Page 1


The UK’s Number ONE read for all waterways users

Issue 104, June 2014



Sunny day at Sutton Wharf




Ashby Boat Company’s day-boat Mole passing the popular cafe in the spring sunshine at Sutton Wharf close to the Bosworth Battlefield Heritage Centre on the Ashby Canal.



Wall collapse causes closure of the Napton flight By Polly Player

A SUPPORTING wall next to Lock 10 of the Napton Flight on the southern section of the Oxford canal partially collapsed over the early May Bank Holiday causing a large section of brick wall and debris to fall into the canal. The Canal & River Trust promptly closed the navigation between Napton


Property ladder boating


WHILTON Marina reports a growing trend of young people buying boats as their first rung on the property ladder, a third of all narrowboats it sells making their way to London. A spokesman told us: “We have noticed a trend in the past 18 months of young people purchasing narrowboats from us with the intention of cruising to London and living on the canal system in the city. This alternative living accommodation is allowing young people to get their foot on the property ladder, and have an investment in the future.”

525 BOATS FOR SALE Starts on

Lock 8 and Atkins Lock 14, in order to prevent further damage and the potential risk to passing boaters on a section commonly used by hire boaters from many of the local bases. CRT’s engineering team worked overnight to affect a temporary repair using strengthening girders, enabling the flight to reopen on Friday, May 9. Staff remained on hand throughout the


Stourport Marina Tel 01299 827 082 Stourport on Severn

Tel 01753 851 717

River Thames, Windsor

Thames & Kennet Marina

Walton Marina

Tel 01932 221 689

Boat sales at seven Marinas with over 150 boats for sale


Upton Marina

Tel 01684 593 111 Upton upon Severn

Walton on Thames

Brundall Bay Marina

Tel 01189 477 770

River Thames, Caversham

Tel 01603 717 804

Pyrford Marina

Tel 01932 343 275 River Wey, Surrey

Further information on the Napton flight’s opening hours can be found at A CRT spokesman said: “We think the cause was due to the fact that one of our byweir outlets became blocked, which caused water to back up behind the wall.” A permanent repair will be included in the 2014/15 winter programme.

Northampton Arm depth worries Text service for the Bure CONCERNS have been raised by the Inland Waterways

THE Broads Authority is trialling a new text method of sending out the predicted best time to reach the mouth of the River Bure during May and June. For 6p plus their standard message rate boaters can text ‘Tide’ to 60777 to receive predicted low slack water times at Great Yarmouth Yacht Station and sunset time for that and the following day. It is important to cross Breydon Water at slack water, about an hour after low water, to provide maximum clearance under the Yarmouth bridges and because the tide, particularly where the rivers meet, will be less hazardous.

More locations, more choice Racecourse Marina, Windsor

day to assist with locking boats through the flight, with priority given to stranded hire boats. The locks were then closed for the night at 7pm. Due to ongoing concerns , the Napton flight may operate on restricted opening hours over the coming weeks, in order to allow the CRT to provide staff on site to assist boaters, and reduce the likelihood of further damage.

Norfolk Broads

Association’s Northampton branch about the depth of water along the Northampton Arm of the Grand Union Canal. The Canal & River Trust claims it complies with current standards and there are currently no plans to dredge it but a review will take place next year. The IWA is seeking information from boaters who have recently navigated the arm of any problems they have experienced, including date and boat name. Contact branch chairman Bernard Morton on 01604 858294/07785 375787, email or Geoff Wood on 01604 453932/07968 491118,



BY THE time you read this Crick Show will be upon us and we look forward to meeting any of you who are visiting the show at our stand which will be outside this year. Many of our volunteer-led canal societies are busy during the show season promoting their activities and restoration projects so please go along and support them. One idea which was mentioned to us recently was the placing of a donation box for the Monmouthshire Brecon & Abergavenny Canals Trust next to the supply of Towpath Talks at the Fourteen Locks Canal Centre, Newport, which we are told works very well. That’s a win-win for both of us. This summer marks the 50th anniversary of the Association of Waterways Cruising Clubs (AWCC), see Helen Gazeley’s report on P14. We are using this as an opportunity to give your club the chance to be featured in Towpath Talk; please contact me if you would like to be included. The festival season is already in full swing and our team of contributors has been out and about; see reports and pictures inside as well as previews of events due to take place in the next few weeks. And there’s still a chance to win a year’s mooring for your boat at Cropredy Marina on the Oxford Canal; see P62. Happy showgoing




Editor Janet Richardson Publisher Julie Brown Display advertising Nikita Leak Classified advertising Stuart Yule Feature advertising Jason Carpenter Editorial design Tracey Barton Divisional ad manager Sue Keily Direct sales executive John Sharratt Group production editor Tim Hartley Production manager Craig Lamb Publishing director Dan Savage Commercial director Nigel Hole Contact us General queries 01507 529529 News & editorial Tel: 01507 529466 Fax: 01507 529495 Advertising Tel: 01507 524004 Fax: 01507 529499 Published by Mortons Media Group Ltd, Media Centre, Morton Way, Horncastle, Lincs, LN9 6JR Tel: 01507 523456 Fax: 01507 529301 Printed by Mortons Print Ltd. Tel. 01507 523456 Next Issue – June 26, 2014

Independent publisher since 1885

Conditions Editorial is accepted subject to availability of space, and editorial policy on content and insertion cannot be guaranteed. The publishers retain the right to edit material submitted. Every effort is made to ensure accuracy through accurate and clear copy, but the publishers cannot be held responsible for errors or omissions.

Independently proven pick up: 34,450 copies

Don’t miss out! Get 12 copies delivered to your home for less than 84p

‘Floating voters’ urged to exercise their rights

By Polly Player

CONTINUOUS cruisers are being encouraged to register to vote in local elections in the areas where they regularly cruise. For many continuous cruisers, the idea of registering to vote is something that they may not even have considered, or have already discounted as impossible due to having no fixed address. However, all UK citizens are entitled to cast their vote, including the transient boating population and other people who have no permanent fixed address. The boater-led campaign, named ‘Floating Voter’, began as a response from boaters in the London area to feeling that the boating community was unrepresented and not being heard by the councillors of the

canalside wards where boaters regularly moor. All continuous cruisers, both in London and across the UK as a whole, are encouraged to exercise their right to vote in both local council and general elections, to ensure that their voices are heard and that local councillors take an inclusive approach to their constituent populations, be they land-based or boaters. A representative from the campaign told Towpath Talk: “When people swap their postcode for a continuous cruiser licence they don’t lose their right to democracy and a say in the makeup of the local government. “Historically, continuous cruisers have rarely exercised that right, but with the increasing fusion of boating and canalside life in many areas, we decided that it is more

important than ever that our views be represented. “The Green Party in particular has been very supportive of the campaign, and we are delighted that so many of its views match our own.” Voting guidance for transient populations and others with no fixed land address states: “(If you) do not have a permanent home, you can still register to vote using a Declaration of Local Connection form. Give the details of the location where you spend a substantial amount of your time. This need not be a traditional bricks and mortar address.” ● Further information and guidance for boaters without a home mooring on how to register to vote can be found at

Dudley grants signal start to multi-million pound scheme By Bob Clarke

GRANTS totalling £3 million to Dudley Canal Trust have been enthusiastically welcomed by the local council. The money will part-fund a £10 million redevelopment scheme The scheme also includes Dudley’s Norman Castle, Dudley Zoo and the Black Country Living Museum. The grants to the trust will pay for an interpretation, educational and visitor centre adjoining the canal’s 200 years old tunnel and limestone mines – already a major Black Country tourist attraction – which will be known as ‘The Portal’. The trust hopes to have construction work up and running this summer with work hopefully completed in less than two years. Dudley Council’s regeneration chief, Coun Judy

Foster, said: “This is another significant step in the wider vision to attract one million visitors to the Castle Hill site. “We now look forward to seeing the creation of a new visitor portal which will enhance the experience of everyone going to the attraction.” A new swing bridge will be installed across the canal linking the portal with the museum. The chairman of Dudley Canal Trust (Trips) Ltd, Jeff Luesley, said: “This is the culmination of over two years’ work. We hope that by next year we will have something to be proud of and commercially it will attract a greater number of visitors.” The trust, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, has a fleet of electrically powered boats which carry more than 80,000 visitors a year into the tunnels and limestone mines.

Dangerous incident as paddle fails at Johnsons Hillock Lock By Polly Player

A FAULTY lock paddle caused a narrowboat to tip up in Johnsons Hillock Lock on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal on Friday, April 18. Unlike the rather more common cilling accidents that usually only arise due to operator error, this incident could not have been foreseen or prevented by the crew. After the boat had entered the lock going upwards; the lock was filled, and the top gates were opened for the boat to exit. A blanked off paddle on the

bottom gates of the lock failed, causing the lock to drain quickly and leaving the boat stranded, balanced on the lip at the exit of the lock with the water level behind it quickly falling. Due to the speed at which the lock emptied, the steerer was unable to either reverse the stern of the boat back into the lock, or leave the lock and enter the upper pound. The stern of the narrowboat quickly fell with the level of the lock’s falling water, leaving the bow caught on the top lip of the lock and unable to move. No one was injured.

Canal & River Trust representatives and staff from the nearby Wheelton boatyard turned out to help the stranded boat and water from the higher pound was let down slowly in order to refloat the boat and allow it to leave the lock. The boat was then removed for assessment, and a new paddle was fitted to the faulty lock gate on the day of the incident, fixing the lock. The paddle at Johnsons Hillock Lock had been blanked off as a temporary repair after it failed a month prior to the incident.

See page 13 or call 01507


Vision for canal in Rochdale has been unveiled

A GROUP of Rochdale canal users have put together a blueprint calling on the town to change its approach to the canal. Despite efforts both voluntary and professional, which resulted in the canal’s reopening 10 years ago, there is very little boating in Rochdale itself, according to the report. Even Timothy West and Prunella Scales did not venture beyond Summit on their Grand Canal Journey, televised recently. “Whereas in Calderdale there are canalside businesses; moorings for short and long stays and a general feeling of activity, safety and community involvement. We want the same,” they state. They urge people to discuss the document with family, friends and colleagues and to write to the local paper, councillors and MP, Simon Danczuk regarding the following proposals:

A safe haven for boats

Rochdale needs a safe haven for canal boats to stop. The obvious site is at the top of the old town branch at the junction of Oldham Road and Durham Street. There is room here for a basin to operate as a boatyard/marina. The disused pub (the Red Rose) could become a shop, information centre, chandlery or even a pub/cafe.

A borough narrowboat

This would help the council to promote the canal and welcome both residents and visitors. With full disabled access; toilet and catering facilities, the narrowboat would become a unique focus. Crucially, young people would be involved from the outset – in its construction; fitting out; crewing and development. This would discourage vandalism. The mayor and mayoress could use the narrowboat as official transport, visiting schools and communities along the canal in the Rochdale Borough and inviting people aboard, as a travelling mayor’s parlour. This would create tremendous goodwill and publicity.

A community hub

The canal in Rochdale could be as important as Hollingworth Lake, but needs a visitor centre equally as welcoming! The Chesterfield Canal Trust has such a facility at Hollingworth Hub.

A towpath for all to use

Not a cycle racetrack nor a dog toilet, but a towpath that makes ALL users – whether they are anglers, walkers,cyclists or boaters – feel safe, welcome and informed.

Bishop gives his blessing as rally returns to South Kyme THE Sleaford Navigation Trust was delighted to resume its annual Boat Gathering at South Kyme in Lincolnshire over the early May Bank Holiday weekend, writes chairman Chris Hayes. Problems with flood control and a silt bar in the entrance of Taylors Lock had resulted in the cancellation of the two previous rallies but this year, thanks to the de-silting undertaken by the trust, 14 boats were able to take part in the celebrations in South Kyme. The village gave the visitors their customary warm welcome with activities arranged in the Hume Arms, a scarecrow competition, duck race and village hall table top sale. This year the Sleaford

Paddlers joined in the fun and gave people the chance to try canoeing. The intrepid even had the opportunity to try a coracle. Traditionally, boaters are invited to take part in a special service in the parish church, St Mary & All Saints, taken by the vicar, the Rev Mike Rose. This year was made very special by the presence of the Rt Rev Christopher Lowson, Bishop of Lincoln, who blessed the visiting boats before travelling to the church by water, on the front deck of narrowboat Wigford. His enthusiasm for Inland Waterways and life ‘in the slow lane’ were reflected in his sermon and his warmth and humour were much appreciated.

The Bishop of Lincoln, the Right Reverend Christopher Lowson travels to the church on board nb Wigford after blessing the visiting boats. PHOTO SUPPLIED


Victoria Park boaters targeted by vandals By Polly Player

LONDON boaters moored in the Victoria Park area of the Regent’s Canal woke up to a nasty surprise on the morning of Sunday, April 20, to find their boats daubed with offensive images and slogans. Vandals used black spray paint to tag the moored boats with pictures including swastikas, cartoon faces and other unsavoury images including a large pile of dung, targeting six boats during their night-time attack. The Metropolitan Police and London waterways crime unit Operation Kraken were informed but the affected boaters were somewhat disappointed with the response that they received. It took several days for the police to attend the scene and open an investigation, which was quickly closed due to a lack of viable

leads, and no further investigation into the crime is being pursued. Many of the affected boaters managed to act promptly to remove the graffiti themselves using an acetone solution, which erased the images but in some cases caused damage to the underlying paintwork. Boaters who did not manage to tackle the vandalism promptly have as yet proven unable to remove the offensive imagery, and may be looking at a full repainting operation of the affected surfaces. The area of the Regent’s Canal where the incident occurred is a quiet, secluded spot, which is not heavily trafficked by passers-by or greatly overlooked. Many of the walls and buildings in other parts of the Victoria Park area are already heavily graffiti’d, which may have contributed to the area’s image problem and the


Olympic park

perception by vandals that transient canal boats moored in the area are also fair game. London boaters have featured heavily as victims of crime statistics on and around the London waterways over the last year; with this latest attack of vandalism coming hot on the heels of several previous thefts from both unoccupied and occupied boats, threats, and towpath muggings across London. While the CRT and the Metropolitan Police’s Operation Kraken have worked with boaters to compile crime statistics, investigate attacks and advise boaters on safety and security, the friendly, vibrant London boating community has taken steps of its own to deal with problems. Operation Whistleblower, the London scheme advising boaters to keep a whistle on their person and blow it in the event of danger or attack, is now well

Graffiti on one of the moored boats.


under way, and a small group of boaters has now decided to tackle head-on the problem of graffiti in the Victoria Park area. Working on the ‘broken window’ principle, London boaters intend to undertake a voluntary graffiti-removal operation around the Victoria Park area, in order to remove some of the incentive and appeal to vandals and graffiti artists to target property in the area. Any boaters within the London area who might like to get involved in future cleanup operations can make enquiries via the London Boaters Facebook group, using the search term ‘London Boaters’.

Canal triathlon entries set new record By Harry Arnold

A RECORD number of 280 people took part in the 2014 Montgomery Canal Triathlon on Saturday, May 10, with participants cycling, canoeing or

running along the 35 miles of waterway from Newtown to Welsh Frankton. Taking part was Canal & River Trust chief executive Richard Parry who, with members of his family, completed the whole

You’re being watched

AN EXPERIMENTAL scheme to combat dog fouling on towpaths through the town of Rugeley on the Trent & Mersey Canal is being trialled by the Canal & River Trust Central Shires Waterways area in cooperation with the local Cannock Chase District Council, writes Harry Arnold. Notices displayed along the canal feature a rather piercing and threatening pair of eyes and a message indicating that offending walkers who do not clear up after their dogs are being watched and will be prosecuted. First trialled in Cambridge, the scheme was apparently very effective there.

CRT chief executive Richard Parry, front right, among the canoeists paddling their way along the Montgomery Canal. PHOTOS:WATERWAY IMAGES

Lock upyour daughters –and sons YOUNG waterways enthusiasts are being given the chance to try their hand at lock keeping. Organised by the Foxton Inclined Plane Trust in partnership with the Canal & River Trust, on three Sundays this summer the Foxton flight of locks will open for young people between seven and 14 years to become the lock keeper for an hour. The consent of a parent or guardian will be necessary for

three sections of the course and presented the medals at the end. Richard’s effort was sponsored by well-wishers and at the time of going to press had raised almost £2200, more than four times his target, towards funding CRT canals and rivers. Thanking everyone for their support, Richard said: “After a very enjoyable cycle from Newtown to Welshpool, the long (nearly four hours) canoeing leg nearly finished me off, but I somehow managed to keep going and then to put one foot in front of the other for the final 10mile run to the finish. “It was a great occasion, a chance to see the whole canal from end to end, with everyone full of enthusiasm and a fantastic turnout from all the volunteers who support the event.”

anyone to take part and, for reasons of health and safety, they will also need to be present on the day. Dates are June 15, July 20 and August 17. Spaces are limited and booking is essential. The organisers are expecting these events to be very popular and so early booking is advisable. Contact Sarah Cook at sarah.cook@canal or send a text message to 07715 277788.

ThE waterways through the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park were opened for the first time since restoration on Saturday, May 10. The St. Pancras Cruising Club and the Inland Waterways Association led a flotilla of boats as part of a series of preview days this summer. While construction work continues on the transformation phase of the park, boats will need to register their interest in cruising by email to

Working boats WHILE replacing around 5km of

high voltage cable alongside the Birmingham Fazeley Canal, Western Power Distributors (WPD) used working boats to remove rubble and spoil rather than dumper trucks on the towpath, writes Bob Clarke. The £4 million project will help further secure electricity to around 20,000 customers in Birmingham City Centre and allow for increased future demand. To minimise disruption, temporary walkways were built over the canal to avoid diverting pedestrians from the towpath which gives direct access into the city.

Towpath assault

The Prince of Wales opens Welshpool Lock on May 23, 1974. It also marked the 40th anniversary of the first lock restoration on the Montgomery Canal, at Welshpool, which Prince Charles officially reopened on May 23, 1974. ● A full report on the Montgomery Canal Triathlon will appear next month.

Canal depot back on the market

By Bob Clarke

WOLVERhAMPTON nightspot Canal Club, formerly a British Waterways depot and warehouse, is back on the market with an asking price of £500,000 for a 116-year lease. The Grade II listed building, which is close to the junction of the Birmingham Main Line and the Wyrley & Essington Canal, has undergone a £100,000 refurbishment.

SEVERAL police officers, including dog handlers, were called in to search a canalside area after a woman had been sexually assaulted in a morning attack, writes Bob Clarke. The incident happened on the towpath of the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal at Cookley, near Kidderminster, on Monday, April 28. Police described the attacker as a white man, aged about 20 with messy dark hair who may have been covered in mud. Over the past few months there have been several attacks on women in that area.

Online vote IN OUR latest online poll at we asked readers whether they have been or are considering going to one of the Canal & River Trust’s open boaters’ meetings. Just over half of those who responded said they hadn’t yet but they planned to, while 36% said they wouldn’t; 12% have already attended a meeting. This month we are asking boaters what type of home mooring they have.


Visitors at The Junction Inn and the boatyard cafe watch the boating activity in the basin. PHOTOS:WATERWAY IMAGES

Successful shop window for Shrewsbury & Newport Canal Trust By Harry Arnold

(Coun Leon Murray, mayor of Telford & Wrekin Council, and his wife Barbara unveiled the new interpretation board along with S&NCT chairman Bernie Jones.

Tour de France race inspires cycling theme MANY narrowboats were decorated with a cycle theme at the 13th annual Skipton Waterway Festival, writes Geoff Wood. With the Tour de France race due to run nearby, owners decided it was their turn to mark the occasion. In addition to boats on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal, there were live bands, morris dancing, craft stalls, a birds of prey display and children’s rides. Among the other highlights was a raft race, with 11 rafts taking part. Ian Clarke, of organisers Pennine Cruisers, said: “We had 4000 visitors in one day alone, and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves.”

NORBURY Junction was packed with between eight and nine thousand visitors over the threeday May Bank Holiday weekend for the Shrewsbury & Newport Canal Trust’s (S&NCT) 2014 Norbury Canal Festival. Trade, historic and 26 other participating boats lined the towpath from the junction south along the Shropshire Union Canal’s Shelmore embankment. Over 40 trade and voluntary exhibitor stands and the entertainment marquee again filled the field by The Junction Inn and spread along the towpath. All offered a wide range of goods,

food, services and attractions, with entertainment for the children including Wild over Waterways (WoW) activities organised by the local Shrewsbury District & North Wales IWA Branch, which also sponsored the programme. Boat trips were run this year by Norbury Wharf’s passenger boat Shropshire Star and it really goes without saying that the yard’s cafe and The Junction Inn did a roaring trade in food and drink; although they had a competitor in price and home-made quality in the Norbury Women’s Institute. The Burton Borough Brass Band played during some of the day with a variety of styles of musical

and introduced them to visitors. Coun Murray – who is a regular supporter of the restoration project – also did some competition judging. Apart from funds raised, the Norbury Canal Festival was another successful promotional shop window in the S&NCT programme of activities to raise the profile of its campaign which has really moved into top gear over the past two or three years. It is perhaps disappointing that this level of public support did not exist to mount such a major event at Norbury during the original campaign in the 1960s when most of the waterway was intact.

Tugs in action at the Black Country Living Museum THE Black Country Living Museum at Dudley hosted its fifth tug gathering over the early May Bank Holiday weekend. The event is normally held every two years, and this year “we had the pleasure of seeing 13 historic tugs arrive in style”, writes harbourmaster Steve Bingham. The tugs were all moored up at the museum’s Lord Ward’s canal arm outside the rolling mills.

During the three days, tugs and their steerers demonstrated the art of towing ‘trains’ of Joeys or day boats around the canal of the museum, turning and reversing, which made a spectacular sight and created a very busy scene around the canalside. Vintage commercial trucks were also on show. A loaded Morris Commercial was reversed under the ex-Jones & Atterwood hand crane, where a team of men proceeded to unload the wooden

Dragon slayed at Standedge ST GEORGE proved himself a true patron saint when he thrilled scores of youngsters in a canalside setting, writes Geoff Wood. The knight in shining armour slayed a dragon at the Standedge Visitor Centre on the Huddersfield Narrow Canal at Tunnel End, Marsden. It was the climax of a fun afternoon on St George’s Day after a horse-drawn canal barge emerged from the Standedge Tunnel propelled by leggers with the horse led over the moor to meet the boat. The Horseboating Society provided the boat and a mini play for the children and cheers went up when the dragon was finally vanquished.

entertainment in the marquee in the evenings. There was a traditional canalside church service on the Sunday. One of the features of the event was the installation and unveiling of an information board – provided by S&NCT – close to the entrance to the Shrewsbury & Newport Canal from which visitors to Norbury can now learn something about the currently closed canal and the campaign for the reopening. The board was unveiled by Coun Leon Murray, Mayor of Telford & Wrekin Council, and his wife Barbara along with S&NCT chairman Bernie Jones who showed them around the event

Looking down the Lord Ward’s Canal Arm. PHOTOS: MALCOLM RANIERI

packing cases off the truck using the crane, then lowering the crates into the waiting Joey boat. The tug then towed the fully laden boat out of the museum, a scene which was recreated many times during the weekend. Joe Hollingshead was on site busy doing his fender making, which at times drew a large crowd around him. Later in the afternoon, a special tugshaped cake was presented to celebrate the joint 80th birthday of tugs Bittell and Pacific. The cake was cut up and shared around the pub during Saturday night’s birthday celebrations, with lashings of Marstons beer and food on tap. John Hadley also played singalong tunes on the piano in the back room of the Bottle and Glass pub. On Sunday morning, Canal & River Trust chief executive Richard Parry came to see the action unfold and had time to talk with many of the tug boat owners. Monday saw a visit from BCLM director Andrew Lovett, who was pleased to see a good turnout of tugs and visitors. Also around the village the working miniature steam traction engines and street organs added to the atmosphere; Punch and Judy were on hand to entertain the children; and on the Monday a Maypole dance was held. Over the three days a competition was held to determine the bestlooking historic tug and the best

Event organiser Steve Bingham, along with Bittell and Pacific’s owner John Pattle, cuts the cake to celebrate the joint 80th birthday of the Stewart & Lloyds 1934-built tugs, moored abreast on the canal arm. period clothing for the crew. The town crier went walking around the canalside towpath ringing his bell to gather the boat owners together in the rolling mills for 3.45pm. First prize of £50 and a trophy went to Tardebigge; second placed Atlantic and Sharpness, third, also received trophies and prizes of £30 and £20, respectively. It is intended to continue this competition at the Working Boat Gathering at the BCLM, which is being held on September 26-27, 2015. The Tugs attending were: Atlantic, Bittell, Coventry, Enterprise No1, Governor, Nanson, Oxford 1, Pacific, Sharpness, Tardebigge, Tycho, Vesta and modern tug Joanna.


Record crowd at Canalway Cavalcade

The Lord Mayor of Westminster, Coun Sarah Richardson, rings the ship’s bell to traditionally open the cavalcade watched by Richard Parry and Les Etheridge.


THE annual Canalway Cavalcade attracted a record crowd of more than 32,000 people at Little Venice in London over the early May Bank Holiday weekend. More than 130 boats attended the event organised by the Inland Waterways Association (IWA). They included Graeme Heap’s Dutch barge, Azolla, which celebrated its 100th anniversary while en route to its birthplace in the Netherlands. Organising committee chairman Jerry Sanders said: “The traders were extremely busy and many have already booked for next year. I’d like to thank all the 100 volunteers, who

helped to organise and set up the event for their hard work and dedication. It was an outstanding success.” At the opening ceremony on Saturday afternoon, Richard Parry, chief executive of the Canal & River Trust, and Les Etheridge, national chairman of IWA, both emphasised the value of the waterways, the work already achieved and the necessity to continue the job of preserving them. They also stressed the need for more volunteers, not only to work to restore the waterways, but also to assist in the organising of such successful events as Canalway Cavalcade.

‘Boris’ and his bike featured in a Tour de France theme on the award-winning Little Gem owned by Franze Pogatzky.

Braunston first for Northampton branch gathering MORE than 30 boats gathered in glorious sunshine for the Inland Waterways Association Northampton Branch’s first Boat Gathering held in the historic Nurser’s canal dock at Braunston Marina over the early May Bank Holiday weekend. The event was boosted in numbers by members of local adoption group Braunston Canal Society, one of the beneficiaries of funds raised over the weekend, and also some of the 250 moorers based at the marina. Chris Burton of Braunston Canal Society said: “We were delighted that IWA Northampton Branch chose Braunston as the site for its annual gathering this year and were pleased to assist and make it into an enjoyable and busy weekend for everyone. The branch has been very supportive of our volunteer work and we were glad to be able to repay some of this help.” The weekend saw a full programme of activities including guided walks, a treasure hunt, quizzes, games and competitions. Prize for best turned out boat was won by The Friends of Raymond who also received a donation of £166 from the proceeds of the raffle on Sunday night towards their work restoring, maintaining and exhibiting historic working boats Raymond and Nutfield. Highlights over the weekend were visits from Canal & River Trust South East waterway manager Neil Owen, and his family and Canal & River Trust chief executive Richard Parry who took time out from talking to visiting boaters to take a trip down to Braunston Turn and back aboard Aldgate steered by Nick Wolfe. Chris Heaton-Harris, local MP for Daventry, also dropped by.

A colourful scene at the Northampton IWA gathering.


Braunston Marina owner Tim Coghlan, who kindly allowed IWA Northampton Branch use of the marina facilities, said: “With excellent weather – especially for a bank holiday – it proved a very successful and enjoyable gathering. This was so both for our visiting friends from IWA and our moorers who welcomed the on-site real ale bar, barbecue and fish ’n’ chips facilities!”

Watched by the crowds on the bridge is the best decorated private entry, Muttley, owned by Michael and Marion Birch. Coun Sarah Richardson, Lord Mayor of the City of Westminster, welcomed everybody and thanked the IWA for putting on the event. As has become the tradition at Cavalcade, she then rang the ship’s bell to officially open the festival. The pageant, after the opening ceremony, and procession of illuminated boats on Sunday evening were very well attended with some remarkable constructions including Nelson’s Column, a replica Boris with one of his bikes and some guards from the Trooping of the Colour. There was a wonderful atmosphere among the crowds, throughout the three days of the festival. The following awards were presented by John Edmonds, vice-president of London Region IWA, on Monday afternoon and all the waterborne competitions and processions were supported by British Land:

Winner of the trophy for the best illuminated boat was Tryst No 1, owned by Tim and Sue Gwynne-Evans. Best decorated privately entered boat in Saturday’s Pageant – Muttley owned by Michael and Marion Birch; ‘boaters Sunday Best’ costume – Robin and Laura Ormerod on Miss Matty; illuminated boat in Sunday evening’s procession – Tryst No. 1, owned by Tim and Sue Gwynne-Evans; entry by a

boater who has not previously taken part in either the pageant or illuminated procession – Little Gem, owned by Franze Progatzky; boat handling – Ray Oakhill on Stronghold; novice competitor – Franze Progatzky (Little Gem); best boat overall – Nimrod, owned by Craig Haslam.



Michele Field

WE WERE saddened to hear of the death of Oxfordshire-based waterways artist Michele Field on Sunday, April 6. A member of The Guild of Waterway Artists for many years, her work regularly appeared on our What’s On pages.

Rescue thanks A BOATER who was pulled from the cold

water of a canal has appealed for her rescuers to come forward, writes Geoff Wood. Emily Harding, 65, a member of Bridgewater Motor Boat Club, plunged into the canal at Castlefield, Manchester, when she was casting off her boat and lost her footing. Luckily for her, two men appeared, pushing the boat back from the wall and pulling her out of the water by her arms. Now Emily, of Runcorn, Cheshire, wants to thank her rescuers personally.

Alarm winners

TWENTY lucky Towpath Talk readers each won a Carbon Monoxide Alarm, courtesy of Safelincs, in our competition in the March issue. Congratulations to: Lisa Grabham of South Hetton, Co Durham; Antony Duke of Great Totham, Essex; Michaela Hannah of Stockton-on-Tees, Cleveland; Linda Acaster of Birstall, Leicestershire; Georgina Peck of Darlington, Co Durham; Edward Hart of York; Paul Stephens of Welling, Kent; Jamie Banks of Amersham, Buckinghamshire; Hazel Wright of Buxton, Derbyshire; Jon Oldham of Wigan, Greater Manchester; Barbara Steer of Walsall, West Midlands; Laurence Morrin of Denton, Manchester; Estelle Thorpe of Enderby, Leicestershire; Nick Smart of Woking, Surrey; Christina Jarrett of Taunton, Somerset; Lucy Routledge of Sunderland, Tyne & Wear; Erica Field of Heywood, Lancashire; Angela Pickering of Chester; Anna Gaber of London; and Stephen Ilsley of Tipton, West Midlands.

Historic Roll of Honour joins refurbished museum collection By Steve Dean

A RECENTLY discovered First World War Roll of Honour, produced by the Grand Junction Canal Company, is now part of the display at the refurbished museum at Stoke Bruerne. The historic document was found at CRT’s Brentford office and is now conserved for the nation. CRT’s chief executive, Richard Parry, welcomed guests on Wednesday, April 30 to the reopened museum, which has undergone extensive renovation during the past few months. The work has been made possible following a £61,000 grant from the Arts Council England Renaissance strategic support fund, and support from the Friends of the Canal Museum. Part of the work has been the installation of directional eco-lighting, and in conjunction with complete redecoration of the interior, the museum’s important collection is now displayed in a much-improved facility. To enable the work to take place, more than 900 objects had to be taken out, safely stored and carefully returned. As part of this process, every object was recorded and checked for deterioration. More than 800 volunteer hours were logged enabling this vital task to be achieved. In a speech, Richard Parry was unstinting in his praise to the volunteers, museum staff and contractors,

who have produced such a wonderful transformation of this popular canalside location. Richard stated: “I have seen for myself the vital role it plays both in the local community and in its national role as an important collection of waterways artefacts.” He then proceeded to install the First World War Roll of Honour into the museum’s collection. Among the guests were Christine Ratledge and Doris Osborne, two daughters of the late Jack James, who for many years was the lock keeper at Stoke Bruerne. Jack took great pride in the appearance of the location and started the collection of items which was to become the foundation of the museum. The museum’s collection is housed in the upper two floors of an historic corn mill, with the ground floor occupied by a shop and the very popular Waterside Cafe. Being located alongside the top lock of the Stoke Bruerne flight of locks, and just a short walk from the southern portal of Blisworth tunnel and a woodland walk, the museum is a perfect destination for a family day out. With two inns next to the canal and plenty of places for a picnic, Stoke Bruerne is the ideal place to enjoy the delights of seeing boats using the locks, taking a short cruise on a trip boat, or just watching the ducks and moorhens going about their business. Volunteers and ‘Friends’ have no time for a rest as it’s now all hands on the tiller preparing for the Stoke Bruerne 2014 Family Festival, which takes place on June 14-15. The event will provide the opportunity to see historic, working and trading boats, craft demonstrations, stalls, blacksmith demonstrations and to enjoy a beer festival, live music and all the delights of a traditional canal-based event.

David Blagrove, Louise Stockwin and Richard Parry with the recently discovered First World War Roll of Honour, produced by the Grand Junction Canal Company. PHOTOS: STEVE DEAN

Two very special guests were Christine Ratledge (left) and Doris Osborne, the daughters of the late Jack James, who was for many years the lock keeper at Stoke

On a glorious spring day, Richard Parry, Louise Stockwin, David Blagrove and Lorna York climb aboard Sculptor, which was built by Yarwood’s in 1935.

New homes go ahead subject to towpath upgrade By Bob Clarke

DUDLEY Metropolitan Borough Council has given permission for 80 homes to be built on former industrial land bordering the Stourbridge Canal’s town arm – on condition the developers will be prepared to upgrade the heavily used towpath. The developers were also told

to provide an area of open space and children’s play facilities, contribute to improvements in bus shelters and services in the area, and ensure the provision of affordable housing. Canalside improvements were suggested by Coun David Caunt, who is also a trustee of the Navigation Trust and a member of the Canal & River Trust’s

West Midlands Waterways Partnership, which is supporting the proposals. Mr Caunt told the council’s development control committee: “If developers are wanting to use the towpath then they should be willing to pay a bit of money to improve its badly eroded surface, which makes it virtually unusable at times in the winter.”

Helpingyoung peopleto discovertHewaterways TWO projects have been launched to encourage young people to engage with the waterways. The Canal & River Trust has secured Government funding through the Cabinet Office’s Youth Social Action Journey Fund, and led by the National Council for Voluntary Youth Services (NCVYS) for the first project in partnership with the RSPB and the National Federation of Young Farmers Clubs. It will see four full-time facilitators employed to work on canal-focused local ‘action squads’. Young people themselves, they will work alongside CRT volunteering teams, and will recruit and support young people to set up their own waterways focused action squads. Responding to local needs, the social action

could be anything from vegetation clearance, graffiti removal, litter picking, improving interpretation, or creating new wildlife habitat. The second Cabinet Office-funded project (from its Vulnerable & Disengaged Young People’s Fund) is also a year-long partnership project. Led by vInspired, the initiative will run until March 2015. Two consecutive groups of young people will work with the trust four days a week for six months – 30 people over the year. Working across the trust’s Central Shires waterway, the young people will again lead social action activities that will count towards a Level 2-accredited City & Guilds qualification in conservation.

RYA SPOTLIGHT 7 The Royal Yachting Association (RYA) is the national body for all forms of boating, including dinghy and yacht racing, motor and sail cruising, RIBs and sports boats, powerboat racing, windsurfing, inland cruising and narrowboats and personal watercraft.

Setting the standard for responsible boating By Jane Swan, project manager, The Green Blue

WHILE many holidaymakers are committed to a more environmentally friendly lifestyle at home and at work these days, this commitment is rarely a deciding factor when it comes to choosing a holiday, with cost and weather usually coming out top in market surveys. That said, it’s not difficult to see why more and more people are getting away from everyday stresses by escaping to the peace and tranquillity of the UK’s beautiful canals and inland waterways; and it’s the quality of the natural environment around them that will make their time on the water so memorable. With over 100 boat hire companies in the UK, and over 35,000 boats on the network, increasing numbers of boaters can mean more pressure on that natural environment, so it goes without saying that looking after the natural assets of the waterways is important for business. One company has taken sustainable boating to its heart and is a great example of how simple it can be.

Wandering Duck, also known as Rakiraki – the Maori name for duck – is a 69ft narrowboat based in Bugsworth Basin on the Peak Forest Canal in Derbyshire. The commitment of owners Ruth and Mark Bratt is clear to see. An environmental policy on their website reads more like a blog as it shares their sustainable approach to life and in doing so, sets a subtle but important standard for all who come aboard. Recycling, avoiding the use of plastic bags and using environmentally friendly cleaners and toiletries on board are small changes that can make a big difference. And the changes represent a discreet way for customers to do their bit and even make them think twice about their surroundings. For example, with grey water effectively ending up in the canal, whatever goes down the sink or the drain (from cleaning agents to cooking oil) will impact on water quality and the wildlife and plant life that depends on it. Ruth and Mark have also modified the boat, with water-saving shower heads to minimise waste water and the installation of a 380W solar PV system to decrease the boat’s dependence on the diesel engine for generating electricity. Regular maintenance to reduce oily leaks and disposing of used engine oil in designated waste facilities all help to minimise the risk of harmful hydrocarbons entering the water. Bilge socks are also a simple and relatively inexpensive way of catching any oily bilge water before it is pumped over the side. From time to time The Green Blue has a small supply to give away, so get in touch at if you would like to try one.

Nothing overboard Hosts Ruth and Mark Bratt share their sustainable approach to life on board Wandering Duck.

Wandering Duck is a hosted, skippered vessel; but for hire boats there is also a great opportunity to educate customers at the point of handover – from simple asks such as “nothing overboard” (even for cigarette


Damage claim

A CHEMICAL company sited beside a river and a canal is being sued for the costs involved in investigating a huge fire there nearly three years ago, writes Geoff Wood. The blaze at Grosvenor Chemicals at Linthwaite in Huddersfield caused a series of explosions on land beside the River Colne and the Huddersfield Narrow Canal. In turn the fire caused environmental damage including damage to fish stocks in the River Colne. Now the Health and Safety Executive is suing Grosvenor for the cost of investigations which runs to £390,000 with £91,000 interest.

Enjoy an environmentally friendly holiday on the canals. PHOTOS SUPPLIED butts and apple cores which take months to decompose, are harmful for wildlife and pretty unsightly too) to more operational tasks such as refuelling and waste disposal. If customers are required to refuel during their holiday, show them how and equip them with a fuel collar and a spill kit just in case of spills and splashes. Above all, ask them not to squirt washing up liquid onto the spill to disperse it. This breaks down the hydrocarbons into smaller particles that can enter the water column and be even more harmful for aquatic life. With speed restrictions in place, it is unlikely that customers will be tempted to pick up the pace, but it might be worth a gentle reminder to go slow and avoid the disruption to other water users and the wake that affects wildlife and erodes the banks. Most of all, ensure that your customers are given the information, skills and confidence to enable them to enjoy their holiday in the knowledge that they are also protecting the beauty, countryside and heritage of the inland waterways environment for generations to come. ● Find out more about the work of The Green Blue at Find out more about Wandering Duck at

Tickets to Crick CONGRATULATIONS to the 10

winners of our recent competition who each receive a pair of tickets to the Crick Boat Show on May 24-26. They are: Mark Smith of Walsall, West Midlands; Leslie Hartley of Rotherham, South Yorkshire; Daniel Galloway of Shenley, Herefordshire; Ann McHatton of Potters Bar, Hertfordshire; Martin Pleece of Northampton; Peter Wisniewski of Droitwich, West Midlands; Pauline Thomas of Helensburgh, West Dunbartonshire; Barrie Haney of Hinckley, Leicestershire; David Page of Desford, Leicestershire and Sandra Tidey of Flore, Northamptonshire.

Aqueduct grant

ACCESS to an aqueduct which carries the Peak Forest Canal 100 feet over the River Goyt in Cheshire will be improved with a £1.5 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, writes Geoff Wood. Funding will also make it easier to view the water powered Mellor Mill at Marple and a series of lime kilns on site.


SOCIETY NEWS Biffa boost for Badger

FOLLOWING the recent theft of the outboard motor from one of their workboats, members of the Melton & Oakham Waterways Society were overjoyed to learn that Biffa Waste Management had offered to bear the majority of the cost of a new motor. This meant that the workboat Badger, which is used for cutting back trees and rubbish clearance, was only out of action for a short time. MOWS chairman Mick Clowes said the generous gesture would ensure that their river enhancement plans could continue at full pace, enabling them to operate both boats, Mole and Badger, together. (MOWS newsletter, Spring)

Stroudwater webcam A WEBCAM is now monitoring

water levels at Ebley Mill on the Stroudwater Navigation. The single set of gates can be closed at times of high water levels in order that excess flow can be deflected over the weir and into the River Frome just upstream of the mill. It uses Stroud District Council’s broadband and power with the camera mounted high on the building itself. The image refreshes every 10 seconds. If the pedestrian swing bridge is not across the channel, it means the Cotswold Canals Trust’s trip boat Endeavour is about to pass through.

Lottery grant for trust

LANCASTER Canal Trust has been awarded a Heritage Lottery Fund Catalyst Grant to carry out research into local people’s attitudes towards the canal and will ask what kind of activities they would like to get involved with. The focus is to ensure that the northern reaches of the canal, those cut off by the M6 above Tewitfield, are looked after as an important heritage asset for the area. Hincaster Tunnel itself is a Scheduled Ancient Monument and a fascinating reminder of how vital the canal was to Kendal and Lancaster’s development.

Rally field is offered

LICHFIELD Cruising Club is making a five acre field available as a rally venue for use by other bona fide clubs or associations which are part of or affiliated to any nationally recognised organisations. The site is not available for individual bookings but the field is ideally suited to caravan club rallies, car clubs or similar large events. There are no electrical hook-ups but both water and toilet facilities are available. For further details contact the club on 01543 432004.

Open day success

THE Daniel Adamson Preservation Society’s first VIP open day, held recently, was an overwhelming success. It helped to publicise the DAPS bid for a major Lottery grant to restore the historic steam tug.

The bear necessities at Saltisford IF YOU go down to the Saltisford Canal Centre orchard, you can have a close encounter with Bernard, a 7ft tall bear. This new living sculpture, made entirely of willow whips (salix); has been commissioned to commemorate the 1100th anniversary of the founding of Warwick in 914AD. Bernard has been designed and handcrafted out of willow by Alan Lorentzen. The name derives from the English form of the Anglo-Saxon name Beornheard, which means ‘bold as a bear’, so a suitable tribute to Ethelfleda, Lady of the Mercians and daughter of King Alfred, who founded the town. Mr Lorentzen, a director of the Saltisford Canal Trust, is a well known designer of ornamental and architectural stonework and has a canalside smallholding outside Warwick where he breeds champion alpacas. The willow used in the sculpture was hand coppiced and then woven over a four-week period, to create the stylised bear rampant grasping a wooden staff, which is the town’s emblem. It has been erected in the orchard next to the sensory garden, a generous donation towards its cost having been received from Warwick Town Council.

● The Saltisford Canal Trust, a registered charity, was set up in 1984 to restore the arm to navigation and to promote the use of the canal in Warwick. It does this by having a day hire boat, Saltie II, waterside gardens open free daily to the public, moorings for both visitor boats – over 800 in 2013 – and long term moored narrowboats.

The Mayor of Warwick, Coun Bob Dhillon, with Bernard the Bear following its unveiling with Saltisford Canal Trust chairman Nigel Hamilton and the sculpture’s creator Alan Lorentzen.


Lancaster Canal Trust adopts coat of arms livery for trip boat ROSES and castles are a feature on most UK canal boats, but the Lancaster adopted a more spartan livery, such as the stars seen on the Wigan Coal and Iron Company boats. Not wishing to emulate either, yet requiring a simple but unique design for Waterwitch, it was decided to use the coat of arms of the cities, towns and villages that the canal services. Lancaster and Kendal, including the castles, were painted on by hand last year and received instant recognition – the mayors of Lancaster City and Kendal and the chairman of South Lakes District Council taking a trip on the boat. This season the trust has added Preston, Garstang, Carnforth, Burton, Holme, Preston Patrick, Stainton and Sedgwick, with Hincaster, Borwick and others to follow.

Lancaster Canal Trust’s trip boat Waterwitch sporting its new livery with painter Frank Sanderson. PHOTO SUPPLIED

Pioneering society still has plenty to do By Geoff Wood

MEMBERS of a society who ‘dreamed the impossible dream’ and saw it through to reality have been celebrating the organisation’s 40th anniversary. Their preoccupation was the Huddersfield Narrow Canal which opened in 1811 as an early transPennine transport artery and was finally abandoned in 1944. But then a group of enthusiasts founded the Huddersfield Canal Society with the aim of restoring the canal to through navigation. The abandoned canal was in a poor state and in some areas, as in Stalybridge, it had been filled in altogether. Many thought the reopening of the canal was just an impossible dream. But

continued work with volunteers and later assistance from British Waterways, Kirklees, Oldham and Tameside councils over a period of 27 years finally resulted in the canal being officially reopened by the Prince of Wales in September 2001. But while the Herculean task may now be behind them, the society members believe there is still much to do for the canal which runs from Ashton-underLyne to Huddersfield through the Standedge Tunnel, the longest, highest and deepest canal tunnel in Britain. Society chairman Alan Stopher said: “The Huddersfield Canal Society has reinvented itself since the canal reopened. It aims to be around for many years to come promoting the canal, ensuring the canal is well maintained and pushing for improvements.”

Community involvement key to funding success

THE Derby & Sandiacre Canal Trust hosted a meeting of Northern Canals Association at Chellaston on April 27. It gave the 40 delegates who attended a detailed understanding of the history of the canal and the planning and preparatory work that the society had undertaken with consultants BWB to put forward the strategy for restoration of the waterway. A series of partnerships together created a viable economic case for the project with multiple community benefits. The importance of that community involvement and benefit was reinforced by the main speaker, Amanda Turner, grants officer for Heritage Lottery, East Midlands. In an extremely informative presentation, she explained what was needed for a Heritage Lottery bid to be successful and that a waterway restoration scheme alone did not meet

the criteria. She answered the many questions in an honest, frank manner which was appreciated by her audience. NCA chairman Chris Hayes said this informal forum also gave members of the group the opportunity to add their own experience of completing successful bids. What was perhaps surprising to some was that, although the process had been hard work, in every case it had been felt that the collection of information, in particular oral histories, had been hugely rewarding in itself, irrespective of the outcome of the bid. Following the exchange of information and progress reports from the societies and trusts attending, there was a chance to walk the line of the canal to Swarkestone and visit the toll house recently restored by Swarkestone Boat Club.

A wide range of services include a canal visitor centre, laundrette and gift shop and promotion of the historic significance of the canal on Warwick’s development. The Saltisford Canal Centre is a five minute walk from the Sainsbury’s car park, along the Birmingham Road.

Founder Michael takes the helm RETIRED solicitor Michael Limbrey was elected chairman of the Shrewsbury District and North Wales Branch of the Inland Waterways Association at its April 2014 meeting. He said afterwards: “It was a surprise – and a privilege – to be asked to act again as branch chairman.” Michael, who lives in Llanymynech, has nearly 40 years of involvement with the IWA. He was the founder secretary of the local branch at its inception in 1975 and has been chairman on two previous occasions before becoming its president in 2009. He received an MBE for services to waterways. Michael continued: “Things have changed since 1975. Today there is a recognition of the value of our waterways and that what we do to sustain, protect and promote them makes a contribution to the wellbeing of our area, telling a wider audience what this area has to offer. “It is important that we should continue to focus on the interests of boat owners and hirers who come to enjoy the wonderful canals in this area. We share our branch waterways with many other volunteer organisations and we will continue to

Michael Limbrey at the 2013 Shrewsbury River Festival. PHOTO SUPPLIED seek to work with them to achieve what we all look for: an enhanced waterway network to be appreciated by future generations.” A branch spokesman said: “Michael has built up unparalleled experience of the many facets of the fantastic waterways in our area especially the Montgomery Canal Restoration Trust which he also chairs.”

Joint first for Wirral Autistic Society and Cheshire Cat Training AUTISM is a little-understood disorder that affects many people around the world. The condition can make it difficult to achieve even the simple tasks of day-to-day life, and communication and developing skills can be a massive challenge. Wirral Autistic Society supports people who have the condition, and one of the ways it does this is by organising outings on its own narrowboat, The Enterprise. One of the service users, Alex Hardy, showed such aptitude and enthusiasm for handling the boat that the society approached Cheshire Cat Training to

Alex Hardy operating a lock during his day course with instructor Linda Andrews of Cheshire Cat Training.


ask whether he could be considered to undertake the Inland Waterways Helmsman course. So it was that Alex spent the day travelling along the canal, using locks and independently steering Cheshire Cat’s training boat under the watchful eye of instructor Linda Andrews. Alex really enjoyed the day, ticking off all the necessary tasks to complete the course, and was overwhelmed by the excitement of achieving his Inland Waterways Helmsman Certificate. He is the first service user from the society to gain this award. Throughout the day, he was accompanied by staff member Michelle Miller, who also achieved her certificate. Thanks to the support from the society and from Cheshire Cat Training they have both managed to achieve new things. Linda said afterwards: “Alex was a pleasure to teach, he had a natural talent for boat handling and was able to follow instructions. He was very quick at picking up new skills such as tying knots and he showed a good appreciation of the safety aspects of the course. It was a great day for me too.” ● Cheshire Cat Training: 07867 790915,


Historic Easter gathering at Foxton EVERY other year, the Historic Narrow Boat Club organises an alternative Easter gathering for members who find it difficult to get to Ellesmere Port for the National Waterways Museum’s event. This year, HNBC met at Foxton, with more than 40 historic narrowboats tied up along the Market Harborough Arm. The Foxton Canal Museum also chose this weekend to launch a year-long celebration of the opening of the original Grand Union Canal, meaning plenty to see for boaters and visitors alike. The HNBC event, run entirely by members on a voluntary basis, included a real ale bar in the village hall. Highlights of the weekend included talks from Michael Beech of the Foxton Inclined Plane Trust, and Beryl MacDowall, who entranced the audience with her reminiscences of carrying in the 1970s. There were also film shows, a waterways quiz, and the ‘tat auction’, which is rapidly becoming legendary. Music was provided throughout the weekend by a local folk collective and by busking boaters. Members remarked on what an excellent venue Foxton made, with plenty of good moorings and

Kath Corbett on hammer dulcimer and Neil Corbett on mandolin playing traditional tunes to the rhythm of Chertsey’s Petter PD2. PHOTO: SARAH HALE excellent facilities. The organisers thanked the Canal & River Trust for facilitating the gathering. For its next biennial Easter gathering, HNBC hopes to visit the Basingstoke Canal, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the club’s founding in 1966.

Historic narrowboats moored along the Market Harborough Arm. PHOTO: RICHARD BOOTH

Flagship of the Year award for Humber keel HUMBER keel Daybreak has been named 2014’s Flagship of the Year by National Historic Ships UK. The 61ft vessel, built by Richard Dunston of Thorne and launched in 1934, was one of the last keels built, and was owned by Hanleys, a firm of Doncaster flour millers. Motorised in the 1940s, she was restored to sail in 1986, and has been based on the River Thames for the last 38 years. According to National Historic Ships UK, the submission from owners Tony and Sally Woodward was outstanding, with the title being awarded due to an extensive public programme over the coming season. This includes festivals, barge matches, open days all along the East Coast, and reconstruction of a trading voyage under sail from Hull to Doncaster. The award means a traditional, swallow-tailed broad pennant can fly from the masthead wherever Daybreak goes, marking her flagship status. The Woodwards also receive a grant of £1000 towards the cost of keeping the vessel in operational condition and opening her for public viewing.

Humber keel Daybreak is the National Historic Ships UK’s flagship for 2014. PHOTO SUPPLIED



Stolen cash box recovered during spring cleanup THE recovery of a stolen cash box earned the Inland Waterways Association’s Milton Keynes branch a £100 reward following the latest spring cleanup on the Grand Union Canal. It later came to light that the security cash box, which was handed over to the police, had been stolen in 2009. During a very successful weekend, volunteers met at Fenny Lock and worked north to Bridge 78 at Giffard

A scooter is removed from the Grand Union Canal during the IWA Milton Keynes Branch cleanup. PHOTO: DAVID KING

Park on the Friday (April 11) and then on to Bridge 68 at Old Wolverton on the Saturday. A total of 47 IWA volunteers and 14 scouts were involved over the course of the two days contributing 561 volunteer hours of time. The group also had help from the Canal & River Trust’s John Highmore and Miriam Tedder (volunteer co-ordinator and team leader in the South East); Graham Newman (lead volunteer); and Paul Swaby and Ian Tyler, both members of CRT staff, who operated a dredger in support of the volunteer effort on the Friday. Unfortunately, the dredger broke down and was unable to support the cleanup on the Saturday. The dredger was used several times on the Friday and without it there were items that would not have been recovered, namely a motorcycle adjacent to Bridge 90B at Woughton, a metal drum near Campbell Park and a very large motor scooter near Lionhearts Cruising Club. Other interesting items found over the two days included three motorcycles, a circular saw, an overhead projector and a rubber duck.

Work party features on BBC Radio treasure hunt THE IWA South Yorkshire & Dukeries Branch, along with members of the Abbeydale Rotary Club, held their annual spring cleanup at Tinsley Marina on the Sheffield & Tinsley Canal. This year it had come to the attention of BBC Radio Sheffield which asked to feature the April 13 event on its Sunday morning Treasure Hunt programme, where listeners are given clues to guess the featured destination. The event itself was a success. Approximately 30 people turned out on the beautiful Sunday morning to clear away litter, which volunteers said was less prevalent than in previous years. About 50 bags of rubbish were collected before pie and peas were enjoyed at Tinsley Boat Club.

Cast iron bridge painting on the Caldon Canal DRY weather enabled volunteers from IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch to continue a project to paint the iconic cast iron bridge at Hazelhurst Junction on the Caldon Canal. The bridge, which dates back to 1842 and has listed status, has intricate cast iron balustrades in a scalloped pattern, which the volunteers discovered were surprisingly time-consuming to scrape and wire brush in preparation for painting. A small number of volunteers on this

particular occasion meant that only one side of the bridge was tackled, half of which was receiving a second coat of white paint following the start of the project in the autumn, while the other half received its first coat. The handrail on that side of the bridge also had a second coat of black. It was good to note that the new bridge deck surface, that had been barrowed into place on a previous work party, had consolidated nicely and formed a good towpath surface over the bridge.

Friends’ group completes its 50th task

The volunteers on the finished steps with Millie the security dog. PHOTO SUPPLIED THE Small Tasks Team Volunteers (STTV), a group of about 50 friends with many decades of experience between them of volunteering, has completed its 50th task since 2012. STTV is not a club, society or charity, there are no membership rules or fees, or pre-requisite membership of any organisation required. The group is organised by Paul Mills and Maurice Ward who have been accepted by Canal & River Trust as sufficiently competent and experienced to organise and manage volunteer work parties. The group’s aim is to enhance the canal system for the benefit of all users – boaters, walkers and anglers – while having a bit of fun. The group operates as an identified partner group working in partnership with the CRT volunteer co-ordinator for the North Wales & Borders Waterway area. It undertakes minor construction

tasks within the area covered by the North Wales & Borders Waterways’ region of the CRT, the Shropshire Union Canal system and the River Weaver. All materials, some of the tools, and insurance cover is provided by the CRT but STTV is slowly acquiring sufficient tools to meet its needs. Projects, primarily one-day tasks, are identified by the group, the CRT, and other waterway user groups. However, two or more day tasks might also be considered. Since the first task was completed in March 2012, the STTV has now completed 50 tasks for the CRT. This milestone was met in April when timber board and aggregate steps with hand rails were installed at Hoolgrave Bridge (Bridge 11) on the Middlewich Branch of the Shropshire Union Canal to improve access between a public footpath crossing the bridge and the canal towpath. Additionally, an access gate with adjacent fencing was installed at the head of the steps.

FORTHCOMINGWORK PARTY EVENTS Anyone intending to attend one of these events for the first time should contact the organisers beforehand and wear suitable clothing and footwear. If staying all day take a packed lunch unless other arrangement indicated.

Sunday, June 1

IWA Northampton Branch: Monthly work party on the Northampton Arm. Contact Geoff Wood by email

Monday, June 2 and Wednesday, June 4

IWA Warwickshire Branch supporting Canal & River Trust Towpath Taskforce: Hatton, Grand Union Canal. Meet at CRT maintenance yard, Hatton Locks, Birmingham Road, Warwick CV35 7JL. 10am to about 3pm.

Every Wednesday

River Gipping Trust supported by IWA Ipswich Branch: Pipps Ford (Needham Market, Ipswich, Suffolk IP6 8LJ) or Baylham Mill Lock (Mill Lane, Ipswich, Suffolk IP6 8LG) River Gipping. Meet at 9am to continue clearing storm damage to Pipps Ford or carry out maintenance at Baylham Mill Lock, finish at 3.30-4pm. Martin Bird 01394 380765,

Saturday, June 7

Volunteers at Hazelhurst bridge. PHOTO:ALISON SMEDLEY

First monthly work party on the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal

IWA Birmingham, Black Country & Worcestershire volunteers on the first work party at Falling Sands Lock, Kidderminster. PHOTO: JO SMITH

THE first of a series of monthly work parties was held on the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal. Seven branch volunteers from the IWA Birmingham, Black Country & Worcestershire Branch gathered at Falling Sands Lock, south of Kidderminster, where they were met by CRT volunteer leader, Steve Lambert. Work included painting the lock gates and metal work at Falling Sands Lock, painting a nearby sluice that lets water into the adjacent River Stour, and planting grass seed to finish a raised bank carried out as a flood precaution.

Some 12 volunteers attended over the three days contributing in excess of 200 hours of work. The weather remained good on the work days although night-time rain left the partially excavated route slippery. This task was requested by Church Minshull Parish Council which wishes to establish a circular walk, the Minsh Trail, from the village and embracing the canal. The project has the backing and support of the Waterways Partnership as its local appeal project for this year. Now the steps have been installed it is planned that the parish council will complete its arrangements with the CRT to adopt a stretch of the canal. Funding will then be sought to install an interpretation panel on the towpath and create an information leaflet. The volunteers will select their next project from a shortlist of 12 possible tasks – all of which will be one-day work parties.

IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch: Monthly work party on the Dee Branch in Chester. 10am to 4pm. Come and help out at the IWA Campaign Rally. Meet at Telfords Warehouse car park, Chester CH1 4EZ. Mike Carter 07795 617803 or Mike Slade 07977 263840. IWA West Country Branch: Litter picking and bank work starting at CRT’s Maintenance Depot, Dyers Lane, Bathpool, Taunton TA2 8BY at 10.15am and finishing at around 2pm.

Saturday/Sunday, June 7-8

Worcester Birmingham & Droitwich Canals Society supported by IWA Birmingham, Black Country & Worcestershire Branch: Monthly work party weekend at Tardebigge Lime Kilns. 10am to 3pm each day. Meet at Canal & River Trust depot at Tardebigge, Worcester & Birmingham Canal (New Wharf, Alcester Road, Tardebigge, Bromsgrove B60 1NF). Bill Lambert

Wednesday, June 11

IWA Birmingham, Black Country & Worcestershire Branch: Monthly work party on the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal. 10am to 3pm. Meeting place to be confirmed but will be in the Kidderminster area. David Struckett 07976 746225,

Thursday, June 12

IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch and the Caldon & Uttoxeter Canals Trust: Himalayan Balsam pulling work party on the Caldon Canal at Cheddleton. Meet at Cheddleton Top Lock (off Cheadle Road, Cheddleton, Staffordshire ST13 7HL). 10am to 3pm. Bob Luscombe on 07710 054848,

Tuesday, June 17

IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch and Trent & Mersey Canal Society: Monthly work party on the Cheshire Locks, Trent & Mersey Canal. 10am to 4pm. Meeting point to be confirmed. Bob Luscombe 07710 054848,

Thursday, June 19 and Saturday, June 21

IWA Warwickshire Branch supporting Canal & River Trust Towpath Taskforce: Kingswood Junction, Lapworth. Meet at CRT maintenance yard, Brome Hall Lane, Lapworth, Solihull B94 5RB. 10am to about 3pm.

Saturday, June 21

IWA Lee & Stort Branch: Preparing the site for the Ware River Festival being held over the weekend of July 4-6. Further information from IWA Manchester Branch supporting Canal & River Trust Towpath Taskforce: Monthly work party, location to be confirmed. 10am to 4pm. Contact 07971 444258,

For further information on any of these events contact: Alison Smedley, IWA branch campaign officer (07779 090915 or email ) or Stefanie Preston, IWA branch campaign assistant (01494 783453 or email Information can also be found on IWA’s website:


There’s life in the old lock gates yet AFTER dealing with the damage caused by the winter’s storms, Buckingham Canal Society (BCS) work party volunteers have been working alongside a group from Network Rail for a team building day. The task was to put a pair of old lock gates to good use again at Hyde Lane Lock, within the Buckingham Canal Nature Reserve near Thornborough Mill. BCS leases the reserve from Berkshire, Buckinghamshire & Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust (BBOWT) and manages it on the trust’s behalf. In April, trustee Jonathan Brown and some eager volunteers wondered how, if at all, something unique could be made from the pair of old wooden lock gates that laid forlorn by the side of their former home. These were only recently discovered in the lock chamber bed at the same time as a replacement pair from the Northampton Arm, donated by the CRT, was installed back in 2012. “It was decided that we would have a go at producing a stunning piece of recycling to complement the nature reserve and canal lock for years to come. They would become seats. However, there were one or two minor obstacles to consider, such as ‘How would we move or even lift them?’ or ‘How can we cut through them with all the old rusted metal work in place?’. “If we can restore a stretch of canal, then surely, with enough team effort, light work could be made of this project. With that in mind, over the course of two work parties and many hours of sweat and tears, we could eventually take a long-earned rest upon the seats we created.” Each gate was carefully and painstakingly cut down to a suitable seating height and with the effort of several volunteers, they were lifted upright, bottom end up, and slowly walked toward their final positions where they would face the canal. Here, two deep trenches were dug for the gates to be sunk into. To make the installation easier, the gates were lowered flat on to wooden beams adjacent to these trenches and carefully manoeuvred along

Kim Notridge and Phillip Strangeway prepare the second gate before it can be moved to its final position. PHOTOS: IAN MATSO them and tilted into their final resting places. The remaining spaces were backfilled and the turf was replaced. All that remained was to tidy them up and paint them in a sympathetic manner similar to the black-and-white lock gate colour scheme, with a little artistic licence of course. The only downside? Well, they were just too wet to road test. If you are in the area, please take time to visit the reserve which forms part of the Ouse Valley Way and can be reached by foot from the Bourton Meadow end of the canal near Buckingham or from Thornborough. Details can be found at ● Work parties are held every other Thursday and the second Sunday of each month and are always friendly, welcoming and very rewarding. If you would like to become involved, more details can be found by visiting work-parties/ and for all other aspects of the society, please visit

With the newly installed seats are Pete Carr, Hallam Carr, Tony Purbick, Richard Watkins, Athina Beckett (trustee, volunteer leader and work party organiser), Kim Notridge, Geoff Wood, Phillip Strangeway, Carrie Hemming (Network Rail), Zoe Owen (Network Rail) and Jonathan Brown (trustee and equipment manager). Other volunteers included Bryan Knight, Les Shean, Stevie Lishman and Michael Rawlings.

More hard work on the Bridgwater & Taunton towpath IT WAS another success story at Bridgwater on May 3 with good weather and the help of 20 volunteers plus two CRT staff all there to tackle the litter along the Bridgwater & Taunton. The volunteers split into four

groups who started between bridges 6 and 7 and worked along the towpaths in all directions. Another four volunteers worked from the CRT motorised flat workboat. About 30 black bags of rubbish

were collected as well as three bikes, five road cones, a new Aldi shopping trolley, plastic sheets, carpet underlay and some traffic safety barriers, which the group managed to return to their original work sites!

Volunteers join forces to give Maureen’s lock a makeover DESPITE a weather forecast to the contrary, Wednesday, April 30, dawned bright, warm and sunny for the first of three planned work parties at Wardle Lock on the short stretch of the Wardle Canal at Middlewich with IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire and IWA Shrewsbury & North Wales Branches.

Lock painting at Wardle Lock. PHOTO:ALISON SMEDLEY

Many people will recognise this location as being the former home of the late Maureen Shaw who for many years lived in the adjoining lock cottage. Over the past few years the lock has become somewhat untidy and so a joint working party was set up between IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch, IWA Shrewsbury and North Wales Branch, the Trent & Mersey Canal Society and CRT to bring the lock back to some of its former glory. Twenty willing volunteers of various ages turned up on the day to lend a hand. Some travelled from quite a distance but there were also a number of local residents who had come along out of respect for Maureen and were keen to see the lock back in good shape. The team worked hard scraping down the old paintwork on both the gates and railings as well as clearing the steps on the offside below the lock of vegetation. A fresh coat of paint was put on to the locks and at the end of the day the improvement was great to see.


Foundation launches refitted holiday boat

By Polly Player

THE Queen Elizabeth’s Foundation for Disabled People has recently relaunched its newly refitted holiday hire boat, the QEF Jubilee. The £50,000 renovation of this 55ft long by 12.5ft wide canal boat incorporated a full engine overhaul, internal refit and refurbishment of the flooring and windows. I was invited along to a press day aboard the QEF Jubilee at the beginning of May in order to check out the boat and the innovations that it incorporates. QEF Jubilee is the only boat of its kind on the network and is specifically designed to meet the needs of people with physical disabilities, incorporating accommodation, lifts, and modifications that allow wheelchair users to be able to take full control of steering the boat. Able to sleep up to eight people, including three wheelchair users, a large, accessible cruiser stern area allows plenty

Sophie Partridge steering the QEF Jubilee with the hydraulic joystick.


of room for both guests who are standing or wheelchair users, with a smooth and efficient wheelchair lift located just inside the stern doors. Another lift on the starboard side of the bow of the boat offers a range of options for wheelchair users to enter and exit the boat with ease. The facilities within the boat offer all mod cons designed to meet the needs of wheelchair users and others with physical disabilities. A wheelchairaccessible shower and toilet, medical bed with hoist system, charging ports for electric wheelchairs and plenty of room for wheelchairs to manoeuvre within the boat are just some of the unique features on board the QEF Jubilee.

Clever innovations

As well as the various fixtures and fittings, the QEF Jubilee also incorporates a range of clever innovations that may have potential applications for non-disabled boaters and boat owners too.

Wheel steering in the bow.


The simple system of holding mooring equipment by means of a mounting board with inverted hooks was just one of these; but my particular favourite was an interesting looking piece of kit called the Flexzi, made by a company named Meru, which specialises in creating products for people with disabilities. The Flexzi incorporates a hard foam case designed to hold a tablet or iPad, which attaches to a strong, flexible system of arms. The entire unit can then be clamped onto the arm of a wheelchair, or anything else for that matter, something that certainly caught my eye as a space-saving device. The boat is tailored towards holiday hire by family groups with a disabled family member or for small mixed groups of disabled and nondisabled people. QEF Jubilee is based in the Hemel Hempstead area of the Grand Union Canal, and hire of the boat for a week or more includes the assistance of a qualified skipper for the first day to help acquaint guests with the general workings of the boat and learn how to operate locks. Control of the boat can be taken from the stern, where tiller steering is present, or by means of wheel steering within the bow, which can also be substituted for a hand-held hydraulic joystick. Both of these latter options allow wheelchair users to be able to operate the boat independently without assistance. Hiring the QEF Jubilee is not prohibitively expensive either, particularly when compared to the rates

QEF Jubilee winding. PHOTO CATH FINCHER for hiring a standard narrowboat during the holiday season. A week’s hire of the QEF Jubilee ranges from £700 during low season to £850 during high season, which includes the assistance of a skipper for the first day of the trip. Day hire is also available, at £200 per day for self-hire or £280 per day for skippered hire. ● The QEF Jubilee can be hired directly via the Queen Elizabeth’s Foundation for Disabled People, contact 01372 841148; more information is available online at

The board and hook system to hold mooring equipment. PHOTO: POLLY PLAYER Bursaries and help with covering the cost of a week’s hire may be available for some parties too, depending on eligibility.


New season starts with anniversary celebration

Ready for a new season, the Bruce Trust’s refurbished boat Rebecca. PHOTOS COURTESY


THE Bruce Trust celebrated its 25th anniversary recently at Great Bedwyn Wharf on the Kennet & Avon Canal with the relaunch of its first boat Rebecca after a £120,000 refurbishment and the start of a new season. More than 120 guests included past, present and future hirers, donors, volunteers and local supporters. They were also shown the Bruce Charitable Foundation’s new wheelchair-accessible motorhome which is available for hire. The trust has been providing holidays and day trips for disabled, disadvantaged or elderly people since

NCBA training and assessment

In the second of a series of articles about community boating, National Community Boats Association chairman Derek Stansfield explains the training and assessment procedure for community boat crew FOR boats carrying more than 12 passengers, there is statutory legislation in place enforcing the required qualifications and experience to skipper the boat. More details on this requirement can be found at For boats carrying 12 passengers or fewer there is guidance within the MCA publication Inland Waterways Small Passenger Boat Code (SPBC), which can be enforced at the discretion of the local MCA officer. In this guidance there is a raft of governing body qualifications to skipper a boat. One of these, the Certificate in Community Boat Management (CCBM), fits into the overall training and qualifications structure of the National Community Boats Association (NCBA). The NCBA is arguably the only body that provides a progressive training and assessment structure for the management of a community boat from the crew right through to the trainer/assessor. The Community Crew Course (CCC) offers the

skills and knowledge to act as crew on a community boat. No previous experience is needed and it is seen as a way of people beginning to enjoy canals and boats and to build both boating and life skills. The course is delivered through an NCBA Accredited Training Centre (ATC) and as such is supervised by an NCBA trainer. On successful completion, a NCBA certificate is issued. CCC certificates do not need to be renewed. The Boat Handling Course (BHC) is comparable to the RYA Inland Waterways Helmsman Course and is a way for people to learn sufficient boating skills for them to be able to take a private boat out in ordinary conditions or to helm a community boat under a qualified skipper. On successful completion of the course, a certificate is issued. BHC certificates are not subject to renewal and are valid only for the waters where the course was taught.

being created by Louise and David Bruce in 1988. Following the refurbishment, Rebecca now features an enlarged foredeck which can take up to five wheelchairs thanks to a new hydraulic lift, large windows at the front of the cabin, 10 berths, a new engine and gearbox. A remote-steering device enables wheelchair users with minimal dexterity to single-handedly steer the 60ft long and 12ft wide boat. The trust’s other boats are the Diana, which also operates from Great Bedwyn, and Rachel from Lower Foxhangers near Devizes.

The Certificate in Community Boat Management (CCBM) is comparable to the Boat Master Tier 2 award. The CCBM is the last in the set of three courses. The certificate qualifies a person under MCA regulations to captain/skipper a community boat carrying no more than 12 passengers on the majority of inland waterways. It will also prepare one as to what to find out and do before captaining/skippering in an unfamiliar situation. On successful completion of the course, a certificate is issued. CCBM certificates are valid for five years after which they need revalidation. Revalidation is achieved through an ATC and refresher training has to be evidenced. The NCBA suite of courses is delivered by Accredited Training Centres which are monitored and supported to maintain the standards set in the NCBA regulations. Courses are moderated by visits from a senior trainer to establish that content and teaching standards are met. The Trainers’ Course (TC) is the only course run directly by the NCBA. The course combines learning with continuous assessment. The aim is to qualify candidates to run a range of NCBA courses and assessments effectively. The course has four units: • Course organisation • Preparation • Teaching subject matter

The 25th anniversary celebrations. ● Contact the Bruce Trust on 01264 356451, email or visit:

• Teaching practical skills Trainers have to re-register annually and attend a one-day refresher course after five years

The National Training Committee and moderation of Accredited Training Centres

The whole process of training and assessment is overseen by the National Training Committee, all of whom are designated as senior trainers. All senior trainers are selected through an interview, induction and training process. Members of the NTC also undertake the role of moderating ATCs. Derek Stansfield is the director of training for the NCBA. A former holder of the RYA/DOT Yachtmaster award and the Cruising Instructors Award, he was also a provider of RYA shorebased courses. Formerly manager of Cumbria Outdoors, he has recently retired as a senior inspector with the Adventure Activities Licensing Service. ● Further information on any of the NCBA courses and membership can be obtained from the administrator at and information on the centres providing courses can be found on the NCBA website at



Much more than moorings

The Association of Waterways Cruising Clubs celebrates its 50th anniversary with a rally next month. Helen Gazeley finds out how it all came about.

David Pearce, the Association of Waterway Cruising Clubs’ current national president. PHOTOS SUPPLIED

Helped out by the club’s members, he imagined a network offering emergency assistance and moorings to inland boaters around the country. Uxbridge Cruising Club and Lee and Stort CC soon joined Dunstable and St Pancras CC (of which Dennis was commodore), and the Association of Waterways Cruising Clubs (AWCC) was born. This year the AWCC celebrates its 50th anniversary. Its membership of about a hundred clubs – probably a third of those on the waterways – includes organisations as varied as the original Uxbridge, with only half a dozen boats, and Strawberry Island CC, mooring more than two hundred. Members can apply for temporary moorings at other AWCC clubs, exchange longerterm moorings with distant

members, or just tie up overnight where space is available. For weekend boaters cruising further afield, the chance to moor their boat at a club during the week can relieve worry. The ethos of help and rescue remains. The AWCC handbook lists a contact number to call for assistance for every club and the Harry Sykes’ award is given annually for Safety and Efficiency Afloat.

We understand clubs, what they have done for the waterways, and what they can contribute in this new era.”

However, the AWCC would hate to be known just for its reciprocal arrangements. It’s also deeply political. In the London


Private buyers and sellers, as well as traders can utilise photos, videos and featured listings to ensure that they can easily find or sell their boat.

over 300 adverts online

region alone last year, representatives attended meetings of the Canal & River Trust, National Inland Navigation Forum, London Waterways Commission and the Association of Thames Yacht Clubs. In the South East, partnerships have been established with Blisworth and Stoke Bruerne councils and Northampton IWA and, from the Midlands, an expert member

WHEN the late Dennis Cole broke down in front of Dunstable and District Boat Club on the Grand Union Canal in 1965, he had an idea.

Loyalty discounts for series bookings for traders.

Private sellers can list for free!

Different packages to suit all budgets.

Run by the publishers of the successful newspaper Towpath Talk.

Anticipated to become the biggest and best place to buy and sell boats online!

serves on the IWA-led committee on HS2. David Pearce, national chairman for eight years, and now national president for just over a year, says, “The AWCC style has always been nonconfrontational. We learned years ago that standing up, shouting the odds, gets you nowhere. If navigation authorities are convinced of our professional integrity, they are more likely to believe what we say and accept what we recommend.” It’s easy to imagine the flak this might draw from members who would prefer a more aggressive approach. “Paul Le Blique (the current national chairman), Tony Mason before me, we’re all scientific civil servants,” counters David. “You only get on in the civil service if you take a diplomatic view of life.”

Lobbying work

David is particularly proud of his contribution to the formation of the CRT. When Robin Evans announced the long-term funding agreement with Government, David knew that a year earlier he had convinced

This year the Harry Sykes’ Award for Safety and Efficiency Afloat was shared by David Evans (of Pewsey Wharf BC, here represented by Pauline King), who jumped in to release a lady when her electric scooter landed in the canal, and Malcolm Holbrook (Crooke CC) who hauled in passengers when the DUKW sank in the Salthouse Docks, Liverpool, last June.

How the AWCC works Every club appoints a representative to sit on one of six regional committees, from each of which two officers are sent to the governing body, the National Executive Committee. In addition, national officers are elected each year on the basis of one vote per club. David admits that some might see the allowance of one representative and vote, however large or small the club, to be a flaw. However, it’s a democratic structure, he says, that works, is recognised by the CRT, and is “simple for people to understand”. “Parochial matters do crop up,” he says, “but it’s surprising how close the clubs are together in their concerns.” him that this was crucial to a trust’s success. Some, of course, feel that the CRT is not boat-orientated enough. “It was made very clear from the outset,” he explains, “that if it was going to be a charity and involve volunteers, we had to look much wider than the boating community. We mustn’t neglect that community because boats are very important, but we have to compromise with bird watchers, anglers and cyclists.” The AWCC represents around 6500 boats. As David points out, with a probable average of three people behind each boat, that’s a lot of opinion feeding into the association. Membership seems one way for individual boaters to influence national policy. “Feedback from bottom to top is quite simple,” says David, and the AWCC would love more clubs to join. “We’re bigger together than separate; it’s having the vision that, for what is a minuscule (subscription) payment, we could be in a group that – bigger –would be able to do more.”

‘More’ would include the AWCC’s growing lobbying work. “We tend not to make a fuss, so people tend not to know about it, but so much has been achieved.” Yet to be resolved is the problem of ‘continuous moorers’, as David describes them. “Enforcement isn’t working,” he says. “If people wish to opt out of society, we need cheap moorings without facilities for them. One remedy could be self-help groups. They should join together as we did 50 years ago and do something practical to sort out their own situation, eg establish a mooring by hard graft. It needs to be tried, as long as CRT and local authorities are willing to co-operate.” The AWCC’s Fiftieth Anniversary Rally is being held from July 11-13 at the Black Buoy Cruising Club, Knowle, on the Grand Union. Events include music and a craft marquee. “We understand clubs, what they have done for the waterways, and what they can contribute in this new era. Come and join us,” says David, and he means for more than just the weekend.

● In the coming months, Towpath Talk will be featuring individual boat clubs. If you would like yours to be included please contact us on 01507 529466 or email

Dedicated to help buy and sell inland waterways boats and equipment.



The AWCC enables boaters to experience waterways they might not otherwise attempt. A convoy of small boats was last year escorted by members of the St Pancras Cruising Club to Gravesend.


Crossing the Ribble –

a waterways adventure

Norbury Wharf’s Simon Jenkins knows inland and seagoing vessels inside out.

In the first of a new series, Peter Underwood prepares his narrowboat Blackberry Way for the challenge ahead THE Ribble Link – a nine-mile passage on tidal rivers and an estuary linking the Rufford Branch of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal with the Lancaster Canal – is one of those ‘must do’ items on most boaters’ lists. However, while dozens make the passage each season, many more don’t quite get to make the booking – perhaps because, like the crossing of the Wash and the Bristol Channel passage between Sharpness and Bristol, it takes your narrowboat on to waters it wasn’t really designed to navigate. It will certainly be new ground for us and this series aims to demystify the crossing – from the procedures for booking and the pages of written advice from the CRT you have to wade through to the journey in a northwards direction and the way your boat has to work with tidal flows. Then it is through to the Lancaster itself, one of the few canals in Britain where you are actually on the coast in places, and the return journey with a different set of tidal challenges.


Okay, I know hundreds of boaters have used the Ribble Link since it was opened, but I also know there are a lot of people on the inland waterways who view it with some trepidation – after all it is almost the sea! We were probably among them until recently, for a number of reasons including the fact Blackberry Way was powered by an old, air-cooled Lister with large air vents at near water level and a tendency to use more oil than diesel. In addition, the boat is our only home, so losing it at sea would be more of a disaster than it would if a holiday boat had problems. Once the engine was replaced, with a second-hand Isuzu, and the vents welded up, the picture changed and we decided it was time for a bit of an adventure, especially as some of our grandchildren live alongside the lovely Lancaster Canal. Our minds made up, we were pestering Canal & River Trust’s Wigan office even before it had opened bookings for the 2014 season; and the day the application forms became available we filled one in and got it off, having scanned it and emailed it. It took a week or two but the excellent Ruth Moran came back to us to confirm we would be crossing on June 13 (Friday, June 13!) and returning in mid-September. The dates were of our choosing by the way.

Pause for thought

The pack that comes with the booking is fairly selfexplanatory, although describing the link as a ‘challenge for all keen boaters’ and including a correction to the slightly blurry map of the link that tells you there are only two markers on the River Douglas section, not the five indicated, does give slight pause for thought. Despite those minor concerns, it is all straightforward if you say it quickly. Get to the end of the Rufford Branch of the Leeds & Liverpool at Tarleton lock. When the tide is right you run out of the lock and north for four miles along the River Douglas towards the tidal estuary of the River Ribble. Turn right around Aslan lamp and head up the estuary for another three and a half miles; then it’s a sharp right turn – if the light is green – into Savick Brook and another couple of miles up the brook to the sea lock which is the first of the lock flight leading up to the Lancaster Canal. So we know what is in store when we get there and we set out from our home moorings in central Birmingham still a little apprehensive but reasonably confident. My concerns centre around the engine. Having learned to sail and swim on a tidal estuary as a child in Suffolk, I know just how fast the currents can sweep away an unpowered boat and the CRT warnings of submerged walls and flooded marshland on the edges of the Ribble mean I don’t want our engine to give up the ghost at any stage, even if we do have an anchor and chain.

Tidal waters

Blackberry Way was due to have its bottom blacked at Norbury Wharf on the Shropshire Union as well as having a calorifier fitted to go with our newly acquired water-cooled engine, and it was there that I found the ideal man to advise me. Managing director Simon Jenkins has not only owned narrowboats, run hire fleets and lived on board – he is also the owner of a powerful seagoing cruiser on the River Hamble, on the south coast, so he knows a bit about tidal waters. “Preparation, preparation, preparation,” he told me was the key. “There is no reason why a narrowboat shouldn’t be able to make a tidal crossing but you have to have confidence in your boat’s engine and equipment,” said Simon. “I would suggest that you have it properly serviced. I don’t mean just the sort of oil and filter change you can do for yourself, but having an experienced engineer go over the engine

Looking back to the Anderton Lift as we start to put Blackberry Way through its paces.

The CRT’s Skippers’ Guide to the Ribble Link. mountings, all the hoses and joints and the fan belts. Experienced boaters could do it for themselves but you need someone who knows what to look for. “The engine is going to be under a bit of increased strain, fighting tidal flows and currents for around nine miles, so you need to know that it isn’t going to let you down. “The other thing is to have everything to hand before you start. Make sure the anchor is attached and you can deploy it easily; have the chart in front of you so you can check it as you travel and have your mobile phone within reach too. “Life jackets are a must because things can happen very quickly at sea and you won’t have time to put them on after.” Even though I do my own servicing these days I made sure Norbury’s engineer/director Michael Thompson went over the engine with a fine-tooth comb. Reassured, we headed further north from the Shropshire Union, determined to venture down the magnificent Anderton Lift and give Blackberry Way the deep waters of the River Weaver to test out her engine and spot any tendency to overheat or cause other problems. Running hard down the picturesque, wide open stretches of the Weaver has been a further boost to our confidence and we shall now be heading further north slowly before giving the engine a service and keeping our Friday 13th date with the estuary.

Blackberry Way waiting to enter the Anderton Lift. ● If you would like to follow our progress on the day you can check out @towpathtalk on Twitter and for live posts on the crossing as it happens. And if you would like to see something of our preparations and, later on, film of the crossing itself and the Lancaster Canal, then check out Towpath Talk’s website: for videos and updates.

Ready to exit on to the deep waters of the River Weaver – testing time.


Seeing the light

The Broads receive a royal visit, Clive Tully reports. HERBERT Woods took over his family’s boat building firm in 1926, at a time when cruising holidays on the Broads were in their infancy. He built the first Broads’ yacht marina at Potter Heigham, along with the distinctive tower which dominates the Broads Haven scene. Many of the boats were not really that well equipped for navigating narrow rivers and shallow

broads, and so he set out to design and build a boat specifically for the Broads. Ease of handling, reliability, comfort and visual appeal were his prime considerations, the result being a new class of boat – the ‘light cruiser’. With a reduced wash, and powered by a very quiet Morris marine engine, the new boat came with a well-equipped galley and freshwater tanks feeding taps and

toilet. Spark of Light was one of those first boats, and 87 years after it was first launched was one of the star attractions when the Princess Royal came to visit the Herbert Woods LLP boatyard in Potter Heigham at the beginning of April. Herbert Woods is now the second largest boatyard on the Broads, with more than 140 cruisers for hire, the boats still proudly featuring the name ‘Light’. Princess Anne’s visit marked the 60th anniversary of the death of founder Herbert Woods, celebrating his pioneering achievements, along with the continuing success of one of the few cruising holiday companies on the Broads to build its own boats.

Long service

Arriving straight from a previous Broads visit to the How Hill Trust, the Princess was escorted around the boatyard by Herbert Woods partner Michael Whitaker, taking her first on board Sovereign Light, the latest addition to the fleet, equipped with two en suite cabins, bow and stern thrusters and satellite TV. Then they walked back in time to the 36ft Spark of Light, built in 1927 and currently being restored by the company.

The Princess Royal takes a closer look at Spark of Light. PHOTO: CLIVE TULLY

A hybrid boat with a glass-fibre hull and wooden superstructure, Don Swanton was built in 1969. PHOTO: CLIVE TULLY

The Princess Royal meets boat builder Dennis George. PHOTO: HERBERT WOODS Guests for this special day included two of Herbert Woods’ daughters – Jennifer Broom, flown over especially for the event from her home in New Zealand, and who has published a book about her father and the history of the boatyard; and Jill Grapes, who as a young girl would help her mother during the school holidays organising linen for the Saturday turnrounds of boats. Also present was Alan Lee, Herbert’s grandson, and commodore of the ‘Lady’ Yacht Club, set up in 1945 to encourage the company’s employees to learn to sail. The highlight for the Herbert Woods’ staff was the presentation of a long-

Herbert Woods’ oldest and newest boats together at Broads Haven.


service award to boat builder Dennis George, marking his 50 years with the company. “It’s a great honour really,” said Dennis, “to think that she’d come to the yard and do this for me.” One of the craftsmen also involved with the painstaking restoration work on Spark of Light, Dennis’s award was an inscribed wristwatch. The Herbert Woods’ heritage day had a number of classic sailing and motor boats on display, including Shaft of Light, started in 1939 but not completed until after the war, and the 1960s Lady Helena and Don Swanton, both hybrid boats with glass-fibre hulls and wooden superstructure.

Latest in the Herbert Woods’ fleet, Sovereign Light. PHOTO: CLIVE TULLY

Thames barge Centaur is shipshape ONCeagaiNThaNksTO £100,000 FrOmThe heriTage LOTTery FUND By Elizabeth Rogers

MEMBERS of the Thames Sailing Barge Trust have been pressing ahead with conservation work on their 118-year-old spritsail barge, Centaur, thanks to an award last year of £100,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund. During a working life that spanned 60 years, Centaur carried bulk cargoes along the rivers of South East England, in Essex, Kent and Suffolk and in the Thames estuary. Built in 1895 at Harwich, it is one of the oldest surviving wooden barges. The restoration of the



Coal tar and horse manure being applied.

wooden planking on the bottom to its original thickness is the subject of the conservation work. During this work, Centaur was in dry dock at Ham Wharf in Faversham, Kent, where the skills of shipwrights have been utilised to fit planks of various widths, lengths and tapers to the external curves of the barge. Roger Newlyn, chairman and a trustee of the Thames Sailing Barge Trust, explained the current activity: “Since the work started we have learned more about Centaur and her construction. “When she was built, by Cann, only the bow and stern sections were double-skinned planking. This consisted of a 2in thick inner layer with a 1.5in outer layer of elm and oak planking. Between these two layers there is the traditional mix of coal tar and animal hair.” He continued: “The middle flat bottom section, however, is

Master shipwright Tom Goldsack levelling original planking before fitting new bottom timber.

All planks fitted and sanded down. constructed of single 3.5in thick pitch pine planers, which are in very good condition. “She was originally built with the planks fastened to the frames and floors with trunnels – handmade oak nails, unlike the galvanised iron metal spikes used since. “Due to natural wear over the years, in places the bow and stern section outer planking has worn unevenly, sometimes being reduced to a three-eighths thickness. This was the main reason for the work needed to be carried out before Centaur’s next out-of-water survey.” Centaur was bought by the Thames Barge Sailing Club, which became the Thames Sailing Barge Trust in 1974. Restoration of the hull took place from 1977 to 1995, the 100th birthday of the barge. The only part of the hull not restored at that time was the very bottom; normally barges used in trade would have this area doubled in thickness during their working lives.

New bottom planking coming up to transom. When the need for this area of restoration was discovered two years ago, a fundraising team was formed and was successful in gaining Heritage Lottery funding. The project has also provided the opportunity for an apprentice shipwright from the Creed Outdoor Learning Trust in Faversham to extend his skills and for volunteers, including youth organisations and schools, to be involved in research into Centaur’s earlier history. Interest will be ongoing with the production of educational and display material, including a DVD.



To book your advertising call Nikita on 01507 529582
















TOWPATH TRADER 33 M arine Paints International, Rylards, H em peland m any m ore Very large selection ofother m arine paints at

w w w













B R ID G IN G THE G AP B ETW EEN PR ICE AN D PER FO R M AN CE • Flooded (w et)S tarter,Leisure and D ualPurpose • AGM S tarter,D ualPurpose, GEL,Leisure,S tandby & Traction • 75w to 3kw Invertersand Com bis(Pure S ine and Quasi S ine) • Battery chargersform ostuses

Form ore inform ation orforhelp w ith yournextbespoke projectcall0 14 5 5 2 8 3 4 4 3 help@ m B ra nc hes in: Leicester,Norw ich and Evesham

w w w .m







H ARE EFI FIE ELD LD M A R IN A Brid ge 180, G ra n d Un io n Ca n a l, Ha refield UB9 6PD Tel: 01895 822036 Fa x: 01895 825729

Facilities include:-

C handlery C rane (m ax 3 tons) Slipw ays (up to 65ft) C overed w et dock W ater and electric points


D iesel Pum p out B oat sales/brokerage Engine inboard/ outboard repairs - G as and coal

250 secure,non residentialruralm ooringsin secluded countryside setting 5 m insfrom M 25/M 40. O ne dayscruising from the Tham es.

10 to 50hp Marine Propulsion Engines • Robust Reliability from our world beating engines! • Smooth low speed running as standard with our heavy flywheel • 2 alternators are standard - high output when cruising • 230V option for your washing machine, microwave, etc • ‘Super Silent’ Engines, Acoustic Housing - noise level only 60dB(A) • Hybrid & Hydraulic propulsion with Bow Thruster options available • Peace of mind - our excellent technical support, service & warranty

Green Line

w w w. b e t a m a r i n e . c o . u k Tel: 01452 723492 Fax: 01452 883742 Email:





• 01636 671080 • • 07860 220725 • bespokem odelboats@ m Idealas a specialgift for som eone special • Fully handcrafted,builtto scale. • A ny boatreplicated as a m odel.

• S tatic display m odels. • Fullm iniature internalfitouts.

w w w .b e s poke m od e lb oa ts .m oon fruit.c om








62 Competition

Cropredy Marina is offering

a year’s MOOring at

readers the chance to win a year’s FREE mooring – woRth £2065! exceptiOnal services with great custOMer care!

a branD new 249 berth, Off-line, accessible Marina

With first class facilities and excellent customer service,Cropredy Marina is situated on the southern Oxford Canal,five miles from Banbury.The marina offers quality moorings at very affordable and competitive prices,in

beautiful,tranquil landscaped surroundings.It is within walking distance of the attractive village of Cropredy,with its well-stocked general store,two popular pubs,a medical centre,and many other amenities.

✓ Welcoming, helpful, knowledgeable staff ✓ Full length jetties with nonslip surface ✓ Water and electricity to every jetty ✓ Sewage, rubbish, pumpout and recycling facilities ✓ Diesel, solid fuels and Calor gas available ✓ Dry dock (June 2014) ✓ Secure marina (on canal off-side) with full-time harbour master ✓ Unloading bays close to jetties and ample car parking ✓ Washing machine and dryer available (charge applies) ✓ Adjacent to friendly village with a range of services ✓ Pets welcome, dog walking areas ✓ free wi-fi ✓ free ‘take one, leave one’ book and DVD library ✓ free mail and package service

For your chance to win, simply complete the form below and return to: TPT Cropredy Marina Competition, Mortons Media Group Ltd, PO Box 99, Horncastle, Lincs, LN9 6LZ.

✓ free loan bicycles

Name.............................................................................................................. Address.......................................................................................................... ........................................................................................................................ Email .............................................................................................................. Phone ............................................................................................................. The competition closes on Tuesday, July 15, 2014. Terms and conditions apply. Please see for full terms and conditions. There are no cash alternatives available. The winners will be the first names drawn at random. Please note the prize consists of one year non-residential mooring and is non-transferable. The prize may only be used for boats owned by the prize winner or a member of his/her immediate family.

Open Days 11am - 4pm May






❏ Only tick this box if you do not wish to receive information from Mortons Media Group regarding or relating to current offers of products or services (including discounted subscription offers) via email/post/phone. ❏ On occasion Mortons Media Group Ltd may permit third parties, that we deem to be reputable, to contact you by email/post/phone/fax regarding information relating to current offers of products or services which we believe may be of interest to our readers. If you wish to receive such offers please tick this box.

for more information please: call 01295 758911 visit




Cropredy Competition P62 Holidays P66 Food & drink P68

On the Water weekend draws in the crowds THE sun shone, the people came and the On the Water weekend at Pilling’s Lock Marina was nothing short of a resounding success. Over the three days, more than 1000 boat trippers enjoyed free rides out along the canal outside the marina and a few hundred yards into the River Soar, a feat which would not have been possible without the marina’s fleet of four day-boats and a team of volunteer berth holders who skippered the majority of the trips.

Managing director Paul Lillie said: “I know on the handful of trips I skippered there were passengers who had not been to a marina before and some had never been on the rivers or canals so it is great to engage with these people and show them how wonderful the waterways are, what facilities are available and who can help them experience it all.” On the Saturday afternoon, the marina’s new trip boat Jo-Anne was named. It is dedicated to the memory

of Jo Bingham and Anne Armstrong, who moored their boats at Pilling’s Lock Marina. Both fought bravely against cancer and as a fitting tribute, the new boat was named after them and the marina will be donating £5 from every day-hire booking to Cancer Research UK at the end of each boating season in October. Paul continued: “Our open boat viewings attracted lots of interest too with a few tentative enquiries coming in each day and lots of positive feedback.

Products What’s on Bits & Bobs

P71 P72 P78

The new day-boat Jo-Anne takes visitors for a trip out of the marina.


Viewings were also helped by our volunteer berth holders who are the perfect example of who to talk to if you want to own a boat.

“It was also interesting that a few people selling boats in the local area saw how busy we were and have subsequently bought their boats here for us to broker the vessels.” Thanking everyone who made the event such a success, Paul added that bands played on Sunday and Monday afternoons and the beer flowed well into the evenings. There was also a hog roast and barbecue, a bouncy castle, craft stalls and fire safety information. ● For day hire bookings ring 01509 620990.

The open boat viewings attracted lots of interest over the weekend.

Enjoying the live entertainment. PHOTO SUPPLIED

Sun beams on successful Venetian Marina open day WARM weather attracted a great turnout to the open day at Venetian Marina on April 27. It was the second open day since the marina, at Cholmondeston, Nantwich in Cheshire was bought by Whilton Marina Ltd in 2011. It gave visitors the chance to see all the improvements including new mooring piers, toilet block, office and chandlery arrangement, wi-fi, water and electricity points. Many people also came to look at the large selection of value for money narrowboats on sale. Venetian Marina Hire boats

Visitors enjoying the sunshine at the Venetian Marina open day.


and Chandlery offered trips up the Middlewich branch for Macmillan Cancer Support. The new chandlery and refurbished cafe on site were open along with craft stalls and musical entertainment including the Georgia Blue band playing outside in a marquee and a prize draw competition. In the cafe was a great selection of food from Like Cake Catering and a face painter. Other attendees included: marine surveyors Mike Chadwick and Chris Williams, Nikita Leak from Towpath Talk, the Shropshire Union Canal Society and The Borders Cheese Carrying Company.

Cheese tasting was one of the attractions.

Hull Marina takes centre stage for Girls’ Night Out STAFF and berth holders at Hull Marina took centre stage recently for the filming of a new feature film, Girls’ Night Out, starring Rupert Everett, Jack Reynor, Emily Watson, Sarah Gadon and Bel Powley. The marina was chosen because it could provide a safe and stable location for scenes which will eventually appear to be on the River Thames using blue screen technology. To make sure everything went to plan, Barry Glanville of BWML and his team provided vital support, that included: a crane and operators to erect the ‘blue screens’; setting up and relocation of the blue screens between takes; water space and mooring for the vessel, Gillian Knight, which was the stage for the film scenes; and pontoons for the lighting and sound rigs. But, the owner of the vessel, Elsa J, Pete Baldwin really went the extra mile, by helping to rock the boat for one of the

scenes when the boat needed to be pitching and rolling! Girls’ Night Out is a fairytale reimagining of VE Day in 1945, when Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret were allowed out from Buckingham Palace to join in the celebrations marking the end of the Second World War. It is due for release in spring 2015. As night-time approaches, the party atmosphere grows across London. Two young princesses, whose lives have until now been sheltered from the outside world, venture out among the partying crowds. Based on original reports that Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret went dancing that night, acclaimed director Julian Jarrold develops the story, imagining a sumptuous, witty take on what could have been a legendary girls’ night out. Hull was chosen as a key city to shoot scenes for GNO Productions Ltd and

Ecosse Films’ production of Girls’ Night Out. First assistant director Neil Wallace recognises this is a very exciting time for Hull, as the city’s historic Alfred Gelder Street is transformed to resemble London’s Piccadilly and Hull City Hall to the iconic Ritz Hotel. Mr Wallace said: “We chose Hull for a number of reasons – its architecture and history, and the city council and British Waterways Marinas Limited has been very accommodating in helping us arrange filming locations. “There will be old style Rolls-Royces pulling up outside the City Hall and people dressed in period costumes.” Barry Glanville of BWML added: “We were delighted to welcome the film crew and its stars to Hull Marina, and the berth holders, too, were very pleased to have been involved in this exciting event. We hope that this will be the first of many occasions when Hollywood comes to Hull.”

Janet Clarke meets Mickey Mouse.

Donations in memory of Jo and Anne can be made via Paul Lillie’s page at

Canoe hire business opened in cottage on the Neath Canal AGAINST a background of ongoing concern about the lack of boating facilities on the Neath Canal, the Neath & Tennant Canal Trust has been encouraged by the creation of a canoe hire business based on the upper section of the canal at Resolven. South Wales Canoe Hire is operated by Encounter Adventure, a local business which promotes outdoor adventure activity days in the Brecon Beacons. The facility is based at Ty Banc, which was originally a canal lengthsman’s cottage and more recently used as a cafe and base for Enfys, a trip-boat for the disabled. The building, which had been empty and boarded-up for a number of years, has been given a new lease of life in promoting water-based activities on the canal.

The cottage at Ty Banc where the canal and River Neath (behind the cottage) are about 30m apart. PHOTO SUPPLIED

Plans unveiled for new inland marina A LOCAL farming family has unveiled plans for a 300-berth marina near Lincolnshire inland resort Woodhall Spa. Boating access would be via a new canal built to link the site at Kirkstead and the River Witham. Plans also include 250 new homes overlooking the marina along with a restaurant, offices and boatyard facilities. The development would be built on land owned by the Nelstrop family who say they want to create ‘a lasting legacy’ for the village. It is close to the historic Kirkstead Abbey and St Leonard’s Church. Company spokesman Andy Booth stressed: “It would not be in competition with Woodhall Spa. There might be a cafe/restaurant but there are no plans for a pub, or for a hotel or major retail outlets. “People using the marina would obviously use businesses already

based in Woodhall Spa.” Still in very early stages, the multi-million pound development could take up to 25 years from start to finish. It is estimated that the cost of installing lock gates at the entrance from the Witham would cost more than £1 million. A cycleway into Woodhall Spa is also proposed. The project is being led by planning consultancy Globe Ltd which has been working with the Nelstrop family to produce a document: Woodhall Spa Marina. A Vision. Talks are under way with various bodies but it will probably be a couple of years before a formal planning application is submitted. A survey identified a deficiency in facilities within the county and an ‘under-use’ of the River Witham. There are longer-term plans to link the river to the south with the rest of the network via the Fens Waterways Link. ● MORE NEWS ON P70





Canal breaks and river cruising in the UK, Ireland and Europe

Following the tourist trail to Windsor Harry Arnold takes a day trip on the River Thames.

ALTHOUGH we have been up and down the River Thames over many years in all sorts of craft, we thought let’s have a look at one of the most popular parts of the river in the way that many visiting tourists do – stay in a hotel and take a day-hire boat out. So four of us did just that: stayed for a couple of nights in a small family hotel, the Norfolk House, just a couple of minutes’ walk from the south end of Maidenhead Bridge, which I discovered while on previous business trips, visited some riverside locations by road and spent a day boating. Kris Cruisers is a very wellknown Thames company. Based at Datchet and run by three

generations of the Clark family – who have been in the marine business for over 45 years – it has a major week-hire fleet of 15 boats from two to 10 berth capacity. The company also operates one of the largest fleets of day-hire boats on the river. It runs 20 boats in six classes from the 19ft 6in six-seater Little Lady to the futurist looking 12seater Sandringham Lady. Charges are per hour, per four hours and all day, with different rates for mid-week and weekend and bank holidays. All-day weekend rates vary from £138 up to £395 (2013 prices). Most boats are powered by electric propulsion. Only top of the range Sandringham Lady has

an onboard toilet, also warm-air heating, hot and cold water and a fridge. The company does provide a map showing toilet locations, mostly those at the locks. Life jackets are provided free of charge for all passengers, if you choose to wear them. Kris Cruisers’ day boat leaflet has a map illustrating the stretch of river within which its boats operate which is perfectly adequate for the average visitor. We went armed with our own detailed guides and maps which were completely unnecessary, but we are waterway fanatics of course and – even though we also know this piece of river well – feel twitchy unless fully armed with such paraphernalia.

Windsor Castle is the highlight of any day out on this part of the Thames. PHOTO:WATERWAY IMAGES For a full day, the leaflet recommends a maximum downstream westward cruise of about nine miles, through Old Windsor, Runnymede by Magna Carta Island, Staines, Laleham to Chertsey Bridge, passing through Old Windsor, Bell Weir, Penton Hook and Chertsey locks. Upstream and eastward it suggests a cruise through Windsor and Eton, Boveney, Bray, Maidenhead to Cliveden, also about nine miles, passing through Romney, Boveney, Bray and Boulters locks. However, both depend on how much time you spend moored.

Cheerful attitude

We chose the latter direction for which the Clarks kindly loaned us one of their 21ft x 8ft beam, 10seat, Sovereign Lady class for the day. It was perhaps an appropriate name as we were to spend much of the cruise within sight of one of The Queen’s main residences. The boat – wheel steered so for the novice akin to a car – handled very easy. Full instructions were given, although because of our experienced crew, we didn’t need the ‘rules of the river’ type part, and a handover acceptance certificate, complete with conditions of hire, signed. Leaving Kris Cruisers, you are already on the long curve around Windsor Castle’s beautifully kept

Home Park on your left. The Thames Path has changed sides through Datchet but crosses into the Park via the elegant Victoria Bridge, with piers embellished by the royal coat of arms. On the right, between this and the oddly named Black Pott’s Railway Bridge, is what appears to be a mooring backwater but is actually the downstream outlet of the alternative channel of the Jubilee River, which leaves way up river above Boulter’s Lock. There are now plans to make navigable parts of it around Maidenhead. Cormorants close by on posts and lock signs – along with the ever present scrounging swans – are an

indication of just how close you can get to wildlife in these quiet low freeboard boats. We thought as day boating tourists, lock keepers might treat us differently to the mostly experienced crews of bigger craft but the cheerful and helpful attitude of those at Romney Lock soon dispelled this. We did encounter a ‘Mr Gloomy’ at another lock we visited by road, but it might have been the mention of the Canal & River Trust that depressed him. Crews of hired day boats in a relatively large lock (we shared Romney with a small cruiser) need advice and Thames keepers are great ambassadors for the river.

Clear and concise instructions are given by Kris Cruisers’ staff.

HOLIDAYS 67 Across the long weir channel on the right are the famous playing field of Eton and the college and town, with the lefthand view now totally dominated by the famous castle and the town of Windsor. The equally well-known link between the two towns, Windsor Bridge, has been pedestrianised for years and it also carries the Thames Path over to the righthand bank of the river where it now remains until Maidenhead.

Tourist magnet

There is no point in describing the delights, or otherwise, of Windsor: it is an international tourist magnet so expect all the trappings of such a venue. We didn’t visit the town from the boat but did call in later by car. Also we had all been before and ‘done’ the castle bit and the range of shops. As you would expect, Windsor has a very good tourist information centre (01753 743900) which covers things to see and do in the area including details of the castle tours. Because of the town’s popularity, moorings can be a problem. There are visitor moorings on the town side on

both sides of the railway bridge and in a backwater and on the opposite side alongside a field with a high broken hedge; the latter not suitable for smaller boats although ideal for photographing the castle. I managed to scramble ashore with the aid of the skipper of a somewhat larger moored boat and although the town moorings looked full, because of our short length, we were able to squeeze in between two bigger boats for a later ice cream stop. On under the modern bypass bridge you are out in the country as the river takes a wide sweep around Windsor Race Course on the left and into Boveney Lock, above which are good moorings by the historic Boveney Church and opposite the long entrance cut into Racecourse Marina. We spent some time moored here just taking a walk on the Thames Path toward the Eton Dorney Rowing Course and generally soaking up the sunshine. We turned before Bray Lock and the intervention of the M4 motorway crossing because beyond here we would be virtually in Maidenhead where we were staying. Maidenhead is a busy place but with most of the

modern town grouped to the left (west) side of the river. The Thames is spanned here by one of my favourite pieces of industrial era architecture, Brunel’s ‘flat arched’ railway bridge. Beyond, through Boulter’s Lock and past the pretty Monkey Island, the river is accompanied by a parallel road until it swings away into the tranquillity of Cliveden Reach. We thoroughly enjoyed our Thames day-boating experience combined with a hotel stopover. There is a lot to see and places to visit in this 20 or so mile historical river corridor centred on Datchet and you will want to go back again. There are many restaurants and pubs on the Kris Cruisers map but this is a popular area to live in and the waterside ones can be expensive; also two of your crew must stay sober. For this and other reasons of convenience we suggest you take a picnic with you on the boat. But if you literally want to splash out with waterside fare we had a light lunch at the Runnymede Hotel and a more substantial one at the new restaurant at Racecourse Marina; plus two successive evening meals at the Blue River Cafe by Maidenhead Bridge. All were excellent.

One of Windsor’s daily events, the changing of the guard. ● Kris Cruisers can be contacted on 01753 543930 or

A good waterside lunch at the new restaurant at Ting Dene’s Racecourse Marina.

Somewhat dwarfed in the wide space of Romney Lock, but Thames lock keepers are inevitably helpful and friendly towards day trippers.


To advertise call Jason on 01507 529581

D O O F Canalside pubs & restaurants


to satisfy all tastes...

Festival feel for community pub REGULARS will be offered the chance to buy shares in return for free pints in canalside pub The Kings Lock at Middlewich. The pub in Booth Lane has been bought by Cornerstone Inns, which also runs The Town Hall and Folk and Boat Festival bars in Middlewich as well as various pubs in Winsford. Having been in a run-down state, it will be refurbished and

given an all-year round festival feel. Members of the community who buy a £100 share in the pub will be offered a free drink every week for a year. Damon Horrill, managing director of Cornerstone Inns, said: “We want to turn it into not only a stop-off for canal boaters but a destination and an ideal place for lovers of folk

and boats and real ale to visit. “With us having so much experience in canal boat pubs we are perfect for taking this pub to where it should be and we want to make it work instead of just make money.” The pub is at the centre of the annual FAB Festival and organisers of the event hope to see it thriving again during this year’s festivities.

A voyage of discovery

The Ship Inn welcomes boaters where the Little Ouse meets the River Great Ouse at Brandon Creek. PHOTOS SUPPLIED PICTURES of an idyllic waterside pub, the Ship Inn at Brandon Creek, caught the eye of Mark (son) and Keith (father) Thomas following a six month search for suitable premises last year. It seemed too good an opportunity to miss and on September 1 they took on the leasehold of this ‘free of tie’ famous Norfolk pub and restaurant with a history dating back to before Cromwell’s time. Their first change was in opening from noon, seven days a week straight through until close,

normally 11pm in the summer but earlier during the winter months. Next to change was the menu – from what was a choice of frozen foods to predominantly freshly cooked locally sourced produce. The new summer menu has just been launched to great acclaim locally. With Keith being diagnosed as coeliac, an intolerance of gluten, they decided to ensure as much as possible of the menu would be created by their chefs using no gluten containing ingredients. Keith in common with all coeliacs, was fed up of going out to eat where the only guaranteed glutenfree options were steak and baked potatoes. This has proved an extremely popular decision, with many coeliacs from all over East Anglia coming to sample the wide ranging, non-gluten containing menu – especially the battered fish and chips, normally a major no-no on GF diets.

Healthy options

Father and son partnership Keith and Mark Thomas.

Variations of some standard menu dishes with no added fats or sugars are now offered for people looking for healthy or slimming options. Within a month of starting, Mark – an enthusiastic musician – started the now popular Friday night live music sessions. Various guests now play on Fridays at 8pm offering an open mic. session from 9pm. So you can now be guaranteed ‘Friday night

is music night’ at The Ship every week throughout the year with free moorings for customers. The first Wednesday of each month offers a songwriters, poets and storytellers session under the expert organisation of Stella Hensley and Chris Newman from Cambridge from 8pm. Stella and Chris also bring together the daytime live music programmes for the beer festival with The Barefoot Doctors – their own blues band – headlining the Saturday evening session. Last year 35 boats and over 1000 people turned up for the first three-day Beer, Boat and Music Festival and it is hoped even more will come for this year’s event from June 13-15. A series of menu taster evenings has started, keep an eye on the website for details and other longer term projects are in the pipeline. Developing boater services, such as offering basic foods, fuel, shower and laundry services along with wi-fi and power and providing accommodation are all well advanced. Mark and Keith also offer a comfortable relaxed riverside venue for local businesses to hold meetings, training days and seminars on weekdays. ● To find out more call 01353676228 or check out


Traditional country pub reopens under new management THE Travellers Rest, a traditional country pub in Malswick, Gloucestershire, has reopened following its purchase by the Herefordshire & Gloucestershire Canal Trust in September 2013. It has now been taken on by tenant landlords Jeff and Judith Steers who have been managing local pubs for a number of years. The pub has undergone a complete refurbishment and will now be serving a variety of traditional pub food from new menus using locally sourced ingredients. The Travellers Rest is introducing the ‘Steers Special Burgers’ made with quality meat from local butcher, Ben Creese. The succulent 8oz gourmet burgers are all home-made using secret family recipes. Customers will be able to choose from a menu of seven burgers or, for those who are a little indecisive, mini versions will be available in either a trio or a six.

The new landlords are working in partnership with the Herefordshire & Gloucestershire Canal Trust, a registered charity which has the ultimate aim of completing full restoration of the Canal from Gloucester to Hereford – an ambitious but achievable goal. Ten per cent of the turnover of the pub will go directly to the trust’s commercial arm for reinvestment in the canal. Eventually the canal will run along the back of The Travellers Rest creating superb views from the garden. Jeff and Judith are very much looking forward to welcoming customers, both old and new, into The Travellers Rest which is destined to once again become the heart of the local community. You can ‘like’ The Travellers Rest on Facebook to stay up to date with the pub’s news, events and offers:

The Travellers Rest. PHOTO SUPPLIED

New floating café on the Kennet & Avon A NEW floating café called The Boat Cafe has opened on the Kennet & Avon Canal at Meadows Bridge between Bradford and Avoncliff. Based in a specially converted narrowboat which is 70ft long but only 7ft wide, it provides seating for up to 20 people inside and eight more outside on the bank. Owner Alfie Windsor said: “People are really intrigued to sit inside an old narrowboat – especially as you normally only get glimpses into boats from the towpath. “We’ve had a very busy opening week and customers seem to like what’s on offer as we’ve had lots of favourable comments.”

Enjoy the best local produce at Droitwich Spa THE emphasis will be on producers from within a 30 mile radius at the second Droitwich Spa Food & Drink Festival on Saturday, June 21. Preceded by a celebration dinner of local food and drink on the Friday evening, the main event will take place on the Saturday from 10am to 4pm in the centre of the town on the Droitwich Canal. The format will be a street market with stalls for local producers, retailers, eateries and local community groups. There will be entertainment and a demonstration kitchen featuring five Worcestershire chefs and a Great Droitwich Bake Off. On Sunday, July 6, there will be a finale to the festival – The Big Picnic in the Park – from 11am to 5pm in the Lido Park in Droitwich. There will be food and drink available for consumption, entertainment and music throughout the day.


There is seating for up to 20 people inside.

Their focus is on freshly made, simple snacks including a selection of home-made cakes made just for them. Naturally everything is Fairtrade or locally sourced. The boat is permanently moored and they are open seven days a week from 9am till 5pm – later in the summer. Given its fantastic position with lots of passing walkers, cyclists and boaters, The Boat Café also offers takeaways and complete picnics. Friendly dogs are welcome. The boat can also be hired for children’s or private parties, for office meals with a difference, or as a unique venue for small business meetings.

● The Boat Café is part of the Canal Carrying Company Ltd based in Bradford on Avon which already operates the popular Coal Boat that delivers solid fuel, gas, diesel and wood to boats on the K&A Canal between Bath and Semington. Contact: Alfie Windsor 07703 599220,

● Contact the festival organiser, Patrick Davis on 07796 681518,


Big four firms draw 3000 visitors for boat share show spectacular By Harry Arnold

Visitors discuss the pros and cons of shared ownership.

Historic working boats Nutfield and Raymond were a further colourful attraction.

ALL four major professional boat management companies were involved in the 2014 Boat Share Show for the first time this year. The event was hosted by Braunston Marine over the weekend of April 12-13. The idea of a joint show came from discussions between Andrew Barton of BCBM Boat Share Ltd, Ed Helps of ABC Boat Share, Artie and Ruth Chalmers of Carefree Cruising and Phil Capp of Ownashare Cruising. Good weather and 20 sharedownership narrowboats, in varying styles and with new and existing four-weekly period shares for sale, priced from £1000 to £11,000, attracted more than 3000 visitors. The event also offered self-managed syndicates – considering using professional expertise – the opportunity to meet all four major companies. A number of trade exhibitors, which supply equipment to the four fleets, included engine builders Beta Marine, specialist boat window manufacturer Channel Glaze, and Wilson, the boat cover and furniture manufacturer, as well as those providing services such as insurance and marina moorings. Along with volunteers of the Friends of Raymond, the Inland Waterway Association had a

Twenty shared-ownership boats packed the Old Arm at Braunston Marina. PHOTOS:WATERWAY IMAGES stand which – in addition to sales of items – recruited two new members. The event was co-ordinated by Andrew Cooley of, who said: “A good many shares were sold and their owners will enjoy the benefits of costeffective boating.” Andrew Barton of BCBM Boat Share added: “It was a brilliant event for all concerned. Not

before time the main four shared-ownership companies pulled together and worked in harmony for the benefit of owners in general.” He added: “We alone sold at least 17 shares, including five in the two new boats we had on show, and I know our friends were pleased with their results. Together, we will certainly be holding a similar event next year.”

All thanked Tim Coghlan of Braunston Marina, who provided the use of the site at no charge, in return for a generous donation to the Friends of Raymond – a group that cares for the historic working boats Nutfield and Raymond – which made a further colourful attraction. The show’s success ensured that a similar event will be held in 2015 at a date to be announced.

Raising funds from fares for RNLI

Canoes on the Swansea Canal

TAXI boat Audlem Lass has covered 5000 miles over the past three years – enough to get it to Barcelona! The service, which has so far raised more than £13,000 for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), carries passengers on the Shropshire Union Canal from the picturesque village of Audlem to Overwater Marina every weekend from spring to autumn. Its jolly crew of volunteers, mostly retired, take turns to skipper and they are always cheerful and enthusiastic, whatever the weather. Rodney Cottrell, founder of the Audlem Lass and RNLI event organiser, says: “I can’t believe how many miles she has done going back and forth every single weekend over the last three years. The RNLI is such a good cause and our wonderful team of 18 skippers absolutely love sailing the boat.

FOR the first time in some 20 years, those wishing to saunter down the Swansea Canal paddling a hired canoe can now do so. The Swansea Canal Society recently launched its Community Canoe Hire Project from the slipway at Coed Gwilym Park, Clydach. Each Sunday throughout spring and summer from 11am to 3pm, open canoes and sit-on-top kayaks will be available for hire. The two-seater canoes cost £5 per 45 minute session and the oneseater sit-on-top kayaks are £3 for the same duration. Sessions for schools and similar organisations will be available on Tuesday mornings on request. At present, the navigable section of the canal will be north from Coed Gwilym Park towards Trebanos for approximately half a mile. Visit

“We have carried well over 12,000 passengers as well as pushchairs and wheelchairs, not to mention over 500 dogs of all breeds, shapes and sizes. It makes me very proud to hand over a yearly cheque to the RNLI so they can carry on their valuable, and often dangerous, job of saving lives.” The Audlem Lass team is currently working hard to organise the third Audlem RNLI Festival to celebrate and raise more donations for this charity. Held at Overwater Marina on Saturday, May 31, and Sunday, June 1, this free event promises to be bigger, better and even more exciting than previous festivals. Cheshire Fire & Rescue, Cheshire Police and police divers will be providing demonstrations and all sorts of fun for all the family including a cowboy shootout and the return of the raft race. Historic narrowboat Saturn will be attending the event and there

Taxi boat Audlem Lass on one of its regular trips. PHOTO SUPPLIED will be boat buying advice from BCBM and Boat Finder. The festival is open from 6pm for live entertainment on the Saturday evening and from 10.30am on Sunday morning. Entry is free and a £5 weekend

parking pass donation includes a free souvenir programme. ● Overwater Marina is in Coole Lane, Audlem, near Nantwich CW5 8AY.

Recent canoe training on the Swansea Canal. PHOTO SUPPLIED

Mon & Brec restaurant boat on the market

Puddlers is currently moored at Llanfoist Wharf. PHOTO SUPPLIED

A PURPOSE-built canal boat cafe and restaurant is being offered for sale on a relocation basis. Seating 28, Puddlers is a 60ft 4in long semi-widebeam 8ft 6in vessel. Its hull was built by G & J Reeves Boatbuilders and was fitted out in 2012 by Beacon Park Boats Ltd where it has been ever since at Llanfoist Wharf on the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal. The boat was originally designed with several purposes in mind. The fully

equipped galley is capable of serving a comprehensive cafe style menu to include light lunches and evening meals. Given this, the current owner suggests that there are three main use options available to a new owner: either a static cafe; a restaurant afloat offering evening supper cruises

perhaps; or a combination to include party venue, private hire and events. Potential mooring options are at Goytre Wharf, which is currently undergoing a major refurbishment, or Brecon Canal Basin where Beacon Park Boats has a successful day-boat hire business.

● First Peninsula Marine is handling the sale; the guide price is £149,950. Contact 01548 854455.


Kuranda shows compact Kabola diesel boilers A NEW Compact 7kw diesel heating system has been launched by Kabola through its UK supplier Kuranda. The first in a new series of compact boilers, they are an ideal choice for marine or mobile applications and can be seen at Crick Boat Show. With low emissions and quiet to run, the new KB boilers combine the well-engineered Dutch boiler with the latest German Blue Flame

technology burner from Scheer to offer one of the most efficient and clean burning boilers to hit the market. This technology has enabled Kabola to create a range of boilers that are more compact, allowing for installation where space is a premium. The electrical power requirement has been greatly reduced, meaning stored battery power will last longer.

● Contact Kuranda UK Ltd on 01663 734800. The showroom at Kuranda House, Forge Road, Whaley Bridge, High Peak SK23 7HY is open from 8.30am to 5.30pm on weekdays.

The new Kabola Compact 7kw boiler.

Powerful hybrid system can give you an all-electric boat HYBRID Marine Ltd will unveil its new Power Station at the Crick show. This system is designed to appeal to boaters wanting conventional diesel drive, with a powerful generation capability that allows electric cooking. Based on existing technology, it can be upgraded to a full hybrid at any time. The Power Station combines a conventional Beta Marine

engine (43, 50, 75 or 90hp) with a powerful brushless generator. At a typical cruising speed of 1250rpm you can achieve normal propulsion and a full 5.5kW of electrical generation. The generator can run while under way or with the engine in neutral alongside the bank. Using this powerful generator in conjunction with a 48v battery bank and a 5kVA continuous (10kVA peak) charger/inverter,

this provides enough power to have an all-electric boat (eliminate gas and cook electric) and run all the domestic appliances you have at home. The large amount of stored energy in the batteries and powerful inverter allows you to run all appliances with the engine cycled down. You can cook your Sunday roast, alongside the bank, in complete silence!

Mikron’s taking turns to the front CANAL theatre company Mikron has been launching into topical territory with its latest production, writes Geoff Wood. As Britain marks the centenary of the start of the First World War, Mikron has chosen to stage Troupers, the story of a theatrical troupe which sets out for France to entertain the troops. And what they find, of course, is a million miles from treading the boards at English theatres. But with some sadness and pathos it still manages to be fun. The play was written by Maeve Larkin based on the work of Lena Ashwell who in 1914 threw all her experience as an actor-manager into organising concerts at the Front. By the end of the war, she had overseen the despatch of 600 artists to troops in Malta, Palestine and Egypt as well as France. This led to her becoming one of the first women to be awarded the OBE. At the opening night at Marsden Royal British Legion Club, an enthusiastic audience was treated to a

Select your battery bank size according to your needs and dawn/dusk charging, alongside the bank, can be eliminated. The powerful generator will soon charge your batteries the next time you are on the move. When purchasing a complete package, for a new build narrow or broad beam, the price is similar to the conventional travel power option. With the many benefits provided this is a very compelling system to consider if you are planning your new boat. A complete Power Station will be on display at Crick alongside Hybrid Marine’s popular hybrid options. ● Contact Hybrid Marine Ltd on 01983 403236;

Tin hats and boaters: the cast of Troupers on opening night.


performance of verve and variety. Marsden, West Yorkshire, is the headquarters of Mikron and there is usually plenty of local support. There was a thick vein of music hall songs and the restricted facilities on stage did little to dampen quick changes from one scene to another. Starring were relatively new artists Nicholas CoutuLangmead, Esther-Grace Button and John Holt-Roberts


with more experienced partner Jill Myers. All gave a highly convincing performance. Marianne McNamara directs and the composer and musical director is Rebekah Hughes. The show is now touring Northern venues before the company set sail on their own narrowboat Tyseley for a summer tour of the inland waterways. For further details on the show visit

Books, DVDs and other items for possible review should be sent to:

Towpath Talk, PO Box 43, Horncastle, Lincs LN9 6LZ

The River Frome – a journey from source to sea

Reviewer: Gay Armstrong

AUTHOR Steve Wallis needs no introduction to many avid waterways fans, book lovers and local historians. The River Frome From Source to Sea is Steve’s 12th book relating to Dorset and adjacent counties for Amberley Publishing. The river’s course lies entirely within Dorset flowing for 30 miles from the central chalk uplands through some of the county’s most scenic and historic landscapes to Poole Harbour. The full colour photographs bring the landscapes and history to life and are accompanied by informative and fascinating text from Steve, who is a senior archaeologist for Dorset County Council. The River Frome From Source to Sea by Steve Wallis is in softback from Amberley Publishing, priced £14.99. ISBN 978-1-4456-1804-3

Grab a granola for that healthy breakfast snack

Reviewers: Jason Carpenter and Janet Richardson

WHETHER you’re a busy boater, angler or towpath walker, pop one of the new Lizi’s Granola On The Go pouches in your pocket and you’ve got a ready-made breakfast or snack. The self-contained pack, which includes a sturdy folding spoon, containing granola combined with lactose-free whole milk powder. Just add water to taste. Although the packet recommends three spoonfuls of water, we both added another for extra creaminess. We tried all three varieties – original, Belgian chocolate and the treacle and pecan which are all very tasty and satisfying. The granola contains jumbo rolled oats, nuts and seeds that provide slow-releasing energy and keeps you feeling fuller for longer. Lactose-free milk means that anyone concerned about lactose intolerance won’t miss out. Developed on ‘good carb’ nutritional principles. It has a low GL (glycaemic load) that means that it provides a slow release of energy and keeps you going for longer, avoiding the mid-morning ‘lull’ that can have you reaching for a snack. This is unlike sugary cereals that make blood sugar ‘spike’ and then plummet, leading to hunger and cravings. Founder Lizi Shaw said: “Increasingly busy lifestyles mean that making time for breakfast is particularly difficult, yet skipping breakfast can mean eating more to compensate later in the day and lead to weight gain.” The new Lizi’s Granola On The Go launched recently at Waitrose at £1.29 for a single 47g serving and is also available in Sainsbury’s, Co-op, Tesco and independent retailers. A box of 12 can be bought online for £12 at


The English boatmen of the First World War By Tim Coghlan

UNTIL the recent revival of interest in the First World War – with the impending centenary of its outbreak on August 4 this year – very little was known about the role of our boatmen during the conflict. The reason for this is quite simple: the boatmen were very much an isolated and illiterate community at the outbreak of hostilities. Those who became directly involved in the war seem to have left nothing in terms of accounts, or even letters home or diaries. During the Second World War the same might well have happened, except for the books and diaries written by the middle class female volunteers, the Idle Women, who worked the canals as boatmen, leaving us with a profound insight into the boatmen’s way of life in the twilight of the working canals. Because of this lack of information on the First World War, I and other canal history enthusiasts of the period, have been trying to piece together between us what little is known. Hopefully our forthcoming Historic Boat Rally, with its theme of the canal boatmen in the First World War – it is attended by many descendants of the working boatmen – will lead to more stories coming forward, to add to our store of knowledge of just what the boatmen did. So what did they do? At the outbreak of war in 1914, there was no military conscription, and it did not really come in until

The young boatman-volunteer Jack Wain, kitted out and ready to go to the Front. Young Jack is seen here in the uniform of the North Staffordshire Regiment. See story on opposite page.


1916. From the outset, the boatmen were seen as an important reserve occupation, vital in the movement of heavy goods, especially iron and coal, which were essential to war production. While military service remained voluntary, there was a hysteria about fit and able men who seemed to be shirking the war – especially among women who had lost husbands and brothers. To overcome this, the Government issued a badge for those in essential war production occupations to wear, which included the boatmen. However, many young boatmen did volunteer for the army – for a variety of reasons, including the relatively good pay, getting away from the crowded living conditions on the boats and the excitement of going to France to fight and being with their pals. They tended to join the county regiments along the canal routes. The Braunston boatmen volunteers mainly signed up with the Northampton and Warwickshire regiments. Further south it was the Ox & Bucks and the Middlesex, and further north, the Staffordshire and Manchester regiments, and so on. Of the 31 named dead on the Braunston village war memorial, six at least and probably eight were boatmen, and this was from just one canal village community. Although volunteering was only for those over 18, the recruiting sergeants soon turned a blind eye to the ruses used to join up. A young Kendall from

ON WAR SERVICE – 1915. This badge was issued during the First World War to those working in important trades – such as boatmen – who were exempted from military service. Michael Ward wore one – including on his wedding day – until he was finally called up in late 1916. PHOTO:TIM COGHLAN

The FMC Steamer Vulcan. Michael Ward as a flyboat crew is third from the right with his brother Charlie on his left. Both were called up to work as boatmen on the Western Front. The captain, who is steering, is wearing white trousers, which FMC required its captains to wear. Vulcan is still Braunston based and will be in a prominent position in the opening parade of boats in the Braunston Historic Narrowboat Rally, steered by actor Timothy West, and ably assisted by the great-grandson of Michael Ward. PHOTO:WHITLOCK/CARNE

Back from the war. Braunston FMC boatman Michael Ward was called up in 1916 to join the Royal Engineers as a boatman on the Western Front. The photograph here of him in his sapper’s uniform, with wife and daughter, was taken soon after his return.


Braunston is recalled by his descendants as volunteering at 14, using his much older brother’s birth certificate. Amazingly he survived. But he was a lucky one. His cousin Clarence Kendall, who joined the Bedfordshire Regiment, was one of the Braunston six that were killed, having survived until March 23, 1918, when he died – no record of how or exactly where – during the great German March offensive. He was only 19, and has no known grave.

Going back from the Front. A precious cargo of British wounded, probably in Calais Dock, brought down in the hold of a French barge converted for the purpose. The steerer in his army greatcoat would again have been a called-up British boatmen. PHOTO: IMPERIAL


Another Braunston man was Harry Lewin, who joined the Northamptonshire Regiment at the outset, and was killed in action in northern France as early as May 9, 1915, aged only 17. The 1911 Census has him with his parents aboard the nb Venice at Middlewich, recorded one of only “two surviving children”. These tales show the scale of loss and human suffering.

Boatmen to the Front

In 1916, all unmarried boatmen under the age of 25 were eligible for call-up. After the fiasco of the Battle of the Somme later that year, it was commonly agreed that the bad communications to the Front were partly to blame. Prime Minster Lloyd George now appointed Eric Geddes, goods manager of the large and successful North Eastern Railway – ‘a man of push and go’ – to take charge of all transport in the British Sector, sending him to the Western Front with the rank of Major General. Part of his reforms was for two inland waterways leading to the British Sector – the Pas de Calais to Ypres and the River Somme from the Channel coast to Peronne – to be taken over and run by British boatmen. They would enlist as sappers (privates) in the Royal Engineers, Inland Waterways and Docks. Some boatmen who had already joined the Army were pulled out of the line to join the sappers. Others were recruited from the major canal carriers like Fellows, Morton & Clayton, some of whose boatmen were already experienced in operating steam-motorised rather than horse-drawn boats. One FMC man was the recently married Braunston boatman Michael Ward, who enlisted in late 1916, having served on the steamer Vulcan.

A long way from Tipperary. British soldiers being ferried to the front in French commandeered barges. The steerers are called-up British boatmen put into Royal Engineers uniform. Michael Ward could well have done this work. PHOTO: IMPERIAL WAR MUSEUM

Your canal history needs you What I have written here is a taster of what I and others have collected, and kindly allowed me to use here. With your help, we would like to put something more substantial. If you have any further first-hand First World War stories or information to add, please contact me at Braunston Marina on 01788 891373, or by email Ward was sent for training on wide-beamed boats on the canal at Devizes, and then over to France. His work there would have involved moving goods and troops to the Front, and coming back, bringing out the wounded. While being a boatman was much less hazardous than being in the front line, the boatmen were at times well within the range of the guns and attacks by German aircraft. In an interview with his daughter Rose Whitlock in 1996, she told me that on one occasion a kind French woman had offered to go and get him a drink from a nearby tavern. As she was walking back and only a few hundred yards away, he saw her hit by a shell and blown to pieces. Ward was among the

lucky ones, and returned safely in 1919 to meet his wife Susan and two-year-old daughter Rose, who was being carried by her pregnant mother when he departed for the front. A photograph survives from that time. Susan had spent the rest of the war working in the boatyard at Bratch Locks, Rickmansworth. She was working on a boat in one of the double locks which was empty, when a Zeppelin dropped a bomb which hit the other lock, causing mayhem. Miraculously Susan survived. Ward was given a special medal for the spotlessly clean way he had kept his boats on the Western Front. On discharge he was allowed to keep his uniform, which he wore on the canals for at least another 12 years.

Look out for historic lifeboat this summer By Les Heath

MAKING ever more frequent appearances on Britain’s waterways is a 105-year-old former lifeboat which, after undergoing massive restoration, is now used to raise money for the RLNI. And this year marks an important milestone in the lifeboat’s history when it will play a major role at the centenary of the sinking off Whitby of the hospital ship Rohilla. The 34ft lifeboat, the William Riley, after being lowered down the cliffs on ropes, helped to rescue some of the 145 people who survived the stormy tragedy. The boat was decommissioned in 1931 and was found in a sorry state near Barnstable a few years ago. A trust was

formed in Whitby to restore the boat which, with a volunteer crew of 10 oarsmen, now raises money for the charity it once served. One of its finest achievements was on the Caledonian Canal when volunteers rowed the full length from Fort William to Inverness. The William Riley has also taken part in similar ventures on the Broads and on the River Thames, including the Great River Race and the Royal Pageant. This year the boat was due to be rowed down the Ripon Canal to the River Ouse and on through York to Naburn Lock during May. There are also preliminary plans to use it on the River Stour and River Orwell. In September ‘the Riley’, as it is

affectionately known, will be taken by road to Barnoldswick, on the banks of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal, for a special commemoration. Many of the medical staff on the Rohilla, who lost their lives in 1914, hailed from this Lancashire town. An exhibition of items connected with the lifeboat and the Rohilla will be held in Whitby during October – exactly 100 years since the ship hit the rocks and sank. Anyone with any information should contact Peter Thomson of the Whitby Historical Lifeboat Trust on 01947 606094. Meanwhile, boaters should keep a lookout for this historic craft on our waterways and give way to the old lady with the respect that she deserves.

The William Riley volunteers in action on the Caledonian Canal. PHOTO SUPPLIED


Full steam ahead for the 12th Braunston Historic Narrowboat Rally

THE popularity of the annual Braunston Historic Narrowboat Rally & Canal Festival is now well established, writes Tim Coghlan of Braunston Marina. And the last weekend in June (28-29) will see the 12th occasion that we have hosted this unique and much loved event in our historic marina and on the adjoining canals – thanks to support from the Canal & River Trust. We are also pleased to be joined by Towpath Talk as cosponsor, whose generous publicity will insure that what is already THE historic narrowboat rally, will continue to go from strength to strength. We have now established a tradition of rotating the theme of the rally between the surviving Fellow, Morton & Clayton fleet and what we have termed the other Braunston Boats – Barlows, Blue Line and Nursers,

plus the GUCCC boats, all with Braunston connections. This year it is again the turn of those other boats. In pride of place will be the Braunston Marina based pair of historic narrowboats, Nutfield & Raymond – lovingly looked after by the enthusiastic Friends of Raymond. At the end of their working lives, they were part of the small Blue Line fleet, the boats that took part in what transpired to be the last run under regular contract, carrying coal from Atherstone to the ‘Jam ’Ole’ in west London, until the trade collapsed in October 1970. Our rallies now attract around 100 or so of the estimated 300 surviving historic narrowboats, which are in something like their original form and remain navigable. What has been an enormous pride and pleasure to me is how much the rally has encouraged their preservation

The 75-year-old veteran working boatman Tom Lapworth at the 2013 rally. He is seen, right, on the Narrowboat Trust pair Nuneaton and Brighton. The Nuneaton was worked by Alice Lapworth’s parents in her childhood in the post Second World War years under British Waterways ownership.

and major new restoration schemes. Each year we have seen two or three boats for the first time, in various stages of restoration. Hopefully 2014 will see a repeat of this. Each year we look for a new special theme for our rallies and, 12 years on, they are still not that hard to find; 2014 will mark the centenary of the First World War in which the boatmen played their part. But as almost none of them could read or write, very little has been recorded of their endeavours. This is unlike the Second World War, where the willing pens of the Idle Women volunteers did so much to record their contribution. It is hoped that the rally will inspire further research into the First World War – information on which I know is still out there to be found.

Dramatic memories

The rally will be officially opened by guests of honour, former working boatwoman Alice Lapworth and her brother-inlaw former working boatman Tom Lapworth, both now in their seventies. They have memories of the canals during the Second World War, when as young children they travelled the canals with their parents. Tom has dramatic memories of air raids in London and Birmingham. After Alice Lapworth came off the canals in 1962, she learnt to read and write, and in 2012 she wrote a small book A Horse, A Boat, And You about her memories of canal carrying. It is a fascinating insight into family life on the working canals. The book includes what little she can recall of her grandfather Jack Wain, who bravely volunteered to fight on the Western Front – and survived – even though as a boatman, he was in an exempt occupation.

Actor Timothy West opening the 2013 rally on the FMC steam-narrowboat President which was built in 1909 and would have been actively carrying throughout the First World War. Timothy West will be steering the prewar FMC narrowboat Vulcan in the opening parade of boats. PHOTOS:TIM COGHLAN

In the now well established tradition, at 11am on the Saturday of the Rally, Tom Lapworth will steer the motor Nutfield into the marina, towing the butty Raymond steered by Alice Lapworth – as a boatman husband and wife would have done in the working days. Their entry will be fanfared to the sound of Braunston’s church bells and a brass band on the quayside playing songs from the First World War period. Their pair of boats will be followed by a special parade of surviving pre-First World War narrowboats, led by the Vulcan, two of whose crew, Michael and Charlie Ward, went to the Western Front as boatmen. Vulcan will be steered by actor Timothy West – who opened the 2013 rally – assisted by his wife Prunella Scales and the great grandson of Michael Ward.

Second World War canal veterans, working boat woman Laura Carter and volunteer Idle Woman Sonia Rolt on the Nutfield in the opening parade of 2006 rally. This year’s theme will be the First World War contribution to the war effort by the working boatmen. At 9am on the June 28, and prior to the opening of the rally, a special service will be held at the Braunston War Memorial in the churchyard, including the Daventry Brass Band. Timothy West will read a special tribute to the 31 men from the village who gave their lives during the First World War, including six definitely and possibly eight boatmen. All are invited to attend.

Sheena Bourne in part-traditional boatwoman’s costume, negotiating a tight bend, while steering her butty Angel in the 2012 Sunday afternoon parade of boats.

All the other historic narrowboats with Braunston connections will be moored in the old Oxford Arm in the marina. Other historic narrowboats will be moored out on the mainline, thanks to the support of the Canal & River Trust. All historic narrowboats will be invited to participate in the now famous daily parades. The event is open to all historic narrowboats. There will also be the famous Braunston beer tent, plus fast food and fun. Music will be provided by Ramshacle, DPN and other folk and R&B groups. To help cover the infrastructure costs and to add to the public interest, trade exhibitors are invited to attend. Canal societies with whom the marina is associated are also invited – being offered free marquee or outside space. There will be an admission charge to the public of £10 per car. All profits will be donated, as usual, to canal and local causes, the main recipient being the canal charity, the Friends of Raymond. The Braunston Historic Narrowboat Rally & Canal Festival is sponsored by Braunston Marina and TowpathTalk, with support from the Canal & River Trust. The success of the 11 rallies to date has made this into THE Historic Narrowboat Rally & Canal Festival. Here’s hoping we see you here.

Historic narrowboats and visitors galore in the Old Arm of Braunston Marina in 2012



Living history at Foxton Locks EVERYTHING is coming together for what promises to be an exciting and entertaining weekend at the Foxton Locks Festival on June 21-22. Along with hundreds of trade and craft stalls, there will be live music on stage from a variety of artists throughout the weekend. A Viking/Saxon living village will be set up on the site so that visitors will be able to experience at first hand how our ancestors used to live. More recent history will be represented by a large and varied collection of vintage vehicles including classic cars, fire appliances, tractors and a 1948 lorry, along with a range of steam engines. Livestock exhibits will feature birds of prey, parrots, alpacas, a miniature zoo and ferret racing and on Saturday there will be a fun dog show. Other entertainment will include demonstrations by fire dancers and hula hoopers together with the opportunity to learn the arts of circus performers. Added to these will be all the fun of the fair including bungee trampolining and pony rides. Festival director Ann Bushby said: “It’s down to the volunteers that the festival happens. Help us make 2014 even better. If you are interested in volunteering, please email or telephone us on 0116 279 2657. If you don’t fancy being a volunteer, then bring the family for a splendid day out.”

Real ales will be on tap at The Kings Lock. PHOTO SUPPLIED

Have a FAB time at Middlewich THERE will be lots to see at the 24th annual Middlewich Folk & Boat (FAB) Festival on June 1315, with more heritage boats including several visiting for the first time. Previous festivals have seen a variety of trade boats attending, but scattered along the towpath,

so this year they have been invited to moor in one area – just below Town Bridge approximately 250m from the Town Wharf site. Middlewich Council events manager Dave Thomson said: “Join us in June. More and more boats are coming this year and

Guests relax on board Wandering Duck. PHOTO SUPPLIED

Boats at one of the early rallies above Kings Lock.


IWA Towpath Walks Society, London: Regent’s Canal, Mile End-Islington. Starts Mile End tube station at 2.30pm. Costs £9, £7 student/concs. Contact Roger Wilkinson 0208 458 9476.

June 2

Montgomery Waterway Restoration Trust: Canal forum: Restoring the Montgomery Canal. Will be held in the former Cambrian Railway Works, Gobowen Road, Oswestry SY11 1HS at 2.30pm The forum will be at Coffee Express which offers light-bite refreshments and coffee. Take the Gobowen (B5069) or Whittington (B4580) roads from the A5 Oswestry bypass. Take care to enter the door to Coffee Express rather than the children’s Fantastic Funhouse next door!

there’s so much to see and enjoy; 99% of the entertainment is free and it’s free to moor.” More canalside venues are taking part and two are under new ownership, The Kings Lock pub which will be serving real ales and Middlewich Narrowboats where Elsan disposal is now available. Dave added: “The Floating Market has already attracted a good number of trade boats and a unique folk cruise from Manchester is another first for us.” These will include the Borders Cheese Carrying Company’s cheese boat, Drifting Angel traditional sweets and boating equipment, paintings by Michelle Martin, wood and chainsaw carvings by Jez Squire and the Homebrew, Vapes and Fudge boats. Historic boats will include the Horseboating Society’s flagship Maria – Britain’s oldest surviving wooden narrowboat which celebrates its 160th anniversary this year with plans to bring it horse drawn round the Cheshire Ring. Another historic boat originally built in 1928, nb Madeley, was one of only two built by Harris of Netherton for Fellows, Morton and Clayton Ltd, the other being the horseboat Malvern. Working mainly on waterways between Wolverhampton and Preston Brook, Madeley was used by the Shaw family for

June 7-8

Brandy Wharf Leisure Park: Waterways Rally on the River Ancholme at Waddingham, Lincolnshire DN21 4RT with raft race at 1pm on the Saturday. Scunthorpe and District Canoeing Club will be running canoe tester sessions. All welcome, proceeds to charity. Contact 01673 818010. Leawood Pumping Station: In steam at High Peak Junction, Cromford DE4 5HN. Information: 01629 823204. St Pancras Cruising Club: Gravesend cruise via Thames Tideway. Contact cruise co-ordinator Andrew Phasey on 07850 753633,

June 8

June 3

June 5

IWA Middlesex Branch: The Basingstoke Canal and work of the Basingstoke Canal Trust by James Taylor of BCS. Hillingdon Canal Club, Waterloo Road, Uxbridge, Middlesex UB8 2QX. Doors open 7.30pm for 8pm start. Contact Lucy at

Southampton Canal Society: SCS member Gordon Osborn with the Ups and Downs of the South Pennine Ring. Chilworth Parish Hall, Chilworth, Southampton SO16 7JZ, 7.45pm. Contact Angela Rose 0238 067 5312,

Musical weekend at Gargrave Horseboating Society chairman Sue Day with boat horse Bilbo Baggins. PHOTO:WATERWAYS IMAGES many years. After lying derelict since the 1960s, the hull was restored in 1982/3 by Malcolm Braine into a 60ft motor boat for the present owners, Paul and Diana Monahan. Steel work, engine and back cabin were completed at Norton Canes and the rebuilt Madeley was launched in June 1983 and is now based on the Rochdale Canal. Festival visitors could also take advantage of the hotel boat cruise offer on board Wandering Duck on a journey from Manchester city centre to Middlewich from Thursday, June 12, to Sunday, June 15. Folk music, real ale and the option to have a go at steering the boat are promised, as well as great on-board meals. Once at the festival, they’ll be moored up in the middle of the action. For more information visit the special tours pages at

THIS year’s Gargrave Autoharp Festival will be part of the Yorkshire Festival celebrating the Grand Depart of the Tour de France. Boaters are being encouraged to make the festival over the weekend of June 27-29 a bit of a waterways event by displaying flags or lights. One of the sponsors is the local East Lancashire and West Yorkshire Boat Club.

The festival is the north of England’s flagship autoharp event and will include classes, demonstrations and a concert led by Mike Fenton and other leading members of the autoharp community. It will be based at Gargrave Village Hall and surroundings near Skipton on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal. events/gargrave-autoharpfestival

The circus comes to town JOEY the Clown brings the circus to town at the Puppet Theatre Barge throughout June and early July. Suitable for everyone down to three years of age, the show features traditional characters such as Pretty Polly, Burglar Bill and Mr Punch, all on strings! The Beadle wants to close the circus down but Dog Toby comes to the rescue. Showing from Saturday, May 24, until Sunday, July 13,

there are performances at 11am and 3pm on Saturdays and 3pm on Sundays as well as daily at 3pm from Monday to Friday, May 26-30. The Puppet Theatre Barge is moored at Little Venice, Blomfield Road, London W9 2PF, tube station Warwick Avenue. Ticket prices are Children £8.50, concessions £10 and adults £12, contact the box office on 0207 249 6876,

If you want your event listed in our free monthly What’s On section email your entry to or use the events form at As always please check with organisers on the details of the event before setting out on your journey.

Wendover Arm Trust: Restoration open day with guided tours, teas and cakes for sale, 12.30-4pm. Free admission with parking at St Mary’s Church, Drayton Beauchamp HP22 5LS. Donations welcome. Information: 07547 181857,

Worcester, Birmingham & Droitwich Canals Society: Speaker TBC. The Meeting Room, Alvechurch Boat Centre, Scarfield Wharf B48 7SQ, adjacent to The Weighbridge pub. Information:

● Directions to the site along with all the other information can be found on the festival’s own website at

June 10

June 11

IWA Warwickshire Branch: A walk along the River Avon and Grand Union Canal, Warwick. Meet at 7.30pm at the Punch Bowl Inn. Park in Priory Road or Cape Road. Contact 01926 403179.

South London IWA: Waterways and navigable rivers of southern France by Roger Squires. The Primary Room, The United Reformed Church Hall, Addiscombe Grove, Croydon CR0 5LP. 7.30 for 8pm, all welcome. Contact Alan Smith 0208 255 1581, 07774 890750 or email

June 14

IWA Avon & Wiltshire: A three-and-a-half mile towpath walk on part of the unrestored Thames & Severn (Cotswold) Canal. Meet at Chalford at the bus stop at junction of High Street and A419 (GL6 8NW, SO 895025) at 12.15pm to catch 12.30pm bus to Sapperton. Park in nearby lay-by on A419. Lunch break at pub, tea and cake at end. Bookings and queries to Geoff Harman on 0117 962 3812,

June 15

IWA Towpath Walks Society, London: Regent’s Canal, Little Venice – Camden. Starts Warwick Avenue tube station at 2.30pm. Costs £9, £7 student/concs. Contact Roger Wilkinson 0208 458 9476.

June 17

Herefordshire & Gloucestershire Canal Trust: Going up the country by Tony Conder. The Royal Oak, Much Marcle, 7.30 for 8pm start. Everyone welcome.

June 19

River Foss Society: Upstream Himalayan Balsam and litter pick. Meet in car park of the Flag and Whistle, Huntington Road near the Link Road, 9.30am. Wear protective clothing and a hoe would be useful. Barbecue lunch may be ordered at start. Contact June Card 01904 766196, by June 17.

June 21-22

St Pancras Cruising Club: Solstice cruise. Contact cruise co-ordinator Caroline Stanger on 07956 231456,

June 25

River Foss Society: Foss Walk 4, circular walk of about five miles via Husthwaite. Meet at Coxwold car park at 9.30am. Lunch afterwards in the Coxwold Tearooms. Contact Bob Jowett 01904 764702,

June 29

June 16

Friends of Cromford Canal: The building of the Falkirk Wheel by Peter Travis. Ironville Church Hall, 7.30pm. Bar and raffle, everyone welcome, admission £2.

River Foss Society: Walk along the Foss as part of York Curiouser & Curiouser project. Meet by riverside upstream of Monk Bridge for a walk of about one and a half hours to Blue Bridge, 11am. Contact June Card 01904 766196,



Boat club’s supporting team of wounded soldiers sailing at Rio

The trio of injured servicemen who will be sailing for Britain in the 2016 Paralympics. Steven is on the right. PHOTOS SUPPLIED

MEMBERS of the Retford & Worksop Boat Club are hosting a special event on Saturday, June 14, to raise money to help three brave servicemen who will be representing Britain in the 2016 Paralympics. Steven Palmer, the son of club caretaker Linda le Roux, and two comrades, Craig Wood and Luke Sinnot, were all injured by roadside bombs while on duty in Afghanistan. Two of them are double amputees and one is a triple amputee. Given some assistance by Help for Heroes, they have taken up the sport of sailing and have become so adept that they are going to represent Britain in Rio as members of the British sailing team. The basic idea of the club’s event is to raise some extra funds to help them on their way, as well as having a great day while doing so. There will be something for everyone at the club on the Chesterfield Canal at Clayworth with stalls and activities to amuse members and visitors for the afternoon and evening.

Gathering at Thwaite

A BOAT gathering will take place at Thwaite Mills on the Aire & Calder Navigation from June 27-29 as part of the annual Leeds Waterfront Festival. Organised by the IWA West Riding Branch, events will include a Friday barbecue and Saturday quiz as well as heritage and historic craft, children’s activities, stalls, refreshments and free boat trips. A vintage bus will run into Leeds city centre where other free events will take place along the waterfront.

Raft race for charity

In action on the water. They have named their three-man Sonar yacht Spare Parts.

Fun for all the family at Staveley ALL three of the Chesterfield Canal Trust’s trip boats will be in action at the annual festival at Staveley Town Basin on Saturday and Sunday, June 28-29. The narrowboat being built by Eckington School will also make its debut at the festival which opens from 10am-5pm each day. Admission will be £3 adults, free for under 12s. There will be free parking nearby with limited parking for disabled people. The whole site is accessible to wheelchairs and two of the trip boats have wheelchair lifts. Pleasley Vale Canoe & Activity Club will be running canoeing and zorbing and will probably put on a canoe polo match. Children will also be able to have a go on a mini-digger, courtesy of Hewden and the Waterway Recovery Group, while Kids Off Road provides a chance for children aged from four to 12 to drive a mini Land Rover. Andy’s Birds of Prey will have a flying display and there will also be Party Workshops, the Austin 10 Drivers Club, Ozbox, a climbing tower, radio-controlled boats and a face painter. There will be music and dance all day, both in the big marquee and outside. This will include Murphy’s Marbles, Black Pig Border Morris, Life & Times, Nottingham Tribal Belly


BRANDY Wharf Leisure Park hosts its annual waterways rally and raft race on the River Ancholme over the weekend of June 7-8. The raft race starts at 1pm on the Saturday and four-person teams are invited to build their own raft and paddle to victory, no mechanical propulsion allowed. Scunthorpe and District Canoeing Club will be present and running canoe tester sessions for anyone interested. All welcome, all good fun. Proceeds to charity. Contact 01673 818010. Brandy Wharf is at Waddingham, Lincolnshire DN21 4RT.

Day of food and fun

THE Wilts & Berks Canal Trust is hosting a Heritage Open Day at Pewsham Locks on Sunday, June 21, from 10am4pm. There will be demonstrations of traditional crafts, children’s activities, authentic food, music and a canal trail to commemorate the abandonment by Act of Parliament of the Wilts & Berks Canal in June 1914. Admission is free; the locks are accessed via Middle Lodge Lane, Chippenham SN15 3GH.

AWCC anniversary

The New Rope String Band will be playing on Saturday night.

Children can try their hand at driving a mini Land Rover. PHOTOS SUPPLIED

Dance, Scuppered, Keepers Lock, Feet First, Barrelhouse Uke, Woodhouse Prize Band, the New Orleans Strollers plus Carlo the Clown. There will be scores of stalls of every type from home-made cakes to canal societies. Half a dozen caterers and a real ale bar run by

Brampton Brewery will ensure that no one goes hungry or thirsty. Barrow Hill Roundhouse will be holding open days with steam train trips and there will be a free Routemaster bus service between the two sites, plus a minibus with a tail-lift.

● Email or ring 01246 477569 for further information or if you would like to have a stall or bring a boat. There will be a separate Saturday night concert featuring the New Rope String Band in the entertainment marquee starting at 7.30pm. There will be food stalls and a real ale bar with car parking on site. All concert tickets cost £10, ring 01246 477569 or buy online at the Chesterfield Canal Trust website.

Canoes and ‘trad’ jazz in Brownhills festival lineup THE 2014 Brownhills Canalside Festival will be held on the Wyrley & Essington canalside in Silver Street from 10am to 4pm on Sunday, June 29. The event, now in its 13th successful year, is organised by the group of volunteers who make up Brownhills Local Committee and will host a number of attractions for all the family to enjoy. As well as the usual array of craft stalls and information marquees there will be a ‘trad’ jazz band, a fully supervised canoe centre allowing children and young people to take to the water, children’s magician and entertainer Mad Dom, birds of prey with which to get up close and personal and, for the first time ever, Birmingham’s Ikon Gallery Slow Boat Art Project.

Try before you buy at Beale Park THE Beale Park Boat and Outdoor Show on June 6-8 allows potential buyers to try any type of craft on the water. SAS Auctions in association with Henley Sales & Charter Ltd is holding a special sale of classic and modern boats, memorabilia and model boats. There will also be fun displays on the seven-acre lake and competitions from steam engine builds to best wooden boat build in show and the Cordless Drill Makita Challenge. There will also be a Fishin’ Kitchen and demonstrations ranging from cooking at sea to storage on board. An extended children’s area will

Celebratingwaterways heritageat stoke bruerne A FUN packed programme of boats, canal crafts, food, drink, live music, theatre and children’s activities are expected to keep the whole family entertained at Stoke Bruerne’s annual festival. Centred on the canal museum and organised by the Friends of the Museum, the event will host a large number of craft demonstrators including Roses and Castle painters, rag rug makers, quilters, lace and crochet makers, potters and wood carvers, rope splicers, knot and fender makers, and featuring Stoke Bruerne’s own blacksmith who will be giving demonstrations at his canalside forge. This year’s event forms part of a two-year heritage project following an award of £67,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund to the Stoke Bruerne Canal Partnership. As well as interpretation panels and a series of activity programmes, funding is available to train volunteers in leading guided heritage walks which will feature in the programme over the weekend. As to be expected at a water-based festival, working and historic boats will be there in abundance joined by a variety of trading boats,

selling anything from cheese to mouthwatering fudge. For those who want to get afloat there will be a chance to take a boat trip on Indian Chief or Charlie into the Blisworth Tunnel. A wide variety of canal societies, local charities and activity clubs, such as the Northampton Model Boat Club, will be there to talk about their activities; and one of Stoke Bruerne’s two local pubs, The Navigation, will be holding a beer festival to make sure festival-goers don’t get too thirsty. As usual the weekend kicks off early on Friday evening for those arriving by boat when popular Braunston-based duo Ramshackle will be heading up a musical jam session with a fish and chip supper from 7.30pm onwards. Saturday evening sees the return of the acclaimed Kevin O’Regan Band performing live on stage. The event is free admission with parking in the village car parks charged at £5 per car. All surplus monies raised will go to the Friends of the Canal Museum charity towards their work supporting the museum. festival

include safe, free introductory boat, canoe rides and tuition and there will be musical entertainment from Jazz plus Steel Drum Band to the vintage sound of My Favourite Things. Eating and drinking is made easy from a vintage pop-up tearoom to a barbecue on the beach from delicious Thai to the great British fish and chips or bring a riverside picnic. New for 2014 is a shuttlebus service from Pangbourne Railway Station to the show entrance at Lower Basildon, Berkshire, with the bus running from 9.30am until 5.30pm each day. www.bealeparkboatandoutdoorshow

THE Black Buoy Cruising Club is hosting the Association of Waterways Cruising Clubs (AWCC) 50th Anniversary Rally on July 11-13 near the Black Boy Pub and Bridge 69 on the Grand Union Canal just south of Knowle, Solihull. For boaters wanting to attend, the application forms can be found on the AWCC and Black Buoy Cruising Club’s websites ( and

Linocuts featured

A COLOURED print by acclaimed linocut artist Eric Gaskell features on the cover of the special edition of TLC Rolt’s definitive book Narrow Boat. The book also contains a number of his monochrome prints as illustrations. An exhibition of Eric’s colour linocuts can be seen at Audlem Mill from July 14 to August 3 and at the Cotswold Canal Trust in Stroud during August and September. The Narrowboat print is available as a pdf download for £5 at

Underground cinema

DUDLEY Canal’s limestone caverns will become a giant underground cinema for a screening of Phantom of the Opera on Saturday, June 28. The classic 1929 silent horror film will be accompanied by live music from a guitar quartet, led by classical musicians Dodici Corde. Tickets are on sale now from Dudley Canal Trust Trips, 0121 557 6265.

Cosgrove Festival

BUCKINGHAM Canal Society will host the Cosgrove Canal Festival and Craft Fair on July 19-20 at Cosgrove Lock on the Grand Union Canal. Attractions will include historic narrowboats, stalls, trade boats and extra tables available in the village hall and music on the Saturday night. To book a place email and for further details contact Athina Beckett on 01908 661217.


BITS & BOBS GREETINGS! However it happens, one of the best parts of summer chugging is the friends we reconnect with along the cut. The conversation is something like: “If we’re going to be at such and such junction and you’re going to be at so and so waterpark on some semi-certain day or week, then, let’s meet up and get together for a barbecue!” If it doesn’t happen during one part of our trip; it certainly winds up happening at another. After a loose confirmation by mobile phone, it’s ‘toss the meat into a hearty marinade’ and ‘mind the mash’. If it is sunny on the day of the event I haul out portable barbecue, if it is bucketing, I use our cast iron griddle for inside grilling, and if it looks like the weather could go either way, we use the boxed quick start ready-packs (quicker to get going and not so labour intensive if we have to shut down the barbie and move inside). Now, on to the grub.

by Rexx & Phill

June top tip The care and feeding of cast-iron: We love castiron for cooking and have collected lots of pieces. The iron can be used on the hob top or out on the camp-fire; it heats quickly, and keeps the food hot. To keep the pieces clean and rust-free, rinse them in warm water, season with grease from a kitchen towel and store them in the oven (we keep a couple of skillets there) or at least in a warm, dry place (our Dutch-oven lives under the settee). Cast-iron should never be plunged into cold water while the metal is hot or it will crack. Otherwise these pieces are very durable and last for generations; I still have a small skillet that belonged to my grandmother.

Phill’s Grilled Pork Chops with Sweet Potato Mash

Marinate overnight or for up to two days Prep time 15 minutes (allow a half hour to set up BBQ), grill time 10-15 minutes, serves 4

Marinade ● Juice of one tin of pineapple rings (reserve the pineapple) ● ½ bottle honey-mustard salad dressing ● 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce ● 1 tbsp Soy sauce ● Salt and pepper to taste ● Pumpkin pie mixed spice – buy online or make your own ● Pork Chops ● One of those big multi-packs on offer; divide and marinate overnight Sweet Potato Mash ● 1 medium sweet potato per person ● 6 slices of streaky bacon ● 1 onion, sliced in rings ● 1 apple, peeled, sliced ● 4 (2+2) tbsp oil ● 4 (2+2) tbsp butter ● A handful of golden raisins ● Juice of one orange ● A sprinkling of brown sugar Day before: Bake sweet potatoes with skins on at 350ºF/180ºC/Gas Mk 4 (30min). Cool, peel, mash and stash in the fridge. Day of: Outside, set up and light the charcoal/grill. Inside, heat a cast iron skillet on the hob. Fry six strips of streaky bacon; remove the bacon to a paper towel. Rexx will use the bacon in her stir-fry (see recipe below). Keep the heat on under the bacon grease, add onions and apples with 2 tbsp each of oil and butter; cook on low to medium heat until they are softened and caramelised; remove to a bowl. Reseason the skillet with 2 tbsp oil/butter. Drop in the raisins and squeeze over the orange juice. When the raisins plump up, add the sweet potato mash and

heat through. Once the mash starts to form a crispy edge turn just often enough to prevent sticking. Chop the reserved onion/apple combo finely; add this to the mash, sprinkle with brown sugar and stir through. Cover and set at the back of the hob. Rexx takes over in the galley by heating up our hob-top cast iron grill. After a short stop to snip the edges of the fat that circles the chops, (keeps ’em from curling up too much) I take the whole lot out to the grill. By now the coals should have an ash-grey colour and be blazin’ hot. I give each chop a good shake to flip off the excess marinade and lay them on the grill. A lift and turn once after 3min gives them impressive criss cross grill marks. Give Rexx a yell to put the pineapple on the galley grill (2min each side) while I flip and repeat the lift/turn process on side two of the chops. Turn off the barbecue, stack and wrap the chops in foil and keep warm in the residual heat of the closed barbecue. Reserve two chops, for Rexx’s stir fry below. Our friends are bringing the bevvies and dessert and somebody has set up the table. Rexx ‘hands’ the hot skillet of sweet potato mash out of the side hatch and, boasting her best oven mitts, brings out the pineapple rings grill and all. Plate the mash, pineapple, and chops. Many hot pads are required for this meal but the results are worth it.

Prep time 5 minutes, cook time 15 minutes, serves 2

The rain may have held off until our BBQ was finished but it has been bucketing down ever since. Not to worry, we have the boat tied down, buttoned up, and filled with music from our little portable radio. This is the time when we enjoy our galley layout because it allows us room to cook together. We divvy up the items for a stir-fry, lay out a couple of chopping boards and in between, chopping, sampling, and moving the radio from window to window for better reception, we reminisce about the good time we had with our friends yesterday. 2 cooked pork chops, sliced thinly 2 tbsp vegetable oil 1 onion, peeled/sliced in rings 2 medium apples, peels on, cored/sliced 1 each red and orange bell pepper, deseed/julienned 1 pk noodles, optional 1 tbsp Soy sauce 2 tbsp chutney Juice of half of a lemon Crumbled bacon

Lee Senior’s topical tips for growing our own fruit and veg in the month of June MID-SUMMER is fast approaching and our focus turns mainly to routine jobs now such as weeding, feeding and watering. Liquid feeds added to the watering can are a simple way to feed plants growing in containers. A high potash tomato feed will be ideal for most pod producing or fruit bearing crops not just tomatoes. However, if you are growing leafy veg such as spinach, or crops that produce a heart such as lettuce or cabbage then a liquid feed with a higher nitrogen content is desirable. If you are in any doubt, using a general balanced feed is a worthwhile option. Generally plants in containers do run out of nutrients far quicker than those grown directly in the ground. Start to feed tomatoes weekly, once the first truss of fruit has set. Runner beans like warm conditions with plenty of moisture at the roots. Give them copious amounts of water during warm spells to encourage a bumper yield. Shallow-rooted dwarf French beans (kidney beans) are perfect for growingbags or small containers and there is still time to sow them this month for a delicious crop in early September. Finally do remember, if you are growing asparagus, it is a perennial long-term crop lasting up to 15 years. To allow it to replenish itself for the following year it is important not to harvest any new spears later than the middle of June.

Add oil to your wok or deep frying pan. Bring up to sizzle temperature. Add the onion and fry until golden, add the pork and fry until it is crispy; add the bell pepper and apple; strips and continue to fry until they soften. Fold in the noodles (if using); sprinkle with the soy sauce and fold over from the bottom a couple of times to heat through. Fold in the chutney, sprinkle with the lemon juice, and plate. Top with crumbled bacon before serving. Fare well.

Give runner beans plenty of water to encourage a bumper yield. PHOTO: LEE SENIOR

Hunt is on for best boat garden DO YOU have a green and bountiful canal boat garden? If so – TV celebrity gardener Alan Titchmarsh wants to see it. Independent production company, Spun Gold TV is producing a new ITV series for Alan Titchmarsh with the working title of ‘Britain’s Best Gardens’. Spun Gold TV makes a wealth of gardening programmes, including ‘Love Your Garden’ for ITV and ‘Alan’s Garden Secrets’ for BBC. However this time, to mark the 50th year of Alan Titchmarsh’s horticultural career, the company is turning its attention to the domestic gardens of Britain – wherever they happen to be. It is looking for gardens that are owned and maintained by the nation’s less well known horticultural heroes, who have turned their backyards, balconies, roofs or even their floating homes, into amazing spaces. Because Britons will create all kinds of gardens just about anywhere – the programme makers are looking for gardens in unusual places. So if your canal boat is a horticultural wonder – then the series may want to feature it. Applying to the programme is easy – just email with some information about the garden (please include its location, size and contact details for yourself – phone and email) along with a few photos of the nominated garden. Or write to Britain’s Best Gardens, PO Box 64382, London EC2P 2GJ.

Major award for Audlem Mill

THE canalside needlework shop at Audlem Mill, Abacus Designs, has been voted as North West runner-up in the 2014 British Craft Awards, winners of which were announced at the needlework trade show at the NEC in Birmingham. It was nominated and voted for by the readers of several major needlework magazines.

Rexx’s Sweet and Sour Stir-Fry

● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ●

Gardening afloat

The canal and needlework shop at Audlem Mill. PHOTO SUPPLIED

Chris Silvester and her husband Peter took over Audlem Mill, one of the oldest canal shops on the system, at the beginning of 2007, and opened up the first floor for Chris’ needlework company Abacus Designs. This started mainly with canal cross stitch designs, but its range of over 200 kits now includes many other subjects, and more recently embroidery designs and rag rugs – finished, or as kits. All these and many other canal kits, are also sold through The shop now has a very wide range of all sorts of needlework products, accessories and kits from a wide range of specialist suppliers, and many boaters plan their trips to ensure that they can have time in Audlem Mill. Chris Silvester said: “I feel very privileged to have been given this major award, but especially so as it was voted for by our customers – and we have built the shop up from nothing in only a few years. Next year, we hope to be first – but only with our customers’ support! “We have now added and are hoping to carry the best range of stitch/knit books, just as also has the largest range of canal books in the country. All books on the websites are in the shop, not just the internet, so boaters coming through Audlem can come in and browse.” ● Audlem Mill is situated by the canal wharf just above lock 13 of the Audlem flight of 15 locks on the Shropshire Union Canal.




To book your advertising call Stuart on 01507 529455































Need a Surveyor or Boat Safety Examiner? IAIN JO N ES

N a r ro w b o a t Su r veyo r

& Bo a tSa f ety E xa m in er

M icha elCla r ke

Dip.S.C. SurAM IM a rEST AREAS CO VERED: 6, 10 • A Frie n d ly an d Pro fe s s io n alSe rvice • Fu lly Q u alifie d & In s u re d • Ultras o n ic Pre -pu rchas e & Hu llCo n d itio n Su rve ys • Fre e Bo atSafe ty Ce rtificate w ith e ve ry fu lls u rve y

M arine Surveys and BSS Exam inations

Burton O n Trent M obile:07860 119476 Em ail:jones.iain@ W ebsite: w w w .jonesm

• N o trave llin g Charg e s -Allare as co ve re d N o rtham pto n b as e d

0 1 60 4 85 8 868 0 7944 85 6 35 1

in fo@ n orthern sta rm a rin k w w w .n orthern sta rm a rin k

Areas covered:5,6,9



M cN eil M a rin e S U R V E Y IN G

! W ood G R P & Steel Cra ft ! P re P u rcha se Su rveys ! Su rveysforIn su ra n ce ! D a m a g e/D efectR eports ! Va lu a tion setc. A rea s covered: A LL

01 554 833233 w w w .m cn eilm a rin

To advertise on this page call Jason on 01507 529581

Boat Safety Examiner Boat Safety

Surveyor Surveyor Surveyor

Forpre-purchase, insurance and B SS exam inations. U ltrasonic testing Landline: 0161 336 2680 M obile: 07711 496177 Em ail: surveys@ W ebsite: w w w Areascovered:2,3,4,5,6


07913 388524 em ail:

m ikeshaw @ A re a s Cove re d :

2, 5, 6, 9


Com pletely independent. G ood rates and a friendly service. A reas covered:


Call: 07989 388109 Em ail:






Looking to buy or sell a boat share?

Visit our website for further details or call us on 01270 760 799 and find out today what can do for you.


The Boat Shop UK Leighton Buzzard. We buy boats in any condition, boats needing welding work, or refitting, cash available for the right boats. Ring 07971305880 / 07742260961 BO515189L

Canvasman - see some examples of our work on our main advert page 35. 01943 851444 CA515876L



B e spo ke c a no pie s fo r na rro w bo a ts a nd c ru ise rs, inc lu d ing c ra tc h c o ve rs,pra m ho o d s a nd to nne a u . C a llTim or Lisa on 07761 432092 w w w .sta ffordshireca k



RYA In la n d W a terw a ys O ne ortw o da y cou rses Helm s m a n Co u rs es f o ra ll -ou rboa toryou rs S P EC I A L L A D I ES ’ DAYS

N ervou s, N ovice, N o problem forou rpa tient, friendly la dy instru ctor G iftV o uc hers av ailable

Ca ll us:07867 7901 95 em a il: inf o @ ches hireca ttra .uk

w w w .ch esh ireca ttra in in .u k W e a re b a sed a t Overw a ter M a rin a ,Au d lem ,Ch esh ire

BOAT PAINTERS Try the narrowboat painting specialists on the North Oxford Canal

Online Boat Painting Quotes


Everything you need for Wiring, Rewiring and Maintaining your Boat

Tel 07977 504766

Cable, Switchgear, Fuseboxes etc. Free 100 page Catalogue available or buy Online!

Enter promotional code TT001 for discount

Tel: 01584 819552 Fax: 01584 819355


CORPORATE COURSES BOOKS CANAL BOOKS, GUIDES AND MAPS. Probably the best selection. or visit Audlem Mill on the Shropshire Canal. Tel: 01270 811059 AU471593L AU514674L



RALLY PLAQUE MANUFACTURERS We also manufacture for the Canal & Boat Industry


BH Lowe

1A Clarendon Street, Bloxwich, Walsall WS3 2HT Tel: (01922) 479737 Fax: (01922) 473628 e-mail: website:





www.m o veyo u rb o a .u k

A ny age,any condition, unfinished projectsetc. W ILL CO LLECT nigel.carton@

LPG Petrol



For m ore details call N igelon 07989 388109

Call : 01270 509 296 Quote: ‘Towpath’ when ordering for a free Service kit







FUEL POLISHING Diesel cleaned. Centrifuged and filtered. Removes water particles and bugs. From £70. Based in Grantham. Please phone for more details on 07771 638570. MI515918L

DIESEL FIRED HEATING ENGINEER Eberspacher, Webasto, Mikuni & Diesel Stove Installation, Service and Repair • Quality work at competitive rates • MIDLANDS AND NORTH WEST


Ed Shiers 07922 163072



UK and Continental Maps and Guide Books Boating and Canal books including History, Boat Maintenance, Canal Crafts, Fiction Videos and DVDs • Gifts and CD roms Bert and Betty Books Model boats, Chandlery and Canal Magazines. Mail and telephone orders welcome

23 Pine Gardens, Surbiton, Surrey KT5 8LJ

020 8399 0486

FOAM SPRAYING AND INJECTING. UK's number one spray foam company. 30 years experience. Call Brian on 08007 313497/07971 200559. Email CO509471L








Boat & Narrowboat Insurance at the touch of a button Quick and easy online quotations and cover 24 hour claims help line and simple online claims tracking Monthly payments available for premiums over ÂŁ100 at NO EXTRA COST! Underwritten by Navigators & General a trading name of Zurich Insurance plc

Quality cover at internet prices! Go online or call us on 08452 607888 Authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority


Deadline for advertising in the July edition is Wednesday June 11 available from Thursday June 26







F a s t, R elia b le M o b ile S er vice F o r A L L Y o u r B o a tin g N eed s 15 years’experience,fully qualified, a service you can rely on FEEL FREE TO CALL TO DISCUSS AN Y N EEDS YOU M AY HAVE 0 7 9 6 20 240 9 2

s c o tts tea m 17@ ya h o o .c o .uk w w w .s o a rm ec h a n ic a ls ervic es .c o .uk



Holt Steel & Plastic


Lovelyrural setting inthe heartofthe Chilterns O nly ten m inutes fro m m a inline sta tio n a nd the M 1 a nd M 2 5

! M a rin a w ith resid en tia l a n d n on -resid en tia l m oorin g s, la un d ry a n d show erb lock ! Covered d ry d ock f orb oa tsup to 72f tx 14f t ! 40tcra n e perm a n en tly on site cra n in g b oa tsf orsurvey, on oroff tra n sport, f orha rd -sta n d in g a n d repa irs. ! A ll steel w ork un d erta ken -b oa tb uild in g , over-pla tin g , stretchin g , f a b rica tion ! Hull pa in tin g -g ritb la stin g w ith epoxy or sta n d a rd b itum en system ! Superstructure pa in tin g a n d sig n w ritin g ! Da y Boa tHire ! Boa tSa les! Slipw a y ! Cha n d lery ! Pum p-out ! Ga s, Diesel, Solid Fuel ! En g in e Repa irs! W ood w ork ! Plum b in g ! Ga sIn sta lla tion sa n d Repa irs ! Electrica l In sta lla tion sa n d Repa irs

M id d x & H ertsBoa tServices, W in kw ell,Bou rn e En d ,H ertsH P 1 2R Z

01 4 4 2 8729 85

FOR YOUR ENTIRE SPECIALIST TANK NEEDS For water, waste, fuel, we fabricate in Stainless Steel, Poly Propylene, Mild Steel and PVC all to your specifications Trade or private also cruisers stainless work ALL HAND MADE Call Steve on 01902 427479 07966 526528





Why pay high imported prices when you can buy British made from a british company

SIGNWRITING ENGINEERING SOLUTIONS FOR TRADITIONAL PROBLEMS-restoration and marinising, casting, machining and fabrication of one off parts to order. Gardner factory approved. Over 60 years of combined experience. Tel 01788 899123 VI514707L

Industrial Plastics Supplies Limited 0113 2579000


A45 SELF STORAGE 8ft, 10ft and 20ft secure lock up units available for short/long term let Stephenson Close, Daventry NN11 8RF T:01327 877130

TRANSPORT BY ROAD A.B. TUCKEY BOAT TRANSPORT SERVICE A reliable personal service provided by a family business, based on 3 generations of transport experience. Narrowboats moved up to 70ft in length and 25 tonnes in weight. Own 35 & 70 tonne crane.


From a wiring fault to a full engine/gearbox recondition we have a fully qualified engineer in the respective field. • Heating systems • Generators • Bow thrusters • Gearboxes (hydraulic/mechanical) • Outboard motors • Wiring faults (including inverters) • Engines (modern/traditional) • Mobile welding services

Tel 01926 812134 Fax 01926 810354

Stockton, Warwickshire Website: email:

We are based in Hebden Bridge & Todmorden and provide our services around Lancashire Yorkshire and Greater Manchester areas. Insurance approved (covering all aspects of work)

So if you require any of our services here or just need a little more information on the services we provide, then why not email or give us a call!

01706 815103




Channelglaze Ltd: see our main advertisement on page 55. Tel: 0121 706 5777 CH515405L

UPHOLSTERY Turn over the page for more trade adverts



Ring Keith on 01530 411778 or 07961 324479 (7 days a week) for a free quotation


READERADVERTS BIRCHWOOD 33 CLASSIC twin Perkins diesel, 6 berth, centre cockpit, original gel coat, rear d/bed, ensuite two toilets, shower, 3-way fridge cooker, £22,000. Tel. 0114 2510098. Yorks.

Boats for sale

“ODIN”, beautiful 38ft Eggbridge cruiser stern, 1982, 26 berth, BMC engine, many modern improvements, stove, shower, inverter, calorifier. New survey & recent BSCC, £17,995 ono. Tel. 01243 790923. W Sussex.

35FT CRUISER Lister SC2 engine, new cooker, new water heater, 1000wt inverter, fully equipped and ready to move aboard, BSC til Oct 2015, Offers near £14,500. Tel. 07583 794372. Macclesfield area.

50FT CRUISER Nicely refurbished live aboard, built in 1974. Engine: Lister SR3, sale price £15,000 ono. Tel. Craig on 07984 329969. Warks. 65FT NARROW BOAT with bespoke open plan interior, c/w private mooring located on the Ashby Canal being sold fully furnished with all kitchen appliances. Mooring has electricity and water on sight, boat certificate just renewed, £75,000. Tel. 07535 677998. Warks. LIVERPOOL BOATS 70 x 12, wide beam, 2007, £65,000. Tel. 07845 976842. Leics.

57FT BOAT 2004, newly spray painted, 2k, engine serviced Mar 14, a new heating system with back bolier has just been fitted, ideal liveaboard, 2 berth, £36,500 ono. 07955 442552. Bucks.

BOUDICCA 57ft Inspection launch, a much admired, cosy and different kind of boat, light and airy, Edwardian design, comfortable for 2 people but can sleep 6, built 2002, by Stowe Hill Marina, modified to semi-trad by Andicraft 2011, tiller steering or from front wheel-house, bow thruster, solid and veneered-ply ash interior. Shower, basin and new pump-out lavatory fitted 2011, full-size, domestic gas cooker c/w d/oven, under worktop domestic fridge/ freezer, washing machine, tumble drier, Kabola dieselfired c/h, d/glazed, safety glass, lounge windows renewed 2012, fixed king-size bedroom at stern, £64,000. Tel. 07816 448494 for comprehensive details. DRAGON BOATBUILDERS 70ft, 2001, extra wide top half of cabin,10 large windows, 4 hatches, 4 port holes, Electrolux travel power mains, power when engine on, Barrusshire 4 cylinder, Morso Squirrel and another stove plus Webasto heating, large bath, £70,000. Tel. 0776 2014409. Cambs.

TRANSPORT BY WATER RETIRED BOAT OWNER, RYA Qualifications. offers to move your boat with greatest care. FREE QUOTATION. BCF member. or 07812 183 340. AN515567L

26FT SPRINGER BSC 2017, 4 berth Honda outboard, recently serviced, good starter boat, £7500 ono. Tel. 01908 613086. Bucks.

60FT NARROW BOAT Top quality, reluctant sale of Miss Molly, Peerless built 2003, full of top spec equipment, Beta 43 engine, bubble stove & c/h, £75,000 ono. Tel. Dave 01352 781784. Moored Ellesmere.

ALBATROSS SPEEDBOAT Build No. 400, 12ft 6” circa 1953, aluminium, fully restored inc upholstery, full bare metal respray, fitted cover, bronze propellor, road trailer, lovely, bargain, £2100. Tel. 0115 9334053; 0775 2022937. Notts.

AQUALINE NARROWBOAT 60ft, hardly used, well maintained, 2007, absolutely beautiful, perfect in oak, licenced, certified, ready to go. Secure mooring available. £59,000. Tel. 07881 728622. Berks.

Selling your boat is FREE for private readers of Towpath talk

See coupon on page 117 for details NORMAN 22 Mk 4 4 berth GRP cruiser, Tohatsu 15hp, 4 stroke, outboard, Hull survey 2011, BSS to 2017, £2350. Tel. 07500 732198. W Yorks.

CRUISER STERN 1984, 30ft, all steel narrowboat, Bukh engine BSC 2015, complete internal professional fit-out, 2 single beds/sofas, new w/tank, fridge, hob, water system, new battery, Paloma water heater, shower room, Thetford cassette toilet, wash basin, Boatmans stove in hearth, laminate floor in saloon, ample storage, LED lights, galvanic isolator, back and front covers, complete with TV, plank, pole etc, lovelys tarter boat, cheap to run and moor. Moored Trent and Mersey. Offers around £15,800 ono. Tel. 01773 744538. Derbys.

CRUISER STERN NARROWBOAT 50ft , 4 berths, re-bottomed, total refit, new Beta 1505 engine, repainted, Mansfield traveller toilet, calorifier & Paloma water heaters, Alde gas fired c/h, £18,900. Tel. 01827 708350; 07887 640438. Staffs.

CRUISER STERN NARROWBOAT 60ft, 1992, Morsco stove, Mastervolt Inverter, new cratch, cratch covers and pram hood fitted 2011, BSC 2013, licence til Sept 2014. Lying at Lyons Boatyard B’ham. £28,000. Tel. 0753 2016222. B’ham.

BOAT 2 berth, but room for 4 berth, oak, cooker, fridge, Thetford cassette toilet, shower, new villager stove with new back boiler and new radiators fitted, BSC 2017, £36,500 ono. Tel. 07955 442552. Beds.

DUTCH MOTOR TJALK Beautiful, orig, rebuilt, renovated to high std, good headroom, 65ft x 12.5ft, DAF 475 engine recond, 4 berth, grey, black water tanks 1500lt ea, hull minimum 5mm, £145,000 ono. Tel. 07926 933157. London.

CRUISER STERN “CALCUTT” 35.5ft, 1978, narrowboat, 1.5 BMC engine, 2+2 berth, refitted in light oak ply, clean and tidy, chemical toilet, boatman multi-fuel stove, shower, gas hob, £17,950 ono. Tel. 07763 926139. Leics. SPRINGER CRUISER STERN 1990, 40ft, Thorneycroft diesel engine, c/h, fixed d/bed, Safety Cert Sept 2015, steel hull, £12,000. Tel. Rita 07932 447427. Northants.

FAIRLINE 32 for sale with extended flybridge, 4/6 berth, sound boat but needs tlc and servicing. Your chance to upgrade it to your own taste. Absolute bargain at £15,000 no offers. Tel. 07906 870112 for full details. Lincs. HISTORIC BOAT fully restored, full length, in working trim but suitable for conversion, £30,000 for a no-nonsense sale. Tel. 07913 761871. Oxon.

FAIRLINE HOLIDAY 1984, hull, 221 fast motor cruiser, 4berth, new KAD 32, 170hp diesel and leg new in 2004, only 550 hours, new canopy 2012, c/w compass depth sounder, £15,500 ono. Tel. 01652 678416. Lincs.

GOOSEMOOR 50ft liveaboard, trad narrowboat, GT hull, 1990, super, professional repaint last summer, stove with back boiler, 1.8 inverter, 240/12v, fixed double. Tel. 07717 670690. Berks.

KATEY MAY Traditional all steel flat bottom narrowboat, length 30ft, year 1974, 1.5 DMC diesel engine, sleeps 4 comfortably, toilet, cooker, 240v & 12v, BSC Nov 2015, full survey. Moored at Sandford Lock, Chelmsford, Essex. Tel. 01277 216093.

NARROWBOAT 40ft trad stern, refurbished, newly blacked, partial rewire, new boiler, new kitchen, new bathroom, Lister SR3 engine, an inverter, s/f heater, living area at front and the bedroom at back, b/s until 2017, licensed until 2015, £26,500. Tel. 07852 999601. Staffs.

NARROWBOAT TUNNEL TUG 40ft, 2008, BSC, Bukh., 20hp, cooker, shower, wc, soild fuel, fully repaint, open to offers, may take p/x, £27,950. Tel. 01455 822389. Leics. 60FT NARROWBOAT to rent for 6 months, currently moored near Daventry in a lovely quiet marina, currently our permanent home but we want to travel abroad for 6 months, 2001 boat with new shower room central heating log fire. Lovely boat, interested then call . Tel. 07847 733889 to discuss cost and terms. Northants.

VIKING 26 CRUISER 4-6 berth, Parsun F15 4-stroke outboard engine (approx 20 hours only), £5995. Tel. 01536 618286. Northants.

PARIS NARROWBOAT semi-trad 62ft, Emmeline, reverse layout, 2008, excellent condition throughout, cruiser or live aboard, 4-berth, full spec and service history on request, £58,000. Tel. 07866 133777. B’ham.

PROJECT 40FT NARROWBOAT needs some tlc, Bedford diesel engine works but needs service, Keel cooled but needs replacing, buyer needs to arrange transport. Email for more photos or info. £8000. Tel. 07545 953824. N Yorks.

R&D NARROWBOAT 1989, 60ft narrowboat, 4 yrs BSC, blacked, new annos, 28.4.14, RCR paid till Apr 15, full cooker, gas and elec fridge, £25,500. Tel. 07802 717078. Derbys.

SEA OTTER 41 2006, SE with 5 (6) berths, 553 hours on engine, Bowthruster, good condition, overhauled in factory Sept 2013, £55,000. Tel. 07887 456957. for more details and pics!

SHETLAND FAMILY FAVOURITE Cabin cruiser 1997, one owner from new, 2012, 20hp Honda, hardly used, sleeps 4 (2” cabin 2 in cockpit), on roller coaster 3.5 trailer, fully equipped with gas hob, £10,000 ono. Tel. 07908 937649. Berks.

SPRINGER 23 Cruiser stern, year 1990, 3-berth, 10hp Mitsubishi fridge, cooker, toilet, shower, wash basin, water heater, Boat Safety 2016, blacked end 2012, wood burner stove, £12,500 ono. Tel. 07982 399794. Leics. NAUTICUS 27ft, lovely condition, new washroom toilet, reupholstered engine, serviced, electrics, renewed, cooker, fridge, heater, new petrol tank, mooring marina. £7500 ono. 01564 793815. Warks.

TWIN AXLE TRAILER and boat for sale, sound hull ready for fitting out, good trailer 6 centre rollers, 7 outrigger rollers, ready to go bargain, 24ft. Tel. 07511 312889. Leics.

VIKING 23 New 9.9 Mariner, 4 stroke engine, new canopy and full repaint, new steering system, new refit to int including water heater to much work done to list all. £12,000 ono. Tel. Lee 07814 543150. Staffs.

VIKING 26 centre cock pit, 6 berth, re-lined, new carpet, re-upholstered cockpit seating, sold as nearly completed project inc unfitted oven & water heater, £7500. Tel. 07713 465791. Cambs. ARTHUR VERDUN 48ft tub style, Armstrong A53 Siddeley, 1948, built 1987, Philip Jones, beautiful lines, low in the water, blacked 2013, 4 new anodes, boatman's cabin/Epping stove, Morso squirrel stove at front, gas cooker, 4 ring and oven/grill, new 365 port potty, large water tank, recent ply and tarp cover at front, 4 berths, shower Paloma heater, BSC till 2017, licensed to end Sept, lying near Banbury, Oxford canal, characterful, good live aboard with potential. £23,000 ono. Tel. 077520 76434. Oxon. ATLANTA 24 Yamaha E/S tilt and trim, 4-berth, shower toilet, fridge, hot water heater, £9500. Tel. 01427 612453. Lincs. ARTHUR VERDUN Tug style, 1987, Phil Jones, 1948 Armstrong Siddeley 3 cyl, blacked and 4 new anodes 2013, BSC 2017, Morso Squirrel gas stove, 4 ring cooker, shower, porta potti (new 365), boatman cabin at stern with Epping range, fold-down double, full size double, in main cabin, useful ply and canvas covering over front deck, characterful live aboard, licensed to Oct. £23,000 ono. Tel. 077520 76434. Southsea. CRUISER STERN by Ward Marine BMC Deisel Eng, 1992, 70ft x 6ft 10", forward galley kitchen with Rinnai inst w/heater, cooker and fridge, Kabola deisel boiler & rads for heating, open plan lounge area, batghroom with bath, shower & basin, one double bedroom with wardrobe space, 240v Shore power, BSC Dec 2017, £32,000. ono. Tel. 07515 680239. Herts. SEA RANGER ship to shore, 25w base, radio, SRM 5600 with antenna and operator's manual, £65. ono. Tel. 01704 507842; 07908 935231. Lancs.


Insta n A lw at C ash A vail y s able

NationalNarrow boats W anted For C ash

0800 3895325 G&T 2000 SHELL 70ft, new fit out, hydraulic drive, bow thruster, built in 3.5kw generator, Inverter, 5 leisure batteries, CoC 2016, cratch & cover, 5 pair side doors, 6 berth, wood burner, Webesto c/h, washer, excellent live aboard, £45,950 ono. Tel. 07866 962228. Stockport. NORMAN 23 3/4 berth cruiser, Honda 4-stroke engine, good condition, nearly new canopy, oven, toilet, accessories include anchor, life jackets, distress flares, 3 months' mooring paid at Victoria Quays, Sheffield, licensed. £3750 ono.Tel. 07474 795699. Derbys.

Parts and spares

CEILING LIGHTS 24 chrome recess, c/w halogen bulbs (+ 6 spare bulbs), will take 2 pin LEDs. 71.5mm outside dia, 50mm for recess, 20mm front to back, majority as new, all vgc, £120 plus post. Tel. Jim Dows 07712 771140. Staffs.

TWO DOUBLE GLAZED leaded window panels, 19cms x 821⁄2 cms x 11⁄2 cms each, suitable for front doors on canal boat, £200. Tel. 07713 177304. W Mids. MARINE CALORIFIER 120 litres, ie 27 gallons, immersion heater, Boss, brand new, unused, twin coil, £150; Sterling battery charger, 20amp, £50. Tel. 07595 957607. Man. IZUZU 4LC1 c/w twin alternators, wiring loom and control panel, runs well but uses oil, can deliver in N West, £450. Tel. 07970 384047. Cheshire.

w w w .nationalnarrow plastic - good or damaged. Tel. Carl 07980 360216 eves.W Mids. OUTBOARD ENGINE wanted, elec start, long shaft, 10hp to 20hp, 4 stroke, petrol. Tel. 01777 710697. Notts.

MARLEC RUTLAND 913 windcharger with HRDX voltage controller, both unused, still boxed, £450 ono. Tel. 07761 446753. Shrops.

17 X 12.RH PROPELLER 11⁄2-in shaft, excellent condition, £150. Tel. 01283 810005. Derbys.

ECOFAN 800 802 replacement motors, solder terminals. Free post to uk address. Paypal accepted. £14 each, limited stock. Tel. Martin 07894 856275. Derbys. BRASS FRANCIS LAMP 11" Francis lamp, vgc, with mounting bracket, £250. Tel. 01623 740039. Notts. HEART 2800 automatic power inverter/battery charger, unused, FOC, but buyer collects, want to know more? Tel. 01443 453454. Mid Glam.

RH PROP 19 x 14, 11⁄2” shaft, vgc, £120. Tel. 07873 223131. Wilts. PUMP-OUT TOILET and holding tank, domestic Sealand porcelain pan, tank dimensions 5ft 7" x 15" x 10", used, good cond, buyer to collect, £200. Tel. 07896 199109. Northants.

Selling your boat is


PAIR OF ADJUSTABLE FENDERS to suit narrowboat rail, £10. Tel. 01270 368285. Cheshire.

TWO USED PROPELLERS 22 x 18 LH, to fit 2” shaft, £180; 16 x 11 LH to fit 1.5” shaft, £40. Tel. 01604 584919. Northants. FRANCIS LAMP brass, 11", with cracked lens, £100. Tel. 01623 740039. Notts. HONDA EU10I INVERTER type generator, very quiet, professionally modified to run on petrol or gas, unused as new, cost £865 will sell for £500. Manuals present. Buyer collects. 07463 364515. Warks. PALOMA WATER HEATER good working condition, but developed a small leak, so selling for spares. Tel. 07766 655436. Leics. WEBASTO C/H BOILER for sale, this was fitted by an approved fitter but has not been used.I am using a back boiler in the Morso, everything included, elecs, fuel pipes and reservoir. Tel. 07445 913547. Cambs. VANETTE GG7000 & 4000/2 LPG, oven & hob wanted, prefer in red, if possible and ignition, can collect. No silly price please. 07966 260066. Bucks.

Parts Wanted COLLECTOR looking for an old forecourt petrol pump to restore, anything considered,. Tel. Andy 07814 475350 eves. W Mids. COLLECTOR looking for old petrol pump globes - glass or


PETTER DIESEL two cal, air cooled engine with hydraulic pump for sale. Best offer secures. 01902 609755. W Mids.

CYCLONE TYPHOON 3 adult life jackets, as new, £25 each; 12V elec coolbox, never used, £45; B/W TV/Radio 12v, 5.5", £10. 01205 280254. Lincs.

SR3 LISTER ENGINE with Lister hydraulic gearbox, can be seen running. £2100. Tel. 01283 810005. Derbys.

SOLAR PANEL 80w and charger, £110; ultrasonic thickness meter gauge steel, aluminium, cast iron, £95. Tel. 07973 630066. Notts. EX TRAVEL SAT, c/w dish, magnetic base, slx satellite finder, compass, all cables inc spares, used one season only plus new sky box and remote, £199. Tel. 01666 503992; 07881 505396. Glos.

Wanted I'M LOOKING FOR A LIVEABOARD with the option rent to buy please. Anything considered. 07554 445122. Staffs. ANYTHING E & H ROBERTS Deanshanger Iron Works wanted, name plates, implement seats, catalogues, bill headers, spanners, etc. 01908 561434 eves. Northants. WANTED NARROWBOAT Requiring work whether it being TLC, part fitted etc. Tel. 0790 6019299. Norfolk. NEW HOMEWANTED for various slides and photographs of waterways and waterway mechanisms in Britain and Western Europe taken between about 1970 and 2000. Tel. 0113 269 3672. Leeds. WANTED: HAND STARTING HANDLE and cylinder head, c/w valves for SABB diesel twin 2H or why? Tel. 01254 202341. Lancs. WANTED WANTED good outboard, 15hp/20hp elec start, 4 stroke, cash waiting for right engine. 07786 840678. Notts.

YAMAHA ENGINE 4 stroke, 2.5hp, used very little as back up engine, can be seen running, £300 ono. Tel. Debbie 07725 113114. Leics. GARDNER 1L2 Single cylinder water cooled, big fly wheel, good condition circa 07810 564734. Cheshire. SPRINGER Lister engine, gwo, boats need work, cooker, shower, log burner, 4berth, £7000 ono. Tel. 07768 935933. Cheshire.




GARDNER 4LK, immac, show piece, engine already mounted on engine bearers ready to be installed into your own canal boat, PRM gearbox, two alternators, £12,000 buyer to collect. Tel. 07973 460482. Notts. MERCURY OUTBOARD ENGINE 2.5hp, 4 stroke, standard shaft, as new, £380. Tel. 01553 810032. Norfolk.


PORTABLE FREEZER as new, used twice only, now surplus to requirements, domestic/electrolux F400 can be used as fridge, cap 39 ltrs, weight 22.5kg, mains, 12v or gas, price June 2012, £625 bargain at £295 ovno. 01623 871012; 07815 645833. Notts.

LARGE BOAT LAMP made by anchor, (one in the centre), £40 ono. Tel. 0777 2046129. Notts.

WALLAS DIESEL COOKER as shown, 11 years old, gwo, last serviced Nov 2012, £400 cash. Tel. 07713 513873. Coventry canal near Lichfield.


PAIR CSR JUNIOR LIFEJACKETS 150N with full harness, auto or manual inflation, durable outer cover, high frequency welded and high visibility inflation chamber with easy to follow, printed folding guide for repacking s/s square link buckle and 'D' ring, adjustable back strap, factory fitted thigh straps, unused, still in orig packaging, £80 the pair. 01283 740389. Staffs. CARAVAN FOR SALE 2 berth towing, "Swift", as new condition, many extras, awning, winter cover, deluxe, ready now, £3500. Tel. 07960 536714; 01905 354035. Worcs.

Choose a section ■ For sale ■ Wanted ■ Miscellaneous

for private readers

SOLID BRASS BATHROOM ACCESSORIES set comprising double towel rail, toilet roll holder, soap holder and porcelain soap dish and toothbrush holder and porcelain tumbler, used but in vgc, £50. Tel. 0161 2354347. Gtr London. "COOLMATIC" COMPRESSOR portable fridge/freezer, mains or 12v, 35 ltr, extremely low power consumption, uses 1amp per hour, like new, cost £530, accept £250;boarding ladder for boat in white by Plastimo, vgc, £20. Tel. 01422 342127; 0777 9776508.WYorks. HISTORIC CANAL BRIDGE PLATE cast iron, B'ham Canal Navigations, this bridge is insufficient to carry weights beyond the ordinary traffic of the district by order, 34" x 19" authentic and original, £150. Tel. 01252 713054. W Surrey. BOAT COPPER and brassware (15 items some antique). Collected over 40 years boating and 6 boats! Good stock for boat jumble enthusiast. £50. 07877 717305. Leics. FOLDING BIKE - Classic Saxon - City Folder - Safari, exc cond, £60; also unused chimney 6" x 18" with rain hat, £20. 01543 279692. Staffs. BOUND BACK COPIES of Waterways World, 1983/84/ 86, also loose copies 1974/85/88/ 90, buyer collects, Offers. 07908 935231. Lancs. PORT HOLES solid brass, (marine grade), craftsman made, brass/screws plus nuts, Neoprene gaskets, laminated glass, 51⁄2" dia set 4 (pigeon box), £80; 91⁄2" dia set of 2, £50. 01252 713054. W Surrey. SEATING/BEDDING CUSHIONS 5 large, total length approx 22ft, high density deep foam cushions with matching backrests, upholstered muted tapestry material, exc cond, little used, ideal for refurb project, £100. the lot. Tel. 07715 581957 for details. S Yorks. WASHER & CREDA SPIN DRIER worktop/table top, both 240v but been used via inverter over last 3 years, both like new, proper working order, £45. Tel. 07929 856764. Notts.

■ Parts for sale ■ Parts wanted ■ Picture enclosed

Name: ........................................................................................................................ Address: .................................................................................................................

Choose one of the following methods:





Area/County: ...................................................................................................



Telephone: ..........................................................................................................


POST the coupon to Towpath Talk Free Ads, PO Box 99, Horncastle Lincs LN9 6LZ

Your vessel will then appear in the next available two issues.

*Not published

Email: ..................................................................................................................... Signature: ........................................................................................................ I confirm that I am not a dealer

Date: ........................................................................................................................ On occasions Mortons Motorcycle Media Group, publisher of Towpath Talk, shares selected information with its sister companies within the Mortons Group of Companies and with other reputable companies, who may contact you about products and services that may be of interest to you. If you DO NOT wish to have the details given here passed on, please tick this box n





Looking forward into the very practical galley.

A new dawn for the boat share fleet

Set out as a dinette, the saloon feature converts into a double or two single berths.

Harry Arnold tries out BCBM’s latest addition before its show debut ONE OF the shared ownership boats that we had the opportunity to take out on the Shropshire Union Canal was the latest commissioned by BCBM Boat Share Ltd, the 61ft, fourberth Dawn Mist which, following the Braunston show, is being exhibited at the Crick Boat Show. The fourth brand new boat from this company, it is the sister of the already very popular Dawn Treader. By coincidence we had also spent three very comfortable days cruising on this virtually identical earlier boat. Dawn Mist comes with an impressive past pedigree from a builder – Navigation Boats & Custom Craft of Nantwich Canal Centre – twice winners of the Inland Waterways Association’s Lionel Munk Trophy for the best boat at a National Festival. Only the steelwork is from a different source – Nick Thorpe Boatbuilding of Hixon; but this is top quality too. So it has to be said from the start that we are looking at a craft that is among the top of the range shared ownership narrowboats, which is of course reflected in the cost of a share.

Dawn Mist

Dawn Mist’s semi-traditional style steel shell has a 10mm base-plate, 6mm hull sides, 5mm cabin sides and 4mm roof. Windows and portholes, finished in powder coated silver are by Channelglaze Ltd. The two sets of outward opening side doors have drain channels and screens to keep out the flies when open. Paint finish is eye-catching, with traditional decoration by Andy Russell. At the stern there is a comfortable steering and single-lever control position with ample seating for the crew. One seat folds up, assisting with the good, but heavy, single footboard engine access. Both the counter stern and forward cockpit decks are covered in a special (and we gather expensive) artificial material planking. Twin doors topped with an easy-slide, none-lift aft hatch with closing mechanism give interior access. Under the floor a Nanni N4.43K 2.2 litre, 43hp diesel engine with a PRM 150 hydraulic gearbox provides propulsion through Vetus waterlubricated stern gear. There is also a Webasto diesel-fired central heating

boiler mounted in there, linked with a twin-coil insulated calorifier and heated from engine system for both hot water and central heating via radiators in all cabins. As an addition to this there is a solid fuel stove in the saloon. The boat handles really well, but for those who want further steering reassurance there is a cross tube mounted bow-thruster within a watertight locker at the fore end. Also beneath the forward cockpit is a food-grade polyurethane, baffled water tank holding about 150 gallons. The whole bow design – including the neat grab rails built into the curve of the cabin – is both practical for working the boat and elegant, factors which should go hand in hand but often don’t. Other main technical equipment includes a Johnson macerator pumpout toilet system with polyurethane holding tank and ‘Eco-flush’, a gas oven, grill and hob, backed up with a microwave oven, and a Shoreline 12volt fridge. Electrics also include a Victron 2kW combi inverter/charger with land-line hook-up, a CD/radio and TV with built-in DVD in the saloon and a pre-wired second TV position in the master cabin. TV has a signal booster. Down lighting, fitted throughout, is switchable individually and in two-way wall switch groups. The steel shell is polyurethane slab insulated and has concrete slab ballast within an internal dry bilge which is also fully ventilated. All interior wood based materials are either plywood, blockboard or solid ash, the general finish being American white ash apart from the solid mahogany aft steps. BCBM stress – no MDF. Areas that could possibly get wet are floored in Karndean with the rest of the cabins covered in high quality, contract grade wool blend carpet.

Total privacy

From the forward cockpit you enter the master cabin, positioned here for total privacy, with a fixed double berth – which extends via slide out section and infill mattress to 4ft 6in width – occupying most of the space. By the front bulkhead are twin mirrordoored wardrobes, one of which has a neat folding vanity unit attached.


The main saloon looking aft towards the galley.

Length: 61ft Berths: 4 Hull & Cabin: Steel 10/6/5/4 by Nick Thorpe Boatbuilding Boatbuilder: Navigation Boats & Custom Craft Style: Semi Trad Engine: Nanni N4.43K 2.2 litre, 43hp diesel Gearbox: PRM 150 hydraulic Power: Victron 2kW inverter/charger combi Heating: Webasto boiler, linked to engine, radiators plus stove Calorifier: Twin coil insulated Fuel tank: 363L Waste tank: 363L Fresh water tank: 680L Insulation: Polyurethane slab Lining Materials: American white ash, plywood, blockboard and mahogany Flooring: Karndean and carpet on timber Toilet: Johnson macerator pump-out Following the L-shaped line of the bed are upper stowage cupboards. The adjacent bathroom has 900mm quadrant shower, the largest possible to fit the space, which is fully lined with Reef panel waterproof board. Forward of this is the toilet on the right, balanced by a striking arrangement of a white round hand bowl mounted on a black imitation marble surface: Beneath is a cupboard, shelves and towel rails running aft towards the shower. Beyond the bathroom stretching to the stern is a roomy and well laid out open-plan main cabin containing the saloon, dinette and galley. A multi-fuel stove on a tiled hearth backed with heat-proof protection is sited next to a neat built-in shelf unit housing the ‘entertainment’ items; with the rest of the space left clear for two of the popular and comfortable Wilson’s captain’s armchairs and their footrests in Oxblood leather finish. Additional seating is provided by a foldaway bench attached to the back of the dinette. The dinette is a cunning four-way arrangement which, in addition to this saloon seat and the obvious daytime dining table, converts into two singles or a double bed. It also houses stowage space. All four of the windows and both pairs of side doors are located in the saloon/galley section giving the whole area a light and airy feel. Most women (and the men who cook or just wash up) will be

impressed with the galley which has two main work surfaces; one with a flush mounted hob next to an inset sink, balanced by another opposite with extensive stowage beneath. A microwave oven is mounted at eyelevel above the fridge as you enter the central corridor leading to the stern steps. Lift a hatch beneath your feet and there is a cunning hidden cool store for essential boating provisions such as alcohol. Aft of the galley are two full-size wardrobes, cupboards housing the concealed electrical control systems and wet locker stowage for all the oilskins and bigger bits you need to hand while boating. Four weeks of high specification and comfortable cruising aboard Dawn Mist – and the satisfaction of you and your fellow syndicate members’ boating affairs being handled by an experienced management company – will initially cost you £10,000.

Master cabin looking forward showing fold-out vanity shelf.

Hand basin and toilet arrangement in the bathroom.

● BCBM Boat Share Ltd has

recently moved to a new office close to the Shropshire Union Canal in Audlem. It also has an office at Braunston Marina. BCBM Boat Share Ltd, 15 Shropshire Street, AUDLEM CW3 0AE Tel: 01270 811500, email:

The large quadrant shower in the bathroom.


Plea to boaters to pass safety tips on DURING Boat Fire Safety Week 2014 (May 26-30) – the national campaign by Fire Kills and the Boat Safety Scheme (BSS) – boat owners are being asked to pass on tips from the BSS website and leaflets that help skippers and their crews to stay safe from fire and carbon monoxide (CO) risks. In the past 20 years over 30 boaters have been killed in boat fires and just over 30 have lost their lives to the ‘silent killer’ carbon monoxide. This year has already seen one fatal boat fire and three people die from CO poisoning. Timing it for the start of the peak boating season, the request to boat owners is to take a moment to follow the fire and carbon monoxide safety tips found in the Fire Kills and Boat Safety Scheme leaflets, websites, Twitter feeds and Facebook walls. In particular the BSS and other organisations will be Tweeting and posting tips and prompt sheets during the week with the hoping that boaters will not just act on the advice, but pass it on too. Whether it is favouriting, retweeting, blogging, emailing, circulating on a leaflet, giving a boat club talk, or simply chatting with your neighbouring moorers, the ultimate aim is to see more boaters safety self-aware and respecting the various risks found on a boat. BSS manager Graham Watts said: “During Boat Fire Safety Week, in marinas and on moorings across the UK, firefighters will be talking to thousands of boat owners in handing out leaflets to alert people to the risks and help them protect themselves and their passengers. “Hopefully the advice and safety messages will be picked up and passed on along the towpaths, pontoons and berths to help reduce the number of incidents.”

The Fire Safety on Boats leaflet provides tips on how to protect your boat and, most importantly, your crew from fire, as well as what to do if a fire breaks out. This leaflet together with Carbon Monoxide Safety on Boats is available at boatyards and marinas. Boat Fire Safety Week again has the support of the Royal Yachting Association, The Maritime and Coastguard Agency and the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI).

New chairman for Scottish Canals

This boat became a raging inferno in just eight minutes. PHOTO: C. DANCEY

SCOTTISH Canals has appointed a new chairman to its board. Andrew Thin, a former chairman of both Scottish Natural Heritage and the Cairngorms National Park Authority, replaces Dr Jon Hargreaves. Dr Hargreaves was first chairman of Scottish Canals, steering it from its birth as an independent organisation in 2012 to the start of 2014. Andrew Thin, who will be in the hot seat for three years, said: “Despite being in existence for only 18 months, Scottish Canals has already started to make an incredible contribution to Scotland and the passion and commitment of its staff is clear for all to see. “I am thrilled to be joining at such an exciting time and I look forward to working with staff and partners to deliver lasting change on and along the nation’s increasingly vibrant waterways.” Andrew, 59, lives near Inverness, is married with Scottish Canals’ new two children and holds degrees in agricultural science chairman Andrew Thin. and business. He enjoys the outdoors and PHOTO: SCOTTISH CANALS mountaineering.

TEN TOP TIPS TO TAKE ON BOARD TODAY ● Test the boat’s smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms regularly to ensure that they are still fit for purpose

● Have a fire action plan. Everyone on board should know the plan and be ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ●

clear on what they each should do if there’s a fire or in the event of a CO incident Make sure the escape routes are clear. Never lock or bolt doors and hatches on the outside while you’re aboard Turn off fuel supplies properly after use. Whenever possible, turn gas-valves off before you go to bed or leave the boat Keep the galley attended when cooking. Don’t cook while tired. Also, the effects of alcohol, drugs and medications can cause drowsiness and may affect your judgement Smokers should dispose of cigarettes carefully. Make sure you’ve put them out, right out Keep fabrics like curtains, cleaning cloths, tea towels, etc., far enough away from cooking hobs and heating stoves to prevent them from charring and catching fire Be extra cautious when refuelling with petrol. First, get all the crew ashore (they should only re-board when the engine is restarted and running smoothly) Put out naked flames – turn off the engine and any cooking appliances. Then close doors, windows or hatches and any awning or pram-covers on the boat Replace the filler cap, clean up any fuel spillages and ventilate the engine space completely before turning the ignition key or switch

● For further information about Boat Fire Safety Week and boat fire and CO safety advice, visit

Crick Marina hosts boat fire safety day CRICK Marina recently hosted a very successful and well attended Boat Fire Safety Day in conjunction with the Northamptonshire Fire & Rescue Service. The Fire and Rescue personnel from Daventry Fire Station were on-site throughout the day with a fire tender, information boards, literature, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and provided a range of information and advice on boat fire safety to those moored in the marina. Boat owners were also offered the chance to have a personal boat fire safety visit from officers on the day and 10 took up the opportunity. At the end of each visit smoke and carbon monoxide detectors were provided along with fire safety literature and emergency contact details. Marine harbour master Noel Roberts said: “As a former firefighter I am very keen on developing good community relations with our local fire and rescue service, not only for such events as these, but also to ensure good pre-

planning is in place should we ever need them in an emergency. This was the second such event and we already have a further one planned for August.” Boater Lizzie Richmond said: “Awareness days like this are very important in the boating community and I’m really pleased that Crick Marina organises these types of events for us in partnership with the Fire & Rescue Service. Fire, smoke and carbon monoxide are real dangers for boat owners but by following some simple guidelines these risks are significantly reduced.”

Banavie in the shadow of Ben Nevis is highlighted in the competition.


Design competition set to highlight beauty of canals YOUNG architects and landscape designers are being challenged to design viewpoints around the Caledonian Canal and Cairngorm Mountains as part of the Scottish Scenic Routes project which has borrowed a similar, successful idea from Norway. Around £500,000 is being ploughed into this stage of the scheme by the Scottish Government, which will see Banavie and Laggan on the Caledonian Canal included in the competition. An initial launch of the project, centred on Loch Lomond, has already attracted 90 innovative designs and a similar level of interest is expected for Banavie and Laggan.

Scottish Canals chief executive Steve Dunlop said: “Scotland’s canals are home to some of the nation’s most breathtaking scenery and we’re delighted that the waterways will play a part in the second phase of the Scenic Routes project. “Banavie, which sits in the shadow of Ben Nevis and is home to the iconic lock flight of Neptune’s Staircase, offers some incredible sights. Laggan, where the rugged, fiord-like scenery of Loch Lochy meets the man-made beauty of the Caledonian Canal, is just stunning. Both are jewels in the crown of the Caledonian Canal and we can’t wait to see how the competition designs celebrate them.”

The Northamptonshire Fire & Rescue Service taking part in the Boat Fire Safety Day at Crick Marina. PHOTO SUPPLIED

● For further information on the marina or to reserve a mooring please visit, email or call 01788 824034.

Warning to keep clear of the cill THE Canal & River Trust has issued an urgent safety alert following the recent incident where a hireboat sunk in a lock on the Kennet & Avon Canal after getting caught on the cill. There have been 25 sinkings related to cill hang-ups in the past 10 years. Many hire operators and private boaters are aware of the risks but cill related sinkings continue to happen. The recent incident occurred when a hired narrowboat was travelling downhill through the lock chamber. It is essential that proper control is maintained over the boat and that it is kept forward of the top lock gate cill.

The extent of the cill is marked by white lines on the copings with the word ‘cill’ stencilled on and a warning sign is placed on the gate. Failure to keep forward of the cill marker can result in the boat sinking at the front and raised out of the water at the stern. This can happen quickly and can result in the boat sinking or capsizing in seconds. Handovers should emphasise the proper navigation through locks and the potential risks if the boat is not properly controlled. Private boaters should ensure they remain vigilant to the risk of cills and becoming hung up as the lock empties.

● The Boater’s Handbook carries advice to avoid and recover from lock hang-up incidents. Download it from

Boat owners are bathed in light as the Kelpies light up the night. PHOTO:SCOTTISH CANALS

Kelpies open in a blaze of light THE Kelpies, the world’s largest equine sculptures, were officially opened in a blaze of light and fireworks in time for the Easter holiday weekend. Dubbed ‘Home’, the Falkirk-based event beside the Forth & Clyde Canal and the new, one-mile canal link to Grangemouth, attracted hundreds of sightseers. The giant horse heads took on a stunning variety of hues with specially commissioned artworks and a pulsating soundtrack really putting the 300-tonne works of canalside art firmly on the map. The event was also used to launch

the John Muir Festival, which recalls the life and work of the famous 19th century Scottish environmentalist, who died 100 years ago in 1914, and who founded national parks in the United States of America. Ian Scott, Falkirk Community Trust chairman, said: “The Home event has announced the arrival of the Kelpies to the international stage and has also inaugurated the start of the John Muir Festival in a suitably dramatic fashion.” The Kelpies has opened for public tours with 10 guided tours running daily between 10am and 3.30pm. Full details are at

ON SCOTTISH WATERS with Hugh Dougherty 121

‘Bowling’ along the towpath on two wheels Hugh Dougherty gets on his bike for a first trip along the towpath

A welcome sight at Bowling. The scale ‘Puffer’ Wee Spark at her mooring.

I’M A keen cyclist as well as Towpath Talk’s Scottish correspondent, so it might seem a bit strange to confess that I’ve never ridden on a towpath on two wheels until recently. My excuse is that I live a few miles away from the nearest canal, have access to good country roads 15 minutes’ pedalling from where I live, while a trip to the Forth & Clyde demands a cross-city ride on Glasgow’s cyclist-unfriendly streets. But a few weeks ago I saddled up and headed along Cycle Path 7 for Balloch on the bonnie banks of Loch Lomond, using the towpath section from Clydebank to Bowling. And what a pleasant experience it was.

Scottish Canals should take a bow for the excellent condition of the towpath. There’s no overhanging greenery as on other sections of the path not in the canal body’s control, no flooding and hardly any litter or uneven surfaces. It’s a cyclist’s delight. There’s also room to pass walkers, but not before giving them a ding on the bell if approaching from behind to ensure that no one ends up in the drink! It’s sheer pleasure spinning along with the calming scene of the canal itself, the wildlife that abounds along its banks, a whole new perspective on views of the River Clyde to the south, the high and mighty Erskine Bridge ahead and the canal basin and western locks at Bowling where the waterway enters the river.

Cycle patrol

I saw nesting swans just past the bustle of Clydebank’s busy shopping centre. There were some cheeky wee boys

Time for a lunch break: picturesque Bowling locks where the canal enters the Clyde.

Well-signed, and topped by the Forth & Clyde branding.

View from the saddle on the way to Bowling on the Forth & Clyde Canal towpath.


further along; one asked me as I shot past: “Geez a shot uv yer bike pal!” which means “Please may I have a ride on your bike?” A police cycle patrol, useful for moving on larger versions of the kids, was on duty near Bowling. It would have been good to see some craft on the water; but as this was midweek in late spring, the only boats around were at Bowling, including houseboats and the Wee Spark, a third-size replica Clyde Puffer which lives there. There was a headwind on the way out, but, behind me on the return, I was literally ‘bowling’ along thanks to the lack of any appreciable gradients on the towpath. There were benches and a canal heritage information board at Bowling for a lunch break on the 54mile round trip from home to Balloch; and Scottish Canals and Sustrans have the whole route well signposted. So, would I do it again? Yes, it’s a cyclist-friendly environment which really does what it says on the tin. If you’re a new cyclist, give it whirl – it’s

An informative heritage and history board at Bowling. very safe. If you want new experiences and a break from roads, the towpath is ideal. Next time, I won’t turn off at Clydebank on the way back. Who knows, I could even reach Edinburgh, canalside! ● Full details of cycling by Scottish canals are at

Towpath cyclists urged to slow down CYCLISTS using the Union Canal towpaths in Edinburgh have been asked to ‘slow their speed and drop their pace’ thanks to an initiative involving Scottish Canals, Edinburgh City Council, Sustrans, Spokes and Police Scotland. The appeal to the growing number of cyclists comes in the wake of towpath improvements in and around Edinburgh which have seen a 300% rise in usage from walkers, runners and cyclists. Now a strong plea has gone out to cyclists to be respectful of other users, from Scottish Canals Lowland Waterways manager Alasdair Smith. Alasdair said: “We’ve launched this important project with our partners, including members of the cycling community, to ensure that everyone who uses the towpath can do so

safely. Cycling responsibly means slowing speed and dropping pace, just as the vast majority of cyclists using our towpaths do. We plan to extend the scheme along the Forth & Clyde Canal to Glasgow later this year.” And cyclists and walkers will find the Union Canal towpath safer thanks to new LED lights installed by Edinburgh City Council and Scottish Canals at Watson Crescent, Kingsnowe and the Calders. The new lights enhance original ones lit up in 2011. Edinburgh City Council’s canals champion Councillor Gordon Munro said: “The new lighting encourages active and healthy lifestyles such as more people walking and cycling and complements the campaign for cyclists to boost their own safety and that of other towpath users.”

Plea to bring steam ship pioneer replica home A NEW group, the Friends of Charlotte Dundas, hopes to bring a replica of the world’s first practical steamship home to Grangemouth. The hull of the 1980s-built, three-quarters scale replica is deteriorating in an Arbroath boatyard, while campaigners say that it should be restored and displayed in Grangemouth where the original was built in 1801. Charlotte Dundas was designed by Scottish engineer and inventor William Symington and, combining his design for a crank which could connect a steam engine to a paddle wheel, it sailed along the Forth & Clyde Canal in 1803 to Glasgow on what is claimed to be the world’s first practical, steam-driven voyage. Its importance was recognised by Falkirk District Council in the 1980s when a Manpower Services Commission project was used to build the replica, including parts for a working steam engine; but the MSC scheme was scrapped in the 1990s, and the project halted. For some years, the partially completed hull with paddle wheel was displayed in the basin at the Falkirk Wheel before the vessel was removed to Mackay’s Boat Yard, Arbroath, in 2006

where it currently remains. Joyce McIntosh, secretary of the newly formed Friends of Charlotte Dundas, said: “We are very keen to bring the vessel back to its home in Grangemouth to honour both William Symington and the area’s rich industrial heritage. I am a direct descendant of William Symington and we believe that the ship, fully restored and properly displayed, would boost tourism and provide a focus for education as well.” Heritage interests in Grangemouth had already suggested that the boat should be incorporated in the Helix, a project which has opened a new section of canal improving sea access from the Forth & Clyde Canal, with landscaping and the Kelpies, two 90ft high horse head sculptures recalling the towpath horses which hauled barges along the canal. “We were turned down,” said Joyce, “even though we felt it would have been the ideal place. Now we want to see action before the replica, which is owned by Falkirk Council’s museums and culture wing, degenerates further. The Charlotte Dundas played a pivotal role in the development of steam power and of the industrial revolution and canals, and its replica must be saved.”

How the ship could be displayed if funds become available. IMAGE COURTESY OF FRIENDS


Ken Hutton, a retired engineer and founder member of the friends group, has prepared drawings of how the restored ship could be displayed. “Grangemouth was once home to many industries, but little or nothing remains of them. That is why we must restore and display the replica of this historically important ship, and urgent action is needed as it is now in a state of extreme disrepair.” ● The Friends of Charlotte Dundas can be contacted at and donations and offers of practical support are welcome.

Andy Cochrane and Skylark IX at Clydebank. INSET: This wreath on the stern reminds restorers what the project’s all about. PHOTOS: HUGH DOUGHERTY

Hunt for a little ship’s drawings AN APPEAL has gone out from the Skylark IX Trust, the body restoring Scotland’s last surviving Dunkirk ‘little ship’, which was rescued from its watery grave in the River Leven in October 2012. The boat is now safely on dry land at Clydebank’s River Clyde Boatyard at Rothesay Dock where six recovering drug addicts from Dumbarton Alternatives project and 30 volunteers are battling to restore the unique motor boat to its Second World War condition. Andy Cochrane, trust member and senior project officer, said: “We’ve spent the last six months since the boat was moved here dredging years of silt and mud out of it and we’ve now had a professional survey done. “There is no doubt that it can and will be restored, but if we had a copy of the builder’s drawings, that would be a great help to us. Skylark IX is the last survivor of a class of boats built by J Bolson of Poole in 1929. We really need a reader to help us locate a copy of the plans to answer some questions we need answered.” The trust’s current plans are either to restore the boat to original condition, but on dry land, or, if a Lottery Fund application is successful, to put it back in seaworthy condition and sail it to Dunkirk during celebrations there. “We know that the boat rescued 600 soldiers on runs to the beach under fire, and there is blood on its timbers, so we would like to ensure that it does get to Dunkirk in due course,” said Andy. During its years as a Loch Lomond cruise boat, Skylark IX used to take the local Dunkirk Veterans Association members on an annual wreathlaying cruise; and Andy said that if it is restored to sea-going condition, one of the options might be to berth it at Bowling, where the Forth & Clyde canal meets the river. ● Donations are welcome to speed the ship’s restoration and any information about plans should also be sent to Andy at


Jack o’ the locks The people’s sculpture


AT ITS best, public art along Britain’s canals reaches intimately into history and plucks out the spirit of living heritage – a visual tool for conserving the culture of the past and, at the same time, enhancing today’s canal environment. Jack o’ the locks is an iconic sculpture, greeting visitors at the entrance to Sowerby Bridge Wharf. Two bronze figures are caught in a moment, working the black and white arm of an old lock gate. The arch of a little bronze boy’s back is taut, propelling innocent energy to his eager bronze hands that push the lock arm

Restored warehouses at the wharf.

with tender might. Sharing the task, a weather-worn patriarch looks over him with warmth. As a work of art, the two figures occupy the eye, yet it’s the space that separates them that tugs on the heart. That void is packed to the brim with the eternal union of generations, taking any audience on a rollercoaster ride, peeling emotions from the basics of love and nurture to nostalgia, pride and hope. Even a surprising dose of patriotism slips in through the back door of your mind as the figures ask you to respect their hard day’s graft that once led an empire.

Jack o’ the locks explicitly portrays the story of the old lock keeper of Sowerby Bridge but, as any great sculpture that is set in a public space should, it implicitly commands concentric stories of the environment within which it sits. Sowerby Bridge Wharf was once an important place where two canals met. The Rochdale Canal is a robust Pennine rambler that was originally constructed for vessels up to 72ft long. It met the Calder & Hebble Navigation at Sowerby Bridge, where cargo had to be transhipped to shorter boats. Bulk loads of salt, cotton, wool, coal, timber, limestone and general wares were stored in warehouses here. The historic warehouses that tower behind Jack speak as ambassadors for the struggle for survival that canals have had to overcome since the railways first arrived. Sowerby Bridge Wharf and its 18th century canal buildings were once

left crumbling from neglect until Prince Charles and the Prince’s Regeneration Trust stepped in to help. A decade of work (in partnership with English Heritage, Yorkshire Forward, British Waterways – now the Canal & River Trust – and others) helped restore the wharf which has become a hive of leisure facilities, workshops and a canal boat wet dock. Sowerby Bridge is busy again with the hubbub of tourists who turn up each year to go boating, shopping, wining and dining or simply sightseeing with an ice cream. Regeneration did its bit and this charismatic pocket of Yorkshire says the canals are loved again. Success over adversity and the power of belief is the enduring message that clings in the cobblestones and corners of this place – and Jack o’ the locks, in solid silence, passes on the root sentiment that keeps past generations and new generations connected.

At over 19ft, Tuel Lane Lock is the deepest in the UK. PHOTO: JANET RICHARDSON


The Towpath Angler Our monthly look at the angling scene

Shire Cruisers’ base at Sowerby Bridge.

Adapted extract from Britain’s Canals, A National Treasure in 100 Must-See Objects by Phillippa Greenwood and Martine O’Callaghan – published by Coolcanals July 2012.

A view of Sowerby Bridge church from the canal bank.

FACT FILE My favourite treasures – chosen by John Bridgeman, trustee of the Canal & River Trust. “Jack o’ the locks at Sowerby is a wonderful ‘heritage sculpture’. It exemplifies so much about our canals – a local man out in all weathers, the admiring boy doing what he can, both joined in the noble art of hard manual work.”

Roll of honour An amazing mix of businesses and individuals collectively raised funds for the commissioned work by artist Roger Burnett. A ‘roll of honour’ plaque listing these people and friends is mounted on the sculpture. As such, the fundraisers have become part of the sculpture they asked to be created.

The sculptor Roger Burnett once worked in engineering design before launching a full-time career as an artist. He originally worked from a studio on a canal boat and went to the canals of France to make a living, then later moved to the Caribbean.

It’s there permanently in the open air so visit when you like. Deepest lock Tuel Lane Lock in Sowerby Bridge is the deepest lock in the UK. It is over 19½ft deep, and has to be operated by a lock keeper. Location Sowerby Bridge. OS Grid ref: SE064237 Canal: Rochdale Canal / Calder & Hebble Navigation How to get there By train Nearest train station is Sowerby Bridge National Rail Enquiries 08457 484950

By bus Traveline 0871 2002233 By car Car parking in the wharf area On foot The Calder Valley Cycleway forms part of Sustrans National Cycle Network Route 66 and follows the canal towpath much of the way from Sowerby Bridge through to Warland By boat Nearest boat hire: Shire Cruisers, Sowerby Bridge. Holiday boat hire. 01422 832712 Moorings There are plenty of visitor moorings available along both the Calder & Hebble Navigation and the Rochdale Canal through Sowerby Bridge Local Tourist info Visit Calderdale Sowerby Bridge town website Canal & River Trust/Glandwr Cymru Use the Canal & River Trust website to find specific local information.

LAST month, I used a substantial part of this column talking about the Sharing Towpaths Consultation which, without doubt, has got a lot of people talking. Let us hope that we can find outcomes which satisfy as many needs as possible and, in particular, for the vast majority of towpath users who already do show respect for their fellow users. I am optimistic that this consultation process is an illustration of how the Canal & River Trust envisage dealing with such large, wide-reaching issues going forward. It certainly embodies the core ethos around which the Trust was originally formed and which should, hopefully, ensure it goes from strength to strength in the future by carrying a majority of its supporters with it every step of the way. As hard as British Waterways tried during its time, it all too often seemed to fall short on properly connecting with the majority of its users. This frequently resulted in many lastminute arguments at crucial meetings when time could have been better spent on other issues. This situation led to distrust and, occasionally, rank dismissal of other points of view. Of course, BW had many different criteria to meet and I do think that this, sometimes at least, forced it to take its eye off the proverbial ball. Looking ahead, it is essential that there is trust, respect and, as far as possible, equal status across the CRT spectrum for all its various activities. Irrespective of all the good indicators so far, I remain uncertain as to how equal things really are in this context. I guess we can all quite easily make a case for our respective activities to have a greater ‘status’ than some others. Indeed, as far as angling goes it is very easy when you consider its specific inclusion in the 1968 Act, and also its role as a generator of decent revenues. Some may challenge this, but it is an irrefutable fact. Yet, despite this, it all too often appears that angling and fisheries is nothing more than a ‘background’ activity. For example, angling is rarely seen on promotional literature and videos. Various boating festivals are, quite rightly, promoted strongly and yet a national angling championship, involving upwards of 700 people from across the country, hardly receives a mention.

David Kent

Sterling success

Of late, the Angling Development Strategy has, without doubt, enjoyed sterling success helping to introduce people to angling, and signposting routes to external funding. However, I suspect the 200-odd incumbent clubs which have fishing rights agreements on our canals probably see little of real benefit to them being delivered and, thus, are struggling to stay ‘onside’. Surely, this is where good recruitment should start. That said, the small angling and fisheries team does an absolutely fabulous job. Perhaps with a bigger and ‘in your face’ team, making it more visible, confidence would be restored, and so might revenue opportunities. This looks like a perfect agenda item for a future Angling Advisory Group meeting. I have tried to keep you updated on the progress on my local Erewash Canal, following pollution in 2012. Just today, I have attended a meeting involving the CRT manager, EA Fisheries & Biodiversity team and the affected clubs. We have seen statistics setting out the re-stocking to date, and were able to identify a number of targets for the next 12 months when, I believe, collectively much can be achieved. With the more settled spell of weather, fishing is showing signs of picking up, with venues everywhere recording good results. The Grand Union North, just down the road from me at Loughborough, produced an excellent Angling Trust Winter League semi-final a couple of weeks ago, with all the anglers singing its praises. The ‘Shroppie’ is also on very good form. On a personal note, my recent better run has continued despite my tempting providence last month; I must be doing something right at last! Tight Lines.

Perry rises to Boddington challenge CONDITIONS for the Angling Trust and Canal & River Trust Stillwater Championship first qualifier for 2014 proved quite challenging for the 39 competitors taking part. The event took place on Sunday, April 13 at Boddington Reservoir. An overnight frost, followed by a bright sunny day with a chilly breeze, meant that most of the carp caught were from distance and on the bottom. Method-feeder tactics dominated, and although some anglers tried the pellet waggler it didn’t produce any fish. The most productive area was the shallower high numbers, while the deep water by the dam was quite poor, with several anglers blanking. Dave Perry (peg 100), unlike most of the other competitors, decided to fish with a PVA bag filled with micro

pellets, and a high-vis boilie on the hook. Dave landed a total of 23 carp for a weight of 81.8kg. In addition, he lost seven good fish on a bad snag, otherwise he would have topped the 100kg mark. Runner-up (peg 97) was Barry Bush (Lingmere Fishery), with a weight of 49.3kg. Barry fished a method feeder at distance, with boilies as hook bait. Third place went to James Hipkiss (Ridgmere) with a weight of 44.4kg (peg 96). James had 13 carp, also caught on the method feeder and boilies. The four qualifiers going through to the final in September are: Richard Bedder, Stephen Openshaw, Frank Hayhurst and Dave Perry. The next qualifier was due to take place on Sunday, May 11, again at Boddington Reservoir.


The Wet Web Helen Gazeley takes a look at the festival scene

A quiet moment at the Thames festival. PHOTO: STEVE STILLS GLASTONBURY may be making its annual splash this month, but this summer offers plenty of other festivals, and with the extra enjoyment of water. Liverpool is positively buzzing. The International Mersey River Festival, June 13-15, takes place

along much of Liverpool’s waterfront and includes Music on the Waterfront. Big names are promised for the free musical event (last year performers included Katie Melua and KT Tunstall), while river sights include tall ships, the Royal

Plenty of narrowboats at Stratford River Festival.

Navy’s new Type 45 Destroyer, Merchant Navy Ship Galatea, narrowboats, nobby boats and a Dutch barge rally. There’ll also be an aerial display, raft race, canoe polo and displays to mark the 350th anniversary of the Royal Marines.

Also worth considering for July is Memories of August 1914 (July 23-27), marking the centenary of the start of the First World War and featuring the extraordinary Royal De Luxe company with their gargantuan street puppets ( The First World War is also commemorated at Bedford River Festival ( events-builder/events/bedfordriver-festival-2014). Held every two years, this year (July 19-20) it features a historical village on Castle Mound, with children’s activities, First World War homefront cooking workshops and a trench encampment, shooting displays and cavalry arena. The festival, which attracted more than 300,000 visitors in 2012, also features the traditional festival parade of floats, raft races, dragon boat racing and Battle of the Bands. The waterways themselves are celebrated at Stratford River Festival (July 5-6) as this year marks the 50th anniversary of the re-opening of Stratford-onAvon Canal. On Friday 4th, a recreation of the Queen Mother’s 1964 trip along the canal ends with a plaque unveiling at Bancroft Basin. Over the weekend, alongside live music, street entertainment, market traders and a family zone, Bancroft Basin is hosting an IWA and CRT marquee showing photographs and rare film of the canal’s restoration to help mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of the IWA’s founder, Robert Aickman.

Testing water quality for Thames River Watch. Photo credit: Corporate Headshots, London. PHOTO: CORPORATEHEADSHOTSLONDON Another commemorative cruise takes place on Sunday to mark the 40th anniversary of the re-opening of the Avon Navigation, and Saturday night offers a grand illuminated boat display and fireworks (www. The biggest festival of all, Totally Thames (, runs for the whole of September, with events along a 42-mile stretch from Hampton Court to the Dartford Crossing. Part of the Mayor’s Thames Festival, it includes tall ships at Greenwich (they do get around), the Great River Race with around 300 international crews, and Handel’s Music for the Royal Fireworks (with fireworks). The full programme, with hundreds of music, street and cultural events, is already available online. Included in Totally Thames is the Big Thames Tidy, a mass

cleanup which is part of the Thames River Watch ( This citizen science project, run by water charity Thames21, was launched in February and you don’t have to wait until September to take part. Volunteers are needed to monitor water quality, invasive non-native species and litter along the tidal Thames from Teddington to Essex and the Isle of Sheppey. The aim is to build up a picture of the health of the river over three years. The more people who get involved, the more accurate the picture, so, if you’re interested, Thames21 would love you to take part.

➔ Formoreinformation Do you have a favourite website? Email Helen at

Stratford River Festival.

Fireworks over St Paul’s Cathedral at the Mayor’s Thames Festival. PHOTO: JACK HARDY

Service keeps boaters on the move posted THE Ship to Shore mailforwarding service is celebrating the 20th anniversary this year of sorting the post for boaters and other travellers. Customers have become friends over the years, according to Lindsay Trotter who runs the business from Winchester in Hampshire. More than just a forwarding service, Ship to Shore also scans letters and documents so they can be sent by email, and photocopies important items before despatching. Lindsay also ensures that she always has cover, enabling the office to remain open 52 weeks a year. Originally set up in 1994 for long-term yachtsmen and women who needed a permanent UK address, the service has expanded over the years to encompass anyone who travels around the world on water or land, for business or for pleasure.

“Our customers include narrowboaters moving around the UK who need a hub and people with Dutch barges on the French canals,” Lindsay explained. “Customers can either change their address to Ship to Shore or redirect using the Royal Mail service. Whenever they want their mail sent or scanned, they can contact us with a forwarding address. Narrowboaters usually use the Poste Restante service at the nearest Post Office. “We also have the availability of a street address for those services that don’t accept PO Boxes, and we believe that we offer a completely flexible and friendly service.” Lindsay added that she can look out for important documents such as waterways licences. “You get to know your customers and what they would like. They stay with us for years.”

Lindsay Trotter sorting the post at Ship to Shore. PHOTO SUPPLIED ● Ship to Shore PO BOX 400, Winchester SO22 4RU Contact 01962 868 642; email or



Your chance to write to us on any Towpath topic:

Towpath Talk, PO Box 43, Horncastle, Lincs LN9 6LZ

Practise what you preach

★ Silky Star Letter ★ TOWPATH TALK has joined forces with Silky Marine Products to celebrate the great letters and pictures we receive from our readers with a star prize each month The lucky winner will receive a tub of Silky Cream Cleaner, Silky Deep Cleaner Ready to Use and Silky RX Enzyme Toilet Odour and Waste Reducer, worth a total value of more than £25 from the new range of Silky Marine Care and Maintenance products launched earlier this year. Silky Marine Products are specifically formulated to work in sequence to remove dirt and residue specific to the boating environment, and include the widely regarded classic Silky Cream Cleaner. When a boat’s surfaces have been cleaned to a high standard using the Silky cleaning range, the valet and polish products bring out the shine which is then sealed for the season with the unique polymer technology of Silky Protect. Available to the public through and selected retail outlets, Silky Products have been manufactured in Slaithwaite near Huddersfield for more than 40 years.

Bishop’s Stortford or bust

LAST year I had a splendid trip from Ripon to Chirk and back (479 miles and 404 locks), and lost only one day due to ‘system failure’ when planks on the bottom of one of the gates at Selby came off. This problem was quickly fixed by divers and I was able to complete my trip up the Ouse. I did have some transient problems with water levels in some pounds on some canals but CRT workers were soon on scene and got things sorted – so my heartfelt thanks to them. As for cyclists, I benefited from several along the way, including one who lent me a hand – literally – the other (prosthetic) he left by his bike while he wound the handle with gusto on the guillotine lock at Slaithwaite! As well as many other boaters and volunteer lock-keepers, I was also pleased to be able to thank, with ‘cookies’, various youngsters along the way for their help, although having to make sure this was seen as an act of gratitude rather than anything more sinister was a sad reflection on our times. If I have one request to the Canal & River Trust it would be to provide something to moor to before and after every lock. When cruising solo this is quite important. Driving a pin in is usually an option, but energy zapping and with some locks even this isn’t an option. With some flights, getting ashore at all is almost impossible, so nudging right up to the lock gates is the only option. This year, starting in June, I have an even more ambitious plan to navigate my boat Kestrel to Bishop’s Stortford (and back),

again from Ripon. As a sufferer of the heart condition hypertrophic cardiomyopathy my ability to be too energetic with lock gates and ladders is limited. I am therefore always grateful for any assistance I get along the way. As a token of appreciation for the excellent medical care available to me in this country I am hoping to raise money for the Murambinda Mission Hospital in Zimbabwe, via the charity the Friends of Murambinda Mission Hospital (FMH), which does an excellent job, considering how starved it is of funds. I am particularly attracted to FMH as a worthwhile cause since I know the treasurer. She is a local GP, who has worked at Murambinda and knows the staff there well. The trustees pay all the expenses of the charity themselves so ALL money raised goes to carefully directed projects at the hospital. Further information about FMH can be found on its website at I will be keeping a blog of my trip ‘Bishop’s Stortford or Bust’ on my website so friends and family can keep abreast of my progress. If any of your readers see me along the way, please give me a cheery wave, better still, help with a lock gate, throw a pound in my collecting bucket, or even make a generous donation to FMH with your credit or debit card so it gets the gift aid as well! All donations will go to FMH and not to pay for my fuel. Bill Colombi nb Kestrel

Continuous cruisers contribute to all communities NAME and Address Supplied (Talkback, Issue 102, April) talks about continual cruisers not paying for moorings and yet using doctors, hospitals, schools, the police etc; the argument being we do not pay council tax. I pay my taxes, National Insurance contributions, CRT licence and regular fuel tax. I contribute to many a local economy by using them. I pay the price asked for diesel, food, household goods, toiletries, domestic fuel, spares and repairs at wherever I am, whatever the cost, unlike the long-term moored who generally run a vehicle to take them to cash-saving out-of-town supermarkets, swelling the European coffers. Myself and other continuous cruisers contribute to the local economy of wherever we moor, we also get to patronise the arts at village fetes, local festivals and the like because we are out and about. If you have a problem with ethnic labelling ‘new age

traveller, water gypsy etc.’ then stop using such terms. Most canal and river folk (there you go, a label more to your palate?) are here precisely for the reasons you don’t want to be; enforced housing. For many, a marina or static mooring is a security for elderly or infirm boaters and contracted workers and not a step too far from land. To those of us not in that category they smack of retirement homes, tower blocks and Stalag 17. Before the war? You are the war. I suggest you read Frank Sanderson’s letter in the same edition. Also, who had leisure boats during the wars?

IT ISN’T very often that I express my opinions in public, but the time has come. As Easter was approaching we moored up top side of Johnson’s Hill Locks for a day and a half hoping to see another boat wanting to go down the Wigan Flight. No such luck, so on Easter Saturday morning we set off down the Wigan Flight (21). There had been a boat up the previous evening so in the early morning the flight should have been in our favour. How wrong could I have been? Of the 21 locks we had to fill 18 of them. This was solely due to leakage at the bottom gates, not caused by paddles being left open or vandalism. We all know that locks leak but this amount of water loss should be of great concern. The amount of inoperable paddles did not help the situation and we had to ask passers-by to help push. What made me so angry is that on every lock there was a leaflet asking the boaters to save water. What about the Canal & River Trust saving water? We all understand that maintenance costs money but I noticed four years ago that sheets of rubber had been wrapped around the mitre. These sheets are still there and are now causing a problem. Surely a 4x2 piece of wood would be a better idea and quite easy to install, or in fact, a steel rubbing strip on the mitre, as I have seen on other locks around the system. If it had not been Easter Saturday I would have been into the Wigan office to vent my anger and disappointment. Dave (name supplied) nb Blue Grass

Life vest could have proved fatal IF I had been wearing a life vest when I had my accident in 2008 I would not be here now! (RYA Spotlight, issue 103, May) I tripped on an uneven walkway attached to the upstream side of the top gate at Lock 93 on the Grand Union canal – the Hanwell flight. Both paddles were fully open, to fill the lock, and so the water pulled me down to the bottom of the canal and into the culvert beneath the towpath where I got stuck. As the water levels were still very different above and below the gate, the water pressure finally pushed me right through the culvert into the lock, causing several injuries as it was such a tight squeeze. If I had been wearing a life vest, it would have inflated on contact with the water but not been sufficiently buoyant to prevent me from being dragged to the bottom of the canal. Therefore, I would have wedged there and drowned. I live on a boat and travel on canals, non-tidal rivers, tidal rivers and the coasts of England. I ALWAYS wear a life vest on tidal rivers and around the coast. However, I believe they can be dangerous on canals and non-tidal rivers where you’re working locks. Diane Warner By email

Who controls the waterways? Boater David Smith shares the following letter which he sent on March 20 to Canal & River Trust chief executive Richard Parry. At the time of going to press he had not received a response. YOU must be very pleased with the positive reaction you have had to your active efforts to seek the views of those using the waterways and to take them into account in managing the exciting future the trust is planning. I hope you do not mind if I seek your views on a specific issue which could have wider ramifications for the future. You were at the Huddlesford Boat Gathering last year. No doubt there was open access to all the water around the entrance to the truncated Lichfield Canal. This is not the normal situation. Usually there is a chain across the access with a sign saying ‘no turning’. In correspondence with CRT’s Terry Drake last October, I asked what legal basis there was for this sign. I assume that it is put there by the Lichfield Cruising Club. He was unable to identify any authority, written or otherwise, which gave whoever put the sign there rights to control the use of the CRT waters in this way. Despite this, he was firmly of the opinion that I should not turn my boat there – i.e. between the towpath bank and the chain. I am sure that boats at the Huddlesford Boat Gathering did so. So why can’t I do the same? I would like to be able to turn there – it would significantly increase the cruising opportunities for the short trips which are all I can generally make. There is space on CRT waters to do so. Imagine what would happen if all riparian owners, developers or clubs decided that they had the right to control how CRT waters adjacent to them were used. That would surely make a nonsense of your own legal responsibilities as well as your interest in making the waterways accessible to all? I do hope you might be able to read this letter yourself and ask the appropriate questions within the organisation. David M Smith Woking, Surrey

Pawns in the access dispute SINCE February 2014 the residents and berth holders of Pillings Lock Marina have been in fear of losing their mooring space because of a dispute between Canal & River Trust and the owners of Pillings Lock Marina with regard to the access agreement to the canal and river system.

The residents and berth holders had no say in this dispute despite being fully paid-up boaters both in terms of the marina and CRT. Since February we have been used as pawns in a game of brinkmanship where CRT threatened to block off access to stop the residents from entering and leaving the marina,

subsequently rescinded to ‘you can leave when we say but you will not be allowed back in’. The merits of the argument are not in dispute but the way in which CRT has conducted itself is unacceptable and trust will take a long time to be returned to all concerned. Name and address supplied

Helen and George (name supplied) nb Ormiston.

Editor’s note: We also received an anonymous letter on this subject which we would like to share with our readers but need the writer’s name and address in order to be able to do this. These details can be withheld on request.

Don’t forget the Droitwich I AM a regular reader of Towpath Talk and a waterways activist. I really enjoy reading the paper but just have one slight correction to make. There was a two-page article about the Tardebigge area (Towpath Treasures, issue 101, March) with some super pictures in it. The Fact File section mentions the Worcester & Birmingham Canal Society being formed in 1969 etc. which is correct. However, a few years ago the society became known as the Worcester Birmingham and Droitwich Canals

Society and, yes, we do work closely with our friends in CRT including a successful open day in January where the public were shown our work in preserving the adjacent Lime Kilns which unfortunately was not mentioned in the article. Also, our web address is not as printed but John Hemingway By email

Editor’s note: We will be covering the Lime Kilns project in a future edition.

Access may be open but trust will take a long time to return, claim berth holders at Pillings Lock Marina.


Old Bilge Pump WORD has reached me that one has to cruise 20km per year to be compliant with Canal & River Trust rules; that is 55m a day. Therefore this year I am travelling between Paddington Basin and Uxbridge. At the moment, it appears that the CRT has named me a Non-Compliant Continuous Cruiser – an NCCC; an honour as the initials are quite close to MCC, the Marylebone Cricket Club. Its members have a scarlet-and-gold colour scheme with blazers, caps and ties, all in club colours. Perhaps now we ‘independently minded’ have been

The perfect answer

OBP’s alter ego Jeff talks non-compliance officially designated, we all should paint our boats the same colour – undercoat red with yellow splodges. Now, I can solve the problem of overstaying at visitor moorings, do away with signs saying ‘24hr’ or ‘48hr’ mooring. Then the mooring becomes a 14-day; which is normally a decent stay for us NCCC folk. We can always return in a day or two for another 14 days if required. Why designate visitor moorings by different times, indeed why bother designating visitor moorings? Let visitors find their own moorings; fourteen days anywhere you find to

moor your boat. As a compromise concession we NCCCs all agree to move and not come back for a while. The chief executive of the CRT has mentioned that continuous cruisers not obeying licence terms/conditions is a difficult problem. Well there you go, I have solved it. Don’t suppose the trust will be grateful, even though it can then do away with the mooring enforcement officers because everyone will be compliant and perhaps the CRT can drop one ‘C’ from our title. Under my new initiative, the trust can remove all the signs on the canals. Who

needs to know that a ‘winding hole’ is a ‘winding hole’ or that you can moor in a particular spot? No signs; that way we will be able to tell which signs are private – they all would be. At the same time, licence evasion can go. We who do not wish to pay a licence fee should just be left alone. Those who wish to be establishment-friendly can all send in their licence fee. What you are buying with a licence is respectability; fully displayed with an up-to-date licence square. Well that’s for the squares, which is not me, I am never going to be respectable.

Saving money

I am sure in the long term this will save money, as the trust is always saying how expensive it is to prosecute people, a long legal process and particularly difficult if people are living on the boat. So, with licences being voluntary and a ‘moor where you will’ approach, you can do away completely with all the enforcement and trust’s legal departments. Indeed, with some decent vision, I think we can do away with the headquarters, trustees, directors and senior managers; all could go, just leave the regional offices to deal with maintenance and such like. Let us look at this logically; we need money coming in to pay for maintenance, dredging, repairs etc. and we need a small staff to send out licences for the respectable. Then we need regional offices to allocate jobs needed and employ the workers. The property director and his staff do a good job and bring in plenty of revenue; we can always thin them and their salaries later. Likewise with the finance director and his staff, they count the beans, so perhaps we could keep them for now. We don’t want too drastic a reorganisation. But I think that is it. The rest can go – redundant, sacked, not wanted in this new waterways world of find your own mooring. Connecting Personal Responsibility and Choice is the theme in the new organisation.

A respectable group of boats. PHOTO: DAVID SCOWCROFT

Obviously not properly thought through

THE fact that the Canal & River Trust’s proposal for issuing Roving Mooring Permits was withdrawn only weeks before the scheme was due to be launched in April seems to indicate the issue was handled in a somewhat chaotic manner to say the least. To suddenly find there were doubts as to the legality of the permits only weeks before launch must have caused considerable embarrassment to the trust. The two target areas were on the Grand Union canal at Uxbridge and Cowley where existing rules were being blatantly ignored. And, quite rightly, the boaters who played by the rules objected to the permits which they regarded as rewards for non-compliance. The CRT then cited legal issues with the concepts of the scheme such as issuing permits to selected boaters only, and whether the trust may be eventually obliged to offer the scheme to all boaters and not just those who had broken the rules. Surely it was not rocket science to double check the legal situation. The whole issue was very badly thought out and I hope someone at CRT Milton Keynes’ ivory towers has been given a right royal rollicking. Such faffing around has cost the trust money in wasted time and effort. Meanwhile this vexed matter will continue to fester. And another case where the trust clearly hasn’t done its homework is on the banks of the River Lee where the local Lee Valley Regional Park Authority and its Springfield Marina had designated the towpath as being for long-term leisure moorings and not for visiting boats – or continuous cruisers. When boaters alerted the CRT to the matter it was found that the trust had no jurisdiction there whatsoever as the land and up to the middle of the

river bed belonged to the park authority. Obviously the trust has people on board who simply do not know their own territory and waterways. But at least there is some good news on the mooring front. The Kennet & Avon Partnership has implemented a mooring plan for the congested moorings between Bath and Devizes with 48hr visitor moorings being subject to a £25 a day surcharge for overstaying – emergencies excepted. Sounds good. But will the trust have the bottle to start charging? Full details of this scheme are available on the ‘completed consultations’ page on the CRT’s website.

Why didn’t the IWA take the initiative?

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the publication of Narrow Boat which was the catalyst for the formation of the Inland Waterways Association and the eventual rescue of the canal network from total abandonment by the government. The reprinting of Tom Rolt’s book – apparently it will be on a limited-edition basis – has the full support of the CRT and was launched at the Hay Festival last month. But it is truly incredible that the IWA seems to have taken a back seat in the matter. That is most peculiar considering that it was the book that prompted Robert Aickman to visit Tom Rolt on Cressy – moored at Tardebigge. A plaque on the spot records their meeting and that from the meeting came the idea of founding the Inland Waterways Association. As an IWA member for more years than I care to remember, I find it most disappointing the IWA seems to be taking such a low profile, particularly as the

There might be less money coming in but a lot less money going out. Each year the two directors (property and finance) work out how much money is coming in that year and then divide the money up into regions; the size of each pot to be determined by the length of canal in each region. The regional manager then arranges the budget for that year based on his income. Job’s a good’un. There will probably be enough money left over to employ more bankside staff, might even be able to employ new people to inspect the lengths of canal which will result in fewer breaches and more savings. Now I know it is sad all these people being sacked, but they could always buy a boat with their redundancy money. There will be more boats on the water once it becomes so easy and cheap to live aboard – ‘free life’ so to speak. This will increase the demand for boats; which will improve the fortunes of boat builders and brokers. It is win, win all the way. Speaking of money, what about a wad of the folding stuff for yours truly? Here I am solving very difficult problems, saving money and improving life on the cut, then getting paid zilch for all my efforts. Perhaps a knighthood and a life pension for Jeff. That would be suitable; it’s what they did in the old days when someone helped the nation like I am doing. In the meantime I must get busy as I have to move the boat 55m today, so I can’t just sit here solving the nation’s problems.


CONTINUING our light-hearted look at life on the cut with a contribution this month from Captain Ken (Smith).

association owes its very existence to the book and, of course, Robert Aickman. Not only that but the existence of the association also spawned scores of canal societies as well as the Waterway Recovery Group and fought many battles with Whitehall bureaucracy – and won most of them. Come on IWA! Why do you appear to be ashamed of your rich heritage?

Society’s proud history

Still on the subject of anniversaries, this year marks the 40th anniversary of the Titford Canal at Oldbury being restored and reopened, with a celebration weekend to match. When the canal – which is still an important feeder to the Birmingham level of the BCN – and its locks virtually fell to bits through a lack of any maintenance, this formed one of the matters that led to the founding of the Birmingham Canal Navigations Society (BCNS). This took place in a back bar of a Walsall pub on a very hot and sticky summer’s evening. Since then the society has become a well-respected user group and famed for its campaigning on the BCN. The biggest success was its sustained push for the restoration of the Titford Canal with the support of the local council and a re-educated British Waterways. Good to see the CRT’s chief executive, Richard Parry, as one of the society’s principal guests. Do you agree or disagree with Stillwater’s comments? Send your views to Talkback (see previous page)

“Get a boat and enjoy the canals,” they said. “You can relax and calm down like never before.” No one told me of the terror of the plastic bag, I would get more peace and quiet fighting a great white shark! If you have a suitable photo or anecdote we can share with our readers, please send it to Towpath Talk, PO Box 43, Horncastle, Lincs LN9 6JR or email: And don’t forget you can also follow us on Twitter @towpathtalk and on Facebook



Towpath Talk - June 2014 - FULL ISSUE  
Towpath Talk - June 2014 - FULL ISSUE  

Towpath Talk, Issue 104, June 2014 - The UK's Number One read for all waterway users. More info: