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The UK’s Number ONE read for all waterways users

Issue 93, July 2013



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The Holymoorside Brass Band heralds the opening of the Erewash Canal Preservation and Development Association’s 45th anniversary rally arriving at the Great Northern Basin, Langley Mill, on board breasted historic narrowboats Bath and Chertsey. Report on P4. PHOTO:WATERWAY IMAGES


Town council vetoes trip boat scheme in moorings row


By Bob Clarke

FURIOUS Upton upon Severn Town Councillors, who say they were not consulted by the Canal & River Trust on a scheme to allow a trip boat to operate from a visitor mooring pontoon, have


Canalside property sale


A POPULAR canalside Chinese restaurant and takeaway on the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal in Wolverhampton is going under the hammer in an auction in Birmingham on July 4, writes Bob Clarke. The freehold premises of Tiger Wok, in Bridgnorth Road, Compton, is being sold as an investment opportunity with redevelopment potential with a guide price of £120,000. The restaurant, which is leased to the current operator at £18,000 a year, is part of a package of five Canal & River Trust properties which includes vacant retail, office and industrial buildings.

445 BOATS FOR SALE Starts on

vetoed the scheme and told the CRT to withdraw it immediately. With egg on its face, the CRT South Wales and Severn Waterways Unit at Gloucester had to admit that it did not realise the council part owned the


Festival ticket

giveaway WE HAVE 10 pairs of tickets to give away for the IWA Waterways Festival at Cassiobury Park, Watford, on July 19-21. Around 400 boats, many decorated, are expected at the event which is renowned for its live entertainment, craft and trade shows, children’s activities and real ale bar. Deadline for entries is Friday, July 5, visit the competitions page at

More locations, more choice Stourport Marina Tel 01299 827 082

Racecourse Marina, Windsor

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

Norfolk Broads

moorings and has been forced to apologise for non-consultation. When it was announced that the trip boat, Avon Belle, would embark and disembark passengers from a visitor mooring pontoon, thus reducing the

moorings while it was operating, there were immediate protests not only from river users but from waterfront restaurants, pubs and other businesses. Continued on page 2

Group’s crowning glory A GROUP of canal enthusiasts from Wolverhampton has received the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, writes Bob Clarke. The group formed the South Staffordshire Narrowboat Company and for 27 years has been providing around 130 trips a year for local people, mainly from residential and care homes, disabled groups and schools, from its base at Castlecroft on the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal. Volunteer and boat engineer John Bosworth said: “Our aim is to give people who may not otherwise have the opportunity a chance to get out and enjoy the countryside from the unique position of a narrowboat.”



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SPRING has sprung at last and as I write we are approaching the longest day so I hope you are all making the most of the light evenings out on the cut. It was great to see so many people enjoying the sunshine at Crick Boat Show and to hear of the business done by exhibitors over the weekend. This month we also want to hear what you think about your monthly Towpath Talk by completing our survey, starting on page 13 or you can complete it online at Let us know what you would like to see more or less of and any other subjects you would like to see. It’s always a careful balancing act but we will listen to your feedback. You could also win a cash prize. The rally and festival season is now in full swing and Harry Arnold reports from the Erewash and Moira events this month with more to follow next time. There was a welcome in the hillside for me at the Heulwen Trust in Wales, see my report on page 12 . This month sees the first anniversary of the Canal & River Trust; do you think it is living up to its promise? As always we welcome your views.




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Narrowboat crews help in Liverpool Yellow Duck rescue By Harry Arnold

THIRTY-ONE passengers were rescued from Salthouse Dock – part of the Liverpool’s World Heritage Site Albert Dock complex – when one of Yellow Duck Marine’s four amphibious trip vehicles sank. Seventeen people were taken to hospital and treated for shock but later discharged. On these very popular trips, passengers are picked up at a ‘bus stop’ by the dock and first taken on a land-based tour of nearby Liverpool streets. Returning to the docks, the Yellow Duck makes a spectacular splash as it enters the water in Salthouse Dock on a wide slipway adjacent to the Canal & River Trusts visitor moorings for those using the Liverpool Link Waterway. The amphibian then goes on a tour of Albert, Salthouse and other docks in Liverpool’s southern complex. From amateur video shown on TV and eyewitness reports, the location of the sinking, just below the slipway, indicates that the Duck didn’t appear to recover from the launch. Passengers were rescued by watchers, the emergency services – who were quickly on the scene – and by the crews of narrowboats.

A Yellow Duck spectacularly splashes into Liverpool’s Salthouse Dock. PHOTO:WATERWAY IMAGES This is the second incident of its kind, with another Duck sinking in March – fortunately without passengers – when the fleet was ordered out of the water. The Queen travelled on one during the

Project to provide digital public access to rich waterway archives By Bob Clarke

MUCH needed for many years, thousands of images and artefacts which are part of the national waterways collection will now be the subject of a £50,000 project to digitise and provide public access to them. The collection, which contains everything from historic narrowboats to canal company uniforms, badges, commemorative plates and plaques is being digitally catalogued and will be available for the public to look through online from autumn this year. A second phase of the project will be delivered next year which will enable the public to purchase copies of online archive images and plans are in place to generate funding to allow a further 15,000 images to be digitised. Canal & River Trust collections manager Dale Copley said: “The website will include over 20,000

archive images many of which will help show the important but often hidden social history of the canals, the navigators who built them, the boating families that traded on them and, more recently, the volunteers who campaigned to save them. These images sit alongside pictures of historic boats, engineering plans and maps among others.” CRT national campaigns manager Gill Owen explained: “As the guardian of a national collection and archive, the trust is bound to care for this material to clearly defined standards as laid out by the Arts Council and the National Archives. “Companies invited to tender were from recommendations from colleagues in other national museums and archives and could demonstrate this expertise. This phase will also provide us with the training and equipment needed for us to complete the massive task of digitising the entire archive in-house.”

Liverpool part of her diamond jubilee tour in May 2012. Operating company Pearlwild has said that it will fully co-operate in any police inquiry into this latest sinking.

As a regular Liverpool visitor, on the only time we attempted the Yellow Duck tour the amphibian broke down on the street section and we had to walk back to the docks. At least we didn’t have to swim!

Planning for more waterway activity THE new chairman of the Kennet & Avon Waterways Partnership, Tamsin Phipps, aims to get more people involved with their local canal. Together with her colleagues on the Partnership, on which she has served for two years, she will play a crucial role in enabling people to have a say about how their local stretch of the Kennet & Avon Canal and Bridgwater & Taunton Canal is run. After qualifying as a teacher, she spent six years in the Army as an officer before working in the construction industry and the NHS as a management development professional. Based in Reading, she has worked in her current role for the British Canoe Union since 2004, promoting the health, rural growth and community benefits of the sport. In addition, she is a keen narrowboater, canoeist, cyclist, Guide leader and dog walker. Tamsin said: “The Kennet & Avon and Bridgwater & Taunton Canals are among the most beautiful in the country, they are already enjoyed by so many people and we want to see even more benefit from all they have to offer.

Canoeist Tamsin Phipps is also a keen narrowboater. PHOTO: CRT “Over the coming months we’ll be finalising a 10 year plan for how we can help more people get involved with their local waterway, whether that’s through boating, cycling, walking or volunteering on one of our heritage and wildlife projects.”

Continued from front page

Town council vetoes trip boat scheme in moorings row The protests were led by the Inland Waterways Association’s South Western Region which was also backed by the IWA’s Birmingham, Black Country and Worcestershire Branch and the issue escalated to involve the IWA nationally. Fuel was added to the fire when the local boating trade manager, Susie Mercer then tried to diffuse the objections by issuing ‘an interim statement’ spelling out the trust’s intentions but admitting that the level of opposition had taken the CRT by surprise. It also acknowledged that there should have been wider consultation and publicity. By this time the town council had become involved and at a meeting on June 4 decided to veto the CRT scheme and demand its immediate withdrawal. The meeting was also attended by 36 members of the public and local traders who, after the meeting, then discussed the matter with councillors.

Pontoon co-owner

A statement put forward by the council said: “The town council is co-owner of the pontoon but had not been consulted before the agreement had been made which the CRT has since admitted was a mistake and has apologised for.

“It was noted that the CRT had no authority to enter into the agreement without the consent of the town council. The pontoon was considered to be an unsuitable point for potentially large amounts of people arriving by coach to embark and that the slope of the walkway to the pontoon was too steep for wheelchairs to use safely without assistance. “The loss of the mooring to a commercial company was also felt to be particularly injurious to the boating community given the general shortage of moorings in the town.” The Mayor, Coun Peter Webb, also addressed the issue of the lack of alternative mooring space and gave assurances that the town council was aware of the problems faced by boaters and that it would be looking into the provision of additional moorings as a priority. Two days after the veto had been announced, Towpath Talk contacted the CRT requesting a comment from waterway manager Nick Worthington on the matter, in view of the level to which the dispute had been raised. Our request was refused on the grounds that the responsibility lay with staff who had been delegated to deal with the matter in the first place. Ms Mercer issued a statement two days later which read: “We felt

our decision offered sufficient flexibility both to the Avon Belle and other boaters to use the moorings. We accept that the town council took a different view and we should have spoken to them and the wider boating community. We are already working closely with the council to find a different solution that will benefit all parties.” Although the CRT abandoned its plans when the Upton upon Severn Town Council vetoed them, the moorings restriction notice remained visible and easily accessible on its official website A spokeswoman for the council said that it would be contacting CRT’s South Wales and Severn Waterways Office at Gloucester to demand that the notice of mooring restrictions be withdrawn from its website immediately. An IWA spokesman added: “For boaters coming into the area from further afield they may have chosen to ignore Upton thinking that the moorings restrictions were still in force.” When Towpath Talk asked why the restriction hadn’t been removed a CRT spokesman said it should have been removed immediately and apologised for any inconvenience to boaters. The notice was eventually removed.


Low levels blamed New trip boat named for grounded boats on Basingstoke canal BOATS on the Fenland waterways in East Anglia have been running aground due to artificially low water levels, it has been claimed. People are saying they are getting stuck and asking what has happened to the river levels, a boater told Towpath Talk. “We could not get back into our mooring at Upware on the River Cam,” said Gilly Wright, whose Dutch barge Henderika has a 2ft 6in draft. “We measured an 8in drop here but there have been no problems in Cambridge.” She had heard of boats getting grounded on the Old West River, in the Pope’s Corner area, and boaters had also reported low water levels on the River Lark and the Little Ouse around Brandon Creek. “Boaters are coming into the Five Miles from Anywhere pub and asking what has happened.” But the action has been defended by an Environment Agency spokesman who said that the measures had been taken to reduce the risk of flooding. He told Towpath Talk: “We are aware of reports that water levels have

sometimes been lower than normal recently and our sympathies are with anybody who encountered difficulties while we take this safety measure. “Water levels have been high in recent months due to the exceptional amount of rain in the catchment. As a result, if the river stayed at its normal retention level, there would be problems whenever we had rainfall above 2-3mm. “We therefore drop river levels when 5mm or more rain is forecast. Otherwise, there would be a substantial flood risk and navigation could be stopped totally. “To put into context how much water is in the system, we had an average flow of 15.37 cubic metres per second coming down the system in May 2013. That is over five times more than for an average May.” Mrs Wright added she thought the Environment Agency was being over cautious. “I have never known it so bad and have been on the river for six years. It is not letting enough flow through to keep the silt moving.”

THE Basingstoke Surrey Canal Society’s new passenger boat, the John Pinkerton II, was named by Sally Taylor of BBC South Today at a recent ceremony at Colt Hill, Odiham. After being welcomed by society chairman Philip Riley, Sally said that she knew the Basingstoke Canal well, having enjoyed a couple of boating holidays on it courtesy of nearby Galleon Marine, whose owner Jim Piele was also on hand to greet her. She said that it was a most beautiful canal and praised the canal society volunteers who, she added, were the people who had made it all happen. After she poured champagne over the bows, the rest of the bottle was then used to toast the boat and the team responsible for getting it into service.

The boat then went off for its first official trip to King John’s Castle at North Warnborough. Passengers included James Arbuthnot, local MP and vice-president, along with several society members who had been on board when the original John Pinkerton made the same trip 35 years ago. The new boat offers improved accommodation for its 50 passengers and boasts a drinks cooler, so that lager and white wine can now be served properly chilled and a gin and tonic can have ice in it. It is totally operated by volunteer members and all profits go to improving the canal. Details for bookings on the new boat can be found at or phone 01256 765889.

A GANG of four youths, three aged 16 and one 14, admitted two violent towpath attacks when they appeared recently before Wolverhampton Crown Court. One boy admitted assault occasioning actual bodily harm and a second admitted two assaults causing actual bodily harm. Both received 12 supervision and surveillance orders along with a three month curfew.

Another boy who admitted possession of a firearm with intent to cause fear and two assaults occasioning actual bodily harm was sentenced to 10 months’ detention and training. The youngest admitted causing actual bodily harm, assault and robbery and received a two year supervision order. The court heard that the two unprovoked attacks took place in August on the Wyrley & Essington Canal near Willenhall Lane, Walsall

A picture can say a thousand words THE Canal & River Trust has launched a competition asking photographers to submit their pictures of the waterways in a bid to inspire more people to visit and enjoy their local towpath or riverbank. It’s free to enter and the person who submits the best photo, as decided by the judging panel which includes renowned waterway photographer and Towpath Talk contributor Harry Arnold, will win a state-of-the-art iPhone 5. Harry said: “A picture says a thousand words and I am looking for a brilliant photo, which will inspire more people to visit our wonderful waterways. “The first step is to go to a canal or river and take your best snap. Then simply upload your photo on the Canal & River Trust website.

“Your entries will be displayed on our website and you can share and add comments to them too. Happy snapping and good luck. “Some excellent photos have already been taken which we hope to use in some innovative ways to help promote the waterways – encouraging more people to discover, enjoy and get the best out of their local towpath or riverbank.” Photos can be taken on any camera or phone, and to prove the point, the prize for the best picture is the latest sought after phone from Apple, the iPhone 5. The closing date for entries is August 31 and the photographs will be judged in September. To enter the contest or view the entries, visit photography-competition

Route resurfaced

A TOWPATH along Tottenham Hale’s canal has been resurfaced to open it up to more walkers and cyclists. The 1.1km stretch, between Tottenham Locks and Stonebridge Locks on the River Lee Navigation, has been rebuilt by the Canal & River Trust in a £305,000 scheme funded by Transport for London. The canal provides a direct link from Tottenham to the Olympic Park in Stratford and a green route all the way to Hertford through Lee Valley Regional Park.

Portal gets grant

THE Dudley Canal Trust (Trips) has been awarded a confirmed grant of £989,200 to build a brand new learning and access centre. To be known as the Portal, the new visitor centre will enhance the connection between the Dudley Canal and Limestone Mines and the Castle Hill Development Project, including the nearby Black County Living Museum.

Beast of Burscough

Teens convicTed ofTowpaThaTTacks By Bob Clarke


SIGHTINGS of what appears to be a big cat near the Leeds & Liverpool Canal have alarmed residents in Burscough, West Lancashire, writes Geoff Wood. David Russell was walking his dog when he came across what has been dubbed ‘the beast of Burscough’. He said: “I realised it was longer than a dog – around 4ft long and jet black.” A spokeswoman for the Lancashire branch of Big Cats in Britain said big cats like canals which are like wildlife corridors for them. Toasting the launch are Sally Taylor with (from right) Philip Riley (chairman Basingstoke Canal Society), Martin Leech (vice-chairman BCS) and Dick King (chairman of John Pinkerton Canal Cruises). On the boat are the procurement team of Pete Phillips, John Abbot and Nigel Bird, with Marion Gough, the retiring bookings manager. PHOTO SUPPLIED

Barby marina plan thrown out by council By Bob Clarke

MARINA operators in the central Midlands are jubilant that a planning application for yet another marina has been thrown out by the local planners. Daventry District Council planners rejected an application to build a 200 berth marina at Barby on the north Oxford Canal saying that the proposed development “would have an adverse environmental and visual impact on the area” and there should be more archaeological work done on the site. Consultant Enzygo said the scheme would create 12 jobs and generate

£420,000 for the local economy. It would also include 85 car parking spaces and require an agricultural building and barn to be transformed into a reception and store. Objections had been received from Barby and Onley Parish Council, local Conservative MP Chris Heaton-Harris, neighbouring marinas and 41 boat owners who claimed the marina would create a surplus of berths and bring congestion. The Canal & River Trust had backed the scheme saying it would increase competition and benefit canal users.

Repairs ongoing

WORK to repair the Buckland Lock wall on the Aylesbury Arm of the Grand Union Canal in Buckinghamshire is unlikely to be completed before the August bank holiday. The collapse, which left a crater in the towpath, meant boats in Aylesbury basin had to be craned out and taken to Milton Keynes.

Water strategy

PLANS to pump water from the Severn to the Thames via the Cotswold Canals are one of the options in Thames Water’s draft 2015-2040 Water Resource Management Plan. Email responses are invited up to July 23 at


Bikes, boats and boots in the pouring rain By Harry Arnold

VERY mixed weather was experienced by the 120 entrants during the successful second year of the Montgomery Canal Triathlon, Bikes, Boats ‘n’ Boots, held on May 11. Most entrants completed all three sections of the event, covering the whole 35-mile canal route; starting from Newtown on bicycles, changing to canoes in Welshpool and finishing by

walking from Llanymynech to Welsh Frankton. The Triathlon was organised and supported by the Friends of the Montgomery Canal, the Canal & River Trust, (CRT) Shropshire Paddlesport and the Shrewsbury, District and North Wales branch of the Inland Waterways Association. It also received assistance from Welshpool Town Council, Powys Tourism and Shropshire Council (through the St Oswald and

CRT’s Head of Wales Andrew Stumpf and his partner Helen Raywood portage their canoe around Crowther Lock in the pouring rain. PHOTOS: WATERWAY IMAGES

Off the water and on your feet; here at Llanymynech where food and drink was supplied by members of the Duchess-Countess Trust.

Llanymynech Local Joint Committee). Tesco in Welshpool made a generous donation of bottled water for those taking part and food and drink was provided at Llanymynech by members of the Duchess-Countess Trust, and at Queen’s Head by Shropshire Paddlesport. Many volunteers from various groups and CRT staff were involved in the running of the event – doing unusual jobs like the supervising of road crossings at dropped bridge – for which the Friends of the Montgomery Canal were most grateful. Participants came from as far afield as Sheffield and South Wales to start at

Who says my outfit isn’t suitable? Fancy dress was the order of the day for some teams.

Newtown at 9am with the first of them arriving at Frankton Locks to complete the event in mid-afternoon, some taking under six hours. A notable entrant was John Griffiths AM, Welsh Minister for Culture & Sport, who presented commemorative medallions to those taking part. Those who finished any section received a commemorative medallion of local slate, printed in gold for entrants who completed all three sections, silver for those who did two, and bronze for only one. Another prominent participant was CRT’s Head of Wales Andrew Stumpf. It

certainly gave him a chance to get up close and inspect one of his waterways in great detail. Youngest entrant, Ben Homewood, aged 11, and a member of Shropshire Paddlesport, completed the whole Triathlon in 8½ hours and raised £800 in sponsorship. Other participants were sponsored too, and some were in fancy dress. The Montgomery Triathlon also triumphed when it was announced as the winner, for last year’s event, of the ‘Recreation and Tourism’ category of the Waterways Renaissance Awards on May 23.

Double celebration at Langley Mill By Harry Arnold

UNDOUBTEDLY the spectacular highlight of the Erewash Canal Preservation & Development Association’s (ECP&DA) May bank holiday celebrations was the sight and sound of the Holymoorside Brass Band – the sun sparkling on their instruments – aboard the historic narrowboats Bath and Chertsey as they entered the lock for the opening ceremony. It was a double anniversary celebration: 45 years since the founding of ECP&DA and 40 years since the reopening of the lock and Great Northern Basin, technically part of the Cromford Canal at its junction with the Nottingham Canal as featured in our May issue. Around 115 boats entered the three-day rally, with just over 80 making it to Langley Mill, due to a stoppage at Cromwell Lock, but these created a sufficiently big enough attraction, along with entertainment and trade stalls, to

occupy the visiting public, who numbered between six and seven thousand. Saturday’s official opening ceremony was performed by ECP&DA president Jim Stevenson, in the presence of the Mayors of Amber Valley, Broxtowe and Erewash and other guests. ECP&DA work party organiser Mick Golds took visitors on tours of the work in progress by the society to extend the Cromford Canal north beyond the basin. A boat that created considerable interest was the Friends of Cromford Canal’s recently acquired passenger boat Birdswood which is at Langley Mill being modified for operation at the Cromford. Members of the Friend’s served tea and coffee to many interested visitors as a fundraiser for the boat’s future. Altogether a great double anniversary celebration organised by a society with a long-standing reputation of always doing things in style.

Left: ECP&DA work party organiser Mick Golds took visitors on tours of the work to extend the Cromford Canal. Above: Tea and coffee were served aboard the Friends of Cromford Canal’s recently acquired passenger boat Birdswood as a fundraiser. PHOTOS: WATERWAY IMAGES

The fight for the swing bridge

Visitors gather on the swing bridge to watch boats, vintage cars and a traction engine. PHOTOS: WATERWAY IMAGES By Harry Arnold

AS A regular at the Moira Canal Festival (not quite for the full 13 years that it has been held) it is sometimes quite difficult to say something new about it. But what you can guarantee is that it will be a good event and ‘opposing forces’ will fight over possession of the swing bridge; last year the British and the Germans and the year before the Vikings and the Saxons. This year – over the weekend of May 18-19 – the event went back to the Civil War with Open Rope;

Does steam give way to the more ancient coracle?

a re-enactment society who also gave very noisy drill and skilled demonstrations of cannon and musket firing in the arena by the Furnace. Leaping forward a few centuries of wars, there was also a fly-over by a Spitfire. Morris dancers en masse was the other major spectacle in the arena and the performing dogs were a particular draw with the children, as were the classic cars with the adults. Once again there were few trailboats to back up the trip-boat: Two Sea Otters, rear and centre cockpit, a Caraboat, an inflatable and regulars, the

Production line face painting by the community boat group the London Narrow Boat Project.

cruiser Marie II and steamboat Chantilly. As always, lots of canoes offered active participation for the kids, and there was also something as small but more historic, a coracle. Face painting is far from new, but this year a first visit by the community boat group the London Narrow Boat Project provided it on an almost production basis – four painters, no waiting; keeping the many children happy and also promoting their charitable work. One of the secrets of this event’s success is the sheer amount of things to see and do packed into

the area around Moira Furnace – in which there are also permanent visitor attractions and services – with a main aim of attracting largely the local population who know they will have a good day out. Geoff Pursglove, festival vice chairman and events organiser said proceeds would go towards the restoration project at the Snarestone terminus, where work is due to start on restoring a further length, but the festival was also about publicising the Ashby Canal and showing off the length restored at Moira.


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Sunshine swells the crowds at Shrewsbury & Newport event SHREWSBURY & Newport Canal Trust (SNCT) members turned out in numbers to help organise the largest event ever staged at the Norbury Canal Festival over the May Day Bank Holiday. A stunningly good spell of weather certainly made it the biggest and the best attended event at this popular site. It was so popular in fact that the pub ran out of beer, the cheese boat ran out of cheese and the car park had to be enlarged to cope with the overflow of visitors. Saturday morning started off with a few showers that put some people off attending, but the afternoon saw brilliant sunshine that brought some 1500 people to the event. This swelled to over 4000 on the Sunday and to over 5000 on the Monday as the temperatures rose. The trust’s two trip boats, loaned from Simon Jenkins at Norbury Wharf, were running flat out on all three days, with many passengers going on to a canal for the first time. There were over 30 boats in the rally, six of which were historic boats. This was supplemented by almost 40 stalls and stands, plus swingboats and a bouncy castle, an RNLI stand and the Staffordshire Fire Brigade and fire engine. Saturday evening saw the annual ‘Jammin’ at the Junction’ bands event featuring The Laurence Jones Band and Rock Dogs in the main marquee. Sunday evening had a ceilidh and caller, plus a hog roast and on Monday afternoon there was all-in international tag wrestling. The landlady of the Junction Inn, Alison Frizzell, who is a major player in the organisation of the event, along with the assistance of the SNCT, the Norbury to Newport CIC and the Norbury community, said it was the best festival she had ever been part of in the 12 years since it started. “If only we could have weather like this every year!” she commented on Monday evening as she relaxed after a hectic three days. Bernie Jones, chairman of the S&NCT commented: “The thing I noticed most this year was that everyone that came had a happy smiling face. Roll on Norbury Canal Festival 2014.”

THE Bridgewater Canal in Greater Manchester was the scene of a major rally recently. Nearly 200 boats from six boat clubs came together in the vicinity of the Red Rose Mining Museum at Astley Green, near Manchester. All the boaters were members of the Federation of Bridgewater Cruising Clubs and the hosts for the

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Bodiam Castle setting for trailboat festival THE annual three day Inland Waterways Association (IWA) National Trailboat Festival was hosted by the Kent & East Sussex branch on the River Rother over the Spring Bank Holiday weekend. Over 20 boats arrived on trailers from as far away as Blackpool and Carmarthen. They entered the water at Scots Float near Rye and cruised up the river to Bodiam where the opening ceremony on Saturday was performed by Coun Ian Jenkins, chairman of Rother District Council. The National Trust and the Environment Agency had prepared suitable sections of the banks of the river so that the boats could moor below the castle. This made them an exciting attraction for all those who

visited Bodiam Castle over the wonderfully sunny weekend. With the river filled with boats, visitors were able to imagine what it might have been like many years ago. A display area told the story of the rescue of a Rother sailing barge by the Hastings Historic Shipwreck Museum. The Primrose, built in 1887, was likely to have used the wharf at Bodiam. There were also displays about the two restoration projects currently under way in the IWA Kent and East Sussex Branch area, the Thames and Medway Canal and the Sussex Ouse. A highlight of the festival was on Saturday evening when, following a barbecue and live music there was a competition for the best illuminated boat.

Beaulieu Boatjumble comes back in force

Smiling faces at Norbury Festival. PHOTO SUPPLIED

Boaters rally roundatWorsley Cruising CluB event By Geoff Wood

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day were the Worsley Cruising Club of Greater Manchester. Entertainment was laid on at the canalside and nearby with games provided. Organisers said the event was particularly useful in allowing people to renew friendships forged at an earlier time. There were trophies for the best decorated boats, the trimmest craft and crew and the best illuminated boat.

A man was ‘rescued’ from the canal and that earned the narrowboaters who ‘saved’ him a special trophy also. A spokesman for the organisers said: “This is one big boating community where the members keep in close contact with each other along 39 miles of the waterway. “They use each other’s clubs as venues for club outings and events throughout the year.”

CROWDS were out in force sniffing out plenty of boating bargains at the Beaulieu Boatjumble which returned following last year’s cancellation due to dangerous high winds. The event was very successful with an enjoyable atmosphere and visitor numbers were on a par with 2011 at 8834. The Boatmall was bustling with activity as usual, with plenty of people browsing for new boats, clothing and the latest hi-tech sailing gadgets, and an array of used boats were up for sale in the Boatmart, from classics to nearly new. Beaulieu events manager, Judith Maddox, said: “Exhibitors reported good sales on the day and lots of visitors bagged themselves an excellent bargain. The delivery vehicles were kept busy all day taking heavy and bulky purchases back to the car parks.” There were certainly very few people going home empty-handed, with sale items ranging from complete boats to small chandlery items. This year the Trunk Traders’ area was particularly popular, with over 150 spaces taken, and proved to be the perfect place for finding hidden gems. The 2014 Beaulieu Boatjumble is set to take place on Sunday, April 27.

Bad weather puts damper on big band day By Geoff Wood

NARROWBOAT enthusiasts and many others arrived in Saddleworth, Greater Manchester, for the Whit Friday processions and the famous Band Contest later in the day. But bitterly cold weather in the Pennine villages left most people diving for cover and visitor numbers dropped sharply.

The band contest has been a feature of Saddleworth life since the 1880s. And now it has grown into a huge event involving all the villages in the district and many top class bands. The contest also shot to fame as a major location in the highly acclaimed film ‘Brassed Off’. But despite the weather the bands, in the area beside the Huddersfield Narrow Canal, played on.

Historic boats a great boost to festival success

These visiting boats include Atlas, built by Yarwood’s in 1935.

THE addition of a boat gathering gave a great boost to the annual St Richard’s Festival held recently at Droitwich Spa. Thousands of visitors enjoyed a host of attractions including boat trips on the Droitwich Waterways Trust’s Pamela May, classic cars, street entertainers and market stalls during the four-day event over the early May Bank Holiday weekend. Droitwich Spa Mayor, Coun Anne Taft, also unveiled a new mural at Netherwich Basin depicting Captain Kidd’s last adventure and other attractions included the flotilla of historic boats, a duck race and ferret racing. A cycle festival was held in Vines Park on the Sunday and families were encouraged to take their bikes for a fun quiz cycle ride along the canals.

Narrowboats moored in Vines Park for St Richard’s Festival. PHOTOS: MALCOLM RANIERI



Royal honour

THE Kennet & Avon Canal Trust (KACT) has received the prestigious Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the highest recognition for volunteer groups in the UK. Having celebrated its 50th anniversary last year, KACT received the accolade for its leadership of the restoration of the canal and buildings over the past half century and for creating a landscape and amenity valued by the community. Its restoration work has included 85 derelict locks (including Caen Hill Flight), 172 pairs of gates, a leaking canal bed, crumbling aqueducts and two abandoned pumping stations – enabling The Queen to officially reopen the waterway in 1990.

Medway fines WARNING notices were

issued to 125 River Medway boaters across the 2012 season according to the Environment Agency. Of these, 17 were subsequently prosecuted for keeping an unregistered boat on the Kent waterway. Each of the cases was taken before Maidstone Magistrates’ Court and together collected fines totalling £10,188. All boat owners entering the Medway Navigation are required to register with the Environment Agency and display a valid annual boat registration, which is similar to a road vehicle tax disc. All of the money generated through navigation fees is used for the river’s upkeep.

Bedford-MK Waterway faces ‘tricky issues’ By Geoff Courtney

GRAHAM Mabbutt, chairman of the Bedford & Milton Keynes Waterway Trust, has spoken exclusively to Towpath Talk about the difficulties which the ambitious £200 million project has to overcome if it is to ever become a reality. He was speaking after a warning was sounded at the trust’s AGM at Newport Pagnell on May 19 for the need to be vigilant and flexible over developments at the Milton Keynes end of the project’s route, which were described as ‘tricky issues’ around the waterway’s ‘key delivery area’. The warning came from Paul Vann, secretary of the B&MK Waterway Consortium – a group that includes the three local authorities through which the 16-mile route will travel – and economic manager for growth at

Bedford Borough Council. Paul also told the AGM of other complexities in central Bedfordshire and Bedford, and said that while the fundamental tools were in place, there was a need for the consortium to be constantly vigilant, responsive, convincing, opportunistic and flexible. Expanding on Paul’s theme, Graham told Towpath Talk that difficulties had arisen because developers had requested a diversion of the waterway’s planned route on the edge of Milton Keynes, near the M1. It is in a development area known as Eagle Farm North and Eagle Farm South, where the waterway is planned to pass under the A421 on the south side of the motorway between junctions 13 and 14. The trust objected to part of the diversion at a planning inquiry held to consider the requested

Graham Mabbutt (left), who is in his last year as chairman of the Bedford & Milton Keynes Waterway Trust, with trust patron Sir Samuel Whitbread at Sir Samuel’s Bedfordshire estate.


change, following which the inspector has circulated her conclusions to all interested parties, including the trust, consortium, and MK Council. “We have responded to the inspector’s conclusions, and a decision is expected in July,” said Graham. “A slight diversion to the planned route would be acceptable, and we are urging that the route then be safeguarded. There is no other alternative at this stage that would not dramatically affect our route. The problem is that developers do not like anything that takes land away from their development.” As the trust awaits a final decision on this crucial issue, another problem – albeit a rather less serious one – has arisen on the route nearer Bedford, where the waterway would pass close to Ridgmont railway station. Network Rail plans to electrify this line, which runs from Bedford to Bletchley, and currently there is just enough space for the waterway and towpath between the line and a large Amazon warehouse. The electrification project is due for completion by the spring of 2019. Graham added: “We will be looking to ensure that any work or new structures in relation to the electrification do not reduce the space for the waterway.” He also revealed that this is to be his last year as chairman of the trust. “I have enjoyed it immensely, but it has been very challenging, and the volume of work and the level of commitment it takes are also immense. However, the results make it worthwhile,” he said. A member of the trust since

Bedford & Milton Keynes Waterway Trust project officer Claire Gathard after a presentation of retirement gifts at the trust’s AGM in Newport Pagnell on May 19. Behind Claire is trust chairman Graham Mabbutt (applauding) and Milton Keynes mayor Coun Brian White.


2006 and its chairman for the past two years, 71-year-old Graham will stand down at next year’s AGM. Claire Gathard, the trust’s project officer, who has also announced her retirement, was praised by Graham at the AGM for her “absolutely wonderful” support of the trust, its members and volunteers during her six years in the role. There was praise, too, from Milton Keynes mayor Coun Brian White for the enthusiasm of members who, he said, had kept the project alive “through all the difficult times”. Despite his warning of the need for constant vigilance, Paul Vann was another who struck a positive note, telling members: “Everyone is working really hard and we are making progress. Another year has passed, and next year there will be more progress.”

Otters could reduce mink numbers By Bob Clarke

AN ECOLOGIST claims that as a result of encouraging otters onto canals there is evidence that they will attack mink if they find them in their territory. And indications are that as soon as there is otter activity mink tend to leave the area, according to the Canal & River Trust ecologist Paul Wilkinson. Mr Wilkinson was commenting on the trust’s link-up with the National Sea Life Centre in Birmingham which is aiming to help increase the number of otters on canals in the West

Midlands and Black Country. A team of employees from the centre will work with ecologists to install otter holts and ramps. Volunteers will also install fish refuge areas to increase the number of fish in stretches were otters are known to live. DNA analysis of droppings will also enable estimates to be made of the number of otters on the waterways. Asked what the impact would be on fish stocks once otters were introduced, Mr Wilkinson said their territory could be as long as 40 miles so the effect on fish stocks would be negligible.

Make sure your boat TV is licensed TV LICENSING and the Residential Boat Owners’ Association (RBOA) have come together to raise awareness among boaters of TV licence rules. The initiative aims to inform boat dwellers about when a licence is needed and how they can become licensed to enjoy a year’s worth of ‘live’ TV. By law, boat residents who are watching or recording TV programmes at the same time as they are shown on TV, need to be licensed. This is true no matter what device is being watched, how the programmes are received, or whether the boat is cruising or moored. Claire Wotherspoon, spokesperson for TV Licensing, said: “An estimated 15,000 people in the UK live on a boat. It is important they understand how the law applies to them when it comes to watching or recording TV programmes. If they are found watching live TV on board without a valid licence, they might get a sinking feeling as they realise they are at risk of prosecution and a fine of up to £1000.” People can spread the cost of paying for a TV licence, with weekly, fortnightly or monthly cash payment plans available, plus direct debit options, which can be set up quickly and easily online. RBOA chairman Alan Wildman added: “The RBOA provides a wealth of information on our website and in members’ publications for residents, and would always recommend people get in touch for advice on the practicalities of living on a boat, or if they are unsure of their obligations.” For further details, visit or call TV Licensing on 0300 790 6071.

The Bedford & Milton Keynes Waterway Trust was founded in 1995 with the long-term aim of linking the River Great Ouse at Kempston, near Bedford, with the Grand Union Canal at Milton Keynes, a project which Sir Samuel Whitbread, the trust’s patron, described in an interview with Towpath Talk last year as not a pipe dream, but a scheme he believed would come to fruition. Ironically, in view of the latest hurdle faced by the trust at Milton Keynes, Sir Samuel said at the time: “We have to convince developers that building housing beside a waterway is a plus. This is not a group of madmen building through the countryside.” Drew Marchant, a trust director, has also stressed the project’s advantages, saying it would provide a significant financial boost to the local economy.

CRT has no plans to issue ‘blue badges’ By Bob Clarke

THE Canal and River Trust (CRT) has announced that it has no plans to provide ‘blue badges’ for boaters with physical disabilities. This follows an approach to Towpath Talk by one such boater who said it was illegal to display a ‘blue badge’ on anything other than a motor vehicle and asked: “Surely a badge of some sort could be provided where proof of a disability is given?” CRT’s head of boating business, Sally Ash, commented: “I can assure (the boater) that he does not have to display a badge of any kind if he is using a mooring that has been coded as suitable for people with mobility issues. “The good spirit and commonsense of boaters means it is extremely rare that we get reports of people preventing boaters with mobility issues from mooring in an appropriate space.” However, a Towpath Talk correspondent reports that at some moorings where spaces for disabled boaters are clearly designated there have been occasions when able-bodied boaters have refused to move and make way for a boater with a physical disability because all other moorings have been occupied.

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.

Not all sunshine on the horizon Tony Roome, chairman of the RYA’s Inland Navigation Panel, enjoys a fine day at Crick. THIS month included a visit to Crick Boat Show – and it was sunny! Those of you who have been to Crick in the last 10 years or so will realise just how momentous this is. I even got slightly sunburned while wending my way through the various stands. It was really encouraging to see how many people turned up for the show. Boating, and the boat building industry in particular, is going through a tough time at the moment, so it was encouraging to see the car parks full and lots of visitors looking over boats and trying to find that elusive bargain in the chandlers. (Why is it, incidentally, that I find rope offcuts so attractive? It seems I can’t go to a show without coming home with an attractive piece of red or blue

rope – despite the fact that all the ropes on my boat are black…) It was also great to see so many people having a trip on the boats operated by the charity London Narrow Boat Project.

Interesting situation

The final report of the Canal and River Trust’s (CRT) South East Visitor Moorings Consultation has now been published. It’s an interesting situation as CRT is setting out its plans for mooring management – making changes solely on the basis of anecdotal evidence. There can be no doubt that there is a problem with availability of moorings at certain very popular spots. I’m sure we’ve all arrived at a popular mooring and been unable to find space. But it

It was great to see so many people having a trip on the boats operated by the charity London Narrow Boat Project.

isn’t a new problem – there have always been busy spots where experienced boaters know that you either arrive in the morning or you’ll struggle to find space (my particular favourite being The Greyhound at Sutton Stop). I’m not sure that changing the time restrictions is necessarily going to make it that much easier – though I’d be happy to be proved wrong. What I am sure of is that CRT has made a rod for its own back by undertaking this review without having fully defined the problem that it is trying to resolve. The report mentions that CRT was ‘taken aback’ by the hostility to the proposals – I’m not sure that is so surprising. At the moment we have some groups of boaters who are feeling victimised by CRT and so, rightly or wrongly, they will regard everything that CRT does with suspicion. Making changes which can be perceived to be focused on a particular group of boaters is always going to be contentious. Making the process of change as transparent as possible will go some way to addressing this feeling of victimisation, and transparency includes being clear to everyone why changes are being made. Coming as a result of discussions with boaters, I understand, is the particularly welcome relaxation of mooring restrictions over the winter, which will hopefully provide some relief to continuous cruisers by allowing them to moor for an extended period. I look forward to seeing the results of the much improved monitoring of mooring sites which CRT is promising us will happen this year. Let’s remember that this is, in effect, a small trial to provide hard evidence of both the problem and the effectiveness of the remedy, and the

Tony Roome: Lack of space is not a new problem. PHOTO SUPPLIED lessons learned are likely to be rolled out nationwide. In the end, I don’t think that the changes as currently proposed, and on a trial basis, are unreasonable – but I remain to be convinced about the process.

Further cloud

Some of you may have seen that there may well be a further cloud on the horizon with the launch, by the London Assembly, of a review of mooring on London’s canals. An investigation will be led by Jenny Jones (Green Party). Issues highlighted in the initial project documentation include things like noise from generators, air pollution from solid fuel stoves and rubbish on towpaths. Reading through the background paperwork, it would appear that this is being driven by complaints from residents alongside towpaths. There is a real danger that those who live alongside the canals will be perceived to have more rights than those living on boats (whether permanently or temporarily). We need to watch this carefully. RYA has submitted an initial response to the review and will monitor the investigation as it proceeds. If you want to see the documentation, and perhaps submit your own comments, then the link is: Finally, I hope you enjoy any bits of summer which may come along and have a great time cruising.

IN BRIEF Royal appointment

STAFF at the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) were invited to meet HRH The Duke of Edinburgh on May 15 to mark the organisation joining The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award as a National Operating Authority. RYA training manager Richard Falk and DofE manager Amanda Van Santen attended St James’s Palace to receive their licence certificate from the charity’s founder and patron. The ceremony marked the launch of the organisation’s partnership with the DofE Award which is set to inspire and enable more young people aged 14-25 to participate in sailing, windsurfing and powerboating while working towards their awards.

Award success

THE Environment Agency’s South East Waterways Team scooped two awards in the national Waterways Renaissance Awards. The team won first prize for its River Thames volunteer scheme and received a commendation for its contribution to the 2012 Olympic Games. This is the first time the Environment Agency has won a Renaissance Award. The Environment Agency is still recruiting volunteer lock keepers for the 2013 summer season and has vacancies in parts of the Berkshire and on the upper reaches of the Thames.

Towpath scheme

COUNCILLORS at Craven, North Yorkshire, have agreed to back a £1.4 million Canal & River Trust scheme to improve the towpath on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal between Gargrave and Skipton, writes Geoff Wood.



Boaters’ contribution to Britain’s war effort finally recognised By Peter Underwood

THE Friendship Cruising Club is a small friendship group which has no base but meets at various venues on the River Soar and other East Midlands waterways to share a joint interest in the waterways. At their recent AGM, members enjoyed a race night and it was agreed that the profits should be donated to Rainbows, a local children’s hospice in Loughborough. Treasurer, Stan Sidorowicz, is pictured presenting a cheque for £200 to Jennifer Leach, community fundraiser. PHOTO SUPPLIED

Bridge souvenir THE Manchester Bolton & Bury

Canal Society celebrated the opening of its Meccano-style bridge with a souvenir edition of its MB&BCS magazine. Volunteers had put in over 3000 hours of work and more than 300 people attended the ceremony at Little Lever in April. Bridge creator Liam Curtin was made an honorary life member of the society. The society has also published a new edition of its Towpath Guide written by chairman Paul Hindle who also donated the new No 50 bridge plate. (MB&BCS magazine, May 2013)

Anniversary appeal

THE Bruce Trust, which operates community boat trips and holidays for disabled people on the Kennet & Avon Canal, has launched its silver anniversary appeal to raise funds for the refit of the oldest of its four widebeam boats Rebecca. The work is expected to cost £100,000. Donations can be made direct to the charity at PO Box 21, Hungerford, Berkshire RG17 9YY or via or

IT HAS taken nearly 70 years, but the contribution of families who worked to keep vital war industries supplied by boat during Britain’s two world wars has finally been recognised. After a campaign led by two authors, former boater Alice Lapworth who wrote about her life on the canals and Steve Miles who writes historical canalbased fiction as Geoffrey Lewis, the Canal & River Trust unveiled a plaque by the top lock of the Farmer’s Bridge flight at Cambrian Wharf in central Birmingham. “They worked with little respite, carrying munitions, food and other essential materials, unflinchingly risking their lives to supply both the front line and the home front,” the plaque proclaims; and Alice along with several other former working boat people and their families were at the unveiling and clearly delighted that the hard work and commitment of the wartime boaters had finally gained public acknowledgement.

Alice Lapworth, centre, and some of the former working boaters and their families who came to see it unveiled. INSERT: The plaque paying tribute to the war work of boating families. PHOTOS: PETER UNDERWOOD Author Steve Miles who writes as Geoffrey Lewis and campaigned for the plaque to be erected. Alice, author of A Horse, A Boat, And You, grew up on the canals, married a boatman and had a daughter on the boats. She said: “I’m really happy to be able to commemorate the efforts of the boaters who played a part between 1914 and 1945 with this plaque, a lot of whom I knew growing up.” She was joined in the ceremony by

THIS year hosted by Worsley Cruising Club, the Federation of Bridgewater Cruising Clubs’ annual rally was attended by nearly 200 boats from the six boat clubs along the Bridgewater Canal. They came together for a weekend of entertainment, games, and renewing of friendships between members of all the

clubs along this canal. Trophies were awarded for the Best Decorated Boat, The Trimmest Craft and Crew, Best Illuminated Boat, the Most Improved Home Moorings and an award for the rescue of a man who had been stranded in the canal for several hours unable to get out of the water. Among the guests on the sailpast was

The Mayor and Mayoress of Salford, Coun Alan and Mrs Mary Clague.

Beau, the boating Basset hound

the Mayor of Salford, Coun Alan Clague, accompanied by Mayoress Mary Clague, the manager of the Bridgewater Canal Company Mr Mike Webb and his wife, also representative from the AWCC, Mr Roland Dochin. Worsley Cruising Club, which hosted this year’s rally, has spent the last 12 months planning down to the finest detail this event held at the Red Rose Mining Museum at Astley Green near Manchester. The boaters gathered in the giant marquee with over 300 people dressed in wild west attire (the theme for the rally) and all enjoyed a weekend of professional and their own entertainment.

MANY of you, particularly from around the Kennet & Avon, Oxford and Shropshire Union canals, will have met our old Basset hound, Beau, write Andy and Lou Nichols of nb Cousin Jack. Sadly we have to report that the old star of the canals has passed through the pearly lock gates at the ripe old age of 163⁄4 years. (very old for a Basset) Everyone who met him fell in love with him and often remembered him but not us. It was a pleasure to have the old chap on board and he often made for some interesting conversations. He will, we’re sure, be remembered with fondness by many and sadly missed by us.


A VOLUNTEER working on the FMC motor Peacock has managed to get the Bolinder engine running, apparently for the first time in eight years. There is a video of this on YouTube at nXzaLsA (195 Friends of President newsletter, May 2013)

THE Ashtree Boat Club, based on the Trent & Mersey Canal at Rugeley, would like to thank everyone who helped members to raise £200 for St Giles Hospice during the coffee morning held on its club moorings on Saturday, May 18. Although not a warm day, the weather stayed dry .

The event was also being used by volunteers from the National Waterways Museum at Ellesmere Port, anxious to capture on tape the memories of some of the former working boat people at the ceremony. They are starting a large scale oral history project and are asking for people to come forward and share their memory or story of the waterways, which will be archived for future generations. If you have a story to share, please go to twentieth-century-voices.

Wild West theme as the Worsley Cruising Club hosts annual rally

Caught on camera

Coffee thanks

Peter Mathews, who chairs the West Midlands Partnership of the Canal & River Trust. He told the audience that the canals’ history was also their future as it was important for everyone to appreciate the role they had played in our national story. He said: “The role played by boaters during both the first and the second world wars is one that often gets overlooked and to be able to celebrate the imperative work they did during these key periods in history is fantastic.”

The crew of Cosy Toes dressed up in Wild West theme for the sailpast.

Friends oF slough Canalto disCuss dredgingwith Crt THE need for dredging to take place sooner rather than later was one of the topics discussed by the Friends of Slough Canal at the recent annual general meeting. Other matters were: signposting along the canal; graffiti; how to deal with canalside rubbish and other antisocial behaviour. A team of four members was selected to represent the Friends

at a proposed meeting with the Canal & River Trust to discuss the dredging issue. Following the meeting, committee member Robin Bishop gave an illustrated talk on The Working of Canals. The Friends continues to work with Slough Borough Council in preparation for this year’s Slough Canal Festival (September 7-8). The

idea of a promotional strategy for the canal to encourage greater use by boaters and others is being raised with the Canal & River Trust. New members are always welcome, especially those willing to play an active part in the running of the group. Annual subscription remains at £10. For further information email

Sharing best practice in the voluntary sector By David Scowcroft

THE Inland Waterways Association and the Canal and River Trust ran a Best Practice Workshop at the Aston Conference Centre in Birmingham recently. IWA chairman Les Etheridge and CRT trustee John Dodwell hosted the occasion which was attended by 70 high-level volunteers and several senior CRT managers. John Dodwell said that the trust is concentrating on encouraging volunteers to the waterways and that there was no waterways task that could not be completed by

volunteers. He also stressed that the CRT is actively in favour of restoration. Four presentations were made detailing the work of some of our canal societies. It was staggering and humbling to hear the amount of effort, time and money that is being spent by the Lichfield & Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust. The day comprised lectures, discussions and workshop activities in order that societies could cross-fertilise their experience. Overall it was a very useful exercise in bringing such busy enterprising people together.

Keeping the waterways alive

This ‘Couple o’ the Cut’ was created on behalf of Stoke-on-Trent Boat Club on the Caldon Canal for the Endon Well Dressing and Scarecrow Festival over the recent May Bank Holiday weekend. The ‘book’ says: ‘Keeping the waterways alive (IWA) and visiting Endon to celebrate the Well Dressing!’ PHOTO COURTESY DIANE



‘Best lock’ award presented to Shepperton keeper Steve THE award for Best Lock on the River Thames 2012 was presented recently to lock keeper Steve Newman at a sunny Shepperton. Shepperton Lock scooped the award for the second year running, after hundreds of people voted in the Environment Agency’s 2012 Thames Waterways Awards. Steve commented: “A big thank you to all those who voted for Shepperton, the recognition makes all the hard work of myself and the team worthwhile.” Although Shepperton Lock was a clear winner among the public last year, other locks were awarded commendations due to a high level of positive feedback from many people. Locks that were all singled out by river users and given these special commendations were Bray, Hambleden, Goring and Eynsham. Tom Biggin, from Peter Brett Associates, which sponsors the annual awards, was on hand to present Steve with his plaque. Matt Carter, waterways operations manager at the Environment Agency, said: “We received some great feedback about our locks and waterways staff. A variety of people contribute to the overall customer experience – permanent staff, seasonal staff and volunteers.”

Environment Agency waterways manager Matthew Carter, lock keeper Steve Newman, Tom Biggin from Peter Brett Associates and Environment Agency commercial operations manager Mick Wheatley at the presentation.


The award-winning Shepperton Lock. PHOTO:WATERWAY IMAGES

Hundreds enjoy open days at Capels Mill MORE than 1800 people recently took a unique opportunity to walk along the bottom of the new canal channel at Capels Mill, Stroud. The open days, held on May 10 and 11, were masterminded by Stroud District Council’s Dave Marshall, working closely with Griffiths Construction’s project manager Dr Simon Dunn and the Cotswold Canals Trust (CCT). Dave explained: “This is the largest and most demanding project of the restoration. The work has been going on for 18 months.” As part of the restoration, a concrete canal channel has been constructed through what was, until the 1970s, Stroud’s domestic waste landfill site. However, landfill is not strong enough to support an excavated water channel, and this fact, plus the obvious environmental need to keep water away from waste, resulted in the concrete channel that runs close alongside the River Frome. The 330 metres of new canal at Capels Mill has cost in the region of £3 million – £10,000 per metre – the majority of which has been met by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). Contractors have worked closely with the

Cotswold Canals Trust to produce monthly progress reports on the trust website. Dave recruited key members of Stroud District Council’s Canal Team, together with local volunteers who worked on the towpath restoration to help with the open days. Cotswold Canals Trust Visitor Centre staff completed the team, and dealt with hundreds of visitors and their many questions. On the Friday, Stroud District Council’s canal project manager Ian Edwards hosted a group that included Dame Janet Trotter, HM Lord Lieutenant of Gloucestershire and CCT chairman Mike Guest. The group also included representatives of the HLF and the Canal & River Trust. After visiting Capels Mill, the group took a fact-finding cruise on the CCT trip boat Endeavour from Ebley to Stonehouse. The new channel will soon be filled with five million litres of water to a depth of 1.5 metres. Water will be pumped slowly from the canal, east of Capels Mill. The gradual nature of the filling process will ensure that the aquatic life supported in the length of shallower canal will remain unaffected.

Club bids farewell to past commodore STOKE-on-Trent Boat Club has lost one of its stalwarts in John T Sutton, who died recently after a short illness. John was a founder member of the club, a life member, past commodore and vice-president. He was also a trustee, and served on the committee in various roles until recently. He was a keen and active member of the Inland Waterways Association, serving on the committee of the local Stoke-on-Trent branch, as it was then known. The waterways, boating and the boat club were John’s life. Having trained and worked all his life as an engineer – except for serving in the Forces – John did much of the fitting out of his four boats himself, all to an

extremely high standard. The parish church at Hanford, in Stoke-on-Trent, was packed at his funeral service, many of the congregation being club members and others connected with the waterways. His widow Pauline and daughters Tina and Jackie are all members of Stoke-on-Trent Boat Club, where friends and family gathered afterwards to say farewell to a boater who was much-loved and highly respected by all who met him. Many boaters will unknowingly have a memento of John, as he was responsible for the manufacture, and often design, of thousands of the brass rally plaques which decorate their boats.

John T Sutton at the helm of his narrowboat Thomas.




Step-by-step guide to the Himalayan Balsam plant THE Inland Waterways Association has produced a leaflet giving information about Himalayan Balsam, which includes advice about how to identify the plant, a step-by-step guide to planning a Himalayan Balsam work party and the lowdown on what walkers and boaters can do to help prevent the plant spreading further. The leaflet is downloadable from the IWA website, Further to the feature about Himalayan Balsam in last month’s Towpath Talk, several more work parties have been planned around the canal system to clear stretches of this invasive plant which crowds out native

Cheered for Avon efforts MEMBERS of IWA Avon & Wiltshire Branch have cleaned the bank of the Bristol Avon on both sides from Swineford weir stream upstream for about quarter of a mile. Most of the rubbish was polythene bags and sewage related debris caused by the combined sewer overflows from Bath in this winter’s floods. Two large bags of rubbish were cut off the trees and brambles. The work was carried out from a dinghy and several walkers and boaters cheered when they saw the efforts being undertaken.

Himalayan Balsam. PHOTO:ALISON SMEDLEY plants. Full details are under the work party dates list and locations include the Caldon Canal, Pocklington Canal, Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal, Grand Union Canal and the Calder & Hebble Navigation.

Mileposts painted ready for anniversary celebrations VOLUNTEERS from IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch, supported by members of the Caldon & Uttoxeter Canals Trust, held two work parties during May in order to paint the mileposts on the Caldon Canal between Etruria Junction and Hazelhurst Junction. The task was chosen in order to spruce up the appearance of the mileposts ahead of next year’s anniversary celebrations which will see 40 years since the reopening of the Caldon Canal in 1974. Some of the mileposts are the original Trent & Mersey Canal Company (original proprietors of the Caldon Canal)

mileposts, while the others are the replacement replicas which were installed in the early 1980s by the then Caldon Canal Society. On the first session on Thursday, May 2, the volunteers split into three teams and worked their way from both ends of the canal, meeting in the middle, by which time all 10 mileposts had been wirebrushed and painted with black paint. A week later, Thursday, May 9, two teams carried out a similar exercise to paint the white surfaces, leaving the mileposts looking clean and bright for all the visitors to the canal this summer and next.

One of the motorbikes being pulled out of the canal on the Warwick cleanup. PHOTO:


Caldon Milepost painting.


baskets, a metal fuel tank, a bath, a lawn mower, many car exhausts and seats, hose reels, tractor tyres and lots of road signs. It took eight volunteers to lift a 250cc motorcycle and five to lift the other 125cc model from the canal bed. A substantial array of other unidentifiable metal objects and domestic items was lifted from the canal and many bags of rubbish were collected from the towpath. Further work parties are planned in the autumn in the Leamington and Warwick area. If anyone would like to volunteer to take part, please email

Cleaning up the towpath at Southall.


The meeting point was at Bridge 20, Uxbridge Road, Southall, where 14 participants split into two groups working in both directions. By lunchtime the group heading north had reached Bridge 19 but couldn’t go much beyond this as the towpath was closed due to towpath improvements being carried out. After lunch everybody worked south from the point where the morning group had reached and they eventually reached Bulls Bridge Junction at Bridge 21. They then continued working in a westerly direction along the Grand Union Canal main line as far as Bridge 200C in Hayes. Everyone agreed that it had been a very successful day and approximately 60 plastic bags of litter were collected.

Waterways Festival volunteers wanted THE Inland Waterways Association is seeking help in setting up its National Waterways Festival which returns in July after a year off. It will take place on the Grand Union Canal, in the picturesque surroundings of Cassiobury Park, Watford, from July 19-21. A Festival Canal Camp (July 13-24) is completely different from a restoration camp – first helping to build the site,

putting up display stands and fencing; then when the event opens, helping to run it by providing site services, as well as entertaining and educating the public. At the end it all has to be dismantled. ● If you are interested in volunteering over the weekend, for a few days or for the full camp you can get more information at

Margaret and Derek Beardsmore of IWA Lichfield Branch, who have led the branch’s Rugeley project from its inception in 2010, are pictured receiving the two Waterway Renaissance Awards.


FORTHCOMINGWORK PARTY EVENTS Thursday, June 27 IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch and the Caldon & Uttoxeter Canals Trust: Himalayan Balsam pulling work party on the Caldon Canal. Please wear stout shoes and long sleeves and trousers (to avoid nettle stings) and bring waterproofs and a packed lunch if staying all day.10am to 3pm. Meet at Consall Station. Nearest parking is at Consall Visitor Centre, Consall Nature Park, Consall Forge, Wetley Rocks, Staffordshire ST9 0AF. Contact Bob Luscombe on 07710 054848 or email IWA East Yorkshire Branch and the Pocklington Canal Amenity Society: Himalayan Balsam Work Party, Pocklington Canal. Clothing/lunch as above. Meet at the car park beside the Canal Arm, Melbourne YO42 4QJ. Park in the village and walk down the lane beside the Melbourne Arms pub. Work will start at 10am and continue until 4pm or earlier if all the Balsam has been picked! Contact Roger Bromley on 01482 845099 or by email

Friday, July 5

IWA Birmingham, Black Country & Worcestershire Branch: Himalayan Balsam pulling work party at Falling Sands, near Kidderminster, on the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal.10am to 4pm. Clothing/lunch as above. Meet at Falling Sands Bridge, accessed via Lisle Avenue, off Stourport Road, Kidderminster. Contact David Struckett for further information on 07976 746225 or by email

Thursday, July 11

IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch and the Caldon & Uttoxeter Canals Trust: Himalayan Balsam pulling work party on the Caldon Canal. 10am to 3pm. Clothing/lunch as above. Meet at the western portal of Froghall Tunnel, Foxt Road (B5053), Froghall, Staffordshire, to work upstream towards Consall. Contact Bob Luscombe on 07710 054848 or email

Friday, July 12 (evening)

IWA West Riding Branch: Milepost painting and litter picking in Leeds city centre along the Leeds & Liverpool Canal. 6pm to 9pm. Meet at Office Lock. Contact Elaine Scott, IWA West Riding Branch chairman on 07980 953880 or email

Thursday, July 18

IWA Warwickshire Branch: Lapworth – lock painting, litter picking, veg clearance and path work. Meet at Kingswood Lock, Lapworth, Solihull B94 5RB. 10am to approx. 3pm. Contact Brian Bayston by phoning 01926 831508 or emailing

Sprucing up the towpath at Southall A TOWPATH cleanup on the Paddington Arm of the Grand Union Canal organised by IWA Middlesex Branch took place on Saturday, June 1. The event was supported by the Canal & River Trust which provided a workboat with a crew of two along with litter pickers and gloves.

WINNERS of the Waterway Renaissance Awards were announced at a ceremony on May 23 in Birmingham, and among the runners-up and ‘commended’ projects were two IWA branches. IWA Lichfield Branch’s Rugeley Regeneration Project was runner-up in the Partnership category and commended in the Community category. The awards were in recognition of the series of improvements to the Trent & Mersey Canal in Rugeley by a wide community partnership. IWA Milton Keynes Branch was commended in the Volunteering category for its canal cleanup at Milton Keynes.

Saturday, June 29

Tons of scrap metal hauled from Warwick canal TWENTY participants had a productive morning on Sunday, May 12, during the canal cleanup organised by IWA Warwickshire Branch. They used grappling hooks to clear the canal of its ‘hidden treasures’ between Bridges 46 and 48 of the Grand Union Canal near the supermarket at Emscote, Warwick. The event was supported by the Canal & River Trust which provided a workboat to carry a haul of approximately 4.5 tons of scrap. A road trailer was also filled to capacity. The total haul included 20 bicycles, two motorcycles, one motor scooter, 23 shopping trolleys, eight shopping

IWA branches make their mark at Waterway Renaissance Awards

Saturday, July 20

Painting footbridges at Lapworth.

Photo: Graham Nicholson

Painting at Lapworth IWA Warwickshire Branch continues to support the twice monthly work parties at Lapworth organised by CRT. Over the last few months work has included towpath improvements, vegetation clearance and painting. A lot of undergrowth and debris has been removed to improve the moorings and the flow of water in the by-washes. Ivy has been removed from the stonework of buildings, fencing has been replaced especially around the fishing pool, a sign survey has been completed and 30 bird boxes have been erected around the junction. There is now a programme of painting hand rails and lock gates under way to bring some uniformity to the locks. Work parties take place on the third Thursday and the third Saturday each month and anyone is welcome to join in.

IWA Warwickshire Branch supporting Canal & River Trust Towpath Taskforce: Lapworth – lock painting, litter picking, veg clearance and path work. 10am to 4pm. Meet at Kingswood Lock, Lapworth, Solihull B94 5RB. Contact Brian Bayston by phoning 01926 831508 or emailing IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch and Trent & Mersey Canal Society: Cheshire Locks, Trent & Mersey Canal. Painting and vegetation clearance at Church Lawton, Cheshire. 10am to 4pm. Contact Bob Luscombe on 07710 054848 or email

Wednesday, July 24

IWA Chiltern Branch: Himalayan Balsam work party at Marsworth Locks, Grand Union Canal. Clothing/lunch as above. Contact John Brice on 07740 733241 or by email

Saturday, July 27

IWA Manchester Branch supporting Canal & River Trust Towpath Taskforce: 10am to 4pm. Himalayan Balsam pulling, location to be confirmed. Contact Ian Price or phone 07971 444258. IWA West Riding Branch: Work party at Salterhebble Locks, near Halifax. 10am to 4pm. Work will include Himalayan Balsam pulling, weeding, clearing vegetation and painting. Volunteers are advised to wear stout shoes and old clothes and bring waterproofs. Tea and coffee will be provided. Come along for the whole day (bring a packed lunch) or just call in for an hour or two. Parking and meeting place in the car park by Salterhebble Locks, off the A6026 Wakefield Road immediately before its junction with the A629. Contact Elaine Scott, IWA West Riding Branch chairman, on 07980 953880 or email website: Contact Alison Smedley, IWA Branch Campaign Officer, for further information on any of these events. Telephone: 01538 385388/07779 090915 or email Information can also be found on IWA’s website:


Cleaning up on the Rochdale Nine Award to Montgomery Canal restoration leader IWA Manchester Branch volunteers met up on Saturday, April 27, for a cleanup and work party on the Rochdale Nine as part of the Canal & River Trust’s Towpath Taskforce Manchester. Work started at Lock 92 with the aim of working as far up the flight of nine locks as possible. There was a choice of tasks and volunteers assembled into teams for painting, litter picking or grappling rubbish out of the canal. A good lookout was kept by the painting team for boats approaching the lock and assistance given as appropriate regarding the new paint. The litter picking team pitched in to remove broken glass from beneath the verandahs of the bars and clubs between locks 91 and 90, while the grappling team removed various items including a security fence. On moving up to lock 89 the grapplers were given dire warning regarding the canal drain plug situated just below the

Volunteers litter picking on the Rochdale Nine. PHOTO: STEVE CONNOLLY lock. A large island of debris was netted below lock 88 while further fencing and signs were recovered from above the same lock. A reluctant halt was called at 3.45pm followed by a warm sense of achievement as the volunteers walked back down a pristine towpath and passed the spotless paintwork.

Rain halts paint work at Salterhebble locks IWA West Riding Branch held a work party at Salterhebble locks on Saturday, May 18, with a view to clearing vegetation and painting various items of canal furniture to improve the appearance of the area. The Calder Navigation Society brought its boat, Savile, to give boat trips to the workers and any passers-by; The Canal & River

Some passing cyclists join in at the Salterhebble work party. PHOTO:PETER SCOTT

Trust supported the event and provided equipment, and Shire Cruisers loaned a boat for tea and coffee making. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t playing and it was overcast with showers all day, so the painting was off. Not daunted, after a safety briefing the volunteers got to work, splitting into groups to clean cobbles, remove debris from the cut and clear the towpath. The Calder Navigation Society volunteers used Savile to remove debris from the cut up to the end of the canal towards Halifax. Passers-by were few and far between, but the best compliment came from a passing cyclist who, having passed by in the morning, said: “Well done, it’s a lot better now,” on his way back in the afternoon. A further date of Saturday July 27 has been agreed to complete the work, do the painting (weather permitting) and some Himalayan Balsam bashing.

THE North-West and North Wales Region of the Inland Waterways Association has made an award to Mike Friend who for the last 10 years has been leading the Shropshire Union Canal Society work parties in the restoration of the Montgomery Canal. The award, the Tetlow Cup, was presented at the society’s work party on Sunday, May 19, in front of a party of volunteers of the Shropshire Union Canal Society who had been spending the morning grading and lining the canal at Redwith Bridge. Covering an area from Ludlow to Anglesey and Carlisle, the IWA’s North-West Region is made up of four branches – Chester & District, Manchester, North Lancashire & Cumbria and Shrewsbury, District & North Wales – and includes canal restoration projects such as the Montgomery, Shrewsbury & Newport, Manchester Bolton & Bury, Lancaster, and Sankey (or St Helen’s) Canals. The trophy is awarded to someone other than a member of the Inland Waterways Association who has made a major contribution to the waterways over a period of time. In presenting the award, Alan Platt, chairman of the North West and North Wales Region and a deputy national chairman of the IWA, referred to Mike Friend’s 10 years as work party organiser for Shropshire Union Canal Society. He was thus largely responsible for the group’s sterling work in the restoration of the Montgomery and maintaining the profile of the canal especially during the current period when outside funds are so hard to come by. This was echoed by Pat Wilson, chairman of Shropshire Union Canal Society, and by Michael Limbrey of the Montgomery Waterway Restoration Trust. Mike in his turn paid tribute to the volunteers themselves and especially to Jan, his wife, for her patience and support. Speaking after the presentation Alan Platt said: “Our awards recognise the contributions that people make to the life of our waterways. For over 10 years Mike Friend has been leading the

Mike Friend, wearing his famous white wellies, is pictured receiving the trophy from Alan Platt flanked by Pat Wilson (SUCS chairman) and Mrs Jan Friend and the SUCS work party.


Shropshire Union Canal Society in its most challenging task in over 40 years of restoration work on the Montgomery Canal. “The society’s volunteers have been working to bring boats back to 500 yards of the canal below Redwith Bridge, a length which has been dry and derelict since the canal was abandoned many years ago. For the last five years, they have been restoring the shape of the canal, then laying lining and protective blocks with techniques and materials unknown to the navvies who built the canal 200 years ago. “When this length of canal has been finished, there will just be two and a half miles to restore to bring boats to Llanymynech where the Heritage Area will make an attractive destination. After that we can move to reopening the canal to Arddleen, and bring boats back to Welshpool.” He added: “Volunteers from the Shropshire Union Canal Society have been at work every year, usually with other work by the Inland Waterways Association’s Waterway Recovery Group. Together they have brought many hundreds of volunteers to the canal, of all ages, from across the country and beyond. And of course they would not have been able to do all this without the leadership of people like Mike Friend, and we are delighted to be able to recognise this with our award.”

Mon & Brec helps school children learn about canals VOLUNTEERS from the Monmouthshire, Brecon and Abergavenny Canals Trust recently took their trip boat to Goytre Wharf for the annual Schools Event. With members of Blaenavon Forgotten Landscapes, Natural Resources Wales and the Canal & River Trust, over 100 children from 11 schools were given a range of outdoor, eco-

friendly, experiences. A nature walk introduced them to their surroundings and making bird feeders followed on. Then they learnt about the economy of water borne transport before boarding the boat and hearing how the canals were built, and finally pond dipping showed them what was under the surface. Weather for the two days could not

have been better and feedback from the schools was 100% positive. Next year the Mon & Brec Canals Trust hopes to have its 38-seat community boat up and running as a full blown floating classroom with the possibility of even more schools becoming involved. Thanks to all organisers and volunteers for another first class event.


The Heulwen Trust – bringing sunshine into people’s lives Photography: JANET RICHARDSON UNLESS OTHERWISE INDICATED

JULY is a key month for the Heulwen Trust which operates two narrowboats providing trips for children and adults with disabilities and the elderly on the Montgomery Canal, writes Janet Richardson. The charity relies on the proceeds of its major annual fundraiser, the Welshpool Country Music Festival, taking place this year over the weekend of July 19-21, to provide this free service which serves more than 140 groups from as far afield as Liverpool and Stoke-on-Trent and costs around £32,000 a year to provide. I visited the trust’s Heulwen Wharf base on land adjoining Gungrog Farm where I was hosted by chairman David Corfield and his wife Rozanne, vice-chairman of the festival, whose enthusiasm I found inspiring. We were soon on our way to Welshpool Lock as one of the trust’s regular boatmen Brian Lawson brought Heulwen III Silver Lady on her way back from a trip with a group of youngsters with learning difficulties.

Heulwen III Silver Lady at Heulwen Wharf.

The young passengers enjoy going through the ‘tunnel’ of Bridge 117, opened by actor and canal enthusiast David Suchet.

Heulwen Trust chairman David Corfield opens Welshpool Lock gate ready for Heulwen III Silver Lady. Brian Lawson at the tiller of Heulwen III Silver Lady. We joined the boat and I chatted to Brian who told me that his more elderly passengers are always impressed when he tells them that the Prince of Wales has held the tiller. We also met Heulwen II with another party being piloted by Brian Bebb who has worked for the trust for more than 20 years since leaving school. Both boats usually do one trip each weekday but this can range from 1.5 to 4.5 hours along the navigable section of the canal either side of Welshpool. The team of relief drivers also include Alan Hall, Gordon Pearce and John Bennett. Weather permitting, they run throughout the year although January tends to be quieter enabling maintenance to be carried out. Brian Bebb, who works for the trust full time, also fits in other routine jobs such as grass cutting around the wharf. Later in the day at a convivial supper hosted by the Corfield family, I also met trust treasurer Jenny Maddox to whom I am grateful for supplying some of the historical information for this article.

The memorial to the late Claude Millington at Heulwen Wharf.

Royal launch

Heulwen is Welsh for sunshine and the boats which bear this name have been brightening the lives of its passengers since the present boat’s predecessor Heulwen I – the first narrowboat in the world to be solely for use by children with disabilities – was launched in 1975 by the Prince of Wales. When the restoration of the five miles of the Montgomery Canal north from the then dropped Gallowstree Bank Bridge in Welshpool to just below the Pool Quay flight of locks, under the auspices of the Prince of Wales Committee and involving the Variety Club of Great Britain, came up, someone suggested the idea of a boat for the disabled to operate on this length. Among those involved was the then chairman of the Inland Waterways Association, John Heap, and his wife Joan stepped forward to head a committee of the IWA ladies to raise the money for the boat. Cammell Laird agreed that its apprentices would build it at Birkenhead – the first of a number they did – providing it could be done using shipyard techniques. David Wain, then a member of the Montgomery Canal Trust, worked on the design with them and there was also input by surgeons from the Shropshire Orthopaedic Hospital.

Heulwen Trust veteran Brian Bebb brings Heulwen II back to base.

Until 1985 the boat was run by the Prince of Wales Committee but the Heulwen Trust was then formed as a charitable organisation under the chairmanship of the late Claude Millington. It took over full responsibility and ownership of the boat and was incorporated as a company limited by guarantee in January 1992. In May 1993, the second boat, Heulwen II, was delivered costing £30,000 and named by the Prince of Wales on a visit to Welshpool. The Heulwen Wharf has been in use since then and work on the roadway and landscaping was completed in spring 1994, extensive improvements following in 2006. In 2009 Heulwen I was sold and delivery was taken of Heulwen III Silver Lady at a cost of £100,000. The boats are in continual demand by special schools, hospitals, hospices and old people’s homes covering areas of Wales, Shropshire, Staffordshire and the West Midlands, and have carried more than 61,000 people on its free daily trips. Last year alone, Heulwen II made 160 trips and Heulwen III Silver Lady 189, making a total of 349 carrying more than 2800 people with disabilities. Future plans include the development of a holiday home for people with disabilities on the land bought by the trust in 1992.

WildWestWelshpool style fun

Heulwen Trust chairman David Corfield, right, and Rozanne, standing, with daughter Anna and granddaughters Mia and Ella. From left are: Brian Lawson, Jenny Maddox and Brian Bebb.

The Prince of Wales steers Heulwen I through the Moors Lift Bridge on the Montgomery Canal in July 1976.


A TRADITIONAL charge down the bank by more than 50 ‘westerners’ with replica guns ‘blazing’ opens the show at the Welshpool Country Music Festival (July 19-21) set in the beautiful grounds of Powis Castle, owned by the National Trust. Headline acts include Sarah Jory’s SJ Country Bank, Alan Gregory, Cowboy up, Next Of Kin,Twin Falls, Peter Shaw, Nancy Ann Lee, Spur, Pedro & guests,Texas Gun and the Johnny Cash Tribute revisited by Rick McKay. Compered by Ric Mason and with support from the Roger Shepherd Absolutely Country Disco, there is live entertainment throughout the weekend from Friday night, with after hours party time in the beer tent and concluding on the Sunday night with a live closing trilogy. Canal boat trips and fast draw contests are among the attractions as well as free children’s entertainment and activities on the Saturday and Sunday mornings. A weekend ticket booked and paid for by July 1 costs £25 per person after which it will be £30, day tickets cost £12.50. Accompanied children under 16 go free. There is also free camping and caravanning for up to 500 caravans on a 40-acre field with on-site showers. Book online at or send bookings to The Heulwen Trust, 10 Bryn Glas, Welshpool SY21 7TL with SAE. For enquiries ring David Corfield on 07885 484228 or Rozanne Corfield on 07970 870174, email




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A city break at the Salthouse Dock Colin and Carole Waring take a spring cruise to Liverpool WE AWOKE on the morning of our trip to rain and wind, moored near Bridge 10 on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal at Melling. On the booking confirmation from the Canal & River Trust of our passage along the Liverpool Canal link we had to be at Bridge 9 for 9am. Bridge 10 is only about 30 minutes cruising time from Bridge 9 and having spoken to boaters who had previously made the trip the advice was that Bridge 10 is the ‘safer’ as there is a no access to the offside here, so no danger of missiles being thrown at your boat. There is also the advantage of a nice walk up from the bridge through the farm to the Bootle Arms in Melling, great for your tea the night before. The four other boats that had moored at Bridge 10 made their way to join the two boats that had over nighted at Bridge 9. The CRT chap arrived just after 9am, opened Hancock’s swing bridge known locally as ‘Wango Bridge’ and we were all encouraged to hurry through to avoid traffic building up on this busy road. Through the wind and rain we passed Aintree racecourse, through Bridge 6, again operated by the CRT lads, though this one isn’t as busy. By then the convoy had started to pick up a bit of rubbish on props but nothing too serious, the worst areas along the route seemed to be around Bridges 7, Copy Bridge and 2a around The Stand shopping centre in Bootle. Luckily we didn’t get anything around our prop, maybe using the technique of gliding through the bridge holes in neutral helped? Some of the boats stopped at the Litherland service station to empty Elsans and deposit rubbish in the skips so by the time we reached the top of the Stanley Lock Flight we were last in the convoy; though the rain had stopped, the wind continued to blow. Three volunteer lock keepers, and a CRT employee worked us down the four locks. Though the rain had stopped we still got wet under the railway viaduct over lock three. ‘It never stops dripping under here,’ we were told. Then out into the shadows of the giant Stanley Dock Tobacco Warehouse, and the first bit of wide water, which got wider and windier after passing under the Regent Road Lift Bridge into the old Collingwood and Salisbury docks. These at one time would have been surrounded by warehousing affording some protection from the wind off the River Mersey. Today all the buildings have gone, and there was a touch of white tops to the waves in the docks. The CRT chap had said that if it had been much windier we would have been in the Eldonian Village overnight until it calmed down. We had all been advised to put our life jackets on. Across these wide open spaces and then a left turn into the newly constructed Central Docks Channel alongside the old dock wall with massive mooring bollards reaming from the old days. Into lock five, which was set for us as the previous boats had left. This is a new lock among the modern offices and hotels that have replaced the dock sheds. Onward past the ‘three Graces’ of the Cunard Building, The Royal Liver Building and The Port of Liverpool building, and under the Museum of Liverpool. This seemed to be the windiest bit, pushing us along to the Mann Island Lock landing which was full of the rest of the convoy. One of the boats had got a tyre round his prop, thus causing the hold up, so it meant we had to go around the moored boats to wait next to the boat waiting for lock. After a slight delay while the tyre was removed it was off into Canning Half Tide dock, round through the world famous Albert Dock and into Salthouse Dock to moor; with the aid of a thrown rope to a fellow boater we reversed in to pontoon S4. The pontoons are floating, but don’t move too much until one of the Yellow Duck marine Second World War amphibious Dukw’s splash down into Salthouse Dock with its latest group of passengers that they have carried around the city centre. They do give you some warning by blowing the horn just before powering down the slipway into the dock. There are gates at the access points from the dockside down to the pontoons. They are not locked but do put the general public off coming down to the pontoons, though don’t restrict the family and friends who will probably be turning up to see you.

Passing the three Graces.

Waiting to enter Mann Island Lock.

Scouse and cabbage At night the whole place was amazingly quiet; a lot of the night clubs that where established around The Albert Dock now seem to have been replaced by restaurants, which seem to attract an older crowd. Talking of eating and drinking there are of course loads of choices, from the Albert dock restaurants through to the pubs that will sell you a bowl of ‘scouse’ with some red cabbage and a roll. The lockie at the Stanley dock gave us a CAMRA map of the city with 125 pubs marked on it; we managed to visit about five, The Roscoe Head was really nice and friendly while The Baltic Fleet is handy for the mooring, and great for its simplicity and bare boards and good beer. If you don’t want to be eating out all the time, there is always St Johns Market for supplies and for the basics, there is a Tesco Express at the bottom of the Travelodge on The Stand, about a 100yd walk from the moorings. If you are worried about lack of supplies, on your way to Bridge 9 or 10 a handy stop is near Shaw’s swing bridge 14, in Maghull where there is a Morrison’s and a couple of good butchers on the square. There is an electric hook up at every pontoon, but you would be unlucky to have to buy a card, as most of the meters had credit on them. There is a water point on about every sixth pontoon, so you may need a longer hose than normal to fill your tanks. The Lavender boat comes around daily to empty cassettes or pump outs at £5 a go and collects the bagged rubbish. If you do feel cold, an enterprising local solid fuel merchant has put his card with his contact phone number on the pontoon notice board. We had booked to be in the docks for five days so two cassettes did us okay until we got back to Litherland. Of course there is plenty to do in the city, and a good place to start is the tourist information office at The Albert Dock, and there is also the option of just sitting on your deck and people watching. While we were there the cruise liner Queen Mary 11 did a turn round at the new cruise terminal, it was massive compared to our boats, but we wouldn’t be in control would we? After our short five nights it was Monday morning and time to go. We had to be at the Mann Island Lock for 9am to meet the CRT team again. The lock landing at the Mann Island Lock from this way is only a boat’s length, there were six of us booked out today. The first pair were away by about 8.30am and occupying the landing, then the next pair left the pontoons 10 minutes later and spent 20 minutes floating around in the expanse of Canning Half tide dock. We waited with the other boat until the first two boats had commenced locking, before slipping our ropes timed just right, straight into Mann Island Lock. Not as windy today, but not quite as sunny. This time we took it a bit slower and enjoyed the trip more, retracing the route, following the buoys across Princes Dock, past the Victoria tower up the Stanley locks, stopping again at Litherland, and floating through the rubbish in the bridge holes.



Holiday Offers Getting Afloat Bits & Bobs

Boat share firm builds on its boat fleet and services OWNASHARE Cruising Ltd, which currently manages 15 boats, is adding a 16th to its fleet later this year. Heartsease is a 58ft 4/5-berth semitrad currently being fitted out by

Drayton Boats of Fazeley, Staffs. She is arranged with a mid-galley, forward master bedroom and stern saloon. The boat will be ready by October and onetwelfth shares are available at £6950.

Ownashare’s ‘engineering arm’ at Bromley Wharf.

Ownashare measures its health by this development and the fact that it is now entering its fourth year of operation. “The problems that beset two of the main players in our sector a few years ago are well catalogued,” says Phil Capp, Ownashare’s MD. “Customers are looking for two main assurances; total financial transparency and top-class customer service. We have built our governance around those main principles, and appointed a boat share owner to our board to represent our customers directly at that level.” Ownashare offers a ‘pick and mix’ menu of management services to boat syndicates; a syndicate can choose to manage its own finances, for example. “We regard customer choice as highly important, hence the modular structure to our services,” said Phil. As part of its strategy, Ownashare has created a sister company, Bromley Wharf Ltd. This ‘engineering arm’ operates a 10-berth marina by bridge 54 of the Trent & Mersey Canal, a mile or so above Fradley junction. The marina

A new concept in widebeam luxury THERE will be another chance to see the new boat design unveiled at Crick Boat Show by Fernwood Boats when the boat builders host an open day at its Grantham, Lincolnshire, workshops on Saturday, July 6.

The luxurious interior of Priscilla, on show at Crick. PHOTOS SUPPLIED

You may also have seen its latest build a luxury 60ft semi-trad, named Priscilla after the owner’s favourite musical ‘Queen of the Desert’, at Crick and Fernwood Boats is now offering you the chance to come and view the current boats under construction. Fernwood has become known in the industry for building a variety of narrowboats and widebeams from traditional boats with engine rooms, to ultra modern craft which have pushed the boundaries of boat building. The company has also been looking at the trends in the market and at Crick unveiled plans of a new style of boat which has been designed with liveaboard use in mind, or for those looking for the additional space when on long term cruising. Called the Aurora Widebeam Cruiser, the new concept is a mixture of a barge and widebeam; designed at 60ft it is aimed to offer the stylish looks of a barge while keeping as much available space as possible in the boat. If you would like to attend the open day, in the first instance please call 01476 500118 as refreshments will be catered for the numbers planning to attend.

Aurora Widebeam Cruiser specification

Length: 60ft Beam: 12ft 4in Air draft: 78in Aft cruiser deck: 12ft Cross stern seating Raised helm steering position Offset engine access Stepped gunwhale to allow easy access Bow thruster Locker in bow Bespoke windows Chrome fittings, bollards and handrails

A model of the Aurora Widebeam Cruiser concept.

P58 P60 P61

Reviews What’s On Crick Round-up

P61 P62 P66

A marina at Bromley Wharf Ltd by Bridge 54 of the Trent & Mersey Canal. boasts a dry dock, full services and a full-time engineer. “The boatyard is unusual in that it has been developed with service to shared ownership boats in mind,” says Phil. “Each boat moors on a jetty with individual power supplies. At mooring, delivery of fuel and pump-out services mean no queuing. Currently there are spaces available as three boats have moved to a southern base by natural rotation, and Ownashare and Bromley

Wharf Ltd are offering a combined discount of £1000 in 2014 to any syndicate that joins the management scheme with any level of management package before the end of 2013 and takes winter works and moorings at Bromley Wharf.” Details of shares of nb Heartsease and Ownashare’s management services can be obtained by calling 08442 473970. Visit the website at:

A rising star at Cheshire Cat hire CHESHIRE Cat Narrowboat Holidays is pleased to announce the arrival of new addition Little Star – a 47ft cruiser stern boat ideal for couples, although she will sleep up to four people. Cheshire Cat’s owners, Linda Andrews and Mark Edwards had long realised that they needed a small boat for weekend hire at a sensible price. “We get asked all the time for weekend hire,” said Linda “but it isn’t feasible with our regular Saturday turn-round day, as the boats aren’t ready to go until 2pm on Saturday, whereas for most people, the weekend starts on Friday afternoon.” After a year-long search and several wasted journeys to view unsuitable craft, they eventually found just what they were looking for but on the wrong side of the country. The sensible approach would be to load the boat on to a wagon, however, unable to resist the urge to go cruising, Linda and Mark set off from Weedon and brought the boat by water to their base at Audlem. “It was a good chance to check the boat and all her equipment. She was a real little star, completing the journey in

Little Star emerges in her new Cheshire Cat livery from the paint shed at Aqueduct Marina. PHOTO SUPPLIED just four days with no problems, apart from the effort of getting the crew out of bed at 5am each day.” Star’s next trip was to the paint shed at Aqueduct Marina, where she was transformed into a Cheshire Cat boat with its distinctive kingfisher-andcream livery. During the week, Linda is intending to use her as a training vessel for her RYA Helmsman courses. Cheshire Cat Narrowboat Holidays operates five boats from its base at Overwater Marina on the Shropshire Union Canal. Contact 07867 790195;;

Every weekend’s open weekend at the Fish & Duck THE family-run Fish & Duck Marina near Ely which reopened in May following extensive refurbishment, has already signed up over 25 new customers. Additional mooring spaces have been created and despite the initial rush, the marina still has over 100 berths available for all types of boats. The marina is four miles south of the historic city of Ely and 11 miles north of Cambridge and sits on the junction of three main rivers – the Great Ouse, Cam & Old West. It is perfectly located for instant access on

The Braidbar Owners Club organised a surprise celebration to mark the 30th anniversary of Braidbar Boats building luxury narrowboats at Lord Vernon’s Wharf on the Macclesfield Canal. Peter and Susan Mason of Braidbar are pictured cutting the boat-shaped cake. PHOTO SUPPLIED


Cruisers moored at the Fish & Duck Marina.


to, or as a natural stop off-point while cruising, the 200 miles of waterways that surround the marina. Jetties have been fully refurbished to a high standard, new electrical and water infrastructure has been installed and the site has been landscaped and generally tidied up. John Aldous, a trained boat fitter and gas engineer, has been employed as a full time, on-site manager providing a service to customers as well as site security; this has also been improved by the installation of CCTV equipment (with number plate recognition) giving customers further peace of mind. The company recently applied for a Premises Licence with East Cambs District Council to sell alcoholic beverages. “The Fish & Duck boasts an enviable tranquil riverside location and great views, away from the rush of everyday life – this is one of the main reasons why the pub was so popular in the past,” said James Harvey who, together with John and his wife Davina, have managed the re-launch of the business. “We plan to start small and see how it goes – if it works, we will take the leap and rebuild an eaterie.” He continued: “Every weekend is an ‘Open Weekend’ at the Fish & Duck over the summer. If you’re passing, moor up on one of the visitor moorings, have a look round and a drink and take in the view.”

New moorings on the Cam bank. The company has also invested in a small classic motor boat, as well as two Canadian canoes, that are all available for hire. It also offers fishing swims as the area is renowned for pike, carp, tench and silverfish. ● For more information on moorings, the marina and its other offers (including boat hire), please call John direct on 01353 648081 (email or visit the website The Fish & Duck team will also be at Ely Aquafest on Sunday, July 7 and invite you to pop by for a coffee and a chat.


OK, so you’re sure you want to buy a boat? In the fifth of his series looking at what turns ordinary people into boaters, Peter Underwood discusses the options for today’s boat buyer and asks all those questions you should be asking yourself before buying that first vessel. WHEN the boating bug bites it spurs you into swift action – but try to resist, at least to the extent that you can think carefully about what you really want from boating. One thing that never ceases to surprise me is the number of boat owners we meet on our travels who have bought a narrowboat without even taking a holiday on one before. It’s a bit like buying a car without taking a test drive – and potentially as big a mistake. You can hire a boat for a few hundred pounds out of the main holiday season and that is probably the only way of being sure that boating is really something on which you want to spend thousands of pounds and lots of your free time. Read the Canal & River Trust website and you will find it emphasising, with a heavy hand, the ‘responsibilities’ of boat ownership, but I would rather talk about the enthusiasm, the pleasure and the simple enjoyment it promises, beyond the tedious business of officialdom and the finger-wagging about rules. In fact, don’t approach owning a boat from the point of view of the vessel itself – start with you, your family and what you want out of a boating life. At the end of the day a boat is a means to an end – a better lifestyle for you and the people you love. When you dream of being a boater, how do you see yourself? Are you moored out in the countryside, under leafy trees, watching the sun go down with a glass of wine? Would you be equally happy in the same spot with the fire lit, rain lashing down outside and a glass of wine? You may notice a recurring theme there, but the serious point is that boating in the UK is an all-weather sport and rarely attracts sun addicts, so any of those in your family are in for disappointment. Do you want to explore the waterways, taking your boat to all the hidden places; whether they are beside the crumbling mills of the industrial north, through the rolling hills of the Welsh borders or behind the back gardens and on the abandoned docks and wharves of our modern cities? Perhaps, you just want to spend weekends and holidays in a part of the country you have grown to love and

have many of the comforts of home, while being able to slow down to a pace of life only available on our waterways? Can you switch from your everyday working life, where things have to be done quickly, to deadlines, and even leisure is often grabbed and consumed as if it might evaporate unless swiftly seized, to a life where nothing happens quickly and the equivalent of a 20 minute road journey can take a whole day? Once you have answered that sort of question – what you and your family want from boating – you can start to think about what sort of boat fits the bill. Don’t think about a new boat or an older vessel – just about the type of boat that will suit you.

Right for size

If you are the ‘rushing about sort’ you may be better looking at sea-going, or at least river-going, vessels where you can, within limits, pile on the power and burn diesel to your heart’s content. If peace, slowing down, and an outdoor, physical way of life sound more attractive, then the inland waterways may be for you. If you are the exploring type then the parameters almost set themselves. In order to explore all corners of the system you need a narrowboat, nothing wider than 7ft and nothing longer than 60ft to fit in all the locks across the system. It also needs to have an engine big enough to cope with the flows on the rivers and even the tides of the Ribble estuary if you want to venture on to the Lancaster Canal. If you are content to base your boat in a smaller area and won’t want to explore further afield then you can buy something wider or even longer. Check the minimum lock lengths and widths, as well as the air draft under bridges on your chosen waterways and that will dictate the external dimensions of your boat. Whether you and your family are summer boaters or all-year boaters, along with your budget, this will decide whether you buy a ‘yoghurt pot’, as GRP vessels are disparagingly described by steel boat owners, or one of those painted steel boxes regarded with some disdain by the owners of expensive, upmarket GRP ‘gin palaces’ on the Thames.

Do you want a full length boat or a shorter one which offers easier handling and mooring?

One of the funniest moments of a visit to London for me was watching a collection of half-a-million pound gin palaces gather in the lock of St Katherine’s dock by Tower Bridge to come out on the Thames. As they left, a sea-battered Greenpeace boat, with its experienced deep-sea crew, was waiting to enter and suddenly even the superconfident Thames motor yachts were deferring to a different class of boater. There is a hierarchy of boats, but the joyful thing is that each boat owner usually believes his or her class of boat to be the superior choice – so that’s all right then! GRP cruisers tend to be cheaper and give you more space for your money, but they are less comfortable in bad weather and more difficult to keep warm. We started boating with a 32ft Viking, designed to fit narrow canals, even though we were based on the Yorkshire Ouse. We loved it, it fitted our budget at the time and it enabled us to begin exploring the waterways of the north. Later, our family needs (and our budget) changed and we had a steel narrowboat built, but the exploration continued. Another reason to look at the decision to buy a boat from a personal viewpoint, rather than starting with the boat and trying to fit your family around it, is finance. Buying a boat will cost thousands and perhaps tens of thousands of pounds. If it is to become a comfortable part of your lifestyle you have to be comfortable with spending that amount of money. That means you either have that sort of amount to hand and can spend it without an impact on your family budget or that you have an impeccable credit record, a really helpful bank and can easily meet the credit repayments. Even though prices are currently at an attractive low point – at least from the point of view of buyers – loans and boat mortgages are now as rare as hens’ teeth and it is a difficult time for families to join the hobby. Only you can answer the financial questions, but bear in mind that you cannot see a boat as an investment, despite what the brokers and boat builders may claim. The chances are that you will sell it for less than you bought it and, although it doesn’t depreciate as quickly as the family car, it is unlikely to gain in value. The good thing is that there is a sort of sliding scale. You may not be able to afford a new boat with all the things you need, but you can pay the same money for an older boat with those facilities already in situ. In this sense boats are

Do you want to explore interesting places? This is Bancroft Basin at Stratford-upon- Avon. not like cars as they do not deteriorate at the same rate and you can bring them back to an improved look and value by spending money on repainting or refitting the interior. You must decide whether the depreciation, added to the running costs of several thousand pounds a year, is good value for the weekend breaks and longer holidays you will enjoy. While the type and dimensions of your boat are decided by budget and your preferred locations, just how simple or complicated it needs to be depends on the requirements of you and your family. At one extreme, you may be thrilled by the idea of living in the back cabin of an old working narrowboat with just a small stove for cooking, a bowl of water to wash yourselves and the gentle odour of diesel and oil from the adjacent engine-room. If that’s a thrilling prospect and you have the skills and/or money to keep such a boat afloat then you can become one of the dedicated owners of historic boats, using your holidays to visit boat gatherings and festivals around the system. At the other, your modern family may demand enough power to keep an army of gadgets going, twice-daily showers all round and a kitchen able to produce gourmet meals. You may need to be looking at the sort of boat normally acquired by those planning to live aboard all year round. Most of us will be somewhere between, but it is advisable to explore the expectations of all the family – if only to give them a reality check. Almost every boat bought is a compromise, with the possible exception of those specified and designed from scratch with an openended budget.

Hope and budget

Most of the time it is a compromise between hope and budget, but sometimes the boat itself demands that you compromise. We had a 42ft holiday boat built for us, fairly standard design, slightly oversized engine, and were delighted with it. After just over a year we sold it to buy a second-hand 42ft boat that had simply captured our imagination. The upstart that intruded on our boating lives was a canal anomaly, designed and built at Wincham Wharf on the Trent & Mersey. It had a solid steel cabin with windows and an indoor steering position taking up a third of the length at the stern, and yet was able to pass under the lowest bridges on the system. It is still in use as a live-aboard boat on the Grand Union. So be warned, however good your list of requirements becomes you will always face the risk of seeing a boat that forces you to rethink your priorities and find the money to acquire a vessel that just captures your imagination. However, you do need that list of what you want from a boat clearly in your mind – or even in writing – before you set out to see what’s on offer. To go back to that car analogy, boat buying is very much a matter of buyer beware. If you are buying privately make sure the person who is selling has clear title to the boat, just as you would a car, and there is no finance outstanding which means it is really owned by the bank or lender. Most boats are sold by brokers and they see themselves as simply facilitating the sale. Like estate agents

Wide or narrow depends on location and where you aim to take your vessel. they won’t take responsibility for any fault which may subsequently be discovered. In fact, many brokers won’t even ensure a boat is clean and tidy before putting it on sale. Once you sign on the dotted line and cast-off the lines you have to deal with the consequences of any breakdown of the engine or other equipment as the boat is sold as seen.

A buyer’s market

In fact, it is more difficult than buying a car or a house. A boat doesn’t have registration documents, there is no Land Registry for boats, and even after you have had a survey carried out – costing around £300 or so (plus a fee for taking the boat out of the water) – you will only really get a list of potential problems. Boat Safety Certificates should come with most boats, but think of them as MOTs and about as reliable as an indicator of the boat’s value. If the boat is new, or has been built within the last couple of years, it may not have a Boat Safety Certificate, but a document called a Declaration of Conformity. This means the boat has been built to the standards in the European Recreational Craft Directive and the Declaration of Conformity can be used in the same way as a Boat Safety Certificate. The Recreational Craft Directive means that boats sold after June 1998 should have documents from the original builder of all relevant data. Make sure you get a bill of sale and collect all documentation available before handing over the cash. Your search for the right boat could be a long one and the simplest way of starting is to use the many adverts in the boating press to check what’s on offer and make a short-list of those you want to explore further. There are also online boat sales sites and personal advertisements in publications such as Towpath Talk from boat owners wanting to cut out the brokers. In the end, there is no substitute for getting on board and having a good poke around as well as a test run if the boat is a serious contender. When you get out there in the boat yards and marinas, looking for the boat that best fits you and your family, just keep comparing your wish list with the reality. The chances are you will have to compromise, but don’t forget that this is a buyer’s market so the boat you don’t think you can afford could suddenly come into reach if you make an offer that fits your budget. ● Next month: Decision time when it comes to design


BITS & BOBS GREETINGS! We struggled through a flight of locks one Sunday fired with the energy that comes from knowing that we’re joining our friends at a waterside pub that ‘does a great fish pie’. However, our reservations were for the afternoon and the pub was also famous for the prawn cocktail which we think caused the kitchen to run short. When we received our ‘chock full of prawns’ pie, each of us searched and found only one prawn. Except me; I found none. As I vainly continued my search, Michael piped up and exclaimed: “Hello! There are two prawns in my pie.” “You rat,” I exclaimed, “you’ve got my prawn!” At the end of the chugging season, the Wedgwoods had us over and Julia made us a proper fish pie, packed with prawns that swam in a lovely parsley sauce. Best of all, she shared her recipe and we share our variation with you. We have also managed to make it a ‘twofer’ meal by saving half of the frozen

Phill’s Fish Pie

Prep time 5 minutes, cook time 30 minutes, serves 4 Fish mixture ● 2 small salmon fillets, skinned ● ½ pk frozen, cooked prawns ● 2 tbsp butter ● 1 tbsp oil ● 1 small onion, diced ● 1 celery stick, diced ● 1 small tin cooked carrots ● 2 tbsp all-purpose flour ● 2 cups milk (1½+ ½ cups) ● 1⁄2 cup frozen peas ● 1 tbsp lemon juice ● 2 cups grated cheddar cheese ● 5 medium potatoes peeled/diced ● 1 tbsp butter ● 1 tbsp multi-grained mustard ● ¼-½ cup milk (from the fish poaching mixture) ● Salt and pepper to taste Parsley sauce: ● 2 tbsp each butter/flour/fresh parsley ● 1½ cups poaching milk

Rexx’s Prawn Newburg

July top tip When we are cruising and want to cut down on our vegetable cooking time, we shred our vegetables, carrots, potatoes, courgettes, etc. Rexx flattens them into small or large ‘pancakes’ with a little oil in the skillet and they cook in half the time. prawns for Prawn Newburg, a small but mightily rich dish for later in the week, that uses Rexx’s favourite ingredient, cheese. We pick our fresh parsley from our travelling herb garden that lives in the galley window. Preheat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF) Mark 4. Put a saucepan of water on the hob, when it boils, salt the water and drop in the potatoes. In another saucepan, heat two cups of milk to just under the boil; drop in the sea food and poach (35min). Meanwhile, in a deep frying pan, heat together 1 tbsp oil and 2 tbsp butter. Drop in the carrots, onion, celery and parsley; sauté until soft. Sprinkle with the flour and fold to blend. Remove the fish from the milk and set aside. Pour 1½ cups of the milk over the vegetable mixture and stir occasionally as it thickens. Drain the potatoes, and mash with 1 tbsp each butter/mustard. Add the remaining poaching milk ¼ cup at a time, and beat into desired consistency (thick enough to hold a bit of a peak). Salt and pepper to taste. Stir in half of the cheese. Tip the fish mixture and peas into the parsley sauce and fold to incorporate. Butter the pie tin, add the vegetable/fish/sauce mixture and sprinkle with lemon juice. Top with the mash; pattern the surface with a fork. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and bake (30-40min) (with a drip tray underneath) until the top is golden and the edges are bubbling. We prepare our pies in individual serving tins but it works just the same in a large pie plate/tin. Let the tin(s) rest (5min) then, serve. Side ● Sliced cherry tomatoes/mushrooms (as many as you please) ● Alternatively Slices of melon

Prep time 5 minutes, cook time 10 minutes, serves 4

Sometimes it is not about reusing cooked leftovers; sometimes it is about using half of a package of leftover frozen bits. In this case frozen prawns and frozen peas left over from Phill’s fish pie, and some raisin bread left in the bread bin become a very rich dish for a lazy Sunday afternoon. Filling ● ½ pkg leftover frozen, cooked prawns ● 5 oz frozen peas ● 6 tbsp butter or margarine ● 2 tbsp all-purpose flour ● 1½ cups light cream ● 3 beaten egg yolks ● 3 tbsp dry white wine ● 2 tsp lemon juice ● ¼ tsp salt ● A pinch of regular or hot paprika ● 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese Toast cups ● 4 slices raisin bread, crusts trimmed ● Soft butter

by Rexx & Phill

Butter the bread; and, buttered side out; press into ungreased muffin cups. Bake 180ºC (350ºF) Mark 4 (15min). Set aside. Meanwhile, heat butter/oil together in a frying pan and add the mushrooms and tomatoes (fleshsided down) to fry. Cover pan and set aside off the heat. Put a saucepan of water on the boil, fit a glass mixing bowl over it and melt the butter, then blend in the flour and paprika. Add the cream all in one go. Cook stirring constantly until thickened. Stir a small amount of the hot mixture into the egg yolks and return this to the larger, hot mixture. Simmer just under the boil to thicken. Add the prawns, then the peas. Stir in the wine, lemon juice, and salt. Sprinkle in half of the cheese and gently fold in. Sprinkle the other half of the cheese in the toast cups. Spoon the Newburg into the cups and serve with a side of the mushrooms and tomatoes or some melon slices. Fare well.

Gardening afloat (determinate), which are ideal for tubs and baskets, do not need side shoots removing at this stage. Remember to gently tap your tomato flowers regularly to increase pollination and fruit setting. Smaller, stump rooted, fast maturing carrots can still be sown this month, in window boxes or large pots to harvest before winter arrives. Regularly pick herbs to stop plants flowering and becoming leggy. Sow parsley now for cropping indoors over winter. Seed germination takes up

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

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

Narrowboats in pictures Reviewer: Gay Armstrong

FOR narrowboat lovers, there is a feast for the eyes in the book Historic Working Narrow Boats Today which is a pictorial record in full colour of 465 boats in over 590 photographs. All the photographs were taken within the last few years, nearly all by David Williams, a CRT volunteer ranger at Audlem locks on the Shropshire Union Canal, and the text is by Peter Silvester of Audlem Mill Canal Shop. The boats are listed in chapters which relate to the company or area for which they were built. Historic Working Narrow Boats Today – A Pictorial Record is published by The Canal Book Shop in softback, A4 portrait format. Available from Canal Book Shop, Audlem Mill, The Wharf, Audlem, Cheshire CW3 0DX tel 01270 811059. Price £19.95 plus £3.75 postage.

Hat trick of canal photographs Reviewer: Gay Armstrong

THE third of a trilogy of albums which make up a substantial archive of canals photographs of two famous canals is now on the bookshelves. The Stroudwater and Thames and Severn Canals From Old Photographs volume three completes the series dedicated to capturing as much as possible of the history and natural beauty of the canals which linked the rivers Severn and Thames. The Stroudwater Navigation, which opened in 1779, and the Thames and Severn through which the first boat passed 10 years later is now often known as The Cotswold Canals and is in part under active restoration. Presented in the traditional way, as the previous two volumes, the photographs work eastwards from Severn to Thames, historically the way much of the commercial traffic passed, giving the reader a real feel for the old line of the canals. The Stroudwater and Thames and Severn Canals by Edwin Cuss and Mike Mills is published by Amberley Publishing in softback priced £12.99. ISBN: 978-1-84868-911-4

A great tale from the cut Reviewer: Gay Armstrong

FOR anyone who likes a good read and particularly those of a waterways persuasion, Izzie – A Child of the Cut is a good tale well written. Telling the story of a boatgirl in the years before and during the Second World War, her first challenge is to learn to read but she has many other challenges in store too. This is a first book from author Rupert Ashby who has a lifelong passion for the history and culture of the country’s canal network and respect for the families who spent their lives living and working on the canals. He has weaved his knowledge into a gripping and fascinating story set in the authentic background of the working canals. Izzie – A Child of the Cut is published by Paper Cut Books in softback, priced £7.50 and the author is donating 5% of the profit from the sale of the book to the Foxton Inclined Plane Trust. ISBN: 978-0-9575135-0-1

A different look at London Reviewer: Gay Armstrong

Lee Senior’s topical tips for growing your own fruit and veg in the month of July. OUTDOOR ridge cucumbers are surprisingly easy to grow in a warm sheltered spot, in a growbag or large pot. Allow the plants to trail along the ground if it helps with space saving. Pinch out the growing tip of the plant after six leaves to encourage branching. Allow male flowers to remain. Feed fortnightly with a high potash fertiliser. Continue to remove side shoots from cordon (indeterminate) tomato varieties. This will increase cropping while making the plant easier to train upwards. Bush grown tomatoes


Cucumbers are surprisingly easy to grow in a growbag or large pot. to five weeks. Grow the plants on, two per 4in (10cm ) pot. Always try to keep runner beans moist at the roots to aid flower setting. Dryness at the roots will encourage the flowers to fall off, dramatically reducing yield.

FOR a fascinating and very different look at London, hop aboard with waterways historian and narrowboater Chris Smith and explore its waterways. The capital’s industry and commerce was built on the back of the mighty Thames and the rapid expansion of a canal network. The New London Ring takes the viewer on a journey by narrowboat in a circle around the city from the East End at Limehouse and back taking in everything from terrace houses to tower blocks, factories to great parks, Regents Park Zoo, Camden Market, Little Venice and then past the great sights of the Houses of Parliament and Tower Bridge. From a gentle meander through quiet backwaters to an exhilarating and challenging ride down the river Thames on a spring ebb tide, this is a completely new programme, scripted and filmed from scratch and is hugely enjoyable and informative and the next best thing to being in the boat yourself. The New London Ring is presented by Chris Smith. Running time approx 1hr 25min. Produced by Canal DVDs from Videoactive. Price £12.99. Order online from Email Tel 01948 780114.



WHAT’S ON Chill out at the lock

FOR all boaters attending the Residential Boat Owners Association AGM at Rickmansworth or in the area for the IWA National at Cassiobury Park, the Rickmansworth Waterways Trust is presenting Chill Out at the Lock at Batchworth on Sunday, July 14. From 11am to 4.30pm, there will be entertainment with Tom Craven – acoustic, David Aulk – folk, the Lemon Tuesday Choir, Rickmansworth Players Choir and the Land of Liberty Theatre. Other attractions will include Joshua, a shire horse from the Chiltern Open Air Museum, owls, historic boat Roger, boat trips on the Pride of Batchworth, environmental stalls and refreshments.

Get held to ransom at Cosgrove festival DON’T miss the Cosgrove Canal Festival and Lock Ransom at Cosgrove Lock near Milton Keynes over the weekend of July 13-14. Hstoric boats, trade boats, craft stalls, games stalls, entertainment and more fun for all the family will be set alongside the picturesque towpath between the lock at Cosgrove and the recently refurbished Iron Trunk Aqueduct. This event is run each year by Buckingham Canal Society to raise money for the restoration of the Buckingham Canal between Cosgrove and Buckingham and to spread the word about its work. Members from the society will be there to chat to about their plans for the canal and you can discover which sections of it will be in water soon. If you wish to know more about the society, please visit buckingham or for further information contact

Compiled by Janet Richardson

Email details of your event to: or send details to: What’s on, Towpath Talk, PO Box 43, Horncastle, Lincs LN9 6LZ

Host town receives IWA festival trophy WATFORD has been chosen by the Inland Waterways Association (IWA) to host its annual celebration of the nation’s inland waterways which takes place from Friday to Sunday, July 19-21, 2013. To mark the launch of this national event, festival chairman, Michael Stimpson presented the Tiller Pin Trophy to mayor Dorothy Thornhill. The trophy remains with the host town for a whole year and Watford will be listed next to the many other canalside destinations that have hosted the event over the last six decades. Staged at Cassiobury Park and alongside the banks of the Grand Union Canal, the event is an exciting and colourful extravaganza with an array of attractions to provide an educational and fun day out for all the family. At the festival, around 400 boats, many decorated, are expected to line up along the water’s edge, each captained by cheerful waterway enthusiasts. Heritage craft will also

Festival chairman, Michael Stimpson, presents the Tiller Pin Trophy to elected mayor of Watford, Dorothy Thornhill at the banks of the Grand Union Canal, Cassiobury Park, Watford. PHOTOS SUPPLIED

IN BRIEF Steam and rock

CROFTON Beam Engines will be in steam during the second free live music weekend on Saturday and Sunday, July 27-28. There will be rock, pop, folk and blues from noon to 5pm each day with the cafe and beer tent. The pumping station is situated on the Kennet & Avon Canal near Marlborough, Wiltshire SN8 3DW. For further information see

Beneath the waves A DROP-IN workshop will provide

Around 400 boats, many decorated, are expected to line up along the water’s edge. feature strongly, with historic working boats on display. The event is also renowned for its high quality entertainment and there is always something to keep everyone amused. The event itself is organised by a small army of volunteers gathered from IWA members, the IWA Waterway Recovery Group (WRG), canal enthusiasts and the local community. The 300-strong team is dedicated to the IWA’s mission to raise funds to preserve, restore and celebrate the inland waterway network to ensure today’s waterways can be enjoyed by future generations. Longstanding member of the IWA and Rickmansworth resident, Michael Stimpson, who has been appointed as this year’s festival chairman said: “I am proud and pleased to be nominated as this year’s festival chairman and excited to be leading a

festival in my home county. Cassiobury Park is a beautiful location and it will be a great opportunity for the local community to celebrate and support the wonderful waterway network that’s right on their doorstep.” Commenting on Watford hosting the festival, elected mayor of Watford, Dorothy Thornhill said: “We are delighted that Watford was chosen by the Inland Waterways Association to host its annual celebration of the nation’s inland waterways. They are a precious part of our national heritage and I know the three-day festival promises to be a spectacular event in our much loved Cassiobury Park, along the banks of the Grand Union Canal.” To find out more about The Waterways Festival, how to book advance tickets, exhibit or volunteer please visit or call 07885 349033.

the opportunity to make a watery seascape underneath the hull of Cutty Sark during a family fun weekend on July 6-7. Workshops will take place each day from 11.30am-1.30pm and 2-4pm at the Sammy Ofer Gallery. Suitable for all ages, admission charges will apply. Tickets can be purchased online at or by calling the bookings line on 0208 312 6608.

Canal beach

THE canal basin at Skipton, North Yorkshire, will be transformed into the ‘beach’ for Yorkshire Day on August 1, writes Geoff Wood. Organisers say there will be Punch and Judy, deckchairs, donkey rides, lifeguards and saucy postcards. Town centre manager Brett Butler said: “We are really pleased to be hosting Yorkshire Day for the area. But we want to do something special and that is why we hit on the idea of having a definite theme for the event.”


Star helps promote canal walk for hospice funds TV CELEBRITY Julia Bradbury showed her support to a forthcoming event – the St Richard’s Hospice Waterways Walk, after catching up with Nick and Alison Parkes, directors of the family run, Droitwich Spa Marina at the Crick Boat Show. The marina will be the starting point on Sunday, August 4 for the walk which will follow the 21-mile Mid Worcestershire Ring or there is a shorter option – 10 miles from Diglis (Worcester) to Droitwich. Droitwich Spa Marina has sponsored this event since it started four years ago and it has now raised more than £100,000 for the adult cancer hospice in Worcester. For more information see www.

The open day will follow last year’s successful formula. PHOTO SUPPLIED

Marina hosting its fourth annual fun day CHURCH MINSHULL Aqueduct Marina will be holding its fourth annual Family Fun Day on Sunday, July 21. The event from 10am-4pm will follow last year’s successful formula, showcasing boats, crafts and local companies. There will be plenty to interest visitors who are seeking information about boats and boating as well as much more for the whole family. The marina will be showcasing its boating services along with boats for sale. Local hire boat companies, boat

crafts from rope and fender making to cabin lace and old fashioned bonnets will be demonstrated and there will also be historic boats open to view including the Shroppie Fly Boat Saturn. Model boats will be on the water with visitors having the opportunity to have a go and a working model of the Anderton Boat Lift will be on view. Information about the Shropshire Union Canal will be presented by the Shropshire Union Canal Society and boat trips will be available on the canal.

The younger members of the family will be catered for with activities including a bouncy castle, face painting, children’s crafts, circus entertainments and a dog show to keep them interested. Red Shift Radio will be on site to play musical requests and to remind visitors about the attractions available. Local singing group the Funky Choir will also be performing some of its numbers. The licensed marina cafe, The Galley will be open for food and drink as well as Lewis’s ice cream van and The Cheese Boat.


River Foss Society: Walk from Yearsley crossroads to Coxwold, 10am followed by lunch and afternoon visit to Shandy Hall. Contact Bob Jowett 01904 764702,

July 4

Southampton Canal Society: Speaker TBA. Chilworth Parish Hall, Chilworth, Southampton SO16 7JZ, 7.45pm. Visitors welcome.

July 5-7

Ware Boat Festival: River Lee in Ware. Welcoming barbecue for visiting boaters, annual Ware Carnival and Fair, parade of decorated boats, theme ‘Food, Glorious Food’.

July 6-7

Stratford River Festival: Free family fun in Stratford-upon-Avon with music, narrowboats on the River Avon, craft and food stalls, family zone, charity stalls, illuminated boat parade and spectacular fireworks.

July 7

Titchfield Boat Jumble: Hound Hill Farm, Segensworth Road, Titchfield, Fareham PO15 5DY, Jct 9 M27. Opens 10am; admission £3.50, accompanied children/car park free. Contact Chaddock & Fox Promotions 01329 661896 or 07771 962495, IWA Towpath Walks Society, London: Regents Canal: Little Venice to Camden. Starts Warwick Avenue at 2.30pm. Costs £9, £7 student/concs. Contact Roger Wilkinson 0208 458 9476.

July 10

IWA Warwickshire: Walk and picnic near Hatton Top Lock. Meet at 7.30pm at Hatton top car park. Contact 01926 422764.


Canal festival is first for Lancashire town BLACKBURN’S Eanam Wharf area is to host the town’s first canal festival from July 19-21. The three-day event will see the arrival of up to 100 canal barges and boats on the Friday to be moored along the Eanam Wharf area and down towards Bolton Road locks, with a prize for the best dressed boat. On the Saturday and Sunday there will be boat trips to Whitebirk looking at the history of the canal and buildings, Daisyfield site and the canal wildlife then returning to Eanam Wharf. Other attractions will include a bouncy castle, climbing wall, face painting, food stalls, arts and crafts, bands, dancers, singers, street artists, historical displays and talks, wildlife

enthusiasts and much more. Free admission to the area will provide a fabulous local event for the start of the school holidays. Organiser Bill Charnley and Kelvin Gudger are thrilled to see a dream coming true with the help and support of friends and local businesses, DAPA (dance and performing arts), the wharf Calypso Caribbean Restaurant and Blackburn with Darwen council. If you have a stall, act, performer or barge you wish to bring please contact: Festival Office, The Wharf Studios, Eanam Wharf, Blackburn BB1 5BY, call 01254 699221

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.

July 12-14

Evesham River Festival: Theme ‘Fairy Tales’, run by boaters for boaters with entertainment, trade stands and new this year, a boat jumble.

July 13

St Pancras Cruising Club: Thames Barrier cruise, from Limehouse through the Barrier to Margaretness and return. Contact cruise co-ordinator Andrew Phasey on 07850 753633 email: Chesterfield Canal Triathlon: From Shireoaks to Tapton Lock, there are 12 miles of cycling, 4 miles of running and 3½ miles of canoeing. All you have to supply is a bike and a helmet. The organisers will take care of everything else, including transport, marshals, feeding stations, canoes etc. Competitors must be competent in a canoe, and free practice sessions are available. You can take part as an individual or a team of three, each person doing a different activity. Sponsorship will be split 50/50 between the 1st Tupton Scout Group and your choice of charity. Contact David Parmley on

July 13-14

Historic boats at the Audlem Festival of Transport which takes place this year on July 28. PHOTO SUPPLIED

July 15

Derby & Sandiacre Canal Society: ‘Demolition of Derby’ by Derek Palmer. The Wilmot Arms, 49 Derby Road, Borrowash, Derby, 8pm. Admission £2. River Foss Society: Evening party to celebrate 40th anniversary of inaugural meeting. Contact June Card on 01904 766196,

Buckingham Canal Society: Cosgrove Canal Festival and Lock Ransom – historic boats, trade boats, craft stalls, games stalls and entertainment along the towpath between the lock at Cosgrove and the recently refurbished Iron Trunk Aqueduct. St Pancras Cruising Club: Tideway transit from Limehouse to Brentford. Via Bell Lane Creek and the River Wardle. Contact cruise co-ordinator Andrew Phasey on 07850 753633 email:

July 15-19

Royal Swan Upping: Traditional swan census on the River Thames between Sunbury and Abingdon.

July 16

Herefordshire & Gloucestershire Canal Trust: AGM followed by new look at progress and the way forward. Royal Oak, Much Marcle, 7.30pm prompt, everyone welcome.

July 19-21

IWA National Festival:




July 20-21

Kate Webley of The Pod launched a new range of products at Crick. She will also be attending the Braunston Historic Boat Festival on June 29-30, Stratford upon Avon River Festival on July 6-7 and Stratford upon Avon Craft Market on July 14. She will also be taking her floating studio gallery to Gas Street Basin in Birmingham from July 20-28 and August 17-26 and to the Black Country Narrowboat Festival on September 14-15.

Julia Bradbury helps Nick and Alison Parkes promote the St Richard’s Hospice Waterways Walk at Crick.

Blackburn Canal Festival: Narrowboat trips, historical exhibition at Eanam Wharf coal warehouse, live entertainment, craft and food stalls.

July 21

Church Minshull Aqueduct Marina: Family fun day from 10am-4pm, showcasing boats, crafts and local companies. Erewash Canal Preservation & Development Association: Sandiacre Lock Cottages, Lock Lane (off Longmoor Lane) open from 2.30-5pm. Admission free but donations appreciated.

July 23

July 27

Linslade Canal Festival: Tiddenfoot Waterside Park, Mentmore Road, Linslade, 11am-5pm. Stalls, live entertainment, craft demonstrations, boat trips. Car park £3 or take water taxi from Tesco.

July 27 OR 28

St Pancras Cruising Club: Tideway transit from Limehouse to Brentford. Early morning cruise to Limehouse for boats returning from IWA Festival. Contact cruise co-ordinator Andrew Phasey on 07850 753633 email:

July 27-28

Chesterfield Canal Trust: Boat trips (2.5 hours) from Hop Pole, Retford DN22 6UG to the Embankment via Retford, two locks. Departing 10am, 1pm and 4pm, £11 per passenger. Information and bookings contact 07925 851569.

July 28

Audlem Festival of Transport: Historic narrowboats also old cars, motorcycles, lorries and buses on the village playing field close to the canal. North Wales Boat Jumble: Bodelwyddan Castle, Rhyl, Denbighshire LL18 5YA, signposted from A55. Opens 10am; admission £3.50, accompanied children/car park free, no dogs. Contact Nautequipe 01299 251011 or 07801 356287.



Bright weather brings boaters and buyers to Crick WITH more than 26,000 visitors over three sunny days, this year’s Crick Boat Show was the best for several years. Almost 50 exhibitor boats attended the event which saw a 10% increase in visitor numbers. Show director Peter Johns said: “With the highest attendance for some years and definitely the best Crick weather for many years there seemed to be a real air of confidence emerging in the industry after the difficult economic times of the last few years. “The ‘buzz’ was aided by a great line-up of musical entertainment, traditional fairground rides for children and a hectic day for our star guest Julia Bradbury.”

London Narrow Boat Project organised its regular free boat trips at the festival, taking aboard some 1147 passengers (and an additional 36 dogs). Boats on show ranged from the massive Piper Dutch barge to the Aintree Beetle – a new 25ft starter boat from the Aintree Boat Company. But the coveted prize for the favourite boat voted for by visitors and sponsored by RoyScot Larch went to Emily from Nantwich Canal Centre’s boatbuilding division Navigation Boats & Custom-Craft. The 58ft tug-style narrowboat is fitted with a Gardner 2LW engine and a traditional boatman’s cabin, decorated by Navigation’s only subcontractor,

Andy Russell. The steelwork was built by the Tyler-Wilson Team. Managing director Bill Saner said: “To win at Crick with both Tim Tyler and Jonathon Wilson being there helping us over the weekend was particularly satisfying as the three of us have worked together for 25 years this year.” The silverware adds to Navigation’s previous award successes making it the first and only company ever to hold both national competition titles at the same time, the other being the IWA’s Lionel Munk Trophy, won over back-toback years – another ‘first’. Bill added: “We are thrilled to have received this award which is testament to the skills our dedicated team have developed over the 20 years we have been based at Nantwich Marina. It also helps to confirm what we already suspected: Nantwich is now probably the UK’s centre of Inland Waterway excellence.”

Positive interest

Dawn and Terrance Tinsley with son Neil at their first Crick Show as new owners of Miracle Leisure products. PHOTO SUPPLIED

More than half of the shares in the new BCBM shared ownership tug-style boat, Oakmere, were sold on the first day of the show.


Whether it was the sunny weather that warmed up the interest in shared ownership of narrowboats isn’t certain but the major shared ownership companies were very happy with the positive interest in this way of getting afloat ABC Boat Share launched a new 65ft semi-trad shared ownership boat, Harmonia, and only three of the 12½ shares remained unsold by the Sunday afternoon. On the BCBM Boat Share stand the news was similar. They had brought along the tug style semi-trad Oakmere, originally commissioned by a private owner and recently acquired for shared ownership.

New owners Linda and Martin Taylor relax on their new Piper Dutch barge which was due to be launched the week after the show on the Thames. It will be moored close to where they currently live at Windsor but will eventually become their home.

Enjoying their free boat trip are just some of the 1147 passengers carried by the London Narrow Boat Project during the show.

Julia Bradbury names new shared ownership boat Harmonia. Only three shares remained unsold by Sunday afternoon. RIGHT: After officially opening the show on Sunday, Julia Bradbury takes the tiller of one of the trip boats being operated during the show by the London Narrow Boat Project. The Crick show was the first time that the 12½ shares were offered for sale, with a price tag of £10,950 per full share. Of these, 7½ were sold on the first day of the show, with contracts signed and deposits taken by Sunday. Carefree Cruising had its new ‘reverse layout’ mid galley semi-trad boat Solace in the static display section, ready to be launched at the end of the show. Carefree Cruising does not have a fixed syndicate size, but by Sunday afternoon shares equivalent to 38 of the 48 available weeks had been sold. The market for shares in older boats also seems to have strengthened at Crick and there are now more than 200 shared ownership narrowboats on the inland waterways, giving around 2500 families an annual boating holiday and contributing at least £3,500,000 to the waterways economy.

Vibrant mood

Marina exhibitor Paul Lillie, MD of Pillings Lock Marina Ltd, echoed the vibrant mood. “What was good to see from our point of view was that there were at least 10 marinas exhibiting, all of us working hard to put ourselves on the map and talk to potential new customers. This might not sound good, but what it said to me was that there are more than 10 marinas out there where the teams are working hard to protect their business, putting in extra effort to get in touch with clients – past, present and future. I for one think that businesses that made the effort to attend deserve a pat on the back for going the extra mile and saying ‘we are here’.”

Celebrating a landmark success with Emily, adjudged best boat in show by the public, are Sheila and Bill Saner, managing director, and Matt Jenks, boat building manager of Navigation Boats & Custom-Craft of Nantwich Canal Centre. PHOTO SUPPLIED

Visitors voted Emily, exhibited by Navigation Boat & Custom-Craft, as their favourite boat in the show.




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32ft NARROWBOAt Lovely, 1990 but had newer engine fitted, lovely inside and out, 2 berth, bath with shower, toilet, kitchen area with oven and hob, had new windows and tank liner. Tel. 07866 736208. Cheshire.

35ft NARROWBOAt DAISY 1989, Venus diesel engine, total refit and rewiring, full shower and electric wc, f/fitted galley, Eberspacher and oil stove, BSS Cert til Oct 16, £17,000 ono. Tel. 01283 701030. Staffs.

37ft NARROWBOAt Lister 3 cylinder, 27hp Canal Star, 4 berth, in 2 cabins, permanent made up bed in rear cabin, 2/2 settee berths, make second double, microwave, fridge, full cooker, s/fuel stove, VHF, £23,950. Tel. 01482 812816. W Yorks.

42ft NARROWBOAt Attractive 4 berth, built 1991 by Stanilands, continuously maintained and refurbished, full cruising equipment, manuals etc, ideal liveaboard or extended cruising, £29,500. Tel. 07941 228767 for full details and photos. Warks.

55ft SEMI tRAD Reverse layout, licence July, blacked 2012 full safety Lister 1750, 3 pot engine, Newidge gearbox, builder French and Peel, self fit-out, can deliver anywhere £27500 ono Tel. 0759 1002911. W Mids.

57ft CRUISER Newly fitted out, this narrowboat has been hand built and then fitted out to a high specification by a small family business and it is now nearly finished, soft furnishings are yet to be fitted, therefore the customer is able to choose their preferred furnishings from our supplier. £67,000. Tel. 07814 503829. Derbys.

57ft NARROWBOAt Reverse layout, with some modern touches, just blacked & ultrasonic survey available. Full details - http://tinyurl. com /b5pzpn8 £59,950 ono. Tel. 0798 8009755. B’ham.

57ft tRAD StYLE NARROWBOAt Much admired, 2002, fitted out by Northern Marine Services, BSSC Jun 15, dry docked and bottom blacked annually from new, Beta 43 engine, inverter, multi-fuel stove, diesel c/h, double berth plus dinette converts to double. Offers around £52,000. Tel. 07968 341707. Derbys.

60ft LIVE ABOARD Beautifully prof fitted, 2.2 Barras engine, serviced, Makunia c/h, loads storage, professionally repainted & blacked Oct 12, BSS Cert Aug 16. Mooring available. £59950 ovno Tel. 07932 458951. Leics.

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AtLANtA 24 late 80s, 9.9hp Yamaha engine, nice canopy, TV aeriel, solar panel, well looked after, good condition, engine serviced and anti fouled Sept 12, electric hook up, 2 petrol cans, 2 gas bottles, seating recently recovered, river license until end of Sept also a 30 day Explorer canal license, BSC Sept 12, lots of extras, £8950 ono. Tel. 07790 294364. Derbys.

BIG NORtHWICH MOtOR 72ft, unconverted motor 178 Tadworth, with original and rare riveted steel back cabin, requires fully rebottoming in steel. A historic ships register grant may be possible. £30000 Tel. 07890 604121.

BUCKINGHAM A78 30ft, centre cockpit, 20hp mariner, outboard elec start, gas stove, water heater, fridge, wood burner, 4/5 berth, BSC 2014, licensed May 2014, £7750 Tel. 01772 313044; 078160 35201. Lancs.

BURLAND 26ft 1500hp BMC 1000w inverter, gas stove, fridge chemical toilet, 12 months’ tax, 12v TV/DVD, unique features double glazed front doors, owner retiring from boating, £7500. Tel. 01663 764838. Stockport.

CANAL BOAt PROJECt 57ft, engine frozen and interior requires totally refitting, rev layout at present, exterior finished and sign painted, all portholes d/glazed, interior dry, Tel. 07528 682502. Lying close to Hampton Court on the Thames.

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COLECRAft tRAD StERN 40ft eighties, Ahab, BMC 2.2 engine, £25,000. Tel. Stephen 07540 860930. Bucks.

COMfORtABLY NUMB 46ft Piper, ext semi-trad with 4ft tug front, 2006 10/6/4, fixed d/bed, s/s water tank, mod tidy interior, galley, blacked 2011, Vetus M4.15 engine. £45000 Tel. 07983 625599.

COSY NARROWBOAt 50ft, 1990, Lister SR3 engine, recent shower, kitchen, charger, fixed double bed, extra single, ideal live aboard, £31,000 ono. Tel. 07581 393136. Lancs.

CRUISER StERN NARROWBOAt 50ft, built 2006, Barras shire engine, rear canopy front crach cover, c/heating plus log burner, s/steel shower, cassette toilet, 4 berth, lots of extras, £43000 ono Tel. 0151 2268072. Merseyside.

CRUISER StERN NARROWBOAt 50ft, unfinished project, recent complete Lister ST2 rebuild, new BSS Certificate, taxed till end of Oct. Tel. 0794 1034288 eves. Staffs.

DUtCH CRUISER Steel 24 ft long diesel, 4 berth, kitchen toilet, new canopy, good condition all round, with licence and safety certificate, viewing welcomed, £13,000 Offers. Tel. 07806 686997. Herts.

LUCY 70ft LIVEABOARD BCN built 1909 - 1912, Joey Hull, bottomed 1998, Lister HA2, PRM gearbox, 1500 Pure Sinewave inverter, full charging system, bronze opening portholes, s/fuel stove, £50,000. Tel. 07961 579243. Oxon.

EXCEL SD230 Inflatable and mariner outboard, features V-Keal & Airdeck, c/w everything, no repairs. Mariner 6HP outboard, recently serviced, c/w tiller extension. Tel. 07960 887472. Notts.

MARINER 520 Retro offers luxury/ space, many extras, folding canopy, rope fenders etc, only 1 yr old with 15hp outboard, takes 8 board river/6 sea boarders, c/w braked trailer, £8500. Tel. Dave 07768 187923.

fREEMAN 22 Mk 1 narrowbeam classic cruiser, GRP construction, length 22ft, beam 6ft 10ins, Beta marine 20hp diesel engine, 4 berth, mahogany, BSC til Apr 17. Mooring available, £4950. Tel. 07530 578847. Cheshire.

MARSH WARBLER Traditional 56ft Colecraft with Dagenham built Russell Newbery DM 2, built 1989, fitted out by legendary Len Beauchamp, regularly maintained and serviced, reblacked, £45,000. Tel. David Bezzant 01386 860652. E Yorks.

GORtON NARROWBOAt 57ft semi-trad, ideal live aboard fixed double with dinette converts to double bed fridge and freezer, washing machine, 3.5kw Genset inverter/ charger, bow thrusters, spray foam insulation, pump-out wc, shower/ wash basin, hob, oven, grill, £55000 Tel. 07876 280570. Shrops.

NARROWBOAt all in good order and ready to cruise, 38ft long, blacked and repainted on regular basis, E.A licence, boat safety (2016), £18,500 ono. Tel. 07595 629829.

NORMAN PROJECt BOAt 32ft, with sound, anti-fouled hull, no Osmosis, reconditioned Perkins diesel engine, £3750 ono. Tel. 07985 635222.

PENNINE CRUISER NARROWBOAt 55ft, BSC exp: 2016, York mooring paid until April 2014, built 1997, Izuzu 42 diesel, GCH & Morso woodburner, gas cooker/grill/hob, shower room & two loos, as relocation forces sale, £23,950 ono. Tel. 07515 263722 for more details/viewing. Worcs.

POtOMAC CANADIAN CANOE 14.5 ft used once, £650 new. Offers. Tel. 07400 272121. N Yorks.

PRINCESS 25 Vgc, full service history and well maintained, BSC 2015 berthed Buckden, Cambs £12995 Tel. 07775 768813. Staffs.

SEMI tRADItIONAL NARROWBOAt Beautiful 55ft, 2006, moored with garden Leicester marina, lady owner, £57500 for quick sale Tel. 07894 125036. Cambs.

NAUtILUS 27 GRP, 1800 BMC, diesel, tax July, Boat Safety Cert, mooring available at Backwater Marina, Ellesmere, £7780 ono. Tel. 07763 832720. HANCOCK & LANE Steel hull, 43ft - 6ft 10in beam, Lister engine, diesel; date 27 July, 2015 BSSC. £20500 ono. Tel. 01925 227284; 07840 166007. Lancs.

R&D 1989, live-aboard open-plan, 60ft, diesel c/h, bottom blacked, 2011 year, licence paid, BSC 2017, plenty of storage, full sizes gas oven, has to be seen, £27,000. Tel. 07802 717078. W Yorks. NORMAN 20 Cruiser Honda 9.9hp engine (1999) 4 berths, good canopy, sink, cooker, water tank, portaloo. Moored at Aston Marina, Stone. Tel. 07980 916344. Shrops.

50ft StERN CRUISER Built in 2007 by Liverpool boats fully fitted and ready to sail Isuzu 35 engine, 500 hrs from new, moored at Reedley Marina Burnley £39950 ono Tel. 07712 245395. Lancs.

70ft tUG StYLE tRAD Lister JP3, port-holed, Colecraft/S. M Hudson built, trad back cabin/engine room, modern bathroom, galley, dinette and lounge, residential mooring paid till Nov. £68000 Tel. 07749 460548. Leics.

CLASSIC fISHING PLEASURE BOAt 24ft x 8ft, 2ft 6-in draft, 3 ton weight, 2 berth, enclosed wheelhouse with sep toilet compartment, large open deck, sold with trailer and all equipment, £12,000. Tel. 01905 773763. Worcs.

CRUISER StYLE NARROWBOAt 45ft, semi-refitted by my husband, unable to complete due to illness and old age, wooden roof and sides and a Springer style hull (not flat bottomed). We are open to offers around £5000. Tel. 01454 412911.

IRON WORKING BOAt 1909, riveted, new bottom and footings 2005, counter rebuilt 2011, Dorman 2DWD engine, Epping range, 2 x 600 gallon diesel tanks and pump in hold, Hull survey 2010, £37000 ono Tel. 07913 761871. Oxon.

RIVEtED IRON WORKING BOAt 1909, new bottom and footings 2005, counter rebuilt 2011, Dorman 2DWD engine, Epping range, 2 x 600 gallon diesel tanks and pump in hold, hull survey 2010, £37,000 ono Tel. 07913 761871. Derby. NORMAN 23 CRUISER with 15hp Evinrude 4-stroke outboard engine, recently serviced, licence Nov 13, BSSC Apr 17, cooker, s/s sink, 10 gall water tank, Porta Potti, £3000 Tel. 07941 809924. Staffs.

50ft NARROWBOAt Distinctive and very trad, gas free, Dickinson diesel cookstove + electric appliances (via inverter), licensed to 30/11/13 BSC June 17, Tel. 07866 544677. .

AQUALINE MANHAttAN 60ft cruiser stern, top build quality, under 300 hrs from new, Isuzu 42hp, fantastic condition throughout, any inspection invited, 2005 layout Tel. 07974 567443. Derbys.

COLECRAft 40ft NARROWBOAt 1972 Dianthus B, exc cond, bottom blacked every 3 yrs, wood burning stove piped up to radiators, water tank and taps, Lister diesel engine, new steel top 10 yrs ago. Tel. 07974 135941. Warks.

DORAL PRIMROSE Diesel 220hp Mercruiser engine, 680 only, yera 1996, new canvas with boat with mooring, just been out of water and anti-fouled or part exchange for a motorhome, £32,000. Tel. 07852 508107. Goole.

LIVEABOARD NARROWBOAt 58ft unique boat, multi-fuel stove, diesel c/h, BSS 2016 separate bedroom, LED lighting, good mooring paid till September, many extras, could leave fitted out £36,000. Tel. 07782 240755. Northamptonshire.

23ft VIKING 4-berth, vgc, Honda 20, still under warranty, full s/h, full cooker, mains 12v fridge, wardrobe, cassette loo, + WHB light oak woodwork, 13 years old with mooring on Lancaster canal, very modern boat. £17795. ono Tel. 0777 9776508; 01422 342128.

SEA OttER NARROWBOAt 41ft aluminium, 5 berth, 2006, igh spec boat, excellent condition, Webasto c/heating and bow thruster, winterised, low engine hours, very reluctant sale. £51,000 ono. Tel. Tony Brown 07929 279998. Notts.


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SEMI-TRAD NARROWBOAT 57ft by J D Boats and fit-out by Debbie Hart - reverse layout with some modern touches - full details. £59,950. 07988 009755. Cumbria.

SEMI-TRAD NARROWBOAT Go anywhere 57ft, built by JD Boats and fit-out by Debbie Hart 2005, rev layout with some modern touches. Full details - /b5pzpn8 £59,950. Kent.

SPRINGER 24ft, all steel, 2/3 berth narrowboat, Beta diesel, inboard coal fire, BSC 2015, survey 2009, shower Elsan toilet, 240v landline split elecs, history, exc cond, £16,250. Tel. 07808 407073.

SPRINGER 45fT TRAD 1990, 4berth, lounge, s/f stove, Eperspacher hot air heater, battery charger, new anodes, fridge, gas cooker, Rinnai gas water heater, exc cond, well maintained, £23,000. Tel. 07815 644120; 07816 169937. Stoke-on-Trent.

TRAD NARROWBOAT 46ft, ideal live aboard, sound condition, open plan on secure North London mooring with 240v. £47,500. Tel. 0797 7099916. Shrops.

TRAD NARROWBOAT 38ft, a comfortable, well equipped boat, new Beta 38 engine and gearbox, multi-fuel stove, recently refitted kit and bath. Option to take over current Farm Mooring. £24,000 ono. Tel. 07773 874547. London.

TRAD STERN NARROWBOAT 57ft, by Caldon Boatbuilders, refitted 2012. This boat is located at the River Thames in secure gated marina near Reading. Power, Water, BT Landline and broadband plus laundry facilities available. 2001 build, recent repaint. Marine antifouled in 2011. Lovely straight steelwork. Ideal as live-aboard and extended cruising. £39500 ono Tel. Brian on 07881 728622; 07815 167375. Staffs. 40ft NARROWBOAT Launched 1994, Safety Cert 2015, licensed to 31 Aug 2013, blacked 03 2013, Beta engine, Alde c/h, £22,995. Tel. 01630 698772. Shrops. 40ft NARROWBOAT all steel, Perkins 4108 diesel, needs attention, been all over for last 15 years, getting fed up now, around £18,000 ono. Tel. 07773 502529. 55ft CRUISER 1997, liveaboard, Beta marine engine fitted 2002 - approx 2400 hrs, cooker/fridge, shower room, £40,000 ono. Tel. 07712 227513. Wilts

TRADER 41 1989, twin caterpillar 260hp, aft deck controls, aft canopy, fully equipped, Avon RIB, 15hp outboard, berthed Turkey. Usual value £120,000, bargain at £60,000. Tel. 01405 869542. Berks.

TRADITIONAL THAMES DOCK TUG Fully restored and in working condition, road transportable with lots of character, ono Tel. 07917 816005. E Yorks.

VASILLIAN 60ft traditional stern narrow boat, 1998 Liverpool boat, 1.8 BMC engine, 4 permanent + 2 occasional berths, Morso stove, gas hob and high level oven, shower, £39,950. Tel. 07538 321242. Berks.

VETUS 42 ENGINE 45ft x 10ft, 400 hrs only, Webasto c/h, multi-fuel stove, Vetus toilet, shower, loads of wardrobe space. Fully wired for 240v. Price reduced from £65000 to £59,500 Tel. 07958 785017. Leics.

VIKING 20 Length 20ft, beam 7ft 4in, 1985, 4 berth, cooker, hob, sink, recent hood, Marina 15hp, 4 stroke engine, moored Paddington Arm, Grand Union Canal. £4960. Tel. 0208 866 9581.

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CRUISER STERN NARROWBOAT 46ft, brand new fit out, full repaint, Boat Safety 2015 and full licence till Jan 2014, BMC 1.5, full running order, hull survey done 2011, all good, £23,500 ono. Tel. 07930 274044. Leics. CRUISER STERN NARROWBOAT 55ft, 2001, Pinder built, Barrus shire engine, stove, solar power calorifier, BSC 2015, full size cooker/fridge/ shower, £29,000. Tel. 07803 304690. Cheshire. FABULOUS FLOATING APARTMENT bright, light, elegant and stylish - pristine throughout, as new condition, built 2012, all mod cons 57 x 12 wide - beam see apollo duck 254879 for photos £99,500. Tel. 07736 774496. Merseyside. LIVERPOOL TRAD 57ft 2007, port holed, pump out, fixed double, with sofa bed, open plan galley, Morso Squirrel stove, 4.2 Isuzu, bathroom and shower, £41000. ono Tel. 07974 703858. Leics. LUXURY CRUISER NARROWBOAT 44ft, an immaculately presented narrowboat, 3 years old, fully c/h, luxury fitted bathroom and other lovely features such as granite kitchen, work surface, seating that converts into beds, boat can accommodate 4 adults and 2 children. Tel. 07989 057726. MAYLAND CRUISER 1990, 22ft licensed Dec 13, Safety Cert Jan 2014, sleeps 5, 6ft 10 beam, engine mariner 15hp petrol, cooker, fridge, toilet, shower, moored Nantwich, £7900 ono. Tel. 01782 636862. Staffs. MOTOR CRUISER 31ft x 9ft 8”, built 1972 by RLM for river use, sea or wide canal, C of C Apr 17 also out of water survey 2 Perkins 4108 in excellent condition, Z drives have just been overhauled by Bob Knowles (receipt to prove), £23,000 or will swop for narrow boat. Tel. 07882 191948. Cheshire. NARROWBOAT BETA 40ft marine engine and gears, Keel cooled, hull and external cond, engine vgc, c/w hot water, shower, full working elecs, 2 brand new 110v batteries, good to go! £19995. Tel. 07920 524051. . NAUTICUS 27ft cabin cruiser, original as ascertained, Ford Watermotor engine, good runner, Shore Power, new water tank, hob and oven. Two Leisure batteries, BSS 2016, River Licence - 2014, selling due to ill health. £5950. oro view by appointment. Tel. 01536 725439. Northamptonshire. NORMAN CRUISER 23ft long, BSS Sept 13/2013, 10hp engine/outboard, new cover refurbished, £4000. Tel. 079638 870128. Acton Bridge. NORTHERN SOUL 60ft Probuild/ Dean Wherry narrowboat, ideal live aboard, recent CoC, 3.5 travel pack, 1800w inverter, battery charger, exc elecs, w/machine, £47500 ono. Tel. 01327 871215 eves. Warks. SPRINGER PROJECT BOAT 70ft, raised wooden roof, oven, new panelling, new electrics, new safety certificate/blacking/anodes/Mercedes engine, needs repair. Tel. 01604 764254. Northants.

CLASSIC SEAGULL OUTBOARD MOTOR dry stored, good compression, complete inc spare carb and drive pinion, £80 buyer collects. Tel. 01568 611824. Surrey.

fOLDING ANCHOR WARP 16kg and chain, as new condition, in bag, £90. Tel. 07795 842008. Herefordshire.

GARDNER 3LW MARINE with or without 2UC gearbox, 1963, fully rebuilt using many new parts by ex works engineer - full photographic record kept off all work done inc polishing to trad standard - particularly good example. Tel. 01282 771874; 07711 100702. London.

OUTBOARD NARROWBOAT ENGINE Petter B2 no 10678B2 16BHP 1300 rev/min, in storage, starter motor inc. £550 ono. Tel. 0115 9818721.

SIX MUSHROOM VENTS chromed brass, came fitted to our new narrowboat sail-away, we removed them and fitted a different type, original cost £150. £75 ono; buyer collects. £17.99 for next day mainland delivery. Tel. 077100 38072. Notts.

Parts For Sale WIDE BEAM 10ft x 40ft, built in 1994 by Kingfisher marine, Ford diesel 1.8 litres engine, BSC till Jun 14, blacked 2012 + new anodes, licensed til Jul 13, on K & A, Wilts, £55,000. 07561 326413. London.

TWO CALDWELL HOPPER WINDOWS (used), 42”w x 21”h, black frame, clear glass, 10 years old, good condition, buyer collects. Kennet & Avon near Reading. £20 the pair. Tel. 07848 026360. London. WIDE BEAM 50ft x10ft, 2007, 40hp c/h, log burner, w/machine, shower, cassette toilet, v spacious, p/x considered, viewing recommended, pontoon available if required, £57995 Tel. 07531 146160. Yorks.

CHROME TAPS suitable for caravan or boat, new £4 each Tel. 01932 707165. Wilts.

WIDEBEAM LIVE ABOARD 67ft, 3 bedrooms, family boat we’ve lived on for 8 years, ill health forces sale, £75,000 ono. Tel. Rob 07799 450713. N Yorks.

ALTERNATOR 12v, 110 amp, brand new, fits Isuzu, £95. Tel. 01594 541320. Glos. ALUMINIUM NARROWBOAT drop back hopper windows for sale clean condition, 221⁄4" 221⁄4" x 2, 311⁄4" x 22 1 ⁄4" x 9, 21" x 16" x 2 this item free price, £65. ono; buyer collects Tel. 0115 976 2675 after 6pm please. Notts.

SMITHS VENTURE TACHOMETER 0-3000 rpm, with cable and drive unit off Ford diesel marine engine, offers? buyer collects or can post (cost p&p £12), Buyer collects or can post (cost p&p £12) Tel. 07804 172232. E Yorks.

USED NARROWBOAT WINDOWS 3 x 30inx 4in fixed pane top vent opener. 4 x 36inx24in top vent opener with bottom sliders. 5 x 36inx24in top vent opener with fixed pane bottom glass. one of the 30in windows is obscure from the bathroom, and a couple of the others have some mirror film on them. Tel. 07966 260066. E Yorks. ATLANTA 24 Cooker, shower, hot and cold system, standing headroom, Yamaha E/S and electric t&t, 100 hrs only, laid Torksey Lock, £10,500. Tel. 01427 612453. Lincs.

SDMO PETROL GENERATOR never used, new 450, will accept £300. Tel. 07766 106889. Oxfordshire.

VOLVO PENTA MD2B 2 cylinder diesel engine and gearbox, selling as a none runner. Tel. Jay on 07818 400497. Bucks.

PORT HOLES solid marine grade brass, high quality craftsman made, brass screws/nuts, Neoprene gaskets (non-staining) secure laminated glass, 51⁄2” dia, set 4 (pigeon box), £80; 61⁄2” dis, set 2, £40; 91⁄2” dia, set 2, £55; new/unused. Tel. 01252 713054. W Surrey. PRM 120 GEARBOX technodrive gearbox, fenders front or back (BIS), Tel. 07773 502529 for details. Cheshire. PUMP-OUT SYSTEM Complete, s/s tank 95 x 75 x 40cm. MaceratorWhale Gulper 220, white push-button toilet, all hoses, £400 ono. Tel. 07752 246854. . TOP BOX 3ft x 4ft x 10” deep, £150. Tel. 079080 88414. Staffs. YAMAHA 6HP O/B tank and fuel line, spare tank anchors, chains and ropes, buoys, boarding ladder plus more, retired boater selling up, suit boat jumbler. 01405 813037. S Yorks.


LISTER SOLID BRASS PLAQUE Approx 3.5” long, very nice, £10 inc p&p in UK Tel. Gary 07546 451695. Shrops. WHALE SHOWER PUMP never used, £35. 01932 707165. Yorks.

DAY TANK 28 gallon, in steel with baffles and sight glass, professionally made by Kendal firm, always kept inside for diesel, gravity or pump feed. Tel. 01282 771874 or 07711 100702. Surrey. ANCHOR 16kg with chain, £40; life belt, £15; porta-pottie, brand new, £15; windlass, £5; 2 no piling chains, new, £10. Tel. 07906 596237. Staffs. BMC 1.8 ENGINE Calcutt marinised PRM 260 gearbox, 2-1 ratio, keel cooled just had gasket, good runner, can be seen running, may split gb/engine, £1250. Tel. 07858 889858. W Yorks. BRASS HOUDINI HATCHES two heavy duty in excellent condition, no leaks. Tel. 07902 130665; 07971395726. Cheshire. BRASS LION HEAD door knocker, never used, £4. Tel. 01932 707165. Addlestone, Surrey. BMC ENGINE 1500cc and hydraulic gearbox, new alternator, starter motor and heater plugs, £800 ono. Tel. 07974 627541. Lancs. CANOPY complete to suit Viking 26/Norman cruiser, £150; Sealand, discharge pump, £150; fenders, 8 in total, plastic, £5. each; absolute bargains Tel. Mike 07551 610140,. Cheshire. FOLDING ANCHOR CHAIN and warp, 3 blade Eco fan fenders, Windlass chains, hook,s VHF handheld radio, bridge plaques plus more, buyer collects. Tel. 07795 842008. Middx. GARDNER 4LK complete rebuild by Gardner specialists, with solid engine mounts and gearbox housing, all metalwork highly polished and chromed, a beautiful specimen. Tel. 01254 202341. Lancs. KABOLA CENTRAL HEATING hot water diesel heater, 5kw, type E5, drip feed off diesel tank, excellent condition, pressure + temp gauge, £400 ovno. Tel. 07907 315604. Cambs. LARGE COLLECTION (thirty plus) lace edged plates, all pre-war, no moderns, £75. lot Tel. 01252 713054. W Surrey. LOCKING DIESEL FILLER CAP chrome, flush fitting, 1.5" filler hose, £30. Tel. 0121 7842343. B'ham. PORT HOLES 6in, four of, bronze, opening, unpolished, ex navy spigot and flange fitting, £100. the four Tel. 01142 851459. S Yorks. RADIAL TRAILER TYRE on wheel, new condition, 155/80 R13 make, £30. Tel. 01509 646479. Leics. TRAILER LININGS Surrey flange, Proops ignition timer £14. ono or will split Tel. 01932 707165. Surrey.

NATURAL fIBRE ROPE 1” thick, seems to have been made some time ago and was left in storage, 20m, £20; 36m, £36. Tel. Mark 07988 097 869.

NUMAX XV31MF 2 brand new, 110ah deep cycle batteries for sale, unused and still in original packaging, cost £75 each, will accept £55. each Tel. Peter 07785 315272. Warks. CHAR-BROIL GAS BARBECUE with side burner, excellent condition, £55. Tel. 01282 453549; 07950 047489. E Lancs. CHILD'S LIFE JACKET Marine pool, fit child 20-30kg, never worn, still in original pack, £10 plus postage. Tel. 01767 640938. Northamptonshire. DIESEL FIRE removed from narrow boat due to change of fire, £250. ono; buyer collects Tel. 07909 586614. Gtr Man. DIY SCAFFOLD TOWER for sale consisting of 8 frames. Cross braces, sq feet and planks, used once and dry stored since, cost £290+ priced at £175. ono; buyer collects. Tel. 0115 976 2675 after 6pm please. Notts. FRIDGE 12v, 47 ltr, Japanese made Engel compressor fridge, still boxed and unused, £150. Tel. 01934 733754. Somerset. GRAND JUNCTION CANAL - authentic original company Windlass, forged steel, stamped GJCCo, superb condition, v rare, £85; Birmingham Canal Navigations - original cast iron bridge plate, notice giving local traffic weight restrictions 34” x 19”, heavy! £250. Tel. 01252 713054. W Surrey. OXY ACETELENE EQUIPMENT Tubing, two sets of gauges with blow back arresters, set of nozzles and gun, plus bottle trolley, £125. Tel. 07551 784057. Leics. PETROL PUMP COLLECTOR looking for a forecourt pump in any condition. Text me a photo or call me, Tel. Andy 07814 475350 eves please. W Mids. RYLAND BOAT PAINT 5 litres, black/blue, will cover 60ft narrowboat, £40. Tel. Roger 07546 435298. Leics. WILSON CHAIRBEDS pair, good condition, storage inside, complete with footstool, over £500 each new, £100 collected from Peterborough. Delivery possible. Tel. 07779 619828. Cambs.


THORNYCROfT SERVICE MANUAL Inboard engine service manual, as new, £10. Tel. 01932 707165. Lincs.

ULTIMATE PERMANENT MOORING ornate cast iron bollards, v heavy, £100 each. Tel. 078030 80340. Surrey.

WOODEN LODGE on the edge of the Yorkshire National Park 5m from Scarborough, 2 beds, large lounge with log style gas fire, American kitchen with cooker and f/freezer. Valued at £24950 to swap for a narrow boat of similar value Tel. 07925 126649. Leics.

OWNERS SERVICE MANUAL Honda 9.9 or 15hp outboard owners service manual, as new. £8 Tel. 01932 707165. W Yorks. ANTI-FOULING PAINT light blue, 2.5 ltrs, purchased surplus to requirements, still in delivery package, unopened, £34. Tel. 01509 646479. Leics.

LIVEABOARD TO RENT long term something around 65ft plus, it must have all I need to live on and cruise long term, willing to pay a reasonable monthly rent and take good care of it and maintain it to within my knowledge. Can anyone help please. Tel. 07596 355033. Warks. MALE BOAT OWNER 60, southern based, seeks straight fit and enthusiastic male boating buddy, Tel. 07745 479294. Surrey. MALE BOATER 60s, own boat, seeks male CD boating buddy to cruise with him. Tel. 07914 623563. Midlands. MARINA WANTED A small marina or boat yard wanted, Midlands or East Coast area, anything considered. Please leave a message if goes through voicemail. Tel. 01507 363323. Lincs. NARROWBOAT WANTED I am looking for an ongoing project boat that needs tlc or part fitted, I am prepared to travel. Tel. 079060 19299. Norfolk. SHARE IN A NARROWBOAT 47ft, £2200. Tel. . Cheshire. WANTED BOAT PROPELLER Size required 15" dia x 9" pitch to fit a 11⁄2" shaft. Tel. 07503 757318. Cheshire. WANTED LISTER HR3 air duct adaptor. Tel. 07717 307469. Staffs. WANTED PRM OR HURTH gearbox, anything consider, will travel, cash waiting. Tel. 07940 72051. Leics. WANTED SINGLE HANDED BOAT OWNER Seeks help to crew narrowboat, East Mids. Tel. 07710 281938 any age/any male or female. Lancs. GENT MID 60S narrowboat owner seeks female buddy to cruise with from the end of May, on the Leeds Liverpool canal. Tel. 07979 102927. W Yorks.

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NEWS Extra 103

Heritage hunt for waterway history By Bob Clarke

THE Canal & River Trust is mounting its own version of the TV series Cash in the Attic by looking for notable artefacts tucked away in offices, stores, desks and filing cabinets which it inherited from British Waterways. This project has already started in the South East where the collections and archive team has already identified a shield presented to the winners of the annual pile driving competition between 1959 and 1979 as well as more recent, but nonetheless important, commemorative plaques from the Braunston Boat Shows of the late 1990s. Both finds were made at the former waterway office at Braunston Stop House alongside a mile marker and boundary marker and will now be taken to the trust’s collection and archive where they can be publicly displayed and protected for future generations. Trust head of heritage Nigel Crowe said: “While canals, locks, towpaths and river banks are the attraction for many, it’s clear that there are documents and objects that chart the history of the waterways that must be cherished and preserved in the collection and archive.”

In conducting what the trust describes as its ‘heritage hunt’ many other pieces of collectable waterway history have been identified – typically duplicate examples of BW signs and memorabilia already represented in the trust’s permanent collection and archive. And he added: “As well as many prized pieces which will join our permanent collection, this project is highlighting that there may be many collectable pieces of memorabilia which boaters and other canal enthusiasts might be interested in owning. “So once our heritage team has been through all that has been unearthed, we’ll consider an online auction in the autumn of any surplus memorabilia. It could be fun and raise some money for looking after our canals and rivers at the same time.” Those interested in the project, including being alerted to any future possible sales, should email Several years ago a senior member of staff at the former National Waterways Museum at Gloucester managed to get hold of memorabilia from former BW employees under an ‘amnesty’ with no questions asked.

Refreshing move as agency opens first lockside kiosk THE Environment Agency’s first lockside refreshment kiosk was officially opened at Molesey Lock in Hampton, Surrey on Friday (May 31). Area manager Julia Simpson cut the ribbon during a ceremony attended by several prominent members of the River Thames boating community. The agency is working in partnership with Ruth Knight, a local resident with extensive experience in the catering and services industry, on this commercial venture, which will raise vital funds for its management of the River Thames. Mrs Knight, an active river user who has been a member of the Dittons Skiff and Punting Club for 25 years, said: “I first approached the Environment Agency about opening a cafe here at Molesey Lock about 10 years ago but for one reason or another it never came to fruition. So when I learned earlier this year that they were looking for a partner to run a kiosk in the old mess house I was straight on the phone. “We’re in a great position here; the lock side is always busy with people,

particularly being so close to Hampton Court Palace and is an integral part of the local community. I find people are naturally attracted to boats and water and love to sit watching the goings-on at the lock with a drink or an ice cream.” The cafe boasts a small flower garden in which customers can sit and enjoy their refreshments and a generous menu including hot and cold drinks, home-made cakes, freshly made sandwiches and ice cream. It will open seven days a week during the summer season (until September 30) between 8am and 6pm, with reduced opening times according to weather and demand during the winter. This is the first catering operation of this type undertaken by the Environment Agency, and it hopes to open more along the River Thames over the coming months. It is currently waiting for planning permission for a refreshment kiosk at Goring Lock in Oxfordshire and has also been granted planning consent for a further outlet at Penton Hook in Staines.

Celebrating the opening of the new kiosk are: Ruth Knight (cafe manager), Matt Carter (waterways manager), Mick Wheatley (commercial operations manager) and Julia Simpson (area manager). PHOTO: ENVIRONMENT AGENCY

Waterwitch hosts Lancaster Canal trip for civic party

Lancaster Canal Trust members and their civic guests, from left: Coun Ron Sands of Lancaster City Council (LCC), Coun Janice Hanson (LCC), Coun Eileen Blamire (LCC leader), South Lakeland District Council (SLDC) chairman Coun Eileen Westwood, Hal Bagot (LCT president), Coun June Ashworth (Mayor of Lancaster), Coun Roger Bingham (SLDC), Richard Trevitt (LCT chairman), Coun Sylvia Emmott, Mayor of Kendal, Lancaster Mayoress Alex Ashworth and Alan Mather (LCT). PHOTO SUPPLIED THE narrowboat Waterwitch was the venue for a trip by Kendal and Lancaster councillors to see the excavations and restoration of the canal at Stainton. They were met at Crooklands landing stage by Hal Bagot, president of the Lancaster Canal Trust (LCT) and chairman Richard Trevitt. Disembarking at Stainton landing

Devon to host 2014 trailboat festival THE Inland Waterways Association and Devon County Council have announced that next year’s IWA National Trailboat Festival is to be held at the Grand Western Canal Country Park. Forming the main celebration of the Canal’s bicentenary year, it will take place over the late May Bank Holiday weekend (May 24-26, 2014). There will be a big public festival day held at the Mid-Devon Showground on Saturday, May 24, with a range of live entertainments all with a birthday party theme. A number of smaller satellite events will be held at locations along the canal on the other two days, including an illuminated night time parade in Tiverton and a fun day in Sampford Peverell. The event will also provide an opportunity to celebrate completion of repairs to the breached embankment at Halberton, and will enable the message to be spread nationally that the canal is once again fully operational. Organising committee chairman Coun Des Hannon said: “The festival will be the highlight of our celebrations. It’ll also mark the completion of works at Halberton embankment. Our canal will be in the best state for 200 years. That’s worth pushing the boats out for a big party.” The canal remains open for all to enjoy with just a small diversion from Swing Bridge to Watton Bridge while those repairs are carried out. Works on repairing the embankment are due to commence in June and, all being well, should be completed by the end of this year. The 2014 IWA National Trailboat Festival will be organised and run by Devon County Council’s Grand Western Canal Ranger Service, under the direction of an organising committee which includes local canal enthusiasts and councillors, on behalf of IWA.

stage the party were impressed with the work that had already been completed, mostly by volunteers, and looked forward to seeing the project complete and in water. The wildlife, flora and fauna of this beautiful stretch of canal was also appreciated. The party were presented with specially designed folders

containing photographs and details of the heavy machinery that had been involved. “Big boys’ toys,” as one of the party remarked. Waterwitch sails under new livery with Nether Bridge, Kendal and Lancaster Castles and the coat of Arms of Lancaster and Kendal painted by a group of artist members.

Carrying onthe goodwork

The partly restored stretch of canal. STORY & PHOTOGRAPHY: PAUL HOWARD

VOLUNTEERS from the Lancaster Canal Trust have been busy with the restoration of a furlong stretch of canal from Bridge 172 near Stainton Crossing to Sellet Hall Bridge 173, started last year during summer work camps. They need to re-proof, re-line and then eventually re-water after all the tests for leakage have been carried out on the 255m length which will connect to a section of canal the trust already uses for boat trips to Millness. The aim is to eventually link Kendal with Preston and the canal network.

Some of the volunteer force needed to be trained as operators of heavy machinery, which would include dumper trucks and diggers. One of the problems has been the undermining of the wing wall at Stainton Aqueduct which has meant re-profiling the gravel banks in an attempt to divert the stream away from the walls. This area is well used by walkers so the team has repaired some of the towpath near Stainton bridge so walkers have a gravelled section until they get back on the usual grass and compacted earth towpath.

Moorers lose battle with council By Bob Clarke

A GROUP of boat owners who use moorings at the western end of the Kennet & Avon Canal at Hanham, near Bristol, have been given 12 months to leave their moorings which did not have planning consent. The 24 boat owners claimed that the moorings had been in existence ‘for decades’ but their submission was rejected by the planning inspector as there was no physical proof of the age of the moorings. Although supporting South Gloucestershire District Council’s

application, he extended the notice period from three months. The group’s spokesman Keith Cumner said because the landowner had been unable to deal with the matter due to ill health, the boaters had taken up the case but now face a costly legal bill . The council, which has been receiving council tax from the liveaboards for several years, said that because the canalised river was tidal during spring tides substantial moorings were necessary to cope with the varying water levels and therefore needed planning permission.


Staying safe on your boat This month Clive Penny of the Association of Boat Safety Examiners starts looking at Part 7 of the Boat Safety Scheme (BSS) Examination Checking Procedures (ECPs) for privately owned and privately managed boats. PART 7 is all about Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) Systems and is one of the largest sections of the checking procedures. This month we’ll concentrate on the requirements for the storage of the LPG cylinders and highpressure components. The information in this article forms only an overview. For the full requirements go to We’ll start with your LPG cylinders (or containers). Whether full, half-full or empty, they must be stored in a position where any leakage will be directed safely overboard. This means that your cylinders must be stored in a cylinder locker or in an open location. All selfcontained portable appliances having LPG cylinders or containers attached must also be stored in this way. Cylinders stored in an open location must be outside a non self-draining cockpit or well deck, in a position where any leaked LPG would flow overboard unimpeded and where there is no opening into the interior of the vessel or any source of ignition within 1m distance. Cylinder lockers up to the top of the cylinder valves or other high pressure components must be free of any path for LPG to enter the interior of the vessel. The bottom, sides and seams of every cylinder locker must be free of any holes (e.g. caused by drilling, rust or cutting), cracks, splits, delaminations, missing or damaged welds at seams or other signs of damage or deterioration that can be determined by visual examination to penetrate the locker to the interior of the vessel. In practice this means that the examiner may need you or your representative to be present to remove anything that prevents him (or her) from conducting this part of the examination. In some cases, this may even require the disconnection and removal of an LPG cylinder in order to examine any part of the locker that cannot be seen with the cylinder in place. Each cylinder locker must have a cylinder locker drain that will ensure an unobstructed passage of leaked LPG to the outside of the vessel. On many narrowboats, the gas locker is often formed within the bow section of the boat and the drain is simply a hole in the side of hull. Other arrangements may require pipework known as a drain line. The drain line must be made of suitable material, must fall continuously and be in good condition, including all connections. The drain must be located at the bottom of the locker or at the lowest point on the side. LPG cylinders and the associated components must be protected against damage. Your cylinders must be stored upright and held securely, be protected

The LPG cylinder is removed to allow examination of the cylinder locker bottom.


against falling objects and there must be nothing stored in the locker that could damage the equipment or ignite leaked LPG. The LPG system shut off valve must be in a readily accessible location and if not in open view then the location clearly marked. The shut-off valve may simply be the cylinder valve. All high-pressure components must be within the cylinder locker or in an open location. When the regulator is connected to the cylinder by highpressure hose, the hose must be of proprietary manufacture, not more than

1m long, and must be marked as BS 3212 part 2 or equivalent. When two or more cylinders are connected on the high pressure side then each connection must be protected by a non-return valve. All high-pressure components, including regulators and associated equipment, hoses and hose connections, must be secure and free from signs of damage or deterioration. Non-cylinder mounted regulators must be located or protected to prevent damage during cylinder changing. Manually adjustable regulators are not allowed.

A year at the helm of Scottish Canals Our Scottish correspondent Hugh Dougherty talks to chief executive Steve Dunlop about the inland waterways north of the border STEVE Dunlop says that his first year at the helm of Scottish Canals, constituted in July 2012, has been ‘exciting’. Now he’s issuing a special invitation to Towpath Talk readers, especially those in England, Ireland and Wales, to come to Scotland this summer, to experience Scottish waterways for themselves. “We have much to offer on the Caledonian, Crinan, Forth & Clyde, Union and Monkland Canals,” said chief executive Steve, who’s in charge of 186 full-time and 80 seasonal staff, and a budget of £18 million. “There are plenty of events, and we hope that as many people as possible will come to enjoy our canals for themselves.” Steve, who came as chief executive to the former British Waterways Scotland from development management with Newcastle City Council, five years ago, started life as a physical education teacher, a factor that still drives him to promote canals as ‘outdoor gyms’. He says that SC’s recently published strategy sets out further development for the future. And he has no fears about the result of the Scottish Independence referendum in 2014. “The result of the referendum is irrelevant. Scottish Canals is already adept at working with the Scottish Government and with politicians of all parties, both national and local, so we have no fears for the political future. The place of canals in Scotland is wellestablished and we will continue to work in partnership with all concerned to ensure that we continue to develop

them,” he said. Developments over the next year include the giant Kelpie Statues rising from the ground at the Helix project at Falkirk, along with the opening of the new canal link from there to Grangemouth in 2014. Steve is also keen to see the proposed new canal, linking the River Clyde with Loch Lomond making progress. And he revealed that Scottish Canals is in talks with Stirling Council to explore returning the River Forth to navigable quality all the way up to Stirling, where Steve lives, a development, he says, which would have enormous tourism potential by restoring an ancient waterway to use. Scottish Canals has also been keen to develop stakeholder communication, and Steve and his senior team have been busy over the last year meeting groups across the country. “We make sure that we keep in touch with everyone from walkers, through boating interests and cyclists, as well as schools who use our towpaths as outdoor classrooms, and, of course, our many volunteers, without whom we would not be able to do so much. Developing and building on our already-excellent relationship with the Scottish Waterways Trust is also crucial,” he said. Steve says that he’s out and about on the canals as much as possible, and that to be office-bound at headquarters in Glasgow would not be ideal. “We’re an outdoor business,” he said. “I need to be out there as much as I can and I invite readers to join us outdoors, too.”

General requirements 18to 24 cover part 7 specifically. 18. All LPG systems must be designed, installed and maintained in a way that minimises the risks of explosion or of fire starting or spreading. 19. All LPG containers and high pressure components must be secured in a position where escaping gas does not enter the interior of the vessel. 20. All LPG systems must be designed, installed and maintained to ensure gas-tight integrity.

21. All LPG system connections and flexible hoses must be accessible for inspection. 22. All LPG control and shut-off devices, or the means to operate them, must be readily accessible. 23. LPG shut-off valves, or their means of operation, must be marked when not in clear view or when their function is not clear. 24. All LPG systems must have a suitable means to test that the system is gas-tight.

➔ The full list of all the checks, with the actions an examiner will take, Usefulinformation

are on the BSS website at Your local member of the Association of Boat Safety Examiners can be found at and will be happy to answer any questions you may have and assist in any way they can.

Boaters advised to fit CO alarm THE Boat Safety Scheme is urging UK boaters to think about the safety issues identified in a Marine Accident Investigation Branch safety bulletin concerning the death of a mother and daughter aboard cruiser Arniston on Lake Windermere at Easter. Indications are that the deaths were caused by poisoning from carbon monoxide (CO) gas. Initial findings showed that exhaust fumes spread from the engine bay into the cabin when an improvised exhaust and silencer became detached from a ‘suitcase’ style portable petrol-engined generator. Work on any boat engine exhaust

system should only be carried out by suitably qualified technicians following manufacturers’ instructions with approved parts suitable for marine use. BSS manager Graham Watts said: “It’s critical that boaters wise-up to the potential dangers of carbon monoxide which can kill without warning, sometimes in only minutes. “In our experience, the main sources of CO on a boat are engine exhaust fumes and escaped combustion gases from solid fuel stoves and flues. “Our advice is to fit a CO alarm approved as meeting BS EN 50291; these are best suited for boats.”

Steve Dunlop: an exciting first year. PHOTO: SCOTTISH CANALS

Future of past safe in our hands says Scottish Canals By Hugh Dougherty

THE FUTURE of the past is safe in our hands, says Scottish Canals, which recently published its first heritage strategy. The 25 page document pledges the public body to a 25-year blueprint aimed at preserving the heritage of Scotland’s waterways and making them both safe and relevant to the future and to all users and to communities served by them. The blueprint incorporates responses to a consultation period on a draft which ran between November 2012 and January 2013. Four strategic aims underpin the plan which chimes with Scottish Canal’s vision of safeguarding the future while building on heritage. These aims are conservation and management; participation and learning; accessing and interpretation, and sustainability. And 60 measurable targets have been made public in the plan. These

include a condition survey of all historic properties owned by Scottish Canals, with a costed maintenance and work plan, and dedicating resources to tasks, such as 12-month bursary placement for a stonemason to learn the specialist skills needed for older masonry. Other targets include improving the energy efficiency of traditional buildings and rolling out an ongoing pilot scheme of volunteers recording heritage on the Caledonian Canal to other canals. Chief executive Steve Dunlop said: “As custodians of Scotland’s Canals, our rich, 250-year-old heritage, is vitally important, not just to those who live next to or use the inland waterways, but to Scotland as a whole. If we are to safeguard the canals for future generations, we need to preserve this rich heritage in an effective, visionary and engaging way.” Read the strategy document online at


Curious Corrib Alison Alderton visits the lake of curiosities

The monks’ fishing house.

The beautiful Connemara countryside. PHOTOS:ALISON ALDERTON SET against a backdrop of beautiful Connemara Mountains, Lough Corrib at 178sq km is the second largest of Ireland’s lakes and together with Mask and Carra they collectively form the Great Western Lakes. Once connected to the sea at Galway via the Eglinton Canal, paddle steamers used to ply Corrib’s island-studded waters transporting goods and tourists to various locations around the lake. By comparison, today these waters are quiet as there is no longer any trade and the route to the sea severed. Corrib is perhaps best described as a lake of curiosities. Friars Cut allowing

access to Galway was constructed in 1178 by the friars of Claregalway Abbey and is reputedly Ireland’s first canal. Situated in the north of the lake at Ashford Castle near Cong, stands the entrance to the so-called ‘dry canal’ built to link Corrib with Lough Mask. Constructed through porous limestone, work was withdrawn before the route was completely staunched resulting in its water simply draining away. Today complete with bridges, disused locks and sluices it is used to aid flood relief but for most of the year remains dry. Constructed across the Cong River are the remains of a monk’s fishing house. A hole in the floor enabled a baited line or net to be lowered into the water allowing the monks to fish in the shelter of the building or by connecting the line to a bell in the monastery kitchen carry on with their daily duties until the bell sounded informing them of a catch.


Ballycurrin lighthouse.

The trip boat at Ashford Castle.

The foreboding Hen’s Castle standing on an island in the lakes upper western reaches is the oldest fortress of its kind in Ireland and once home to the great pirate queen of Connemara, Grace O’Malley. But perhaps the most unusual of Corrib’s treasures is to be found at Ballycurrin Bay on the eastern shore where there stands an intriguing inland lighthouse. Believed to be the only one of its kind in Europe it was constructed along with an adjacent boat house and jetty by Henry Lynch in 1772. Standing just 22ft high it is made from stone rubble and topped by a mill wheel. A fire in the

Lock remains on the ‘dry canal’. upper chamber, reached by ascending an outside spiralling staircase, would have been lit to create a guiding light shining out across Corrib on dark lonely nights, the hole in the centre of the mill wheel cleverly acting as an escape route for the smoke. But why was there a need for a lighthouse on an inland lake in rural Ireland? Some say that Lynch, a lover of sailing simply needed a marker to navigate by, others that it enabled the Ballycurrin Estate to receive goods from the Galway steamers. However, a more romantic reason behind its construction is that it was built under his wife’s strict insistence. It seems Lynch frequently rowed to Oughterard on the opposite shore where he enjoyed the facilities of the local establishment and fearing for her husband’s safety under intoxication believed a guiding light would help him find his way home. Whatever the reason behind its construction, this little lighthouse remains one of Ireland’s great inland waterway curiosities.

New markers

Those wishing to explore Corrib by boat should do so with caution as there are many shoals and only main channels are marked. Coming under the

jurisdiction of the Corrib Navigation Trustees, no licence is required but due to lack of facilities only retrievable craft can currently be used. However, over the next few years a major project is being undertaken. This will include installing new navigation markers on the Corrib River at Galway, upgrading existing markers and adding cardinal buoys on the lake itself along with the introduction of coin-operated shore power to quays. One man who fought tirelessly for better boating facilities on Lough Corrib was the late Maurice Semple who died in 2000. A former Galway solicitor, keen boater and founder-member of the IWAI’s Corrib Branch he wrote several fascinating books on Corrib and these are a good introduction to the area’s history. If visiting without a craft scenic cruises on trip boats are available while for those wishing to explore under their own steam, several companies offer open lake boats for daily hire. These are also favoured by anglers who consider Corrib to be one of the best wild brown trout fisheries in the world. In 2012 a giant ferox brown trout was landed near the island of Inchagoill. Weighing 23lb 12oz this is the largest trout caught in the west of Ireland for over 100 years, yet another claim to fame for Corrib.

Usefulinformation ➔ IWAI (Inland Waterways Association of Ireland)

IWAI (Inland Waterways Association of Ireland) Corrib Branch Day & Fishing Boat Hire try: Further Reading: Reflections on Lough Corrib Maurice Semple By the Corribside Maurice Semple Navigation Guides: Trip Boat Tours:

WaterWays Ireland WIns aWard for educatIon THE new Waterways Ireland Education Programme has already won a Department of Culture Arts and Leisure (DCAL) Claire Award presented by the DCAL Permanent Secretary, Peter May. Manus Tiernan, education officer and Nuala Reilly, archivist accepted the highly commended award in the section Specific and Successful Learning Project on behalf of Waterways Ireland. Following a pilot period with one primary school on each of the seven waterways managed by Waterways Ireland, the programme was developed ensuring that it met the needs of the curricula in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. The programme has online and offline dimensions and includes site visits to the waterways themselves as well as the Waterways Ireland Visitor Centre. The flexibility of the programme enables schools to integrate the inland waterways into learning, through high quality experiences which support understanding, learning and creative development. To date, the education programme has been rolled out to some 370 schools along the waterway corridor with the Waterways Ireland Visitor Centre hosting 15 school groups in the same period. For Waterways Ireland, the programme helps to meet its objective in promoting the waterways, encouraging long term usage and appreciation.

Manus Tiernan and Nuala Reilly accepting their prize from Peter May.



100 treasures of

Britain’s Canals

Pontcysyllte Aqueduct – showpiece of Britain’s canals and a World Heritage Site Words: PHILLIPPA GREENWOOD Images: MARTINE O’CALLAGHAN

The ironwork of the trough is sealed by a mad potion of Welsh flannel and lead dunked in boiling sugar.

EIGHTEEN pillars stretch to the heavens to suspend a great bathtub of water in the sky, making sane people swear that narrowboats can fly. Pontcysyllte Aqueduct was built by William Jessop and Thomas Telford to carry the Llangollen Canal across the River Dee, and ever since the aqueduct opened in 1805, narrowboats without wings have flown over the river in a cast iron trough held up by stone pillars. Each of the pillars is still fixed by an unnerving concoction of lime and ox blood and the ironwork of the trough is sealed by a mad potion of Welsh flannel and lead dunked in boiling sugar. Luckily, not everyone who visits knows this and hysteria is kept at bay. But the boldest truth is exposed for all to see as 127ft of fresh air holds white-faced boaters and walkers above the valley of the River Dee. Sheer drops menace the vertiginous and non-vertiginous alike and wideeyed people are compelled to share jokes of fear with people they’ve never

met before as they hip bump together on the snake thin path. Boaters embark on a no going back vertical bungee ride in a boat in the sky. Their thrill is sheer drops that haven’t been spoiled by railings and the cold comfort of a cloud teasing journey spanning 1007ft. The Llangollen Canal was built before engines ruled the world, and over 200 years ago horses pulled boats across the canal in the sky. The railings at the entrance of the aqueduct have been left with grooves carved from the ropes of giant horses that once trod trustingly over a ridiculously brave manmade structure. The story of the unpronounceable aqueduct is more than a history of who built it and why: it is the drama it has created, and continues to create, as anyone who crosses plays their part in the living documentary of a terrifying marvel. Even for those too trapped by a rigor of fear to venture across, the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct is the ultimate must-see event of Britain’s canals.

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.

The sheer drop which hasn’t been spoiled by railings.

Enjoying the summer sunshine at Trevor Basin.


The Towpath Angler

Our monthly look at the angling scene MUCH like last month, I have had few national commitments. However, I did attend one crucial meeting in early May where senior officers of both the Canal and River Trust and Angling Trust discussed and agreed ways in which both organisations can better work together as partners. There were some good outcomes and I am pretty excited about the future. One of the key strands to this will be the Angling Strategy which can now be jointly delivered. Locally things have been very different. There has been plenty going on. Not least was the round of CRT open events held in mid-May and hosted by different waterways. I believe more are to follow. Here in the East Midlands the event was staged at Trent Lock. For anyone not familiar with the area it is where the Erewash Canal and the River Soar enter the mighty Trent. Just for once the weather was extremely kind and this obviously encouraged a lot of people to turn out. There were all manner of waterway related stands as well as things to do. A colleague and I ran an angling corner with a couple of skills-based games. We were kept busy for pretty much the whole day. Estimates put the numbers attending in excess of 1000. I can fully support that. It was truly a good day. At other local meetings we have again talked about the predation particularly by cormorants of fish. I have suggested that angling club bailiffs systematically log sightings along with details such as numbers of birds, time of day, weather conditions etc. The clubs and CRT will then need to sit down to discuss how best to tackle this increasing problem which is not simply a threat to the natural fish population in our waterways but to some of the other birds which rely on catching small fish themselves. Clearly there are predators of all types along our waterways and while nature itself will generally maintain a reasonable balance, this can sometimes be skewed by man’s intervention. Again illustrating just how fine the proverbial line between the right and wrong way can be. The restocking of my local Erewash Canal goes on. More small roach, bream and tench have been introduced from a nearby fish farm and CRT contractors are currently in the process of ‘rehoming’ some of the fish rescued from the lower pounds during last autumn’s pollution. In addition the East

Trevor Basin on the Llangollen Canal.

A trip boat on the way back to Llangollen.

Trip boats at Llangollen Wharf.

FACT FILE Pontcysyllte Aqueduct Built by Thomas Telford and William Jessop, Pontcysyllte Aqueduct was completed in 1805. The aqueduct and 11 miles of the Llangollen Canal stretching from Horseshoe Falls beyond Llangollen to Chirk Aqueduct were designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2009. Pontcysyllte UNESCO World Heritage Site Local legend Local legend has it that one local, unmarried young man lost his life building the aqueduct. It is believed he was called George Davies but it is hoped that one day his name will be known for sure so that a fitting memorial can be put in place. Location Trevor Basin, near Llangollen OS Grid ref: SJ270421 Canal: Llangollen Canal

How to get there By train Nearest train station is Chirk National Rail Enquiries 08457 484950 By bus Traveline Cymru 0871 2002233 By car Roadside or public car parks On foot The long-distance National Trail, Offa’s Dyke Path, joins the Llangollen for a short stretch from Chirk, with walkers able to choose between walking across the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct or (for the less brave) walking down the road to the floor of the valley and back up the other side. By boat Nearest boat hire: Anglo Welsh Waterway Holidays, Trevor Basin. Holiday & day boat hire. 01173 041122 Black Prince Narrowboat Holidays, Chirk Marina. Holiday boat hire. 01527 575115

Crest Narrowboats, Chirk Marina. Holiday boat hire. 01691 774558 Boat Trips: ‘Eirlys’, Jones the Boats. Trevor Basin. 45-minute cruises across the aqueduct and back with full commentary. Seating is inside the narrowboats with clear window views (if you dare look). Luckily for the vertiginous, there’s a well-stocked bar on board. Charter trips also available. 01978 824166 ‘Thomas Telford’, Llangollen Wharf. Cruises the canal from Llangollen with the crossing of Pontcysyllte Aqueduct as its highlight. 01978 860702 Moorings There are plenty of visitor moorings available along the Llangollen Canal Local Tourist info Llangollen Tourist Information Centre Canal & River Trust/Glandwr Cymru Use the Canal & River Trust website to find specific local information.

David Kent

Midlands Partnership has instigated a fundraising project to raise money to purchase more fish and on behalf of all the local Erewash anglers I would like to record a massive vote of thanks to the partnership for this action. The constant and often dramatic changes in weather conditions continue to play havoc with sport. Considering that we are almost in June it is becoming very worrying that ambient water temperatures may not reach the point or not be maintained for long enough for fish to spawn. Clearly there have been such years in the past but with the added pressures of predation it is vital that we do not miss a year – class. A few months of settled, summery weather are now desperately needed. In the last issue I said I had been speaking to a neighbour who, with his mate, fishes the Trent & Mersey near to Derby every week. He had told me about the good days they had been having. However, I saw him just a couple of days ago when his story was very different. He said he had had to resort to his favourite winter tactic of fishing punched bread on a small hook in order to get a few bites. I know the section of canal he uses and that it is predated by cormorants quite regularly. Therefore in addition to reacting to the horrible weather the fish are reluctant to stray from areas of cover. My personal results in competitions are still not really improving. That said I had a second place and a couple of section wins in recent weeks. The new ‘season’ of club events starts in June so I am hoping that will be a real turning point. There are a number of canal and river contests in the programme so I will keep you posted on my performances. I am badly in need of a morale booster. Tight lines.

Crackdown on licence evasion A BLITZ on illegal fishing saw 40 offence notices served during the last bank holiday weekend. The Environment Agency operation focused on anglers using still waters in the east of England and took place over four days between Friday and Monday, May 24-27. Officers visited fisheries in Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Cambridgeshire, Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire. Each location was chosen to specifically target waters with high evasion rates from previous years. Lesley Robertson, environmental crime team leader, said: “504 anglers were seen by our officers, and 40 offence notices served for rod licence or byelaw offences. “That means 8% of the anglers seen were given offence notices, meaning the blitz was successful in targeting illegal hot-spots.” Tom Howard, fisheries intelligence officer, added: “The law-abiding anglers were very happy to see our officers out on the ground and were encouraged by our continued stance against illegal fishing.” Anglers are reminded that the fishing closed season applies to all rivers, streams and drains between March 15 and June 15. However, most still waters and canals do not have a closed season. All anglers need a valid Environment Agency rod licence which allows them to use up to two rods. Rod licences run from April 1 to March 31 and fishing without one can lead to a substantial fine. Anyone caught without a valid rod licence can expect to be prosecuted and face a fine of up to £2500. To help crack down on unlicensed anglers report illegal activity to 0800 80 70 60. You can also contact Crime Stoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.


The Wet Web

Volunteers are here to stay and they cost you nothing

The Norfolk Broads app from is available for iPad and iPhone.

Helen Gazeley cruises around some club sites as well as taking a peek at our new Trader page. WITH all our years of experience at Towpath Talk, we like to think we understand what our readers need, and a smart new addition to our stable is Towpath Trader This, we modestly hope you’ll agree, is a well-thought out and easily navigable (well, what would you expect?) online marketplace for all sorts of boats, as well as equipment. All the information you require is easily to hand and although it’s only recently gone live, you’ll already find a large choice of vessels (including shared ownership) and boating paraphernalia. If you’re looking for an item to buy rather than sell, you can also use it to ask for Items Wanted. A free listing lasts for a month and allows you to post one picture, but for a bit more money you can add up to 12 pictures, a video and receive Featured Listing upgrade. Trade sellers are also welcome. New boat, new adventures. One way to widen your acquaintance with both the waterways and fellow boaters is to join a cruising club. Around a

hundred organisations belong to the Association of Waterway Cruising Clubs and offer facilities to reciprocating members. A list can be found on the website and many of them put together a range of interesting cruises as well as social events. St Pancras Cruising Club based in London N1 has a range of interesting trips for this year, exploring lesser known navigations on the Thames. Some of its members recently enjoyed a trip down the river to Gravesend, and an account of the experience, not to mention the strange magnetism of narrowboats for large yellow buoys, can be found at while the trip in the company of five enormous greyhounds is recounted at with more at and a full rundown at While trips like that one are ideal material for blogs (and, given the number of boaters’ blogs out

there, you’re quite likely to have one yourself ), the accounts all too soon become buried among the old posts. A rather nice way to mark an extraspecial holiday or occasion might be to bring them back from the digital world into hard copy. An increasing number of companies offer the chance to turn your blog, or part of it, into a fullcolour book. The likes of Blog2Print, and let you upload a blog, edit the pages and comments and produce a memento that you pass round family and friends. For Seven Tips on Turning Your Blog into a Book, visit Writers Digest A new app to help you create those new adventures has recently been launched by the tourism website Available for iPhone and iPad and offering a replacement for all those leaflets you pick up on holiday, the app detects your location and, by way of an interactive map, suggests mooring spots and attractions, including biking and walking routes, hotels, pubs and restaurants. Searches can be personalised to include family-, wheelchair or petfriendly venues and, as it can work on and offline, the app is usable even where broadband signals are limited.

information ➔ DoForyoumore have a favourite website? Email Helen at

Hoping to spring information I HAVE owned a 1986 Springer – 504877 Rosalind Annie – for many years and am looking for information about Springer Engineering of Market Harborough. If any of your readers have any adverts, articles, anecdotes etc. I would be most grateful. Any email, PDF (Adobe Acrobat format), JPEG photos or Word documents can be sent to Brian Dufton By email

POET’S CORNER In response to ‘Ode to the Canal Laureate’ by Old Bilge Pump (Last Word, Issue 92, June).

Ode to Bilge You herald our new Laureate in verse, but your poem’s bad – your manner’s even worse! All you can do is make fun of her name. What a welcome, Bilge Pump! It’s a shame the news should be imparted in this way, without hearing what the Laureate has to say. A well-respected poet, a boater too, her work promotes the waterways, while you complain with snide remarks which will offend. I hope your moaning attitude will end now you have shown how poetry stands out amongst the prose, and yours has made me shout! The Arts Council exists to fund the arts, to brighten up the lives of grumpy farts like you, and funding’s waiting to be got whether you apply for it or not. So if it helps promote a worthy cause, is the problem CRT’s, or yours? © Heather Wastie Writer in Residence, Museum of Carpet, Kidderminster Boater and proud daughter of Alan T Smith MBE who was honoured for his services to Inland Waterways

IN RESPONSE to James Moore’s letter ‘Volunteers can’t replace experienced staff’ (Talkback, Issue 92, June) I would like to make the following notes: Volunteers do not take paid persons’ jobs, pensions or anything else. CRT (and BW before) simply cannot afford to have the amount of rangers, lock keepers etc. that they have now. Cost cutting it is not; look at other organisations such as the National Trust and English Heritage, CRT is only in line with these. Perhaps Mr Moore you are out of touch being as you have been constant cruising for 20 years. Perhaps you would like to have your licence increased to pay for paid staff, I would like to take a wage from something I enjoy! By the way I have never and have no plans to take expenses either. Therefore I cost you nothing. As for volunteers faltering, get real. We are in for the long haul so like or loath we are here to stay. As for fumbling help, we are trained and 99.9% of all comments to volunteers are favourable so I would say we are a success. I also move several boats during the year for the Working Boat Group in Birmingham; yes that’s ‘real boats’ ex-working at 70 foot, them that the cut was built for. So if you don’t want help fine by me and I’m sure by all the other volunteers. Now we know the name of your boat we know you are capable of doing everything by yourself single handed; with an attitude like yours it’s probably why you are single handed. Do us a favour and keep on constant cruising. David Williams By email

Mooring worth every penny WE ARE writing with reference to Stillwater’s comment (Last Word, Issue 92, June) regarding the continuous mooring menance and totally agree with the comments. We feel they are depriving holidaymakers, whether the boats be privately owned or hired, from mooring on many occasions. Obviously some of these people are working locally and do not wish to pay for a permanent mooring. While writing we would also like to comment on the letter from Patrick and Elaine Cordan about the problems while moored on the River Trent. We presume that they have been boating for some years and with that experience should have known better than to moor on the Trent, which is renowned for flooding. We experienced ourselves the effects of the rising water during the summer of 2012 having travelled to York intending to stay there for the appropriate number of hours, but had to decamp to York Marina and pay for a safe mooring for three days while levels dropped. We assume this couple wish to cruise as cheaply as possible and are now having to pay the consequences. We feel no sympathy for them at all. Our boat is moored safely in a marina on the Trent which while not cheap is worth every penny for peace of mind. Roy and Hilary Gunn By email

‘Extortionate’ price for two day visit into Cambridge MY WIFE and I planned to cruise into Cambridge again for the first time in three years on our narrowboat but on reaching Baits Bite Lock, emptying it, entering it, filling it and starting to raise the lock gate, were approached by a gentleman from the Cam Conservancy demanding payment for onward travel along the next four mile stretch of water. We asked for a two-day licence and were told that this would be £94 for our 40ft craft but that would entitle us to a 90-day stay. We explained that we had a temporary one-month Environment Agency licence and therefore his offer was useless. This was to no avail so we winded above the lock and started our return journey. No notices about these charges were evident at either Bottisham Lock (an EA Lock) or on the lock landing stage at Baits Bite Lock. We met some local boaters that evening who told us that some of the lock keepers ignore these charges and the water bailiffs also ignore the charges for visiting boats as the rules for payment are obtuse. We would happily have paid a reasonable price for a two-day licence or an overnight mooring (eg. Llangollen charge £6/night) but £94 is an extortionate price and we will not be returning while these conditions apply. Ian Moyes nb Pennymist



Your chance to write to us on any Towpath topic:

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

★ Star Letter ★

Thanks to volunteer lock keepers – the ‘friendly face of our waterways’ THE comments made by James Moore of nb Misty Blue (Talkback Issue 92, June) were read with interest, but as a Canal & River Trust waterway that has the support of many volunteer lock keepers, we have a different and more informed perspective. As the volunteer co-ordinator for the South East Waterway, I am responsible for the recruitment, training, guidance and welfare of 108 volunteer lock keepers across 10 strategic sites within the South East region. This role is intended to augment the existing CRT workforce, and not a single member of bank staff has been replaced by their recruitment. Indeed our volunteering policy has been put together with the direct input and co-operation of the Unite and Unison trades unions. Our volunteer lock keepers come from all walks of life, are of varying ages and both genders, and are all selected due to a long-standing interest in canals. Indeed, many of them are active boaters themselves. Each volunteer lock keeper undergoes a comprehensive induction programme and is mentored by experienced colleagues during their initial shifts. They are also all expected to attend a mandatory one-day training session in health and safety, including basic first aid. When they are deemed to have gained sufficient experience and competence, they are required to pass a CATs (Competency And

TOWPATH TALK is celebrating the great letters and pictures we receive from our readers by giving a star prize each month. This month’s prize is The Shropshire Union & Llangollen Canals, a two-disk DVD set. Presented by Chris Smith, the films cover two of Britain’s most popular waterways with a total running time of 130 minutes. The Shropshire Union & Llangollen Canals is produced by Videoactive and can be obtained direct from for £18.98.

Spring at last THE Talkback prize is awarded to a reader photo this month.

Springtime at last at Somerton Deep Lock on June 6. Can the English countryside look any better?

Barry McArdle By email

More on mooring – a continuous cruiser’s perspective WE AS continuous cruisers feel there needs to be some clarification on whether the mooring rules apply to those boaters who pay for a mooring. We mention this because we have encountered quite a few marina moorers and the like who think they are exempt from the rules purely because they ‘pay’ for a mooring. Quite frankly their attitude is at best superior and at worst downright rude. The most recent experience we had was two weeks ago; we were visiting our daughter who lives in Nottingham – we always cruise to see her every May, staying for a few days. We were moored on the floating pontoon just below Meadow Lane lock; it is a designated 48 hour mooring spot. We had been there two hours when two narrowboats came down the lock from their mooring at Castle Marina. They shouted down (none too politely) for us to move our boat back so they could moor their boat on the pontoon. My husband was in the process of doing this when one of the women shouted down again: “Are you going to move then, it’s a 48 hour mooring and you come here every year.” She was quite rude, and gave the impression that they had precedence over us (being mere continuous cruisers and a visitor to boot) We know for a fact that one of

these boats comes out of the marina virtually every weekend to moor in that spot. Another time was last year we were moored at the top of Foxton Locks for our 14 days; next to us was a boat which had a mooring up the Welford Arm. He spent five weeks that we know of in the same spot without moving. When we asked him if he ever received patrol notices from the Canal & River Trust he told us they seem to leave him alone because he pays for a mooring. If this is the case that these mooring rules only apply to continuous cruisers (which is the impression we are getting from these marina users) then this is blatant prejudice and needs to be addressed as soon as possible. Come on CRT, sort the problem out; or is it the plan that by applying the ‘divide and rule’ tactic you will turn boater against boater – when really we should all be standing together for the greater good, because when you get down to it we all share the same common interest, the love of the canals. The trust should spend as much time, money and effort on dredging the canals as it does on mooring matters; such is the state of a lot of the canals that before long none of us boaters will be able to cruise the system at all. Susan and Brian Chadwick Nb Sheherazade

Training) assessment in lock keeping. The assessment is conducted by a qualified CRT member of staff. in addition to their regular lock keeping duties, volunteer lock keepers have been instrumental in assisting CRT staff with a vast number of other projects, ranging from car park marshalling to moving boats – all of which has been approved by the trade unions, and which has added to CRT’s annual outputs in maintenance and customer operations. Although we have only been operating this scheme for three years, the venture has been an enormous success, and feedback has shown that their presence is extremely popular with a wide cross-section of our users (including boaters, walkers, cyclists and anglers) who can see the value that a corps of properly trained, skilled, friendly volunteers adds to the waterways. If Mr Moore feels that this venture is (quote) “doomed to failure”, I’m afraid he is sorely mistaken, as this programme is now firmly established and will continue to grow in the foreseeable future, based on annual recruitment drives. It may be worth noting that in our region, we were 25% over-subscribed for places, this year alone. I am very sorry that a misconception seems to exist in certain quarters that volunteers are replacing trained bank staff; this is emphatically not the case. The

Paul Brunt Near where I live in Sheffield is Catcliffe Flash, it is known as a flash because underground mine workings have collapsed causing a water filled depression in the ground. It is now a nature reserve.

Michael Batten Men in raincoats! Gill Ireland I only know about one type of flash Tim Lewis My favourite place on the Basingstoke is called Great Bottom Flash! Albert Rhodes Flash, Flask, Flodge, Flosh, Flush Flash, flask, flodge, flosh and flush are very old dialectal words (except flask, which is obsolete) in England. The words are related in origin and in meaning. As a group, they probably originated as imitations of the sound of water splashing in a puddle. And they all have histories of meaning

John Highmore Volunteer co-ordinator, South East Waterway Canal & River Trust

Stratford canal pleasant and safe

Sympathy for continuous cruisers

WHILE skipping through Towpath Talk today, I came across a section on the stop lock at Kings Norton on the Stratford Canal (News, Issue 92, June). It explained that, as we know, a lot of money has been spent on repairing it in recent months and there was a grand reopening to celebrate it. I was horrified to read on that we must all be careful not to travel through it on a warm sunny day as we are likely to get trouble from the local kids. We own Lyons Boatyard on the North Stratford Canal at Bridge 3 approximately 40 minutes’ cruising time from there. We live on a boat ourselves and run a very successful day trip boat from our yard. I would like to tell you that neither we, nor our customers, have ever experienced this kind of behaviour from people at this location. We travel the network on our narrowboat for eight months of the year and we see all kinds of things on our travels. It is the nature of English canals to come across different walks of life, industry, countryside, graffiti, broken locks, happy boaters, grumpy boaters, dead animals in the water and many more things. It’s part of the experience. We like to know that our business thrives on reputation, we work very hard to promote it. Therefore, when we read such negative writings about our immediate stretch of canal, it only makes us realise how detrimental this kind of publicity is to our business. And it is worth mentioning that due to the ongoing improvements that British Waterways and the Canal & River Trust are continually striving to achieve, we have a much more pleasant and safe environment to cruise in.

I FIND Stillwater’s comments ((Last Word, Issue 92, June) on continously mooring offensive. In my 15 years’ experience, few boats ‘hogging visitor moorings’ are unoccupied. The majority are liveaboards without ‘permanent’ homes elsewhere. I define overstaying as 14 days as defined in the 1995 Act, which is the only guideline for continuous cruising I need. While it is reasonable to have some 48-hour moorings for fast cruisers e.g. hirers, I believe such rules have no legal force. It depends on time of year and I’m pleased to see this being implemented to a limited extent. A licence itself costs a considerable amount, £780 for my 55ft Gwyniad. Whether one pays more for the convenience and permanency of a mooring is optional, not obligatory. I think it will be obvious from the above that although I have recently taken a mooring due to declining health at age 76, my sympathies remain with the much maligned CCs.

Sarah Brittle Lyons Boatyard

David John Harwood By email

Checking up on the checkers! RECENTLY you have carried stories about licence dodgers. On Monday, May 27, I saw the BW (Canal & River Trust) boat Yorkshire Ranger at Castleford, the boat has a sign which reads ‘ENFORCEMENT’; presumably these are the licence checkers. I noticed the licence which was displayed in one of the windows and it expired at the end of April 2013. I took a photo of the boat and its licence.

What is a Flash? – our readers come up with some answers READER Reg Vickers lives near to the Basingstoke Canal and has noticed there are a number of areas called ‘Flash’, e.g. Eelmoor Flash. He asked if anyone could tell him what a Flash is and what its purpose is? Here are some of the replies from our Facebook readers:

simple fact of the matter is that if volunteer lock keepers had not been recruited, there would be no one performing their tasks, as CRT bank staff have a whole set of other core duties which keep them gainfully employed. CRT staff members also collectively possess a skill-set and level of knowledge/experience which is irreplaceable. It is a fact that CRT is continuing to recruit apprentices and new staff members. I can personally attest to this, as I only joined the trust myself last year. Indeed, one of our volunteer lock keepers was also offered a permanent job last month as a direct result of his positive contributions in volunteering for CRT in previous months. As a final point, all of CRT’s volunteer lock keepers are briefed to offer help where it may be appreciated, and if boaters such as Mr Moore do not wish to receive their help, then there is no obligation on anyone’s part for this to happen. Similarly, volunteer lock keepers are briefed not to become involved in confrontation or enforcement issues with boaters. They are, in summary, the `Friendly face of our waterways’. On behalf of CRT, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all the volunteer lock keepers in our region and across the country for their sterling efforts. Long may they continue.

both a pool of standing water and a marsh, or of going through stages of meaning first a pool of standing water and then a marshy place. The synonymous Middle French word flache may have influenced the English words in both form and sense. Here, in roughly chronological order, are more details about each of these five marsh-related words. Flosh (before 1300) denotes a pool of standing water, a stagnant pool with reeds or a swamp. Formerly in general use, it is now dialectal in England. Flask (before 1300), an early variant of flash (see flash below), is

synonymous with flosh. It has long been obsolete. Flush (1375) means a pool of standing water or a low swampy place. It is dialectal in England. Flash (c. 1440) indicates a pool of standing water or a marshy place. Formerly in general use, it is now dialectal in England. Flodge (1696) is a dialectal variant of flosh in England. This form of the word usually refers to a puddle or a stagnant pool of water. If you can shed any further light on this topic, write to us at Talkback (details on previous page) or visit us on Facebook.

Steve Mcenhill By email

How you voted

In our latest online poll we asked how you prefer to read books. Results as we went to press were: Printed book: 87.5% E-book: 12.5%

Audio book: 0% This month we are asking our online readers how they are taking their main summer holiday this year.


Old Bilge Pump

welcome to the Canal & river Trust’s new chief

But what can we expect from a man with a railway background

THE Canal & River Trust has appointed a new chief executive. He is Richard Parry, a railway man, currently a director at First Group. What can we expect; the trust having appointed a railway man as opposed to someone with a boating background? I expect leaves on the water will stop navigation, I imagine the wrong kind of snow to hamper lock operation and guess that lack of staff will cause stoppages. We can only hope that history does not repeat itself. The last time railways and canals got together it was a disaster for the canals. Railway companies took over canal companies, the canals were allowed to fall into decay in order that railways could dominate the transport scene. It is not a good precedent to allow a rail man to take over the inland waterways. British railways in general have a very chequered history which has developed into farce over the last couple of decades. Unlike the railways under Dr Beeching we do not want the present inland waterways network ‘pruned’ in order to make them more financially viable. With the franchising of the rail service to commercial companies we have seen prices skyrocket, service deteriorate and many trains cancelled or delayed. The main lines have been exploited, packing trains so that it is impossible to find a seat. Customer service has been dire, the favourite trick I have experienced recently by the rail companies is allowing people to find a seat on boarding an empty train and then 10 minutes into the journey turning on the reserved seating notification, resulting in uproar as people discover the seat they are occupying is reserved. Complication of ticketing costs is also a recent innovation for the railways; no one appears to know what they should be paying for a particular journey. My only experience of the First Group was when travelling from Pewsey a small storm (too strong a word, say a few high winds) resulted in chaos. We stood for hours on a rain-soaked station platform with a locked waiting room and trains refusing to stop at the station. One train slowly went through the station with the driver placing his finger in the air as a salute to the drenched customers. Now, Mr Parry could be innocent of all these

faults, he may be a wonderful administrator and motivator of a workforce, but it is a little worrying that his career appears to have been spent in the rail industry. I see no evidence of a love of boating, interest in canals or that he is the holder of a boat helmsman’s certificate. Could we not have had a chief executive who has some waterways commercial experience? Too many people at the Milton Keynes HQ do not know how to get on a boat, let alone operate a lock. Without Mr Parry’s input, the Canal & River Trust is already showing disdain for its customers – we have just received a letter at Gas Street Basin. The electricity bollards are to be changed to ‘smart meters’. The present system of pre-paid cards is to be replaced with a digital system of customer identification and personal identification number (PIN). We have received a complicated four-page letter explaining that we need to read and ‘understand’ the ‘Activate Power Procedure’. Well I can read most things but not sure that I can understand much that goes on nowadays. It continues by saying that ‘At present we are still working on the internet-based customer payment portal. Therefore you will be invoiced for the electricity you have used until the payment portal is in place’. Now who do you think is going to assess how much electricity we have used and the cost? At the moment we use about £5 a week of electricity, I wonder what the new costs will be. With the present system we take one card from our stock, put it in the meter with a sharp confident push and the credit appears on the meter. If I unplug the connection the amount remains and I can reconnect at any time. Now I have to: ● ‘Plug craft into chosen socket noting the ‘socket number’ e.g. ‘101’. ● Go to ‘Control Keypad’ ● Enter ‘#’ followed by my seven digit account (customer) number e.g. ‘1234567’ then ‘#’ ● When prompted, enter my 4 digit PIN e.g. ‘1234’ number followed by ‘#’ ● When prompted, enter the number of the socket you have plugged into e.g. ‘101’ followed by ‘#’.’ Now what could go wrong there do you think?

The electricity bollards at Gas Street Basin are to make way for ‘smart meters’. PHOTO: DAVID SCOWCROFT There’s more – ‘Unplugging your craft will cease the supply to the socket. Each time you plug in, the above process at the ’Control Keypad’ will be needed to activate power at the socket’. Still there’s more: ‘There is a precautionary measure in place to protect the electrical components from damage – there will be a delay of 3-5 minutes before the supply can be reinstated’. So in English: every time I move my boat I have to enter all the numbers again and every time the electric trips I have to wait five minutes before I can reconnect. All provided that the system works – early reports from the initial trials are not reassuring. And the highlight in all this nonsense for a system

we did not want, did not ask for and still do not want, is that: ‘There will be a small fixed charge per transaction made online’. So it is going to cost me more money, what a surprise. And for moorers like my 83-year-old neighbour who does not know what the internet is? There will be ‘a service to enable you to place credit on your web account’. For which you will pay an administration fee. Well congratulations Old Timer; you may not know what the internet is, but you now have a ‘web account’ and an extra fee charged. Welcome Mr Parry: if you thought the railways were mad wait until you get into this watery environment.

TowpaTh TiTTer we were all beginners once

WITH the cruising season now in full swing many hire boaters will be getting afloat for the first time to master the art of steering, lock operation and mooring up to mention but a few. But every year I see many newcomers struggling at locks in particular and I can’t help but wonder just what sort of tuition the hire boat operator gave them before they set sail. A few boat operators offer newcomers a DVD to watch in the comfort of their own homes to make sure their first few hours on board will not be a major culture shock. There are a few boatyard staff who will accompany the boater some distance up the cut and then hop on their bike and cycle back to the yard. But I know there are some operators whose advice is basically: “You push that (tiller) to the right if you are turning left and vice versa if you are turning right. That’s the throttle – forward to go ahead and back to reverse or stop – and don’t forget when you moor up your bows and stern are securely roped. That’s about it. Have a nice time and see you in a week…” This brings me to the seasoned boater – either a boat owner or regular hirer. Many boat owners began their boating on hire cruisers; sadly these seasoned boaters seem to forget that once upon a time they, too, were rookies and were glad of advice. But nowadays the days of common courtesy I experienced when I began boating over 40 years ago seem to have all but disappeared. Too often have I heard the experienced boaters being downright rude to newcomers struggling with a lock; their arrogance is clear as many of them blast past moored boats with expletives to match if anyone dares to ask

them to slow down. And I have often seen a boater deliberately empty a lock even though a boat is approaching which has the right of way – simply because they are dead ignorant or arrogant or both. To them wasting a lock of water doesn’t seem to worry them. Unfortunately the bulk of these errant boaters are old enough to know better – the majority seem to be 50-plus. Where oh where have the days of courtesy afloat gone?

Disgracefully condescending – with no apology

I was astounded at the quite disgraceful way the CRT (South Wales and Severn) waterways unit treated boaters at Upton-on-Severn. In true BW arrogance (yes, it still exists) boaters were bluntly told that a commercial trip boat would be using a visitor mooring pontoon to load and unload passengers thus limiting the pontoon’s use by visitors. This sparked a flood of objections from users and things reached such a pitch that the Inland Waterways Association became involved at local, regional and even national level. Not surprising because, not for the first time, the CRT didn’t consult anyone. Then, in a condescending email to objectors, a local boating business manager admitted they ‘had a point’ on the question of non-consultation – but offered no apology. This was followed up by a three page ‘interim’ statement about the moorings in which the manager admitted the local CRT had underestimated the level of opposition (which wouldn’t have occurred if folk had been consulted) and accepted that the proposals should have been published ‘more widely’.

But nowhere did the word (now seemingly alien to many in the trust) ‘sorry’ appear. Not surprisingly the interim statement, far from diffusing the matter, made it worse. Back in the good/bad old days of BW there would usually have been a comment from the waterway manager to try and appease the critics. But at Gloucester there wasn’t a squeak... For years there have been occasions all over the system where the rules of consultation have been ignored with the ensuing protests receiving assurance from management that “lessons have been learned and this sort of thing would not occur again”. I recall CRT (then BW) operations director Vince Moran giving the same assurance following the national controversy over the installation of extra bollards on lock sides where no consultation took place until the fur and feathers began to fly. Obviously nothing has changed. So what, I ask, are the trustees going to do about it?

where’s the ‘crackdown’?

In my column last month my questioning of the CRT’s commitment to sorting out the problem of continuous moorers and forcing them to move on seems to have rung a few bells. Within a fortnight I was told of a Waterways Partnership chairman chastising the waterway manager for his lethargic moorings staff who had ignored continuous moorers hogging visitor moorings, adjoining a huge retail and leisure park, for no less than two years. And likewise on the River Severn where two boats had appeared to take

up residence on a visitor moorings pontoon. From my enquiries into this so-called ‘crackdown’ – a phrase frequently used in the past by BW and, latterly, the CRT – I hear nothing more than hot air and bluster. Once again we are hearing fine words but seeing no action worthy of note.

CONTINUING our light-hearted look at life on the cut with another contribution from Harry Arnold of Waterway Images, spotted at the recent Moira Canal Festival.

off rail and on to water

Welcome to the CRT’s new chief executive, Richard Parry, who joins the trust this month just a year after it was launched. Mr Parry has had wide experience for over 10 years in senior roles in transport (mainly rail) and infrastructure development. More recently he has been leading First Group’s highly successful Hull Trains. Less well known is the fact that he headed up First’s 2012 bid for the West Coast Main Line franchise which appeared to be somewhat problematic although, in fairness, the finger of suspicion was firmly pointed at the civil servants. Nonetheless, it’s not a subject I would like on my CV. I hope he makes every effort to meet as many ordinary users as possibly in the near future. He would certainly learn more about what users (particularly boaters) think than what he may be told by his management team. At least he will not have the spectre of Defra lurking over his shoulder. ● Do you agree or disagree with Stillwater’s comments? Send your views to Talkback (see previous page).

We must stress that this is the first experimental prototype of our talking canal signpost. 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 - July 2013  

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