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volunteers restoring waterways

navvies Cleanups: Birmingham, Manchester, London

waterway recovery group

Issue No 265 June-July 2014

Navvies Production Editor: Martin Ludgate, 35 Silvester Road, East Dulwich London SE22 9PB 020-8693 3266 Subscriptions: Sue Watts, 15 Eleanor Rd., Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Manchester M21 9FZ

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.

Martin Ludgate

Printing and assembly: John & Tess Hawkins, 4 Links Way, Croxley Green, Rickmansworth, Herts WD3 3RQ 01923 448559

Waterway Recovery Group is part of The Inland Waterways Association, (registered office: Island House, Moor Road, Chesham HP5 1WA). The Inland Waterways Association is a non-profit distributing company limited by guarantee, registered in England no 612245, and registered as a charity no 212342. VAT registration no 342 0715 89.

ISSN: 0953-6655 Š 2014 WRG

Martin Ludgate

Directors of WRG: Rick Barnes, John Baylis, George Eycott, Helen Gardner, John Hawkins, Dave Hearnden, Jude Palmer, Mike Palmer, Jonathan Smith, Harry Watts.

Visit our web site for page 2

Contents In this issue... Editorial does CRT really want us? 4-5 Coming soon Camps update, Reunion 6-7 Cleanup Special report from the BCN, plus details of Manchester and London plans, and hints on running a cleanup 8-12 Camp Report Easter Cotswold Camp 13-15 KESCRG a year in the life 16-18 WRG BC news from our boat club 19 Diary canal camps, weekend digs, CRT and IWA one-day working parties 20-25 Progress our regular roundup from around the country - plus the retirement of the longest-serving work party organiser 26-32 Tech Tips brickwork repairs 33-35 Acheman Challenge wacky fundraising 36 Navvies News including more insurance information, Leader Training report, and how to sign a petition for Runcorn Locks 37-38 Infill including Dear Deirdre - and how do you get to be a Knight of the Trowel? 39

Above: the latest length of the Montgomery is seen in the process of being rewatered - the length restored mainly by SUCS from Redwith Bridge to Pryces Bridge. Left: London WRG building a channel wall on the Chesterfield (see camps preview p6 for details of this summers camps on the Chesterfield). Below: by the time you read this, another lock on the Wey & Arun will have opened - Southland Lock. Front cover: the BCN Cleanup - see our Cleanups Special on pages 812 (picture by Chris Morgan). Back cover top: formwork goes up for Waymoor Bridge during the Easter Cotswold Camp - see camp report, p13-15 (John Hawkins). Back cover bottom: four IWA Head Office staff on the Acheman Challenge to raise funds for a new excavator - see report, p36. (IWA)

Contributions... ...are always welcome, whether handwritten, typed, on CD, DVD or by email. Photos welcome: digital, slides, prints. Please say if you want prints back. Digital pics are welcome as email attachments, preferably JPG, but if you have a lot of large files it’s best to send them on CD or DVD or to contact the editor first. Contributions by post to the editor Martin Ludgate, 35, Silvester Road, London SE22 9PB, or by email to Press date for issue 266: 1 July.

Cotswold Canals Trust

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

all the latest news of WRG's activities page 3

Editorial Working together?

How serious is the Canal & River Trust when it says it supports canal restoration and wants to get involved in it?

For better, for worse? Working Together was the title of a workshop I attended a year or so ago. When I say ‘workshop’, I don’t mean the sort of workshop where you build lock gates and stuff like that, I mean a fancy modern name for a meeting that involves lots of round-the-table discussions and things like that as well as the usual presentations. Now it’s easy to be cynical about such things (especially when you’ve been around for a while) but this one, organised jointly by WRG’s parent body the Inland Waterways Association and the Canal & River Trust, the national navigation authority into which the former British Waterways had only relatively recently been transmogrified, did actually seem to show at least some signs of new thinking - rather than the ‘emperor’s new clothes’ that some sceptics had predicted. Recently, it was followed up by a second workshop called Water adds Value - and this one concentrated entirely on waterway restoration. I won’t bore you with the details - a lot of it was what I call ‘dull but worthy’ stuff: all about applying for National Lottery funding grants; dealing with local authority planning issues; demonstrating the benefits of restoration in terms which sound like complete gobbledegook to most of us (I thought the ‘Triple Bottom Line’ was an obscure branch of the Birmingham Canal Navigations system) but mean everything to those in the local authorities who hold the purse-strings. But it’s all vital stuff when it comes to making sure our contribution in voluntary labour will be matched by contributions in cash, support, planning and so on, and the result will be some reopened canals. Anyway I said I wouldn’t bore you with it. Because my point here isn’t what was said, but who was saying it. The event was set up and run by CRT with IWA. I don’t think British Waterways (especially in its latter days, when it was particularly cash-strapped and often stressed that ‘maintaining the navigable network came first’) would have done that. And CRT didn’t just put its name to the event - several senior staff were involved, it has now established a small full-time restoration team at its Fazeley office who were there, and we all watched a jolly good CRT video demonstrating why canal restoration is such a good idea (I hope we already knew, but it was good to see that CRT did too!) Sure, CRT isn’t about to start pouring cash into restoration (*) - but then that was never on the agenda either for BW or for CRT. It’s just good to see some signs that the Trust seems to be on our side now. What a shame, then, given this positive attitude to restoration, that two or three bits of communication recently between canal restorers and CRT staff at regional level seem to have been rather less helpful. We had hoped that the issues I moaned about a couple of years ago, when local BW staff sometimes seemed less-than-forthcoming when it came to volunteers restoring BW waterways (for example in refusing to let our trained chainsaw operators work on their sites even though they had done similar work elsewhere, or refusing volunteers permission to work unsupervised, but declining to provide such supervision), were becoming a thing of the past. But perhaps not... Firstly, we have a case where volunteers aren’t allowed to use a Tirfor winch without having been assessed on Tirfors (for which CRT doesn’t have a qualified assessor, so it can’t) - even though it hasn’t been a problem on other waterways, including some where CRT has had a reputation for being fairly strict in its interpretation. Next, we have a case where volunteers are told they can’t work on dismantling an old railway embankment across a canal (abandoned in the steam train era) just in case a diesel loco strayed across it at some time and spilled some fuel - unless somebody pays for chemical tests. Oh, and no staff are available to visit it. And there’s a threat to record our initial

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Martin Ludgate

work to clear the site as a ‘near miss’ in terms of filling in accident forms. And finally, a case where CRT is imposing its own CAATS training scheme on restoration volunteers carrying out anything beyond ‘heavy gardening’. Now I daresay CRT could justify every one of these decisions on health & safety grounds if it tried (and I’m damn sure BW could have done). But that’s not the point. If CRT wants to demonstrate that it really The filled-in Runcorn Locks: you can support their reopening - see p37 means it when it says it wants to get involved in restoration and volunteering, it needs to try to get all its staff, not just the ones who go to workshop meetings, to take the ‘how we can do it’ rather than the ‘why you can’t do it’ approach. Or, as one CRT Trustee put it slightly bluntly: “You can’t piss off the volunteers”. As I’ve said in the past, I’m not naturally one of the ‘seen it all before’, ‘emperor’s new clothes’, ‘meet the new boss, same as the old boss’ types of people. But if this goes on, I’ll start to have more sympathy with those who are. Come on, CRT, sort yourselves out!

Diary Diarrhoea On a slightly related subject, you could be forgiven for thinking that the Navvies diary is taking over the entire magazine. First, in response to an excellent discussion in the Letters pages about how / whether / why WRG and Navvies should embrace the new CRT era, we decided to include CRT’s Towpath Taskforce working party details, and put its volunteer coordinators in the Directory. At the same time, we felt that it was only right that IWA, being our own parent body, should also have its branch working parties listed. The trouble is, CRT’s Towpath Taskforce teams are multiplying, Alison Smedley’s doing a brilliant job at working with the IWA branches to get more cleanups and other working parties going, and our summer canal camps are 50 percent up on last year. Add in the local canal society working parties and the WRG and independent regional groups, and the Diary has gone from three to four to six pages! Is this useful? Do people refer to it often? Does it encourage more volunteers? Or is it a throwback to pre-internet, pre-mobile phone, pre-having a phone at all (for many people) days when Navvies was founded in 1966? Is it helpful just to keep people abreast of the sheer breadth of waterways volunteering going on? Or should we knock it right back to the WRG dates list? Should we perhaps drop it entirely? Should it go online-only? For that matter, is Navvies itself an anachronism? What do you think? Martin Ludgate (*) ...but I’ve got an idea. Every year CRT retains a £2m contingency fund as insurance against an unexpected call on its funds, such as a major canal burst - and then if it isn’t used, CRT releases it to pay for extra work. Last year it went on offside canal bank vegetation clearance. This year it is being spent on dredging. Why not spend it on restoration one year?

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Camps preview Summer camps 2014: part 3

In the third part of our annual Canal Camps preview, the editor mainly apologises for the first and scond parts

Canal Camps Update This was going to be part 3, covering mainly late summer and autumn - but we’re going to have to start with an apology, because we got a few things (mainly dates) wrong last time. In fact we got so many things wrong that we’ll be better off just going through the list again, and at the same time filling you in on a few changes. First off we have camps 2014-02, 03 and 04 on 5-12 July - but there’s not much point in telling you about them because they’re all fully booked, although we will mention in passing that Camp 03 has moved from Lapal to the Grantham Canal for reasons to do with work permissions. Camp 2014-05 on 12-19 July is also booked up. The first one with any places still available is Camp 2015-06, working on Trebanos Locks on the Swansea Canal on 12-19 July, with George Rogers and Ju Davenport leading. The work there carries on the following week 19-26 July with Camp 2014-08 under the leadership of Katrina Schonhbut and Elaine Beesley. Meanwhile also on 19-26 July Camp 2014-07 will be working on the Cromford Canal with Gavin Derby and Martin Foster in charge, before handing over to Steve Harmes and Chris Colborne for the second week, Camp 2014-10 on 26 July - 2 August. Next it’s up to Lancaster to continue the work there to re-water the next length of canal northwards towards Hincaster Tunnel. We haven’t confirmed the leaders for Camp 2014-11 on 26 July to 2 August yet, but Paul Shaw and Sarah Ashman will be in charge for the second week, Camp 2014-14 on 2-9 August. We’ve also got a fortnight of camps on the Chesterfield Canal, continuing the work to build the canal walls linking the new Staveley Town Lock to the next bridge. Steve Baylis and Colin Hobbs will be leading the first week, Camp 2014-13 on 2-9 August, then George Rogers and Andrew Pritchett take over for Camp 2014-16 on 9-16 August. Meanwhile we’re also running three weeks at Inglesham Lock on the Cotswold Canals the first two (Camp 2014-9 and 2014-12 on 19-26 July and 26 July to 2 August) are both fully booked, but there are still places on the third week - Camp 2014-15 on 2-9 August - with ‘RAF Martin’ Thompson and Dave ‘Moose’ Hearnden in charge. That isn’t the only worksite on the Cotswold Canals: we have three weeks mainly concentrating in the Stroud area, on 9-16 August (Camp 2014-17), 16-23 August (Camp 2014-20 and 23-30 August (Camp 2014-21), all with places available. The leaders aren’t confirmed yet for the first or third weeks, but Sophie Smith and Martin Danks will be running the second one. The summer programme ends with three new sites and an old favourite. The old favourite is the Basingstoke Canal, where Adrian Crow and Maggie Eaton will be leading Camp 2014-22 on 30 August - 6 September. The three new ones are:

. Camp 2014-18 on 16-23 August, a combined week on the Pocklington and Driffield Yorkshire (see Helen Gardner’s report in Navvies 264 for details of what’s going on there) .in EastCamp 2014-19 on 16-23 August on the Shrewsbury & Newport Canals including the excavation of Meretown Lock (see the Restoration Feature in Navvies 263) with Bob Crow and Stephen Rice as leaders. Camp 2014-23 on 30 August - 6 September on the Somerset waterways (the Bridgwater & Taunton Canal and the River Tone), building a landing stage near Taunton


See the WRG website and Facebook group for further details of all canal camps.

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Autumn Camp: Ashby Canal 26 October - 2 November This will be a rare chance to work on building a brand-new structure on a canal under restoration that might just have boats from the main canal network cruising under it within a couple of years. The Ashby-de-la-Zouch Canal currently ends in a field somewhere just north of Snarestone in Leicestershire, but it used to carry on for several miles to just north of Moira (it never made it to Ashby) until mining subsidence caused it to close. The long-term plan is to open it back to Moira, and the current scheme is to extend north from Snarestone in bite-sized chunks, aiming for Measham as a medium-term destination. The first short length is already open, but the next bit will need a bridge across it to maintain local access (which currently crosses the dry canal bed). Our job will be building the brickwork for this bridge - so bricklayers will be particularly welcome at the October camp, but so will any volunteers. Book onto it via head office or the website as usual.

What happened to the August big dig? There’s been a chance of plan and there won’t now be a major weekend dig on the Cotswold Canals in late August, as the work is more suited to week-long camps. However there still places available on all the Cotswold camps in late August (see above), and if you want something to do in that area on the Bank Holiday weekend there’s a boat rally at Saul Junction (where the Cotswold Canals meet the main waterways network) which some of our folks are involved in running - contact head office to see if they need any volunteer help.

WRG Reunion Bonfire Bash 8-9 November

Martin Ludgate

This is our big annual WRG working party and get-together - and it’s definitely happening on that weekend, although as we went to press we hadn’t confirmed which canal it would be on. However a couple of sites in the East Midlands area looked like front-runners. See the next Navvies for details and booking form, in the meantime watch the WRG website and Facebook group.

Restored lock on the Pocklington. Come on the summer camp and help to reopen it.

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Cleanup Report ...from the BCN

New leader, new site, plenty of the same old rubbish... Chris Morgan reports from the annual trolleyfest on the Birmingham Canal Navigations

After a fab cooked breakfast sorted by George, Maria and Ju, we did the team talks Gas boilers; Trolleys; Goal Posts; and headed off in different directions, Chris’s Crushed Nuts / Good Food; Good group on foot and the Moose group by van. (No mention of them not being able to find Beer; Great Company the canal though!) New faces and old from all over the UK made This year we were concentrating on up the team of 55 volunteers who gathered Garrison Locks to Bordesley Junction and at Phoenix Training Centre at Bordesley, Ashted Locks to Camp Hill, a mix of the South Birmingham on a Friday night in April. Grand Union and Birmingham Canal NavigaOne of three barrels of beer was tapped and tions system, but all equally important as a the weekend started in earnest! (Bar closes at gateway to the BCN. 0230) Chris’s group started at the bottom of Garrison Locks at the now burnt out and vandalised lock keepers cottage - how sad to see it like that compared to three years ago when it was in sound condition and up for sale. The group was equally disappointed with the lack of stuff coming out of the locks, the odd bike, lots of stripped cable insulation and a gas boiler, the group above us at the bridge holes were however more successful, the usual trolleys, bikes and mattresses made their way to the surface. Moose’s group had an equally poor start to the morning but ended up in the Typhoo Basin, (where we are told plans may include turning it into an ornamental pond…yes like *!&*!), there was plenty of depth there and that also included a sunken car which they failed to pull out, this is also the area that the sounds of a One fewer bike in the BCN strangled moose were Chris Morgan

BCN Clean-up 2014

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Alan Lines Alan Lines

One small step...

Moving the goalposts

Alan Lines

heard by all, something to do with crushed left testicle I think but I’m not one to tell. It was good to get a boat into Typhoo, and with Alan’s photos to prove it, the local IWA branch will have some ammunition to prove that it can have a future use for boating. Lunch for all at Camp Hill Depot and then back to it. Saturday afternoon proved much better for both groups, the Moose group walked from Camp Hill down the “10 mile pound” (ten miles as in the distance on the flat to Knowle locks), there was a lot of rubbish in this section. This area was much better scrap wise and the whole group had a good session. Chris’ Group worked from the top of Garrison Locks where the bridge holes and public ramp sites proved very rich pickings, wheelie bins, trolleys, motorbikes, push bikes, and the only safe of the weekend in fact it was so fruitful it was decided to be Sunday’s work area as well. Four trolleys had the £1 coins still in them! Back to the accommodation for a nice hot chicken and veg plus dessert and a nice socialise with all the volunteers; this time we had extended the invitation to CRT and BCNS work boat crews and some came along for food and beer sampling, all went down well and it was great to see people mixing after a hard day’s work. As the evening went on so the single malt was opened and more sampling began. (bar closes at 0315) Several volunteers spent a few hours with the crew of NB Swallow visiting us for the weekend and mooring outside the accommodation, guided tours were given and the boat was even illuminated, the locals thought it was fab and indeed four different single malts were sampled there to the dulcet tones of young Owen Morgan performing on his trombone. After breakfast on Sunday we headed off in the two groups for an extended morning’s work which proved fruitful for both groups, lunch was at 2pm when we congregated at the accommodation for a clean up and lunch.

It wouldn’t be the BCN without a few tyres

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As this was my first official camp as leader I would like to thank everyone involved; Moose and Maria for assisting and catering arrangements; George and Ju for the breakfasts; the washers up and dryers; the van drivers; Aileen for site coordination (when she could work her new phone out!) Thank Yous in no specific order: the owner, staff and caretaker of Phoenix Training Centre for accommodating us; Dave Pearson from West Mids IWA for the local running about; Murray Woodward of CRT for the barrel of beer and his work along with his boat crew (a fab lot they are too); the Dudley Canals Trust and Birmingham Canal Navigations Society boat crews without whom we could not do it; to the crew of Swallow for attending, this made a lovely attraction for all to see; Jenny at head office for the bookings; and finally the whole Another boatload of junk heads for the skips group of volunteers - you were a great bunch and I hope you will want to come again! And I mustn’t forget Ma Pardoe’s Swan brewery for producing some fab beer!!! See you next year Chris Morgan

And if you liked that... Here’s some information about future Clean Up activities on the waterways of Manchester and London... Manchester: Note the date 4-5 October in your diary for the followup to last year’s Operation Starburst, which was itself a follow up to the 2012 Clean Up to mark the 40th anniversary of the Ashtac big dig which launched the major work to complete the Cheshire Ring restoration in the early 1970s. Operation Manchester will be based on the Rochdale and Ashton canals around their junction at Ducie Street Basin in central Manchester. All tools will be provided, overnight accommodation is available, and although it’s an IWA event rather than a WRG one, we expect to see WRG volunteers supporting it - and it can be booked via the WRG website. And London: Finally on Saturday 22 November the Inland Waterways Association’s London Region is organising its own cleanup and inviting London WRG, all the local IWA branches, and anyone else who wants to join in. Here’s Stefanie Preston with the details... We hope to locate the work party on the Regent’s Canal between Commercial Road and Johnson’s Lock, which CRT plans to de-water this Autumn. In conjunction with this the local CRT volunteer team has proposed that volunteers attending the IWA region event could make the most of the de-watering and clear debris from the canal bed. This would be a brilliant task and is what we hope to do but please be aware the location and work may change, because access to carry out this canal-bed work relies on the timings of major works, which can change. If for whatever reason this task cannot go ahead CRT has suggested a location on the Paddington Arm that would benefit from the attentions of a large number of volunteers. Either way it sounds like a good event and we’ll have more details nearer the time.

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And if you REALLY liked it... ...why not try organising your own clean-up on your local navigable waterway? IWA Head Office have helpfully written this Navvies guide to running a clean-up...

Toolbox Talk – Organising a Canal Clean-up Canal clean-ups are a great way to get volunteers out and making a difference on the waterways. It is always worth putting a little thought into preparations for any work party to make sure the event runs smoothly and safely, the following steps give an idea of how this can be done.

(1) Decide what you want to do and where you want to do it Tasks could include clearing rubbish out of the canal, clearing litter from the towpath, vegetation and weed clearance and more. Let IWA Head Office know about your plans and keep them updated with any progress.

(2) Contact the navigation authority You will need to contact the relevant navigation authority with details of your proposed work party to gain the right permissions and learn of any restrictions or requirements. Also ask if the navigation authority can help at all, for example Canal & River Trust often supports volunteer work parties by supplying risk assessments and equipment. If you need access through or want to work on any land not owned by the navigation authority seek permission from the landowner.

(3) Choose a date and make a plan Once you have the relevant permissions in place set a date and make a plan. The plan should include planned tasks, equipment needed, access arrangements and welfare arrangements. Do not forget to consider how you will publicise your event, possibly through local papers or on social media. Know what you need to organise, what you can delegate to others and what the navigation authority will do. Keep track of completed and outstanding tasks.

(4) Create a risk assessment and method statement for the event These documents should be in place so that the event can be run safely and IWA’s insurers would expect a risk assessment to be in place. See if you need to produce these documents or if the navigation authority will do this for you. If you have to write your own risk assessment there are guidelines on

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IWA’s website here is a quick summary to show that the task is not as difficult as it may seem. These five steps from the Health and Safety Executive outline the basics behind writing a risk assessment:

. . . . .

Identify the hazards Decide who might be harmed and how Evaluate the risks and decide on precautions Record your findings and implement them Review your assessment and update if necessary

To begin, consider each element of the work party from accessing the site to the tasks you want to complete and identify any hazards. Here are five hazards common to many cleanups and other work parties to help start your risk assessment:

. . . . .

Working on or near water, which poses a number of risks including drowning Working on uneven surfaces, which can lead to falls and injuries Open wounds, new or old, can lead to infections such as Weil’s Disease Weather conditions, which cause various hazards including dehydration and slippery surfaces Hazards to the environment, such as pollution entering the waterway

Remember to list who may be at risk from each hazard. A risk rating should be calculated for each risk so that you can decide whether a hazard is low, medium or high risk. Next, decide and record what precautions will be taken to lower each risk. For instance, a control to reduce the risks associated with working on or near water is for all participants to wear a lifejacket. More information on risk ratings and assessments in general is available on the IWA website. A method statement outlines how your event will run and gives all essential information. It should include details of those running the activity, how to carry out any tasks taking into account the risk assessment and how to deal with any injuries or emergencies.

(5) On the day Once everyone has arrived and before starting any work have a welcome talk that thanks everyone for coming and goes over the plan for the day. Include any “rules” (for example, no lone working) and emergency procedures. Make sure everyone signs in, provides emergency contact details and has any necessary PPE before starting work. Throughout the day, make sure everyone is working safely (refer to your method statement) and enjoying themselves. If an incident or near miss occurs during the work party, follow the procedures outlined in the method statement, notify IWA Head Office as soon as possible and complete an accident report form, also to be sent to Head Office. At the end of the day, make sure the site is left safe and tidy. Thank everyone for their hard work and start thinking about writing a report to publicise the volunteers’ great work!

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Reporting from an epic 10-day Easter camp on two new-ish sites on the Cotswold Canals at Weymoor Bridge and Bowbridge Lock Cotswold Canals Easter camp

Camp report Cotswold Canals ing and brick laying. Seeing the formwork steel half-hoops in place with scaffold underneath was a powerful visual assertion of how the brick bridge will look against the landscape. The current road curving to one side was kept open during the work. The site is very popular with walkers and cyclists who were stunned by the speed and scale of the progress - it is so good to see ‘a bridge’, or at least the shape of a bridge, in place where it should be, standing up to contrast with the otherwise flat topography. Bowbridge Lock is very near Stroud and less than a few miles from being ‘in water’. It is next to a residential area, with a busy vets’ practice to one side, so a small section of the towpath had to be closed to the public during the works. This did not stop anyone peering over the fences with avid interest, taking photographs, shouting encouragement and even giving hot cross buns and drinks. The cut here is tree lined, and a

John Hawkins

This was a mammoth ten day canal camp working across two sites over ten miles apart. The team was joined in the spacious accommodation (a sculptor’s former studio near Stroud) for the first weekend by WRG BITM, who were working on another nearby site. As ever on the Cotswold canals, the local canal trust and indeed all local residents were immensely supportive of the work. We received frequent donations of bottles of water and hot cross buns. The sites worked on were Bowbridge Lock just outside Stroud and Weymoor Bridge near Latton. Neither of the sites is ‘in water’. On first sight, Weymoor Bridge looked like a hole in the ground with a road curving to one side and a badgers’ sett on the other. The path of the canal is now only apparent by a dip in the otherwise fairly flat land. The plan is to rebuild the bridge with the road going over the top, as shown in old photographs, with the canal going underneath. The towpath curls inside one abutment wall. By the time the canal camp had finished, the bed underneath the bridge had been dug out, concreted, the towpath wall had been rebuilt and infilled with concrete, the abutment brick walls were rising and the formwork was in place to rebuild the rest of the brick bridges. There were thus not one, but two, concrete pours to time the work around. Plenty of work for a dumper, digger and mini excavator, with WRGies frantically barrowing rub“A hole in the ground” - excavation at Weymoor Bridge ble and bricks, brick clean-

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Camp report

“At the end of each day, we all went back to Brimscombe to argue over the key to the showers. Who had walked off with it?”

strong stream of water still runs along it, parallel to the River Frome, in places just a metre away. A moorhen had a nest in the lock chamber, quite undisturbed still when we left, there were at least two large families of ducklings, and some people saw trout and even a pike. The ducklings were utterly fearless: if a WRGie in chest waders got in their way, well never mind, they simply swam between his legs. Indeed for anyone into chest waders, Bowbridge Lock in April 2014 was the place to be. One part of the work plan was to use a fire hose whose sheer force would break up the silt in the lock chamber, then a second pump would remove the silty water from the lock chamber through a pipe into the cut downstream. This procedure had some effect, though it was not perfect. It was not as messy as it sounds, but it was of course wellies, thigh waders and chest waders all round, and a complete all-in-one protective suit was also offered. It was suggested that perhaps ‘going commando’ in chest waders might save laundry, but oddly enough, this suggestion was not acted on. A major part of the work at Bowbridge was to remove the silt and debris from just before the top of the lock chamber, right by the dam wall. Using a bucket hoist, this took several days and filled no fewer than nine skips. The skip hire driver marvelled at how much we dug out. When we first arrived, the paddle hole on one side of the cut was known to be open to water flow, but not the other on the vets’ side. Then, with all the muck and filth taken away, it was obvious that both paddle holes were open to water flow. Furthermore, the grooves for the stop plank could then be deepened and widened – and in the process more finely aligned with each other across the cut. Steel channels were slotted into the grooves and the stop plank itself was put into place. The work at Bowbridge was also investigative, even illuminating. The upstream towpath wall was revealed to be without

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David Miller

Cotswold Canals

Another load of silt from Bowbridge Lock foundation in places, and deliberately pulling out a few of the large stones at the front showed that it really was resting on just large interlocking stones whose support had gone. In the lock chamber, carefully removing the larger vegetation without disturbing the walls – or the moorhen – made the walls’ ragged state perfectly obvious. To put it mildly, we were astonishingly lucky with the weather. For ten days in April, it was sunny every day except the second Sunday when there were a few showers. The fresh brickwork at Weymoor was hastily covered and then everyone ran to the welfare cabin. At the end of each day, we all went back to Brimscombe to argue over the key to the showers. Who had walked off with it? Would the first person to get up in the morning have to wail in misery to find the shower

John Hawkins

John Hawkins

key missing from the hook? Had anyone locked themselves in the shower – a brilliant way to avoid doing the washing up and then emerge with a luxuriously conditioned head of hair. Surprising few people ventured out of the accommodation during the evenings, despite stunning countryside and extremely welcoming pubs whose noticeboards were full of good news Canal bed concreted, scaffolding up, work under way on abutments about restoring the canal. This may have been because the accommodation itself had not one but two relaxing social areas. In one, there were board games and puzzles, and a few of us left the holiday well versed in backgammon. In the ‘snug’ there were film shows about how engineering was done in the 1960’s. Dramatic music laden as if with doom accompanied a film about repairing bus engines. The didactic voiceovers carefully introduced anyone in a white collar as “Mister soand-o, the Senior Engineer” and no “labourer” was allowed to speak on camera. Boat trips were organised for the last few days, to give WRGies a well-earned break. The staff at the Cotswold Canals Trust visitors’ centre could not have been more friendly and welcoming, with hot drinks all round and even a postage stamp from her own handbag for the van driver who wanted to send a postcard home. Debs and Sarah provided evening meals including toad in the hole, a huge roast dinner, a tasty curry and puddings to die for. Veggies were looked after, even with a special veggie version of trifle. Martin and John did the breakfasts. Martin Danks and George Rogers also took a turn at cooking, and for the first Saturday evening meal when WRG BITM were also in the accommodation, BITM’s cook June provided a joint meal. Thanks for a great week to Martin Thompson the leader, Teacher Chris who was in charge at Weymoor, John, Adrian, Rob, Rob and Bob, David, Dave, Valerie, Iain, Pete, Lucy, Fran, Richard, George, Daniel, Ted, Charlie, Joe, Steve, Phil, Allan, Martin Danks and Debs and Sarah the cooks. Erecting the formers for the arch - see also back cover photo Marion Carter

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KESCRG A year in the life

Steve Davis reports on what southern mobile group KESCRG have been up to on the Wendover, Cotswold, Wey & Arun and more...

been on one or more weekend digs with KESCRG in the last year will also have been Who are KESCRG? KESCRG are a travelling on a WRG Camp or dig weekend. So organigroup, very much like London WRG, BITM, sationally we are separate, but personnelWRG NW, Essex WRG and Newbury Working wise we are firmly in the WRG family. Bit Party Group (NWPG) – we exist to organise weird – but that is history for you! weekend working parties on various restoraUntil recently the group was run by Ian tion projects, generally in the southern half Williamson as Chairman, with Eddie Jones of the country. We also provide a leadership and the trusty LandRover DOK organising team and several experienced hands for one most of the weekends, but over the last of the WRG summer camps – last year this couple of years this has transitioned to was on the Wendover Arm of the Grand Bobby Silverwood coordinating the weekUnion, this year it will be the first week of ends, with me as Chairman and Eli ever the Inglesham camps led by Ed Walker and present as Treasurer and go-to weekend Mark (‘Mk2’) Richardson. caterer, Kate Penn as secretary, Mick & Anne As an organisation we are self-funding Lilliman providing much needed logistical with our own tools and trailer, and are indesupport, enthusiasm and handyman experpendent of WRG - however most of our tise and dependable and skilled volunteers regular diggers also dig with one or more of like Roy Sutton, ‘RAF’ Martin Thompson, the WRG weekend groups, and indeed pretty Alan Lines, David Miller and Alan ‘Digger’ much all of the 30+ individuals who have Morris & Jen keeping us pottering along in

Steve Davis

KESCRG: a year in the life

KESCRG volunteers working on the Whitehouses pumping station site in May 2013...

page 16

In order to allow the local Wendover Arm Trust working parties to concentrate on their mammoth relining work to enable the Arm (which was abandoned and its water supply to the Grand Union main line piped for two miles because it leaked so much) to be rewatered, they have entrusted this project to us. Last year we stepped up the intensity of our work, holding our May and August weekends and running the WRG summer canal camp on the site in July. We returned again for our April and May weekends this year, in total putting in well over 1000 hours of voluntary labour at Whitehouses in the last 12 months. Excitingly, with another weekend coming up in August (8th, 9th) we will have completed our part of the project, leaving it for the Canal & River Trust and their contractor to complete the water control structures to their specifications. Once the Arm is fully open, spring water from Wendover will run directly into the Grand Union Tring summit pound, saving CRT a fortune in pumping at Little Tring as well as bringing boats back to Wendover, so this is a great project of immediate benefit to the canal network. As well as Wendover, we have also been out in force on the Cotswold Canals,

Kate Penn

our merry way. So what have we been up to recently? As a group a major focus for us in the last year has been the Whitehouses Pumping Station site on the Wendover Arm of the Grand Union canal. This was the site of the original Newcomen pumping engine used to pump water from Wilstone Reservoir to the Tring Summit - however it ceased to function in the mid-19th Century when the Little Tring pumps were installed. The buildings remained as cottages, latterly housing refugees from Nazi Europe during and after the 2nd World War (the son of one of whom happened to pass by on the Sunday of our recent May weekend, providing a very interesting insight into the history of the buildings), but they were finally demolished in the 1950s due to lack of sanitation and running water and the site was levelled and lost to undergrowth. We have been working here since 2010, gradually unearthing evidence of the buildings’ foundations and cellars, and the remains of the pump outfall / overflow chamber, working towards the goal of reinstating the overflow weir to allow excess water to run down the original pump shaft and adit to Wilstone reservoir once the Arm has been rewatered to this point.

...and back there a year later in May 2014. Feel free to join them this August.

page 17

March on a spectacularly muddy weekend following the months of rain, installing a landing stage and generally tidying up on the newly dredged and watered section of the summit level at Dunsfold in preparation for a small boats rally. And finally in February we joined LWRG for a joint dig on the Chelmer and Blackwater, laying a new concrete path alongside the moorings in the basin, which was a very interesting excursion into navigable waterways, with the added excitement of floating accommodation and the luxury of bunk beds. KESCRG weekends generally fall on the first weekend of the month, and are advertised on our website ( and on our mailing list (to be added, please email Jenny and also via the KESCRG Facebook group – just search for KESCRG. Just like WRG we don’t have a ‘membership’ and you don’t need an invite - we exist purely to provide you, the volunteer, with an opportunity to spend a weekend in the open air getting mucky. So if you have done a camp or two or have dug with other groups and fancy coming along for a weekend of more of the same, just drop me an email to Steve Davis

Steve Davis

spending our October, December (Joint Christmas Party with LWRG), January and June digs there working on Griffin Mill Lock near Stroud, and the new Weymoor Bridge site at Latton. At Griffin Mill we have helped to bring the project towards completion, setting some of the coping stones, casting the concrete slab for the lower gate cill with LWRG, and doing general landscaping / fence erection and other finishing off jobs – this included re-opening the ground paddle blow holes which had become blocked with several hundred years of whatever you call a stalactite that is growing in a tube. Suffice to say, it was very hard and required a toothed scaff pole and an awful lot of whacking with a sledgehammer to shift it! At Weymoor Bridge in January we progressed the initial excavation of the bridge hole - this will be a really exciting project for the next year or so rebuilding the arch. We also did some scrub bashing and stump pulling on the first half mile or so of the North Wilts canal where it joins the Cotswolds at Latton Basin, which provided the surreal experience of working in a completely dry canal bed surrounded on both sides by the very flooded Thames flood plain - doing its job, apparently. We will be returning to the Cotswold Canals for our September weekend (6th/ 7th), wherever Jon needs us after the summer camps. In September last year and March this year we were out on the Wey and Arun: in September on the northern end, helping with an archaeological investigation of Gosden aqueduct and continuing the path laying along the Bramley Path laying in progress link; and in

page 18

near Bramley on the Wey & Arun Canal

WRG BC news May 2014 As I mentioned in the last news I attended the Association of Waterways Cruising Clubs AGM in March. Here is a summary of what may be the salient points; well, as I see them! Reports from the regions included London; all club moorings are full but short stay visitors still welcome (remember to produce your club membership card when contacting any other clubs.) There are still problems with the public moorings in the area. CRT are trying out some new mooring plans and taking positive action. Dredging of the Slough arm seems to have come to a standstill because of difficulties in reaching the terminus. South East Region reported that there was a new club site for the Aylesbury Arm and volunteers from the clubs were helping in the area. The Environment Agency has no funding available for navigation improvements; this will adversely affect plans for more facilities to be provided along the river Nene. At present most of the available facilities are provided by the clubs, who have to pay the cost of providing them. (As a frequent visitor to the river Nene I am glad of our affiliation to the AWCC!) There are to be no new moorings provided on the river Weaver. There is a need for updating and increasing the moorings at Northwich. The poor standard of maintenance of the Huddersfield shows no improvement and more investment is needed for northern canals. There is concern over trading boats taking spaces on visitor moorings, getting ‘dug in’ and thus limiting the space available for visitors to moor. It is very important that all incidents and accidents, experienced along the canals, are reported. This is the only way a true picture can be built up, crime prevention be initiated and safety concerns addressed. Safety aboard – the greatest number of accidents are from carbon monoxide poisoning, caused by: engines, heaters, solid fuel stoves and poor ventilation. Electric installations cause the most fires, often inaccurate battery arrangements and faulty charging. Inverter failures are also high on accident lists. Never lock escape routes externally and check CO and smoke alarms every week. Damp affects these as does being frozen over winter. It is important to report any failures or problems with locks and waterway related

WRG BC News from our boat club mechanisms also any experience of shallow waters where dredging is needed. If we don’t tell them they won’t know. There are no more lengthsmen or lock keepers maintaining specific flights. AWCC fees – it has been decided that there will be a ‘stepped’ system for charging fees, i.e. larger clubs pay more. Please let me know if you belong to more than one AWCC affiliated club. The AWCC AGM was followed by an interesting talk from CRT Trustee John Dodwell – the most important message coming from this is the vital role the AWCC plays by representing boaters’ views and requirements to CRT. The contribution made by AWCC is highly valued. CRT listen to all canal users but boaters often don’t feature high on the list of priorities. We need the strong representation AWCC provide! Sadly, although it was decided that our WRG BC AGM would be held at Shackerstone, there doesn’t seem to be many members able to attend the festival and our AGM. Please let me know if you will be there. The next ‘big thing’ club members will be involved in is the Chester Rally. Quite a lot of members will be there so we have decided to have a ‘get together’ when I suspect we will discuss the AGM. As I don’t know many rally details I haven’t been able to finalise arrangements. I am pretty sure it will be on the Saturday night. Contact will be made by email or text as this issue will arrive to you too late. Please, however, do make sure that I am kept up to date with your details. One final thing – AWCC are selling a special 50years burgee. Should we have a special fund raising one for the new digger? Above is my suggested design!! I wish you all happy boating, keep flying the flag and I hope to see you somewhere on the cut this year. xxx Sadie Heritage 07748186867

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Navvies diary Your guide to all forthcoming work parties Jun 20-22 London WRG Jun 20-22 wrgBITM Jun 21 Sat wrgNW Jul 4-6 IWA Jul 4-10 WAT Jul 5-12 Camp 201402 Jul 5-12 Camp 201403 Jul 5-12 Camp 201404 Jul 12/13 London WRG Jul 12-19 Camp 201405 Jul 12-19 Camp 201406 Jul 19/20 wrgBITM Jul 19-26 Camp 201407 Jul 19-26 Camp 201408 Jul 19-26 Camp 201409 Jul 20 Sun WRG Jul 26 Sat wrgNW Jul 26-Aug 2 Camp 201410 Jul 26-Aug 2 Camp 201411 Jul 26-Aug 2 Camp 201412 Aug 1-8 WAT Aug 2/3 London WRG Aug 2/3 wrgNW Aug 2-9 Camp 201413 Aug 2-9 Camp 201414 Aug 2-9 Camp 201415 Aug 9/10 KESCRG Aug 9-16 Camp 201416 Aug 9-16 Camp 201417 Aug 16-23 Camp 201418 Aug 16-23 Camp 201419 Aug 16-23 Camp 201420 Aug 23-30 Camp 201421 Aug 30-Sep 6Camp 201422 Aug 30-Sep 6Camp 201423 Sep 5-11 WAT Sep 6/7 Essex WRG Sep 6/7 KESCRG

Mon & Brec Canal: Joint dig with BITM Mon & Brec Canal: Joint dig with London WRG. Arrive Thurs eve. ‘Paper Chase’ waste paper collection Stratford upon Avon River Festival Wendover Arm: Seven-day weekend Fri-Thu. Lining, inc concreting thr Cotswold Canals: Led by NWPG. Ham Mill or Bowbridge Locks Lapal Canal: Canal clearance and machine operation Monmouthshire Canal: Heritage construction skills, veg clearance Basingstoke Canal Uttoxeter Canal: Heritage stonework, towpath improvements, fencing, Swansea Canal: Heritage construction skills & veg clearance Wey & Arun Canal: Dunsfold Cromford Canal: Lock clearance & investigation Swansea Canal: Heritage construction skills & veg clearance Cotswold Canals: Inglesham lock. Led by KESCRG (Ed Walker & MK2) Committee & Board Meetings: Location TBC ‘Paper Chase’ waste paper collection Cromford Canal: Lock clearance & investigation Lancaster Canal: Channel construction & relining, towpath work Cotswold Canals: Inglesham Lock Wendover Arm: Seven-day weekend Fri-Thu. Lining, inc concreting thr Wey & Arun Canal: Beginning of WACT summer camp TBC T.B.A. possibly Uttoxeter Chesterfield Canal: Lock construction, brick & block laying Lancaster Canal: Channel construction & relining, towpath work Cotswold Canals: Inglesham Lock Wendover Arm Chesterfield Canal: Lock construction, brick & block laying Cotswold Canals Driffield Navigation and Pocklington Canal: Towpath construction & veg Shrewsbury & Newport Canals: Lock chamber & vegetation clearance, Cotswold Canals Cotswold Canals Basingstoke Canal: Towpath & brickwork repairs, construction of moor Somerset Waterways: Creation of landing stages Wendover Arm: Seven-day weekend Fri-Thu Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation Thames & Severn Canal: Griffin/Ham Mill Lock, or Inglesham

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

page 20

Canal Camps cost ÂŁ56 per week unless otherwise stated. Bookings for WRG Camps identified by a camp number e.g. 'Camp 201403' should go to WRG Canal Camps, Island House, Moor Road, Chesham HP5 1WA. Tel: 01494 783453, Diary compiled by Dave Wedd. Tel: 01252 874437,

rough Bridge 4A

Tim Lewis Dave Wedd David McCarthy

07802-518094 01252-874437 01706-214696

Roger Leishman

01442-874536 01494-783453 01494-783453 01494-783453 07802-518094 01494-783453 01494-783453 01252-874437 01494-783453 01494-783453 01494-783453 01564-785293 01706-214696 01494-783453 01494-783453 01494-783453 01442-874536 07802-518094 01422-820693 01494-783453 01494-783453 01494-783453 07971-814986 01494-783453 01494-783453 01494-783453 01494-783453 01494-783453 01494-783453 01494-783453 01494-783453 01442-874536 01376-334896 07971-814986

Tim Lewis veg clearance

rough Bridge 4A

Dave Wedd

Mike Palmer David McCarthy

Roger Leishman Tim Lewis Malcolm Bridge

Bobby Silverwood

g clearance stone work

rings Roger Leishman John Gale Bobby Silverwood

ease contact diary compiler Dave Wedd: see top of page

page 21

Navvies diary

Mobile groups' socials: phone to confirm London WRG: 7:30pm on Tues 11 days before dig. 'Star Tavern' Belgrave Mews West, London. Tim Lewis 07802-518094 NWPG: 7:30pm on 3rd Tue of month at the 'Hope Tap', West end of Friar St. Reading. Phil Dray 07956 185305

Canal societies’ regular working parties Every Tuesday BCA Once per month: pls check BCNS 2nd & 4th w/e of month BCS Thursdays Sep-Apr BCT 2nd Sun & alternate Thu BuCS Every Mon and Wed CCT Every mon am Thu pm CCT Various dates CCT Every Sunday ChCT Every Tue and Thu CSCT Every Tue & Wed C&BN Every Friday ECPDA Second Sun of month FIPT Thu and last Sat of month GCS 2nd Sat of month GWCT Tuesdays H&GCT Weekends H&GCT Wednesdays H&GCT Thursdays H&GCT Every Sunday if required IWPS Every weekday KACT/CRT 2nd Sunday of month LCT Every Wed/Sat/Sun LHCRT 3rd Sunday of month LHCRT Last weekend of month MBBCS Two Sundays per month NWDCT Every Thu & Sat, Apr-Sep SORT 2nd & last Sundays PCAS Every Wed and 1st Sat RGT 2nd Sunday of month SCARS 1st Sunday of month SCCS Last weekend of month SCS 2nd Sunday of month SNT Every Thu and Sat SORT 1st weekend of month SUCS Every Tuesday morning TMCA Every Sunday & Thurs WACT Mondays (2 per month) WACT Wednesdays WACT Wednesdays WACT Sundays mainly WACT Thursdays WACT Various dates WACT 1st w/e of month (Fri-Thu) WAT

Basingstoke Canal Chris Healy BCN waterways Mike Rolfe Basingstoke Canal Duncan Paine Aqueduct section Tim Dingle Buckingham area Athina Beckett Cotswold (W depot) Ron Kerby Cotswold (E end) John Maxted Cotswold Phase 1a Jon Pontefract Chesterfield Canal Mick Hodgetts Chichester Canal Malcolm Maddison Chelmer & Blackwater John Gale Langley Mill Michael Golds Foxton Inclined Plane Mike Beech Grantham Canal Ian Wakefield Nynehead Lift Denis Dodd Oxenhall Brian Fox Over Wharf House Maggie Jones Over / Vineyard Hill Ted Beagles Herefordshire Wilf Jones Bugsworth Basin Ian Edgar Bradford on Avon Derrick Hunt Lancaster N. Reaches Keith Tassart Lichfield Terry Brown Hatherton Denis Cooper Creams Paper Mill Steve Dent N Walsham Canal David Revill Sussex Ouse Ted Lintott Pocklington Canal Paul Waddington Stowmarket Navigtn. Martin Bird Sankey Canal John Hughes Combe Hay Locks Derrick Hunt Stover Canal George Whitehead Sleaford Navigation Mel Sowerby Sussex Ouse Ted Lintott Montgomery Canal David Carter Thames & Medway C Brian Macnish varied construction Eric Walker tidying road crossings John Empringham Tickner's Heath Depot John Smith maintenance work Ray Pick Loxwood Link Kev Baker Winston Harwood Grp Tony Clear Hedgelaying (Oct-Mar) Keith Nichols Drayton Beauchamp Roger Leishman

01252-370073 07763-171735 01252-614125 01288-361356 01908-661217 01453-836018 01285-861011 07986-351412 01246-620695 01243-775201 01376-334896 0115-932-8042 0116-279-2657 0115-989-2128 01823-661653 01432 358628 01452 618010 01452 522648 01452 413888 0161-427 7402 01225-863066 01524-424761 01889-576574 01543-374370 07802-973228 01603-738648 01444-414413 01757-638027 01394-380765 01744-600656 01225-863066 01626-775498 01522-856810 01444-414413 01244-661440 01732-823725 023-9246-3025 01483-562657 01903-235790 01483-272443 02380-861074 01903-774301 01403-753882 01442-874536

If you have any additions / corrections / deletions to this list, please send them to Navvies diary compiler Dave Wedd (see previous page)

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Navvies diary Canal & River Trust ‘Towpath Taskforce’ maintenance working parties 2nd Saturday of month Audlem Shropshire Union Glenn Young see below 2nd Saturday of month Aylesbury Grand Union Miriam Tedder 07775-543990 4th Thursday of month Bath Kennet & Avon Steve Manzi 07710-175278 Alternate Thursdays Blackburn Leeds & Liverpool Matt Taylor 07780-222977 1st Sunday of month Burnley Leeds & Liverpool Matt Taylor 07780-222977 3rd Thursday of month Cheshire T&M/Macclesfield Steve O’Sullivan 07887-684707 1st Saturday of month Chester Shropshire Union Glenn Young see below Alternate Saturdays Chorley Leeds & Liverpool Matt Taylor 07780-222977 2nd Tuesday of month Churnet Valley Caldon Canal Barry Keight 07919 560582 3rd Thursday of month Devizes Kennet & Avon Steve Manzi 07710-175278 Weds and Thurs Droitwich Droitwich Canal Suzanne Byrne 07900-276544 3rd Saturday of month Ellesmere Llangollen Canal Glenn Young see below 1st Saturday of month Fradley Trent & Mersey Tom Freeland 01827-252010 4th Thursday of month Gailey Staffs & Worcs Murray Woodward 07808-786772 1st Mon & Wed of month Hatton Grand Union Canal Murray Woodward 07808-786772 Last Sunday of month Hawkesbury Coventry/Oxford Miriam Tedder 07775-543990 2nd Friday of month Huddersfield Huddersfield Broad Claire McDonald 07920-295943 1st Thursday of month Knottingley Aire & Calder Nav Lucy Dockray 07767-383736 Alternate Thursdays Lancaster Lancaster Canal Matt Taylor 07780-222977 3rd Saturday of month Lapworth Stratford Canal Murray Woodward 07808-786772 Alternate Tuesdays Leicester Grand Union/Soar Tom Freeland 01827-252010 3rd Saturday of month London Grand Union/Lee Becky Williams 07799-436816 3rd Thursday of month East London Lee & Stort Navs Becky Williams 07799-436816 3rd Tuesday of month West London Grand Union Canal Becky Williams 07799-436816 4th Saturday of month Manchester Ashton / Peak Forest Steve O’Sullivan 07887-684707 2nd Thursday of month Newbury Kennet & Avon Steve Manzi 07710-175278 Alternate Wednesdays Preston Lancaster Canal Matt Taylor 07780-222977 Alternate Fridays Sefton Leeds & Liverpool Alice Kay 07825 196365 3rd Saturday of month near Selby Selby Canal Lucy Dockray 07767-383736 Alternate Wednesdays Skipton Leeds & Liverpool Matt Taylor 07780-222977 Alternate Fridays Stoke Caldon / T&M Tom Freeland 01827-252010 Every other Wednesday Tamworth Coventry Canal Tom Freeland 01827-252010 4th Saturday of month Tipton BCN Murray Woodward 07808-786772 Alternate Thursdays North Warks Tom Freeland 01827-252010 Every Tuesday Wigan Leeds & Liverpool Matt Taylor 07780-222977 3rd Thursday of month Welshpool Montgomery Canal Glenn Young see below Contact details for Towpath Taskforce working parties: All CRT volunteer co-ordinators can be emailed at, for example for the Kennet & Avon. Where no phone number is given, use national CRT number 03030 404040.


Basingstoke Canal Authority Birmingham Canal Navigations Soc. Buckingham Canal Society Basingstoke Canal Society Bude Canal Trust Chesterfield Canal Trust Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation Chichester Ship Canal Trust Cotswolds Canals Trust Erewash Canal Pres. & Devt. Assoc. Foxton Inclined Plane Trust Grantham Canal Society Grand Western Canal Trust Hereford & Gloucester Canal Trust Inland Waterways Protection Society Kennet & Avon Canal Trust


Kent & E Sussex Canal Rest. Group Lancaster Canal Trust Lichfield & Hatherton Canals Rest'n Trust Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal Society Newbury Working Party Group North Walsham & Dilham Canal Trust Pocklington Canal Amenity Society River Gipping Trust Sankey Canal Restoration Society Somersetshire Coal Canal Society Stover Canal Society Sleaford Navigation Trust Sussex Ouse Restoration Trust Shropshire Union Canal Society Thames & Medway Canal Association Wey & Arun Canal Trust Wendover Arm Trust Wilts & Berks Canal Trust

page 23

Navvies diary Inland Waterways Association and other one-day working parties Jun 19 & 21 IWA Warks/CRT Stratford Canal: Lapworth, lock painting, litter pick, veg clearance & Jun 21 Sat IWA Mcr/CRT Manchester area: Painting, veg clearance, pulling rubbish out, litter Jun 21 Sat IWA Lee & Stort River Lee at Ware: prep for Ware River Festival (4-6 July). weeding, Jun 22 Sun IWPS Bugsworth Basin Jun 22 Sun IWA NSSC/CUCT Caldon Canal: Himalayan Balsam. 10am-3pm Froghall to Cherry Eye Jun 25 Wed IWA NSSC/CUCT Caldon Canal: Himalayan Balsam. 7pm-9pm Leek Arm. Meet at Holly Jul 1 Tue IWA Northants Northampton Arm Every Wed RGT/IWA Ipswich River Gipping: Pipps Ford, or Baylham Mill Lock 9am-4pm. Also Sat 5 Jul 2 & 7 IWA Warks/CRT Grand Union Canal: Hatton, lock painting, litter pick, veg clearance & Jul 5 Sat IWA Chester Dee Branch in Chester: Painting, weeding, litterpicking. 10am-4pm Telfords Jul 6 Sun IWPS Bugsworth Basin Jul 9 Wed IWA BBCW Staffs & Worcs Canal: Himalayan Balsam Work Party Jul 10 Thu IWA NSSC/CUCT Caldon Canal: Himalayan Balsam. 10am-3pm. Consall Lime Kilns Jul 12 Sat IWA ShrewsburyShrewsbury & Newport Canal: Himalayan Balsam. 10am-4pm. Water Jul 13 Sun IWA Northants Northampton Arm Jul 17 & 19 IWA Warks/CRT Stratford Canal: Lapworth, lock painting, litter pick, veg clearance & Jul 19 Sat IWA NSSC/TMCS Trent & Mersey Canal: Cheshire Locks. Painting & veg clearance 10amJul 19 Sat IWA Mcr/CRT Manchester area: Painting, veg clearance, pulling rubbish out, litter Jul 20 Sun IWPS Bugsworth Basin Jul 21 Mon IWA NSSC/CUCT Caldon Canal: Himalayan Balsam. 7pm-9pm. Holly Bush to Cheddleton Jul 24 Thu IWA NSSC/CUCT Caldon Canal: Himalayan Balsam. 10am-3pm. Consall Station to Flint Jul 28 Mon IWA Chiltern Grand Union Canal: Himalayan Balsam. Rickmansworth, Batchworth Jul 29 Tue IWA Northants Northampton Arm Aug 2 Sat IWA Chester Dee Branch in Chester: Painting, weeding, litterpicking. 10am-4pm Telfords Aug 3 Sun IWPS Bugsworth Basin Aug 4 & 6 IWA Warks/CRT Grand Union Canal: Hatton, lock painting, litter pick, veg clearance & Aug 13 Wed IWA BBCW Staffs & Worcs Canal: Painting, tidying & veg clearance 10am-3pm. Aug 14 Thu IWA NSSC/CUCT Caldon Canal: Painting & veg clearance. 10am-3pm at Cheddleton Aug 16 & 21 IWA Warks/CRT Stratford Canal: Lapworth, lock painting, litter pick, veg clearance & Aug 16 Sat IWA Mcr/CRT Manchester area: Painting, veg clearance, pulling rubbish out, litter Aug 17 Sun IWPS Bugsworth Basin Aug 18 Mon IWA NSSC/TMCS Trent & Mersey Canal: Cheshire Locks. Painting & veg clearance 10amAug 19 Tue IWA Northants Northampton Arm Aug 31 Sun IWPS Bugsworth Basin Sep 6/7 IWA Chelmsford Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation: With Essex WRG Sep 14 Sun IWPS Bugsworth Basin Sep 28 Sun IWPS Bugsworth Basin IWA branch abbreviations BBCW = Birmingham, Black Country & Worcestershire; Mcr= Manchester; Other abbreviations: CUCT = Caldon & Uttoxeter Canal Society; IWPS = Inland Waterways Protection

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Navvies diary For WRG canal camps and working parties see pages 20-21 path work. CRT Lapworth yard 10am-3pm pick 10am-4pm Ian Price veg clearance and litter picking. 10am-4pm Ian Edgar Bridge Alison Smedley Bush Alison Smedley Geoff Wood July Martin Bird path work. CRT Hatton yard 10am-3pm Warehouse car parkMike Carter Ian Edgar David Struckett Alison Smedley Lane, Newport John Myers Geoff Wood path work. CRT Lapworth yard 10am-3pm 4pm Bob Luscombe pick 10am-4pm Ian Price Ian Edgar Alison Smedley Mill Lock Alison Smedley Aquadrome John Brice Geoff Wood Warehouse Mike Carter Ian Edgar path work. CRT Hatton yard 10am-3pm Kidderminster areaDavid Struckett Top Lock Bob Luscombe path work. CRT Lapworth yard 10am-3pm pick 10am-4pm Ian Price Ian Edgar 4pm Bob Luscombe Geoff Wood Ian Edgar Roy Chandler Ian Edgar Ian Edgar

07971-444258 0161-427-7402 07779-090915 07779-090915 01394-380765 07795-617803 0161-427-7402 07976-746225 07779-090915 07711-858986

07710-054848 07971-444258 0161-427-7402 07779-090915 07779-090915 07740-733241 07795-617803 0161-427-7402 07976-746225 07710-054848 07971-444258 0161-427-7402 07710-054848 0161-427-7402 0161-427-7402 0161-427-7402

NSSC = North Staffs & South Cheshire Society; TMCS = Trent & Mersey Canal Society; RGT= River Gipping Trust; CRT = Canal & River Trust

page 25


Our regular roundup of progress on restoration projects begins with some impressive work on the Tamworth Road site of the Lichfield Canal

Lichfield & Hatherton Canals

shop in central Lichfield has been very useful with over 1000 visitors in three months and Lichfield & Hatherton Canals Restoration over 30 new members signed up. Trust’s volunteers have made spectacular The HS2 railway hybrid bill is currently progress at Tamworth Road where our grow- going through the Commons with the Trust ing team has established the Heritage Towbeing reasonably confident that our route path Trail from the A51 to Lock 25. This is will not be jeopardised by the new line. But fully compliant with the needs of the disathis is a situation which requires continuing bled. The Heritage Towpath Trail is a vital vigilance. part of opening up the whole route to all The focus over the coming months will sections of the community and showing that be on fund raising. Income to the ‘Feet of the reopening of the canal can be delivered. Clay’ appeal has been most encouraging and Attention is now moving to the Hather- there seems to be much support for using ton Canal where public involvement is traditional materials for lining Pound 27 at equally important. We continue to monitor Tamworth Road. The other need is to fund several major planning applications which further land purchase. There are several have implications for the restoration with important sections of the canal we could some potential for benefit. We are giving acquire if only we had the funds. special attention to marketing and publicity We are now well into our 26th year and, where a new organisation has been put in at last, momentum is gathering. place. Our temporary occupation of an empty Brian Kingshott

Adrian Sturgess

Lichfield & Hatherton Canals

The new towpath at Tamworth Road

page 26

...while the River Gipping Trust’s volunteers have had to turn down an offer to buy the new bridge they’ve just finished building! River Gipping

River Gipping particularly arising from the high winds and wet ground resulting in a lot of tree work over the past couple of months. We have also had a return visit to Creeting to repair an embankment around the bywash sluice that had been washed out during the winter floods and we’ve carried out more maintenance at Baylham. Again, the high water flows over the winter had scoured the channel bed below Baylham lock, but here the water had had a positive effect in revealing the remains of one of the original bottom gates. After much heaving , this has been recovered to the bank, and will be useful in obtaining dimensions for any future rebuild! Our workparties continue on Wednesdays and the first Saturday of every month with the programme over the summer concentrating on installing the bridge at Pipps Ford while continuing negotiations with the Environment Agency to open the bywash. Martin Bird Restoration Manager


River Gipping Trust’s workparties since Christmas have been split into two sections, with one concentrating on finishing the construction of the oak bridge for Pipps Ford and the other dealing with the destruction caused by the winter storms and flooding around the bywash area and at Baylham. The bridge has now been completed and is on show as part of the Alde Valley Festival at White House Farm, Glemham, Suffolk. It has been designed so that once the festival is over, we can dismantle it in three main sections and transport it on a low-loader to site. This was planned to take place in mid May. The bridge has raised much interest at the festival, and we’ve even had one offer to buy it, though I don’t think the owners of Pipps Ford would have been very happy if we had sold it. The rest of our volunteers have been fully involved in clearing up after the winter weather, with significant damage to willows


“One careful owner...” - no, really, the bridge isn’t for sale!

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Progress Sussex Ouse Sussex Ouse

The winter floods have subsided, so Sussex Ouse Restoration Trust can get on with restoring Isfield Lock take all summer. Attempts to find a permanent home for remains of the lock gates, found in the silt during the earlier clearance of the chamber and currently stored at a nearby farm, have not been successful. SORT are still hopeful that a place can be found for them in the near future.

Isfield Lock: During the record breaking wet winter months of January and February Sussex came off so much better than many more unfortunate counties of the country. Even so it didn’t stop the Ouse breaking its banks down at the Isfield Lock site and flooding the chamber, the Sussex Ouse Restoration Trust’s worksite and surrounding Iron Gate Lock, Sheffield Park has not fields. been forgotten. However no work has been Therefore any intended work on the carried out on this potential restoration lock had to be put on hold until the waters project as talks take place with the National subsided and the area dried out. Now with Trust as to the future direction of any work the spring weather well and truly upon us to be carried out. work has began in earnest to get on with the restoration. Towards the end of 2013 all efforts were concentrated on completing the west top wharf wall, installing stop planks and the rebuilding and completion of the top ground paddles and the walls around the same. The rebuilding of the banks of the cut also continued throughout 2013. That being done all efforts this year will concentrate on completing the rebuild of the west chamber wall. Work was put back on this section of the lock chamber in 2013 to fall in with the plans of the Environment Agency who were intending to divert the river down the lock cut and through a culvert into the neighbouring ox-bow. Those plans have now been placed on hold probably until 2015. So it’s full steam ahead with the west wall. Badly damaged, this section of the wall requires extensive demolition and examination to determine just how much work will be required to rebuild it and fill the gap between the two fully restored sections of Restored ground paddle at Isfield Lock the wall. The task is expected to

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Meanwhile the Wendover Arm Trust continue capping the water supply pipe laid in the canal bed, and entertain KESCRG at Whitehouses

Progress Wendover Arm

Grand Union Wendover Arm

Pictures by WAT

March and April Working Parties: In March no work was possible on the main work to reline the channel to make it watertight, but we were able to backfill the drainage ditch through Bridge 4A. It was at this point it was decided that the next step would be to lay the reinforced concrete pipe capping (which covers over the water supply pipe that was laid in the bed to carry the canal’s water supply past the dry section) through the bridge narrows. The section through the bridge had Preparing for pipe capping through Bridge 4A been left out as the lining through the bridge narrows is all concrete, not spoil. This is because the turbulence from propellers through narrow channels is likely to disturb spoil fill. As only 150mm(6") of concrete is required over the Bentomat waterproof membrane against the 300mm (12") for spoil, the pipe capping is cast 150mm(6") higher than normal and will overlap the capping already laid on either side of the bridge. During March routine clearance of our storage site was undertaken including hiring a skip to get rid of rubbish. The hedge through the storage area was also trimmed back. In April rough profiling of the banks was re-started and the first half of the pipe capping under Bridge 4A prepared ready for concreting as shown in the first picture. Whitehouses: Over the weekend of the April working party we were joined by KESCRG who continued their good work at Whitehouses as you can see from the second picture, taken from the public viewing area created at the end of the new footpath from Bridge 4. Finally, it is very fortunate that we stocked up with enough solid concrete blocks to complete the next re-watering as the present surge in house building has led to a dearth of blocks as they are in such great demand. Even Hanson, our normal suppliers, are not making any hollow concrete blocks at present as they are so busy producing solid blocks. We do need a few more hollow blocks but have been able to source these from our local supplier albeit at a higher cost. KESCRG at Whithouses (see also pages 16-18) Roger Leishman

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Progress Erewash Canal Mick Golds of ECPDA

One of the longest-serving working party organisers, Mick Golds of the Erewash Canal Preservation & Development Association, has retired. John Baylis looks back over four decades... on Sandiacre Lock Cottage. Mick was the ideal man for this job and before long took over as Working Party Organiser. The proximity of the canal persuaded them to buy a narrow boat and if they could keep the canal open it would provide a mooring almost at the bottom of the garden. Electra was purchased in 1971 and fitted out by Mick and Carole, has since been lengthened twice, been seen on most canals in the country and still cruises the system extensively. Following a visit to look at the future prospects of the canal by the Inland Waterways Amenity Advisory Council, set up under the 1968 Act, IWAAC suggested that a terminus at Langley Mill was required to provide a safe haven and mooring for visiting boats. The ECP&DA decided that the best way forward was to restore Langley Bridge Lock where the Cromford Canal had an end on connection with the Erewash Canal and to

Harry Arnold

In May, Mick Golds retired as Working Party Organiser of the Erewash Canal Preservation & Development Association; a position he had held since 1971. Following school in Ilkeston just after the Second World War, Mick served his apprenticeship as a bricklayer, following which he worked on a number of local projects such as the chimney at Ratcliffe-on-Soar Power Station and some of the bridges on the M1 Motorway in Leicestershire and Derbyshire. During this time he met and married Carole and they lived at first in a caravan at Diseworth. They became interested in boating through borrowing a friend’s cruiser and shortly moved into a new house near Potters Lock on the Erewash Canal in Ilkeston, where they still live. The Erewash Canal was one of the waterways suggested for closure under the Transport Act 1968 and in order to oppose the abandonment of navigation the ECP&DA was formed that same year with a number of anglers, boaters and the Midlands Branch of the Inland Waterways Association. One of the ECP&DA’s first projects was to oppose the demolition by BW of Sandiacre Lock cottages; the local authority stopped the demolition and BW suggested that if they wanted the cottage they should maintain it. Mick and Carole often walked along the canal and one weekend they met some of the ECP&DA volunteers on the towpath. The original ECP&DA Working Party Organiser had advertised in the local press for a builder Langley Bridge Lock under restoration in 1971 to take charge of the work

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Julie Arnold

restore the Great Northern Basin of the Nottingham Canal just above the lock. Mick with his know-how and contacts was also ideal for this project, acquiring concrete blocks and other materials from various local sources. Mick and Carole have always been very sociable and encouraged a large group of enthusiastic volunteers to join in. The lock was cleaned out and re-gated, the GNB dredged out and the swing bridge repaired, all for a cost of under £1,800 and was opened in May 1973. After this, Mick was one of the small group of the original volunteers who formed Langley Mill Boat Mick and Carole receive their Medal from IWA chairman Les Etheridge Company. This lead to the progressive extension of the navigable length of the Cromford Canal Wilmcote Locks and by-washes during the above Langley Bridge Lock and the building 1970’s Stratford Blitzes. Then in 1981 when I of the dry dock and mooring facilities. Over was looking after the Frankton Locks restorathe past few years Mick has led the ECP&DA tion for Graham Palmer, Mick started to bring in further work to extend the Cromford Canal the ECP&DA working parties when we as part of the restoration of a proposed largely rebuilt the walls on locks 1-3; the opencast coal site. bricklaying being aided by Sheffield IWA and Since1973 Mick has held almost weekly the Trent & Mersey Canal Society. Graham’s work parties at Langley Mill to look after the view of Mick’s bricklaying was “that his hands lock, moorings and bridge which were only went like butterflies wings” Some of the final leased from British Waterways and to help in away work on the Montgomery was on helpextending the Cromford Canal. The ECP&DA ing to rebuild the walls on some of the Aston has established a firm presence at Langley locks and the rebuilding of Cobblers Lock on Mill with a well stocked workshop and tool the River Slea. stores. With advice from various BW heritage Mick decided to finish working for managers Mick has organized continued others as part of “a two and one gang” and work on Sandiacre Lock Cottages and in in about 1995 he started working for himself 2013 the ECP&DA was highly commended and Carole was his labourer. In this period, for it’s work under the Canal & River Trust as well as doing walls and extensions for Waterways Renaissance Awards. The other their friends, they also rebuilt Dixon’s Lock local heritage projects were the restoration of on the Chesterfield Canal, re-built the parathe Nottingham Canal Toll Office and the pets on two accommodation bridges on the installation of back pumping round Langley Derby Canal and worked for BW. In 2013 Bridge Lock including restoration of the Mick and Carole were awarded the Richard redundant Langley Sewage Pumping Station. Bird Medal for services to the Inland WaterNot content with the work at Langley ways Association and in September this year Mill following the restoration of the Basin they celebrate their Golden Wedding. Mick Mick started taking the ECP&DA on away has done a great job over the years but his working parties; such as the Droitwich and expertise will not be totally lost as he will Basingstoke WRG Big Digs. Graham Palmer continue to monitor the work at Sandiacre was aware of Mick’s prowess as a bricklayer cottages. and Mick worked on a number of the John Baylis

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Above: Constitution Bridge at Staveley, whose abutments our summer camp volunteers have worked on, received its deck recently. Meanwhile the far side of Staveley Town Basin, Chesterfield Canal Trust continues building the new lock, and the canal wall beyond - which will be the main job on this year’s Canal Camps. Right: water in the Buckingham Canal at Cosgrove for the first time in many years. The first of three lengths of canal receives its first water from the Grand Union Main Line.

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Chesterfield and Buckingham

Finally, there’s a new bridge over the Chesterfield, and another rewatering on the Buckingham

Tech TIps

John Hawkins provides some useful tips for everything from cutting out and replacing a single brick to rebuilding a lock chamber

Brickwork repairs

We’ll start with the small stuff: Careful surveying of canal structures under restoration will often identify bricks, or patches of bricks, in need of replacement, mainly due to frost or root damage. The principle of ‘minimum intervention’ means that only the brickwork in current need of replacement should be removed. Cutting out, usually of whole bricks, is best done by hand with a club hammer and chisel - either a parallel-faced bolster or jointing/plugging chisel. Depending on the thickness of the mortar courses, stitch drilling could help in removing some of the mortar and brick. Sometimes an ‘Arbortec’ brick saw may be available: special care and training is needed before using this type of machine. Care is always needed so that adjacent bricks are not damaged. Ensure that the appropriate Personal Protection Equipment is worn. Before the job is started ensure that suitable replacement bricks are available both in size and colour. Remove all the mortar around the brick so that brick can be

All pictures by John Hawkins

Brickwork repairs: Just how far do you go?

Fill joints well - including behind new bricks

removed, or broken into smaller pieces in order to facilitate its removal. This can often be more of a problem if an all-cement or lime/cement mix has been used for repair on previous occasions in place of the original all-lime mortar. Be careful not to lose the profile of the brickwork in complicated places by taking out too many bricks in one go. Once all of the mortar and brick has been removed, suitable replacement brick(s) can be selected. Ensure all joints are fully packed/filled with mortar including behind the replacement brick(s). Where the replacement bricks form a patch of several bricks, temporary supports and/or wedges may be needed to prevent the bricks collapsing as the mortar dries. These can then be removed at a later stage and the Old cement mortar can be very hard - harder than the bricks mortar completed.

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A string line and profile board are helpful Ensure that the replacement brick(s) match the coursing of the existing and are flush with the face of the existing brickwork. Also match the mortar joint finish to the original.

to ‘flip’ them back and then to ensure that they are well back from the edge before starting work below. Any loose, crumbling and split bricks should be removed and if any major cracks are located then all the surrounding bricks must be removed - once again taking great care not to undercut too many courses so that the remaining wall becomes unsafe. As bricks are removed, the remaining ones should be lightly tapped to ensure that they are firm. Ideally bricks should be removed so that alternate courses form a toothed pattern for the replacement bricks to fit into, thus making a very strong wall. When removing bricks that are behind the face bricks, try to remove the bricks by loosening them sideways along the rows; this should help to preserve the courses above or below. This is often very difficult, especially if a quality lime mortar or cement based mortar mix has been used for earlier repairs. All old mortar must be removed, taking great care to remove the mortar from the internal corners and also the underside of the existing upper bricks. If a large area has been identified for removal, it may be advisable to use a small Kango type machine, fitted with a chisel end, to enable the courses to be removed with less effort. If possible leave some old brickwork in place (even if it means going back to work on at a later stage) so that a profile for future use remains in place when the replacement bricks are laid.

And now onto the bigger stuff! There are many considerations to be taken into account when demolishing and then rebuilding brickwork that forms a substantial part of a lock chamber. Firstly there will be considerably more bricks to be removed; this in itself could lead to bricks/stones up higher in the wall becoming unsafe and the need for some stout props to be put into position first. Plans should be made for the use of a scaffold at all levels of work and for a safe access. Where coping stones are present it may be safest The old brickwork should form a ‘toothed’ pattern for bonding into

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Whole old bricks that have been removed should be cleaned and put to one side for possible use at a later stage in the rebuild. For bonding/tying patches of replacement brickwork to existing backgrounds there are several modern methods available. The one chosen will tend to be dependent on the local canal society, or whoever is overseeing the project. Two main methods seem to be preferred: one type has a screwed ’V’ shaped fitting that is screwed into Protect your work with damp sacking at night good courses of bricks at an angle of 30o and then bent down onto the mortar removed it may be necessary to position course. The second involves drilling a hole some bricks into the wall before the facing o into good brickwork at an angle of 30 , the bricks are laid. As more courses are laid the amount of hole filled with a two-part resin mix and a suitable length of spiralled stainless steel rod new brickwork can become several rows deep. Occasionally the decision may be made pushed into the resin. It may be necessary not to rebuild the wall in solid brick all the to temporarily prop up the end of the steel rod as the resin sets. When the resin has set way back, but to backfill brickwork with concrete. If this is done, brick ties will need the rod can then be bent down into the to be positioned in the brickwork, in a stagmortar course. The spacing of these ties is gered pattern, as courses are laid, to key it dependant on the condition and the area of into the concrete. brickwork needing to be tied in. As a genWhen laying the first long course of eral rule, once again, this is specified by the new bricks over a course of existing old local canal society or whoever is overseeing bricks, it is more important to ensure that the project. Before starting to replace bricks the old the joints are correctly spaced apart so that subsequent courses on top will be correct, brickwork needs to be given a final check as to its soundness, given a good wire brushing than to line up with the joints of the old and all surfaces brushed clean; sometimes it bricks below (which will often be in an irregular bond where there have been earlier may be advisable to lightly dampen the old repairs). When laying the back headers bricks if exceptionally dry, before a mortar behind a stretcher course, line up the joints bed is put down. of the headers and face stretchers – do not Care must also be taken when using stagger them (see diagram) - this helps to reclaimed bricks – these may well vary in size, but this can often be put to good use in reduce the vertical joints in the wall. Also, as the courses become longer, a string line order to achieve a good bonding pattern to should be used from the existing brickwork the earlier courses. It is often better to dryor from a profile board if one is in use. fit replacement bricks before mortaring into As work progresses the brick courses place. that have been laid Using the old should be covered each cleaned bricks, the Get the bond right! evening with damp facing courses can be laid, ensuring that there hessian sacking, this is to prevent the mortar is full bed of mortar drying out too quickly, and joints as they are put into place. It is particularly if a lime Front of wall mortar has been used. best to have at least a And finally... 9 inch depth of facing bricks and then the No, there isn’t really a definitive answer to the backing courses can be laid. Depending on opening question! Front of wall John Hawkins how the old bricks were

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Fundraising The Acheman Challenge The Acheman Challenge On Saturday 5th April Toby Gomm, Stephanie Pay, Jenny Black and Gemma Bolton from IWA Head Office completed a 50 mile quadrathlon along the Grand Union Canal, successfully raising £13,605 towards the cost of WRG’s new excavator. The team cycled 22 miles from Harefield to Bulbourne where they were greeted by IWA Chiltern Branch, and revitalised with some cheese scones. They proceeded to work a boat through Marsworth locks with the kind support of IWA Chiltern Branch, after which they began the 17.5 mile cycle to Tinkers Bridge, Milton Keynes. The team ran for 6 miles until The Black Horse at Great Linford and canoed the last 3.5 mile stretch, mostly in a straight line, to the finish at The Galleon Pub in Wolverton. After just under 11 hours the four exhausted participants enjoyed a warm welcome from IWA Milton Keynes Branch at the finish line, along with a free meal and a drink in the Galleon Pub. The team was also presented with a surprise Acheman Challenge cake by IWA Milton Keynes Branch Chairman, Peter Caswell. Gemma Bolton said, “Couldn’t have done it without our awesome support team and it was lovely that so many people along the towpath wished us a Happy Easter - we did look like chicks!” Stephanie Pay said, “It was a lot of fun and an experience I won’t forget. It was great meeting people from other IWA branches along the way too. Thank you to everyone who supported us and donated all the training was worth it!” Jenny Black said, “It was a fantastic day - a bit of mud, a bit of sweat (thanks to the duck outfits!) and a few beers at the end! Massive thank you to everyone who donated and supported us along the route!” Toby Gomm said, “The day couldn’t have gone better. The support from everyone was amazing and I’m happy we managed to repay that support by getting to the end in one piece!”

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The total included a generous donation of £1000 from IWA Ipswich, £250 from IWA Chelmsford Branch (nominated by Tim Lewis) and £200 each from IWA Lichfield and IWA Middlesex Branches. Additionally, IWA Chiltern Branch donated £1000, IWA Lancashire & Cumbria Branch donated £500 and IWA Birmingham, Black Country and Worcestershire Branch donated £200 directly to the excavator appeal. It is not too late to support the team and contribute to the new excavator: • • • •

Online via Virgin Money Giving By texting ROLT46 and the amount in pounds e.g. “ROLT46 £10” to 70070 By phone, call Toby Gomm at IWA’s Head Office on 01494 783 453 ext. 611 By cheque, payable to The Inland Waterways Association and sent to Acheman Challenge, IWA, Island House, Moor Road, Chesham HP5 1WA

The team would like to thank everyone who sponsored them and assisted with the logistics and planning along the route. In particular David King, Chris and Judy Clegg for the use of their boat and refreshments, Peter Caswell, IWA Milton Keynes Branch, IWA Chiltern Branch, Canal & River Trust, The Coy Carp in Harefield, The Three Horseshoes in Hemel Hempstead, The Grove Lock in Leighton Buzzard, The Black Horse, Camphill Café and The New Inn in Milton Keynes, The Galleon Pub in Wolverton, and Paddlesport Racers Association. The team would also like to thank their support crew for the day, especially Stefanie Preston for being the event coordinator on the day; David Padfield for cycling alongside the team; Norman Gomm; Lorna Gomm; Rebecca Emerton; Adam Morris; Katharine Thivessen; Rita Pay and Geoffrey Pay.

Insurance update The recent article in Navvies about the legal requirements to have motor insurance in place for motorised plant and agricultural vehicles has led to some questions, including about driving licence requirements for different types of plant, etc. There is a difference in circumstances for which certain driving licence categories are required (public roads) and the legal requirement to hold motor insurance (any public highway, which includes footpaths, etc, and any ‘public place’). In general, IWA’s Insurers expect operators of plant and agricultural vehicles (whether on the road, other public highways or on work sites) to have appropriate DVLA licences, relevant training and be appropriately experienced. Insurers are, however, usually content for an ordinary driving licence with the usual motor car categories to cover the operation of plant off-road, provided that the operator has appropriate training and experience for the item of plant being operated. However, drivers need to be aware that where plant is operated on the road then the relevant driving licence entitlement will need to be in place, in accordance with any legal requirements. For public highways that are not roads (e.g. footpaths, bridleways, etc) and other public places where motor insurance is a legal requirement, but where driving licence entitlements are not a legal requirement, then an ordinary driving licence with the usual car categories should be sufficient to comply with insurers’ expectations, as for other off-road areas. Insurers have emphasised, however, that:

Navvies News Insurance update of notice, along with a copy of (all parts of) the operator’s driving licence a few days beforehand. In practical terms, for new volunteers being trained up or attending their first WRG event, this is likely to mean keeping off any public highway, footpath or other public area. For hired-in plant, where it uses any road or public highway or other public place, then motor policy cover is required, even if just to access a work site. The fact that an item of plant is hired-in, rather than owned, makes no difference. Insurers point out that this is not something they have invented, but it is simply a legal requirement. In summary, where site organisers need to have motorised plant on the towpath or in other public areas during a work party or Canal Camp, it should not be a major problem – either we (WRG) or the host society just needs to ensure that the relevant plant has motor insurance cover, which can easily be arranged at a couple of days notice beforehand.

Help Runcorn Locks

Runcorn Locks might not be a restoration scheme that you’ve heard of, but it’s one that’s quite topical at the moment. Why? All drivers must be appropriated trained Because the construction of the new Runcorn to Widnes road bridge will involve removing and experienced for the plant / vehicle the slip-roads which connect the old 1960s being operated, wherever that may be bridge to the local main road network - and it was those slip-roads which blocked the Risk assessments and method statements need to be in place for all opera- Locks (which used to link the Bridgewater Canal to the Manchester Ship Canal, River tions, and need to take account of any Weaver and River Mersey), making restorapublic access to the site or other areas tion harder. So now’s a golden opportunity to over which machinery travels get the canal restored. As the motor policy covers ‘any authorised But time is of the essence, because driver over the age of 25’, then any plant or agricultural machine operators under the age work will start soon on the new bridge. So while the Runcorn Locks Restoration Society of 25 working on any public highway or plans to get volunteer work going (and other public place would need to be specifithere’s a good chance WRG will be called on cally authorised by an endorsement to the for support), in the meantime you can supmotor policy in advance. Insurers are unlikely to refuse any reasonable application for port the canal by signing the online petition at such endorsements, but they will need a bit

. .

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Navvies News Leaders’ Training Day Leaders’ Training Day 10 May

Martin Ludgate

I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself. My Name is Amber Jenkins and I am the new Assistant Volunteer Coordinator for WRG.I have just started the post, and am really looking forward to meeting everyone involved in WRG and getting out on as many digs as Amber on the Chesterfield possible. Days 4 and 5 in the new job turned out to be the Leaders Training Day and WRG Board meeting up in Ettington (With of course an overnights stay in the hall). It was definitely an eye and ear (although the snoring wasn’t too bad) opener of a weekend. It has taught me a great deal about the way the organisation works and was a really enjoyable weekend. I recommend it to any potential assistant leaders, leaders or cooks next year. It gave everyone a chance to voice their concerns, share their weird and wacky stories and hear about and discuss potential new ideas. The day started, of course, with a very welcome bacon sandwich and the standard of food did not slip from there (Thank you Jude and Martin). The day was split into sections and we discussed everything from working at heights and toaster toolbox talks to leading a camp and all the paperwork that goes with it. There was a really great turn out (I think about 45 people came along) so it was a good job Ettington Community Centre was so huge and fancy (I think my standards for community centres are now set far too high). I would like to thank everyone there for being so welcoming and hope to see you all again soon. Also a big thank you to eve-

ryone who helped out on the Toolbox Talks. They will be up on the website shortly. Amber Jenkins The leader of the Leaders’Training Day adds: Many thanks to: Jude for cooking; Jenny (with assistance from Amber) for hall booking, lots of random preparation and printing and setting up the hall; RAF Martin and co for sorting the BBQ; Mike for his thoughts and finally those who contributed suggestions, asked questions and wrote toolbox talks. If anyone has any further questions (or ideas), no matter how obvious or silly it may seem (even if you didn’t attend) please contact Jenny who will either answer or farm it out to someone who knows – we really don’t mind. Finally if anyone is thinking they might be able to take over from me next year then I would absolutely encourage it, it’s been good fun and really quite enlightening at times. Helen ‘Bushbaby’ Gardner And the Editor adds: I’m sure everyone who’s ever attended will join me in thanking Helen for running the Leaders’ Training Day so successfully for the last few years.

Directory update There have been a few changes since the Directory appeared in the last issue. As you will read elsewhere in this issue, Mick Golds has retired as the Erewash Canal Preservation & Development Association’s work party organiser. Until a new one is appointed, the acting WPO is John Baylis on 07889 444190. At CRT, there have been some changes of volunteer coordinator: on the Kennet & Avon Rob Labus has been replaced by Steve Manzi ( while in the East Midlands region Amanda Morgan has handed over to Wayne Ball ( The Thames and Medway Canal Association has a new contact: David Rouse,60 Sun Lane, Gravesend DA12 5HL, Tel: 01474 362861, The contact for the Sussex Ouse Restoration Trust is Ted Lintott, 4 Farm Cottages, Parkfield Way, Haywards Heath RH16 4TB, Tel: 01444 414413, email: tedl@talktalknet Finally David ‘Mr Mac’ McCarthy, WRG North West contact for the waste paper collections, has moved to 20 Andrew Avenue, Rawtenstall BB4 6EU, Tel: 01706 214696.

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Dear Deirdre I’m pregnant with my first child


and find myself in a very difficult position. One of the other women in my local WRG group is expecting a baby around the same time, so naturally we both assumed our children would lead a camp together in 2034. But now a third member of our group is pregnant and is insisting her child will also need a coleader that year. How can I turn one of them down without giving offence? - Jane, Oswaldtwistle Deirdre writes There’s a perfectly simple solution - one of these children will have to be the cook. I suggest all three of you draw straws to determine which.

Dear Deirdre Can you tell me what’s the secret to leading a successful camp? - Sarah, Crewe

Deirdre writes Successful camp leadership is really only about making sure the keys are in the right place at the right time. This may sound simple but bear in mind you’ll have 2 sets of van keys, one set of hall keys, and usually keys for the locals’ tool container as well as sundry keys for showers, diggers, dumpers, and site gate padlocks. Oh, and about 3 hours sleep a night. It’s quite hard, after 3 hours sleep, to remember to stop the volunteer who’s feeling poorly going back to the accomm carrying the only keys you’ve got to the van which you’ll need to drive the rest of the volunteers for showers after site, whilst your cook (who has the only keys to the accomm) has gone off to Cirencester after a machine part you require, and on the cook’s keychain is the key to the container that you need to lock up when you leave site. Oh and Bungle needs the keys to both vans by 5pm because of a complex 3-way van swap you’re far too tired to understand. Fortunately I picked up a handy solution a few years back after watching a film about a prison escape. Now whenever I lead a camp, I always take a dozen bars of soap along with me. Soften them up a bit and make soap impressions of all the keys right at the start of it. That way you can just have copies made as you go along. For the cost of a few bars of Dove you’ve no need to try to wrap your head around WRG’s tortuous van logistics. Which I STRONGLY advise you not to try doing.

Spotted in Ireland… Now that’s am honour for WRGie bricklayers to aim for – ‘Knight of the Trowel’! Incidentally in case you’re wondering where the name ‘Crom a boo’ comes from, it was the war cry of the Kildare branch of the Fitzgerald family, and comes from the name of their home, Croom Castle. Now it might seem unlikely to strike fear into the hearts of their enemies, but let’s face it, it would have been worse if they’d come from Peak Castle in Derbyshire…

And finally... ...after an unfortunate drowning incident in a city canal, a police officer from the neighbourhood policing team was recently quoted in the press: “The reality is when you have a busy city, a vibrant night time economy, you have 500 licensed premises in 2.2 square miles, you put a big canal system through the middle of that and you are going to end up with some fatalities which is dreadful.” Indeed. What on earth can William Jessop have been thinking of in 1794?

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Navvies 265  

Waterway Recovery Group's magazine for volunteers restoring the canals of England and Wales.

Navvies 265  

Waterway Recovery Group's magazine for volunteers restoring the canals of England and Wales.