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North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch

KNOBSTICKS Winter 2018

We’ll miss you, Harry ! Harry Arnold (1937-2018)

Photo: Waterway Images

Editorial First off, thanks to all the people who responded to my two questions in the last issue. See page 17 for an article about the rally plaque. As for the picture of the bridge in Stoke; it is no wonder that Mr Dunn couldn’t find it recently. John Snow told us that it used to be located on the Westport Lake side of

Longport, but had been replaced by a small modern bridge. Anne Chetwyn confirmed that it was indeed the demolished bridge 127, which had been replaced as a very non-descript bridge. Rather than ramble on, I have squeezed in an extra article below.

Towpath Solar Lighting in Stoke Waterside walkers and cyclists in Stokeon-Trent will be safer at night this autumn, thanks to an innovative project to install solar lighting along popular stretches of the Trent & Mersey and Caldon canals. Canal & River Trust and Stoke-on-Trent City Council are partners in a major £1.5 million project, launched in February to improve 15 miles of the city’s canals with a range of infrastructure and community initiatives. Completed just as the clocks go back for winter, the towpath lighting project has involved the installation of hundreds of solar lights covering nearly 5 miles of the Caldon Canal, around Hanley Park and Westport Lake, and the Trent & Mersey Canal, from Middleport down to Trentham. Charged by the sun, the lights will automatically switch on when darkness falls. Also included within the main scheme: •Opening up the route to Westport Lake with vegetation clearance, lit pathways, & improved hedgerows for nesting birds. •Work at Etruria Industrial Museum to repair canalside buildings. •Repairs to Bedford Street footbridge. •Community volunteer project with Burslem Port Trust and Middleport Matters to deliver improved canal towpath access, with new steps, handrails and pathways. Page 2

•Improved visitor facilities at Harecastle Tunnel entrance. •New ‘wayfinder’ signage along canals. •Refurbishment of black heritage signs. CRT enterprise manager Simon Papprill said: “The solar lights installed on Stoke’s busiest canal towpaths are going to bring major safety improvements for everyone who uses the waterway routes after dark. These type of lights are a first for the Midlands waterways and we would very much like to extend the project to other popular sections of towpath, particularly where the canal forms a safe, off-road commuter route through urban areas.” Cllr Dan Jellyman, cabinet member for regeneration, transport and heritage at Stoke-on-Trent City Council, said: “We’re fortunate in Stoke-on-Trent to have a fantastic canal network and it’s important we protect and preserve it. That is why this council has committed £1 million to boost the area’s waterways with a range of exciting improvements and initiatives. We want everyone to enjoy using our fantastic canals, whether they are cycling, jogging or walking. These new lights will make sure the canal remains an attractive option, especially with the nights now drawing in.” Press Release KNOBSTICKS

Deputy Chairman’s Report partnership with the Caldon & Uttoxeter Canals Trust we are trying to progress getting a survey of the tunnel carried out. The campaigning issue on the Leek Arm is, of course, the serious silting and weeding that we reported in Knobsticks last year. I am pleased to report that CRT have commenced dredging recently [see pic on p. 13] downstream of Tunnel Pool. We are hopeful that their previous commitment to dredge the feeder right to the end by Barnfields Aqueduct still stands, and that the campaign cruise will be able to celebrate this, as well as campaigning for boaters’ facilities and a better destination for the end of the Leek Arm.

Firstly, thanks to the branch volunteers who spent a cold and wet day in Stone High Street with the branch stand during the Stone Food & Drinks Festival at the beginning of October. Despite the poor weather we sold some Christmas cards and other items, and Anne Chetwyn’s “lucky dip” proved very popular, so many thanks to Anne for creating it, as well as making many of the items to be found in it. At a recent branch committee meeting we agreed that the branch’s objective for 2019 would be to organise a campaign cruise style event involving both ends of the Caldon Canal. As well as encouraging people to visit these two IWA Silver Propeller Challenge locations, the event will also be used to highlight the campaigning issues associated with both destinations. At Froghall the issue is the headroom through the tunnel; in Winter 2018

More details for the event, which will take place over a weekend next summer, date still to be confirmed, will be agreed over the coming months. It would be great if we can include all sorts of boats in this cruise – including narrow boats, cruisers, dinghies and canoes. If any member is interested in getting involved with this, either in taking part or in helping with the planning, do get in touch. Talking of campaign cruises, and although some distance away from our branch area, I thought that members might be interested to read about another IWA branch campaign cruise, organised by IWA Peterborough Branch, that Rupert, Peter and I enjoyed taking part in this summer while boating in the Fens. Although the issues on the Old Bedford River, a statutory navigation which is extremely difficult to gain access to, are very different to those we have at Leek and Froghall, it demonPage 3

Deputy Chairman’s Report strates the value of publicity to be gained from organising a group of boats to travel in convoy to campaign about particular navigation issue. See below. Finally, I need to end on a sad note. The branch sends its condolences to the Arnold family, particularly our committee member, Julie, following the death of

her father, Harry Arnold MBE. Harry was well known to us all as a waterways photographer, journalist, writer and campaigner, and a full obituary can be found on page 7. Alison Smedley Deputy Chairman

Old Bedford River Campaign Cruise August 2018

Old Bedford River Campaign Cruise flotilla finally reaches the closed lock at Welches Dam, 20th August 2018. Photo: Mike Daines Of all the destinations included in IWA's Silver Propeller Challenge, probably one of the most challenging locations on the connected system is Welches Dam. This long-closed lock is located at the junction of the Forty Foot River and the Old Bedford River in the Fens, Cambridgeshire . Page 4

In the lead up to the IWA Festival of Water at St Neots, IWA Peterborough Branch organised a Campaign Cruise on to the Old Bedford River, through Welney and up to Welches Dam lock. Branch members Alison & Rupert Smedley decided to take part on their way to the festival, but as their historic KNOBSTICKS

Old Bedford River Campaign Cruise August 2018 boats, 1 cruiser and 2 sailing dinghies were lined up to take part, but for various reasons, not least the reluctance of EA to confirm that they would be able to increase the water level in the river, The campaign cruise was organised to led to a number of uncertainties, and in highlight two main navigation issues - the event 3 narrow boats and a 22ft the continued closure of Welches Dam sailing yacht, which had crossed The Lock, closed by the Environment Agency Wash to take part, made the attempt. in 2006, and the ongoing difficulties in These attempts took place over two days accessing the Old Bedford River, a and three different tidal windows when a statutory navigation, from the tidal level was reached, which should allow passage through the single guillotine Ouse. gate, but the tidal entrance was silted up The publicity for the event encouraged and not deep enough. “boaters with a pioneering spirit� to take part, including canoes and small A small crowd gathered on both sides of portable craft. At one point 6 narrow the tidal Ouse to watch the boats attempt narrow boat tug, Sandbach, was deeper than the recommended draught for taking part, they decided to take part with a dinghy and a kayak.

Flotilla by Welches Dam pumping station. Winter 2018

Photo: Ivan Cane Page 5

Old Bedford River Campaign Cruise August 2018 to enter the Old Bedford River. Despite valiant efforts by all concerned, only one narrow boat was successful - Narrow boat Lily May. Three portable craft, including the Smedley's’ dinghy and kayak, were put directly into the Old Bedford River by the sluice gate at Salter’s Lode, and so a flotilla of 4 boats set off and reached Welney, about half way along the navigation, by the Sunday evening. The next day the four boats continued their journey along the Old Bedford River, encountering much more weed along this section which made the passage slower, and arrived at the closed lock at Welches Dam soon after midday, where other supporters had gathered to watch the boats arrive. Viewing the flotilla from the bank were some of the boaters who had been unsuccessful in getting through the sluice, the crew of a boat who had arrived at the other end of the Horseway Channel, and a TV news reporter with

Flotilla seen from Welches Dam Lock. Page 6

camera and drone. After photos and interviews had taken place, the flotilla returned the way they had come, and Lily May successfully passed back through the Old Bedford Sluice on the ebbing tide on Monday evening. The event subsequently appeared on ITV Anglian News about a week later, and created a lot of publicity for the ongoing campaign about Welches Dam Lock. The campaign cruise also demonstrated the benefits of working in partnership, with great support from the Environment Agency and Middle Level Commissioners staff who operated the sluice, as well as from the local pub at Welney, Fox Narrowboats in March, and local angling and boating clubs. It would be great if we can do something similar for an event in our branch area in 2019 (see Deputy Chairman’s piece), involving different types of boats and working in partnership with local organisations. Alison Smedley

Photo: Ivan Cane KNOBSTICKS

Harry Arnold MBE – A branch tribute In her tribute, Audrey Smith, former chairman of IWA, reminded us that Harry was on the legendary North West Committee in the 1960s, with such figures as Ken Goodwin and John Heap. Caldon stalwart Ben Fradley was also part of that, and I used to accompany him to meetings. It was there that I first met Harry; he never seemed in awe of ‘the great and good’, then or now. They were very much in evidence yesterday; there must have been about 200 at Fradley Crematorium, with many having to stand outside. Richard Parry was there representing the Canal & River Trust, the last of a long line of BW and CRT top men to benefit from Harry’s friendship and forthright wisdom and advice. Harry Arnold at his MBE investiture. Photo: Waterway Images I am writing this the day after Harry’s funeral. You will read tributes and obituaries elsewhere in this edition of Knobsticks and no doubt in every waterways magazine in the country. At the funeral, the Celebrant, Simon Mapp (and it was very real celebration of Harry’s life) described Harry as very much a family man – a man with a close personal family and a wider ‘waterways’ family. He was part of our Branch Family; as well as entertaining us with talks in his inimitable style from time to time, he joined us also at social meetings with his wife Beryl and daughter Julie. For several years, they were regular attenders at the Branch Dinners, usually accompanied by his long-standing friends, our President Chris Skelhorne and Sylvia. Winter 2018

A tribute was made by his friend from school days, Eddie Frangleton, who recalled that they grew up together in the land between the Manchester Ship Canal and the Bridgwater, and once cycled together to Lands End visiting every engine shed they could find on the way. Even in those days, Harry was a keen photographer, using the school dark room. This was referred to by others, including Tony Lewery, who described early adventures together at Norbury Junction, and later Harry’s involvement with the Waterways museum at Ellesmere Port. He remarked that Harry had a vision of what was possible, as an early pioneer of the leisure boating industry as well as founder of WRG with Graham Palmer. Hugh Potter also mentioned Harry’s skill as a photographer, noting how backgrounds were important in his composiPage 7

Harry Arnold MBE – A branch tribute tions, where his photos of groups were often beautifully grounded in the waterway background. Hugh paid tribute to Harry as a journalist, saying he had had articles in every waterway magazine as well as Waterways World, which he founded. He noted that, if it was happening, Harry was always there, either in the picture or taking it. I had personal experience of this locally not so long ago, when Richard Parry unveiled the replacement finger post at Great Haywood – Harry knew all the older stalwarts of the Staffs & Worcs Society, knew about the background to the demise of the old fingerpost and then turned professional and lined us up for a carefully posed group photo with the post rising majestically above us. Audrey mentioned his long tenure as editor of IWA members’ magazine Waterways; how she was in awe of having to write the Chairman’s Column for him – but Harry was always there to help. He somehow always managed to get the balance right between professional employee and volunteer. When he gave up the editor’s job, IWA were able to recognise his voluntary contribution by bestowing on him the Association’s most prestigious award. We stood for the Committal and then joined the family afterwards at the Alrewas Cricket Club which was packed with people from Harry’s ‘waterways family’ from all over the country. A unique occasion for a unique man. Our condolences and thoughts remain with Beryl, Julie and Mike. Roger Savage Page 8

IWA paid tribute to Harry in a long email announcing his death to members: “We are saddened to report the death of Harry Arnold MBE on 1st November, following a stroke almost three weeks earlier. Harry was well known as a waterways journalist, author and photographer who has been instrumental in many waterway campaigns since the late 1950s. Harry had been a member of both N Staffs & S Cheshire and Lichfield branches and his daughter Julie is a committee member. Harry was awarded an MBE in the 2010 Queen’s Birthday Honours List for the significant role he played in Britain’s inland waterways scene for almost 50 years. This included being a founder member of Waterway Recovery Group and editing IWA’s Waterways magazine from 1990 to 2007; Harry carried out many other voluntary roles within IWA and in 2008 was appointed a national Vice President. As a friend and stalwart supporter, advocate, restorer and chronicler of the inland waterways, Harry was central to setting up the Boat Museum at Ellesmere Port, now the National Waterways Museum. As a volunteer he energetically supported many other waterway projects and campaigns to promote and protect canals, their craft and heritage – also inspiring, enthusing and assisting many individuals on their own conservation and restoration projects. As a professional journalist, editor and photographer Harry was a regular contributor to boating magazines. In 1972 he was one of the founder owners of best-selling Waterways World; most KNOBSTICKS

Harry Arnold MBE – A branch tribute recently Harry was retained to write for the free distribution newspaper Towpath Talk – the largest circulation waterway publication. Harry’s WATERWAY IMAGES archive and digital photographs have appeared in countless publications and also TV programmes. Harry himself appeared on screen in programmes such as BBC’s Golden Age of Canal and he spent the summer of 2018 filming along the Montgomery Canal relating stories from the campaign and “Big Dig” that started its restoration for a forthcoming video. At the 2015 Canal & River Trust ‘Living Waterway Awards’ – which ‘seek to recognise the most inspiring and exciting waterway–based improvement projects across the UK’ – Harry was presented with the first ‘Outstanding Personal Achievement Award’. Tony Hales, then Chairman of CRT, said: “Harry was awarded an MBE for the significant role he has played in recording, conserving and promoting the country’s rich waterway heritage. This Outstanding Achievement award further recognises the enormous contribution he has made to helping make the waterways what they are today.” Ed: I was one of the very many people who, on 13th November, squeezed into the chapel of Lichfield & District Crematorium to attend Harry’s funeral. There were so many present that we were part of a crowd standing right at the front, almost within touching distance of the coffin. As requested we wore colourful waterway attire. The hour -long service was meaningful throughout, and we left glad that we had made the effort to attend. Winter 2018

Richard Parry, reflected on Harry’s substantial contribution to the inland waterways network in a CRT newsletter 3 days later “There can be few people who have played as great a part in so many different aspects of the waterway renaissance over the past sixty years as Harry. He was centre stage in some of the most momentous changes on our canals and rivers since the late 1950s. Harry had a hand in many of the first changes that saw the waterways return to a valued role in public life, from hire boating to canal restoration, helping to set up the Waterways Recovery Group. He also anticipated the wide public interest in their heritage, helping to found the Inland Navigation Museum at Ellesmere Port, and playing a key role in the restoration of the Anderton Boat Lift and the Montgomery Canal. Harry didn’t just witness, and play a part, in all of these changes – he recorded every significant moment – as a photojournalist and co-founder of Waterways World he amassed an extraordinary collection of images. I was honoured to be able to acknowledge Harry’s dedication by presenting him with the Living Waterways Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015 - there can be few more worthy recipients. The high regard in which he was held was reflected in the large numbers who attended his funeral earlier this week Ultimately, Harry gave a lifetime of passion to the waterways and left a lasting legacy which we can all be thankful for.” Truly, we’ll miss you Harry. Page 9

The Social Scene Now autumn is upon us, our monthly social meetings are happening again, with the regular date being the second Friday of every month. At our October meeting we enjoyed Phil Clayton’s excellent talk ‘Curious Cuts’ about, as he put it, “the ones not on tea towels”. We were taken from the subterranean waterways of Worsley Delph on the Duke of Bridgwater’s Canal to the Bridgwater and Taunton Canal, along the never-completed Grand Western Canal to link the Bristol Channel and Poole Harbour and up to the Ulverston Canal, whose staff once included 84 year-old lock-keeper, Matilda Simpson. Phil had visited the sites of all the canals he discussed and walked many of the routes, except for his last topic – the (entirely imaginary) canals of Mars! On Friday 9th November Mark Thomas presented ‘Three Things you did not know about the RNLI’. Unfortunately, the weather did its best to set the scene, with high winds and heavy rain, so Mark did not get the audience he deserved. I’m sure we all learned more than three things we had not previously known about his charity, especially about their educational and boat-building activities. As most of the people rescued during the busy summer season live inland, Mark was keen to advertise that free (and fun) education sessions are available to

schools and community groups right across the country, so do take a look at the RNLI website, especially if you work with children or young people. He finished his superb presentation, appropriately, with a film from 1914, showing the dramatic rescue of survivors from the hospital ship Rohilla off the North Yorkshire coast, where she had foundered on rocks during a gale. Looking Ahead Our December meeting is on Friday 14th and I am pleased to confirm that Richard Parry, the Chief Executive of the Canal and River Trust, will be our speaker. I’m sure we all want to know more about CRT’s plans for the future of our waterways. This will be your opportunity to hear what Richard has to say and to ask him some questions. Do let any friends or family interested in waterways know about this talk – don’t forget, our meetings are free and open to IWA members and non-members alike. It would be great to have a packed house for this event – whatever the weather! Remember, although we don’t have a social at the boat club in January, we do have our Annual Dinner at the Red Bull Hotel to look forward to. Booking Form with details and menus is included with this edition of Knobsticks. Sarah Honeysett (Social Secretary and Publicity Officer)

Calling all First-Aiders Are you a qualified First-Aider? If so, please consider volunteering to attend some of our working parties, even if you don’t want to do any work! Just let the organiser know that you can attend. Page 10

Why??? - In short “Health and Safety”. If site work involves machinery (as it often does at Uttoxeter or Burslem Port), then we MUST have a first-aider on-site. KNOBSTICKS

Special offers In-store bakery Food-to-go Hot and cold drinks Groceries Newspapers Lotto Paypoint Payzone Free ATM Fresh fruit and veg Household and pet food A great range of beers, wines and spirits Open Mon-Sat 7am-9pm, Sun 7.30am-8pm

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8-10 Diana Road, Birches Head, Stoke-on-Trent, ST1 6RS. Tel 01782 263936 Visit our website Find us on Facebook - Londis Birches Head Winter 2018

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Social Programme

North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch Friday 14th December 2018 – 7.45 for 8pm Canal and River Trust - the Chief Executive's presentation An update on CRT's progress on current projects + their future plans. Richard Parry Friday 25th January 2019 – 7.30 for 8pm Annual Dinner—See Booking Form for details at the Red Bull Hotel, Church Lawton, ST7 3AJ Friday 8th February 2019 – 7.45 for 8pm Growing the Wooden Canal Boat Society The beginnings of the Wooden Canal Boat Society, the progress made, success and disappointments along the way and the present situation. Chris Leah Friday 8th March – 7.45 for 8pm Annual General Meeting Followed by a showing of archive film footage of local waterways. “Endon to Bingley” in 1995 by Alan Chetwyn. Friday 12th April – 7.45 for 8pm The Four Ages of The Canals This presentation deals with the four periods our waterways have passed through to get from the start to where they are today. Bill Walker Page 12


Social Programme Admission to talks is FREE Donations to waterway causes welcome! Refreshments available. Non-IWA members are very welcome Venue (unless otherwise stated): Stoke on Trent Boat Club Endon Wharf, Post Lane, Endon STOKE-ON-TRENT, ST9 9DU For further information contact: Sarah Honeysett (01782 772295) or visit the branch webpages at:

Leek Arm Dredging (Photo: Alison Smedley)

Winter 2018

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Uttoxeter Canal Work Party Update

It's been a little while since my last update, but that doesn't mean we have been inactive; indeed, far from it. Over the summer months our volunteers have been working between Crumpwood Weir and Bridge 70, keeping this important site tidy and visible for visitors. The posts at Carrington's Lock (see photo above) which we started to install during the family camp over the summer have been finished and painted, so this area is looking much tidier, as well as being safer for South Staffs Water staff driving down the track to the water works. In April this year we had hosted a visit from WRG North West who were clearing a section of the towpath near to Page 14

Alton Towers. During this weekend a mostly buried stone structure was spotted by our volunteer Maria whilst walking between the former railway line and the work site. It was very hard to make out what it was as the stones were barely protruding from the ground, indeed we had all walked past it repeatedly during the WRG reunion the previous November without even seeing it, but we were soon sure that there was something interesting here. Within a day or two Rob had identified a D-shaped structure on the 1887 Ordnance Survey map of the area. In this extract the (by now closed) canal is to the north with a mill stream to the south. The Churnet is off the bottom of the map. The structure looks a lot like a tree KNOBSTICKS

Uttoxeter Canal Work Party Update on first glance but is actually quite different. It lies at the centre of the red circle in the image below.

Rob, Maria and I returned to the site in June for a closer look. A test hole was dug at the point closest to the canal and the stone wall was found to go down some way. Also, on the canal side of the towpath (below) the start of a culvert could clearly be seen. By this point we were pretty sure that we had found a spill weir, which would have been used to control the water level in the pound between Alton and Charlesworth Locks.

Winter 2018

We returned to the site at our October work party, determined to prove one way or another if what we had found was indeed a spill weir. The group split up to various tasks, clearing vegetation and digging holes in various spots where we thought the structure may be buried.

The semi-circular D-shaped structure shown in the 1887 map is mostly there, though the western corner has disappeared. The edge of the spill (Photo below) is also mostly there other than in the same corner. A large tree in this location is the most likely candidate for having dislodged the stones.

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Uttoxeter Canal Work Party Update The November work party continued to explore the structure and Chris managed to clear out both ends of the culvert (Photo of spill-weir end below), which appears to be in excellent condition. There was some debate among the group about why the structure was constructed in this way. It seems to be significantly over-engineered compared to other weirs on the Caldon and Uttoxeter canals for no immediately obvious benefit. Over the next few months this area will be the focus of our attention as we would like to clear as much of the path as possible before next summer. As well as our own monthly work parties we will again be hosting our friends from Waterway Recovery Group, with WRG North West joining us for a weekend in

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December and our old friends from the Forestry Team returning for a week in February. I am hopeful that by late spring we will have completed the clearance of this section and can start to work out how to repair two washed away sections of towpath which will need to be reinstated before we can open up this mile-long section of towpath to walkers. Reinstatement of the spill weir is key to this as the washed away sections are a direct result of the original spill weir becoming blocked up. This is a substantial project but much of it can be done by volunteers, so why not come along to our future work parties on the second Thursday of each month and help us continue to reveal the line of the canal? (Article & Photos:) Steve Wood


The Mystery Plaque (see page 2 in previous issue) Our esteemed editor is correct in thinking that I may know more about the plaque that he recently purchased. Between 1996 and 2001, the branch organised three events in Stone: A rally in June 1996 to mark the Golden Jubilee of I.W.A.; a boat gathering in June 1998 in support of Stone Festival; and a rally in July 2001 to mark the 750th anniversary of the granting of Stone's Market Charter. The plaque comes from the second of these. Apparently, Stone Council had moved the dates of their Festival to avoid clashing with events such as Stafford Boat Club's rallies and so we decided that we should support that decision by putting on a show of boats. A gathering, rather than a rally, was decided on, as entertainment was already laid on by the Festival. A total of 41 boats attended, including solid support from Stoke-onTrent Boat Club. Anne and myself were on board, what at the time was still my Aunt's boat, “Almira”. Despite a fair share of rain, the event was a success. In particular, Jim Ridgway 'weaved his magic' on the Nail Game and everybody seemed to enjoy themselves either doing or watching line dancing in the Crown ballroom on Saturday night. The plaque is, of course, based on the red cross trademark of Joules beers, still to be seen on the wall of the former brewery. One of the plaques still sits proudly among the collection on Almira. On the evening of Sunday 14th June, having been busy on our stall over the weekend, Anne and I had a meal in the "Star", sitting by the window overlooking the lock. Just before we were ready to leave, a boat rose in the lock, revealing itself as “Progress”, owned by Chris Winter 2018

Coburn, who was halfway through his famous "Spirit of Adventure" tour in support of the Lichfield and Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust campaign to build the M6 Toll with provision for crossings for the canal. Before 'Progress cleared Stone locks, we were able to catch up for a chat with Chris and Laurence Hogg (sadly lost to us recently). In the event, our major contribution to their cruise was to take their rubbish bag back to the skip which they had failed to see as they passed!

We later saw Progress beached at Connah's Quay, watched the tide come in to re-float her, and a few days later, were present at her 'triumphal' entry into Caernarfon harbour, having passed along the treacherous Menaii Strait.

The campaign was, of course, eventually successful, which is why there is an isolated aqueduct spanning the M6 Toll. (Article & Photos:) Alan Chetwyn. Page 17

The Boating Adventures of Sonning Bear A Small Bear at Foxton Locks Sonning Bear and his human guardians, who he calls Polar and Grizzly, steered their narrowboat Uplander II north along the Grand Union Canal. At Norton Junction they took the Leicester Arm and ascended the five locks of the Watford Staircase. Sonning tried very hard to remember which paddles had to be opened first to let the water in and out, but it was all quite confusing to a small bear and he was rather glad the humans were taking care of it.

Looking at the canal guide, Sonning could see they would soon be going down the famous Foxton Locks. This was like a double version of the Watford Locks, with one five lock staircase immediately after another!

The crew of Uplander II had to wait for several boats to come up before they could start down the staircase. Luckily, there were lots of helpers. Polar and Sonning stayed on the boat and Grizzly went to help with the locks.

'I hope Polar and Grizzly can remember whether they open the red paddles or the white paddles first!' he thought. 'Or do we open them the other way going down?' As they cruised along, through very lovely countryside, Sonning tried to think how he could help when they got there. Page 18


The Boating Adventures of Sonning Bear 'Can I help with anything?' Sonning asked Polar. 'You could steer while I take some photographs of us moving into the next lock,' she said. 'Don't worry - I'll be controlling the engine.' Sonning felt very important, holding the tiller and steering Uppie from the first lock into the next one. 'Can I do that again?' he asked, feeling quite proud of himself.

When Polar and Grizzly went to look around the site, Sonning took off his lifejacket now he had finished his boating duties for the day. Then he went to explore for himself. He ran up to the top of the big hill the locks came down and sneaked up onto one of the little bridges over the locks to see the view.

'Of course you can!' said Polar. Polar let him steer into each of the linked locks but, when they got to the big middle pound, she stopped Uppie and swapped places with Grizzly. Grizzly wasn't taking photographs so he lifted Sonning back in the lifebelt on the roof. 'Did you see me steering the boat, Grizzly?' Sonning asked him. 'You did very well, Sonning,' Grizzly said. The volunteer helpers and Polar worked Uppie down the lower five locks. At the bottom, they took the turn towards Market Harborough, and Polar opened a swing bridge for Uppie. Winter 2018

It was only then that he realised that he hadn't really had to steer the boat at all when they moved from lock to lock. The locks were so narrow, there was nowhere to go but backwards or forwards! 'You are a silly little bear, Sonning!' he said to himself. But he thinks he looks quite a professional helms-bear in the photos Polar took of him! Page 19

Hetty’s Tea Room wins Living Waterways Award

Hetty’s Tea Room at Froghall Wharf, beat off strong competition to win a top prize in the Canal & River Trust’s 2018 Living Waterways Awards. Entrepreneurs Emma and Paul Atkinson worked with specialist staff from the Canal & River Trust charity to convert a disused Grade II-listed warehouse on the Caldon Canal into a modern café, gift shop and luxury holiday accommodation. The sensitive conversion of the historic waterside building has been such a success, it has now been recognised with first prize in the contest’s Heritage and Conservation category at a ceremony in Birmingham. Sue Wilkinson, CRT trustee and chair of the Awards assessment panel, said: “Our inland waterways have been part of our history for hundreds, if not thousands of years. That they are still being used and enjoyed today, making our lives richer and happier is down to a lot of effort by many unsung heroes and these awards exist to celebrate their efforts.” Page 20

CRT surveyor Sarah Hirst worked with the couple on the Froghall Wharf conversion project. She added: "I am thrilled all our tenants’ hard work, dedication and loving restoration of this building has been rewarded. Emma and Paul thoroughly deserve the award and we’re delighted the future of this beautiful grade II- listed property has been secured for both current and future generations to enjoy. This was a special project – a sensitive conversion of a beautiful old brick warehouse in harmony with its surroundings. The new 21st century visitor facilities have transformed the canal into a living waterway, a place where people want to come to relax, enjoy the rural canal and its wonderful wildlife. It ticks all the boxes on promoting health, wellbeing and making life better by water, and their delicious cakes and scones are guaranteed to put a smile on your face too!” CRT Press Release KNOBSTICKS

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Winter 2018

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North Staffordshire & South Cheshire contacts President: Chris Skelhorne Vice President Roger Savage Deputy Chairmen Alison Smedley 01538 385388 Steve Wood 07976 805858

Web-site Liaison Alison Smedley 01538 385388 Planning VACANT (Use Membership Officer Ju Davenport

Navigation Officer Treasurer 01782 772295 Alan Chetwyn (No Email) 01782 279277 Jon Honeysett Secretary Judith Turner 07789 518816 Burslem Port Work Party Steve Wood 07976 805858 Sales Officer VACANT Use Caldon + Uttoxeter Work Parties Steve Wood 07976 805858 Social Secretary Sarah Honeysett 01782 772295 Cheshire Locks Work Party John Brighouse 07808 878317 Publicity Officer Sarah Honeysett 01782 772295 Other committee members: Julie Arnold Maria Frost Newsletter Editor Roger Evans 01606 834471 Rob Frost Roger Savage 10 Long Lane, Middlewich, Cheshire, West Midlands Region Chairman CW10 0BL Helen Whitehouse 01543 491161 The Branch committee meets at 7:30 p.m. on the 2nd Tuesday of every month at Stoke Boat Club, Endon Wharf, Post Lane, Endon, Stoke-on-Trent, ST9 9DU. All Branch members are invited to attend. The views expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the Inland Waterways Association, the West Midlands Region, or our Branch. They are, however, published as being of interest to our members and readers. Š The Inland Waterways Association - Registered as a charity no. 212342 Winter 2018 Page 23

Join Us on a Canal Work Party

Our Branch runs 3 work parties each month, helping to maintain and restore our local canals : Cheshire Locks (Trent & Mersey Canal, Kidsgrove to Wheelock) (jointly organised with the Trent and Mersey Canal Society) 3rd Thursday of each month (except December), 10am to 3pm. Contact: John Brighouse Phone: 07808-878317 Email:

 Uttoxeter Canal (Bridge 70, near Denstone — or near Alton) (working in partnership with Caldon & Uttoxeter Canals Trust) 2nd Thursday of each month, 10am to 3pm. Contact: Steve Wood Phone: 07976-805858 Email:

 Burslem Port, Stoke-on-Trent (working in partnership with Burslem Port Project) 4th Tuesday of each month, 10am to 3pm. Contact: Steve Wood Phone: 07976-805858 Email: ——————————–————-—————————-————— See the IWA website under “Events” for dates. Volunteers are advised to wear stout shoes and old clothes, and to bring waterproofs (and a packed lunch and drink if staying all day) Page 24


Profile for The Inland Waterways Association

Knobsticks Winter 2018  

Knobsticks Winter 2018