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BEAR ESSENTIALS The Newsletter of : -

IWA Warwickshire Branch Issue No. 34 – August 2012.


Autumn & Winter Talks Programme 2012. @ The Sports Connexion, Ryton, Coventry, CV8 3FL

Wednesday September 12th. @ 7:30pm.

‘A Confident Future - the next waterways era.’ by Lynne Berry OBE, Vice-Chair of CRT Trustees. At this time above all, we are truly honoured to have secured Lynne as our season-opening ‘keynote’ speaker. It will no doubt be fascinating to hear her views on how and where our inland waterways ‘go from here’..

Wednesday October 10th. @ 7:30pm. ‘The Ashby Canal - Past Present and Future’ by Geoff Pursglove, Ashby Canal Project Officer.

After a gap of some ten years, Geoff returns to update us on what is now our nearest canal restoration - and one of the rare ones that is actually achieving progress ‘on the ground’. It’s also an ideal prelude to our November walk.


Wednesday November 14 . @ 7:30pm

‘Water Supply Management in Drought & Flood’ by Adam Comerford, Group Hydrology Manager CRT. As the 2012 boating ‘season’ comes to a close what could be a more appropriate topic to consider – and, in Adam, who better for us to consider it with.

Wednesday December 12th. @ 7:30pm ‘Social Evening’ and Quiz.

Following the successful format established last year, we will again have a chance to socialise informally, and to test our knowledge in a quiz arranged by Anthony and Richard.

And don’t forget the daytime walks: 10:30am starts see Programme

Tuesday October 16th Card for details. GU - Knowle Locks and Black Boy

Saturday November 17th Ashby Canal - Snarestone to Measham

For many of us, one of the main attractions of our inland waterways has been the slow pace at which everything moves – at least that seemed to be the case up until this year. But now looking back at my April editorial I realise just how rapidly things changed this summer – and not just from BW to CRT. Back in early April we were all concerned about watershortages and lock-restrictions, and I was thanking Sue Roy as she handed over the ‘editorial baton’ to me. However, drought restrictions have now been superceded by ‘red-boards’; and I am now in the process of handing the ‘baton’ back to Sue! In waterway terms, however good or bad your summer may have been, I’m sure that when looking to the left here you’ll agree that we’re in for a fantastic autumn. In fact, in my twelve years as a Warwickshire Branch member, I believe that this is easily the best autumn programme I’ve yet seen - thanks Richard. When looking to our September meeting, I’m sure that even Branch member Tony Hales will agree that Lynne is now, in many ways, the new face of our waterways. She is also on the Cranfield University/FTSE list of the ‘Top 100 Women to ‘Watch’ in the UK today, so this is your chance; and she’s also a boater! Is there no end to her talents? But, topical as her subject is, I reckon that, at the moment, its topicality is topped by our November topic. As hinted above, after spending some ten years as a ‘front-bench spokesman’ for Warwickshire Branch, I am retiring to the ‘back-benches’ – where, although by no means giving up my IWA or other, wider waterway interests completely, I am looking forward to a more relaxed and contemplative period. However, with the programme as outlined here - and indeed looking forward into 2013 - your committee seems to have arranged a host of relevant activities and events to keep not just myself, but all of us, interested, active and involved - and surely that’s what a good IWA branch is all about. ‘Over and out’…..

Ian Fletcher.

Bear in Mind:

Notes from the chairman.

Well, finally it has happened. British Waterways has put on its ‘new coat’, and become the Canal and River Trust (CRT). The biggest change is in the way the waterways in its charge are financed – no longer at the mercy of H.M. Treasury (given the present financial situation) but now a registered charity with a guaranteed support income from the Government. The BW regions were created some time ago, but are now governed by new bodies known as Waterway Partnerships where IWA has the chance to be represented and have its say. Accompanying the launch is a booklet “Shaping Our Future” which includes a map of the new organisation but be warned, I don’t think Coventry has been renamed Birmingham or that Watford Locks are now Coventry! Our Branch covers parts of South East, West Midlands and Central Shires Waterway Partnerships:

and quite apart from CRT, Warwickshire also has the navigable River Avon in its charge; so that’s four navigation organisations for your Committee to keep in touch with. The new organisation being a registered charity is also the cause of some confusion between itself and IWA in the minds of the general public. Whilst our Association owns and operates its own waterway, The Chelmer & Blackwater, our remit is much broader – including oversight of the E.A. waterways (which it is hoped will, in time become part of CRT), thriving independent navigations such as the Warwickshire Avon, and restoration projects - some totally independent of CRT, such as the Cotswold Canals, and others which remain within the jurisdiction of CRT – for example the Montgomery Canal,.

Ian Jackson.

Christmas Cards & Calendars.

The Rhodes Thomas Collections.

The insert that you recently received within your autumn edition of Waterways shows our 2012 Christmas Cards and 2013 Calendars. As in previous years, we will be selling these at our October and November meetings. Purchasing your cards through the Branch aids Branch funds for waterways projects. Orders can be placed at our September meeting. Alternatively, phone 02476- 442701, or email your orders, by th Sept.13 to:-

The late Rhodes Thomas’s book collection comprising more than 200 books on inland waterways and related topics - is being sold by the Branch, initially to raise funds for the proper, secure storage of his collection of photographic slides and papers. The fund surplus that this will generate for the Branch will then be donated, in his memory, to deserving waterway causes.

The Hatton Lock Ransom. th

Over the weekend August 4/5 we held our second ‘lock-ransom’ – this time at Hatton. With some appalling weather reducing boat movement, and ‘competition’ from a certain major sporting event reducing footfall on the towpath as well, our ‘earnings’ will no doubt turn out to be somewhat lower than at last year’s Calcutt event. Nevertheless, it was still deemed a very worthwhile exercise for both Branch profile and fund raising. Thanks to all members who took part, in particular ‘Nick’ Nicholson - for his organisation.

To-date, mainly through our highly successful sales stand at the Braunston Historic Boat Rally in June, we have raised more than £890, by the sale of some 90 of these books. We are now planning for our next sales push to be over the th weekend of October 19/20 - at The Bonded Warehouse in Stourbridge. This will be as part of th the 50 Anniversary Celebration of the famous ‘Battle of Stourbridge’ – a key event in canal restoration history. Note: The August edition of BE is always posted to you (with your programme card), but postage costs have increased. Please remember that for the future editions e-mailing saves us money.

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 of the 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 England and Wales for the benefit of all. Registered & General Office: - Island House, Moor Road, Chesham, Herts. HP5 1WA. Phone: 01494 - 783 453.

Website :-

Editor: Ian Fletcher, 4 Village Hall Cottages, CV47 9QH Phone :01926 – 815 413. E-mail : - To help us reduce our distribution costs – if you have not already done so - please e-mail your address to our membership secretary ( ); so that she can add you to our growing newsletter database, and please let us know of any e-mail address changes.

IWA Warwickshire Branch, Bear Essentials, August 2012  

IWA Warwickshire Branch, Bear Essentials, August 2012

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