volunteers restoring waterways
Cotswold Swansea Cromford
Congratulations to our Chairman
waterway recovery group
Issue No 272 August-September 2015
Intro The Appeal so far...
The good news is that our Van Appeal Appeal is is now now over over half half way way to to reaching its target of £120,000 reaching its target of £120,000 to to replace replace our our four four vehicles. vehicles. So So here here are are aa selection selection of of pics pics of of how how we’ve we’ve been been raising raising the the money so far, and on pages 6-7 money so far, and on pages 6-7 you you can can read read about about what what we’ve we’ve got planned for the future
The Welsh 3000 challenge
Festival Festival digger digger driving driving Does the fudge ever stop?
The Lapworth Walk
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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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... Editorial It’s MKP MBE! 4-7 Appeal update Half way there! 8-9 Coming soon Autumn camp on the Chelmer & Blackwater, Reunion on the Uttoxeter 10-11 Directory WRG and canal societies 12-15 Camp reports two weeks on the Cotswold Canals 16-20 East Midlands Cromford Bridge 21 Diary WRG, IWA, CRT, canal societies22-27 Camp report Mon & Brec 28-30 Progress our regular roundup 31-35 Camp report Cromford 36-37 Safety review How can we be safer?38-39 Frank Wallder an appreciation 40 Navvies News the restoration raffle 41 Backfill What does MBE really stand for? 42 Outro WRG Training Weekend in pictures 43
Contributions... ...are always welcome, whether handwritten, typed, on CD, DVD or by email. Photos welcome: digital, slides, prints. Please say if you want prints back. Digital pics are welcome as email attachments, preferably JPG, but if you have a lot of large files it’s best to send them on CD or DVD or to contact the editor first. Contributions by post to the editor Martin Ludgate, 35, Silvester Road, London SE22 9PB, or by email to email@example.com. Press date for issue 273: 1 September.
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: Bowbridge Lock on the Cotswold nearing completion with final silt clearance: see camp reports, p16-20 (photo: David Miller). Back cover top: WRG Chairman Mike Palmer marks his recent elevation to the peerage (OK, an MBE actually) by teaching scaffolding at the WRG Training weekend. Bottom: Chesterfield Camp at Staveley: report next time
Editorial It’s MKP MBE!
We take a 20-year wander through the Chairman’s writings, covering everything from whether BW were covering their arses to why WRG weren’t covering theirs...
Congratulations Mike Palmer MBE! “Alan Jervis insisted on only one condition when I took over the chairmanship of WRG: that I wouldn’t write a glowing obituary that would have you all choking on your Eccles cakes...” Those were the opening words of Mike Palmer’s first Chairman’s Comment page in Navvies 150, published in 1995. In turn I feel that two decades on, we shouldn’t mark the awarding of the MBE to Mike in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List by publishing a “glowing obituary” of him. Firstly because he’s very much still around and not showing any signs of leaving; but more importantly because as Mike made it very clear when the news broke (conveniently at the WRG Training Weekend), he saw it as very much an award for the whole of WRG. “I wouldn’t be able to do any of this without these fantastic volunteers”, as he put it. While avoiding obituarising (is there such a word?) I have, however, gone through those 20 years of Navvies and pulled out a selection of quotes from Mike’s words of wisdom, wit and wackiness, one or two of which might just help to make that exact point... And we start in 1995, where Mike followed on from the above opening by saying that “Almost everything, from government interference to the ‘wrong kind of weed’, has been blamed for the various problems that face canal restoration”, but that with restoration becoming ‘trendy’ again, “the only thing that can continuously take the credit for successful canal restoration is volunteer effort: the determination and vision of you all that - time after time - has faced up to the opposition and won”. In 1996 we read (among some remarkably familiar stuff about an Appeal to replace all our vans) of British Waterways (remember them?) “acknowledging that work on the Montgomery was poor and full of errors that they really must learn from”, that it was IWA and WRG who had “stood up and said ‘That’s not good enough’ “ - and moreover, that it was volunteers “the only group with no other allegiance or obligation” whose role (quoting Alan Jervis) was “ to demand the impossible, and to keep on demanding it until it becomes the possible.” Come 1997, and Mike commented that “It says a lot about the dedication, skill and professionalism of WRG volunteers that, for a group that has to plan a year ahead, we can cope so well with sudden absences of leaders, completed changes of jobs and relocation to a different canal with only a few days’ notice” - but cautioned that a recent fatal accident on a (non-canal related) volunteer camp showed that “the most important lessons are that this occurred because of planned work being changed without approval, and novice volunteers attempting to do more than they were asked without checking first”. Finally the year ended with some rather prescient stuff about who will run the waterways in the future: “The concept of a BW Trust might seem like crazy in the pub, but pub discussions don’t make it to the Minister, whilst published letters do...” 1998 saw Mike’s column “highlighting the major problem behind restoration schemes... simply not enough cash”, before going on to explain that “the simple fact is that not enough people care about canals”, followed by the suggestion that the ‘BW Trust’ idea with a big membership scheme might mean that “They could go to Parliament saying not ‘we represent 40,000 boaters, many of whom don’t like us very much’ but ‘we represent 200,000 people who believe the canals are worth saving.” That the Friends of the Canal & River Trust has yet to hit one-tenth of this figure suggests that there’s a little way to go yet... He was soon back to giving BW a hard time, though asking “Why is it essential to turn all our canals into maintenance-free ‘aquatic motorways’, spending very large sums of capital to eliminate relatively small sums in the future? The canal system is upheld by everyone for its engineering - the innovative (and not always entirely successful) ideas that evolved through the most important years of this country’s development. Let’s not destroy this genius
with bland motorway-style engineering for the sake of a few quid shifted from the revenue budget to the capital budget.” 1999 began with a defence of Navvies’ editorial stance regarding canal camp reports “Generally the ‘If it’s sent in then I’ll print it’ policy is good; it keeps us on our toes and gives us useful feedback” coupled with a caution “How do you think the local organiser feels when he’s trying to convince the local MPs how much progress your camp made, when one of them says “That’s funny, all you did according to this was got drunk...’ “ And just to prove that the Chairman’s Comment wasn’t just gloomy forebodings about waterways politics, we read of a remarkably successful summer of camps where “The variety of tasks was greater than ever - and still we managed to complete all that was asked of us. And we managed to train people up, especially leaders.” Mind you, we also read that “several photos of me that I cannot imagine anyone wanting are still missing (mind you, at least I got my pants back).” A call to arms kicked off 2000: the Hereford & Gloucester’s Over Basin, with a lot to do, and a tight deadline: “This is going to take a massive amount of work from all of us. However anyone who has been to the site can see it is a worthwhile project. More than any other site I can think of it has work for everyone, no matter what levels of skill. Those with long memories will remember the Stratford Blitzes we laid on to keep that canal open. This is at least as important, both for the H&G and for all of us, as it is a showpiece scheme for everyone involved in negotiations with local authorities and developers on projects all over the country.” Meanwhile on the political front, it all seemed to be going too well. BW was promoting restoration, Government legislation was protecting derelict routes, canals featured on TV, and developers were “Keen to get housing around an old basin rather than on top of one”. So what was the problem? “There is just no one to fight anymore! So please stop fighting each other!” On to 2001, and it was restoration ‘partnerships’ that were in the line of fire: Mike remarked that “I have yet to be involved in a partnership where at least half of the intellectual effort isn’t devoted to internal politics”, before calling for genuine partherships with everyone included at all stages. Then there was the summer Chairman’s Comment which took the form of a postcard (right). Come 2002, and Mike was apologising “for looking such a sulky bugger on the front cover of Navvies 193. It did give the impression that both John and myself were not at all impressed with being able to go through the locks. Nothing could be further from the truth. Again my thanks to all those who worked at Hanbury - it was a wonderful project”. He’d cheered up by 2003, and was struggling to write a column because “I am so very happy that I’m having a problem with words to sum it up”. Why? Aston Locks on the Mont were finally open! Mind you, he added a worry that “The trouble with conceding a few little points for the ‘overall good’ is that they may be the very details that make our waterways special”. In 2004 were (surprise surprise!) once again trying to raise lots of dosh to buy new vans and a whole lot more in the ‘Right Tool or the Right Job’ appeal - including some pretty odd fundraising efforts. As Mike put it, “One of the few treats for people as old and jaded as myself is managing to surprise other people. So to hear legendary waterways photographer Derek Pratt saying ‘That must be the weirdest weekend I have ever spent on the waterways’ was particularly pleasing. Slightly more worrying was that I was naked at the time, save for the ingenuity of a helpful police officer.” Thus the 2005 WRG calendar was born. On a more serious note, Mike railed against BW and the wqy “their ridiculous assumption that volun-
teers equals risk is killing off so many of the real partnerships that had flourished”. In 2005 Roger Burchett retired as WRG Transport Manager, and Mike paid tribute: “Roger’s resemblance to Father Christmas is legendary and as far as I am concerned every hour I have spent with him has felt like a ride over the rooftops...” Mike also introduced three rules for writing his column. “Rule 1: Avoid making any hasty response to a particular issue: wait until the facts are known and you have talked to all the people concerned. Rule 2: Always give a clear message: never contradict yourself further down the page. Rule 3: Never insult more than a small number of your readers.” - before admitting he was about to break all three in his latest diatribe on BW and Health & Safety... In 2006 Mike took a look back at old issues of Navvies, noting the differences “Appeals in early issues for £24 to fix a van as no-one in the working party had a car contrast starkly with some current groups who don’t need a van as they can fit a 3-inch pump in their company 4x4s” but also disturbing similarities “ A report from a WRG Committee meeting that is almost word-for-word the same as the ones today” as well as his main point that just like in the old days, “in amongst all the cynicism, sarcasm, frivolity and countless other distractions the work we do really does help to make a difference” - and that “WRG has always tried to provide good value, indeed ‘a little bit extra’.” It was back to H&S in 2007, and a forthright view that “a lot of people we are having to work with are primarily concerned not with the real welfare of workers but (a) covering their backsides and (b) making sure nothing buggers up their safety record”. Come 2008, and Mike reported on a very successful summer on the Droitwich: “Given that many restoration schemes appear to be in a quiet ‘planning’ phase it looks like we are all relying on Droitwich (once described by a senior waterways commentator as ‘a festering boil on the backside of waterway restoration’) to provide the national proof that waterways, despite a loss of interest from government, can still deliver all the good things we know then can.” By 2009 the talk was of BW’s proposed move to the charitable sector - and Mike had some concerns about the reasoning: “What worries me is that whenever BW have tried to distil it all down to a single pithy message they just go back to ‘It will gain us access to loads more funding options’. Now I do understand that right now cash is important but if that is the reason you are changing your whole organisation then you are missing the point. You become a charity because you have something to believe in, you change the whole way that your organisation works to make it better. Becoming a third sector organisation is the reward in itself – you then get the money because you are worth it!” A rather different kind of H&S issue featured in Mike’s first Comment of 2010: “We have replaced all the kitchen knives in both the Canal Camp kits. So this summer they really will be very sharp. By the time you read this we will also have refurbished all the First Aid kits as well. Which is probably not a bad thing...” Those newfangled ‘social media’ made their appearance in Mike’s column in 2011 albeit in terms of him not going anywhere near them: “I don’t do the Facebook thing - like many middle-aged blokes I’m convinced I’m far too busy for it. However, last week I very nearly signed up – no, not for the unrestricted access to the Tim Lewis photo album but for the extreme pleasure of setting my status to: ‘MKP is having a pint in the Railway public house and is about to go boating on the Droitwich’’.” Yes, it was finally open after all those years. 2012 began with a landmark: “You may or may not have noticed it but last issue was the staggering number 250. Many organisations would have made it a celebration issue with much reflection and navel gazing. We were too busy doing stuff. I'm rather proud of that.” before announcing his disappearance into an “Olympic sized hole” for the next six months. Mike emerged from his hole in early 2013 to find that British Waterways had been moved out of Government control and transmogrified into the new Canal & River Trust charity. “Trustees are in place; policies have been worked out; staff and departments have been re-arranged; business plans have been approved. So now should be the time for CRT to provide a clear vision on what volunteers mean to them. So I have asked them, and Caroline Killeavy has agreed to write an article for the next Navvies giving just that.” Three years on, the invitation’s still open: we’d be happy for anyone from CRT to submit an article for Navvies. Later the same year, we started sending Navvies to all the CRT volunteer coordi-
nators (and listing their details in the mag). As Mike said “The whole point of Navvies is to bring ideas and people together, not only to see how others do it but also to see how others feel about it. Because the most important thing with volunteers is to understand their motivation. So welcome to all the CRT volunteer co-ordinators reading this edition – feel free to pass it on to your colleagues!” In 2014 we upped the number of summer Canal Camps: “Now a 50 percent increase would be pretty astounding in any circumstances. But the important thing to realise is that it is just due to volunteers deciding to do more. Despite all of the very welcome renewed interest in restoration from IWA/CRT, it wasn’t down to press releases, conferences and media events. The extra effort came from people like you reading this now who just gave a little more: volunteers who realised they could find a few extra days to help lead a camp, or lay bricks, or drive vans, or bake cakes or any one of the myriad of jobs that make the difference between an OK camp and a brilliant camp. Whether that effort came from WRG or the local society hosting the camp it was ‘the people wot dun it’.” And as for 2015: well, we’re four issues in, and I’m afraid Mike hasn’t managed to produce a single Chairman’s Comment page yet! So is this 4-page, 20-year wander through the Chairman’s Comments of the past, simply a very very long-winded way of eventually coming to the point of nagging Mike for a Chairman’s Page for the next issue? Well, no. I would in fact like to conclude by offering our warmest congratulations to Mike on his MBE from everyone involved in Navvies, and on behalf of everyone in WRG and the wider restoration movement. You deeply deserve it. But by the way, Mike, the next press date’s 1 September... Martin Ludgate
Palmerisms... “Palmer’s fourth rule of canal restoration: There is no way a failed bid, a supermarket or a road can stop a canal being restored properly. Only a bad restoration can stop it being restored properly.” “Whilst we do understand the pressures local volunteers suffer, please remember that our volunteers are just that: volunteers. They will be there through thick and thin, so long as you don’t hack them off.” “I don’t know of any restoration that has failed due to excessive honesty.” “Whatever your talents there is a place for you in WRG.” “Quite simply we are worth the investment - we can deliver the results.” “Well, perhaps it is better to have an impossible dream than to wake up in the middle of a nightmare restoration.” “I still dream of a headline that says ‘Hooray - officials decide new legislation does not apply to volunteers’.” “It did feel good to get back to basics: no agendas, no meetings, just a mattock, a lot of laughs, and a trench to dig.” “No endless email exchanges about what if a nuclear tanker runs into the site. Until yesterday I didn’t have enough drivers, I still don’t have a cook, and not a single one of the volunteers has been on a camp before. And it feels good. This is a nice, straightforward camp on a site that just needs a good push - exactly what we were brought into being for..” “There are some cynics that reckon that if the planning for a camp is a complete cockup then the actual camp will be fine. If the converse of that is the case, then we are set for serious chaos next year...” “We realise that it is often a rather scary thing to ask ‘I’d like to help a bit more – is there any little job I could do?’ as you feel you will get lumbered with chairmanship or editing Navvies or some other horrendous task.” “I think I may have officially become a grumpy old navvy. I’d always hoped to avoid this but I think this summer might have pushed me over the edge. Put simply there was just too much bricks and mortar and, as everyone knows, if you want to become a real moaner then go and lay some bricks. Just moving bricks doesn’t do it, neither does just mixing mortar - there is some complicated alchemy that occurs when you put a brick in one hand and mortar in the other. If you doubt it, then just try putting your most happy-go-lucky navvy on the brickie gang. Within ten minutes I guarantee you will hear ‘How do you expect me to work with this?’ ” “We are an organisation of ‘part timers’ who would famously rather dig shit (or go down the pub) than attend meetings.” “This is the best job I have ever known and I thank you all for the support you have given me.”
Van Appeal We’re half way there! Van Appeal Round-up: Over half way! The van appeal has passed the halfway point of the £120,000 total and is currently at £65,545, enough to buy two vans!
What’s been happening… Donations First and foremost we’d like to thank everyone that has donated to the appeal. Donations have been the biggest contribution to the current total by far and it has been incredible to see so much support.
Welsh 3000 On Saturday 20 June three th
members of IWA Head Office staff (Jenny
The appeal for 120 grand to replace our fleet of vans has already raised enough for the first two vans! But we still need over £55,000 more: here are even more ways to help... Black, Amber Jenkins and myself), one WRG volunteer (Pete Flemming) and one Newbury Working Party Group volunteer (Rob Nicholson) completed the Welsh 3000 challenge. The Welsh 3000 involved walking across 15 peaks over 3000 ft. The sensible ones usually attempt the challenge over two or three days but we decided to go for the 24 hour time limit… We somehow managed to stagger over the finish in 18 hours, 16 hours peak to peak, and raised over £1,500 in sponsorship. We’re in no hurry to do it again as we were barely able to walk the next day! I prefer sitting down anyway…
Drive a Digger and Bricklaying WRG held a bricklaying activity at Stratford River Festival, IWA National Trailboat Festival
Training the next generation of brickies and collecting donations for the Appeal at festivals
on the Lancaster, and Rickmansworth Festival for children to learn how to bricklay. They also held ‘Drive a Digger’ at the Trailboat Festival giving people the opportunity to experience operating a digger. Any donations received were given to the van appeal.
Rhubarb! Terry Cavender has very kindly sold his home-grown rhubarb and donated the proceeds to the van appeal. It just goes to show that you can do anything and everything to support the appeal so we’d love to hear your ideas. Can you beat this?
WRG Car Stickers If you can’t have a WRG van of your own, branding your car with a WRG car sticker is the next best thing! There are still plenty available for £1.50 each from the IWA shop and roughly 66% of every purchase goes to the appeal.
Van Appeal Fudge Becky Parr, Kirsty Wallace, Mike and Jude Palmer have continued to sell fudge and their respective Northern and Midlands fudge distribution centres are still going well! Buy some while stocks last.
What’s to come…
“drive” a van. See www.wrg.org.uk/ droitwich_sponsored_walk for full details or contact Jen & Amber at WRG Head Office on 01494 783453 ext. 604.
Barrels of Beer - If you’re going to the Cotswolds David Smith has kindly organised to donate and sell beer from Bath Ales and Stroud Brewery to raise funds for the appeal.
Barn Dance – The Barn Dance is back! On Saturday 5th March 2016 at Rowington Village Hall there will be food, live music and lots of beer so keep this date free in your diaries! Accommodation will be available at Rowington Village Hall and places will open soon. More details to follow…
Bungle is going Veggie George ‘Bungle’ Eycott, WRG’s vans guru, really really likes to eat meat. But in November, for one month only, you have the chance to put him on a vegetarian diet. The more he raises in sponsorship, the longer he’ll have to go vegetarian, with a limit of £1,000 for the whole month. If you want to prolong his suffering then get over to his Virgin Money Giving Page and sponsor him! See http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/bungle
Droitwich Walk Book your places now for WRG’s Droitwich Sponsored Walk on Saturday 19th September. Choose between a 5 mile or 22 mile route and take part as an individual or as part of a Van-tastic team! Each team will represent a WRG van on the walk. Fancy dress is encouraged! Mrs Palmer, MKP MBE and the rest of their team will do the entire walk in fancy dress to the theme of Snow White and the Seven “Wharfs” if they raise £1,000! See http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/rfb It costs £5 per person or £10 to
Appealing Updates Keep up to date with new events and activities that will take place later in the appeal by going to www.wrg.org.uk/wrgvanappeal or wait for the next update in the October issue of Navvies. If you’d like more information on the appeal or any of the activities listed contact Toby Gomm at 01494 783453 ext. 611 or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website. Toby Gomm
Do you fancy spending a week on the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation in October? Have you booked for the Reunion in November?
Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation Canal Camp 24-31 October 2015
London WRG resurfacing the moorings at Haybridge on the Chelmer, and the gleaming completed concrete
Our summer canal camps programme ends in early September, but we don’t go into hibernation yet. We’ve got a week’s October camp on the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation in Essex. This is ‘our own’ waterway: WRG’s parent body the Inland Waterways Association runs it via a subsidiarly called Essex Waterways Ltd (EWL), with a lot of volunteer support. Here’s Roy Chandler of EWL to give us some background information, starting with the history of WRG’s involvement... The restoration and re-opening of the derelict Springfield Basin at the top end of the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation, close to Chelmsford City centre, was spearheaded by Chelmsford Branch IWA in 1992-3 assisted by WRG. Redevelopment was subsequently undertaken at the head of the basin and this has been followed over the last two years by further waterside residential building. More is being planned with the recent sale of adjoining land. EWL has been rebuilding wharf walls in conjunction with the developers. It is now time to move further down the basin, and the October Canal Camp will carry out preparation work to set the scene for further redevelopment. The Camp will scrub-bash an overgrown section of towpath and bank and re-grade this. It will also tackle overhanging trees and expose overgrown wharf frontages so the condition of these can be established. EWL’s Avant excavator and chipper will be used (high pressure gas mains prevent the use of bonfires). Work boats will also be available.
Accommodation will be on the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation ever-popular Haybay barge at Boreham Heybridge Basin Ulting with its attractive setting and bunk Heybridge Little Chelmsford beds. Baddow This is a Maldon Springfield Blackwater regular WRG Canal Basin estuary Camp so you’ll need to book it via the WRG website www.wrg.org.uk, contact head office by email to email@example.com or phone 01494 783453. Incidentally, the October Camp isn’t all that’s happening on the Chelmer & Blackwater. EWL, supported by Chelmsford IWA and Essex WRG, works all winter. Back to Roy for more... Several weekend work parties through the winter period will carry out scrub-bashing and tow path improvements along the Navigation. Elsewhere on the Navigation preparatory work is underway to replace lock gates at Ricketts Lock and the caisson gate at the Heybridge sea lock. Bank piling is taking place at Hoe Mill Lock. Follow the links to Essex Waterways from www.waterways.org.uk to find out more.
WRG Reunion dig, Uttoxeter Canal, 7-8 November The Uttoxeter (a former 13-mile extension of the Caldon running through the beautiful Churnet Valley in Staffordshire) is the scene for this year’s big annual gettogether and major working party, clearing trees and vegetation in the Crumpwood area. The Reunion often attracts 100 or more volunteers: but you might not think so from the list of people who’ve booked in as a result of our jolly full-colour leaflet in the middle pages of the last Navvies... I’m sure it’s just that you haven’t got around to booking yet. But please do: the more people that book on in good time, the easier it makes things for the team that will be planning and leading the weekend, and the better chance they have of sorting out lots of interesting work for us. Use the form in Navvies 271, see www.wrg.org.uk or contact Head Office.
Oh no, the C-word!
Reunion task: clear this length of canal at Crumpwood
Yes, Christmas working parties are approaching. London WRG and KESCRG party dig (5-6 Dec), WRG New Year Camp (26 Dec-1 Jan), both provisionally on the Cotswold Canals. More details next time.
Directory Canal Society and WRG contacts ASHBY CANAL ASSOC Cyril Blackford 48 The Ridgeway, Burbage Hinckley LE10 2NR Tel: 01455 614816 firstname.lastname@example.org BARNSLEY, DEARNE & DOVE CANAL TRUST June Backhouse, 39 Hill St, Elsecar, Barnsley S74 8EN 01226 743383 www.bddct.org.uk BASINGSTOKE CANAL SOCIETY Duncan Paine, 52 Kings Rd Fleet GU51 3AQ 01252-614125 email@example.com www.basingstokecanal.org.uk BCN SOCIETY Jeff Barley, 17 Sunnyside Walsall Wood, W Midlands 01543 373284 www.bcn-society.org.uk BUCKINGHAM CANAL SOCIETY Athina Beckett 2 Staters Pound, Pennyland Milton Keynes MK1 5AX 01908 661217 email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.buckinghamcanal.org.uk BUGSWORTH BASIN HERITAGE TRUST Ian Edgar Top Lock House, Lime Kiln Lane, Marple SK6 6BX. 0161 427 7402 email@example.com www.brocross.com/iwps/ index.htm
CALDON & UTTOXETER CANALS TRUST Alison Smedley Hazelhurst Cottage Denford, Leek ST13 7JT 01538-385388 firstname.lastname@example.org www.cuct.org.uk CHESTERFIELD CANAL TRUST Mick Hodgetts 31 Pottery Lane Chesterfield S41 9BH 01246 620695 chesterfield-canaltrust.org.uk CHICHESTER SHIP CT Linda Wilkinson 1 Chidham Lane Chichester PO18 8TL 01243 771363 www.chichestercanal.co.uk COTSWOLD CT Bell House, Wallbridge Lock Stroud GL5 3JS 01453 752568 email@example.com www.cotswoldcanals.com FRIENDS OF THE CROMFORD CANAL George Rogers 28 Drury Avenue Spondon DE21 7FZ firstname.lastname@example.org www.cromfordcanal.org.uk DERBY & SANDIACRE CS Doug Flack 23 Thoresby Cres, Draycott Derby DE72 3PH 01332 576037 www.derbycanal.org.uk
DIG DEEP INITIATIVE Alan Cavender 53 Derwent Drive, Maidenhead SL6 6LE 01628 629033 email@example.com www.dig-deep.org.uk DORSET & SOMERSET CANAL SOCIETY Derrick Hunt 43 Greenland Mills Bradford on Avon BA15 1BL 01225 863066 firstname.lastname@example.org www.dorandsomcanal.org EAST ANGLIAN WATERWAYS ASSOC David Revill 43 Kings Road Coltishall, Norfolk NR12 7DX 01603 738648 email@example.com EREWASH CANAL P&DA John Baylis 215 Clipstone Rd. West Forest Town, Mansfield Notts NG19 0HJ 01623 633895 firstname.lastname@example.org ESSEX WATERWAYS LTD Graham Brown Paper Mill Lock North Hill Little Baddow Essex CM3 4BT 07966 375351 email@example.com www.waterways.org.uk FOXTON INCLINED PLANE TRUST c/o Mike Beech Foxton Canal Museum Middle Lock Gumley Road Foxton Market Harborough LE16 7RA 0116 279 2657 firstname.lastname@example.org www.fipt.org.uk
RIVER GIPPING TRUST Martin Bird 29 Melton Grange Rd Melton Woodbridge IP12 1SA 01394 380765 restoration@rivergippingtrust. org.uk GRAND WESTERN CT Denis Dodd, Wharf Cottage Nynehead, Wellington Somerset TA21 0BJ 01823 661653 GRANTHAM CANAL SOC Ian Wakefield 0115 989 2128 ian.wakefield@ granthamcanal.com www.granthamcanal.com HEREFS & GLOUCS CT c/o The Wharf House Over, Gloucester GL2 8DB 01452 332900 www.h-g-canal.org.uk KENNET & AVON CT Derrick Hunt (as per Dorset & Somerset) www1.katrust.org.uk KESCRG Eddie Jones ‘Little Orchard’ Berryfields, Fillongley Coventry CV7 8EX 0845 226 8589 email@example.com www.kescrg.org.uk LANCASTER CT Keith Tassart 24 Kings Crescent Morecambe LA3 1HX 01524 424761 www.lctrust.co.uk LAPAL CANAL TRUST 26 Loynells Road, Rednal Birmingham B45 9NP 01785 713862 or Hugh Humphreys 07970 765554 www.lapal.org
LICHFIELD & HATHERTON CANALS REST'N TRUST Sue Williams, Norfolk House 29 Hall Lane, Hammerwich Burntwood WS7 0JP 01543 671427 firstname.lastname@example.org Hatherton: Dennis Cooper 01543 374370 www.lhcrt.org.uk NEATH & TENNANT CS Ian Milne 16 Gower Road, Sketty, Swansea SA2 9BY 01792 547902 MANCHESTER BOLTON & BURY CANAL SOCIETY Steve Dent 07802-973228 www.mbbcs.org.uk MONMOUTHSHIRE BRECON & ABERGAVENNY CT Phil Hughes 14 Locks Canal Centre Cwm Lane, Newport NP10 9GN 01633 892167 email@example.com www.mbact.org.uk NWPG Bill Nicholson, 17 Clifford Rd Princes Risborough HP27 0DU 01844 343369 / 0779 1097773 firstname.lastname@example.org www.nwpg.org.uk POCKLINGTON C.A.S Paul Waddington Church House, Main St. Hemingborough YO8 7QE 01757 638027 ROLLE CANAL AND NTH DEVON WATERWAYS SOC Adrian & Hilary Wills Vale Cottage, 7 Annery Kiln Weare Giffard, Bideford EX39 5JE Tel: 01237 477705 email@example.com www.therollecanal.co.uk
SALTISFORD CT Budbrooke Road Warwick CV34 5RJ 01926 490 006 firstname.lastname@example.org www.saltisfordcanal.co.uk SANKEY CANAL RESTORATION SOCIETY John Hughes 01744 600656 www.scars.org.uk SHREWSBURY & NEWPORT CANALS TRUST Bernie Jones 01743 709601 07971 016322 email@example.com www.sncanal.org.uk SHROPSHIRE UNION CS David Carter 01244 661440 firstname.lastname@example.org www.shropshireunion.org.uk SLEAFORD NAV TRUST Steve Hayes 10 Chelmer Close N Hykeham Lincs LN8 8TH 01522-689460 email: email@example.com www.sleafordnavigation.co.uk SOMERSETSHIRE COAL CANAL SOCIETY Derrick Hunt 43 Greenland Mills Bradford on Avon BA15 1BL 01225-863066 firstname.lastname@example.org www.coalcanal.org RIVER STOUR TRUST John Morris 2 Stockton Close Hadleigh Ipswich IP7 5SH email@example.com www.riverstourtrust.org
STOVER CANAL SOCIETY George Whitehead 26 Northumberland Place, Teignmouth TQ14 8BU. Tel: 01626 775498 Georgewhitehead1@tiscali.co.uk www.stovercanal.co.uk
WEY & ARUN CT The Granary, Flitchfold Farm Loxwood, Billingshurst West Sussex RH14 ORH 01403 752403 firstname.lastname@example.org www.weyandarun.co.uk
STRATFORD ON AVON CANAL SOCIETY Clive Henderson The Bridge House Church Lane, Lapworth Solihull B94 5NU 01564 783672 email@example.com www.stratfordcanalsociety.org.uk
WILTS & BERKS CT George Eycott Knowle House 1 Ham Road, Wanborough Wiltshire SN4 0DF 07771 775745 firstname.lastname@example.org www.wbct.org.uk
SUSSEX OUSE RESTORATION TRUST Ted Lintott 4 Farm Cottages Parkfield Way Haywards Heath RH16 4TB 01444 414413 email@example.com www.sxouse.org.uk SWANSEA CANAL SOC Clive Reed 17 Smithfield Road, Pontardawe Swansea SA8 4LA 01792 830782 THAMES & MEDWAY CA David Rouse 60 Sun Lane Gravesend DA12 5HL 01474 362861 firstname.lastname@example.org www.thamesmedway.co.uk WELL CREEK TRUST Mrs C Mansell, 1 Tramways Outwell PE14 8PZ email@example.com WENDOVER ARM TRUST Roger Leishman 7 Hall Park Berkhamsted HP4 2NU 01442 874536 firstname.lastname@example.org www.wendoverarmtrust.co.uk
WOODEN CANAL BOAT SOCIETY 173 Stamford St Central Ashton under Lyne OL6 7PS 0161-330-8422 email@example.com www.wcbs.org.uk WORCESTER, Bâ€™HAM & DROITWICH CANALS SOC Bill Lambert firstname.lastname@example.org
WRG CONTACTS WRG ENQUIRIES, BOOKINGS, DRIVER AUTHORISATION, Jenny Morris, IWA Island House, Moor Road Chesham HP5 1WA 01494 783453 email@example.com www.wrg.org.uk WRG NORTH WEST Malcolm Bridge 89 Rishworth Mill, Rishworth Sowerby Bridge HX6 4RZ 01422-820693 firstname.lastname@example.org www.wrgnw.org.uk WRG NW: PAPERCHASES Barry McGuinness b.mcguinness1@ googlemail.com 0161 681 7237 www.wrgnw.org.uk
WRG BITM & 'NAVVIES' DIARY David Wedd 7 Ringwood Road Blackwater Camberley Surrey GU17 0EY 01252 874437 email@example.com www.wrgbitm.org.uk LONDON WRG Tim Lewis 5 Herongate Road, Wanstead London E12 5EJ 07802 518094 firstname.lastname@example.org www.wrg.org.uk WRG EAST MIDLANDS John Baylis 215 Clipstone Rd. West Forest Town Mansfield Notts NG19 0HJ 01623 633895 email@example.com ESSEX WRG John Gale 12 Wakefield Avenue Billericay Essex CM12 9DN 01376-334896 firstname.lastname@example.org www.wrg.org.uk WRG FORESTRY Clive Alderman 30 Primley Lane Sheering Bishops Stortford CM22 7NJ 07973 877380 email@example.com IWA/WRG STAMP BANK Steve & Mandy Morley 33 Hambleton Grove Emerson valley Milton Keynes MK4 2JS 01908 520090 firstname.lastname@example.org
Canal & River Trust volunteer coordinators Central Shires East Midlands Kennet & Avon Manchester & Pennine North East N Wales & Borders North West London South East S Wales & Severn West Midlands
Tom Freeland email@example.com Wayne Ball firstname.lastname@example.org Steve Manzi email@example.com Steve O’Sullivan firstname.lastname@example.org Lucy Dockray email@example.com Paul Corner firstname.lastname@example.org Matt Taylor email@example.com Debbie Vidler firstname.lastname@example.org John Highmore email@example.com Alan Sumnall firstname.lastname@example.org Murray Woodward email@example.com
CANAL CAMPS MOBILES (A) 07850 422156 (B) 07850 422157 'NAVVIES' EDITOR Martin Ludgate 35 Silvester Rd. London SE22 9PB 020 8693 3266 0777 947 8629 (mobile) firstname.lastname@example.org 'WRGWEAR' CLOTHING Helen Gardner 27 Broadacre Comberbach CW9 6QD 07989 425346 email@example.com WRG BOAT CLUB Sadie Heritage 236 Station Rd. Whittlesey Peterborough PE7 2HA 01733 204505 07748 186867 (mobile) firstname.lastname@example.org WRG DIRECTORS CHAIRMAN Mike Palmer 3 Finwood Road Rowington Warwickshire CV35 7DH 01564 785293 email@example.com WRG PLANT George Eycott Knowle House 1 Ham Road, Wanborough Wiltshire SN4 0DF 07771 775745 firstname.lastname@example.org
PUBLICITY Judith Palmer 3 Finwood Rd, Rowington Warwickshire CV35 7DH 01564 785293 email@example.com WRGPRINT John Hawkins 4 Links Way, Croxley Grn Rickmansworth WD3 3RQ 01923 448559 firstname.lastname@example.org IWA CHAIRMAN Les Etheridge c/o IWA, Island House Moor Road, Chesham HP5 1WA les.etheridge@ waterways.org.uk TRANSPORT MANAGER Jonathan Smith 23 Hardings Chalgrove Oxford OX44 7TJ 01865 891 370 email@example.com
OTHER DIRECTORS Rick Barnes 11 Lawns Park North Woodchester Stroud GL5 5PP 07976 748345 firstname.lastname@example.org John Baylis (see above) Harry Watts 18 Furneaux Avenue London SE27 0EG 07889 237834 email@example.com Helen Gardner (see above) Dave Hearnden Chellowdene Outwell Wisbech PR14 8TL 07961 922153 firstname.lastname@example.org
Please help us to keep this directory up to date If you spot any errors or omissions or know of any changes please pass them on to the editor. The next full directory will appear in issue 275, but any corrections received before then will also be included in the first available ‘Navvies Noticeboard’. Thank you for your assistance.
Camp report Cotswold Canals NWPG at Bowbridge Lock Cotswold Canals 4 – 11 July
NWPG’s 2014 summer camp was spent completing Griffin Mill Lock on the Cotswold Canals. A year on, they’re completing Bowbridge Lock Kieron, Ali, Harry, Spencer and Christine. Our regulars need not be mentioned by name but having been on many camps they all soon slotted into their roles ‘doing what they do best’. Graham Hawkes who as assistant leader does all the safety, finance and admin work every year without fuss or complaint. Last but not least, Sue our ever resourceful and loyal chef - ably assisted as required by George Whitehead as sous chef. Without all, my job as camp leader would be far more taxing. To work. There was no need to do much on the first Saturday. This was not a camp with big expenditure on expensive hire plant that needed to be worked flat-out, as was the case at Griffin Mill Lock last year. The list of jobs was set out on the white board in the dining area at Brimscombe – any initial worries that there wouldn’t be enough to do were soon set aside. Have we ever not had enough to do on the Cotswold Canals? Last year we had been in at the end of work at Griffin Mill, and one year on it looked like the same at Bowbridge – possibly the first time that I can remember volunteers
My slightly half-hearted attempts at persuading someone else to write this year’s NWPG camp report have predictably come to nothing. So it’s me again I’m afraid. It’s difficult to try and produce something different/ interesting each year – its NWPG’s 25th consecutive year of running a week’s summer camp - and so in the age of Facebook and Twitter where images and soundbites are the rule of modern communication, I’ll try and keep this short. To start with the site: Bowbridge Lock was a ‘known’ – WRG and other visiting groups have been working flat-out since last summer to complete the restoration of this lock to meet the Heritage Lottery Fund deadline set for November this year. What was not known was exactly what we would be doing on our camp. Progress during the May to June period was so rapid that planning work in advance was always going to overtaken by events within a matter of weeks, if not days. So just two e-mails to Jon Pontefract and bit of co-ordination over picking up the WRG vans and kit, and the team of regular and new volunteers arrived at Brimscombe ready to take on whatever was asked. First the team. We were fortunate yet again to be supported by a good mix of new volunteers and regular NWPG members. New volunteers from around the country but this time none from across the seas or indeed from outside England. We welcomed Manoeuvring coping stones into place Shaun, Caroline,
starting and completing the restoration of a Away from the work we took a trip on brick lock in 12 months. the canal – this time from Ebley Mill upSunday – and the camp was divided stream to Dudbridge Locks where we were up into small teams – that is with the excep- given a very interesting guided tour of the tion of those specialists who work better by hydro-electric scheme there which generates themselves – you know who you are! Each both power for the national grid and income team was a mix of experience, skill, youth, for the canal. We ate good food, played strength and enthusiasm. Two teams led by cards, completed jigsaws, took a trip to the Mike Fellows and ‘JJ’ were to start and finish Stirrup Cup to play skittles and spent many the week placing coping stones onto the an hour putting the world to rights in the sun towpath side lock chamber wall. This was with a glass of beer in hand. Camp members our main task. Their team members, Shaun, old and new without exception were great Harry and Ali stuck with the work throughout company and a pleasure to be with for the without complaint and I think felt well-deweek. I hope that we will see everyone again served pride at having achieved such a good sometime during the coming year. looking result at the end of their labours. We left on the Saturday with the list of Supporting the teams was the shifting and jobs much depleted. The restoration of the fetching gang, Pete Bunker and Spencer, who lock chamber above the lower quoins was to spent much of the week finding suitable all intents complete and the chamber cleared stones to lay on the wall - all the best ones of scaffolding. Thanks to everyone for their having been used already. sterling efforts. Onwards to Lower Wallbridge Then there was the specialist work. Lock. Pete Turville battled with fixing the upper Bill Nicholson ground paddle frames and later the towpath side lock ladder – both completed. Steve and his assistant Caroline skilfully repaired the damaged stone quoins for the lower lock gates. Graham and Kieron installed the remaining lock bollards along with general landscaping. Rob Brotherston did Rob Brotherston jobs! – the latter being removal of the copings from the sloping wall down to the bridge. Dave Evans and Graham Hawkes tackled the tricky job of casting the concrete cill for the upper stop planks – not easy in flowing water, but as usual Dave had an idea and it worked. Rob Nicholson took charge of moving the scaffolding and the water pipe that takes the water from above the lock to the other side – as well as issuing (mostly) useful engineering advice and cutting coping stones. The Camp leader, Christine and others as required picked up all the other jobs on camps that don’t make the headlines but without which the camp wouldn’t function. These will be familiar to anyone Lockside all finished - complete with bollards who has been on a WRG camp.
Camp report Cotswold Canals Cotswold Canals 18 - 25 July The intro: This was the second canal camp of six during the summer of 2015 on the Brimsombe camp site and proved to be an enjoyable week with an awesome bunch of volunteers. The main site worked on throughout the week was the Bowbridge Lock, with a small party working one day scrub bashing at the Inglesham site. The weather proved good throughout the week with sun, cloud and mostly dryness, up until the last day when the rain just didn’t let up. This allowed a good amount of work to be done including digging the wharf wall, clearing out the lock chamber and extending the tow path, as well as other small jobs around the site. The Crew: We had a great crew at this WRG Camp, with many enthusiastic people from all over, who gelled brilliantly throughout the whole of the week. We’ll start with our friends from abroad: Juan and Javier from North Spain and Damiano from Milano who quite quickly earned the nickname of the ‘Latino Barrow Boys’. They were hard working and never faltered with their skills of ferrying the large amounts of dirt, muck and rocks to the trailer and tipping piles. Next there were the David’s: D-1, D-2 and D-3 were their assigned names from the beginning of the camp; however there were a number of times throughout the week where someone would shout for David and end up getting two or three replies rather than the one they sought. Viv was our hoist man for the week, diligently taking up the task despite his slightly arthritic thumbs, mainly because he was one of only two people on site with a hoist ticket. In the evenings we were regaled with his many different alcohol brewing ventures, with his first ever being broad bean wine. Bob and Gary, aka the ‘Dirty Old Men’ were a laugh to be around, often making some good and bad jokes as well as helping Viv out with his online dating profile towards
Cotswold Canals week two: lots of clearing mud out of the bottom of Bowbridge Lock, plus repointing and some work at Inglesham the end of the camp to the amusement of everyone involved. Laurence was our man of mystery, having arrived at the camp a little late and keeping to himself a little. He was always more than happy to get involved and got down and dirty with the people in the lock chamber a number of times. Barry was our tea break avoidance culprit, there was many a time when tea break would be called and he would still be happily working, especially when we was repointing down in the lock chamber, where his reply would always be “I just need to finish this little bit”. This camp saw five people attending in order to carry out their residential for various awards. Imogen, Ben, James and Luke were all completing their residential for their Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award and I was attending to complete the final section of my Queen Scout Award. All five got through the week and had our relevant books signed off. The way the camp was run made it feel like an experience rather than just something else that needs ticking off for the awards. This brings me on nicely to the “Responsible Adults” that we had running the camp. Derek was in the kitchen with his great cooking and his limitless ability to be able to reuse as much leftover food as possible, which led to some interesting concoctions. Our Leader team consisted of Maggie as assistant and Jenny as camp leader, the pair made an excellent leading team, even with the obvious language barrier that comes with them both being Scottish (there may have been some ‘translating’ for the Latino Barrow Boys every now and then). They organised some great evening entertainment as well as co-ordinated each day very efficiently and made the camp an immensely enjoyable week. The Work Done: The work of the week started with the wharf wall as well as a few odd jobs around the site such as getting the pumps going, setting up the hoist and digging out the hole for the lock gate con-
Ben and myself managed to roll it up towards the hoist and then being the engineers we are, Ben and I went about deliberating the weight of the roller to see if it would be safe enough to put in the hoist barrow. The rough measurements and on the spot calculations came up with around 120kg, and as such we wrestled it into the barrow with the help of David and then all stood back very far (just in case) to see it successfully hoisted. David finally got to finish his steps leading up to the bridge from the tow path after revisiting them from a previous camp. In between many restarts and refuelling’s of the pump of course, which demanded far too much of his attention, he managed to clear out the rest of the damaged parts and re-set the top stones of the steps. The Social Shenanigans: A number of social activities were organised by the Camp Leaders. The first two nights were the social ice-breakers of the pub. This was a great start to the camp on the Saturday evening, especially when Jen volunteered to buy the first round. The laid back environment allowed everyone to start to get to know each other ready for the week ahead. Monday saw the group visiting another
Pictures by David Miller
crete anchor. One of the pumps decided it just didn’t want to play and wouldn’t start, thus we were thrown to the mercy of one working petrol pump and the small electrical pump to clear the lock with. However before they could have any effect, the run off pipes from the dam needed to be fixed. This involved a lot of “higher” and “lower” orders getting the pipes in the right place. With one failed attempt when the pipes separated in the middle and a lot of raising and lowering of the ropes, as well as some slightly fed up WRGies, we finally got it done at the end of the day, to the relief of everyone involved. Repointing was carried out on the lower sections of the Bowbridge lock chamber with a large amount being completed on either side, as well as on the end wall stones. Our ‘Queen of the Mixer’ Imogen was always on hand when any sort of mortar, cement and concrete was needed and as such, much of the repointing of the lower sections of the lock wall was carried out. There was also a day trip for a small work party to the Inglesham site where scrub bashing was carried out throughout the day in order to keep the overgrowing plants in check. With the help of two strimmer’s as well as the hand tools, the vegetation didn’t know what hit it and a large amount was cleared. Digging was to be the main task of the week, with the completion of clearing out the mud on the wharf wall and a large amount of clearing out in the bottom of the lock. We were at the mercy of the pumps each day for the latter task and fortunately they performed admirably on all but the last day. Also the digging included extending the tow path which was lengthened and subsequently filled with hardcore ready to be compressed. Once the hoist was set up it meant that all manner of materials could be removed from the lock bottom, which included the normal mud, bricks, old coping stones etc. However there were a couple of items of note that were taken out, the first of which was the crafty duckling that managed to find its way in, this took about four of us far too long to retrieve and release it in a safer part of the canal. The second item was somewhat less agile in the form of a large stone roller, Jen,
Clearing the chamber at Bowbridge Lock
pub in Stroud, but this time there was a quiz involved. It did seem that we’d descended upon this pub quiz in force as we made up over half of the teams competing, and even with these odds in our favour, none of us managed to win the coveted £100 for getting 40/40 correct, or sadly even the £10 for winning. To start Tuesday’s socialness, we all took a trip out to experience a canal boat trip on some of the navigable sections of the canal. A very relaxing outing, with some of us enjoying the walk instead, which turned out to be a much quicker pace than the barge. The follow up to Tuesday’s and subsequently the focus of Wednesday’s activities were a couple of film sessions. Tuesday night saw us introducing the Latino Barrow Boys to the British Humour that is Hot Fuzz with English subtitles to help them, unfortunately Spanish subtitles weren’t on offer, so we thought the alternative might help them. Wednesday’s film was the “great quality” Snakes On A Plane. Despite the blatant terribleness of the film it was enjoyed by all, mainly because of how it was actually trying to be a serious film. Thursday was yet another trip to a pub (I think we managed to cope) for a round of skittles. Many different techniques were displayed, however as James found out, but wouldn’t admit, power was not the way forward, which led him to the second lowest score of the group. Friday was the anticipated end of week party. As part of the last evening meal, the party started with a large selection of cheese and a few bottles of port, a great start to the evening in my opinion. After a few drinks, the subject of online dating came up, this led to Viv announcing he had a profile and as such everyone went to giving advice and started to try and improve his profile. Messages were sent and pictures were taken for a slightly flustered Viv, let’s just hope the mass interfering has helped. The Amusing Odds and Sods: During the week, quite a few amusing events transpired. The first was the chorus of snoring that was experienced. I’m pretty sure that if it was all recorded, every note of Beethoven’s Symphonies would have been covered. Half way through the week, a large calibre bullet was found in the lock chamber, this was followed up by a call to the police courtesy of James, the army officer in training, which
then prompted the arrival of not one but four police officers to deal with the situation. Nobody was harmed and after being evacuated from the lock chamber, we were happy once we could get back in and carry on digging. We were also informed by the bomb disposal team that if we should find anymore, just stick them into a bucket of water and report them at the end of the day, looks like the four police was a bit overkill. There seemed to be a never-ending supply of biscuits throughout the camp, however, they were always eaten by the end of each working day and Maggie was convinced that if she kept increasing the amount we took the next day, she would eventually find our limit. I don’t think that limit was found by the end of the week The End of a Great Camp: Overall the week at Brimscombe was an immensely entertaining camp and one that was enjoyed by all that attended. There were a number of the group that were considering attending a camp again and I myself would love to do another if I had the chance. Thank you to Jen, Maggie and Derek, the leadership team who organised the fun, efficiently planned the work and cooked us some great food. Also thank you to all who attended and made the canal camp an amazing experience. Matthew Mather
Re-pointing (in waders)
WRG’s East Midlands Group and the ECPDA come to the rescue when a bridge problem looks like stopping the Friends of the Cromford’s tripboat operation
East Midlands Repairing Brown’s Bridge
Cromford Canal Brown’s Swing Bridge repair The Friends of the Cromford Canal (FCC) had been in discussion with Derbyshire County Council for some months on investigating problems with Brown’s Swing Bridge at High Peak Junction; but the critical point was ensuring CDM (Construction, Design and Maintenance regulations) obligations were met for the safety of people and the bridge structure, whilst lifting the bridge by volunteers. Then towards the end of May the bridge became very difficult to swing, and use of the bridge had to be restricted as the bridge was being damaged and it was becoming unsafe to use; this created problems with the FCC trip boat Birdswood not being able to reach the winding hole to turn round. Urgent action was required and John Baylis, Chairman of the FCC, who is also a Director of WRG, put together a package with the bridge being lifted by a contract crane hire with Walkers of Tuxford and the work carried out by volunteers from WRG East Midlands (based at Langley Mill) and the Erewash Canal Preservation & Development Association. This was approved by Derbyshire County Council engineers and the work was carried out on June 5th. Brown’s Bridge is part of a Scheduled Ancient Monument and was replaced in 2011; however, concern had been expressed that the original balls in the bearing that were replaced in 2011 were not of uniform size. Heritage advice at the time of the bridge replacement was that this set of bearings should be retained. The first part of the lift was to remove these cast iron balls’ ensure the bearing surfaces were clean, and replace with a similar uniform set from an old Nottingham Canal bridge now in the possession of the ECP&DA. The first lift went well, but there were still problems with swinging the bridge and possible damage to the stonework; this was improved by the addition of about 200 Kg of cast iron to the counterweight of the bridge.
The work also revealed damp and possible wood rot in the counterweight boxes and the ECP&DA have been asked to clean out and improve the ventilation of the boxes work by DCC. John Baylis said “The ECP&DA had carried out maintenance on the Nottingham Canal swing bridge at Langley Mill for over 40 years and are experienced in some of the problems of bridges of the original design. I hope that this work will allow the FCC and other volunteers to do more technical work on the DCC-owned section of the Cromford Canal.” The work is being funded by the Friends of the Cromford Canal as part of its agreement with DCC on the licence for Birdswood.
Navvies diary WRG and mobile groups Your guide to all forthcoming work parties Aug 22-29 Camp 201522 Aug 22-29 Camp 201523 Aug 22-29 Camp 201524 Aug 29-Sep 5Camp 201525 Aug 29-Sep 5Camp 201526 Sep 1 Navvies Sep 4-10 WAT Sep 5/6 Essex WRG Sep 5 Sat wrgNW Sep 5-12 Camp 201527 Sep 12/13 KESCRG Sep 12/13 London WRG Sep 12/13 NWPG Sep 12/13 WBDCS Sep 19/20 wrgBITM Sep 19 Sat NWPG Sep 20 Sun WRG Sep 26/27 wrgNW Oct 2-8 WAT Oct 3/4 KESCRG Oct 3/4 London WRG Oct 10/11 NWPG Oct 10/11 WBDCS Oct 10 Sat wrgNW Oct 17/18 London WRG Oct 17/18 wrgBITM Oct 17/18 wrgNW Oct 24-31 Camp 201528 Oct 24-31 WRGFT2015 Nov 1 Navvies Nov 6-12 WAT Nov 7/8 BB2015 Nov 7/8 London WRG Nov 1/8 wrgNW Nov 14/15 NWPG Nov 14 Sat wrgNW Nov 21/22 London WRG Nov 21/22 wrgBITM
Shrewsbury & Newport Canals Grantham Canal Stover Canal Grantham Canal Stover Canal Press date for issue 273 Wendover Arm: Seven day weekend Fri-Thu Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation ‘Paper Chase’ waste paper collection Grantham Canal Wendover Arm: Brickwork at Whitehouses Cotswold Canals: Bowbridge Lock, Stroud Wey & Arun Canal: Dunsfold Worcester Birmingham Canal: Tardebigge Lime Kilns Cotswold Canals: Wallbridge Lower Lock, Stroud Wey & Arun Canal: Dunsfold Committee & Board Meetings: Rowington Village Hall Hollinwood Canal: No accommodation (TBC) Wendover Arm: Seven day weekend Fri-Thu Wey & Arun Canal Somersetshire Coal Canal (to be confirmed) Cotswold Canals: Bowbridge Lock, Stroud Worcester Birmingham Canal: Tardebigge Lime Kilns ‘Paper Chase’ waste paper collection Wey & Arun Canal Wey & Arun Canal: Whipley Manor Railway Bridge Chesterfield Canal: (To be confirmed) Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation Lancaster Canal: WRG Forestry Team (TBC) Press date for issue 274 Wendover Arm: Seven day weekend Fri-Thu Uttoxeter Canal: WRG Reunion (‘Bonfire Bash’) Weekend - book via hea Uttoxeter Canal: WRG Reunion Uttoxeter Canal: WRG Reunion Wey & Arun Canal: Dunsfold ‘Paper Chase’ waste paper collection To be arranged: possible extra dig? To be arranged: Thames & Medway, or Chelmer & Blackwater?
For details of diary dates beyond the end of this list ple
Canal Camps cost ÂŁ56 per week unless otherwise stated. Bookings for WRG Camps identified by a camp number e.g. 'Camp 2015-22' should go to WRG Canal Camps, Island House, Moor Road, Chesham HP5 1WA. Tel: 01494 783453, email@example.com. Diary compiled by Dave Wedd. Tel: 01252 874437, firstname.lastname@example.org
Martin Ludgate Roger Leishman John Gale Barry McGuinness Bobby Silverwood Tim Lewis Bill Nicholson Bill Lambert Dave Wedd Bill Nicholson Mike Palmer Mike Chase Roger Leishman Bobby Silverwood Tim Lewis Bill Nicholson Bill Lambert Barry McGuinness Tim Lewis Dave Wedd Mike Chase
Martin Ludgate Roger Leishman ad office or WRG website Tim Lewis Mike Chase Bill Nicholson Barry McGuinness Tim Lewis Dave Wedd
01494-783453 01494-783453 01494-783453 01494-783453 01494-783453 07779-478629 01442-874536 01376-334896 0161-681-7237 01494-783453 07971-814986 07802-518094 01844-343369 02476-726924 07816-175454 01844-343369 01564-785293 0161-683-4470 01442-874536 07971-814986 07802-518094 01844-343369 02476-726924 0161-681-7237 07802-518094 07816-175454 0161-683-4470 01494-783453 01494-783453 07779-478629 01442-874536 01494-783453 07802-518094 0161-683-4470 01844-343369 0161-681-7237 07802-518094 07816-175454
email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
ease contact diary compiler Dave Wedd: see top of page
canal society regulars
Canal societiesâ€™ regular working parties Every Sunday if required Every Tuesday
Bugsworth Basin Basingstoke Canal
Ian Edgar Chris Healy
0161-427 7402 01252-370073
Once per month: pls check BCNS 2nd & 4th w/e of month BCS
BCN waterways Basingstoke Canal
Mike Rolfe Duncan Paine
Thursdays Sep-Apr 2nd Sun & alternate Thu
Aqueduct section Buckingham area
Tim Dingle Athina Beckett
Every Mon and Wed Every mon am Thu pm
Cotswold (W depot) Ron Kerby Cotswold (E end) John Maxted
Various dates Every Sunday
Cotswold Phase 1a Chesterfield Canal
Every Tue and Thu Every Tue & Wed
Chichester Canal Malcolm Maddison 01243-775201 Chelmer & Blackwater John Gale 01376-334896
Every Friday Second Sun of month
Langley Mill John Baylis Foxton Inclined Plane Mike Beech
Thu and last Sat of month GCS 2nd Sat of month GWCT Tuesdays H&GCT
Grantham Canal Nynehead Lift Oxenhall
Ian Wakefield Denis Dodd Brian Fox
0115-989-2128 01823-661653 01432 358628
Over Wharf House Over / Vineyard Hill
Maggie Jones Ted Beagles
01452 618010 01452 522648
Thursdays Every weekday
Herefordshire Bradford on Avon
Wilf Jones Derrick Hunt
01452 413888 01225-863066
2nd Sunday of month Every Wed/Sat/Sun
Lancaster N. Reaches Keith Tassart Lichfield Terry Brown
3rd Sunday of month Last weekend of month
Hatherton Creams Paper Mill
Denis Cooper Steve Dent
Two Sundays per month 2nd & last Sundays
N Walsham Canal Pocklington Canal
David Revill Paul Waddington
Every Wed and 1st Sat 2nd Sunday of month
Stowmarket Navigtn. Martin Bird Sankey Canal John Hughes
1st Sunday of month Last weekend of month
Combe Hay Locks Stover Canal
Derrick Hunt 01225-863066 George Whitehead 01626-775498
2nd Sunday of month Every Thu and Sat
Sleaford Navigation Sussex Ouse
Mel Sowerby Ted Lintott
1st weekend of month Every Tuesday morning
Montgomery Canal David Carter Thames & Medway C Brian Macnish
Wey & Arun Canal David Daniels Drayton Beauchamp Roger Leishman
Most days, please contact WACT 1st w/e of month (Fri-Thu) WAT
Jon Pontefract Mick Hodgetts
If you have any additions / corrections / deletions to this list, please send them to Navvies diary compiler Dave Wedd (see previous page)
CRT towpath taskforce
Canal & River Trust ‘Towpath Taskforce’ maintenance working parties 2nd Saturday of month Audlem Shropshire Union Glenn Young see below 2nd Saturday of month Aylesbury Grand Union Miriam Tedder 07775-543990 4th Thursday of month Bath Kennet & Avon Steve Manzi 07710-175278 Alternate Thursdays Blackburn Leeds & Liverpool Matt Taylor 07780-222977 1st Sunday of month Burnley Leeds & Liverpool Matt Taylor 07780-222977 3rd Thursday of month Cheshire T&M/Macclesfield Steve O’Sullivan 07887-684707 1st Saturday of month Chester Shropshire Union Glenn Young see below Alternate Saturdays Chorley Leeds & Liverpool Matt Taylor 07780-222977 2nd Tuesday of month Churnet Valley Caldon Canal Barry Keight 07919 560582 3rd Thursday of month Devizes Kennet & Avon Steve Manzi 07710-175278 Weds and Thurs Droitwich Droitwich Canal Suzanne Byrne 07900-276544 3rd Saturday of month Ellesmere Llangollen Canal Glenn Young see below 1st Saturday of month Fradley Trent & Mersey Tom Freeland 01827-252010 4th Thursday of month Gailey Staffs & Worcs Murray Woodward 07808-786772 1st Mon & Wed of month Hatton Grand Union Canal Murray Woodward 07808-786772 Last Sunday of month Hawkesbury Coventry/Oxford Miriam Tedder 07775-543990 2nd Friday of month Huddersfield Huddersfield Broad Claire McDonald 07920-295943 1st Thursday of month Knottingley Aire & Calder Nav Lucy Dockray 07767-383736 Alternate Thursdays Lancaster Lancaster Canal Matt Taylor 07780-222977 3rd Saturday of month Lapworth Stratford Canal Murray Woodward 07808-786772 Alternate Tuesdays Leicester Grand Union/Soar Tom Freeland 01827-252010 3rd Saturday of month London Grand Union/Lee Becky Williams 07799-436816 3rd Thursday of month East London Lee & Stort Navs Becky Williams 07799-436816 3rd Tuesday of month West London Grand Union Canal Becky Williams 07799-436816 4th Saturday of month Manchester Ashton / Peak Forest Steve O’Sullivan 07887-684707 1st Thu and 3rd Sat Maunsel Bridgwater & TauntonSteve Manzi 07710-175278 2nd Thursday of month Newbury Kennet & Avon Steve Manzi 07710-175278 Alternate Wednesdays Preston Lancaster Canal Matt Taylor 07780-222977 Alternate Fridays Sefton Leeds & Liverpool Alice Kay 07825 196365 3rd Saturday of month near Selby Selby Canal Lucy Dockray 07767-383736 Alternate Wednesdays Skipton Leeds & Liverpool Matt Taylor 07780-222977 Alternate Fridays Stoke Caldon / T&M Tom Freeland 01827-252010 Every other Wednesday Tamworth Coventry Canal Tom Freeland 01827-252010 4th Saturday of month Tipton BCN Murray Woodward 07808-786772 Alternate Thursdays North Warks Tom Freeland 01827-252010 Every Tuesday Wigan Leeds & Liverpool Matt Taylor 07780-222977 3rd Thursday of month Welshpool Montgomery Canal Glenn Young see below Contact details: All CRT co-ordinators can be emailed at email@example.com, eg firstname.lastname@example.org for K & A. If no phone number given, use CRT Tel: 03030 404040
Abbreviations used in Diary: BCA BCNS BuCS BCS BCT ChCT CBN CSCT CCT ECPDA FIPT GCS GWCT H&GCT IWPS KACT
Basingstoke Canal Authority Birmingham Canal Navigations Soc. Buckingham Canal Society Basingstoke Canal Society Bude Canal Trust Chesterfield Canal Trust Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation Chichester Ship Canal Trust Cotswolds Canals Trust Erewash Canal Pres. & Devt. Assoc. Foxton Inclined Plane Trust Grantham Canal Society Grand Western Canal Trust Hereford & Gloucester Canal Trust Inland Waterways Protection Society Kennet & Avon Canal Trust
KESCRG LCT LHCRT MBBCS NWPG NWDCT PCAS RGT SCARS SCCS SCS SNT SORT SUCS TMCA WACT WAT WBCT
Kent & E Sussex Canal Rest. Group Lancaster Canal Trust Lichfield & Hatherton Canals Rest'n Trust Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal Society Newbury Working Party Group North Walsham & Dilham Canal Trust Pocklington Canal Amenity Society River Gipping Trust Sankey Canal Restoration Society Somersetshire Coal Canal Society Stover Canal Society Sleaford Navigation Trust Sussex Ouse Restoration Trust Shropshire Union Canal Society Thames & Medway Canal Association Wey & Arun Canal Trust Wendover Arm Trust Wilts & Berks Canal Trust
Inland Waterways Association and other one-day working parties Aug 1 Sat IWA NSSC/BPT Burslem Arm: Luke St, Middleport, Stoke on Trent. 10am-3pm RGT/IWA Ipswich River Gipping: Pipps Ford, or Baylham Mill Lock 9am-4pm Aug 1 Sat Aug 5 Wed RGT/IWA Ipswich River Gipping: Pipps Ford, or Baylham Mill Lock 9am-4pm Aug 9 Sun IWA Lincs/SNT Sleaford Navigation: Various work on navigable section Aug 11 Tue IWA Northants Northampton Arm Aug 12 Wed IWA BBCW Staffs & Worcs Canal: Himalayan Balsam clearance Aug 12 Wed RGT/IWA Ipswich River Gipping: Pipps Ford, or Baylham Mill Lock 9am-4pm Aug 13 Thu IWA NSSC/CUCT Uttoxeter Canal: Veg clearance at Bridge 70, Crumpwood. Aug 15 Sat IWA Manchester Venue T.B.C.: Greater Manchester area. Veg clearance, etc. Aug 19 Wed RGT/IWA Ipswich River Gipping: Pipps Ford, or Baylham Mill Lock 9am-4pm Aug 20 Thu IWA NSSC/TMCS Trent & Mersey Canal: Cheshire Locks. Painting & veg clearance. Aug 23 Sun IWA Northants Northampton Arm Aug 25 Tue IWA NSSC/BPT Burslem Arm: Luke St, Middleport, Stoke on Trent. 10am-3pm Aug 26 Wed RGT/IWA Ipswich River Gipping: Pipps Ford, or Baylham Mill Lock 9am-4pm Aug 28 Fri IWA NSSC Macclesfield Canal: Congleton Station project. Veg clearance. Aug 29 Sat IWA NSSC/CUCT Uttoxeter Canal: Veg clearance at Bridge 70, Crumpwood. Sep 4 Wed RGT/IWA Ipswich River Gipping: Pipps Ford, or Baylham Mill Lock 9am-4pm Sep 5 Sat IWA NSSC/BPT Burslem Arm: Luke St, Middleport, Stoke on Trent. 10am-3pm Sep 5 Sat RGT/IWA Ipswich River Gipping: Pipps Ford, or Baylham Mill Lock 9am-4pm Sep 8 Tue IWA Northants Northampton Arm Sep 9 Wed IWA BBCW Staffs & Worcs Canal: Himalayan Balsam clearance Sep 9 Wed RGT/IWA Ipswich River Gipping: Pipps Ford, or Baylham Mill Lock 9am-4pm Sep 10 Thu IWA NSSC/CUCT Uttoxeter Canal: Veg clearance at Bridge 70, Crumpwood. Sep 13 Sun IWA Lincs/SNT Sleaford Navigation: Various work on navigable section Sep 16 Wed RGT/IWA Ipswich River Gipping: Pipps Ford, or Baylham Mill Lock 9am-4pm Sep 17 Thu IWA NSSC/TMCS Trent & Mersey Canal: Cheshire Locks. Painting & veg clearance. Sep 19 Sat IWA Manchester Venue T.B.C.: Greater Manchester area. Veg clearance, etc. Sep 22 Tue IWA NSSC/BPT Burslem Arm: Luke St, Middleport, Stoke on Trent. 10am-3pm Sep 23 Wed RGT/IWA Ipswich River Gipping: Pipps Ford, or Baylham Mill Lock 9am-4pm Sep 25 Fri IWA NSSC Macclesfield Canal: Congleton Station project. Veg clearance. Sep 26 Sat IWA Chester Shropshire Union Canal: Chester area, painting & veg clearance. Sep 26 Sat IWA NSSC/CUCT Uttoxeter Canal: Veg clearance at Bridge 70, Crumpwood. Sep 27 Sun IWA Northants Northampton Arm Sep 30 Wed RGT/IWA Ipswich River Gipping: Pipps Ford, or Baylham Mill Lock 9am-4pm IWA branch abbreviations BBCW = Birmingham, Black Country & Worcestershire; Mcr= Manchester; Other abbreviations: CUCT = Caldon & Uttoxeter Canal Society; IWPS = Inland Waterways Protection
Mobile groups' socials:
The following groups hold regular social gatherings
London WRG: 7:30pm on Tues 11 days before dig at the 'Star Tavern' Belgrave Mews West, NWPG: 7:30pm on 3rd Tue of month at the 'Hope Tap', West end of Friar St. Reading.
...and other one-day work
For WRG canal camps and working parties see pages 20-21
10am-3pm 10am-4pm 10am-4pm
Steve Wood Martin Bird Martin Bird Chris or Steve Hayes Geoff Wood David Struckett Martin Bird Robert Frost Martin Bird Andy Hellyar-Brook Geoff Wood Steve Wood Martin Bird Bob Luscombe Robert Frost Martin Bird Steve Wood Martin Bird Geoff Wood David Struckett Martin Bird Robert Frost Chris or Steve Hayes Martin Bird Andy Hellyar-Brook
07976-805858 01394-380765 01394-380765 01522-689460 07976-746225 01394-380765 07743-628091 07710-554602 01394-380765 07926-204206 07976-805858 01394-380765 07710-054848 07743-628091 01394-380765 07976-805858 01394-380765 07976-746225 01394-380765 07743-628091 01522-689460 01394-380765 07926-204206 07710-554602 07976-805858 01394-380765 07710-054848 07795-617803 07743-628091
email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
Steve Wood Martin Bird 10am-12:30 Bob Luscombe 10am-4pm Mike Carter 10am-3pm Robert Frost Geoff Wood Martin Bird 01394-380765 NSSC = North Staffs & South Cheshire Society; TMCS = Trent & Mersey Canal Society; RGT= River Gipping Trust; CRT = Canal & River Trust
Please phone to confirm dates and times
Contact Tim Lewis 07802-518094 Contact Phil Dray 07956-185305
“A fun and rewarding week... I also got to survey in detail what the people of Trebanos had thrown into the canal over the last century or so...”
16-mile-long Swansea Canal are now identifiable as a waterway, and indeed just upstream from Trebanos the canal disappears into a half-mile-long culvert, before appearing again to wind for a while past Pontardawe church. This is an area once crowded with factories and peppered with mines, all of which have vanished, with only an occasional ruin standing as a memorial to the industries the canal encouraged and serviced. Below Trebanos the canal continues for a mile or so before disappearing again beneath the outskirts of Swansea. So what
[Alert: this report may contain spelling errors... apologies to Welsh readers!] This year’s Swansea Canal Camp was something of a last-minute affair, with Leader, Assistant Leader and two cooks answering a HQ appeal for help and volunteering in the couple of weeks before the project was due to begin. Although my experience of the Swansea Canal was limited to just about knowing where it was, and the memory of three very wet days in 2012 spent clearing vegetation from the two-and-a half locks northeast of Pontardawe, I’m very glad that I somewhat rashly suggested that I might take on the leadership immediately before my already-scheduled camp on the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal. For as a result I spent a fun and rewarding week with a great gang of WRG volunteers and some hugely friendly locals, and got to know the upper and lower locks at Trebanos intimately! I also got to survey in detail what the people of Trebanos had thrown into the canal over the last century or so... Every canal camp week begins quietly at the temporary accommodation, in this case the very commodious scout hut of the 1st Ynyscedwyn Scout Group, tucked in a leafy corner of Ystradgynlais, near Swansea. Having picked up a hire mini-bus from Cwmbran and driven for an hour or so westwards, I greeted my Assistant Leader, Dave Worthington (we decided that we’d met once before, but couldn’t remember where and when) and the first of the camp’s two cooks, Eli, and not long afterwards the WRG van and trailer arrived, driven by Jonathan Smith, to whom we owe many thanks. I collected half a dozen unsuspecting volunteers from Neath railway station, and the camp was under way... The first day is one when everyone is chafing to get started, so we began by enthusiastically attacking the vegetation that had overwhelmed the two locks at Trebanos, south of Pontardawe. Just five miles of the
Pictures by Ralph Mills
Swansea Canal 18 - 25 July
“The serious business of re-pointing the offside”
remains of the canal, disused since 1931, has day. The Swansea Canal Society works on symbolic and historic importance to the the canal every Tuesday, and about a dozen valley, its comunities and the supporters of members joined us in both Trebanos Locks. the Swansea Canal Society. They were a cheerful lot, and were thrilled to We split into two teams, one to each be sharing their enthusiasm with WRG volunlock. While Dave supervised volunteers on teers. They weeded the walls of the lock the lower lock, I was in charge of the upper chambers, while we continued to fossick lock, which was reached by squeezing around them in the depths. At lunch time the through a gap in a fence and then stepping majority of the local volunteers disappeared, onto the end of an iron pipe (I didn’t know and we continued on into the afternoon. We this when I wrote my risk assessment!). This adopted a technique, aided by the swift flow landed you rather insecurely on a sloping of water down the canal, of loosening the silt tangle of brambles and shrubs, and those using mattocks. The water took away the dread invasive plants Japanese Knotweed fine particles, leaving large stones and ruband Himalayan Balsam, but after an hour of bish more accessible. Smaller stones were slashing and hacking, we began to make hauled up the the ladder hoist, rubbish was sense of what was the steep edge of the placed in large buckets and lifted to the top bywash. Gradually the lock emerged. The of the chamber, while the largest stones, lower lock, too, soon appeared from beneath which included some monolithic coping a cloak of vegetation. The day was sunny stones, were rolled and pushed out of the and warm, there was laughter and chatter chamber using the slightly prehistoric amongst the volunteers - things began well. method of planks and WRG rollers made The following day dawned miserably, from lengths of scaffold tube (so that’s what gloomy with drizzle. We were going to get they’re for!). It was hard, wet, muddy work, damp. However the trees above the locks and we all got boots’ full of canal water, but protected us from the worst of the rain, and by the end of the day we’d removed about we descended into the depths of the lower 0.5m of rubble and garbage from the chamlock, and began to work on the mass of ber, providing a level surface from which to debris that covered the bottom. The Chair of carry out the next stage of the project. the Swansea Canal Society, Gordon Walker, Wednesday was enlivened by a super was with us all week, and that day he rigged picnic lunch provided by the Swansea Canal up a ladder-slide-cum-hod that, using a Society, and later, in the evening, they genercouple of pulleys, made lifting rubble from ously opened their canoe shop to give some the lock much easier. We hacked and wresof us the chance to paddle up the canal for a tled at the jumbled mess wedged in the mile or so, and end the day with a BBQ. bottom of the lock chamber, which, apart Work-wise, however, it was a frustrating from stones of all sizes, from coping stones to pebbles, that had been pushed or fallen into it, contained a vast and entertaining assortment of densely-woventogether garbage; rusty iron, broken glass, plastic and aluminium. There were bicycle frames and wheels, supermarket trolleys, a wheelbarrow, children’s scooters, hundreds of beer and pop cans, crisp packets, and much besides. On the Swansea Canal, Tuesday is local Just some of what Trebanos had thrown into its canal over the years volunteers work-party
progressed very well, nay, extremely well, and by the final day the chamber wall was looking pretty darn good, good enough to earn the praise of the CRT Regional Manager, Nick There were one or two moments worth noting. My dramatic head-first dive into the Ynyscedwyn Arms; Matt winning a bottle of wine in the Penybont Inn raffle, and then dropping it on the way home; extricating the mini-bus from the Rugby Club car park every evening, with millimetres, or less, to spare; my discovery, at 01:30 on the Thursday night, that the Gents loo was overflowing, with a mini-tsunami heading down the corridor towards Dave’s bed; eating elbow to elbow at the scouts’ tables; the wallet stuffed with bank and other cards that had been in the canal since 2000; the seemingly non-stop laughter of the camp’s three youngest members... Modern day archaeology: “I think you’ll find that I shall also remember Eli and Amber’s this is what was known as a VHS videotape...” superb cooking, both having stepped in at short notice to help a leader they’d never morning, when we couldn’t get on with what met. And having, in order to expedite breakwas planned for various non-WRG, CRTfast one morning when we didn’t have a related reasons (I am maintaining a diplocook, not only to cut a string of sausages but matic silence at this point). So I had the handle eggs, both activities that, as a vegan, team engaged in some marking-time jobs, I’d not experienced for 24 years! And thanks and of course they realised what I was donot only to them, but also to Dave ing. In the afternoon, though, we managed Worthington, who retained dignified good to learn and practice pointing on a dry stone humour throughout, was patient with my length of canal bank in the pound above the hesitancies and who watched over everyone lower lock. Everyone took to pointing when I was distracted at the bottom of the quickly, enthusiastically and skilfully, allock. Thanks too to Gordon, Martin and all though Spanish Jamie declared at the end of the Swansea Canal Society folk we met and the day that he preferred more energetic who were so helpful and hospitable. activities. And finally, many thanks to a great The next day we were given the gogroup of volunteers, novices and old hands ahead to return to the bottom of the lock and alike, who achieved much of permanent we were able to get down to the serious value on the canal, who lived together amibusiness of repointing the off-side, a length cably and who gelled as an effective and safe of fine masonry that when pointed and team. displayed is very visible to passers-by and which it is hoped will demonstrate not only the quality of the canal remains but also act as a visual statement of the Swansea Canal Society’s commitment to the restoration of this stretch of waterway. Although most of the volunteers were novice pointers we all
Our regular roundup of what’s happening on restoration projects around the country begins with some continuing good progress on the Lichfield Lichfield & Hatherton Canals
Progress Lichfield & Hatherton to have the support of the Lichfield District Council in ensuring that canal interests are safeguarded. Of particular interest are the drainage issues, as we try to achieve betterment from offering to dispose of surface water in return for the provision of channel. The removal of greenbelt status from areas around Tamworth Road is of considerable interest. Meanwhile, we continue to monitor railway matters. We expect to have to get the canal under the Lichfield to Birmingham railway in about two years’ time, and the possible cost of this is daunting. The rerouting of the canal required by construction of the HS2 high speed railway now seems to be at no cost to the Trust. Meanwhile, on the Hatherton we are in discussion with the Network Rail electrification team to ensure they do not install any show-stopping equipment when they electrify the Chase Line where it crosses the canal at Churchbridge.
The concentrated activity by Lichfield & Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust reported last time has continued as we have worked to spend our grant within the amazingly restricted timeframe. The stream culvert under the canal close to the M6 Toll crossing, which was removed during the road’s construction, has now been replaced and work has started to extend the Towpath Trail up to and over the motorway aqueduct. The next stage will be to install a framework to prevent any objects being thrown from it. An electrical supply will be built into the towpath and this will be extended to the projected new double lock to power the back pumping. On the negative side, we now have over a kilometre of canal track to maintain. At Tamworth Road, on the edge of Lichfield, work continues to waterproof Pound 27 and put it in water. The new slipway required for us to host the IWA Trailboat Festival (planned for towards the end of the decade) is now in place. Discussion with the Environment Agency continues at a glacial pace as we seek permission to remove the next section of the ‘Big Pipe’ (the storm drain laid in the canal bed). Several major housing developments are now coming to the fore and The new stream culvert under the canal is installed we are pleased
Progress Wey & Arun Canal Wey & Arun Canal
Meanwhile the Wey & Arun Canal Trust is pressing ahead with multiple projects covering lengths of canal on both sides of the Surrey-Sussex border R. Wey to Weybridge
Wey & Arun
Pictures by WACT
The Wey & Arun Canal Trust is making Bramley Canal progress on several fronts - including its first navigation restoration project in Surrey - as Bramley it works on three different sites for the first Link section time. Contractors have started work on building a bridge in the middle of the canal’s Summit Level Summit Level, between Tickner’s Heath in Dunsfold including Dunsfold and Fast Bridge on the A281 at Compasses Alfold. The new crossing will enable more This section Bridge site than a mile of the waterway in Surrey to be restored opened to small boats, enabling navigation there for the first time in more than 150 Loxwood years. The bridge is replacing a wartime Gennets Bridge concrete causeway in Compasses Lane, Lock site Alfold, at one of the entrances to Dunsfold Aerodrome. The project, costing £700,000, is being Newbridge planned and supervised by WACT director Tony Ford, a chartered civil engineer who Orfold has extensive experience of designing roads and bridges. As Navvies goes to press, the Pallingham contractors are scheduled to be forming the piles which will support the new bridge. River Arun to Arundel Building work is expected to take about six and the South Coast months. Over next winter, Trust volunteers will prepare the site for the road to be realigned across the bridge, which will be done in spring 2016. The bridge is expected to be officially opened in the autumn, coinciding with the 200th anniversary of the canal’s northern section being opened at the Compasses site. So far, £423,442 of the money needed to complete the Compasses Bridge project has been raised, with efforts being stepped up to find the rest of the money through donations and grants. Also in Surrey, a yearlong Environmental Impact Assessment has started on Phase 1 of the Bramley Link stretch of the canal, from the River Wey at Shalford down to the Gosden Aqueduct. Here, a Preliminary earthworks for Compasses Bridge at Dunsfold new canal route will be estab-
lished due to the original route being unavailable. A Civil Engineering Design Study and a full Flood Study for this phase of the link are also under way and all three of these studies will support a planning application to be made in summer 2016. Approaches are being made to the Heritage Lottery Fund for funding to help meet the £2.9m cost of the project. In charge of the scheme is Trustee Philip Oliver, a mechanical engineer. Over the border into West Sussex, 30,000 bricks were delivered to the Gennets Bridge Lock site, as the great crested newts that have been holding up the project were gently trapped and ‘re-homed’ to nearby specially created ponds. Natural England has licensed Trust volunteers to move the protected newts from the pool formed at the old lock site. Everything is in place to make a quick start on a new bridge needed to carry the Sussex Border Path and the lock walls when the licence requirements are complied with. Volunteers are currently carrying out preparation work under the direction of the project engineer, Eric Walker.
Checking newt traps at Gennets Bridge Lock site
At Bramley there’s also been an archaeological dig to find the buried site of Tanyard Lock,
Meanwhile on the Buckingham Arm, volunteers are restoring the towpath at Hyde Lane Lock nature reserve - and looking forward to rewatering the canal Buckingham Canal
Following a grant from Buckinghamshire County Council’s Buckingham Local Area Forum (LAF), volunteers from Buckingham Canal Society have completed work along the towpath at the Hyde Lane Nature Reserve. The work near Thornborough has seen several signs erected as well as bench seating and replacement hand rails installed. It was completed by Buckingham Canal Society with the help of volunteers from the transport logistics recruitment agency, Driver Hire. A group of ten employees attended a community day to provide welcome extra hands and transform the area for walkers as summer approaches. The £2000 grant was awarded for remedial work to the footpath by the Buckingham Above: volunteers assembling the benches at Hyde Lane Local Area forum at the end of and Below: team photo with their completed benches last year. The efforts of BCS have ensured local walkers and tourists to the area can enjoy the Hyde Lane Nature Reserve. Terry Cavender, BCS Executive Officer said: “The Ouse Valley Way long distance footpath uses the canal towpath for the section between Buckingham and the County boundary. A lot of walkers use this throughout the year and the route also enable us to showcase our restoration work.” Meanwhile, canal restoration by Buckingham Canal Society continues at four key sites including Hyde Lane. Future plans here include using small dams to bund each end of the Nature Reserve section of the original canal channel. This will enable the canal to be rewatered using a solar powered pump to lift the water that flows across the canal from the nearby lakes. In addition, further work to improve the surface the towpath here with stone is currently pending a grant decision from WREN who funded the restoration work at the Buckingham section in 2013.
Finally on the MB&B, not content with building a bridge out of Meccano, they’ve built a bench too! What next, a Lego lock? A Brio inclined plane?
Manchester Bolton & Bury
Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal
There’s more giant Meccano at Nob End! That’s where the new bridge was built out of giant replica Meccano a couple of years ago, and this time the Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal Society has added a Meccano bench in the newly created viewing area for the locks. The money came from donations made at two funerals last year; the two who died were John Lynn and Philip Wakerley. John was a member of the Society’s Council, and Philip was simply some-
one who loved the canal. The bench was made by Folsana in Bolton, and then galvanised and painted locally. The picture shows Paul Bowerman (from the Canal & River Trust), Steve Dent & Sam Kennion (of the Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal Society) at the back; sitting on the bench are Liam Curtin (the artist who designed all the Meccano structures at Nob End) and Paul Hindle (Chairman of the Canal Society). For more about the Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal Society, see www.mbbcs.org.uk
Camp report Cromford Canal Cromford Canal Camp 2015-06 Week One: 11 to 18 July Saturday: Camp started with a quick handover of the keys for the Wharf Shed (our accommodation) before dispatching John ‘The Hawk’ Hawkins to collect a van. On his return he became part of the Hazel Grove carnival procession – at least that was the excuse for late appearance. After the required house-keeping duties we set off for a site visit, observing Ironville Locks in the sunset. Last year’s work made it easy to see the healthy flow of water over the lock cill. At the other end I pointed out the features of the lock bottom that had been exposed last year. Through the crystal-clear waters we watched a crayfish wander happily along the lock floor. A local walking a dog asked what we were doing, and informed us of a monster fish that dwelt within the lock - “it’ll ’ave yer ’and orf” was the warning! Returning to Cromford we thought we should check to see if The Boat was where we left it. Happily it was. Assistant Leader put car keys in a safe place – last we saw of them... Sunday: Made the site look pretty. Planted orange fencing anywhere that looked in need of brightening up. Discovered that sandbag bags come in more than one size and began to carefully clear some of the vegetation that encroached on the channel. Until the first crayfish were discovered and work halted. In the meantime my very kind trainers (Paul and Colin) worked hard training dumper and van drivers. Returning to the accommodation good use was made of the key to the lengthman’s hut and a ‘suitable’ cage was constructed to prevent the large pump that would keep the site dry from making industrial quantities of crayfish
A week at Ironville Locks involving sandbag-filling, digging, hoisting, dumping... and lots and lots of crayfish! chowder. Testing the cage we discovered it would hold Forestry Andy! The evenings entertainment was a walk up the incline plane and down to Cromford. Although The Boat is not the only pub in Cromford it does meet the Goldilocks test – not too scary, not too posh, but just right! Walking back up the towpath we discovered that one of our number had visited the dark side – a NT working week. As he put it “National Trust. Like Man United. You either love ’‘em or ******* hate ’em!”. Monday: Not a leader in sight (on site). I took a day off to attend Salford University for their graduation ceremony as my wife was awarded her doctorate. Chef had a birthday and a Minion cake was duly delivered. On site it rained. Canal & River Trust environmental staff began to move rare white-clawed crayfish before my wonderful assistant Martin could supervise the dam building. Pump delivered with a super quiet generater. Sadly it was on skids and some distance from where required. Changed it for a noisy one on wheels that we could get into
The sandbag-filling team
position. Dam damming and pump pumping. the midlands must have visited to see one. Water level dropping and the bank alive with For the evening we split our resourses. crayfish. CRT called for reinforcements. Little A team went to The Boat to take part in the work could begin until CRT gave the all clear. quiz. Some stayed home. Some went to Civil Engineer calculated and ordered pipe Matlock Bath for a walk. The walkers had a for the pump. Extra pipe to be delivered carefully planned route going mostly up hill tomorrow. to the unguarded top edge of High Tor and The Boat was warm and dry inside so then a lovely selection of dark beers in the we sat in the garden to feel more at home. A Station and County. plague of frogs visited the towpath which Returned to the accommodation to caused much excitement on the walk home. discover the early team had sorted themTuesday: Normal service resumed. selves (and their lunches) out – because they CRT having sent one person to site for one wanted to make up the time lost in the great day to clear these really rare crayfish, we crayfish hunt. now had two with the promise of a third. Friday: As before, but a digger “White-clawed crayfish?”. “Ah yes. That’s jumped in the head of the lock and did the name is something of a misnomer.” preparation required to add stone and conVast numbers of crayfish were moved crete. Then packed up and cleaned tools and to new homes. As the lock drained the mon- the accommodation before a walk along the ster fish was found and interrogated. Recanal to Whatstandwell and the BBQ before fused to give its name. CRT said “it’s a young heading home. male but in poor condition – under weight”. Rare crayfish population slightly higher Released downstream and expected to do than that of Greater London. well. The start of the week was very frustratFinally managed to start digging muck ing and I want like to thank everyone on the out of the lock. camp for remaining positive and ready to Having considered the options – we work. They took great care on the site – went to the cinema in Il’son. Only £4 a seat, respecting the instruction of the CRT enviin a real cinema with soul. ronmental team – to ensure the disruption to Wednesday: Minions wanted to send the crayfish was kept to a minimum. an early team to site to start the pump to Now what does one of these common drain the site. CRT returned in force to conSignal Crayfish look like? I’ve never seen one! tinue to move rare white clawed crayfish. Gavin Darby One of the team had never seen one before, let alone been required to move one. They estimated that a population roughly the size of Sheffield had been moved. Team worked amazingly well. Digging. Hoisting. Dumping. Not the most exciting job but just got on and did it. All day. Possibly the hardest anyone has worked for an ice cream! The evenings entertainment was a boat trip from the accommodation to Cromford, then on to the Barley Mow (the home of chicken racing!) Thursday: Like Wednesday, but less CRT staff. The number of rare crayfish relocated is now equalling the population of Birmingham. Excavator working at the head of the lock Every member of CRT staff in
Safety review How can we do better?
WRG’s Canal Camps and weekend working parties have a good safety record - but we’ve taken an objective look at how we can improve. Tom exlpains...
we ran at Leaders Training Days, so thank you all. I know, I know, Health and Safety (H&S) isn’t However we still need to encourage the most glamourous subject but it is one I more ‘near miss’ reporting. These reports are take a keen interest in. You see I’m pretty valuable as they allow us to respond to try to fond of you all (all right, don’t make a big prevent something from ever happening at deal of it) and therefore I don’t want to see all. This has been made even easier through anyone get hurt, so indulge me for a little the creation of the Safety Reporting Cards in while and have a read, please. a postcard format which you can complete I know a lot of people feel H&S, in its and return to head office by post or via the broadest sense, can be overzealous and camp paperwork package. sometimes patronising, but it’s worth reNow it might be prudent here to admembering that the rules and recommenda- dress any concerns. I assure you all reports tions have been developed over time as a are dealt with very objectively: this is not a response to actual accidents and incidents to blame game, just an exercise in improving try and prevent repeats. how we work. So please complete any reTranslating these to a volunteer-led ports as accurately and with as much detail environment can be challenging; unfortuas possible, including photos if you think nately as volunteers we are often under they’ll assist a reviewer. much closer scrutiny to demonstrate our competence than our counterparts in indusReview feedback try. However I feel we are in the fortunate position to tackle such challenging work as a I’m pleased to report there was a notable result of a proactive attitude toward H&S; reduction in the number and severity of keeping control of how we manage things. reported incidents compared to the previous One of the ways WRG is doing this is review. However, of course, we must all by regular monitoring reports of accidents, remain committed to achieving zero acciincidents and near misses both individually dents and incidents and the latest review has and then collectively as a bi-annual review to try and identify any trends emerging. We can then respond to these accurately and most importantly, appropriately. Obviously, the effectiveness of this relies on feedback from canal camps and working parties in the form of completed incident report forms, the scope and standard of which has greatly improved following segments
Health and Safety Review
identified some patterns that we can act on. Also be cautious of trying to help third Eye protection: Several reported parties, such as assisting deliveries to site, if incidents reiterated not only the importance it’s beyond our scope of responsibility then of eye protection but also the correct type don’t attempt it, we need to retain control of and fitment to ensure no exposed areas the tasks we undertake. remain. This is particularly true of working with mortar which can splash around and How we can improve? behind safety eyewear. Please make sure that you select eyewear that is appropriate for the Ideally as a group of volunteers we need to task as identified in the risk assessment, is promote a positive culture of health and clean and in good order and fits you correctly. safety for the benefit of everyone. Excuse me Proximity to works: You don’t have for quoting legislation here but the Health to be involved in a task to be at risk from it. and Safety At Work Act places a duty on us Consider how close you are to ongoing all to take care of not just our own health work, including when you’re just passing by. and safety but that of others who may be If you can’t avoid the area then make sure affected by our actions. Very noble stuff but you’re protected by appropriate PPE. This is also very logical; our volunteers are both our particularly true of eye protection and on most valuable and most vulnerable asset. some sites where exclusion zones are imI encourage you to pause and take that practical, leaders may consider in their risk extra time (insert tea here if desired) to assessments making eye protection a manda- consider the H&S aspects of the work you tory requirement for everyone on site. are about to attempt and how it may affect Banking and Slinging: Securing and you , other volunteers and yes, the general lifting loads should only be attempted by public too, so we can continue to work competent persons and with appropriate safely, effectively and efficiently. equipment. If you are unsure of anything do I also encourage you, please, to connot attempt this work. Keep clear of sustinue the good feedback we’re seeing pended loads by observing suitable exclusion through the reporting system and any other zones. When signalling or directing moving comments or suggestions you might have plant, make sure responsibilities are defined that could help us identify where we can and signals agreed before attempting any improve as a group. manoeuvres. Tom Rawlings Planning work: I know WRGies are lauded for their problem solving skills, but remember that improvising and planning on the fly needs risk assessing too. Don’t worry, this doesn’t have to mean loads of paperwork: just take the time to stop and consider what you’re attempting as it’s easy to go beyond the boundaries of what’s been put in place for your camp. If it needs a plan, then stop and make one; this is also a good opporOnly one volunteer is using the power tool, but both are wearing PPE tunity to drink tea.
Frank Wallder R.I.P.
“Always encouraging, always recruiting and really recognising the potential in people” Several WRGies may recognise Frank Wallder in the description above. After Frank’s recent death, many volunteers referred to the role Frank played in recruiting them and encouraging them to become long term member of WRG. He was certainly the person who persuaded me to come on my first London weekend and did an excellent job of converting me into a regular digger. He was a passionate cheerleader for WRG and really understood what the organisation meant to many people and what it could give them in return. He’ll also be fondly remembered for his cooking, which wasn’t always on time but was always excellent. Anyone who was ever given a lift by him will also remember the clutter and chaos of a car used mainly for storage. Other people have mentioned that he managed to fall in twice in one day on the Fourteen Locks Bonfire Bash. He was particularly active on the Mon & Brec and Cotswold Canals, which were his favourites A few WRGies have been wearing their pink ‘What Would Frank Do?’ t-shirts in memory of him. Frank was extremely active on a number of waterways and dug with various local groups including Essex and London. He led several camps and cooked on many others, and as his health began to fail he was frustrated at not to be able to continue the work. But canals were a late life passion for Frank. Before he began volunteering on the waterways, he was for many years a very active hockey player. He travelled across Europe playing matches and was extremely socially active with his hockey club. As a consequence of all the activities he was involved, with Frank had a wide number of friends across both the UK and Europe. He was also particularly good at collecting female friends of all ages. Like many WRGies, Frank was very good at talking to anybody from any background and many of his friendships have spanned decades. Frank was a very true and loyal friend to many people both inside and outside WRG. I had a read through Frank’s Facebook page following his death and I found a lot that made me chuckle - in particular his trademark grumpy humour. His family observed that he’d been well-named - Frank certainly told it like it is. Before his retirement, Frank had an eclectic career that included selling posh chocolates to Fortnum and Mason. He also enjoyed telling people he’d been in cavity walls for many years. He leaves behind a sister Angela and a niece and nephew who he was very close to. I know Frank missed working on the waterways and regretted not being able to participate as his health didn’t allow it these last couple of years. He particularly regretted that he wouldn’t get the chance to boat through Eisey, as the Cotswold was a project he particularly enjoyed working on. I hope we all get a chance to do that on his behalf. Sophie Smith
At Frank’s funeral on 24 August the family have asked for donations to the van appeal in lieu of flowers, as this will benefit many of the projects Frank worked on. If you’d like to make a donation on his behalf, you can do this by post (cheque made payable to ‘The Inland Waterways Association’ to: WRG Van Appeal, Island House, Moor Road, Chesham HP5 1WA) or via the WRG website.
Navvies subs: paying by cheque Waterway Recovery Group is legally a trading name and is not a legal entity in its own right. Therefore it does not have a bank account. We currently have a dispensation from the bank to accept cheques made out to “ Waterway Recovery Group” but recent changes to anti-money laundering legislation means that the bank is no longer going to continue to be able to accept cheques payable to Waterway Recovery Group. All cheques should therefore be made payable to “The Inland Waterways Association”.
And speaking of cheques...
The photo shows the WRG Van Appeal receiving a generous £1000 from the Chesterfield Canal Trust during a recent canal camp.
And speaking of the Appeal... Just as we were going to print (and too late to be included in Toby’s piece) we heard that Hargreaves, Yorkshire canal lock gate makers (and suppliers of many restoration projects) have donated for auction five of these lock gate plaques. Hargreaves don’t make many of these, and almost all of them are destined to spend their time attached securely to canal locks, so they’re real collectors’ items. So we’re auctioning them: email your offer (say which plaque you want - there are five, dated 2010, 2011 and 2013) to email@example.com (email subject ‘Lock gate plaque auction’) and if your bid’s the highest on the closing date of 15 September, it’s yours!
Navvies News Oh, and on the subject of vans... It wouldn’t be a Navvies without a moan about looking after the current fleet of vans while we save up for their replacements, so here it is. If you’re mixing concrete, mortar, or anything else that sets rock hard (custard?), it’s really not a very clever idea to do it right next to a van - especially if the stuff is getting splashed around a bit, like happens with some mixers. And if you manage to forget this advice until you’ve already managed to splatter it all over a van, it’s an even less clever idea to leave it and let it go hard. Wash it off straight away with lots of water. And if you do let it go hard and end up with a pebble-dashed Transit, don’t be tempted to scrape all the rock-hard spots off with a scourer and scratch the paintwork. There are better ways: I’ve got the broken thumbnails to prove it (and no, it wasn’t me that splattered it). Alternatively flicking them off with a credit card works quite well...
While you’ve got your wallet open... Tickets are now available for IWA’s 2015 Waterways Restoration Raffle. Following the huge success of last year’s raffle when over £13,000 was raised to support 54 restoration societies across the UK, IWA is aiming for £15,000. You can choose for your money to either go towards the £120,000 WRG van appeal, or you can nominate a restoration project of your choice for it to go to. First prize, donated by The Wyvern Shipping Company, is a one week holiday on a six berth narrowboat worth £800 - £1,500. Second prize, donated by Andersen Boats, is a three or four nightboating holiday on a four berth boat worth up to £700. Third prize, donated by Canal Cruising Company, is a weekend boating holiday for four people worth £590. And there are lots of other prizes including more boat trips, Crick Boat Show weekend tickets, chandlery vouchers, a Canal Boat Magazine subscription and a copy of each of their books, and lots more. There will be a book of tickets in the next issue, but in the meantime you can enter at waterways.org.uk/raffle or by phone on 01494 783453 ext. 611.
Start them young...
What does MBE stand for? As you’ll already have read on the editor’s piece on pages 4-7, our Chairman Mike Palmer got the MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List. So what is an MBE, then? Well, before all you cleverdicks at the back pipe up, I’m well aware that it means he’s now a Member of the Order of the British Empire. Now I know that it’s long been said in Civil Service circles that ‘MBE’ stands for ‘My Bloody Efforts’; whereas ‘OBE’ is ‘Other Buggers’ Efforts’. But I’m sure we can do much better. I kicked it off by suggesting on the WRG Facebook page (which Mike famously doesn’t read!) that perhaps it stands for “More Beer, Everyone?” And then I sat back and watched the rest of the crowd do it so much better... Move Beyond expectations Make BIG Excavations Muddy But Exciting Mike Better Emigrate Master of Brilliant Excuses Might Bounce Enthusiastically Many Bleeping Expletives Models Binbags Eccentrically Meat banned entirely Mighty brilliant engineer May Bullshit Effortlessly Monorail Building Expert Moving Backwards Excitedly My Boots are Egregious Malty Beer Experiment Manipulating bricks expertly Mighty Beards Encouraged Many Broken Excavators Mont’s Biggest Enthusiast Marvellous bloke, Evidently Mend Brimscombe, Eventually? Metabolises Beer Efficiently. My ‘Bonfire’’s Enormous Mighty Bearded Extrovert Thank you to everyone who contributed.
...or can anyone suggest a caption for this picture of Tim Lewis and young friend on a recent London WRG dig on the Basingstoke?
And speaking of London WRG... ...our Metropolitan branch seem to have got themselves a bit of a reputation as troublemakers in recent times. First there was the well-known northern canal restoration where the local community cancelled London WRG’s booking for the village hall when they found out the that the volunteers who were due to come up and spend a weekened restoring their canal for them came from London (horrors!) And now we hear that there have been complaints from the local neighbours after the London WRG tool-painting weekend. Apparently they were heard... wait for it... laughing and joking as they painted. Bunch of hell-raisers, clearly.
Congrats... ...to Tom and Kath Rawlings on their recent wedding, which seems from this photograph to have been a somewhat unorthodox affair. I don’t suppose wedding outfitters often get requests for a dress with a carabiner...
The WRG Training weekend took place on a wet muddy weekend on the Chesterfield Canal. Hereâ€™s some of what we learned...
Navvies 272. Waterway Recovery Group's magazine for volunteers restoring the waterways.