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Newsletter Issue No.15 August 2013

Published on behalf of the South Yorkshire and the Dukeries Branch Committee by M.H. Fielding, 1 Vicarage Way, Arksey, Doncaster, DN5 0TG Views expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of IWA, or of the Branch Committee but are published as of interest to members and others. The Inland Waterways Association is a registered Charity No. 212343


BRANCH CHAIRMAN’S NOTES I would like to extend a warm welcome to any new members to the branch, hopefully you can make it to one of our meetings. I hope you are all enjoying this good weather. I know my husband and I are spending time on our boat in Norfolk. Our next social meeting will be on October 16th at Strawberry Island Boat Club where we will join their quiz, this will be set by the branch. We are in need of new committee members as it is becoming more difficult for our small committee to run the branch. PLEASE VOLUNTEER. Contact anyone listed on the back page. Mavis Paul SY&D Branch Chairman

CANAL CLEAN UP The branch’s late clean up will take place on October 27th in conjunction with CRT, Abbeydale Rotary Club, Adsetts Canal Project and Tinsley Marina Residents. We will meet at 10.00am at Tinsley Marina and will be working from there towards Sheffield. A substantial amount of rubbish has been collected over the time we have been carrying out the clean ups and although things have improved there is still a need for regular blitzes on the canal to help maintain an air of regard for it. It is recommended that stout footwear and warm clothing are worn. Tools are provided. Pie and peas will be served after the event in Tinsley boat Club House. 2


APPOLOGY I must apologise for the late arrival of your magazine, this is due completely to circumstances beyond my control. For the second time thieves have stolen the underground copper telephone cables connecting my home village to the outside world. This cuts off all telephone and internet connections and as most of the magazine is put together via the internet outside communication with contributors etc. was non existent. The first time the cables were reconnected within two weeks, this time it has taken longer due to the damage caused and further thefts during the reconnection work. As each telephone number has to be reconnected individually and with over 1500 lines you can imagine the problem. Again I am sorry for the delay to the magazine.

NEW MEMBERS We give a warm welcome to our new members who have joined or transferred to the branch recently. Dr S Hale of Sheffield Mr F P & Mrs S M Beevers of Mexborough Did you know The Croydon Canal was the first canal to be formally abandoned by an Act of Parliament when it was closed in 1836 3


200 YEARS In a previous issue I mentioned the forthcoming 200th anniversary of the opening of the Sheffield and Tinsley Canal. Another canal has just celebrated its 200th anniversary in 2012 this being the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal. The following article is a transcript reproduced with the kind permission of Monmouthshire County Council from their 2012 visitor brochure “Wye Valley and the Vale of Usk”. www.visitwyevalley.com is their website.

RING THE BELLS Now known affectionately as the Mon & Brec, it is considered by many to be Britain’s most picturesque canal, and, for much of its length, it lies within the Brecon Beacons National Park. This waterway is also a great testimony to the skill of the 19th century engineer Thomas Dadford Junior, who designed the canal to hug the mountainside high above the Usk Valley. In doing so, he created one of the longest lock-free stretches on the UK’s waterway network; for 25 miles the canal remains at 361ft above sea level, a marvel of contour canal engineering. Unlike many canals the Monmouthshire & Brecon has trees along much of its length and an array of wildflowers on its bank. A colourful nature trail in every season, the canal is a diverse wildlife habitat, home to an impressive array of historical 4


industrial architecture, a long distance path for walkers and cyclists, a pleasant route for exploring in a day boat or kayak and a narrow boat holiday destination passing through pretty villages with canal side pubs. Managed by CRT and Local Authorities, the Mon & Brec attracts more than 3 million people annually. The 200 year celebrations were launched in February 2012 with peals of bells sounding out from over 70 churches along its route. This recreated exactly what happened when the canal was opened in 1812. MON & BREC TIME CHART 1790s Two separate canals were being planned for this part of Wales to improve the transportation of coal, lime, iron ore and agricultural produce. For commercial reasons, the companies building the canals decided to link them at Pontymoile Basin, near Pontypool. 1799 The Monmouthshire Canal opened: it had two arms窶年ewport to Pontnewynydd, near Pontypool and Newport to Crumlin. 1812 The Brecknock and Abergavenny Canal, from Brecon, reached Pontymoile Basin, joining the two canals together. It linked with over 200 miles of horsedrawn tram roads to convey goods to the busy port of Newport and to other towns in South Wales and 5


the Midlands. 1820s The heyday of the two canals - every few miles there were busy wharves and lime kilns, full of the noises of men and horses at work. 1865 The Monmouthshire Canal Company bought the Brecknock & Abergavenny Canal Company. 1880 The Great Western Railway purchased the canal and changed its name to the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal. 1920s Trade on the canal had virtually ceased as railways came to the fore. Over the next 30 years the Monmouthshire Canal stretch was adversely affected by road and bridge building but the Brecknock and Abervagenny Canal survived as a water feeder, although it was no longer navigable. 1950s The Inland Waterways Association campaigned to restore the canal. 1970 The stretch from Brecon to Pontymoile Basin reopened to navigation. 1985 Monmouthshire, Brecon & Abervagenny Canals Trust was formed to fight the closure of the canal through Cwmbran. 1990s A further 2 miles was restored from Pontymoile Basin to Five Locks, Cwmbran. 6


Since 21st century Enthusiastic volunteers continue working towards their dream of full navigation. Recent successes include restoration work on the impressive Fourteen Locks Flight on the Crumlin Arm, which originally raised the canal 155ft in just 1/2 a mile. 2012 onwards Another chapter in the Canal’s history begins as British Waterways becomes a charity - Canal & River Trust. The canal forms part of the Bleanavon World Heritage Site, which, as well as the canal, boasts Big Pit National Coal Museum, Pontypool and Bleanavon Railway and Bleanavon Ironworks.

Llanfoist Wharf c1850 a hive of activity

Llanfoist Wharf c2012 a tranquil setting

Chuckle lines “A clergy man, a keen cricketer, was concerned over whether they played cricket in heaven. His prayer was answered, by an angel appeared to him saying “the good news is yes it is played in heaven, the bad news is you are down as opening bat in next weeks match” 7


GREAT OUSE TRIP Memories of a cruise in May 2009 by Justine & Sarah Smith part 3. After our adventures up the (unmapped) dead end at Holt Island, St Ives we didn’t get far that afternoon, only as far as Hemingford Grey to be precise. But what a lovely picturesque mooring it is. Our original plan had been to go out for an evening meal but on our walk we only discovered a pub serving food a bit out of our price range. No matter, boats come with cookers, so that sorted that one out. It was that night that educated me as to how impractical a double V berth is. Not only do the sheets not stay in place but getting out of a double berth at the end, the head end, is not something you want to do when it’s dark and you’re half asleep. In fact it’s not something you want to do at all. Still we live and learn. The first lock of the day was at Houghton Mill and it was, how can I put it, educational. It was raining slightly and the wind was also making itself felt, but the boat had a sliding wheelhouse which we closed, and how snug we were about it, having been used to narrow boats where if it rains you get wet. The lock was already in use but the boat in it looked like it had almost finished, so I just used the centre rope and lightly tied off round the bollard whilst Sarah stayed on the boat ready to motor in once clear to do so. I was up at the lock and beckoned her forward into the by now empty chamber, 8


but nothing happened. No Matter how wildly I waved my arms there was no movement from our boat. Eventually, and rather impatiently it must be said, I walked back down to ask Wifey what the problem was. How, she exclaimed, did I expect her to get off the boat, untie the rope and get back unto the boat? This wasn’t a narrow boat with an open rear deck and all the controls there to hand, this was a cruiser with a central wheelhouse and its roof was up… Yeah, you’ve got me on that one I thought , so I untied the boat and pushed it off as hard as possible so as to give her a chance to get a line into the lock. I was about to throw the rope to her when I realised she wouldn’t be able to catch it, because this, as I reminded you earlier was not a narrow boat but a cruiser with an enclosed wheelhouse, and she was inside it. Now I’d hoped (hope over expectation) that I could throw it and she could catch it by sticking her arm through the small sliding window. That wasn’t ever going to work, and it didn’t, the rope just slipped back into the water. Fortunately, Sarah managed to get back to the side without the rope fouling the propeller, I then fished out the rope, pushed the boat off and jumped on with the rope in my hand. By the way, I’ve already mentioned the infallible rule of boating haven’t I? You know the one, there’s never a crowd around when you do something clever, only (and always) when you cock things up. Now we were cocking things up left right and centre, so you can be sure there was a crowd around, and even worse, a crowd of boaters, and even worse still owner boat9


ers looking pityingly at these hirers making an absolute B******s of it all. Anyway, as I watched Sarah make a decent job of lining up the boat for the lock, surely, I thought, nothing can go wrong now. To be frank I’ve always thought guillotine locks were unattractive things, but I can assure you they’re positively ugly when you're approaching one as you’re stood on the side of the boat and it slowly dawns on you that there really isn’t that much room for you. I casually started walking towards the rear of the boat, keen as I was to give the impression I knew what I was doing. Just as I reached the safety of the rear deck I Glanced triumphantly back towards the approaching guillotine but my moment of escapism was indeed short lived, for me there , on the roof over the fore cabin, was my TV aerial, still upon its little pole….Now the DM Log may be my aerial of choice for canal boats because it works well and it’s well made, but, it must be admitted, it’s not rugged enough to stand up to a guillotine gate, of that there’s no doubt whatsoever. So I had to abandon any insouciant pretence and scuttle forward as fast as the 6 inch side deck would allow. I grabbed the aerial (still mounted on its pole and board…) and, at no small risk to myself I may add, shuffled back along the aforementioned 6 inch wide deck. I feel it’s important for me to get across to you here that a 6 inch deck looks even narrower when you’re carrying a TV aerial on a board and a guillotine lock gate is rapidly approaching. I say rapidly, it was only about a mile an hour but sure seemed rapid to me. 10


I Have to tell you now that I wanted that lock to fill up faster than any lock I’ve ever been in, I wanted to get away, I had an overwhelming desire to shout to the assembled crowd “we do really know what we’re doing!” but, probably fortunately, I managed to resist. So off we went, off into the wild blue yonder, frantically writing a check list of what to do and not to do when using a guillotine lock in a cruiser with a roof... To be continued Justine Smith

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WORD SEARCH In the grid are the names of thirteen canal tunnels (this is a second set). They may be spelt vertically, horizontally, backwards, forwards or diagonally. The answers are elsewhere in the magazine. GOOD LUCK H

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Did you know The North Walsham and Dilham Canal was sold for £600 in 1885, but the company’s solicitor disappeared with the money. 12


2011 BRANCH OFFICERS Chairman Mavis Paul 0114 2683927 mavis.brian_paul@btinternet.com Vice Chair Colin Crofts 01302 841619 cjcrofts@btinternet.com Secretary Malcolm Fielding 01302 873127 elliemalc@aol.com Treasurer Pat Davies 01709 526725 patdav@fsmail.net Minutes Vacant Publicity Dave Scott 0790 0272434 acp2004naburn@hotmail.com Planning Colin Crofts 01302 841619 cjcrofts@aol.com Membership John Shaw 0114 2582535 Member Mary Crofts 01302 841619 cjcrofts@aol.com Social Vacant Sales Vacant If you would like to join the Branch Committee please contact any of the above people. WORD SEARCH ANSWERS Standedge Froghall Cookley

Harecastle Foulridge Bruce

Ellesmere Sapperton Cowley Tuel 13

Whitehouses Braunston Crick


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