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Issue No. 4

November 2010 Sprotborough Lock The South Yorkshire and Dukeries Branch Newsletter Published on behalf of the South Yorkshire and Dukeries Branch Committee by C.J. Crofts, Staddlestones, South Bramwith, Stainforth, Doncaster DN7 5SJ Views expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the IWA, or of the branch Committee, but are published as of interest to the members and others. The Inland Waterways Association is a Registered Charity No. 212343

A few notes from your branch chairman. I would like to extend a warm welcome to any new members that have joined us since the last issue of Keels and Cuckoos. By the time you receive this we will have had another Canal Cleanup, once again joined by Abbeydale Rotary Club. The Christmas Social will be on Wednesday 15th December at Strawberry Island Boat Club. Once again it will take the format of a game of the legendary Boatle run by Mary and Colin Crofts, if you haven’t played this game you should really try it. This will be followed by pie and peas and then we will be joining in the Strawberry Island Quiz. If you want to come along please give me a ring on 0114 2683927 or 07725 464611 to book your pie and peas. By the way there is a vegetarian option. The meeting on Wednesday 16th February will be the Branch’s AGM. This only lasts around 30 minutes so there is time for people to have a chat before joining in with the Strawberry Island Quiz. All that remains is to wish you all a good Christmas and A Happy New Year. Hope to see some of you in December and February. Mavis Paul S Y & D Branch Chairman ************* Formal Notices and Diary Dates The Annual General Meeting of the Branch will be held on Wednesday 16th. February 2011, at Strawberry Island Boat Club, Milethorne Lane, Doncaster, DN1 2SU, at 8.0pm. All Branch Members are urged to attend, if possible, and all members of IWA will be welcome. The Annual General Meeting of the North East and Yorkshire Region will be held at 8.0pm on Friday 1st. April 2011 at St Olave’s Church Hall, off Marygate, York. All Branch Members are urged to attend and all IWA members are welcome. Branch Social meetings will be held at Strawberry Island on:Wednesday 15th. December 2010-Christmas Meeting, with Boatle, Pie and Peas (if pre booked) and Noggin & Natter and quiz with Strawberry Island Boat Club members. Wednesday 16th. February 2011, AGM followed by Noggin, Natter and Quiz. Sunday 27th. March 2011—Canal Cleanup , location to be decided, details in March edition Wednesday 20th. April 2011, Noggin and Natter and Quiz. Wednesday 15th. June 2011, Summer Barbeque—details later Strawberry Island Boat Club is off Milethorn Lane Doncaster DN1 2SU, just off Church Way, behind Homebase. Photographs in this issue by C. Crofts.


I Don't Give Two Hoots.... well you should if you had 280 tons bearing down on you! In the interests of safety, British Waterways has issued the following reminder. When navigating any canal under BW's jurisdiction, power boat users are bound by the British Waterways General Canal Bye-Laws 1965 The Bye-Laws describe the instructions for the use of sound signals for power-driven craft when in sight of one another as follows:One short blast “I am altering my course to starboard” Two short blasts “I am altering my course to port” Three short blasts “My engines are going astern” Four short blasts “I am about to turn or to turn round” This signal shall be followed after a short interval by one short blast if turning to starboard, or two short blasts if turning to port and shall be repeated to any approaching vessel, whereupon such approaching vessel shall take action to avoid collision. The sound signals may be supplemented by the use of marine band VHF radio. Apart from the signals mentioned above, boat users should also be aware of two others, namely:Five short blasts “I am in doubt about your action taken to avoid collision” One long blast “I am nearing a bend where another vessel may be obscured by an intervening obstruction” The Bye-Laws state that a short blast is of one second and four to six seconds for a long blast. We should all be aware that the Bye-Laws are “instructions” and not just advice or guidance. If an accident should occur and it is found that you had not complied with the instructions, then you would have a degree of liability. While we are on that point, let's not forget that on numerous occasions the Queen's Bench Division of the High Court has ruled that in maritime cases (and that includes canal users) there is no such thing as an innocent party. Everyone involved in an incident has a degree of liability. It does not all end there. If you are on a waterway that is navigable by seagoing vessels then you are also subject to the International Regulations for the Prevention of Collisions at Sea 1972, as amended. In dealing with sound signals the only significant difference is the four short blasts. In this case the Regulations state, “I am out of control.” In either case, just steer clear! BW reminds us that copies of their Bye-Laws are available on its website or at any BW office. The International Regulations for the Prevention of Collisions at Sea are also available on the internet. Dennis Cozens.


Editor’s note: On our home waters we may meet Humber Princess, and she takes up a fair amount of room and may need to keep to a particular part of the channel. In waters surrounding ours commercial vessels are not unusual, and they too have reasons for not keeping strictly to the “rule of the road”. Modern communications will probably keep everyone fully in the picture, but from time to time sudden encounters occur. In these cases a blast from the big vessel, does not mean “ get out of my way” but clearly indicates the steerer’s intentions. It is quicker and more certain than radio or telephone, and pleasure boaters should be ready to react and respond., and to use sound signals in suitable cases. ******** “Marvellous facility—shame about the access!” The Sheffield Canal is a 3¼. mile stretch of beautiful inland waterway comprising of public pontoons, moorings and picnic site behind the World Student Games site, neglected and vandalised moorings at Shirland Lane, and at Darnall Lane, one of the few aqueducts on the canal, with at the one end the bustle of the City Centre at the canal basin with its industrial architecture and B.W. facilities and at the other the isolation and peace of the Tinsley Top Lock, with further B.W. facilities. This is an area seldom visited, perhaps because of the intimidating flight of locks between Rotherham and Tinsley, or perhaps the lack of local access. It is a marvellous, although neglected facility for the day boat enthusiast, maybe a young person unable to afford the considerable expense of a narrowboat or an older person downsizing to a dayboat, or indeed anyone who might build a small boat in a garage or garden. What is required, in my opinion is a public slipway on this stretch. There are several, places where one could be constructed at minimal cost. I am sure the area would interest several groups like the Trail Boat association and the Dinghy Cruising association, quite apart from local boaters. A slipway is all that is required, with perhaps a sign reminding users that a B.W. Licence is required , and that there is a 4 mph. speed limit. Any way—food for thought. David Allen. Editors Note:Thanks to David for this piece. He came to a Social Evening, to ask about the problem and afterwards sent me the text. As always, your news and views will be welcomed, by Malcolm in future, who is taking over the production of the newsletter. ******** Planning News British Waterways is working with Partnerships for Renewables to investigate the Feasibility of installing a single large wind turbine on land owned by BW near Barnby Dun. The land in question is owned by BW and lies between the Navigation and the River Don. Planning is at an early stage and ;permission is being sought for a wind measuring mast to determine whether or not the site is suitable. Materials could be brought in by water and we shall press for this to be included in the planning application in due course.


A much bigger project involves a wind farm close to the existing power station at Keadby. Plans to bring in aggregates and large mechanical components, such as the blades for the turbines by road have met with understandable opposition from residents of Keadby and surrounding villages. The Commercial Boat Operators Association are pressing for the use of water transport, which seems the obvious answer. Trent boats can pass through Keadby Lock and barge trains and vessels with large loads can pass through when the tide makes a level and both sets of gates can be opened. A suitable site for unloading is available, near to the construction site. The Branch have sent a letter to North Lincolnshire Council supporting the use of water transport for all aggregates and large indivisible loads. Further news as it becomes available. Word Search by Malcolm Fielding

******** The Waterways of the Branch (cont.) Leaving Doncaster Lock, and the Prison on the right the waterway, in the form, for the first time of a Navigable river, is wide and deep and runs between wooded bank on the left and a wide grassy flood plain on the right. As a river should, the Don meanders in wide bends, providing a variety of views.


From the Humber at Goole, to just below Doncaster, the River is tidal, and the waterway runs over drained land, and is mostly embanked above high water level. Now it is safe from the tides and the land rises quite high above the river and the bridges which cross are long and high. On the left the houses and allotments. give way to wooded banks, and although you can rarely see it, a busy railway runs along in the trees. On the high banks to the left, the former Railway Workshops (“The Plant�) show above the bushes, followed by allotments and the houses of Hexthorpe. Above the Prison, the main flow of the river runs off to the right. The tow path follows the flood plain side. Once past the A1 (M) fly over, the left hand bank becomes high and grassy, and the trees take over the right hand side. In these woods just below Sprotborough Lock lie the ruins of a watermill, originally fed from above the lock, with some machinery still visible. Immediately above the lock and in the weir cut behind, is the base of Alan Oliver work boats, and the Wyre Lady trip boat. Pass under the road bridge and there are good moorings on the left and the village of Sprotborough on the right with the Boat Inn at the waterside, and some shops nearby. The weir , on the opposite of the island on which the moorings lie takes the form of rock falls, which are always scenic, sometimes dramatic and although attractive are always dangerous. Above Sprotborough on the right, and hidden from the river lies Sprotborough Flash, a nature reserve with a good path all round and hides accessible from the path. The total distance around the flash is about two and half miles.. On the opposite the woods hide the remains of Levitt Haggs, a small quarrying and lime burning community, which occupied the river bank here and the quarry behind. (Doncaster Council, have since used the quarry as a land fill site!) For the next mile and a half, there are high wooded banks on both sides, . On the right the buildings and tip heaps of Cadeby Quarry break the trees, before the railway crosses to the right hand side. A little further on the land opens up on the right and the valley again becomes wide with fields and hedges, crossed by the stone arches and iron span of the disused Conisborough viaduct. Colin Crofts.

Conisborough Viaduct ********


Many years ago (around 1950/51) I took part in two holidays on hire boats on the rivers Severn and Avon, hired from Bathursts at Tewkesbury. The River Severn was an eye-opener, with quite large commercial vessels working up to Worcester from the Docks at Sharpness and Bristol.. The River Avon, on the other hand , was a different story. Navigation was possible from Tewkesbury to Pershore, in theory., but just below Pershore an old flash lock and weir, with the gate missing , provided a challenge to boats which hirers were forbidden to attempt.. The two locks in this stretch, at Nafford and Strensham were in a poor state, with sagging gates requiring winches on the lock side to pull them open and shut. It was around that time that enthusiasts were starting to campaign to reopen the Lower Avon Navigation, a task which would not be accomplished for several years. (The River is now open from Tewkesbury to Stratford.) The following article dates from that time and before, and was found by Malcolm Fielding in his mother’s house after her death. It was originally published in a magazine called ILLUSTRATED, and the present owners of the copyright IPC Media Ltd., have kindly given permission for its republication. I am starting it off, and I hope that Malcolm will continue it in later editions. Colin Crofts A River Flows to Ruin Once a prosperous waterway, the lovely river Avon is heavy with weeds, its locks rotting, its banks untended. Now a plan arises to make it navigable again. By ROLAND WILD The young man with a canoe was having a tough time. In twenty -five miles, he carried his craft three times round the weirs, floated it, waded besides it, and slowly opened creaking locks by his own strength. It was no great odyssey than the young man planned. His father accomplished just such a journey less than fifty years ago in leisure and comfort. The journey was on the River Avon, from Tewkesbury to Stratford. What happened to the Avon to make this task so arduous? At Nafford the young man had to recruit help for an intricate operation, at Pershore he landed and ignored the lock altogether, at Wyre he struggled through the reeds, at Fladbury he had to do the same, at Chadbury he travelled only by the courtesy of a private individual, at Evesham a commercial firm allowed him to brave the nettles and thus to Offenham and the Shakespeare country. The Avon of Shakespeare is in ruins and the fair banks and meadows of its winding course have become unknown country to the people of, England other than the old men who remember when you could glide past history in a punt. Its history of decrepitude, dating back through the years of prosperity, has never been equalled during the past quarter-century in mismanagement and laxity. Confusion has been piled on chaos, to the delight of the lawyers, so that today the placid river, from which Shakespeare took trivial sombre drama, is a stream with many ripples and to enter the controversy is to be submerged in deep waters of the law, the rights of men on water, the habits of eels, the fashions of holidaymakers, the quirks of Customs and Excise, the warnings of gypsies, and even draining and pollution problems. The controversy, murky as a night that Avon eels cherish for their sport, is a sad commentary on our civilization, especially when it is remembered that in 1750 the river was busy with traffic, with sugar and wine and tobacco and iron. The Avon was a thoroughfare and a busy place, with its water-mills using its gentle power right up to the days when you could take a pleasant journey from Tewksbury to Stratford and back in a day, when tar barges and the steam barge BEE came from Bristol to Evesham. It was then that the pleasure boats GAIETY, DIAMOND QUEEN and JUBILEE ran up and down the river with such high festivity aboard that the Customs and Excise killjoys stepped in thinking that some of this gargantuan trade should go to the riverside pubs.


.Chairman Mavis Paul 116 Sandygate Road, Sheffield South Yorkshire S10 5RZ Home 0114 268 3927/Mobile 07725 464 611 Email Vice-Chairman and Planning Officer Colin Crofts Staddlestones South Bramwith Doncaster South Yorkshire DN7 5SJ Home 01302 841619 Email Treasurer Pat Davies 21 Boundary Green Rawmarsh Rotherham South Yorkshire S62 6JN Home 01709 526725 /Mobile 07977 113 021 Email Branch Secretary Malcolm Fielding 1 Vicarage Way Arksey Doncaster South Yorkshire DN5 0TG Home 01302 873127 Email Minutes Secretary Dennis Cozens Belmont Cottage Top Lane Kirk Bramwith Doncaster South Yorkshire DN7 5SW Home 01302 845336 Email Social Secretary Post vacant


Membership Officer John Bower Shaw 72 Norton Lees Crescent Sheffield South Yorkshire S8 8SR Home 0114 258 2535 Sales Officer Post vacant Publicity Officer Dave Scott 17 Bowshaw Avenue Batemoor Sheffield South Yorkshire S8 8EY Home 0114 2375372/Mobile 07900 274434 Email Committee Member David Shaw 21 Boundary Green, Rawmarsh Rotherham South Yorkshire S62 6JN Home 01709 526725/Mobile 07977 557113 Email., Committee Member Mary Crofts Staddlestones South Bramwith Doncaster DN7 5SJ Home 01302 841619 Email Committee Member Brian Hewson 7 Church St., Consiborough, Doncaster DN12 3HL Email brian.hewson (Would your name fit here? There is still room for more!)

Profile for The Inland Waterways Association

Keels And Cuckoos November 2010  

The newsletter of the South Yorkshire and Dukeries branch of the Inland Waterways Association

Keels And Cuckoos November 2010  

The newsletter of the South Yorkshire and Dukeries branch of the Inland Waterways Association