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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 - May 2017

SPRING DAFFODIL DISPLAYS BRIGHTEN UP THE ARM For a few weeks in late March and early April, various locations on the Northampton Arm burst into colour thanks to the efforts of Branch Task Party volunteers. They were, without doubt, golden weeks. The colourful “fluttering and dancing” displays of daffodils followed the planting by our volunteers of well over 2,000 bulbs Continued on page 9 Just a few of the daffs colouring the scene at Lock 17

WHY ENDEAVOUR IS DELAYED Publication of this edition of Endeavour has been delayed so that a report of the Branch’s Boat Gathering in May could be included. A report starts on page 23.


Chairman’s Jottings on page 7

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.



EDITORIAL MUSINGS With our Boat Gathering at Stoke Bruerne the other weekend, when much of the activity was centred upon Quarry Field, my thoughts turned to the Canal Museum there and how things are faring five years on from its control being taken over by the Canal & River Trust. The Branch has always been a strong supporter of the Museum, of course, with many of our members being actively involved with its development. Not least, the formation of the Friends of the Canal Museum in the mid-2000s was led largely by IWA people, including David Blagrove to the fore, happy to have a foot in both camps, as it were. The Branch’s involvement has continued over the years and, in fact, the present chairman of the Friends’ group is Michael Butler, a Branch Committee member and joint organiser of our Task Parties on the Northampton Arm. Quarry Field, adjacent to the towpath close to the Museum Green, was acquired by CRT a little over a year ago to provide an additional area to accommodate Museum activities. At the moment the Field is a work in progress and very soon it will be getting its own electricity supply, the cost of which is being aided by a £3,000 grant from the Branch’s John Faulkner legacy. But the most dramatic change to affect the Museum’s future is likely to come from CRT’s planned bid for Heritage Lottery Fund support. I would think the Trust stand a good chance of achieving this as their bid would seem to tick many of the boxes required, such as the installation of a lift to provide disabled access to the upper floors together with its work among young people. Hence, there is something of a hiatus in the Museum’s progress at the moment. I am told that volunteers continue to help with routine maintenance of the exhibits, but virtually everything else of significance is on hold awaiting for the hopefully successful outcome of the HLF bid. I further understand that money held in the Friends’ coffers (funds raised mainly from the annual Village at War event) could possibly be made available for match-funding as part of the bid. CRT have ambitious plans for the Museum and I get the impression that when it all eventually happens it will be big. IWA Northampton should be proud of its support it has given to the Museum over the years, first by its members helping to set up the Friends group when the future viability of the Museum was far from certain, and secondly, by assisting with the Quarry Field project. Also, the Branch has donated regular sums to the Sculptor Fund to ensure the Museum’s floating exhibit has been maintained in good order. Surely the wind is set fair for a revitalised and successful future for the Museum. We are fortunate in possessing such an iconic canal feature on our patch – and one with which IWA Northampton is so closely connected.


DIARY DATES June 17th-18th Foxton Locks Festival. Details 24th-25th Braunston Historic Narrowboat Rally at Braunston Marina. Details on pages 11-13 and back page July 19th 7pm Theatre performance of Idle Women, recreating their lives, at the Barley Mow, Cosgrove 22nd & 23rd Cosgrove Canal Festival & Craft Fair. Details www. August 12th & 13th Blisworth Canal Festival. Details September 9th & 10th Village at War at Stoke Bruerne. Details 12th 8pm IWA Northampton Branch Meeting at The Walnut Tree Inn, Blisworth. Speaker: to be announced

NORTHAMPTON ARM TASK PARTY DATES June 4th, 20th. July 2nd, 18th. August 6th, 15th. September 3rd, 19th. October 1st, 17th. Contact: or phone 01604 453932 BUCKINGHAM CANAL SOCIETY WORK PARTY DATES June 1st, 11th, 15th, 29th. July 9th, 13th, 27th. August 10th, 13th, 24th. September 7th, 10th, 21st.

For more information contact Athina Beckett or phone 01908 661217 / 07721 319404 STOKE BRUERNE CANAL PARTNERSHIP WORK PARTY DATES

June 14th. July 12th. August 9th. September 13th




01604 858043 Email: ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦




Branch Chairman’s Jottings by Bernard Morton I am writing this before our Branch Gathering and by the time it appears in print or on your screens, I shall almost be thinking of returning from the family summer cruise. But more of this next time. Similarly, I know that many of you are out and about on the waterways. Towards the end of May, it at last began to rain again but we do need a lot more if water shortages are to be avoided. FIRST LEGACY BENEFICIARIES CONFIRMED. The overriding priority of your Branch Committee these last few months has been the initial stages of the various processes necessary for the distribution of John Faulkner’s legacy, already well reported in Endeavour. Happily, I am now in a position to confirm the distribution of £36,500 of the £83,740 available to Northampton Branch and also to waterways projects in Northamptonshire and other areas of the UK. A further £41,870 share has gone direct to the Waterway Recovery Group. Four projects are named as beneficiaries in the first tranche of grants. The bigger grants, each of £10,000, go to: • • •

The Northampton Sea Cadets, based at Becket’s Park, Northampton; The Buckingham Canal Society; and The consortium of organisations planning to build a footbridge with greater clearance than the existing one spanning the River Nene at Thrapston – invariably a problem in times of flood.

In addition, £3,500 has been approved for a community project involving local schools to create a mosaic nature trail along the whole length of the Northampton Arm. A sum of £3,000 is also going towards the cost of providing an electricity supply, scheduled for installation during the summer, to the Canal & River Trust’s Quarry Field development at Stoke Bruerne. All these requests for financial assistance have been approved by the Trustees of the Inland Waterways Association – an essential element of our grant-making process. In the pipeline, awaiting final ratification from the Trustees, is a bid for £5,000 from the Friends of Raymond, the Braunston-based charity which cares for the historic narrowboats Raymond and Nutfield. This money will go towards the cost of essential maintenance work on Nutfield plus a general refurbishment of the boat, including new covers. Just to recap on the projects being supported, work has already started on the major improvements to the Sea Cadets’ base sited next to Northampton Marina at Becket’s Park. I understand the Cadets are receiving financial help from various sources and we are pleased to “come on board”, bearing in mind the Cadets’ support and enthusiasm for our Boat Gatherings on the river at Becket’s Park.

8 The Buckingham Canal Society will be adding our grant to other money raised to meet the cost of rebuilding Bridge No 1 at Cosgrove, which will allow for the rewatering of the first section of the canal to the A5. Similarly, our grant towards the money required to build a heightened footbridge below Islip Lock at Thrapston boosts the funds available to the Environment Agency to get this long-awaited job done. Two schools, Briar Hill Primary and Delapre Primary, are taking part in the project on the Arm, by putting forward design ideas for the mosaic nature trail and getting their hands dirty by actually assembling their designs under the guidance of David Bowers, the professional mosaic artist who created the seat at Lock 17. By the time you read this, the mosaic panels will be ready for installation by our Arm volunteers later this summer. The confirmation of these grants means that over £47,000 is still available for distribution. We have a number of ideas in mind, but naturally your Branch Committee welcomes further suggestions. We are in touch with neighbouring IWA branches – actually, the new bridge at Islip is in Peterborough Branch’s territory. However, as I have already mentioned, ideally we would like to help organisations and projects as locally as possible. MY THANKS TO COLLEAGUES. The immediate task of your Branch Committee following the Annual General Meeting in March was the re-election of officers for the next 12 months. The Chairman came first – and I was prevailed upon to continue. Then, too, were the rest of my colleagues in their respective roles, bearing in mind that Paul Lynam had already taken over the duties of Treasurer from Alex Madisons who, however, continues as a committee member. In effect, therefore, it is “as you were”. My sincere and grateful thanks to all committee colleagues. But new blood is always needed – anyone interested please step forward. You can be co-opted at any time. The glaring absence is the lack of a Branch Publicity Officer. We do really need to fill this role urgently. Remember, we have former Branch members who filled this role for many years still available with their help and guidance. Advancing years and family illness are the only reasons these people feel unable to continue with the role. Enjoy your summer on and around the waterways. May the sun shine – but really we should just put up with and welcome some rain!

IWA Northampton Branch now has a Facebook page. It’s at Members will find posts there about our talks, Task Party dates and much more, as well as being able to use it for discussion purposes. We’d like to hear your views. We also have a Twitter account @northamptoniwa where you can leave us a message or engage in discussion on what’s happening.

9 Continued from front page

PRAISE FOR SPRINGTIME DAFFODIL DISPLAYS purchased jointly by the Branch and the Canal & River Trust. The majority of the bulbs were planted around the Lock 17 area at Far Cotton in Northampton. Pleasingly we have received numerous plaudits, especially from people living in the apartments overlooking the canal. One of them even commented: “I woke one morning and for a moment thought I was in Wordsworth country in the Lake District!” Other bulbs were planted around Locks 1 and 14 and in the landscaped area near the bottom of the Rothersthorpe Flight by the M1. Michael Butler, Joint Task Party organiser, said: “The whole idea was to enhance the Arm, make it look brighter and cheerful and, importantly, well looked after. I think we certainly achieved this. It’s just a pity these lovely colourful flowers don’t last longer into the summer, but at least they’ll be here again next spring.”

NEW BRANCH MEMBERS ARE WELCOMED We extend a warm welcome to the following who have joined Northampton Branch since the last issue of Endeavour

NEW MEMBERS Mr C Lowe, Desborough Mr P & Mrs S Brown, Northampton Mr C & Mrs J Freeman, Biggleswade, Bedfordshire

MEMBERS MOVED TO THE BRANCH Mr L Johnson, Hereford Mr T Colonel & Mrs T Boyce, Kingston Mr N J Lake, Banbury

We look forward to meeting you all at our Branch events IWA Northampton Branch web site Please visit it regularly to see any updates


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 treatment 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 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 1.00pm on Saturdays

Fred Tarry Bridge Cottage Furnace Lane Nether Heyford Northampton, NN7 3JY

Telephone/Fax: 01327-341202 Email :

Northamptonshire RESTAURANT º BARS º TRIP BOAT

DINE IN STYLE IN WOODWARD’S CANALSIDE RESTAURANT 01604 862428 SAVE THE BRANCH MONEY! Stop receiving Endeavour by post and instead get it electronically. You will be notified by email when it’s published on-line. This will save in postage and printing costs. The printed version will be available at Branch meetings. Contact Geoff Wood at and he will organise it. Editor


Steaming up for the fifteenth Braunston Historic Narrowboat Rally & Canal Festival at Braunston Marina, 24th – 25th June, 2017 Tim Coghlan, of Braunston Marina, writes: Plans and preparations are well underway for the 15th Braunston Historic Narrowboat Rally & Canal Festival, held as always over the last weekend in June, this year the 24th - 25th June. By popular demand, famous actors and canal celebrities Timothy West and Prunella Scales will be back to open the Rally, having last done so in 2013. Since then their canal TV series Great Canal Journeys has gone from strength to strength, now with a worldwide audience of waterways enthusiasts. They are also known for their many notable roles on stage and screen, including Timothy West as Stan Carter in East Enders and his wife Prunella Scales as Sybyl in Fawlty Towers. For the opening of the Braunston Historic Rally, they will wear traditional boatmen costume. Timothy West quipped: “We are thrilled to be coming again. We usually charge to dress up.

Actor Timothy West on the restored steam narrowboat President following the formal opening of the 2013 Rally by himself and his actress wife Prunella Scales. President is steered by Nick Haines, Chairman of the Friends of President

12 But to support this unique and wonderful canal event, we will again waive our fee in this case!” In the now well established tradition for the opening of the Rally, at 11.00am on Saturday 24th June, Timothy West will steer President - the restored steam narrowboat into the marina, towing its butty boat Kildare, steered by Prunella Scales – both receiving a little help from the Friends of President. Their entry will be accompanied by a fine peal of bells from the steeple of Braunston’s church – known as the ‘Cathedral of the Canals’. And from the quayside the stirring sound of the Daventry Brass band. The traditional theatrically-spectacular opening should make for a splendid start to what will undoubtedly be the canal Rally of 2017! The Rally’s location is at the heart of the canal network, in the beautiful setting of the historic Braunston Marina and the canal and village at Braunston. But probably most importantly for the boaters and visitors, is the ability for the boats to parade in a sort of figure of 8 – a challenge for the steerers and a spectacular sight for the visitors to see and photograph from so many vantage points, including the famous beer tent – the Wet Dock! To keep this annual event special, there is a focus on alternate years between the large surviving Fellows Morton & Clayton (FMC) fleet - as featured originally in the first rally in 2003 - and all the other fleets with Braunston associations - Samuel Barlows, Blue Line, Nursers, Willow Wren and the Grand Union Canal Carrying Company. The 2017 Rally again focuses on the FMC fleet, and in particular President and its butty Kildare, both of which were built before WWI and are now over 100 years old. All historic FMC narrowboats will be moored in the old Oxford Arm in the marina. Other historic narrowboats will be moored out on the main line, thanks to the support of the Canal & River Trust. Most of the historic narrowboats will participate in the famous daily parades. The event is open to all historic narrowboats. The Rallies over the years have proved inspirational in the restoration and ongoing maintenance of the diverse surviving fleet of historic narrowboats. Over 150 of them have already attended various rallies over the years, with some not seen before already booked in for this year, like the recently restored tugs Pintail and Tug No. 12, recently purchased by former working boatman John Barrett whose family used to work for Barlows in the then Braunston Yard. Two of the regular attendees, Nutfield and Sculptor have both had makeovers last autumn in the historic docks at Braunston Marina. The boats had earlier that year celebrated their 80th anniversaries of their build in 1936 by W J Yarwood of Northwich. Besides the historic narrowboats, other attractions will include the famous Braunston beer tent – the Wet Dock, plus fast food and fun. Music will be provided by Braunston Pickle, and folk and R&B groups. On the quayside will be an array of various Morris Dancer groups. There will be a performance at 5.00pm on the Saturday in the Artists’ Marquee of Idle Women of the Wartime Waterways by Alarum Theatre, and

13 on the Thursday evening before the Rally a performance by Day Star Theatre in aid of the restoration of Braunston Church. Prior to the Rally opening, on the Saturday morning, Timothy West will unveil a plaque on the ‘Braunston Marina Wall of Fame’ to commemorate the Braunston years of David Blagrove from his first visit by working narrowboat in 1962 until he attended last year’s Rally shortly before his death from cancer. His waterways endeavours were variously: working boatman, autobiographical author, canal historian, entertainer, and much more. He had attended every Rally to date since they started in 2003. Following the 2015 Rally, he wrote to me: “Once again Braunston has hosted the main event of the waterways year, so far as I am concerned. Boat shows, rallies, events etc are all very well, but the Braunston Show is the one that gets closest to the heart of what it is all about.” We will remember him! To help cover the infrastructure costs and to add to the public interest, trade exhibitors are invited to attend. Canal societies with whom the marina is associated are also invited – being offered free marquee or outside space. There will be an admission charge to the public of £10 per car. All profits will be donated, as usual, to canal and local causes, the main recipient being the canal charity, the Friends of President. The Rally has now become something on an international event. Over six thousand visitors came in 2016, some travelling from as far afield as Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the USA and South Africa. Since its small beginnings in 2003, the Braunston Historic Narrowboat Rally has become the premier rally and festival on the English canals. Its success-formula is now much copied, with similar events springing up all over the canal network. This is good for the canals – but the Braunston Historic Narrowboat Rally remains the best, with by far and away the most historic narrowboats and visitors in attendance. Here’s hoping we see you here. The FMC Rally is sponsored by Braunston Marina and Towpath Talk, with support from the Canal & River Trust.

Scorpio in the parade of boats


Jane Wilson gives us ‌

ANOTHER VIEW OF THE NENE Meandering along our inland waterways by narrowboat is often described as a peaceful occupation, which I would not dispute, but for the ultimate in tranquillity I can highly recommend taking to a canoe, as my daughter and I did last September. Down almost at water level, with no sound other than that of the paddles dipping rhythmically, and then dripping slightly as they returned to make the next stroke, we could see and hear so much more of the natural world around us. Herons took off just feet ahead of us, while swallows whirled above our heads and blackberries overhanging the banks provided easily accessible juicy sustenance. Our three-day voyage along the River Nene was undertaken with the company Canoe2 who provided almost everything that we could need. The open Canadian canoe, paddles, buoyancy aids, a trolley for portage (of which more later) and waterproof containers for protecting possessions that we wanted to take afloat were brought to our starting point and, after some brief but thorough instruction, we were sent on our way. Meanwhile our bags, bedding Jane Wilson — all set to go and food supplies were transported for us to our overnight abode. In our case this was a beautiful bell tent, but a yurt and a tipi are also on offer, as is bed and breakfast accommodation for those who like their creature comforts. The quay-heading above Thrapston Nine Arches bridge was our departure point. As the voyage was downstream, this meant that within seconds of setting off we had to negotiate our first bridge, from something of an angle, so a bit of fending off with the paddles was required, but we got through without serious mishap. The next challenge was soon upon us as there is a lock (Islip) not much further downstream. Locks are dangerous places for canoes, so please do not tempt any canoeists that you encounter with a well-intentioned invitation to lock through with you. Instead the procedure is to lift the canoe out of the water, carry it past the lock and relaunch the other side, in a process

15 known as portage. This was the most onerous part of the voyage, but the provision of a small trolley (not much more than a pair of wheels with a low platform over the axle) assisted considerably. With the advantage of youth and a few extra inches of height, my daughter was admittedly the powerhouse of our portage efforts, but I endeavoured to pull my weight. In this first instance the distance to take the canoe overland was short as we were able to rejoin the river just below the first weir and follow the weir stream to meet back with the navigation. The next portage took us off the Nene altogether, as we relaunched the canoe into Harper’s Brook which flows north of the river, close to Aldwincle, and reconnects with it some mile and a quarter later. The main river had been tranquil, but this was sheer delight. Through clear water we could see a gravelly bed, sometimes shallow enough for the paddles to touch. It felt as though we were in uncharted waters. Wadenhoe was the next destination and here we paddled on past our portage point to reward ourselves with a swift half at a riverside pub, The Kings Head. The laminated map and guide with which we had been provided informed us that lunches were available here (and had much other helpful information about places to eat and drink along the way) but we had a picnic, so returned to the portage point to eat it before continuing on our way. Re-organising after a portage The final portage of the day, although the shortest distance, proved to be the trickiest as it involved carrying the canoe over Pilton Lock by way of the footbridge under the guillotine gate and down a flight of steps onto a pontoon. A gentle downstream paddle completed the day and just as we were beginning to feel a little tired, a tiny harbour cut into the reeds came into view on the eastern bank – our landing point for the Barnwell campsite. A few short steps from the river bank brought us to the site and there was our bell tent, ready pitched with all our belongings inside and a picnic bench beside it. As we settled down to enjoy a drink, a cold box was delivered containing our breakfast for the morning, including eggs from the chickens who had come running up looking for scraps. A mess tent provided a generous

16 supply of pots and pans, crockery and cutlery, table and benches, folding chairs to take down to the tent, the luxury of hot running water and several double gas burners that we could have used for cooking, but with fire pits also available to set up outside the tent and a ready supply of dry logs, the appeal of camp fire cooking was too great to be resisted. With supper cooked and eaten (and yes, we did wash up in the mess tent) it was then a joy to sit by the fire watching the stars appear and reflecting on the day’s adventures. The supplied breakfast proved delicious and was cooked in leisurely fashion over the fire as our itinerary allowed us a day and second night at the campsite. To rest arms and exercise legs we walked into the charming market town of Oundle, managing to keep to footpaths for most of the route, before returning to the site to relax over lunch and good books. Only late in the afternoon did we return to the water for a short paddle to reconnoitre the first portage point for the next leg of the journey. After another restful evening we returned to the river, but quickly forsook it for a while, opting to bypass two locks and take a slightly longer, but peaceful route along the backwater that skirts Barnwell Country Park. Easy paddling, three further portages, more blackberry picking and an emergency hat overboard drill brought us reluctantly to our final destination beneath Fotheringay Castle. Here we were met, but encouraged to go off to explore the castle mound (birthplace of Richard III and site of execution for Mary, Queen of Scots) and church whilst our gear was recovered and packed up for us. I have never felt so spoiled! Finally a taxi was summoned to return us to our own vehicle left in Thrapston in what seemed like another life. Although in many ways our time passed all too quickly, the pace had slowed as we meandered along at gentle paddling speed, our world encompassed in a tiny vessel and bounded by the banks of the river, making three days stretch into a glorious sunny memory.

WENDOVER ARM TRUST GRAND DRAW Michael Wright, promoter of this Grand Draw, writes: We are enclosing one book of Grand Draw tickets (10) with your magazine so that you can take this opportunity, not only to win some of the prizes, but also, most importantly, support the Wendover Arm Trust in their continuing efforts in restoring the Wendover Arm canal. The restoration is being carried out by a dedicated team of volunteers, many of whom are IWA members. They meet on seven days each month to continue restoring the route of the canal, now working from Drayton Beauchamp towards Little Tring. The prizes this year include the first prize of one week’s Boating Holiday sponsored by Wyvern Shipping of Leighton Buzzard; second prize of a Day Boat hire, sponsored by; third prize a Virgin Experience Day - a visit to the Shard and lunch (x2); and fourth prize of £100 cash. There are many other valuable prizes. These are shown on the Trust’s website along with the latest restoration information. The Draw will take place on Sunday 3rd September 2017, during the Restoration Open Day, when it is possible to see the restoration volunteers in action and the progress being made. Visit for full details of progress and more pictures.




Stowe Hill Wharf, Heyford Lane, Weedon, Northants NN7 4SF Tel: 01327 341365 Proprietor Robert Gudgeon welcomes you to Stowe Hill Workshop • • • • • • • • • •

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 NEW — Fuel Polishing Service Stockists of Morris Oils and Grease Full range of Batteries always available (please let us know your requirements)

By road we are easily found, a few yards off the A5 at Stowe Hill towards Nether Heyford. By boat close to Bridge 26





Northampton Arm Task Party Review By Geoff Wood, Joint Organiser It is well over a year since I have reported on the status of the Adoption Group on the Northampton Arm and the good news is that the tasks have continued apace during this time. CRT, over the winter stoppage programme, have re-gated Lock 6 and re-fitted the top and bottom gates on Lock 15. It is worth noting that there still seems to be a problem with water loss in the pound between Locks 6 and 7. If you notice anything here, please let us know. The Branch has continued with the two Task Parties a month and we are now approaching 5,500 volunteer hours since we started in July 2013. Working from the top of the Arm, the Sanitation Station has had its annual vegetation tidy up and CRT have carried out a refurbishment of the toilet facilities. But also here there is regular evidence of the waste facilities being abused by both boaters and non-boaters, so report anything you see out of the ordinary. In June 2016, with the help of Santander volunteers, the 70 metres of fencing at Lock 1 were renewed. This was carried out over three very hot days. The only problem we had then was that the cattle in the neighbouring field found the fencing very nice to rub up against, so we hurriedly had to fix a strand of barbed wire in place to deter them. During the painting season Locks 1,2,3,4,10,14 and 17 were painted. If we can paint six locks a year then they will be on a three-year paint cycle, which should keep them in a reasonable state. With CRT’s help the gate adjacent to Lock 2 has been replaced and we have carried out quite a lot of remedial work on the track that runs parallel to the canal down to Lock 6. The thinking here was we often take our cars down to this lock and wanted a reasonable track free of overhanging vegetation and potholes. All 14 locks that have by-pass channels had their annual vegetation clearance, which was much easier now they are in a more reasonable state. A tremendous amount of work has gone into the lock island at Lock 17 and is now showing the reward. A thousand spring bulbs were planted and the results could be seen this year. A further thousand spring bulbs were planted at Locks 10 and 14. Of course there were numerous litter picks and the amount of rubbish, shopping trollies, etc collected was tremendous.

21 We are now back into the painting season and have got Santander group coming in June when we are going to overpaint the graffiti under the main M1 motorway bridge. We also need to programme in the mosaic paving slab installation (see Chairman’s Jottings). We have 34 600mm x 300mm paving slabs that have had the mosaics done by local school children. These will be installed at every lock on the Arm setting out a trail — so just another little job! Another group from Network Rail helped us in May when we concentrated on vegetation clearance on the Rive Nene Town Moorings. Once again I would like to thank all of our volunteers who have turned out and if you have not tried it yet, why not give it a go. You will be made very welcome.

UNOFFICIAL HELP ON THE NORTHAMPTON ARM A WARNING: the IWA Northampton Branch Committee would like to draw your attention to the unofficial help that is being offered on the Northampton Arm. An individual, sometimes assisted by another person, will offer to carry out the lock operation in exchange for money, alcohol, cigarettes or food. Apparently, the going rate can be up to £50. The individuals are often under the influence of alcohol and/ or other substances, can get abusive and one of them has a habit of taking his clothes off. Should you be approached by these individuals, the Committee would strongly suggest that you decline their offer of help. There is a concern about what would happen regarding a boater’s insurance should an incident occur when these individuals are operating the locks. CRT are well aware of the situation and are working hard to resolve the problem. Should you encounter any problems during your transit of the Arm and an emergency situation arise, please call the Police on 999. There are notice boards at Locks 1,12 and 17 that give an exact location. To report other incidents (nonemergency) call 101. This can be done anonymously. The Northampton Arm has changed for the better over the last few years and we do not want instances of this nature to impact on the wellbeing of boaters


Charitable Trust is set up

REMEMBERING DAVID BLAGROVE A charitable trust is being established “to preserve and carry forward” the legacy of David Blagrove, MBE, who lost his battle with cancer last August. An obituary appeared in the November issue of Endeavour. David is indelibly linked with Stoke Bruerne, his home for 50 years, and he left behind him an enormous waterways legacy. He was also a noted local historian and author, his extensive interests including the world of railways. The vision of the new Trust is two-fold – to enrich local communities as well as improving the lives of disadvantaged young people through experiences on the UK canal and waterways network. Those involved with the setting up of the Trust say its aims will seek to enhance local landscapes and heritage. They explain that David understood what benefits could result from experiencing the canal network and its people, and that knowledge, combined with the vibrancy and collaborative nature of the Stoke Bruerne community and surrounding area in which he lived, will contribute to the legacy the Trust intends to nurture. Further, as a teacher by profession and mentor to young people, David was a keen advocate of youth empowerment. Thus, the Trust’s long-term plans are to seek to engage young people in canal-based activities in order to develop them personally and socially as well as promoting community cohesion. The trustees of the new David Blagrove Charity Trust now invite and welcome support from the local community and beyond. They state: “For a small fee of £2 a month or a standing order of £24 per annum (concession rates available), your support could involve helping with fundraising projects and utilising your expertise and skills in the ongoing development and work of the charity.” For further information, please contact the Joint Chairs of the charity: Bill Mann at (tel: 07860 619143) or Roy Sears at (tel: 01604 863563). At the Branch Boat Gathering in May, Jean Blagrove is joined by founder members of the Trust, from left, Bill Mann, Christine Sears, Kath Allum, Trevor Allum and Roy Sears. Other founder members of the Trust are Maggs Blagrove, Sarah Borondy, Liz Mann, Grete and Alan Ricketts, Fanwi and Nathan Sykes and Phil Kidd


OUR FIRST BOAT GATHERING AT STOKE BRUERNE A general view of the Gathering site on a showery Saturday afternoon

After changing the date to later in May — 20th-21st — hoping for better weather and also a better attendance than in recent years, more than 20 boats attended the Branch’s Annual Boat Gathering plus several other boaters who are currently boatless. The venue was the Quarry Field adjacent to the towpath at Stoke Bruerne, kind permission of CRT. The weather was a mixed bag — showery on the Saturday but more settled and sunny on the Sunday. Although this was not a public event as such — it was our first Gathering held at this local iconic canal location — we welcomed many members of the public visiting Stoke Bruerne over the weekend who came into the Field to see what it was all about. Some became customers of our tombola and bric-a-brac stalls but the attraction which proved most popular was the Vintage Tea Room with homemade cakes a speciality. Visitors were also able to watch theatre performances in the main marquee by Heather Wastie, performing Idle Women and Judies, and Kate Saffin with Isobel’s War. Following an informal get-together session on Friday evening led by Gathering Chairman Mick Butler, Saturday evening’s entertainment featured the group Grandma’s Wooden Leg, their 60s and 70s music quickly attracting people on to the dance floor. On the Sunday, events included the usual boaters auction presided by our Branch Chairman. In the evening a fish and chip supper was followed by a quiz led by John Pomfret. Both evenings featured a raffle, with donations being made to Warwickshire and Northamptonshire Air Ambulance and the new David Blagrove Charity Trust. A popular feature over the weekend was the heritage walks around the Stoke Bruerne

24 area led by Helen and Rob Westlake. On Saturday the walkers were led from the Quarry Field site back to the Museum car park where remaining visible signs of the original dock and mill building were pointed out. Then on and up Mill Lane, noting thatched properties and a local honey supplier on the way. The path led into an old medieval drovers’ trackway, truncated at the top by the line of the South Midlands Junction Railway. Old bridges and the line of the track were inspected whilst details of this railway, built primarily to move iron ore west to the Stratford –upon-Avon area and finally closed in the 1960s, were pointed out. Imaginations were stretched thinking of the intrusion of the railway and canal building in this area in the 1800s. The walkers then followed a footpath beside the railway line back to the Boat Horse Road, where details about the original tramway and tunnel construction were explained. The walkers returned via the Woodland Walk, spotting the hidden wire sculptures on the way. On Sunday, some folk, undeterred, returned for further exploration, joined by newcomers. Back up the Boat Horse Road; after inspecting the side of the Rector’s bridge and fishponds, the walkers set off across the tunnel top, a not insignificant feat on an overgrown path. Back out on the road, the route continued up the village playing field and across the churchyard of St Mary the Virgin, seeing the coded inscription on the gateway post and the solitary female name on the War Memorial. Down Church Lane and the Bridal Steps and along Bakers Lane, walkers noted the old Reading Room and the old bakery site. The walk then returned to a rural theme, using an old bridleway to access the Wildlife Trust site where the brickworks used to be. Noted for owls and a variety of reed bed wildlife, this interesting site sits right beside the canal, hiding its important industrial past and present ecological value from the many who walk the towpath. Helen Westlake reports: “We counted all of the walkers out and counted them all back and none, I believe, were lost in the wilds of Stoke Bruerne!” Kate Saffin performing Isabel’s War in the marquee on Sunday afternoon


Skears Photographic Stowe Hill Workshop Walnut Tree, Blisworth Whilton Marina Whilton Marina Chandlery

Plus generous members and guests who also donated raffle prizes as well as items for the Boaters Auction, tombola and bric-a-brac Left: winner of the best turned out boat, Tench Right: Treasure Hunt winners John Pomfret and Liz Fraser

Joint winners of the sweet quiz, left, Alex and Jackie Madisons, and right, Julie and Robert Parkin

The Sunday night Quiz was won by The Caravanners, from left, Helen Westlake, David Cooper, Gail Anscombe, Rob Westlake and Paul Lynam with John Pomfret making the presentation


AN UPDATE, by Vicky Martin, CRT’s South-East Waterways Manager

I would like to start by saying a huge thank you to IWA Northampton Branch members for all your hard work on the Northampton Arm over the last year. Your help with Preventative Planned Maintenance (PPM), drive for continuous improvement and attention to detail is greatly appreciated by many. The heritage number plaques reinstated to the top gates look fab and the substantial vegetation clearance, from the ditches to the bye-weirs, now assists in the smooth running of all the overflows. It was also wonderful to see the glorious displays on daffodils on the island at Lock 17. You may have noticed that we have recently fitted new end frames at the top of Lock 7 and refitted the gate and planking at Lock 11 top gate to stop excessive water loss. As you will know, we recently had to close the Northampton Arm at Gayton Junction after fuel leaked into the canal, causing a pollution incident. The Canal & River Trust, working alongside a team from British Petroleum, helped to coordinate the clean-up and contain the spillage. As with any pollution along the canal, our priority is to contain the spillage and protect the wildlife that lives along the waterways. Thankfully there were no reported fish kills or signs of wildlife in distress and no boaters were harmed. I would like to thank the boating community for alerting us as quickly as they did to this incident; and for everyone’s patience whilst we mopped up the fuel from the water. We are liaising with British Petroleum to ensure this type of incident doesn’t happen again. If anyone spots any pollution incidents whilst out on the canal, or fish or wildlife in distress, please call the Canal & River Trust on 03030 404040 We warmly welcome aboard Emily Nicholas, our new Development and Engagement Manager, covering Sarah Brown’s maternity leave (no news yet!). Emily spent 10 years as Communications and Marketing Manager at the General Medical Council before joining the Trust. I am delighted to report that Alex Goode, who worked as Grand Union North (GUN) Team Leader, has been promoted to Site Manager at Foxton - an exciting new role to support the delivery of the Foxton Destination Management Plan. Since developing the Destination Management Plan for Stoke Bruerne last year, we have been working towards accreditation for the Canal Museum. Documentation was submitted in April and the next stage is a site visit, which is now imminent. Having accreditation opens new funding opportunities, so this is very important to us. We are also currently developing an Interpretation Strategy to support a future Heritge Lottery Fund bid and considering the best way to extend the museum. Inspiring young people to care for and enjoy our waterways is a strategic priority for the Trust. In May, 22 Scouts from Milton Keynes took part in our first ever Scout camp and enjoyed a range of activities, including volunteering with the Stoke

27 Bruerne Adoption Group – painting fencing and cleaning signs, followed by a tour of the Canal Museum. They took to the water to try canoeing and paddle boarding as well as a taster fishing session with Northampton Nene Angling Club. The following day, the Scouts took a boat trip along the canal and through Blisworth Tunnel and walked back on a volunteer led walk with Rob and Helen Westlake. A big thank you to all the volunteers who helped make the camp possible and such a success. We’re keen to work with other youth groups, not just camps. There’s lots of different activities along our canal, so if you have an idea, do get in touch with Emily at or phone 07484912969. For further details call the Canal Museum on 01604 862229. Meanwhile, having just completed the Destination Management Plan for Milton Keynes Canalside, we are now working with local groups and promoting a programme of 50 things to do and see along the canal as part of Milton Keynes’ 50th birthday celebrations. We’ve recently secured £14,000 from the Arts Council for the ‘Gongoozler’ floating artists residency in Milton Keynes as part of our MK50 programme. And don’t miss the Illuminated Boat Festival on 2nd December, which is going to be epic! We are also installing an extra 50 mooring rings and better signage, planning a moorings review and developing a five-year vegetation management plan. Finally, a reminder of various events being held at Stoke Bruerne with the museum’s involvement. • • • • • •

2nd August - Teddy Bears Picnic 3rd,10th, 17th, 24th & 31st August -Terrific Thursdays 26th & 27th August - Pirate Weekend 2nd & 3rd September - Roses and Castles painting course 9th & 10th September - Village at War 28th & 29th October - Halloween Spooktacular

Scouts from Milton Keynes take to the water at Stoke Bruerne during CRT’s first ever Scout camp



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DAY BOAT HIRE FROM BRAUNSTON OUZEL 11 Cruise either towards Napton or Hillmorton and return 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 hob, kettle and flush toilet. Buoyancy aids on request. Prices: Weekends and Bank Holidays: £170.00 Monday - Friday: £135.00 Returnable deposit: £50.00 UNION CANAL CARRIERS LTD

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JOB VACANCY IWA Northampton Branch ARE YOU THE PERSON WE NEED ON OUR COMMITTEE TO FILL THE ROLL OF PUBLICITY / GRANTS OFFICER? If you are interested in joining our team, please contact Bernard Morton, Chairman, 07785 375787 email

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Mob:07792 229689 The IWA may not agree with opinions expressed in this magazine, but encourages publication as a matter of interest. Nothing printed may be construed as policy or an official announcement unless so stated, otherwise the Association accepts no liability for any matter in the magazine. Neither the editor nor IWA can accept responsibility for any errors or omissions in the magazine, and opinions stated are those of individual contributors. We will, however, gladly publish corrections if notified. The editor reserves the right to shorten or modify articles published in the interests of clarity or space.



BUCKINGHAM CANAL SOCIETY The BCS held a very successful Annual General Meeting on Saturday 18th March at Buckingham Community Centre with 58 people attending. As well as an update on the Buckingham Canal given by Terry Cavender, our guest speaker this year was Dr Susan Fern, who gave a very enjoyable talk on ‘Anglo Saxon Treasure, Discovering the Lenborough Hoard’, a departure from our usual talk but one that was very well received as people could then visit the Old Gaol Museum in Buckingham and see part of the hoard of coins found in Lenborough. As reported in Endeavour, Northampton IWA are in receipt of a large legacy from John Faulkner, a Branch Committee member for over 20 years, and consequently are looking for waterways projects in Northamptonshire to support. Happily the BCS has been chosen as one of these projects and Northampton Branch Chairman Bernard Morton presented a cheque to Terry Cavender for the sum of £10,000 at our AGM to help cover the cost of restoring Bridge No.1 on the Buckingham Canal. On Thursday 9th March, supported by Buckingham Town Council, we took part in a national event, the Great British Spring Clean, when we litter picked the towpath and surrounding area. This was a nationwide event with over 303,000 volunteers taking part and with 513,060 bags of rubbish collected. We were also invited to an event at Westminster to celebrate the success of this Spring Clean, two of our members attending this occasion on 2nd May. Other news. With a grant from MKHA, the BCS has been able to produce a walks leaflet called The Ouse Valley Way and this is now available in local libraries and tourist information centres in the area. If anyone can help and wants leaflets for their local library, please contact me. Future events include taking part in the MK 50 celebrations with a stall at the History Festival over the weekend of 17th-18th June at Campbell Park. Please come and visit our stall. A reminder that our annual festival at Cosgrove takes place over the weekend of 22nd-23rd July with trade boats along the towpath and a Craft Fair in Cosgrove Village Hall. Athina Beckett, Buckingham Canal Society or phone 01908 661217 / 07721 319404


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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


Tuesday 12th, September Speaker to be announced The next edition of Endeavour will be published in August 2017


WHO’S WHO IN NORTHAMPTON BRANCH 2017/2018 Branch Chairman Bernard Morton 07785 375787/ 01604 858294 E-mail: bernard.morton

Vice Chairman, Joint Task Party Organiser & Membership Secretary Geoff Wood E-mail: geoff.wood

Branch Meetings Gemma Kinsey E-mail: gemma..kinsey

Boat Gathering Chairman & Joint Task Party Organiser Michael Butler E-mail: michael.butler

Branch Secretary Sandie Morton

Planning Officer

01604 858294 E-mail: sandie.morton

Helen Westlake E-mail: helen.westlake

Treasurer Paul Lynam E-mail:paul.lynam


Website & Social Media Officer Sam Line E-mail: sam.line

Tony Clarke

Committee Member

07939 977859 E-mail: tony.clarke

Alex Madisons

Region Chairman/ Committee Member John Pomfret E-mail: john.pomfret

Non-Committee post Endeavour Assistant Editor, Advertising & Distribution, Archivist Roger Hasdell 01604 248582

E-mail: alex.madisons

Publicity & Grants Officer Vacant (volunteer required)

Boat Gathering Sub-Committee members Michael Butler (Chairman), Catriona Butler, Tony Clarke, Paul Lynam, Alex Madisons, Bernard Morton, Sandie Morton and John Pomfret


Profile for The Inland Waterways Association

May 2017 w  

Inland Waterways Association - Northampton Branch Newsletter - May 2017. Including news of the Branch Annual Boat Gathering

May 2017 w  

Inland Waterways Association - Northampton Branch Newsletter - May 2017. Including news of the Branch Annual Boat Gathering