volunteers restoring waterways
navvies waterway recovery group
Issue No 249 October-November 2011
Navvies Editor: Martin Ludgate, 35 Silvester Road, East Dulwich London SE22 9PB 020-8693 3266 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com
Wey & Arun Canal Trust
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 ÂŠ 2011 WRG
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 www.wrg.org.uk for page 2
Contents Martin Ludgate
In this issue...
Above left: Southland Lock taking shape on the Wey & Arun and Above all that was to be seen there before work started (see progress report, p32). Left putting the finishing touches on Eisey Lock (see camp report, p42-43). Below: rebuilding the gauging narrows on the Cromford (see camp report, p15-16). Front cover: London WRG continue the camps’ good work on the new Staveley Town Lock, Chesterfield Canal (photo by Martin Ludgate). Back cover (clockwise from top): first section of lined channel on the Mont nears completion (John Hawkins); London WRG and WRGNW fill gabions on a joint Lichfield dig (Martin Ludgate); rebuilding stonework on the Mon & Brec - see ‘international phrase book’ p17-19 (Nikki Packer); construction begins on Inglesham Lock: report next time (Tim Lewis)
Chairman MKP explains about camp kits 4-5 Coming soon Autumn digs, Christmas digs, Winter digs and more 6 Camp reports Chesterfield, Montgomery, Cromford and Mon & Brec 7-19 40 interviews James Butler answers the questions 20-23 Diary canal camps and weekend digs 24-26 Letters Lining methods on the Mont, and (would you believe?) the K&A again 27 Progress a roundup of news from restoration projects around the country 28-37 More camp reports Eisey, Inglesham, and the Welsh Trailboat Festival 38-43 WRG BC Boat Club update 44-45 Noticeboard Canalway Cavalcade needs you!46 Infill Dewane Smiff meets the Wormhole Recovery Group 47
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Press date for issue 250: Novemb er 1st.
Subscriptions A year's subscription (6 issues) is available for a minimum of £3.00 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
Chairman MKP on the camp kits
Mike Palmer explains how a standard WRG Canal Camps tool and catering kit provides for 17, 25 and 30 people simultaneously...
So how do we get to 30 for eating? I know our reputation for food is good but Canal Camps Kit The last few comments surely we don’t attract that many hangers on have all been a bit “airy-fairy” long-term do we? Well the reasons we go for 30 are a vision stuff so, just to ring the changes, let’s little more practical. Put simply it means that have something practical and hopefully the cook can store things in bowls in the informative for anyone who encounters fridge, you don’t have to wash up the lunch Canal Camps kit. kit in order to your evening meal, it allows Theory: The Canal Camps kit has for a few breakages, that sort of thing. evolved tremendously over the years and I The kit lists: We have changed the kit don’t think we have ever explained the logic lists quite a lot recently and it’s all been behind these changes. You all get to use the about trying to (a) help the leader plan kit so you should know why we supply the things, (b) minimize the effort involved in things we do (and more importantly why we packing things up and (c) minimize the don’t supply things we don’t). Then hopefully chances of leaving stuff behind. you will understand why we get worked up Because we rely on “The Right Tool for about seemingly trivial things. So let’s start the Right Job”; without it we can’t do our job with the basic thinking: well or safely. The camp leader will have How many navvies can a camp kit planned the work expecting the correct mix of support? The theory assumes that a “typitools and if they don’t arrive then it may have a cal” Canal Camp is 17 people, but with up to serious impact on a camp. So it is important 25 people on site and it can feed up to 30 that we check the kits carefully each time they volunteers. move on otherwise not only do we stand to Er… seventeen, twenty five, lose a lot of equipment that may well be thirty? The reason we pick 17 for a Canal difficult to recover or replace but it may well Camp is that (a) experience shows that actu- mean wasted time during the next week. ally it’s not a bad number, any bigger than In order to help the planning process that and the technical jobs tend to get tricky the Site Kit List is arranged in “functional” to coordinate and (b) our vans have nine groups so that leaders can easily see what seats so just one driver can shift 16 others tools they are getting for each activity. This around on a night out with just one double hopefully makes things simpler but, as with hop. But 17 is just a guideline, if the camp all simple systems, it’s important to underleader wants to go bigger than that then we stand how it is supposed to work so please won’t stop them… do take a minute to read the front page of Which is why we make sure the tool the new Kit lists as you will find it speeds the trailer can support twenty five people on site. packing session up. It’s got hard hats, hi-vis vests, etc. for that We have put the kit lists on the website many because we assume a few day workers so that not only can the leader see how and the odd visitor or two. In fact, because many shovels they are getting but the cook one camp might be demolition, then the next can work out whether the village hall cooker camp might be bricklaying followed by junwill take one of our grundy tins (they are gle bashing, etc, if you actually add it all up 40x26cm by the way). then 101 navvies can be equipped from just As I say the camps kit has and always from one trailer – assuming you can find a will evolve. We tend to make the big changes site that needs clearing, excavating, demoljust before the start of the summer season, ishing, rebuilding and landscaping all at the based on the results of the Camps feedback same time! But remember there are still only survey and the Leaders training day plus any twenty five hard hats... other comments – so please don’t hold back.
been in the can it’s very important that we don’t ever use it for the vans. So that’s the diesel situation – what about the fuel-can that comes with the brick-saw. Here the confusion is whether it is neat unleaded or pre-mixed two-stroke. So we have added a reversible label tag that allows you to show which it is, please make sure it accurately reflects the contents! Finally, the kit now comes with three decent funnels. Please use them – not only will it save on wasting fuel but it will make it safer as the fuel doesn’t pour all over your hands, the exhaust, into the local watercourse, etc. Pretty much all my project plans now say “all fuelling will take place from approved containers using funnels away from watercourses once engines have cooled down”. It’s the minimum that EA, HSE, etc will expect to see. Gazebos: At least one camp report alludes to the gazebos’ irritating habit of blowing away if you don’t secure them. Not only this embarrassing but it often results in (expensive) damage – they are quite easy to damage. Just because it seems lovely weather when you sent it up, that doesn’t mean it will stay that way and its too late to do anything once its blowing down the towpath. (and yes it does take 4 people to pack them up – use any fewer and you will damage them). Publicity banners: just a remainder that every van has a publicity banner that not only gives details of how to contact us but also acknowledges that we are part of (and our funding comes from) IWA. They should be stored in the overhead locker and there should be tie-wraps with them. Put ’em up – who knows who might read them. And finally: I haven’t had time to write it up yet so next issue you can look forward to an article entitled “How the Chairman really cocked up on site this summer” Mike Palmer
There is a lot of thinking that goes into even small changes we make. For example… Fuel and jerry cans and funnels and stuff: The way we have dealt with this has been a bit haphazard in the past. Put simply nobody really cared about dodgy fuel storage tanks on sites in the middle of nowhere. However, both the EA and HSE are rather more concerned these days, both in terms of fire risks and pollution risks. Let’s face it we are not going to get any brownie points for restoring the canal but polluting the local stream are we? So if fuel is stored on site then it should be done properly. If it’s going to be a long term site then the local society should be putting in a properly secure bunded tank. If it’s a more temporary site but one that will still use a lot of fuel then probably a towable fuel bowser will be a better option. They are not expensive to hire (not compared to filling them up anyway!) and they do their job much better than any messing about with jerry cans. So that leaves only the very temporary, remote site that isn’t going to use much fuel. And that’s what we have the jerry cans for – not for mass storage of fuel but just for transferring small quantities into equipment. So we now supply two 10litre jerry cans marked up as “site diesel only”. What exactly does that mean? Well it means what it says. As you know there is red diesel and white diesel. On site we should use red diesel coz it’s cheaper. However, as discussed above, the costs and effort of having a fuel store is such that sometimes for just a quick job it’s more appropriate to just go to the local garage and fill up the jerry can. Yes it is a little pricier but it may well be the cheapest and easiest way of doing it. The kit on site won’t mind and it really does depend on the situation. So that is why it is labeled site diesel only, because we don’t know what has
A gazebo and a WRG/IWA banner both in evidence at Inglesham Lock. Make good use of them!
Coming soon Autumn camps, winter camps, spring camps... 22-29 October: Chelmer & Blackwater and Grand Western camps By the time you read this it may be too late but just in case it isn’t, there’s an extra October Canal Camp on the Grand Western Canal being run by WRG Forestry. There’s also a regular WRG camp the same week on the Chelmer & Blackwater which has been fully booked for some time but it might be worth checking in case anyone’s had to cancel their booking. For either of these camps, contact head office on 01494 783453 or email@example.com.
London WRG / KESCRG Christmas Party dig: Wilts & Berks 3-4 December We will be working on the Seven Locks flight on the Wilts & Berks Canal, removing trees from the towpath and canal bed below Lock 2, and preparing the hedgerows for hedge laying There will also be plenty of stump pulling, so bring your Tirforing arms! The accommodation will be in the shiny new Sheldon School in Chippenham, where we will be tucking into a marvellous 3 course Christmas feast on Saturday evening prepared by Bungle and Eddie. Saturday evening will have a Real Ale theme, not least because there will be several local brews on offer, plus of course some cider. There will be a fancy dress competition with prizes not to be missed, so come dressed as your local ale or your favourite brew. Martin L will be hosting a beer themed quiz, so make sure you do plenty of research into the subject before the weekend! The price for the whole weekend will be £16. Please send your cheques (payable to KESCRG) to Eli Mathieson, 1 Hurst Lane, Fernhill Heath, Worcester WR3 8RR.
26 Dec to 1 Jan: New Year on the Mont... This year’s WRG New Year Camp is on the Montgomery Canal. Work will mainly be scrubbashing, carrying on from our 2009 and 2010 Reunion weekends clearing the canal towards Pant, and maybe other work depending on the weather. Leader is Gary Summers, assisted by Mel Parker with George ‘Bungle’ Eycott cooking. It’s booking up fast, so if you want to come, contact Head Office soon. Please note: we’re sorry we can’t allow dogs on this camp.
...or on the Wilts & Berks As usual the Wilts & Berks Canal Trust will be holding its own Christmas / New Year camp, working in the Dauntsey / Seven Locks area on anything from hedgelaying to scrub-clearance depending on the weather. Accommodation will be at the tried-and-tested Foxham Reading Rooms, and anyone interested should contact Rachael Banyard on 01249 892289.
February Camp, Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation The first Canal Camp of 2012 will take place on the Chelmer & Blackwater on 11 to 18 February. We hope to have the Haybay barge for accommodation. More details in the next issue.
BCN Cleanup The annual BCN Trolleyfest is still six months away, so we won’t have full details and a booking form until the next issue or the one after that, but we do have a date - 21-23 April - and a site. We’ll be returning to the Walsall Canal, but this year for the first time we hope to work on the Walsall Town Arm as well as the main line. This makes it particularly suited to those who would like to arrive by boat, as there will be moorings available in Walsall Basin.
And finally Canalway Cavalcade The annual IWA festival at London’s Little Venice will once again be taking place over the May Day holiday weekend. No doubt nearer the time we’ll be appealing for volunteers to help with the running of the event, but in the meantime if you’d like to be on the organising team, check out the job advert on page 46 and see if any of the jobs appeal.
At Staveley, work has begun on a brand new lock. We bring you the first report on what looks like being an important project in the coming months...
Camp report Chesterfield Canal week 1
Sunday saw a small group of volunteers go off to help the locals building what has John Baylis said ‘I’m impressed’ . This become known as the ‘Great Wall of Staveley’ quote should, on its own, tell the story of – which the camp last year was working on. week one on the Chesterfield camp. Anyone It has progressed apace since the last time who knows John, or has tried to cadge an WRG visited, and by the time you read this extra cable tie or two from the Tardis at may well have water in it!! The rest of us set Nationals, will be aware of how difficult up site and started laying blocks, with some compliments are to come by. But how was it taking time out to learn to use the bricksaw, achieved? mixing and setting out. The work at Chesterfield was to start on The bricks for the lock, wing walls and the building of the new Staveley Town Lock the bridge cladding (which we conservatively (no. 5a) which is required to drop a half mile estimated as totalling about 35-40 000) are pound below the level of a railway line. This kindly being donated by the local brickworks half mile contains what looks to be an excitfrom their seconds pile – subject to us sorting and removing whatever we want. This ing series of future projects for the Canal Trust’s own work party and WRG camps and resulted in a good portion of the group being weekends – the lock has to be finished, the deposited to the brickworks on Monday for access bridge over the lock tail has to be brick sorting (a debate to be had: Sorting v. brick clad, the wash walls have to be built, a Cleaning, which is worse?) and transporting. long elaborate side weir has to be built and The first load of bricks back allowed Steve there is then the small matter of lock 5b to and myself the chance to figure out how the return the canal to its original level. various corners should be laid out: cue RichAfter arriving at the rather unearthly ard on the bricksaw. hour of 1:15 (AM I should add) courtesy of Having shown us his wood removal skills the van and trailer movement from Basingon Sunday when dismantling shuttering, stoke, setting the hall and nipping down to Charlie then built us four stop plank guides the site for a final once over, it was time for to brick around – these were so effective that first time leader Steve Baylis and myself to they are now being stored ready for when greet our wonderful batch of volunteers – the locals come to build other grooves in including many regulars, several newbies, 2 future. The highlight of the day, however, from abroad and unfortunately (for her) only was teaching Arnaud how to say shovel with one DoE. The highlight of the arrivals was the correct northern pronunciation. Sujee (our South Korean friend) arriving By Tuesday the blockwork was nearly around the corner, apparently having pulled completed on both sides, bar the ends which her suitcase all the way from home… couldn’t be done until the foam for the exArrivals all accounted for, we plunged pansion joint arrived (more on that ongoing into the health and safety briefing. Plunged, saga later). This meant it was time to start and promptly drowned – not only does Steve bricklaying, and the group split into teams to like to go on, but as it was a contractor-run take ownership of their section of wall. site the health and safety requirements were It was about this point that we started even more stringent than normal. Praise is asking the question ‘What will Mike Chase be due to all for staying awake, and then redoing next week?’ as we looked on track to membering (almost) everything that was finish the two weeks work before we left. said. We did learn the French for hard hat This was slightly hampered by the rain arrivthough, as Arnaud (our Parisian friend) did ing on Wednesday morning. Having been have a habit of forgetting that particular warned about the quagmire the site became piece of PPE… on rain, we nevertheless ventured down to
Chesterfield Camp Report
try it out. It didn’t last long however, as we Aside from that evening activities tended to realised that if we were gaining an inch of be more relaxed (i.e. the pub, jigsawing – mud with every step it probably wasn’t worth apparently ‘the brickwork is the easiest bit’, the struggle, and so pushed the van off site and UNO – the latter probably not quite so and took a morning off at the accommodarelaxing owing to my new method of playtion. ing, which is to lose as badly as possible By the afternoon the sun had come out without cheating). and dried the mud out, so we headed back An excellent week, and one of the best for more bricklaying. Having not started until mixes of people I’ve ever encountered on a after lunch we worked a little bit later, which camp. A huge thankyou to Lynne Cater and spawned from Graham: ‘The good thing Maureen Barton for cooking some wonderful about working late is that dinner just comes food (including a rather hot chilli that my sooner’. By the time dinner came round, Dad particularly enjoyed the leftovers of), Steve was so tired that he made his shortest Geraint Coles and Selwyn Jones for being ever leader’s speech: ‘Everything’s wonderful’, very helpful locals, Steve Baylis for an excelthough he did try explaining pancakes to lent first time leading, and our volunteers: Arnaud eliciting ‘We like your “crepe” French’ The core bricklayers of Mike Chase, Chris from Chris. Finn, Charlie Forbes & Liv Vernon; the mixStill lacking an expansion joint, the off ing stalwart Phil Parkes (who also managed side wall was rapidly stepping back and Liv to make the tea at the same time!) aided for (our DoE’er) was getting concerned she a time by Stuart Thackeray; the new master wouldn’t have time to finish it before the end of the bricksaw Richard Thomas; and the of the week. Apparently a mix up on deliver- brickwork supporters of Arnaud Gourion, ies had delayed it this time. Brickwork was Sujee Han, Derek Hills, Tony Morris, Graham still managing to progress at such a pace that Parkes, Patricia Scott and Alistair Webster. we ran out of bricks, and the bricksaw has Thanks for a brilliant week, putting up with been used so much it protested and broke my random singing and even more for joindown. However, even a little lunchtime rain ing in occasionally! failed to dampen the mood and we nearly George Rogers finished the bricklaying, despite some of the  I should, in the interests of accurate council visitors expressing that they ‘didn’t reporting note that John did add an addenknow the WRGies did brickwork’. dum to his statement. The full quote was Friday finally saw the arrival of the ‘I’m impressed – with almost all of it’ expansion joint courtesy of Geraint the local (who by this point in the week was starting to concentrate quite seriously on the ‘nice problem’ he had of us having done all of the following week’s work as well), and so the offending corner was rapidly bricked up, although as it wasn’t quite finished Liv decided she would have to stay to the start of the next camp to complete it (but at least having now started the bricksaw we were prepared to sign off her DoE book – even if Steve couldn’t manage to distinguish between ‘incompetent’ and ‘incontinent’). Last minute tidying up and the obligatory camp photo and we were at an end. With such a busy week on site, we didn’t do a huge amount in the evenings. Thanks to Mike Chase for taking a group on a tour of the canal and to Chesterfield Canal Trust for hosting the last night barbecue at the Wing wall and stop plank grooves take shape recently completed Hollingwood Hub.
Chesterfield Canal Camp week 2, 9-16 July I guess we were unfortunate really, to suffer both a broken finger and a broken leg. Partway through the second week at Staveley, Hannah trapped her right index finger under a block while putting it on the wall - a hospital x-ray soon confirmed that she had broken a bone. The other misfortune was a broken leg - more about that later. Our camp, with Mike Chase at the helm, followed on from Steve Baylis’s previous successful week, described by George Rogers elsewhere in this issue. As well as Mike C, George R, Chris Finn and Arnaud Gourion (all staying on for the whole of week 2), we ‘carried over’ Steve Baylis and Olivia Vernon into part of the second week. We welcomed John Foley, and our cook for the week, Jenny Black – each handy in more ways than one, as they both have van tickets. We also had rather more DoEs than last week (‘Liv’ plus 6 new faces), together with some of more mature years. The DoEs wasted no time getting to know each other, amidst their I-pods, I-pads, I-books and I-don’t-knowwhat-else. We were staying once again at the Stable Block of Staveley Hall. Thankfully, we had the use of the whole of the main block, including the big hall as our dormitory – unlike last year, when a camp-full had to sleep in the small block across the yard. Our sleeping area this time was about 5 times bigger in area, so much better. After Jenny’s Sunday breakfast, we walked to site, as the Basin and Lock are only 5 minutes or so from our accommodation. We knew that last week’s progress had been speedy - to the surprise of those who had scheduled the work for us. Today, with a limited quantity of bricks, Olivia worked on the east side, assisted by Geraint Coles’ son Callum, and by Arnaud. Meanwhile, George continued work on the west wall with Hannah and Sarah. ‘Slop’ (mortar) was provided by Martin, assisted by Andrew. Chris took Lloyd, Fred, John (V) and Vinnie up beyond Hall Lane Bridge to work with the Locals, laying more blocks on the wash wall which was the scene of last year’s Staveley Camp. ‘Liv’ later showed others how to use the brick-saw, as she was going to leave after finishing the east wall. On Monday, John F took the first of many brick-pick teams (involving most of us
Camp report ...followed by week 2...
Assembling shuttering for the concrete backfill in turn) and made several van runs to Phoenix Brickworks at nearby Barrow Hill, which had offered us as many bricks as we wanted - free - from their reject pile (a mound as big as two or three fair-sized houses!). The bricks were generally in reasonable condition, most having at least one good end or face - which was convenient, as we were building the walls in English Bond (alternate courses of stretchers and headers). The sizes and colours varied somewhat, which all agreed made good ‘Heritage’ raw material, i.e. they didn’t look all the same, ‘clean’ and modern. However, the desirable ‘nofrog’ bricks were mixed with a roughly equal quantity of ‘three-hole’ bricks, which are not so good for building impermeable walls for locks... The weather and the progress were both good. George, Sarah and Hannah were by now well on with constructing the second corner of the entry for the siphon pipe (which equalises the levels of the two pounds either side of the new, lowered, pound which will take the canal under a railway – this is the reason for the two new locks). Chris was completing the other end of the same wall, with others filling in between. By the end of Tuesday, we had both wing walls almost complete, to the surprise and delight of the site engineers and Geraint Coles.
Norwood Tunnel to regain its old route. Back at Staveley Basin next day, we had been told that a concrete pump was to be on site on the Friday to pour the concrete side walls of the lock tail bridge being constructed by Killingley, the contractors. We decided to take advantage of the pump and do our first level of backfilling. This meant transferring several DoEs, plus Gray and Ruth, onto adapting discarded timber to improvise shuttering. This was overseen by George, with further advice offered by the contractors. We estimated that we would need 5 to 6 extra cubic metres of concrete for our back-filling. The pump and concrete mixer wagon duly arrived on the Friday, and after a successful pour at the lock tail bridge, we commenced our own fill. There was almost a Work begins on the block-built paddle culverts disaster caused by a partial collapse of the shuttering on the east wing wall, but the day As a result, Mike diverted the efforts of most of was saved by some hasty reinforcement with the bricking teams onto starting the two block extra timbers (and, it has to be said, with a paddle culverts at the head of the lock. ton or two of ‘escaped’ concrete on the outIn the middle of the week, John Foley side of the shuttering). handed over his ‘baton’ (hastily improvised from After each day’s work, we took advanscrap timber!) to John Hawkins - who fortunately tage (thanks to Derbyshire County Council) has a van ticket too, so the brick runs could of the showers in the Fitness Suite at continue. (The extra bricks were stored for protec- Staveley Leisure Centre. This was near tion in the site container for later use). John’s Sainsbury’s, less than ten minutes’ walk from assistance with ministering to the sick (brickThe Hall. Then, following Jenny’s excellent saw) is also gratefully acknowledged! evening meals, we read, did jigsaws, atWednesday evening saw us invited tempted some of the fiendish ‘mechanical’ along to a meeting of the Locals and suppuzzles Chris had brought, and pondered porters, chaired by Geraint Coles. This (80such vital questions as “How many Haribos strong!) gathering began and ended at The can you put in a Haribo sandwich?” (Answer – Angel Inn, Killamarsh, with a walk in beit depends on the size of the bread...). George tween, punctuated at strategic points by also investigated the behaviour and fate of Geraint’s explanations. This walk took us up jelly-babies when immersed in Coke, and did a the Norwood flight, comprising several sets little research into the effect of said fluid on of staircase locks, mostly at present in a coins of the realm. (The Coke was pronounced sorry state or infilled. At the top of the flight, undrinkable afterwards, in both cases). On the we paused by the old bricked-up west enFriday evening, we rounded off with a repeat trance to Norwood Tunnel. Geraint then took of last week’s barbecue with the locals (and a us briefly up higher, under the M1 via a PowerPoint presentation by Geraint about farmer’s ‘accommodation’ underpass, which the remainder of the canal) at the recently will, it is envisaged, also be the means of opened Hollingwood Hub. He also proudly getting the (culverted) canal under the moshowed us round the new Chesterfield Canal torway. This underpass is made with highTrust HQ/office in the refurbished Lockalumina cement, and is due for major atten- keeper’s cottage next to The Hub. tion soon – it is hoped that the canal-related On the whole, then, it was a satisfying modifications can be done at the same time, and successful week. Oh – and that broken thus reducing the overall cost. He explained leg (blamed on a sudden and violent gust of that the proposed route will then cross the wind) – does anyone know an orthopaedic site of a former mine, (already having an surgeon who fixes gazebos? embryo canal channel, provided by those For lots of pictures before, during - and making good after the mine closure), before after - our fortnight, see http://bit.ly/eVrthu descending to use the (sound) eastern end of Chris Finn
“The food in England can be unusual. One morning we had croissants, porridge and baked beans all served on one plate.”
Camp report Montgomery Canal
strange. One of them gets up very early and is very loud whilst everyone else is still trying to sleep. His shirts are even louder One of our French volunteers from week than he is. Yesterday, I caught him taking a 1 on the Montgomery left this draft of photograph of my bottom. He said it was an her letter home in our accommodation. accident but I don’t believe him. No wonder Our leader has translated it and thought his wife booked him on this holiday as a it might be of interest to our readers... birthday present. There are only two young men on this Dear Mama and Papa, camp, one is addicted to crisps and one only I am having a good time, making lots of new seems interested in playing with his ‘digger’ friends and picking up new skills. I have all day. However they all seem to like me – learnt how to use a bush cutter and how to especially after my tee-shirt got wet when move stones from one place to another. I we went canoeing one evening. There is also can now mix lime mortar which looks very another French girl so there is someone to similar to the porridge they eat here for have a decent conversation with. breakfast. They even let me build part of a The food in England can be unusual. stone wall but only a bit around the back One morning we had croissants, porridge that will be hidden by earth eventually. and baked beans all served on one plate. The English work in a strange way. We make our own lunch and people here They dig holes and then spend a long time typically have tinned tuna and salami (tostanding around them discussing what to do. gether) in their sandwiches. Surprisingly, They work very slowly. For example, two of they seem to like courgettes even more than them took all day to build a very small we French do. They even put it in chocolate flight of temporary steps. Today we are cake!! (It did taste very good.) finishing a stone wall that has taken them I am enjoying the English beer very four or five years to build. Worst of all much. However, I can’t understand why all they only work for an hour or so before their beers have such strange names - most they want a tea break. Then they sit of them seem to be named after animals. around drinking tea and eating lots of cake Unfortunately most English men want to and biscuits whilst talking about the most drink three or four litres of beer each boring things possible such as cricket, night as quickly as possible. When they do canals and the weather. The English always this they talk complete rubbish very fast, want to talk about the weather. so I just smile and nod at them. Whilst I already knew that the English My English is improving very fast. I am did not dress well, I have been shocked by learning lots of new words and phrases from what I have seen here. It seems the fashion my English friends which I put in my little is to wear a red tee shirt (the older and notebook in case I need them. However, I more faded the better) and shorts to show have marked some words and phrases with an off your muddy legs. Some of the men also asterisk as I can tell by their giggles that I dress like this. They all think it acceptable need to be careful when and how I use them. to wear these outfits to the pub as well as on They seem to forget that we French gave site. Don’t worry Mama, I have shown them them their phrase for ‘double meaning’. that it is possible to wear even a yellow The tea break is finally ending and so safety vest and red hard hat with style. I will say goodbye. Papa, most of the men on the camp are Your loving daughter your age or even older. They are generally See overleaf and the letters pages for slightly very nice although some of them are a bit more factual reports from the Mont ...Ed
French letter found in Porthywaen Silver Band Hall
Camp report Montgomery Canal
“Shantelle produced her whip and suddenly digging the trench seemed like the easier option”
get to, but there was the small matter of a culvert to deal with. Week 1 had exposed the After sad farewells to the residents of camp 1 culvert so that British Waterways could have a it was time for a rearrange: Helen Gardner look and come up with a design, and then we (Bushbaby / Bush) swapped her apron for avoided it and worked the other side of it. the leader’s hard hat; Nina and Michael Work quickly began on the land drainpicked up the tongs where she’d left off and age channel (trench, terram, pea gravel, Helen Temple (Long Tall Helen / Long Tall / porous pipe, more pea gravel, wrap the LT / LTH / or Long Short as Adrian called her terram and then cover with soil) and it fairly one day???) was promoted from plain old soon proved its worth – as it was extended volunteer to able assistant. Off down to site out beyond the clay, we found the water where Digger, Paul Shaw, Harri Girl and AJ table. JJ was very excited about the land were able to do a handover to us, the Heldrain – well someone had to be. The next ens, and Adrian. Digger and Paul had spent task was to dig an anchor trench on the bank hours learning which machines would cut on both sides in order stop the liner scooting which bit of the profile most efficiently and it straight back down into the canal – it was was vital that their learning was passed on. agreed to try and dig this by hand and to our Our current project on the Montgomery surprise the campers tackled this task enthuis to line a historically leaky section of canal siastically. It was only Alan D that was mutnear Crickheath in a way that will be watertering about the barbaric nature of the job tight, flexible, and preserve its historic apand even Victorians didn’t have to do this but pearance. Week 1 had been spent rough Shantelle produced her whip and suddenly profiling a 100 metre section and perfect digging the trench seemed like the easier profiling a 10 metre (or so) section – the option. classic trapezium look (flat bottom about 4 m wide and the sides graded to approx 1 in 2, depending on the width of the canal, with a depth of water around the 1.5 m mark). Week 2 was to install a land drainage channel straight down the bottom and then, after a final polish on the sides, install the first 6 metres of liner. Not just liner though – a complex layering to rival Vienetta: a protective layer of heavy duty terram (or fuzzy felt as we called it), then the waterproof clay-based rawmat, followed by soil (with no stones in it) followed by blocks. We’d have liked to have started directly from Pryce’s bridge where ShropProfiling the channel with excavator and tracklaying dumper shire Union Canal Society will
Week 2 on the Montgomery
Meanwhile back at the compound Peter J was involved in masterminding an idea so great that it would rival Frankenstein and his monster. The soil had to be free of largish stones and the stuff coming out of the bed proved to be far from stone-free – a gardener’s sieve was just not going to cut it. So Peter spent the day designing a ‘riddling’ machine – ‘sifting’ or ‘sieving’ confused us and ‘riddling’ just sounded a bit more – er – educated. The design formed and then modified, off they went to explore the delights of Oswestry’s industrial estate to buy the bits. Two days later (and with help from Bob, Rex and other Peter) ‘Rosemary the Riddler’ was ready to be unveiled. A four-legged frame – standing about the same height as a kitchen work top - that you suspend a dumpy bag underneath. The table top is a grid fashioned from road pins (‘lamp irons’ for you old people out there – they’re called road pins these days) to exactly the right size Unrolling the clay based liner on top of the terram’ (50mm). The small excavator (in we thought it might. our case manned by Hamon) dumps a load The relaxed nature of the day meant we on top, moves away and then 3 operators could train some more people on the tracked can massage the soil through. The lid then lifts up manually on a hinge tipping away the dumpers and others got a few minutes of instruction on the small excavator – big lumps, stones and roots – Rosemary is Catherine was just a little bit excited – just a then pulled away to another spot leaving a full dumpy bag ready to be lifted by machine little. Rolling out 16 m of fuzzy felt took to a dumper (Rosemary was cross braced on many more people than you would think – and that’s definitely a case of ‘measure twice 3 sides only leaving the ability to move her around the full bag). Brilliant. Genius. And then cut once’. Thursday saw the return of Bryan the more efficient than doing it by hand – 4-5 rawmat man and all hands to the site to dumpy bags per hour with 3 people as opwatch, learn and assist. We rolled the fuzzy posed to 3 dumpy bags in a day with 6 felt down one slope and up the other, carpetpeople (though Angela enjoyed the chat of ing the Mont, and lined it up straight and the manual riddling – we’re sure it would with plenty of spare to sit in the anchor have been short lived). trench (though I couldn’t resist telling Alan J Polishing the sides involved chopping he’d cut it short). Next to cut the liner in roots and pulling stones out and then filling strips and place it on top of the fuzzy felt. the sides - the liner wasn’t going to like The clay liner needed jointing and Bryan was sharp things or voids. There were varying with us to show us the best ways to do this levels of enthusiasm for this task but it was and also how ‘versatile the product is’ – we beautiful when done. made sure Andy was paying full attention as Bryan the rawmat man came along on he’d be doing it again the next week. Again Wednesday and inspected our prep. – we the ends were placed in the anchor trenches had a little more to do on the trench and sides, and also getting the materials in place, and then the trenches filled. Brian, exhausted from ‘more work than he’d done in so we agreed to do the liner the next day years’ but really encouraged by our enthusileaving Wednesday to not be as chaotic as
asm pootled off at lunchtime leaving us to stare at the concrete blocks whilst tucking into soup and sandwiches. Time to load the concrete blocks – not an easy task and it required a mid-load stop and group massage of shoulders and further bribery of ice lollies. LTH, JJ and Mike painstakingly placed the blocks on end to give us an idea of height and to support soil on the sloping sides. Time to get the soil on quick – we couldn’t leave the bed exposed overnight (or the first bit of the sides) and it was all excavators and dumpers involved in transporting and laying soil down. About 7pm Alan declared that there was enough soil and we could level it the next day – time to go back and enjoy a Spanish evening – the squash bottle skittles designed to pacify a disappointed Daniel was of limited value so we went to the Lime Kiln that we really liked i.e. the pub. On Friday it was a case of more soil, compact it and more soil – repeat to fade. We installed some webbing at the top of the slope to support the coir rolls when they get installed (to make it green) but unfortunately the other concrete blocks hadn’t arrived so we didn’t quite see a complete section finished – leave that to week 3 to work out (but we did dig another trench which we thought was very nice of us). We also had quite a cultural week with a visit to the lime kilns at Llanymynech (where Ju kissed the metal man - well it worked for Bush 3 years ago), a trip to
Pontycysyllte Aqueduct and maybe the pub and a glorious evening canoeing from Maesbury along a bit we’ve done already to Redwith watching the sunset. We were much drier than the week before, much to Connie’s relief, but that wouldn’t have been difficult. We finished the week off with a BBQ chez Mala and Alan J – thanks for the candles. Thanks to Shantelle our MUP; Nina and Michael for feeding us so spectacularly; Alan Jervis for his support and pedantry, MKP for his work behind the scenes making this happen, Peter A for educating us and those who stayed on late from both camps. Love, Helen Bush and Long Tall Helen - “All is dross that is not Helena” (Christopher Marlowe). But we don’t quite agree with him – our volunteers were fab.
The ‘small matter of the culvert to deal with’
Laying lines of blocks on edge and filling between them with soil
The first canal camp at a new worksite: rebuilding a gauging narrows (where cargo boats were ‘gauged’ and tolls charged per ton) on the Cromford Canal Cromford Canal Camp The Cromford camp offered work on a canal in water — something of a rarity! The plan was twofold: firstly to replace the Derwentside spill-weir with one much wider and, secondly, to begin the clearance and restoration of the gauging narrows at Sawmills. With so much promise, we had to abandon the weir (access problems) and focus all the volunteers on the Sawmills site. We opened on Saturday evening with the staples of any canal camp: introductions, site visit, safety talk, dinner and a visit to the local pub. Sunday morning arrived and we made for site, breaking into groups to hack back the overgrown weeds. Tea break was hindered by a faulty Burco — a common theme early in the week. By early afternoon, teams from both end of the narrows had met somewhere in the middle and, come the end of the day, the site had been cleared. Thanks to Sue, our fabulous cook, we had a roast dinner on Sunday evening; this was well received by everybody, especially Bryony who enjoyed a *very* healthy second portion (“I’m eighteen, I can eat anything!”). Monday began early because we were sharing with a booking at 8.30am every weekday. We had a small fried breakfast in a roll (to save washing up), tidied up and left for site about 8.10am. The work on site was to carefully(!) tear down the remains of the off-side wall and to dig out the mud behind so that the concrete footings for the new wall could be laid. It was amazing how much mud had accumulated at the bottom of the narrows as, after removing the obvious stones, there were still several courses buried below ground-level. Most of the day was consumed excavating stone, starting at the far-end (where the wall had mostly collapsed or been consumed by nature) and working back towards the more intact section. We left site about 4.30pm with one van having an extra passenger, George, who had actually driven to site and forgotten about his car!
Camp report Cromford Canal Evening activities for Monday included a talk from Pat (chairman of the canal society), recovering from over-eating at dinner, drinking at the pub, drinking at the hall and playing cards (or a combination thereof). We started Tuesday (early again) excavating the stones from the end of the wall until we hit rock bottom (ahem), at which point George took a reading of the level and Steve and his team began assembling the wooden frame for the first step of the concrete footings. The excavation team then moved to the next couple of metres of wall and resumed digging. Further up the narrows, Will, Simran and Adam dug down through the dirt by the stop-plank grooves, looking for the base of the narrows, which turned out to be about 0.5m below. Kymm and Tom started mixing concrete for the footings as the finishing touches were put to the wooden frame. As each load arrived, George and Bryony were vibrating it by hand using rakes to remove air pockets. We also started pulling the tree stumps out of the wall courtesy of the Tirfor and snatch block John had brought. There were only four or five in total but it took most of three days to remove them. They had roots going everywhere – into the bank behind the wall, down into the ground below, and through the wall (some of the worst as they had grown around the stones and held on with a vice-like grip). The first tree was stubborn and barely moved as the Tirfor came to full tension but once we changed the direction of pull and added the snatch (pulley) block it started to come out. Tuesday evening’s activities were drinking at the pub (naturally) or a rather warm evening of bowling featuring some novel methods of launching the ball. Site on Wednesday was a hive of activity: John, Colin, Chris and I were still working on the tree stumps; Tina had a group working on digging out more of the old wall; Steve J had a team building shuttering for the next level of footing; Kymm and Tom were mixing mortar and concrete; George
was giving crash courses in levels to anyone the van drivers — especially Martin, who who was interested; and everyone else was made countless trips for extra sand or lime; shifting stone and building up the wall. By and finally to all the volunteers who achieved the end of the day we had laid the penultiso much within the week we had together. It mate footing and the beginnings of a wall was brilliant. were appearing. Dave Salisbury Thursday saw much of the same as Wednesday, with the addition of Steve B who organised the stone laying. By lunch we had pulled out the last tree stump, so the tirfor group disbanded to mix concrete and to lay stone. As the afternoon progressed the wall increased in height, with the far end reaching full height by the end of the day. On Friday we worked like crazy to mix all the material and to lay as much stone as possible — while still leaving site early! Maybe it was the prospect of BBQ dinner First dismantle the remains of the wall... which did it? The stone layers had finished the bottom course of wall and had brought a significant section of wall to full height by the end of the day. It was a usual day for mixers, trying to time things so that a new mix was just ready as the last batch ran out. Martyn C made several trips for extra materials to keep us going throughout the day. We finished a bit early to give time for cleaning tools and preBBQ shopping. Presents were purchased and beer was bought, and we headed to George’s house for a BBQ and get-together with some of the locals. After some ...then cast a new concrete base... food, the DofErs lit a fire and we sat around drinking responsibly while presents were exchanged and silly speeches were made. And somehow we ended up at Saturday, cleaning the hall and saying our good byes. When I left the trailer was still in the car park and not going anywhere fast due to, presumably, a stuck brake disk. I would guess they managed to sort it out as I never saw any mention of the National missing a kit... Some thanks are in order: firstly to Sue, who cooked throughout the week; secondly to George, for juggling the role of ...before rebuilding the wall local with that of camp leader; to
Do you know the Welsh for ‘Your vegetation is blocking my sump’? Well, you do now...
Camp report Monmouthshire & Brecon
Mon & Brec Week 2 or The WRG International Phrasebook in English, Spanish, French & Welsh Recently WRG summer camps have become rather international, attracting volunteers from all around the world. Learning English in the classroom will never prepare you for the language you’ll use on a canal camp. The second camp on the Mon and Brec took inspiration from this and present The WRG International Phrase Book, absolutely useless in most circumstances, but essential on a Canal Camp. Contributors: Claire, Matlide, Mushroom, Nikki, Harri and Jokin.
On Site: English: This mortar is too dry! Spanish: Este mortero está demasiado seco! French: Ce mortier est trop sec! Welsh: Mae hyn morter yn rhy sych! E: This mortar is too wet! S: Este mortero está demasiado mojado! F: Ce mortier est trop humide! W: Mae hyn morter yn rhy wlyb! E: Make your own mortar! S: Haga su propio mortero! F: Fait ton mortier toi meme! W: Gwnewch eich morter hun! E: The minibus lock is broken. S: El bloqueo del minibús está roto. F: Le verrou du minibus est cassé. W: Mae’r clo bws mini ei dorri. E: Who took my wire brush? S: ¿Quién tomó mi cepillo de alambre? F: Qui a pris ma brosse métallique? W: Pwy gymerodd fy brwsh gwifren? E: Where is my mattock? S: ¿Dónde está mi azada?
F: Où est ma pioche? W: Ble mae fy fatog? E: We need to get the scaff up. S: Tenemos que conseguir la Scaff hasta. F: Nous avons besoin de monter l’échafaudage. W: Mae angen i ni gael y sgaffa i fyny. E: We need to take the scaff down. S: Tenemos que tomar la Scaff abajo. F: Nous avons besoin démonter l’échafaudage. W: Mae angen i ni gymryd y sgaffa i lawr. E: You need to pack the gazeb at the back of the van. S: Usted necesita para empacar la glorieta en la parte trasera de la camioneta. F: Vous avez besoin d’emballer le barnum à l’arrière de la camionnette. W: Mae angen i chi pecyn y pabell cysgod yng nghefn y fan. E:You need to pack the gazebo at the front of the van. S: Usted necesita para empacar el mirador en la parte delantera de la camioneta. F: Vous avez besoin d’emballer le barnum à l’avant de la camionnette. W: Mae angen i chi pecyn y pabell cysgod ar flaen y fa.n E: You need to shove the gazebo up your arse. S: Tienes que empujar el gazebo en el culo. F: Vous avez besoin de pousser le barnum dans ton cul. W: Mae angen i chi gwthio i’r pabell cysgod eich ass. E: I know we’re just shovelling water but at least we get to wear waders while we’re doing it. S: Sé que somos sólo una pala de agua, pero al menos tenemos que usar botas (largo pesca welloington botas), mientras que lo estamos hacienda. F: Je sais que nous sommes juste en
train de pelleter l’eau, mais au moins on porte des cuissardes pendant que nous le faisons. W: Rwy’n gwybod ein bod yn unig rawio dur ond o leiaf i ni fynd i wisgo rhydwyr tra byddwn ni’n ei wneud yn.
S: Se trata de un cuarto de litro de ginebra, le pregunté por una habitación doble! F: C’est une demi-pinte de gin, j’ai demandé un double! W: Mae hwn yn hanner peint o jin, wnes i ofyn am dwbl!
E: Faster, faster! S: Más rápido, más rápido! F: Plus rapide, plus vite! W: Cyflymach, yn gyflymach!
E: Would you like to play corks? S:¿Le gusta jugar corchos? F: Aimeriez-vous jouer aux bouchons? W: A hoffech chwarae cyrc?
E: Your vegetation is blocking my sump. S: Su vegetación está bloqueando mi sumidero. F: Votre végétation bloque mon puisard. W: Mae eich rhwystro llystyfiant yn fy swmp.
E: Do you have darts? I’m a classy girl. S: ¿Tiene dardos? Soy una chica con clase F: Avez-vous des fléchettes? Je suis une fille chic. W: Oes gennych chi dartiau? Rwy’n ferch classy.
E: If in doubt, do the bat dance. S: En caso de duda, hacer la danza de murciélagos. F: En cas de doute, faire la danse des chauve-souris. W: Os ydych yn ansicr, yn y ddawns ystlumod.
E: Do you have any Guinness on tap? S: ¿Tiene alguna Guinness de barril? F: Avez-vous de la Guinness à la pression? W: A oes gennych unrhyw Guinness ar tap?
E: There is no problem which cannot be solved by jumping in the mud. S: No hay problema que no puede ser resuelto por saltar en el barro. F: Il n’y a aucun problème qui ne peut être résolu en sautant dans la boue. W: Nid oes unrhyw broblem na ellir ei datrys drwy neidio yn y mwd . E: I haven’t heard from the guys on the top lock for about 4 days but I’m sure they’re OK. S: No he oído hablar de los chicos en la cerradura superior por cerca de 4 días, pero estoy seguro de que estás bien. F: Je n’ai pas entendu le gars de la serrure dessus pendant environ 4 jours mais je suis sûr qu’ils sont OK. W: Nid wyf wedi clywed gan y guys ar y clo ben am tua 4 diwrnod ond rwy’n siur eu bod yn iawn.
At the Pub: E: Why is this Sambuca pink? S: ¿Por qué esta rosa Sambuca? F:Pourquoi ce Sambuca est-il rose? W: Pam mae hyn yn binc Sambuca? E: This is half a pint of gin, I asked for a double!
E: Does anywhere in Wales have any Guinness on tap? S: No en cualquier parte de Gales tiene Guinness de barril? F: Est-ce que partout au pays de Galles il y a de la Guinness à la pression? W: A oes unrhyw le yng Nghymru yn cael unrhyw Guinness ar tap? E: Can we borrow some washing up liquid? S: ¿Se puede pedir prestado un poco detergente? F: Peut-on emprunter du liquide vaisselle? W: Allwn ni fenthyg rhywfaint o hylif golchi llestri? E: Yes, I am wearing my pyjamas to the pub. S: Sí, estoy usando mi pijama a la taberna . F: Peut-on emprunter du liquide vaisselle? W: Ydw, rwy’n gwisgo fy pyjamas i’r
In the Accommodation: E: The right tool for the job is a dessert spoon. S: La herramienta correcta para el trabajo es una cuchara de postre. F: L’outil idéal pour l’emploi est une cuillère à dessert. W: Mae’r offeryn cywir ar gyfer y swydd yn llwy bwdin.
E:Why are we covered in glitter? S: ¿Por qué estamos cubiertos de purpurina? F: Pourquoi sommes-nous couvert de paillettes? W: Pam yr ydym yn trafod yn gliter? E: Frank has fallen asleep with a lolly-pop in his mouth. S: Frank se ha quedado dormido con un lolly-pop en la boca. F: Frank s’est endormi avec une sucette dans la bouche. W: Frank wedi syrthio i gysgu gyda lolipop yn ei geg. E: ‘Mushroom’ is slaying flies with a flip-flop. S: ‘Mushroom’ es matar moscas con un flip-flop. F: ‘Mushroom’ est en train de terrasser les mouches avec sa sandale. W: ‘Madarch’ yn lladd pryfed sydd â fflip-fflop. E: ‘Mushroom’ needs more Tabasco and more Hobgoblin. S: ‘Mushroom’ necesidades Hobgoblin Tabasco más y más. F: ‘Mushroom’ a besoin de plus de Hobgoblin et de plus de Tabasco. W ‘Mushroom’ mae angen mwy o saws Tabasco Hobgoblin a mwy. E: No, not Tabasco, Hobgolin and mushrooms, Tabasco and Hobgoblin for ‘Mushroom’! S: No, no, Tabasco, Hobgolin y setas, Tabasco y Hobgoblin de ‘Mushroom’! F: Non, pas du Tabasco de la hobgoblin et des champignons, Du tabasco et de la hobgoblin pour ‘Mushroom’! W: Nac oes, saws Tabasco, Hobgolin a madarch, saws Tabasco a Hobgoblin ar gyfer ‘Mushroom’!
At Tea Break: E: Is the Burco lit? S: Es el Burco iluminado? F: Est-ce que le Burco est allumé? W: A yw’r goleuo y Burco? E: How do you light the Burco? S: ¿Cómo la luz del Burco? F: Comment allumez-vous le Burco? W: Sut ydych chi’n goleuni y Burco? E: Ow! The Burco has burnt off my eye-brow! S: ¡Ay! El Burco ha quemado mi ceja! F: Aïe! Le Burco a brûlé mon sourcil!
W: Ow! Mae’r Burco wedi ei losgi oddi ar fy llygad-ael!
And Finally! E: Oh no! We have left the phrase book in the pub, we need to write a new one. S: ¡Oh, no! Hemos dejado el libro de frases en el pub, tenemos que escribir una nueva. F: Oh non! Nous avons laissé le livre de phrase dans le pub, nous avons besoin d’en écrire un nouveau. W: O na! Rydym wedi gadael y llyfr ymadroddion yn y dafarn, mae angen i ni ysgrifennu un newydd.
But seriously folks... From the leader: I should add that two contributions obviously lost in the first phrase book were… Q: “what’s the record number of Supermarkets needed to obtain all the ingredients for a Claire meal?” Answer - three but only because there isn’t an Asda and we couldn’t find a Lidl. Q: “What’s this called, Claire” translated into French, Spanish, Welsh and Serbo-Croat. Why Serbo-Croat? Because that’s obviously where the recipe originated. The work itself was a continuation of week one’s tasks (see previous Navvies) plus much progress on lock gate construction - all of which our local friends Richard, Heidi and Gareth seemed to appreciate - well they said they want to see us again. Usual social activities were augmented by a bat survey along the Five Locks Flight near Cwmbran. We also managed to lock the keys in the van. Nikki, as Assistant Leader, was a tower of strength - she was here, there and everywhere with her exhortations, encouragement and threats. The phrase “faster, faster, faster” was not used, to the best of my knowledge, in the context that many of you may have been imagining. Claire was very imaginative in all her offerings. Bob continued his MUPping, joined by a succession of all too fleeting appearances by such stalwarts as Pete Fleming, Hamon Stewart, Rob Daffern and Welsh Phil, while we also discovered the fresh talents of Liz, the Brothers Leonard, Rachael and Harriet. The authors mentioned above completed a motley but happy and effective crew. Frank Wallder
WRG at 40 Forty views for forty years
“What kind of work do you like doing on site?” “Anything but bricklaying” - James Butler answers the questions...
40 Views for 40 Years The tenth in a series of articles to celebrate WRG’s 40th(-ish) birthday by capturing the views of people who have been involved in various capacities. James ‘Postie’ ‘Jimmy’ Butler – someone you might think of as ‘new – not been around much’ but then you think about it and realise he’s actually been digging for donkeys’ years. If you’ve led a canal camp in the last 3 years you were probably collared by him. James kindly found the energy after a WRG Committee meeting to talk to me.
Q: How and when did you first get involved in canal restoNigel Lee
ration? A: It was when I was about 12 or 13, I went to a caravan and boating exhibition at the NEC with my parents and I saw a leaflet there for WRG. Then over the years I wanted to do it but I wasn’t old enough. Then when I turned 17 my Dad said “you need to go on holiday - why don’t you go on one of those canal things you were on about”. I was a bit shy at the time so my Dad said “go on – I’ll pay for it – you go”. That was it really and I went onto the Montgomery.
Q: Who were the leaders? A: Jude and Bex [Becky Parr], Lou Kellet cooking. It was working on the overflow bypass, rebuilding of the stone work.
Q: What were your thoughts at the end of that first week? A: “I’m worn out” was the first thought I had! I thought why was I doing it? – why was I stood in a field digging clay out into a wheelbarrow? But then I sort of thought – actually – it’s good fun – it wasn’t taxing on the brain. It was good to get out there and do something completely different away from home life and I enjoyed it.
Q: What was your next step? A: I went to the Bonfire Bash, which was down on the Mon and Brec – that was all very daunting. I turned up hoping to see people from the camp that I did but I recognised one person. But from there I met other regular WRGies and got persuaded to join London WRG. I got sucked into London WRG. The following year, because I enjoyed the weekends I then did six weeks of canal camps in the summer. It was all over the place – I didn’t realise at the time but I ended up following kit A round all the country. Did the National – did two weeks on the Mon and Brec. I can’t really remember where they were I just know on the back of the tshirt I can go “I did that one, that one, that one”.
Q: Six weeks in one summer is quite a long time – what was your motivation? A: I just wanted to enjoy what I’d done previously. Cheap holidays – work said I could have the time off so I just went and did it.
Q: Did you carry on doing the weekends? A: Yeah – haven’t done many this year – time really – thoroughly enjoy doing weekends. It’s nice to have the mix of going on a canal camp where you meet lots of new people and then weekends where you know everyone, just turn up and go on site and just crack on with it because everyone knows what they’re doing.
Q: How many years have you been involved? A: 2002 was my first camp – so nine years. Q: Do any sites in particular stick out for you? A: I used to go to the Mon and Brec all the time because it’s really really nice scenery nice down there. And I like to say ‘I’m going abroad’ (going to Wales)!
Q: What kind of work to do you like doing on site?
Q: You’ve led canal camps – how did that slippery slope start? A: It started with Adrian Fry phoning me up one time and going “do you fancy being an assistant on a canal camp” – I was going “errrr – not really – it’s not my kind of thing”. Then he phoned up again another time going “are you really sure you don’t want to do it? WRG will pay for you to do it – they’ll pay for your canal camp”. And I went “yeah”, he twisted my arm and after a lot of phone calls he managed to persuade me. I ended up assisting and thought – well – I’ve done assisting – how hard can leading be? So I went on and led – I’ve lost count how many years now.
A: Anything but bricklaying. I don’t mind barrowing – things like that. Sometimes it’s nice to be in a machine for a day or so, sometimes it’s nice just to be out cleaning bricks in the sun and chatting to people. A variety of skills – I find it boring to do the same thing day in day out. Bricklaying’s not my forte – I don’t mind doing stonework because you haven’t got to get things exactly level, whereas if bricks don’t go quite level, you can see it.
A favourite site: the Mon & Brec
Q: Then you took the step of finding canal camp leaders – what persuaded you that was a good thing to do? A: I blame Moose [Dave Hearnden] for that one. I mentioned to him maybe I was thinking about it – he’d go “you should do it, you should do it – you’d be perfect for it. You do lots of camps you know lots of people. You should do it. If not I’ll rip your nuts off.” So I said “OK – I’ll do it”. It was enjoyable because of the sense of achievement at the end of year going “yeah – I found all the leaders – it’s brilliant”. But also at the same time, the year catches up on you. March/April time you think “ah – got loads of time left to find the last few leaders” and then before you know it it becomes May and “ah, it’s June when the first leaders are needed” – it’s daunting – you’ve got a month left to find them. It gets slightly stressful over the two months trying to find the last few leaders. Generally everyone’s really good and says “I’ll lead a camp for you”. It was rewarding at the end of it. Q: You joined the WRG board fairly recently? A: Two years ago I think. That was an off-the-cuff type of thing really. Mike Palmer asked me if I ever thought about being on the board and I hadn’t really thought about it. I ummed and erred about it and then I saw my name in Navvies and I thought “well – I am now then!!”
Q: How’s that experience been so far? A: It’s been fine – it’s not much different from going along to committee meetings – it’s just the committee meetings are a bit longer. In general, being on the board doesn’t entail that much more compared to what I was doing anyway.
Q: Driving vans – did you have to go through a special process? A: Yeah – for towing trailers I had to do my DVLA B+E test. I’d been towing caravans before anyway
so it was fairly easyish to go through. I had to get trained up, obviously, by WRG. I got my van ticket when I was about 18/19 I think so I was quite young – I managed to get vans and trailers at the same time.
Q: What would you say to anyone who is under 25 that’s wanting to drive vans and trailers?
A: First of all get yourself confident on driving vans if you can – I was quite lucky because I was a postie so I was driving vans day in day out anyway so I was used to that. Because of the insurance factor on WRG I would say get your face known on camps quite a lot first. Me doing six weeks each summer – I’m guessing WRG thought it’s sensible for James to have his ticket so he can take van from camp to camp rather than following in his car everywhere. Just get your face known, go on camps quite a lot and just try and get as much driving experience behind you as possible – that way WRG will look on you favourably. As opposed to if you just turn up for one weekend each year, WRG aren’t going to pay the extra money on the insurance.
Q: What did your Dad think about how involved you’ve got?
A: He was quite proud of me – before he passed
James serves up food on the BCN Cleanup
away – I hadn’t quite managed to get on to the board at that point but even so from seeing me as a shy person who he was forcing to go on a canal camp to me out on a camp leading them, leading volunteers – he was quite shocked by the change that I’d made.
Q: Are there any particular moments you remember leading canal camps – particularly funny or hairy?
A: Wasn’t particularly funny or hairy but it was one year on the Mon and Brec when it was really, really, really hot and we even had gazebos up trying to keep us cool (cheap old Tesco value gazebos) but even those started to melt on site it was so hot. So we were on site at 7 and coming off at 11 or 12 o’clock and then going to the local lake and swimming in that all afternoon just to try and cool down.
Q: What would you say WRG was good at? A: WRG is very good at - once they find people - actually keeping people; people coming back year after year. And then slowly promoting them on to assistant leader and then them becoming a leader – slowly take them through the stages and train them up. WRG’s very good at training.
Q: What would you say WRG is not so good at? A: Promoting more people onto the committee. It would be nice to see some new faces with new ideas rather than see the select few people all the time. A lot of hard work goes into organising camps and everything in WRG – there’s lots of people out there who enjoy going on the camps every year and have the rewards – it’d be nice to see other people putting in a bit of effort to, in a way, say thank you.
Q: What do you think stops people coming onto the committee or getting involved in the meetings? A: I think it’s the word ‘meeting’. People just think of meetings and just think ‘boring’ – everyone’s going to be sat there, serious all the time - it’s far from it. I quite like them just from going along – you get to know what’s happening in WRG. Rather than hearing rumours you get to know what the truth is. There’s always laughs as well which breaks up serious topics – somebody chucks a comment in which makes it all light-hearted.
Q: So you enjoy the committee meetings? A: I don’t look forward to them going “oh yeah – great – it’s a committee meeting coming up”. I don’t sit there at home going “I really don’t want to go”. Sometimes I do but that’s because I want to lie in bed a bit
longer. Most of the time, when you get along, you chat to various people before and after the meeting as well – it’s a nice time to catch up with people. Some people you haven’t seen for a few months.
Q: Has anyone inspired you? A: I think I’d say honestly Moose has. He’s inspired me and also given me the kick up the bum to actually make me do various things. For seeing him – the Nationals, camps and Cavalcade and go on to be ‘Site 1’ at the National – just watching him go slowly up the ladder in a way has inspired me that why don’t I do a bit more? Like for example the leader finding – he said I’d be the right person and gave me the kick to do it. I do thank him for doing that – it has increased my confidence – it’s extra things I can put on my CV which help me in jobs.
Q: What’s the most useful skill you’ve learnt and who taught it to you? A: I wouldn’t say it’s a skill but my confidence level is the thing I’ve found most useful to me. When I started I was really shy and wouldn’t say boo to a goose. Now I’m a lot more confident and I do just put that down to WRG. Also my camp leader skills – I put that on my CV and when I go to an interview most of the time people just ask me about canal camps. My current job I had an hour and a half interview – it was only the last 5 minutes that we spoke about work history, the rest of the time was spent talking about my skills when leading.
Q: Do you have any classic ‘do you remember the time when’ stories? A: Definitely at the start of the Chesterfield canal – we were all sat around chatting on the first day and Lady Essex (also called Naomi Harger), she ran into the hall, said “right – where are the loos – I need a wee”. She came back and said “right – gin pimms anyone” – she hadn’t even brought in any of her bedding or anything. It’s the only canal camp where people weren’t sat around nearly in silence – everyone straight away bonded.
Q: Are there any areas you think WRG should be getting more involved in? A: Possibly new canals, for example, the Daventry. Trying to promote new canals – at the end of the day canal restoration’s great, but to have new canals as well... It’s not restoration but it’s our skills we can put in. It’s still the same goal – it’s creating a canal that people can boat on. Q: How do you see
your future within WRG? At the moment I see it just on a plateau – if I try and climb the ladder too much more I’m going to be doing things that, at the moment, I don’t think I’d enjoy and I think I’d end up running away. For my future I’d like to step back a For the future: Daventry’s first canal bridge awaits its canal bit and enjoy canal camps from a regular volunteer perspective. At the moment I’m so into leaders and everything else I don’t feel I can open my eyes to see what WRG actually is. I feel like I need to step back, go back to the bottom again. That way I can say ‘ooh – hang on a second – I’ve seen something on camps which I think is either outdated or I’ve seen a really good idea – let’s take it on and go forward with it’. Interview by Helen Gardner
Navvies diary Your guide to all the forthcoming work parties
Oct 22/23 London WRG Somersetshire Coal Canal Oct 22-29 Camp 2011-21 Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation Oct 22-29 WRG Forestry Forestry Camp on the Grand Western Canal - Nynehead Oct 29 Sat wrgNW ‘Paper Chase’ waste paper collection Oct 30 Sun EAWA/NWDCT North Walsham & Dilham Canal: Honing Nov 4-11 WAT Wendover Arm: ‘Seven-day weekend’ work party Nov 5/6 NWPG Basingstoke Canal: Construction or clearance work Nov 5/6 London WRG Cotswold Canals: Scrub bashing at Inglesham. Joint dig with KESCRG. Nov 5/6 KESCRG Cotswold Canals: Scrub bashing at Inglesham. Joint dig with London W Nov 5/6 Essex WRG Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation Nov 6 Sun WRG Committee & Board Meetings: (also tool maintenance on Saturday 5th) Nov 13 Sun EAWA/NWDCT North Walsham & Dilham Canal: Bacton Wood Nov 19/20 wrgBITM Somersetshire Coal Canal Nov 19/20 London WRG Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation Nov 19/20 wrgNW Hollinwood Canal Nov 27 Sun EAWA/NWDCT North Walsham & Dilham Canal: Bacton Wood Dec 2-8 WAT Wendover Arm: Seven-day weekend Dec 3/4 wrgNW Manchester, Bolton & Bury Canal: also Christmas Meal. Dec 3/4 London WRG Wilts & Berks Canal: Scrub bashing. Xmas Party, joint dig with KESCRG Dec 3/4 KESCRG Wilts & Berks Canal: Scrub bashing. Xmas Party, joint dig with London Dec 3/4 Essex WRG Foxton Inclined Plane: Christmas dinner at Robert Monk Hall Dec 10/11 wrgBITM Thames & Severn Canal: Xmas Work Party. Jungle bashing in the Eisey Dec 10/11 NWPG Thames & Severn Canal Dec 10 Sat wrgNW ‘Paper Chase’ waste paper collection Dec 11 Sun EAWA/NWDCT North Walsham & Dilham Canal: Briggate Dec 26-Jan 1 Camp 2011-22 Montgomery Canal: Christmas Camp Dec 26-Jan 2 WBCT Wilts & Berks Canal Trust Camp: Working at Seven Locks, Accom: Foxh Jan 7/8 wrgNW Droylsden to be confirmed Jan 14 Sat wrgNW ‘Paper Chase’ waste paper collection Jan 21/22 wrgBITM To be arranged Feb 4/5 wrgNW Cromford (or Droylsden) To be confirmed Feb 11-18 Camp 2012-01 Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation Feb 18/19 wrgBITM To be arranged Feb 18 Sat wrgNW ‘Paper Chase’ waste paper collection Mar 3/4 wrgNW Cromford or Chesterfield to be confirmed Mar 17/18 wrgBITM Chichester Ship Canal Mar 24 Sat wrgNW ‘Paper Chase’ waste paper collection Apr 21/22 wrgBITM To be arranged Apr 21-23 WRG/IWA/BCNS BCN Cleanup on the Walsall Canal: see future Navvies for details and b
For details of diary dates beyond the end of this list ple
Canal Camps cost ÂŁ56 per week unless otherwise stated. Bookings for WRG Camps identified by a camp number e.g. 'Camp 2013-01' should go to WRG Canal Camps, Island House, Moor Road, Chesham HP5 1WA. Tel: 01494 783453, firstname.lastname@example.org. Diary compiled by Dave Wedd. Tel: 01252 874437, email@example.com Tim Lewis
David McCarthy David Revill Roger Leishman Bill Nicholson Tim Lewis Bobby Silverwood John Gale Mike Palmer David Revill Dave Wedd Tim Lewis David McCarthy David Revill Roger Leishman David McCarthy Tim Lewis Bobby Silverwood John Gale Dave Wedd Bill Nicholson David McCarthy David Revill Rachael Banyard David McCarthy David McCarthy Dave Wedd David McCarthy Dave Wedd David McCarthy David McCarthy Dave Wedd David McCarthy Dave Wedd
07802-518094 01494-783453 01494-783453 0161-740-2179 01603-738648 01442-874536 01844-343369 07802-518094 07971-814986 01376-334896 01564-785293 01603-738648 01252-874437 07802-518094 0161-740-2179 01603-738648 01442-874536 0161-740-2179 07802-518094 07971-814986 01376-334896 01252-874437 01844-343369 0161-740-2179 01603-738648 01494-783453 01249-892289 0161-740-2179 0161-740-2179 01252-874437 0161-740-2179 01494-783453 01252-874437 0161-740-2179 0161-740-2179 01252-874437 0161-740-2179 01252-874437 01494-783453
firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org bookings@wrgBITM.org.uk email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org bookings@wrgBITM.org.uk email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org bookings@wrgBITM.org.uk email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org bookings@wrgBITM.org.uk email@example.com bookings@wrgBITM.org.uk bookings@wrgBITM.org.uk firstname.lastname@example.org
ease contact diary compiler Dave Wedd: see top of page
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 societiesâ€™ 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
WRG or SUCS: a comparison of two methods of lining the Montgomery Canal...
Letters to the editor
over the clay matting topped with a 215mm thick, dense concrete block overburden made The Montgomery Canal: Two Canal up of 215x148x440mm blocks laid dry but Bed Lining Methods – An Impression grouted on completion. A sketch with details can be seen on their website in the Both WRG and Shropshire Union Canal Soci- fundraising section under ‘Barrow of Boulety are currently involved in digging out and ders Appeal’. In the event placing, levelling restoring sections of the bed of the Montand compacting the layer of sharp sand gomery Canal Pant Dry Section, SUCS under- proved to be ‘a time consuming nightmare’, taking the stretch between Redwith Bridge so a change of specification to replace the (83) and Pryce’s Bridge (84) since 2008, and sand with cushioning geofabric was sought WRG having started on the section south and eventually agreed. from Pryce’s Bridge to Crickheath Bridge (85) WRG are experimenting using a this summer, 2011. 300mm deep layer of recycled excavated soil I was fortunate to have a place as a over the clay matting with a 75mm thick volunteer on the second of four week-long dense concrete block overburden made up of WRG canal camps this summer [see camp 75x215x440mm blocks laid dry. I cannot be report, pages 14-16] on this section of the certain of the finer detail as I have no access Mont and found it interesting to compare the to a drawing on-line and so am having to two methods employed in lining the canal, rely on memory. although was not fortunate enough to see a At the water line SUCS have boulders completed WRG section by the end of our laid on 100mm (or perhaps 148mm) dense week. concrete blocks laid flat whilst WRG have Ignoring the extensive piling topped by rolled coir matting anchored at the waterline a batter wall on the towpath side in the SUCS as a base for vegetation. section, both methods involve careful shapThe striking difference between the two ing and preparation of the canal floor and methods is that using soil reduces the rebanks in preparation for laying a Bentonitequired volume of dense concrete blocks by type clay liner, both have a land drain in the about two thirds and does away with the canal bed below the clay liner and both have need for a more expensive cushioning layer a geotextile lining between the sand/soil of geofabric under the blocks, with quite an layer and the concrete block overburden attendant saving in cost. Using soil means topping and, to a greater or lesser extent, a less material has to be imported from elsecushioning layer between the shaped bed of where but a serious drawback is that comthe canal and the clay matting. Both methpacting it, especially on the sloping banks, is ods also require trenches above the water both time consuming and probably unreliline in which to anchor the clay matting and able in that it is very difficult to achieve a linings. consistent and even amount of compaction. The land drain is designed to control The process could also be very much at the any groundwater during construction and mercy of the weather. Final grading/levelling certainly in the SUCS design is to be sealed of the sloping soil surface ready for the off every 20m or so when the canal lining geotextile layer and concrete blocks must has reached that point, so that if a leak does also be difficult. Compacted soil will always occur in the canal lining a continuous path to compact further with time and the success or a culvert and associated drainage ditch is not of the process will first begin to become avoided. evident in the spring when it will be possible SUCS have chosen a design which to see the degree of surface deformation this involved laying an 85mm layer of sharp sand summer’s finished concrete block work sur-
Pant-lining by numbers...
The Montgomery face has suffered over the winter. Then there will be the need to assess whether the degree of deformation is acceptable. The compaction process also requires heavy machinery to operate on the area of the laid The WRG method: first profile the bed... clay matting with an attendant risk of unseen accidental damage to the clay matting. Both designs seem suitable for being undertaken by volunteers but my impression is that using soil requires the investment of considerable more digger and tipper time. Both designs produce a finished surface lining which is solid but flexible, but the degree of impact resistance of the WRG method given the thin layer of blocks at 75mm must be governed by whatever physical properties the soil layer below takes up after long immersion in water i.e. whether it takes up the consistency of hard mud or soil ...then install a land drain in the bottom. soup. Overall it would seem that with the SUCS method, once the canal bed has been finally prepared for the matting to be laid, the process to completion is then a low risk path, especially given that there is no loose material to be laid, compacted and levelled on the slopes. There must certainly be some aching backs though after placing all those rather heavy concrete blocks by hand. On the other hand with the WRG method the final preparation of the canal bed for lining is not the end but rather the beginning of a relatively difficult and uncertain Unroll the geotextile membrane... process of building up, compacting and grading/levelling the 300mm soil layer, requiring the continuing involvement of heavy machinery. The prize though, if successful, is a substantially lower outturn cost per square metre of lined canal bed. So, if I were a site manager I would certainly prefer the SUCS method but on the other hand if I were the one trying to raise the money and having to write the cheques the WRG method would merit very serious consideration, especially considering the tough financial years ahead and the methodâ€™s â€˜greenerâ€™ credentials. ...followed by the waterproof bentonite lining On a different note, just these two
Letters ...and the K&A again
Place two lines of concrete blocks on end
projects on two small sections of one canal must go to show how much long term dedication and expertise there is in canal restoration projects by individuals and groups and re-emphasises yet again what a huge difference individuals and dedicated, enthusiastic groups can make. J J Price A Novice Volunteer
Dear Martin, Following on from Peter B. Jonesâ€™s letter in Issue 248, I think that one last comment is necessary about the Bill de Leie letter. Whilst Bill is a member of the Stover Canal Society, he is not on the committee, and indeed has not lived in Devon for several years, having left before our excellent work party organ...then soil, followed by blocks (see back cover) iser, George Whitehead, joined us. Bill and his family live on his boat, and are continually cruising the waterways, so I should imagine that he is bound to form opinions and make comparisons between canals. He has just as much right to voice those opinions as have those who disagreed with him. As a result of the recent correspondence in Navvies, we have all learnt a lot about the K & A, and the trials and tribulations about running a major navigation. Iâ€™m sure that this can only be useful, particularly to those who are working to restore canals which will eventually be part of the navigable network By contrast the SUCS method uses a fabric in place of the soil Di Smurthwaite
Progress Cromford and Ashby Friends of the Cromford Canal A big thank you to the Waterway Recovery Group canal camp who have just finished a week working on the Sawmills Gauging Narrows [see camp report pages 17-18]. A group of 17 volunteers, from as far north as Dundee and as far south as Watford, led by webmaster George Rogers and assisted by David Salisbury, commenced on the removal of tree roots and rebuilding of the off side wall. In total, approximately 10 metres of
Our regular roundup of progress on canal restoration around the country begins this time in the East Midlands, where there seems to be a lot happening now... wall was completed to just below coping stone level, and around 10-15 metres was prepped ready for continuation by the FCC work parties. A big thank you to the following: Sue & Steve Johnson for being cook and MUP (Most Useful Person) respectively, Rob Lockwood for permission to work on the land, Gill & David Hirst for allowing us to use their toilet and the locals at Sawmills for being so free with their water and encouragement. See the before and after pictures to get an idea of how much they achieved. It is hoped that work will continue from late September. If you would like to help out, it is expected that there will be one weekend work party per month contact George Rogers on email@example.com for more information or to express interest in helping out. The work will be a mix of pulling down the next stretch of wall, stone sorting, concreting and rebuilding - so a great chance to learn new skills.
What a difference a week makes! The gauging narrows on the Cromford before and after the Canal Camp
Ashby Canal Trust Snarestone Restoration Works: The Ashby Canal restoration has made a start on extending north from the present Snarestone terminus. Leicestershire County Council / British Waterways / May Gurney have constructed a stop gate chamber, stop planks, winding hole and a 100m off-line nature reserve at the current terminus of the Ashby Canal. Further works include a short extension to the current canal, removal of the spoil heap, site clearance and building a permanent slipway. The canal is expected to be extended further this year as funding becomes available.
Meanwhile the Derby & Sandiacre Canal Society is celebrating getting planning approval, while on the Lichfield they’re looking beyond the A51 crossing... Derby & Sandiacre Canal Society At the planning meeting held by Derby City Council from 6pm on 7th July 2011 the Outline Planning Application was approved in an unanimous decision. Committee Chairman Robin Wood said the application was the best thing the committee had considered for a long, long time. Derby City have taken the lead role in coordinating the application and so it was expected that S Derbyshire and Erewash Councils would also approve their sections. Erewash Borough Council unanimously passed the outline Planning permission application. HOORAY! Finally in a spirited discussion at South Derbyshire District Council on 23 August we received the final piece of the outline planning jigsaw. Our application for outline planning permission to restore the final length of the canal was eventually approved with only one vote against. The discussion was generated due to the possible options for the first 400 metres of canal, and will need to be carefully dealt with to ensure concerns are addressed at the detailed planning stage. The next step is a review of the master plan and a meeting has been called for 9th September of key Trust and Society meeting committee members to review the next steps and draw up a master plan for funding and development. The challenge is to maintain the initiative to get a stretch into water as quickly as possible and to use the many offers of practical help made by members. The Trust and Society is looking to promote this success locally on Radio and TV as well as through the Derby Telegraph. We already have a strong Society membership, but now is the time for those interested to join. Increased membership demonstrates the community’s desire to achieve the restoration and provides funds which can be matched with grants, etc to fund restoration and gives a greater pool of volunteer labour for the Society’s work parties.
Progress Derby and Lichfield Offers of help are welcomed and we are actively looking to raise our profile now we have the credibility of the successful application. New members will be particularly welcome at this time of increasing activity.
Lichfield and Hatherton Canals Work has continued on Pound 26 on the Lichfield Canal at Tamworth Road, mostly in monitoring water loss and identifying leaks. Progress is now encouraging and suggests that the problems can soon be overcome. Discussions are under way with the Environment Agency to agree extraction levels as EA has ruled that moving water from the old “Big Pipe” (a storm water drain laid in the bed of the canal after abandonment) to open channel represents extraction. The design of the weir at the A38 turn (where the canal will divert from its original course to take a new route under the main road) will take this into account. Work has continued on the wall and new channel from the turn to the A51 and design work has started on the retaining walls. Detailed design work has also continued on the Darnford Park project (to create a new length of the diversionary canal route beyond the A51 as part of a public park) and costings from contractors have been commissioned. The whole scheme is dependent on the District Council and the Forestry Commission obtaining funding for the Diamond Jubilee project. The Trust must also find a source of income to fund its part of the work. Much can be done by volunteers but the re-routing of a foul sewer must be done by professionals. The Trust’s JCB3c has been attacked by vandals and will probably now be offered for sale as a collector’s item. Material displaced by the work on the Chasewater Dam has been moved to Tamworth Road by courtesy of Hills Contractors of Aldridge. This will be used in the base of walls being constructed in Pound 27.
ture. The uncompromisingly non-traditional appearance proved somewhat controversial when the proposals were shown to the local community, initiating a debate about how appropriate, or not, it is to try and recreate an old-style canal building where none existed previously, for a purpose that never existed when the canal was in operation, and to building regulations and environmental and access standards that were never even Wey & Arun Canal dreamed of two centuries ago. Another Wey & Arun lock restoration is now However, planning permission has been well underway. The contractors have been on granted, and I for one am certain that once site to excavate Southland Lock chamber, the natural roof has ‘taken’ and the timbers insert piling, and pour the concrete walls and suitably weathered, the new building will base. That leaves plenty of work for the Wey blend into the landscape in a way that a brick & Arun Canal Trust’s volunteers, building the shed could not. cills and facing the walls in brick, among Plenty goes on elsewhere – our visiting numerous other tasks. campers have started preparatory work for Southland is the first brick lock to be our next lock restoration project, and other restored on the navigable section, the others visitors have been involved in some of the being stone – Loxwood Lock, which used a much-needed maintenance that is always similar method of construction, was a new continuing; Northlands lift bridge in this structure, added in order to achieve the case. necessary headroom under the Loxwood Visiting groups will have a chance to High Street; while Rowly Lock (Lock 17, get involved in some exciting work at the which was rebuilt some 20 years ago) is on a Northern end, near the junction with the different length of canal on the other side of Wey, and for which a new Northern Working the summit. Group has been set up. The actual route the As with all the brick locks on the canal, canal will take here is still subject to a there were very few visible remains at number of options, and a study has been Southland. The plans were originally to commissioned to establish the best comprorebuild Southland in a slightly different loca- mise. tion, in order to address nature conservation Finally, Lordings Waterwheel was ready issues, but an agreement was negotiated in time for its inauguration on 11 September which made it possible to rebuild the lock on by local MP and government minister Nick its original site, so the sandstone base could Herbert. This unique structure, which lifts be re-used. water 3m from the river to feed the canal, A vast number of locally hand-made was ‘discovered’ 10 years or so by the late rustic bricks have been ordered, not only for Winston Harwood. Southland, but for Gennets Bottom, which is Winston managed to establish how the the next lock up, and for the new parapets wheel must have operated, and set to defor the Loxwood High Street bridge. The signing and building a replica to prove his bridge has been the subject of local theory. It worked, though not particularly fundraising efforts to supplement WACT’s efficiently or reliably, and after the main own input; sufficient has now been raised to spindle of Winston’s wheel broke last year, a start work on one side. Work has already ‘professionally improved’ version began to started on the thankless task of cutting the take shape, with the help of a volunteer bricks to achieve the desired Flemish Garden chartered engineer. Wall bond pattern. The present wheel uses a lot of WinAlso in Loxwood, work has begun on ston’s original parts, plus many professionthe new information centre which will replace ally-made upgraded components, and perthe ‘black shed’ behind the Onslow Arms. A forms rather better – certainly better than the substantial donation has allowed the prefab- 19th-century original would have done. The ricated building to be ordered from reopening is being marked by a small boat Fordingbridge Engineering of Fontwell. This rally. is an energy-efficient, low-carbon eco-strucBill Thomson
Wey & Arun Canal
...and on the Montgomery the Shropshire Union Canal Society take a break from channel lining to do some fencing and towpath work
Progress SUCS on the Montgomery
We were graced with good weather for the whole weekend of our August work party. This was something of a mixed blessing since one of the main tasks was work on the towpath and such glorious weather made it very popular with walkers. Additional towpath traffic was also generated by the much anticipated start of work by WRG on the Pryces Bridge to Crickheath section. Many S.U.C.S. volunteers went for a crafty snoop at the goings-on next door and vice versa. The towpath works involved erection of the new safety fence and levelling and final surfacing of the towpath surface. Like most good ideas the fence is simple, consisting of stakes attached to the piling and a horizontal strut into which eyebolts are fixed. Rope is threaded though both the Netlon material and attached to the stakes via the eyebolts. Progress was such that some 200 m of fencing was finished during the weekend. The other towpath gang were equipped with a most ferocious looking, and very heavy, diesel roller. This was used to compact stone dust which formed the final surface of the towpath. The stone dust was transported from the compound by a combination of small dumpers and wheelbarrows â€“ a time consuming and strenuous task. The channel shaping work again made good progress. The channel bed and towpath side are shaped to 145 m from Pryces Bridge and the larger offside bank to 115 m. There is certainly plenty of channel available for the lining operations which will commence shortly. On Sunday it was very pleasant to be able to welcome Julie Sharman, the BW Head of Enterprise North & North Wales. She spent several hours with us on a tour of the site and also lent a hand with the towpath works.
Pictures by SUCS
Shropshire Union Canal Society
Safety fence construction and (below) complete
Towpath surfacing in progress
erect scaffolding and start the main work of taking down the parapet walls to remove sapling growth which has been dislodging the stones. Steve Valiant, who was on holiday in the area, but is normally to be found working for the National Trust on the Wey Navigation, suggested that the tree alongside the bridge should also be cut back. Trevor, our Lancaster Canal Northern Reaches certified chain saw operator, had bigger ideas however. He wanted to make it “disappear”. August Work Party: Trevor Cotton led the Steve therefore lopped all the smaller charge for this mid week work party which branches clearing the way for Trevor’s chaincleared the ground for the 4-day combined saw and by the end of the day the tree was wrgNW/Lancaster Canal Trust work party due down. It only remains for the stump to be to take place on the 9th-12th September. treated to prevent re-growth and stop its There were several different projects which roots further damaging the bridge wing wall. were addressed, but the priority was Stainton In parallel to working on Stainton Crossing Bridge as September’s work party Bridge, Richard Trevitt led a small group that required a road closure and therefore it was were looking at the required work on the important that the work was all completed Stainton Aqueduct. The stream that runs within the long weekend. under the canal, Stainton Beck, has gradually On arrival at Stainton however, work altered its course and is now undermining party volunteers were asked to stay in the the aqueduct’s wing walls on both sides of parking area as a TV production company the canal. The plan is to bring in a small working on behalf of the BBC were filming digger to re-align the stream bed so that the Millness to Stainton Bridge section of the water runs directly through the aqueduct. canal from the Trust’s trip boat, Waterwitch. In addition, the Trust plans to underpin They then went on to film a few members of some stones on one side which are currently the work party clearing vegetation in the dry hanging with no visible means of support. canal bed beyond Stainton Crossing bridge. Should this stone fall, further loss of the The resulting item will appear in a prowing wall could result, with even the possigramme on BBC 2 next February about bility that the canal might be breached. Given Britain’s heritage. The piece on the Lancaster the potential seriousness of this occurring, Canal Northern Reaches is likely to result in the September work party was due to push 5-7 minutes of the final programme. some bags of concrete under this stone to Once the film crew had given the all support it until such time as a more major clear, members of the work party started reconstruction can be undertaken. At the to clear the bridge of ivy and brambles on moment the water in the stream is low, but if both sides and along the parapet, allowing there is some heavy rain this winter further the September work party to immediately erosion could occur.
Pictures by LCT
Problems to sort at Stainton Crossing Bridge...
...and Stainton Aqueduct
The Wendover Arm Trustâ€™s volunteers continue to make good progress on rebuilding the dry section of the Arm as a waterproof channel
Grand Union Wendover Arm
Wendover Arm Trust
Above: mooring bay and Below: completed channel with concrete blocks and coir rolls
Pictures by WAT
July Working Party: Final profiling of both banks and the bed for almost 100 metres was completed ready for installing the waterproof lining in August. The last base of the mooring wall was poured and the formwork removed, cleaned and stored in the Long Marston garage pending the next wall build. August Working Party: On the Friday before the working party preparations were made in getting plant delivered and materials ready for a flying start with BITM over the first weekend. This proved very successful in that all the Bentomat lining was quickly laid thanks to the assistance of the BITM team. Not only was the Bentomat laid but a team at Little Tring who were keeping the works supplied with materials were able to cut further supplies of 20m lengths of Bentomat ready for bottom lining. Many thanks BITM. Hollow concrete blocks were laid at the bottom of the Bentomat on the banks followed by solid concrete blocks with coir rolls along the top. This work was completed by the second Saturday morning. Progress on lining was so good that Saturday afternoon and Sunday were spent profiling the towpath bank from the completed lining to the mooring wall. Final profiling was completed next to the mooring wall so that surplus concrete from pouring the wall sections with ready-mix can be used to form the bank from the end of the wall to blend the bank into the finished wall Surplus concrete from the wall pours was used to complete a small piece of pipe capping (covering the pipe laid in the canal bed which carries the water supply feed until the canal is rewatered) 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. Roger Leishman, Restoration Director 01442 874536 firstname.lastname@example.org
Progress Sussex Ouse
Down in the Deep South, the Sussex Ouse Restoration Trustâ€™s volunteers continue their complete rebuild of Isfield Lock...
to proceed a 20m alder tree had to be removed. Summer progress by Sussex Ouse RestoraWRG tree experts were called upon and tion Trust on the restoration of Isfield Lock duly attended to fell the obstacle to allow the has been steady after, as previously reported, continued repair of the wall. getting off to a great start in the spring. If you want to help out or want to get But the target restoration for 2011 was involved in the restoration under project always going to present a bigger challenge to manager Paul Morris contact Ted Lintott on the volunteers due to the extent of demoli01444-414413 or email@example.com tion and re-build required. And as the end of Terry Owen the working season draws ever nearer there is now a race against time to complete the 5m section of the western wall of the chamber. Only the next few weeks and continued good weather will tell whether the target for this year is reached. Access to the site is limited once September arrives for not only does the local Estate prevent access through the pheasant breeding woods but vehicular access becomes impossible or difficult across the alternative route across the fields. Materials required therefore have to be delivered to the site in advance and in anticipation of their requirement. Additionally the western approach wall WRG Forestry deal with a tricky alder is undergoing restoration and to enable this
Pictures by SORT
Isfield Lock chamber wall rebuilding in progress
...while in the north, WCBS gets stuck into the massive job of completely rebuilding a 1914 wooden narrow boat
Wooden Canal Boat Society
Hazel – The Work Begins!
Above: the new keelson is installed. Below: carving of the new stem post is under way
Pictures by WCBS
Having successfully slipped 1914 Runcorn narrow boat Hazel on July 8th, boatbuilders Stuart Hughes and Chris Leah, assisted by volunteers, eagerly got stuck in to the huge task of rebuilding the aged craft. First the boat had to be jacked up to a comfortable height for working and carefully levelled and straightened. Work then began on making moulds to bend the new planks round and adzing down an oak log to make a new stempost. The original stempost has been comprehensively patched up over the last 97 years and it came out in several parts, which had to be carefully pieced together to provide patterns for the new one. It has been an interesting archaeological exercise as parts of the old boat have been dismantled. One of the problems that occurred as the boat was slipped was that bottom boards started to drop off. This was because many of them weren’t attached to the keelson. It looks likely that, when the boat was converted in 1951, bottom boards from another boat were fitted but only nailed into the bottom strakes rather than the solid fixings normally used. By the end of August, moulds and stempost were nearly finished, the new keelson was ready and in the boat and some bottom boards (made from greenheart that was once the deck of a salvage ship) fitted. The rudder has gone to Reg Thompson’s workshop at the Warwickshire Flyboat Co so that he can make a new one. Elsewhere at the WCBS, recycling trips still take place on the first Sunday and first Monday evening of each month. The charity shop in Ashton-under-Lyne is busy, but in need of more volunteers. In particular, we are particularly short of weekday van drivers to do collections and deliveries for the shop. If you would like to help please ring 07931 952 037 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
and myself. We sat down to eat with the faint pitter- patter of rain on the sheet steel roof, sadly a sign of the weather conditions to come. Thursday morning peering out of the kitchen window, rain and that kind of hanging, clinging rain clouds. Heading off to site was one of those “what are we doing here?” moments quickly dispersed by the procurement of chocolate biscuits and cake from the local store. Leaving Resolven we were pleasForking good time at antly surprised to see and avoid the late The Welsh Waterways Festival coming of the “Hawk master” (but I had left Ah the beautiful Welsh valleys, the craggy home before 6am-JH) as he was looking to rocky outcrops, the awesome waterfalls find the accommodation. Arriving at the cascading like mares’ tails in the wind, the festival site and meeting Colin “the organtumbling streams in tree-enclosed gorges iser”, the site, unsurprisingly was too wet to that excite the imagination of Jurassic Park drive the van & trailer on to our showground and pre-historic times, all opening out on to pitch so the gazebo and the all-important lush green pastures in the valley floors with Burco were barrowed onto site. youthful rivers madly zig-zagging their way The camp was set up and the Burco lit, down to the sea. What makes all of this? and the volunteer staff refreshment centre Precipitation in its liquid form, rain and lots was established for the festival. The optimisof it? It was the unlucky throw of the tic forking of the initial puddles started. weather dice that in the middle of the driest Immediate success. “Bye bye water”. Getspring over in the east of Britain that the ting off site early allowed an interesting west side was trying to make up for it over adventure to find the nearest Tesco this Spring Bank Holiday weekend. megastore which ended up with the circumOne had to admire the stoic enthusiasm navigation of the Neath ring road and a visit of the organising team, our hosts at to the really nice Lidl establishment, well at Ynysarwed Farm, and the festival attendees. least the van and trailer were easily accomThe latter included the small but perfectly modated in the spacious car park. It was formed band of WRGies who came to supmeant to be, and I’m sticking with my story plement the local team on the show support despite the input of my Sat-Navvy Frank! services and, in a new initiative, perform Friday the sun shone, the valleys were a some acts of canal restoration at a lock site happy place; we managed to get the trailer adjacent to the festival site. The concept was on site to our pitch. The wheel indentations to bring the public along the towpath from in the turf were a sign of things to come. the car park, past the work site so they could All those little jobs around the site were see restoration in action, engage with the accomplished; with a team dispatched to team in their natural environment rather than assist some trailboats launch, while Frank just seeing it on a poster and a nicely was still forking off around the site, this time pressed red T-shirt! It also provided added with a site radio in hand, multi-tasking at its value by indicating the intent and progress to best. The car parks, nay demolition sites, restore the next phase of this section of the were carefully checked for objects that would Neath & Tennant Canal while showcasing the puncture tyres and holes that would just be a work ethic and capabilities of WRG. tad inconvenient to visiting cars. Directional Our accommodation was at the signs were put up to guide the expected Resolven Scout Hut about 3 miles away from crowds along the towpath. A trip into Neath site. The galvanized steel fencing, gates and before lunch to pick up Dave Salisbury from door security screen initially gave the impres- the railway station was much helped by the sion of Fort Knox without the prospect of previous day’s tour! After the eventual argold inside. Fortunately the gold was there in rival of Mr. S, the errant Tesco metropolis the form of our really nice Scout hosts and was found, more shopping purchased and as the spacious facilities including proper beds a bonus we found Halfords close by and for those who wanted them. Rachael graprocured some liquid gasket for Malcolm ciously volunteered to prepare the evening Bridge to fit the replacement exhaust to the meal for Helen, Frank, Andy, Martin D, Colin kit generator that had fallen off during the
Neath & Tennant festival
and much amusement of the watchers above, the said mattock was recovered. Monday, heavy rain during the early hours saw much water on site. Frank was distraught, no amount of forking would sort this out. First job was to rescue the contents of the NW WRG stall and move them into the big trading marquee on slightly higher ground. With that done, and an errant local car pushed to safety, the team headed off to the lock. The towpath side was finally cleared and over 50% of the offside completed, including opening up a really nice stone spillway. All that is needed now are few WRG week long camps and the lock will be fit for purpose! Returning back to the showground, the main event of the afternoon was the tractor pulling; mainly tractors pulling the exhibitors and traders off the site including the WRG kit trailer! The normal site pack up was quickly done including getting all of the crowd barrier ready for collection, as it was needed in Swansea for the victory homecoming the following day by their play-off winning football team. Pack up and clear was so well organised by the local event organisers that we were able to sort our kit and accommodation early on Monday morning and depart for home in time for tea and buns. My thanks to everyone associated with the event including to the local team, Colin, Peter, Margaret, our hosts at Ynysarwed Farm, Rachael Banyard who assisted with the cooking and chief MUP John Hawkins. For those looking for a Canal Camp on a stone lock restoration with awesome views, which will be quickly integrated into the active canal system and a very warm welcome from the locals, Resolven on the Neath & Tennant Canals is the place to go. Martin Thompson
Easter Camp. A double bonus, there was a second Lidl store on the same retail site, joy! On the way back to the accommodation at the end of the day we explored a really beautiful waterfall on the outskirts of Resolven, alas no alleged ghost under the waterfall just nature in the raw to remember. Saturday rain at first. Part of the team were dispatched to assist the M&B unload their sectionalised trip boat and make two halves become one. The reward (or maybe a QA check) being a lift back to site in the trip boat. Vehicles were limited from going onto site so the WRG van became the magnetic poster hoarding right next to the entrance bridge to the site and a most excellent location to advertise our little enterprise. Little jobs were done around the site by the rest of the team; Frank continued forking around the showground along with a few others who could get their hands on any tool that had a spiky thing on the end of a long handle. The IWA funding recognition board was erected on wooden posts by the restored bridge (we know where the rubble had been buried!). After lunch the clearance of the undergrowth from the next lock up was started. With the nature of the soil the saplings were able to be pulled or levered out without the need for a Tirfor, just as well as we didn’t have one! By the end of the day we had opened up the over grown entrance to the fenced in lock and started exposing the upper wing walls. Those in the showground had their afternoon brightened by the sight of the shepherding demonstration’s “flockette” of sheep, with little doll jockeys strapped on their backs, making a run for it through the showground after breaking out of the arena. Next job, secure the arena crowd barrier! Sunday’s weather was like the previous day. Puddle forking was high on the agenda. Alas the heavy soil was getting less conductive to absorbing the further heavenly offerings, but our little “forker” Frank’s never-saydie attitude glowed in the sporadic sunshine. Work at the lock clearance moved on apace with a start being made at the tail end wing walls, as well as continuing at the upper end. Coping stones were exposed from the soil and vegetative cover, and the pile of saplings, Japanese Knotweed et al grew ever taller and wider. A lesson learned by Mr. S was: never under estimate the ability of an uncontrolled mattock to take itself into deepish water. Fortunately with a pair of chest waders, a bit of wet groping around
The lock begins to emerge from the undergrowth
Camp report NWPG at Eisey Lock Another NWPG camp at Eisey Lock Thames & Severn Canal
Ashton Keynes targeted by Facebook riot incitement! Eisey Lock almost finished! (not sure which of these is the more shocking...) of young, middle and extended middle, male and female, experience, enthusiasm and willingness to learn and try new things - all the key ingredients for a good camp. Some had worked on the lock before; for others the whole experience was completely new. By the Tuesday morning everyone had found out both what they liked doing and what they were quite good at – both tend to go together, fortunately! I must mention some names. Josie – a returning volunteer – soon reminded me that she really doesn’t like bricklaying but loves pointing (yes some people do!). She then spent the whole week in the bottom of the lock. Ably assisted by Christine who divided her time between bricklaying and pointing, they completed the waterline pointing for the whole of one side of the chamber and the cill bow wall as well. As well as Josie some others spent the whole week doing the same job. I think that
Its 2011 and NWPG have been running a summer canal camp in association with WRG for 20 years. Its also 30 years this year since NWPG held its first work party at Newbury Lock. Our first camp was at Lee Farm Lock on the Wey & Arun, re-building a brick lock that had been derelict since 1880. This year we were doing the same thing but this time with a lock that last saw a boat in the 1920’s. This was our fourth consecutive visit to Eisey Lock, situated in the flat valley of the Upper Thames about 3 miles east of Cricklade. It should also be our last as by the time you read this Martin Thompson or John Hawkins will have sent in their report advising of their camp’s successful completion of the work. [see following pages ...Ed] NWPG were tasked with continuing the good works of KESCRG’s June camp and LWRG’s wet July weekend. As the camp leader, my over-ambitious objective was to finish all the structural re-building of the lock, clear the lock, fold my arms and with a proud smile say “where next?” This was not to be, of course, as my imagination had as usual grossly under-estimated the amount of work needing to be done and the amount of time required to do the job properly. That’s not to say that our team of excellent volunteers did anything other than work flat out. So the team… 20 of us full-time with the some part-time addiEisey Lock: the coping stones go on tions. A good mix
they were happy in their work. Bryan was mysteriously disappeared. A quiet word with offered the digger keys on day 1 and was one of the drivers told us that they had still in it on the following Saturday long after received a Facebook alert that some of the everyone else had gone home. Karl worked lads from “down the village” were going to really hard all week on the re-building of the trash the coaches and they had had to hide lower off-side return wall only to be frusthem away! Deciding not to install panic in trated in not being able to see it finished – our volunteers we quietly covered this inforthe job was too big. George and Graham mation and went off on our evening boat trip took on the finding, placing and levelling of as if nothing had happened. Of course on the coping stones which became increasingly our return nothing had happened and the difficult as all the best stones had already camp and the coaches returned to normal been used up. They were followed by a the next day. dedicated team of “brick underfillers!” whose As intimated at the beginning, we didn’t job was to brick up the often large voids finish the lock but had a really good crack at between the top of the brickwork and the doing so. The off-side chamber wall copings underside of the coping stones. Sian, Chris, were placed, levelled, mortared in and back Christine, Olivia and Tegan get a mention filled with soil. Much pointing was done, here. Quietly over-seeing the whole job, Mr including the paddle hole tool store. The Mike Fellows with his quality controlled lower flank and return walls on the offside pointing trowel. were progressed to about 2 courses from Having started by mentioning names I’ll coping level and many tree stumps and logs stop now before I feel obliged to list everywere removed from the canal down to Rucks body. There were others of equally hard Bridge. working stature. In NWPG they are known as Thanks to everyone. Where will NWPG the “B” team and comprise the brick cutters, be next summer? I don’t yet, definitely not mortar mixers, brick, sand and lime suppliEisey, but we will be somewhere. ers, bonfire burners, dumper drivers, brick Bill Nicholson cleaners. They get moaned at by the skilled trades but the camp wouldn’t operate without them. As a part time member of the team myself I must sing their praises. Sue who has cooked for us for almost every one of the 20 years of NWPG camps did us proud again. Each year she comes back to do this most crucial task and we are all eternally grateful. She tells me that for some reason appetites were down this year – perhaps another consequence of the economic downturn? This was the week of the riots and if some of the camp team hadn’t bought newspapers then I suspect we could have remained blissfully unaware of the world outside. Except that on Tuesday evening on our return from site to sleepy Ashton Keynes, we noticed that all the coaches in the Olivia and Tegan on mortar-mixing duty depot next to the hall had
Steve i/c driving and admin. MUPs were John Hawkins, Bob Crow and Rob Brotherston i/c’s of coping and brickwork, Navy Bryan [subject to much ribbing from a certain TC!] i/c the excavator and dumper Teacher Chris was i/c camp morale, plus the ever important task of casting teachers in a favourable light and cracking the whip on the scunge shovelling. Of which more than 32 tons we guesstimated got removed by sheer elbow grease and wheelbarrows. This scunge was the Eisesham or Inglesey? black decayed vegetable matter plus honest-to-goodness Cotswold Canal 13-20 August Cotswold dirt and brick bits and mortar, all of which Confused? Not as much as the volunteers were accumulated at the bottom of the lock. Plus a hundred on week one of the trio of Inglesham camps and five froglets, all liberated by Katrina. Well it was a variation of “If you don’t Everyone pitched in shovelling the eat your savoury you don’t get your sweet”, scunge and the whole thing gained momenin this case “if you don’t finish Eisey Lock you tum as the day went on, a two day plus task can’t get your just desserts at Inglesham”. done in half the time, awesome effort by all Not quite as extreme as that, but it had to be concerned. As Navy Bryan responding to the done. Helping out our good and true local jesting from the lock floor, said “he’d handled CCT PM Jon Pontefract didn’t give us any every bit twice, once in the excavator bucket, second thoughts. It gave us the opportunity once in the dumper down to the tipping site”! not only to complete one Thames and SevEisey is now very nearly totally finished. The ern Canal lock, but also be there at the start bottom layers on the inner lock chamber walls were of the restoration of the iconic eastern gatechecked for any faulty bricks and dodgy or ‘hollow’ way to the T&S system at Inglesham. Glory sounding ones were replaced! Copingstones were placed hunting, nooo; just a happy victim of cirand repositioned and finally cemented in behind with the cumstances! NWPG it could have been you!!! help of M’s muck mixer Rachel; Chris from North Being an interested observer/day visitor Devon, Eddie and Vince all helped with these tasks. during the KESCRG and NWPG weeks at Scaffolding taken out, and ably stacked by Katrina, Eisey, the need for a little additional assistGeorge, Roger, Rick and me. Supervised by George. ance from the first week of the Inglesham Our hosts CCT have been renovating Camp became a reality. It tied in nicely with East End Depot barn and were planning on the sequence of work at Inglesham and laying 6m³ of ready mix concrete as part of a allowed the folks to experience both ends of new machine shop. Being a bit light of manual the restoration spectrum. So what was left labour, WRGies ably assisted the local team on to complete: a small number of coping the Tuesday, to complete the first pour. stones to be installed at the tail end, some Evening entertainment included trips out to the brick work on the lock walls and wing walls, Mikron Theatre Company performing ‘Hell and High Water’ landscaping on the off-side, scaffolding to at a mysterious location on the River Severn called the remove from the chamber, the debris of the ‘Old Coalhouse Inn.’ This was followed by a rapturous wall reconstruction to be removed from the ‘songs from the shows’ on the trip home, which was less chamber floor, potentially some pointing up than enthusiastically endured by Iain, Vincent and John. and isolated brick removal at low level after the Another evening we watched the last Harry debris was removed, relocate the Heras fence Potter from a very acute angle, Fillippo (our Italian on the off-side, remove some stumps and guest) enjoyed that. excavate out of the by-wash lagoon were the The very popular prequel of Planet of main tasks. Inglesham was a little simpler, the Apes meant our other cinema group prepare the site and start exposing the upper being distributed around the less popular structures in the forebay and by-wash areas. seats also with up and across viewing! The story continues with the help of The world’s slowest driver led the ever exerts from a draft report submission from extending traffic queue from Cirencester to Tasterella in italic... Stroud as we took an early Wednesday afterCamp leaders: the heroic and patient RAF Martin noon off to visit the opposite end of the canal, assisted by the wonderfully musical George Rogers. our late arrival exasperated by a major diverChampion cook Mandy Morley, ably assisted by new sion in Stroud, best laid plans and WRGie cook-in-waiting Alan. And of course the ever-smiling leaders! Lesson learned for the next two camps.
Eisesham or Inglesey?
mixture of the Vikings, Boadicea on water and Glastonbury rolled into one is quite perplexing. On the positive side, among the general interest in what we are doing, one gentleman drove up and thanked us for our efforts and handed over a case of Strongbow, another is looking to join up with CCT as a volunteer and the landlord of the local hostelry was very procanal and was most welcoming on our visits. Our presence in Kempsford and the village hall hopefully has brought them monetary benefits, elevated the visibility of the canal restoration movement, and promoting its reality of the “Second Coming”. Inglesham looks ready for the next stage of its rejuvenation and Eisey is awaiting the rubber stamp which says ‘complete’. The anti-canal contingent at Kempsford will be shivering in their boots now that we have shown our impressive abilities. Many thanks to my assistant George, Mandy and Alan the cooks, all the MUPS, our top Jon P (making light of the protective cast around his foot) and to everyone on the camp for making it another great camp to lead. It may have been Eisesham or Inglesey but I hope the pleasure of the final Eisey cleared lock and photo will last long in the memory and whet the appetite to be there during and finally at the end of the Inglesham lock restoration. In the next couple of years we’ll hear “one more camp will do it.” Honest. Martin Thompson
The boat trip on the ‘Perseverance’ at Saul Junction was another memorable evening with an insightful commentary on the water, an excellent talk by Clive at the CCT visitor centre; and lovely kind ladies attending to our needs. Hospitality par excellence. The route around the Saul Marina gave volunteer Eddie a chance to check the wellbeing of his little cruiser moored there, amid a certain level of heckling led by a certain TC - “boat on a rope, bath size “ was cruel! It is a very nice little boat, as little boats go. The return trip to “home” enabled the new A46 canal bridge in Stroud and Gough’s Orchard Lock sites to be visited with a short stop off at the Tunnel Inn at Sapperton to quench a late evening thirst. Accommodation entertainments included for the first time a K’NEX big wheel kit, and the traditional jigsaws, backgammon, dominoes and Connect Four (can anybody beat TC on a one off game?). So what did we do at Inglesham? Inglesham got scrub bashed and strimmed (led by Peter), Chris, Huw, Rachel and I pulled out huge stalks of Himalayan Balsam which made weird triffid like noises and seemed malevolent. Heras fencing was erected in the rain, along cleared boundary lines, a mountain of vegetative matter accumulated ready for bonfiring. Stone, brick and rubble was collected and sorted. The clearance of the filled in lagoon downstream of the by-wash culvert was started, large lumps of concrete blocks were found and cleared along with broken remains of some vintage bottles. The latter was a sign of more to come in the following weeks. Then on the last day Iain and Huw moved fences (and repositioned fences), bricks were sorted and excavated and moved into delightfully serried ranks by Martin Danks (who took over Jenny’s bed place when Jenny left on Wed night, which was a sad loss as she is ace). The spill weir or D shaped thingy was excavated and earlier in the week Roy of the red jumper inspected culverts and made notes, then put on a different red jumper and drove away. An interesting visit by a local councilor on the first evening initiated by concerned constituents to find out what was this group with red vans, finger boards with “Waterway Recovery Group” written across them and taking over their beloved village hall were up to. After a pleasant chat, in which I had extolled the virtues of our little hobby, she bade fond farewell clutching a copy of our WRG volunteer “Who we are” leaflet and with a leaving comment that she was actually elected on the “anti canal vote”! The thought that canal users are a
Applying finishing touches at Eisey
WRG BC News from WRG’s Boat Club
The Boat Club reports from its AGM at the IWA National... and wonders where to hold it next year when there isn’t an IWA National...
were confused by the change of Festival date! Next came the memory test as the minutes of last year’s meeting had been in Navvies last year! Of course everyone had read them but their memories needed a bit of prodding. Matters Arising Included discussion over the donations made as in both cases they were £50 short of that previously agreed. The Treasurer had also mentioned this in her report so we decided to discuss it when that was read. Officer’s Reports: the Commode Door and AWCC Rep. Lynne reported that she has been busy in a number of ways. As a volunteer lock keeper she has certainly seen the better side of BW employees and the worst side of some boaters. Many are exceptionally badly behaved and ill mannered. Luckily this does not include any club members! In her dual role she has attended many meetings on our behalf. The AWCC are most informative and helpful. They keep us up to date on issues and Erica our AWCC regional secretary has been most efficient in supplying information, especially the latest on ‘The Charity’ and the planned new High Speed railway that could have disastrous effects on the canal network. Treasurer Ann was not absent because she was spending our money, she sent her apologies and a written report but not the annual accounts as the year end for the club is 1st September. She will email these to the officers and anyone else who wants them. (Let me know if you do, by sending me an email then I will also have your present address) Ann suggests we pay the two x £50 to Inglesham New destination for this year: Droitwich during the reopening Lock Appeal and The Mont’s Martin Ludgate
As I write this I can gaze at The NEW bit at the top end of the navigable Ashby canal. Two newly opened Droitwich canals and another ‘new’ bit in one year is very cheering! They are all set here for starting on the next length very soon. Well another AGM has come and gone and I am still your secretary! The AGM, held at Burton Festival the last week in July, was well attended and a boat club success. I think this is true of the Festival as a whole, so hopefully some money was raised for restoration. Before the meeting got underway a punch was made in The Bowl, now named ‘The Roger Jeffries Memorial Trophy’ (well the punch was in a plastic bowl I had used to line the trophy with - after I had polished all the silver I didn’t think it would improve the flavour) First the punch was enhanced by the addition of some ‘Finely Cut Lemons’ compliments of Jim Lamen. When all present had a drink, the toast was drunk - ‘To Roger Jeffries and absent friends’. Apologies were received from a number of members. I’m sure that others not attending would have sent theirs but
talk on the Droitwich canals, details of the opening, including problems met and solutions found. He also told of of future plans. Award of the Roger Jeffries Memorial Trophy. Lynne gave a short history of one member’s achievements and CV so we soon guessed that this year’s recipient was Vaughan Welch, especially for his amazing dedication and hard work leading to the opening of The Droitwich Canals. A most deserving recipient. As the meeting drew to a close I was delighted that Tom Jeffries came to chat and express his wish to continue to be involved with the club. His support is very much appreciated. Other business. The next BCN Cleanup will be held 21st - 23rd April (note three days next year). It will be in Walsall where there are moorings for about 12 boats in the Town Wharf. It would be great if the club could be involved. If there is a chance you can be there please contact Dave Pearson at email@example.com (or me) There will be a campaign/ fund raising gathering on the Mont next year. Space is very limited, so you will need to book as soon as you can. You need to contact David & Dawn Alwyn at firstname.lastname@example.org for information and booking form. If you have been before, worked on the Mont or otherwise been involved mention this. xxx Sadie Heritage 07748186867 (text is best if we’re boating) email@example.com 236 Station Road, Whittlesey, PE7 2HA
‘Barrow Load of Boulders’, ASAP (the shortfall from last year). Then once all subs are in we should have enough money to make further donations of about £200 (if eveyone coughs up!) We then make two £100 donations, one early in the year and another later, when we have more idea of expenditure during the year. This was discussed and all agreed. The opinion of the meeting was that we send further donations to Inglesham Lock Appeal. Secretary Membership has fallen this year. Three of those leaving were through non payment of subs. If you haven’t paid by the time you read this YOU will be a lapsed member! I still need to know who wants to receive the AWCC Handbook. Alert, the AWCC magazine is now available by email, again let me know, preferably by email, if you want to receive this. We now have window stickers available for £1.50 + postage, and of course Lynne has club Burgees selling at £10 + postage. Please use these to show your membership so we know each other when out and about, also please remove them from your boat should you sell it. Election of officers Unusually we were not inundated by offers to take on the work so the ‘usual suspects’ remain. Mike Chessher was appointed as club researcher. His main job being to locate canal restoration projects where we can get boats along so club members can help; campaign criuses and rallies; events raising funds for restoration etc. Future plans were discussed, the main one being that as there will be no ‘National’ next year where will the AGM be held? All agreed that it should be at either a campaign rally or a WRG working weekend we can get boats to. Well the sort of event Mike will be finding out for us. It will also depend on the availability of members who can attend. Will members please send me their thoughts on this. Most of the AGM business being completed member Vaughan Welch then Destination for gave us a very interesting
next year? Walsall will host the BCN Cleanup
NOTICEBOARD Moving house
to Gilly and Steve Liput on the arrrival of Gail Iris on 17 September also to Nicky and Ollie Revel on the arrival of Kaelyn Jane Louisa on 11 September and finally to Alice Bayston and Anthony Carver on their marriage
Liz Wilson has moved to: 19 Widford House, Colebrooke Row, Islington, London N1 8DD. If you move house, don’t forget to tell Navvies your new address Advance notice: Leader Training Day ...for 2012 will be May 12.
CANALWAY CAVALCADE Little Venice, London W2 5th²7th May 2012 Applications are invited for the following vacancies on the organising committee: Entertainments Manager & Assistant Role & Responsibilities: Source entertainers, schedule performances and provide logistics support during the event
Public Address Manager Role & Responsibilities: Make public information announcements during the event, co-ordinate a team of announcers and create a rota in preparation for the event
Waterspace Manager & Assistant Role & Responsibilities: Book in boats attending the event, organise moorings, co-ordinate two pageants. Support and learn alongside the current manager to assume the role in 2013 All roles are committee posts and require attendance at monthly meetings at a venue near Kings Cross, London. Applications for full job specifications should be made to: Jerry Sanders 3 Wharf House Barton under Needwood Staffs DE13 8DZ Telephone: 07788 204442 Mobile: 07970835523 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Lost Dragline Bucket! Many years ago the Erewash Canal Preservation & Development Assn. made a small, probably aluminium, dragline bucket about 700mm x 450mm x 30mm which was designed to be pulled by hand. After years of lack of use, Mick Golds lent/gave this to another canal society but we canít remember who. We now may have a use for this and if anyone has any recollection of it could they please let me or Mick Golds know of its present whereabouts. Thanks. John Baylis email@example.com
Dial-a-camp To contact any WRG Canal Camp: 07850 422156 (Kit ‘A’ camps) 07850 422157 (Kit ‘B’ camps) Thanks to Chris Griffiths of Stroudprint for continued assistance with Navvies printing
The following fragment spewed out of the editor’s computer unexpectedly when he inadvertently rebooted it with a system date in the 22nd century...
Dewayne Smiff walked into the Earth elevator departure lounge and looked around, a few people were sat around drinking and or ‘connected’ staring vacantly while surfing the net by way of their implanted terminals. He began to walk over to his usual spot by an old airlock but discovered that it was partitioned off by a semi-transparent barrier behind which were people wearing what appeared to be red spacesuits. “Weird” he said, turning to throw himself wearily into a chair by a table. “Why is subspace travel so tiring” he wondered aloud. “Perhaps it’s something to do with circadian rhythms” said a woman sitting nearby. “But it’s practically instantaneous and you’re asleep most of the time” he said. “Yeah there is that, you spend more time lying down and getting up off the couch than you do actually travelling. I prefer wormholes myself. My name is Kyre by the way”. “Oh sorry. Dewayne, Dewayne Smiff. Uh wormholes?” “You going far Dewayne?” “No just groundside. You said wormholes.” “Yeah much better way to travel, a lot slower, and you get to see more” “I thought they’d closed them all” “Not all of them and we’re opening up more and more of them all the time. This place was built for one” she said waving her hand at the terminus they were in “but they welded the ports shut back in the Sixties. I’ve been helping at the other end on Mars for a couple of weeks at a camp...” “A camp!” interrupted Dewayne, “Surely you can’t camp on Mars”. “No the name is just some old Earth tradition. We just...” Kyre was interrupted then as the nearby barrier was pulled apart by a very large sixlimbed red alien which walked over to them and stuck out one of its four upper limbs and said in a reasonably human voice “Kyre! how are you! great to see you!” “Mouse!” said Kyre putting her arms around what DeWayne could now see was a (still large) human halfway in or out of a bright red spacesuit and wearing a red t-shirt with the letters ‘WRG’ on it, “I didn’t know you were here!” Scenes you seldom see on a dig: “Dig Baddy couldn’t make it so I had to fill in” No 10 “He’s not ill is he”? “No, something came up, that’s all.” “Oh good, is Dongle with you?” “Yes, but listen: I must go - they’re only allowing us enough air for one shot at the lock as it’s so big. But you take care, and I’ll see you at the bonfire do”. “OK take care and happy locking” “You too, bye!” “Bye!” Dewayne watched Kyre intently watch the big man walk back behind the barrier and said to himself “No chance there, then.” “Sorry?!” said Kyre. “Oh nothing. Uh Mouse!?” “Oh it’s a reverse thing we do, like worms are small but wormholes in space are so big.” “I’ll have whatever guest ale doesn’t have a “Ah! so what does ‘WRG’ mean then.” suggestive name, please” “Oh Wormhole Recovery Group of course...”
Our agony aunt Deirdre will be back next time (if the parole board approves it)
Navvies 249. WRG's magazine for volunteers restoring the waterways.