July 2010 Journal from the East Midlands Region of
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Aegre is published © 2010 by the East Midlands Region Committee of the Inland Waterways Association for members of Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Branches. Northamptonshire members receive their own publication.
John Pomfret, db Drijfhuis, Braunston Boats Ltd, Bottom Lock, Dark Lane, Braunston, Daventry NN11 7HJ Tel 01788 891027
Dave Carnell, Conifer Cottage, North End, Goxhill DN19 7JX Tel: 01469 530138
Leicestershire Branch Acting Chairman
John Evans, Highfields Farm, Woodhouse Road, Quorn, Loughborough LE12 8AL Tel 01509 416647
Lincolnshire Branch Chairman
Dave Carnell (as above)
Notts. & Derbys Branch Chairman
Vacant. Contact Mike Snaith, below.
Northamptonshire Branch Chairman
Bernard Morton, Yew Tree House, 14 Baker Street Gayton, Northants. NN7 3EZ Tel: 07785 375787
Region Planning Officer & Notts & Derbys Branch
Mike Snaith, Hawthorne Cottage, 70 Main St, Gunthorpe, Nottingham NG14 7EU
Secretary & WRG
John Baylis, 215 Clipstone Rd West, Forest Town, Mansfield NG19 0HJ Tel: 01623 621208
Ian MacDonald, 30 Lutterworth Rd, Leicester LE2 8PF Mobile: 07932 156539
Editor for Aegre: Peter Hill, 7 Lock Keeper’s Way, Louth, Lincolnshire LN11 0GQ Tel: 01507 602713; email: firstname.lastname@example.org Printing: This is the web version in pdf “web compact” format. Pictures are at 96 dpi, and may not print well. Picture credits: See page 18. Front cover picture: See page 31. All web links should work. Inland Waterways Association: Registered Office; Island House, Moor Road, Chesham HP5 1WA. Registered as a Charity No: 212342. Tel: 0845 4501146 Website: http://www.waterways.org.uk The views expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the Inland Waterways Association or of the East Midlands Region. They are published as being of interest to our members and other readers.
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AEGRE July 2010
No. 126 Contents
Canal Societies and Trusts in the EM Region.............................4 The Editorâ€™s Bow Button................................................................5 British Waterways User Groups...................................................6 Journals Received..........................................................................8 Region Manager Visits the River Soar.........................................9 Melton and Oakham Waterway Society Clearance Boat .........10 Aegre, Aegir, Eagre, Haygir... 2010.............................................11 Alien Invaders Moving North.......................................................13 News from Lincolnshire Branch.................................................14 Picture Credits..............................................................................18 Blisworth Canal Partnership.......................................................19 News from Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Branch...............20 The Editorâ€™s Flotsam and Jetsam...............................................23 Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Branch support Trip Boat...24 Loughborough Canal and Boat Festival....................................26 Chesterfield Canal Champion Dies.............................................28 Regional Diary Dates 2010..........................................................30
Next issue probably to be published in November 2010. Contributions to the editor by the end of September 2010 please. The space on the right is for local contact information.
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Canal Societies and Trusts in the EM Region Buckingham Canal Society
Helen Preston, 16 Mallard Drive, Buckingham MK18 1GJ Tel: 01280 821232 www.buckinghamcanal.org.uk
Derby & Sandiacre Canal Society
Chris Madge, c/o 62 Broadway, Duffield, Derby DE56 4BU Tel: 07827 946444 www.derbycanal.org.uk
Erewash Canal P & D
Howard Smith, 1 Millfield, Kimberley, Nottingham NG16 2LJ Tel: 0115 9384129
Association Foxton Inclined Plane Trust
Foxton Canal Museum, Middle Lock, Gumley Road, Market Harborough LE16 7RA Tel: 0116 2792657 www.fipt.org.uk
Friends of the Canal Museum
C/o The Canal Museum, Stoke Bruerne, Towcester NN12 7SE www.friendsofcanalmuseum.org.uk
Friends of the Cromford Canal
Patrick Morriss, The Shieling, Dukes Road, Lower Hartshay, Ripley, Derby DE5 3RP Tel: 01773 742895 www.cromfordcanal.org.uk
Friends of Raymond
c/o Braunston Marina, Braunston, Daventry, NN11 7JH www.thefriendsofraymond.org.uk
Grantham Canal Society
Mike Stone, 7, Crow Park Drive, Burton Joyce, Nottingham NG14 5AS; Tel: 0115 931 3375 www.granthamcanal.com
Louth Navigation Trust
John MacDonald, Navigation Warehouse, Riverhead, Louth LN11 0DA Tel: 01507 610539 www.louthcanal.org.uk
Melton & Oakham Waterways Society
Richard Booth, Sysonby Knoll, Asfordby Road, Melton Mowbray LE13 0HP Tel: 01664 503330 beehive.thisisleicestershire.co.uk/mows/
Old Union Canals Society
36 The Ridings, Desborough, Kettering NN14 2LP Tel: 07010 705103. www.fipt.org.uk/Local.htm
Sleaford Navigation Trust
Steve Hayes, 10 Chelmer Close, N Hykeham, Lincoln LN6 8TH Tel: 01522 689460 www.sleafordnavigation.co.uk
Trent and Mersey Canal Society
1 Pinfold Cottages, Back Lane, Little Haywood, Stafford ST 18 0UL. Tel: 01889 882770 www.trentandmersey.btinternet.co.uk
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The Editor’s Bow Button When we publish Aegre in the summer time, it is always a bit difficult to know where to call the deadline for contributions, as interesting things are happening all over our region fairly continuously. It seems only a short while ago I was piling fuel onto the boat stove to keep it going over the cold winter nights of May, and then a few days later collapsing in a heap in 28 degrees C. A very experienced friend once said to me “It’s always cooler on the water”. Just recently I would reply “Not always!” To practical publication matters first. One of the things we do with this magazine is provide a version in colour to IWA headquarters to put on their web site so that anyone can see what is going on in our region. This version has colour pictures because it looks better and is easy to do on the web (and much more expensive to do colour in the printed version). Normally it is available to the general public in this way a few weeks after the printed version goes to members. It is equally possible to send an electronic copy of the full colour version directly to members on publication if they wish. It would be in “pdf” format and you would need the “Adobe” reader (free) to show it on your screen. It usually comes to about one megabyte in size. If you would like to be sent this version, please send an e-mail request to email@example.com please not to the normal editorial e-mail address, and it will be done. Later on we may even invite you to opt out of the posted version, if Royal Mail prices continue to go skywards. Later in this edition we have a short article by Beryl McDowall about taking Darren Green of BW for a short boat ride. An excellent idea, and I am reminded of going to a lecture by the late Lord Sieff a long time ago, when he said that he didn’t believe in MBAs, but preferred MBWA. On being asked to explain, he said it stood for “Management By Walking About”. We now have an excellent example of MBBA, or Management By Boating About, and experiencing at first hand the shallow spots, stiff paddle gear, and lethargic lock gates. Good luck to all for the remaining season, and not too many difficult lock gates. Peter. Aegre July 2010 Page 5
British Waterways User Groups From John Baylis: The meeting of the BW East Midlands South User Group took place in March at the Nottingham Sailing Club, Holme Pierrepont. Sean McGinley, manager of the EM Navigations, was in the chair with four colleagues. This meeting will cover the Upper Trent from Meadow Lane Lock; and the Erewash, Cromford and Grantham Canals. It will if required also cover the Trent down to Newark, normally covered by the North User Group. The Hydro Schemes for Sawley and Gunthorpe may be getting re-submitted for Planning as EA requirements may have been met. Holme Lock has gone very quiet.
Winter maintenance on Sawley Flood and Cranfleet Flood locks had been completed with a little delay due to high water and problems with the Network Rail bridge over Cranfleet. The feeder paddle on Moorgreen feed at Langley Mill had been completed at a second attempt and the site was being tidied up. On the Grantham, Denton Wharf and Woolsthorpe bridge repairs were completed. The replacement top gate paddles for Newark Nether lock were now available and at least the damaged one would be replaced after Easter.
In 2010-11 on the Erewash Canal a set of new gates would be fitted at Long Eaton and new tail gates at Sandiacre Pastures. New septic tanks were being progressed for Gunthorpe, Beeston and Cranfleet Locks. The works at Meadow Lane Lock had been completed and had won an award. Howard Smith of Erewash Canal P&DA noted that the Association had been awarded the Morrison Construction Award under the BURA Renaissance Scheme for 2010. In 2010-11 new major projects, run from Canwell, will be Long Horse Bridge at Derwent Mouth, Culvert 25a on the Erewash Canal and dredging on the Chesterfield Canal.
It is planned that BW offices will only be open from 1000-1200 for visitors; the phone and internet was always open. A stoppage list draft for winter 201011 draft will be available May / June and then in July on Internet prior to publication in August. The printed version will not be sent to all boaters but a current version will be available from Waterway offices on request. Aegre July 2010 Page 6
A National Licence count is being carried out to compare with November 2009; in future it will be done in March and October. EM Navigations have at present about 80 cases of non-compliance with moorings or licences out of about 2500 boats.. Three cases are currently going to court. Long Horse Bridge will be started in May for completion in December, at a cost of £1.5M with a 3.9 metre wide bridleway. There may be stoppages of several hours/days on the reach to Cavendish Bridge Marina when beams are lifted into place. Greenways to and from the bridge are not yet sorted, but Hully Gully Bridge will be repaired to improve the towpath to Sawley Bridge. Trent Vale Scheme. For new visitor moorings between Newark and Gainsborough BW would welcome suggestions from all on suitable sites, bearing in mind that most of this is tidal. BW Estates and Henry Boot Ltd. are looking at new uses for the unused Beeston Lock Cottages, and BW has had some interest expressed by possible future users for a café, museum or display areas. BW will keep one cottage as a residence for operational reasons. There seems little chance of Henry Boot getting permission to develop on the flood plain? The British Disabled Water Ski Association have been given notice to quit Holme Pierrepont and are looking at sites on the non-tidal Trent with the Trent Water Ski Association with a view to skiing about 10 days a year. BW will meet with them and anglers between Gunthorpe and Farndon which covers feasible non-tidal sites. I think this will not be a problem as they only have one boat and the speeds are not high. Grantham Canal Society have received a grant of £10k to aid volunteer work on the canal and are looking for interested volunteers. From Beryl McDowall: BW Central Shires (East) User Group Meeting was held in April at the Soar Boating Club, Normanton on Soar. Darren Green, BW’s new Region Manager for Central Shires, introduced himself and his new team, and provided users with useful documentation giving an overview of the new system. Planned prevention maintenance was outlined. This was followed by a Business Update, then a discussion on the proposed stoppages for 2010/2011. Users were told of BW’s plan to set up a group of people for each area, to ‘oversee’ the running of the relevant waterways, to consider things such as the Region’s setting of a business plan, and prioritising spending. All Region Aegre July 2010 Page 7
Managers are also expected to see the whole of the waterways in their specific region by boat. To this end, Darren asked that anyone who would be willing to help by taking him out on part of the waterways within his Central Shires Region should get in touch with him.
After a short refreshment break, those present went to the relevant waterway group for their particular waterway (Trent & Mersey Canal, Coventry & Ashby, or River Soar and Grand Union - Leicester Line). This provided an opportunity for users to meet their local BW staff, and to talk about any matters of concern.
Darren made it known that whilst most BW Region Offices will be open to the public for only two hours a day, as things stand at present the Fazeley Office will be open daily from 10.00 a.m. to 2.00 p.m. They are able to do this because both Central Shires and West Midlands regions are based at Fazeley. Aegre is most grateful to Beryl, The Residential Boat Owners’ Association and their magazine Soundings for this report from Normanton. Ed.
Journals Received We are very pleased to acknowledge copies of journals from various canal and river societies and trusts. They include “Endeavour” from Northampton Branch; “The Portal” from Friends of the Cromford Canal; “The Cuckoo”, from the Chesterfield Canal Trust; “The Bridge”, from Grantham Canal Society; the “Melton and Oakham Newsletter”; and “The Wharfinger”, from Louth Navigation Trust. Anyone interested in receiving a copy of one of these journals should contact the relevant address given in our page 4 directory. For “The Cuckoo” contact the editor John Lower at 92a Tapton View Road, Chesterfield S41 7JY.
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Region Manager Visits the when navigating such boats around the system. To this end, I asked DarRiver Soar I was going to travel from Mountsorrel to Loughborough on 30th April, prior to the Loughborough Canal and Boat Festival, and invited Darren Green to join me for this short trip. He arrived, complete with his bike in the boot of his car. We set off around 8.30 a.m., and headed for the first lock. Darren was keen to help with working the lock, and noted down any problems which he saw on our journey.
ren if he would like to steer for a while; he took me up on the offer as we made our way towards Loughborough.
Journeys such as this give managers not only a chance to get out and see their waterways at first hand, but also give the boat owners involved an opportunity to talk about the waterways from their perspective. Darren was keen to hear of any perceived problems, and to discuss possible solutions, whilst at the same time being honest in his assessment of the particular matter under discussion, As the owner of a boat which is fairly and whether or not he thought a deep in the water, I feel it is important change would be practical and realisthat when Region Managers visit their tic from all points of view. waterways, they see for themselves Beryl McDowall the problems sometimes encountered Aegre July 2010 Page 9
Melton and Oakham Waterway Society Clearance Boat
Melton have been making an appeal for funds to help modify their existing work boat, “Mole”, to become a more “all round” river clearance vessel. The work envisaged was to have an engine powering proprietary outrigger arms and a Hiab crane arm fitted with a clamshell bucket, whilst the same engine could be utilised to provide the boat’s motive power via a take-off shaft and propulsion unit via a standard z-drive. Their pleas did not fall on deaf ears. Thanks to tremendous efforts from many people the initial target was reached, within the timeframe that the steel fabricators had quoted to obtain the equipment.
Obviously, fundraising on this scale was a major undertaking and there are a lot of people the society would like to thank. First, Richard Booth, our MOWS Committee Secretary, who dreamed up the initial idea, did the technical drawings and obtained costings for the work. A close second comes Melton Town Estate who have generously allowed the jointly owned “Mole” work-boat to be used for the project. To John and Dinah Rudman and the advisors at Aegre July 2010 Page 10
Voluntary Action Leicester (VAL), who persevered and jumped through many hoops to see our Awards For All application safely home. Straightforward donations were received too, from Samworths of Melton (who have also helped in the past with voluntary labour), Melton Borough Council, and Melton Town Community Forum, plus a myriad of smaller, but nevertheless vital contributions from members and supporters. We also received financial and moral support from Leicestershire Branch IWA.
The new “super Mole” will allow a much greater variety of clearance operations to be carried out. Work such as bush and sapling clearance, which is usually done from the bank, can now be safely tackled from the water and many of the riverbed’s shallow spots can now be relocated into deeper troughs, resulting in an increased and more constant depth of
water. Bank protection and repair where erosion has taken place will now be tasks that could be tackled either from the water or the bank itself. Obstacles to navigation such as weeds, rubbish and the odd supermarket trolley should now prove no problem. As the all-up weight is still within the safety limits of a substantial trailer, the society can envisage that the boat could be loaned out to local waterway restoration groups, thereby raising vital funds for the society’s many other projects. Many thanks to all concerned, but especially for the major contribution from VAL whose help and advice we couldn’t have done without to be able to achieve this funding from “Awards For All”. Mmm, now, all we just need are volunteers to operate this and we’re away ... takers anyone? With acknowledgement to the Melton and Oakham Waterway Society for this information. Ed.
Aegre, Aegir, Eagre, Haygir... 2010 Following up our table of predictions in the March issue, which only went as far as August, here are the probable times for later this year on the next page. We are grateful to the Environment Agency for their predictions, which are for Gainsborough, and are adjusted for the change from GMT to BST. The event can be up to thirty minutes earlier depending on possible strong winds, for example. There are no “five star” forecasts this year, because of the way the moon phases and the equinoxes fall. Stockwith should be about 20 minutes earlier than Gainsborough, and Owston Ferry about 45 minutes earlier. For more details EA have a very useful leaflet giving some of the folklore and recommended viewing places, like Derrythorpe, Gainsborough itself, Morton, Stockwith, and Susworth. PH.
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Alien Invaders Moving North The threat of alien plant invasion, already reported here for the Soar, has become a reality for more northerly waterways. Hydrocotyle ranunculoides, otherwise known as Floating Pennywort, has been found in the River Don, the Calder and Hebble Navigation and the Aire and Calder Navigation. This aquatic plant was brought into this country in the 1980’s from North America as a plant for tropical aquaria and garden ponds. By 1991 it appeared in the wild and has found its way into our rivers, lakes and canals, mainly due to people dumping unwanted plants. It roots in slow moving water, and if left unchecked forms thick mats covering the water thus starving the lower levels of sunlight and oxygen, which in turn means that the survival of fish and aquatic insects is threatened. This plant can choke drainage systems and will crowd out native plant life. Boating and angling interests are also affected. As this plant can grow up to 20cm (8 inches) per day and can regenerate from the tiniest fragment, its control is very difficult and costly. Currently it costs BW in this region more than £50,000 per year and £350,000 nationally, money that could be spent elsewhere on the system. Jonathan Harts-Woods, BW Environment Manager said “Floating Pennywort demands on-going monitoring and intensive control mainly because of its alarming growth rate.” Floating Pennywort is not the only plant putting a strain on our waterways system. Other highly invasive plants include Japanese Knotweed, Himalayan Balsam and Giant Hogweed, the latter two being virtually impossible to eradicate. Containment is essential for these two plants, with Floating Pennywort being removed and sprayed wherever it is found before it spreads further and becomes beyond control. Please don’t let this happen, report any sightings to British Waterways or the Environment Agency immediately. Pictures of these plants can be found on the Internet and in your local library.
Malcolm Fielding, Secretary SY&D branch Aegre July 2010 Page 13
News from Lincolnshire Branch Due to financial cutbacks within the Environment Agency (EA) the lock keeper's hours of operation at the tidal lock at South Ferriby from the River Ancholme to the Humber have been reduced. Normal operating hours are 9 to 5 but 24 hours notice can be given in order to make a passage at tide times. This lock has been able to offer â€œSafe Havenâ€? access for craft suffering mechanical problems or caught in adverse weather conditions in the Humber. In future this facility will only be granted when the request is made by the Coastguard, RNLI or Humber Rescue Services. For many years the EA have been trying to obtain a Transport and Works Order to harmonize the differing navigation rules across their regions. These changes came into force on 6th April 2010, and include a requirement for all boats to be registered (licensed), insured, and built to certain standards. The Order also gives them powers to inspect craft and remove those found lacking, and has created an appeals system. However two major proposed powers have been dropped. These were to adopt a single charging system across all the Agency's waterways, and to require all boats in marinas to buy a registration (licence). Despite the financial cut backs the Agency are carrying out surveys of their waterways within Anglian Region with a specially equipped trailable craft taking electronic soundings of the channels to determine their depth and profile. (See our picture, courtesy of EA). This was used on the Old River loop through Brigg, where the Town Council and local MP had complained that it was an eyesore, impassable to boats through weed and rubbish, and reAegre July 2010 Page 14
quired dredging. The survey results show adequate depth in mid-channel except near two bridges, and that the problem is the rapid growth of weeds in the silt at the edges of the river. The Town Council and the EA are discussing possibly increasing the number of cuts per season, but the availability of weed-cutting boats and costs are a factor in this. Due to internal policy conflicts many EA watercourses have become silted, promoting excessive weed growth. This is understood to have been the cause of flooding in some market towns in Lincolnshire. It was noticeable that, following much adverse criticism, these waterways were extensively dredged thus lessening the flooding risk. This has also taken place on the Caistor Canal off the River Ancholme, where it has been dredged back to its original profile to protect the village of North Kelsey from flooding. Whether boats will be able to use this old canal is not yet clear. An article in an Internal Drainage Authority journal reports on the Agency dredging a number of rivers across the country to evaluate the benefits for flood protection and any effects on flora and fauna. Louth Navigation Trust have reached agreement with the Lincolnshire County Council for volunteers to cut the tow path along the canal for payment. The value and cost-effective use of volunteers has been acknowledged yet again. Talks with the EA are continuing about a suitable method of protecting one of the unique scallop-sided locks damaged through flood waters getting behind the chamber walls. Also a meeting with Lincolnshire Waterways Partnership has been held to discuss the installation of a slipway for canoeists to launch. There has been some progress on waterway projects in the River Witham valley. Billinghay Skirth Restoration Society have overcome many issues raised by the EA and finally obtained consent to install a permissive footpath on a flood bank, with seats and some ornamental shrub planting. These flood banks will shortly be subject to an in-depth examination to ascertain their strength and suitability for flood protection. The results may be beneficial to the watercourse, in allowing craft to once again use this ancient waterway. Aegre July 2010 Page 15
On the nearby Sleaford Navigation, a very successful boaters' gathering took place at South Kyme over May Day bank holiday. Numerous activities organized by the parish took place with boaters and villagers competing. At the parish meeting suggestions that the river be improved for people to access the water were raised. These suggestions, providing for canoeists, fishermen, disabled access and boat landings, will be taken forward by a joint working party consisting of the Slea Navigation Trust (SNT), IWA, and the Parish Council.
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New slipway at Sleaford
Following the successful management of the Lincolnshire Waterways Partnership (LWP) works at Bottom Lock by SNT and IWA member David Pullen, he has supervised the works for the new footbridge, slipway and winding hole in Sleaford. This input has proved financially beneficial and may lead to further projects on the river. The official opening of these works is on July 3rd with a Farmers' Market, Tastes of Lincolnshire, Waterway Societies and Arts and Craft stands being present on Saturday and Sunday, when a trip boat will also be running.
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In Boston the LWP`s funding application to Sport England to promote the Witham Navigable Drains and provide a trail-boat slipway failed. Further funding opportunities are to be sought. Boston Borough Council convened a meeting to resolve the issues of the underwater obstructions near the west side steps on the Maud Foster Drain. I attended with an Anglian Water engineer and a representative from the EA. It appears that some years ago a water main failed and damaged the drain retaining wall. To repair the wall a coffer dam was installed to provide a dry working area. On completion of the works it was not practical to withdraw the piles, so they were cut off under water by divers and remain just below the surface. Further attempts to remove the piles may cause instability to the foundations of the wall. The moorings opposite are now improved with the installation of moorings rings fitted by East Midlands Waterway Recovery Group and IWA. The reference in the last Aegre to the Butterley Iron Works prompted member Richard Hackford to recall the days when he used to cross the Butterley footbridge on the Maud Foster Drain from his grandfather's farm to the chip shop. Following up on his suggestion, the Branch intend to hold a boaters' gathering here on May Bank Holiday 2011. Boston Borough Council are being approached by a supportive councillor for their input. Dave Carnell.
Picture Credits We are most grateful to all of the following, who have contributed photographs or other illustrations to enhance this or earlier editions of Aegre: Paul King; Paul Birtles; Tony Pitman; John Lower; Peter Stone; Ian McDonald; Dave Carnell; Brian Dominic; Beryl McDowall; Nancy Johnson; Norman Osborne; David Pullen; Dave Scott; Mike Snaith; John Baylis; Bill Joyce, Lynda Payton; Colin Crofts; BW Newark, Keith Stothard of EA Humber, Rod Auton.
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Blisworth Canal Partnership Blisworth Canal Partnership was established about a year ago by a group of Blisworth Villagers. Broadly we aim to involve and engage the local community in promoting and improving their canal environment for all users. And what a first year it has been! British Waterways have been one hundred per cent supportive and the local community have really engaged with the initiative. Gayton Junction (actually in Blisworth Parish) now has seating, an interpretation board and a newly refurbished sani-station. Earlier this year Anglia TV filmed two lock beams being removed from the Buckby Flight; these are just about to be installed as seating adjacent to our towpath, again as a co-operative venture between villagers and BW. The area close to the north portal of our famous tunnel will soon be improved with a Pocket Park, seating, heritage features and perhaps more adventurous projects being whispered about. All of the work will be undertaken by village volunteers. Probably our biggest endeavour this year will be a Canal Festival over the weekend of August 7th / 8th. What started as a 'shall we...?' has now ballooned into a major event with all of the usual trade boats and stands filling our waterfront, but more importantly to us as a community every local group taking part. Activities are planned by everybody from the bell-ringers, Scouts, WI, Heritage Society and Art Group to the bookworms, dancers and ramblers. We have ten open gardens and open allotments with added attractions such as rideon trains and plant stalls. Every local venue will be packed to the gunnels with attractions. Live music has been booked throughout the event, with a pig roast and jazz band to start the festival off with a bang on the Friday night. This is Blisworth's Community Canal Festival! Blisworth Canal Partnership really is an example of a community re-engaging with its canal, looking to see what 'they' can do to make it better for all users. We will attract any funding we need; the installation of the lock beams needed planning permission - we acquired that and didn't expect BW to do it (and we paid for it). There are two brilliant websites for more info:www.blisworthcanalpartnership.org and www.blisworthcanalfestival.moonfruit.com Jan Andrews Aegre July 2010 Page 19
News from Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Branch Tropical Gunthorpe Since the last Aegre there has been a change to warmer weather and I hope everyone is taking advantage by being out and about on our wonderful waterways. I happened to be enjoying the towing path of the River Trent at Gunthorpe Lock on that glorious summer weekend in late May and it was great to see so many others doing the same, walkers, cyclists, fishermen and many boats of all shapes and sizes from the big river cruisers to canoes. It just reminded me of the vast number of people from all walks of life who enjoy the waterways, and what a vital but often unsung role the IWA plays behind the scenes in protecting such an amenity, for the benefit of us all.
Ministerial Matters There has also been much going on with the Planning Authorities within Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire since the last Aegre, not to mention a General Election. As regards Bridge 16 of the Grantham Canal and the dualling of the A46 by the Highways Agency, the Supplementary Planning Inquiry is complete and the Inspector has written and submitted his report to the Secretary of State. We then had the General Election and the Ministerial deck of cards has been shuffled. The Inspectorâ€™s report therefore lies somewhere in Whitehall awaiting the attention of the new Secretary of State for Transport, the Rt. Hon. Philip Hammond MP.
In the meantime, on the ground, the new section of road at Bridge 16 has been built and asphalted, flat across the canal bed. That is not good news but neither is it the end of the story. The Highways Agency have indicated that if instructed by the Secretary of State, as a consequence of the Inspectorâ€™s report, they will undertake the necessary bridge works in 2011/12. Which means that the Highways Agency do have a feasible solution to the problem and it now comes down to how much everything will cost and who will pay. It remains significantly more cost effective for everyone to ensure Bridge 16 is built as part of the A46 dualling scheme. Aegre July 2010 Page 20
As a final note on the subject of Bridge 16 in this article, you may recall me saying previously that the Highways Agencyâ€™s justification for not doing anything with this bridge was because their project and jurisdiction ended approximately one metre before the crossing of the canal and its towing path, therefore they would have no impact on the canal corridor or its future restoration at this point. If you now visit the site you can see the new asphalt laid right across the towing path, canal bed and several further metres down the road towards Stragglethorpe. In other words the new asphalt does not stop short of the canal by one metre, it goes right across it and further along the road on the other side. Please feel free to write to the Secretary of State for Transport, the Rt. Hon. Philip Hammond MP to focus his attention on reading and acting upon the Inspectorâ€™s report at his earliest convenience.
Cotgrave Colliery There has also been a planning application submitted for the development of the old Cotgrave Colliery site. The outline plans suggest a mixed use development of housing and industrial units, with up to 470 houses to be built. This development borders the Grantham Canal, but sadly takes little account of the potential value of the canal and virtually no account of the Green Infrastructure master-plan so painstakingly produced over the last couple of years. At the same time, with it being an ex-colliery site there is significant funding (ÂŁmillions plural) available from the Coalfield Regeneration Fund to do something really special for this whole area for all residents for many years into the future. The Branch has therefore objected to the Planning application and suggested that some regeneration funding should be targeted more towards the implementation of the Green Infrastructure master-plan for the area, which would include the raising of impacted bridges where the canal is currently culverted. Aegre July 2010 Page 21
Hydro on the Trent Sometime back BW announced plans to install Hydro Electric Power schemes on various weirs on the River Trent. A planning application was submitted by the Small Hydro company last year to install such a scheme at Gunthorpe weir. This was refused at the time after objection by the Environment Agency, who were concerned about the Environmental Statement that accompanied the application. There was concern that by raising the weir by 0.6m it might reduce the flow over the gravel beds below the weir, which would impact the cleansing of the gravel and therefore limit the ability of any eggs to adhere and consequently be detrimental to fish spawning. The Small Hydro company have amended their Environmental Statement and resubmitted the application to install a scheme at Gunthorpe weir. They are working with BW on the scheme, and from a navigation perspective there is sufficient height under Gunthorpe Bridge to cater for raising the weir crest by 0.6m., and increasing the draft in this area will be an aid to commercial traffic. At the same time the scheme is designed to be neutral with respect to any flooding issues – the three turbines will be buried in a chamber below the river bed, in the weir, so in high flows, the directing gates can be lowered and water can pass directly over the top without constraint. We therefore await to see if the Environment Agency’s concerns have been overcome.
Boat for Grantham The Branch has also been active in fundraising and we have made a donation towards the purchase and transportation to site of a new trip boat for the Grantham Canal Society. After many months of effort by many people it all came together on April 28th when “The Three Shires” was launched at Denton Wharf. In recognition of the £1000 donation, acting Chairman (Brian White) and our Social Secretary (Mavis White) were treated to a seat on the inaugural trip on the boat from Denton Wharf to Woolsthorpe – they were impressed with the quality of the boat and were overjoyed to be on a boat cruising on the Grantham Canal! See a later article in Aegre for more details on this topic.
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Social activities On a social front our monthly meetings at West Bridgford, Nottingham have been well attended and we have had particularly good feedback from attendees concerning the recent illustrated talks by David Amos (Tracks, Towpaths and Trains - a history of canals, tramways and railways on the Nottingham and Derby Border) and John Lower (A walker’s and boater’s guide to the Rochdale Canal). Plus we had a superb evening walk around Harby in the Vale of Belvoir courtesy of Colin Bryan of the GCS. This took in the canal towing path and the new “lift” bridge where Main Street, Harby passes over the canal,
By the time you read this we will be taking a summer break from our socials and will be starting up again at the usual venue in West Bridgford on September 17th when Stuart Bramwell will give an illustrated talk on “Springtime in the Pyrenees”. Stuart has given us some exceptionally entertaining evenings in the past with his knowledge and stunning landscape photography of the Derbyshire Peak and Cumbrian Lake Districts so this is one not to be missed. Do put this one in your diary now and make sure you join us in September, it will be a great evening. Please also see the Social calendar for the Branch at the back of this publication. We are a friendly bunch, so new and old are most heartily welcome. I look forward to seeing you in September.
The Editor’s Flotsam and Jetsam We are indebted to Mr Ray State of Ratcliffe for the following exemplary tale: At the County Hall on Saturday last Isaac Holden of Leicester, boatman, was convicted in the penalty of £4 for having passed with his boat through the navigation lock at Redhill in the parish of Ratcliffe on Soar in this county and neglected to shut the head gate before he drew over the paddles of the lower gate of the said lock. Nottingham Review, 29th May 1818. Perhaps someone expert in the subject could say how much £4 in 1818 would be worth now? Aegre July 2010 Page 23
Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Branch support Trip Boat The Grantham Canal Society have dreamed of a Trip boat for many a long year and it became clear late last year that this dream was destined to be reality, provided the funds could be raised. It needed many people to help, and entailed drive, determination and leadership from a small committed group to ensure success. The Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Branch wished to recognise the efforts of many people and donated £1000 to boost the fundraising and ensure the project succeeded – but where to get the funding for the donation? As regular readers of this magazine will know the author works for a company, ExxonMobil, that supports their employees who are involved in charitable work for their local communities. An application was therefore made to the ExxonMobil VIP (Volunteer Involvement Programme) and I was very pleased to be awarded the maximum award of £1000. Receipt of this award then enabled the Branch to make the donation to the Grantham Canal Society. The first photograph shows the author presenting the ExxonMobil VIP award cheque to Brian White, acting Branch chairman, at Denton Bridge on the Grantham Canal. The second photograph shows Brian presenting the Branch £1000 donation to Mike Stone, Chairman of the Grantham Canal Society, with the new trip boat in the background at Denton Wharf. As you read this, the new boat The Three Shires will be available for trips along the fully restored section of the Grantham Canal between Woolsthorpe and Harlaxton. Contact Mike Stone or the author for further details. Mike Snaith Aegre July 2010 Page 24
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Loughborough Canal and Boat Festival After another successful weekend the festival’s one and only chairman, Mick Clowes, looks back on 14 eventful years ... The Loughborough Canal and Boat Festival began originally in 1997 as a oneoff event to keep the canal in the public eye because, at the end of 1996, the headline in the local paper “The Loughborough Echo” reported that there was a proposal to build the inner relief road over the canal wharf and basin. As a protest, local boaters led by Mick and friend Nick Paget organised a rally in the basin during January 1997 which attracted 45 boats and 2,000 townsfolk. A petition started that day soon amassed 6,000 signatures and letters of support appeared in the “Echo”. In the meantime, even though the rally had been a success, the organisers felt that they needed to keep the issue fresh in people’s minds and maintain the early momentum, hence the festival was born. The first one was held on Easter Sunday 1997 and was a great success. “Everything seemed possible in those early days”, recalls Mick, “We were idealistic, driven by the need to save our beloved canal and a damn sight younger”. The original four organisers were not aware of the significance or relevance of “risk assessments” or health and safety legislation and most things were achieved through help from the local paper; friends; gentle persuasion; and a mixture of thank-yous and smiles. “In retrospect we were very naive and took a lot of risks, but no-one suffered, we had a brilliant time and we got a result.” Later that year a public inquiry was held and, with increased pressure from all concerned, the transport committee at County Hall agreed in August to move the road reservation, saving the majority of the canal and wharf. Their objective realised, they thought that was end of that, but public demand asked for the festival to be brought back again the following year and it has since become a regular yearly event. It is now a 2-day festival over the May Day holiday weekend, with countless boats mooring for over a mile along Loughborough’s towpath. Following that first “need to get the public on our side” event, subsequent years have seen the festival change emphasis from a pure campaigning strategy to an all-encompassing family-orientated weekend. “I like to think of it as Aegre July 2010 Page 26
a community event with boats”, says Mick, “That way we satisfy everyone, be they boater, visitor or stall-holder”. Losing one festival to the Foot and Mouth outbreak was hard to take, as a year’s organisation went for nothing, but the small, hard working committee felt this was the responsible decision to make at that time and this led to the expansion to two days the following year. The organisers always put on a top class show but admit that financially things are a struggle. “Everything was a bit make do and mend originally but today people’s expectations of an event such as this are a lot higher” Despite the cash constraints Mick fiercely defends his original decision to keep the festival free entry and adds that “It’s not every day that you give the public something for nothing but if we can, then I think they appreciate it. Anyway it’s a way of saying thanks for their continued support.” Since the wharf was “saved”, Government subsidies for British Waterways’ repairs and maintenance have been drastically cut, forcing them to realise some of their best assets. This has resulted in places, such as Loughborough wharf, being sold off to developers. Before the developers could proceed, three planning meetings took place which went to a crucial final vote. Pressure groups aiming to keep the historical aspect were disappointed, but the canal festival organisers have embraced the new student flats development, utilising all aspects of the ground and water space to great effect. As of the New Year 2010, the land adjacent to Bridge Street is still to be developed, but it is to be hoped that the co-operation with existing tenants can be extended to this area when built upon. Mick says that if he could dedicate this article to anyone it would be to secretary and fellow organiser Jo Swift; the local paper “The Echo”; and to the people of Loughborough. All continue to play their part, with Jo a tireless festival workaholic who pulls the whole thing together, the paper which continues its support and the locals who not only tolerate the yearly intrusion in their town but embrace it with both arms. Local people are justifiably proud of “their” festival and now use and treat the canal in a much more sympathetic way. Despite being ignored for generations, Loughborough’s waterway has evolved into a great place to go and relax, be it by boat, cycle or on foot. And as Mick concludes “If the festival has gone some way to help promote that, then long may it continue.” www.loughboroughcanalfestival.co.uk
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Chesterfield Canal Champion Dies Keith Ayling died on the morning of Wednesday 30th March. This was a year to the day since he stepped down from being the Chairman of the Chesterfield Canal Trust. He became a Vice-President and remained very active. Keith had been the Chairman for eighteen years. He was one of the leaders in the formation of the Chesterfield Canal Partnership which has representatives of all the councils on the canal plus waterways bodies and conservation concerns. During his tenure, eleven miles of canal were restored including thirty five locks. Much of the work has been done to enable the remaining nine miles between Staveley and Kiveton Park to be restored. His period of office saw a small organisation with an apparently impossible dream become a major player in canal restoration. He oversaw the transition from Canal Society to Canal Trust Ltd. with its extra responsibilities. The Trust is entirely run by volunteers, but Aegre July 2010 Page 28
Keith always insisted that it should produce work of a professional standard. One example of this was its magazine, Cuckoo, being canal society magazine of the year twice running. Another was its Work Party, being instrumental in the restoration of four locks and the building of a fifth from scratch on the Chesterfield length. David Trickett, Trust Vice-Chair, and Geraint Coles, Partnership Development Manager, both paid warm tributes to Keith. Both were unequivocal in their belief that his drive and enthusiasm were key factors in the Trust's success. Both doubted that as much progress would have been made without his leadership. There is no doubt that Keith will be missed both by the Chesterfield Canal Keith with his certificate from the Trust
Trust and the wider canal community. However the current Chair of the Trust, Robin Stonebridge, probably summed things up best when he said “Keith would not want us sitting about with long faces. He would have said ‘We have a job to do, let’s get on with it and get this canal restored!” From Rod Auton, and a tribute from Malcolm Fielding.
Keith, a boat owner, had the aim of cruising the country’s waterways on his retirement from the chairmanship of the canal trust. He did manage to cruise down to London onto the Thames and then via the Kennet and Avon through Bristol and up the Bristol Channel to Sharpness and then back onto the canal system and home.
Keith was buried at Tithe Green Natuth I first met Keith at the IWA Campaign ral Burial Ground on Thursday the 8 Rally held at Worksop on the Chester- of April, next to his soul mate Janet Wedgewood. field Canal in 1988. I was coordinating the Waterways for Youth events and Keith was organising the car park. A truly honest and forthright person who will be sadly missed by the waKeith later became the Chairman of terways movement and all who knew the then Chesterfield Canal Society and it was he who was responsible for him. guiding the Society to Trust status. He was Chairman for eighteen years and a member of the IWA East Midland Region Committee for a few years. Keith was passionate about canals and steam railways; his first job upon leaving school was in the ticket office of Dover Station, but he left because a promised British Railways apprenticeship did not materialise. He went on to study at college and taught in many schools until he finally ended up lecturing at the then Sheffield Polytechnic. A police cadet who attended his lectures told me he was one of the best lecturers he met because of his interest in each person’s progress.
Keith preferred this picture Aegre July 2010 Page 29
Regional Diary Dates 2010 All members of any branch, visitors, and non-members are all welcome to attend
For more information on events: For Nottinghamshire events contact Mavis White on 01636 671726 For Leicester meetings contact the Social Secretary, Beryl McDowall, on 07710 029247 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For Lincolnshire events contact Dave Carnell (see inside front cover) or Steve Hayes on 01522 689460 or email email@example.com. For Northampton events contact Graham Treagus on 01604 870515
August 7th & 8th 2010. Blisworth Canal Festival See page 19 for details, and the back cover.
The Notts and Derby branch of the IWA is organising a series of public meetings, hoping to attract lots of new faces to the meetings with a very interesting and varied group of speakers. Non IWA members will be very welcome to attend. You will meet a friendly bunch!
We meet on the third Friday of the month throughout most of the year, and meetings are held at 7.30 pm at Rushcliffe Arena, Rugby Road, West Bridgford, Nottingham - about 20 minutes from M1 Jct 24 up the A453.
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Friday, 17th September 2010 Illustrated talk by landscape photographer Stuart Bramwell “Springtime in the Pyrenees – A land of cascades”. The mountains, flora and fauna of the border between France and Spain. Friday, 15th October 2010 Illustrated talk by David Dawson. Relive the last days of the working boats, images from the late ‘50s to early ‘60s. Friday, 19th November 2010 Illustrated talk by Mike Kelly of the Friends of Cromford Canal “Cromford Canal” Friday, 17st Dec 2010 Christmas Social meeting. This is your chance to get to know people better. Mini presentation - “A continental boating holiday on the Canal du Midi” by John Wilkinson. Followed by Christmas refreshments. January 21st, 2011 Coal in the Leen Valley, illustrated talk by David Amos February 18th Annual General Meeting, followed by John Lower giving us an update on the restoration of the Chesterfield Canal. March 18th Bob Williams will present the Lichfield and Hatherton Canal today. April 15th The Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Specialist Team. Our cover picture this time. In the last issue of Aegre the article about the Butterley Company raised a number of comments. We are grateful to Mr Euan Corrie for sourcing the picture on our front cover, which shows the original Butterley bridge over the Trent just north of the Redhill tunnel. It comes from the book “The Midland Railway: Its rise and progress” by Frederick S. Williams. London, 1888. Courtesy of the University of Toronto. Aegre July 2010 Page 31
Bridge over the Trent - 120 years later
At Blisworth Canal Festival 2009 Aegre July 2010 Page 32