Page 1


IWA WARWICKSHIRE BRANCH OUR AUTUMN PROGRAMME Talks at The Sports Connexion Leisure Centre Leamington Road, Ryton-on-Dunsmore, Coventry CV8 3FL

All meetings start at 7.30 p.m.

Wednesday 11th September,

'A year as IWA National Chairman and my aspirations for the future'

Les Etheridge will overview his involvement as IWA National Chairman and the actions taken over the year and where he believes we should go in future. Les would like this session to be interactive so that he can answer the questions you have about the IWA at a national level. If you would like to submit questions in advance he would appreciate it. Please send questions to for forwarding on to Les Etheridge. Wednesday 9th October,

‘The Lapal Canal Project’ - an update

Peter Best, Chairman of The Lapal Canal Trust, will bring us up-to-date on the situation regarding the re-development plans submitted for Selly Oak and how it effects the restoration of the Lapal Canal. Wednesday 13th November,

'The Waterways of Stoke-on-Trent'

Steve Wood presents an illustrated exploration of the canals of North Staffordshire and South Cheshire, looking at their past, present and future. Restoration projects include the Caldon Canal, Burslem Port, Uttoxeter Canal and the little known Sir Nigel Gresley's Canal. Steve is Deputy Chairman of IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch, Chairman of the Uttoxeter Canal Restoration Committee and is a committee member of Burslem Port Trust. Wednesday 11th December,

'Quiz & Social Night'

What will be hidden in the sack this year? Which obscure bit of the waterways will be photographed from an odd angle? What's happened this year? All, none or some of the above will be featured on this entertaining quiz evening.

Winter Walks As the branch does not presently have a walks coordinator, the programme of walks has been arranged around those who have volunteered to lead a walk. If you would like to coordinate the walks programme in the future. Please speak to the branch chairman. Sunday 17th November, 10:30 a.m. Meet at The Frog public house car park, Bidford on Avon, B50 4BG or Grid Reference SP097517 Two walks are being offered: a long walk for the faster walkers and a short walk. We hope both will finish at the same time and place. Sunday 5th January This will be on the South Stratford Canal meeting place yet to be decided for information at meetings or look on the web site.

Christmas Cards, Puddings and 2014 Calendars The insert that you receive within your Autumn edition of ‘Waterways’ shows the IWA 2013 Christmas cards, puddings and 2014 calendars. As in previous years, we will be selling these at our October and November meetings. Purchasing your cards and calendars through the Branch aids Branch funds for waterways projects. All the cards this year have a local connection so should prove very popular with Warwickshire members. Please note that other IWA shop items can be purchased at the same time. Orders can be placed at our 11th September meeting or, alternatively, by 15th September via:

Phone: 02476 442701 or Email:

The insert that you receive within your Autumn edition of ‘Waterways’ shows the IWA 2013

BE37 August 2013 Editorial

by Sue Roy

Welcome to the first extended edition of the IWA Warwickshire Branch newsletter “ BEAR ESSENTIALS” I hope you have all had a good summer and those of you boating have been able to enjoy the dry sunny weather during July. The Branch summer events fell on less summery days. In June a few stalwart members braved the rain to walk up Napton locks and were grateful to dry off in the Folly Inn, In July we had dry but relatively cool weather for the walk and Picnic at Hatton. We walked down to admire the offside towpath clearance carried out by branch members during the spring. Three couples attended by boat on their way back from the Stratford River Festival and we had a very convivial evening at the picnic site. Last year’s meetings continued to attract a good attendance and we have another varied and interesting programme for the coming year so let’s keep the attendance going up!


1970’s photographs The Branch would like your help in locating photographs of the Leamington/Warwick stretch of the Grand Union Canal in the 1970’s or late 1960’s. If you have or know of anyone who has photos of that era and location, most particularly 1973, then please telephone 02476 442701 or email The Branch is seeking these for publicity purposes.

Saltisford Canal Trust Heritage Open Days weekend The Saltisford Canal Trust is again taking part in the Heritage Open Days weekend. This year it is planning a series of free fun packed special canal heritage events on Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th September – 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the center in Budbrooke Road, Warwick CV34 5RJ. Explore the waterside gardens; visit the new sensory garden; go into the visitor centre to see displays of the Hatton Locks restoration in the 1930’s; listen to live folk music; take a trip on Saltie 2. Refreshments will be available and entertainment for children. IWA Warwickshire Branch will be there displaying the work of the Branch and welcoming members and visitors alike.

54th AGM of IWA, Sat 28th September, 2pm

Ettington Community Centre, Rogers Lane, Ettington, Warwickshire, CV37 7SX

Bear in Mind

by Richard Sanders

Stratford River Festival Stratford River Festival had another successful year, with large crowds at the weekend. So many people at one time that it was taking 30 minutes to cross the tramway bridge. Many Warwickshire branch members attended, as boaters, organisers and visitors. Our stand displayed the work of the many working parties Branch members have organised or supported on the Stratford and Grand Union Canals. Funds were also raised by the sale of second hand books and selected volumes from the Rhodes Thomas collection. At 7:30 a.m. on Sunday, boaters, led by Steve Burt, were up clearing the festival area and fields of rubbish left by the general public after the previous day's celebrations and fireworks. Thank you to all those involved. Clean-ups Earlier this year, we ran a number of clean-ups on the Leamington and Warwick stretches of the Grand Union. I believe we should extend this to other urban areas within Warwickshire. Clean-ups are normally organised by our branch in areas where rubbish has been accumulating in the canal and close environs. We endeavor to involve other local organisations and the general public. CRT is normally able to supply gloves, litter pickers and grappling irons. If you know a local area which we have not previously covered such as in Rugby, please let a committee member know. Publicity resulting from such activities raises the public awareness of the IWA. HS2 At the IWA National Waterways Festival at Watford there were several displays showing how the alignment of the track will affect the existing canal network and restoration of the Chesterfield Canal. IWA Lichfield Branch will be mounting a display at the Wood End lock on the Trent & Mersey canal where there are serious issues under the latest plans. Stratford 2014 The boater camper entry formsforms for next National boaterand and camper entry foryear’s next IWA year's IWA Festival show the River Avon, Stratford as being the location. National Festival show the River Avon, Stratford as being the However,However, the forms also thatindicate negotiations still taking location. the indicate forms also that are negotiations placestill between relevant parties. Stratfordparties festivaland would are taking the place between the Arelevant no highlight the 40th of to thepress. river announcement hasAnniversary been madeofatthe the re-opening time of going navigation and Stratford and also the 50th A Stratfordbetween festival Evesham would highlight the 40th Anniversary of Anniversary of the re-opening of the Southern Canal. the re-opening of the river navigation betweenStratford Evesham and This would be also an important for Warwickshire members, Stratford and the 50th event Anniversary of the re-opening of the Southern Stratford Canal. This would an important not least because many of our members, arebe already involved event members, not least many of as partforofWarwickshire the national organisation. We will because need to consider our including Ian members West, Festivals Chairman, howmembers, the remaining branch can contribute to are the already involved as part of the national organisation. If it up goes festival and the waterways within Warwickshire leading to ahead, weThe need to consider the remaining branch July, 2014. branch committeehow would welcome suggestions members canforcontribute the may festival andplace the waterways and support activities to which take before the within Warwickshire leading July, 2014. The branch Festival, but will contribute to up thetofestival and attendees if the committee need suggestions and support for activities event was to takeyour place. Our continuing commitment to the which place before thefits Festival, will contribute to the offsidetake clearance at Hatton into thisbut role. festival and attendees. Our continuing commitment to the offside clearance at Hatton fits into this rôle.

BE37 August 2013 Mad Hatter in the Cambridgeshire Fens by Richard and Jackie Sanders Since our last edition of Bear Essentials, Mad Hatter has been exploring the rivers and drains of the Cambridgeshire Fens. We last traversed the Middle Levels in 2003, this time we endeavored to visit all parts navigable by Mad Hatter with the aim of claiming a Middle Level Cruising Plaque offered by IWA Peterborough Branch. This we accomplished apart from backing up to Horseway lock, a feat managed by Nick and Carole Nicholson on Calmore C, who were also cruising this area. In contrast to the weather in July, the temperatures in the Fens in May rarely breached 10 degrees centigrade, so spring activity was delayed. Many swans' nests often sited at drain junctions were waiting their clutch of eggs while on the back of Mad Hatter we were wearing snoods to combat the cold winds. On leaving Salter's Lode, we took the short cut to Earith up the 100 Foot Drain, assisted by the incoming tide. At St. Ives, host to the 2007 IWA National Waterways Festival, we were disappointed to find that the old water point on the town quay was no longer functioning. At Bedford, we ventured as far as we dared towards the Kempston Mill, near where one end of the Bedford and Milton Keynes Link will emerge. Returning through Salter's Lode was 'interesting', resulting in damaged cratch cover and snapped throttle cable. No cruise on rivers would be complete without a delay caused by the weather. The long dry period was broken by rains which raised the level of the river Nene, The footbridge at Thrapston proved an insurmountable (not the right word) obstacle. Fortunately, we only had to wait two days before returning to the Grand Union. Here we were amazed at the volume of boat traffic compared to the Fens. So if you want a nice quiet cruise why not visit the Cambridgeshire Fens! .

The smallest ring?

By Richard Sanders

Have you thought where this might be – ponder no further – it’s on your doorstep. The route back from the Stratford River Festival took Mad Hatter through Kingswood Junction. Realising that she had not been through lock 21, the captain decided to circumnavigate the 'island' between locks 21 and 22 in an anti-clockwise direction. However, the left hand turning from the cutthrough to lock 22 proved impossible, even with the fenders up and assistance from the crews of Calmore C and Saint Cadoc. To make it more interesting, we reversed up lock 22 and down lock 21 and winded in the basin to continue our journey through to the GU canal. For those interested in circumnavigating this small ring, I suspect the boat length limitations, without recourse to turning at the Grand Union or reversing, are 53' clockwise and 54' anticlockwise.

The Kiel Canal

by Peter Webb

In June Paula and I took a cruise on Fred Olsen’s Balmoral from Southampton to the Baltic, stopping at St. Petersburg,Tallin, Stockholm, and Copenhagen. The short cut from the North Sea to the Baltic Sea is the Kiel Canal saving about 250 miles through the difficult waters of the Skagerrak off the north coast of Denmark. The canal leaves the muddy estuary of the Elbe at Brunsbuttel about 30 miles downstream of Hamburg, then passes through attractive flattish farming countryside of Schleswig-Holstein to Kiel, a distance of 53 miles. It is 12m deep and 164m. We had a pilot throughout and a tug to guide us into Brunsbuttel Lock. At either end of the canal there are 3 locks side by side with none between. The rise seems to be only an average of 1.5m depending on the tides. The lockgates slide sideways at right angles to the lock and disappear into long tunnels covered in grass and bushes. The gates are built like rectangular tanks and I think can be floated. It remains the busiest ship canal in the world with 60,000 ships and 25,000 yachts every year. There are only 9 bridges over the canal all with minimum height of 42m. As a teenager I cycled over one of them. The railway bridge at Rendsburg is also a transporter bridge carrying cars in a cradle suspended far below the railway. Half way, during our canal transit, our Captain – Robert Bamberg from Finland, warned us that an Air Ambulance evacuation from the Balmoral was about to take place. Soon afterwards Balmoral and following ships slowed to a crawl and the chopper circled our ship. He decided it was unsafe to land on board, so landed on the towpath a little way ahead. A number of car ferries cross the canal throughout its length, and one came alongside Balmoral with an ordinary ambulance aboard and. A 91 year stroke victim was stretchered to the ambulance, the ferry proceeded to the bank and the ambulance backed up to the chopper, which sped off with the patient along the canal ahead of us to hospital. The operation was carried out with admirable German speed and efficiency. Sadly, we don’t know what happened to the lady in hospital We passed several deer drinking at the canal’s edge. Some very attractive houses and farmhouses bordered the canal and the locals all waved at our Ship, and we waved back, similarly the crews of yachts and other ships waved at us. Balmoral at 43,537 tons is so large weighing with 1860 passengers and crew that it had to pull into a layby to allow other large ships to pass. The whole canal is controlled by traffic lights to ensure the safe passing of larger vessels. We finally exited the canal at Holtenau Locks at Kiel into the Kiel Fijord and the Baltic Sea. Imagine my surprise when a submarine crossed in front of the lock – it had not come through the canal submerged! - but was making it’s way into Kiel Naval Base close to the lock.This was Germany’s main naval base throughout the two world wars. The busy canal was completed on 28th June 1895 and has been enlarged several times since.

BE37 August 2013 Lichfield Event 2013 is the 25th. Anniversary of the Lichfield and Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust and to celebrate this milestone the Huddlesford Heritage Gathering will now be held over 2 days at Lichfield Cruising Club by the junction of the Coventry and Lichfield Canals at Huddlesford (WS13 8PX. For Satnavs) and will be held on Saturday and Sunday September 21st & 22nd from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. This bi-annual event has always attracted lots of narrowboats, both historic and modern plus crowds of people who have come to see what the Trust and Canals in general can offer them. From Boat Trips to Agility Dogs there is something for all the family. Food and drink will be available all day. Entry is free and the proceeds will be going to the Lichfield & Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust to help with watering another length of the canal in Tamworth Road down to the A38 turn. Lots of work has been carried out by the Trusts volunteers and a visit to Darnford Park in Lichfield will see just where the canal will be going plus the environmental work carried out by the Trust.

Sunday 6th October - Banbury Canal Day

Have a fun day out at the annual Banbury Canal Day, either by joining in or volunteering to help with crowd control at the lift bridge and lock. IWA Oxfordshire branch are holding a working party on Tues 24th Sept,10 a.m. to 4 p.m. to smarten up the canal side before the Canal Day. If you are able to help or require further details please contact Stefanie Preston on 01494 783 453 or e-mail

Volunteering on the Canal System by Carole Nicholson As a member of IWA you are obviously concerned about the condition and upkeep of our canals. There are a number of opportunities to get out there and do your bit. On the 3rd Thursday and Saturday of each month some of us, along with interested locals, meet at Lapworth to do jobs organised by CRT. These include painting locks, bridges and fences, clearing overgrown vegetation, picking litter and improving the towpaths. The days are enjoyable and rewarding and we receive a lot of positive comments from boaters, walkers and cyclists. Recently we have started meeting at Hatton on the 1st Monday and Wednesday of each month to do similar jobs. These CRT Taskforces usually run from about 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. However you can stay all day or for a few hours, whatever suits you. Bring lunch if you’re staying all day but coffee and tea are supplied. IWA Warwickshire has taken over the clearing of vegetation on the non-towpath side at Hatton locks 31 to 36 where the locks are on that side. This makes it possible for boats to wait, and the shore team to walk between locks, on that side rather than keep crossing over. Work parties for this are not regular are just arranged as needed & when there are members available to do it. There are also ‘rubbish collecting days' at various sites, mainly in Leamington and Warwick. These are also very rewarding as we clear litter from the towpath and offside, where accessible, as well as grapple the heavy stuff from the canal. Sometimes we arrange these but also CRT or the local communities are the instigators but ‘the more the merrier’ and ‘many hands make light work’!! If you live near an urban waterway which needs a clean-up please e-mail or contact a committee member. We have recently held our third Lock Ransom, at Lapworth at the 3 locks around the junction. The weather was mixed; fine on Saturday and wet on Sunday, that was reflected in the collection,which, whilst better than last year’s wet weekend at Hatton, did not match that taken two years ago at Calcutt. Anyway we all enjoyed ourselves and raised awareness of the IWA as well as raising funds to support future projects. You are welcome just to turn up for the regular events. Information on extra volunteer activities may be found in Bear Essentials and on our website. You may also register at to receive information on events planned at short notice. The more people there are involved the easier it is to cover all events without anyone feeling over worked or having to worry if they are unavailable. The IWA may not agree with opinions expressed here in this newsletter, but encourages its publication as a matter of interest. Nothing herein may be construed as a matter of policy, or an official announcement, unless otherwise stated. The Association accepts no liability for any material contained herein

The IWA is a registered charity ( No. 212342 ), founded in 1946. Supported by donations & members’ subscriptions, it campaigns for conservation, use, maintenance, restoration, & development of the inland waterways of Great Britain - for the benefit of all. Registered & General Office: - Island House, Moor Road, Chesham, Herts. HP5 1WA. Phone: 01494 - 783 453.

Editor : Sue Roy, 46 The Butts, Warwick, CV34 4ST Phone: - 01926 – 49 78 45. E-mail :-


Newsletter of the Warwickshire Branch of the Inland Waterways Association


Newsletter of the Warwickshire Branch of the Inland Waterways Association