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

Northampton Branch Newsletter - August 2010

BLISWORTH CANAL PARTNERSHIP RECEIVES CASH BOOST The newly formed Blisworth Canal Partnership is currently working on a management plan with British Waterways to create a ‘Walk in the Woods’ Pocket Park on the canal embankment adjacent to the north portal of Blisworth Tunnel and the local branch of The Inland Waterways Association has donated £1,000 raised at its annual Gathering of Boats held at Becket’s Park in Northampton in May to help towards the cost of building the continued on page 8 park. Writes Jan Andrews

BLISWORTH’S FIRST CANAL FESTIVAL What on earth is going on in Blisworth, or words to that effect, were overheard spoken by a police officer after he had tried to negotiate our gridlocked village High Street during the festival weekend. With a reported 10,000 visitors, it is no wonder he had problems. A slick publicity regime had ensured countywide coverage, and conversations with several people revealed that they had indeed travelled from all over Northamptonshire and beyond. Continued on page 16 The IWA was founded in 1946 to campaign for the retention, restoration and development of Britain’s navigable waterways and for their fullest commercial and recreational use. The IWA is a registered Charity (no. 212342) , whose work is supported by members’ subscriptions.





I hope you like the new look Endeavour, comments welcome good or bad I would like to know your views and will publish some in the next issue. What a nice hot and dry summer we have had, water levels are low in a lot of places. We were on the Grand Union at Kingswood and moved to let a boat pass and got stuck on the bottom. We just got free and moored up when the next boat came through and he had to pull over and also got stuck. We then went on the Stratford Canal and going towards Stratford the levels got very low in places. British Waterways seem to be doing all they can to keep the levels up the best they can. We are lucky in our area as we seem to have plenty of water. A boater coming down the Buckby locks had been out for 10 weeks and had to change his plans as he was going to go on the Leeds and Liverpool. But, with only one boat a day allowed through the lock he quickly changed his plans. I do hope you have plenty of water under your boat and not falling from the skies! I did experience something when we went through the Bascote staircase locks - one boat in the bottom lock and two in the top lock. We emptied the top lock and one boat went into the bottom lock the other boat in the top lock was then pulled over so the boat in the bottom lock could get in, then the other boat in the bottom lock was pulled over so that the second boat in the top lock could continue down. This saved a lock of water with three boats on the move. Just like the puzzle game with the squares sliding around. Boat Building and Fitting, Marine Engineers, Electricians, Chandlery, Agents for Yanmar Diesel Engines & Boat Safety Examinations


September 14th 8pm !6th 8pm 27th 7.45



IWA Northampton Branch Meeting at The Walnut Tree, Blisworth Talk on Not so Idle Women with Mike Constable Friends of Canal Museum. Talk by David Blagrove, Saving the K&A1945 to 1962 IWA MK Branch Meeting “The Grand Canal of China” by Liam D’Arcy Brown (‘Zhuongguo tong’ and travel writer) at MK Village Pavilion, Worrelle Ave, MK Village, MK 10 9AD off Tongwell Street A4146 (V11) (Rodney Evans 01908 376449)

1st-3rd 12th 8pm

Stoke Bruerne Village at War Weekend (see pages 24 & 25) IWA Northampton Branch Meeting at The Walnut Tree, Blisworth. Up the Mac with Roger Butler 14th 8pm Friends of Canal Museum. An illustrated talk by Liam D’Arcy Brown, The Grand Canal of China 16th 7.30-8pm IWA Northampton Branch Annual Dinner, The Boat Inn, Stoke Bruerne (see page 7 and insert) 25th 7.45 IWA MK Branch Meeting Wetland Wildlife with Chris Ward International bird and wildlife photographer (see above for venue) 29th 7.30 Friends of Canal Museum—Auction of Promises, mock antiques auction and Buffet Supper (funded by Raffle) at The Boat Inn Stoke Bruerne

November 9th 8pm 18th 8pm 22nd 7.45

IWA Northampton Branch Meeting at The Walnut Tree Blisworth—China’s Grand Canal with Liam Darcy-Brown Friends of Canal Museum—Talk to be confirmed. Check website for Details at IWA MK Branch Meeting - North West Passage, Talk by Ian Fletcher, intrepid boater in Api Wanderer.

Buckingham Canal Society Work Party Dates September 9th, 12th, 23rd. October 7th, 10th, 21st November 4th, 14th, 18th For further details contact Athina Beckett on 01908 661217


Stowe Hill Wharf, Heyford Lane, Weedon, Northants NN7 4SF Tel: 01327 341365 Stowe Hill Workshop is now run by Graham Shepherd & Robert Gudgeon Boat Building

• • • • • • •

Full Repaints Hull Blacking/Stern Gear Inspection and Repairs Engine Repairs and Maintenance Complete Fit-Out and Woodwork Alterations Plumbing Installations and Repairs Electrical Installations and Repairs

All work undertaken, from simple tasks to complete fit-outs

Cornhill Lane, Bugbrooke, NN7 3QB by Bridge 36 on the Grand Union Canal Tel: 01604 832585 Under the management of Richard Williams and Paul Hazell




Branch Chairman’s Jottings by Bernard Morton As I write this in early August, the sun is shining, there’s little sign of rain and it’s pleasantly warm. Much as it has been for most of the summer. In other words, ideal cruising conditions. I hope you have taken full advantage of the clement weather and got out on your boats, on your bikes, on two legs -- whatever your choice. For my part, I’ve been down the Nene to Peterborough, through the Middle Level to the Fenland rivers, up the Cam as far as Cambridge and taking in some of the side navigations, among them the Little Ouse and the Lark. It was a wonderful trip and made me and my family realise, yet again, how fortunate we are to have such wild and largely unspoilt waterways so close to hand. The Nene still remains essentially a “forgotten” river. It really is a mini-Thames in its middle reaches, especially from Thrapston to Oundle. And what is gratifying are the subtle improvements made by the EA in recent times, such as better mooring facilities and easierto-work locks. Will this encourage more boats onto the Nene? Well, that is the general idea but it will truly take a lot to impact upon the beauty and tranquillity of this idyllic waterway. Yes, I know it does flood from time to time, but even this situation is improving. What has been going on elsewhere? We suspend our Branch Committee and social meetings during the summer months, so little to report from that direction. But, of course, the prime concern at the moment must be what effect the impending central government financial cutbacks will have on BW and the EA. All will become more clear in October, although I fear it will not be pleasant reading. While I am sure we can appreciate why these anticipated cuts are necessary to balance the nation’s books, how galling it will be to see how so much positive progress made in recent years, both by the navigation authorities and by volunteers, will inevitably be adversely affected. We must just hope the cuts will not be too harsh and that in the meantime, while the debit balances are retrieved, nothing really dramatic happens. I’m sure we all fear the closure of a major canal tunnel which no-one can afford to repair. On a more happy note, I am pleased to report a continuing positive feedback from our annual early Spring Bank Holiday Boat Gathering at Becket’s Park, although we did unhappily manage to omit the names in the last Endeavour of some of our regular donors of prizes. In particular these included Steve Sullivan, proprietor of the Grand Junction Boat Company at Gayton Junction, a loyal supporter of the IWA and its local events. Sorry about this, Steve; sincere belated thanks to you and also to the few others we contrived to ignore!

Now we look forward to the autumn and winter when not so much cruising goes on but we are able to enjoy each other’s company on land more. By this I mean mainly the Branch’s social meetings held on the second Tuesday of each month at The Walnut Tree Inn at Blisworth. The first meeting of the new “season” is imminent – on Tuesday, 14th September, when the guest speaker will be Mike Constable. Hope to see as many of you there as possible, as well as at the Branch Annual Dinner at The Boat Inn at Stoke Bruerne on Saturday, 16th October. For full details, please see the enclosed loose insert. With best wishes. Bernard Morton

Northampton Branch Annual Dinner Saturday 16th October 2010 The Boat Inn, Stoke Bruerne 7.30 in the cocktail bar for 8pm Tickets £18.50 (+ £1.50 for cheese and Biscuits) Book early —form enclosed with this issue of Endeavour Please bring a raffle prize

Crane now back by lock 17 Although no landscaping work is done yet it is planned and the branch is contributing information to BW for an interpretation sign to go up at the same time to explain what it is. It originally transhipped goods between boats and the old tramroad before the Northampton Arm was built. Our thanks to James Clifton at British Waterways whose dogged persistence over the last 2 years engaging Northampton Borough Council and Bellway Homes in talks over its future made the restoration possible.


NEW CANAL POCKET PARK AT BLISWORTH RECEIVES CASH BOOST The Northampton Branch of The Inland Waterways Association supports volunteers with waterway Improvements If all goes to plan, village volunteers will begin the clearance work after the end of October. Once cleared, a hard path will be set down, benches with vistas of the canal installed, a replanting programme established with improved habitats to increase the biodiversity of the area and a large seating arena established for groups ie. schools, youth groups to use. Jan Andrews, Chairman of Blisworth Canal Partnership said: “Our aim is to improve the area for all waterway users, villagers, walkers, schoolchildren, boaters and wildlife alike.”

IWA Northampton Branch Chairman Bernard Morton said: “We are delighted to be able to support the Walk in the Woods project in this way, particularly as most of the work to create the new park will be done entirely by volunteers, many of them our own members. Visitors to the park will be able to enjoy the tranquil canal environment and its diverse wildlife while visiting the 200 year old Blisworth canal tunnel at the same time.” The Northampton Branch of the Inland Waterway Association currently supports the work of two Canal Partnerships in Northamptonshire, the other is Stoke Bruerne Canal Partnership at the other end of Blisworth Tunnel.

9 Currently, the two partnerships are working together to obtain funding for another project to connect the two canal communities of Blisworth and Stoke Bruerne by waymarking a footpath route over the top of Blisworth Hill which will connect the canal towpaths at each end of the tunnel. For further information go to: Blisworth Canal Partnership website: and, Northampton Branch, Inland Waterways Association website northampton

From left to right: Presenting the ÂŁ1,000 cheque, Bernard Morton, Chairman, IWA Northampton Branch, Paul Chapman, Blisworth Canal Partnership, receiving the cheque, Jan Andrews, Chairman of the Blisworth Canal Partnership and Alan Andrews, Blisworth Canal Partnership in front of Blisworth Tunnel (north portal) next to the proposed park.


STOKE BRUERNE GALA Ahoy me hearties. The 5th annual Museum Gala Festival at Stoke Bruerne, Northamptonshire, organised by Friends of The Canal Museum went off with a BANG when a gang of marauding pirates attacked the waterway village on Nb George, complete with full pyrotechnics. Once disembarked, the pirates relieved festival goers of their spare dubloons and pieces of eight at the points of their swords in fear of being made to walk the plank. Luckily the Pitsford Local Defence Volunteers were on hand to protect the village and they also took the opportunity to train up some new young recruits ready for the Friend’s award winning Village at War event in October. Meanwhile visitors to the fun packed event were treated to the sight of well over 30 historic boats, could buy yummy cheese and fudge from the trade boats, visit canal society stands, craft stalls and enjoy live music. There were also canal crafts, boat trips and a real ale bar, not to mention the opportunity of trying their hand at archery and sip champagne with strawberries. And...there was a whole lot more to keep all the family entertained all through the weekend.

Above: Pirates come in all shapes and sizes (photo: James Rudd)

Left: Pirate boat (aka Nb George approaches with full pyrotechnics and fiddle player (photo: Sam Samuells)


Book Review Jess Carter and the Oil Boat, by Geoffrey Lewis (soft back £6.99, SGM Publishing, A book intended for younger readers but suitable for all and just as good as his others. Another winner for this author Geoffrey Lewis (aka Steve Miles, who is familiar to us from his attendance at Branch events), Set in 1939, a horse drawn oil boat on a return trip from Birmingham to collect oil from the Stanlow refinery on the ship canal. The book details the adventures on the way. Jess has never been on a narrowboat before and so has a steep learning curve . All readers will like the mystery of the events and older readers will also reminisce on events that happen. Recommended

Thank you your approach to selling was so much more professional than the ‘other’ boat company along

the canal. Barbara O (seller) Just like to say thanks for not only selling my Dad’s boat, but the kindness, for keeping me in touch with the whole process and helpfulness you showed. Linda D (seller) Again may I offer deepest thanks for your kind encouragement and patience over this drawn-out procedure. Richard & Pat F (buyers) Many thanks. It was a pleasure working with you and you have made what was a bit of a traumatic experience for us both as painless as possible. In particular we have appreciated your good communication and very professional style. Andy & Julie W (sellers) Thank you for doing a great job of keeping in touch with us. All the very best and thank you again for your excellent service Gloria & Norman L (Sellers) Just wanted to say thanks for everything – you have helped our little dream to happen. We can recommend you as a broker 10 out of 10 . Helen & Pete K (buyers

” rugby boat sales We don’t need to shout about it. Others do it for us. At Stowe Hill Wharf, Weedon –also diesel, pump out, gas chat, smile ….…01327


Three Canal Businesses Under One Roof A “cottage industry” based on the canal-side at Braunston is at the heart of a new and exciting system, quickly gaining widespread recognition, to help navigate the inland waterways. EurEauWeb Ltd’s Water-Way is the first and only digital guide to the UK’s canals and rivers, with route planning and satnav. Behind this major navigational breakthrough are Mike and Marion Kelly, who have collaborated with Harper Collins, the publishers of the long popular Nicholson's Guides to the inland waterways. Boaters are reported to be taking to these new guides like the proverbial ducks to water. Both Mike and Marion, who live at the Old Workshop at the entrance to Braunston Marina, have a strong IT background. Marion explains: “The idea for this type of guide came to us literally quite accidentally some 10 years ago when Mike fell off the back of our boat in an effort to protect me from a wasps nest when we were about to moor. Unfortunately he broke his ribs and we really needed urgent medical advice but we didn’t know precisely where we were and it was difficult to make contact with anyone – remember, this was in the days when people did not carry mobile phones with them as a matter of course.” So from this modest – if painful for Mike! – beginning, the idea grew, slowly at first but gradually gaining momentum as the potential was realised. And the pair of them had the skills, conviction and love of boating to pursue it. Importantly they also knew that such an ambitious project would require substantial financial backing and they were eventually successful in winning this support through EU funding, following many hours of writing and presenting feasibility reports which, according to Marion, “nearly drove us up the wall – but we got there in the end!” At the moment, the UK guides have over 58,000 points of interest identified, from boatyards, pubs and other eateries to doctors, dentists and vets. The information is being constantly updated by users plus input from the various researchers who were employed initially to get the project underway. Although they operate on a restricted marketing budget, the Kelly's seem, two years after the product launch, to have achieved something of a breakthrough in 2010. This was illustrated at the Crick Boat Show when they had to strengthen their sales team to cope not only with the interest shown but with sheer demand. Mike and Marion were, of course, welcome exhibitors in the marquee at the Boat Gathering at Becket’s Park this spring and presented two Water-Way guides for the boaters’ auction, thus boosting our funds considerably. When it is realised that each guide costs around £130, you appreciate what a generous gesture this was.

13 For Mike, updating the guides is a full-time job. Marion obviously gives wholehearted support, but she has other strings to her bow. First and foremost she is the author and illustrator of the widely acclaimed Bert & Betty books, a series of children’s canal stories and earlylearning poems which are augmented by audio books on CDs, badges, soft toys, postcards and other gifts. Set in the mid 1800s, as well as Bert and Betty, the story books feature Ben the dog and Beauty the boat horse. More than 4,000 have been sold to date. “I was making a working boatman hot water bottle cover, to use on our boat, when the stories just started coming and I started writing them down – never dreaming there was a market for them,” recalled Marion. The illustrations in the books are an amalgam of initial sketches and photographs of the canals and of the Victorian wooden dolls and stuffed horse and dog she has made (and exhibited with pride in a glass cabinet at her home). She then merges these and other photographs together, using computer graphics software, adding reflections and shadows as needed. So far she has published five stories, six early-learning poems and a picture dictionary. More will follow – “I have loads of ideas,” Marion added. Then there is the thriving bed & breakfast business at The Old Workshop at Braunston to where the Kelly's moved seven years ago from Dorking on “a total impulse” having seen the “for sale” sign by the house when picking up their boat from a partial fit-out. Both Mike and Marion go back a long time with their involvement with inland waterways and, in fact, they had a major design input to the first trailable narrow boat built by Sea Otter – an 18 footer, Marionette, in which they have cruised widely in the UK and France. Thus it is very appropriate that Sea Otter should just have signed up to being the first boat builders to supply each of their new boats with a EurEauWeb Water-Way guide. See Water-Way and the Bert & Betty books in the main marquee at the IWA National Boat Festival at the end of August, or visit the following websites:


Roger Hadsell

Mike and Marion Kelly


Canal Museum is a winner! The Canal Museum at Stoke Bruerne, Northamptonshire, scooped top honours in two categories at the Northamptonshire Heritage Awards, winning Best Event and The People’s Choice Award. The awards, which are supported by Renaissance East Midlands, are a celebration of the work taking place in the county’s museums, heritage sites and historic houses. The winners were announced at a high profile ceremony at Kelmarsh House last night, Thursday 23 July 2010. As part of the awards, members of the public were invited to vote for their favourite museum, historic house or heritage centre, with the Canal Museum winning this coveted accolade. The Museum also won the hotly contested Best Event award for its popular ‘Village at War’ event. Organised by the Friends of the Canal Museum, the popular period event is now a firm fixture in the East Midlands calendar. Over the first weekend in October, the canal-side village is transported back to the 1940s with period re-enactments, tea dances, Lindy Hop dance demonstrations, vintage canal boats and displays of World War II military vehicles. Louise Stockwin, Assistant Museum Manager, said: “We are absolutely delighted to win these two awards. Winning the People’s Choice Award is especially rewarding as it is fantastic recognition of the hard work put in by both the Friends of the Museum and staff to making the Canal Museum a lively, attractive and interesting place to visit. We are so pleased that so many people have enjoyed their visit to the Museum and Stoke Bruerne.” David Blagrove, Chairman of The Friends of the Canal Museum said: “Winning two such prestigious awards is testimony to all the effort put in by volunteers and staff and is especially welcome after gaining a runner-up placing in the Community category of the Waterways Renaissance Awards earlier this year. We are delighted that so many people voted for the Museum, demonstrating that it is indeed a popular visitor attraction for all the family.”

Our thanks to Northamptonshire Renaissance

15 BRANCH COMMITTEE MEETINGS REVIEW June Stoke Bruerne Partnership Want to put up presentation boards to help with the Tunnel Tug Store and Tunnel Buildings & it may be possible to get a grant to help with this. Friends of the Canal Museum The Friends are having an Auction of Promises in November if anybody has anything to offer please contact Lynda Payton 01604 862501 Boat Gathering Positive feedback from all those that attended. Surplus funds to Blisworth Canal Partnership as agreed at an earlier meeting. Also surplus funds to be put aside for a replacement marquee tent as the present one is becoming worn. IWA Festival Advanced unofficial information has been received that the IWA Festivals committee had rejected Northampton Branch to hold the 2011 event in Northampton. The Branch would ask why they hadn ’ t been given the chance to address any problems It was suggested a National Campaign Rally to be held, keeping the same May Bank holiday weekend. All other interested parties would be contacted. Crane ( Lock 17 ) The Crane has been taken away for restoration thanks to James Clifton of BW who has been persistent with NBC and Bellway Homes for over 2 years to get a result. Branch Dinner Last years dinner was a great success so it was felt that we should hold it again at The Boat Inn Stoke Bruerne date suggested 16th October ( see page 7 )

16 from front page

BLISWORTH CANAL FESTIVAL IS A GREAT SUCCESS Lots were attracted by the magic word – FREE! Given today’s current economic climate, as organisers we ensured that there was plenty on offer to keep a family amused without costing a fortune. Time and time again visitors praised the free parking/mooring, free kid’s activities, great non-stop free live music, free demonstrations and talks, with a forty minute trip on the St John Ambulance boat for a small donation. The ‘have-a-go’ dog agility arena attracted crowds as did the brilliant dance display by Blisworth’s own Dance Class Group. Variety and Fun were the words that came to people’s lips. As expected visitors then had money in their pockets to donate to the several major charities that either attended or were supported through our 12 Open Gardens. R.N.L.I, Help for Heroes, Northants & Warwickshire Air Ambulance, JJ’s memorial fund and animal and children’s causes Trade boats selling along the towpath were some of those that shared a collective total of approximately £1500 at the time of writing. Lots of visitors joined a very happy Richard Hyde on his trip boat ‘Elizabeth of Glamis’ and sailed off towards Gayton Junction on hourly round trips from Candle Bridge. His evening trip to Bugbrooke was a great success and arriving back in darkness added to the experience. All on board now want to go again! A wish that may come true.

17 The trade boats were kept busy over the festival weekend, the Cheeseboat sold out and had to await another consignment from Wales before setting off to Foxton. Geraldine and Michael, owners of the Cheeseboat, have demanded that we repeat the festival next year, and have bagged the same spot. One trade boater declared that it was ‘the best canal festival so far this year, and will take a lot of beating’. What an accolade for our first attempt! The most important thing about the whole festival was that it was a true community event. Blisworth villagers supported it throughout. Many opened their gardens, local organisations and societies put on displays or refreshments and were there to give a helping hand. Our local Parish Church and Baptist Chapel supported the event wholeheartedly in a variety of ways. Our local pub, The Royal Oak couldn’t have done more to ensure the success of the event, their whole pig roast sold out in little over an hour! Our local shop sold brochures, publicised the event and has already got great plans for next year – as have many villagers. Blisworth Canal Partnership, who hosted the event, also raised money on behalf of their next major project, up to £3000 at the time of writing. ‘A Walk in the Woods’ Pocket Park is planned for the towpath-side canal embankment adjacent to the north portal of the Blisworth Tunnel. This will involve a major clearing and re-planting scheme, setting down a hard path, seating and habitat enhancement. A display about the project at the festival grabbed a lot of interest and the number of village volunteers willing to join in the work has shown just how much Blisworth loves its canal. The 2010 Blisworth Canal Festival has exceeded all of our expectations – will we organise another one next year – you bet we will, it’s already on its way and what big surprises we already have up our sleeves.

Put Saturday 6th August and Sunday 7th August 2011 in your diaries now! The public checking out the bargains


Boat registration and regulation The law governing boat registration and related conditions for our waterways changed on 6 April 2010, when the Secretary of State implemented the Environment Agency (Inland Waterways) Order 2010. The new Order will allow us to introduce one consistent approach for boat registration on our inland waterways in England, by updating historic navigation legislation in Anglian, Thames and Southern Regions. As examples, the Order will allow us to: - require boats to comply with the Boat Safety Scheme (BSS) at all times, not just at the time of registration - require boats to have at least Third Party Insurance - access boats for inspections - request information - vary boat registration periods to suit customers better - vary / harmonise a number of our other registration requirements Failure to comply with the BSS, insurance requirements, making a vessel available for inspection or giving false statement are now all offences under the Order. Whilst we appreciate that extra requirements for information and provision of third party insurance may be an additional burden on many boaters, we do feel that these revisions are required to bring greater fairness and consistency of standards across all of our waterways, encouraging the widest application of safe and responsible use by all craft. If you are already registered with us, or are just about to, it is unlikely that you will notice any changes this boating season. Until the next boating season we will continue to use our current paperwork and registration certificates. The new Order repeals or revokes some parts of our navigation legislation but we do not feel it is a good use of money to reprint existing registration certificates or licence plates.


However, if you registered your boat on or after 6 April 2010 you should note this is under the registration provisions of the Environment Agency (Inland Waterways) Order 2010 and not any other legislation that may be printed on the documents you received. Over the next few months we will be discussing how and when we introduce the provisions of the Order with national customer group representatives. We will send all annual licence holders further information on how the changes may affect you later this year. Sue Cant Environment Agency Team Leader for the Nene waterway

For further information, please visit

John Bercow becomes patron of Buckingham Canal Society Local community working with Buckingham Canal Society and local government to deliver restored waterway vision Buckingham, Bucks, August 2010: The Rt Hon John Bercow, MP for Buckingham, has become the patron of the Buckingham Canal Society. At a meeting with the Society and Buckinghamshire County Council, John said “I am delighted to become the patron of the Buckingham Canal Society. I have been very impressed with the vision of the canal restoration. It has many potential benefits that it can bring to Buckingham and the Ouse Valley both from economic, environmental and potential flood management perspectives. Local residents and councillors have come together and are driving this through both the Buckingham Canal Society and the Buckingham Local Area Forum, demonstrating the best practices of the community working together with the support of local government. This project will clearly benefit all the communities it touches both in collaboration that it brings and the end result of a restored waterway.�


OLD STAGER Don’t do as I did ……... In the early 1970s, when “elf and safety” was merely a primitive art form and risk assessment was simply a matter of basic commonsense (which I suppose, it still is, but taken so much more seriously), what certain members of our crews got up to hardly bears thinking about. In company with another boat, we would shoot off down river from the boat club at Weston Mill in Northampton’s eastern environs, sometimes reaching as far as Wellingborough but normally tieing up somewhere in the Hardwater Mill area, where we had friends. These expeditions invariably meant an evening dash back upstream to our home moorings. Talk about cutting corners and in hindsight, taking the most stupid risks. Because, you see, our crews included three energetic teenage sons, plus a daughter, who liked nothing better than to clamber to the top of the guillotine lock gates and jump up and down on them to hasten their descent. Whether it did or not is hard to judge but it did seem to push things along a bit! To say it was a hairy undertaking to allow is to put it mildly. But we were all so much younger then! Nobody ever got hurt – can’t even recall a scratch. And what fun it was. Today, of course, I would regard such goings on as the height of irresponsibility. In fact we were jolly lucky to have got away with it injury free. But inevitably it’s somewhat depressing to think that such antics described (and others) are now viewed as being well out of court. It was around this time, in the early 1970s, that excavation work got under way in the valley close to Northampton Boat Club for the

21 Washlands flood prevention scheme. I fondly remember the fields, now submerged under the huge balancing lake, as meadowland awash with spring and early summer buttercups. Today you see hardly any and, if you do, they appear to be poor relations. However, buttercups or not, a walk on the embankment circling this lake is a most worthwhile exercise. I should think you’re covering at least a mile and a half, possibly more. Sadly, the traffic noise from the nearby A45 is a pest, but on the southern shore it is far less intrusive. Shadowing this side of the lake is the old track of the Northampton to Peterborough railway, which follows the line of the river for much of its length and can be steam-ridden from Wansford to Peterborough on the restored Nene Valley Railway. The worked out gravel pits in the Weston Mill area across the valley towards Little Houghton offer a home to numerous varieties of wildfowl, although the pesky Canadian geese have an annoying habit of holding sway in parts. Whether or not the walks around these lakes are really private and keep out signs seem to have been there for ever, my advice is to roam responsibly and keep dogs well under control. Then no-one is inconvenienced especially the birdlife, which at certain times of the year is impressive.



EXPERIENCED EXAMINER WITH 25 YEARS WORKING ON THE WATERWAYS Grand Union, Oxford & Leics Canals Rivers Nene and Thames RING:


22 DAY BOAT HIRE FROM BRAUNSTON OUZEL 11 Cruise either towards Napton or Hillmorton and return



01604 862428 The Little Mermaid Canal Shop Stoke Bruerne Danish Gifts, Glassware, Wooden Toys, Jewellery, Candles, Canal Prints and Flower Decorations ** Open daily from 10.30am to 4.30pm (closed Mondays)


The Wharf, Stoke Bruerne, NN12 7SE 07721 - 505525

The ouzel 11 seats up to 12 people. It has hot and cold water in the galley, crockery, cutlery and glasses on board, a gas ring, kettle and flush toilet. Buoyancy aids on request. Prices: Weekends and Bank Holidays:£130.00 £130.00 Monday - Friday: £100.00 £100.00 Returnable deposit: £40.00 UNION CANAL CARRIERS LTD, Braunston Pump House, Dark Lane, Braunston, Daventry, Northants. NN11 7HJ

Tel 01788 890784

Fax 01788 891950

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

• • • •

DIESEL – always competively priced PUMP OUT – no meter clock here BLUE TOILET FLUID ODORLOS – organic waste tank treat-


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

SOLID FUELS – all types of smokeless fuel or coal. Plus firelighters, sticks and logs.

CHARNWOOD STOVES – all sizes of multi-fuel stoves with or without boilers

New on the lockside at Stoke Bruerne SUBLIME INDIAN CUISINE New fully licensed restaurant Serving the finest ingredients with careful preparation TAKE AWAY SERVICE AVAILABLE

MORRIS OILS – popular grades of engine oil plus water resistant grease FUEL SET FUEL CONDITIONER Most major credit cards accepted. Open: 8.00am to 5.30pm Monday to Friday, 8.00am to 1.00 pm on Saturdays Fred Tarry Bridge Cottage Furnace Lane Nether Heyford Northampton, NN7 3JY Telephone/Fax: 01327-341202 Email :

Tel: 01604 863330/863654 5 The Canalside, Stoke Bruerne, NN12 7SB


AWARD WINNING VILLAGE AT WAR SET TO BE BIGGER AND BETTER THAN EVER! Canal village of Stoke Bruerne goes back 70 years Stoke Bruerne’s annual Village at War event organised by The Friends of the Canal Museum has received three prestigious accolades this year. The first two came in March with the announcement of Runner Up and Commended placements in 2010 The Waterways Renaissance Awards, and then in July the 40s event scooped top honours at the Northamptonshire Heritage Awards winning Best Event; the only wartime themed canal festival to do so. This year’s event which takes place over 1st-3rd October at Stoke Bruerne, Northamptonshire, is set to be bigger and better than ever, with a vintage fair, replica spitfire and special Land Army display with vintage tractors and a Dig for Victory garden along with farm implements and static animals. Also, a NAAFI tent complete with a bar and serving appropriate wartime fare will be joining the growing band of 40s re-enactors, vintage narrow boats and dramatic Sea Hurricane flying display (Sunday only). The WWII weekend kicks off at 6pm on Friday evening with a 40s sing-along in the NAAFI tent on the Museum Green and continues through the weekend with tea dances, film shows, displays by the Pitsford Home Guard, Allied Assortment, UK Tank Club, March Vintage Cycle Club. Le Companie de Francois, Trucks, Troops and Stores, Northampton Model Boat

25 Club, Royal British Legion, Cafe René, John D. Collins aka Flt Lt Carstairs of 'Allo 'Allo fame, Lyons Nippy teashop and display of 1940s memorabilia, Sittingbourne Home Front Living History Society, Past Times, 1940's Grocery Shop. Military Vehicles, “Keep Smiling Through” RAF Display, ‘Make Do and Mend' Rummage Sale (items needed!), Evacuate a Teddy and Hatfield Home Guard. On the Saturday evening there will be the popular Swing Dance with Sticky Wicket and the scintillating Serena Howard-Douglas at nearby Roade Village Hall. David Blagrove, Chairman of the Friends said: ”This year is the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain and at 11am on Sunday 3rd October we plan to hold another drumhead service. Invitations will be going out to local British Legion members to attend and share in the commemoration of this event. We invite all to join us in paying our respects to those who gave their lives and those who continue to do so, in the service of our country. ” The cost of a day ticket, which includes parking or boat mooring, is £5 per person (accompanied children under 16 are free). Weekend passes are £10. All surplus proceeds from the event will be donated to registered charity, The Friends of the Canal Museum and other local village not-for-profit groups. Full details of the Village at War Weekend and advance booking forms can be found on the Friends website at: The event is organised by the Friends of the Canal Museum in partnership with the Canal Museum, Stoke Bruerne and the local community to raise awareness of the Museum and all that the canalside village has to offer.


Vandalism Braunston A charity boss has warned criminals could turn a countryside marina into a no-go area for boaters following a fresh spate of night-time vandalism and break-ins. David Otway, who runs the London Narrow Boat Project (LNBP), which sends disadvantaged children from inner cities on trips along canals, says the charity has suffered at the hands of thieves and vandals for the past five years. The charity moors two 70-feet, 12-berth narrow boats at the Bottom Lock, in Braunston, and both have been targeted by yobs. Other boat owners, holidaymakers and youngsters travelling up from London have also had their cars attacked and raided when they have been parked alongside the canal. Mr Otway said the ongoing problems were now a serious threat. "People are leaving their vehicles parked next to the canal and they are being broken into and vandalised. "The latest incident was last week when a car was vandalised when the owner was out on the canal, but that is just the latest in a long line of incidents." In November last year, the canal centre manager had vowed to up security after another spate of attacks. Within the last five years, boat sheds have been broken into by thieves, fire extinguishers stolen, boats damaged and cars vandalised, including one car that was set alight by arsonists. Mr Otway says the ongoing problems will end up driving boat owners away from the area. He said: "If people's vehicles are being vandalised they are not going to return are they? It is depriving people of what we do as a charity while this wanton vandalism is going on. "Nothing seems to be able to be done about it and quite frankly Braunston, which as far as I am concerned is the heart of the canal system and a lovely place to go, is in danger of becoming a bit of a no-go area now. And I would hate Braunston to get a reputation like that." Northampton Chronicle and Echo

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BRANCH SOCIAL MEETINGS Regular Branch Social Meetings are held on the second Tuesday of each month from September to May inclusive at The Walnut Tree Inn, Blisworth, at 8pm. All members and non-members welcome. Food and drink available

Next meeting: Tuesday, 14th September Speaker Mike Constable “Not So Idle Women”

REGIONAL NEWSLETTER ON-LINE Members are reminded that Aegre, the East Midlands Region newsletter which features information about all the Branches in the Region, including Northampton, is available (in full colour) to read on-line on the IWA website at: east__midlands/aegre_online Or just go to and follow the links to Regions & Branches, then East Midlands

The next edition of ENDEAVOUR will be published November 2010

WHO’S WHO IN NORTHAMPTON BRANCH 2010/2011 Bernard Morton

Branch Meetings

07785 375787

Graham Treagus

E-mail: bernard.morton

E-mail: graham.treagus


Branch Secretary Andy Timms E-mail andy.timms

Deputy Chairman & Police Liaison Officer Eric Young E-mail:

Membership Secretary Geoff Woods E-mail geoff.wood

Treasurer Laura Sturrock E-mail: laura.sturrock

Committee Member Bill Joyce

Heritage & Planning Officer Rodney Hardwick 01604-584919

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

Website & Publicity Officer Lynda Payton E-mail:lynda.payton

E-mail: bill.joyce

Boat Gathering Sub-Committee Members Bernard Morton (Chairman), Catriona Butler, Michael Butler, Peter Canfield, Jenny Copeland, Peter Copeland, Kevin Cousins, Roger Hasdell, Sandie Morton, Jenny McCalman, Eric Young, John Pomfret and Sam Samuells (also occasional member: Ian Bekusch)

Non-Committee posts Sales: Catriona Butler 01604 473756

Archivist, Endeavour Advertising & Distribution Roger Hasdell 01604 767212

Profile for The Inland Waterways Association

Endeavour August 2010  

The Magazine of the Northampton Branch od the Inland Waterways Association

Endeavour August 2010  

The Magazine of the Northampton Branch od the Inland Waterways Association