Page 1

Spring 2016


Shroppie Fly Paper

Cover image: Swan over the Shropshire Union, by Mark Welton

Shroppie Fly Paper


Spring 2016

The Editor's cut... Your editor recently spent a very enjoyable day helping the volunteers with our local adoption group, SUMBA, ‘Clean for The Queen’ in an ambitious Litter Pick-athon along the whole ten-mile length of the Middlewich Branch (plus a bit). Besides sparing Her Majesty, should she be out walking the corgis along the towpath, from the sight of the dozens of bags of litter and miscellaneous junk we collected, the volunteers could also take satisfaction from being able to ‘give something back’ to the canals we are so fortunate to have around us. There are plenty of opportunities to get involved listed in the pages of this issue, and most of them needn’t take up much of your valuable time or even be on a regular basis. For example, the participants in the Montgomery Triathlon in early May (opposite) would really appreciate some stewards for the event to help keep everyone safe and happy. Or, it would be wonderful if you could donate some homemade produce for sale at our early August lock wind (page 9), and perhaps even turn up for a half day to join our happy crew on the branch stall and help boaters through the locks. It’s sometimes easy to think that the work of IWA, whether in the branches such as Shrewsbury & North Wales or nationally, somehow looks after itself. In reality though, IWA is a membership organisation (unlike CRT) and totally reliant on its members for all its achievements. Apart from a small, mainly administrative, team at the office in Chesham, everything that IWA does is done by volunteer members. You'll see numerous appeals for help in the pages of this issue. We're very appreciative of our 'armchair members', who support IWA by being loyal members and paying their regular subscriptions. But a lot of what we would like to do as a branch can only be done by people stepping forward and being prepared to get involved – to a greater or lesser degree – in supporting our activities. We need your help – and there are opportunities to suit virtually all interests and capabilities. It's also fun! If you feel you could ‘give something back’ to the waterways, please contact any member of the branch committee (details on page 4). Michael Haig Next copy date: Friday, June 24, 2016 Spring 2016

Page 3

Shroppie Fly Paper

The Branch Committee President & Chairman

Michael Limbrey 01691 654081

Secretary & Membership Sec.

Dawn Aylwin 01691 830403

Heritage & Planning Officer

Peter Brown

Vice Chairman & Newsletter Editor

Michael Haig 07801 415573

Social Secretary

Val Haig 07976 280174

Treasurer & Welsh Liaison Officer

Alan Platt


Alan Wilding

Committee Members

David Aylwin

Gerallt Hughes

Susan Wilding

NW Region Chairman

Mike Carter

Branch Web pages

Shroppie Fly Paper Shroppie Fly Paper is the newsletter of the Shrewsbury District & North Wales Branch of The Inland Waterways Association (IWA). IWA campaigns for the conservation, use, maintenance, restoration and development of the inland waterways. For further information contact any committee member. Copy for Shroppie Fly Paper is welcome by email, on disk or in manuscript form. Photographs may be in any common computer format or as prints. Please supply a stamped addressed envelope if you require photographs to be returned. ‘Letters to the Editor’ intended for publication are invited, as are comments for the Editor’s private guidance. Copy and letters submitted for publication may be edited. The Inland Waterways Association may not agree with the opinions expressed in this branch newsletter but encourages publicity as a matter of interest. Nothing printed may be construed as official policy unless stated otherwise. The Association accepts no liability for any matter in this newsletter. Any reproduction must be acknowledged. The Inland Waterways Association is a non-profit distributing company limited by guarantee. Registered in England No 612245. Registered as a charity No 212342.

Shroppie Fly Paper

Page 4

Spring 2016

From The Steerer It's seventy years since IWA was formed. The branch marked previous silver and golden anniversaries – the 50th in 1996 saw the National Trailboat Festival at Welshpool. This year celebrations will be more muted – perhaps they are when you get older! The world of our waterways has changed so much over those years. In the earliest days Tom Rolt could not get his boat up the Llangollen as far as Ellesmere, while in the '60s Barbara Castle took away the valued 'right of navigation' but gave protection to Cruising Waterways – including the Llangollen – and to Commercial Waterways, but none to the Remainder Waterways. John Prescott's Waterways for Tomorrow marked a change in the Government's attitude (“Our waterways are a sustainable resource that can flourish. The prospects are exciting,” he wrote) and – greatest of all – CRT's takeover of somewhat under a half of the country's waterways has brought a new approach and a future assured in a way another IWA founder, Robert Aickman, could only dream of. While CRT may be on the way to becoming the Waterway Conservancy that Robert Aickman wished for, many waterways remain outside the CRT fold. IWA has been campaigning for the Environment Agency waterways to be transferred to CRT, and it is welcome news that those organisations are now talking about how that could be achieved. Our branch is of course not directly affected by this issue, but we are part of a national organisation, with members who don't only boat within branch boundaries. For this reason we included the idea when writing to newly elected MPs within our branch area last year, and again will touch on all Welsh issues when similarly approaching candidates in the coming Welsh Assembly elections. One point we will raise with election candidates is the Welshpool Town Council initiative to reopen the Montgomery Canal to Welshpool: more about this on pages 29 & 30 of this issue of Shroppie Fly Paper. The border between England and Wales does funny things in our branch area: it runs along the towpath south of Bridge 42 on the Llangollen, crosses for a couple of miles past Bettisfield, then at Chirk and Llanymynech the Llangollen and Montgomery canals cross into Wales for good. In Wales CRT operates as Glandŵr Cymru. It has just set up a board, Bwrdd Glandŵr Cymru, to oversee operations in Wales, dealing with the Assembly at a strategic level, at local level working with the two partnerships in Wales. 'Ours' of

Spring 2016

Page 5

Shroppie Fly Paper

course is North Wales & Borders Partnership, and our branch treasurer Alan Platt is a member. Bwrdd members have a wide range of experience in charity and public work, and a number of its members come from our area. Also in Wales, we are approaching the final stages of the Powys Local Development Plan. The latest changes underline the importance of the Montgomery Canal for its ecology and habitats, but diminish the value of its built heritage and the value of the boating connection to the national waterway network. With other Montgomery groups, IWA is making representations. As members you are supporting what IWA does for our waterways, in our area and further afield. There are things CRT cannot do and which are beyond the scope of our friends in other local canal organisations. We value your support, and need the support of more who care for our waterways – so please encourage other people to join IWA, to do for our waterways what no-one else can do. Our AGM will be held at the Narrowboat Inn, Whittington on 11 April. This meeting has had different formats over the last few years, and this year's will be the least formal. The Narrowboat is a regular venue for our business meetings: many of us have a meal beforehand, combining pleasure with business. While we have to address the formalities of the AGM, I hope the greater part of our evening will be for members to discuss with us what IWA does in our area and across the country. As avid readers of Shroppie Fly Paper you all know what the branch does in our area. In the North-West and nationally IWA is Keeping Our Waterways Alive for boaters and everyone else who enjoys our canals, with issues which affect ... · boating – from winding holes to waste disposal, from visiting the Bridgewater to challenging HS2 proposals which would damage valued spots on the network · restoration, with three valuable projects in our area, not to mention others across the country (which is your favourite?) · the future of our waterways: bringing Environment Agency waterways to CRT would be a great benefit in some parts of the country · the future of IWA: developing the rôle of 'critical friend' to CRT, with both of us looking for ways to encourage coming generations to value our waterways and to carry on the work of the last seventy years. These are serious things, but we can often leave serious behind, and just enjoy doing something for our waterways. Come and join us. Michael Limbrey – Branch Chairman Please support the Brain of Monty Quiz Proceeds support projects on the Montgomery Canal - Question sheets only £1 each from Judith 01691 831455 Shroppie Fly Paper

Page 6

Spring 2016

Region Chairman writes From the regional perspective it has been an interesting start to 2016 with much to occupy us, including heavy flooding, work parties and numerous forward planning meetings. In our region we continued to suffer many unplanned stoppages caused by everything from fallen trees to lorry strikes on bridges. However, as you know, there has been much worse following the wettest December on record and the Boxing Day floods caused great damage. Stainton Aqueduct on the Lancaster Canal is still closed and farther afield large areas of the Calder & Hebble and Eastern Rochdale canals remain unnavigable. A great response from volunteers has now resulted in reopening much of the tow path of this valuable trans-Pennine waterway, a terrific example of the power of volunteering which should be applauded. However, after seeing all the devastation caused by these flash floods, I think we should be ready for a long navigation stoppage here. Having been involved in many consultations with CRT and more recently with the Bridgewater Canal Co., I wonder, did we make a difference, is our message clear, are we being listened to, etc.? Overall I think we can claim that we have made a difference as the value of consultation with IWA has now been recognised by the navigation authorities in our region. CRT and now the Bridgewater Canal Co. seem to be eager to hear our views. When it comes to the local planning authorities though, I think we still have a long way to go, so it's good to see the branches in our region getting involved with local authorities in developing local waterway strategies. Given all the recent TV publicity showing the value or canals, I'm sure that, with a little nudge from the local branches, Shropshire, Powys, Denbighshire and Cheshire East will see the value of developing similar strategies to Cheshire West and Chester, where IWA is recognised as a reliable authority on all waterway matters. Another area where I'm sure we will see success is in bringing the IWA message to the various communities in our region. Specifically, flying the IWA flag at events such as Norbury, Whitchurch and Welshpool gives us a great opportunity to talk to people who may otherwise know little about the regeneration value of canals and how to get involved in keeping their waterway environments clean and tidy. In conclusion I would like to thank all the volunteers for keeping our waterways alive. Long may the excellent work continue. Mike Carter - Region Chairman Spring 2016

Page 7

Shroppie Fly Paper

Membership Matters We are delighted to welcome the following new members who have joined the branch since the Autumn/Winter edition of this magazine, and look forward to meeting you at one of the events this year. Full details can be found on page 16. Mr & Mrs Darby from Mochdre, Mr & Mrs Dillon from Whixall, Mr & Mrs Nunn from Beaumaris, Mr Thompson from Brynteg. Everybody has different reasons for joining IWA. I joined by default. In fact when we started hiring boats I had never heard of the Association or even BW. The latter organisation came into focus when we bought a boat and had to pay the licence fee. However David suddenly announced that he was joining IWA - what? who? why? I still didn't really know why until we moved to the Midlands and were welcomed to the Shrewsbury Branch - living on the south coast we did not get involved with events, not that we were aware of any, or that branches even existed! So we were armchair members to start with. For some years now we have enjoyed being active members of the branch, and two of the people we have to thank for this are Janet and Denis Farmer, who recently decided to retire from the committee although I hope they will still attend the odd event or two. When I became the branch secretary I needed a lot of help and encouragement; Janet and Denis were always there at the end of the phone to answer innumerable questions and queries. I would not have survived without them. So many thanks. You will be missed, in fact you have left a very large hole. Dawn Aylwin

Fundraising In recent years Shrewsbury & North Wales Branch has been very successful in raising funds to support our local waterways, both the ones we can boat, walk and fish along and also the ones that teams of volunteers are making such strenuous efforts to restore. We have been able to donate around £1,000 in each of the last two years to help projects on the Shrewsbury & Newport, the Montgomery and at Whitchurch, as well as a contribution to the expenses of the Small Task Team Volunteers on the SU and Llangollen. Our current bank account balance is largely earmarked to support the Heritage Lottery Fund match funding needs of the bids from SNCT and Montgomery Waterway Restoration Trust. We have pledged several thousand pounds to each of these, and we are fervently hoping they are successful. This money has all been generated by the efforts of branch volunteers – none of it comes from central IWA funds. Shroppie Fly Paper

Page 8

Spring 2016

But obviously what goes out at the bottom has to be replenished at the top! We have two main fundraising activities each year – our popular calendar, which can raise £1,000 or more from sales, thanks to generous sponsors helping us take care of the printing costs, and our annual lock wind, where donations from passing boaters and sales of cards, books and home-made produce can earn upwards of £500. Our branch stall at other events such as the Norbury and Whitchurch festivals also helps to boost our funds. 2017 Calendar – appeal for photos We didn’t quite manage to sell all our 2016 calendars (we ordered extra stock after selling out the two previous years) but we’ve agreed to produce a new calendar for 2017. We always have lots of positive comments on the quality of the photos we include and this is really one of the big selling points for the calendar. So if you are a photographer and have images of local waterways scenes that you think may be suitable, please send a selection as soon as possible to the editor, The usual geographic boundaries apply: photos should have been taken on the Llangollen, Montgomery, SU Middlewich Branch, SU Main Line between Barbridge and Bridge 9, Pendeford (south of Brewood), and, of course, the S&N! We need a choice of quality photos from all seasons, so please trawl your photo libraries and see what you can find. 2016 Lock Wind – appeal for help Our lock wind this year will be on the weekend of August 6-7, once again based at the bottom lock at Hurleston Junction near Nantwich. In the past couple of years we’ve had great support from members and others who have turned out over the weekend, some just for a couple of hours, to give us a hand on the branch stall and in working the locks. Please put the date in your diary and come along and have some fun this year. Also, we badly need donations of home-made produce – jams, chutneys, cakes and things – that we can sell from the stall. These are always extremely popular with passing boaters and we invariably run out before the weekend is over. The more we have to sell the more money we can raise! Thank you for your support. Michael Haig Spring 2016

Page 9

Shroppie Fly Paper

Lockage statistics 2015 Usage of the canals in the branch area in 2015 would appear to be down by an average of more than 3% on 2014 based on the information in CRT’s Annual Lockage Report for the year, compiled by its Water Management team. However, there must be caution about reading too much into that statistic, since the conversion of lockages (the filling and emptying of a lock chamber), which is what CRT measures, into boat movements is more art than science. Many observers say that to turn emptyings into movements for narrow canals, it is necessary to add about a third, so that is what we have used. New Marton Lock 2 had 8,779 emptyings, now the busiest for which records were kept in the area, overtaking Cholmondeston, which had 7,850. The decline in the use of the ‘attached’ Montgomery Canal continued, with about 1,400 movements through Frankton Locks, well short of the permitted maximum of 2,500. Our decline was in line with the general trend, lockages nationally being down by more than 10% from the peak year, 2009. Twelve of the locks in our branch area are monitored, all by telemetry except Tyrley, which is by manual measurement. These are: Llangollen: Lock 1, Hurleston; Marbury; Lock 2, New Marton Montgomery: Lock 1, Belan; Pool Quay Lock; Lock 3 Aston; Lock 4, Frankton SU Main Line: Lock 3, Audlem; Tyrley; Wheaton Aston SU Middlewich Branch: Wardle; Cholmondeston Cholmondeston Lock, with a rise of 13’ 3” (4.04m) is much deeper than New Marton or any other well-used lock, so probably passes a bigger volume of water annually than any other narrow lock on the network. (Ignoring leakage!) Each emptying is about 38,000 gallons (170,000 litres) – in a year, the amount of water which passes through is equivalent to 600 Olympic swimming pools. Use of the two English ‘Millennium’ canals is disappointing: only 319 lockages were recorded at Marsden, at the eastern end of the summit level of the Huddersfield Narrow Canal while Rochdale Lock was empted only 223 times. Coincidentally, our local North Wales & Borders Waterway contains the three least used of the measured locks on CRT’s system: Belan on the Montgomery with 103 lockages and Lock 1 (Graving Lock) and Ellesmere Port’s Top Wide Lock on the Shropshire Union, both with fewer than 100. Michael Haig Shroppie Fly Paper

Page 10

Spring 2016

Reclaiming Ravensmoor Wharf Over the winter, the Small Tasks Team Volunteers (STTV) group has been concentrating its efforts on the lower lengths of the Llangollen. In recent times the site of Ravensmoor Wharf at Burland (by the winding hole at Bridge 6) has been used as an informal car park, for fishing, occasionally as a temporary base for CRT operations, and most recently was adopted for a while by a group of resident boats with attendant vehicles. Vegetation was overgrown, litter was profuse and dumping/storage of materials was obtrusive. Vehicle access was fraught with traffic hazards and pedestrian access was muddy at best and flooded in times of serious rain. The first job for the volunteers was to tidy the site while constructing new fences and gates, providing safer road access and preparing it for use as a loading bay for the local coal boats and as an operational base for CRT. At the end of January STTV was at Burland again to spread and compact 55 tonnes of stone on Volunteers in action at Ravensmoor Wharf [STTV] the car park. This was achieved with the aid of a digger, a couple of mini dumpers, and vibrating plate compactors… and a good deal of work with shovels and rakes. In February STTV began more work at Hurleston, this time making improvements to the landing below the bottom lock and to the towpath between the lock and the bridge on the main line. ----Maurice Ward joined STTV in April 2012 and soon became joint leader, along with Paul Mills who founded the group. Over nearly four years, and more than 70 projects, his contribution has been enormous. Quite apart from the work-party days shared by the volunteers, Maurice shouldered a great deal of the ‘invisible work’ so essential for efficient and safe activity. Maurice has decided to relinquish his leadership role and to step aside from the group for a while. His contribution will be missed. John Bannister Spring 2016

Page 11

Shroppie Fly Paper

Tugboat Tom It's been a while since you read anything from my mate Ted. We used to be on the tugboats together, but he retired a while back. Before that though, he would tell you about his humans and the things they got up to. The humans – let's call them Denis and Janet, though some may call them Janet and Denis – started off with the Shrewsbury branch over twenty-five years ago ( – that's in human terms: it's different for knitted bears). That was before my time but I am told they ran the branch sales for five years, and after that came the sand game. They made all that money so Denis ended up spending many years as Treasurer.

Trademark teddies on the Mont [Denis Farmer]

These were the days of the 'Head of Navigation Rally', which moved as restoration brought the Montgomery Canal back to life down from Frankton Junction. By then Denis was a trustee of the Montgomery Waterway Restoration Trust and at these rallies he displayed on the front of his boat his copy of the Montgomery paddlegear.

One of the most memorable rallies was at the Millennium when Denis was branch chairman. The 'Grand International Millennium Rally' was to be at Welsh Frankton but, as the branch press release explained, IWA and SUCS had hit a problem because it might not be truly international. Whilst by canal you cannot travel from there without crossing into Wales, Welsh Frankton was – and is – in England. However, with the connivance of the Mayor, the town of Newtown – in Wales, of course – annexed half of the canal at Welsh Frankton for the duration of the event. It was a memorable – international – evening, in warm boat cabins, looking out at fireworks across the Shropshire plain. Janet was the custodian of bears, undoubtedly the more important task. We bears went to rallies too, proudly atop the boat, telling anybody who cared to listen how important our canals are. And for so many years Janet organised social events too – quizzes, talks, skittles, meetings, raffles, visits … you name it, and Janet was behind it. It's not for me to say, but I think that the Shrewsbury, District & North Wales branch of IWA owes a lot to these humans. Shroppie Fly Paper

Page 12

Spring 2016

Keeping Shrewsbury District & North Wales Waterways Alive Every now and then IWA looks at how it presents itself. It has played a pivotal role in saving our waterways and now contributes to protecting, developing and extending the system. IWA can present the case for our waterways locally and in Cardiff and Westminster. It is a respected partner of the Canal & River Trust, but has interests which go beyond those of CRT. Recently IWA has been using the slogan, Keeping Our Waterways Alive. It has also used another: Friends of the Waterways. Our branch has played its part in Keeping Our Waterways Alive, for over forty years now. And we have much to show for it. Now we are losing some valuable and long-standing members of the committee. As you will read elsewhere and opposite, Denis and Janet Farmer are taking a wellearned retirement. After many years of making a significant contribution to the branch, Peter Brown will be leaving us at the AGM to become Secretary of the Railway & Canal Historical Society. I hope that does not mean that we are unable to do as much. We need help. As a branch we have always done what committee members are willing to do. That means our activities have changed from time to time to suit the people who help us. Can you help us? We meet roughly every two months, using email in between. We often have a meal together before our business meeting: the social aspect of the committee is important to us. For a good while we have enjoyed a well-sized and well-experienced committee, but now our numbers are thinning. I am delighted to say that when this has happened in the past, members have come forward and a revived committee has gone from strength to strength. Can you help us keep our waterways alive? We don't twist arms. We are not too formal. We are always delighted to see members who just come to meet us or sit in on committee meetings. Why don't you come and see? Our next meetings are at Whittington on April 11 and Nantwich on June 27. Michael Limbrey Spring 2016

Page 13

Shroppie Fly Paper

Socially speaking… As our over-wintering comes to an end for another year I thought I would mention some of the highlights and also look forward a bit. As reported in the Autumn/Winter Shroppie Fly Paper, we surprised ourselves, others, and me especially at last autumn’s inter-branch social evening at Stafford Boat Club. Being something of a ‘Jacquie-come-lately’ to the black arts of skittles, I can only put it down to beginner’s luck that I managed to join fellow branch member John Myers at the top of the leader board and that the Shrewsbury & North Wales team emerged as unexpected winners. (Just as well it wasn’t darts!) Surprises apart, it was, as usual, an enjoyable social evening, giving us a chance to mingle and get to know members from North Staffs & South Cheshire and Lichfield branches. It seems to be something of a tradition of IWA social events that if you win something, you have to organise it next time (see also Quiz). You will see a little advert opposite about this year’s inter-branch social – I know it seems a long way off at the moment but do pencil it into your diaries so as not to miss it.

Peter Brown & Michael Limbrey [Susan Wilding]

In November about 40 of us gathered at the Brooklands Hotel in Shrewsbury for Peter Brown’s talk on “Crime on the Shropshire Union”. Some of you may have seen articles that Peter has contributed elsewhere on this topic, so all I will say is that it was well up to his usual standards of meticulous research and amusing narration. Peter is a popular speaker on the waterways circuit and if you haven’t yet been to one of his talks I can commend them to you. His Speaker’s Waistcoat was pretty fancy, too!

The evening also gave us the opportunity to finally unite Michael Limbrey with the Christopher Power Prize, IWA’s national award for someone who has made the most significant contribution to the restoration of an inland waterway. Michael, of course, received the recognition for his work leading Montgomery Waterway Restoration Trust, and we are very grateful to the Trust’s treasurer, Nick Bostock, who came along to pass over the trophy he had collected on Michael’s behalf at IWA’s National Members’ Meeting in September. Shroppie Fly Paper

Page 14

Spring 2016

In February we transferred seamlessly to one of our most frequent venues, the Narrowboat Inn at Whittington, for our annual Quiz Night. Again this was very encouragingly attended and it was nice to see groups from WWT, SNCT and Friends of the Mont among the 35-plus diners and quiz fiends. Well, some were more fiendish than others, and needed to be as many of the questions set by last year’s winners were, as they say, ‘challenging’. The winner, by a full six-point margin, was Mad Mandarins, meaning it will fall to the Browns, Fiona Pearson, Ann Pilsbury and Gilly Devall to set the questions next year. Incidentally, I must record special thanks on this occasion to Martin and the staff of the Narrowboat Inn for accommodating us so well on Mad Mandarins, thrilled to be setting the questions in 2017 the eve of his father Colin’s funeral. Fiona presents an appreciation of Colin, the guiding hand behind the Narrowboat Inn and the Maestermyn Group, elsewhere in these pages. Some readers may have noticed that, after well-attended events in the last couple of years at Joule’s Brewery in Market Drayton and the Anderton Boat Lift, we are not running a May social event this year. I agree – this is a disappointment, and it’s one we hope to rectify next year. I’m currently looking at a trip to the Dudley Tunnels, which the branch last visited in 2007, since when I understand that the visitor attractions have been substantially upgraded and expanded. Shroppie Fly Paper will keep you informed as this idea develops, but if you have any other suggestions about future social events that would float your boat I would love to hear from you: Val Haig Inter-Branch Social Evening - Saturday, October 15, 2016 7.30pm Stafford Boat Club, Wildwood, Stafford ST17 4SG - 01785 660725

Come and join us for this year's Social & Skittles Evening with our neighbouring IWA branches. Based on last year, the cost will be around £7.50 per head including food and skittles, and we will confirm the details in the next issue of Shroppie Fly Paper. You can pay on the night, however we need to know in advance (for catering) how many will be attending. Please contact to book your place.

Spring 2016

Page 15

Shroppie Fly Paper

IWA Shrewsbury District & North Wales Branch - Diary 2016 All branch members are welcome to join us at our regular branch business meetings, which are preceded by an opportunity for supper and socialising. Meetings begin at 7.00pm, with supper from 6.00pm. To give our venues an idea of numbers please let the branch know if you would like to attend.

March 13-April 9 8th Annual Canal Art Exhibition at Audlem Mill, in conjunction with the Guild of Waterway Artists. In probably the largest collection of canal art anywhere, around 150 works of art from at least 15 artists will be on display. Open every day - The Wharf, Audlem CW3 0DX April 11

Branch business meeting at Narrowboat Inn, Whittington SY11 4NU to be preceded by the branch AGM at 7.00pm.

April 30-May 2

Norbury Canal Festival. The branch stall will be operating from nb Tamarind - we look forward to seeing you. See opposite.

May 7

Montgomery Canal Triathlon. Volunteers are still needed, so please get in touch if you are able to help. At the moment there are well over 125 people booked in to cycle, walk and canoe the whole length of the canal. Why not join them?

June 5

Shrewsbury River Festival, Quarry Park, Shrewsbury

June 11-12

IWA National Campaign Festival at Eldonian Village, Liverpool, part of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal Bicentenary celebrations.

June 17-19

Middlewich Folk & Boat Festival.

June 27, 2.30pm Montgomery Canal Forum, Elephant & Castle Hotel, Broad Street, Newtown, SY16 2BQ. A public meeting to look at the restoration of the Montgomery Canal, no charge, all welcome. Further details will be posted nearer the time on the branch website. June 27

Branch business meeting at The Leopard, 33 London Road, Nantwich CW5 6LJ. Our inaugural meeting at this Joule's Brewery pub - come and join us, we would love to see you! Let us know if you wish to eat.

July 2

Welshpool Food & Canal Festival. The branch stand and WoW activities. Why not enter a team for the coracle relay? See back cover.

July 24

Church Minshull Aqueduct Marina Open Day.

August 6-7

Branch annual lock wind at Hurleston Locks. One of the main fundraising events in our calendar. See page 9.

August 15

Branch business meeting at Narrowboat Inn, Whittington SY11 4NU

August 20-21

Whitchurch Gathering of Boats. Please come and support the branch stall. See page opposite

September 4

Audlem RNLI Festival at OverWater Marina. More details to follow.

October 10

Branch business meeting. Venue to be advised in the Summer issue.

October 15

Inter-branch Social - The Skittles Challenge. See page 15.

Shroppie Fly Paper

Page 16

Spring 2016

Norbury Canal Festival Norbury Junction, Staffordshire ST20 0PN May Bank Holiday Weekend Come and join the fun at the 2016 festival. As well as the traditional craft and food stalls and refreshments in the garden of the Norbury Junction Inn, more stalls and activities will be spread along the canalside, around Norbury Wharf and in the Canal & River Trust yard. CRT will be opening the wharf to display some of the specialised equipment, artefacts and canal memorabilia. New this year will be an Austin 7 Car Club Rally on Monday 2nd May, when visitors will have a chance to take a close look at these vintage cars. There will be lots of children’s activities including a bouncy castle, face painting and funfair rides, plus at the Wild Over Waterways tent they will be able to take part in interactive games learning about the waterways. On the water lots of boat traders, including the very popular Cheese Boat, have already booked space and they will be joined by a gathering of narrowboats. Visitors will have the opportunity to look inside some of the narrow boats to see what life is like on board. The Shrewsbury & Newport Canals Trust will again be operating boat trips along the canal to give people the experience of seeing it from the water.

The Whitchurch Waterway Trust Boat Gathering The Whitchurch Waterway Trust is holding a gathering of boats on 20th & 21st August 2016 on the restored Whitchurch Arm of the Llangollen Canal at Whitchurch. Entry is £12.50 per boat which includes mooring, commemorative plaque and competitions. A boaters' social evening at Chemistry Farm will include a meal costing £7.00 per head. Entry forms from Lindsay Green,Chemistry Farm, Whitchurch. SY13 1BZ Tel: 01948 662779 ; e-mail: or download from the website

Maesbury Canal Festival It is with great sadness and disappointment that the Maesbury Canal Festival this year has been cancelled. Many thanks to everyone who volunteered at previous events you all helped to make the festival very successful.

Spring 2016

Page 17

Shroppie Fly Paper

Clean for The Queen Clean for The Queen is a campaign promoted by Keep Britain Tidy to clear up Britain in time for Her Majesty the Queen's 90th birthday. During March, lots of groups have been busy clearing up our waterways – two in our branch area have been the SU Middlewich Branch Adopters and the Audlem Towpath Task-Force. SUMBA set itself the ambitious target of litter picking twelve miles of canal towpath and embankments from Calveley on the Shropshire Union Main Line to Barbridge Junction and the whole length of the Middlewich Branch from there to Middlewich.

Homeward bound from Middlewich [Graham Russell]

Thirty-five volunteers, including Cubs & Leaders from Nantwich and staff from Active Cheshire met at Aqueduct Marina at on a very cold

morning before splitting into teams to cover the route. Even CRT’s chief executive, Richard Parry, arrived to help the clean-up. Two boats decorated with flags and banners, nb No Plan 2 and CRT's workboat Gowy, started from Barbridge and Middlewich and worked their way back to Aqueduct Marina, collecting the 'trophies' of the litter-pick teams as they went. One team who had the longest route, and the biggest job with litter and fly tipping near Middlewich, gratefully accepted a lift back in Gowy. Over 50 bags of litter and a mass of fly tipping was collected from along the twelve-mile route. Besides the expected paper, plastic, tissues, bottles and cans, volunteers found several Gowy's haul [Graham Russell] work surfaces, a cupboard door, small bath, garden furniture, car number plates, tyres and wheels, a Hoover hose and an oven door - to list just a few items.

Shroppie Fly Paper

Page 18

Spring 2016

A smaller but equally determined group of volunteers in Audlem worked the canal side, car parks and paths between the canal, Shroppie Fly car park and the playing field, collecting a total of 18 full refuse sacks along with a large bucket of broken glass. Not only has the village of Audlem and canal users benefited from the tidy up but the removal of such a quantity of broken glass from the edge of the playing field and access areas makes it a safer environment for all. The volunteers enjoyed the day being out in the sunshine, along with hot soup, Cleaning for The Queen in Audlem [Dek Owen] homemade cakes and biscuits. It was also nice to see the spring flowers planted by the volunteers in recent years blooming with colour along the canal. Both volunteer groups would like to say a big thank you to all who attended and supported.

Shrewsbury & Newport Shorts Early in 2016 the Trust will receive up to ÂŁ100,000 for the restoration of the locks on the Trench Arm, the eastern part of the Shrewsbury Canal. The money is Section 106 funding (a contribution from a developer towards the costs of providing community and social infrastructure), for which SNCT was sponsored by Telford & Wrekin Council. There will be a canal paddle day on May 22 along the length of the Newport Canal in water. Only five canoes can take part, so contact Barry Witts at to check if there are any places left or just come along and watch the fun. SNCT's Annual General Meeting will be at Wappenshall Wharf on June 11. IWA Restoration Committee member Geraint Coles will be the guest speaker. On Saturday, July 9, SNCT will be holding another of its successful 'Balsam Bashes' on the Newport Canal - the third year of working to entirely remove Himalayan balsam from the canal. Details from John Myers 07711 858986 or email The Heritage Lottery Fund has extended the deadline until December 2016 for SNCT to raise match funding of ÂŁ500,000 for the restoration of Wappenshall Wharf. Details of how to donate or pledge are at

Spring 2016

Page 19

Shroppie Fly Paper

From the horse's mouth My name is Cracker, and as the only boat horse currently operating on an old section of the “Shroppie”, I would like to give you an insight into my life. By way of introduction, you may be surprised to hear that I’m a strawberry roan gelding, standing 13.2 hands high and I am officially known as a “Shropshire Half-leg”, (which is a cross between a Welsh cob and a Shire); that means I look like a vertically challenged shire-horse. Although my ancestors were originally used as pit ponies down the mines, I now ply my trade by pulling a canal boat along the Montgomery canal, affectionately known as the ‘Monty’. Operating from Canal Central in Maesbury Marsh, North Shropshire, I take visitors out on a narrowboat built in the style of a Victorian packet boat. At the other end of the tow-rope is the “Countess of Maesbury”, a 5 year old vessel that takes up to 12 passengers in comfort. We get on well and are really quite attached to each other, in fact she follows me everywhere! As you can see from the photograph, it’s really no effort for me to pull Countess, although she weighs in at about 6 tons. Visitors are always surprised to learn that a full size working boat could weigh up to 80 tons! The spring bank holiday will coincide with my 12th birthday and I’m really looking forward to the new season. Our season starts at Easter and continues until Hallowe’en although this year, due to popular demand, we started on Valentine’s Day and have followed it up with trips on Mothering Sunday and even hosted our first hen party. “I’m not a political animal, but I sometimes wish I was” A camel, they say, is a horse put together by a committee, and although I consider myself to be very well put together, I witness much of such discussions. Whether it be of delays to much needed repairs or procrastinations because of illShroppie Fly Paper

Page 20

Spring 2016

positioned newts, it never ceases to amaze me that the Monty renovations have been going on for well nigh fifty years, and there’s still no end in sight (well there is, but unfortunately it’s not at Crickheath). I remember when I was a foal and nestling against my mother’s flanks, she would tell me of the great day when Prince Charles came to blow his royal fanfare in support of the Monty refurbishment. He was then, as he is now, the Prince of Wales, so perhaps things are not meant to happen quickly! I would love to travel along the stretch down to Pryces Bridge, another 400 metres of “newly” reinstated section, but despite years of rebuilding, and an official opening in 2014, it still remains closed. Why? Well at first, it was thought that the new-fangled liner leaked, requiring costly and complicated repairs. It now turns out that the problem is merely dried out retaining wall and all it requires is some drilling and clay infill to solve the problem. So why does everything take so long? Oh, I know it sounds as if I’ve got out of the wrong side of the bedding, but I’m not just “getting on my high horse” for the sake of it. I can assure you that the frustration stems merely from seeing our beloved Monty not realising its true potential. Bywater's Tim Barker, Cracker and happy customers

When I look back at the old, black and white photos of the overgrown, dried-up ditch that it once was, and compare it to the now resplendent waterway, I am full of respect and wonder at what has been achieved. The amount of time, effort and money that has already been invested surely justifies one last concerted push to join up the gaps! As we all know, it’s not what you know, it’s invariably who you know that gets results. So, I shall be getting in touch with my mates, HRH’s polo ponies, who will no doubt have a word in his shell-like to spur him once more unto the breach, dear friends! Expect a visit in the not so distant future. If you would like to find out more about Cracker’s 2016 season - timings, availability and prices - please get in touch via email at

Spring 2016

Page 21

Shroppie Fly Paper

Let’s talk dirty Aha! Got your attention there, did we? This item is particularly for our boating members, as it’s about what you should find at CRT sanitary stations and refuse compounds when you’re cruising the Llangollen, Montgomery and Shropshire Union Canals this season - Ed. Elsan disposal – Service block flush hoses Some two years or so ago, the majority of the small lengths of flexible hose fixed to the rinse taps – located above, or near, the ‘bowl’ of CRT chemical toilet (Elsan) disposal facilities at sanitary stations – were removed (ostensibly to meet water supply regulations). Since then, as predicted by many users, the overall cleanliness of many of these facilities has deteriorated. The good news is that CRT has agreed to reinstate the flush hoses so you should see an improvement in cleanliness and ease of use. However, if you come across any service blocks which have not yet had the flush hoses refitted, may we urge you to contact your editor with the date and location so the branch can collate these action items into a report for the CRT waterways management? Refuse recycling This information also appeared in the Autumn/Winter issue of Shroppie Fly Paper, but with the start of this year’s cruising season a reminder seemed timely. There are recycling bins at all CRT boaters’ waste compounds in the North Wales & Borders area except Hurleston, Barbridge, Market Drayton (Betton Road) and Northwich town centre, on the River Weaver. The compounds now have separate bins for general waste, for mixed glass and for dry mixed recycling (DMR). The mixed glass wheelie bins accept empty bottles, jars and broken household glassware. The larger DMR “Euro-bins” are for paper, cardboard, plastic bottles, hard plastics, aluminium and steel cans. Nice and tidy at Audlem [Dek Owen]

However, importantly, plastic bags cannot be accepted in either of the recycling bins and must be placed in general waste. This includes any plastic bags that may have been used to hold and store boaters’ recycling. If any plastic bags are in the Shroppie Fly Paper

Page 22

Spring 2016

recycling bins, waste contractor Biffa will deem the load ‘contaminated’ and CRT will incur extra costs. All food waste must continue to go in the general waste bins, and the normal prohibitions still apply for other waste materials, such as electrical appliances, engine oil, diesel fuel, used batteries and other toxic waste, which must be disposed of at a council-run Household Waste Recycling Centre.

Another step forward in the Montgomery Canal restoration In February WRG volunteers helped take another step forward in the restoration of the Montgomery Canal at Pant near Oswestry. The former Cambrian Railways line, which was closed in the 1960s, crosses the canal on an embankment constructed in about 1952 to replace the original iron girder bridge. At that time there was no expectation that the canal would be restored or even that people would want to walk the towpath so the embankment was fenced off. Nicholson’s Guide still states “towpath Pant Embankment, cleared of trees [Bob Dewey] obstructed” but more recently, steps were built so that walkers, no longer at risk of running into passing trains, could climb the embankment. A number of major trees which had grown over the last six decades were felled by WRG Forestry group several years ago and WRG returned to continue the work, tackling the remaining trees and undergrowth. The aim also was to try and clarify how much of the massive stone abutments of the original bridge remain in place, as the bridge was at an acute angle so it is difficult to picture exactly where the walls would be Late in the weekend, the top stone of the offside wall was uncovered, apparently unharmed by its burial over so many years. It is hoped that later in the year a machine can be brought in to start digging down to uncover the walls for inspection by CRT engineers. The complete removal of the embankment down to towpath level will greatly improve the usability of this very popular path and make a clear statement that rewatering of another part of the canal is being brought closer. Bob Dewey Spring 2016

Page 23

Shroppie Fly Paper

Farmers' Almanac Audlem Community Canal One of the most obvious attitude changes following the transfer of our canals to the Canal & River Trust (CRT) charity is that it sees itself as owner of a national asset, which is shared with local communities throughout the country. In order to make the most of the wide ranging interests in each locality, CRT is about to initiate six pilot studies in which everyone involved, including heritage, environment and business, can pool their ideas and resources. If successful, the studies will be undertaken more widely. Audlem is one of the first and to date the only one that comprises a whole village community, others include specific assets such as the Anderton Lift and Foxton inclined plane.

Old and new lock ladders on the Audlem flight [Denis Farmer]

The first meeting in Audlem took place on the 22nd February and was attended by local people including volunteer groups, boaters, CRT staff and community officers. Alison Caffyn, a consultant leading the initiative for CRT, reminded the meeting that the canal had been at the heart of the village life and economy since it was opened in 1835. Apart from the local recreational benefits, business opportunities are created by the many visitors who come by boat, on foot, cycle or by car. She went on to ask what improvements could be made to encourage visitors and to make visits to Audlem more enjoyable. The responses were wide ranging but broadly fell into two categories: improvements to the canal and its structure, and wider matters affecting the whole area around the village. For example, the first group included the poor state of the towpath, mooring rings and signage; and the second the shortage of adequate car parking, development of local walks and events.

All the matters raised were carefully recorded and will be summarised in a report for another meeting in March In the meantime, we are all encouraged to consider

Shroppie Fly Paper

Page 24

Spring 2016

in what way our organisations can help. On an individual level more workers are needed for the excellent and dedicated team of volunteers who help on the locks and the surrounding area Canals and Audlem It is hard to disassociate the two! Attending the very positive meeting run by CRT reaffirmed how lucky we are to have this facility but how often do we think of the work and cost involved in keeping everything in order? On a personal basis, Denis and I have had so many benefits, even before we came to live in Audlem, which is one of the reasons we have been involved for a long time. Now that we are no longer boaters, it would be easy to take them for granted. We shouldn't! Most days we take a walk by the canal. We grumble a bit about the mud, but CRT is listening and says that this will be The canal drained for work on the lock gates at Audlem sorted - it has been a very wet [Denis Farmer] winter! Since Christmas it has been a busy time on the canal. CRT and its contractors have replaced eight sets of defective lock gates on the Audlem, Adderley and Tyrley lock flights and replaced or reworked 14 lock ladders in a repair job that has apparently cost £250,000. The ladders are designed to address safety criticisms, giving more toe room behind the ladder which leads more directly to the upper hand rail. (see picture). The scenery on the locks is wonderful - especially for photographers – there is no shortage of pictures in our house. We enjoy the whole village, including the activities and surroundings, but the canal is a bonus and we shouldn’t forget this We have an excellent group of canal volunteers in the village who do a splendid job of keeping the area looking smart and tidy. I also try to do my bit taking a polly' bag with me on my walks to pick up any stray bits of litter. I personally think that nothing spoils the atmosphere of an area as much as litter; one piece seems to spoil things and it breeds! I must admit that I baulk at anything that looks like dog poo and just mutter words like "disgrace". Maybe more disposal bins would help? Janet Farmer

Spring 2016

Page 25

Shroppie Fly Paper

Colin (Collingwood) Hill 1934 - 2016 The waterways have lost a familiar figure, following the death on 23rd January of Colin Hill of Maestermyn Marine on the Llangollen Canal. He was well-known to many canal people who appreciated a genuine family-run business: hirers, users of the boatyard services and chandlery, boat-owners with a mooring on the wharf, and customers of the Narrowboat Inn. He moved to Shrewsbury as a child, and was educated at the Priory Grammar School for boys. His early career was as electrician and refrigeration engineer, establishing Refrigeration West Midlands in Shrewsbury. Colin and Elaine, with their sons Martin and Chris, discovered an early interest in canal boating, at first owning cruisers for holidaying. That was the time when a “real� steel narrowboat was quite a rarity. Colin soon realised the business potential in hire boats, his first venture being two Dawncraft based at Kinver Wharf. In 1972 he bought a strip of canalside land at Welsh Frankton, and set to work installing the wharf and widening part of it to make the basin. At first sharing the premises with three other companies, the Maestermyn fleet was gradually built up. This eventually expanded to over forty boats, as he bought Welsh Lady Cruisers and Swan Line, which gave him a base at Fradley. One of their most famous customers was Harrison Ford who took a boat to Llangollen with his family. The cottage next to the site was bought and extended to become the popular Narrowboat Inn, which opened in 1981. Many of us appreciate the friendly welcome, the real ales, Sunday roasts, not to mention the banana boats! Since the very early days of this branch, Colin supported IWA; the Narrowboat being host to committee meetings and various events, the latest of course the very successful quiz on 22nd February. Colin had been chairman of the Association of Pleasure Craft Operators, and he was also the instigator of the hire boat handover procedure which is still used. He was still very much involved with the day-to-day business at Maestermyn, and his many friends and associates will miss his presence on the canal. Fiona Pearson Shroppie Fly Paper

Page 26

Spring 2016

The reliable donkey (no offence, Cracker) Newspapers are a valuable research resource, and occasionally something incidental to articles can be more revealing than their main subjects. For example, during 2014 I looked at well over a hundred press reports concerning the Shropshire Union system for the period from 1800 to 1920, and several referred to the animals drawing the boats. To my surprise there were more mentions of donkeys than of horses: ten and six respectively. Seven of the mentions of donkey either specifically said there was a pair or the word was in the plural. Of the other three, one concerned sickness (glanders), one concerned a prosecution for ill-treatment of an animal, and the other was a letter to the editor written in the name of ‘Abused Donkey’. One particularly interesting report was that in the Llangollen Advertiser of 29 June 1900: LLANGOLLEN PETTY SESSIONS Samuel Rogers was charged with cruelty to two donkeys on the canal on May 18th. P.C. Parry gave evidence to the effect that on the date in question he saw the animals dragging a barge, containing 15 tons of sand, against the stream. It was evident that the barge touched bottom, the water being muddy, and the animals had been greatly over-worked. Inspector Blake Jones said the animals were completely done up with the strain that had been put upon them. A fair load for them to tow was little more than half they had been dragging against the stream and in shallow water. Defendant had been previously cautioned for a similar offence. A fine of 7s.6d. and costs, 18s. in all, was imposed. The following day’s Wrexham Advertiser reported the case more briefly (and gives a different figure for the costs) but gave additional information: Samuel Rogers, boatman, St Martins, for employing two donkeys to draw fifteen tons of sand in a barge along the canal from St Martins to Pentrefelin, Llangollen, was fined 7s.6d. and 8s.6d. costs. The load of 15 tons does not seem unreasonable, but the canal at Pentrefelin, which is a mile above Llangollen on the feeder from the Dee, was (and is) certainly shallow with a significant flow of water. Donkeys were hardier and longer-lived than horses, and less particular about the quality of their food. They were also sure-footed and were generally unshod. However they were not as strong, and had a tendency to ‘jib’ — to come to a stop for no apparent reason, possibly when they thought they had done enough work Spring 2016

Page 27

Shroppie Fly Paper

for the day — and then be unresponsive to bribery or threats. Donkeys were more docile than horses. The only reported death caused by an animal was in 1894, when a kick from his horse killed Thomas Bricknell, master of the Shropshire Union barge Coot. The minutes of the Shropshire Union Canal Company contained much about horses — indeed, there seemed more about horses than boatmen, which perhaps shows the management’s priorities. Donkeys and mules were never mentioned. The press reports about donkeys tended to be earlier than those about horses: decade 1860s 1870s 1880s 1890s 1900s 1910s

mentions of donkeys 1 4 3 1 1 –

mentions of horses – – 1 1 2 2

One must not generalise too readily from this analysis. It is curious that none of the press reports from the first half of the 19th century mentioned boat animals. The on-line sources most easily available were the Cheshire and north Wales newspapers; few of the Shropshire newspapers had been digitised. This meant there was a bias towards incidents on what we would now call the Llangollen Canal — and this was a relatively isolated canal with little fly-boat activity. Despite my reservations about the bias in the data from the newspaper articles, I think it fair to say that in certain parts of the country in the 19th century, haulage by donkeys was at least as significant as by horses, probably more so. Towards the end of the century and into the 20th century, horses became the dominant method of haulage. Much depended on the method of organisation of the trade. Fly-boats with perishable or valuable cargo worked to a strict timetable day and night with a crew of four men, exchanging their horses every few hours. Stage boats with their bulk loads only worked during the day; these invariably used a horse if they were actually operated by the Shropshire Union, but not necessarily if (as applied through much of the second half of the 19th century) the company owned the boat but day-to-day operation was the full responsibility of the steerer. And of course many boats were operated by local firms, some solely in connection with their own business, a few as a general boating contractor. Peter Brown Shroppie Fly Paper

Page 28

Spring 2016

Bringing Boats to Welshpool The Bridgwater and Taunton Canal is 14 miles long, isolated from the national canal system, and is home to sixty boats. The Montgomery Canal in Wales is 11 miles long, isolated from the national canal system and, apart from occasions like last year's Making Waves Festival, sees few boats beyond those run by the Heulwen Trust. So why is that? Why don't more boats visit? Is it the launching arrangements? The condition of the canal? The number of locks? Or Welshpool itself? Is the canal not sufficiently well-known? What could be done to attract more boats to the Welsh section (Join it to the main network, I hear you cry!) and what sort of boats could we attract? Pat Ward of the Heulwen Trust – who volunteers with the adoption group in Welshpool – has agreed to collate ideas, so please let him know what you think. You can email him at or, if you prefer, write to Highfield Grange, Rhallt, Welshpool, SY21 9HS. I have written before about the happy conjunction of the Making Waves programme, the enthusiasm of the new Mayor of Welshpool, and the fresh approach by Heulwen Trust to raise its profile with public trips on top of its core activities for disabled children and adults. After last year's events, Welshpool Town Council met the Deputy Minister in Cardiff Heulwen II gets a lift ashore for a winter makeover [Vic Smith] and local MP Glyn Davies to look at what could be done for Welshpool. The obvious conclusion was to complete the restoration of the canal from Redwith to re-connect Welshpool to the national canal system. A small steering group brought together Robert Robinson, Welshpool Town Clerk, John Dodwell, CRT Trustee and Chairman of the Montgomery Canal Partnership, Pat Ward of Heulwen Trust and me (as Chairman of the Montgomery Waterway Restoration Trust), tasked with finding a way to bring boats back to Welshpool. Spring 2016

Page 29

Shroppie Fly Paper

We elected for a simple plan making use of existing proposals and costings. The plan splits the unrestored canal into five sections, identifies the key works required in each and pulls together an outline budget to show policy-makers the sort of cash numbers needed. (It’s around £30million, by the way, including almost £9million for provision of nature reserves that would create the largest area of its type in Wales and enhance the area for tourism.) The plan has already been circulated to interested waterways and other groups for their views and the next stage will be to present the plan to Governments in Westminster and Cardiff. The initial urgency of our timetable is being driven by the aim of documenting and presenting the plan before the Welsh elections on 5 May. Direct responsibility for waterways is not devolved, though the Welsh Assembly does deal with many of the issues associated with them – tourism, regeneration, health and well-being – hence the presentations in Cardiff and in Westminster. At the same time there will be more work to get the schemes ready, especially on the Shropshire section where the use of volunteer labour boosted by money for plant and materials can save about £10million against the cost of using contractors' labour. These schemes will rely not only on volunteers with shovels in their hands, or even at the controls of yellow diggers. There are many other ways to help: for example, already we have have been fortunate enough to receive assistance from two IWA members who are qualified engineers. We will also need help with organisational arrangements, so there will be an opening for a project manager: not necessarily an engineer – and not necessarily on a voluntary basis – but someone who can manage work parties and ensure that equipment, material and facilities are ready for them. Would you like to help with this? Do you know someone who would? In the meantime, back to the question of how to attract more boats to the existing 11 miles of the canal in Wales. I do urge you to get in touch with your ideas. You may be interested to know that there is an opportunity now available to run boat / canoe / cycle hire at the former hire base by the Museum in the centre of Welshpool. Now there's a way to bring boats to Welshpool! Expressions of interest welcome! Michael Limbrey

Shroppie Fly Paper

Page 30

Spring 2016

The Brain Box For readers who couldn't attend our Quiz Night, and even for those who could but have short memories, here is a selection of the questions that challenged our contestants that evening. How many can you get right without looking up the answers? (Answers below)

a) Where is the world's only Cornish Pasty Museum? b) Who was Superintendent of the Royal Institution for about 20 years in the 19th century? c) How many tons did Tennessee Ernie Ford load? d) The official definition in the UK of a mountain is land of non-improved or semiimproved grassland over how many metres in height? e) Who invented dynamite in the 19th century? f) What does the J stand for in the name of the writer J.K.Rowling? g) How many songs are there in Schubert's Winterrreise set? h) Who wrote ‘Doctor Faustus’ i) Who worked as assistant to Charles Barry as architect of the Palace of Westminster. j) Which is the only one of the Great Lakes of North America that does not lie in both the USA and Canada? k) How many strings does the most common variety of double-neck guitar have? l) Who wrote the Proclamation of the Republic of Ireland, read out on the steps of the GPO in Dublin on 24 April 1916?

Caption Competition Email your suggestions to the editor,, with "Caption Competition" in the subject line and we will reveal the wittiest (printable) entries in the Summer issue. If you have any photos that you would like us to consider for a future Caption Competition, please email to the editor and we may run this feature again if we have space.

Quiz answers - a) Real de Monte, Mexico b)Michael Faraday c) 16 d) 600 e) Alfred Nobel f) Joanne g) 24 h) Christopher Marlowe i) Augustus Pugin j) Lake Michigan k) 18 (6+12) l) Padraig Pearse

Spring 2016

Page 31

Shroppie Fly Paper

Shroppie Fly Paper

Page 32

Spring 2016

Profile for The Inland Waterways Association

Shroppie Fly Paper - Spring 2016  

The Newsletter of the Shrewsbury District & North Wales Branch of The Inland Waterways Association

Shroppie Fly Paper - Spring 2016  

The Newsletter of the Shrewsbury District & North Wales Branch of The Inland Waterways Association