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volunteers restoring waterways

navvies Focus on:

Monmouthshire Canal Driffield Navigation Swansea Canal

waterway recovery group

Issue No 270 April-May 2015

Intro Three for 2015

See our Restoration Focus on p9-15 to find out how you this summer’s canal camps will be helping bring boats back to Driffield Canal Head (above), turn the Swansea (below) into part of a 35 mile through route and put the Mon & Brec (right) back through Cwmbran

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Visit our web site www.wrg.org.uk or find Waterway Recovery Group on Facebook for all the latest news of WRG's activities Production Editor: Martin Ludgate, 35 Silvester Road, East Dulwich London SE22 9PB 020-8693 3266 martin.ludgate@wrg.org.uk Subscriptions: Sue Watts, 15 Eleanor Rd., Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Manchester M21 9FZ Printing and assembly: John Hawkins, 4 Links Way, Croxley Green, Rickmansworth, Herts WD3 3RQ 01923 448559 john.hawkins@wrg.org.uk Navvies is published by Waterway Recovery Group, Island House, Moor Rd., Chesham HP5 1WA and is available to all interested in promoting the restoration and conservation of inland waterways by voluntary effort in Great Britain. Articles may be reproduced in allied magazines provided that the source is acknowledged. WRG may not agree with opinions expressed in this magazine, but encourages publication as a matter of interest. Nothing printed may be construed as policy or an official announcement unless so stated - otherwise WRG and IWA accept no liability for any matter in this magazine. Waterway Recovery Group is part of The Inland Waterways Association, (registered office: Island House, Moor Road, Chesham HP5 1WA), 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. Directors of WRG: Rick Barnes, John Baylis, George Eycott, Helen Gardner, John Hawkins, Dave Hearnden, Jude Palmer, Mike Palmer, Jonathan Smith, Harry Watts. ISSN: 0953-6655

© 2015 WRG

Contents In this issue... Van Appeal target: 4 Transits in 2 years4-5 Coming soon Leader Training, WRG Training weekend, summer Canal Camps 6 Restoration focus a closer look at the Swansea, Driffield and Mon & Brec 7-13 REMPART international volunteers 14-15 Camp Report February on the Chelmer and Blackwater Navigation 16-18 WRG BC Boat Club News 19 Diary canal camps, weekend digs, CRT and IWA one-day working parties 20-25 Leaders assistants and cooks wanted 26 Feedback on cooking and leading 27-31 Forestry report from Grantham 32-33 Progress Wendover, MB&B, Derby 34-36 Navvies News 37 Backfill Deirdre returns 38 Outro Bowbridge Lock in pictures 39

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 martin.ludgate@wrg.org.uk. Press date for issue 271: 1 May.

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.

Cover Picture: Team photo taken during tea-break on the Chelmer & Blackwater Camp in February - see camp report on p16. (picture by Bob Coles) Back cover, upper: WRG Forestry Team carrying out initial clearance ready for this summer’s start of major work at Woolsthorpe Locks, Grantham Canal. (David Joyner). Lower: our new toy! (George Eycott)

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Van Appeal £120,000 needed Two Years, Four Vans, £120,000… We’ve now officially launched the appeal to replace our fleet of van/minibus vehicles, although have already been busy raising money for the last couple of months. £6,086 has been raised so far (only £113,914 to go!) so a massive thank you to everyone who has donated. We would like to thank Shire Cruisers who made a very generous contribution of £1,000. A variety of fundraising events and activities are currently being planned for the next two years to help reach the £120,000. The lead time between ordering and receiving the vans is six months so we are aiming to raise the first £60,000 by December 2015 to purchase two of the vans to use on the 2016 camps. We hope to reach the £120,000 total by the end of summer 2016 for the purchase of the remaining two vans. The current vans have been invaluable for the last seven to nine years, transporting volunteers and equipment to restoration sites across the country. Due to their age it was agreed that they needed to be replaced.

The appeal to raise 120 grand to replace our fleet of vans is up and running... or at least walking. Toby reports on some wacky fundraising ideas... Appeal Round-Up Here’s what’s been happening so far.. Walk for WRG! – An 8-mile sponsored walk took place in Lapworth on Sunday 22nd February and raised over £2,500 for the appeal. Despite it being one of the wettest days of the year, everyone made it back to the village hall for tea and cakes. George Rogers agreed to walk in a red morph suit if he reached £1,000 in sponsorship. Unlucky for him (but lucky for us!) he managed to raise over £1,200. Jenny Black, Digger and Amber Jenkins also deserve credit for completing the route 4 times, 32 miles in total, also in red morph suits. As a reward they were all treated to a full roast dinner, courtesy of Jude Palmer’s wonderful cooking. Maybe I should’ve done 4 laps…

What’s to come VANilla Fudge at Canalway Cavalcade (2 - 4 May) – If you didn’t already have a reason to come to the IWA Canalway Cavalcade rally at Little Venice this year WRG will be manning a stall selling fudge. So come down and stock up on the most “appealing” fudge you’ll have all year! Massive thanks go to John Hill Foods (Carolyn and Jonathan Smith) for donating the fudge free of charge. If anyone is interested in helping out on the stall please contact Jenny Black at jenny.black@waterways.org.uk.

Droitwich Walk (Saturday 19th September) – Due to the success of the last sponsored walk we are now planning a 22-mile walk around the Droitwich Ring in September. Joining us on the walk Jenny, Amber and George on the walk - can you tell who’s who? would be a great opportunity

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for you to see the Droitwich Canals fully restored, particularly for those of you who were involved in the restoration of the Hanbury Flight and the Droitwich Barge Lock. Accommodation will be provided at Rowington Village Hall on the Saturday night along with food and entertainment. As the walk takes place in September we’re confident it will be dryer than the last one! Booking will be open later this year. IWA/WRG Quizzes – If you, or someone you know, are interested in holding a quiz night to help raise money for the appeal then keep an eye out for our ready-made quizzes that will be appearing on the IWA website in the next few months. These quizzes will be available to be purchased and downloaded for you to use as and when you want. For those looking for a challenge – If you want to get involved in a challenge to raise sponsorship for the appeal, look no further. The Grand Union Challenge is an annual event, organised by Action Challenge, which takes place along the Grand Union Canal on Saturday 27 and Sunday 28 June. Anyone can participate and IWA is on the list of charities you can raise money for. Choose to either walk or run 25km, 50km or even 100km and raise sponsorship for the appeal. Places cost £29/£39/£49 depending on the distance you choose and you need to raise a

Do you dig canals? Support the WRG Van Appeal and buy a WRG Car Sticker

minimum level of sponsorship. It won’t be easy but if you’re up for the challenge then there is no better place to test your fitness than the well-travelled towpath of the Grand Union Canal. For more details see grandunionchallenge.com. Look out for more details on…

. . . .

The return of the Barn dance Funky new Van Appeal T-shirts I Spy WRG Vans ‘Bitter Transit’ WRG Beer (ideas for a better name welcome!)

We can’t do this without you. We don’t want to ask you to keep dipping into your own pockets so we’d like you to help get news of the Appeal out to as many people as possible. We hope that many of you will help support the appeal by spreading the word and more importantly by helping to raise money through your own events and activities. A number of crazy ideas have been suggested already (including baking a van sized cake!) so let your imagination run wild. Let me know if you’ve helped to publicise the appeal or if you have any ideas for events or activities to help raise money. We can help you promote your own fundraising efforts but whatever you do be sure to always take lots of photos. If all goes well this time next year we’ll be well on our way to purchasing the next generation of vans to aid waterways restoration for another decade.

Your car might be muddy inside and out, crammed full with steelies, a high vis and hard hats but is it really ‘WRG ready’? For only £1.50 you can buy a new, stylish, top of the range, WRGie car sticker. Not only will your car look the part but you will also be helping to keep WRG on the move as £1 from every sale will go towards WRG’s van appeal.

Order online at wrg.org.uk/wrgvanappeal or complete order form: Name ________________________________________ Address __________________________________ _________________________________________ Please send ___ Car stickers at £1.50 each I enclose a cheque for ________(payable to Waterway Recovery Group). Please send cheque and form to WRG Van Appeal, Island House, Moor Road, Chesham, HP5 1WA.

Appealing Updates We will keep you updated on the appeal so look out for new events/activities that will be added later in the year. If you would like any further information on the appeal visit wrg.org.uk/ wrgvanappeal or contact me on Tel: 01494 783453 ext. 611 or email to toby.gomm@ waterways.org.uk. Toby Gomm

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Coming soon Lots of training...

By the time you read this the summer Canal Camps programme will be just two months away. But there’s plenty happening in those two months...

Canalway Cavalcade at Little Venice: May Day Bank Holiday In the last Navvies we included a call for Site Services volunteers for the Inland Waterways Association’s annual three day festival at Little Venice (near Paddington in London). So this is just a final note to say that if you’re free for the 2-4 May weekend or particularly for a couple of days before or after (to help with setup and take-down) and would like to help, please contact leader Gary Summers on g.summers@summerborn.com or 07973 654 977.

Leaders’ Training 2015: Saturday 9th May, Rowington Village Hall Second call for the annual WRG Leaders’ Training Day – as mentioned in the last Navvies we will be running the morning session (from 10.30am) for the new leaders and assistants, when we will cover items more relevant to the new leaders like the camps timeline; what Head Office can do to help; and handling camp finances. We will open the day up to everyone from lunch at about 12.30pm and will move on to cover the latest developments in health and safety, some details on handling the media/social networking and the latest documentation to help run a camp. These are still rough plans and it is not too late to add whatever burning subject is on your mind. If any budding or experienced camp cooks would like to join us that would be great as we are putting together plans for a cooks section as well. We do ask that the experienced leaders do not arrive before 12.30pm, although I’m sure some tasks in the kitchen or cleaning vans can be found for any early birds. To book on (did I mention it’s free?) please contact Jen at head office at email jenny.black@waterways.org.uk, Tel: 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 interest for the new leaders or cooks sections would also be useful. Ed Walker ed.walker@wrg.org.uk

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 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 machinery as well as instruction on scaffolding, levels, vans, trailers and any other skills you may wish to acquire! Please make your suggestions known soon and we will do our best to set something up. Also 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 has now been confirmed as the Chesterfield Canal. 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 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: aliwomble@fsmail.net Ali Bottomley

And then what? Lots of summer Camps. See the following pages for details of three more of this year’s sites...

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Three for 2015 Restoration Focus Three for 2015: an extended Canal Camps preview (part 2) You will have received this year’s Canal Camps booklet with the last issue of Navvies. And if you didn’t, Head Office (01494 783453) will be happy to send you one; alternatively all the information is on wrg.org.uk. And hopefully quite a few of you will have already decided which of this summers camps you want to book on, and send your bookings in. But in case you haven’t, we’ve put together a series of ‘extended preview’ articles giving you more details of the sites that we’re working on this year. Last time we concentrated on the new and up-and-coming worksites, covering the Shrewsbury & Newport Canals; the Stover Canal; the Ashby Canal Northern Reaches; and the Grantham Canal. (If you missed it and want to read about them, issue 269 is also available to download from wrg.org.uk.) This time we’ve got three more projects for you. Two are in South Wales, where we’re continuing our support of the last few years for projects on the Swansea Canal and the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canals. The third is the Driffield Navigation, where we’re returning to what was a new waterway for us in 2014.

But that’s not all...

Martin Ludgate

That still leaves several other projects that we’re supporting with canal camps this year. We’ll be running several camps on the Cotswold Canals, mainly concentrating on Bowbridge Lock above Stroud - see out inside back page for a colour photo update of recent progress there, and we aim to bring you up to date in the next issue with the Easter camp reports. We covered everything that’s happening on the Chesterfield in a 12page special feature in issue 267 (also available to download), where the work this year will be mainly carrying on with building the new concrete channel walls below the new Staveley Town Lock (picured, right). We hope to bring you more news about the Lapal Canal, the Autumn camp site on the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation and the site for our annual November Reunion on the Uttoxeter Canal in the next issue. And finally, we won’t be doing anything at all to enourage you to join the camps on the Cromford Chesterfield: building these walls will be one of the camps’ jobs Canal. Why not? Has George Rogers upset us? No, on the contrary - the camps are fully booked already. So hurry up and get your canal camps bookings in soon, to avoid disappointment.

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Site No 1:

The Swansea Canal

What’s the job for this year’s Swansea Canal Camp? It’s some fairly traditional stuff: lock repairs and bank-protection the old-fashioned way. Once again we’re returning to our regular worksite of the last couple of years at Trebanos Locks, where the main jobs will include re-pointing the chamber walls and repairing the wing walls of the lower of the two locks. Being a South Wales canal, the lock chambers are built entirely of fairly thin courses of stone rather than the brickwork used on most English canals, and we’ll be repairing them in original materials - stone and lime mortar. The second main job is bank repairs on the adjacent length of canal - and we’ll be doing it with willow hurdles rather than modern piling.

What skills are needed? If you’ve done stonework rebuilding or re-pointing before, that’s a bonus. But there will be plenty of opportunities for volunteers to learn the skills during the week..

When is the Canal Camp? Camp 2015-07: 18 to 25 July.

Why’s it important? In the short term, because these are two restorable locks on a length of canal that’s still in water, and could be a showpiece length for the restoration. In the longer term, getting these locks and this length of canal fully restored could lead to re-excavating the piped sections of canal at either end of it (at the old council depot at Clydach and between Trebanos and Pontardawe) which would eventually create a six-mile navigable section. And ultimately, any work on the Swansea improves the prospects for the Swansea Bay Inland Waterway - see below - which aims to connect three of South Wales’ canals together to create a 35-mile navigable route.

What’s the restoration story? The area where most of South Wales’ canals were built is sometimes referred to as ‘The Valleys’ - and almost all of the canals followed one or other of these valleys, providing links from the coal mines and other industries to ports such as Newport, Cardiff and Swansea. The Swansea Canal ran through the Swansea Valley, paralleling the River Tawe from Abercraf via Ystalyfera, Pontardawe and Clydach to reach Swansea Docks, at the mouth of the Tawe.

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Trebanos Locks, site for this year’s Swansea camp

Restoration Focus Unfortunately another common feature of South Wales canals was that they were very busy in their early years, but traffic declined once the railways had arrived, and died out fairly early compared to other industrial canals. The Swansea carried its last cargo in 1931. Even more unfortunately, being situated in steep-sided, densely-populated valleys where space is at a bit of a premium has tended to mean that disused South Wales canals have often disappeared under road improvement schemes. The Swansea was no exception, with long lengths at both ends obliterated by road-building, while more of the lower end disappeared under new buildings as Swansea expanded. By 1981 only about five miles survived, in the middle of the canal - and that was when the Swansea Canal Society was formed to campaign for its restoration. A length through Pontardawe was cleared and dredged, and for some years a trip-boat operated on this section. Sadly the boat was eventually destroyed by vandals, but more recently the Society has become more active again and begun looking at dealing with the obstructions (basically two piped lengths) which divide the surviving five miles into three sections - as well as carrying out initial clearance a Godre’r-graig Locks, right at the top end of the five miles. Earlier this year, the South Wales Branch of the Inland Waterways Association announced a proposal called the Swansea Bay Inland Waterway. Rather than a new canal, this is a joining-together of existing plans for reopenings and new links which would connect together the Neath, Swansea and Tennant canals. The components are: . . . .

Restore Aberdulais Aqueduct, on the Tennant Canal near where it joins the Neath Canal Reinstate the link from the Tennant Canal to King’s Dock, Swansea Create a new link from King’s Dock to the River Tawe Create a new link from the River Tawe to the Swansea Canal at Clydach

Combine that with making part of the Tawe navigable and restoring the remaining unrestored lengths of the Neath Canal, the Tennant Canal and the surviving five miles of the Swansea, and you end up with a 35-mile navigation. That’s the same length as the currently navigable Mon & Brec, which since restoration began in the 1960s has become a popular waterway supporting lots of boats. The same could be true of the Swansea, Neath and Tennant canals. Swansea Canal upper section largely lost under new road

Godre’r-Graig Canal Camp site: Trebanos Locks

Swansea Canal centre section under restoration

Pontardawe Resolven Clydach

Neath Canal under restoration

New cuts proposed





Swansea Canal lower section lost

Swansea Docks

Neath Tennant Canal to be restored

Swansea Neath and Tennant

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Site No 2:

Monmouthshire Canal

What’s the job for this year’s Monmouthshire Canal Camps? We’re back at Ty-Coch Locks, on the length between Five Locks and Newport which remains unnavigable. Leader Ralph Mills says “Work will include almost all restoration activities, from vegetation clearance, through excavation of bywash channels, bricklaying, masonry construction, pointing and canal bed excavation and repair. Recently we’ve constructed a bullnose wall from scratch, hauled out tree stumps, and restored almost completely destroyed bywash weirs. This year will be more of the same - and of course will be the best ever!”

What skills are needed? Pretty much anything and everything! And there’s plenty of oppotunity to learn new skills.

When are the Canal Camps? Camp 2015-10: 25 July to 1 August. Camp 2015-13: 1 to 8 August

Why’s it important? Restoring a flight of eight locks is a major job for volunteers, even when you’ve got a fulltime team on the job like the Monmouthshire Brecon and Abergavenny Canal Trust’s ‘Waterworks’ project at Ty-Coch has. So it’s a real boost when we can support them with a couple of weeks of canal camps. They’re roughly half-way through the programme of work, with two locks near enough finished, two well under way and one in the early stages, but there are still three locks that haven’t been started so there’s a lot of work still to be done. As regards the wider importance, this is all part of an exercise in nibbling away at the ends of the unnavigable length of canal through Cwmbran - as well as encouraging local support for restoration. At the same time as volunteers are restoring these eight locks, there’s also a proposal to restore southwards from the north side of Cwmbran as part of an urban regeneration scheme. If that comes off, then once we’ve finished the Ty-Coch locks there’s only a mile of ‘missing link’ still to be done to link them together, so boats on the 35 miles of navigable canal north of Cwmbran can get right down to Newport. And that, in turn, is a big step towards the Trust’s goal of creating a 50-mile waterway and a link to the Bristol Channel. But see below...

You might be a little confused about whether it’s the Monmouthshire Canal, the Monmouthshire & Brecon (or ‘Mon & Brec’ for short), the Brecon and Abergavenny or whatever. Well it’s sort-of all of these and more... The Monmouthshire Canal was built in an irregular Y-shape, with a main line heading north from Newport Docks up the west side of the Usk Valley (it’s another of those Welsh Valleys canals I mentioned earlier!) to

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Martin Ludgate

What’s the restoration story?

Upper gate recess wall repairs at Ty-Coch Locks

Restoration Focus just past Pontypool, and the Crumlin Arm branching off westwards at Malpas and heading up the Ebbw valley.The Brecknock & Abergavenny Canal (sometimes referred to as the Brecon and Abergavenny - Brecon being the historic county town of Brecknockshire) ran from a junction in Pontypool up the Usk valley to Brecon, with numerous horse-tramways climbing up the hills to connect it to coal mines. For a while they prospered, but they faced competition from railways, which the Monmouthshire tackled by turning itself into the Monmouthshire Railway and Canal Company, building a railway parallel to its canal, and taking over the B&A Canal. By the late 1930s canal trade had ended, the canals were shut in stages (the last bits in the early 1960s) and a length through Cwmbran plus the top of the Crumlin Arm disappeared under new roads. Running through a more rural area, the B&A hadn’t been too badly damaged and was an early candidate for restoration; by the 1970s it had completely reopened. The Monmouthshire was in a worse state and restoration has been much slower, but the Monmouthshire Brecon & Abergavenny Canals Trust persevered and got it open down as far as the top of the Five Locks just north of Cwmbran. (In recognition of the fact that the navigable route now includes part of the Monmouthshire, it tends to get called the Mon & Brec these days.) Heading down into Cwmbran it rapidly gets even harder: in the next mile there are 15 locks (many of them partially demolished) and five new bridges needed. And then there’s a 1970s bypass road built along the route. So rather than just wait for somebody to come up with the serious cash to tackle these issues, the Trust looked elsewhere for volunteer projects. These have included the top lock of the Fourteen Locks on the Crumlin Arm, the first four locks up from Malpas Junction towards Cwbran, the first two locks from Malpas up the Crumlin Arm... and the current Ty-Coch ‘Waterworks’ project where we’re working this summer. Meanwhile they’re pushing for an urban regeneration scheme which could get those 15 locks and 5 bridges done, increasing pressure on the authorities to find a new route around the bypass road. A Lottery funded scheme has restored more of the Fourteen Locks - and the aim is to restore the Arm as far as Cwmcarn. And there are long-term plans for a new link from to the Bristol Channel via the Crindau Brook and River Usk, to replace the old link through Newport Docks, much of which has disappeared under central Newport. Finish all that, and you’ll have a 50 mile To Brecon 35 canal linked to the outside world. Monmouthshire miles navigable


Five Locks


Canal in Cwmbran blocked by new road

3 Upper section to Crumlin buried under new road

3 4 Cwmbran

Main Line to be restored Malpas to Five Locks

Cwmcarn Canal Camp site: Ty-Coch Locks Crumlin Arm to be restored Malpas to Cwmcarn Original route lost under Newport

New link planned

Fourteen Locks


River Usk

Newport To the Docks

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Site No 3:

Driffield Navigation

What’s the job for this year’s Driffield Navigation Camp? We’ve got at least three different jobs on the list for this year’s camp. Firstly there’s a continuation of the work we did on last year’s ‘Driff-Pock’ (combined Driffield and Pocklington) camp, where we helped to create a towpath trail on a length of canal that wasn’t very walker-friendly as the towpath was completely overgrown and people had to walk along the road alongside it. There are some stumps to pull out, plus benches, nesting boxes and bat boxes to install. Secondly there’s some brickwork repairs and repointing to do at Whinhill and Wansford locks. And finally there may be some work at a swingbridge at Brigham.

What skills are needed? Brickwork and Tirforing would he handy, but by no means necessary. Oh and by the way, the leaders (Colin Hobbs and Martin de Mello) say they could do with a camp cook!

When is the Canal Camp? Camp 2015-04: 4 to 11 July

Why’s it important?

Martin Ludgate

This could be the next restored waterway to be completed and reopened. I’m not saying it will be - there’s a new road bridge needed, which will cost well over a million. But other than that, it really is very close to completion with all the locks restored and just a couple of much smaller access bridges to be raised before the Driffield Navigation Trust’s work is completed. And most of the money to fix the road bridge has already been offered by the Lottery but so far it hasn’t been possible to raise the ‘matching funding’ which all these grants need, and that’s the sticking point. One good way to persuade somebody (and we’re looking at you, local authorities!) to stump up the remaining dosh is to get the canal used and popular with local people - so it becomes clear that it’s a good thing to support. And as we can’t get full-size boats onto it while that road crosses at knee-height, one very good way to do this is to get people walking it. Hence the project to open up a towpath trail. It’s also very important to keep the bits that have already been restored in a good standard of maintenance and looking well looked-after while you keep up the pressure for the funds to finish the job. And that’s what we’re doing with the work at the two locks and the swingbridge. Wansford Lock, one of the sites for this year’s camp

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Restoration Focus What’s the restoration story? The Driffield Navigation is an interesting waterway with a complicated history. For starters it’s in three parts: it’s partly a canal, partly a canalisation of a stream called the Frodingham Beck, and partly the upper tidal reaches of the River Hull. Between them they provided a route Driffield Navigation for barges coming up the Hull from the Humber Estuary to the town of Driffield. Driffield Over the years there were various changes Wansford locks were added (and subtracted), river lengths Lock Low bridge Town Whinhill were straightened and bypassed, branches were Lock Snakeholme Lock Lock added. But the usual decline following the arrival Frodingof competition from the railways ended with the Canal Camp ham last barges departing in 1951. site: Wansford Beck Just to complicate things, rather than a and Whinhill Brigham canal company the Navigation was run by a body locks area Fisholme of Commissioners - and their numbers were gradually dwindling as they moved away, lost West Beck interest or died. This was a problem: the Act of branch Parliament to set up the Navigation had specified various minimum numbers of Commissioners Bethell’s Bridge that you needed for various purposes - and there Struncheon weren’t enough of them to agree a transfer of the Hill Lock navigation to the local river board. In fact, it soon turned out that there weren’t even enough of them left to appoint any more commissioners. By the time somebody thought of restoring the waterway (most of which had Tidal River fallen completely derelict) in the late 1960s there Hull to Hull and was only one left - and he lived in South Africa. the Humber So rather than fix the locks or the bridges, the Driffield Navigation Trust had to faff about with legal stuff for several years (and at considerable cost) before the Charities Commission found a way of sorting out the problem and appointing some more commissioners. But once they’d done that, they got cracking on replacing Bethell’s and Brigham swingbridges with modern ones, reopening Struncheon Hill, Town, and Snakeholme locks, and most recently restoring Whinhil and Wansford locks in the last 10 years - as well as raising funds for the feasibility studies without which you can’t do much restoration these days. Not to mention keeping on top of maintaining what’s been restored - including new gates for some of the earlier locks. And finally, they’d got the Heritage Lottery Fund to allocate a million pounds for that road bridge at Wansford, subject to raising the matching funding. And that’s where they are now - and the more popular and well looked-after the waterway is, the better the chance of raising it.

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Introducing a French organisation that partners WRG

Were do those French WRGies come from? Rempart French volunteers If you’ve been on more than a couple of canal camps, the chances are that you will have come across a few of the overseas volunteers from mainland Europe who betwen them have made a real contribution to WRG’s efforts over the years. Where do they come from? How do they know about us? In the case of the French volunteers, it’s often via an organisation called REMPART. Fabrice Duffaud explains...

REMPART: “bénévoles” and volunteers for the safeguard of heritage

and preserve traditional building and restoration techniques. This experience with heritage preservation is unique and has been used to guide initiatives undertaken over the last ten years in Tunisia, China, Romania and Palestine, with REMPART’s active support. In our view, it would not make sense to preserve heritage without involving the public in a community-based project. Because they are locally established, Union REMPART member associations are all part of a cooperative action and can be considered as the outcome of the life of the local community in which they are located. Over 50 years we estimate over 120,000 volunteers from France, all over Europe and beyond, have worked with REMPART’s local associations. In average, every year 3,000

REMPART is a French national organisation which has been dealing with heritage preservation and voluntary work for 50 years; gathering together 170 French associations which organise voluntary workcamps throughout France in the field of heritage conservation. REMPART member associations work on a wide variety of cultural heritage sites: chapels, priories, castles, villages, mills... whether they are listed buildings, or less obvious items of heritage. Each site entrusted to a REMPART member association is part of a local development program and therefore not only is it preserved or restored, but it is also given a new purpose and actually reused. REMPART’S action not only aims at preserving the actual heritage REMPART volunteers in France... site but also to promote

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volunteers from France and abroad take part in a voluntary action with REMPART, learning together how to be active citizens of the world. Our main activity is the voluntary work camp. Most of the work camps take place from July to September and last two weeks. During the work camps, volunteers learn numerous techniques: drawing, excavations, masonry, stone carving, carpentry, coating, etc. Our associations wish to preserve ancient techniques of restoration and use traditional regional materials, but modern techniques are also used when it is not possible to do it in another way. The work camps provide the youth the opportunity to feel responsible of the improvement of the living environment. The work camps allow them also to experience a community life and to meet young people of different social backgrounds or countries. Beyond the work camp, we provide volunteers the opportunity to acquire advanced techniques and pedagogical skills as well. These training programmes aim to help the most motivated volunteers to become work camp leaders or board members of local associations. The international activity of REMPART is based on the idea that heritage is a borderless concept that can encourage intercultural dialogue. The relationships we developed with foreign partners enable us to make available around 50 restoration projects in around 30 countries every year for 250 French REMPART volunteers while more than 700 international volunteers come to work on REMPART restoration sites every year. This summer, as for the last three years, some of the Waterway Recovery Group Canal Camps will welcome volunteers from REMPART . Through this volunteers, we are very glad to contribute to the recognition of the historic canals a remarkable part of the cultural heritage of UK. We are also very happy to contribute to spread the knowledge of this kind of heritage which is specific to UK and not so known in France. Thanks a lot for hosting them and please feel free to visit our projects in France. We are open to any proposal which could contribute to the development of closer relations between our organisations. Fabrice Duffaud international officer

...and (left) working with WRG

Union REMPART, 1, rue des Guillemites, 75004 Paris, France contact@rempart.com www.rempart.com

page 15

Camp Report Chelmer & Blackwater Chelmer camp 14-21 February Saturday: It didn’t start well. Petrol pump 5 at the Maldon Tesco ate my Clubcard and would not spit it out. I couldn’t shift it; the kiosk attendant couldn’t shift it; even the burly white van man stuck behind me couldn’t shift it. Eventually a weapons-grade pair of pliers was produced and two of us together ripped it out – or most of it. Decided to move to pump 6 and opt for ‘pay in kiosk’. Got to Heybridge Basin eventually and was piped aboard the Haybay barge (our accom) by a sloppily dressed rating claiming to be the camp leader. I decided to humour him in his belief for the rest of the week. Introduced to Paul Ireson, the chef de galley. My very first task as camp assistant was to divide up the domestic duties for the week and make a chart on the dry-wipe board. Picked up the keys to minibus EHP and the necessary PPE (ear defenders) and rattled my way to Wickford station to pick up: Rod, a military air traffic controller who had to leave us after just one night; Edward, a media student and DofEer; Annabel, a catering assistant from Warwick; and Teutonic repeat offender Dan Krebs, who knows more about work on the Chelmer than most people. Back on board were four more DofE awardees: Katie (Student engineer and lacrosse goalie); Rory (Overhead Linesman working with 400kV power distribution); Ben L (Business Analyst and winner of the camp best-trimmed facial hair award); and Ben W-J (Student chemical engineer and willing butt of most of Rory and Ben L’s jokes). Also settling in on the Haybay were the Ipswich contingent of Lee Reynolds (Telecoms) and seasoned pro John Geary. After captain Crow’s introduction and briefing I managed to fire up the boat projection system in order to screen the health & safety DVD, a video production that makes the Open University programmes of the ’60s look cutting edge. However, those funky guitar stings must have hit the mark since I’m sure I saw one young camper donning

page 16

First Canal Camp of 2015, and it’s over to the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation in Essex for some scrub-bashing, ten pin bowling, and limerick-writing... full PPE to operate the toaster (I may have dreamt that bit). Bangers and mash for dinner followed by an ingenious and delicious trifle. Most took early to their bunks with a small dedicated contingent deciding to support the local brewing industry at the Jolly Sailor. It’s tough, but someone has to do it. Sunday: After an early breakfast in cloudy but mild weather we drove first to Hoe Mill lock for kit check and transfer of required tools to the vans, followed by a warm welcome to the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation delivered by Roy Chandler, Chairman of Essex Waterways. Then to Sandford lock to load kit on to the Raider-style boat for transport upstream to the first work site, a short walk up the claggy towpath. Helen Dobbie joined us on site, resplendent in her favourite purple. Work for the week was scrub-bashing around the towpath - mainly low scrub with the odd stand of willow and brambles. The bonfire took a while to coax into life but, once established, good clearing progress was made in increasingly spring-like weather. Two DofEers were trained on brushcutters and hedge-trimmers, the first two of many during the week, and all were briefed on keeping the towpath clear for half-term joggers and walkers. A tremendous start to the week’s work, helped along by Paul’s delicious apple cake. Off site at 16:30, having stored the kit in the garage at Sandford lock, and back to Heybridge for grilled lamb and several veg, showers and relaxation after a strenuous first day. In a masterstroke, Annabel bought some flowers for the dining table, and effectively took the edge off the ‘school canteen’ ambience, softening the effect of the plastic tables and harsh fluorescent lighting. Several more public-spirited campers did their duty by liberating a few pints of the local ale. Monday: Cap’n Bob runs a tight ship and so we were off promptly and on site by 09:20 in mild and dry conditions. Paul and Helen joined us on site today, along with Adrian

Crow. This gave us a jolly crew including two Bobs, two Bens and two Crows (first line of a Limerick?*), along with Michael (lengthsman) and Eve (assistant lengthsman) from Essex Waterways Limited. The plaintive buzz of chainsaws filled the air and loads more clearance got underway just as soon as the Burco ignition ceremony was completed. Clearance teams rapidly made progress towards a council team coming the other way surfacing the towpath. First rain of week fell towards the end of the afternoon. Finished the planned work for the day and left site early in worsening weather. Off to the cinema in Chelmsford after dinner. Initial interest in Fifty Shades of Grey waned considerably when a rumour spread that it was a documentary about canal camp leaders. Both Roberts saw the Stephen Hawking film, The Theory of Everything; all the rest Kingsman: The Secret Service.

Chelmsford next day and replaced (shoes, not Edward).

Wednesday: Another perfect day weatherwise – cloudless with a brisk wind. Much gnashing of young (and not-so-young) teeth when the Wi-Fi on the Haybay stopped working. Someone late paying the bill, apparently. On site we moved even further upstream to near Barnes Mill lock for more clearance work. Lee heroically soldiered on Tuesday: Perfect clear sunny day with a through the after-effects of the half-price bar stunning sunrise astern. On site, we moved at the bowling the previous evening, alfurther upstream to get away from council though he was occasionally to be seen workers and cleared several small stands of slumped in the undergrowth. The increased willow. Remains of Monday’s fire distance to the ‘facilities’ required a special wheelbarrowed along the towpath to the new boat service schedule [insert your own ‘Poop site. Fire soon roaring away and consuming Deck’ joke here]. everything. Marshmallows toasted with Another roaring fire was nurtured, varying degrees of success. helped by strong wind from the north. Off site at 16:30 for an evening of Evening entertainment was a quiz and appropasta bolognese and half-price-Tuesday ten priate refreshment in a packed Shaw Farm pin bowling. Rory took the honours with a pub at South Woodham Ferrers. Had to raid score of 130+. Marks for best style, howthe dining room for chairs and rearrange ever, went to Edward: a run up inspired by much of the pub furniture in order to fit our Norman Wisdom playing a drunk, and a two- two teams in. Katie, who had left earlier for handed delivery of the ball which looked to interview in Manchester Uni, promised to be based on Shane Warne’s googly. Effeckeep her phone on in case we needed help tive, though, hitting the middle of the target with chemistry questions. Our teams, ‘The more often than not. Unfortunately for Wrgies’ and ‘The Scrub Bashers’ came 2nd and Edward, the usually efficient shoe filing 3rd! We’d recommend this evening to future Chelmer camps: really well organised with a system failed to return his shoes so he left friendly and helpful professional quizmaster; with a pair of bowling shoes on his feet and the promise from the lady in charge to reim- but get there early! burse him for the cost of a new pair. Two Thursday: Yet another wonderful sunrise games of bowling and a new pair of shoes for £6 – not bad! Bob took Edward to and beautiful crisp morning. The team, now

page 17

completely unabashed by scrub, fell to with a vengeance, and the odd bow saw and slasher. A fresh wind once again fanned the flames and strengthened at the end of the morning with cloud build-up exactly as the weather forecast predicted. Showers became heavy rain and Head of Decisions made one - and it was good. Cleared site after lunch and were back on board the Haybay at 15:20 for a lazy afternoon in worsening weather, anticipating our trip to the CAMRA Beer and Cider festival that evening at King Edward VI Grammar School (KEGS - geddit?). Huge fish and chip meal from local chippie enjoyed by all, after which John volunteered to be the Designated Driver for the evening. There was a sticky moment at the festival entrance when it looked as though beards might be compulsory, which would have excluded four of us. Managed to blag our way in (it was a close shave) to sample some of the interesting ales on offer, including: Irwell Works brewery’s ‘Costa del Salford’ [Citrus and tropical fruit with medium bitterness and a dry finish]; Purple Moose brewery’s ‘Dark Side of the Moose’(!) [Hoppy and bitter with roast undertones, some malt, fruit and a dry finish]; and a spicy 12% abv Belgian number called ‘Silent Night’ [Don’t get it on your clothes]. Humble writer, always careful to get his fivea-day, opted for a Flemish raspberry beer [tasting notes from leader: “Ugh…tastes like Alka-Selzter”] Friday: Cloudy but mild with light southerlies. Loaded boat as usual at Sandford and took one van of campers to the site for the day, alongside Barnes Mill lock. Team efficiency now very impressive and the required clearance achieved before a late lunch break. No fire today, the felled stuff being dragged across to the offside and left for the local volunteers to burn in the following week. Edward did sterling work as a human traffic light, controlling the one way working over the narrow lock tail bridge. Off site at 15:30

page 18

and home via Hoe Mill lock for kit check and trailer loading. The call of the local pub proved irresistible after another fine meal cooked by Paul. By the early hours the boat was full of Jolly Sailors after a cheeky lock-in until 01:30! Saturday: Breakfast at the usual time of quarter to eight - in spite of hangovers after which we set about the clean-up operation. Tearful farewells intermingled with yawns and promises to keep in touch. Subsequently Rory created a Facebook page to host the photos. facebook.com/groups/ 380013732170905/ Paul left for home at 10:30 in the quieter van via a station drop-off at Wickford, leaving the salty old sea dog to drive himself home to Crow Towers in the van ordinaire. I got only as far as South Mimms services before the first nap attack, eventually crossing back to the fashionable side of Offa’s Dyke late afternoon, with a mangled Clubcard and happy memories of my first visit to the Essex Riviera. Bob Coles * Two Bobs, two Bens and two Crows Each had quite a sensitive nose. When armpits turned sour They jumped in the shower And came out as sweet as a rose.

WRG Boat Club News Firstly, and most important, comes information about boat safety. Beware of carbon monoxide poisoning - of course you all have CO and smoke alarms fitted? (well if not, contact me as I have a list of those recommended by a BSS examiner). Risks occur through incorrect installation or servicing of heating and cooking appliances, surely we are aware of this. Other sources of CO can be from your boat engine or perhaps a neighbouring boat, nearby barbecues, generators or gas bottle appliances BUT have you considered the risk of using damp firewood? Apparently this can cause carbon monoxide emissions that sneak up on you when the fire is shut down. No problem at all on your usual scrub bashing bonfire but a killer when within a boat. Beware! I did once see the amazing sight of a boat with the roof on fire. The occupants had stacked wood all over the roof, including round the chimney. This wood had obviously got heated and a stray spark had ignited it! I had to knock on the boat and my question ‘Excuse me but do you know that your roof is on fire?’ was met with disbelief. We helped to clear the roof and left them to sort things out. Today I attended the Association of Waterways Cruising Clubs AGM on behalf of the club. Oh what fun I had with the paperwork as all the relevant documents for this were sent by email. I don’t have a computer so had to use my mobile phone to access them. Well you know how I get on with technology. We moored at Penkridge and, by visiting the library to use a computer, I managed to read most of the reports and print out the agenda and minutes from the previous AGM. These mostly consisted of things that were ‘read and on file’ so I shall need to access these for the minutes from this year’s AGM. It would seem things will be published in the next issue of Alert, so once I get a copy I will forward it to all the members who have given me an up to date email address those members who haven’t please do! Meanwhile here are some snippets and thoughts on the meeting.... One boat club resigned from AWCC membership on the excuse that their members only cruised on rivers not canals! Oh dear what about clubs on the Nene, Weaver etc where some of the members’ boats are too wide for narrow locks. It’s a good job not all clubs think the same, as many AWCC members make use of the facilities that are provided by other member clubs.

WRG BC News from our Boat Club Anglian region of the Environment Agency do not make use volunteers. This I am very aware of as I live in the region and we want to reopen the route between Horseway Lock and Welches Dam but EA are, to say the least, uncooperative. Some of us remember working on the restoration of Welches Dam many years ago. Although the channel between the locks leaked it was navigable on selected weekends for some years before it was closed and dammed off. The Midland Region report contained glowing reference to both our record of donations to restoration projects and to Lynne’s volunteering. A pat on the back for us is in order I think. One worrying report was that there are plans to allow unpowered craft to use Saltersford and Barnton tunnels. As you know there are bends in these and no clear view through, any small unlit craft could easily be hidden in the dark and the potential for accidents is quite scary. Boaters have pointed this out and voiced objections. This is still ongoing so please add your voice to the objections to this potential safety hazard. The Technical Officer emphasised that ALL incidents must be reported, even near misses, so a comprehensive overview can be made. Many accidents are avoidable if boats have the right kit in the right place and those on board are familiar with it and trained in using it. Boat Fire Safety week is 25th to 31st of May, as a club we can’t organise an event but do go to one if you can. You can get good advice and usually a free smoke alarm! There will be a Gas Safety week 14th to 20th September - more details later. Now for a club notice - our AGM will be held at sometime over the August Bank Holiday weekend at Northampton. Please fly our flag and try to visit as many restored bits of canal as you possibly can. Perhaps we could award the wrg bc bowl for the boat visiting the most ‘new’ bits? After including all this safety advice maybe I should sign off as... xxx Auntie Sadie sadiedean@msn.com

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Navvies diary WRG and mobile groups Your guide to all forthcoming work parties Apr 18/19 wrgBITM Apr 17/19 London WRG Apr 25/26 wrgNW Apr 25 Sat IWA/CRT May 1-4 NWPG May 1-7 WAT May 1 Navvies May 2/3 KESCRG May 9 LT2015 May 10 Sun WRG May 15-17 wrgBITM May 16/17 London WRG May 16 Sat wrgNW May 20 Wed wrgNW Jun 5-11 WAT Jun 6/7 London WRG Jun 5/6/7 NWPG Jun 13/14 KESCRG Jun 13/14 TW2015 Jun 20/21 wrgBITM Jun 27 Sat wrgNW Jul 1 Navvies Jul 3-9 WAT Jul 4/5 Essex WRG Jul 4/5 KESCRG Jul 4/5 London WRG Jul 4-11 Camp 201504 Jul 4-11 Camp 201505 Jul 4-11 NWPG Jul 11-18 Camp 201506 Jul 18/19 wrgNW Jul 18-25 Camp 201507 Jul 18-24 Camp 201508 Jul 18-25 Camp 201509 Jul 25-Aug 1 Camp 201510 Jul 25-Aug 1 Camp 201511 Jul 25-Aug 1 Camp 201512 Jul 26 Sun WRG Jul 31-Aug 6 WAT

page 20

Cotswold Canals: Bowbridge Lock, Stroud BCN Clean Up: Birmingham Cromford Canal Restoration Workshop: ‘Getting it on the Map’ talk/discussion at Digbeth Wey & Arun Canal: Hunt Park Wendover Arm: Seven day weekend Fri-Thu Press date for issue 271 (including WRG / canal societies directory) To be arranged Leaders’ Training Day Committee & Board Meetings: Leaders Training Day on Sat Rickmansworth Waterways Festival: Site services (open to public on Sa Cotswold Canals: Bowbridge Lock, Stroud ‘Paper Chase’ waste paper collection Ad Hoc Meeting Wendover Arm: Fri-Thu, includes Restoration Open Day on Sun 7th Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation Wey & Arun Canal: Hunt Park To be arranged Training Weekend - Chesterfield Canal Somersetshire Coal Canal ‘Paper Chase’ waste paper collection Press date for issue 272 Wendover Arm: Seven day weekend Fri-Thu Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation: Annual BBQ on Sat evening Ashby Canal: Joint dig with London WRG Grantham Canal Driffield Navigation Cotswold Canals: NWPG’s annual camp Cotswold Canals: NWPG’s annual camp Cromford Canal Chesterfield Canal: Staveley (provisional) Swansea Canal Cromford Canal Cotswold Canals: Bowbridge Lock, Stroud Monmouthshire Canal Chesterfield Canal Cotswold Canals: Bowbridge Lock, Stroud Committee & Board Meetings: Rowington Village Hall Wendover Arm: Seven day weekend Fri-Thu

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, enquiries@wrg.org.uk. Diary compiled by Dave Wedd. Tel: 01252 874437, dave.wedd@wrgbitm.org.uk


at 16 & Sun 17)

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 Mike & Liz Chase Roger Leishman Tim Lewis Bill Nicholson Bobby Silverwood Womble Dave Wedd Barry McGuinness Martin Ludgate Roger Leishman John Gale Bobby Silverwood Tim Lewis

Bill Nicholson Malcolm Bridge

Mike Palmer Roger Leishman

07816-175454 07802-518094 01422-820693 01494-783453 01844-343369 01442-874536 07779-478629 07971-814986 01494-783453 01564-785293 07816-175454 07802-518094 0161-681-7237

bookings@wrgbitm.org.uk london@wrg.org.uk nw@wrg.org.uk jenny.black@waterways.org.uk bill@nwpg.org.uk rwleishman@gmail.com martin.ludgate@wrg.org.uk bobby@kescrg.org.uk enquiries@wrg.org.uk mike.palmer@wrg.org.uk bookings@wrgbitm.org.uk london@wrg.org.uk b.mcguinness1@gmail.com nw@wrg.org.uk 01442-874536 rwleishman@gmail.com 07802-518094 london@wrg.org.uk 01844-343369 bill@nwpg.org.uk 07971-814986 bobby@kescrg.org.uk 01494-783453 enquiries@wrg.org.uk 07816-175454 bookings@wrgbitm.org.uk 0161-681-7237 b.mcguinness1@gmail.com 07779-478629 martin.ludgate@wrg.org.uk 01442-874536 rwleishman@gmail.com 01376-334896 essex@wrg.org.uk 07971-814986 bobby@kescrg.org.uk 07802-518094 london@wrg.org.uk 01494-783453 enquiries@wrg.org.uk 01494-783453 enquiries@wrg.org.uk 01844-343369 bill@nwpg.org.uk 01494-783453 enquiries@wrg.org.uk 01422-820693 nw@wrg.org.uk 01494-783453 enquiries@wrg.org.uk 01494-783453 enquiries@wrg.org.uk 01494-783453 enquiries@wrg.org.uk 01494-783453 enquiries@wrg.org.uk 01494-783453 enquiries@wrg.org.uk 01494-783453 enquiries@wrg.org.uk 01564-785293 mike.palmer@wrg.org.uk 01442-874536 rwleishman@gmail.com

page 21

Navvies diary

canal society regulars

Canal societies’ regular working parties Every Tuesday BCA Once per month: pls check BCNS

Basingstoke Canal BCN waterways

Chris Healy Mike Rolfe

01252-370073 07763-171735

2nd & 4th w/e of month Thursdays Sep-Apr


Basingstoke Canal Aqueduct section

Duncan Paine Tim Dingle

01252-614125 01288-361356

2nd Sun & alternate Thu Every Mon and Wed


Buckingham area Athina Beckett Cotswold (W depot) Ron Kerby

01908-661217 01453-836018

Every mon am Thu pm Various dates


Cotswold (E end) Cotswold Phase 1a

John Maxted Jon Pontefract

01285-861011 07986-351412

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

01376-334896 01623-633895

Second Sun of month FIPT Thu and last Sat of month GCS

Foxton Inclined Plane Mike Beech Grantham Canal Ian Wakefield

0116-279-2657 0115-989-2128

2nd Sat of month Tuesdays Weekends


Nynehead Lift Oxenhall Over Wharf House

Denis Dodd Brian Fox Maggie Jones

01823-661653 01432 358628 01452 618010

Wednesdays Thursdays


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

01524-424761 01889-576574

3rd Sunday of month Last weekend of month


Hatherton Creams Paper Mill

Denis Cooper Steve Dent

01543-374370 07802-973228

Two Sundays per month 2nd & last Sundays


N Walsham Canal Pocklington Canal

David Revill Paul Waddington

01603-738648 01757-638027

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

01244-661440 01732-823725

Wey & Arun Canal David Daniels Drayton Beauchamp Roger Leishman

01483-505566 01442-874536

Most days, please contact WACT 1st w/e of month (Fri-Thu) WAT

01394-380765 01744-600656

01522-856810 01444-414413

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

page 22

CRT towpath taskforce

Navvies diary

Canal & River Trust ‘Towpath Taskforce’ maintenance working parties 2nd Saturday of month Audlem Shropshire Union Glenn Young see below 2nd Saturday of month Aylesbury Grand Union Miriam Tedder 07775-543990 4th Thursday of month Bath Kennet & Avon Steve Manzi 07710-175278 Alternate Thursdays Blackburn Leeds & Liverpool Matt Taylor 07780-222977 1st Sunday of month Burnley Leeds & Liverpool Matt Taylor 07780-222977 3rd Thursday of month Cheshire T&M/Macclesfield Steve O’Sullivan 07887-684707 1st Saturday of month Chester Shropshire Union Glenn Young see below Alternate Saturdays Chorley Leeds & Liverpool Matt Taylor 07780-222977 2nd Tuesday of month Churnet Valley Caldon Canal Barry Keight 07919 560582 3rd Thursday of month Devizes Kennet & Avon Steve Manzi 07710-175278 Weds and Thurs Droitwich Droitwich Canal Suzanne Byrne 07900-276544 3rd Saturday of month Ellesmere Llangollen Canal Glenn Young see below 1st Saturday of month Fradley Trent & Mersey Tom Freeland 01827-252010 4th Thursday of month Gailey Staffs & Worcs Murray Woodward 07808-786772 1st Mon & Wed of month Hatton Grand Union Canal Murray Woodward 07808-786772 Last Sunday of month Hawkesbury Coventry/Oxford Miriam Tedder 07775-543990 2nd Friday of month Huddersfield Huddersfield Broad Claire McDonald 07920-295943 1st Thursday of month Knottingley Aire & Calder Nav Lucy Dockray 07767-383736 Alternate Thursdays Lancaster Lancaster Canal Matt Taylor 07780-222977 3rd Saturday of month Lapworth Stratford Canal Murray Woodward 07808-786772 Alternate Tuesdays Leicester Grand Union/Soar Tom Freeland 01827-252010 3rd Saturday of month London Grand Union/Lee Becky Williams 07799-436816 3rd Thursday of month East London Lee & Stort Navs Becky Williams 07799-436816 3rd Tuesday of month West London Grand Union Canal Becky Williams 07799-436816 4th Saturday of month Manchester Ashton / Peak Forest Steve O’Sullivan 07887-684707 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.surname@canalrivertrust.org.uk, eg steve.manzi@canalrivertrust.org.uk for K & A. If no phone number given, use CRT Tel: 03030 404040


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


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

page 23

Navvies diary

IWA branches...

Inland Waterways Association and other one-day working parties Apr 24 Fri IWA NSSC Macclesfield Canal: Congleton Station project. Veg clearance. 10amApr 25 Sat IWA Chester Shropshire Union Canal: Chester area, painting & veg clearance. 10amApr 26 Sun IWA Northants Northampton Arm Every Wed RGT/IWA Ipswich River Gipping: Pipps Ford, or Baylham Mill Lock 9am-4pm May 12 Sun IWA Northants Northampton Arm May 13 Wed IWA BBCW Staffs & Worcs Canal: Painting, tidying & veg clearance May 21 Thu IWA NSSC/TMCS Trent & Mersey Canal: Cheshire Locks. Painting & veg clearance. 10amMay 22 Fri IWA NSSC Macclesfield Canal: Congleton Station project. Veg clearance. 10amMay 26 Tue IWA NSSC/BPT Burslem Arm: Luke St, Middleport, Stoke on Trent. 10am-3pm May 30 Sat IWA Chester Shropshire Union Canal: Chester area, painting & veg clearance. 10amMay 31 Sun IWA Northants Northampton Arm Jun 9 Sun IWA Northants Northampton Arm May 10 Wed IWA BBCW Staffs & Worcs Canal: Painting, tidying & veg clearance Jun 20 Sat IWA Manchester Venue T.B.C.: Greater Manchester area. Veg clearance, etc. 10amJun 23 Tue IWA NSSC/BPT Burslem Arm: Luke St, Middleport, Stoke on Trent. 10am-3pm Jun 27 Sat IWA Chester Shropshire Union Canal: Chester area, painting & veg clearance. 10amIWA branch abbreviations BBCW = Birmingham, Black Country & Worcestershire; Mcr= Manchester; Other abbreviations: CUCT = Caldon & Uttoxeter Canal Society; IWPS = Inland Waterways Protection

One event you won’t see mentioned in the diary or reports this time is the BCN Clean Up, because it

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.

page 24

...and other one-day work

Navvies diary

For WRG canal camps and working parties see pages 22-23 12:30 4pm

4pm 12:30 4pm


Bob Luscombe Mike Carter Geoff Wood Martin Bird Geoff Wood David Struckett Andy Hellyar-Brook Bob Luscombe Steve Wood Mike Carter Geoff Wood Geoff Wood David Struckett

07710-054848 07795-617803 01394-380765 07976-746225 07926-204206 07710-054848 07976-805858 07795-617803

07976-746225 07710-554602 07976-805858 07795-617803

bob.luscombe@waterways.org.uk mike.carter@waterways.org.uk geoff.wood@waterways.org.uk restoration@rivergippingtrust.org.uk geoff.wood@waterways.org.uk david.struckett@waterways.org.uk andy.hellyarbrook@waterways.org.uk bob.luscombe@waterways.org.uk steve.wood@waterways.org.uk mike.carter@waterways.org.uk geoff.wood@waterways.org.uk geoff.wood@waterways.org.uk david.struckett@waterways.org.uk secretary@manchester-iwa.co.uk steve.wood@waterways.org.uk mike.carter@waterways.org.uk

Steve Wood 4pm Mike Carter NSSC = North Staffs & South Cheshire Society; TMCS = Trent & Mersey Canal Society; RGT= River Gipping Trust; CRT = Canal & River Trust

happens between this issue going to print and being pubished. Report and pictures next time.

in pubs.

Please phone to confirm dates and times


Contact Tim Lewis 07802-518094 Contact Phil Dray 07956-185305

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Would you like to be part of the leadership team on a canal camp? Now’s your chance...

Leaders, assistants and cooks Be part of the team...

WRG’s leadership teams are responsible for making sure each canal camp is a fun-filled, enjoyable experience – they run the canal restoration site, organise social activities in the evenings, and ensure that everyone is still smiling by the end of the week! Without our army of volunteer leaders, assistants and cooks, Canal Camps simply wouldn’t happen. The good news is that despite this year’s canal camps programme being finalised slightly later than usual, we have already recruited leadership teams for most of the camps. However we still need to find volunteers for the following roles:

Leaders Swansea Canal Camp 18th-25th July Cotswold Canals Camp 18th-25th July (we have an assistant and cook already in place!) Lapal Canal Camp 8th-15th August Lapal Canal Camp 15th-22nd August Ashby Canal Camp 15th-22nd August (we have a co-leader looking for an outgoing fellow co-leader!)

Assistant Leaders Swansea Canal Camp 18th-25th July Lapal Canal Camp 8th-15th August Lapal Canal Camp 15th-22nd August

Cooks (If you’ve been a camp you will know the camp cook is the most important person!) Driffield Navigation Camp 4th-11th July Swansea Canal Camp 18th-25th July Mon and Brec Canal Camp 1st-8th August Lapal Canal Camp 8th-15th August Lapal Canal Camp 15th-22nd August Ashby Canal Camp 15th-22nd August Stover Canal Camp 29th August-5th September Grantham Canal Camp 5th-12th September

Want to know more?

Could this be you?

Why not call Becky Parr (part of the WRG Leadership Team) for a chat on how you could get involved? - 07932 158758 or email Becky.parr@talk21.com

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Yet another of our volunteer cooks shares her views on her own way of catering for a bunch of hungry canal campers...

...on food

kitchen wearing their site clothes. They will be handling sandwich making stuff wearing Following the articles published in the their site clothes. last two issues, here’s yet another take If anyone is unwell during the week if I on being a canal camp cook. As usual, or my helper has only been preparing the we should stress that this isn’t intended to be food, then we can safely say that it is not the a prescriptive ‘How you should do it’ type food that has made the volunteer unwell. piece, more an insight into one way of doing Also I like to take the lunch to site with it, which will hopefully be of use and interest a homemade cake, possibly soup and top up to those thinking of volunteering as a camp milk, tea, sugar and coffee supplies if necescook.This time it’s by Anne Lilliman... sary. I also have my lunch on site. As a volunteer who sometimes works Entry to the kitchen is request only, unless on site, I like the idea of someone else makyou are cook’s helper. ing my sandwiches. If I make my own I have If I am cooking I am not working on to eat them, if the cook makes them I can site as well. I am happy to fetch/ buy and choose at lunchtime how many and which deliver items for site, but not work on site. fillings. I co-ordinate all timings for meals with the leader, or assistant leader. Evening Meals: Pasta with meat and vegetables is a good standby. Dependant on It is a good idea to take someone with you to do the first main shop. as you may oven space I usually cook on top e.g. need two trolleys for food. evening meal on top and pudding in the oven. Sometimes I cook the main meal in Breakfast: Before I go to bed I try and get the oven and then prepare the pudding and all the saucepans and grundy tins and put in the oven to cook just before I serve spoons and serving tongs ready. I make sure the main evening meal. that I have the eggs, bacon, sausages, beans I usually decide on the first three meals and tomatoes in a fridge nearby. before the dig, but I am not averse to changIf the kitchen equipment is kept in the ing my mind if I see meat on special offer same room as the sleeping volunteers then when I go shopping. they appreciate the lack of disturbance early I enjoy making different meals for in the morning. vegetarians and volunteers with special diets Checking the kitchen at night means or allergies. there are no surprises in the morning, to When I did my bank holiday cooking wash up before/ while cooking. last year I had a volunteer in the morning to I like cooking breakfast but do not help prepare the lunch, shop and make a mind if I have help. cake. When we went to site I brought anI will get up about 6.45a.m. for 8 a.m. other volunteer back with me, and after a breakfast then turn on the oven, griddle, shower and change of clothes they helped kettle and Burco (make sure it’s full!) for the prepare and serve the evening meal. early morning campers. Note do not forget that it is also your I cook sausages in the oven, bacon on the holiday; make time to stop for a break to griddle or under the grill dependent on oven. have a drink to keep you hydrated. If the I do not do tea in bed. weather is hot and you are spending most of your time in a hot kitchen it is easy to beLunch: I am not a fan of ‘make your own come dehydrated. sandwiches’. Reasons: Most of all, enjoy! Volunteers are not allowed in the Anne Lilliman

Cooking on Canal Camps

. . .


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Feedback ...on food

A regular breakfast cook on a weekend group’s weekend work parties, but he’d never cooked for a whole week on a camp before. So how did Paul get on?

Bob Crow, we unloaded the ‘coffin’ (camp kit storage box) to find out what food was in store. We also received a bonus from the OK, I am not the complete novice at cooking owners of the accommodation when they left a large amount of fruit, veg, bread, margafor WRG as I have previously done most London WRG dig breakfasts that I attend and rine and tubs of hummus. (However, 6kg for I had done the occasional evening meal on a a single veggie is an excess). I used the shopping leaflet from the small weekend camp. However, I was asked to fill the void of the cook for the Feb ’15 books notes along with what I know I recamp on the Haybay. quired for the first two days meals. I took along one of the volunteers to help with the I had previously attended the cooks’ seminar held in 2012 at the Leaders’ Training shopping. Lesson 2 Ensure that you have coins or tokens to use the trolleys. Day, and using the notes from the output Saturday’s meal was mash, sausages and asking for some guidance from Maria and peas with a chocolate trifle, but neither I Hearnden, I planned my stint. As I am an early riser I planned to follow Helen’s scheme nor the volunteers read the notes on making [see Navvies 268] of letting the camp volun- the trifle, so it was more a chocolate lucky dip. Lesson 3 Read instructions before teers to do their own sandwiches. starting preparations yourself or ensure Task 1 was to speak to the volunteers who had noted their likes & dislikes on their someone else reads them. applications. I was lucky that I only had two Sunday started with the breakfast and variants which meant only an avoidance of while it was cooking I prepared and cooked uncured pork in the evening meals and a the apple slice. single vegetarian. As I planned that the evening meal As I was on the Haybay barge, I could would be a roast, this meant lots of peeling not do a bulk buy of food due to the lack of of the potatoes, carrots and swedes. space on the boat. This would mean regular With the weather being fine and staying shopping trips. Lesson 1 was to see if there on the Haybay, this meant I could sit on the was any additional storage space available. back deck doing the task and enjoy the view Arranging to arrive at midday to meet and allow certain adventurous sea birds some scraps. I also made a jelly but followed the instructions for a camp of 25 instead of the 14. The jelly would still be on the availability list until Friday. The veggie dish was baked mushrooms with Mozzarella cheese and I arranged for Annabel to set her own garlic level. On Monday I spent the morning on Site and returned to prepare the shepherd’s pie. I tried an experiment of frozen mash but found that quantity required and size of pots needed did not lend itself to consistent The Haybay barge, the accommodation for the week quality of the mash. The veggie

Experience of a 1st time week’s Camp Cook

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“Cooking is easy if you plan ahead and have the confidence to make mistakes and learn from them.”

...on food

dish was a cheese and mash bake. On Tuesday I was on site again in the morning but returned to prepare the evening meal which was going to be chicken pies which the whole camp could eat, so no additional meal to cook. However, I learnt that occasional visitors may have dietary requirements not known to the cook until the meal is served. Wednesday I completed the last of the shopping for the camp and started to prepare the evening meal of Spaghetti Bolognese. Although the quantity was good I felt that I had overdone the meal due to starting it too early. On Thursday we had decided that the evening meal was to be Fish & Chips, so the order was placed with the shop and I attended site all day. It was found that the local shop’s standard portions were generally well sufficient for all the group and the local seagulls had an evening treat of surplus. On Friday the site work was possibly going to be mobile, so I stayed on the boat and prepared for the evening meal. I had previously sorted out the quantities for the meat course and had therefore not done any additional shopping when it was confirmed that an additional person was having an evening meal. This meant that I had to improvise a meal for myself. This was resolved by me having the remaining chicken pie along with half the vegetarian dish which was a repeat of Sundays but this time I set the garlic level. The sweet course afterwards was to finish off all the previous sweets which were leftover during the week along with the flan prepared on the previous day. So bowls of jelly, flan, ice cream and cheesecake was in evidence. My success during the week: The apple slices, the vegetarian

dishes and not losing faith in myself Minor mishaps: Some as noted above but the two most notable were the sponge cake and the fruit flans. But I hope I managed to allay them by the triple decker sponge cake filled by all the jam and cream from the coffin and the bottom of the broken flan case. Conclusions: I was lucky that it was a small group and that I had the cooks note to help and guide me. Also I know the kitchen from previous weekend digs and therefore know its quirks. If I can offer any advice, it is that like Helen, Maria and Di have previously said, Cooking is easy if you plan ahead and have the confidence to make mistakes and learn from them. With a larger group and more dietary variants I could have struggled but having that first experience means I am now more well prepared. So if you are asked have a go, seek advice from the past cooks and enjoy the camp as you are part of the team. I made a statement at the sponsored walk that I had survived the week cooking and the response from certain people was “Yes but did the volunteers?” Paul Ireson

The Haybay barge, the accommodation for the week

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Feedback ...and Camp Leaders

Should we have ‘apprentice assistants’? Should we have more training for new camp leaders? Here’s what one volunteer thinks. What do YOU think?

thought “Well, why not?” I turned up to my first Leaders’ Training Day (LTD), somehow I see that summer 2015 will have three kits expecting that this might be a day devoted to working over the summer months - a kit C training leaders. I soon realised that was will be based at Brimscombe Port. Great! actually a day devoted to reminding experiVolunteers want to help and restoration enced leaders to do their accounts properly projects want our expertise. Hooray. or going through exercises on fun things like But... last year I ended up having a organising drivers, Health & Safety and long correspondence with various people dealing with problem people. about whether or not I’d be OK to take on All good stuff, but not helpful for trainmy first camp leadership after a few years of ing new leaders. I have since done two experience and a couple of assists. I even got assists, both with experienced leaders who to arm-wave at Amber for an entire afterdid all the hard bits (i.e. accounts) and esnoon (she’d only been in the job three days, sentially ran things while I helped run split poor lass) about the problem of how somesites and drove the van to get shopping or one like me gets to lead. I was told several chips. Again, all good stuff, but not really an times and by several people that there is a training as such. problem recruiting camp leaders. At one LTD, I did ask about info for So: now we have several more camps, new leaders and one reaction was that, no and still not enough leaders. I want to lead there wasn’t much content for newbies be(really), but haven’t yet been able to do so. cause that would put off the veterans. I’m What’s the problem? going to stick my neck out and say that the Well, I’m just not hardcore. existing Leaders’ Training Day might be I’ve done just about one camp a year putting off newbies. since 2003, plus a few weekends and several Leaders’ Training Day is great - but it is reunions. That’s it. I have limited Driver very difficult for a newcomer to ask quesAuthorisation (vans and pedestrian rollers, tions in a large group alongside experienced since you asked - we’ll come to that in a bit). leaders who want to get this session over by I might be able to do 2 weeks a year (one lunch and have a chat... yes I know we’re leading, one not), but much more is not encouraged to ask any question... really going to happen. I really like WRG, I LTD as it stands is not enough. So (I enthuse about us to others, and I want to do hear you ask) what would be enough? Well a bit more - but I also do other things. (thanks for asking) here are my suggestions. If you, dear reader, book onto several Leader inductions: A day in which camps a year, never miss Christmas camp, one or two people take a small group of and your Significant Other likes no better potential leaders (6 or so, no more than 10) New Year than that spent in a random village through all the important points step-byhall, if you’re authorised as an operator on step. Yes, including those that bore the twelve categories and you’re an instructor on veterans. A small group induction would six, have memorised all single mortar mixes have a much higher chance of explaining the in all the work of all the locks in the UK full process from start to finish, in order. I under restoration, then you are truly the know it’s more work, but I think it would hardest of the hardcore and I bow to your recruit more “softcore” - like me. wisdom, O great one. “Apprentice” assistants: Camp But there aren’t enough of you to run leadership teams where it is understood that all the camps. the assistant will be involved in all aspects of When I was nobbled by Jenny a few the camp organisation (including the boring years ago for leading and then finally but essential bits and that the experienced

I’m just not hardcore...

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through the camp due to illness) is a leader with a serious logisitical problem. I think that WRG is, in many ways, a very effective organisation - that’s why I come back every year. However, I also think that leader recruitment and training could improve. If you have any better or even just different - ideas, then let’s hear them. If you think everything is just fine as it is, tell me why I’m being told that we have a problem recruiting enough leaders. Peter Lister We ran Peter’s article past Ed Walker, who’s taken over as organiser of the Leaders’ Training Day. His response to Peter’s individual suggestions is as follows: New leaders induction/training: happening this year! It’s something we have been aware of for a while and we are planning on tailoring some of the Leaders’ Training Day for new leaders and assistants (see article elsewhere in this issue and in Cotswold: a good site for ‘apprentice assistant’ leaders? the last issue) Plant training: WRG has run the training weekend most years for leader will explain everything as they go along. It’s great to see an experienced leader almost the last 20 years and this can be “just doing” various things; the leaders I tailored to cover the needs of this year’s camps. This is a good point to get across to have assisted for have run their camps well, the new leaders though. but it’s difficult to actually see all that goes Apprentice leaders: this looks like a on. “Yes, sorry, I know you’re busy, could good idea and would probably formalise you just go over that once more...” It occurs to me that the 2015 Cotswold what happens already on many camps Ed Walker camps would be a good environment for explicitly running leader apprenticeships as Navvies would like to emphasise the point the kit doesn’t go on tour and Brimscombe made by Peter in his final paragraph: If you Port is in many ways easy to run. have any better or different ideas. Off camp plant training: If 50 or 100% of my annual camp time is as a leader then let’s hear them. The various ‘Feedback’ contributions in the last few issues of or assistant, I can’t really do much plant Navvies on the subjects of cooks, leaders, training. Especially if the only instructor is and the annual Reunion have been very useful, the other assistant/leader!! Yes, I know that interesting and thought-provoking. Please keep one can’t “lead from the seat” - but a leader them coming. We are always open to sugwho can’t get stand-in to fill a dumper while gestion and criticism, and will do our best to the only authorised operator is off training publish whatever you send. The Editor someone else (the other having left halfway

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Forestry ...on the Grantham

Woolsthorpe Locks on the Grantham Canal will become a major construction site for us for the next couple of years. But first, WRG Forestry went in to clear the site...

Lu and Daz started a bonfire on the towpath side of the lock. The non-towpath side bonfire was started after posts had been I am reliably informed that if “Ta Clive, Your erected to place safety tape to denote the humble co-ordinator ”was going to write the edge of the lock. There were a few piles of report then it would quite probably be as cuttings on the non-towpath which did refollows: strict the movement on that side of the lock. Had breakfast, went to site, cut down RAF Martin started the fire on the non-towsome trees, made some bonfires went back path side of the lock. to the accommodation! The wind was very strong on the Friday Although the above sentence is correct morning and this fanned the fires and we I know a lot more happened on each day, had “horizontal flames” at the base of the starting with me (‘American’ Martin) being fire. This meant there was no fire at the the first to arrive at the accommodation, the centre of the fire but the bottom 6 inches of Memorial Hall in Cropwell Bishop, at 17:00 the fire burnt through. Both bonfires suffered on the Thursday evening. After a phone call from this until the wind dropped a bit after to Clive (our humble co-ordinator) I called lunch and both fires started to burn properly the local, Ian, and went round to his house and we started to burn the piles of cut wood. to pick up the key for the hall. As usual there was some debate about who I was ‘Billy no-mates’ for quite a while had the better bonfire. Some might say that until John Hawkins turned up and we set the two Martins make good bonfires. place up for the rest of the team to arrive. Stephen stripped down his chainsaw as John had forgotten to bring the bacon the chain had become loose. In the process a and sausages, left over from the previous small cog got lost in the mulch on the camp, out of his freezer. Ju then phoned RAF ground: looking for a needle in a haystack Martin, who had gone to Morrisons to get had nothing on finding this. After a talk with himself some food, she requested he buy the local to ascertain the local supplier, some bacon and sausages for the next morn- Stephen purchased a replacement part on ing’s breakfast. There was some discussion Saturday morning. on what size sausage she required!! When we got back at night I ‘foolishly’ As it turned out when Clive arrived he asked who was cooking. It appeared that had all the provisions for the weekend in the there were volunteers to prepare but no back of his van. These had been purchased cook. I thought, how hard could it be to by his better half Jo. cook spaghetti Bolognese for 15 people? Friday Breakfast was cooked by RAF Whilst stirring the spaghetti bolognese a lot Martin. I was his helper although, with only of cars started to arrive in the car park. It 10 to cook for all I did was make him a cup turned out that the hall was double booked of tea and open some tins of baked beans. for the Cubs. It did conjure up the thought RAF Martin had missed the last camp so he of a lot of WRGies in shorts acting as cub had to catch up with a lot of banter from the scouts! rest of the team and it started whilst he was The cooking didn’t go that smoothly, cooking breakfast. firstly I didn’t use a big enough pan so stirThe locals had already done a lot of scrub ring in the mushrooms became a challenge. I bashing on both sides of lock 15 so we could did too much spaghetti. I now know one get on build bonfires and cut down trees. The mug of spaghetti per person. The cooking of 16 trees to be felled and logged were up to the garlic bread didn’t go that well either, the 700mm in width. The felling of the trees top tray of garlic bread in the oven was started after we had the safety briefing. cooked with some burnt bits and the second

WRG Forestry on the Grantham 27 Feb – 1 March Lock 15

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tray needed more cooking. The pudding was knowing how much water to put in a pan for bought apple pies and after asking did they 16 portions was a challenge. want them hot or cold I did half hot/cold Amber, Squeezy, Mk2 and Adrian all with cold custard. went to the pub to watch the Welsh Rugby I didn’t receive any complaints: not game. Amber was concerned that Wales sure if they kept quiet to ensure they were would loose and the guys would take the not volunteered for cooking the Saturday mickey. As it turned out they did a lot better night meal, or the meal was OK. Not all the than England the following day! spag boll was consumed and RAF Martin After RAF Martin had cooked breakfast suggested that it could be made into soup we packed all the kit away and we left for for lunch the following day, I said I thought site just after 9 am. The wind again was that was a good idea. causing a problem in that it kept changing Amber had bought a new helmet that direction. This meant it didn’t matter where needed to be assembled, this was interesting you stood to put wood on the fires you were to watch, including not wanting the neck going to be surrounded by smoke. There protector fitted. were a lot of “smoked WRGies” by Sunday Mark 2 had brought two containers of lunch time. Castle Rock ‘Harvest Pale’ which was conSqueezy had to climb a tree on the sumed over the weekend. It was rather non-towpath side of the lock to fell it. Those good. of us working on the towpath side thought RAF Martin cooked breakfast on Saturthat either Squeezy had got bad dandruff or day morning and I cut up the chicken for the it had starting snowing wood chippings. It evening meal. was not possible to take a picture of the Back on site new bonfires were started wood chippings floating across the canal but on both sides of the lock to minimise the Squeezy did get a great aerial picture of the distance that the cut wood had to be moved lock and surrounding area [see back cover]. to the fires. We had a productive and enjoyable I went back to the accommodation weekend. I’ve just seen a post on Facebook before lunch to make the soup. When I got that stated we did collectively over 950 hours back I found Paul Shaw had turned up to of work. We also left a load of cut wood that join us. Robert was finding it hard going in the locals will be able to sell to raise revenue. the afternoon as he appeared to blunting a Martin Hacon few chains. There was some debate about whether he was working hard or something else! The evening meal of lemon chicken and rice, mixed fruit lattice with cream or cold custard wasn’t as hard to cook as the previous night. RAF Martin suggested we cook the chicken on the griddle, this was very successful. The rice was individual portions of boil Squeezy Tom and Amber sizing-up a job in the bag. Not

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Progress Wendover Arm Grand Union Wendover Arm Wendover Arm Trust’s January and February Working Parties: Despite national forecasts of appalling weather in January this did not come to pass and we continued with the lining of the canal channel through Bridge 4A. We were also able to continue with excavation for continuing the pipe capping (installing a concrete cover over the buried pipe that currently carries the water supply along the bed of the drained length of canal) in Stage 3 and clear an area for tipping the spoil in Stage 4 between Whitehouses and Bridge 4. The annual trimming of the towpath hedge on the towpath side at Little Tring was also completed. Relining to Bridge 4A was completed at the February working party despite the setback of having a dumper break down after having unloaded 2 cubic metres of concrete and about to return for the second 2 cubic metres from the ready-mix lorry. This breakdown on Wednesday morning also trapped an excavator so things came to a complete halt. Fortunately Hardings, our ready-mix supplier, was able to deliver the second 2 cubic metres to another customer but it took Wednesday mid-day until Friday morning to get the dumper operational. Our thanks to those who extended their working week to the Friday to enable the concreting to be completed. Excavation of the bed ready for pipe capping continued with the spoil being tipped in Stage 4. One thing that has been a continual sore that I have written about before is the whole question of manning working parties. We still get too few volunteers some days and too many other days. This year we are embarking on a long run of pipe capping and little else. The excavation work requires a team of, say, six including two excavator drivers and one or two dumper drivers. Those not driving

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Down on the Wendover Arm they’re persevering despite the weather, welcoming visitors from Project Hereward in the Fens, and looking at their Arm from the air...

will be trimming out the final excavation and fixing the screed boards, DPM and reinforcement mesh and helping with the ready-mix pours when we need two to shovel and two to screed off. So, to finalise, I ask volunteers to nominate the days they are coming such that there are six on site every day and not turn up unannounced to find there is no work for them. The way ahead with Restoration: Recently there has been growing concern over our ability to keep our restoration going purely on a volunteer basis. We are looking at the possibility of using contract assistance with some of the work. Project Hereward: At the working party on Saturday 7th February we had a visit from five members of the Project Hereward group intent on restoring the Horseways Channel in the Fens led by their Chairman, Roger Sexton. This channel links the 40ft and 16ft drains with the Old Bedford River with a lock at each end. If you are a member of IWA there is a letter “More on Welches Dam Lock” on page 45 of the Spring 2015 issue of Waterways that outlines the problem in more detail. It seems that the Environment Agency, who is presently responsible for this waterway, is not being very co-operative! The channel is about 2½ miles long and leaks. The group had heard about our expertise in lining a leaking canal and asked to come and visit our work to learn all about what they are faced with. Despite an overcast day it was dry and we trust that we gave them all the information they require. Editor’s note: we will carry a restoration feature on the Project Hereward scheme in a future issue of Navvies. Aerial view: Finally, some of our readers will already have seen this aerial photograph on the web site that was taken from a drone above Bridge 4A but I am including it for all to see. I feel that it is a very appropriate picture as it illustrates the length of canal in Phase II that still remains to be restored; from Bridge 4A to the winding hole at Little Tring, 1,300 metres or 1,408 yards in old money. It also illustrates how a contour canal has to wind its way along a fixed level – in the case of the Wendover Arm, all the way from Wendover to Bulbourne Junction. Roger Leishman, Restoration Director 01442 874536 rwleishman@gmail.com

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Progress The Derby and the MB&B Derby & Sandiacre The Derby & Sandiacre Canal Trust had applied for Heritage Grant funding to the Heritage Lottery Fund to restore approximately half a mile of the canal, from the junction with the Erewash Canal at Sandiacre through to Sandringham Road. HLF rejected our application as it lacked sufficient local community engagement and learning opportunities for the public to learn about the heritage. We had mistakenly assumed that seeing the canal restored was an opportunity for the public to see it and learn about it without overtly spending more money on learning. We also had too many “round numbers” in our costings as we had been led to believe that at a phase 1 application our costs could be +/- 50% and that they could be refined during the development phase; however on review it is clear that the HLF are looking for much greater accuracy at the time of the phase 1 application. To address this we will be applying for

Our regular report of progress on restoration projects around the country’s waterways continues with the Derby and the Manchester Bolton & Bury... a much smaller Our Heritage grant application. This is to: (1) Gain community engagement; (2) Excavate one of the lock chambers to determine the level of damage by the installation of post closure services and look at any “archaeological” finds that may be in the lock chamber; and (3) Undertake some smaller engineering studies to allow a more accurate costing of the restoration to be undertaken; then: (4) Prepare resubmission of a full Heritage Grant Bid. To progress this we are currently progressing recruitment of a consultant to help with the application processes and the community engagement. We will then look to use a mix of professional and volunteer resources to undertake 2 and 3. Chris Rees FitzPatrick 07757 979271 Director and Treasurer, The Derby and Sandiacre Canal Trust www.derbycanal.org.uk

Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal

The Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal Society is continuing to reveal more of the six Prestolee Locks at Nob End in Little Lever (Bolton). We have already cut down about 40 trees, and we have agreed plans with the Canal & River Trust to aim to dig out the locks and create safe public access routes during 2015.

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John’s a hero! John Hawkins of WRG Print, responsible for printing Navvies and also a long-serving volunteer with canal camps and the WRG regional groups as well as Rickmansworth Waterways Trust, has been presented with a Heroes of the Waterways award. These are new awards presented by the Canal & River Trust which aim to “celebrate and recognise the long service of volunteers who have worked to support the canals and rivers”. Our congratulations to John. Very well deserved.

Moving house? If you move house, please remember to tell WRG so we can update your Navvies subscription, Driver Authorisation and other contact details. And please note that if you are also a member of our parent body the Inland Waterways Association, then both WRG and IWA need to be notified.

Calling van drivers... If you ever park up one of the WRG vans somewhere where it isn’t likely to be moved for some time, please remember to leave the handbrake off - otherwise the brakes may seize, and can cost a lot to fix. We’ve just found out exactly how much.

New excavator The Volvo EC27 excavator bought to replace WRG’s old excavator ‘Blue’ has now been delivered - see photo on the back cover. See the last issue for full details of the new machine; see the next issue for information for restoration groups wanting to use it.

Navvies News Congratulations...

...to Gary Summers and Julie Arnold on their engagement. Also to Alyssa Campion and Rob Prokic on their wedding; and to Samantha Hemmings-Smith and David Daniels on their wedding.

Stanley Holland R.I.P. We are sorry to have to bring you the sad news that veteran volunteer and occasional Navvies contributor Stan Holland has died. One of his more unusual contributions to the waterways was that he wrote a WRG version of Jerusalem, performed variously at festivals, by Mikron Theatre, and late at night in licensed premises where navvies gathered. We offer our condolences to his family and friends, and reproduce his words in full... And did that pound in Brindley’s time Wind among England’s valleys green? And was a noble flight of locks On ev’ry lovely landscape seen? But then the railway giants came With soot and smoke and fire and flame And they despoiled the waterways To England’s everlasting shame Bring me my boots and grappling iron! Bring me my mighty JCB! Bring me my spade - Oh ecstacy! Bring me my gallon flask of tea! I will not flinch from seas of mud Nor will my sludge-pump idly stand Till we’ve restored the waterways Through England’s green and pleasant land.

Buy a picture and help the Shrewsbury & Newport at Wappenshall Pictured (right) is one of seven canal scenes created by artist Alan Reade in support of the Shrewsbury & Newport Canals and depicting places along the route of the canals. They are available as prints from £8 each by post from Smith York Fine Art Publishing, Jackfield Tile Museum, Ironbridge, ShropshireTF8 7AP (Tel. 01952 883461). £5 from every print sold will be donated to the Appeal fund for a £1.5m project to restore and convert historic warehouses at Wappenshall Junction into a Visitor Centre and Community Hub. The Appeal hopes to raise £0.5m match-funding for a £1m Heritage Lottery Fund grant already secured by the Shrewsbury & Newport Canals Trust – see sncanal.org.uk

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Infill Spotted at Staveley..

Dear Deirdre Can you tell the Navvies team they’ve made some mistakes in printing the latest WRG diary. It looks as if we’ve 44 weekend digs scheduled at Bowbridge Lock on the Cotswold Canals this year, and several dozen weeks’ camps – surely that can’t be right! Deirdre writes This is in fact correct: all efforts are focused on Bowbridge for the forseeable future. Learn to enjoy it.

Dear Deirdre It’s not easy for me to get to the Cotswolds, can I book on a camp in Wales instead this year? Deirdre writes Yes, but some parts of Wales have been moved to Bowbridge for safekeeping. Dear Deirdre I’m frightened. Last time I got in a van with Martin Ludgate he drove all the way from Waterloo Station to Bowbridge reading a newspaper at the wheel. I think he’s getting dangerously familiar with the route. Deirdre writes That’s nothing - he had a TV fitted on the dashboard, the last I heard. “Yes, but George, are you sure it’s level?”

All together now, “Awww....”

Dear Deirdre Are we allowed to go anywhere that isn’t Bowbridge this year? Deirdre writes No, just shut up and do Bowbridge.

And finally...

WRG Forestry found a suitable heart-shaped tree to mark Julie and Gary’s engagement (see Navvies News) on St Valentine’s Day. They would like to point out that it’s not like Blackpool rock - the writing doesn’t go all the way through....

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...my thanks to the Chelmer camp for this Essex-themed alternative Navvies cover.

Outro Plenty of progress at our current main worksite on the Cotswold Canals at Bowbridge Lock. In this picture taken at the beginning of March we were still cutting out old brickwork on the towpath side but had started rebuilding the offside wall.

We also concreted the top cill... The Easter Camp finished cutting-out on the towpath side...


...and removed the old gates ...and built a block retaining wall above it

A brick chain delivers more supplies for the next stage of rebuilding

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page 40

Profile for The Inland Waterways Association

Navvies 270  

Navvies 270. Waterway Recovery Group's magazine for volunteers restoring the waterways.

Navvies 270  

Navvies 270. Waterway Recovery Group's magazine for volunteers restoring the waterways.