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volunteers restoring waterways

navvies waterway recovery group

Issue No 248 August-September 2011

Navvies Production Subscriptions: Sue Watts, 15 Eleanor Rd., Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Manchester M21 9FZ Printing and assembly: John & Tess Hawkins, 4 Links Way, Croxley Green, Rickmansworth, Herts WD3 3RQ 01923 448559

Chesterfield Canal Trust

Editor: Martin Ludgate, 35 Silvester Road, East Dulwich London SE22 9PB 020-8693 3266

Navvies is published by Waterway Recovery Group, Island House, Moor Rd., Chesham HP5 1WA and is available to all interested in promoting the restoration and conservation of inland waterways by voluntary effort in Great Britain. Articles may be reproduced in allied magazines provided that the source is acknowledged. WRG 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 WRG and IWA accept no liability for any matter in this magazine. Waterway Recovery Group is part of The Inland Waterways Association, (registered office: Island House, Moor Road, Chesham HP5 1WA). The Inland Waterways Association is a non-profit distributing company limited by guarantee, registered in England no 612245, and registered as a charity no 212342. VAT registration no 342 0715 89.

ISSN: 0953-6655 Š 2011 WRG

Ralph Mills

Directors of WRG: Rick Barnes, John Baylis, Mick Beattie, James Butler, Spencer Collins, Christopher Davey, George Eycott, Helen Gardner, John Hawkins, Judith Palmer, Michael Palmer, Jonathan Smith, Harry Watts.

Visit our web site for page 2

Contents Nikki Packer

In this issue...

Above: Chesterfield Camp volunteers pose by the completed head walls of the new Staveley Lock: report next time. Left: Working on Drapers Lock on the Mon & Brec: See p17-18. Below: Droitwich restoration pioneer Max Sinclair unveils a plaque commemorating the volunteer effort at the opening. Front cover: official opening of the Droitwich Canals (pic by Martin Ludgate). Back cover left: installing corner stones at Eisey Lock on the KESCRG camp: see p8-11 (photo by KESCRG). Back cover right: Piling Lock 1 landing stage on the Basingstoke: see p12-13. (David Miller)

Coming soon autumn and winter camps, Reunion and Christmas party dig 6-7 Camp reports Cotswold, Basingstoke, Cotswold (again) and Mon & Brec 8-18 Directory all the WRG and canal society working party contact details you need19-21 Diary canal camps and weekend digs 22-24 Letters K&A again; early days on the Basingstoke; Frank and the safety harness 25 Progress a roundup of news from restoration projects around the country 26-35 Leaders What does camp leadership involve? Who recruits the leaders? 36-37 Cleanup on the BCN - or was it? 38 WRG BC Boat Club update 39 Navvies News and Appeal update 40 Infill Canal Canine joins SuperWRG in the latest edition of our super comic strip 41

Contributions... ...are always welcome, whether handwritten, typed, on CD-ROM, DVD or by email. Photos also welcome: digital, slides, prints. Please state whether you want your prints back. Digital pics are welcome as email attachments, preferably JPG format, but if you have a lot of large files it is best to send them on CD-ROM or DVD or to contact the editor first. Contributions by post to the editor Martin Ludgate, 35, Silvester Road, London SE22 9PB, or by email to Press date for issue 249: Septemb er 1st.

Rupert Smedley


Subscriptions A year's subscription (6 issues) is available for a minimum of ÂŁ3.00 to Sue Watts, 15 Eleanor Road, Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Manchester M21 9FZ. Cheques payable to "Waterway Recovery Group" please. This is a minimum subscription, that everyone can afford. Please add a donation.

all the latest news of WRG's activities page 3

Coming soon For Pete’s sake come to the Reunion! The Pete Redway Memorial Dig 8 – 9 October On the 8th and 9th of October 2011, instead of the normal Bonfire Bash, WRG will be holding a memorial dig on the Basingstoke Canal, in memory of Pete Redway, longstanding Surrey & Hants Canal Society (SHCS) Chairman and Working Party Organiser who died earlier this year. Over to Dave ‘Moose’ Hearnden for an update on what’s happening... Plans are still being finilised for work on the dig, but this is to say the Surrey and Hants Canal Society ( SHCS), are looking for those jobs that need doing. The main ones that have been suggested are a scrub bash, lock ladders, brickwork repairs, bollard installation as well both lockside and offside clearance. WRG have suggested to SHCS that we will work the whole length of the Canal. Pete Redway was a leading light on the waterways, he led from the front, mixing concrete, laying in pipes etc as well as chairing the canal society; over the years he started to slow down, which was natural, but with his infectious laugh, he would still be there with the smiling face. The Basingstoke Canal has had its share of problems, what with water shortage, struggling to get the council grants that it needs to survive etc, so the intention of the Memorial dig is that on both Saturday and Sunday, SHCS will be trying to get the press and the Councils involved, while WRG and the local volunteers will do what we are good at, and that is hard work. Saturday Evening is a tricky one I’m not sure whether to arrange a visit to the local flicks, or perhaps I might be able to persuade Martin Ludgate to do a light hearted view of the Basingstoke Canal and SHCS [you might ...Ed] and see if a barrel of beer or two could be arranged. I’m sure I would know what Pete would have wanted. Now how does this affect you the volunteer? We need you to confirm that you are coming; it will be the normal turn up Friday evening and on Site Saturday and Sunday. But if you can only do a day or part day, you are still welcome. Several people have already said , that they will help me in sorting out the work and leading sites etc, we possibly could do with more volunteers to lead a team. Catering: at the moment I have not approached anyone yet, but they nearly always need people to help, so perhaps if you don’t fancy going on site, you could you help in the kitchen! Accommodation is still to be sorted, but hoping for a school. Unfortunately arrangements with the school we originally booked have just fallen through, but the hunt is on for another one. Please book on via Head Office using the form on the opposite page or online at Dave ‘Moose’ Hearnden

October Camps: Chelmer & Blackwater and Grand Western The bad news for anyone who was hoping to go on the October Canal Camp on the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation but hasn’t already booked is that it is now fully booked so unless there are any cancellations (and it’s worth checking with head office just in case) we aren’t taking any more bookings. But the good news is that you’ve got the alternative of an extra camp running the same week 22-29 October on the Grand Western Canal on the Devon/Somerset border. It’s run by WRG Forestry, the work will be scrub-bashing along the line of the canal, the accommoda-

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tion is in Burlescombe Village Hall and if you want to go, just get in touch with head office on 01494 783453 or Meanwhile, if you’re keen to work on the Chelmer & Blackwater we plan to hold another camp there in February 2012.

London WRG / KESCRG Christmas Party dig: Wilts & Berks 3-4 December Yes, that’s right - it’s only four months till the festive season starts. So let’s hear from Bobby Silverwood about the first of the seasonal working parties... The usual LWRG / KESCRG festive extravaganza will this year return to the Wilts & Berks and will probably be a multi site affair mostly of the scrub bashing variety. Accommodation has been booked at a school in Chippenham, so there will be room for dozens of us! More information and booking details in the next issue.

New Year on the Mont This year’s WRG Christmas / New Year Canal Camp is on the Montgomery Canal. Work will be scrub-bashing, carrying on from our 2009 and 2010 Reunion weekends clearing the next length of canal towards Pant. and possibly also carrying on with the channel lining work from the summer canal camps. More details next time, book through Head Office as usual.

waterway recovery group

Basingstoke Reunion 2011

I would like to attend the WRG Reunion on October 8-9 Forename:


Address: email: Phone:

Any special dietary requirements?

I require accommodation on Friday night / Saturday night / both nights I enclose payment of £

(please make cheques payable to ‘WRG’) for food

(cost is £13 for the weekend based on £3 breakfast and evening meal, £2 lunch) How will you be travelling to the Reunion? Do you want to work with volunteers from one of this year’s Canal Camps or from one of the regional groups? If so, which camp or group? Do you suffer from any illness, such as epilepsy or diabetes, about which we should know, or are you receiving treatment or under medical supervision for any condition YES/NO If yes, please attach details on a covering letter. In the unlikely event that you should be injured, who should we contact? Name:


Signed: Please send this form to: Reunion Bookings, WRG, Island House, Moor Road, Chesham HP5 1WA

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Dig report London WRG at Eisey

“Really it was a shame that it was all about to be demolished by the great fiery holocaust of the end of days...”

Saturday came and lo! We beheld that Heaven can wait... the End Time was foretold by the coming (London WRG on the Cotswolds)

together of three Rachels and three Martins in an unholy double trinity swathed in red. Other signs included a shower of bacon and sausages (courtesy of Alan Lines and his black market meat contacts) and a local couple *ahem* making best use of their remaining time on earth in the children’s playground behind the hall. We found Eisey sunny, windy and covered in yellow flag irises. Wildlife included a kingfisher, great fat tadpoles swimming in the chamber, and a vociferous nest of baby birds hidden within a narrow crack between the stones by the paddle hole. Really it was a shame that it was all about to be demolished by the great fiery holocaust of the end of days, especially as the lock is now cheeringly close to completion. We decided to ignore the imminent Armageddon and carry on regardless. Brickies got started across multiple areas on both sides of the main lock chamber. A small party also set to work separating the huge piles of bricks at end of the site by the containers. Red bricks were delivered to the brickies at work, whilst the blue bricks were set aside for backfill at a later date. There was also some heroic coping stone activity with many restored to their rightful places. After site we returned to Kempsford where we were the first WRG party to stay at the village hall. This was pretty good accommodation, being clean and of fairly high standard with a decent sized kitchen. Bathrooms were very basic with only one tiny handbasin but I wouldn’t be sorry to return here for my summer camp should the universe survive Setting coping stones in place on the nearside chamber wall until then. Tim Lewis

We were all set for a busy weekend at Eisey Lock when we found out from the news that the world was set to end right in the middle of our dig. Apocalypse was predicted for Saturday 21 May 2011, which really bollocksed up our plans for cracking on with those wing-walls on the Sunday. Further investigation showed, to dig leader Nigel’s chagrin, that the elect would be swept up into heaven before the apocalypse got underway. “But how many people will there be for breakfast?” he cried in dismay. Luckily a brief chat in the pub on Friday evening revealed that none of the WRGies present considered themselves to be among the Saved, and many confessed they usually spent their Sundays mixing concrete rather than attending church. Hopefully we would have enough hands left for a course or two before the rest of us were swept into the fiery pit. Paul Ireson nobly offered to cook us all breakfast on both mornings, which will probably buy him a place in heaven.

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Martin Ludgate

tunate strimming at Easter and there is hope of some crumbles for volunteers on camps this summer, if we are all spared till then. Praise be to Nigel for being a calm leader, RAF Martin for supervision, Paul for cooking breakfast twice, and all newbies for being good sports. We’re also grateful that we were all spared to complete the weekend, suggesting God may also be taking just as much interest in getting those wing-walls done as we are. Sophie Smith

“Whaddya mean ‘too dry’? It’ll be a lot drier once it’s felt the eternal flame of damnation”

Martin Ludgate

Showers were to be had a short drive away at a rugby club where the standard was not high. The girls were only spared a severe scalding by the ingenious use of a coat hanger. You’ll have to use your imagination to understand that situation. Anticipating the rapture to begin with a tremendous earthquake at midnight, we enjoyed a last meal with home-made bramble wine and an enormous pineapple upside down cake. We were getting to know a few new faces including ‘The Americans’ (Mo and ‘Marmite’ Martin) and Aaron, all of whom seemed to fit in well and enjoy their last weekend on earth. The pub was only a brief walk through the pretty village, passing a thatched cottage, and was approved by all. A large and cheerful crowd made it to the pub for several drinks before The End. Unfortunately we were all too tired to greet the four horsemen and fell into bed before it all kicked off. We all awoke on Sunday morning with headaches, no doubt the result of our brush with the apocalypse. Baffled to find the world still existed, we nonetheless resolved to press on at Eisey lock until the Valkeries arrived to tell us otherwise. One minibus went off to inspect Inglesham, our next project, where RAF Martin did an excellent introduction and sales pitch for anyone who hadn’t yet seen the site. There was a great deal of enthusiasm amongst the newcomers for joining a dig there later in the year. I was also cheered to see the rhubarb was recovering from its unfor-

Undeterred by their close brush with Armageddon, London WRG returned in July to ensure that the offside lower gate recess wall rebuilding job came to an end before the world does

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Camp report KESCRG at Eisey

“Off we went to investigate the showers which was another little book of learning in itself” - KESCRG learn some lessons at Eisey Lock

Arriving at the South Cerney Scout Hall on a Saturday afternoon was a steep learning curve in itself, seeing just how tight an entrance you can get a WRG van and trailer into was the first lesson of the day. However, a later arrival decided to adjust the width of the gateway with their car so it wasn’t as much of a problem after that! The next lesson was just how quickly Eli can whip up chocolate brownies and get them in the oven to provide a welcoming smell to all of the volunteers. Less than an hour! So, after the usual kit checks, introductions, inductions and site visit, it was certainly time for a pint… or not, the Royal Oak seemed unable to pump beer so despite promising Gem, there was very little to be had and this was our first and last visit here for the week.

Sunday morning was an early start for some due to the lack of curtains. The Burco and toaster were on by 6:15 which meant everybody was up and on site by 9:15 on the first day! This was shortly followed by an emergency call to Eli to bring sun cream and insect repellent as the temperature soared to 30ºC by lunchtime and the horseflies were on the rampage. Getting started on the first day is always a bit of a challenge. After a little bit of sweet-talking I managed to persuade John Hawkins to teach Dave, Alex and Tony the art of installing coping stones along the top of the lock. This also kick-started Derek and Maggie into action on the first mixer providing them with lime mortar to bed them on. With around ten stones left to position on the towpath side this meant that there was well over half a lock side of stones already in place which needed a concrete haunching put behind them to try and prevent boats from dislodging them. Beth and Anne took on this

Putting a concrete haunch behind the copings

Clearing the ditch alongside the lock

KESCRG at Eisey Lock or ”Every day’s a school day on the Thames & Severn…”

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task with Mick J and Alex on the second mixer providing the concrete. Rob went off to investigate the culvert downstream that requires rebuilding as part of the agreement with the landowners, with various members of the group popping along to help when needed. Di started to tackle the ditch which runs alongside the lock which could barely even be seen. By lunchtime everybody was starting to find their feet and some canal restoration appeared to be happening. But then, the second bag of ballast turned out to be something completely different which meant that half of the job ground to a halt whilst we waited for Jon to track up to the farm in his 15tonne excavator to get us some more. After a scorcher on site I decided to call it a day at 16:00 as I didn’t want to break the volunteers before the working week had even begun! Off we went to investigate the showers which was another little book of learning in itself. Just how many people will get a warm one before the hot water runs out? How many people can use it before the shower room overflows and floods the club house? And, just how long do girls take in the shower? The answer to the last one is a ratio of 4 guys to one girl! The evening activity was skittles at the slightly further away, but far superior, Eliot Arms. As soon as we walked in and saw the selection of real ales, some ready, some with a sign “just settling, ready tomorrow” we knew that this was the place for us! The skittles went without a single window, wall or ceiling getting broken and a good evening was had by all. Lesson of the day: Thankfully horseflies prefer D of E’ers called Sam Monday was not much cooler and the sun cream was again out in force. Ian went straight to the aggregate supplier and picked up a couple of tonnes of ballast and plenty of cement to keep the concreters going until the supplier could deliver us some more. As soon as the coping stones were positioned then the concrete haunching flew in behind them and it was good to see progress. The ladies haunching caught up with the gents laying the stones and so we started to landscape the towpath side so that it looked like a proper job! Rachael joined us on site after attending one of her own working parties yesterday and this meant that we had a driver for the 15t excavator and could get on with positioning the quoin stones at the tail end of the lock. It was more a dismantling

session on the Monday which didn’t seem like good progress but it had to be done. In order to avoid the showers, half the group visited the Cirencester outdoor swimming pool (also run by volunteers) straight from site. It was a little chilly to start with, but we soon adapted to it after Mick L warmed us up with a few games. The highlight of the visit had to be when we saw Kate chatting to a random person in the pool, we were all thinking what a small world it is, you go somewhere miles from home and see somebody that you know. But no, it was far more sinister, she was being chatted up…by a woman! It went something along the lines of “that’s an interesting swimsuit you have on…”. I’ll leave the rest to your imagination. Lesson of the day: Don’t leave your watch at the swimming pool! By Tuesday the weather had cooled a little which gave everyone much more energy on site! The aim was to have the towpath side of the chamber complete so that we could move the scaffolding on Wednesday when Jon was there to supervise. Everybody worked hard to complete the coping stones and haunching and also landscape the whole of the towpath side. Meanwhile, Rachael, Mick L and myself lifted the first quoin stone into place which was a rather large beast estimated to weigh around 2tonnes. This went without

Removing frost-damaged brickwork

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a hitch and we had time to get the next stone on top straight away. The last job was to replace the Heras fence to make the lock side safe before we left directly from site for the evening’s entertainment. The locals had organised a trip aboard the Inglesham which had to make two trips to accommodate us all, this meant that Eli had to make us two identical sets of picnic tea. The boat trip was an ideal time and place to explain to people just how a lock works as we were able to go through one. On returning to the hall we found Bungle and Ian PAT testing all of the kit for the Bhaji stand so we left them to it and snuck out for a pint. Lesson of the day: Find a way of checking your email regularly. You may just get one telling you that you don’t have to clear everything out of the hall that day after all! Wednesday brought a big change in jobs on site. With one side of the main chamber complete it was time to move the scaffolding across and Jon took five of the team to do this. Whilst this was going on a very large coping stone was positioned in the gate recess on a separate section of scaffold. At the toe of the lock Beth and Anne switched to bricklaying with Ian and Mick L to secure the two quoin stones that had been placed yesterday…only 20 courses of brickwork required! At around 13:00 when lunch arrived there appeared to be a significant lack of seating, where had it gone? Up came Rob, ravenously hungry after not having eaten for almost an hour and informed us that the seating had been made into a former for his brickwork and we could have it back on Friday! People were soon back to work as there was nowhere to sit and work progressed well in the afternoon with more quoin stones being positioned and bricks being laid. Being Orange Wednesday we perused the cinema listing for a suitable film but there really was nothing on. Being the taskmaster that I am, this meant that we would

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Landscaping the lockside just have to work late instead! We just made it back to the accommodation in time for dinner at 19:30 followed by a well-earned pint or two back at the Eliot Arms. Lesson of the day: Don’t attempt to run a democracy for dinner choices, they won’t choose meatballs! On Thursday, work could begin removing the top course of bricks on the offside which had been frost damaged at the end of last year. Tony, Sam, Beth, Anne and Kate were all keen for a bit of demolition and it was at this point something very strange happened, people started brick cleaning without being asked! Whatever was going on? I blamed it on the heat! By the end of the day the damaged section was out and cleaned and bricks were ready to go back in. In the afternoon we were treated to a flypast by three Hercules on their final flight from RAF Lyneham. In the evening we visited The Crown Inn at Lechlade which is also home to the Halfpenny Microbrewery. Being a microbrewery the tour had to be conducted in two parts but this gave the rest of the group plenty of time to sample some of the produce. The chairman took this opportunity to pay us a “passing” visit on his way to Droitwich and also indulge in a Coca Cola or two! Lesson of the day: However many bricks you clean you’ll always need more! Friday was a slightly diminished day on site as we lost our bricklaying teachers, John

and Ian, who were also going to the opening at Droitwich. Luckily, they had already taught the next generation of bricklayers who were able to continue unsupervised and were perfectly capable of complaining about the mortar for themselves! There were plenty of back bricks to be laid at both the toe of the lock and on the cleaned off section on the offside so this kept everybody busy. We only worked until about 15:00 as we wanted everything to be left tidy and have the kit packed away in time for the evening’s frivolities. Eli prepared a fabulous griddled barbecue and her speciality Pimms Jelly. After a week of restraint, Bobby relieved his frustration by whipping the cream for the Eton Mess, which he was very good at! The evening turned to silliness however when Eli produced the Jaffa Cakes for a game which Ken Burgin had trivially mentioned when visiting site. Everybody was issued a Jaffa and had to eat all the sponge and chocolate as quickly as possible and stick the remaining orange disc on their forehead. The winner was the person with the most perfect clean orange circle on their head. Sam took this title! The next game was Fluffy Bunnies as explained (and subsequently

won) by Beth. You each take it in turns to pop a marshmallow in your mouth and say “Fluffy Bunnies”, this sounds easy, but when you’re up to about 25 in your mouth at once then things take an interesting turn. I won’t spoil it by telling you what happens… try it on your next camp! Speaking of the next camp, or possibly the KESCRG/LWRG Christmas Party, a fine upstanding member of the camp introduced a new game to us involving condoms and baked beans. The materials required for the game have been purchased for me so I’ll keep them in my bag until then! Lesson of the day: Somebody on the camp proved that it is possible to wet yourself if you try hard enough! Brilliant party trick hey?! On Saturday, a late rising (for once) and a quick stock check of the catering equipment and we were all ready to go by 11:00. My sincere thanks to all for a brilliant week but a special mention must go to Kate my assistant, Eli our cook, and Bobby the gopher for their help in organising the whole affair. Also, special thanks to Mother Nature for providing the weather that we all dream of on camp! Adam ‘Digger’ Morris

The towpath side complete, the scaffolding is in the process of being moved to the other side

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Camp report Basingstoke Canal

“Three things I have learnt about piling: it’s noisy, it’s slow, and it’s soul-destroying” - Sam Hemmings-Smith tells it like it is...

Basingstoke Canal 25 June - 2 July begin with, most of us volunteers seemed quite happy occupied placing a fence post in “Is there a ladle on site?”

wonky, and then spending the entire rest of the day attempting to remedy the situation... Soon enough the piling man came to take away the piling hammer (he had no idea what was wrong with it, either) and to present us with a (theoretically) fully functioning one… Hurray! And thus the “BANG BANG BANG” soundtrack to the entire rest of the week began. Jonathan, Georgeous and Sleepy Dave put in a valiant tolerance manning the piling hammer from that moment onwards, ensuring that all of the piling sheets were in place by the end of the week. Three things that I have learnt about piling that I did not know at the beginning of the week: it’s noisy, it’s slow, and it’s soul-destroying. Jonathan promptly recorded the sound of the piling drill and sent it to all of his loved ones so that they could equally experience the torment.

Pictures by David Miller

So the last week of June had 17 of us descend upon the sleepy, leafy, suburbia of Woking… for an entire weeks worth of piling! (Look at the enthusiasm!) As to be expected with one of the first camps of the Summer season, there were several... let’s call it ‘problem solving opportunities’ when it came to getting all kit and volunteers to where we all needed to be, so much so that I think Paul thought his job as leader was done in everyone and everything (sort of) actually being there... Accommodation for the week was to be Knaphill Football Club, and sleeping with our eyes open as we all pitched up in the showers (thankfully we never upset each other quite enough to turn them on mid-sleep). So, the main job for the week (from my ...simple? perspective) was the installation of a landing platform at the base of Lock 1, so that boats can moor up as they prepare the lock for going up/wait for any potential water-shortage to be remedied (that almost sounded like I know what I’m talking about! (I do really (sort of))). Almost as soon as piling began on site, it was realised that the piling hammer had no intention of cooperating, which (according to the man on the telephone) could be easily remedied by removing 2 bolts, and fiddling with a pipe. Twenty six bolts removed later, no pipe to be seen and a call to the suppliers to beg for a new one before the end of the week. Due to the jobs available being somewhat limited to

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Lovely weather for piling!

related and further lewd references), with Liberty painting on the instructions for how to navigate said fencing. Many dog holes near Lock 5 were filled in by the core team of Susan, Hong “the Machine”, Peter and me, and back at Lock 1, mooring posts were inserted and are now ready for action. Lucy L and I also had time for a spot of knotweedbashing, or playing ‘spot the tiny frogs’ as it may have descended into. I personally was quite enjoying all this fancy stuff - this for me was a week of buying the cushions and curtains of house-building, when all of my prior canal restoration experience had been laying the foundations and building the rooms. Hopefully the Basingstoke looks a lot prettier now for our efforts! Andy made a fantastic job of ensuring we were all well fed, and Martyn had the unenviable task of chief ferryer of volunteers with RFB. A big thank you to you both. Special mention also must go to the fantastic locals, especially Verna who made sure we were all suited and (safety) booted, and for one night taking some of us girlies Casting new bollards... on a trip out to Greywell Tunnel to see the bats’ dusk flight. Within the new crop of volunteers, Ben showed himself to be an As the week progressed, many more excellent addition to the troupe, earning ‘small’ jobs started appearing that needed himself the prestigious title of Best Newcomer doing. There were towpath fences to be (although his morning wake up ‘call’ made erected and painted, bollards to be created the building rumble), although all volunteers and set in as mooring posts, coping stones excelled themselves throughout the week. to be de-mossed, and dog holes (or as the Also I must make mention of a man… locals call them, “doggy beaches”) to be filled on a boat… in - as the local canines had been working hard at inconsiderately eroding the tow-path Samantha Hemmings-Smith to their best efforts. All of us not included in the now fullyfunctioning piling rotation system got busy with these. Evening entertainments contained the usual mixture of ten-pin bowling, pubs, and a lovely boat trip along another length of the Basingstoke Canal - where several volunteers were even allowed to steer the boat (I’m not sure that the boat people knew what they had let themselves in for…). By the end of the week, we left with the piling structure inserted, ready for backfill by the locals. Kate, Tom, Vicky and Lucy S worked hard on erecting some ‘too perfect’ new ...and then installing them fencing (cue multiple ‘bonking’

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Camp report River Avon Cotswolds

Unfortunately the camp on the Higher Avon got cancelled at short notice due to planning permission problems. Here’s what we got up to on the Cotswold Canals instead

In recognition of the fact that the camp originally scheduled for the River Avon but shifted to the Cotswold Canals - had to be put together at very short notice, Richard has sent the following camp report which, too, appears to have been put together at rather short notice. Hope you can follow it...

Lock Nigel was working on repairs to the bywash spillweir brickwork and pointing-up of existing brickwork, the main job for the week. Ally Evie and Suzie worked on fencing (Suzie didn’t fall over) and Gary on demolition. Evening: Hot Fuzz and Busker

Camp Report 201107

“Jon mentioned something we could use from the lockup – I know it wasn’t ‘Surreptitious Grout’, but it sounded like that” - Richard

There was a wrg leader named Ed, “I’ll run the Avon”, he said. But with three weeks to go, The planners said “No”, So we went to the Cotswolds instead.

Saturday Site Visit (once Gary arrived) Safety Video Dinner: Sausage Wedge Veg Safety Talk Pub


Sunshine! Suggestions of caffeine soap, pouring tea on the volunteers to start them in the morning, and the fact that Mk2 may need a bath of it... At Griffin Mill Lock the Mattockists were Gary, Oli and Dean. Nigel carried on with more bricklaying, on hole-digging we had Ed, Gary, Oli and Dean, with Nick, Peter and Ally fencing. Meanwhile back at Goughs Orchard, Martin moved onto brickwork and coping


Talk of the joys of bare feet led to Gary’s suggestion of walking round the office bare, the minimum clothing needed to be safe on site, to measuring mortar joints and pointing with a heritage pointing tool... At Gough’s Orchard Martin worked on cutting a stone to fit a gap in the quoin stonework, Richard Adrian Tony and Barry were on scaffolding moving and assembly ready for some repairs to lock wall stoneork, while Ro, Paul, Oli and Nick spent the day uncovering and clearing out paddle vent holes. Meanwhile at Griffin Mill

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Richard Worthington

“Gash Brickwork – Gary says it’s Rubbish” “Excuse me while I chase my wife” - Ed

Martin tries not to look too amazed that his stone fits

stones for the top of ladder recesses with Evie making mortar. The evening: we went to the pub where all the under-30s made a bid for freedom after prolonged talk of radio callsigns.

Martin, Nick and Tony went off to play with boats on the Droitwich Canals and the rest of us had declared it a half day, so we only worked at Griffin Mill Pete, Ally, MK2 collected ballast, Richard and Paul laid bricks, then the ballast was unloaded while Oli, Dean and Pete played with fencing. Most went to Gloucester for the afternoon for pottering and café, while on site there was some prep work for concrete, Adrian playing diggers, and we watered the lock gates which we were sharing our accommodation with. (Yes, really) The evening: Saul Junction for boat trip and chips. Martin proud of his going to bed at 1130!

Martin Ludgate


Attempting to clear the paddle vent holes

Wednesday Regarding binliner rainwear: “If it’s good enough for Palmer…” “how do you finish that sentence?” Wednesday on Griffin Mill Lock was busy, with readymix concrete for the spillweir base due to arrive around 1pm. So first up the reinforcing was cut to shape by Alyssa and Tony and placed in the bottom of the bywash and set on its plastic supports. Gary constructed a cunning ramp from plywood, got the concrete into the hole and Mk2 was on dumpering duty to get it from the lorry. Goughs Orchard continued as before. No cheese sandwiches at Goughs! Rain! I ran away to college while everyone else headed to the Village Inn in Nailsworth for a brewery tour

Richard Worthington


The fencing crew (insert ‘bonking’ joke here)

I wasn’t on site Thursday as I had college again that night, I did have sandwiches by a canal, but it was in Newbury and wasn’t filled in. Not sure how many of you want to know about using AutoCAD Inventor to create complex curved surfaces so back to site… At Goughs Orchard the gang continued diggering, pointing, mixing and bricking.

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At Griffin Mill they finished off the “The Reunion – get drunk and attack a concrete slab with a few barrowloads of hand forest!?” - Oli mixed concrete. “I like Road Gibbet” - Evie The evening: Skittles at the Stirrup “Do you mean Rhod Gilbert?” Cup pub. Quote from resetting skittles: “Balls to Adrian!” Saturday Went home.


Richard Worthington

Rebuilding of the spillweir under way

Martin Ludgate

At Goughs Orchard: Martin did more bricklaying and almost (but not quite) finished a big patch where part of the gate recess stones had broken away. Meanwhile Adrian did even more excavating with the digger. At Griffin Mill we finished off fences, Paul, Richard, Evie, Dean worked on brickwork plus Paul on dam-building duties. Ro and Suzie were making Mortar. All the fence posts were removed and replanted. The rain held off long enough for some end-of-camp group photos then it was cleaning, sorting and packing kit followed by a Griddle-e-cue (we weren’t allowed to have a barbecue) with Pimms Jelly, a chance to look at pics of old camps, and some speeches and awards. Awards went to: Paul (for Sub-Aqua Scaffolding), Oli and Dean (for Lime Mortar) Adrian (Archaeology) Nick (Fencing) Martin (Goughs Orchard MUP) Gary (Griffin Mill MUP) and MK2 (Driving).

Richard Worthington

All our own work: end-of-camp team photo with the spillweir rebuilding well on the way

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“Every time we removed a loose stone to clear around it we found another even looser one. It turned into quite a rebuilding job...” Camp 2011/09 Monmouthshire & Brecon Canals Pre-camp went well! Having dropped my car off at the accommodation in Crosskeys, I returned to Ed’s camp at Brimscombe to collect a van, although with the bus company in Wales not accepting my pass and using Red Spotted Hanky to buy my rail ticket (yes I know it’s advertising but if it helps WRG save money) it cost almost as much to get from Crosskeys to Newport as from Newport to Stroud. So Saturday saw me setting off back to Wales in SAD, collecting two prodigals and a warm welcome from the dogs en route. However.... Someone who shall remain nameless altered my arrangements without telling me, so one lonely French lady was stuck on Newport Station for much longer than I would have liked. She was joined by a quiet Spanish man but not by her compatriot - I would have thought that even in France, if you can’t see a ticket office or any taxis then you know you are out the back and not at the front entrance of the station. Extra station trip for Bob after crie de coeur by mobile phone. Eventually with all safely gathered in and safety talk and video negotiated without anybody getting up and leaving or falling asleep, we settled down to our first evening meal. Don’t ask me what the evening entertainment was after that because by then I’d crashed out. Next day, the site safety talk was extended a bit - quite a bit, actually - to include an introduction to the history of the canal. If any other Trusts are thinking of doing this, I’d recommend making it later in the week when we’ve all had chance to raise our curiosity and an hour’s break from work would be much more welcome. As it was, a late tea break and kit unloading saw very little work done before lunch although everyone was dying to get on with it. Even then.... One major task was to empty Drapers Lock chamber of silt and water so that we could erect scaffolding to clean off and re-

Camp report Mon & Brec point the walls. It would have helped if we could have got the pumps to work properly (We eventually achieved success well into week two utilising our third sump location) There was also major pointing required in the upper wing walls, plus clearing and pulling back displaced coping stones, including removal of some tenacious hawthorn bushes but a major work was repairing and re-pointing the bridge under the surveillance of Torfaen Council’s Heritage Officer. It appeared though that every time we removed a loose stone to clean round it, we found another even looser. It turned into quite a rebuilding job. This all of course meant working in lime mortar and on Monday, we were treated to a specialist course by Torfaen DC at the Ty Mawr Lime Training Centre near Brecon. This proved to be excellent training for us and hopefully a good investment for Torfaen. Our main instructor joined us on site all day Tuesday to show the practical applications on our particular site and the Heritage Officer seemed appreciative of the results.

Draper’s Lock at the start of the camp

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So where you may ask, are all the names and progress you find in a normal camp report - “Sid did this and Delilah did that” - and what about the social side? The Training Group called in at Brecon on the way back to give them an idea of what we are aiming at and we had a night Ten Pin Bowling at which our MUP proved to be a MUB. A picnic by the lake and a fish ’n’ chip supper were augmented by various visits to the pub, and a visit to the cinema was abandoned in favour of a bought-in video - although the success of the choice proved debatable. All in all, the group seemed content with each others company and developed an excellent team spirit. This camp was more of an ongoing workload than a series of separate tasks that everyone stuck to the job is testament to their commitment and contributed to their teamwork - I am sure everyone felt proud of their achievements by the close of play. Ralph (pronounced ‘Rafe’ for any of you lucky enough to meet him) just kept ploughing on. Stone, mud, Hawthorn - all were the same to him - no match. MUP Bob also kept ploughing on, but this time literally in the lock chamber with the digger, determined not to be beaten. He briefly exchanged places with Martin on the dumper but took it back when Martin broke it! Mathilde, Imanol and Mushroom steadily grew in confidence both in their English and their work - it was gratifying to see the slightly querulous early looks turn into smiles as they realised how well they were doing. In making them feel at home, we were greatly assisted by Ayushi. A newbie herself but you would never have guessed it - she took to the life like a duck to water and proved a real find - come back soon Ayushi. Three of our local members have had their interest aroused sufficiently to contact the Trust to volunteer in the future (with a fourth from week two). I think Bob2 surprised even himself, while Rob and Mark were our successful DoErs. Another one (I hope pleasantly) surprised was Ian. All the way from Tasmania, he held nothing back despite it meaning he was supporting the Poms. His partner Polly perhaps found the culture of camp more difficult to get into but nevertheless weighed in fully. Patrick has become a regular at Mon & Brec and yet again turned his hand to jobs where his experience was needed rather than his preferred option - thanks Patrick and for

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some excellent photos. The quiet man of the group was perhaps Greg but always willing, always volunteering and always helpful. My biggest coup however was persuading Sam and Tas to return to an old favourite site - they produced as ever, not just excellent food but an added je ne sais quoi - or was that Penny and Yorik? Let’s hope they don’t leave it so long again next time. On ‘change over’ Saturday, Patrick and I set up a WRG display at the Cwmbran ‘Big Event’, Being a predominantly a ‘family do’ this was not really a WRG Thing. However we did make some useful contacts and showed our support both to Torfaen and to the Mon & Brec Trust who recruited a dozen new members. Meanwhile Bob assisted Martin in tidying up and ferrying people ‘in’ and ‘out’ of the accommodation ready for week two. My apologies to Nikki who I am afraid I left rather high and dry whilst I swanned about in the park. She came early to virtually take over the welcome of week two volunteers with only a MUP she didn’t previously know to pass on information. Being Nikki she rose to the challenge of course and I am delighted to say quickly developed an excellent working relationship with Bob. (It was only a working relationship wasn’t it guys?) But that’s another story. My thanks to Richard and all at the Trust for their help and co-operation and to Heidi, Gareth and their team for their support and the T-shirts. Thanks to everyone on camp but especially Martin for assisting, Bob for MUPing and most of his comments and Tas’n’Sam for cooking - I hope we see every single one of you again. Frank Wallder

Re-pointing the wing walls

Directory Canal societies and WRG ASHBY CANAL ASSOC Rod Smith 4 Ashby Road, Sinope Coalville LE67 3AY Tel: 01530 833307 BARNSLEY, DEARNE & DOVE CANAL TRUST June Backhouse, 39 Hill St, Elsecar, Barnsley S74 8EN 01226 743383 BCN SOCIETY Jeff Barley, 17 Sunnyside Walsall Wood, W Midlands 01543 373284 BUCKINGHAM CANAL SOC Athina Beckett 2 Staters Pound, Pennyland Milton Keynes MK1 5AX 01908 661217 email: BUGSWORTH BASIN (IWPS) Ian Edgar Top Lock House, Lime Kiln Lane, Marple SK6 6BX. 0161 427 7402 index.htm

CHESTERFIELD CANAL TRUST Mick Hodgetts 31 Pottery La Chesterfield S41 9BH 01246 620695 CHICHESTER SHIP CT Linda Wilkinson, 1 Chidham La Chichester PO18 8TL 01243 576701 COTSWOLD CT Bell House, Wallbridge Lock Stroud GL5 3JS 01285 643440 FRIENDS OF THE CROMFORD CANAL George Rogers 2 Main St, Whatstandwell Matlock DE4 5HE 07789 493967

DORSET & SOMERSET CANAL SOCIETY Derrick Hunt 43 Greenland Mills Bradford on Avon BA15 1BL 01225 863066 DROITWICH CT Vaughan Welch 29 Dice Pleck, Northfield Birmingham B31 3XW 0121 477 9782 EAST ANGLIAN WATERWAYS ASSOC David Revill, 43 Kings Road Coltishall, Norfolk NR12 7DX 01603 738648

ROLLE CANAL AND NTH DEVON WATERWAYS SOC Adrian & Hilary Wills Vale Cottage, 7 Annery Kiln Weare Giffard, Bideford EX39 5JE Tel: 01237 477705 RIVER GIPPING TRUST Martin Bird 29 Melton Grange Rd Melton Woodbridge IP12 1SA 01394 380765 restoration@rivergippingtrust. GRAND WESTERN CT Denis Dodd, Wharf Cottage Nynehead, Wellington Somerset TA21 0BJ 01823 661653

EREWASH CANAL P&DA Mick Golds 73 Sudbury Avenue Larklands, Ilkeston Derbys DE7 5EA Notts (0115) 9328042

GRANTHAM CANAL SOC Ian Wakefield 0115 989 2128 ian.wakefield@

ESSEX WATERWAYS LTD Colin Edmond Paper Mill Lock, North Hill Little Baddow Essex CM3 4BT 01245 226245

HEREFS & GLOUCS CT c/o The Wharf House, Over Gloucester GL2 8DB 01452 332900

KESCRG Eddie Jones DERBY & SANDIACRE CS ‘Altamount’ Doug Flack FOXTON INCLINED PLANE Coventry Rd, Fillongley 23 Thoresby Cres, Draycott TRUST Coventry CV7 8EQ Derby DE72 3PH c/o Mike Beech 0845 226 8589 01332 576037 Foxton Canal Museum Middle Lock, CALDON & UTTOXETER Gumley Road, Foxton DIG DEEP INITIATIVE CANALS TRUST Market Harborough LANCASTER CT Alan Cavender Alison Smedley Leicestershire Paul Shaw, 12 Malham Clo 53 Derwent Drive, Hazelhurst Cottage LE16 7RA Lancaster LA1 2SJ Maidenhead SL6 6LE Denford, Leek ST13 7JT 0116 279 2657 01524 35685 01628 629033 01538-385388

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Directory LAPAL CANAL TRUST 26 Loynells Road, Rednal Birmingham B45 9NP 01785 713862 LICHFIELD & HATHERTON CANALS REST'N TRUST Sue Williams, Norfolk House 29 Hall Lane, Hammerwich Burntwood WS7 0JP 01543 671427 NEATH & TENNANT CS Ian Milne 16 Gower Road, Sketty, Swansea SA2 9BY 01792 547902 MANCHESTER BOLTON & BURY CANAL SOCIETY Steve Dent 07802-973228

SALTISFORD CT Budbrooke Road Warwick CV34 5RJ 01926 490 006, SCARS (SANKEY CANAL) Colin Greenall 16 Bleak Hill Rd, Eccleston St. Helens WA10 4RW 01744 731746 SHREWSBURY & NEWP’T CANALS TRUST Tam Hazan

SHROPSHIRE UNION CS Richard Hall 35 Tyrley Cotts Market Drayton TF9 2AH MONMOUTHSHIRE BRECON 01630 657737 & ABERGAVENNY CT Phil Hughes 14 Locks Canal Centre Cwm La, Newport NP10 9GN SLEAFORD NAV TRUST 01633 892167 Steve Hayes 10 Chelmer Close N Hykeham Lincs LN8 8TH NWPG 01522-689460 Bill Nicholson email: steve.hayes17 Clifford Road, Princes Risborough HP27 0DU. 01844 343369 / 0779 1097773 SOMERSETSHIRE COAL CANAL SOCIETY Derrick Hunt POCKLINGTON C.A.S 43 Greenland Mills Paul Waddington Bradford on Avon BA15 1BL Church House, Main St. 01225-863066 Hemingborough YO8 7QE derrickjohnhunt@btinternet,com 01757 638027

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RIVER STOUR TRUST John Morris 2 Stockton Close, Hadleigh Ipswich IP7 5SH STOVER CANAL SOCIETY George Whitehead 26 Northumberland Place, Teignmouth TQ14 8BU. Tel: 01626 775498, STRATFORD ON AVON CS Roger Hancock 1 Tyler Street Stratford upon Avon CV37 6TY 01789 296096 SURREY & HANTS CANAL SOC Duncan Paine 52 Kings Road Fleet GU51 3AQ 01252-614125 SUSSEX OUSE RESTORATION TRUST Paul Morris, Farmcote Nettlesworth Lane Old Heathfield Heathfield TN21 9AP 01453 863683 SWANSEA CANAL SOC Clive Reed 17 Smithfield Road, Pontardawe Swansea West Glam. SA8 4LA 01792 830782

THAMES & MEDWAY CANAL ASSOCIATION John Epton 45 Vinson Clo, Orpington BR6 0EQ homepage.ntlworld. com/john.epton/tmca WENDOVER ARM TRUST Roger Leishman 7 Hall Park Berkhamsted HP4 2NU 01442 874536 WEY & ARUN CT The Granary Flitchfold Farm Loxwood, Billingshurst West Sussex RH14 ORH 01403 752403 WILTS & BERKS CT George Eycott 4 Lewendon Road Newbury RG14 1SP 07771 775745 WOODEN CANAL BOAT SOCIETY 173 Stamford St Central Ashton under Lyne OL6 7PS 0161-330-8422 WRG: GENERAL ENQUIRIES, CANAL CAMP BOOKINGS, DRIVER AUTHORISATION Jenny Black, IWA Island House Moor Road Chesham HP5 1WA 01494 783453

WRG NORTH WEST Malcolm Bridge 89 Rishworth Mill Rishworth Sowerby Bridge HX6 4RZ 01422-820693 WRG NW - ENQUIRIES/ PAPERCHASES David McCarthy Woodstock, 14 Crumpsall Lane Manchester M8 5FB 0161-740 2179 WRG BITM & 'NAVVIES' DIARY David Wedd 7 Ringwood Road Blackwater Camberley Surrey GU17 0EY 01252 874437

ESSEX WRG John Gale 24 Longleaf Drive Braintree, Essex CM7 1XS 01376-947360 WRG SOUTH WEST Gavin Moor 54 Kiln Close Calvert Buckingham MK18 2FD 07970 989245 IWA/WRG STAMP BANK Steve & Mandy Morley 33 Hambleton Grove Emerson valley Milton Keynes MK4 2JS 01908 520090 CANAL CAMPS MOBILES (A) 07850 422156 (B) 07850 422157

LONDON WRG Tim Lewis 5 Herongate Road, Wanstead London E12 5EJ 07802 518094

'NAVVIES' EDITOR Martin Ludgate 35 Silvester Rd. London SE22 9PB 020 8693 3266 0777 947 8629 (mobile)

WRG EAST MIDLANDS John Baylis 215 Clipstone Rd. West Forest Town, Mansfield Notts NG19 0HJ 01623 633895

'WRGWEAR' CLOTHING Helen Gardner 33 Victoria Road Northwich CW9 5RE 07989 425346

WRG BOAT CLUB Sadie Heritage 236 Station Rd. Whittlesey Peterborough PE7 2HA 01733 204505 07748 186867 (mobile)

TRANSPORT MANAGER Jonathan Smith 23 Hardings Chalgrove Oxford OX44 7TJ 01865 891 370 OTHER DIRECTORS

WRG DIRECTORS CHAIRMAN Mike Palmer 3 Finwood Road Rowington Warwickshire CV35 7DH 01564 785293 WRG PLANT George Eycott 4 Lewendon Road Newbury RG14 1SP 07771 775745 SITES GROUP Judith Palmer 3 Finwood Rd. Rowington Warwickshire CV35 7DH 01564 785293 WRGPRINT John & Tess Hawkins 4 Links Way, Croxley Grn Rickmansworth WD3 3RQ 01923 448559 IWA CHAIRMAN Clive Henderson c/o IWA, Island House Moor Road, Chesham HP5 1WA clive.henderson@

Help us keep this directory up to date If you spot any errors or omissions or know of any changes to any contact details in this list please pass them on to the editor. The next full directory will appear in issue 251, but any corrections received before then will also be included in the next available ‘Navvies Noticeboard’. Thank you for your assistance.

Rick Barnes 11 Lawns Park North Woodchester Stroud GL5 5PP 07976 748345 Mick Beattie 42 Eaton Drive Rugeley WS15 2FS Spencer Collins The Boatyard, 5 Hammond Way Trowbridge BA14 8RS 07790 017418 Chris Davey Angle House Green Terrace Skipton BD23 5DS John Baylis, 215 Clipstone Rd. West Forest Town Mansfield Notts NG19 0HJ 01623 633895 Harry Watts 12 St John Road, Slough SL2 5EY 07889 237834 James Butler 7 Hawthorne Close Woodford Halse NN11 3NY 07745 256117 Helen Gardner (see above)

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Navvies diary Your guide to all the forthcoming work parties Aug 20 Sat wrgNW Aug 20-27 Camp 2011-17 Aug 20-27 Camp 2011-18 Aug 21 Sun EAWA/NWDCT Aug 24 Wed wrgNW Aug 27-Sep 3Camp 2011-19 Aug 27-Sep 3Camp 2011-20 Sep 2-9 WAT Sep 3/4 NWPG Sep 4 Sun EAWA/NWDCT Sep 10/11 Essex WRG Sep 9-12 wrgNW Sep 10/11 KESCRG Sep 10/11 London WRG Sep 17/18 wrgBITM Sep 18 Sun EAWA/NWDCT Sep 18 Sun WRG Sep 24 Sat wrgNW Sep 30-Oct 6WAT Oct 1/2 wrgNW Oct 1/2 London WRG Oct 2 Sun EAWA/NWDCT Oct 8/9 WRG Oct 8/9 Essex WRG Oct 8/9 London WRG Oct 8 Sat WRG Oct 15/16 wrgBITM Oct 16 Sun EAWA/NWDCT Oct 22/23 London WRG Oct 22-29 Camp 2011-21 Oct 29 Sat wrgNW Oct 30 Sun EAWA/NWDCT Nov 4-11 WAT Nov 5/6 London WRG Nov 5/6 NWPG Nov 5/6 Essex WRG Nov 13 Sun EAWA/NWDCT

‘Paper Chase’ waste paper collection Cotswolds (Inglesham): Leader: Martyn Worsley, Assistant: Clive Knigh Montgomery Canal: Leader: Fred Towey, Assistant: Loraine Hughes. North Walsham & Dilham Canal: Ebridge Ad Hoc meeting, 7.30pm Cotswolds (Inglesham): Leader: Nigel Lee, Assistant: Helena Howarth, Montgomery Canal: Leader: Becky Parr, Assistant: Nikki Packer, Cook: Wendover Arm: ‘Seven-day weekend’ work party Wey & Arun Canal: Elmbridge culvert replacement North Walsham & Dilham Canal: Bacton Wood Wilts & Berks Canal: To be confirmed. Lancaster Canal: Kendal Torchlight procession on Friday, and dig Fri to Mon (dismantling & rebuilding parapets on Stainton Cros Thames & Severn Canal: Dig Deep project Chesterfield Canal: Building a new lock in Staveley. Chichester Canal: Cutting back overhanging vegetation on offside bank North Walsham & Dilham Canal: Honing Committee & Board Meetings: Rowington ‘Paper Chase’ waste paper collection Wendover Arm: Seven-day weekend Lichfield Canal: Joint dig with London WRG. Lichfield Canal: Joint dig with WRG North West. Tamworth Road. North Walsham & Dilham Canal: Briggate Basingstoke Canal: Peter Redway Memorial Dig & WRG Reunion. See p Basingstoke Canal: Peter Redway Memorial Dig & WRG Reunion Basingstoke Canal: Peter Redway Memorial Dig & WRG Reunion Committee & Board Meetings: Sat during Reunion Grantham Canal North Walsham & Dilham Canal: Ebridge Somersetshire Coal Canal Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation ‘Paper Chase’ waste paper collection North Walsham & Dilham Canal: Honing Wendover Arm: ‘Seven-day weekend’ work party Cotswold Canals: Inglesham Basingstoke Canal: Construction or clearance work Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation North Walsham & Dilham Canal: Bacton Wood

For details of diary dates beyond the end of this list ple

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Canal Camps cost ÂŁ56 per week unless otherwise stated. Bookings for WRG Camps identified by a camp number e.g. 'Camp 2011-20' should go to WRG Canal Camps, Island House, Moor Road, Chesham HP5 1WA. Tel: 01494 783453, Diary compiled by Dave Wedd. Tel: 01252 874437,

David McCarthy ht, Cook: Tania Connolly.

David Revill Jean Helliwell Cook: Krzysiek Rosiecki Lou Kellett. Roger Leishman Bill Nicholson David Revill John Gale David McCarthy ssing Bridge) Bobby Silverwood Tim Lewis k. Dave Wedd David Revill Mike Palmer David McCarthy Roger Leishman David McCarthy Tim Lewis David Revill p7 for details and booking form John Gale Tim Lewis Mike Palmer Dave Wedd David Revill Tim Lewis David McCarthy David Revill Roger Leishman Tim Lewis Bill Nicholson John Gale David Revill

0161-740-2179 01494-783453 01494-783453 01603-738648

01494-783453 01494-783453 01442-874536 01844-343369 01603-738648 01376-334896 0161-740-2179

07971-814986 07802-518094 01252-874437 01603-738648 01564-785293 0161-740-2179 01442-874536 0161-740-2179 07802-518094 01603-738648 01494-783453 01376-334896 07802-518094 01564-785293 01252-874437 01603-738648 07802-518094 01494-783453 0161-740-2179 01603-738648 01442-874536 07802-518094 01844-343369 01376-334896 01603-738648

ease contact diary compiler Dave Wedd: see top of page

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Navvies diary

Mobile groups' socials: phone to confirm

London WRG: 7:30pm on Tues 11 days before dig. 'Star Tavern', Belgrave Mews West, London. Tim Lewis 07802-518094 NWPG: 9:00pm on 3rd Tue of month at the 'Hope Tap', West Canal societies’ regular working parties end of Friar St. Reading. Graham Hawkes 0118 941 0586 Once per month: pls check BCNS BCN waterways Mike Rolfe 07763-171735 2nd Sunday & alternate Thurs BCS Buckingham area Athina Beckett 01908-661217 Anytime inc. weekdays BCT Aqueduct section Gerald Fry 01288-353273 Every Mon and Wed CCT Cotswold (W depot) Ron Kerby 01453-836018 Every mon am Thu pm CCT Cotswold (E end) John Maxted 01285-861011 Various dates CCT Cotswold Phase 1a Jon Pontefract 07986-351412 Every Sunday ChCT Various sites Mick Hodgetts 01246-620695 Every Tue & Wed C&BN Chelmer & Blackwater John Gale 01376-334896 Every Saturday DCT Droitwich Canal Jon Axe 0121-608 0296 4th Sunday of month ECPDA Langley Mill Michael Golds 0115-932-8042 Second Sun of month FIPT Foxton Inclined Plane Mike Beech 0116-279-2657 2nd weekend of month GCRS Grantham Canal Ian Wakefield 0115-989-2128 2nd Sat of month GWCT Nynehead Lift Denis Dodd 01823-661653 Tuesdays H&GCT Oxenhall Brian Fox 01432 358628 Weekends H&GCT Over Wharf House Maggie Jones 01452 618010 Wednesdays H&GCT Over Wharf House Wilf Jones 01452 413888 Weekends H&GCT Hereford Aylestone Martin Danks 01432 344488 Every Sunday if required IWPS Bugsworth Basin Ian Edgar 0161-427 7402 1st & 3rd Sunday KACT Bradford-on-Avon Derrick Hunt 01225-863066 2nd Sunday of month LCT Lancaster N. Reaches Paul Shaw 01524-35685 1st, 2nd, 4th Sun + 3rd Sat LHCRT Lichfield Sue Williams 01543-671427 3rd Sunday of month LHCRT Hatherton Denis Cooper 01543-374370 Last weekend of month MBBCS Creams Paper Mill Steve Dent 07802-973228 Two Sundays per month NWDCT N Walsham Canal David Revill 01603-738648 2nd & last Sundays PCAS Pocklington Canal Paul Waddington 01757-638027 Every Wed and 1st Sat RGT Stowmarket Navigtn. Martin Bird 01394-380765 2nd Sunday of month SCARS Sankey Canal Colin Greenall 01744-731746 1st Sunday of month SCCS Combe Hay Locks Derrick Hunt 01225-863066 Most weekends SHCS Basingstoke Dave Wedd 01252-874437 Last weekend of month SCS Stover Canal George Whitehead 01626-775498 2nd Sunday of month SNT Sleaford Navigation Mel Sowerby 01522-856810 1st weekend of month SUCS Newhouse Lock Mike Friend 01948-880723 Every Tuesday morning TMCA Thames & Medway C Brian Macnish 01732-823725 Every Sunday & Thurs WACT varied construction Eric Walker 023-9246-3025 Mondays (2 per month) WACT tidying road crossings John Empringham 01483-562657 Wednesdays WACT Tickner's Heath Depot John Smith 01903-235790 Wednesdays WACT maintenance work Peter Jackman 01483-772132 Sundays mainly WACT Loxwood Link Kev Baker 02380-861074 Thursdays WACT Winston Harwood Grp Tony Clear 01903-774301 Various dates WACT Hedgelaying (Oct-Mar) Keith Nichols 01403-753882 1st w/e (Fri-Tue or Fri-Wed) WAT Drayton Beauchamp Roger Leishman 01442-874536 2nd Thursday of month WAT Drayton Beauchamp Pete Bowers 01255-504540 Every weekend WBCT Wilts & Berks Canal Rachael Banyard 01249-892289 Please send any additions corrections or deletions to diary compiler Dave Wedd (see previous page) Abbreviations used in Diary: LCT Lancaster Canal Trust BCNS Birmingham Canal Navigations Soc. LHCRT Lichfield & Hatherton Canals Rest'n Trust BCS Buckingham Canal Society MBBCS Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal Society BCT Bude Canal Trust NWPG Newbury Working Party Group ChCT Chesterfield Canal Trust NWDCT North Walsham & Dilham Canal Trust CBN Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation PCAS Pocklington Canal Amenity Society CCT Cotswolds Canals Trust RGT River Gipping Trust DCT Droitwich Canals Trust SCARS Sankey Canal Restoration Society EAWA East Anglian Waterways Association SCCS Somersetshire Coal Canal Society ECPDA Erewash Canal Pres. & Devt. Assoc. SHCS Surrey & Hants Canal Society FIPT Foxton Inclined Plane Trust SCS Stover Canal Society GCRS Grantham Canal Restoration Society SNT Sleaford Navigation Trust GWCT Grand Western Canal Trust SUCS Shropshire Union Canal Society H&GCT Hereford & Gloucester Canal Trust TMCA Thames & Medway Canal Association IWPS Inland Waterways Protection Society WACT Wey & Arun Canal Trust KACT Kennet & Avon Canal Trust WAT Wendover Arm Trust KESCRG Kent & E Sussex Canal Rest. Group WBCT Wilts & Berks Canal Trust

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Dear Martin I have just spent nearly a day and a half trying to trace and retrieve a Safety Harness belonging to the Mon & Brec Trust which went missing, when I should have been finalising the paperwork of our Camps there; even more time has been wasted by my Assistants, MUPs and others. It also means that a complicated process is needed to return the gear from the National where it ended up and it will not be available to the Trust for some time. All this because some prat, doubtless well meaning, but nevertheless a prat, put the harness in with our kit even though it was not on our check list - they neither added a note to that list or enquired of me or my assistants where it originated. Surely that would have been simple common sense. Would you please therefore publish either this letter or a warning in Navvies to save another group of poor slobs wasting their time on a similar exercise in the future. The lesson must be that, whilst it is vital that all items on the check list are located and packed, any items NOT ON the list are identified and returned to their owner, whether private, the accommodation or the Trust. If this does not prove possible, the Leader should be informed and a note made on the Kit list so that we can at least trace it easily. I don’t know if anyone will ever own up to this careless act but he or she owes a lot of people a lot of drinks. Frank Wallder Now then, Mike Day’s letter in Navvies 247 brings back memories and gets the overworked brain into reverse gear. How right he is to say it was only by a hard letter session with the local papers that things started rolling towards the eventual start of work on the Basingstoke Canal. However, prior to that ,in the late ’60s, I had made made myself a real problem child with IWA (Central) and what was London and Home Counties Branch.Eventually I was invited (or was it summoned ?) to a Branch Committee meeting in a pub back room in London. They would not tell me what their plans for the Canal were,they were secret and involved too many people. One member suggested one way of getting support and interest was to form a boat club. At that time over half the canal was dry and nearly every lock was virtually derelict.

Letters After my session, which was before the half way break, I got ready to leave. Par for the course I went to the toilet. I was joined by the Minutes Secretary. Says he “I bet you reckon that was a ******* ****** of time,quite a selection of ******** ******* in there. ’Ere, phone me”. So I met Graham Palmer Then came the letter writing, as alternative to the initial approach. It was not until Deepcut Dig that WRG/Graham became really involved,he had strong feelings about some people associated with the Canal. That’s history, what’s the future? Jim Woolgar Dear Martin ‘Crass: Boorish, bovine, coarse, dense, doltish, gross, insensitive, obtuse, stupid and uninformed’ – Collins Dictionary & Thesaurus This sums up the letter by Mr de Leie [Navvies 247]. The Stover Canal Scoiety must be really enamoured to have him in their ranks. The reply by Mike Rodd was a masterpiece. It reminds me of Nelson Gabriel (son of Walter) of The Archers. Jennifer Aldridge rushes into his Borchester wine bar, looking for Brian. “Jennifer, when you are angry you are magnificent.” The Kennet & Avon is a magnificent canal. We found much to admire, and little of which to complain, on our Bath – Reading – Bath trip. Don’t just tell Navvies, Mike, let the rest of the country know the ongoing triumph of your organisation. There are always people who will join any society for their own ends. They don’t last long. Most trustees / directors / committee members are hardworking, dedicated and focused. They must deal with ignorance in authority. As Mike Day points out, you must educate to change the mindset. So with a banana like Mr de Leie running the SCS I would be surprised if they ever get their canal open. George Whitehead, the Working Party Organiser, must be a very worried man. Yours sincerely Peter B Jones Surrey & Hants Canal Society

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Our regular roundup of progress around the country begins in East Anglia, where the River Gipping Trust is coping with frost heave, rotten piles, and grey wagtails...

River Gipping

stop planks at the first workparty in June . River Gipping We have now pressure-washed the (Ipswich & Stowmarket Navigation)

River Gipping Trust

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walls and commenced re-pointing below the usual water line. Through the summer we will be cutting out and replacing patches of facing brick on the west wall where the facing has detached from the main structure and re-laying some of the coping stones that have been affected by frost heave. Work Parties are scheduled to meet every Wednesday and the first Saturday of every month throughout the summer Martin Bird, Restoration Manager River Gipping Trust

River Gipping Trust

This Spring the River Gipping Trust moved away from our usual worksite at Baylham Lock and returned to one of our earliest work sites at Bosmere Lock for few sessions of maintenance works This was completed in April with the removal of willow stumps from above the lock chamber, and the re–timbering of the footbridge over the lock. We then returned to Baylham where the continued dry weather helped with progress on repairs below the bridge . The repair work under the bridge itself was completed in April, the retaining wall and the curved dwarf wall between the small tunnel under the road and the water edge was re-built, and the area behind the wall filled and surfaced with concrete. Further work in the lock chamber itself was delayed through April and early May as a grey wagtail decided to nest in the battery box of the main pump. This coincided with a period when many regular workparty members were away on cruises of their own. As the number of people available was limited, we concentrated on clearance work on the brick surface area below the bridge, identifying the original edge of the brickwork and the remains of the original line of elm piles. The edge of the brickwork is slowly being eroded and at times of flood, bricks are falling off the edge into the stream. After consulting with Environment agency we are reinforcing the bank above and behind the original piles with sandbags, and will then lay a wooden beam along the front edge before re-laying the surface itself. Work has started on this in the worst affected area. The wagtails left the battery box in mid-May allowing us to pump out the lock and reset the

Above: stump-pulling at Bosmere Lock Below: work below Baylham tail bridge

...before heading west to Shropshire for a report on plans for the route from Norbury to Shrewsbury

Progress Shrewsbury & Newport Canals

Background: The Aim of the SNCT is to protect, conserve and improve the route At this years AGM four of the Trustees deof the Shrewsbury and Newport canals and cided to step down and four new Trustees branches, for the benefit of the community were elected to the Shrewsbury & Newport and the environment, with the ultimate goal Canals Trust (SNCT) Board. A meeting was of restoring a continuous navigable waterway then held to elect the Trust’s officers and linking Norbury Junction to Shrewsbury Bernie Jones was voted in as the new ChairThe logo of the SNCT is taken from man. Paul Havell was also elected as the new Thomas Telford’s blueprint treasurer, replacing Keith Lewis who has for the Longdon-onbeen the Trust’s treasurer since it was Tern Aqueduct, the started. oldest surviving iron The centre of the Trust’s activities conaqueduct in the world tinues to be the warehouse buildings and and a prototype for basin at Wappenshall, the connection point of the much bigger aquethe older Shrewsbury canal with the later duct he later constructed at Newport branch of the (now) Shropshire Pontcysyllte on the Ellesmere Canal. Union canal. The Shrewsbury canal was used For further information contact: John by narrow tub boats whilst the Newport Myers, Tel: 01785 255263, Mobile: 07711 branch was designed to normal narrowboat 858986, email: specification. Wappenshall includes a unique transfer warehouse which still has water under it. The Options Appraisal Report for the Wappenshall warehouse buildings, which the trust occupies on a peppercorn rent from Telford & Wrekin Council, has now been completed and the Trustees have made a decision as to the option that will be pursued. This means that the Trust can now apply for the grants that it needs to repair these Grade 2 listed buildings and bring them back into use. They will become the Headquarters of the SNCT and provide a focus for restoration of the Shrewsbury & Newport canals, with the first objective of reopening the adjacent stretch of canal to be used by a tripboat Elsewhere we are still hopeful of progress on the Newport section of the canal. When the Shrewsbury and Newport canals were closed Newport town council took the opportunity to acquire the 1½ miles running through the town. This stretch includes 3 locks which have been filled in and we want to work with local partners to get these blockages removed At the Shrewsbury end the Trust is in The currently infilled Newport Town Lock negotiation to acquire two lengths of canal. Martin Ludgate

Shrewsbury & Newport Canals

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Progress Sussex Ouse

Meanwhile down in the Deep South, the Sussex Ouse Restoration Trust volunteers continue their work on Isfield Lock

ing of the lock wall itself. Although the weather has changed now In my last report (Navvies 247) I commented that summer has arrived, progress remains upon the early start and good progress to steady and it is anticipated that the work will restoration of the lock at Isfield that had be completed by August, leaving several already been made in 2011. Mention was weeks to prepare for and begin the next also made of the different challenges that lay tasks. These include the creation of ‘artificial’ in wait this year. coping stones for the re-built west wall due The target was to complete the rebuild to the lack of original stones, and the continof a further 5m section of the west lock wall ued excavation of the west upper wing wall and those challenges came in the actual which includes a length of canal side used for amount of rebuilding the targeted section the navigation traffic when servicing the required, compared with the section of wall former paper mill that once stood close to completed in 2010. But the wonderful spring the lock. Preparation can also begin on an weather and dry working conditions allowed area in the invert below the lower gate recess the twice-weekly working parties to complete that requires extensive repairs, a task identithe task of digging out behind the damaged fied as the main target for 2012. wall and demolition of the actual wall before So it is all positive news from Isfield the end of May. and working parties have benefited from the The next stage involved laying down recruitment of a number of new volunteers the blinding and the implantation of reinwho are always made welcome at this forced concrete nibs a further 1.5m down to friendly and easy going work place. invert level. Only then could the mass pourTo join Project Manager Paul Morris and ing of ‘stepped’ concrete with rubble ‘plums’ his team just contact Ted Lintott, who organcommence. This stage is currently underway ises the workforce, on 01444-414413. and is accompanied by the gradual re-buildTerry Owen

Sussex Ouse

Work continues on rebuilding the west side of Isfield Lock in brick backfilled with concrete

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WCBS needs more timber for rebuilding narrow boat Hazel, so “If there’s an oak tree in the way of your canal, please let us know!”

Progress Wooden Canal Boat Society

Wooden Canal Boat Society

Pictures by WCBS

109 year old Lilith was recently employed carrying rubbish out of Cavendish Mill beside the Ashton Canal. The mill was converted into flats some years ago and is now being fitted with a biomass burning heating system. This has necessitated stripping out two basement flats. The easiest way to remove the rubbish was to chute it out into the boat alongside. Most of our restoration work has been on converted butty Southam. This has turned out to be more extensive than anticipated as the rot in the cabin side just went on and on. Recently the priority has been to complete the new toilet. In the past the overfilling and subsequent emptying of the chemical toilet has been a major issue, so a pump out facility was a priority. With this stage of the work complete, Southam is setting out to tow Lilith to Lincoln to collect timber for rebuilding Hazel. More chunky oak logs will be needed and can be processed on site with a chain mill, so if there’s an oak tree in the way of your canal, please let us know. The shop is in need of volunteers for dealing with customers, sorting out stock, van driving and developing online sales. If you would like to help, get in touch through Top to bottom: Lilith is loaded with rubbish, Southam with or ring work nearing completion, Hazel pulled out for a total rebuild 07931 952 037

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The Lichfield & Hatherton Trust are planning to cross the A51, while the Wendover Arm Trust are joined by KESCRG for an exploratory dig

Lichfield and Wendover Arm Filling Pound 26 of the Lichfield Canal at Tamworth Road (Borrowcop) has proved a more protracted operation than we had expected. We had to recall the contractors to undertake remedial work as water levels were dropping without any obvious reason. Things have now improved but careful monitoring continues as do our discussions with the Environment Agency which is concerned that an adequate supply of water to Darnford Brook continues. On the plus side, after heavy rain the pound filled rapidly and clearly helped with the control of potential flood water further downstream. We decided not to go ahead with any official opening or celebration until we are totally confident that Pound 26 is fully watertight. Lichfield District Council is hoping to get a grant to re-landscape Darnford Park (the other side of the A51 from the current work site) and work with the Forestry Commission to plant a substantial area of trees as a Diamond Jubilee project. Consequently this has spurred on L&H engineers to press ahead with our own works between the A51 and A38. Crossing the two roads is a very major project but there is much which can be done which will enable us to redistribute soil on-site in collaboration with the District Council. We have now resolved to return to an earlier plan to build a staircase lock east of A51 rather than single locks on either side of the road. Our work force, in collaboration with WRG on the recent training weekend, is now building the channel from the A38 turn to just short of A51. We continue to

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monitor the HS2 high speed rail proposals, whose route crosses our canal, and have attended the recent public consultation. The rail engineers were unaware of the L&H scheme but have made reassuring noises. We are particularly concerned that there must be an adequate above-water clearance at Cappers Bridge and that there is no intrusion into the channel or footprint of the restored canal. Brian Kingshott

Lichfield Canal Huddlesford to Lichfield Planned diversion via two new road bridges and staircase locks

A3 8

Lichfield & Hatherton Canals

To Fradley Coventry Huddlesford Canal Junction To Coventry

Lichfield A51 To Ogley

Darnford Park Original route obstructed

Locks 24-26: current main worksite is below locks

continued the good work they have already put in on exploring the Whitehouses old Pumping Station site. [See dig report, p36-7] On our May working party Wendover Arm They had a very successful two days in which Trust successfully restored the access to Drayton Beauchamp using an excavator and they continued excavating what is thought to rd th be a settling tank with an adit leading to the dumper on Tuesday 3 and Wednesday 4 May to cover the pipe capping [a layer of former pumping shaft concrete that we are gradually laying in the There used to be a paddle as indicated canal bed to cover the pipe which currently by a groove in the wharf wall to let surplus carries the canal’s water flow, so that we can water from the canal down into Wilstone reinstate the channel above it] with spoil and Reservoir but, when the pipeline was inlevelling off between the bottom of the banks stalled in 1911/12, the paddle sluice was rewhere the capping has been laid in the centre sited at a manhole on the pipeline dischargof the canal bed. We also made a start on ing via a pipe into the pumping shaft. This is levelling the bed of the canal from the Stage still in operation today. Access to the shaft 1 bund. has been closed off for safety reasons until At Bridge 4 the last wall pour of the construction work is required. Stage 4 mooring wall was completed and The three openings in the wharf wall scaffold tubes and Acrow struts removed. were found to connect with the settling tank The loosened steel pans are being left in and there are thoughts that the tank could be position until August when they will be re-instated as part of the facility to allow transferred to the Stage 2 mooring wall. surplus water to be taken from the restored The first two sections of the Stage 2 canal into Wilstone reservoir. mooring wall were poured and the formwork Roger Leishman, Restoration Director moved ready for the third section to be 01442 874536, poured at the June working party. Good progress was also made in roughly shaping the banks from the bund at the end of Stage 1 up to the mooring wall. At the June working party the hump between the abutments of the former swing bridge No. 4 was removed and tipped behind the Stage 4 mooring wall. Progress continued with the Stage 2 mooring wall and five base sections were completed leaving only one base section to be completed in July. Surplus concrete from the wall pours was used to complete a small piece of pipe capping at the manhole past Bridge 4A and also tipped at the end of the Stage 4 mooring wall where the bank has been removed for wall construction and needs some solidity to support the final bank profile before lining. Finally work commenced on the long job of profiling and lining the 440 metres of canal to Bridge 4 for the next rewatering. Over the weekend of the May working party we were joined by KESCRG (Kent and East Sussex Work in progress on the base of the Stage 2 mooring wall Canal Restoration Group) who WAT

Wendover Arm

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Progress pictures

...on the Chesterfield, Neath, Manchester Bolton & Bury, North Walsham & Dilham, Herefordshire & Gloucestershire and Buckingham restorations

Not only did the Chesterfield Canal Camps start work on a brand new lock at Staveley (see, picture, pages 2-3), but they also helped Chesterfield Canal Trust complete a length of wash wall (pictured) which will join up the brand new Staveley Town Basin to the restored five miles of canal leading to Chesterfield. There will be a low-key opening of the new length this autumn and a full-blow celebration in 2012. And then, once the lock’s complete, there’s another one to build...

The first trailboats on the short restored length of the Herefordshire & Gloucestershire Canal in Aylestone Park on the edge of Hereford, thanks to competion of the slipway which WRG has been working on for some time. They were photographed at H&G Trust’s Aylestone Boat Gathering in May Pictured left is a recent artist’s impression of how a restored Buckingham Arm might get under the A5 (which blocks the lcanal a mile from its junction with the Grand Union main line at Cosgrove) by using a new flight of locks. The latest good news for this scheme is that South Northants Council has pledged its full support to the restoration

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Unusually, our canal camp supporting the Welsh Waterways Festival (incorporating the IWA National Trailboat Festival) on the Neath Canal not only included the usual site services work for the festival, but also some clearance work on the next length to be restored. The festival site (pictured, right) was at the north end of the restored length of canal from Neath at Ynysarwed, and volunteers worked on clearing one of the Abergarwed Locks (above and above right). We hope to have a full report of the festival camp in the next issue.

Ladyshore Bridge on the Manchester Bolton & Bury before and after MBBCS attention

Meanwhile on the North Walsham & Dilham Canal, work continues on rebuilding Betton Mill Lock

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Dig report KESCRG at Wendover KESCRG 7-8 May: Wendover Arm ...or “a tale of Jen’s bottom and the Deep Shaft”

All photos by KESCRG

Contrary to some opinions KESCRG is alive and kicking and well, still digging. As the dangerous intellectual (I can read and write and drink beer) it has fallen to me to write my first canal dig report. We came, we saw, we dug! But there is more… We arrived at a new hall (new to us) in Ivinghoe Aston, a pretty village on the edge of the Chilterns. The hall was reasonably cosy, with good facilities especially a clean kitchen. Above all it was clean, and all the toilets had doors, unlike Stratton Scout Hut. We went to the village pub, the Village Swan, on Friday Night to sample the Tring Brewery Side Pocket ale as well as on-tap Thatcher’s (how did she run the country and brew cider?) Partaking a hearty breakfast our intrepid navvies ventured out. Our prophet of doom (the red-jumpered Roy) said “I’ve driven through a heavy storm, it’s going to be a wet one today”. We drove to site under a cloud (literally) and arrived in a slight precipitation. We loaded our kit into the local WAT tracked dumpers and set up our site establishment consisting of a Burco and teabags. The task was to continue a job started

Chainsaw Bobby struggling to work the wheelbarrow, Jen on her bottom Digger looking like he was chewing wasps and Steve showing his chest wig

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last year, namely uncovering more of the outlet/overflow structure at Whitehouses Pumping Station which drains the Wendover Arm overflow and also acted as a discharge structure for the Newcomen pumping engine which was previously on the site. There were also other jobs to do elsewhere. The adit which joins Wilstone Reservoir and Tringford Pumping Station could be heard running with water. There is a deep shaft on the Newcomen Engine site which provided the suction for the engine. As we subsequently found, the pipe from the Wendover end was also connected and running with water. Under the expert guidance of Captain Mainwaring, sorry Ian Williamson, the team of 10 started digging fast and furiously. The structure had been backfilled with all sorts of crap especially brickbats and soil as well as antique bottles and ancient pac-a-macs. For the benefit of younger readers pac-a-macs were a garment made from plastic to keep out the rain and make you look like a plastic bag. Because of the unknown nature of the structure we had to dig by hand, with Jen and Steve acting as digging machines, not tiring or slowing in pace. Mick pretended to dig, leaning on the shovel at frequent intervals (can’t forget 20 years of working for a water company). The Barrow B*tch Posse of Chainsaw Bobby, Ian the Chairman and Injured Kate struggled to keep up with the pace of upcoming backfill. (I might have the wrong metaphors, blame the Side Pocket!) We first removed earth from round the walls and then, having determined where the walls were, started to remove a big chunk of dirt in the middle. In the meantime Roy and Adrian went to do some shuttering work, Phill went to do some machine work and Digger snuck off to doss about playing with an excavator. So, back in Jen’s hole, work continued with Mick now on his 3rd shovelful and Steve exposing more (of his wall, that is!) Jen digging furiously, well without stopping anyway. Innuendo abounded in Jen’s hole with reference to finding her bottom (funny, I could see it all the time!) In time Jen found her bottom and wanted to join it up to Mick’s bottom. Mick showed his prowess with the mattock, which made Jen go all weak at the knees. Hence the nickname. Bobby had to go and fetch Eli and the lunch, any excuse to stop being a Barrow B*tch. Injured Kate, being the Strong Silent type, worked man-

overdone it the day before. Apart from Chainsaw Bobby who had to go to work and play with some sheep and some conservation volunteers. Some guys have all the fun. We set about investigating the arched roof of what we think is the coal store for the engine (no wonder there is global warming) and cleared out most of the sump of the structure using Digger and digger and a whole host of Barrow B*tches, including Roy and manful Injured Kate (wounded playing an Irish version of hockey) not moaning too much about her stitches. Mick the Mattock Man digging at the speed of light, We took it a bit steadier on Sunday trying to reach Jen’s bottom. but achieved what we set out to do, namely exposing as much of the fully at being a Barrow B*tch in Bobby’s structure as possible so Roger the local could absence. show BW’s experts round on Monday - didn’t I Bobby and Eli returned with the lunch, say that was the whole point of the weekend which Bobby threw onto the floor, so we had at the beginning? Then read this bit first! mixed bread rolls, brown on top and white All in all a good productive weekend on the bottom with added grit for good with lots of hard work and good teamwork. measure! And beer, good pub and superb food and a After lunch the full posse returned with good hall! And digging! Roy on shovel and Adrian on the wheelbarMick “Mattock Man” Lilliman row. We uncovered an arched pipe which led to the deep shaft and the roar of water got louder as more soil got removed. Roy admitted he had got the weather wrong as it was now warm and sunny. In fact the drizzle had stopped as soon as we set up site. Various clothes were removed and Digger turned up with a digger and by the end of the afternoon we had cleared about half the structure. The digging was too much for Mick so he went and played with a new toy and brushcut the nettles around the site. Above: “I am a digger and I live in a hole” We left site, went and had a dirty pint (or two) in the Village Swan and went Below: the sump inside, showing the three arches to the canal. Note (unforecast) sunshine! back to a superb roast chicken and asparagus risotto, courtesy of Eli, who had been slaving over a hot stove while we were enjoying ourselves. KESCRG then adjourned to the pub where we held our AGM under the leadership of Chairman Ian and under the influence of Thatcher’s and Side Pocket. After the AGM we drank even more and went back to the sumptuous hall and the writer suffered amnesia induced by sleep and alcohol. Eli was up with the lark and produced a splendid breakfast and we all then struggled to site agreeing that we had all

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Camp leaders What do they do? Camp leading: the inside story Those of you who have been on a Canal Camp will know that they all follow much the same format: a warm welcome from the leaders, a cup of tea, safety talk and perhaps a site visit on the Saturday evening before dinner. What you might not appreciate is that for the leaders the actual camp is the culmination of a lot of planning and preparation, which began many months earlier. It is usually at the Bonfire Bash that the provisional canal camp calendar for the following year is unveiled for the first time. Eager camp leaders start planning which one(s) they would like to do, approach likely cooks and assistants, and perhaps those with essential skills for the job like machine operators or MUPs. At this point it is all provisional and subject to change, but it is a start. Typically spring is when the more detailed planning can begin: What are we expected to do? How are to do it? Have the necessary permissions been granted? If not, how likely is it that they will be granted (or refused)? What plant do we have (or need)? Is there enough work for everyone? What’s the back-up job if we finish the main project? Are there up-to-date risk assessments? Who are the locals? Where is the accommodation? Showers? Once the work becomes clearer they know the skills they require from their volunteers and, if you go to the BCN Clean-up weekend, you will find leaders and their assistants approaching likely volunteers and doing a sales-pitch as to why their camp is the one that you should do. Without experienced volunteers with the right skills, it may not be possible to carry out the work or train new volunteers to do the job. Another essential part of the planning process is the site visit. It can be your first proper meeting with the local group, and even if you have worked on the same site before, the memory can play tricks or there are important details that did not matter

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Gordon explains about all the other stuff that a camp leader does besides the on-site leadership, while James hands over the leader recruitment role last time: “That gate is wide enough for the concrete lorry, isn’t it?” “Err... yes, but there’s a six tonne weight limit on the access road bridge” “OK - can we do a dumper-shuttle...? Better add two dumpers to the plant list.” “Road-legal ones?” “Yes - so we’ll need two volunteers with vans and dumpers on their ticket” Some sites are easier to work on than others because there is more space, better access, an on-site secure compound and so on, but regardless of the site, there are questions that need answering: Where can we have breaks? How do we keep the public out? Where can the plant and materials be stored safely if not on-site? Are there hazards like overhead power lines, unguarded drops or deep water to attend to? Then of course there is the question of logistics. Where is your camp kit coming from, and where is it going afterwards? It is the leaders’ responsibility to get both vans and the kit trailer from its previous camp, or wherever it has been stored, which can involve some very circuitous routes (Manchester to Chesterfield via St Neots anyone?). During the summer when there is a camp every week, there is not much time to spare: usually the kit is packed and ready to collect by lunchtime, and you have to meet your volunteers in just a few hours time on the other side of the country... And if you brought a van to the camp, how do you get home again when the van goes off to the next camp? If there is a break in the schedule, will a van and trailer fit on your driveway for a week? It is all about team-work, and offers of assistance are greatly appreciated! Also under logistics there are local things to consider: Where is the nearest hospital to the site with an A&E department? What is the address and grid-reference of the site in case of an emergency? The Postcode

is unlikely to be all that helpful in rural areas. Same goes for the accommodation - people can have accidents there too. Where is the supermarket, bowling alley, cinema, swimming pool etc. for evening entertainments? Which is the best railway station for people arriving by train? Of course not everything goes to plan and the camps list can change. For example you may find that your camp on the Grantham Canal, which you have been planning for months, is moved at fairly shortnotice to the Basingstoke Canal. Suddenly your carefully laid plans are up in the air because it is a totally different job, in a different place at, potentially, a different time... As Bruce Forsyth might say, “good game, good game”. Whatever happens there are always people to turn to for help and advice: MKP, the duty directors, other leaders, the leadership coordinators, and especially Jenny Black at head office. Jen will keep you updated with details of those people booking on for your camp, including what they have on their authorisation cards etc. so that you can monitor the available skills of your volunteers, add in any particular requirements you have for the final instructions letter and directions, and if necessary amend the number of places available on a camp so as not to overwhelm the accommodation or site. At long last the week of the camp arrives. In the early hours of Saturday your leaders are travelling across the country to collect kit and making final plans while the cook is performing the WRG equivalent of a trolley dash around the supermarket. Everything is falling in to place, and looking good – until you arrive at the accommodation and discover that the roof has fallen in, or it is double-booked, or that instead of the expected cluster of Portacabins they are shipping containers… For your leaders, whilst the safety talk is certainly not the end, or even the beginning of the end, it is at least the end of the beginning. Gordon Brown

Camp leader finders found! So that’s what the leaders do, but who is itr that actualy finds the leaders for our camps? Over to James Butler for some news on that subject...

This will probably one of my last Navvies articles before I officially step down from the ‘leader finding’ role. Hoorah you say as you think you can avoid hiding from me! I have good and bad news for you in a minute! Firstly, I would like to take this chance to thank all of the leaders, assistants and cooks who have answered my plea over the last three years and agreed to go on a camp. Without you camps wouldn’t have run. An even bigger thanks goes to my team who have helped with the search to find them all. They have been very supportive, helpful and given me a size 10 boot up the rear end a few times to make me realise that May isn’t months away from camps, it is the month before they start! So Jenny Black, Suzie Walker and Ju Davenport, a huge thanks goes to you folks and also to Helen ‘Bush Baby’ Gardner for organising the leader training days. Now for the good and bad news. Bad news first: You thought running away from me was hard. Now there are TWO people to replace me! Good news: I can reveal the new leader finders will be Mark (MK2) Richardson and Rebecca (Bex) Parr. I think these guys will make a fantastic team together and in combination with Jen, Suzie and Ju they will bring in lots of new great ideas. (If nothing else, they drink more than me so, they can get you sozzled easier so you agree easier!) Incidentally, this isn’t how we find ALL the leaders - some actually come to us! I wish these guys all the best. I would wish them luck but they shouldn’t ’t need luck as I am sure you will all help them the same way as you have for me and they will do a sterling job. So now for the latest news on leaders for upcoming work parties? Well, By the time this comes out, most of the camps will have been under way and done and we have all the leaders we need. Thank you to Moose for stepping up this time to do the Bonfire Bash / Pete Redway memorial weekend (October 8th-9th), instead of both of us being suprised when we read in Navvies that he is doing it. I am safe for now! Have great camps everyone and I shall see you out and about on camps and digs in the years to come. Signing out for probably the last time as the leader finder main person. James Butler

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Cleanup On the BCN - or not... The BCN Clean up (that wasn’t?) Part One For the past five years my two boys and I have attended the annual “Black Country Trolley Fest” along with the Waterway Recovery Group. Due to recent surgery for a prolapsed disc it wasn’t looking like I would be able to attend the 2011 event, my sons were upset. “Dad we’ve got to go, our own boat will be up there soon, think of the propeller!!” So a quick chat to WRG and a slight twist of my arm I volunteered to be a zone leader for the event (to save my back!). Come the Saturday morning, my group set off from Phoenix Wharf towards the Garrison Locks, after one hour we had amassed four mopeds, a dozen shopping trolleys, two wall mounted cigarette machines, a garage door and lots of tyres. The lucky dip was indeed fruitful. As I sat looking at my BCN map I realised, we are not on the BCN, this is the Grand Union Canal, what’s going on? Are the BCNS empire building? Have Graham Whorton (BCNS) and his committee got visions of grandeur? Are we going to work the wrong way round back to Coombeswood? How can I break the news to my merry band of Black Country Canal Dippers? ‘Tell them at lunch time’ was the plan. After lunch I took my happy gang aside and explained to them, yes it’s been good pickings, great you’ve worked together well, yes you can be proud of what you have achieved, BUT, um err you’ve not been working on the BCN! Shock was soon replaced by the sounds of jaws hitting the ground, grappling hooks dropped onto hastily discarded sandwiches and crisp packets, mutterings of “surely not” “it cant be” “how can I explain this to my wife?” were to be heard amongst the shellshocked volunteers. To be continued... Chris Morgan

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When is a BCN Cleanup not a BCN Cleanup? Answer: when it isn’t on the BCN! While you’re wondering exactly where this is leading to, this seems as good a time as any for us to (a) own up to having organised a BCN Cleanup most of which wasn’t on the BCN at all and (b) tell you about next year’s event. This will indeed be on the BCN, the Walsall Canal in fact, including the Town Arm which is a new site for us. The date is April 22-23, and there’s a possibility of also extending it onto the Friday as a local event and getting some of the nearby schools involved. More about it in future issues. Now back to Chris...

The BCN Clean up (that wasn’t?) Conclusion If you have read part one well you are right it was mostly in jest! Our group of volunteers had a fantastic time in the great weather the 2011 Clean up on the Grand Union Canal in Birmingham. The pickings were good which means no one gets bored and we all work together. My nine year old son Owen (on his 3rd cleanup) thoroughly enjoyed himself and my eldest spent the whole weekend as captain of Hawne and eating Dave Pearson’s (Chair West Mids IWA) sandwiches! With regards the choice of cleaning the Grand Union Canal, spot on, well done it badly needed doing, our last job on the Sunday was to remove a record 16, yes 16 Kwiksave trollies, still attached to each other, from the bottom lock. Dare I say it for fear of physical violence or verbal abuse, but we used a stray moose to help us pull these out!! As for me and my group, I am proud of the way they worked and put up with my inability to physically help, but before we went on our separate ways I gave each of them an application form to join the BCNS (GU branch)!! See you next year Chris Morgan

WRG BC News A special SS* edition written from boats in DROITWICH. This is the best boating news for some time as the Droitwich Canals are truly open to navigation and here we are with four club boats amongst over 70 other visiting craft to prove it. There will be lots written elsewhere about the event so I will just write about the boating experience. We came from Stourport down the Severn. There had been lots of news about drought conditions on the river and short supply for the Gloucester and Sharpness so I was worried that the river would be so low that we wouldn’t be able to get over the cill into the bottom lock. We did get stuck but only on one corner at the approach. Work with a long shaft, heaving, reversing and club member Mike on Pinvin flushing us out as he emptied the lock got us clear and both boats got in the lock and thus onward and upward. The lower end of the canal was very smelly with stagnant water and covered in duck weed. More boat movement needed so PLEASE try to visit the canal as soon as you can. The amount of floating weed was a worry as Lynx’s engine is raw water cooled but by making slow steady progress we managed not to stir it up too much and the water kept coming through. All the locks were in good condition, the gates still a bit stiff to move and some of the winding gear unpolluted with grease. Mooring was fine for us but a nightmare for the poor harbour master as more and more boats kept turning up. The problems with one lock on the Junction Canal caused BW to want to work it themselves and thus passage up and down was restricted and time tabled. We walked up to view the newest bit of canal. I can remember when it was all fields round here!! and so it was, up until only a few weeks ago! We stared long at the tunnel under the motorway. Lynx being deep and high it seemed a ‘Catch 22’ issue in that when the water was deep enough there wasn’t enough headroom and vice versa. Well we could take the cratch down but thought that with restrictions on the locks and many boats wanting to use them we would take the lazy option and go back the way we came. There is a confusing notice on the lock in Vines Park where you enter the river section. It tells you to look at the gauge before going on to the river, but we searched and found no gauge. There is one at the

WRG BC News from WRG’s Boat Club other end of the river section. There are plenty of secure moorings and Droitwich is a very interesting and welcoming town with many excellent facilities. The biggest drawback is that the Barge Canal now doesn’t go to Droitwich. Wide boats can only get as far as the rail bridge where it confusingly tells you that boats over an unspecified width can’t proceed. The winding hole before it is limited to 60ft. Also, because of diversions, you couldn’t pull a barge with a horse. I suggest horse boaters use a hippopotamus (it could pull the lot of us) Now some club news: As you know the latest edition of AWCC’s magazine Alert is always on display for club members to view. However as few (usually none) of the members visit us – whether at home or boating – I don’t suppose many members are familiar with the publication. Well it’s good news on this as Alert is now coming to me in electronic form. I can email it out to any member who wants it and knowing my technological skills perhaps many who might not! Remember canal restoration needs more ‘lerts’ so get your copy of Alert by letting me know your latest email address The AGM will have come and gone before you get to read this, so I may or may not still be secretary. * Combined effort Sue’s typographic & technical skills and Sadie’s usual drivel

Judith Chessher After writing my last bc news I learned of the death of member Judith Chessher. Having had mega surgery a few years ago to remove all the cancerous parts Judith was incredibly determined and strong willed enough to get back to boating and living as full a life as possible. Sadly the cancer returned and she got worse and worse over a long period. She, with Mike, was a great supporter of the Wendover Arm Trust, wrg and of our club. We send all our sympathy and best wishes to Mike.

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Navvies News WRG’s Inglesham Appeal Race Night Fundraiser is a run-away winner! A huge thank you to everyone who supported and helped the WRG Race Night. Saturday 23 July saw over 100 people sit down for a ‘Night at the Races’ in the WRG marquee at The Waterways Festival site at Burton. As dinner was served, all the races and horses were sponsored and everyone was looking forward to placing their hard earned spondoolies on a winning nag! I would like to thank all our race sponsors:

. . . . . . . .

Janet and Malcom Fry – The Entertainment Stakes Ian West – The Chairman’s Stakes Chris and Lizzie Birks – The French Holiday Stakes The Waterspace Team – The Waterspace Challenge Harry Watts – The Tory Burr Classic John and Christine Bayliss – The Graham Palmer Handicap Helen Whitehouse and Jerry Saunders – The Exhibitionist Stakes WRG NW – The Pete Richards Stakes

And of course, all our horse sponsors too and those who supported through donations. All in all, we will have raised over £2800 towards the Inglesham Appeal – not bad for a night’s work! Special thanks must also go to:

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Harri, Alice and Neil - for helping with the catering and decorating Moose and Maria (and team) - for sorting the washing up All the red/blue/clean/dirty shirts that joined us on the evening – and their incredible enthusiasm (lost voices were reported on Sunday!) MKP and Bungle – technical stuff and blackout (one I asked for this time, not like at Dig’95) Mr Bayston – Compere on the night, projection screen acquirer and keeping me sane in the run-up Alan Wiffen (and his Tote Team – Rhiannon, Mitch, Rosemary, Mark II, Barbara) – and Alan, thanks for our

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lovingly handcrafted WRG Race Night kit, complete with its own personalised carry-case (Kit R?) Ali - for letting me take over her camp for the night Security - for letting the people in that I didn’t give tickets to as I thought they had festival wristbands! Skirty – Tricast seller extraordinaire Waiter team – thank you for getting all the peas, potatoes and Beef in Ale Pie (well we were in Burton!) to the tables on time.

Speaking of the Appeal’s now up to almost £46,000.

Congratulations Jo and Clive Alderman on the arrival of Ivy Jill Alderman on 22 July weighing 7lb 12oz.

Change of address Kirsty ‘skirty’ Wallace says she has moved ‘oop norff’ (her words, not mine!). Her new address is Flat 6, 27 Lower Fold, Marple Bridge,Stockport, Cheshire SK6 5 DU. If you move house, please do remember to tell us so we can change your address for Navvies subscriptions.

Apologies ...for the non-appearance of the regular ‘40 interviews’ feature this time. It will return in the next issue.

2012 Canal Camps ...programme is being put together a little earlier than the usual time of year, as a result of both the National Festival (where we start talking to the local canal societies) and the Reunion (where we normally draw up the schedule) are both a month earlier this year. So if you are involved in running a canal society or trust, are hoping to host one or more week-long WRG canal camps in 2012, and haven’t already been in touch with WRG, please contact Mike Palmer (see Directory, p 19-21) as soon as possible

Thanks Chris Griffiths of Stroudprint for his continued help with Navvies printing.

At last: the horrifying truth about the National Trust Dear Deirdre We’ve a new volunteer in our local group who was telling me about volunteering for the National Trust. He’s trying to persuade me to join him on a weekend at a stately home in Dorset. What do you reckon? - FJ, by email Deirdre writes: It is a sad fact that the National Trust has a well-organised network of spies planted throughout local WRG groups, with the intention of stealing our best volunteers away with promises of four poster beds, apple crumble and light dusting work. Be assured all this talk of indoor work with no heavy lifting is all appalling lies: WRG’s own counterespionage network has revealed that NT volunteers are just as cold, wet and exhausted as their WRG equivalents, only with slightly better lavatory facilities. Please report this agent to WRG HQ so they can neutralise him immediately. Scenes you seldom see on a dig: No 8

Infill Featuring Dear Deirdre Dear Deirdre Is it true we never have to go back to Stratton? - NJ, London Deirdre writes: We’ve received assurances that WRG groups have now stayed at Stratton for the last time. But please refrain from joyfully burning the place to the ground, as the Scouts still need somewhere to store their filthy linoleum and cockroaches. Have you got a question for Deirdre? Just email

Red is the colour Red is the colour WRG is our name We do lots of digging It’s always been the same Wherever there’s a waterway That needs some love and care Just look for the WRGies You’re bound to find us there We drive bright red Transits Like FEH and SAD People thing we’re loonies But we’re really not that bad We lay bricks and concrete ANd dig out mud as well We build locks and bridges And we do it rather well! Come and be a WRGie You can do it too A canal camp or a weekend It’s entirely up to you Just bring your sense of humour A sleeping bag and mat We have everything you need Including your hard hat

“If none of you want any second helpings, I’m just going to have to throw it all in the bin”

If you like a beer or two You’ll find we’re just the same When the brickwork turns out crooked We’re really not to blame The fault lies with the locals They lead us all astray So please don’t take the mickey We can do that any day! Steve Johnson

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Profile for The Inland Waterways Association

Navvies 248  

Navvies Magazine for volunteers restoring the waterways. Issue 248

Navvies 248  

Navvies Magazine for volunteers restoring the waterways. Issue 248