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The Magazine of the West Riding Branch Sept 2009

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Contents Branch Chairman’s Musings...................................................................3 My First Year’s Training To Be a Boatman............................................5 The Mile Post.........................................................................................11 Festival News........................................................................................12 River Foss..............................................................................................16 Castle Mills Lock, York .......................................................................17 Swallow Visits the Rochdale Canal.......................................................18 Events....................................................................................................21 ‘A Warm Welcome!’.............................................................................21 Advertising in ‘The Mile Post’..............................................................21 Map showing location of meeting venue...............................................22 Committee Members 2008 / 2009.........................................................23 Programme of Events for 2009/10.........................................................24

IWA Headquarters . Registered Office The Inland Waterways Association Island House Moor Road CHESHAM HP5 1WA Telephone - 01494 783453 Web site www.waterways.org.uk NOTE: The views expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of The Inland Waterways Association or of The West Riding Branch. They are, however, published as being of interest to our members and readers.

Front cover. Leeds Waterfront Festival 2


Branch Chairman’s Musings We are now on our way back (via the Chesterfield Canal) from the IWA National Festival over the August Bank Holiday at Red Hill Marina on the River Soar; the best bit was the lack of a St Ives (2007)-style flood. Another highlight: the IWA marquee was an extralarge transparent-fronted construction, dominating the large site and branding it as ‘our’ IWA festival. The bookshop inside was open-plan with a till by the door, there was a large children’s play area and a WRG display on the other side. Congratulations to the author of that brilliant idea, and let’s hope we retain it for the 2010 festival at Beale Park near Reading. Clive Henderson, IWA National Chairman, opened the festival with a launch of the SaveOurSystem-2010 campaign, to highlight the practical effects of cutting £10m from BW’s government grant: this will undoubtedly dominate IWA activity in election–year 2010. Another delight was the BW directors’ meetings, open to all festivalgoers, at which their directors fielded questions about BW’s ‘2020 vision’, their ‘third-sector’ plans, and many other issues such as funding, licences and fishing. One of our West Riding branch members told Vince Moran (BW’s Customer Operations Director – which includes Bollards-and-that sort-of-thing) that the directors should take a substantial pay cut in recognition of the reduced government-funding next year; this idea had more support from the audience than from the platform. It really wasn’t me-in-disguise; I enquired of Simon Salem (Marketing and Customer Service Director) whether a third-sector-BW would pay its Chief Executive more than the Prime Minister, to which the response was that the transition would be phased over ten years, with plenty of opportunity for a new team at the top over that time. “If it were done when ’t is done, then ’t were well It were done quickly” said the Bard. 3


In these cash-strapped times, we all want to avoid talking-down the waterways cause. After all, we can expect another bit of new navigation to be available soon: and one which we have supported with some small West Riding donations, the Droitwich. This project has relied heavily on volunteer effort, and BW now recognise that they have not been as welcoming of volunteers as they might have been. Last year, launching its volunteering consultation, Robin Evans said that BW wouldn’t compromise safety with increasing friendliness to volunteers: whether he thought ‘safety’ and ‘safety paperwork’ are the same thing, he didn’t say. But you can’t force volunteers to do daft things ‘because the boss says so’ and they need the payslip to continue to arrive. I suggested to Vince Moran that if he had put his million-pound square-bollard scheme out as a volunteering opportunity: “Support your local narrow lock: build a bollard here”, maybe common-sense would have prevailed and we could spend the money on something actually useful to the waterways. There is a lot of enthusiasm, expertise and energy within the waterways community; many of our people spend a lot of time on and around the waterways; a commitment of, say, two hours per week, on ‘lengthsman’ activities, that navigation authorities could rely on being done, would be a valuable contribution, and might well be fitted-in with walking the dog. It does need organising though. Contributions to the debate would be most welcome. I challenged Vince Moran to find a way to encourage volunteering from a tricky direction, the ‘bridge-hopping’ canal users. These are people who often have a permanent job, live on their boat, but have no permanent mooring and try to fit in with ‘continuous cruising’ rules, which BW has no enthusiasm commitment or resource to enforce. I didn’t get an answer: maybe I shouldn’t have mentioned those bollards …

Peter Scott

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My First Year’s Training To Be a Boatman Part 3. The trainee’s job on board Lincoln, which was mainly cleaning, would stand us in good stead later in life on the tankers, for it was the mate’s job to keep the boat clean. But of course we had to learn to steer a boat and to do so safely. I was not entirely green in this respect when I joined Lincoln, because during my life as office boy, a skipper of one of the bigger tankers used to take me with him on Sunday mornings. This was my introduction to getting up at 04.00 hrs, for those not familiar with the 24 hour clock, that is 4 o’clock in the morning. This was in accordance with the old boatman’s mantra of, and I quote, “an hour at morning is wuth two at neet” unquote. This tanker was 127 feet long, and even at this length was not too difficult to steer in calm weather conditions when light, (empty). These tankers drew five foot aft when stationary and if sent on a bit when under way their sterns quickly sucked down to seven foot. They would then start to shear about a bit and with a novice at the wheel, who may be inclined to over steer, they could lead one a merry dance. The tankers were loaded to about seven foot round, that means they would draw about seven foot forward and aft, if anything down a bit at the head, they were handier in this trim. A strong wind when underway could be a nightmare, although according to a member of SIBC (Strawberry Island Boat Club – Ed.) that I was talking to, the wind did not affect them as they were too big and heavy. If only that was true. I will give you one example of the power of wind. Ennerdale, the tanker that I finished up skipper of, and you will now know as Waddington’s Progress, she of the beautifully flared bows, was going down towards New Bridge in a gale of a wind. The then skipper was holding her up to the wind so much that she was coming down the canal almost sideways with her flared bows overhanging the hauling bank. Parked on the bank was a crane which Ennerdale’s great bow smashed into causing a great deal of damage. I’ll bet there aren’t many boats that have stemmed up a crane and, as the actor Michael Caine is reputed to have said, “There’s not many people know that”. When I was allowed to steer Lincoln, the skipper would stand a little to one side and slightly behind me giving me instruction, when they were 5


needed like, and I quote, ease her down a bit, send her on a bit, let her look up a bit, steer into the wind, and the opposite, let her come this way a bit. It was during this short probationary period, when he was in the wheelhouse with me, that the skipper gave me a snippet of information that I still act upon to this day. The advice was given to me on my insistence that, as soon as I saw a boat coming to meet us, no matter how far it was, I would start to ease Lincoln ready to pass the approaching craft port to port. The skipper would say to me, not always in a conversational tone, quote “Don’t try to pass ‘em, ‘til tha’ gets to ‘em” unquote. The worst thing I had to do, even with the skipper in the wheelhouse with me, was to have to overtake one of the strings of loaded dumb barges being towed towards Goole. Such tows were a common feature to be encountered on the Aire and Calder up until the mid 1950s. When I came out of the army after completing my National Service in November 1956, such tows had disappeared forever. During times of war, being a boatman became a reserved occupation and one need not go for military service. When I started work in 1951, many things were still on ration, and in common with other boatmen I was issued with a seaman’s ration card which allowed my mother to buy extra cheese, butter, meat etc., for me. But I digress! Back to the overtaking procedure. A good length of clear canal ahead of one was essential before such a manoeuvre could even be contemplated. A sound signal would be blown to the towing vessel to let them know which side we intended to pass them on. This was usually acknowledged by a wave. The towing vessel would ease down, the barges would gradually move out of the middle of the canal and the performance would normally begin. If the tow was not too long and with a little luck, we, the overtaking vessel, might just slip by without too much trouble. But as often as not when the towed barges began to lose steerage way, they would drift aimlessly about until they ran aground. If this happened to a barge at the front of the tow, then obviously all the barges behind would start to catch it up, until they too were run aground in an effort to stop them. Then not only would the barges be laid higgledy piggledy all over the canal but their huge bass towing springs would be floating on or just below the surface waiting to be snatched up by a propeller. During such times the skipper would be in the wheelhouse and he would work the gear change and throttle, we never did pick up any towing springs. No 6


doubt due to him stopping the propeller when danger threatened. At that time during my training, I had my hands full keeping Lincoln steady. With the engine more out of gear than in, Lincoln would eventually lose steerage way and would drift down into the bank. There she would have to lie with her propeller stopped until the tow was straightened up by the towing vessel and the overtaking procedure could be attempted again. Please indulge me a while longer whilst I regale you, dear reader, with the tale of another misfortune that may befall one, as one attempted these ungainly tows. With the overtaking vessel creeping past the towed barges, one of them would sometimes begin a slow, almost sideways movement towards the overtaker. It was no good trying to outrun it, for attempting more speed only sucked the barge faster towards you which resulted in a much harder blow when it hit your boat, and hit it most certainly would. By now the steerer of the barge would be waving frantically to the tug trying for more speed to give him steerage way which, in my experience, never came. The barge’s bluff bow would hit Lincoln, shoving her bodily sideways through the water until she brought up against the bank.. Hard up against the bank as she now was, Lincoln would receive a second much harder blow which made her shake and rattle from end to end. If she had gone to the bank in deep water then, as soon as the wayward barge had been hauled clear, Lincoln could again try to overtake. If however she had been shoved aground, all the tow would have to be pulled clear before her engine could be used to break her off. With these difficulties and other lesser ones, occurring in my working life, one would not be blamed for thinking that I had enough, alas not so. The bane of my life during the first several weeks of my training was Rawcliffe Bridge. Or to put it more correctly, steering Lincoln safely through, coming up loaded. By coming up, I mean leaving Goole heading for Pollington and all points west. The first time I took her through, the skipper was with me and told me of the problem that may arise and the measures to take to try and overcome it. I was also told, at my peril,I must learn to steer her safely through. The first rule was, as Lincoln approached the bridge, she was to be eased down, engine revs taken off. Anyone who has handled long, narrow beamed, finely built boats (not the narrow boats you all know), will know when you ease one such boat down it will run on for long enough before it begins to lose way. Not like dumpy, short boats that drop dead in the water as soon as 7


the engine revs are taken off. On my first attempt to get her through the bridge whilst alone in the wheelhouse, had I eased her down in time? Or, as her head entered the bridge, was she travelling too fast to be steered at low engine revs facing the rush of water through the bridge caused by Lincoln entering it? Something was to blame for what was about to happen this time and for several times after. As Lincoln entered the bridge her head began to swing to starboard, I dispensed with using the wheel’s spokes to turn the wheel, put one hand within it and spun the wheel hard over to port. No response whatsoever from the boat, she was still shearing away to starboard. As I had been told I increased the engine revs to full in an effort to make her twist. Much, much too late. Her starboard bow hit the wall of the bridge hard and with the wheel hard over to port and the engine running full ahead she started to come alongside. I let go of the wheel which flashed around with such speed and power, that it would have broken any bodily bone that had the misfortune to get in the way, until the rudder came into the middle. Knowing worse was to come and the verbal abuse that would be heaped upon me, I struggled to get the wheel hard over to starboard to stop her coming alongside too hard. Alas my skinny sixteen year old arms had no chance of doing this with the engine running at full. Lincoln came alongside with a resounding crash, water trapped between her and the wall shooting up as high as the underside of the bridge. Other than serious damage that can occur after such a hit, things both topside and in the cabin and engine room would be hurled about in disarray. I would ease down the engine, knock it out of gear and with Lincoln rocking gently in the massively disturbed water, I would stand passively in the wheelhouse as the skipper, standing in the cabin hatch, tore not one strip off me but several. This performance was repeated several more times, until one wonderful, never to be forgotten day, I slotted her through without even touching. It’s just as well that I wasn’t expecting any praise for I got none. The skipper never even looked out of the cabin. I wasn’t the only lad to have difficulty with Rawcliffe Bridge, all before me had the same problem. With my confidence given a massive boost, it wasn’t long before, when I was in the wheelhouse alone, I would increase the engine revs by just one notch. I should have known better, for the skipper in the cabin forward, could tell and he would pop up and give me a rollicking, besides telling me to ease her down again. 8


I think that’s about all. Please do not think that every trip we were tangled up with ungainly tows and Tom Puddings and me trying to knock down Rawcliffe Bridge, because we weren’t. But it is from such experience that you learn boating skills. You would learn nothing, boating about on an empty river or canal in perfect weather conditions. The skipper wasn’t always in a foul mood and in one such moment of brevity, he explained and showed me how to make a temporary repair to a small leak in a boat. The following may seem a daft thing to say, but the job could only be done if the water was finding its way into the boat, but then in the case of a tanker the cargo could be leaking out, in which case the repair could not be carried out. You also need the proper material with which to effect the repair, this needs to be anything with a fine consistency. Ash from a solid fuel stove is ideal, and was the medium that we used. Lincoln, as a carrier of tar, had a solid fuel stove as had the fleet of black oilers, part of the large fleet owned and operated by John Harker Ltd. The large number of general cargo barges using our waterways at that time, all had coal burning stoves, so there was no shortage of material to be used, if a boat had the misfortune to spring a little leak and the boatman knew of the procedure to follow. Having located a leak, a draw-bucket, (one with a loop of material at the top of the handle to which a length of line could be spliced) would be filled with ash. The bucket would then be lowered overboard until the estimated depth of the leak was reached, the line holding the bucket would then be lashed to and fro, hopefully causing the bucket to disgorge its load. If all went to plan then, some of the fine ash would be picked up by the water finding its way inboard and would block up the hole. I’ve known such a stop gap measure last for several hours until we got to Knottingley and pumped off the cargo. It wouldn’t surprise me if the origin wasn’t lost in the mists of time. The job also offered me almost endless opportunity to indulge in an interest of mine, bird watching. The only thing I regret not doing, is not keeping detailed records of my observations. All the lock keepers during this period and for some years after, wore their uniforms with pride and called themselves company men. One such, Stanley Grubb who had Woodlesford Lock, saved all the pennies thrown off by the boatmen, the amount collected paid for him and his wife’s annual week’s holiday. He was as keen as mustard over his pennies and if for any reason the boat 9


steerer forgot to give him one going up, he would be reminded of this omission, in no uncertain terms, coming back down. In closing could I please point out the differences between the nineteen compartment long trains commonly known as Tom Puddings and the three compartment plus tug Push/Tow unit, known by boatmen as Push/Pulls. They had two things in common, both usually carried coal, although rarely a part train of a Tom Pudding would be made up of compartments loaded with pitch at Knottingley Tar Works or a similar works at Stourton near Leeds. Both sorts of compartments were lifted bodily out of the water and up ended to be emptied, the contents of pudding compartments at Goole going straight into the holds of ships, the much larger compartments of the Push/Pulls at Ferrybridge “C� Power Station, this coal, I think, going usually out to stock. When the Push/Pull units, consisting of three compartments, pans we called them, and the tug, were introduced onto the Aire and Calder, at one hundred and ninety feet long, they were the longest rigid length working on this canal. They were usurped in this respect when the huge tankers such as the Humber Princess, made their appearance. Each of the three pans when loaded, had to hold one hundred and sixty seven tons, a combined load of five hundred and one ton. For every other ton we could squeeze in above that we were paid six old pennies, two and a half new pence, bonus. The pans were usually pulled when light, although they could be pushed. If we chose to push them, the unit had to be swung when leaving the power station, then swung again on arriving at the pit, wasting time. The pans when underway, were held together by the links of a stout chain which was made fast to a length of wire rope of one pan being placed on the hooks of a special bootle screw of the pan next in line. When the bootle screw was tightened up, using a hollow bar on the handles, the chain/wire could be got very tight indeed, making the unit rigid. In the unlikely event of a pan seen to be sinking when loaded, the crewman not steering would have to take a big felling axe (supplied) and sever the constraining wire rope that would be stretched very tight around a big bollard. This step would hopefully prevent the whole unit being dragged down. The nineteen compartments of a Tom Pudding were always towed, the pans being loosely chained together which allowed the train to go 10


smoothly around sharp corners. Each pan was loaded with up to forty tons, if each pan held that amount the total load would have been seven hundred and sixty tons. Seventeen pans made up the usual train for the New Junction Canal, due to length of Sykehouse Lock. The function of the jabus, one of which was a part of each compartment train, I explained in an earlier instalment. The steam powered tugs were replaced by diesel powered ones in the late 1950s. A compartment train underway in the dark, never showed a white stern light, the powers that were deciding that as the train was moving at the official speed limit, no light was needed. STOP PRESS. A contemporary of mine on both tankers and Push/Pulls, has just brought me a book from which I have learnt that Tom Puddings were at one time pushed. Allow me to quote, “originally, the pans were push towed in steerable trains of up to twelve units but were pull towed from about 1900.� Unquote. Of course one cannot be sure but it seems highly unlikely that much of a comparison could ever have been drawn between this early effort and the sophisticated Push/Tow units that appeared a century later. Reference Taylor, M. (2003) The Canal and River Sections of the Aire and Calder Navigation. Wharncliffe Books. By Kenneth Burden.

********************** The Mile Post. Is there anyone out there who could help the branch by writing something for inclusion in the Milepost. Have you been on an interesting boating trip? Tell us about it.. Is there something waterways related you feel strongly about? Write us a letter about it.. Any amusing stories? Tell us all! E-mail us at boblaing@blueyonder.co.uk , hand it to one of us, or post it to any committee member before the end of December. We look forward to hearing from you. We would like to give a big thank-you to all the people who have already sent us articles for inclusion in the Mile Post. You have made our job much easier and our magazine more interesting. 11


Festival News. The branch display stand has had another very busy year and has attended events at Skipton, Kiveton, York, Leeds Waterfront Festival, Dewsbury and the IWA National Festival at Ratcliffe on Soar. In all a total of 13 days. Thanks to all who have helped to man the stand at these events. We have talked to lots of people and encouraged them to visit Yorkshire and its waterways.

The Leeds Waterfront Festival took place over the weekend of 11th and 12th July on three waterfront sites - Brewery Wharf, Clarence Dock and Thwaite Mills. It was a free event organised under the banner of Aire Action Leeds but involved many other volunteers, organisations and sponsors, with the main sponsor being Leeds City College. Clarence Dock during the festival, which was well attended.

We have received this report about the Festival, from the perspective of Thwaites Mill, from David Lowe Secretary of the Commercial Boat Operators Association. 12


“By arrangement with British Waterways and the Inland Waterways Association , CBOA members Branford Barge Owners agreed to bring 500 tonne capacity aggregate barge 'Farndale H' to the Thwaite Mills festival site where she was a great attraction! Over 100 members of the public and pleasure boat crews were able to look over the vessel, including cabins, wheelhouse and engine room, through the kindness of John and Pat Branford, and their son, skipper Jonathon Branford. In fact the whole Branford family were in attendance, clearly proud of their vessel, which, newly painted and decorated with flags and bunting was in immaculate condition even though she had just delivered 500 tonnes of aggregate to the Lafarge Whitwood Wharf. The small CBOA display was also provided and Secretary David Lowe was on hand to provide information and assistance to the many interested visitors, one of whom was a Leeds City Planner. We appreciated David Cox, Group Operations Manager of ASD Metal Services, visiting on the Sunday. Our thanks go to the Branfords, and it is hoped that CBOA can organise similar displays at future events on the larger waterways, mirroring those which have been a regular feature on the leisure waterways for many years.�

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Farndale H at Thwaites Mill during the Leeds Waterfront Festival.

IWA Campaign Festival at Kiveton on the Chesterfield Canal. 14


IWA National Festival The Inland Waterways Association 2009 National Festival & Boat Show was held on 29th, 30th and 31st of August at Red Hill, near Ratcliffe on Soar, on the Soar Navigation, close to its confluence with the river Trent, and the junctions with the Erewash, and Trent & Mersey canals, just south of Nottingham. IWA hoped to encourage boaters visiting the Festival to try the Erewash and Chesterfield canals and other lesser frequented waterways of the East Midlands. The Festival was also intended to raise the profile and give support to waterway societies in the area, including the Derby, Cromford and Grantham canals all of which are currently under restoration. The festival was on a large site in the shadow of the cooling towers of the Ratcliffe Power Station. Access to the site was excellent both by road and rail, and the car parking was plentiful and in close proximity to the show ground. Even the weather was kind with none of the mud we have experienced at some recent festivals.

The 2009 National Festival was held on this site in the shadow of the cooling towers of Ratcliffe Power Station. 15


River Foss. We hear from the Ouse and Ure section that there has been an increase in boats wishing to pass through Castle Mills Lock and explore the attractions of the River Foss. This may be due in part to the publicity given to the visit of the barge Syntan during the York Festival of Rivers. Syntan became the first large vessel to navigate the River Foss basin, into Castle Mills Lock and onto Rowntree’s Wharf since the wharf was closed over 25 years ago. Syntan, which was built in 1949, is 61ft 6ins long and 15ft 6ins wide. She originally carried cocoa beans for Rowntrees from Hull to York. For 20 years she was laid up near Doncaster power station where she was allowed to decay. She was eventually rescued by members of the Beverley Barge Preservation Society in 1999, and by 2005 Syntan had been restored to her former glory.

The barge Syntan 16


Castle Mills Lock, York -booking information The Inland Waterways Association (IWA) Yorkshire Ouse Section operates Castle Mills Lock, in the centre of York, on a voluntary basis .There are no navigation fees. If you would like to visit the River Foss please telephone Tony Martin on 07588-236-597 OR E-mail: tonymartin451@yahoo.co.uk. Two days’ notice is desirable. When leaving a message, please give your mobile telephone number, your name and the name of the boat, plus the day and the time at which you would like to navigate the River Foss.

Narrow boats travelling up the River Foss 17


Swallow Visits the Rochdale Canal. Ex Cowburn & Cowpar motor narrow boat Swallow (1934) has travelled over much of the available waterway system but the Rochdale Canal, 32 miles and 91 (originally 92) locks, with shallow sections, a reputation for being full of rubbish in the urban areas, and lack of water, remained a daunting challenge to be met! With the Historic Narrow Boat Owners' Club Easter Gathering arranged for Ellesmere Port this year it provided an opportunity to take Swallow from there to Manchester (via the Manchester Ship Canal, River Weaver, Anderton Lift, Trent & Mersey and Bridgewater canals) to begin the assault on the Rochdale. The Canal had closed in 1952 (apart from the 9 locks linking the Bridgewater and Ashton Canals) but through the efforts of the Rochdale Canal Society the canal was re-opened in sections between 1983 and completion on 1st July 2002, when the whole canal was re-opened from Manchester to Sowerby Bridge, where it joins the Calder & Hebble Navigation. Shortly after re-opening the first full length historic narrow boat to pass across was Grand Union ‘Town’ class ‘Fulbourne’ in August: http://www.fulbourne.org.uk/rc0802/Index.html closely followed by Richard Booth with his motor boat and butty ‘Squire’ and ‘Ditton’, and Martin Jiggens with ‘Denebola’. Short historic narrow boats ‘Spitfire’ and ‘Elizabeth’ also passed over the canal at this time, and more recently Roger and Stef Lorenz had taken over their wide beam boat 'Neptune' - this being the final inspiration for me to make the trip. No other full length (ex) working narrow boats are known to have passed over until Swallow’s trip! Passage has to be pre-booked with British Waterways through the 18 locks from Manchester (Ducie Street), and also over the summit, while passage through the new lock at Tuel Lane, Sowerby Bridge (20ft deep – replacing locks 3 and 4) has to be supervised by a lock keeper. This is not a trip for the faint hearted and a good, active crew of three (at least) with a bicycle is recommended - although Richard Booth said he managed to travel at least part way with his pair single handed - an astonishing feat! The journey east was fraught with problems, including a late (09.20) start waiting for BW at Ducie Street, low water levels and rubbish at the 18


western (Manchester) end making for slow progress, lock delays, and a large carpet wrapped round the propeller. We battled on to Moss that day, reaching the top lock at 21.50 - 12 miles and 34 locks. An early (04.30hrs) start from here was necessary to reach the west summit lock at 08.30 on day two, where Ray (lock keeper) travelled over the summit with us - in pouring rain. (I later learned that Ray is flexible and we could have set off and arrived later by arrangement). It has to be said that there were times during these first two days when I asked myself if I was completely mad attempting this trip, but the sun came out and we enjoyed the glorious and spectacular scenery arriving at Todmorden at 15.50 - and this included a 3 hour stop below the summit while we rested and dried off. On day three we were joined by several friends and had a comparatively easy run from Todmorden down to Sowerby Bridge where we passed through Britain's deepest lock , at Tuel Lane. The lock keeper was delighted to be using the additional set of gates to make a 70ft lock, for the first time. We were welcomed into the basin by Nigel and Susan Stevens of Shire Cruisers who made us feel at home right away. While in Sowerby Bridge opportunity was taken to travel along the Calder & Hebble Navigation as far as the first lock at Salterhebble, which at 57 ft precludes further movement east - though we did enter the lock by arrangement with the lock keeper, just to make sure. (One onlooker watched us go into the lock and said, quite seriously, 'that'll be a tight fit', and he wasn't wrong!). In fact Swallow continued along what had been the Halifax branch as far as the site of the bottom lock and turned there, right at the limit of navigation for a 70ft boat! Crew varied over the two periods, but was a minimum of two, and, with myself, included the indefatigable Steve Hales (ship's engineer) for most of the trip, and guest crew members John ( for much of the trip each way), Rachel (on loan from Network Rail!), Malcolm, and Richard (with sons Stanley and Sidney), plus help from passenger boat and barge skipper Phil Kennedy in Hebden Bridge. Nigel from Shire Cruisers joined us for the trip back from Sowerby Bridge to the Summit (thanks Nigel), along with one of his hire boats for part of the way, while Tom Stewart joined me from the 9 locks in Manchester back to Dudley. Much has been said about local yobs, bandits and such. In fact we had no problems at all, and the locals were generally quite friendly and helpful. 19


At Grimshaw Lane Lift Bridge one resident said he had lived nearby for nine years and never seen it raised! Thanks to all for a huge effort to enable Swallow to traverse this spectacular waterway. The journey was achieved in three days each way, a most creditable achievement for a deep drafted boat of maximum length, and the return trip was virtually trouble free down the 18 locks back into Manchester thanks to excellent assistance from British Waterways staff. Would I do it again? Would I recommend others? The short answer is '’yes'. However, without doubt the canal is not in as good condition as it was when re-opened, and it is hard work. Some bottom gates have only one paddle operable to prevent flooding (eg in the Littleborough flight) and it can take 20 minutes to get a level, and there are sections which are very shallow with a narrow channel. But it's worth the effort! For photos see: http://mbswallow.freehostia.com/index.php?page=manchester-tosowerby-bridge By David Lowe.

Photo by Nigel Stevens - Steve steers away from Lock 30. 20


EVENTS IWA North Lancashire & Cumbria Branch are having 2 meetings close to our area. They extend a warm welcome to anyone who wants to attend them. For further details contact Madeline Dean. Tel: 01257 231861 or e-mail lancsandcumbria@waterways.org.uk Both events take place at Foulridge Village Hall, Parkingson Street, Foulridge, Colne, Lancashire, BB8 7PS.

Wednesday 30th September 2009 at 7.30pm at Foulridge Village Hall. The latest changes at BW by Debbie Lumb - BW North West Manager. Wednesday 25th November 2009 at 7.30pm at Foulridge Village Hall. The View from the Top by Clive Henderson IWA National Chairman.

‘A Warm Welcome!’ The West Riding Branch extends a warm welcome to members who have joined us since the last Mile Post. We look forward to meeting you at one of our monthly meetings or to hearing from you.

Advertising in ‘The Mile Post’. If your organization would like to advertise in a future edition of ‘The Mile Post’ please contact Bob or Tricia Laing on 01274 581800 or email boblaing@blueyonder.co.uk A full page advertisement is £40 and a half page is £20. Over 500 copies of the magazine are posted to IWA West Riding Branch members and are also distributed at various waterway events throughout the year. 21


Map showing location of meeting venue Centenary House, North Street, Leeds LS2 8AY 22


Committee Members 2008 / 2009 Chairman Peter Scott 3 Moorbank Drive Sheffield S10 5TH Home 0114 230 1870

Mile Post Editor Tricia Laing 25 Bankfield Road Shipley BD18 4AJ Home 01274 581800

Secretary Ian Moore 2 Eric Street, Bramley Leeds. LS13 1ET Mobile 07989 112581 E-mail westriding@waterways.org.uk

Committee member Elliott Mosley 23 Glenholm Road Baildon Shipley BD17 5QB Home 01274 581413

Treasurer William Jowitt Oak Lodge 1 Oakridge Court Bingley BD16 4 TA Home 01274 567950 Membership Secretary Chris Pinder 152 High Street Yeadon Leeds LS19 7AB Home 01132 509371 Minutes Secretary Liz Pinder 152 High Street Yeadon Leeds LS19 7AB Home 01132 509371 Mile Post Editor Bob Laing 25 Bankfield Road Shipley BD18 4AJ Home 01274 581800 E-mail boblaing@blueyonder.co.uk

Web Editor Elaine Scott 3 Moorbank Drive Sheffield S10 5TH Home 0114 230 1870 Non Committee Posts Meeting Co-ordinators Katie & Alastair Sayles Home 0113 393 4517 E-mail: kandal@btinternet.com Telephone contact Alistair Furniss Home 0113 253 9401 Northern Rivers Officer (Tyne, Wear & Tees). John Reeve 10 Perth Grove Stockton-on-Tees Cleveland TS18 5BF Home 01642 580350

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Programme of Events for 2009/10. All meetings take place at 8.00pm on the second Friday of the month, in the top floor Social Club, Centenary House, North Street, Leeds, LS2 8AY. 11th September 09 ‘Get Outdoors and Dirty!’ by Helen Gardner . 9th October 09

‘The Traditional Boat Decoration of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal.’ by Mike Clarke.

13th November 09

‘The Training Of a Dogs body, My First Year As A Boatman.’ by Ken Burden.

11th December 09

Christmas Social and Members’ slides.

8th January 10

Talk by the New Chairman Clive Henderson .

12th February 10

‘Canalside Pubs.’ by Mike Lucas.

12th March 10

AGM

9th April 10

‘30 years of Jubilee Venture, introducing young people to the waterways through the scout move ment.’ by Geoff Auty.

Talks arranged by Alastair and Katy Sayles, 32 Pymont Drive, Woodlesford, Leeds LS26 8WA. Tel 0113 393 4517 Email: kandal@btinternet.com All the meetings organised by the West Riding Branch are open and everyone is invited. Any member of the general public is allowed to attend and members are invited to bring friends. The Inland Waterways Association campaigns for the Conservation, Use, Maintenance, Restoration and Development of the Inland Waterways, which are part of our heritage, and are there for the benefit of everyone.

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