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1 to attempt (eg the fulfilment of an obligation) by exertion of effort; 2 archaic to strive to achieve or reach ~ vi to make an effort to do something n a serious determined effort

Northampton Branch Newsletter - November 2013

New venue for 2014 Northampton Branch Boat Gathering on the canal at Braunston Early Spring Bank Holiday Weekend Friday 2nd - Monday 5th May See Chairman’s Jottings on page 7 Full details and entry form in February’s Endeavour

ADOPTION CERTIFICATE AWARDED At the Branch’s October social meeting, the Community Waterway Adoption Certificate was presented to Branch Chairman Bernard Morton (right) by Jeff Whyatt and John Highmore of the Canal & River Trust, acknowledging the adoption of the Arm by Northampton Branch See also page 19 The IWA was founded in 1946 to campaign for the retention, restoration and development of Britain’s navigable waterways and for their fullest commercial and recreational use. The IWA is a registered Charity (no. 212342) , whose work is supported by members’ subscriptions.


AA unique opportunity to experience the delicate flavours of Indian cuisine at its best!





EDITORIA L MUSINGS The weather has been great for boating this year but when we went on our trip (the last two weeks of August) it wasn’t so hot although dry most of the time. We decided to tackle the Four Counties Ring — the first time we have done this as we moor at Stoke Bruerne and find it takes a lot of time to get any distance when crew members are still both working full time. But my brother and sister-in-law suggested they move the boat to a point where we could take over and thus allow us to see a different part on the country from the water. So we gratefully accepted their offer and they duly cruised Lady Eleanor to Great Haywood where we assumed command and began our two weeks on the Ring. We headed north, where the Trent and Mersey is very industrial from Stone until you get past Stoke-on-Trent, then the countryside returns. We arrived at Harecastle Tunnel about 3.45 to join the end of a 13-boat queue. After the tunnel keeper had got eight of these on their way, he assured us that he would get us through that evening - and he did. We moored up just after the first lock at about 6pm. The following day we went through 25 locks, most of them duplicated. We pulled over for some lunch but the towpath was overgrown and it was only when I went on the front deck to eat my lunch that I noticed a wasp nest just in front of the bow — I had hammered in a mooring pin about a metre away from it! I moved the boat very quickly and finished lunch on the move… Meanwhile we had noticed a canalside Italian restaurant advertised at Wheelock but when we got there it had closed down — another lost business on the canals. Through Middlewich and turned onto the Wardle Canal which is the shortest canal in the country being only 47 metres long (154 feet). It was built in 1829 so that the navigation authority of the Trent and Mersey Canal could maintain control over the junction. The Shropshire Union Canal (Middlewich Branch) connects Middlewich to Barbridge Junction and the canal’s main line. This branch is completely rural, with lovely moorings overlooking an undulating valley landscape. The Shropshire Union Canal Society has done a lot of work on the mooring areas, such as picnic tables and disposable BBQ stands (this might be something we could do on the Northampton Arm). It has to be said, though, the moorings are difficult as there is a submerged ledge along the canal and you can’t just moor up anywhere without being about three feet from the bank and rubbing against concrete below water. The Staffs and Worcester Canal has a very narrow section just east of Autherley Junction (once known as ‘Pendeford Rockin’ after a local farm), which has designated passing places cut out of the stone. We were lucky — we didn’t meet anyone on this stretch. The canal runs parallel with the M6 for several miles but still open countryside. We had a really enjoyable cruise with no major dramas over the two weeks but ideally needed more time to explore the surrounding areas. Why do the hire companies say you can do the Ring in a week? We did meet one couple doing this and they were starting at 7.30 and not stopping until about 6pm. That’s not relaxing!


DIARY DATES December 7th 5pm

Illuminated Boats and Carols by The Canal Museum, Stoke Bruerne. Christmas Market at The Navigation pub all weekend. 8th 10am IWA Northampton Branch Task Party on the Northampton Arm, meet at Lock 14, park at David Wilson site. For more details contact or phone 01480 896689. 10th 8pm IWA Northampton Branch Meeting at The Walnut Tree Inn, Blisworth. Speaker: David Blagrove — Scrapings from the Barrels Bottom.

January 14th 8pm IWA Northampton Branch Meeting at The Walnut Tree Inn, Blisworth. Speaker: Richard Thomas — The Stort Story updated . 21st 10am IWA Northampton Branch Task Party on the Northampton Arm, meet at Lock 7, CRT storage area. For more details contact phone 01480 896689.

February 11th 8pm IWA Northampton Branch Meeting at The Walnut Tree Inn, Blisworth. Speaker: Tim Coghlan — Evelyn’s War, The Movie. 23rd 10am IWA Northampton Branch Task Party on the Northampton Arm, meet at Lock 17, Far Cotton, Northampton. For more details contact phone 01480 896689. March 11th 8pm IWA Northampton Branch Meeting at The Walnut Tree Inn, Blisworth. AGM followed by speaker: Tony Conder — Gloucester Docks.

April 8th 8pm

IWA Northampton Branch Meeting at The Walnut Tree Inn, Blisworth. Speaker: James Griffin — Wyvern Shipping Company.

Buckingham Canal Society Work Party Dates December 8th, 12th, 26th, January 9th, 12th, 23rd, February 6th, 9th, 20th, March 6th, 9th, 20th, Further details contact Athina Beckett on 01908 662127 IWA Northampton Branch now has a Facebook page. It’s at https:// Members will fin d posts there about our talks, work party dates and much more, as well as being able to use it for discussion purposes. We’d like to hear your views. We also have a Twitter account @northamptoniwa where you can leave us a message or engage in discussio n on what’s happenin g.



Stowe Hill Wharf, Heyford Lane, Weedon, Northants NN7 4SF Tel: 01327 341365 Proprietor Robert Gudgeon welcomes you to Stowe Hill Workshop 

Full Repaints


Hull Blacking/Stern Gear


Inspection and Repairs


Engine Repairs and Maintenance


Complete Fit-Out and Woodwork Alterations


Plumbing Installations and Repairs


Electrical Installations and Repairs


Stockists of Morris Oils and Grease


Full range of Batteries always available (please let us know your requirements)

By road we are easily found, a few yards off the A5 at Stowe Hill towards Nether Heyford. By boat close to Bridge 26


Branch Chairman’s Jottings by Bernard Morton


After two well-documented false starts in 2011-12 of our annual Branch Boat Gathering at Becket’s Park, it has been decided, having listened to members’ observations, to give this event a totally “new look” next year by moving it to Braunston over the customary early Spring Bank Holiday period. Becket’s Park on the River Nene at Northampton has always been the natural home of the Gathering but now it is felt the time is right to “test the water” elsewhere. This will not be the first occasion the Gathering has been held at a canal location though. Blisworth or Stoke Bruerne have acted as contingency locations should river conditions present difficulties at Becket’s Park but I believe this option, at Blisworth, has only been taken up once and that was many years ago. Tim Coghlan, who runs Braunston Marina, has already voiced his enthusiasm for a Braunston event and will give it his full co-operation. Planning is in the very early stages and it is too soon to go into details, but dates have been fixed – Friday 2nd May to Monday 5 th May 2014 – so put these in your diaries now and resolve to come along. We feel the new location will afford the ideal opportunity for those with boats based on the canals to join us in greater numbers. However, the Boat Gathering sub-committee now urgently needs new members – sadly, two long-serving members feel they have reached their “sell by” date and have decided it is high time for other, young and active volunteers to come on board. I certainly endorse this view because for too long the same stalwart team has soldiered on. Thus at this stage can I urge a few of you to step forward and join the sub-committee. Although it is a serious business organising the Gathering, essentially it is a “fun” committee, very informal, not in the least bit daunting but most rewarding. Please contact me if you are interested. Meanwhile, the big news is that Northampton is being considered as a possible venue for the IWA’s annual Waterways Festival in 2015 although I understand it probably won’t be promoted under that particular banner. If this does happen, it will tie in nicely with the event the Branch is planning to stage to mark the 200 th anniversary of the opening of the Northampton Arm. Northampton Borough Council, the Environment Agency, the Canal & River Trust and other relevant bodies are all in favour of a “Becket’s Park spectacular”, so watch this space.

8 BRANCH SOCIAL MEETINGS. It is pleasing to be able to report that attendances at our monthly Branch Social Meetings are far better than they were this time last year. I’m not sure of the reason for this – maybe fewer people have been away cruising or on holiday generally – but please keep coming along to these informal get-togethers. We always have a wide variety of speakers, most of whom present illustrated talks (certainly not lectures!) covering a range of waterways topics and are well worth listening to and seeing. Note the dates: the second Tuesday of each month between September and May inclusive at 8pm at the Walnut Tree Inn at Blisworth (see page 34). Graham Treagus has been organising the speakers’ rota for many, many years now and once again sincere thanks are due to him for his continuing efforts. It isn’t an easy task getting speakers and so if you have any ideas to help him along, then please contact either him or myself (details on inside back page). I’m also glad to report that the annual Branch Dinner at the Heart of England pub at Weedon in mid October attracted a near capacity attendance. It was a most enjoyable evening all round with the raffle doing well thanks to some very worthwhile prizes on offer. NORTHAMPTON ARM ADOPTION. At the October social evening I had the honour to receive, on your behalf, the Certificate of Adoption from the Canal & River Trust officially confirming our adoption of the Northampton Arm. Two CRT representatives – Jeff Whyatt (SE Waterways Manager) and John Highmore (Volunteer Co-ordinator SE Waterways) – were in attendance with Jeff handing over the certificate to me and confirming that our Arm adoption is to date the largest and, arguably, the most ambitious canal adoption venture in the country. So now is the time to stand up and be counted! Thus far, under the enthusiastic leadership of David Higgins, the Branch’s Canal Adoption Officer, several Task Parties have been held, concentrating on the area around Lock 17 (bottom lock) at Far Cotton, and the result has been highly satisfying. Loads of unsightly rubbish and undergrowth has been cleared, especially at the river approach to the lock where a third mooring bollard has emerged from the weeds and grass which means a 70 footer can now lay alongside the quay heading rather than stick out across the channel with better access for all concerned. Please support these Task Parties as often as you can. Details on the diary page. ENDEAVOUR. Editor Tony Clarke tells me that the new look August Endeavour has been well received, especially by advertisers who have com-

9 mented upon the cleaner and sharper appearance overall. As I explained in the last issue, the printing and distribution of the newsletter is now handled by IWA Head Office and we have already noticed a reduction in costs, especially with postal charges thanks to the mailing-in-bulk arrangements the Association has with the Post Office. PHOTOGRAPHIC COMPETITION. Sadly we cannot at the moment take this competition forward as we did not receive sufficient entries of worthwhile quality and certainly not enough to produce a Branch calendar. Quite frankly I find this rather surprising as all we seem to be aware of these days is people snapping away on their camera phones as well as on more conventional, sophisticated bits of kit. To those of you who did enter, very many thanks. We will hold your entries for automatic entry should the competition be resurrected in 2014. More on this later. GOING WITH THE FLOW! It has certainly been a good summer and autumn for being out and about on our rivers and canals. For once we got a summer free from floods on the Nene but ironically, in mid October, I fell foul with another Branch member when working our boats back from the canals to Middle Nene CC, by a flash flood at Thrapston. Everything was going smoothly until we got to Islip Lock – the last before home base at Titchmarsh Mill – when the river level suddenly rose, preventing one boat from actually leaving the lock and certainly both of us from clearing the notoriously low footbridge 50 or so yards downstream of the lock. By this time, EA people were on the scene opening up sluices, so there was no alternative but to reverse out of the lock, turn and clear Thrapston’s arched bridge to manoeuvre (not without a struggle) into the moorings close to the bridge. “Such fun,” announced one member of the party gaily, but it’s the type of fun I would rather be without! What the episode did demonstrate all too clearly, however, were the vagaries of the river, which demands utmost respect: how what had been a relatively docile stream can suddenly erupt into a racing current with little or no warning, presenting navigation difficulties totally unknown on the canals. Apart from a few scrapes to the paintwork, all ended well and we managed to get the boats back to their moorings two days later. But it certainly was an hour to remember. All that remains now is to wish all of you a happy and peaceful Festive Season. Keep on boating and exploring the waterways in whatever way you choose – and hope to see as many of you as possible at our social events and Task Parties.


NEW BRANCH MEMBERS ARE WELCOMED We extend a warm welcome to the following IWA members who have joined Northampton Branch since the last issue of Endeavour

NEW MEMBERS Mr S & Mrs M Carter, Northampton Mr T Collins, Newnham, Daventry Mrs H Pridgeon, Towcester Mr P R Day, Kettering Mr R Hodgson, Raunds, Wellingborough Mr P & Mrs C Burnet, Thrapston Mrs S & Mr D J Clarke, Rothwell Mr M & Mrs E Smith, Duston Northampton

MEMBERS WHO HAVE MOVED TO THE BRANCH Mr & Mrs S J & D M Morris, St Marin, Guernsey Mrs E M & Mr C A Dawson, Braunston Mr D & Mrs S Cope, Bedford Mr P Platten, Braunston

We look forward to meeting you all at Branch events


BLAC KSMITH in Tug Store at tunnel entrance, Stoke Bruerne Wrought Iron Work for Boat or Garden

For further details, either visit or ring O1604 859726 / 07761 833049


More can now live at marina The Northampton Chronicle and Echo carried the following report in their issue of 3rd October: Plans to address the “urgent need” for more residential moorings at the £2.5 million marina in Becket’s Park have been approved by councillors. The Environment Agency had applied for permission to allow 18 people to live permanently on the site near Northampton town centre, an increase on the current figure of six. The agency said it had a waitin g list at the marina and this move would help with demand. The proposal was unanimously approved at a meeting of Northampton Borough Council’s planning committee (in early October). Councillor David Palethorpe (Lab, Billing) said: “To have an extra 12 residential berths would increase the security of the whole place. It would make it more alive and what a marina should be.” The marina currently has 82 moorings and any money made on its operatio n by the Environment Agency is spent on improvements to the waterways.


An opportunity to buy complete magazine yearly sets in original binders, all very good condition £10.00 per binder. Waterways World - 1980 to 2006. Canal and Riverboat - 1984 to 1995. If you need any more information please E mail rgbarcos70@btinte or phone 07889 109939.

GRA ND JU NC TI ON BOA T C OM PA NY Boat Building and Fitting, Marine Engineers, Electricians, Agents for Yanmar Diesel Engines CANAL MAINTENANCE YARD, BLISWORTH ARM, NORTHAMPTON NN7 3EF Tel: 01604-858043

12 BRANCH COMMITTEE MEETINGS REVIEW September The Chairman welcomed Steve Miles and John Pomfret to the meeting. Steve explained that he would be moving out of the area but would like to attend as an observer; John was happy to be co-opted onto the committee Urgent Business Crick Tunnel anniversary celebrations. An event likely to be held in August 2014 but details and location unclear at moment. Agreed we should offer support and practical help where possible. Committee to be kept informed. National for Northampton 2015. Preliminary discussions have been held with John Lines (EA Manager Northampton Marina) and Dave Pullen (IWA Festivals) regarding holding the National Festival at Northampton in 2015 to celebrate 200th Anniversary of Northampton Arm. Adoption of Northampton Arm Two Task Parties had been successfully completed at Lock 17. The lock had been repainted and a massive amount of weed clearance had been achieved. Vegetation needs cutting back around the crane and at narrows where lift bridge used to be. CRT were very supportive and the committee were much encouraged by this. Attempts to contact other local organisations had been difficult during the summer but more effort will be made during autumn period to contact interested parties. Branch Meetings Speakers for future Branch social meetings were confirmed. Members can contact Graham Treagus if they know of any suitable speakers

(contact details on inside back cover).

Boat Gathering Lack of interest forced the 2013 Boat Gathering to be cancelled Steve Miles told the committee that some see the Branch too focused on the River Nene, Northampton Arm and Stoke Bruerne ignoring the northern parts of its area. He then suggested that Tim Coghlan should be approached to see if he had any suggestions in the Braunston area. All agreed this was a good plan.

13 Local Societies/Canal Partnerships etc Braunston Canal Society. It was reported that a small group of active volunteers has adopted Braunston Flight led by Chris Burton. Blisworth Canal Society and Friends of Raymond have been helping with offside clearance. Friends of Canal Museum. All efforts focused on Village at War.


Adoption of Northampton Arm Official adoption certificate still not received; hoped presentation can be organised for Branch Meeting on 8th October. The last Task Party had cleared around the crane area, cut back trees, litter picked and strimmed vegetation. Treasurer’s Report Current balance £6,116.10 Membership There are now 300 memberships with 467 members, but concern was expressed as numbers are falling slightly. The Branch should consider a marketing campaign which could include a leaflet to all marinas, chandleries, pub and restaurants in the Branch area. CRT CRT are advertising for applicants for new Boating Sub-Group. Lynda Payton urged those present to consider this. New Visitor Mooring arrangements at Stoke Bruerne were discussed. Geoff Wood expressed concerns and will highlight it at the next User Group Meeting. Local Societies/Canal Partnerships etc Friends of Raymond. Working with Braunston Canal Society on offside clearance. Boats would provide access and remove vegetation. Buckingham Canal Society. Grand re-opening celebration of part of Buckingham Canal at Bourton Meadow on 26th October. Friends of Canal Museum. Village at War Weekend likely to achieve surplus of around £5k despite poor weather conditions. Illuminated Boats, Carols and Christmas Market on weekend 6th-8th December. Appeals for erecting and dismantling of market stalls and also for illuminated boats, for which, as always, there will be a prize. Illuminated Boats and Carols Saturday from 4.30.

14 November

Matters Arising

Branch Dinner. It was reported that 43 people had enjoyed the evening at the Heart of England, Weedon. Criticisms from last year had been addressed and one this year will be acted upon. Urgent Business Crick 200th Anniversary Celebrations. Sandie Morton is to attend a planning meeting at Foxton on 11th November. National event for Northampton 2015. Bernard Morton (BM) and John Pomfret (JP) had attended a meeting (led by Dave Pullen from IWA Festivals) with representatives from Northampton Borough Council (NBC), CRT and EA. BM and JP put forward a case for such an event in Northampton (possibly August Bank Holiday Weekend 2015) to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Northampton Arm opening. Next stage is for BM and JP to make a presentation at an IWA Festivals planning meeting at Coventry on 23rd November stating what the Branch is proposing and what help is needed from IWA Festivals. Northampton Arm CRT will investigate the possibility of storage at Gayton Yard for the Branch’s use. It was agreed to purchase industrial brush cutters/strimmers and necessary safety equipment. Branch Membership Details of a new initiative from Head Office to boost membership nationally was presented. New members get first year’s free membership in the hope they continue with, and pay for, second and subsequent years. A trial will be held at Kingfisher Marina, Yardley Gobion, where 72 boat owners will get membership leaflets with their January mooring fees invoice. Boat Gathering 2014 Tim Coghlan has generously offered the site used for the Historic Boat Rally, which includes moorings, hard standing and car parking. Planning Matters It was reported that planning permission was granted in August for flats on land near Lock 17 at Far Cotton but no start date is known. Steve Miles asked if an archaeological survey had been done as it is an historic site where a transhipment basin was located. Any Other Business It was also reported that seven-day mooring in the Long Pound at Stoke Bruerne was only available over 61 metres, approximately equivalent to around three boat lengths. The rest are 24 hour moorings.


Now fully open



Pump-out  Well stocked chandlery  Groceries Pay us a visit, just browse and see what we have to offer Open daily 9am –6pm ALL YEAR ROUND Tel 01327 844639 E-mail: marinachandlery

Local Crafts & Gifts THE CANAL SHOP at Stoke Bruerne Now re-opened under the new management of Sue Austin, who warmly welcomes you this Festive Season Crocheted lacework a speci ality Special offer –10% off for boaters Open Fridays, Saturdays & Sundays from 11am –3pm until the end of March Extended opening hours to be announced for the summer Contact 07760 778638 You will ind The Canal Shop opposite the Museum at Stoke Bruerne

THE WHARF INN BUGBROOKE Cornhill Lane, Bugbrooke, NN7 3QB by Bridge 36 on the Grand Union Canal

Tel: 01604 832585 FOOD SERVED EVERY DAY




Old Stager... SETS THE RECORD STRAIGHT - RIVERWISE Sorry, but I’m afraid I have been the purveyor of incorrect information for several years. Now, more certain of my facts, I hasten to set the record straight. It all revolves around how many rivers rise in Northamptonshire. It’s a question I have posed at quizzes as well as with friends and acquaintances. My answer has always been seven. However, it turns out it is NINE (that in itself must be some sort of a record). I have been put right in a roundabout way by a friend who gleaned the new and real figure from David Saint, a regular voice on BBC Radio Northampton as well as contributing a weekly feature, largely on local history and allied topics, to the Northampton Chronicle and Echo. I don’t know whether he heard it or read it but my friend made a detailed note at the time then suggested, diplomatically, that I was not quite right with my facts. I now record here the revised list of the nine rivers. ONE: the Nene, rises at Naseby (north of Northampton) as well as at Arbury Hill near Badby (south of Daventry). It is usually accepted that Naseby is the principal source but this is open to discussion. TWO: Avon (that’s the Shakespeare one), also rises at Naseby. THREE: Welland, rises at Sibbertoft, just in Northamptonshire on the Leicestershire border to the south of Husbands Bosworth. FOUR: Tove, rises in the Sulgrave area in the south of the county, crosses over the GU at Stoke Bruerne Bottom Lock to join the Gt Ouse at Cosgrove. FIVE: Gt Ouse, rises in the Wappenham area of south Northamptonshire before meandering around Brackley, then onto Buckingham to rejoin Northamptonshire at Old Stratford. SIX: Cherwell, apparently rises in a cellar at Cherwell House at Charwelton, a couple of miles or so south of Badby on the A361 to Banbury. SEVEN: Leam (as in Leamington Spa), rises at Hellidon a little to the north of Charwelton.

17 EIGHT: Ise (sometimes known as the Ise Brook), rises at Great Oxendon to the south of Market Harborough to join the Nene (via Kettering) at Wellingborough near to Lower Wellingborough Lock. NINE: Jordan, rises at Braybrooke (just inside the county boundary near Market Harborough) to join the Welland, after a short journey, at Harborough. Where I have been going wrong concerns the Gt Ouse and Jordan. Because the Gt Ouse runs through Buckingham, I misread the streams to the south-west of the town on the relevant OS map and concluded the river rose in Buckinghamshire. Wrong, it curls around and wanders north back into Northamptonshire not far from where the Tove starts its journey. The Jordan? Well, this is the one that completely got away from me despite having crossed the river several times when journeying between Market Harborough and Desborough by bus (as you do). I am afraid I always assumed I was in Leicestershire at the time, which proves it’s never too late to learn and stand corrected. Its watery route in Northamptonshire is brief but sufficient to allow it county status. There is even a sign announcing its presence and offering a photo opportunity when crossing it. So now you know, but further observations on this subject are welcome. It seems that Northamptonshire is as richly blessed by embryo rivers as it was once criss-crossed by obscure railway lines in the hey-day of steam. It would also be interesting to learn if any other UK landlocked county is the source of more than nine rivers. ON A VAGUELY connected thought process, I have been asked as to why Pineham is now identified as a place on the relatively new Swan Valley industrial estate bordering the Northampton Arm toward Rothersthorpe. Consulting my Cassini Historical Map dated 1919-1920 (matching the modern OS Landranger sheet 152), reveals that Pineham Barn was situated midway between Kislingbury and Rothersthorpe. This, of course, follows today’s custom of using old property, estates and village names as towns are expanded and new ones created. Milton Keynes is a prime example. On my Cassini map, the Grand Union is the Grand Junction canal, Flore is Floore and the canal cut connecting with the barracks at Weedon is clearly shown. Finally, I now note that the housing development by Lock 14 on the Arm - the one we canallers know as Wootton Lock - is described by the builders in their publicity as being at Pineham Lock. Do CRT know about this name change? What are the protocols involved - or does one just do it?


LOTTERY MONEY BOOST FOR STOKE BRUERNE The Canal & River Trust issued the following press release on 23rd October:

Visitors to the pretty canal side village of Stoke Bruerne in Northamptonshire will benefit from new interpretation boards and a new interactive visitor experience following a major cash inje ction from the lo ttery. The Canal & River Trust, working in partnership with the Stoke Bruerne Canal Partnership, has been awarded £67,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund towards the cost of in stalling new visitor informatio n boards, creating new family activity packs and training volunteers to give guided tours and work with local groups and schools on a film and photography project to record local people 's memories of the waterways. James Clifton, Enterprise Manager for the Canal & River Trust, said: “Stoke Bruerne is one of the lo veliest places on the waterways, attracting thousands of visitors and boaters to this stretch of the Grand Union Canal every year. “We are delighted to have been awarded this money from the Heritage Lottery Fund. It will allow us to tell the story of this wonderful historic site through a series of panels dotted along the canal, providing a more interactive visitor experience and better explain the waterway’s rich industrial heritage.” Helen Westla ke, Chair of the Stoke Bruerne Canal Partnership, said: “It’s wonderful news that we can provid e new interpretation boards, allowing people to learn more about their local waterway. We have so much to offer visitors at Stoke Bruerne, whether you enjoy looking round the museum, taking a boat trip into Blisworth Tunnel or simply relaxing with a drink in one of the waterside pubs. It is quite simply a perfect canal village and we are very proud of it!” Anyone wishin g to volu nteer as heritage tour guides or get more involved can get in touch with the Canal & River Trust by emailing or calling 03030 40 40 40. The IWA may not agree with opinions expressed in this magazine, but encourages publication as a matter of interest. Nothing printed may be construed as policy or an official announcement unless so stated, otherwise the Association accepts no liability for any matter in the magazine. Neither the editor nor IWA can accept responsibility for any errors or omissions in the magazine, and opinions stated are those of individual contributors. We will, however, gladly publish corrections if notified. The editor reserves the right to shorten or modify articles published in the interests of clarity or space.



Quo Vadis ? How’s your schoolboy Latin? (asks Steve Miles). About as good as mine, I suspect – so let me translate: Where are you going? I can apply that question here in your latest Endeavour twice over! Let me explain: I’ll begin by assuming that if you’re reading this, you have to be a member of the IWA; moreover, a member of the Northampton Branch. And that presupposes that you’re interested in our waterways. If not, why are you here? You will be well aware, then, of the radical changes that have been taking place over the last year or so in the way our waterways are managed. No, don’t turn the page! This isn’t another analysis of how good (or bad) the change to a Trust is going to be. It’s aimed at you – yes YOU. Those national changes are being reflected in big changes here on the ground in our Branch. With the new impetus from CRT towards voluntary involvement in our canals, you’ll know that the Branch has formally adopted the Northampton Arm. That’s one thing – another is the complete re-think of how and where we hold the Branch’s traditional annual Boat Gathering; you’ll see more about that elsewhere in this issue. And we’ve been approached by IWA Head Office to help them by staffing the national IWA presence at next year’s Braunston Historic Boat Show. That’s a lot of added time and effort to be covered out of our resources. So my question could in one sense be aimed at the Branch as a whole – where are we going? But maybe I’ve really answered that already – by taking on these added commitments, we’ve nailed our colours to the mast and said that we are taking on in our area the new challenges presented by the changes occurring on a bigger scale around us. So – now, can I aim that question at you? You can view these added obligations that the Branch has adopted in two ways – and believe me, the prophets of doom among us are already gathering their dark thunderclouds of doubt and despair! “We can’t get enough volunteers to support what we do now! People don’t come to Branch meetings, they’ll never turn out to help us...” I’ve heard that from people who should know better. Yes, you can look at things like caring for four and a half miles of canal and seventeen locks as too big a commitment; you can think that trying to revitalise the Gathering in a new location is just too much effort, or finding enough people to cope with IWA HQ’s marquee at Braunston is beyond our capabilities. OR, you can look on these things not as a burden, but as a challenge, an opportunity. Rather than apathy, you can apply enthusiasm – rather than complacency: ‘someone else’ll take care of it’; you can join in, get involved, become a part of the group that is making the waterways in our patch a thing to be proud of, something we can welcome visitors from both home and abroad to with a sense of honourable

21 achievement in what WE have done to make things that way. This Branch boasts a list of over 460 members! If ten per cent of those members were actively involved in supporting the Branch in its endeavours, we would be achieving our aims with ease, with enough people that each of us would find our personal commitment at a comfortable, relaxed level that would give us all the satisfaction of a job well done. So – are YOU going to be a part of that ten per cent? Are YOU going to get out of your armchair and join us in the fun and fresh air as we clean up the Arm and repaint the lock gates? Are YOU going to turn out and help us plan and organise the 2014 Gathering, come and erect the marquee, take a turn behind the bar or do a stint on site security to help make the event the kind of success it has been in the past? Are YOU going to stand up and volunteer to do an hour or two in the IWA marquee at Braunston in June, supporting not just the Branch but the Association’s national campaign? I’ll ask you again:

Despite the weather, Stoke Bruerne’s annual Village at War is another success Visitors flocked in their thousands to the annual Village at War event at Stoke Bruerne on 14th-15th September and despite a weather threatened Sunday the weekend proved a great success. The festivities started on Friday evening in the canalside Navigation Inn, continued through a very busy Saturday complete with Swing Dance in the evening and finished off on Sunday with a special church service attended by Royal British Legion, Veterans, Army Cadets and Military Re-enactors followed by firepower displays and battle re-enactments throughout the afternoon.

Continued on next page

22 Sadly Sunday's planned Spitfire fly-past from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight had to be cancelled due to the weather, but not just at Stoke Bruerne, all of its scheduled displays that day. Musical entertainment and 40s glamour was provided by George Formby (aka Paul Casper); Lola Lamour and the Market Harborough Ukele Band performing underneath the dry arch of the canal bridge where a dance floor had also been erected. Winston Churchill (aka Peter Austwick) and Field Marshal Montgomery (aka Alan Oliver) were very much in evidence inspecting the troops as usual. And‌for the first time, King George VI and his wife were out and about talking to their loyal subjects. This year the 40s themed weekend had lots of new attractions for visitors including a display of vintage wedding dresses, Women’s League of Health and Beauty fitness routines and a Wartime Produce & Craft Show. Make do and mend was order of the day and the village defences were patrolled by the local Home Guard.

All photos taken by Lynda Payton


Gathering Plaques for Sale  Because of the cancellation of 2013’s Branch Gathering, we still have a number of memento plaques for sale. The plaques also mark the adoption of the Northampton Arm by the Branch and are therefore of specialist historical significance.

 Also available are plaques from previous Gatherings.  Plaques are priced at £4.00 each and are available from Sandie Morton, IWA Branch secretary, at 14 Baker Street, Gayton, Northampton NN7 3EZ.

 Please contact Sandie before ordering to confirm availability and arrange delivery details by phoning 01604 858294; mobile 07917 163860; or email

2012 design

Marking the Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics

2013 design

Marking the Adoption of the Northampton Arm


Branch Dinner was enjoyed by all The Annual Branch Dinner on the 19th October at The Heart of England, Weedon, was another successful event with the raffle raising ÂŁ137 which is being donated to the Braunston Canal Society to help towards their work on the canal from the tunnel to the junction.

25 Since the Society’s formation, volunteers have achieved great improvements to the canal and towpath. The Society doesn’t get any funding, so this donation will help in many ways. Raffle prizes were kindly gifted by Branch members on the night and also by ABC Leisure Group (Gayton Marina) and Robert Gudgeon at Stowe Hill Workshop. We sincerely thank everybody for their support.

Receiving Endeavour electronically To help keep the production costs of Endeavour within acceptable and affordable limits, your Branch Committee again requests that you consider receiving the newsletter electronically, thus saving on the most costly aspect—namely, postage charges. Some of you, of course, have already signed up to accept the electronic version, which means that you see the illustrations in colour, but the numbers are still a low percentage of our total Branch membership. We realise there will always be many of you who will prefer to remain with the printed version, but those who wish to switch, then please email Geoff Wood at and he will do the necessary.


IWA Northampton Branch web site Please visit it regularly to see any updates


Buckingham Canal Society Buckingham Canal Society (BCS) made a pie ce of local history on Saturday 26 th of October, when local MP, the Rt. Hon John Bercow, opened a restored section of the town’s 212-year-old canal. The event attracted an impressive attendance, with approximately 250 people celebrating this great achievement.  

Disused since 1944, the newly restored 400 metre le ngth of th e Bu ckingha m Arm of the Grand Union Canal has been re-lined, rewatered and replanted at a cost of about £95,000. The re-opening ceremony commenced with a trip by a specially built canoe John Bercow cutting the ribbon which was the first to officially open the restored stretch of canal. recorded craft to Pictured to his left is Athina Beckett, navigate this section Buckingham Canal Society Chairman of the canal since 1902. The canoe, built by two local men and previously used to raise money for the Florence Nightingale Hospice Charity, was carrying a pair of scissors that were handed to John Bercow who used them to cut a ribbon and officially open this first stretch of the Buckingham Canal. Mr Bercow gave a rousing speech which thanked many of the local councillors who were in attendance. He also eloquently explain ed the importance and benefits of canal restoratio n and praised BCS for their work thus far. Following this, Society Chairman Athina Beckett gave a brief history of the canal and thanked the volunteers who had worked on the site. She also made special mention of Nick Hawes, the la ndowner, and his strong support for this project and the aims of the BCS. The whole project would not have been possible without the support of the funders: WREN (Waste Recycling Environmental Limited), Aylesbury Vale Community Foundation and Buckinghamshire County Council Local Area Forum. There was an informative display showing what the Buckingham Canal Society has been working on recently and several new members were signed up. Cake, tea and coffee were very popular and raised money for the BCS. Hun-

27 dreds of bottle s of ‘Buckingham Canal Water’ were sold, a specially branded beer made by Buckingham Brewery in partnership with BCS to raise awareness and funds for the charity. As an added bonus a cheque for £800 was presented to the Society on the canal boat after the ceremony. This was presented by Buckingham Table members Kevan Ramanauckis and Matthew Dymott who were part of the team who raised the money at their Midsummer FestivAle earlier this year. Contact: Terry Cavender, Buckin gham Canal Society, 07976 629440. Background detail and history The funding for this proje ct was from several sources. A grant of £7,698 was received from Aylesbury Vale Community Chest, a grants scheme for community projects run jointly by Aylesbury Vale District Council (AVDC) and Vale of Ayle sbury Housing Trust. This was used as seed funding to unlock a grant of £69,985 from WREN. Further to this BCS received £2,200 from Buckinghamshire County Council’s Local Area Forum (LAF) to extend the footpath improvement works alo ng the whole length of the site. The Society are indebted to all the funders for their support of this project. To find out more informatio n about them please visit their websites: WREN (Waste Recycling Environmental Limited) - Aylesbury Vale Community Chest – CChest Buckinghamshire CC LAF - All of these grants follow substantia l contin uing support from residents in and around Buckingham as well as along the line of the former waterway. None of this achievement would have been possible without the hard work and dedication of BCS volunteers as well as the support of the Socie ty's members and partners to whom the Socie ty is very grateful. The canoe chosen to be part of the re-opening ceremony was built by two local men who, in 2012, took on the challenge of building their own canoe and doing a sponsored paddle from King’s Lynn to Buckingham alo ng the River Gt.Ouse. . Kevan Ramanauckis and Matthew Dymott from Buckingham Table with an £800 cheque for the Buckingham Canal Society Photos by Richard Lewis



SUPPLIES Northamptonshire We are a family run, customer friendly business based adjacent to Bridge 32 at Nether Heyford. Our service point is clear of moored boats making your stop quick and easy. We offer the following services:

 DIESEL – always competively priced  PUMP OUT – no meter clock here  BLUE TOILET FLUID  ODORLOS – organic waste tank treatment

 CALOR GAS – all sizes of bottled gas including Camping Gaz.

 SOLID FUELS – all types of smokeless fuel or coal. Plus firelighters, sticks and logs.  CHARNWOOD STOVES – all sizes of multi-fuel stoves with or without boilers  MORRIS OILS – popular grades of engine oil plus water resistant grease  FUEL SET FUEL CONDITIONER

Most Major Credit Cards Accepted. Open: 8.00am to 5.30pm Monday to Friday, 8.00am to 1.00pm on Saturdays

Fred Tarry Bridge Cottage Furnace Lane Nether Heyford Northampton, NN7 3JY

Telephone/Fax: 01327-341202


01604 862428

RECYCLING REMINDER The Branch recycles ink jet cartridges and mobile phones to raise cash to help local projects. Please bring them along to Branch meetings or ring 01604 767212 to arrange collection. Please no Epson ink tanks.


Carols on the Canal at Stoke Bruerne A magical celebration of Christmas on the canal… Take a boat trip on the Grand Union Canal, listen to Christmas carols sung by local school children on the waterside. Join in the carol singing, watch a procession of illuminated boats, Calling all boaters - why not take a cruise to Stoke Bruerne for the weekend of 7th8th December for Carols on the Canal and Christmas Market at the Navigation pub – and decorate your boat with lights to add to the seasonal spectacle. Prize for best illuminated boat! Join in the carol singing or the illuminated boat procession and grab some Christmas gifts at the canalside market and gift shop. Mulled wine, hot soup and roast chestnuts will be on hand to keep out the winter chill and there will be a Festive Disco on Saturday evening at The Navigation PH and the market and gift shops will be open all weekend. The Carols and Illuminated Boats event takes place on Saturday around 4.30pm onwards. Any boaters wanting to join in the parade should email to register and for more information. All in all, the perfect start to your family's Christmas celebrations. We look forward to seeing you there! Organised by The Friends of The Canal Museum, The Canal Museum, The Navigation PH, The Boat Inn PH, other local businesses, villagers and schoolchildren.

MUSEUM CLOSED THIS WINTER — HOPEFULLY CAFÉ & SHOP WILL STAY OPEN The Canal Museum at Stoke Bruerne will be closed over the winter for installation of new lighting and other work to upgrade the building, including new ceilings and floors. A grant from the Arts Council, with additional funding from the Friends of The Canal Museum and Northampton IWA, has also enabled the replacement of the gallery lighting with new state of the art energy efficient display lighting. However, it is hopeful that the café and shop will be open as usual on Wednesdays to Sundays in the winter period between 11am -3pm.






Grand Union, Oxford & Leics Canals Rivers Nene and Thames RING: 07889 10 99 39 RGB ARCOS@BTINTERNET.COM

HIGH HOUSE MARINA LTD High House Wharf, Heyford Lane, Weedon, Northants NN7 4SF OUR SMALL MARINA (ONLY 24 BOATS) IS A VERY FRIENDLY PLACE TO BE MOORED, HENCE OUR CLIENTS TEND TO STAY PUT Our car park is quite secure and well hidden from the road WE D O N O W AN D A G AI N H A VE A V A CA N C Y, SO W H Y NOT GI VE US A CA LL ? Contact Phil Gardner on 01327 349519, E-mail:




All advertisements must comply with the requirements of the Trades Descriptions Act and avoid misrepresentation of goods offered for sale. The Business Advertisements (Disclosure) Order 1977 requires that businesses seeking to sell goods must clearly indicate this in an advertisement.

COMMERCIAL RATES (suggested donations) 1/4 Page (box) £12.00 1/2 Page (box) £25.00 Full Page £40.00 Discount of 10% for 4 issues Other sizes by arrangement

CLASSIFIEDS (suggested donations) £1.50 for 22 words, 15p each additional word £3.50 for box around classified advertisement (nb. telephone numbers count as one word) £3.50 for photographs

BRANCH SOCIAL MEETINGS Regular Branch Social Meetings are held on the second Tuesday of each month from September to May inclusive at

THE WALNUT TREE INN, BLISWORTH at 8pm All members and non-members welcome. Food and drink available


Tuesday, 10th December Speaker : David Blagrove — Scrapings from the Barrels Bottom Tuesday, 14th January Speaker: Richard Thomas — The Stort Story Tuesday, 11th February Speaker: Tim Coghlan — Evelyn’s War, The Movie Tuesday, 11th March AGM followed by Speaker: Tony Conder — Gloucester Docks The next edition of Endeavour will be published February 2014


WHO’S WHO IN NORTHAMPTON BRANCH 2013/2014 Branch Meetings

Chairman Bernard Morton 07785 375787 E-mail: bernard.morton

Graham Treagus

Branch Secretary

Membership Secretary & Planning Officer

E-mail: graham.treagus

Sandie Morton E-mail: sandie.morton

Geoff Wood E-mail: geoff.wood

Deputy Chairman & Police Liaison Officer

Boat Gathering Chairman

Eric Young

Michael Butler E-mail: michael.butler

E-mail: eric.young

& Planning Officer


Northampton Arm Adoption Chairman

Alex Madisons

David Higgins

E-mail: alex.madisons

E-mail: david.higgins

Newsletter & Website Editor Tony Clarke 07939 977859 E-mail: tony.clarke

Publicity Officer Lynda Payton E-mail:lynda.payton

Boat Gathering Sub-Committee members Michael Butler (Chairman), Catriona Butler, Tony Clarke, Roger Hasdell, Alex Madisons, Steve Miles, Bernard Morton, Sandie Morton, Sam Samuells and Eric Young.

Non-Committee posts Sales: Catriona Butler 01604 473756 Archivist, Endeavour Advertising & Distribution Roger Hasdell 01604 767212

Endeavour 2013 November Issue  

Newsletter of The Inland Waterways Association, Northampton Branch