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Number 144

Autumn 2010 Edition


The Lancaster Canal Trust (Registered Charity No.240957 Affiliated to the Inland Waterways Association Ltd.)

Two photos of the IWA National meeting at Beale Park 2

Contents Letter from the Editor Chairman's Report Summer Festivals Boat Operation Managers Report Fuelling Stops on the Lanky Working Party Report Trust's Annual Accounts Canal Memories Ian Dunn Helen‟s Puzzle „You see there was this 19 year old lad‟…. Bellringers go to Crooklands Water, water everywhere Notes from the Southern Canal System Falkirk Wheel Trip British Waterways Update

3 4 6 10 12 14 17 18 19 20 22 24 27 29 30

Welcome to this edition of the Waterwitch, since the last one summer has come and mostly gone and for many it was much warmer and drier than of recent times. There has been much activity on within the Trust as members continued to support our various. Pat has sent in an extensive write-up of the IWA National at Beale Park, Alan Mather & Chris Jones have given an insight into the trip boat operations this season, where due to the better weather and extra running we seem to be heading for a substantial increase in donations this year. The AGM was highlighted by a very inspiring talk from our guest speaker Geraint Coles of the Chesterfield Canal Partnership, leaving us all to realise that for the Trust to really move forward we desperately need to find ways to get somebody of his ability and drive employed full-time. It may be difficult to see how but it is not necessarily an impossible dream, just one that needs working on. We are indebted to Ken Broadhurst for deciding to run a Trust member visit next year to the Falkirk Wheel; many may have already been but still worth the trip. Members and guests will get first chance to book the limited number of seats before it is opened to all. (see page 31). There are a number of offers of help being requested for the working parties that are soon to commence and for help in restocking on a regular basis our fairly recently installed leaflet holder at various point on the canal and which have proved so popular that keeping up with the resupply is a never-ending task for the ‘few’. So, come on, do offer to help – (see page 34). Finally you will see on page % the news that regrettably the Trust is to increase membership fees from next January. The rises may seem a bit steep but running costs do eat up more and more of our finances. This journal, which most members seem to enjoy in its fully colour version, probably takes up at least half the current membership income for printing not to mention the postage. We are going to reduce the issues to 3 per year rather than reduce size and quality of print. We hope members will continue to support us, and by receiving the Waterwitch keep up by written and visual means with all the Trust’s activities. I shall be pleased to receive any comments on any matter. The next Waterwitch should be out in early January 2010, please don’t hesitate to send in article and pictures; it is your magazine! Regards ED

Front cover: The Tripboat, in its new paint job, at the Westmorland Show (see P6) 3

Chairman’s Report covered a variety of sites up and down the canal. I’m very glad to report that the teams of volunteers running the boat and the working parties are now sufficiently large and diverse to enable us to do both activities concurrently. So for the first time for several years we have been able to do practical restoration work during the summer months when we have longer daylight hours and a chance of better weather. We have also had two mid week working parties and I hope we can expand on this. Our normal autumn / winter working party schedule commenced on 12th September with a final visit to complete the restoration work on Sellet Hall Bridge. More detail on most of these activities elsewhere in these pages.

Those of you who didn’t get to the AGM in June missed a wonderfully inspiring event. I’m speaking not so much about the business meeting itself but more about the talk which followed. Dr Geraint Coles of the Chesterfield Canal Partnership gave us an excellent account of their progress over recent years. They now have several sections of restored canal, buildings restored and extended for use as office and training centre and the framework for a town centre development at least as large as that proposed for Kendal Canal Head. All this is vividly shown on their works programme chart, with its lines steadily turning from red (to be done) to green (actually achieved). We have much to learn from them. As an outcome of the AGM we now have Dave Slater as our Vice President, a new Treasurer, Peter Jones and a new Membership Secretary, Alan Mather. Welcome to all of them and best wishes for carrying out their appointed tasks. Since the AGM Alan has also taken on the role of Acting Boat Operations Manager, following the resignation of Frank Chalmers. We have had a busy summer of attendance at shows and events from as far south as Reading (IWA National Festival) via Preston (Haslam Park and Riversway), Skipton, Crooklands (Country Fest and Westmorland County Show) and Kendal Torchlight Procession. Also Waterwitch’s Brew, the mobile publicity and refreshment station, has

I have been pleased to represent the Trust for the last two years or so on the steering group for the Lune Aqueduct Enhancement Project. This group comprises BW, Lancaster City Council, Lancashire County Council and LCT, with officers representing engineering, heritage & conservation, environment & ecology, public participation, cycle path and footpath interests. The planning work reached a milestone in early September with the submission of an application for a £1 million grant to the Heritage Lottery Fund. We should know the outcome by the end of the year and, if successful, the grant will pay for a (Continued on page 5)


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number of improvements to the accessibility and visibility of this Grade 1 listed Aqueduct, including better links between the riverside path and the canal towpath 60 feet above. The work will be carried out in conjunction with BW’s major engineering works for relining the channel of the aqueduct and the

embankment as far as Caton Road over the next two winters, 2010/11 and 2011/12. Boaters, keep an eye on for details of the stoppages involved in completing this task. Richard Trevitt

MEMBERSHIP NOTICE In common with many other voluntary organisations the costs incurred by the Trust inexorably rise year on year. We are not able to access the bulk of our savings since these are ring-fenced for the Northern Reaches restorationbased work. Therefore it is with regret that the Executive committee has agreed to increase membership fees. In order to avoid the inevitable administrative time and cost in making several small increases and in view of the fact that it is now some time since fees were last increased, the Executive have decided on one larger but we feel realistic rise that should last a number of years. Therefore, as from the 1st January 2011 the new membership rates will be:

Concession £10, Adult £14, Family £20, Life £150, Affiliate £14 . Members who currently pay by standing order are encouraged, when renewing their subscription, to transfer instead to a Direct Debit . Subscriptions run from Jan 1 to Dec 31 New members joining after 31st December 2010 will pay the enhanced rates. A family membership includes joint membership by two adults and if necessary up to three children of school age. David Currington Secretary, LCT

100 Club Prizes: 1st £25; 2nd £15; 3rd £10. Winning Numbers since last Issue

With the changeover of our Treasurer we have not been able to set up the new bank accounts due to delays at the Bank. We have drawn the numbers and they are being securely held until these problems are resolved. We will publish them all in the next edition 5

Summer Festival Reports Country Fest was held at the County Show field at Crooklands on the Spring Bank Holiday weekend, 29th and 30th May 2010. Saturday was wet and chilly - making it an ideal test for our new pair of small marquees which proudly bear the legend of "Lancaster Canal Trust" over the entrances. Sunday was a lovely, sunny day and our marquees were busy all day with visitors The two new Trust display marquees at the Country who had come from a wide Fest show during May 2010 geographical area and were interested in seeing our displays and asking kept busy giving free rides to the many questions about the canal and the public. Some new members joined on the day proposals for its future restoration and also to and many took membership leaflets away with purchase items from our stall. The boat, them. Waterwitch, ran both days and crews were The Annual Riversway Festival, which improves each year, at Preston Dock is now an established Event in our calendar. The Trust attended on Saturday, 24th July and our volunteers were busy all day answering questions from the public and selling items from the stall - at times struggling to hear what visitors were saying over the loud "music" being relayed over the loud speaker Helen, David , Sheila and Beryl on duty


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system. Sadly the still present algae in the water prevented some of the activities taking place which meant there were no water skiers; a great disappointment to the female members of the team! Many thanks to our members, Cameron, Doreen and Dorothy who came along on the day and gave valuable assistance. BB

IWA National Festival Beale Park Pangbourne August 28th , 29th & 30th 2010 Without doubt the highlight of the waterways events calendar is the Inland Waterways Association‟s National Waterways Festival. It is the event to see and be seen at, attracting the great and the good in the waterways movement and this year‟s event on the Thames near Pangbourne, was no exception. It was important therefore that the Trust had a presence. Gordon and I left home early Saturday morning, 21st August, collecting our caravan „en route‟. The journey went smoothly but after 220 miles we were ready for a break. Oxford was to be our base for the next two nights, enabling us to arrive at lunchtime on Monday at the camping site attached to Beale Park showground, some 30 miles away. We were lucky – although the winds were fairly strong we did get our outfit sited and the awning up without too much trouble. Campers arriving on Wednesday were not so lucky as they faced torrential rain all day. 7

Our lovely dry field turned into something of a mudbath (doesn‟t this sound familiar for a National?). Plans for a cruise on the Thames were hastily shelved and we stayed indoors all day. By Thursday things were a little brighter, but ground conditions were too wet to allow exhibitors to take their vehicles on to the site; their gear was either carried in or many enlisted the help of Waterway Recovery Group members, today‟s Navvies, with their tractors and trolleys. We were joined in the evening by our son Martyn, and by Mike and Fran Valiant who had travelled to the event on their boat from their home mooring on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal. Friday heralded the arrival of David and Sheila Slater and the LCT team were complete. The day was spent setting up our display. A first for us at this event was power to the marquee. Not only did this enable us to run a kettle for the all important brews but also the laptop we use for our talks programme. David had put together a „powerpoint‟ presentation about the Lancaster Canal and the Trust‟s plans for restoration, running on a continuous loop. He had also bought a small television which could be used as a computer monitor. As this had a built in DVD player, Gordon had been busy copying various bits of television which have featured the work of LCT from tape to DVD. Most of the day was spent setting up the display followed by a celebratory cup of tea aboard Mike & Fran‟s (Continued on page 8)

around bringing in exhibits and closing the marquee but we were the lucky ones. Some campers were recalled to the campsite to rescue tents and many on the showground were hanging on to gazebos. It only lasted about 40 minutes but things were a bit lively for a while. Visitors returned and we were busy until the close of the show. The wind was still a nuisance on Monday but it was much brighter. We rearranged the layout of the stand and only opened one front panel of our marquee, allowing visitors to view, and ourselves to work, without the constant discomfort. Trade was steady but there were fewer people around. By the end of the show we had dealt with 300 serious enquiries and taken over £100 for Trust funds, which i n c lu d e d g u i d e b o o k s a le s , memberships and donations. One was a magnificent payment of £50 for a guide book. We always said they were worth their weight in gold!! Sincere thanks must go to David, Sheila, Martyn, Fran and Mike for their invaluable help over the three days. Most of us are home now but Fran and Mike have a longer journey by boat – that‟s if they can get home! No water in the Leeds and Liverpool makes boating a bit difficult. One person we must say a special thank you to is Paul Shaw. Paul was part of the Waterways Recovery Team, all volunteers, who

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boat. That evening Pat, Gordon, Sheila and David headed off to the local supermarket for supplies for the all important barbeque. Saturday was our busiest day for enquiries. Many of our visitors had either been on the Lanky or were about to come to see us. They were quite enthusiastic and many of them had long conversations for 20 minutes or more. We had fewer people “just passing” this year - most were seriously interested in the canal and our plans for the future. In the evening the obligatory LCT team „après show‟ barbecue was enjoyed by all. Sunday dawned bright and breezy and once

All set up and ready to go! again we had a steady flow of visitors. Unfortunately our marquee faced into the wind and as it strengthened we got colder! David gave a talk on the Lancaster Canal in the presentation suite which was well received and attracted more people to our stand. Martyn left at lunchtime and so missed the squall which hit mid-afternoon. Very heavy rain and high winds meant much scurrying

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put the show site and all its services together, keep the show running including the all important job of cleaning the loos and return the site to a green field after the event. He kindly transported all our large exhibition boards, tables etc. for us and without his help we would have really struggled to get all our equipment to Beale Park Next year the show is nearer home at Burton – on – Trent at the end of July.. PC

Stop Press The Westmorland Show 9th September 2010, Crooklands The day before we went to print the Trust was again represented at the annual Westmorland Show. On a good dry day there

were plenty of people about and from fairly early on members manning the Trust‟s stand were kept very busy chatting to members of the public. Our tripboat was again in operation on the adjacent stretch of canal and was heavily booked up for most of the day. It looked fine in its almost completed decorative repaint, just the name to go on the bow very soon!

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At the Westmorland Show 9

Boat Operation Manager’s Report crew s going home wet through. At the time of writing it looks like August will be a great month with 5 charters plus normal trip days. The charters have been a real pleasure for both trippers & crew. A special thank you to Bill D i x o n who came on duty at short notice to cover for a sick member of the crew This year, as a trial, we commenced running trips on 3 Saturdays in the holiday period; if these days prove popular will consider operating more Saturdays next season.

It is a pleasant sunny evening in late August and I am sitting in my caravan looking along the canal towards Millness with the last rays of evening sunshine on the top of Farleton C r a g . Re ce ntly there has been no w a t e r e nte r ing the canal from the Peasey B e c k fe e de r and for last weekendâ€&#x;s boating it was six inches below the normal level, which made it extremely difficult to turn at Millness on the Saturday. On the Sunday public trips were between Crooklands and the winding hole to the north only. The Trust has spoken to BW about the situation and thankfully things have been restored to normal. May was a good month for Wate rw itch w ith 577 passengers carried, but June & July were however disappointing due to the poor w eat he r leaving few passengers around and the

Mechanically Waterw itchâ€&#x;s engine is running well. There are no leaks of fuel, oil or water, the new stern gland does not leak and, now that the boat is moored facing south, there is no ingress of rain through the engine cooling air duct. The bilge in both engine room and cabin 10

remains clean and dry. How ever, the coupling between the reverse gearbox and the propeller shaft is defective. This coupling is part of the boat‟s original equipment

Some happy faces from the charter visit by the Crosscrake Brownies

but Neil McGarry states that “with a little attention and tightening, plus no high speed running, the coupling will last until the end of the season”. Boat skippers have been, and are being, instructed “no full throttle”. We hope to carry out remedial action at the end of the season at minimal cost. We hope to carry out some more assessments of trainee steerers in October after the boat is fixed. The need for training up new members is vital as currently we only have 11

14 qualified skippers from a crew list of 30 volunteers. This season has been the best yet in terms of donations taken due in no small part to the mainly e x ce l le nt w e at he r a nd increased days of operation. Chris Jones, who has taken on t he re spo nsibility fo r arranging our Charters, informs me that up to the end of August the following Charters had taken place.  Crosscrake Brownies (Mary Shaw),  Kings Church Kendal (Linda Sutherland), (Continued on page 33)

Fuelling Stops on the Lanky

Lancaster City Centre

The Waterwitch and The Borough

The City of Lancaster has many fine establishments where boaters and canal walkers alike can refuel their appetites with some fine ales and pub grub. You can’t get much nearer to the canal than the impressive Waterwitch. It is a long narrow building which is not unreasonable given that it was originally built as a stable block for the canal packet boat horses. It therefore has plenty of window seats if the weather is bad but on a good day it is possible to sit right next to the water. The pub part of the Mitchell's group,

underwent a makeover in 2008 and now

The special one third glass trays at the Waterwitch! (Continued on page 13)


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offer a fine range of well kept real ales. Normally there are 7 to 8 beers plus Weston’s cider. The pub opens from 11.00am to 11.00pm daily and food is served daily till 9pm (till 8pm Sunday). But not 3pm to 5.30pm Mon - Friday. A Deli board is also available. In true real ale fashion they positively encourage you to try their full range without overindulging buy the use of one third glasses conveniently presented on

their uniquely designed carrying trays. If you need a change or just to stretch your legs then the next recommended central Lancaster stop, (it’s no co-incidence that I’m a member of the Campaign for Real Ale), has got to be The Borough in Dalton Square. This free house has seven real ales on hand pump all local to North Lancashire and Cumbria. Like the 13

Waterwitch it is also in CAMRA's Good Beer Guide and offers a 30p per pint discount to card-carrying CAMRA members. Open daily for breakfast at 9am and alcoholic beverages from 10.30pm it remains open until 11.30pm (12.30pm Fri-Sat). Good locally sourced food is also available from 9.00am breakfast through to 9.30pm daily. Both pubs are well worth a visit, whatever the excuse1

The bar at The Borough Titus O’Newt

the initial course to stabilise the exposed areas. On Sunday, 13 people continued with the rebuilding of the parapets and other areas where partial collapse had occurred. This was carried out under the guidance of Martin Rigby, a stonemason who ha d a l s o s u p e r vi s e d t he dismant ling to ensure that rebuilding was carried out to the same detail as the original bridge. The scaffold platform was also used to remove ivy from the bridge, and some of the brash from the scrub clearance was burned. Because of the additional work which had been needed on the tree stumps on Saturday, the rebuilding wasn’t completed by Sunday evening, so to make use of the hired in scaffolding and mixer, we decided to have an additional working party which will now take place in early September. The winter working parties will as usual be taking place on the second Sunday of each month, with the exception of December. In December, WRG NW will be holding their Christmas Party at Over Kellet Village Hall over the weekend of 4th5th, so we'll rearrange our

Working Party Report The major restoration project set up in August to repair Sellet Hall bridge attracted 18 volunteers, including small groups from the Wild Boar Hotel at Crook and Kirkham Open Prison. James Richardson brought his JCB which was useful for lifting materials for transfer from the store and then digging trial holes along the bed of the canal. Sellet Hall bridge is privately own as it is the first bridge beyond the end of the wat ered sect ion of canal. Therefore the bridge is not BW’s responsibility In the meantime, work began on carefully dismantling the parapet walls, making use of the minidigger expertly handled by Richard Ingram, and exposing the roots of the stumps and erecting the scaffold towers needed for access. The tree roots turned out to be more extensive than expected, and in fact one huge root system was exposed which linked the stumps on both parapet walls. This was only successfully removed towards the end of the day (to an immense cheer from us all!), and the only rebuilding carried out was

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L&R The access steps carefully cleaned up so now they are really accessible once more

Below: The huge tree stump has gone; the parapet rebuilt and it just awaits the coping stones to be replaced

Above: On a dreary day early in 2010 the Sellet Hall bridge looks very much in need of some TLC

Left: Our Chairman Richard leads the assault on the bridge repairs


Left: The West side with the tree roots having grown right across the road and formed a second growth on the parapet

Right: All growth gone and the parapet and bridge abutment rebuilt .

Left: The original self set tree on the east side has seriously damaged the bridge structure

Right: Again the very large stump has finally gone and the badly damaged parapet has been repaired. Left: The years of undergrowth & root systems have almost blocked the roadway

Right: The undergrowth & roots have been cleared and the parapets restored using the traditional mortar mix and the original stones (Continued on page 32)


At the AGM last June it was sensibly agreed that the Trust’s Accounts should be published in Waterwitch for all members to see. The Balance Sheet & Income& Expenditure are reproduced herewith. Space does not permit the reproduction of the many associated notes giving the breakdown of the figures. If any member has any query perhaps they might contact the Trust’s Treasurer, Peter Jones, whose contact details are at the back of this publication ED







HELEN’S WORD SEARCH LANCASTER CANAL BRIDGES Can you find the 33 bridges in the maze below. If you want a real challenge then cover the names up and use the Trust’s Canal Guide to pick them out! Answer page 32


and Chairman. This is an enormous achievement and one of which we should all be grateful and he should be proud. It is indeed a record most unlikely to be surpassed. Throughout these years he was an essential thread of continuity as committee members came and went. In the early years, of course, we had no computers or mobile phones, indeed most of us had no telephones at home! We had to resort to using public phone boxes to contact colleagues at their places of work. Contact was also maintained by post.

You see, there was this 19 year old lad........ By John Gavan First of all may I apologise for not be ing able to attend the AGM this year. As I write these notes I am moored at Cropredy on the Oxford Canal heading for the Thames. I am grateful that the Editor has agreed to publish these musings, which were also read out by him at the AGM. As you may know in 2013 the Trust will be 50 years old, having been formed in 1963. I joined in 1964 and became active on the Committee. Six years later a raw but enthusiastic 19 year old joined us. His name was David Slater. It wasn‟t long afterwards he was putting the Trust‟s case for restoration in front of Granada‟s cameras as part of a documentary they were making – quite a baptism in the art of canal campaigning. In 1969 David married the gorgeous, pouting Sheila! I was Best Man and I recall one of the wedding presents was a bottle of Lancaster Canal water (1969 vintage). Whether David still has this bottle and whether it has now fermented and matured only he can tell you. He has spent 41 years as an active committee member holding positions as Public Relations Officer, Secretary

Another aspect of David‟s work has been, from the very beginning, his continuous input into ‟Waterwitch‟ by way of articles and comment. I believe that since he joined there has not been one issue of „Waterwitch‟ that did not contain an article by him. This, again, is quite an achievement. I would also like to point out that for many years „Waterwitch‟ appeared four times a year – quite a lot of writing – with no facility of printing photographs which take up space. Indeed, as editor, I took the then editor of the BW magazine to task for „space filling‟. For example, six workers were presented with long service awards and six different pictures were printed – of each recipient – and the beaming chairman, instead of one photo of all of them. A group award photograph appeared the following year! David & I became involved, for quite a time, in trying to save the Inland (Continued on page 21)


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Waterways Amenity & Advisory Council (IWAAC) from abolition. This was at the time of Ted Heath‟s government that had drawn up a list of Quangos to be abolished. (We‟ve come full circle ED). The chairman if IWAAC at that time was David Wain. I recall making a spoof quote by him in „Waterwitch‟ – “I‟m taking my last quango to Paris!” Anyway , as a result of our efforts a meeting was convened at Count y Hall, Preston at which interested parties, including the local IWA, passed a unanimous resolution opposing the abolition Similar meetings around the cou nt ry eventu ally fo rced the Government to change its mind.

Being Chairman or Secretary of the Trust is time consuming if the job is to be done properly. Giving lectures and slide shows, organising trips on the canal, having a stand at boat rallies, liaising with British Waterways and Local /authorities – the list is endless. For 41 years David has shown gusto, enthusiasm and drive. I am sure that, like me, , you are proud of him. As a result you, the members, are honouring him tonight with the post of vice President and both David & Sheila with Life membership. I personally would like to congratulate him on this achievement – he certainly deserves it. Thank you John Gavan.

Hello! The Lancaster Canal Trust extends a very warm welcome to the following new members and we hope to see you at some of our events: J Sims

C Byrne

N Johnson

S Bennett

Z Metcalfe

L Birchell

D Bevzeva

I McCullough

Mr Landles

M Peet

J Johnston

I Young

M Adkinson

H Wilkie

G Fitch

I Fair 21

St Johns Bellringers go to Crooklands As a bellringer at St Johns church in Lytham, I have often left them one short when crewing Waterwitch on a Sunday morning so I thought it was about time I organised a charter on the boat for my fellow ringers to make up for it. We decided on Sat the 14th August as we had no weddings to ring at on that day, but thought maybe we could combine a ring at a church near to the boat, so I contacted a nice lady called Rachel at St James church Burton in Kendal. We arrived there about 1pm and rang the bells “up” six in all with the help of Rachel, we were dismayed to find out that the bells were rarely rung there as her family are the only ringers in the village and there was little interest in the bells from within the church itself. This seems to be a country wide problem as many churches are falling silent mainly due

to the lack of ringers, it’s an art that needs to be passed on and once the band is lost its hard to get one going again. For the record and for any ringers reading this we rang some called changes and some nice touches of Grandsire and Steadman doubles, then we rang the bells “down "again. At around 2pm we left Burton and drove over to the boat at Crooklands; before boarding we had time for a quick drink and comfort stop at the Crooklands hotel. At the boat we met the smiling faces of Chris and Alan ready to welcome us aboard, this was to be their second charter of the day and the weather was holding up well. Once aboard it was decided we were going to cruise the whole length available to us with Chris steering and Alan as steward. I was a passenger today. The trip was pure bliss as lots (Continued on page 23)


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of wild flowers were out due to the recent rainfall. We passed both sets of swans and signets and countless moorhen and coot with their young, the swallows were diving down in front of the boat, it seemed like they were showing off their amazing flying skills but I'm sure it was to

catch insects off the top of the water. We passed the winding hole north of Mattinsons bridge where we normally turn around and the excitement grew as the weed and overhanging branches closed in, I told my fellow ringers we were going into uncharted waters, and soon we reached Stainton the most northerly place on England's canal network, (hopefully not for too much longer) and turned around for our return to Millness to see the Motorway blockage. In no time at all two and a half hours had gone by and we were back at the stables to disembark, everyone had enjoyed every minute of the trip and 23

had shown great interest in the history of the canal and the work of the Trust. There were a few worried faces though when I said I'd be asking questions later to see what they had learnt. To round the day off we had booked a table at the Crooklands hotel, we all enjoyed a fine meal and a few pints of real ale went down very well, we all agreed it was a day to remember and arrived home about 10.30pm, a nice cup of tea and then to bed as we have to be up early to ring at St Johns for Sunday service in the morning. I must add on behalf of

all the ringers a big thank you to Chris and Alan and the LCT for a great day out and I can highly r e c o m m e nd a charter on Waterwitch to any group who would like a memorable day out. Many thanks again, Neil McGarry.

Water, water, everywhere? Fran & Mike go to the IWA National Festival August for us has come to mean the IWA National Festival and the fun of greeting visitors to the LCT event stand. We decided this year to travel to the show by water for the first time, and set off in June from Skipton. Our planned route would take us along the LeedsLiverpool, down the Bridgewater and Trent and Mersey Canals, along the Coventry and North Oxford and via the Grand Union to the tidal Thames. Like a skein of wool being knitted up behind us, the water dried up as we progressed along the LeedsLiverpool. The low water levels meant that there were restrictions in place at locks, and by the time we arrived at Wigan, BW was only allowing one passage per day down the flight. A stuck paddle at the top lock and padlocked gates at the bottom slowed our descent but we eventually made it through. Not a moment too soon, as we heard a few days later that the navigation from Gargrave to Wigan would be completely closed within a month if there was not enough rain; and there wasn’t! The

drought, however, did mean that we were travelling in fine weather much of the time and so were able to appreciate the beauties of the surrounding countryside. Our journey had its droll and dramatic moments. At Croxton Flash we had moored up for our afternoon cuppa when a passing boat missed the sign warning of shallow water and ran onto the mud. The crew’s increasingly

Statue of James Brindley in Coventry basin.

frantic attempts to retrieve the situation provided us with much amusement until we finally took pity on them and used our boat to tow them back into the main channel. On another occasion we had moored for the evening on a rural stretch of bank near several other craft when a hire boat came thundering past, to the consternation of those of us buffeted by its wash. Their haste was forgiven when they explained that they had a medical emergency on board. A few (Continued on page 25)


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minutes later, the Air Ambulance helicopter landed in the cornfield bordering the towpath and the casualty (a child who had suffered a head injury and was displaying symptoms of concussion) was rushed ashore. We were relieved to learn later that, although he needed stitches, his injuries were not life-threatening. Our steady progress southward was interspersed with forays off the main line. We took a side trip down to the Coventry Basin, our visit coinciding with a fascinating exhibition at the Herbert Gallery of Robert Longden’s photographs of working boat families in the

to the day when we will be able to say the same of the Northern Reaches! Our long cruises are never without their technical hitches. An annual occurrence, it seems, is the expiry of our mains generator. This duly died at Tring, so had to be packed up and sent off for repair when we arrived at Berkhamsted. At the same time, the engine developed strange noises which we suspected heralded the imminent demise of our drive plate. We ordered a replacement and booked an engineer to meet us at Uxbridge, where we spent a noisy, dusty (and expensive!) two days in a boatyard before being declared fit to proceed. Having studied the tide tables, we timed our arrival at Brentford for August 11 to lock down onto the Thames the following day. BW

Moored at the current terminus of the Wendover Arm

1940s. Another sojourn took us up the Wendover Arm. We had watched the restoration of this stretch with interest when we lived in Buckinghamshire, and it was fulfilling to be able to finally cruise up the partly restored navigation. Our imaginations went ahead of us 25

Brentford Dock - overnight stop before the tidal Thames

facilities here were excellent and, as the loss of our generator had (Continued on page 26)

stuff back with us. As I write, we are moored up in a monsoon in Henley. Tomorrow should find us at Beale Park to meet up with the rest of the LCT gang. No doubt, Waterwitch will be telling that tale in the show report. When and where will the story of our 2010 cruise end? Our plans to return homeward via the River Trent and the Aire were thrown into confusion by the news that BW had been forced to close the Leeds end of our home canal too. Will we be doomed, like the Flying Dutchman, to wend our way

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rendered our on-board washing machine unusable, we took full advantage of the laundry. Once down onto the Royal River, sunny skies allowed us superb views of Kew, Richmond and Twickenham,

Passing under Richmond bridges and over its weir!

though the l a n d ma r k s fairly sped by as we were swept along by the tide up t o Teddington. Imposing buildings of Richmond-on-Thames The water that had been in such short supply at around the network, endlessly the beginning of our journey was searching for a way back to seen here in abundance at the Skipton? It could bring a whole s p e c t a c u l a r w e i r s w h i c h new meaning to our understanding accompanied every lock. of the term ‘continuous cruising’! Perhaps we could bring a few Fran & Mike Valiant bucket loads of the precious wet 26

Notes from the Southern Canal System

„B‟ is for Birmingham, Brindley Place and the meeting of 5 canals. Between 3rd & 6th October this year any boater that enters this area will be stopped by the police and their boat thoroughly searched. The search is estimated to last at least 15minutes. This is all because the Tory Party Conference is taking place in the canal-side National Conference Centre. Boater wishing to enter between 6pm and 8 am will need the written permission of the Chief Constable. „G‟ is for the Grand Union Canal which has barge locks similar to the Leeds/ Liverpool Canal – but with two differences. Lock working on the G.U. involves clambering over the gates – on the Leeds/Liverpool every lock has a footbridge. On the G.U many locks now only have ground paddles – new gates are not fitted with gate paddles. On the Leeds/Liverpool all locks have gate

Our Vice President John Gavan has sent in some notes on recent past adventures: “A” is for the Ashby Canal alongside us which is where, in Leicestershire, the Battle of Bosworth in 1485 was located. It is also where BW has constructed special moorings for visitors to see the fine exhibition Centre nearby. Unfortunately it has very recently been revealed beyond argument that the REAL battlefield is some 2 miles away situated in some farmers fields. How this situation will be resolved is any one’s guess Further up the canal one comes across the three stones – Congerstone, Shackerstone and Snarestone. These are three Leicestershire villages and quite attractive ones at that. I had been using 1983 Nicholson’s Canal Guide which describes the villages having stores, post office and garages. Not anymore. They are now bereft of any facility, which illustrates how the power of supermarkets has grown in the last 27 years. Trust members would be jealous Sol-y-Sombra (Sun & Shade) moored at Cosgrove of the terminus here, the on the Grand Union canal. Cosgrove is a nice village abandoned 9 miles to Moira is in Northants. Typically all shops and stores have disappeared. presently being fully restored. Of course they don’t have a motorway to bedevil the situation!

(Continued on page 28)


canal system – some holding up to 400 boats. If, during the summer season, these marinas emptied just 10% of their craft onto the canals the whole system would jam up. Fortunately on our travels this year we did not have to queue for any locks and long may this be so! JG

(Continued from page 27)

paddles „L‟ is for Lechlade. We travelled there in May – it is the end of the navigable river. Lechlade is an unspoiled & attractive Cotswold town. In the centre is The Crown Inn – unusual for it has its own ‘micro’ brewery which produces a very acceptable bitter, called, appropriately, ‘old Lech.’ „P‟ is for Penkridge – on the Staffs/Worcestershire Canal where I was somewhat bemused to read what appeared to be an official BW notice in the sanitary facilities block. Of course it didn’t take me long to realise I was reading a ‘spoof’ – but amusing nevertheless. Finally - a thought. New marinas are springing up all round the

progress the re-opening of the canal, instead of the maintenance aspects we've been concentrating on in recent years. Watch this space! As usual, all help will be gratefully received, and if you're not already on the mailing list please let me know if you're interested in helping out on the working parties Paul Shaw

(Continued from page 14)

working party to coincide with this. We should have held a working party on 12th September to finish off the coping stones at Sellet Hall bridge, and in October we're planning to spend some time around the Millness & Crooklands area, generally tidying up after the summer. The rest of the winter programme will hopefully involve some projects which will allow us to 28

Lancaster Canal Trust Outing to The Falkirk Wheel. Saturday May 14th 2011. It is proposed to run a coach from Lancaster to Falkirk including: a fifty minute trip through the Wheel and along the new canal spur.

The Trust, through Chris Jones our Grants officer, has been successful in obtaining a grant of £2400 in order that we can purchase and install a number of seats along the canal. The money has been kindly given through the Cumbria Waste Management & Environment Trust (CWMET) and has to be spent in the Holme/Burton. The Trust needs to agree the sites with CWMET and then our working parties can install them during the coming months.

The coach (Messrs Bibby's) will leave Lancaster at 7.30am (Subject to change !) picking up at Carnforth, Burton, Holme and Milnthorpe. A stop will be made at Moffatt and on to Falkirk to arrive 12.00 to 12.30. £30.00 each person. Further details will be sent when booked. A picture of the new seats the Trust Due to time limitations we cannot accept will purchase bookings for children. Please note we will require a non returnable Bookings for Lancaster Canal Trust Outing to The Falkirk Wheel. deposit of £10.00 Saturday May 14th 2011. for each booking. Please book _____________ tickets (Member of L.C.T.) Yes/No. You will be Mr/Mrs/Ms ________________________________ advised of your Address_________________________________________ final payment Post Code ___________________ Phone No later. PLEASE Payment Deposit (£10.00 each) £______ BOOK EARLY. Limit of 53 only. Please contact

(Payable to Lancaster Canal Trust)

J.K.Broadhurst (01524 781604.) ‘Seatoller’, Vicarage Lane, Burton in Kendal, Carnforth . LA6 1 NW.




awarded British Waterways a £50,000 development grant to help develop proposals for the Lune Aqueduct project, Following guidance from the HLF, and also through carefully assessing the objectives and needs of our project, development works have been carried out. British Waterways’ own Heritage expert, A n dr e w Te gg , c omp l e t e d a Conservation Management Plan which will provide a framework for the f uture protection a nd conservation of the structure. These development works have enabled us to shape the final plans for the wider Lune Enhancement Project. The stage 2 application was submitted to HLF in August, and this will hopefully result in the awarding of £1m grant towards our vision for the site. This comprises:

aterways Update... LUNE AQUEDUCT


The magnificent Lune Aqueduct is currently earmarked to be given a £2.5m facelift as part of ambitious plans to develop Lancaster Canal as a key visitor centre and economic generator for the North West. Over the last two years, British Waterways have been working with partners from Lancaster City Council, Lancashire County Council  A relined canal channel; and the Lancaster Canal Trust to seek funding from external sources  Renew corroded trench sheet t o c a r r y ou t a s e r i e s o f wash walls; enhancements to the structure and  A re-pointed stone aqueduct its surrounding environment which trough; will widen the appeal of the aqueduct  Re-pointed open joints in to local communities and visitors. The plans will make the Grade I listed aqueduct – which carries the picturesque Lancaster Canal over the River Lune – more accessible and visually appealing to visitors, in addition to underpinning the structural integrity of the aqueduct for Lune Aqueduct decades to come. In March 2009, the HLF (Continued on page 31) 30

masonry arch;  Vegetation removal from the structure These crucial plans for the long term protection of the aqueduct will be complemented by a series of additional enhancements that will increase the appeal of the site as a key visitor attraction for Lancaster:

A range of access improvements to enhance linkages between canal and Millennium Cycleway;

 

Towpath upgrades; Interpretation and signposts, providing information in relation to the structures development and historical significance;  Ecological improvements including landscaping of the river corridor

(Continued from page 9)

A great big thank you to all who manned the marquee and tripboat booking arrangements and to those steerers who worked all day on the boat. We gained some new members and many signatures to our petition, so a very worthwhile day. DC

Right: Alan Mather brings home another

bunch of happy people


Provision of a new visitor car park at Caton Road. A full time project officer for the site to run a programme of activities at the Lune over a period of three years The funding application now has to go through an appraisal process by the Heritage Lottery Fund that could take up to three months to complete. It is hoped that a positive decision will be achieved by Christmas of this year. It is planned that the engineering works will commence early in January 2011, and the visitor enhancements will begin to be implemented in the Spring of the same year. SH

Coffee Morning, 23rd October, 2010 Elizebeth Gaskell memorial hall Silverdale

10 to 12 noon Usual Stalls, raffles etc

(Continued from page 16)

Below: The remains of the hacked down root stump which was temporarily left in the canal bed!

Below: The extent of the lifting action of the growing tree can clearly be seen


(Continued from page 10)

St. John's bell-ringers Lytham  A family birthday party, plus tw o family outings . Skippers and crew for these trips were Alan Mather, Frank Chalmers, Neil McGarry , Peter Simmonds, Bill Dixon, John Acres, Chris Jones. You do not need to be a member to charter Waterwitch, so if you know any group or individual who may be interested in booking for next year, even outside our normal operating months of May to September, please ring me (evenings preferably) on 07816 874563. Chris would like to thank the groups and individuals who have booked charters, their generous donations, and to the volunteers who have skippered and crewed Waterw itch throughout this summer. AM 



LANCASTER CANAL TRUST Officers and Committee August 2010 President

C.H.Bagot J.P. F.R.I.C.S.,D.L Vice - Presidents

John Gavan David Slater Chairman

Richard Trevitt 2 Fern Bank, Lancaster. LAI 4TT (01524) 846303 Vice - Chairman

Helen Thomas 7 Bay View, Over Kellet, Carnforth, LA6 1DR (01524) 735504 Secretary

David Currington 12 Sedbergh Road Kendal LA9 6AD (01539) 732599 Treasurer

Peter Jones 14 Blencathra Gardens Kendal LA9 7HL (01539) 739105 Membership Secretary

Alan Mather 15, Claughton Ave Bolton BL2 6US (01204) 521031 Public Relations Officer

Trisha Buzzard 07802438412 Waterwitch Editor

David Currington 12 Sedbergh Road Kendal LA9 6AD (01539) 732599 Working Party Organiser

Richard Trevitt 2 Fern Bank, Lancaster. LAI 4TT (01524) 846303 Grants Officer

Chris Jones Apt 305, Liberty House, Yard 5, Highgate, Kendal, Cumbria LA9 4BU 07816 874563



Beryl Bowcott Chairman Recruitment & Promotions

Trisha Buzzard 07802438412 Publicity Officer & Trip Boat Committee

Paul Shaw Working Party Supervisor 07866 803351

Alan Mather Acting Boat Operations Manager (01204) 521031

Sandra Henstock (L.C.B.C. Representative) (01253)764171

Affiliated Members Arlen Hire Boats Australian Canal Society Beetham Parish Council Burton - in - Kendal Parish Council Bury & District Anglers Association Catterall Parish Council C.A.R.P. Ltd Holme Parish Council Lancaster Canal Boat Club

Kendal Civic Society Natland Parish Council Newton with Clifton Parish Council Preston Patrick Parish Council Ramblers Association (Preston Area) South Lakeland District Council Westmorland & North Lancashire Long Distance Walkers Assoc

Waterwitch is copyright 2010, published by The Lancaster Canal Trust (Registered Charity No. 240957) c/o David Currington, 12 Sedbergh Road, Kendal, LA9 6AD The Lancaster Canal Trust may not agree with the opinions expressed in this magazine but encourages publication as a matter of interest. Nothing printed may be construed as policy, or an official announcement, unless so stated - otherwise the Trust accepts no liability for any matter in the magazine. The editor retains the right to edit any article or letter submitted for publication.

Visit LCT website at:

The deadline for contributions to the next edition of Waterwitch will be December 31st 2010 Contributions may be e-mailed to Or by post to David Currington 12 Sedbergh Road Kendal, Cumbria LA9 6AD Printed by Kent Valley Colour Printers, Kendal. (01539)741344



Waterwitch #144 Autumn 2010  

Waterwitch Magazine of the Lancaster Canal Trust. Autumn 2010 Edition #144

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