap. CRT trustees couldn’t accept a transfer unless they believe it is in the interests of CRT. Each waterway will need to be considered on its own merits and if we believe it is right to lobby government then we would do so, especially if they fund the waterway.

IWA is perceived in some quarters as a ‘narrowboaters’ club’. What can you do to change that perception? Boating is an important aspect of the waterways and as has been said many times in the past, it is boats that create interest and bring waterways to life. So boats and boaters of all sorts are important. I have often heard it said that IWA isn’t a boating organisation. We have a wide range of interests that we support in promoting the inland waterways. I think it is fairer to say that IWA isn’t just a boating organisation. Our Navigation and Restoration committees do much work which benefits all of the interests of inland waterways users and perhaps we need to publicise better the work we do and the wide benefits that result.

Do you think it’s important to get other users of the waterways - cyclists, walkers, anglers - involved in campaigning for the cause? As I said earlier what is important is that our waterways have the best possible future. The more support they get then the more chance we have of achieving this, so yes, I would like to see all users campaigning for the cause, supporting the cause and working for the cause.


What would you most like to achieve during your tenure as IWA Chairman? IWA has gone through a number of stages. Firstly there was the battle to save the inland waterways and stop them from being abandoned and filled in. The vision and determination of our early leaders and members was key to achieving this. That was a long and difficult battle and under state control it was necessary to change the attitude of government from the inland waterways being an outdated transport system to them being seen as a public asset that needed to be supported and developed. Whilst a lot of progress was made in this direction, this in my view was only partly achievable as there was always going to be something more important for government to do. With the establishment of CRT in 2012, we have the start of the delivery of Robert Aickman’s vision of a National Waterways Conservancy. In an article in September 1976 Waterways World Robert talked about the difference between an Authority and a Conservancy and to quote the opening words of his article he said: “The words speak for themselves. An Authority gives us orders. A Conservancy looks after the property which, as citizens, we are supposed to own.” He went on to expand on the benefits of volunteers and how they would respect and work for a Conservancy but not an Authority. Thirty-six years later the titles may have changed but we can recognise exactly what he was talking about. What I would most like to see in my term as IWA National Chairman would be the delivery of the benefits that Robert Aickman foresaw. To achieve that, all inland waterway supporters must work together in a constructive manner and I believe IWA has a leading role to play in ensuring this.

| IWA waterways - Winter 2012

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20/7/12 3:30:38 pm

Overstaying their welcome

The western K&A at Bath. ROBERT COLES.

In the last issue of Waterways, outgoing chairman Clive Henderson highlighted the growing problem of overstaying moorers. We investigate further...


ruise along any waterway and you are likely to eventually find a continuous cruiser. Happily going about their business exploring the system, on an extended break or as part of a lifestyle change, often post retirement, or as part of a business adventure involving the inland waterways. Many of us will have thought to ourselves that they must be some of the luckiest boaters around – with the opportunity to go wherever the fancy takes them, and with no constraints of time to limit their exploration of the waterways. Although those that have experienced a winter aboard might have differing views! Prior to 1995 all continuous cruisers had to have a home mooring. IWA, among other organisations, lobbied for this to change with the introduction of the British Waterways Act - asking that continuous cruisers be permitted to license their boats without the need to have a home mooring. The corollary of this was that they ensured that they used their boats bona fide’ for navigation and not


staying in a ‘place’ for more than 14 days. IWA supports continuous cruising and the rights of those that chose to adopt this lifestyle as we perceive a direct benefit to the maintenance and operation of the system by continuous use. A system without continuous cruisers is more likely to be subject to seasonal closures through proven lack of use. Above all, IWA prizes the maintenance and operation of a unified network of canals generally available to all licence holders to use, whenever they wish, during the period they pay for. Continuous cruisers help enormously to achieve this, they are often the eyes and ears of the canal user population. However, in recent years many members have anecdotally commented that they perceive that there is a growing population of residential boats at popular locations that have no home mooring and aren’t making any attempt at a ‘continuous’ journey. The impact is that at popular sites and in urban areas visitor moorings and facilities are taken over and visitors of all kinds, be they leisure users, hire boaters or genuine

continuous cruisers, cannot find a place to moor up. In extreme cases these boats have apparently blocked lock landings and access to facilities such as waterpoints.

The issues and facts  In 2007, BW/Canal & River Trust had approximately 3,200 boats licensed as continuous cruisers. In July 2012 the figure was 4,400, an increase of 37%. This compares with a 12% increase in total licences issued over the same period.  Continuous cruisers currently account for c.13% of all licences.  Analysis of CRT’s dataset of all boat sightings between 1st January and 31st August 2011 suggested that over 2,000 boats coded as continuous cruisers had moved less than 10km during the period.  In Spring 2012 CRT re-ran their analysis to concentrate on those boats which moved less than 5km and they are now concentrating on approximately 600 boats which move the least and are regularly sighted on visitor moorings. (The map shows geographic concentrations of these boats).

| IWA waterways - Winter 2012

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Continuous Moorers

“In recent years many members have anecdotally commented that they perceive that there is a growing population of residential boats at popular locations that have no home mooring and aren’t making any attempt at a ‘continuous’ journey.”

Income from boat licences, moorings and associated activities accounts for over 15% of CRT annual turnover. It has been subject to strong growth over the past decade arising from both volume and above inflation price increases. The number of boats using the network on a long term basis grew at an average rate of c.825 each year in the decade from 2002 and now stands at nearly 35,000. Growth in residential use of boats has been particularly strong. For many it’s a niche lifestyle choice and for others, the need to secure affordable accommodation in areas close to employment opportunities is the driving factor. As a navigation authority, CRT is not concerned with how people use their boats, only that they comply with navigation and licensing rules. Their job is to ensure that the navigation and associated facilities are available to all licence holders. The problem faced by CRT is in enforcing their interpretation of this widely drawn legislation, when the only sanction provided within their statutory powers is to remove

the boat from the waterway. In the case of a residential boater, this would effectively mean loss of their home. CRT have no desire to make people homeless, but neither can they fulfil their statutory obligations of preserving waterway amenity for public benefit in the face of large scale disregard of CRT’s interpretation of the legislation (which court judges have since found to be reasonable*). Tension has been rising across different sections of the boating community about the number of boats claiming ‘continuous cruiser’ status without appearing to be ‘bona fide’ navigators. Our own association – IWA, representing c.9,000 of CRT boat licence holders, has found it necessary to become increasingly vocal in defending the rights of leisure boaters to enjoy access to towpath moorings for short periods during a cruise. We have recently called on CRT to raise the priority of this issue as we now believe that the problem is out of control in London and the western end of the Kennet & Avon, to the direct detriment of the majority of users including visitors and bona fide continuous cruisers, many of whom cannot find a place to stop. On the one hand, CRT have the (relatively new and small) National Bargee Travellers Association (NBTA) completely rejecting CRT’s interpretation of the legislation. They appear to believe that any boater has the right to settle on the towpath within a specific area without the need to secure a home mooring subject only to moving a short distance every 14 days with frequent revisits. CRT attempts at constructive engagement with them to establish how they reconcile this unconstrained ‘right’ with CRT’s statutory duty to preserve wide public benefit and amenity have largely failed. Their activities include campaigning against CRT’s moorings policies and latterly, since we encouraged more enforcement, against IWA, on a number of niche websites and internet groups, submitting successive complaints and requests for detailed information (under FoI) and providing support to boaters who are within CRT enforcement process for failing to demonstrate compliance with mooring guidance. On the other hand the 2,000 strong Residential Boat Owners Association also represents residential continuous cruisers (and those with a home mooring) and takes a wholly constructive approach to the subject.

The way forward Clearly the basic supposition that the problem can be ‘moved on’ isn’t going to work. There are too many non-compliant users with boats tied to these hot spot locations largely for socio-economic

IWA waterways - Winter 2012 |

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24/10/12 10:52:01 am

No room to stop - the Paddington Arm at Kensal Green.

reasons. Coupled to which the legislation is cumbersome and ineffective for the situation owing to the residency issue. To try and resolve this issue CRT are therefore looking at a five point long term strategy.

Communications ■ CRT need more face to face contact with the boaters concerned. They also need to know more about who they are. CRT have a sadly poor understanding of the over staying moorers demography because as licence holders, there’s a reluctance to respond to their annual boater survey (probably for fear of being identified). Based on informal observation, a number of groups are identifiable, such as young families apparently with insufficient income to afford conventional homes; singles of all ages and employment profiles but with possibly a trend amongst young professionals to choose a boat to live on as their first step on the housing ladder; and CRT also appear to host a number of disadvantaged people struggling to ‘survive’ in today’s increasingly complex world and who see the waterways as an escape from rules and regulations found elsewhere.

Differentiation ■ CRT will look to develop specific local mooring solutions for existing moorers that ensure that visitor moorings and facilities are freed up, and that local non-compliant moorers contribute towards their moorings. The aim is to cap the current levels and make the solution only available to the specific individual, so that the problem will solve itself by natural wastage over a period of time. CRT will of course continue to welcome genuine continuous cruisers providing they comply with mooring guidance.

Visitor moorings ■ Visitor moorings are differentiated from casual moorings along the towpath (where the time limit for staying in any one place is 14 days) by (as a minimum) welcome signs, shorter time limits and mooring rings. They are typically located at access points convenient for nearby shops and services. What they currently lack is an indication of permissible return times. This of course makes it difficult for CRT to enforce since boaters may move away for as little as 24 hours and then return. New signage is planned which will make clear the total number of days in a calendar month that a boater may make use of the visitor mooring. ■ Regardless of whether or not the boater has a home mooring, general respect for the spirit of visitor mooring time limits is important


as the number of boats increases and reports of congestion at these locations grows. With a total of some 870 visitor mooring sites around the country, the task of monitoring daily use as a credible deterrent to boaters from overstaying would require a substantial increase in data checker budgets. CRT did however complete consultation on the principle of extended stay charging in 2009 and are now in a position to introduce monitoring and invoicing for overstay permits in hotspot areas, if CRT were to increase their monitoring resources.

Increased provision of long term residential moorings A little under a third of continuous cruisers indicated in CRT’s recent national boater survey that they would like to secure a long term residential mooring.

Greater flexibility in mooring options To cater for boaters who like to continuously cruise during the summer but remain in a fixed location in winter, CRT have developed the practice of offering winter mooring permits bookable by the month along up to 50% of the length of some visitor moorings between 1st November and 31st March each year.

Many commercial marinas of course also offer this facility, but tend not to attract residential boaters although there are indications that this attitude is changing in areas where there is an excess marina capacity. It is mooring along the towpath that tends to be the choice of most continuous cruisers including those who don’t appear to cruise. For this reason, local solutions might also embrace the offering of shorter term mooring agreements by CRT’s commercial moorings business, particularly as demand for three year and one year agreements has weakened with the onset of recession.

Current local CRT mooring action projects London (Regent’s Canal, Hertford Union and lower River Lee) and the western section of the Kennet & Avon are the two largest hotspot areas where IWA have been seeking solutions with CRT over the past two years. Brief updates on these are published below.

London and River Lee CRT now regularly observe around 550 boats without home moorings moored along the towpath of London’s waterways (Regent, Hertford Union and River Lee).

| IWA waterways - Winter 2012

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The CRT project objectives here are to achieve: ■ “A vibrant waterway, well served and well connected, with everyone getting on well.” ■ Changed mindsets: Better engagement and respect between users. A sense of the river as a (collection of) neighbourhoods. Improved stakeholder perceptions of boating and boaters. Improved perception of CRT as the navigation authority. ■ Fair sharing: Agreed understanding of what ‘capacity’ means and fair sharing of desirable space between users and uses, leading to an improvement in mooring provision, quality and choice for visitor, leisure and residential moorings. ■ Social enterprise: a new approach to improve facilities, meet needs and improve the river corridor. ■ Overall cost reduction: Net reduction in costs for the Trust compared to current spend + liabilities. Reinvestment of surplus into the project objectives and/or the Trust’s charitable objects.

Kennet & Avon Canal (West) Here CRT regularly observe approximately 150 boats without home moorings between Bath and Devizes who do not comply with the

mooring guidance. CRT’s framework plan issued in August has the following aims: ■ To protect the amenity of the waterway for widest public benefit. ■ To improve access to popular visitor moorings by boats being used for leisure and holiday purposes, and to stretches of ‘unmoored’ water by anglers. ■ To provide a means by which boaters without a home mooring currently resident between Bath and Devizes may continue with their chosen lifestyle without the need to move every 14 days. ■ To clarify local rules and achieve understanding and compliance through effective, positive, communications and support, reducing dependence on requirement for exercise of legal enforcement powers.

Key elements within the plan are: Designate visitor mooring stretches; sign them clearly at start and end points; specify ‘return rules’ in the form of maximum days within any calendar month. Extended stay charges for breaching time limits at visitor moorings. Sufficiently frequent sightings by professionally recruited paid staff to

support this – warning notes c. 24 hours ahead of when extended stay charge kicks in. New type of “Community” mooring permit for continuous cruisers who have been recorded by the Trust as being resident on the towpath in July 2012. c. 20 locations each accommodating up to c.10 boats to be designated where permit holders can stay for up to 28 days at a time before moving on to another one – or any other length of towpath providing they comply with the rules for that location. The above is subject to an annual fee pegged to a percentage of the average rate for CRT’s directly managed sites in the area. Permit holders will be treated as having a home mooring and permits will be subject to all applicable terms of the mooring agreement for directly managed moorings. There will be a discount on winter mooring fees (ie where you can stay put for five months). It would not be assignable – only available to existing licence holders (not their boats) who have already established ‘residency’ in the area. Eventually, the number of ‘community’ berths will decline as people move away naturally. There would be definition of neighbourhoods for boaters without home moorings and, using additional Trust resources, enforcement of continuous cruising rules (14 day limit) using existing processes. Current enforcement processes would still apply but a community worker would be employed for a fixed term to help with communications and to support boaters in resolving personal difficulties. (CRT are planning to support an extension of the Waterways Chaplaincy and a temporary mooring warden for this purpose). Signage, maps and other information would be published in papers and electronically.

Summary IWA is generally supportive of both approaches as being workable at these locations within the constraints of the current legislation, especially in seeking to cap the existing problem and then slowly reduce it by seeking to address the genuine housing need of some of those who, by act or default of a lax BW enforcement regime, are now in their current position. As is often the case, the strategy is sound but the devil is going to be in the detail. Whatever else may happen more enforcement and clearer rules are still needed if this is to have any effect, and the problem is not to grow further. IWA having called for the solution and raised the priority in CRT will be closely following the process and we hope to report again on progress in the future.

IWA waterways - Winter 2012 |

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24/10/12 10:53:09 am

A West Country


Exploring the Bristol Avon


he Bristol Avon - so named to differentiate it from its Warwickshire cousin - was made navigable from Hanham to Bath in 1727. It eventually became part of the 89-mile long Kennet & Avon Navigation, which was completed in 1810. The latter, of course, fell into disrepair, with the result that the river served for many years as an isolated waterway up to Bath. With the restoration of the entire K&A, the Avon now forms an integral part of the only cross-country route suitable for wide-beam craft in the south of England. The Port of Bristol serves as the navigation authority below Hanham Lock. Above Hanham, the river is under the jurisdiction of the newly-established Canal & River Trust (who took over from British Waterways


in July) up to Thimble Mill, Bath, where the river is joined by the canal. There is no navigation authority from Thimble Mill up to Pulteney Weir. The Environment Agency is responsible for land drainage, flood protection and other environmental matters. Although the CRT is the navigation authority, it owns very little land apart from locks, most of the river remaining in private riparian ownership; unusually, this includes weirs and mills. Riparian ownership incorporates the bank and half the bed of the river.

Leisure use of the river Its location between Bristol and Bath made the river a popular leisure attraction way back in Victorian times. Beeseâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s lovely tea gardens, situated halfway between Netham

| IWA waterways - Winter 2012

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A sunny day at Keynsham Lock.


Beautiful Bath.

Good coarse fishing may be enjoyed all the way from Hanham to Bath. Fishing clubs purchased angling rights on a number of sections in the 1930s, so conflicts of interest may arise if craft moor along these lengths. National angling competitions were staged regularly in the 1970s and ‘80s, but, with increased boat traffic, they are much rarer today.

Flood and tidal issues

Pleasant moorings on the Feeder Canal, Bristol.

and Hanham locks, date back from 1846. Named after a ferryman and his wife who served teas, they remain popular to this day. The Avon has several long-established rowing clubs and a sailing club. Rowing is especially popular on the ‘long mile’ above Kelston Lock, with a number of regattas being staged every year. Bristol Avon Sailing Club is based at Saltford, one of the river’s leisure ‘hotspots’. Since the full opening of the K&A in 1990, the size and type of craft using the Avon has changed dramatically; formerly small GRP cruisers predominated, but today the river is primarily the haunt of wide-beam barge style vessels and steel narrowboats. Several large hire fleets - based on the K&A between Bath and Devizes - use the river, travelling right down to Bristol’s Floating Harbour.

The Avon is prone to flash flooding throughout the year. The floods of December 1960 resulted in the implementation of the Bath flood defence scheme, aimed at safeguarding the historic Georgian city. In July 1968 floods destroyed several bridges around the Keynsham area, as well as costing the lives of seven people. The last major flood event on the Avon occurred in October 2000. Tiverton sluice gates are owned and operated by the EA; they occasionally ‘maloperate’. Failure of the gates to operate correctly causes water levels to rise or fall in Bath, resulting in changes in water levels and flow rate downstream. Avonmouth has the second highest tidal rise and fall in the world, and this can have a significant effect on the river in flood conditions, as it is unable to discharge its waters into the Severn estuary. The river is tidal up to Hanham Locks on all tides, but on large spring tides it is tidal to Keynsham Lock. Indeed, the ‘backwater’ effect of very large spring tides can be observed as far upstream as Mead Lane in Saltford. In extreme conditions, river levels can rise several feet in a few hours and cause a significant hazard to navigation.

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Locks along the Avon The fixed height landing stages at locks were constructed in the 1980s before the K&A was fully open. At the time they would accommodate three or four small craft typical of those using the river, but today they will now only take one 72ft craft; and if this is a wide-beam vessel, there is restricted space for other craft leaving the lock. During major flood events, all locks except Tiverton are totally immersed, including the fixed height landing stages. By the time they are submerged, it would certainly be most unwise to attempt to navigate the river. There is no landing stage below Swinford Lock, so craft have to use a concrete causeway. Even in mild flood spate, the causeway becomes submerged so there is no safe landing facility, a situation occasionally exacerbated by tidal conditions. Because the Bristol Avon has a very high fluvial content, silting is a major issue, especially behind lockgates.

Shortage of moorings Because the Avon is in private ownership, the provision of both public access to the river and the installation of new facilities has always been problematical. Above all, there is a shortage of both long and short-term


moorings, making it particularly difficult for visiting hire craft to stop overnight. There are moorings below Pulteney Weir and close to Churchill Bridge in Bath; these are affected by river level. CRT floating pontoon moorings are available at Hanham Lock, Keynsham Lock and at the old railway bridge about one-mile above Keynsham. These provide the only safe refuges for visiting craft during sudden flood events. A recent phenomenon on all waterways, but especially pronounced on the K&A, is the large number of people wishing to live aboard boats. Because such boats rarely move, this causes concentrations near communities and facilities. This problem is beginning to manifest itself on the river.

A CRUISE ALONG THE BRISTOL AVON For those coming off the Kennet & Avon Navigation, the flowing waters of the River Avon may well come as something of a culture shock after the cosy confines of the canal. But youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re soon off and running and bound for Bristol! Public moorings, admittedly lacking the panache of those below Pulteney Weir, are available close to Churchill Road Bridge, offering easy access to the city. A succession of bridges spans the navigation, whilst ancient warehouses stand alongside as a reminder of

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A West Country Waterway Trip boat at Weston.


ABOVE: Narrow waters above Keynsham Lock. Keynsham.

IWA AND THE RIVER AVON USERS GROUPS The River Avon Users Group was formed in 1979, originally under the auspices of the South West Sports Council. Its raison dâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;etre has been to minimise the potential for conflict between different users of the river. Meeting three or four times a year, the Group comprises representatives from the CRT, Saltford Parish Council, the Kennet & Avon Canal Trust, environmental bodies, commercial interests and sailing, rowing, canoeing, angling and cruising organisations. Secretary of the Group is the Avon Frome Development Officer, whilst the chairman is Alan Aldous from IWA. Alan has in fact been representing IWAâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s interests on the Avon Users Group for almost thirty years, playing a major role in the formation of a fair and balanced development policy for this beautiful, but highly-individual river navigation.

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trading days past. A branch of Sainsbury’s is to be found near Bridge 199, occupying the former site of Bath’s Green Park station, from where Somerset & Dorset trains once ran to Bournemouth. A market is located here too, with all manner of stalls selling anything from second-hand books and CDs to retro clothing San Francisco style. Weston Lock is the first river lock to be encountered. Public moorings are in regrettably short supply on the Avon, but there is one here, as well as a popular pub, the Dolphin, which serves food all day. The outskirts of Bath are soon left behind and the countryside is glorious, soft rolling hills filling the horizon. A couple of boatyards generate considerable traffic on the river, whilst the Bristol-Bath Railway Path, which criss-crosses the navigation several times within a few miles, is busy with both cyclists and walkers. The setting of Saltford Lock is divine, on a par with anything encountered along the entire length of the K&A. A broad curve of the river is backed by green hills which just beg to be explored, whilst the gaunt 18th century remains of a brass mill stand beside

the water. If you’re not boating, then the Jolly Sailor Inn, overlooking the lock, is the natural place to enjoy the beauty of this - arguably the prettiest - section of the Avon. Saltford village is attractive too, with its network of quiet lanes and an imposing Norman manor house. If you tire of the Jolly Sailor, or it becomes overcrowded as it sometimes does at weekends, you can always repair to the Bird in Hand in the High Street. Its food is second to none and there is a good choice of local ales. The rural idyll is temporarily interrupted at Keynsham, not the prettiest of towns by any stretch of the imagination, but useful for taking on supplies. Reasonable moorings are to be found above the lock, or beside the Lock Keeper pub, whilst you make a quick sortie to the shops. If the name Keynsham seems familiar but you can’t think why, it was the UK base of Radio Luxembourg in those pre-Radio 1, pre-pirate days of the 1950s and early ‘60s. Chocoholics may know of it better as the home of Fry’s chocolate factory, once situated by the river to the west of the town. Fry’s was taken over by Cadbury’s some years back, but sadly the Keynsham factory is now closed, with

ABOVE: Ferry boat in Bristol’s Floating Harbour.

FAR LEFT: Boating on the Avon at Bath. LEFT: Ancient warehouses at Bath.

Sought after moorings below Pulteney Weir.


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A West Country Waterway

production moved to Poland. The factory is likely to be demolished in the near future and the site redeveloped as a business park, school and 700-home housing estate. Hanham Lock is attended by a couple of pubs, the Old Lock & Weir and the Chequers. Both offer moorings for customers, plus a grandstand view of the activity on the river. Above the lock the river narrows and the Avon valley takes on a more wooded appearance. Despite the proximity of Bristol, the scenery continues to surprise and enthral, and the north bank of the river is popular with walkers.

Cruisers moored in Bristol’s Floating Harbour.

BRISTOL England’s sixth largest city, Bristol is a lively and cosmopolitan place - certainly no anti-climax at the end of a cruise along the Avon. Indeed, whisper it quietly along the Royal Crescent, but some observers even prefer it to Bath! Waterway enthusiasts will naturally be drawn to the Floating Harbour and its waterside attractions, the SS Great Britain being foremost among them. A great introduction to the harbour is provided by the frequent ferry boats which buzz backwards and forwards across the water at regular intervals providing an informative commentary as they go (Bristol Ferry Boat Co, 0117 927 3416 or Bristol Packet, 0117 926 8157). You can also follow the walkways which allow good pedestrian access across swing-bridges and the old harbour railway. It’s not too fanciful to suggest that Bristol succeeds in exuding a Continental air, nowhere more so than along the cobbled, tree-lined quayside at Welsh Back. Leafy and well-to-do Clifton feels European, too; climb the steep steps from the harbour to the Cathedral and Park Street, stopping off at the City Museum & Art Gallery. We do not have enough space to even summarise Bristol’s eating and drinking opportunities. Cider is, of course, the drink of choice here, with a floating real cider pub on the Welsh Back and notorious haunts such as the Bristol Cider House, Apple Tree, Coronation Tap and Cotham Porter Stores (see The Llandoger Trow on King Street is unexceptional for its drinks but is housed in a lovely building, named after the sailing barges built upstream on the River Wye. When it comes to eating, the Glass Boat floating restaurant beside Bristol Bridge is highly renowned, or choose from a plethora of waterside establishments overlooking St Augustine’s Reach. For further information visit or call in at the Tourist Information Centre at Anchor Road.

Navigating the Feeder Canal The tentacles of the city finally reach out and grab the navigation by the scruff of the neck at St Anne’s, a dubious looking suburb where you may choose not to linger. Netham Lock may be open or closed, according to the state of the tide, beyond which you enter the prosaically named Feeder Canal for the final stage of the journey into the heart of Bristol. Railway tracks leading to Temple Meads station span the navigation (road bridges, too) before you find yourself in the broad expanse of the Floating Harbour. The river beyond Bristol is tidal; the non-tidal Floating Harbour is so called because ships could float here at all states of the tide. Created by William Jessop in the 19th century to make it easier

Taking a trip around the Floating Harbour.


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Trip boat waiting above Pulteney Weir.

Trips on the Avon If you’d like to cruise the Bristol Avon but do not have your own boat, regular trips run between Bristol and Bath in season, operated by the long-established Bristol Packet Boat Co. It is a fine day out, normally incorporating a stop at a riverside pub for lunch. There are also shorter excursions to Avonmouth and Beese’s tea gardens. For full details telephone 0117 926 8157 or visit


Replica ship Matthew.



for vessels to load and unload their cargoes - a previously hazardous operation undertaken in the tidal reaches of the River Avon - it is now a much valued leisure amenity and focal point of the city. Its survival owes much to IWA – specifically Fred Blampied MBE – who campaigned long and hard against its closure in the early 1970s (see Waterways, Autumn 2012 issue). What a fantastic climax to your cruise this is, as your humble narrowboat or cruiser rubs shoulders with the likes of SS Great Britain, stately sailing vessels, preserved tugs and plush houseboats, all overlooked by Bristol’s impressive skyline. There are plenty of good safe moorings for your boat - those in St Augustine’s Reach are maybe the best, although it can be quieter at night opposite the SS Great Britain - while you wander off and sample all the attractions the city has to offer. The chances are you’ll have to drag yourself reluctantly away from this magical maritime mecca, where salt water meet fresh. A few (experienced) inland boaters may continue west (with pilot) on the two-stage journey via Avonmouth and the Severn Estuary to safe harbour at Sharpness, but most will retrace their steps back to Bath. Still, some say the Avon looks even better travelling east!

SS Great Britain.

BRISTOL’S HISTORIC SHIPS Launched in 1843, Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s advanced passenger ship SS Great Britain was built for the Great Western Steamship Company’s Bristol-New York route and completed in 1844. Constructed of iron and equipped with a screw propeller, she was at the time of her launch the world’s largest vessel. After Great Western went out of business in 1846, she was put to work carrying emigrants to Australia prior to her conversion to sail in 1881. Three years later she was ‘retired’ to the Falkland Islands where she served as a floating warehouse and coal hulk until 1937. Returned to Bristol in 1970 following a major salvage and recovery operation (the video of this in the visitor centre is worth the admission price alone), SS Great Britain is now part of the nation’s historic fleet collection. As a museum ship she receives up to 170,000 visitors annually. With authentic displays, artefacts, a timeline and shop, this award-winning museum is popular with both serious students of maritime history and families seeking an entertaining day out (, 0117 922 3571). John Cabot discovered Newfoundland in 1497 aboard the original Matthew, the first European to set foot on the North American continent. Today’s Matthew is an accurate reconstruction built to cross the Atlantic in 1997 as part of the 500th anniversary celebrations. Moored alongside SS Great Britain, the vessel makes regular harbour cruises, is available for private charter and serves as a static attraction. For further information telephone 0117 927 6868.

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Insurance for inland waterways users Our Freshwater Options policy offers: Choice of cover levels to suit your requirements Home contents cover for liveaboards Towergate breakdown cover, provided by River Canal Rescue Award winning in-house claims service

Call us now on 0844 346 3249

or if calling from a mobile 01743 283 249 Terms and conditions of 15% offer – Offers excludes current customers. Offer not available online or in conjunction with any other offer. Discounted price will be calculated by deducting 15% from the base premium before Insurance Premium Tax and Policy Fee. Offer subject to underwriting criteria. Offer expires on 31/12/2012. Cover based upon the ‘Freshwater Options’ products. Towergate Insurance is a trading name of Towergate Underwriting Group Limited. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority. Registered Address: Towergate House, Eclipse Park, Sittingbourne Road, Maidstone, Kent, ME14 3EN.

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29 22/10/12 12:30:36


Les Etheridge becomes IWA National Chairman


es Etheridge has been appointed as IWA’s new national chairman following a planned succession from Clive Henderson, who has stepped down after four years in the role. Clive’s term at the helm covered a time of considerable challenge and change for the inland waterways culminating in the formation of Canal & River Trust, in which Clive played a leading role. Les Etheridge’s appointment as national chairman was made by IWA’s trustees at their meeting on 13th October. A member for over 27 years, Les’ active role in IWA started in 2004 when

AGM Report


WA’s 2012 Annual General Meeting was held at Chelmsford on 29th September. The formal resolution to approve the accounts, appoint auditors and trustees were all dealt with swiftly, allowing retiring national chairman Clive Henderson an opportunity to reflect on his years in office. The meeting recorded its thanks to Clive for his work as National Chairman over the last four years during which time a lot had been achieved. The meeting’s proceedings were concluded with the presentation of the Association’s National Awards for 2012 (see right). The result of the ballot for the nationally elected trustees was as follows: John Butler: 196. Les Etheridge: 264. Clive Henderson: 264. Gillian Smith: 235. The three trustees elected were thus Les Etheridge, Clive Henderson and Gillian Smith. A total of 367 members voted (from 263 memberships). Alan Platt and Vaughan Welch were re-elected as chairmen of North West and West Midlands regions respectively, as sole nominees. The only nominee for the post of South West Region Chairman had to withdraw owing to ill health (see separate News item).

Les Etheridge

Clive Henderson

Gillian Smith

he joined IWA’s Finance Committee and was subsequently elected as a trustee in 2006. For the last four years he has been National Treasurer and last year worked with WRG in respect of IWA’s Inglesham Appeal. Locally, Les is also treasurer of IWA’s Kent & East Sussex Branch and chairman of the organising committee of the 2013 National Trailboat Festival. Les thanked Clive for his service as national chairman, before outlining his role as the incoming national chairman. Read his thoughts in our special interview starting on page 14.

Other National Officer Appointments IWA’s trustees also appointed Alan Platt, Paul Roper and Ian West as deputy national chairmen, and Gordon Harrower as National Treasurer. Gordon Harrower also succeeds Les Etheridge as chairman of IWA’s Finance Committee.

Award winners at AGM


he AGM brought recognition for a host of waterways campaigners: The Cyril Styring Trophy, the IWA’s most prestigious award, was made to Dr Roger Squires BEM (pictured) in recognition of his long service to IWA as Deputy National Chairman, Chairman of Navigation Committee and Chairman for London Region and Trustee. The Christopher Power Prize was awarded to Roger Harding for his restoration support work Roger Squires. with the Stover Canal Society. The John Heap Salver was awarded to Jerry Sanders for his long service and unstinting work as Commercial Director for IWA Festivals. The Branch Achievement Award this year went to IWA Warwickshire Branch for: well attended branch meetings with diversity of relevant and interesting speakers; branch work parties and early initiatives to support the Canal & River Trust at Lapworth and on the Grand Union Canal; many individual members prominent on IWA national committees; support for local events, such as Evesham and Stratford festivals; branch newsletter, funded without any support from national funds. IWA Richard Bird Medals were awarded to Reece Jones, Di Jones, Alan Wiffen, Sandy Jones, Dave Jones, Stephen Scholes, Pat Barton, Bob Myall, Anne Myall, Bob Dewey, Liz Dewey, Brian Bayston, Edwina Wallace, Dave Chapman, Beryl Chapman and Ron Probert. Roger Harding and some of the Bird Medal winners were not at the AGM, so their awards are to be presented elsewhere.

IWA and CRT Sign Historic Agreement


n 27th September IWA and the Canal & River Trust signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) at the Trust’s first Public Meeting, which was held at the canalside Bond Warehouse in Birmingham. The agreement is designed to recognise the mutual interests of the two charitable organisations and establish areas of co-operation as well as outlining specific commitments and responsibilities. Robin Evans, chief executive for Canal & River Trust, said: “We already work closely with IWA and this agreement both formalises

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and acts as a catalyst to that relationship. By working together and building on each other’s skills and experience we will make a greater impact on the waterways and peoples’ enjoyment of them than either of our organisations could have done alone.” Clive Henderson, IWA’s outgoing national chairman, said: “IWA sees that there are areas of shared interest with the Trust, where pooling our resources may help better engage with local communities to generate support from local people to care for and help maintain their local stretch of waterways, and hopefully open up new areas for fundraising”.

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IWA South West Region Chairman


atrick Moss, who stood as chairman of IWA’s South West Region, was unable to take up the post for health reasons. Under IWA’s rules for the appointment of region chairmen (see governing_documents/governing_documents), nominations for this post are invited to serve the remaining term of office, until the 2015 AGM, and should be submitted to the chief executive at Head Office by no later than Wednesday 2nd January 2013 along with a brief biography, autobiography or statement not exceeding 400 words, for publication as part

WANTED: Honorary Consultant Engineer We need an enthusiastic advocate of the inland waterways to provide independent specialist engineering advice that will help to progress all forms of inland waterway projects within England and Wales. Whether you are currently an active member of IWA at branch, region or national level, or an armchair member who thinks ‘I really should be doing something more’, we would like to hear from you. We are seeking an appropriately professionally qualified person to appoint as a Honorary Consultant Engineer. Desirable skills might include one or more of the following:● Knowledge of hydraulic structures (weirs, sluices, culverts, bridges, sewers, storm sewage overflows, canal linings, bank protection etc) including flow measurement ● Knowledge of hydrology, water resources, floods and flood alleviation in rivers, canals, lakes and estuaries ● Knowledge of sediment transport, including deposition and erosion of muds and dredging ● Knowledge of aspects of water recreation, navigation and inland shipping including their economic benefits ● Previous involvement with design or supervision of construction works undertaken by volunteers ● Knowledge of civil engineering contracts, specifications and administration ● Knowledge and experience in the repair and maintenance of historic structures ● Surveying and drawing ● Project planning, including costing ● Experience of reviewing and presenting scientific information for policy development ● Report writing The role is voluntary. However, IWA will provide Professional Indemnity Insurance and reasonable expenses will be reimbursed. Applications from people living to the north or west of Birmingham would be especially welcomed. Contact Neil Edwards at Head Office, telephone 01494 783453.

of any ballot paper (which would be included in the February 2013 edition of Waterways). Information for potential new trustees (including region chairmen) is available at information/governing_documents/national_constitution. If you would like to discuss the possibility of standing as chairman of IWA’s South West Region, please contact either Neil Edwards, chief executive (Tel: 01494 783453), the national chairman or any other region chairman for an informal conversation.

IWA Festival Plans 2013

Cassiobury Park, Watford will be the venue for IWA’s 2013 Waterways Festival.


he IWA National Festival is to reappear in 2013. It will be staged at Cassiobury Park, Watford on the Grand Union Canal on the weekend of 19th-21st July. In addition, IWA is planning to co-ordinate a ‘Celebration of London’s Waterways’ next summer. Discussions are still on-going, but this could involve the promotion of festivals all across the capital, including the Little Venice Canalway Cavalcade and the Rickmansworth Canal Festival.

IWA Restoration Assessment Schedule


he Restoration Assessment Schedule has been developed for restoration trusts and societies to highlight all of the necessary steps required to restore a derelict waterway to navigation. It will not be applicable in its entirety to all restoration projects, but should serve as a useful template for organisations attempting to identify the key stages and activities to successfully progress a restoration. It will help them to review their strategy and establish tactical plans to ensure they focus their limited resources logically and effectively. It covers the process in six milestone documents from initial identification and assessment through to postrestoration long term sustainability. This schedule is one of many tools that the IWA’s Restoration Committee provides to support restoration activities and is now available on IWA’s website.

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PLA Safety bulletin issued after narrowboat sinks on the Thames

Chasewater Reservoir Recovery



he Port of London Authority issued a safety bulletin in response to the sinking of a narrowboat in Limehouse Reach. On the 24th August a narrowboat was delivered by road to South Dock Marina in London for a new owner. The vessel was lifted into the dock and the new owner requested to lock out of the marina as they had an overnight berth in Limehouse Marina, a short distance up the River Thames. The vessel departed the lock at 5pm with five adults and a dog aboard. Shortly into their transit the crew noted a change in the engine note and opened the engine room hatch to find the engine half submerged. All persons quickly moved to the stern to try and bail out the engine room, but were unable to cope with the ingress of water into the vessel. The engine room continued to fill with water and flooded into the main cabin, submerging the aft coaming below the water, resulting in severe flooding of the vessel which sank within 10 seconds. All of the crew and the dog entered the water without lifejackets, but were rescued by a nearby RIB and Police Launch. The following safety lessons were observed: The hull of the vessel had been completely double plated and the increased weight of this plating had resulted in a reduced safety clearance; with the bottom of the engine room vent being positioned approximately 65mm above the waterline. With three persons positioned on the aft deck, the


bottom of the engine room air vent became submerged beneath the waterline by 50mm; the resulting downflooding and sinking of the vessel was inevitable. The following safety lessons should be carefully considered by narrowboat owners before venturing onto the tidal Thames. The tidal Thames is considered to be a Category C waterway, where wave heights of up to 1.2m may be encountered and vessels should be suitably prepared to meet these conditions. Through hull fittings, vents and exhaust outlets should be positioned as high up as practicable on narrowboats to meet the conditions likely to be encountered. Where through hull fittings, vents and exhaust outlets cannot be moved to a safe location, consideration should be given as to whether the vessel is suitable to navigate on the tidal Thames. Where modifications have been made to a vessel, such as the extensive use of double plating, it is important to check that sufficient safety clearance remains for the vessel to safely navigate in the intended waterway. Lifejackets and other safety equipment should always be provided on board vessels navigating on the tidal Thames and it is strongly recommended that lifejackets are worn at all times when on deck. When purchasing a vessel it is essential to have a pre-purchase survey undertaken by a competent surveyor ensuring the surveyor is aware of your intended use of the vessel.

he heavy rain this year has not only eased water supplies generally across the country, but, more locally, it has meant that an important Birmingham Canal Navigations reservoir, Chasewater, is recovering well after the two-year repair by Staffordshire County Council. The situation came as a great relief to the Dudley Canal Trust, organiser of the Parkhead Canal Festival, which had cancelled the last event in 2010 because of water shortage. The organisers of this year’s festival, on 29th30th September, were able to go ahead with confidence and the event proved to be an outstanding success. The £5.5 million Chasewater project transferred to Staffordshire County Council after the reservoir’s owners, Lichfield Council, found the repairs difficult to fund. The plug went back into the 200-year-old dam last October but there were fears during the dry winter that it might take years to recover. Yet following the heavy summer downpours it is now already half full - a level reached much quicker than anticipated. In February 100 tonnes of concrete were pumped into the dam to create a weir which will control the flow of water when the reservoir is full. As well as serving as a BCN reservoir, Chasewater is also a popular leisure amenity, activities including water skiing, sailing and picnicking.

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Trent & Mersey Canal Breach



ollowing heavy rainfall the Trent & Mersey Canal suffered a breach at Dutton Hollow, near Preston Brook between Middlewich Big Lock 75 and Bridge 213 early on 26th September. Significant damage was done to a supporting embankment at Croxton Flash near Middlewich. In response, the Canal & River Trust has installed temporary dams and stop planks at a number of locations throughout the affected area including at Bridges 174 (Croxton Aqueduct), 181, Bartington Wharf and Bridge 213. The Flood gates at Marbury and Wincham have been closed and locked shut too. CRT’s engineering teams have surveyed the damage and estimated the repair at Croxton Flash will take a number of weeks to complete before the canal there can be reopened. The breach


at Dutton Hollow is likely to take longer to repair. The repair bill has been estimated at £1.5 million and whilst CRT hold a contingency fund that can be used to deal with this kind of emergency situation, it is money that could otherwise be spent on essential maintenance and repairs across the network. CRT has launched an appeal for donations to help fund the repairs. Donations of £5 can be made by texting ‘BREACH’ to 70800. You will be charged £5 plus one message at your standard network rate. CRT will receive a donation of at least £4.97 from all major networks of your £5. By using this service you agree that CRT may contact you in the future. If you would rather they didn’t, text DECLINE to 70007.

Waterways for Athletes DIFD at CC-BY-SA

Snappa2006 at CC-BY-SA


orld-class distance athlete Jo Pavey, who competed in the final of the 10,000 metres at the Olympic Games, has said that running on the towpath of the Grand Western Canal around Tiverton was a key part of her training. She spent much of the last year leading up to the Olympics in almost daily training on the canal. In the end she finished seventh, but with a personal best time. Jo says the canal was an ideal training base. “I do almost all my training mileage along the Grand Western,” she said. “It has got everything I need - apart from the weather.” Indeed, it was the Grand Western, originally completed in 1814, that attracted Jo and her husband Gavin, who is also her coach, to move to Devon. Her training routine involves up to 130 miles per week, and she says the towpath is a perfect training ground. “It has miles of good running surface, there’s no danger of being run over and the surroundings are just lovely.” Of course Jo Pavey is not the only British track hero to have trained regularly beside an inland waterway. Prior to moving to Oregon, USA, in order to work with his new coach Alberto Salazar, double Olympic gold medal winner Mo Farah ran regularly on the Thames towpath between Twickenham and Richmond. Former World Marathon

Jo Pavey (left) and Mo Farah waterway ‘trained’ athletes who excelled at London 2012. champion Paula Radcliffe grew up at Barnton and trained alongside the Trent & Mersey Canal and River Weaver. And some members with a very long memory may recall seeing former World 5,000 metres record holder David Moorcroft pounding the towpaths of the Coventry and North Oxford canals in the vicinity of Hawkesbury Junction, way back in the 1970s and ‘80s.

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Tuckeyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s There is only one name for narrowboat transport. With over 40 years experience we are here to help.

With one call your personal package can be organised just for you. â&#x20AC;˘ 01926 812134

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| IWA waterways - Winter 2012

22/10/12 10:58:51

Re-Engine at Kings Lock Chandlery At Kings Lock we can fit you any new engine when your old one is worn out. Given today’s parts prices its often more cost effective to replace than repair. We take into account both green and fuel issues. All modern engines are more efficient than engines of older design, thus greener. With a new engine there will be no cloud of smoke or the constant smell of oil and diesel to contend with. ● We fit most major brands of engines offering genuine spares and support. ● Vetus engines are our speciality. ● Delivery and lifting of your engine can be arranged.

Please call us on 01606 737564 for a chat about your new engine or engine room kit, fitted or unfitted your choice. To view some of our recent completed jobs visit our website

Kings Lock Chandlery, Booth Lane, Middlewich, Cheshire CW10 0JJ IWA waterways - Winter 2012 |

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OLYMPIC LEGACY I WA’s Freight Group has had several meetings with what was until recently the Olympic Park Legacy Company, now London Legacy Development Corporation, pressing the case for serious consideration of freight in their plans for the future. This would be wholly consistent with stated government policy, the London Plan and also the legacy arguments on which the Olympic case for a site in East London was so firmly based. IWA has emphasised the considerable potential of barges for the removal of excavated materials, delivery of aggregates and other building materials and longer term removal of waste and recyclables from the considerable projected

residential, recreational and commercial developments to be located in the park. This is precisely the sort of service provided by the Powerday wharf on the Paddington Arm and at the very least, and preferably simply as a starting point, there should be just such a facility somewhere in the Olympic Park/Lee navigation area. Importantly, IWA has made the point that freight services require waterside terminals and access, and land use planning should take this into account before all possible sites are lost to other uses not necessarily needing waterside sites. While the case for enlarging Three Mills Lock was in part based on freight movement by larger

barges to and from the Olympic Park site during its development phase, the result was disappointing in the extreme. However, there are now strong arguments for using the lock much more in the future to justify its investment costs and provide

Main Danube Canal

BELOW: Powerday Wharf on the Paddington Arm.

a positive water transport legacy. It is understood that the Canal & River Trust is to report later in the year on its plans and it is to be hoped that this is not another example of the all too common lost opportunity to transport freight by water.

BELOW: The opening of the Main Danube Canal in 1992.


he 25th September 2012 marked the 20th anniversary of the opening of the 171km Main Danube Canal thereby creating a 3,500km through waterway from the North Sea to the Black Sea. In Germany a long-standing dream for such a link first became reality in 1845 with the opening of King Ludwig of Bavaria’s 172km canal but its impact was restricted by a limiting barge capacity of about 100 tonnes and difficult navigation in the Main and Danube approaches. Declining traffic, a mere 42,000 tonnes in 1936, picked up during the war but was effectively brought to an end by bomb damage in 1944. After the war differences of political opinion were not overcome until 1983 with a decision to proceed with the construction of a new canal rising from a height of 231m at the western end to a highest point of 406m and then dropping to 338m at the Danube end. The canal operates as a Europe Class Vb waterway with craft up to 190 x 11.4m and since its opening in

36 Freight.indd 1

1992 over 127 million tonnes of goods have passed through the canal. It has been calculated that this would be the equivalent of 6.35 million lorries of 20 tonnes capacity with one larger barge replacing lorries taking up 7km of road lane. Overall pollution has probably been reduced by nearly 70 per cent. Unlike other transport modes, the Main Danube Canal is multifunctional, having flood control and power generation roles. Dry bulks (food, animal feed, ores/

scrap, fertiliser, metals) and oil products make up the main cargoes but the MD has certainly encouraged container shipping – in 2011 Vienna handled 120,000 TEU – and become a feature of many river-cruise itineraries. In 2011 Nuremburg received 647 cruise ships with over 80,000 passengers. The MD has become a critical European transport artery and a significant factor in the more effective integration of Eastern and Western Europe.

| IWA waterways - Winter 2012

24/10/12 11:10:32 am




he Canal & River Trust has reached agreement with Cheshire West & Chester Council on a long-running dispute over who will pay for the repairs needed to the dilapidated 90-year-old Sutton Weaver swing bridge over the Weaver Navigation. The Council has now agreed to pay £3.5m of the estimated £4.5m cost and the work is expected to begin in June next year; it will take approximately 12 months to complete. However, to the disappointment of commercial boat operators, the bridge is expected to be closed to

all craft with a beam of over 2.2m (7ft 2in) width. While this will allow most canal and small river boats to pass with care, it will prevent the return of barge traffic for a full year. The closure comes as a blow to the Commercial Boat Operators Association (CBOA), which was already in negotiations to bring commercial carrying back to the river. The bridge needs extensive refurbishment to maintain its current carrying capacity of 40 tonnes. As well as a full repaint to restore its appearance and to protect the bridge fabric, the bridge



reated in 1997 and based in Berlin, the European River Sea Transport Union (ERSTU) was effectively a brainchild of the German barge interests and in origin much concerned with the more effective co-ordination of Europe’s waterway freight industries and especially links between Eastern and Western Europe. Perhaps not surprisingly ERSTU has an active Danube section based in Budapest. ERSTU’s interests have expanded greatly and embrace a whole range of physical, economic, environmental, political and regulatory aspects of waterborne freight. It is accredited to the EU and the UN’s Economic Commission for Europe is working for a liberalised shipping market and incorporating inland shipping into a multimodal transport system. IWA’s freight group has been an associate member of ERSTU for some ten years and is able to remind ERSTU that Britain does have inland waterways freight. While the scale may be very different and Britain’s barge industry does not have the international character of its European neighbours, over 2/3 of our inland waterways traffic is river-sea international trade and therefore well within ERSTU’s sphere of interest. While the scales of activity may be very different it is of interest that there is a general feeling that water transport is a mode neglected by politicians and not understood by the public at large and there is therefore a critical educational role for the water freight industries – which is precisely what IWA’s freight group has always maintained.

deck will be completely replaced, along with the pedestrian walkways. A single lane of traffic over the bridge will be in place during the

repairs. Water and refuse facilities will continue to be available at the bridge during the works, but visitor moorings will be suspended.

Sutton Weaver swing bridge.

FROM ROAD TO WATER Barge traffic on the Seine is set to increase.


he name Norbert Dentressangle is well known to lorry spotters of all ages and the company has a contract to road-haul goods to the Paris region stores of the retailer Franprix. In an interesting move, as from September Dentressangle has been using barges over a 20km stretch of the Seine, including locks at Cretail and St Maurice, for a daily movement of 26 containers totalling 450 pallets of goods. In 2013 the daily barge capacity will be increased to 48 containers and while there will be final short hauls by road from wharf facilities to stores, the company calculates that overall they will reduce urban lorry movements annually by 450,000km. There was a trial on the Thames for a similar use of barges and while it came to nothing, it might be time for a rethink.

IWA waterways - Winter 2012 |

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THE NEXT GENERATION We look at attempts to attract young people to the world of the waterways

Flying the flag for WOW


n a year when many outside events have had to be cancelled due to adverse weather conditions, the WOW flag has been successfully flown at various events. WOW’s first outing was hosted by the London Canal Museum at IWA’s Cavalcade event in Little Venice during the May Day Bank Holiday, followed by more children taking part during the IWA Trailboat Rally at Stroud, over the Whitsun weekend. The River Weaver Festival at Northwich saw over 100 children take part in ten activities during the two-day event, despite mixed weather. From there the WOW kit travelled north to the Leeds Waterfront Festival. Further WOW activities have also taken place in the Midlands, including those organised by the Nottingham & Derby Branch, but one of the most interesting was probably the IWA Campaign Festival in Haslam Park, Preston over the August Bank Holiday weekend. Heavy rain arrived on the Saturday morning of the three-day event, continuing on Sunday and then Monday. Having a good marquee proved a blessing as families crowded in to participate in WOW activities whilst sheltering from the monsoon conditions outside. Rivers flowed down the tarmac paths and innocent looking grass banks generated pretty fountains which turned into raging columns of water as storm drain covers overflowed. But the WOW team smiled and carried on – even as the water threatened to rise above boot-level inside the marquee. Dragonflies were tied, duck hats were made, brass rubbing legacies – using the new rally plaque for the weekend – were beautifully created and lace plates will be hanging in many kitchens as a result of the weekend’s efforts. Over 140 children took part and WOW’s team of volunteers worked tirelessly through the weekend. How different it was for the WOW volunteers the following weekend at Maesbury. The sun shone, the ground was dry

WOW Mini-kits


ecruitment of new members and involving younger people in the waterways movement is the key to IWA’s future. Obviously there are big events where the recruiting team can ‘land’ new members, but branches run other activities during the year as well and a WOW activity alongside could make all the difference. Some see WOW as something that is done only at the big events – like the National Festival, campaign rallies etc. The full WOW kit is always available and gives the opportunity of running over ten activities (which are being constantly evaluated).

and the event was a huge success from all points of view and generated much publicity for the Montgomery campaign. As an additional awareness raising exercise, WOW folders and activity leaflets have been given to many hire boat companies in the North West and Midlands this summer; these have proven to be extremely popular. WOW folders will continue next year and any branches wishing to supply their local hire bases should contact

Angling 4 Positive Futures IWA has worked with the ‘Get Hooked on Fishing’ team at several events and applauded their work to combat antisocial behaviour and develop positive attitudes towards the waterways environment. A recent statement from them clarifies their future aims: “As part of the ongoing improvements and development at Positive Futures North Liverpool Ltd it has been decided by our board of directors to re-brand the whole of the organisation - renewing our focus on the four key principles we believe in; “Engage & Educate, Empowerment, Enterprise and Environment”. Our very successful and continuously developing “Get Hooked on Fishing” programme falls under the new heading of “Environment”, and will now be known as “Angling 4 Positive Futures”. The programmes and services offered by this programme will continue be delivered in the same way as before. We feel that with the development plans for our Urban Fishery and Education Centre in the future, this new identity will assist us in supporting the name of Positive Futures and give a clearer message for future partners, investors and funders. Our initiative to develop a Commercially Run but Socially Owned fishery has received support from the corporate world as well as receiving local and national authority support.”

However – WOW can be just as effective with just one activity – and branches can be supplied with their own mini-kit for that purpose. The concept of the mini-kit is that it is extremely portable and can be taken to a lock wind, clean-up, or maybe an open day run by a boatyard, marina or even to Canal & River Trust events. If the local canal society runs a trip boat, it may appreciate being loaned the kit for a weekend too. With a small table or by commandeering a local picnic table, you can drape the WOW bunting around the edge, hang the banner from a nearby hedge or tree and set up your activity along with IWA membership leaflets. The waterways

map (included in the kit) is always of interest and gives you a chance to engage with young families while the children are occupied. The mini-kit contains three of the most popular activities which need few resources and are easy to carry: brass rubbing, knot tying a dragonfly and the duck headdress. The two brass rubbing blocks can be linked to the waterways map, along with the Wonders of the Waterways pictures – once again encouraging discussion about the waterways. The kit can, of course, be used at other venues that members might visit. For example, a local after-school group, brownies, cubs, libraries and local museums.

IWA waterways - Winter 2012 |

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24/10/12 11:12:48 am

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Cuttings Please Send all your waterway cuttings to David Blagrove at IWA Head Office, Island House, Moor Road, Chesham HP5 1WA

Birth of CRT The big event of last summer was of course the birth of the Canal & River Trust. The media mainly confined itself to effectively reprinting the press statements put out by CRT and IWA, but The Daily Telegraph had a rather different take on it. During July the weekend section of the paper carried a double-page spread entitled “Waves of discontent on the water”. The journalist concerned, Peter Stanford, had apparently been looking at a certain waterway-orientated web news site which conducted a poll of its readers: “3,742 of its readers (out of 3,825 who voted) recently opposed the new financial management arrangements for the inland waterways. In particular they objected to the wholesale transfer of the senior management team from the quango British Waterways to run the CRT.” The writer then sought the view of the CRT spokesman, Ed Fox, who described the actual financial arrangements and said that “The new charity is not intended as a short-term fix… It is a 50-to-100-year project to broaden the support base for the waterways.” He went on to dismiss those at the news site “as unrepresentative of the estimated 35,000 boaters in England and Wales and points instead to the support the trust has received from larger organisations such as the Inland Waterways Association, which has four members on the CRT Council.”

Waterway CUTTINGS DAVID BLAGROVE TAKES A LIGHTHEARTED LOOK AT WHAT THE PAPERS HAVE HAD TO SAY Perhaps even more telling though were quotes from another boat owner, Janie Hampton, “biographer and Olympic historian,” and David Dare, “managing director of Oxfordshire Narrowboats”. One has no particular axe to grind and the other depends upon the waterways for his business. Ms Hampton “is keen … that the value to a wider constituency than just boaters…be recognised in funding arrangements… A walk along the towpath can bring you huge benefits, but at the moment it feels like we boaters are being asked to pay for it via our licence fee on behalf of everyone else.” And David Dare “defends the decision to bring over the old management team to run the new charity. ‘Running a canal is a specialised business, so it makes sense to hold on to that expertise’. But he is still apprehensive…” I merely comment that at the time of Nationalisation in 1948, for better or worse, the British Transport Commission inherited all the previous railway and canal administrations.

NEWS FROM THE NORTH It seems that Summer 2012 will go down in history for several reasons. First of course it marked the demise of British Waterways and the advent of the Canal & River Trust, but secondly it started with a severe drought and ended with too much water. Indeed so much so that there was a substantial burst at the northern end of the Trent & Mersey Canal. One place that was on the receiving end of not one but several dowsings was Hebden Bridge on the Rochdale Canal. The Yorkshire Post carried a photograph in August of people wading knee-deep through floods outside a building whose doors proclaimed that it housed the “Hebden Bridge Visitors and Canal Centre”. Fortunately though, and somewhat surprisingly the canal was for once not regarded as the guilty party. According to some residents the culprit was elsewhere and a finger was pointed at moorland owners who seemingly are paid subsidies for burning off the vegetation on the adjacent moors. This gave rise to the paper’s headline of “Flood-hit town protest on bog burning”, which at first glance suggested that municipal cut-backs might have affected the town’s public sanitation facilities. However this is no laughing matter, for it is alleged that the flooding results from increased run-off from the high ground.

Also The Rochdale Canal was hit by adverse weather conditions. In July the Yorkshire Post reported “Narrowboats left stranded after landslide causes canal blockage”. This was at Slaithwaite on the Huddersfield Narrow Canal, which the paper seems to have widened recently, possibly unbeknown to CRT. The report tells us that “A number of barges are moored at different points as a result of the landslide, caused by the recent bad weather, with estimates putting the number at between 10 and 20 barges.” CRT of course had inherited the problem from their predecessors and a spokeswoman told the paper that the delay in reopening the canal was the ability (or lack of it) “to procure equipment to move the debris out of the water” Some boaters seem to have tired of awaiting this procurement and “they’ve been getting into the water themselves and digging their way through. At least two boats have done that”. So bravo for the fighting spirit that is not yet dead in Yorkshire, but boo to the accountants who persuaded the late BW to sell all their maintenance equipment and hire in replacements. In August the Chorley Guardian reported on a dramatic sinking of a boat on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal through the

Hebden Bridge - inundated by flood waters. dreaded bugbear of getting caught on a lock sill. “Passers by stopped and watched in amazement as the narrwoboat [sic] flipped over on its side… It is understood that the boat owners…had only purchased it the day before.” The same paper also told us the following week that “A new scheme has been launched to help tackle crime and anti-social behaviour on the Leeds-Liverpool Canal.” I am sure many boaters will be glad to hear of this. The Lancashire Constabulary has “decided to set up Canal Watch…after a successful pilot along the Lancaster Canal” said the local Watch Liaison Officer for Chorley. She added a most interesting point: “Remember it is not only canal users who can become members, but also residents and businesses that are based near or use the Lancaster Canal.”

IWA waterways - Winter 2012 |

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24/10/12 11:13:22 am

Busy Year for

WRG A review of what the Waterway Recovery Group has been up to in 2012… and what’s still to come




ver 20,000 volunteer hours have been served on canal camps in 2012 so far this year - and that doesn’t even include the many hours that WRG regional groups spend restoring the canals every weekend. It’s certainly been a busy summer. Over 360 WRG volunteers have spent the last few months restoring locks, repointing damaged brickwork, constructing landing stages, rebuilding towpaths and re-profiling sections of canal on various restoration projects across England and Wales. We’ve travelled the country in our bright red vans from the Lancaster Canal in the north to the Wey & Arun Canal in the south, all the way across to the Swansea Canal in Wales and back again to the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation in Essex. As autumn approaches and the temperatures drop, WRG are now gearing up for several winter activity-based working holidays on the canals of England and Wales. WRG have had three canal camps in October – ten days on the North Oxford Canal, and week-long camps on the Chelmer & Blackwater and the Uttoxeter Canal in the Midlands. Volunteers from WRG have worked alongside the Canal & River Trust to help restore two historic accommodation bridges on the North Oxford Canal in Northamptonshire. Bridges 79 and 80, built back in the 1770s, have slowly fallen into a state of disrepair and WRG volunteers have used their heritage restoration skills to restore these bridges back to their

Exposing brickwork on the Mon & Brec Canal.

| IWA waterways - Winter 2012

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24/10/12 11:33:37 am

BELOW: A team effort – mixing up the concrete.

Chamber repairs on the Basingstoke Canal.

WRG REUNION WEEKEND Location: Herefordshire & Gloucestershire Canal Date: 10th -11th November (accommodation available from Friday night) Cost: £13


This is the big one: the annual get-together for 100 plus volunteers, hopefully bringing together first-timers from this year’s camps, old hands and regulars from throughout WRG and other regional/ IWA working party groups for a major scrub bashing and big party on the Saturday evening. This year we will be holding the weekend on the Herefordshire & Gloucestershire Canal after a successful Easter Camp which saw 275m of new canal created by WRG volunteers in just two weeks, at Vineyard Hill. The plan for the weekend is to clear around a mile of canal, thick with trees and vegetation in preparation for excavation and towpath work in 2013. To book go your place go to or call 01494 783453 ext 604. All are welcome!

former glory. The main aim of this project has been to improve working relations with the Canal & River Trust, developing a suitable framework to allow volunteers to work on more technical projects with the Trust in the future, and to demonstrate what volunteers can do. At the end of this project the Trust and WRG will be working together to create the handbook Volunteers Guide to Bridge Restoration so that other volunteers can take on similar projects in their local area. The WRG Forestry Team then held their annual week-long canal camp on the Uttoxeter Canal. Work included tree-felling (by WRG Forestry approved chainsaw operators), scrub bashing and other clearance activities such as bonfires. The WRG Forestry Team are able to carry out work from a single tree removal to major scrub and tree clearance, for canal restoration projects. The team has a firm belief in safe working practices; all chainsaw operators within the team have undergone training and gained LANTRA & NPTC qualifications. Over the October half term holiday (27th October – 3rd November) WRG volunteers will be returning to the Chelmer & Blackwater to help out the Essex Waterways Team with various improvement works including bank protection, towpath improvements and scrub clearance.

IWA waterways - Winter 2012 |

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24/10/12 11:36:11 am

Christmas Canal Camps Our main canal camps programme may end in October, but that doesn’t mean we go into hibernation for the winter. WRG works all year round and every year we run a Christmas Camp from 26th December through to New Years Day. This year the Christmas Camp will be on the Uttoxeter Canal clearing vegetation along the line of the canal, so there will be plenty of scrub bashing, bonfires and other winter activities. It’s the perfect way to work off your Christmas dinner and start the New Year in style! We are also running an additional Christmas Camp on the Cotswold Canal near Eisey Lock from 27th December-1st January 2013. There is around 450m of vegetation to clear, east from Rucks Bridge, which varies from dense blackthorn scrub on the towpath to twisted willow in the canal channel. There will be plenty of work to keep you warm over the Christmas holidays! Book now via the WRG website.

ABOVE LEFT: Scrub bashing on the Montgomery Canal. A display of bricklaying skills.

8th-9th December: WRG North West Group - Lancaster Canal (David McCarthy 0161 740 2179, email: Activities: to be confirmed. More weekend dates for 2012/2013 can be found on the WRG website or you can subscribe to WRG’s magazine Navvies for only £3 a year (six editions a year) which includes details of forthcoming weekend digs. To subscribe to Navvies go to www.waterways.

Weekend Volunteering ABOVE: Rebuilding a lock chamber.

For those that don’t have a week to spare WRG’s regional groups run weekend digs across the country. WRG have regional groups based in and around London, the Midlands, Essex and the North West. Each weekend dig costs between £10-15 and includes food and basic accommodation.

Hedge trimming on the Montgomery.

BELOW: Attention to detail is everything.

17th-18th November: WRG ‘Bit in the Middle’ Group - Somersetshire Coal Canal (Dave Wedd 01252-874437, email: bookings@wrgBITM. Activities: Scrub bashing and stump pulling on the Combe Hay flight of locks, including the unique ‘Bulls Nose’.

1st-2nd December: London WRG Group - Uttoxeter Canal (Tim Lewis 07802 518094, email: Activities: Scrub bashing and Christmas Party Dig.

8th-9th December: WRG ‘Bit in the Middle’ Group - Ashby Canal (Dave Wedd 01252 874437, email: Activities: Snarestone to Measham, clearing scrub and pulling stumps on the old railway line that will be the new line of the canal.


Looking to 2013… The WRG Committee are busy planning the Canal Camps schedule for 2013. We hope to have dates and bookings open online by the end of November, with the Canal Camps brochure being published mid-December. If you would like to receive a copy of the brochure for 2013 please email your name and address to or call Jenny Black at WRG Head Office on 01494 783 453 ext 604.

| IWA waterways - Winter 2012

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The Spring 2013 issue of Waterways will be published in January 2013. Editorial closing date is 30th December 2012.

Do you have something to say about IWA or Waterways? It’s your magazine so please write and tell us your views. We will aim to publish responses to letters that ask questions about any aspect of IWA policy or decision-making. Please write to The Editor, Waterways, c/o IWA, Island House, Todmorden - a fine place for a Moor Road, Chesham HP5 1WA or e-mail stop-over on the Rochdale Canal.


 Star Letter  I’m writing in response to your feature entitled Northern Soul in the Autumn 2012 issue of Waterways. I’m not sure when your correspondent cruised the Rochdale Canal locks into/out of Manchester, but I can assure you there is no assisted passage from the Canal & River Trust these days. When we cruised the Rochdale Canal in June/July this year, the only BW/CRT involvement was to unlock the padlocks on locks 81 or 65 (depending on which way you were travelling), warn you about the shallow section between locks 68 and 70 and give you a contact telephone number in case of emergencies.

And that was it. As soon as that was done they were off in their van to other duties. Volunteer lock keepers are sometimes available, but you need to hit the right day they are on duty - and no, I don’t know what days they are. Despite a bridge fire to which we called the fire brigade, being caught in the wettest June on record (July wasn’t any better) and being delayed by the floods at Hebden Bridge, we thoroughly enjoyed the canal which is woefully underused. Yes, there are 92 big locks to do, but the paddles are generally easy to use (but need a fair few winds of your windlass to get up and down) and the gates are not particularly heavy - positively light by Buckby Locks standards! The scenery is superlative and in my view knocks the Llangollen into a cocked hat. Todmorden and Hebden Bridge

More on continuous moorers I would like to heartily concur with the National Chairman’s editorial comments in the latest magazine. I have also had difficulty mooring in London and most of the way into Bath on the Kennet & Avon due to liveaboards overstaying on moorings. When I challenge them, as I often do, the invariable justification is, ‘we can’t afford anything else’. As long as liveaboards see this as a cheap option and enforcement is weak, the problem will continue. I would like to make two practical suggestions to help reduce the abuse. Continuous cruising licences should include an additional fee at least equivalent to the national average mooring fee. Genuine continuous cruisers would, I feel, be pleased that visitor moorings were more likely to be available. They should also appreciate that they are paying for

are delightful towns for a stop-over and are good supply bases. On the downside, I agree that Rochdale is quite frankly a dump. In nearly 40 years of cruising all over the network (including Manchester and the BCN in the 1970s) I have never encountered so much filthy rubbish in the canal and on the towpath. The people of the town clearly have no respect for this wonderful asset on their doorstep, and neither by the looks of things do the local council. Shame on them.

David Ingleby, Via e-mail

making much more use of the system than those keeping their boats in a marina for long periods. In a similar manner to vehicle parking offenders on our roads, the waterway authority should have the power to impound boats which continually flout regulations. This, I suspect, would be a power of last resort so huge pounds would not be necessary but the deterrent, used a few times, should be effective. Unfortunately the problem has been allowed to escalate so that any enforcement is likely to result in furious denunciation in the press but no action should not be an option. I feel very aggrieved that I have campaigned for years for our waterways only for them to become linear slum housing.

In the Autumn 2012 issue of Waterways our National Chairman Clive Henderson asks the question “Is everything in the garden rosy”? He then details his experience of cruising on London’s waterways this summer and highlights the problem of the supposedly continuous cruisers that are now blighting many parts of our waterway system. We have just finished cruising the Grand Union Canal from Braunston to Harefield and whilst doing so have been upset and annoyed to see the increasing numbers of “overstaying continuous moorers”, which on several occasions meant that we were unable to moor ourselves; and neither could others, for example hire-boaters, whose view of our waterway system might well have been changed adversely by the experience.

Chris Bushill, Ipswich

A. Greenwood, Sevenoaks IWA waterways - Winter 2012 |

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Wharf House Narrowboats Ltd ..................34

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| IWA waterways - Winter 2012

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IWA Waterways Magazine Winter 2012  

IWA Waterways Magazine Winter 2012

IWA Waterways Magazine Winter 2012  

IWA Waterways Magazine Winter 2012