volunteers restoring waterways
navvies Four for 2015:
Focus on Shrewsbury & Newport Grantham Canal Stover Canal Ashby Canal
waterway recovery group
Issue No 269 Feb-Mar 2015
Navvies Production Editor: Martin Ludgate, 35 Silvester Road, East Dulwich London SE22 9PB 020-8693 3266 firstname.lastname@example.org Subscriptions: Sue Watts, 15 Eleanor Rd., Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Manchester M21 9FZ
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.
Printing and assembly: John Hawkins, 4 Links Way, Croxley Green, Rickmansworth, Herts WD3 3RQ 01923 448559 email@example.com
Waterway Recovery Group is part of The Inland Waterways Association, (registered office: Island House, Moor Road, Chesham HP5 1WA). The Inland Waterways Association is a non-profit distributing company limited by guarantee, registered in England no 612245, and registered as a charity no 212342. VAT registration no 342 0715 89.
ISSN: 0953-6655 ÂŠ 2015 WRG
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 www.wrg.org.uk for page 2
Left: volunteers wanted for Little Venice Canalway Cavalcade... (see page 5). Below: ...and also for the BCN Clean Up (see page 4) Below left: the last bit of the large lump of concrete under Bowbridge Bridge on the Cotswold gives in to Pete’s persistence with the breaker. See report, page 37. Front cover: WRG Forestry in action on the Herefordshire & Gloucestershire, on the same new year camp. (Photo: Alan Lines). Back cover top: KESCRG get some in depth experience of Bowbridge Lock (David Miller). Back cover bottom: London WRG on the Chelmer & Blackwater: another load of brash heads for the chipper (Martin Ludgate)
Contents In this issue... Coming soon BCN Clean Up, Leader Training, Canalway Cavalcade, Training weekend 4-6 Van Appeal target: 4 Transits in 2 years 7 Leaders wanted Do you fancy trying it? 8 Restoration focus a closer look at the Ashby, Shrewsbury & Newport, Grantham and Stover ahead of this year’s camps 9-17 Camp Reports from the Cotswold last summer and Dauntsey at New Year 18-21 Diary canal camps, weekend digs, CRT and IWA one-day working parties 22-27 Feedback more of your thoughts and ideas on the Reunion, and cooking for camps 28-32 Progress our roundup from restoration projects all around the country 33-36 Camp report Cotswold Christmas (incorporating the Hereford & Gloucester!) 37-39 WRG Publicity volunteers needed 40 WRG BC Boat Club News 41 Navvies News 42-43
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Press date for issue 270: 1 March.
Subscriptions A year's subscription (6 issues) is available for a minimum of £3.00 to Sue Watts, 15 Eleanor Road, Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Manchester M21 9FZ. Cheques payable to "Waterway Recovery Group" please. This is a minimum subscription, that everyone can afford. Please add a donation.
all the latest news of WRG's activities page 3
Coming soon Cleanup, Leader Training...
Lots of interesting stuff coming up including the BCN Clean Up, Leader Training Day, Training Weekend... oh yes, and a few Canal Camps too...
BCN Clean Up, 18-19 April This is our annual weekend working party on the Birmingham Canal Navigations, where we spend two days throwing grappling hooks into the Black Country waterways and hauling out tyres, prams, bikes, trolleys and lots of other stuff, as our contribution to keeping this fascinating network open. Over to leader Chris Morgan for the latest news: Everything is now in place for this years event on the 18th and 19th April this year. Accomodation for WRG volunteers will be at the Malthouse Stables, Hurst Lane, Tipton DY4 9AB and will be available to us from 4pm on Friday 17th April. The work area will centre around Smethwick on the BCN Old Main Line canal, working back towards Oldbury, and also including Smethwick Junction on the New Main Line canal, Spon Lane Locks and possibly the area around Pudding Green Junction if there is a boat available. Welfare and volunteer sign on will be at the back car park of the Smethwick Enterprise Centre / Future Skills Centre on Rolfe Street, Smethwick B66 2AR. Full welfare facilities will be available to volunteers at the Smethwick site. The whole event involves lots of working together with other groups: Canal and River Trust will be supplying labour and 40 ton skips and one boat. Further boats and volunteers will be provided by BCNS (Birmingham Canal Navigations Society), CCT (Coombeswood Canal Trust) and DCT (Dudley Canal Trust) for which we are very grateful. Volunteers from the Friends of Tipton Cut, IKON Gallery Slow Boat project are also involved. And we’d like a good participation by lots of WRG volunteers to really make this a success. If you want to join us for the weekend including accommodation, please book using the booking form opposite or via the WRG website. If you just want to take part on the day, simply turn up at the signing-on point - but an invitation is extended to all volunteers to come back to the WRG accomodation in Tipton for a social, a meal and a beer on Saturday night. And we would like to thank Murray from CRT for donating a barrel of real ale as he did last year. Historic working boat ‘Swallow’ will also be visiting to support us and open up to visitors at the accomodation in Tipton. It’s all down to you now to turn up and enjoy yourselves. Chris Morgan, WRG Event Leader, BCN Clean Up 2015 02920 888681 / 07974 111354 email@example.com
Leaders Training 2015: Saturday 9 May, Rowington Village Hall With Helen Gardner being otherwise engaged looking after her new baby (see Noticeboard, Navvies 267) I’ve taken over the reins of organising this year’s Leaders’ Training Day. The event will run much as it has over the last few years (“If it ain’t broke...”) and is for everyone from experienced leaders right through to people who are thinking about leading or just want to know what is involved [and if you’re in the latter category, see overleaf for more about becoming a camp leader]. The only change we are planning is an earlier session starting at around 10.30am for the newer leaders to run through some of the things that they might need to think about and answer questions like: “Where do the vans come from?” “Who is this Bungle bloke?” “What do I need to look for on a site visit?” From about midday (lunch is supplied) we will open the day up for everyone to run through topics that are relevant for our more experienced leaders as well. There are also plans for a parallel cooks’ session which should interest both new and experienced camp cooks – please let Jenny Black know if you are interested in joining this. The exact agenda is still under development but if you have any topics you think might
Do you want to learn how to drive an excavator? Do you want to help run London’s biggest annual canal event? Do you want to be a camp leader?
Coming soon ...and Canalway Cavacade
be of interest then please drop me an email – firstname.lastname@example.org. The leaders training day is the main chance that we have to pass on information to camp and weekend leaders so please try and make it –the day itself is very informal and the content varies each year, the feedback from the leaders also helps mould WRG methods as well. We expect the day to wind up at about 4.30pm but we will be providing dinner for those who want to stay on overnight – accommodation will be in the hall and breakfast will also be available. The WRG committee meeting is Sunday morning for those that are interested in seeing how WRG is run. To book on (did I mention it’s free?) please contact Jenny at head office by email on email@example.com or phone 01494 783453 remembering to let her know when you’ll be there (particularly if you are planning on staying overnight) and what dietary requirements you have. An idea of the level of interest in the ‘new leaders’ or ‘cooks’ sections would be useful at this stage but further information will be sent out closer to the time. Ed Walker
Training weekend, 13-14 June, Chesterfield Canal It’s that time of year when we turn our thoughts to training. As always, we are open to and indeed would welcome suggestions as to the sort of skills you feel you or ideally a group of volunteers may need for projects this year. There should be plenty of opportunity for training on plant and machinery as well as instruction on scaffolding, levels, vans, trailers and possibly any other skills you may wish to acquire! Please make your suggestions known soon and we will do our best to set something up. My annual plea, as always, goes out to those of you who so readily give up your weekend to make the training possible. If you are an instructor who has volunteered for training weekends in the past or if you have never been persuaded but think you could offer some expertise, please get in touch. The Training site is not yet confirmed but should be shortly. All are welcome, regardless of prior experience - you might want to drop in for one of the days or make a weekend of it. Accommodation will be available from Friday night. Hope to see you there! Bookings, suggested courses and enquiries to myself on telephone: 07719 643870 after 6pm weekdays or 0191 422 5469. Alternatively email: firstname.lastname@example.org Ali Bottomley
Canalway Cavalcade at Little Venice: May Day Bank Holiday Canalway Cavalade is the Inland Waterways Association’s annual three day festival at Little Venice (near Paddington in London) held every May Day Bank Holiday, and a very enjoyable and colourful event it is. And one thing that makes it happen is a team of site services volunteers - not an official WRG Camp, but generally a bunch of mostly WRGies led for the last couple of years by Gary Summers who set up and run the festival infrastructure and manage the site. So after a successful 2013 and 2014, Gary’s after volunteers for this year. For those who remember them, it’s a bit like a smaller version of the former National Festival: there’s waterspace organising with about 200 boats, lots of trade stands and entertainments, a catering area and a boat handling competition. It’s smaller, so there’s less walking, but more logistically challenging due to its location in central London and the fact that it straddles two canals. There is no perimeter fence - only a small security fence to manage! The accommodation is limited and restricted to two nar-
Book now for the BCN Cleanup! Put a date in your diaries for the Reunion / Bonfire Bash - on the Uttoxeter. We’ve already booked the accommodation!
...and the Reunion. Already!
row boats for sleeping on, plus a field kitchen for cooking and eating. The camp runs from lunchtime on Wednesday 29 April (when we build our compound) through Thursday and Friday (when we set up the festival and get all the boats onto the moorings) to the three days of the weekend (when we switch to site management and problem-solving mode),then on to the take-down over Monday evening and through Tuesday, aiming to leave site by lunchtime on the Wednesday. To make it all happen we’d like the experienced volunteers who have helped out in previous years to come again; and also some new faces to join the team for the future. We recognise that you may not be able to attend for the whole camp because it does run midweek to midweek, but we do need people to attend on the weekdays because that’s when we most need them. Oh, and we do plan the work so that everyone gets a chance to enjoy some of the festival; and usually the opportunity to steer a narrowboat. Contact Gary Summers on email@example.com or 07973 654 977
Reunion, 7-8 November, Uttoxeter Canal That’s right: we’ve already got a site for our big Bonfire Bash working party. And accommodation too! The location is the area around Crumpwood on the Uttoxeter Canal - the extension of the Caldon Canal that runs through the scenic Churnet Valley in Staffordshire. There’s plenty of scrub and some quite large trees to bash, so plenty of work for 100-plus people. We’ll have more information in future issues, but in the meantime put it in your diary now!
waterway recovery group in association with BCNS CRT IWA DCT CCT I would like to attend the 2015 BCN Canal Cleanup on April 18-19 in Smethwick Forename:
Address: email: Phone:
Any special dietary requirements?
I require accommodation Friday night / Saturday night / both nights I enclose payment of £
(pay 'Waterway Recovery Group') for food (£13 for weekend)
Do you suffer from any allergy or illness, such as epilepsy or diabetes, about which we should know, or are you receiving treatment or under medical supervision for any condition? YES / NO (If yes, please attach details) In the unlikely event that you should be injured, who should we contact? Name:
Signed: Please send this form to: National Cleanup bookings, WRG, Island House, Moor Road, Chesham HP5 1WA
You can also book online via the WRG website wrg.org.uk
WRG Van Appeal… ...for Appealing Vans “But you only just replaced them!” I hear you cry. Well it might seem like only yesterday, but in fact the current fleet of four much-loved Transit van/minibus hybrids are between seven and nine years old, and our experience tells us ten years is a good age to replace them as they’ll be starting to get just slightly knackered (to use a technical term). So over the next two years we aim to raise enough cash to replace them with new shiny ones which will keep supporting WRG’s canal restoration activities for another 10 years! They play a vital role in transporting volunteers and our kit around the country, and to and from site during the canal camps season. They are also a great advertisement for WRG, as throughout the year they travel the length of breadth of the country. New vans don’t come cheap – each specially made 9-seat (with room in the back for tools!) red minibus costs £25,000 so we are looking to raise a massive £100,000! How can you help? Donations We feel no shame in placing this first and foremost in our list. WRG has always been remarkably lucky in the strength and number of its armchair supporters and active volunteers. Every little amount helps get us towards our target of £100,000. Please send cheques payable to ‘Waterway Recovery Group’ to WRG Van Appeal, Island House, Moor Road, Chesham, HP5 1WA or you can donate online at wrg.org.uk/ fundraising/wrgs_van_appeal Corporate sponsorship Many companies will donate ‘matching funds’ if one of their
Van Appeal Four new vans needed! employees is involved in voluntary work… speak to your place of work and see if they have a similar scheme running. Run a marathon David Edwards-May (vice president of Inland Waterways International) is running the London Marathon on the 26th April, aiming to raise £5,000 for IWA’s campaign and restoration work – part of which will go towards the WRG vans. Find out more waterways.org.uk/marathon Get your boots on and walk for WRG Just in case you receive this in time, our parent body IWA is organising an 8 mile sponsored walk along the Stratford-uponAvon and Grand Union canals on Sunday 22nd February 2015 to raise money for the WRG Van Appeal. The walk starts at 11am from Lapworth Village Hall, Warkwickshire. Fundraising We are busy coming up with lots of weird and crazy fundraising ideas (anyone fancy volunteering to pull a boat from London to Birmingham dressed as a horse?!). We’ll keep you updated on our plans and how you can get involved… 10+ years on it’s probably time to get Mrs Palmer back in that dumper full of baked beans! Any ideas? If you’ve got any ideas for fundraising - especially if you’re actually offering to do it yourself - then get in touch (see below) and we’ll help publicise it.
Leaflet We’re also going to produce a lovely appealing leaflet for the next issue of Navvies with more information and ways to donate!
Two years to raise the money for four of these!
And now for our first thank you! IWA’s Chiltern Branch has got the Appeal off to a great start by donating £500… Only £99,500 to go! Jenny Black 01494 783453 firstname.lastname@example.org
Got the t-shirt…
So you’ve got the t-shirt, you now appreciate the art of pointing… and more importantly you understand the importance of remembering the milk! But have you considered getting more involved? We are looking to recruit the next batch of volunteer leaders, assistants and cooks for our forthcoming summer of canal restoration. WRG’s leadership teams are responsible for making sure each canal camp is a fun-filled, enjoyable experience – they run the canal restoration site, organising social activities in the evenings, and ensure that everyone is still smiling by the end of the week. This year we have 29 Canal Camps planned so this means we need to find around 80 volunteers to lead and feed the canal navvies of 2015!
Could YOU be one?
So what’s involved? Leaders and Assistants: As leaders and assistants you need to be able to give up a week, have some experience of Canal Camps, and most of all be willing to look after 18 wonderful volunteers! Your main role is to ensure that WRG Canal Camps are a fun, well planned and safe experiences. Yes there’s some paperwork to be done prior to the camp but remember you aren’t alone – you will have support from the WRG Head Office Team and WRG Board. We also run a Leaders Training Day [9th May at Rowington Village Hall - see previous page for details] so that leaders and assistants can get together and discuss all the different aspects of leading a camp. You also need to make sure the cook is happy … Cooks: If you’ve been on one of our canal camps before you will know the camp cook is the most important person! For each camp we like to have a camp cook who prepares and coordinates the feeding of our volunteers. If you’ve cooked for 4 people you can cook for 18… it’s only a case of some simple multiplication! [See also pages 28-29 for more about cooking for canal camps]
Why volunteer? what’s in it for you? As a Canal Camp leader, assistant or cook you can:
. . . .
Meet new people from a wide range of backgrounds and ages Gain new, transferable skills which makes your CV stand out Have fun, enjoyable and FREE holiday Become a vital member of the WRGie team!
Let’s hear from some of our leaders… “I get so much satisfaction leading a camp - seeing new volunteers start at the beginning of the week knowing no one and having never done this type of work before, leaving swapping contact details with new friends, arranging to meet up at another camp, and leaving with loads of new skills to develop on further camps, is awesome.” - Becky Parr, leader since 2010.
“Leading a WRG camp is so rewarding finishing a job, mixing and working with a group of people, making friends. I am also an instructor on plant – it gives me a great sense of achievement watching people that I have instructed confidently using a digger or a dumper.” - Colin, leader since 2014
Want to know more? Contact the WRG Leadership Team email@example.com for details on how to get involved, visit WRG website wrg.org.uk, or call Jen or Amber at WRG Head Office for a chat – 01494 783 453 ext 604.
Four for 2015 Restoration Focus Four for 2015: an extended Canal Camps preview All being well, a Canal Camps booklet should have been mailed to you with this issue of Navvies. And all being even better, you should by now be already poring over it deciding which of this summer’s splendid selection of camps you’re going to go on. But just to give you a little bit of help, we’ve put together the following sort of ‘extended preview’ article giving you details of four of the sites that we’re working on this year.
What, no Cotswold?
If you’re a regular reader you will probably by now be anticipating another blast from the editor on how important it is that we all get down to Bowbridge Lock on the Cotswold Canals and get it finished this year. After all, we’re running eight camps there, including two at Easter that still have places available. But we figured that you’ll have read enough encouragement to go on Cotswold camps in the last few issues, and we’ll doubtless be bringing you more updates over the next few issues. So for this one we’ve decided to give it a rest, and instead concentrated on four of the less well-known and/or newer projects. Two of them Stover and Ashby Northern Reaches Last year’s Grantham camp. Four more locks to restore to this state! are the very first camps on completely new projects. The Shrewsbury & Newport is a follow-up to our first camp on this up-and-coming project last year. And the Grantham is also a follow-up to a camp last year, as well as being a return to a canal that we’ve done a lot of work on in the past - and where, thanks to a Lottery grant, volunteer work is picking up again after a relatively quiet few years.
What about the rest? We’ll be following this up with more preview articles in the next two issues covering the remaining sites - that’s Chesterfield, Cromford, Lapal, Driffield, Swansea, Mon & Brec and Chelmer & Blackwater - as well as giving you updates on who the leaders are for all of the camps as soon as they have been confirmed.
Site No 1:
The Ashby Canal
What’s the job for this year’s Ashby Canal Camps? Two words: ‘bricks’ and ‘bridges’. There are two sites for this year’s Ashby Canal camps. The first is just north of Snarestone, where we’ll be reinstating the missing Bridge 62, the first bridge on the northern reaches of the canal. That’s the project we were meant to be doing on the October 2014 camp, but we couldn’t because the contractors who were supposed to have put in the foundations first hadn’t managed to get their act together in time. And the second site is a couple of miles south at Jackson’s Bridge (41) on the navigable length of the canal. If you worked on the North Oxford Canal bridges project at Barby a couple of years ago you’ll have some idea of what’s involved: basically repointing / repairing / replacing damaged brickwork on a historic brick arch bridge on a canal that’s actually open.
What skills are needed? Bricklaying is the main one. There will be opportunities for new volunteers to learn to lay bricks, and plenty of other work available, but we do need several experienced brickies if we’re going to really make a success of this job.
When are the Canal Camps? Camp 2015-17: 8 to 15 August. Camp 2015-20: 15 to 22 August.
Why’s it important?
In the case of Bridge 62, it’s the first proper obstruction that you get to when you head north from the existing limit of navigation where the canal fizzles out among the fields just north of Snarestone. After many years of trying to get work started on the next length of canal, in the last couple of years the Ashby Canal Trust and partnership have finally got the funding and permissions sorted out and has been busy extending the channel northwards a few yards at a time. We can help them by putting in the first new bridge on this length. It’s a significant step towards their mediumterm goal of opening the canal to Measham, and there will actually be boats going under our rebuilt bridge within a year or two. And in the case of Bridge 41, it follows on from our work at Barby, and at Lady Capel’s Bridge on the Grand Union in 2012. It all ties in with the ‘Building Bridges’ initiative between WRG and the Canal & River Trust. This is about (a) helping to restore and maintain historic bridges over navigable waterways, but ones New length at Snarestone looking towards Bridge 61 site which don’t get a high
Restoration Focus priority from the maintenance budget because there are always more pressing needs, but more importantly (b) using our experience to help local volunteer groups take on work like this in the navigable canals, leaving us free to get on with restoring derelict ones.
What’s the restoration story? The Ashby-de-la-Zouch Canal (to use its full name) never actually made it to Ashby - but it did get as far as Moira in north Leicestershire. Unfortunately the coal-mining that kept it busy with traffic also brought about its downfall: mining subsidence meant the canal sank, and eventually the top 8 miles north of Snarestone were abandoned. This left a 22-mile dead end which starts at Marston Junction and wanders through some nice countryside before finishing in the middle of nowhere, without so much as a mooring basin at the end. For many years the Ashby Canal Association (more recently supported by Leicestershire County Council in the Ashby Canal Partnership) has been campaigning to get the disused length reinstated. It will take the canal back through Measham, end up at a new terminus by the Conkers visitor centre in the new National Forest, and give the canal a proper destination. Already an isolated length has been reopened from Donisthorpe past the restored Moira Furnace and through a brand new lock (made necessary by subsidence) to a newly built terminal basin at Conkers. The remaining part is much trickier: it’s the part that’s been worst affected by subsidence, and it’s also been filled in and built on to the south of Measham. Reinstatement will be more of a new canal than a restoration in places (using parts of an old railway for its route). But in recent years a lot of behind-the-scenes work by the Partnership has led to a Transport & Works Act Order authorising the restoration as far as Measham (after a previous bid was scuppered by a single landowner trying to hold the canal to ransom over a tiny and worthless patch of land) and a deal with an opencast mining company to contribute financially to the restoration in exchange for planning consent to extract coal nearby. This has led to the start of work at Snarestone, a section at a time, with the aim of getting to Ilott Wharf in the not-too-distant future; then to Measham via the old railway route. Once it’s there, they can look at restoring the final length from Measham to Donisthorpe - including This length Ashby reinstating a lot already more subsidenceNorthern Moira restored damaged canal, Reaches as well as crossDonisthorpe ing the A42 dual carriageway. But they might find an unlikely ally there - Phase 2 of Original 2 A4 the HS2 railway is Measham route planned to run Diversion through the area, Ilott needed and it’s possible that the engineerCanal Camp ing solution to site: Bridge 62 getting the railway across the Snarestone Tunnel A42 could make Navigable to provision for the Marston 22 miles canal too.
Site No 2:
The Grantham Canal
What’s the job for this year’s Grantham Canal Camps? It’s all about Woolsthorpe Locks. That’s not a name that will mean much to most of you, as we haven’t worked there for a while, but thanks to a Heritage Lottery Fund grant that’s just been announced, the Grantham Canal Society can take on the complete rebuilding of locks 14 and 15 of the seven-lock flight, and hopefully follow that up with locks 12 and 13 too. This year will be the first year of major work on the flight, starting on Lock 15, so it looks like there will be a lot of initial clearance work (the locks are quite heavily overgrown with vegetation) plus putting in temporary dams and clearing the bottom of the chamber, followed by demolition of damaged brickwork, and later by the start of rebuilding work.
What skills are needed? Probably not a huge amount in the way of specialist skills this year as the main bricklaying work will be for future years; more a willingness to turn your hand to whatever’s needed, whether it’s creating the dams, clearing silt, or demolition work.
When are the Canal Camps? Camp 2015-23: 22 to 29 August. Camp 2015-25: 29 August to 5 September. Camp 2015-27: 5 to 12 September
Why’s it important?
This is the start of major restoration work on the Grantham Canal after several years when there hasn’t been much practical work, because efforts have been concentrated on securing the money (not far short of a million) from the Lottery, as well as fighting the odd battle against road building schemes. Grantham Canal Society now has a lot of work on its hands: it’s relying on our help, and we want to make a real impact early on. But it’s about a lot more than just impressing folk with how much work we can do: every day’s work we contributed counts as ‘match funding’ to the Heritage Lottery Fund money. So it’s vital that the work gets done. It’s also important from the point of view of getting the canal restored. The four miles and two locks from the edge of Grantham to just above Lock 15 are already restored and open to trail-boats (you might remember WRG helping at an IWA trailboat festival there a few years ago). Restore locks 12-15 and fairly soon you’ll be able to get boats down to Redmile, giving Woolsthorpe Lock 15 awaits our attention - see you this summer!
Restoration Focus a total of about ten miles (so worth people starting to put boats on it permanently) and you’re onto the long (and relatively ‘easy’) long level section heading into Nottinghamshire. And finally, the HLF grant isn’t just about restoration work, it’s about training too. The Canal Society plans to use the whole exercise - particularly the rebuilding part of the lock restoration - as a heritage skills training scheme. This will not only benefit volunteers working on the rest of the canal, but also on canals elsewhere too.
What’s the restoration story?
Opened in 1797, the Grantham Canal climbed through 18 locks in the 33 miles from the River Trent in Nottingham to Grantham. It was modestly successful (for a canal that didn’t go through any industrial areas) but by the mid-19th century a parallel railway had opened, the canal company could see things were going to get worse and sold out to the railway company, and in 1936 the last trade had ended and the canal shut. On the plus side, the closure stipulated that the abandoned canal needed to retain a foot of water in it (for use by local agriculture); on the negative side most of the canal’s bridges were demolished and replaced by causeways with the water piped under them. So by the early 1970s when (spurred into life by a proposal to remove the obligation to even maintain 1ft of water) the Grantham Canal Restoration Society was launched, they already had a tough job on their hands. To make matters worse, the canal was blighted for much of the 1970s by plans to open a coalfield in the area (which would have used the River Trent for transport - one reason that canal supporters such as IWA were reluctant to oppose it); and a new major road interchange obliterated an important length of canal in Nottingham. So by the time the coalfield plans were abandoned and the canal restorers could concentrate on the job in hand, it was a very tricky one. Despite this they got the towpath clear (including some epic junglebashing in places) then set about restoring the top end of the canal (the bottom end being harder owing to the problems in Nottingham). The top three locks at Woolsthorpe and four miles from there to the A1 crossing just west of Grantham have been restored, plus a length at Cotgrave (as part of reclamation works following coal mining). Plans are in hand for a new route to the Trent that avoids the problems in Nottingham. And in the meantime the aim is to extend the Nottingham Grantham Canal To Newark restored length River Trent Woolsthorpe Locks 12-18: Diversion down through To Locks 16-18 restored planned the rest of the Sawley Grantham Cropwell Woolsthorpe Redmile Locks 9-11 Locks and onto the 20-mile Locks 6-7 Original long pound. restored route Canal Camp This length And Kinoulton Harby obstructed site: Lock 15 already that’s where restored we come in!
Site No 3: Shrewsbury & Newport What’s the job for this year’s Shrewsbury & Newport Canals Camp? We’re returning to the scene of last year’s camp (the first one we’ve held on this project) for another week’s work at Meretown Lock, just on the outskirts of Newport in Shropshire. Last year we uncovered and excavated the filled-in lock, and repaired the brickwork of the lock chamber walls. This year we’ll be concentrating on the lock wing walls and approach channel with the aim of completing them to the point where the currently dry canal can be re-watered from the lock to the A41 road crossing a little way further east. We may also be installing a wooden footbridge (which the Shrewsbury & Newport Canals Trust are prefabricating) across the lock.
What skills are needed? The lock approach works will include both brick walls and earth banks, so we will need bricklayers for the walls and machinery operators for profiling the banks. We’ll also be installing a waterproof liner as well as the possible footbridge installation so there should be plenty of other work.
When is the Canal Camp? Camp 2015-22: 22 to 29 August
Why’s it important? This, at long last, will see a restored lock and a rewatered length of channel on a canal that’s finally starting to look like a restoration scheme that’s going somewhere - after many years of ‘false starts’ where valiant attempts to reopen these canals have been defeated by circumstances. Having waited so long, we want to make a success of it this time. It’s a highly visible site just east of Newport (the only town that the route passes through), and it extends onwards from a length of canal through the town that’s been kept in water and is a popular local walk. So we’ll be making it clear that something’s happening on the canal - as well as making a practical start towards opening the initial length of canal from Norbury Junction down to Newport.
This route actually consists of two canals. The earlier Shrewsbury Canal was originally an isolated waterway that ran from Trench (part of what’s now Telford new town) to Shrewsbury; the later Newport Branch of the Shropshire Union Canal left the Shroppie main line at Norbury Junction and descended via a long series of locks to pass through Newport on
What’s the restoration story?
Meretown Lock under restoration during 2014’s camp
its way to meet the earlier canal at Wappenshall Junction. Both of them ended up as part of the Shropshire Union system, and both were abandoned by the LMS Railway in 1944. When they were originally proposed for restoration in the early 1960s they’d been closed barely 20 years. (Compared to some of the canals we’re restoring today, that sounds more like a lengthy stoppage than long enough to get properly derelict!) Unfortunately what might have been a relatively straightforward restoration was stymied straight away by British Waterways flogging off some important bits of it for demolition. But the Newport’s loss was the Montgomery’s gain - the group that had been formed to restore the S&N reformed itself as the Shropshire Union Canal Society and has been working on the Mont ever since. Ten years later, another group was launched to look at restoring the Shrewsbury & Newport, but although they held some working parties they didn’t really have the experience and expertise to take it on - most of them were still at school! In the 1980s it looked like the Mont might get completed courtesy of Government and EU support, so SUCS looked at returning to its roots and having another crack at the S&N. But a political decision by the UK Government to spend the cash on another non-canal project instead put the kybosh on that. Finally over the last 10-15 years the Shrewsbury & Newport Canals Trust got going; but by then it had gone from being an ‘easy’ restoration to a very difficult one as locks, bridges, embankments and aqueducts had been demolished and lengths of canal obliterated and blocked by the A41, A5 and other roads over the intervening decades. And they didn’t get off to the brightest of starts. When BW said there wasn’t any water available from the Shroppie, so they designed an inclined plane boat lift to replace the locks at Norbury and save water, but that didn’t go down well with local folk who didn’t want their narrow country lanes overrun with people visiting what would be a major tourist attraction. At one point there were two canal groups with different agendas! But things have moved on: CRT no longer says there won’t be any water, the inclined plane has been dropped, and the two groups are working together. Down at Wappenshall Junction, the Thomas Telford warehouse has got funding to create a community centre and canal centre; Shropshire Union to SNCT has carried Shrewsbury & Ellesmere Port out clearance on Norbury Junction Newport Canals various sections; the historic Flax Canal Camp site: Locks Mill in ShrewsMeretown Lock 18 1-17 To bury is to be Autherley Newport restored with the Longdon old canal as a Aqueduct Eyton feature. What it Wappenshall Shrewsbury really wants now Trench Locks is some ‘proper’ (not proposed Former Shropshire A5 canal restoration for restoration) Trench tub-boat canals (not - and that’s what Berwick Tunnel proposed for restoration) we’re doing.
Site No 4:
The Stover Canal
What’s the job for this year’s Stover Canal Camps? We’ll be working at Graving Dock Lock, a Grade 2 listed historic granite-built structure in south Devon that was originally a ‘normal’ lock but later (when the length of canal above there went out of use) was converted into a sort of dry-dock. This was done by rebuilding one side to create a ‘shelf’: by emptying the lock, a boat could be left high-and-dry on this shelf so that its hull could be worked on. These are our first canal camps on this lock (and the first for 15 years on the entire canal, although WRG BITM have held weekend digs there) and we’ll be removing some of the remaining vegetation that’s been damaging the lock sides, taking down the damaged stonework, and beginning rebuilding. We’ll also be resurfacing a length of towpath nearby.
What skills are needed? The stone blocks that the lock’s built from are pretty big, so we’ll be taking them out using an excavator in lifting mode. If you’ve done that kind of work before (say, on coping stones on the Cotswold) and/or you’ve got excavators on your WRG Driver Authorisation card then that would be handy. But there will be plenty of jobs needing no prior skills or training.
When are the Canal Camps? Camp 2015-24: 22 to 29 August. Camp 2015-26: 29 August to 5 September
Why’s it important? The Stover Canal Trust have been campaigning to restore the canal for 15 years - and over that time they’ve done a great deal of useful work on clearance work and opening up access on foot (see below) as well as some archaeological work (as reported in Navvies 266). But they haven’t done much restoring of actual navigation structures - until now. So this is your chance to be in at the start of the restoration of the first of the canal’s five locks. And as for the wider importance of the canal’s restoration: no, it isn’t going to be part of any cruising rings or the national canal network. But it’s a link in a fascinating and unique transport system that used to connect Dartmoor to the coast, it deserves to be better remembered, it’s capable of being restored as a local amenity, and it will form part of the Templers Trail.
The Stover Canal was opened in 1792 to link the clay pits in Devon’s Teign Valley to the Teign Estuary near Newton Abbot, so that the clay could be taken away by barge and ship to pottery-making areas (such as the
Stover Canal Trust
What’s the restoration story?
Graving Dock Lock - with the ‘shelf’ on the right
Restoration Focus Staffordshire Potteries). It was less than two miles long, but had five locks. The story got a lot more interesting when another industry started using the canal: granite from Dartmoor was shipped down to the canal via the Haytor Granite Tramway. Now that might sound like the name of a tramway for transporting granite (as per the Somersetshire Coal Canal or the Tamar Manure Navigation) - but it’s more than that. It was actually built out of granite - the rails weren’t iron, they were parallel lines of stone blocks with grooves cut in them to form a strange kind of ‘railway’. (Incidentally we’d like to point out at this stage that no, the Somersetshire Coal Canal Company didn’t take the same approach and build their canal out of coal, and neither - thank God - did the Tamar Manure Navigation...) Anyway the granite trade died in the 1850s, the top end of the canal was abandoned (which meant one lock could be converted to a dry dock), the surviving clay traffic was gradually lost to railways (the Great Western Railway ended up owning the canal) and roads, and the canal was finally shut in the 1940s - and drained after it burst its banks in 1951. But not only did most of it survive largely intact, so too did a lot of the Granite Tramway - there isn’t the same scrap value in lumps of stone as there is in metal rails, and so you can still follow the granite ‘track’ on foot for miles across the moors. The Canal Trust’s predecessor the Stover Canal Society was formed in 1999 with the aim of preserving and restoring the canal. They cleared the towpath, built footbridges, carried out scrub clearance and created an elevated walkway to improve access on foot. But for much of that time they were hampered by dealings with the canal’s owners (Railtrack and then Network Rail, successors to the GWR) which at times felt like bashing one’s head on a brick (or perhaps granite) wall. A few years ago the Navvies ‘progress’ section carried a ‘non-progress’ report on this subject! However following successful negotiation of a lease in 2010, the Trust was finally in a position to step up the restoration work. Teignbridge District Council gave planning permission for work, and the Landfill Communities Fund announced £44,000 of funding. The footpath access work described above formed the first stage of the work and was completed in 2013. That brings us to the next phase, and to the current work. There are three projects: clearance of Teigngrace Lock; more archaeological work at Ventiford Basin; and ‘our’ job - restoration of Graving Dock Lock. Dartmoor
Stover Canal and Haytor Granite Tramway
Bovey Tracey Haytor Quarries
Haytor Granite Tramway
Canal Camp site: Graving Dock Lock
Ventiford Basin Teigngrace Lock
Teignmouth Jetty Marsh Locks (staircase)
...because it wouldn’t be a proper Navvies without at least one camp report from the bit of Cotswold Canals above Stroud, would it?
Last summer at Bowbridge
evening the youngsters Bob Crow and The Hawk had a late night dash down the M5 to Police HQ for the meals on wheels collection: “So what would being assistant leader in“follow that police car” being used for navivolve?” I asked MK2 at Cavalcade. Ten min- gational issues. Mitch also put in an appearutes later, he’d contacted Jenny, and I was ance Wednesday and Thursday evenings to booked on the Leaders’ Training Day! Errr...!!! finish off the delivered meals. The emergency services do provide such an excellent service!! Locations: 2 The remaining evening meals involved “Do you want to assist on a Cotswold camp?” Jen and me following comprehensive instruc“No, I’d rather help with Somerset camp as I tions from Harri and Mitch to put various items together in edible formats. Fish ’n’ used to live there.” Seemed easy enough; I knew the area, some good pubs, and had Chips courtesy of CCT sorted Tuesday evening’s meal. even stayed at the accommodation 25 years earlier! Fast forward a few weeks and I’m on The last night BBQ involved the three a train heading north; Taunton has moved vegetarians cooking all the meat…. “well, if they all get food poisoning at least it’ll be on counties and is now located in Gloucestershire! The woodland accommodation is now their way home!” an industrial unit, and the canal has signifiThe delightful Paul Ireson was our cantly less water! And so yes, I’m assisting fabulous breakfast chef. on a Cotswold camp!
Canal Camp report: 30 August – 7 September 2014
Leaders: 3 First there was an assistant; then a leader Mike Palmer (MKP). And off we went to Somerset for a site visit to teach Mike’s iPhone to swim in the canal. Then, ah, MKP can only do weekends, a Monday-Friday leader required. So as Brimscombe Port was Jenny’s second home this summer, she was coerced into leader 2. And just to add to leader issues, neither Jen nor I could be there on the first day!
With no dedicated volunteer cook, persuasion tactics were employed: Harri (who probably regrets living anywhere in the vicinity of the Cotswolds last summer) was conscripted in for Saturday night. Jude provided a yummy supply of cakes. Following a covert kitchen implements exchange in Bristol prior to the camp, Mitch made up several delicious meals. Sunday
Pictures by Emma Nurton
“the waders had ‘air holes’ for the water to enter”
Cutting stop plank grooves: “The appearance was of two little chatting gnomes”
shirt is Tom” ‘Waders Will’ the shortest member of the team with size 3 feet who fell in love with the waders, size 11. Spectacular spectator sport watching Will traversing the gloppy mud Emma S having an unexpected mud bath in the lock Paul covered in mud (for a change!!) On Weds feeding both Will and Emma S tea and biscuits due to their fondness for mud everywhere Paul having a snooze in the portacabin (though with a legitimate excuse of a stinking cold) Susan discovering the hard way that the nice clean waders which fitted reasonably well had ‘air holes’ for all the water to enter The nice large hired pump taunting us by sitting the other side of the wall, unavailable for use while the small one pumped as hard as it possibly could Greg our excellent pump operator... er… well, excellent sticking-hand-up-spout-andunblocking operator Tom’s sandbag dropping and splashing of the two Emmas, and then hiding as we attempted retaliation… Until a coordinated entrapment gave a result! Greg and Paul sat on scaffolding, allegedly cutting stop plank grooves, although the appearance was of two little chatting gnomes! A delivery from Travis Perkins and the
. . The DofEers: Will, Toby, Chris, Emma, Charlie and Tom . The European representative: Rodrigo . The Scottish representative: Susan . The Somerset representatives: David, . Greg and me . The Old Hands: John, Bob and Paul . . The Biker: Yolande . . The leaders: Mike and Jen . The work: Bowbridge Lock - clearing out and pointing brickwork; mud excavation from the lock using shovels, buckets and wheelbarrow hoist; sandbag filling; further construction of sandbag dam; mortar mixing; shuttering; building towpath wall; backfilling wall; starting to cut stop plank grooves; possibly some other stuff too!
The incidents: In no particular order, and apologies for anything I’ve forgotten, which is mainly due to conjuring up this report 3 months after the camp!! (note to self: write it sooner next time!)
MKP identifying the DofEers to Jen and me: “the one in white t-shirt and red hat is Chris and that one in red hat and white t-
. . . . . .
giant remote control - a woman with butbooks, helped along by cider tons… Impressive!!! ;o) MKP returns to lead us all astray with a Visit to Travis Perkins for extra supwhisky, rum and port session - where Will becomes more and more inebriated while plies… and then some more… and yet again… and again! delivering commentary on how his hands Jen receiving mail addressed to Unit 1 looked and why, while gradually leaning more and more onto Jen Brimscombe Port Bin code shenanigans Rodrigo sitting on a lonely platform as Daily Dingbat Challenges Toby, Charlie, Will, Emma and I waved Biker Yolande who was expert at dodg- across the tracks ing nearly all cameras whenever she laughed! ‘All Change’ at Gloucester as we all The Hawk trying to take an empty van piled off the train, er… Will you’re supposed to stay on… cue throwing him back on just in to site, leaving a van load with no drivers at Brimscombe Port. Good job Paul had his time (blaming MKP for the alcohol input the wits about him previous night!) And the following day The Hawk leavMeanwhile Toby and Charlie shoot into ing me stranded at Brimscombe Port Gloucester to find yet more chicken nugThe honorary women – those men that gets!?!?! Well we never made it to the Bridgwater braved the female shower (cool box outside the door meant men in situ) and Taunton Canal, but at least Somerset was represented by the “Bridgwater Posse”: Toby’s capacity for eating enormous David, Greg and me! quantities of chicken nuggets! Playing ‘Big Taboo’ boys vs. girls (with Sorry this has taken so long to actually make several DofEers promoted to the girls team) I’ve conveniently forgotten which team won! it to Navvies (deadlines are not my forte!) Bob Crow’s attraction to Bendy Bob and and apologies for anything I’ve missed out (my memory not as good as it used to be, his squeak!!! esp after several months!). After getting practice in over several Enormous thanks must go to all the nights Toby organised a darts evening at The cooks, the leaders and the old hands who Ship Inn… er… except managed to pick an actually knew what they were doing. Great evening the local darts team were playing. So we all had to make do with a pint instead week, great camp, thank-you everyone Emma Nurton (it’s a hard life!) Relaxing boat trip along the canal and through 2 staircase locks, and an energetic walk in the opposite direction An excellent ten-pin bowling evening with a competitive edge. Following a ranking game, a shift in teams, the final results: Tom, David, Will, Bob, Jen, Charlie, Emma N, Greg, Chris, Toby, John, Emma S, Susan, Rodrigo, Yolande Jen and I Evening entertainment: a boat trip along the canal completing D of E
. . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . .
BITM Christmas Camp at Dauntsey
Camp Report Christmas at Dauntsey David, Di and myself, plus Adrian, Alan, Robin and Chrissie. Using a recipe she had recently got hold of, Di made some mincemeat which included honey (provided by my Dauntsey Lock bees), and people said they enjoyed the slightly different taste from shop-bought mincemeat. She kept us well-fed, and by the time we had demolished our evening meal nobody wanted to go out much in the evenings apart from several visits to the pub round the corner. We have two jigsaw addicts, who spend every minute in the hall poring over – and finishing – four 1,000 piece ones, three of which I had won in a raffle this year. Most of the rest of us also get drawn into this puzzling occupation on and off. We all enjoyed just sitting around chatting. Our Christmas Camps usually include several regulars, but it is nice to also welcome some newcomers to Dauntsey. Well done to everybody for achieving a great deal. Rachael Banyard For the avoidance of any possible misunderstanding, we’d like to point out that this was an independent camp, not a Wilts & Berks Canal Trust event
Organising Christmas camps does tend to be a matter of trying to predict what the weather is going to throw at us, and what jobs are going to be possible. Fortunately this time the weather was kind to us, and the work went very well. We had a bit of rain on Boxing Day, but otherwise it remained dry – but cold, but then that is “boss’s weather”, because more gets done because you have to work hard to keep warm. Our local hire company lent us a 8tonne excavator, free of charge, which proved very useful, particularly as we had Adrian Sturgess with us, and he took charge of that side of the operation. There were various patches of the canal which had become very reeded up, but it is now clear enough for our former BW tug to get almost to the end of my section. Adrian also widened the towpath where it had become a bit narrow, uprooting some of the hedgerow growth, but we managed to save enough saplings to replant 3ft further back. He also did some large excavator training for Alan ‘Lifeboat’ Simister, who only gets to operate machinery once a year. When Jeff arrived complete with trusty chainsaw, several trees bit the dust, and were duly demolished for burning. We used our tug to cut back a long length of the offside hedge, where it had been growing across the canal. Whilst poling the boat across, Robin Bishop managed to slide down the pole, and had to go back to the accommodation for a complete change of clothing. As usual, there was noone on hand with a camera. There were a lot of brambles to clear on both sides, so one way or another we had plenty of fuel for some big bonfires. Rob Brotherston managed to mow up the middle of the towpath right up to the far end. After a fairly recent operation on my spine, I have been struggling to keep up with the maintenance on two miles of canal at Dauntsey, and Di – now past 80 – is also finding it quite hard work to keep the path, hedge and bank clear, and this year has concentrated on the west side of the road. It’s amazing how quickly it all gets overgrown! We had seven of BITM on the camp: Matt, Laurence, Jeff, Rob,
Clearing the offside bank
Navvies diary WRG and mobile groups Your guide to all forthcoming work parties
Feb 21/22 wrgBITM Basingstoke Canal: probably offside veg clearance at Winchfield Feb 21/22 NWPG Cotswold Canals: Bowbridge Lock, Stroud (NOTE NEW DATE) Feb 28/Mar 1 London WRG Cotswold Canals: Bowbridge Lock, Stroud Feb 28 Sat wrgNW ‘Paper Chase’ waste paper collection Mar 1 Sun EAWA/NWDCT North Walsham & Dilham Canal Mar 1-8 WACT Wey & Arun Canal: Dredging week at Dunsfold Mar 1 Navvies Press date for issue 270 Mar 6-12 WAT Wendover Arm: ‘Seven day weekend’ work party (Fri-Thu) Mar 7/8 KESCRG Cotswold Canals: Bowbridge Lock, Stroud Mar 7/8 Essex WRG Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation Mar 15 Sun EAWA/NWDCT North Walsham & Dilham Canal Mar 25 Sun WRG Committee & Board Meetings: Rowington Village Hall Mar 21/22 wrgBITM Grantham Canal: Training weekend and stump pulling Mar 21/22 London WRG Chesterfield Canal Mar 21/22 NWPG Cotswold Canals: Bowbridge Lock, Stroud (NOTE NEW DATE) Mar21/22 wrgNW Chesterfield Canal: Joint dig with London WRG Mar 28-Apr 4 Camp 2015-02 Cotswold Canals: Bowbridge Lock, Stroud Mar 29 Sun EAWA/NWDCT North Walsham & Dilham Canal Apr 4-11 Camp 2015-03 Cotswold Canals: Bowbridge Lock, Stroud Apr 10-16 WAT Wendover Arm: ‘Seven day weekend’ work party (Fri-Thu) Apr 11 Sat wrgNW ‘Paper Chase’ waste paper collection Apr 12/13 KESCRG Cotswold Canals: Eisey Lock (stump pulling) or Weymoor Bridge (brick Apr 18/19 WRG/IWA/BCNS BCN Clean Up: Birmingham - see page 6 Apr 18/19 wrgBITM To be arranged Apr 18/19 London WRG BCN Clean Up: Birmingham Apr 18/19 wrgNW To be arranged (or possibly on Apr 25/26) Apr 25 Sat IWA/CRT Restoration Conference: ‘Getting it on the Map’ talk/discussion at Digbe May 1-4 NWPG Wey & Arun Canal: Hunt Park May 1-7 WAT Wendover Arm: ‘Seven day weekend’ work party (Fri-Thu) Jun 1 Navvies Press date for issue 271 (including WRG / canal societies directory) May 2/3 KESCRG To be arranged May 9 LT2015 Leaders Training Day May 10 Sun WRG Committee & Board Meetings: Leaders Training Day on Sat May 15/16/17 wrgBITM Rickmansworth Waterways Festival: Site services (open to public on Sa May 16/17 London WRG To be arranged May 16 Sat wrgNW ‘Paper Chase’ waste paper collection Jun 5-11 WAT Wendover Arm: Fri-Thu, includes Restoration Open Day on Sun 7th Jun 6/7 London WRG To be arranged
For details of diary dates beyond the end of this list ple
Canal Camps cost ÂŁ56 per week unless otherwise stated. Bookings for WRG Camps identified by a camp number e.g. 'Camp 2015-02' should go to WRG Canal Camps, Island House, Moor Road, Chesham HP5 1WA. Tel: 01494 783453, firstname.lastname@example.org. Diary compiled by Dave Wedd. Tel: 01252 874437, email@example.com
at 16 & Sun 17)
Dave Wedd Bill Nicholson Tim Lewis Barry McGuinness David Revill Martin Ludgate Roger Leishman Bobby Silverwood John Gale David Revill Mike Palmer Dave Wedd Tim Lewis Bill Nicholson Malcolm Bridge David Revill Roger Leishman Barry McGuinness Bobby Silverwood Chris Morgan Dave Wedd Tim Lewis Malcolm Bridge Jenny Black Bill Nicholson Roger Leishman Martin Ludgate Bobby Silverwood Ed Walker Mike Palmer Dave Wedd Tim Lewis Barry McGuinness Roger Leishman Tim Lewis
07816-175454 01844-343369 07802-518094 0161-681-7237 01603-738648
firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com 07779-478629 firstname.lastname@example.org 01442-874536 email@example.com 07971-814986 firstname.lastname@example.org 01376-334896 email@example.com 01603-738648 firstname.lastname@example.org 01564-785293 email@example.com 07816-175454 firstname.lastname@example.org 07802-518094 email@example.com 01844-343369 firstname.lastname@example.org 01422-820693 email@example.com 01494-783453 firstname.lastname@example.org 01603-738648 email@example.com 01494-783453 firstname.lastname@example.org 01442-874536 email@example.com 0161-681-7237 firstname.lastname@example.org 07971-814986 email@example.com 01494-783453 firstname.lastname@example.org 07816-175454 email@example.com 07802-518094 firstname.lastname@example.org 01422-820693 email@example.com 01494-783453 firstname.lastname@example.org 01844-343369 email@example.com 01442-874536 firstname.lastname@example.org 07779-478629 email@example.com 07971-814986 firstname.lastname@example.org 01494-783453 email@example.com 01564-785293 firstname.lastname@example.org 07816-175454 email@example.com 07802-518094 firstname.lastname@example.org 0161-681-7237 email@example.com 01442-874536 firstname.lastname@example.org 07802-518094 email@example.com
ease contact diary compiler Dave Wedd: see top of page
canal society regulars
Canal societiesâ€™ regular working parties Every Tuesday BCA Once per month: pls check BCNS
Basingstoke Canal BCN waterways
Chris Healy Mike Rolfe
2nd & 4th w/e of month Thursdays Sep-Apr
Basingstoke Canal Aqueduct section
Duncan Paine Tim Dingle
2nd Sun & alternate Thu Every Mon and Wed
Buckingham area Athina Beckett Cotswold (W depot) Ron Kerby
Every mon am Thu pm Various dates
Cotswold (E end) Cotswold Phase 1a
John Maxted Jon Pontefract
Every Sunday Every Tue and Thu
Chesterfield Canal Chichester Canal
Mick Hodgetts 01246-620695 Malcolm Maddison 01243-775201
Every Tue & Wed Every Friday
Chelmer & Blackwater John Gale Langley Mill John Baylis
Second Sun of month FIPT Thu and last Sat of month GCS
Foxton Inclined Plane Mike Beech Grantham Canal Ian Wakefield
2nd Sat of month Tuesdays Weekends
GWCT H&GCT H&GCT
Nynehead Lift Oxenhall Over Wharf House
Denis Dodd Brian Fox Maggie Jones
01823-661653 01432 358628 01452 618010
Over / Vineyard Hill Herefordshire
Ted Beagles Wilf Jones
01452 522648 01452 413888
Every Sunday if required Every weekday
Bugsworth Basin Bradford on Avon
Ian Edgar Derrick Hunt
0161-427 7402 01225-863066
2nd Sunday of month Every Wed/Sat/Sun
Lancaster N. Reaches Keith Tassart Lichfield Terry Brown
3rd Sunday of month Last weekend of month
Hatherton Creams Paper Mill
Denis Cooper Steve Dent
Two Sundays per month 2nd & last Sundays
N Walsham Canal Pocklington Canal
David Revill Paul Waddington
Every Wed and 1st Sat 2nd Sunday of month
Stowmarket Navigtn. Martin Bird Sankey Canal John Hughes
1st Sunday of month Last weekend of month
Combe Hay Locks Stover Canal
Derrick Hunt 01225-863066 George Whitehead 01626-775498
2nd Sunday of month Every Thu and Sat
Sleaford Navigation Sussex Ouse
Mel Sowerby Ted Lintott
1st weekend of month Every Tuesday morning
Montgomery Canal David Carter Thames & Medway C Brian Macnish
Wey & Arun Canal David Daniels Drayton Beauchamp Roger Leishman
Most days, please contact WACT 1st w/e of month (Fri-Thu) WAT
If you have any additions / corrections / deletions to this list, please send them to Navvies diary compiler Dave Wedd (see previous page)
CRT towpath taskforce
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 1st Thu and 3rd Sat Maunsel Bridgwater & TauntonSteve Manzi 07710-175278 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: All CRT co-ordinators can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org, eg email@example.com for K & A. If no phone number given, use CRT Tel: 03030 404040
Abbreviations used in Diary: BCA BCNS BuCS BCS BCT ChCT CBN CSCT CCT ECPDA FIPT GCS GWCT H&GCT IWPS KACT
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
KESCRG LCT LHCRT MBBCS NWPG NWDCT PCAS RGT SCARS SCCS SCS SNT SORT SUCS TMCA WACT WAT WBCT
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
Inland Waterways Association and other one-day working parties Every Wed RGT/IWA Ipswich River Gipping: Pipps Ford, or Baylham Mill Lock 9am-4pm RGT/IWA Ipswich River Gipping: Pipps Ford, or Baylham Mill Lock 9am-4pm Feb 7 Sat Feb 7 Sat IWA Chester Shropshire Union Canal: Chester area, painting & veg clearance. 10amFeb 8 Sun IWA NSSC Trent & Mersey Canal: Canal Clean Up in Stoke on Trent. 10am-3pm Feb 10 Tue IWA Northants Northampton Arm Feb 11 Wed IWA BBCW Staffs & Worcs Canal: Painting, tidying & veg clearance Feb 12 Thu IWA NSSC/CUCT Uttoxeter Canal: Veg clearance at Bridge 70, Crumpwood. 10amFeb 19 Thu IWA NSSC/TMCS Trent & Mersey Canal: Cheshire Locks. Painting & veg clearance. 10amFeb 21 Sat IWA Manchester Venue to be confirmed, Greater Manchester area. Veg clearance, etc. Feb 22 Sun IWA Northants Northampton Arm Feb 27 Fri IWA NSSC Macclesfield Canal: Congleton Station project. Veg clearance. 10amMar 1 Sun IWA Warks Grand Union Canal: Leamington Spa Canal Cleanup. 10am-1pm Mar 3 Tue IWA Northants Northampton Arm Every Wed RGT/IWA Ipswich River Gipping: Pipps Ford, or Baylham Mill Lock 9am-4pm RGT/IWA Ipswich River Gipping: Pipps Ford, or Baylham Mill Lock 9am-4pm Mar 7 Sat Mar 7 Sat IWA Chester Shropshire Union Canal: Chester area, painting & veg clearance. 10amMar 11 Wed IWA BBCW Staffs & Worcs Canal: Painting, tidying & veg clearance Mar 12 Thu IWA NSSC/CUCT Uttoxeter Canal: Veg clearance at Bridge 70, Crumpwood. 10amMar 19 Thu IWA NSSC/TMCS Trent & Mersey Canal: Cheshire Locks. Painting & veg clearance. 10amMar 20-23 IWA Lichfield Trent & Mersey Canal: Brindley Bank, Rugeley. Path completion Mar 21 Sat IWA Manchester Venue to be confirmed: Greater Manchester area. Veg clearance, etc. Mar 22 Sun IWA Warks Grand Union Canal: Hatton Locks 10am-3pm. Offside towpath Mar 22 Sun IWA Northants Northampton Arm Mar 27 Fri IWA NSSC Macclesfield Canal: Congleton Station project. Veg clearance. 10amMar 27-28 IWA Notts/ECPDA Erewash Canal: Clean Up. Meeting points each day TBC. Every Wed RGT/IWA Ipswich River Gipping: Pipps Ford, or Baylham Mill Lock 9am-4pm Apr 4 Sat IWA Chester Shropshire Union Canal: Chester area, painting & veg clearance. 10amApr 7 Tue IWA Northants Northampton Arm Apr 8 Wed IWA BBCW Staffs & Worcs Canal: Painting, tidying & veg clearance Apr 9 Thu IWA NSSC/CUCT Uttoxeter Canal: Veg clearance at Bridge 70, Crumpwood. 10amApr 16 Thu IWA NSSC/TMCS Trent & Mersey Canal: Cheshire Locks. Painting & veg clearance. 10amApr 18 Sat IWA Manchester Venue To be confirmed: Greater Manchester area. Veg clearance, etc. Apr 24 Fri IWA NSSC Macclesfield Canal: Congleton Station project. Veg clearance. 10amApr 26 Sun IWA Northants Northampton Arm IWA branch abbreviations BBCW = Birmingham, Black Country & Worcestershire; Mcr= Manchester; Other abbreviations: CUCT = Caldon & Uttoxeter Canal Society; IWPS = Inland Waterways Protection
Mobile groups' socials:
The following groups hold regular social gatherings
London WRG: 7:30pm on Tues 11 days before dig at the 'Star Tavern' Belgrave Mews West, NWPG: 7:30pm on 3rd Tue of month at the 'Hope Tap', West end of Friar St. Reading.
...and other one-day work
For WRG canal camps and working parties see pages 20-21
3pm 4pm 10am-4pm 12:30
4pm 3pm 4pm
Martin Bird Martin Bird Mike Carter Alison Smedley Geoff Wood David Struckett Steve Wood Andy Hellyar-Brook Geoff Wood Bob Luscombe Geoff Wood Martin Bird Martin Bird Mike Carter David Struckett Steve Wood Andy Hellyar-Brook Margaret Beardsmore
01394-380765 01394-380765 07795-617803 07779-090915 07976-746225 07976-805858 07926-204206 07710-554602 07710-054848
01394-380765 01394-380765 07795-617803 07976-746225 07976-805858 07926-204206 07581-794111 07710-554602
firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
10am-4pm improvements. Adults only Geoff Wood 12:30 Bob Luscombe 07710-054848 Alison Smedley 07779-090915 Martin Bird 01394-380765 4pm Mike Carter 07795-617803 Geoff Wood David Struckett 07976-746225 3pm Steve Wood 07976-805858 4pm Andy Hellyar-Brook 07926-204206 10am-4pm 07710-554602 12:30 Bob Luscombe 07710-054848 Geoff Wood NSSC = North Staffs & South Cheshire Society; TMCS = Trent & Mersey Canal Society; RGT= River Gipping Trust; CRT = Canal & River Trust
Please phone to confirm dates and times
Contact Tim Lewis 07802-518094 Contact Phil Dray 07956-185305
Feedback ...on food Cooking on Camps In Navvies 268 we published an article by Helen ‘Bush Baby’ Gardner describing her own preferred system for cooking for a group of volunteers on a week-long canal camp. As she made it clear in her article, this wasn’t intended to be a prescriptive ‘How you should do it’ type piece, just an insight into one way of doing it, which would hopefully be of use and interest to those thinking of volunteering as a camp cook. Indeed, she invited other cooks to chip in with their own hints, tips and comments. Two of them have done so. The first is from Di Smurthwaite...
Yes, there is more than one way to skin a cat... although perhaps that’s not the best metaphor to use when comparing canal camp cooking methods... The second response to Helen’s article is from another long-serving WRG cook, Maria Hearnden...
The camp cook is as important as the rest of the leadership team. I have been cooking on camps for many years, which have ranged from 10 people up to 60 on the BCN Clean Up. Most of the time I have done this solo, but I am used to working on my own in my day job, and I am able with years of practice to manage my time, to fit in cooking, shopping - and time on site if the work there is something I enjoy doing. The cooks have to work with the leaders, and be flexible and also try to accommodate the needs of the volunteers. I agree with much of your routine, Helen, Often the cook is the only female on particularly with breakfast, where getting the the leadership team, or even the camp, and timing right is pretty crucial. people should feel they can approach the I prefer not to assume that there will be cook about anything, if they may not feel good supermarkets etc. reasonably close to happy talking to the leaders about somethe accommodation, particularly as I’m very thing. I hope that people thinking about well served where I live, including two large becoming a cook will be encouraged into supermarkets and a Booker’s (cash & carry), giving it a try after reading both Helen’s and by doing 75-80 percent of the shopping words and mine - even if they only assist the in bulk in advance I believe I save a lot of cook to start with, by helping with the money on the overall cost for the week. evening meal, and learning the way that I also cook cakes for the whole week in cook works and how to perhaps adapt it for advance and freeze them – a camp will northemselves. mally have the WRG fridge-freezer to transfer Continuing on from Helens article in the them into. last Navvies about catering on a camp, or I plan the menus in advance (but with indeed a weekend dig, I would like to add some built-in flexibility for when I’ve met my thoughts. Just as Helen said in her piece, everyone), with fairly plain, basic and satisfy- this too is a personal view, as I think every ing meals that most people will like. cook has their own little ways on how they Because I tend to buy even portions of like to do the practical cooking and shopdifferent sarnie fillings, I prefer to make ping, and possibly controlling the budget and lunch myself, otherwise campers might use even the accommodation cleaning. up all of one and not leave enough choice for Unlike Helen, and not being a morning the others. It also means that everyone will person, I always delegate cooking breakfast. get down to site earlier – we’re usually exThe rest of the camp are doing a 9 to 5 pected to be there by 9 a.m. working day, and I feel that starting before With little shopping to do during the them as well as finishing much later than 5, week (only top-ups) I find that I can still fit is not what I want to do, as this is my (unin quite a bit of time on site, which I also paid) holiday from the day job, and I want to enjoy. enjoy it. Di Smurthwaite That’s also probably another reason
that getting up early every day will not make it feel like as much as a holiday as having a lie in and having someone else cook me breakfast! I believe that most people can cook breakfast, and quite often I have been on a camp with someone who would regularly be happy to wake up early and do it. Failing that I would give instruction as to what to do, to whoever is coerced/volunteers to cook breakfast. That way I can get up at a leisurely pace, have breakfast, sit back while the rest of the camp A barbecue can be a good idea (but it helps if you have a better wash up and clear the ‘wet weather plan’ than simply taking the barbie indoors...) kitchen. This is the time I check that the brew box has all it needs, run out that I may not know about like jam, including the teaspoons, milk and all-impor- cereal or loo paper, then grab my shopping tant biscuits, as well as that the water conbags and hit Tesco for a few extra clubcard tainers are full. points. A cook’s perk I think! When they start to leave for site, and I Shopping tends to be personal thing. have some peace, on goes a CD and I will Many people shop as they do at home, with start to prep the sandwich fillings and make favourite types of ingredients, which they the sandwiches. I feel that as long I do a know and have tried and tested at home. I’m selection of different fillings and include two a fan of using tins and cook-in sauces, as different vegetarian ones (if there are any they save on time, but also like to make vegetarians on the camp) then most people desserts, custard and cakes from scratch. I are happy. I always do egg mayo and tuna have noticed that from camp to camp, there mayo, two types of meat such as ham, are eating trends such as fruit or cereal; chicken, salami, then perhaps cheese or pate. some camps eat loads of toast and some All the fillings are put on both brown and hardly any - hence checking on stuff outside white bread, and repacked into the bread my control of the kitchen before shopping. bags, one filling in each bag. I try to write on I also buy plenty of vegetables for the the bag what is in it, to lessen the surprise. evening meal. They are a great filler and They also have salad and pickles to add cheap. Too many potatoes? Make potato as they wish, along with the rest of the usual cakes for breakfast. lunch necessities such as cake, which is The meat should be a good quality, as homemade usually, crisps, chocolate bars having a layer of fat floating onto of your and the healthier option of fruit. In the winsaucepan is unpleasant. Any pre-camp shopter months soup will always be well received ping for bulk items is useful, especially for at lunch time. If you make it in an oversized bacon, sausages and eggs. You will get saucepan, then you can put it in the footwell through 15 dozen eggs in a week!! Mostly of the car and drive it to site without it slopused for breakfast, as well as egg mayo, ping out. If you can get it there in a short cakes, and desserts. You do have to rememspace of time, it is still fairly hot when it ber that you are shopping within a budget of arrives on site. £5 to £6 a day. This is achievable with sensiI try and go for a big shop on alternate ble shopping and the fact you are catering days, with a small shop at a local shop if for many people. Some big packs of things needed. I go shopping in the morning, after are cheaper, and you have a week to use up the sandwiches are done, but I will have my that bigger pack. tea break first, write a list, checking what has After returning from the shops and
unpacking it, then it’s time to pick up lunch and take it to site. I like to take it to site, to catch up with what’s going on, how the work is progressing, and see other people. I can also confirm that they will all be back at the usual time and that any evening activities are still on. If it’s a day that I can spend time on site then it will be after lunch, as I will have started dinner in the morning instead of going shopping. I will go back to the accommodation before the rest, so I can shower before they get back, and start dinner again, especially if the shower is not in the accommodation. I will also get any shopping at the local shop on the way back. Evening meals should be plentiful and filling. Many people who are new to canal camps, may well find themselves eating more than they would normally, as the extra outdoor work has produced an appetite. I always over cater by a few portions and rarely have any leftovers. Always better to have seconds than run out of firsts. I have had leftovers for my own lunch the following day. I try to have a mix of chicken/mince/ pork/lamb as well as a mixture of rice/pasta/ potato based dinners. If the camp has a last night barbecue and a take away night then meal planning is reduced. I also try to match puddings to dinners. Cold pudding after a curry or heavy meal like stew, hot pudding with custard with a lighter meal. A roast dinner goes down well. Ask the camp which meals they prefer, and they can decide what you cook. Curry or chilli? Which roast meat? If you do a roast
which takes time, then have a selection of gateaux for pudding that just need defrosting perhaps. Do try and tell the camp what you are planning for dinner in case anyone has objections / additions / favourite accompaniment. I always aim to have dinner under control before the rest come back, to give them space in the kitchen to wash up the brew kit and re fill the water containers for the morning, while I sit and catch up with the gossip over a cup of tea. They can also do any washing up that I have made and not done myself. I can then go back to finish dinner with a cleared kitchen, with space to serve. Some kitchens are so small this is always the best move. Having people in the way when you are trying to check in the oven is not a good move. After dinner you then can relax while the camp washes up and clears the kitchen. This is a good time to sweep and mop the floor for the night, as many people washing up that amount of kit often makes the floor quite wet anyway. Last thing I will put out breakfast things like beans, mushrooms and porridge especially if a novice is doing it, as I will show them where everything is and what the portion control is. Just as the leaders have a guidance notes and a paperwork folder to help them with any questions they might have, so have the cooks. The guidance notes are written for cooks and leaders of a camp who are not fortunate enough to have a cook, and are available on the WRG website. It helps with quantities to feed 15 to 20 people, recipe ideas, food hygiene, shopping hints and cleaning rotas. A catering folder comes with the catering kit, with useful posters, food hygiene tick charts and other useful information on allergies, dietary needs such as vegans, gluten free and kosher. Please do have a go at being the camp cook, or help a cook, ask a cook for advice, most are willing to help you take that step onto the leadership team. Maria Hearnden
“Get plenty of veg” - Maria (right) and Jen chop carrots
If anyone has any further contributions on canal camps cooking, please do keep sending them in. ...Ed
When should we hold it? Why do we hold it? How do we get more volunteers on it? Here are your thoughts on the WRG Reunion...
Feedback ...and the Bonfire Bash
The WRG Reunion / Bonfire Bash entirely sure that would work myself – but it
probably depends upon the nature of the reunion work. Tasterella also discussed ways of incentivising and helping newbies to enjoy the Reunion more – including appointing a ‘newbies bod’ – although whether for camps or the Reunion I now realise I’m not sure! I do agree that we need to do more to encourage newbies, both on the camps and afterLast issue, I wrote a letter asking some wards. Free t-shirts were mentioned… questions on why the number of people Another area of discussion centred attending the Reunion has been declining in around how we group people on the reunion recent years. As a result of that there has worksites. Anyone who has filled in a reunbeen some discussion online and in person, ion booking form (does anybody actually do so I thought it would be interesting to sumthat?) knows that as part of it you get asked marise some of those points and see whether whether there is any particular group or anyone else has anything to add… camp you want to work with – but then at Firstly, this year is fixed in location and the Reunion itself we tend to put up sign-up date [See p5]. That’s good – it allows us to sheets so asking the question seems a little test whether the advance notice is helpful or pointless! As a leader last year it was not not. So some of these discussions might not something I really considered, but could we be directly applicable to this year – but who do anything differently here? knows for 2016? One comment I found particularly There was some consensus that moving interesting came from Helena Rosiecka, who the reunion a little earlier in the year would noted that one of the problems with the be helpful – although Tasterella made the reunion can be that there are actually too very valid point that if travel distances are a many people there you know, and you feel problem, picking a weekend with a bank guilty for not getting to speak to them all. In holiday or utilising half term would probably my experience that generally works to exhelp. Given that the only earlier bank holiday clude newbies, so it is something we should that could be used is August (and the camp look at. Perhaps this is a good reason to schedule generally runs through it), that’s encourage people to go to different sites on probably not practical. different days? Helena also commented on Half term is feasible although the exact the Saturday morning faff taking longer with dates vary amongst counties, so it’s not quite multiple sites – but I think with a bit more as simple – and you’d probably want to allow forethought (by that I mean a bit more than for a mixture of 2 day and 3 day campers so I gave it last year), I think you can do away it could have a different feel. I’m not knockwith much of that. ing the idea though, it’d be worth a try for a Finally, I want to go back to distance. future northerly reunion (I don’t think the One comment that I made in the Facebook travel issues have as much impact for the discussion was that, if distance is a problem, more southerly reunions). John Hawkins did we need to get better at sharing transport. comment that one of my notes in my letter That obviously has financial and environ(regarding the time between camps and the mental benefits as well, so can only be a reunion in terms of logistics) might not be a good thing. Now London WRG and WRG NW problem if the kit was essentially sent generally bring ‘their’ vans, but that does straight to the reunion, although I’m not mean that the other two vans come direct to The other issue that’s generated a fair amount of feedback is the subject of whether we can make any changes to the way we plan and run our annual Reunion working party so that it will achieve more. George Rogers, who wrote the original letter, takes up the story...
the Reunion without collecting anyone – that should change. It has also been quite common in recent years to hire minibuses for the Reunion – so is there anything to stop them being hired further afield than the Reunion site and also being used to bring volunteers? It’d probably take a bit more coordination, and a bit more work for the WRG leaders and head office, but (as a leader) I think it’d be worth it if we can get more people as a result. So, any more thoughts? Another long Facebook discussion everyone? Or shall we do it the proper way, all sat in a pub… George Rogers George has mentioned several points that ‘Tasterella Taster’ and Iain Corbin brought up, but as they also sent their complete list to the editor, here it is for completeness:
The Reunion is not going to be successful unless (or until) it targets the newbies and DoE bods and gets them feeling invited and expected to attend. It could do this by having a ‘mentor’ that is a young person (ideally) or someone willing and able, who has taken on the role of being a ‘welcome and introduction to wrg’ person. This person makes a point of getting these newbies feeling wanted, integrated and basically schmoozed, so they know all about the Reunion and they are officially invited to said Reunion as part of the joining process. It is in their joining pack, as a flier, but also in a free T shirt offer (collected at Reunion). The time and place of reunion does need a re-think as George said. It doesn’t have to be in November and it doesn’t want to be out of travel distance for those who have signalled a wish to attend. Or it could be on a ‘long’ weekend that has a bank holiday on a weekend. As part of the joining up process, folk are encouraged to join the WRG Facebook group. After their camp, they receive ‘countdown to Reunion’ reminders and invites. I am going to stick my neck out and say that one of the things that happens in a long established ‘sect’ like WRG is that there are cliques and circles and ‘old muckers’ and ‘in jokes’ and new folk sometimes feel shut out of that and find it hard to visualise coming along to a BIG shindig where they are simply ‘on the outside’.
It needn’t be a scrub-bash - 2013 Cotswold Reunion
Well, there you have it. Anyway as George mentioned we’ve already got a site and accommodation sorted for this year. We’ve got plans to give it a big push all the way through this summer’s Canal Camps programme, and we’ll find out come November whether that’s been enough to reverse the decline in numbers over recent years and get some new folks along or whether for 2016 we seriously need to look at some of the more major changes that people have proposed. In the meantime, keep sending in your thoughts on the subject - or indeed on any other subject - and we’ll print them. ...Ed
Our regular roundup of progress on restorations around the country begins with Lichfield and Chesterfield coping with various railway lines...
Lichfield and Chesterfield
Lichfield and Hatherton Canals
Chesterfield Canal Trsut
Discussions continue with HS2 Ltd to achieve A project to install new lock gates on the an acceptable rerouting of the canal at Chesterfield Canal in Staveley can go ahead Huddlesford where the new railway will cross thanks to a funding boost from The Veolia it if it is built. So far the outlook seems good. Environmental Trust. However, nothing will be taken for granted. Veolis has awarded Derbyshire County Elsewhere, we have excellent news with Council a grant of £37,500 towards the the promise of a substantial grant which will manufacture and installation of gates for enable us to make considerable progress Staveley Town Lock. The is the new lock that with the Lichfield Heritage Towpath Trail We Chesterfield Canal Trust and WRG have been hope that we will be able to purchase the building for some time, which will lower the canal track from The Boat Inn on the A461 canal to pass under a railway line and will to the aqueduct over M6 Toll motorway. also provide a centrepiece to the new There are prospects of rebuilding the culvert Staveley Town Basin - which combines over the Crane Brook which was demolished waterspace on the canal and open space to when M6 Toll was built. If other moves be used during regular canal festival events. succeed we will be able to open a walking Veolis is now working with the county route which will take in the aqueduct and a council to finalise the details of the project, section westwards towards Ogley. It will be including the start date. a major challenge to complete all the works DCC Cabinet Member for Highways, within a very restrictive time frame. Transport and Infrastructure, Councillor Meanwhile, steady progress continues Dean Collins, said, “This funding will help us at Tamworth Road, Lichfield where the clay continue to restore the canal and make more puddling work continues despite challenging of the waterway navigable as well as improvground conditions. Our brickies are working ing the area for visitors to help boost tourism.” on Lock 26 which is in poorer condition than first thought, mostly because the constructors did not go for the highest standards. Even so, the intention is still to re-water Pound 27 within the next few months. On the Hatherton there has been some disappointment. The major obstacle has always been the M6 at Calf Heath, with various suggestions that motorway reconstruction will one day be needed to ease congestion - and the canal can take advantage of this. The latest Highways Agency proposals have been for a new motorway link between M54 and M6, but the works envisaged do not go quite as far northwards on M6 to be of help to clearing the blockage of Staveley Town Lock nearing full height in January the canal on the Straight Mile.
Progress Arms to Wendover... Grand Union Wendover Arm
Meanwhile the Wendover Arm Trust has reached another milestone in its long-running project to line and rewater the dry length of the canal the area beyond the bridge has been levelled off so that any water can drain into an existing manhole on the pipeline (buried in the canal bed, and carrying the water supply feed until the canal is fully restored) about 40 metres past the bridge. Roger Leishman, Restoration Director
Pictures by WAT
A very special thank you from Wendover Arm Trust to all our restoration volunteers who have worked so hard during the year despite some very bad weather and brought about the completion of re-lining of the canal to Bridge 4A ready for the rewatering of 437 metres bringing the total length rewatered to 758 metres. Although the weather was not perfect good progress was made on our November and December working parties. In November the lining was completed up to and including the west throat of the narrows of Bridge 4A as can be seen in the picture. The offside bank at the east end was also completed for 20 metres. The Bentomat lining through the bridge is covered with 150mm of concrete rather than the normal bed Concreting in the Bridge 4A narrows nearing completion, cover of 300mm of spoil as and (below) a view onwards from underneath the bridge was done at Little Tring Bridge, as it is felt that propeller wash through a narrows would scour a spoil cover. In December the lining was continued through the bridge narrows and the towpath bank lined for 20 metres to match the offside. All that remains now is to line the east throat of the bridge narrows and construct a bund just east of the bridge span and the next re-watering can commence. In case of flooding a mini bund has been built to prevent water coming from the now waterproof 437 metres of new lining. In addition
Progress ...and Buckingham that the water can now flow more freely to the east of the lock chamber. This has proved to be a very muddy undertaking! Much of this work has now been completed and this section of the canal is noticeably improved. At Bourton Meadow, Buckingham, after the success we had last year in getting the first section of the canal in water, it was discovered that the liner we had installed by our prime contractor was not holding water. Discussions are taking place and a different liner will hopefully be installed early in 2015. This will mean the removal of the Coir mats placed along the canal banks, but it is hoped that these can be re-used on site at a later date. It will be an extra task for our volunteers to undertake, but we are never short of work. Hopefully this very attractive section of canal will be back in water in the not too distant future, and we will finally benefit from seeing the surrounding flora and fauna flourish along this green corridor. Our Thursday and Sunday volunteers are doing a sterling job, but new faces are always welcome. If you have some free time and would like to try your hand at any of the tasks described above then please do come and join us for the day. Athina Beckett firstname.lastname@example.org
At Cosgrove, two bunds are now complete and the third is almost so, alongside the siphon system that is in place to re-water the first 500m of dry canal from Cosgrove Junction (where it meets the Grand Union main line) in three lengths. The main reason for this work was to discover the condition of the canal bed and banks in that section beyond Bridge No1 at Cosgrove (up to which point the Arm is in water and used for moorings). Unfortunately it now appears that at a certain height along a stretch of the first section from the bridge to the first bund, the southern canal bank has slipped and water is seeping into the field adjacent to the canal. Therefore discussions are currently taking place with Canal & River Trust (CRT) as to the best method of restoring the canal bank and how we should progress with the rewatering of further sections of the Buckingham Arm at a later date. Training sessions are now taking place with ‘Blue’, our excavator [Yes, that’s right – the one WRG used to have. For some news on its successor, see Navvies News pages 4041. ...Ed] If everything goes to plan, then by the end of this year we should have several fully trained excavator drivers. At Hyde Lane Lock work parties returned to the Buckingham Canal Nature Reserve by the end of July to continue the maintenance of this beautiful area. Plans are now in place to build dams next year to keep this site permanently in water, although before this can happen the repointing work on the lock chamber must be completed. This is one of the many projects being undertaken by our volunteers down at the reserve at the present time. As this site forms part of the Ouse Valley Walk, which is a very popular route for walkers, the way we present the site to the public is extremely important. With this in mind, much time has been set aside to trim the hedgerow and remedy any problems with it by replacing broken stakes and binders. We have also worked hard to keep the towpath and canal bank strimmed to encourage and promote wild flower growth. Remedial work on the post & rail fences has also continued, including partial replacements and repainting. Volunteers have also been removing an excess of reeds that grow in the canal bed so
Keeping Hyde Lane looking presentable
is a single pylon, manually operated, hydraulic bascule bridge. Raising the 6 tonne bridge deck by manual winding is assisted by a 6 tonne kentledge, or counter weight. Angela explains, “This is quite a challenging site. It has a very small footprint and the bridge crosses the canal on a skew. There is no longer room for a swingbridge due the close proximity of gas and drainage services. The ‘8 tonne limit’ can no longer apply either as a 30 tonne mobile crane has to have regular access into the woollen mill.” The results of Angela’s evaluation of the problems and solutions can be seen in the artists’ impression in the second picture. Restoration Manager Dave Marshall of Stroud District Council commented...”We have put this design forward for planning consent with some enthusiasm for its striking design. There will have to be other lift bridges created on the next phase of the restoration and this single angled pylon design creates the opportunity for an iconic structure to become associated with the Stroudwater Navigation. This is an opportunity to create the heritage of the future.”
Progress Cotswold Canals Cotswold Canals: Lodgemore Bridge
Peter Westley, Cotswold Canals Trust
Mike Gallagher, Cotswold Canals Trust
Cotswold reports in Navvies recently have centred on the main volunteer project to restore the locks above Stroud – currently Bowbridge is our main worksite. But there’s been a lot happening elsewhere on ‘Phase 1A’: the six-mile Lottery-funded scheme to reopen the canal from Stonehouse through Stroud to just below Brimscombe Port. One tricky issue to resolve has concerned Lodgemore Bridge in Stroud. Lodgemore Bridge has served the very busy Woollen Specialist Products factory at Lodgemore Mill for many years. The original wooden swing bridge was operated by boaters hauling coal and grain along the Stroudwater Navigation. It was replaced with a metal swing bridge in the 1920s. This was fixed in position across the closed canal when the navigation was abandoned. The existing structure still bears the 8 ton limit sign. Angela Rowbotham is an engineer who works with KGAL Consulting Engineers at what the company refers to as its ‘Gloucester office’. Angela’s office is in fact an ‘apple core’s throw’ away from the Stroudwater Navigation near Saul The old bridge and an impression of the new one Junction. The office is in converted farm buildings at Walk Farm off Church Lane, Saul. Equally close is Saul Marina where Angela moors her narrowboat. The problems created by a combination of a site restricted both by size and land ownership litigation (which made it difficult to find the extra space for a swingbridge to swing open into) seem to have been solved by Angela’s application of an expertise based upon her impressive engineering qualifications allied to some lateral thinking borne of her own boating experience. The result
Reporting from New Year on the Cotswold Canals, plus the Herefordshire & Gloucetershire, with several different teams and far too many guys called Martin... New Year Canal Camp As befits a complicated New Year camp where we didn’t even all work on the same canal (a team did a couple of ‘awaydays’ on the Herefordshire & Gloucestershire), this is a rather complicated camp report. Or, as ‘American Martin’ (who isn’t American) put it... Like everything in this world, don’t be in the wrong place at the wrong time and be named Martin. We had four Martins on the Christmas camp, RAF Martin, Martin Danks, Martin Ludgate and myself (Yankee Martin). For some reason on the last day it was decided that those named Martin would do the write up for the Christmas Camp. As I spent four of the five days trying to help the forestry team Nigel, the team leader, nominated me to put fingers to keyboard.
Camp Report Cotswold Christmas with BIG tools: Pete, Paul, Iain, David Miller not sleepy, Teacher Chris in the ladder recess all week; Jon P and Paul Weller and various important VIPs during the week and David from Bristol who came on site and then went home each day. Blimey someone who literally was only there to restore canals and didn’t want to play games, eat wonderful scoff or go down t’pub. Confused? You will be. Meanwhile back to Martin for an update on the tree-cutting...
The first day of the camp was devoted to clearing some scrub and trees to enable the locals to get a grass cutter into a larger area. As usual Moose was bonfire king and a planned 2 day job was done in 1. The core forestry team including the leader did not arrive until the 27th so we didn’t start the tree felling until the 28th. But before we hear from how the tree-fellers The forestry team for 28th and 29th consisted got on, let’s hear from Tasterella Taster (who of Nigel, Paul, Allan, John, Barry, Linda, Elaine, isn’t called Martin, although she isn’t really Mo and myself. We were on the Hereforshire & called Tasterella either) about who was there: Gloucestershire Canal at Oxenhall Lower lock near Newent and the team was tasked to assisted Leaders: Moose and RAF and actual leader, fell 5 trees. The trees were in two groups. One Maria. Bonny and Ace, sheepdogs. group was going to be particularly tricky as there were some power lines that could be brought Present on camp: Forestry: Nigel, Paul down if the tree fell in the wrong place. Shaw and Lynda, Elaine (newbie) and Barry, Whilst Nigel, Paul, Allan and John set about Alan U. Lines, John Hawkins, Martin and Mo setting up the Tirfor and straps for taking down (Americans): worked on the Herefordshire & the first tree Mo and Elaine tried to light the fire. Gloucestershire Canal, on the Cotswold This was proving to be one very big challenge I Canals at Chalford, and tried to do Rucks think at one point both were on their hands and Bridge but owing to poor communication... it knees praying to the bonfire god for help!!! Their didn’t come off. But all other chopping done problem was the paper and the matches they had to everyone’s delighted satisfaction. were both damp coupled with no dry kindling. Newbies: Tony from Birkenhead After about one hour the local contact, Wilf Jones, (Bhirkhenheadd), brick expert; Abs (DoE), produced some dry paper and kindling and in a young Chris (DoE) Laura (NOT newbie, has very short time we had a fire. The starting of the done several camps including Uttoxeter at fire coincided with the felling of the first tree. The Christmas one year) Portia (DoE.) branches were removed and dragged to the bonfire Others: Brian (from the forest) and me and the tree was cut up and the logs stacked. (Valerie) from the Jurassic. And Iain in After lunch the second of a group of three camper van (with two eyes) and ‘Ian with trees was felled. This was not a quick process as a one eye’. Rutledge. Dr Fran , keeping us all in ‘newbie’ working with the forestry team soon place. Martin Danks, being a Martin-et. came to realise. The straps have to be put around Bowbridge ‘men’ who were very macho the tree and in this case they had to be placed 20
feet from the base. This meant throwing a small bag of lead shot over the branches. Attached to the bag was a string that when it was in the right place was attached to a strap that was then hauled up and around the tree. The strap was anchored on one tree with other end attached a steel wire in turn attached to a Tirfor which in turn was anchored to another tree. All of the effort was to ensure the felled tree landed where the team wanted it to land. The felling was carried out by both Nigel and Paul who took it in turns. The rest of the team were watching for walkers on the towpath and keeping a safety eye on the person felling. The fire went well and if any of the team started to get cold they didn’t take long to warm up. Meanwhile what was happening on the Cotswold Canals, the site that was nominally hosting this canal camp? Back to Tasterella:
The second day on the H&G started with myself restarting the fire. The last of the group of three trees was taken down in the morning and left for the locals to cut up later. The next tree to be felled was close to the power lines so making sure it fell in the right direction was the team’s priority. The tree was covered in ivy from its base to the top. The ivy made it a challenge to get the lead bag around the tree. The ivy at the base of the tree had to be removed before Nigel could start cutting. I was interested to see how the cutting was carried out and I saw that Nigel cut small sections of the tree at a time. Whilst Nigel was cutting there was an audible ‘crack’ and we all thought the tree was going to come down but it didn’t. Nigel did some more cutting and the tree eventually fell slowly and gracefully to the ground, in the perfect position. We then had to cut off the ivy and the branches to ensure the path was clear. Again the fire was busy burning the wood with the regular satisfying crackle as the ivy was placed on top. The fifth and last tree was not taken down as the forestry team needed more expertise to remove some of its height before felling. This work would be carried out by another camp. Martin Ludgate
Ham Mill Lock was under cover and scaffolded and 12 trailer loads of broken bricks were taken away to Brimscombe so the offside wall was ‘done’ (made ready for new brick work) and most of the towpath done to scaffold level. Bricks cleaned by my ‘posse’ which consisted of me, Joe, Laura, Portia and Lynda, Fran ( some of the time) = about 110, which according to Tony represented
£1.20 per brick as they are ‘good’ bricks and some even bore the original T&S engraving. The rest were manfully bolster / chiselling the bricks out and ‘’passing them up’’ to the wheelbarrowers ( mostly Tony) and Fran, Joe and David Miller. One one day the CCT guys and Martin Gray showed us the enviable hospitality of their ‘suite’ which was indeed sparkly and lovely. Back to the Herefordshire & Gloucestershire for more forestry work...
Breaking out old brickwork is FUN!
Meanwhile back on the Cotswold site, it wasn’t just Ham Mill Lock that was receiving our attention, there
was work going on at Bowbridge Lock too... Myself, Laura and some other wheelbarrow wielders moved a ton of soil and rubble from near the portaloo on the vets’ side of the canal. At least 5 trailer loads. Phew. I even instructed some newbies on the use of the knee with a wheelbarrow. Meanwhile the men were using sparky tools to cut through old gas pipes and drill and excavate several feet of concrete out and lift out a raving heavy section of old pipe. The job was to clear out the concrete over the towpath, (under the bridge) which was about 2 feet thick or more and about 10 ft long (substitute actual amounts here) [Actually you’re about right!] Back to the Forestry Team, who at least are working on the same canal as the rest of us by now... The team for the work at Chalford near the Round House was smaller as there was not going to be a fire. The ladies of the team moved onto other work. The work on the new site consisted of cutting down some small trees over the entrance to a bridge, removing a tree that had fallen across the canal and another tree that was hanging over the canal. The site had a steep bank from the road down to the canal. Barry and I cleared a path and put in a rope guide rail to enable the rest of the team to carry equipment down to the canal. Meanwhile Nigel and Paul made a start on the small trees. John and Alan laid up straps and tirfor to pull the fallen tree to the bank. Barry and I took over from Nigel and Paul who then started the preparations for moving the fallen tree. The fallen tree turned out to be a tree of two halves, one root cluster but two trees. I found this out when operating the tirfor and found it very hard going when operating the tirfor in trying to drag the tree across the canal. There was a crack and I found I was moving one of the trees a lot more easily. I was introduced to the ‘Tirfor god of neutral’ whilst working on this site. Paul tried to show me how to put the Tirfor into neutral. Even on my knees I was not able to do it. Both Barry and Paul were able to do it with ease. Unbeknown to me Paul held an L plate above my head whilst Alan took one of his photographs. The second part of the fallen tree was dragged across the canal to the non-towpath side before we finished for the day. The second day’s work was to cut down an overhanging tree and branches and remove branches in the canal left over from the previous day’s work. I learnt that there is more than one
way of using a grappling hook with rope to remove cut branches from the canal bed. The main problem we had removing the last tree was not the work but me not being able to hear the instructions from the team because of the traffic noise as the tirfor was situated near the road edge. At least I did, in the end, learn how to get the Tirfor into neutral (several times) albeit a smaller version than the one I first tried the day before. And then end of camp was approaching... Last day: painted the scaffolding in Celtic FC stripes. Again some communication issues but all successfully completed and many hands make green work. Many folk had colds and coughs and Moose was under the weather but still made some damn fine rousing speeches, as ever, and dealt with hecklers admirably. Maria’s meals were (as always) literally something to write home about and I for one am aiming to make the salmon roulade in homage. A last word from American Martin... The one thing I learnt from my four days with WRG forestry is that there is a lot of planning that has to be carried out before felling or moving trees! So if you see the forestry team standing around looking at the trees they are not wondering which one to give a hug but working out what is the safest and most efficient way for the trees to be cut down. And from Tasterella a few words about how we ‘entertained’ ourselves in the evenings... Games: the name game, pictionary, (‘banana dog’ = melancholy, ‘melon’ ‘collie’); Bambi on ice, and (as ever) the word game: I love my love with a F because she is Flagellant-Fixated. Or V:Voucher collecting. Quiz: How many beans make five? (please write into Navvies if you know ‘how many beans make five’! ( sigh) Other questions: What Regt was Moose in? Why are the Americans (Martin and Mo) so called? Who was a BMX champ in the SW in the 80s? Thank you to all who made it so very wonderful, fun and relaxed. Happy New Year to all my readers, and my wish for you all is to take time to say ‘well done to your fellow wrgies’ and look at the frosty rosehips. Or the dandelions. Whichever. Tasterella Taster Martin Hacon
WRG Publicity ...needs your help! WRG Publicity There are a lot of canals to restore – and they need far more work than is currently possible. Going to committee meetings and seeing the list of societies requesting canal camps is eye-opening – there are a lot that aren’t successful, and a lot of places don’t get the number of camps they request. But WRG publicity is all about trying to recruit new volunteers so that as the resources grow we can stop saying ‘no’, and start doing even more. Now firstly, we should acknowledge that none of us joined WRG to spend weekends talking to strangers and trying to get them to do the same – but it can be a lot more fun than that! So what is involved in doing WRG publicity? Last year, the WRG publicity stand visited three shows – the Chesterfield Canal Trust festival at Staveley Town Basin, the Stratford River Festival, and the IWA rally at Saul. The year was dominated by the design, purchase and testing of a new publicity stand and posters and for the most part it was a ‘bedding-in’ season – finding out what we were doing right, wrong, what could be improved and what our various strengths and weaknesses are. We also ran two different activities – the ‘drive-a-digger’ experience where children (no upper age limit!) get to play on a stationary excavator trying to hit various targets and balance a ball on the end of a lump hammer (nobody has yet succeeded). There is also the bricklaying activity that many of you will have seen at IWA National Festivals in years gone by. This year, we are currently planning to attend four events – Rickmansworth Festival, the trailboat festival on the Northern Reaches of the Lancaster, Stratford River Festival and the IWA rally at Northampton. There are several other events we’d like to attend but we need more help first. So (you’d seen this one coming!), we’re on the hunt for volunteers – but the first
thing to note is that it is not an anyone-canturn-up-and-do-it activity. There are specific skills you need to have: 1. You need to be approachable 2. You need to be able to engage with members of the public 3. You need to be patient (some people are really clueless, but they want to talk all the same!) 4. It is helpful to know what WRG is all about, some of the history and our current areas of focus – but this can be ‘taught’ 5. You need to be selective – not all of the activities that happen on a canal camp are instantly appealing to the general public (they soon learn of course!) 6. You need to be able to talk and listen to anyone 7. You need to be prepared to spend a lot of time on your feet – chairs clutter the stand and make it less approachable, so when you want to sit down you’ll have to move away from the stand 8. You need to recognise that our aim is to reach people we don’t know – so it isn’t an opportunity to spend a weekend talking to your friends. You can talk to friends in downtime (albeit away from the stand) but it isn’t the primary function. 9. You need to be prepared to be absolutely shattered! After Stratford we all went to the pub in the evening and were on the verge of ordering soup purely because we couldn’t face the prospect of cutting food up… 10. And despite all of that, you need to enjoy it and do it all with a smile on your face! If having read all of that, you think you’d be interested in helping us this year, please get in touch with me or the team at Head Office. We’re particularly keen to find people who want to help with the activity side of things – bricklaying all day is extremely tiring and not many of the current group of volunteers are that happy doing it so we need more. You can also contact us if you have ideas for further events, posters, publicity material, novel activities, etc. but please note our resources are limited so until we get more people involved we might park your ideas on a shelf – we’re not being rude, we’re being realistic. So – would you like to help us? George Rogers email@example.com
News from WRG’s very own boat club, including an event at Northampton on the August Bank Holiday weekend that you might like to attend...
WRG BC Boat Club News
and have been in touch with the organisers. Application forms will be available by Easter Well 2014 ended on an all time low with the (which is fairly early this year) so keep your sad news of the death of Jim Lamen. It came eye on shackerstonefestival.co.uk if you are as a shock to me; it was so sudden and interested. After the problems last year I unexpected. Jim and Liz have always been a think it will be wise to book early! great strength and support to the boat club There is to be another Lichfield & and were awarded the Roger Jeffries Trophy Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust gathering in recognition of their help and work. I know in September at Huddlesford Junction but I there will be a tribute elsewhere in this issue have no details yet. [see page 41 ...Ed] so I will limit my writing You may have noticed that both of to extending our condolences and support to these events are related to canal restoration Liz at this tragic time. – please advise us of any others you know A New Year and now is the time to of. The disadvantage of living in The Fens is make plans. not getting all the towpath gossip. I do catch Most people have agreed that the Boat up once on the canals but it is usually better Club AGM should be held at the IWA ‘North- to get booked in early for busy rallies or ampton Festival of Water’. This event (rather festivals. obviously) will be held in Northampton, by I hope you all have a good year’s boatBecket’s Park, on the River Nene, from 29th to ing and we meet somewhere. Fly the flag so 31st August. Get your application in NOW if we can recognise each other when we do you haven’t already done so – I’m gazing at meet and PLEASE keep me informed. a hard copy of the form, that I got by post xxx Sadie Heritage and I’m trying to spot how to advise you to firstname.lastname@example.org get it electronically (you know how good I 01733204505 or 07748186867 am at all things technical) I think you’ll find it on waterways. org.uk/eventform but best you seek it for yourselves! I got in touch by email at event.enquiries @waterways.org.uk and asked for it to be mailed to me as I don’t have a computer to download and print it from. There are also telephone numbers given as – 01635 32425 or 0778511751, maybe I could have contacted by text message. I’m keen to get to the Festival at Shackerstone this year The River Nene at Becketts Park, Northampton. Be there in August!
WRG BC news Jan 2015
Navvies News Jim Lamen R.I.P.
Restoration Raffle Results A few months ago you may recall that tickets were on sale for the Inland Waterways Association’s Restoration Raffle - aiming to raise money for canal restoration projects across the country. The good news is that it beat its £10,000 target and raised more than £13,000. But the interesting thing about this raffle was that anyone who bought a ticket got to nominate a local restoration society, trust or other group that would benefit from their money. And I’m sure you’re all desperate to hear which projects turned out to be the most popular among the ticket buyers. Top was the Friends of the Cromford Canal, followed closely by the Shrewsbury & Newport Canals Trust, then the Cotswold Canals Trust. And while they weren’t among the top beneficiaries WRG’s regional groups London, Essex, North West and BITM all received contributions, as did NWPG and KESCRG. Full results at waterways.org.uk.
Readers who knew Jim will be shocked and saddened by his sudden death on 8th December, only hours after leaving the WRG(NW) Xmas dig at High Peak Junction on the Cromford Canal, seemingly in robust health after a good weekend. Jim’s involvement with canal restoration dated from 1973 when he attended one of the lock clearances on the Rochdale Nine that facilitated the reopening of the Cheshire Ring the following year. After a break because of family commitments he and Liz became NW regulars in the 80’s and remained stalwarts thereafter, not only attending digs but helping with Sales and Paperchases and, for a time, looking after NW’s tools. He involved the whole family in work parties and other WRG activities both locally and nationally, and will be greatly missed. Until retirement he had been in the carpet business and readers may remember the ‘rural canal’ that he made out of carpet at one National Festival to show off a miniature bridge made by Chris Spencer. Our thoughts are with Liz and her family. Malcolm Bridge
We have ordered a replacement for WRG’s old excavator ‘Blue’. It’s a Volvo EC27 with 3 x buckets; 6 x dummy pins to work with the quick hitch (Harford Wedgelock); HRV (Hose Rupture Valve) fitted to boom and dipper so it can be used safely for lifting; lifting eye for the hitch; uses Bio Hydraulic Oil so any leaks won’t contaminate watercourses; equipped with vandal guards; and will be transported on a trailer (Ifor Williams GH5104) with single piece ramp. It should arrive in good time for use on the main summer canal camps programme.
Cheques For those of you who pay your Navvies subs by cheque, please note that they should now be written out in the full name of ‘Waterway Recovery Group’ and not ‘WRG’. It appears that Barclays are being more pernickety and won’t accept ‘WRG’ in future. Remember you can also renew via the website wrg.org.uk.
Congratulations ...to Monique and ‘Geezer’ Chris Rowell on the arrival of Miranda Lucy weighing 8lb 9oz on 27 January.
Directory and diary updates There have been a few changes and omissions in the contact details for local groups that appear in the Diary every issue and the Directory every third issue. Note new details in the ‘regulars’ diary (p24) for the Erewash and the Wey & Arun. The River Gipping Trust unfortunately got missed from the Directory last time contact details are Martin Bird, 29 Melton Grange Road, Melton, Woodbridge IP12 1SA, email email@example.com. Also a new entry in the Directory is the Worcester Birmingham & Droitwich Canals Society, whose work party co-ordinator is Bill Lambert at email firstname.lastname@example.org. Finally Stephen and Ruth Davis of KESCRG have moved house and are now at 68 Reading Road South, Fleet GU52 7SD.
End of an era... Another directory update worth of perhaps a little more note is that David ‘Mr Mac’ McCarthy MBE has after many years retired from organising the WRG North West Paperchase (waste paper collection). This momentous event was marked in the traditional way with a cake. My thanks to his son Ian Mac for the photo, and also the second pic (below) of a paper chase many years back. The new contact is Barry McGuinness, email: email@example.com, phone: 0161-681-7237.
Navvies News WRG Driver authorisation: part 3 In reading the previous two articles in this series (how did it become a series? I was only supposed to be doing a quick update) you may have noticed that we did not really cover category 4, trailers. At the moment, this is the official definition: 4a: Site Trailer - Trailers behind Site Vehicles, on or off road 4b: DVLA B+E - 3.5T (towing vehicle up to 9 seats) 4c: DVLA D1+E - up to 3.5T (towing vehicle up to 17 seats) So, despite this being a category defining trailers, it is mostly based around the towing vehicle i.e. towing behind site plant, a van or a minibus. There was a reason for this: when the scheme was first being overhauled, the trailer category was put within the van category but we quickly decided to split it out. However we never really tidied it up. So when you next get a new Driver Authorisation card, if you have trailers, you may find a slight change. There will only be category 4a and 4b. 4a will be trailers only used on site, no matter what the towing vehicle: diesel bowsers behind dumpers, trailers behind tractors and so on. 4b will be trailers used on the road up to 3.5 tonnes. Obviously people with newer driving licences who have not taken an additional test can only tow up to 750Kg * so in that case their licence limitations take priority over the driver authorisation. If you tow trailers it is your responsibility to make sure your licence covers you for the combination of towing vehicle and trailer, though if you need help interpreting the categories feel free to ask. George ‘Bungle’ Eycott * I can hear those of you who use your cars to tow caravans saying “Hang about...” You are right, your licence allows you to tow a heavier trailer but only if the total vehicle+trailer maximum allowable mass is no more than 3.5 tonnes. As our vans are 3.5 tonnes on their own, that doesn’t apply here.
Sorry... ...no ‘Infill’ back page funnies this time, due to lack of space and contributions. Back next time.
Waterway Recovery Group's magazine for volunteers restoring the waterways. Navvies 269.