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volunteers restoring waterways

navvies Camps:

Reunion:

Chesterfield Cotswold Cromford Driffield Ashby

Last chance to book for the Uttoxeter

waterway recovery group

Issue No 273 October-November 2015


Intro Colin Hobbs

Summer camp photos Chesterfield Chesterfield

Bob Coles

Ashby Ashby

Cromford Cromford Driffield

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Chris Colborne

John Hawkins

Cotswold Cotswold


Visit our web site www.wrg.org.uk or find Waterway Recovery Group on Facebook for all the latest news of WRG's activities Production Editor: Martin Ludgate, 35 Silvester Road, East Dulwich London SE22 9PB 020-8693 3266 martin.ludgate@wrg.org.uk Subscriptions: Sue Watts, 15 Eleanor Rd., Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Manchester M21 9FZ Printing and assembly: John Hawkins, 4 Links Way, Croxley Green, Rickmansworth, Herts WD3 3RQ 01923 448559 john.hawkins@wrg.org.uk Navvies is published by Waterway Recovery Group, Island House, Moor Rd., Chesham HP5 1WA and is available to all interested in promoting the restoration and conservation of inland waterways by voluntary effort in Great Britain. Articles may be reproduced in allied magazines provided that the source is acknowledged. WRG may not agree with opinions expressed in this magazine, but encourages publication as a matter of interest. Nothing printed may be construed as policy or an official announcement unless so stated - otherwise WRG and IWA accept no liability for any matter in this magazine. Waterway Recovery Group is part of The Inland Waterways Association, (registered office: Island House, Moor Road, Chesham HP5 1WA), a non-profit distributing company limited by guarantee, registered in England no 612245, and registered as a charity no 212342. VAT registration no 342 0715 89. Directors of WRG: Rick Barnes, John Baylis, George Eycott, Helen Gardner, John Hawkins, Dave Hearnden, Jude Palmer, Mike Palmer, Jonathan Smith, Harry Watts. ISSN: 0953-6655

© 2015 WRG

Contents In this issue... Editorial Is the editor a grumpy old man? And who’s the enemy now? 4-5 Appeal update Over half way there! 6-7 Coming soon Last call for the Reunion; Christmas and New Year work 8 Raffle The Restoration Raffle explained 9 Camp reports Cromford, Chesterfield, Ashby and Driffield 10-23 WRG BC Boat Club AGM report 24-25 Diary WRG, IWA, CRT, canal societies26-31 Feedback Canals going to ruin? 32-33 Progress our regular roundup 34-40 Camp reports three whole weeks of Cotswold Canals camps 41-48 Navvies News save your stamps! 49 Backfill and the return of Deirdre 50 Outro lots more canal camp pictures 51

Contributions... ...are always welcome, whether handwritten, typed, on CD, DVD or by email. Photos welcome: digital, slides, prints. Please say if you want prints back. Digital pics are welcome as email attachments, preferably JPG, but if you have a lot of large files it’s best to send them on CD or DVD or to contact the editor first. Contributions by post to the editor Martin Ludgate, 35, Silvester Road, London SE22 9PB, or by email to martin.ludgate@wrg.org.uk. Press date for issue 274: 1 November.

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 "Inland Waterways Association" please. This is a minimum subscription, that everyone can afford. Please add a donation.

Cover Picture: Dismantling begins on the walls of Woolsthorpe Lock 15, Grantham Canal report next time (photo: Martin Ludgate). Back cover: After work on the Cotswold Canals has been concentrated on the west end recently, things are finally stirring (mostly stirring mud, it would seem) at Inglesham Lock at the west end. We’ll have more news next time. (Stephen Davis)

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Editorial By a grumpy old man?

...on grumpy boaters, camp reports, building bridges with the Canal & River Trust, and a certain difference of opinion on the definition of ‘restoration’...

“I’m not volunteering to do maintenance work on a navigable canal: that’s what my boat licence money should be paying for.” “Navvies is all canal camp reports full of in-jokes, gossip and tattle, not like the good old days when it was a campaigning magazine.” “The entire canal system’s going to ruin. They should concentrate on keeping the existing canals going, not try to open any more.” There, have we cheered you up yet? Those who know me will be aware that I’m actually something of an optimist when it comes to the waterways (Let’s face it, I wouldn’t have been in canal restoration for so long if i hadn’t been!) although I’m sure I can do a fair imitation of a grumpy old man at times. But in fact the three grumpy quotes above are all inter-linked... Let’s deal with the one about canal camp reports first. Yes, this issue has rather a lot of them. It always does: it’s the issue that comes out in autumn, a few weeks after the end of the main summer camps programme. I hope lots of you who were on those camps will read them, look back on yet another successful summer, remember what a brilliant time you had, and vow to come back for more. And I hope lots of you that weren’t on the camps will be entertained by the reports and tempted to try it for yourselves. But yes, I know that there are those who aren’t terribly keen on canal camp reports and other mainly ‘social’ stuff because they mainly want to read hardcore canal restoration features and news, not who ate what and who won at ten-pin bowling. More about Ham Mill Lock and less about ham sandwiches, as it were. Well, I’m not about to stop chasing people for camp reports and publishing them, because I think they’re in important part of what Navvies does in terms of informing, amusing, recruiting and retaining volunteers. (And I find some of them very entertaining!) But you may notice a couple of changes. Firstly I’m trying to spread the camp reports over more issues to make space for other stuff (including an interesting letter this time - see below), so a few have been held over. And secondly I’m grouping them together by restoration project and accompanying the first one for each site with a ‘fact box’ about the canal restoration scheme including a map and some information, to help those who weren’t on the camp to make more sense of what was going on. I hope you find them useful - please feel free to tell me whether you do. But back to the grumpy quotes. And to the one about not volunteering on navigable canals. Now as a canal boater myself, I’m well aware that it isn’t cheap - and that it’s been getting more expensive (and that turning it into a rich man’s pastime isn’t going to help anyone - least of all the Canal & River Trust when it tries to justify asking for any more cash from the Government once the current contract expires in 2027 - but that’s another argument). So I can understand the concept that ‘we’re giving enough already’. I’m also aware that a lot of us in WRG are in it because we want to restore canals, not maintain them. Then again, there’s the third grumpy quote, about the existing canals falling apart. If the boaters are too busy paying for their licences, WRG’s volunteers are too busy restoring derelict canals, and CRT’s finding it hard to raise enough extra cash, who’s going to maintain the navigable ones properly? And if nobody is - and as mentioned above the funding may run shorter in 12 years - what’s the point of restoring canals if the existing ones will be falling derelict. Read the ‘interesting letter’ in this issue that I mentioned above from John Cowie: it isn’t a univerally held view, but he clearly believes some canals are already deteriorating. But before we get too grumpy (and I admit that the above paragraph takes a very pessimistic line)... and in case you were wondering how I would bring all the threads together...

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Actually, for all that many people may have (quite justifiably) declined to give CRT their time, a lot of people have actually done exactly that. One thing that’s booming is the number of CRT volunteers. And another is the number of local IWA volunteers. So there are a whole lot of people (whether boaters, waterways enthusiasts or just people who want to do something for their local canal), many of whom probably don’t much mind which organisation they’re working for, who are happy to give their time. However, as our letter-writer says, what they’re doing isn’t often the sort of heavy maintenance work which will keep the canals navigable - he mentions “the voluntarily mown grass and painted lock gates”. So how do we get these volunteers moving on to the next level above painting and vegetation control? That’s where the camp reports come in: in among the descriptions of awesome ten-pin bowling matches and blocklaying marathons in this issue, note this quote: “Local Canal & River Trust volunteers turned up to help too on most days, and further their knowledge and skills through learning from WRG volunteers.” And that’s an answer. By passing on our skills (including our Building Bridges scheme see wrg.org.uk or contact Jenny at head office), we can help CRT’s volunteers get up to speed on more advanced work (such as in this case rebuilding a collapsing farm accommodation bridge). This enables them to take on such local projects themselves in the future, gets historic structures restored while leaving CRT more free to concentrate on the real heavy maintenance, and still lets us in WRG spend most of our time doing what we want to do - restoring derelict canals - hopefully without us having to worry that by the time we get (say) the Shrewsbury & Newport canals open, the Shroppie might be in a poor state. The ‘working with CRT’ thing is something our Chairman Mike Palmer has been banging on about for some time - but from the above, it looks like it’s starting to work as it should. And remember, the above quote came from a canal camp report. Do keep reading them, you never know what else you might learn...

So who’s the enemy? Three years back, when British Waterways had just been transformed into CRT, we ran a ‘guest comment’ by Ian Mac (old-time WRG volunteer and now CRT volunteer) who, among a lot of interesting stuff, some related to what I’ve said above, included the following line: “We are all on the same side now, and I’m not yet sure who the new enemy is, but there will be one!” Among the many replies, which included everything from outright agreement to some much more sceptical views, nobody suggested a “new enemy”. I think I might have found one... Earlier this year an IWA campaign cruise to the little-used River Welland was cancelled, because the tidal lock onto the river had been allowed to silt up and was unusable. Still on the Fens, the southern of the two routes across the Middle Level Navigations is closed because Welches Dam Lock (which some may recall restoring) has fallen back into dereliction, and the authorities can’t afford repairs - but seem less than keen on letting us do it . Finally in Yorkshire, Elvington Lock on the Derwent has been ‘temporarily’ shut for 18 months. What do they have in common? They’re all Environment Agency (rather than CRT) waterways. About 15 years ago, there was a move to transfer the EA’s navigations (which also include the Thames and Nene) to the then British Waterways. The Government decided against the idea, but indicated that if it wanted to keep its waterways the Agency might like to be a bit more pro-navigation, rather than regarding boating as some kind of inconvenient adjunct of fishing. The result was waterway plans for all its rivers, and support for a new waterway link from the Nene via the Welland to the Witham, known as the Fens Link. But recently, the EA seems to be losing interest again. Partly no doubt that’s a result of funding cuts, but there’s also the EA’s support for ‘river restoration’. That might sound like just what we want, but it isn’t: it means restoring rivers to their natural state - such as removing weirs. On the Sussex Ouse a few years ago, the EA was trumpeting its great success in destroying a historic navigation weir, helping ‘restore’ the river (i.e. making it harder to reopen to boats). Is that the sort of organisation that we want running waterways that we’re trying to restore or maintain for navigation? Surely, even given John Cowie’s concerns about CRT’s standards of waterway maintenance, they’re at least the ‘least worst’ option now? Martin Ludgate

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Van Appeal

The appeal for 120 grand to replace our fleet of vans has raised enough for almost two and a half vans! But we still need almost £50,000 more: here’s how to help...

Less than £50,000 to go! Appeal update: under £50k to go Thanks to all your efforts, the appeal to replace our fleet of four van/minibuses has had a strong start, reaching more than half way towards the £120,000 target in a matter of months. Now only £50,000 remains…

What’s been happening… Donations – Donations are still coming in and it’s always encouraging to see a cheque arrive in the post that will get us one more step closer to buying four new vans. Chesterfield Canal Trust also generously donated £1,000 towards the appeal.

Northampton Festival Raffle – Navvies editor Martin Ludgate held a raffle alongside his boaters’ quiz at Northampton Festival of Water, which proved to be very popular, raising £167 for the van appeal. Thank you Martin and everyone who entered! Also at the same event Sadie from the WRG Boat Boat Club raised just over £30 with her ‘dancing jig doll WRGie’, and the Boat Club also hopes to support the appeal later this year (see p25). Thanks Sadie and WRG BC. A Younger Member of WRG NW Goes for a Run! On Sunday 12th July Liz Chase successfully completed the 10km course of the Race for Life at Heaton Park in Manchester. She managed to raise £275 for the Van Appeal and deserves our thanks for her efforts.

Martin Ludgate

Drive a Digger and Bricklaying – WRG held a bricklaying activity for children at Stratford River Festival and Northampton Festival of Water. They also held Drive a Digger at Northampton Festival, giving just under 100 children the opportunity to experience operating a digger. All donations received were given to the van appeal.

Notts & Derby Lock Wind – IWA’s Notts & Derby Branch held a lock wind on Saturday 8th August and generously donated all the proceeds to the van appeal. Over 40 boats passed through the lock over the course of the day and £250 was raised in total.

“One we made earlier” - the Droitwich walkers make a brief photo-stop at the restored Hanbury Locks

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Droitwich Walk: a total of 37 walkers (15 on the five-mile walk and 22 on the full 22 miles around the Droitwich canal ring) raised a massive 4 grand for the Appeal. And Mike Palmer did the whole thing dressed as Snow White! Our thanks to everyone who sponsored the walkers, and also to Droitwich Spa Marina for hosting the start and finish; and to Jason Day for providing first aid services and welcome station. And to Alan & Rosemary Wiffen for the cake!

If you’d like more information on the appeal or any of the activities listed contact me at 01494 783453 ext. 611, by email to toby.gomm@ waterways.org.uk or visit the website. Toby Gomm

What’s to come... Barn Dance – The date for the Barn Dance has changed to Saturday 12 March 2016 at Rowington Village Hall. Save the date! There will be food, drink and live music. What more does one need on a Saturday night?

Appealing Updates

‘Drive a digger’ collects donations at Northampton

WRG BC

WRG BC

Keep up to date with new events and activities that will take place later in the appeal by going to wrg.org.uk/wrgvanappeal or wait for the next update in the next Navvies.

Martin Ludgate

Bungle for veggie – Don’t let George ‘Bungle’ Eycott get away with eating meat! The more he raises, the longer he will go vegetarian for throughout November. Support him via his fundraising page at virginmoneygiving.com/bungle.

Sadie’s dancing WRGie doll...

...and appropriate collecting tin at Northampton

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Coming soon Reunion, Christmas...

Last chance to book for the Uttoxeter Canal Reunion Dig. First chance to book for the London WRG / KESCRG Cotswold Christmas dig...

WRG Reunion dig, Uttoxeter Canal, 7-8 November We start with a final call for volunteers for our big annual get-together and working party, which this time is on the Uttoxeter Canal (a former 13-mile extension of the Caldon running through the beautiful Churnet Valley in Staffordshire). We’ll be working on clearing vegetation from what it is hoped will one day be a showpiece length of canal near Crumpwood. As we went to press, we’d already received a fair number of bookings but still had plenty of space. However there is a strict maximum limit on the number that we can take, so if you haven’t already booked in please do so straight away: use the form in Navvies 271, see www.wrg.org.uk or contact Head Office, and you will be sent full joining instructions. And just a couple of points to bear in mind: firstly we’re sorry that there won’t be any space at the accommodation for people to bring caravans or camper vans; secondly we’re afraid volunteers won’t be able to bring dogs; finally those coming by car will need to park in the village as there is only room at the accommodation for WRG vehicles.

London WRG / KESCRG Christmas dig, Cotswold Canals 5-6 December Our first event of the Christmas season is a joint working party and Christmas party on the Cotswold Canals organised by London WRG and KESCRG - but with everybody welcome. As ever there will be a fancy dress party and fun & games on Saturday evening in the accommodation at Brimscombe Port - this year the theme will be ‘Films’ - make of that what you will... To book, send a cheque for £17 (pay KESCRG) to Stephen Davis, 68 Reading Road South, Fleet GU52 7SD and remember to mention any dietary requirements. Contact Stephen on sdavis@insigniamedical.co.uk for further information. Oh, and the work? Well, we’re not entirely sure of that either, but the Cotswold Canals Trust always seems to be able to find a supply of useful stuff for us to do.

New Year Camp, Cotswold Canals 26 December - 1 January We’re heading back to the Cotswold Canals again on Boxing day for the traditional ‘get away from the relatives’ canal camp to fill the cold turkey days between Christmas and New Year with a bit of festive scrub-bashing. Dave ‘Moose’ Hearnden will be the leader so there will no doubt be some of his famous ‘small, controlled fires’, and we’ll no doubt be welcoming-in the year 2016 in style. We’re expecting the accommodation to be at Brimscombe Port, but contact Head Office on 01494 783453, email enquiries@wrg.org.uk or see the WRG website for more details - and to book in. Volunteers will be welcome even if they are only coming for part of the camp, but do please contact us first.

WRG BITM New Year Camp, Wilts & Berks Canal 26 December - 1 January As usual there will also be a New Year Camp at Dauntsey Lock. The work will (depending on the weather) be sealing leaks in the towpath, and widening a section of towpath by removing the old hedge and replanting. This will involve lots of bonfires and excavator and dumper driving. There may also be work at Foxham. It will be run as a WRG BITM camp. [nb: for the avoidance of any doubt, this camp is not connected with the Wilts & Berks Canal Trust]

And then... One for your 2016 diary: BCN Clean Up on 16-17 April. More next time.

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In this issue of Navvies is a book of raffle tickets, but it’s a raffle with a difference, as Toby explains...

Restoration Raffle Support your favourite project

The Restoration Raffle Shake this copy of Navvies gently, and out will fall your very own book of raffle tickets for the Inland Waterways Association’s Restoration Raffle. So what’s that about? It’s a raffle in support of canal restoration with some great prizes - and a special feature: you can nominate which project you want your money to go to, including the WRG van appeal! All profits from the raffle will be given away to various restoration projects that have been nominated on the ticket stubs. The raffle already raised over £3,000 in the first month since it launched at the beginning of August - and last year’s raised over £13,000. This year one of the eligible projects is the WRG Van Appeal so every ticket you purchase can double as a donation towards the £120,000 total to buy four new vans for WRG! As well as supporting your chosen project you also have a chance to win a selection of great prizes: First prize, donated by The Wyvern Shipping Company, is a one week boating holiday on a six berth narrowboat during June, September or October 2016 worth £800 - £1,500. Second prize, donated by Andersen Boats, is a three night (Friday-Monday) or four night (Monday-Friday) boating holiday on a four berth narrowboat worth up to £700. Third prize, donated by Canal Cruising Company, is a weekend boating holiday for four people worth £590.

Other prizes include...

. . . . . . .

A two-night boating break donated by Cambrian Cruisers A weekend boating holiday donated by Calcutt Boats A day boat hire holiday donated by ABC Leisure A pair of Crick Festival Weekend Tickets donated by Waterways World Magazine £100 of vouchers for Midland Chandlers A 12-month Canal Boat Magazine subscription and copies of all their books a hand painted, decorative jug donated by The Stone Boat Building Company.

Tickets cost £2 each, in books of 5 tickets, and as well as the book of tickets inside this issue of Navvies you can buy more books, or if you’d prefer to enter online, go to www.waterways.org.uk/raffle or call 01494 783453 ext. 611. Nominate your favourite restoration project so it receives a bigger share of the funds. On each ticket stub you can nominate your chosen project, and once the raffle has been drawn the number of nominations will be calculated and the money each restoration project receives will be in direct proportion to their total nominations. For example a project receiving 10% of the total nominations would receive 10% of the money raised. The raffle will be drawn on 31st December 2015 at IWA’s Head Office in Chesham. For more information on raffle prizes, restoration projects and the terms and conditions see www.waterways.org.uk/raffle or contact the raffle organiser Toby Gomm at toby.gomm@waterways.org.uk or 01494 783453 ext. 611.

As we went to press the front runners among the projects nominated for support were the WRG Van appeal and the Friends of the Cromford Canal... But anything can happen in the next two months... See waterways.org.uk/raffle for a weekly-updated pie chart showing who’s in the lead.

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Camp report Cromford Canal Cromford Canal Camp 08: Ironville Lock 4 Our magnificent accommodation was The Wharf Shed at High Peak Junction. It has 6 Bedrooms! With BUNKS!! Enough for 28 people! And Comfy Chairs! And SHOWERS!!! The aim of the camp was three-fold: First priority was to lay a concrete pad in the upper forebay of Lock 4 at the current dropped cill level, to use as a stable platform for all future work whatever the conditions. The next job was to continue the lock clearance which began last year, but was severely held up on the camp before ours this year by the discovery of ‘rare’ (actually super-abundant!) highly protected whiteclawed crayfish. Happily a solution was found in a temporary licence being granted to Charlotte and Christine who were present for both camps and were given special training and temporary permission to lead further crayfish to a place of safety. Finally, the towpath was to be levelled, and re-laid with rolled type 1 hardcore:

Our selection of canal camp reports from the summer camps begins with a week of concreting and chamber clearance on the Cromford Canal... although it looked pretty firm to us, apparently it doesn’t take much to turn it into a slippery quagmire and it’s the main path for inter-village travel and dog walkers, who showed considerable appreciation for our efforts. We were provided with several machines for these jobs. Sadly not all were used to their full potential: access/egress of digger or dumper into the lock chamber turned out to be improbable without risk of getting stuck, and certainty of bank damage if repeated. So in the end everything was hand dug into buckets, barrowed to the hoist, and taken to the dump site by dumper which stayed safely on the towpath. The little 1-ton digger was used to fill it with type 1 for the upper forebay, and the 3t one was only used on the last day, to remove the large pump and sandbags from upstream. (It proved tricky to extract afterwards. Our initial failed attempts were observed by the watchful CRT safety inspectors from a respectful distance, although when they did approach they seemed satisfied by our handling of the

Cromford What’s the story about the High Peak

Cromford?

Pinxton

Junction

The Canal Camp project: chamber clearance and upper forebay concreting at Ironville Lock 4

Whatstandwell Sawmills Ambergate Bull Bridge Aqueduct

Why? The Friends of the Cromford want to get restoration going on the only surviving locks on the canal. In the medium term, they hope to reinstate the canal (demolished by opencast mining in the past) from there south to Langley Mill.

Butterley Tunnel

Ironville

Canal Camp site: Lock 4 Langley Mill Erewash Canal to the Trent

The wider picture: The Friends hope eventually to reopen the entire canal through to Cromford, but there are difficulties including the missing Bull Bridge Aqueduct (over the main road and railway), the collapsed Butterley Tunnel and the need to work sensitively in partnership with wildlife groups. However there is progress at various points: a keen local group at Sawmills, a restored length with trip-boat from Cromford to High Peak Junction, and a possibility of a new housing scheme reinstating a missing canal section near Ambergate.

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Chris Colborne

The ingenious contraption for delivering concrete to the lock forebay (see also page 2)

situation, and after a timely coffee break Pat had a go and drove it straight out at the second attempt!) The two diggers were stored in the front garden of very friendly and accommodating local haulier Jack Brown, adjacent to site, who also kindly allowed us use of their toilets. There was easy access from there, but not wide enough for the dumper or flat enough for the roller to safely negotiate, so these had to be kept in the main haulage yard. Unfortunately, that was much less accessible, involving various gates and the public highway. Hence the (very slow) roller never saw the light of day - we only had time to spread a relatively modest amount of Type 1 on the towpath’s worst gullies and sumps, which did not seem worth the difficulty of getting it on site. Laura cheerfully drove the dumper over from the yard each day and returned it. Each morning, the lock chamber and other areas above and below it all had to be pumped out with three small pumps, also the big pump that diverted the flow around the works all day. The first day we gave our grateful volunteers a bit of a lie in, but for the rest of the week there was an advance party - usually just Christine (crayfish expert) and Mike (Pump expert) - who went gamely forth to get things started. Steady progress was made removing tons more sludge, muck and rubble from the chamber, plus a little

rubbish and many interesting artifacts such as stoneware bottles and ink pots apparently rejected from the nearby pottery. Meanwhile, the upper forebay dug out a little more and de-slurried with buckets, for the hardcore footing for the concrete pad. The hardcore was dumper-tipped down the bank onto a tarpaulin, then barrowed to the forebay and spread out. The area was surveyed (several times, just to be sure) with pegs marking the final desired surface. Gentle gradients were required, to drain perfectly in the right direction with a drop of a few cm from the side to the centre and also from upstream to the cill. It was largely ready on Monday evening, and the concrete was ordered to arrive on Wednesday morning. Because there was only access on one side, which would make screeding the wet concrete very problematic, three long scaffold bars were set at the sides and centre of the pad to provide a guide for the smoothing planks to get a good level. They would be withdrawn and the slots filled once the concrete had gone off sufficiently (but not too much). But before it arrived, the barrow crew spread a ton or so type 1 mix into the worst ruts and hollows of the towpath, taking advice from the local users about the bits in most need of improvement. It was short of what was planned, but they were still very grateful for what we could achieve in the time available.

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Then, with the arrival of the sloppy grey stuff, it was all hands (and barrows) on deck! The concrete ingredients were mixed to order by the lorry and its crew, to the exact quantity and consistency requested, then barrowed along the towpath to the lock - a great effort. A curious contraption devised by FCC, consisting of a scaffold frame with a plastic hopper and wastewater pipe (see photo, previous page), was used to pour it straight from barrows into waiting buckets below for carrying to the spot it was laid. At first the hopper tended to clog up, but a good method was found to prevent this. Nevertheless some was carried around in buckets to speed the process a little. It started at the off side, which was smoothed as we went along. The turn in the ‘gutter’ to meet the lowest point of the cill was done by dead reckoning. When we reached the last swathe, we dispensed with buckets and raked it direct from below the pipe. After lunch the first scaff bar was lifted, and the concrete had gone off just enough to walk on a board and fill the gully left behind. The others were taken out a little later, and even when it was solid enough to walk on it was still possible to give it a smoother finish. Sadly, the next day was our final day on site (because we had to be out of the accommodation on Friday). We were all thrilled to see that the water ran precisely as intended on our beautiful new concrete floor. All the pumps, pipes and hundreds of sandbags were removed, apart from our smaller, less leaky dam and pipe which FCC wanted for protection from the full stream until a final set was assured. A last push was made in the lock chamber, moving some big chunks of concrete and also making lots of nice crayfish habitat with various stones and gravel, in the manner requested by the experts. All the wooden railings on the lockside were artfully restored, the site fencing cleared away and everything left ship-shape. Of course it wasn’t all work, work, work. A few people still had some energy left for walking to a pub in Cromford on a couple of evenings. On Tuesday a group of us went to the French-speaking night at the Barley Mow in Bonsall, but as we arrived, the landlady Collette (astride a large horse on the road outside) told us that the French Club had left early so she employed the bilingual services of a slightly bewildered old fellow from the terrace who appears to be one of

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the pub’s permanent fixtures and fittings. The next evening, there was a pleasant boat trip from our Wharf Shed to Cromford, whence the waiting vans took us back to the Barley Mow for a lovely curry. The customary last-night barbecue was not only on a different day but at a new venue, the beautiful garden of John Barker, a high-ranking FCC member. What an evening it was - with lovely views of a stunning sunset; a gliding, swooping owl; a DofE’er up a tree... Huge thanks go, in no particular order, to The whole previous camp for getting the site all sorted out for us, which was a big job in itself, and dealing with all the problems they encountered so we didn’t have to The outstanding can-do attitude, support and advice from Local Matthew Rogers (George’s dad) Christine, mainly for her sterling services towards the welfare of the (not very endangered actually) crayfish The fine youthful team of Kathleen, Helen, Sam, Karan, Fraser, Charlotte and Thomas for their dogged determination and unwavering enthusiasm digging, shovelling and barrowing several tons of material around David Patey for keeping up with the supply of crud on the barrow hoist, of which he was sole operator so had little respite David ‘Evvi’ Evans and Peter for being really useful, having good ideas and Getting Things Done Laura Rudeck for being Dumper Queen Steve Barratt for being not only an allround good bloke but also a great machine driver and concrete smoother Patrick Rudeck for putting us to shame on both of those things Mike for his virtually waterproof dam construction skills and concrete pouring prowess And of course Steve Harmes for basically just keeping the whole thing going! But for me the greatest praise is due for the one who kept all these outstanding individuals fuelled - Sarah Patey our wonderful cook. She says she likes to see appreciative eaters, and there was no other kind on this camp. Only Sarah could come up with a perfect way of using up leftover ‘Brian’! (She overwhelmed us at the first offering). Not forgetting her French translation skills, which were very much appreciated. We hope to see many of you at the Bonfire Bash, and - with any luck - back at the Wharf Shed next year! Chris Colborne

. . . . . . . . . . .


The first of two weeks at Staveley on the Chesterfield Canal is the subject of this combined report by the camp’s first time volunteers...

Camp Report

Chesterfield Canal Camp 11

with clean plates. Soon after dessert ‘beer o’clock’ was called and everyone in the group got find out more about each other over a nice cold refreshing alcoholic beverage. Bed time was called early, much to the surprise of many, let’s hope we are allowed to stay up late later on in the week...

Report written by the gold Duke of Edinburgh Award volunteers... Sunday by Gabriel: After a long day full of travelling yesterday, waking up today was surprisingly easy for everyone but Ferg. Our first of many journeys to the work site was seamless and at 9 o’clock everyone had been appointed jobs by Colin. Three of us (including me) were given pickaxes and shovels to dig a hole which was coincidentally around the same size of 3 graves... while the rest of the group were tasked to build shuttering. The 10:30 tea break was welcomed by all and the day went on rather quickly. The rain decided to make an appearance for a couple of hours but us being a hardy bunch carried on as if the weather was fine and dandy. Work ended at around 4 or 5, I can’t remember. After showers we went back to the accommodation where Steve the cook had made us a delicious mouthwatering roast dinner and of course everyone finished

route

HS2 railw ay

Staveley Restored to Chesterfield

Monday by Adam: So the second day began in a very similar manner to the first. After a fantastic breakfast from Steve we were down at site for 9:00 ready and raring to go. Unfortunately one of the vans had to go into repair shortly after we arrived at site due to some axle issue. The morning session was similar to the activities of the previous day. We were putting up the basic shuttering on both sides of the lock chamber so that it could be completed at a later date. We had our lunch break per usual where we tucked into our sandwiches after a hard morning slog. In the afternoon the majority of the group was down the bottom end of the site concreting after an unplanned delivery. Unfortunately the vibrator broke a short while in, resulting in the use of rakes and shovels to try and move the concrete Navigable to the Trent

Proposed new Rother Link

Canal Camp site: Staveley Town Lock

Chesterfield Canal

Killamarsh

Planned diversion around Norwood Tunnel

What’s the story about the

Chesterfield?

The Canal Camp project: continuing the work to build the new Staveley Town Lock and the concrete block canal walls below the lock Why? There’s a freight railway line that crosses the canal route with insufficient headroom to get boats under it. Chesterfield Canal Trust’s Renishaw solution is to build a new lower length of canal and to connect it to the original canal on either side via two new locks. This is the first one. The wider picture: The formerly derelict length from Worksop to Chesterfield is well on the way to complete restoration, with over five miles from Worksop to Norwood Tunnel already restored, plus another isolated navigable length from Staveley to Chesterfield, leaving just eight miles still to reopen. It’s a difficult eight miles, with problems of subsidence from old coal mines, the collapsed Norwood Tunnel, houses built on the line at Killamarsh, and now the new HS2 railway threatening to make restoration harder. But by building the new locks at Staveley we’re making progress toward reopening, and improving the chances of HS2’s plans being modified to avoid damaging the canal.

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next day. We had a brisk lunch and made our way towards Sowerby Bridge to visit the lock gate factory, picking up the chef Steve on the way. When we arrived we were greeted at the entrance and given a tour around the workshop, and then had time to have a look round ourselves and ask questions. After we had a good look around we went to see two locks, one being among the deepest in the country. At this point everyone was ready to eat, so we paid a visit to the marina fish and chip shop and ate by the lock. We finished our fish and chips with help from the ducks and set off to see Bingley five rise locks, stopping at the Salterhebble guillotine lock en route. A slight sat nav malfunction saw us make a detour Tuesday by Ellen The early morning wake though the scenic town of Bradford but up call was a struggle as usual (for some), eventually we reached the Bingley five but after breakfast had been eaten and everise locks, and it was well worth the wait. ryone had kitted up, we left a bit more enerOn the journey home Steve degetic and in higher spirits. We all had our cided to show everyone on the party separate working groups. Some of us were bus his pussy, and Jen was eager to see busy drilling or removing shuttering, while what all the fuss was about. We reothers were mixing concrete and carrying out turned to the accommodation as the sun other wood jobs. Tea break included a treat was setting, and it is safe to say everyof home-made cinnamon rolls courtesy of one was shattered. It became evident Tina. After more work lunchtime arrived, that after a glass of port or two, Steve’s with the added bonus of donuts. After our pussy would provide us with entertaindays work, we came back to a hearty meal of ment for the rest of the evening until beef stew with the usual group banter around the table, which included the news Chesterfield canal trust had very thoughtfully donated £1000 to the WRG van appeal. Our activity for the night was kite making and designing, which most people were excited by. Flurries of beautiful kites were produced, including some suggestive ones! Later we headed out to the hall’s playing field for some late night rounders which everyone enjoyed even if we could not see the ball! Wednesday by Fergus: Wednesday morning was a prompt start, as we planned to get as much done possible before lunchtime so we could visit the lock gate makers in Sowerby Bridge. The main bulk of the group were completing shuttering ready for a concrete pour, while the rest continued to work further down the canal preparing to lay blocks the

page 14

Colin Hobbs

around enough for it to lie level. Whilst this was going on, there were a few of us, myself included, building shuttering up the top end of the lock chamber. We finished work at about 6:00pm, because without the vibrator the concrete took a long time to level. However as we only had one van half of us went for our (hopefully) well deserved showers, whilst the other half remained to add the spare concrete to a small area that was dug yesterday. They then went to the showers. We all rendezvoused back at accommodation for dinner. It was cheesy pie and sausages pie. As usual it was delicious. The evening was very chilled. A few of us learned a new card game from our esteemed leader Colin, whilst some coloured and a few slept after the hard days work. Lights went out at about 11:00, thus ending day 2 of Canal Camp

Tamping the concrete wall base in place by hand


everyone took a long awaited rest ready for the next day. Thursday by Kym: Thursday - so a strange day and lots going on but the weather was good we got to site and plans had changed and concreting has appeared (magic concrete fairies) while we were on the tour of the countryside the afternoon before (bonus). But still enough to do with some people finishing the bracing on the shuttering and some people starting to remove shuttering in the morning ready to get the block laying in the afternoon done at the other end of site. We started by filling in another section with hand mixed concrete (mini cement mixer) on to a large shuttered area one end of the lock then Steve the cook arrived with goodies (donuts) and we stopped for tea break before cracking on to get the shuttering finished... After that was finished yet more wood had to be cut for the braces “I’ll be dreaming of it by the end of the week” the lunch arrived before we knew it... After lunch all the cut wood had to be sorted and all bolted down and finished. It was finished, and the work was done at the site - but the day wasn’t over yet... Back for tea with the best cheesey pie ever and cheese cake for dessert yum! Then someone suggested flapjacks to be made, so they were, by me and Ellen... Then film night Paddington Bear :-) but I’m sure there was snoring and half the group were asleep. Fun times and memories made thanks to a great camp leader and assistant leader Colin and Jenny, and all again tomorrow - I can’t wait! Friday by Alex: After yet another delightful breakfast from camp cook Steve and loading the vans we set off to the worksite for the final time, with Robbie Williams’ timeless power ballad Angels blasting out of Colin’s van upon arrival again! A sunny day greeted us on our day of block laying around the winding hole, with temperatures soaring to around 24 degrees. A great end to a week in which rain was often forecast but rarely fell. The vast majority of us WRGies worked relentlessly all day to make an impressive dent in the construction of the wall. In the late morning we all came together for a group photograph, a

great memento of the time we spent together. Towards the end of the day everyone had a go at driving the excavator, some with more success than others! Some, such as myself, kept getting the controls the wrong way around and moving in the opposite direction! A bit more practice may be required. Following on from packing up, completing the obligatory inventory check and showering we headed down to Hollingwood Lock, the home of the Chesterfield Canal Trust. After operating the locks we enjoyed a ride down the restored section of the canal on Madeline to our worksite at Staveley Town Basin. We were joined by Dave from the Canal Trust on the journey, who kindly greeted us with some cool boxes of alcohol as a token of appreciation for the work completed by WRG, something that was obviously greatly appreciated by us! The return journey began slightly abruptly, with us hitting the side of the canal and struggling to turn the boat back. I believe a WRGie was at the helm! Weeds got caught in the rudder, resulting in a rather unhealthy sound from the boat. Tea for the day was curry: with three different degrees of spiciness available. Plenty of food was consumed by all. With everything done for the day all there was left to do was relax. Many of us tried Chris’ deceptively simple puzzle involving the placement of just two shapes to create a single symmetrical shape. As the night drew on we played card games, with the DofEers enjoying the game of Ring of Fire. One unfortunate person had to drink a cup of snakebite and Rosé! After leaving the building to avoid disturbing everyone that was sleeping. We eventually hit the hay at 01:30 after a very enjoyable week at the canal camp! And finally from Leader Colin: I would like to thank a few people who made this weeks camp a very easy to run camp, Firstly I would like to thank our hosts Chesterfield Canal Trust who are always on hand to help which helps so much even if they change your days plans every morning: thanks Dave and Dave. Also Jenny for being my Assistant, helping out with all the paperwork and running the day to day camp; Steve for coming back to WRG after 10 years away to cook for us - glad you came back, thanks for the great food and donuts; Barlow village hall for letting us use your hall which was a nice place. Lastly I would like to thank all the volunteers for booking on to camp and hope to see you all next year Colin Hobbs

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Camp report Chesterfield Canal

had cooked an epic chicken curry with rice. Can’t remember what was for pudding. After the washing up the group went to the pub for a couple of games of pool and Barlow book club, also a drink or two. [Note: Matt was give a list of words to include into this report]

Sunday by Jamie: We all awoke on the Sunday morning with sore heads from the night before at the pub; not from alcohol but the mind boggling literature that had Interlude between week 1 & 2 been forced upon us. There was only one man who could Sat 9.30: everyone in cars, on bikes and on help us in a situation like that, Dr Love. The smell of trains; Colin and Adrian went off to site to bacon wafted into my nostrils as I slowly rose from a deep play with Denis & Andy and Tina went to slumber; it became very apparent many of our group were laundry (without getting lost this time) wash- not morning people. ing tea towels, high vis, pants and socks not The first working day of camp is inevitably the all in the same machine I might add. hardest. With many of having never laid a block in our 12 noon: Tina and Andy went to site lives the morning proved tough. It was only made harder for a cup of tea and found no gas for the by the God of Blocks (Fred the local) overlooking us each Burco so all four headed back to Barlow hall step of the way. Once we had got to grips with the basics where a kids’ party was happening. (it would every single person (bar Matt) was laying level block after have been rude not to watch the clown and level block. Cries for ‘gobbo’ could be heard all along the steal some cake!) canal as the mixers struggled to keep up with the rapid pace Volunteers started arriving and helped set by the brick layers. Throughout the course of the day the set the hall up, by 1.30pm we had the tables, relationship between the brick layers and the mixers grew chairs, fridge and Burco all set up, the stronger and the two forces were working in harmony together. kitchen was fully stocked and ready to go. By And as Gaius Sallustius Crispus once said ‘Harmony 3pm everyone had finally arrived and now makes small things grow’. In our case the small thing was eating Kym’s flapjack and birthday cake that the wall that was slowly but surely growing in height. was stolen from the poor little children. Colin I think it’s safe to say that many people’s favourite delivered the safety talk but thankfully wasn’t part of the working day were the breaks where we would watching Mrs. Brown’s Boys the safety video get to indulge ourselves on the sublime tarts that were and then we went on the site visit before prepared for us by our lovely chef Andy. The phrase heading back for dinner and an obligatory ‘that’s going straight in my basket’ rang out over Staveley trip to the pub at 9pm. when the box of buns was opened up. All were nicely tucked up in bed before On return to the accommodation our nostrils were midnight ready for our busy week ahead... filled with the glorious smell of roast beef which had it not been for Adrian’s recovery mission would not have occurred. Once again we all filled our boots which set us Chesterfield Canal Camp 14 up nicely for a game of rounders. Colin’s rules rounders Saturday by Matt: On Saturday the group was unlike any sport I’ve played in that it appeared there was told to turn up elegantly between the were no rules to the untrained eye; however, it became clear hours of 1 and 3 in the afternoon. When that only one man knew what was going on, our leader. everyone had arrived and got our bedding There’s the badger. sorted, we had our normality introduction and introduced ourselves to everyone. Monday by Jo: After another night of After a short health and safety DVD, we the infamous snoring chorus, led prethen got into the limousines and had a trip dominantly by Andy the chef, we were around Chesterfield to the site. When the all up early for a big fried breakfast at group got to site it was interesting to find 7:30am. Everybody was quick to get out what we had to achieve in a week. And ready and so we were on site before 9 also on site we got shown the welfare units and ready to do another day’s work. which include the canteen, toilets and the Everyone was starting to get in to compound and also the green containers the routine of the work day; we were where the tools are kept. After that we left much quicker to have the brew kit all and went to the local shop before going back set up and the tools out ready for work. to head quarters to find that the chef (Andy) Everybody pitched in with mixing mor-

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Colin Hobbs

tar, block laying and pointing, and as people were getting more confident the wall began to take shape much more quickly. I struggled with block laying at first as the blocks were very heavy for me but the boys kindly helped by lifting all my blocks off the pallets and on to the wall. It was really satisfying to lay a level row of blocks and know that they were all my own work. Lunchtime was The concrete block canal wall takes shape spent in the usual manner; consuming copious amounts of food and tea whilst ple bowling backwards, through their mildly bullying each other. (Don’t worry, legs, with the wrong hand, etc You Joe/Rufus/Jeffrey loved it and we meant name it, we were bowling like it! After two hours we were all exhausted and so it all in the nicest possible way). It was we were glad to get back to the hall. nice to get to chat to all the other volSoon we were all tucked up in bed and unteers as well as getting to know the ready for another rendition of the ‘locals’ who were also working on our Chesterfield snoring chorus! stretch of the canal. After lunch Andy, Fiona and I put Tuesday by Mike: After establishing an up some shuttering ready to infill a section behind the wall with concrete. It excellent working rhythm on the first two took quite some time to construct as we days, the whole team were raring to go. Bowling on the previous night helped us to had to hammer together fairly hefty know each other better, and we were able to pieces of wood and then secure it all very firmly against the wall. Fiona, Joe/ easily reach our target. Rufus/Jeffrey and I all got the chance to Now the wall which we were building use the big masonry drill too as we had looked nothing like the wall we had first seen to drive some iron pins into the conon the Sunday and it would be exciting to crete footings to hold the shuttering see the end product. Unfortunately I pushed tight against the wall. Once all the myself a little too hard and had to sleep on shuttering was up and secure the conthe canal boat trip, but the others assured crete pour could begin and Colin and me it was good way to relax. The day was rounded off with a dinner of three bean chilli, Andy soon had the hole filled in. We finished working and headed probably my favourite meal of the camp. off for our showers and then back to the Wednesday by Ruby: Half a day work!! Can’t hall for tea (‘dinner’ for all you Southerners). Andy cooked Shepherd’s Pie for complain, (less cling-film). Some of the team tea and it was amazing as ever! Luckily discovered the original canal walls as well as the bridge which was believed to have been built in there were plenty of leftovers as most people ended up having seconds. “Oooh 1868 by James Brindley. This was evidenced by shepherd’s pie! That’s going straight in the wooden support beam running through, which my basket!” Brindley had adopted from previously designing We all headed off to Chesterfield’s mills. But by this time I was falling asleep and the bowling alley for ‘Monday Madness’. God of Blocks had just arrived! So that’s all I got. What started out as a reasonably comIt was nice that the whole team was able to be a petitive game soon dissolved into peopart of the discovery and it embodied the impor-

page 17


tance of the restoration. After lunch and everyone’s filling of tea and cakes, we packed up and left for the North...ish with the usual Bohemian Rhapsody playing for the hundredth time. On arrival we visited the deepest lock in the UK’s system called Tuel lane lock, situated on Rochdale canal, having a fall of 6 metres. (Thanks Wikipedia!) After a few piccies thanks to the evermost gorgeous George we visited Hargreaves lock maker who kindly showed us around as well as the necessary tools required to make a set of gates. The majority of gates were made from the African wood Ekki... its aroma being greatly similar to cats’ wee, much to our disliking. Our next tour of the locks included the Salterhebble Guillotine Lock, a single gate that lifts vertically, in this case being electrically operated by a control panel. The job of pressing the button was given to Matt, something we were all a bit hesitant about, with wanting to keep my head and all. “Ooohhh fish and chips, that’s going straight in my basket!” Off again with Adrian getting lost and Colin’s music blaring out as usual. Our last stop was concluded with Bingley Five-Rise Locks, a staircase lock on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal at Bingley. Being afraid of heights I stayed far back and awaited the long journey back. In the evening after the monstrous buy of cheese everyone indulged themselves accordingly with the wine soon being replaced by Colin’s port, much to my liking. After regretting the suggestion of playing charades we all, minus the partial group who saved themselves by an early night, watched as Matt embarrassed himself with his interpretations being quite abstract, to put it mildly. To finish the night the remainder of the group, including myself played a casual game of cards. Have a nice day!

cooked by Chef Andy whilst we were on at the site. Once dinner was over and all the plates and cutlery were washed, we had free time till we went to bed. A group of us decided to play a game called Mao, which was taught to us by Will. The game lasted till about 10:30 and after that everyone got ready for bed .

Friday by Fiona: Today we were woken for breakfast at the earlier time of 7am. We had been briefed on this the night before and had also been promised a 1pm finish so there was a good atmosphere amongst the group. We arrived on site at approximately 8am. This time the locals were already there! We all worked hard to try and lay the final bricks needed to achieve Colin’s target of 6 rows all the way round the wall. By the end of the day we were all thrilled as we reached the goal! Towards lunchtime we were all invited to take a turn operating a digger. We were called one by one and shown how to move it forwards, sideways and how to angle it. This was a highlight of the week, even though I definitely need more practice! At around 1pm we packed the equipment into the vans and drove back up to the compound to count and clean the tools. This was a fairly long but thorough process and we were all glad to head to the showers once everything was accounted for, although we knew it had to be re-cleaned and re-counted back at the accommodation hall. After our showers and a stop at Tesco to buy supplies for the evening’s party we got back to the hall, making a quick stop at the traffic lights to pick up a discarded Kate Thursday by Joe: The morning started Bush CD lying in the gutter. We immediately at 6:00 when Matt and I got up to make played the CD, but it proved most unpopular breakfast for everyone at 7:00. amongst the majority of the group. Back at The vans arrived at site at 9:00 and the hall it was all hands on deck to start to once setting up had been done and prepare for our departure the next morning. mortar made, work on building the wall The group were occupied with cleaning continued. The aim for the week was to and re-counting all the tools. Everything had get the wall to six levels high. Work to be accounted for and be squeaky clean. continued all day (except lunch and tea This was particularly strenuous as everything breaks till 4:30 at which point work was covered in a hard, grey, concrete coating stopped and cleaning of equipment and which was difficult to shift but everyone did packing away began so that we could be their best and it was finally all packed into finished and packed by 5 o’ clock. the red trailer ready for the next camp. Once we got back to the accommoAfter about half an hour of relaxing, dation Andy and I had to unload the “Beer O’ Clock” was called around 7pm and brew kit from the van and get that ready the locals joined us for dinner and drinks. We for the next day. After that we had some rounded off the evening with port, wine and time to relax before dinner, which hapa game of cards. pened to be lasagne that had been Report collated by Colin Hobbs

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A new site for this summer’s canal camps, building a brand new bridge - one that will actually have boats going under it within months!

Camp Report Ashby Canal

usual sleeping chorus of snoring – I’m starting to think it’s a WRG requirement... Work on the Ashby canal this year consisted Social events included ten pin bowling, of the restoration of one bridge (41) and a series of quizzes, a trip to the cinema and a construction of parapet walls to a newly built few evenings spent in the working men’s concrete bridge (62). (and women’s!) club. Chris brought a large Bridge 62 is situated at the current end of selection of puzzles which were perfect for the navigable canal at Snarestone following toying with when we had a few minutes closure in the mid 20th century of the onward between other things. Card games were section due to mining subsidence. Bridge 41 is played a lot too, the favourite being a near Market Bosworth and both parapet walls strange form of ‘snap-Uno’. were in a poor condition, not much helped by Brownie points are awarded to Luca: a poor repair job at some time. having never been on a canal camp he Our leader for the week was Bob Crow signed up for two weeks in a row! with the able assistance of Katrina Schonhut At the Snarestone site a reinforced and the slightly less able assistance of myconcrete box section bridge and wing walls self. A great time was had by all, due in no had been constructed capable of supporting small part to our excellent cook Harri, keepheavy farm machinery (rated at 40 tonnes) ing morale high all week long with a grand and it was our task to build the parapet walls variety of cooking and enough cake to sink a and end pillars. The first two courses were small boat. Our accommodation was the very the local large ‘Wilkes gobs’ brick, which are modern Bagworth Community Centre, which square section and twice the size and weight had undergone a recent extensive refurbishof regular bricks – created to minimise the ment and extension. It was a great building, liability of the brick tax of 1784! Remaining albeit a little hot at night. There was the courses were reclaimed regular size bricks

Ashby Canal Camp 17

What’s the story about the

Ashby?

New terminus at Conkers Waterside visitor centre

Canal restored from Moira to Donisthorpe

Moira

The Canal Camp project: building the new Bridge 62 north of Snarestone and restoring bridge 41 at Market Bosworth, south of Snarestone (on the navigable length off the bottom of the map)

Donisthorpe

Why? In the case of Bridge 62, this is a rare example of a new bridge 2 that boats will be using within months of us completing the job. A4 The Ashby Canal Association and Partnership are working to extend the canal north from the existing terminus near Snarestone. Several hundred yards of new concrete channel have been built, and the bridge is the next stage towards the medium-term goal of getting the canal back to Measham. Meanwhile Bridge 41 Planned diversion using old railway is a historic bridge on the existing canal in need of repairs. The wider picture: The long-term aim is to reopen all the way to Moira, where a new terminus has been built as part of the National Forest’s Conkers visitor centre and the canal is open to Donisthorpe. Once the length we’re working on reaches Measham (which will need a diversion) there will be just a 3½ mile missing link left to reopen.

Measham

Canal Camp site: Bridge 62 Snarestone Navigable to the Coventry Canal

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Bob Coles

although the capping is to be Wilkes gobs. downed tools and passed the baton to the Over the course of the week everyone next group of volunteers hoping that the was involved in laying bricks, although some weather would be kind the next week. old hands were spared the chore of brick Will Collins cleaning. On the first day we were joined by Les Etheridge, National Chairman of IWA Ashby Canal Camp 20 who was spearheading an initiative for IWA trustees to learn more at first hand about The second camp this year on the Ashby how WRG operate. Like all good apprentices Canal repaired bridge 41 and continued the Les started at the bottom and did his fair construction of the parapets for the rebuilt share of brick cleaning. bridge 62. All aspects of brickwork were A few of us were put on cement mixing covered. There were two work sites several duty, a tough task it seemed, as on one miles apart, and everyone got a chance of a occasion the mix was both too dry and too change of scene during the week. sloppy for the different tasks at hand. We numbered 18 in total including The weather was bright and sunny for WRG regulars, overseas students and people most of the week, which meant we were working for their Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s splashing water over the mortar every few award. Accommodation was at Bagworth minutes, although it also meant that those of Community Centre in a Leicestershire village, us sporting short sleeves gained a striking the highest point in the district, with magnifitan! Unfortunately on Friday the wet condicent views all around, and next door to the tions rendered the site unworkable so the bowling green where tired canal diggers Bridge 62 volunteers had to return to the hall. would sit quietly at the end of the day and About half of the centre span parapets enjoy cups of tea and coffee kindly provided were completed and the non-towpath side by the locals whilst watching a game or two. wing walls were almost up to coper height. The community centre itself is a very recently Bridge 41 was in a bad shape on both refurbished and very spacious building sursides but we were only tasked to rebuild the rounded by flower troughs. We had exclusive downstream parapet as the other parapet use of the main hall and the kitchen, but had been rebuilt at some point in engineerother rooms at the back were visited during ing bricks and for heritage reasons it is the week by a karate club, a playgroup and a hoped to completely rebuild this at some part-time coffee shop. Everyone we met in Bagworth shared our enthusiasm about the stage in sympathetic materials. When we visited Bridge 41 as part of work we were doing on their canal, with the the site induction on Saturday it was noticed hall trustees even interviewing the assistant leader for information to add to the history that the scaffolding did not comply with the agreed design, and unfortunately it was not until Friday that we could finally get down to business. We removed the sandstone coping stones from about a quarter of one side of the bridge and the bricks beneath followed shortly after. Light rain set in around mid morning so there was little point preparing any mortar but we began cleaning the bricks for use by the next week’s camp. This proved to be a bit of an issue however as the mortar previously used was stronger than the bricks, leading to brick damage. The afternoon Laying the parapet of Bridge 62 on Camp 17 brought heavier rain so we

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Marion Carter

records of the hall. The working men’s club gave us all honorary temporary membership. Bridge 41 is close to Market Bosworth and Bosworth Marina, not far from the site of the 1485 Battle of Bosworth Field. Bridge 41 is a very old, small farm accommodation bridge over an open, in-water section of Ashby Canal, extremely popular with boaters and walkers. The towpath and the canal were both open throughout the week so there was always someone to say “hello”, and everyone was very appreciative of the work. Local Canal & River Trust volunteers turned up to help too on most days, and further their knowledge and skills through learning Bridge 41 coping stones reinstated by Camp 20 from WRG volunteers. The bridge was in a poor state of repair when we arrived, but newly mixing and bricklaying, working around the erected scaffolding was ready and waiting so professional contractors’ concrete pours and there was no excuse not to get started. We earth moving. We shared storage containers worked on sections of the bridge rather than and other site facilities with the contractors. the whole structure. The work was just a little Course after course after course of bricklaytiny bit of demolition, a great deal of bricklaying went up in rapid succession. Each course ing, and other sections of the bridge were was slightly narrower than the one below to repointed. The bricks used were a mixture of give a staggered effect up the outside of the reclaimed bricks and two different sorts of bridge. newer bricks to give a decorative effect. The On Saturday morning we were allowed trickiest bit was laying the newly cut coping a slight lie-in but our peace was shattered by stones, manoeuvred into place with great a cacophony of one hundred empty baked care. We finished at lunchtime on the Friday. bean cans falling out of the car of a certainThe other site we worked on was Bridge person-he-shall-remain-nameless. 62, a short drive away and close to Measham. As ever after a week’s brickwork, one Brickwork again, and the same canal, but this finds oneself constantly inspecting every wall worksite had a different feel to it. and seeing all the faults. No garden wall in Currently bridge 62 is at the limit of Leicestershire was safe from our critical eyes. navigation of the canal. Boats can reach it Maria cooked the food fresh and always but have nothing to do but turn round when gave lots of variety. Dishes included chicken they get there. But there are plans afoot, and tomato, spaghetti bolognaise, and perwith keen interest from the local press and ennial favourites like curry, with puddings dignitaries. Professional contractors are such as apple strudel, as well as the usual extending the canal. fry-ups for breakfast. Everyone kept asking Bridge 62 is an accommodation bridge for seconds. Maria was always amenable to to allow the farmer access for his agricultural the diets and array of likes / dislikes amongst machinery over the canal. The original such a large group of people, even a request bridge 62 was demolished several decades for “spice-free curry”. But there was a nice ago following mining subsidence in the area surprise on Friday evening when fish and and the canal infilled. The basic structure is chips came from a local chippy. reinforced concrete but the wingwalls and Thanks for a great week to Pete Fleming parapet walls are brickwork. Not any old the leader, Gordon Brown the assistant leader, brickwork, but heritage Wilks’ Measham Maria the cook, bricklayer tutors Bob, Chris and Gobbs reclaimed from the original structure, Pete, Simon, Martin, Luca, Matt, Uji, Alex, Max, each brick weighing about five kilograms. Tim, Venki, Russell and Blake. Our work was brick cleaning, mortar Marion Carter

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Camp report

A rather novel approach to camp report writing from the Driffield Navigation, an East Yorkshire waterway which saw its first full week’s camp this summer

Driffield Navigation Driffield Canal Camp 04 By way of a change, Kirstie Lamb has decided to write the entire camp report in verse... On day one we arrived by train and car, Coming from many places afar. We chose our spot in Brandesburton village hall, Rolled out our camping mats against the wall. Inventory checks and a safety talk Were followed by a very short walk Off to the pub to become acquainted, And be told about plans (including fencing to be painted!) Day two began with bacon, eggs and tea, Before heading to Whinhill Lock with our PPE. Here we built a fence, did strimming galore And finished digging out steps before the downpour! After showering off the muck from the canal, The evening involved cheese and the card game Maue. About 10 rounds later we headed to bed, Full of cake, cheese and dinner - definitely well fed!

What’s the story about the

On Monday we returned to the very same site, To shift mountains of wood chips (which weren’t very light!). A picnic table was fixed in the perfect spot, Before more tea and cake - we’d been given a lot! The afternoon at Brigham Swing Bridge involved many things; Including strimming, fence painting and installing moorings. A special visitor tonight - a dog named Lei-Leau Meant plenty of ball games and cuddles too! Tuesday involved re-packing in order to move, To Driffield Blue Bell pub (we all did approve!). After unpacking and exploring our new living space, We set off in the vans in search of a seasidey place. A lovely trip to Bridlington (albeit rainy!), Included the best hot chocolate and fish and chips by the sea. More cheese and Maue awaited our return The rules of which we were starting to learn!

Driffield

Driffield?

Whinhill Lock Wansford Lock Canal Camp work sites

The Canal Camp project: lots of different improvement and maintenance jobs at Whinhill Lock, Brigham Bridge, Canal Head, and the odd awayday on the nearby Pocklington Canal

New bridge needed Brigham Bridge

Why? All the locks and all bar two of the bridges on the Driffield Navigation have now been restored, but the waterway has no significant income or maintenance funding (it’s not part of the Canal & River Trust system) so it’s reliant on the Driffield Navigation Trust and other volunteers to keep it in good order. The wider picture: The aim is to get the final bridge reinstated, enabling the whole waterway to reopen. But it carries a road and will cost well over a million to sort. A Lottery grant was secured some years ago, but the matching funding proved difficult to raise. The more the Struncheon Trust can do to keep the rest of the waterway in good order and Hill Lock attract walkers and other users, the better the chances of finally attracting the necessary cash to get the road bridge put back in.

page 22

Bethells Bridge

Navigable to the Humber


Wednesday was time to use a grappling hook (Not designed for climbing castles, as they may look!). This canal head site needed a little TLC, Clearing the water of weeds required many cups of tea. Along with the plants which looked a lot like hair, We found a lawnmower, carpet and computer chair! Showers at Hutton Cranswick were much needed today, Followed by Paddington and popcorn whilst in our sleeping bags we lay. The search for a water pipe at Pockington took all day It never was found despite what the maps did say! We dug a long trench (my short-length high), Installed a new pipe and a new tap nearby. There was just enough time for a digger lesson in the sun, Learning to control the machine was a lot of fun. We returned to Driffield for sausages for tea, Before the Theory of Everything and then bed for me! Friday back to Whinhill to create a long path of wood chip, By the end we were all in much need of a kip! Back to Driffield to finish cleaning the canal and our tools, Packed them away in the van following the procedures and rules. For dinner tonight we shared a lovely barbecue, With plenty of food (and alcohol too!). Then on Saturday we packed up all of our stuff, Cleaned the accommodation, gave the vans a buff. By then it was time to say goodbye to all, Before heading off home having had a ball! Kirstie Lamb Driffield fencing and (below) Pocklington pipelaying

page 23


WRG BC Boat Club Report

Our own boat club reports from its AGM, looks forward to the 2016 IWA Chesterfield Trailboat Festival and Pelsall Rally, and raises cash for WRG vans with a dancing WRGie doll!

behalf, so well worth supporting. Boaters are urged to attend CRT User Minutes of the AGM: Our AGM was held Group Meetings as we are poorly represented at the IWA festival at Northampton this compared to the fishermen and the nature August bank holiday weekend. It was well lobby. [Nag no 2 – can you help by going to attended considering the amazing spread of some User Group Meetings?] You can find our membership throughout the country and out what’s going on by logging into the the waterways. There were 16 members at AWCC website and by reading their magathe meeting and I received Apologies from zine Alert. 14 members. This was really cheery for me, The IWA Trailboat Festival, 2016 to get responses from so many members, spring bank holiday, will be held at Staveley because I send out information and it’s good Basin on the Chesterfield Canal - and feature to know it is received. [Nag no 1 – if you the opening of the new lock! haven’t received any contact from me, by One of the more recent changes on the email, this is because I either haven’t an waterways is the greater emphasis on volunaddress for you, or the one I have is incorteers. WRG makes a huge contribution to rect. If so please contact me and let me canal restoration, but there’s more: have any know your correct address] club members been involved in work parties, The Minutes of the previous (non) clean ups, painting, litter picking or meeting were discussed and agreed correct, Himalayan Balsam bashing? proposed by Liz seconded by Ann. Mostly the Lynne closed by saying that she has Matters Arising were concerning our dona- club burgees for sale (£10). These enable us tions and as these would be discussed with to recognise fellow members while out on the treasurer later this was deferred. the canals. If you know of any WRG boaters The Officers’ Reports followed – the who are not yet club members please enAWCC Rep, being Lynne, who is also the courage them to join. Commode Door, combined the reports. The Secretary reported that the only Following apologies regarding last year’s mail we received was bills and a thank you AGM she talked of boating trips and the debt letter for our donation to the Ashby Canal we owe to previous restoration. UnfortuAssociation’s restoration project. nately some locks are not well maintained so We did receive some communication there have been unscheduled stoppages and that implied we were a breakdown service some boats sinking in locks! Hopefully no like the River Canal Rescue, from two people members have been affected by these. seeking help. I explained that the ‘recovery’ Boat Festivals and Rallies are great in our name referred to the recovering of places to meet with other like minded mem- Canals not stranded people or boats, but I bers and boaters. Middlewich and Lymm was able to supply helpful information. were well attended and a big hit with boaters Another was about the facilities proand the public, with plenty to see and do. vided at digs, could we supply a better The next paragraph is too embarrassing standard of accommodation for the less able. for me as such nice things were said about This was discussed at the meeting and anythe secretary (me). one wanting more luxury is advised to find a As our rep on the Association of Water- local B&B or hotel. [Although the idea of ways Cruising Clubs (AWCC) Lynne has canal camps with less basic accommodation attended their meetings, though I attended has been walked about within WRG for some their national AGM. They are the largest time - you will read about it in Navvies if and group representing boaters and lobbying the when anything comes of this talking ...Ed] Canal & River Trust and Parliament on our However it would be good if we could some-

WRG Boat Club news

page 24


and later in the year we will give £250 to the WRG van appeal if/when this is possible. Part of Any Other Business was to make punch in the WRG BC ‘bowl’ and Lynne proposed the toast to absent friends, making special reference to Jim Lamen, a stalwart and founder, member of the club and WRG NW. He is sadly missed. We drank to ‘Absent Friends, each with their own memories of these people. The meeting closed and the social side of the evening continued. Stickers: I have stickers for sale, inside/ outside club ones or AWCC round or rectangular ones at £1.50 each, which includes postage. Appeal: I raised just over £30 for the van appeal with my unique van collecting box and dancing jig doll WRGie, by performing on the sunny Saturday by WRG NW stall for a few hours [See Appeal Update on pages 6-7 ...Ed]. I hope to get some more from doing similar at the Lichfield & Hatherton Canal Restoration Trust’s ‘do’ at Huddlesford by the time you read this. xxx Sadie Heritage sadiedean@msn.com 07748186867 or 01733204505

Chesterfield Canal Trust

how get information of any digs that boaters could navigate to. I’ve been after such information for years but haven’t managed to find out anything much so far. (HELP!?) Membership was steady at 41 members last year (all paid up to date) however we have one member resigning this September but a new member from the festival gathering so constant membership! The Treasurer handed round copies of the accounts, which informed us that the balance was £273.68 at the end of the year. Her account keeping was voted as most satisfactory. The amount the club has donated so far to restoration projects, including the £250 to the Ashby Canal, is now £4450. With the amount we have and the projected income we should be able to donate in the region of £500 this financial year. It was agreed that subs remain at £10 per year. The Election of Officers was a quiet affair, as the list of those offering their services totalled none. It was proposed that the existing officers be re-elected and this was agreed – (no escape there then), someone kindly said it is because we do such a good job, and this was greeted with a round of applause! Future Plans were discussed. The IWA rally at Pelsall next August bank holiday weekend was voted as a good venue for the 2016 AGM. Mike Chessher had organised a group to do the sponsored walk, for the WRG van appeal, on 19th September. It would be the 5mile one, and any boat club members would be welcome to join them. However by the time you read this it will be too late! Please let me know of any other plans you have. The Allocation of Funds was discussed, the WRG van appeal was a popular cause but Malcolm suggested Staveley Lock Appeal and this was discussed and the fact that the IWA Staveley Town Lock: Trailboat rally will be held in that area. It was agreed that when funds become available we will donate £250 to Staveley Lock

take your trailboat through at next May’s festival!

page 25


Navvies diary WRG and mobile groups Your guide to all forthcoming work parties Oct 24/25 London WRG Oct 24-31 Camp 201528 Oct 24-31 WRGFT2015 Nov 1 Navvies Nov 4 Wed wrgNW Nov 6-12 WAT Nov 7/8 BB2015 Nov 7/8 London WRG Nov 7/8 wrgNW Nov 14/15 NWPG Nov 14 Sat wrgNW Nov 21/22 London WRG Nov 21/22 wrgBITM Dec 4-10 WAT Dec 5/6 Essex WRG Dec 5/6 KESCRG Dec 5/6 London WRG Dec 5/6 wrgNW Dec 12/13 wrgBITM Dec 19 Sat wrgNW Dec 26-Jan 1 Camp 201529 Dec 26-Jan 1 wrgBITM Jan 1 Navvies Jan 16/17 wrgBITM Jan 16/17 wrgNW Jan 16/17 London WRG Jan 24 Sun WRG Feb 6/7 London WRG Feb 20/21 wrgBITM Feb 27/28 London WRG Mar 1 Navvies Mar 12 Sat WRG Mar 13 Sun WRG Mar 19/20 London WRG Mar 19/20 wrgBITM

Wey & Arun Canal Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation Lancaster Canal: WRG Forestry Team Press date for issue 274 Ad Hoc Meeting Wendover Arm: ‘Seven day weekend’ Fri-Thu Uttoxeter Canal: WRG Reunion Weekend at Crumpwood. Veg clearance Uttoxeter Canal: WRG Reunion Uttoxeter Canal: WRG Reunion Wey & Arun Canal: Dunsfold ‘Paper Chase’ waste paper collection Possible extra dig, venue to be arranged Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation Wendover Arm: ‘Seven day weekend’ Fri-Thu Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation: Xmas dinner weekend Cotswold Canals: KESCRG/London WRG Xmas Party at Brimscombe Po Cotswold Canals: Joint Christmas Party with KESCRG Cromford Canal: Christmas meal & dig Grantham Canal: Xmas work party ‘Paper Chase’ waste paper collection Cotswold Canals: WRG Christmas Camp (exact location to be confirmed Wilts & Berks Canal: Dauntsey Christmas Camp. Moving hedge to widen to Press date for issue 275 To be arranged Hollinwood Canal: (or Jan 30/31, to be confirmed) To be arranged Committee & Board Meetings: Rowington Village Hall To be arranged To be arranged To be arranged Press date for issue 276 Fund-raising barn dance at Rowington - details in next issue Committee & Board Meetings: Rowington To be arranged To be arranged

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

page 26


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

Martin Ludgate Roger & Margaret Roger Leishman

e. See page 8

ort

Tim Lewis Mike Chase Bill Nicholson Barry McGuinness Tim Lewis Dave Wedd Roger Leishman John Gale Steve Davis Tim Lewis Malcolm Bridge Dave Wedd Barry McGuinness

d) owpath, leak sealing Dave Wedd Martin Ludgate Dave Wedd Mike Chase Tim Lewis Mike Palmer Tim Lewis Dave Wedd Tim Lewis Martin Ludgate Mike Palmer Tim Lewis Dave Wedd

07802-518094 01494-783453 01494-783453 07779-478629

london@wrg.org.uk enquiries@wrg.org.uk enquiries@wrg.org.uk martin.ludgate@wrg.org.uk

01442-874536 01494-783453 07802-518094 0161-683-4470 01844-343369 0161-681-7237 07802-518094 07816-175454 01442-874536 01376-334896 07703-648951 07802-518094 01422-820693 07816-175454 0161-681-7237 01494-783453 07816-175454 07779-478629 07816-175454 0161-683-4470 07802-518094 01564-785293 07802-518094 07816-175454 07802-518094 07779-478629 01494-783453 01564-785293 07802-518094 07816-175454

rwleishman@gmail.com enquiries@wrg.org.uk london@wrg.org.uk mechase1975@gmail.com bill@nwpg.org.uk b.mcguinness1@gmail.com london@wrg.org.uk bookings@wrgbitm.org.uk rwleishman@gmail.com essex@wrg.org.uk steve@kescrg.org.uk london@wrg.org.uk nw@wrg.org.uk bookings@wrgbitm.org.uk b.mcguinness1@gmail.com enquiries@wrg.org.uk bookings@wrgbitm.org.uk martin.ludgate@wrg.org.uk bookings@wrgbitm.org.uk mechase1975@gmail.com london@wrg.org.uk mike.palmer@wrg.org.uk london@wrg.org.uk bookings@wrgbitm.org.uk london@wrg.org.uk martin.ludgate@wrg.org.uk enquiries@wrg.org.uk mike.palmer@wrg.org.uk london@wrg.org.uk bookings@wrgbitm.org.uk

ease contact diary compiler Dave Wedd: see top of page

page 27


Navvies diary

canal society regulars

Canal societies’ regular working parties Every Sunday if required Every Tuesday

BBHT BCA

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

07763-171735 01252-614125

Thursdays Sep-Apr 2nd Sun & alternate Thu

BCT BuCS

Aqueduct section Buckingham area

Tim Dingle Athina Beckett

01288-361356 01908-661217

Every Mon and Wed Every mon am Thu pm

CCT CCT

Cotswold (W depot) Ron Kerby Cotswold (E end) John Maxted

01453-836018 01285-861011

Various dates Every Sunday

CCT ChCT

Cotswold Phase 1a Chesterfield Canal

07986-351412 01246-620695

Every Tue and Thu Every Tue & Wed

CSCT C&BN

Chichester Canal Malcolm Maddison 01243-775201 Chelmer & Blackwater John Gale 01376-334896

Every Friday Second Sun of month

ECPDA FIPT

Langley Mill John Baylis Foxton Inclined Plane Mike Beech

01623-633895 0116-279-2657

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

Weekends Wednesdays

H&GCT H&GCT

Over Wharf House Over / Vineyard Hill

Maggie Jones Ted Beagles

01452 618010 01452 522648

Thursdays Every weekday

H&GCT KACT/CRT

Herefordshire Bradford on Avon

Wilf Jones Derrick Hunt

01452 413888 01225-863066

2nd Sunday of month Every Wed/Sat/Sun

LCT LHCRT

Lancaster N. Reaches Keith Tassart Lichfield Terry Brown

01524-424761 01889-576574

3rd Sunday of month Last weekend of month

LHCRT MBBCS

Hatherton Creams Paper Mill

Denis Cooper Steve Dent

01543-374370 07802-973228

Two Sundays per month 2nd & last Sundays

NWDCT PCAS

N Walsham Canal Pocklington Canal

David Revill Paul Waddington

01603-738648 01757-638027

Every Wed and 1st Sat 2nd Sunday of month

RGT SCARS

Stowmarket Navigtn. Martin Bird Sankey Canal John Hughes

1st Sunday of month Last weekend of month

SCCS SCS

Combe Hay Locks Stover Canal

Derrick Hunt 01225-863066 George Whitehead 01626-775498

2nd Sunday of month Every Thu and Sat

SNT SORT

Sleaford Navigation Sussex Ouse

Mel Sowerby Ted Lintott

1st weekend of month Every Tuesday morning

SUCS TMCA

Montgomery Canal David Carter Thames & Medway C Brian Macnish

01244-661440 01732-823725

Wey & Arun Canal David Daniels Drayton Beauchamp Roger Leishman

01483-505566 01442-874536

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

Jon Pontefract Mick Hodgetts

01394-380765 01744-600656

01522-856810 01444-414413

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

page 28


CRT towpath taskforce

Navvies diary

Canal & River Trust ‘Towpath Taskforce’ maintenance working parties 2nd Saturday of month Audlem Shropshire Union Glenn Young see below 2nd Saturday of month Aylesbury Grand Union Miriam Tedder 07775-543990 4th Thursday of month Bath Kennet & Avon Steve Manzi 07710-175278 Alternate Thursdays Blackburn Leeds & Liverpool Matt Taylor 07780-222977 1st Sunday of month Burnley Leeds & Liverpool Matt Taylor 07780-222977 3rd Thursday of month Cheshire T&M/Macclesfield Steve O’Sullivan 07887-684707 1st Saturday of month Chester Shropshire Union Glenn Young see below Alternate Saturdays Chorley Leeds & Liverpool Matt Taylor 07780-222977 2nd Tuesday of month Churnet Valley Caldon Canal Barry Keight 07919 560582 3rd Thursday of month Devizes Kennet & Avon Steve Manzi 07710-175278 Weds and Thurs Droitwich Droitwich Canal to be advised 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 Sue Blocksidge 07917-585838 1st Mon & Wed of month Hatton Grand Union Canal Sue Blocksidge 07917-585838 Last Sunday of month Hawkesbury Coventry/Oxford Miriam Tedder 07775-543990 2nd Friday of month Huddersfield Huddersfield Broad to be advised 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 Sue Blocksidge 07917-585838 Alternate Tuesdays Leicester Grand Union/Soar Tom Freeland 01827-252010 3rd Saturday of month London Grand Union/Lee to be advised 3rd Thursday of month East London Lee & Stort Navs to be advised 3rd Tuesday of month West London Grand Union Canal to be advised 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 Sue Blocksidge 07917-585838 Alternate Thursdays North Warks Tom Freeland 01827-252010 Every Tuesday Wigan Leeds & Liverpool Matt Taylor 07780-222977 3rd Thursday of month Welshpool Montgomery Canal Glenn Young see below Contact details: All CRT co-ordinators can be emailed at firstname.surname@canalrivertrust.org.uk, eg steve.manzi@canalrivertrust.org.uk for K & A. If no phone number given, use CRT Tel: 03030 404040

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

page 29


Navvies diary

IWA branches...

Inland Waterways Association and other one-day working parties Oct 15 Thu IWA NSSC/TMCS Trent & Mersey Canal: Cheshire Locks. Painting & veg clearance. 10amOct 17 Sat

IWA Manchester Venue T.B.C.: Greater Manchester area. Veg clearance, etc. 10am-

Oct 23 Fri

IWA NSSC

Oct 24 Sat

IWA NSSC/CUCT Uttoxeter Canal: Veg clearance at Bridge 70, Crumpwood. 10am-

Macclesfield Canal: Congleton Station project. Veg clearance. 10am-

Oct 25 Sun IWA Northants Northampton Arm Oct 25 Sun IWA Warks

Grand Union Canal: Leamington Spa Canal Cleanup. 9:30am

Oct 27 Tue

IWA NSSC/BPT Burslem Arm: Luke St, Middleport, Stoke on Trent. 10am-3pm

Oct 31 Sat

IWA Chester

Every Wed

RGT/IWA Ipswich River Gipping: Pipps Ford, or Baylham Mill Lock 9am-4pm

Nov 7 Sat

IWA NSSC/BPT Burslem Arm: Luke St, Middleport, Stoke on Trent. 10am-3pm

Nov 7 Sat

RGT/IWA Ipswich River Gipping: Pipps Ford, or Baylham Mill Lock 9am-4pm

Nov 8 Sun

IWA Lincs/SNT Sleaford Navigation: Various work on navigable section

Shropshire Union Canal: Chester area, painting & veg clearance. 10am-

Nov 10 Tue IWA Northants Northampton Arm Nov 11 Wed IWA BBCW

Staffs & Worcs Canal: Painting, tidying & veg clearance

Nov 12 Thu IWA NSSC/CUCT Uttoxeter Canal: Veg clearance at Bridge 70, Crumpwood. 10amNov 19 Thu IWA NSSC/TMCS Trent & Mersey Canal: Cheshire Locks. Painting & veg clearance. 10amNov 21 Sat

IWA Manchester Venue T.B.C.: Greater Manchester area. Veg clearance, etc. 10am-

Nov 21 Sat

IWA NSSC/CUCT Uttoxeter Canal: Veg clearance at Bridge 70, Crumpwood. 10am-

Nov 24 Tue IWA NSSC/BPT Burslem Arm: Luke St, Middleport, Stoke on Trent. 10am-3pm Nov 28 Sat

IWA Chester

Shropshire Union Canal: Chester area, painting & veg clearance. 10am-

Nov 28 Fri

IWA NSSC

Macclesfield Canal: Congleton Station project. Veg clearance. 10am-

Nov 29 Sun IWA Northants Northampton Arm Every Wed

RGT/IWA Ipswich River Gipping: Pipps Ford, or Baylham Mill Lock 9am-4pm

Dec 5 Sat

RGT/IWA Ipswich River Gipping: Pipps Ford, or Baylham Mill Lock 9am-4pm

Dec 10 Thu IWA NSSC/CUCT Uttoxeter Canal: Veg clearance at Bridge 70, Crumpwood. 10amDec 13 Sun IWA NSSC/CUCT Sleaford Navigation: Various work on navigable section Dec 15 Tue IWA Northants Northampton Arm Dec 19 Sat

IWA NSSC/CUCT Uttoxeter Canal: Veg clearance at Bridge 70, Crumpwood. 10am-

IWA branch abbreviations BBCW = Birmingham, Black Country & Worcestershire; Other abbreviations: BPT = Burslem Port trust; CUCT = Caldon & Uttoxeter Canal Society; CRT = Canal & River Trust

Mobile groups' socials:

The following groups hold regular social gatherings

London WRG: 7:30pm on Tues 11 days before dig at the 'Star Tavern' Belgrave Mews West, NWPG: 7:30pm on 3rd Tue of month at the 'Hope Tap', West end of Friar St. Reading.

page 30


...and other one-day work

Navvies diary

For WRG canal camps and working parties see pages 20-21 4pm

Andy Hellyar-Brook

4pm

07926-204206

restoration@rivergippingtrust.org.uk

07710-554602

secretary@manchester-iwa.co.uk

12:30

Bob Luscombe

07710-054848

bob.luscombe@waterways.org.uk

3pm

Robert Frost

07743-628091

robert.frost@waterways.org.uk

Geoff Wood

geoff.wood@waterways.org.uk info.warwickshire@waterways.org.uk

4pm

Steve Wood

07976-805858

steve.wood@waterways.org.uk

Mike Carter

07795-617803

mike.carter@waterways.org.uk

Martin Bird

01394-380765

restoration@rivergippingtrust.org.uk

Steve Wood

07976-805858

steve.wood@waterways.org.uk

Martin Bird

01394-380765

restoration@rivergippingtrust.org.uk

Chris or Steve Hayes

01522-689460

workparties@sleafordnavigation.co.uk

Geoff Wood

geoff.wood@waterways.org.uk

David Struckett

07976-746225

david.struckett@waterways.org.uk

3pm

Robert Frost

07743-628091

robert.frost@waterways.org.uk

4pm

Andy Hellyar-Brook

07926-204206

restoration@rivergippingtrust.org.uk

07710-554602

secretary@manchester-iwa.co.uk

Robert Frost

07743-628091

robert.frost@waterways.org.uk

Steve Wood

07976-805858

steve.wood@waterways.org.uk

4pm

Mike Carter

07795-617803

mike.carter@waterways.org.uk

12:30

Bob Luscombe

07710-054848

bob.luscombe@waterways.org.uk

4pm 3pm

Geoff Wood

3pm

geoff.wood@waterways.org.uk

Martin Bird

01394-380765

restoration@rivergippingtrust.org.uk

Martin Bird

01394-380765

restoration@rivergippingtrust.org.uk

Robert Frost

07743-628091

robert.frost@waterways.org.uk

Chris or Steve Hayes

01522-689460

workparties@sleafordnavigation.co.uk

Geoff Wood 3pm

Robert Frost

geoff.wood@waterways.org.uk 07743-628091

robert.frost@waterways.org.uk

Mcr= Manchester; NSSC = North Staffs & South Cheshire RGT= River Gipping Trust; SNT = Sleaford Navigation Trust; TMCS = Trent & Mersey Canal Society;

in pubs.

Please phone to confirm dates and times

London.

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

page 31


Letters

“The Walsall Canal between Tame Valley Junction and the Town Wharf was (when I last did it three years ago) barely navigable” - if that’s true, what can we do about it?

The state of the canals

Martin Ludgate

Dear Editor I’ve been in and around canals now for half a century! At the age of eight, I was taken on the back of my father’s motorbike to Norbury Junction where my uncle had a boatyard and where my love affair with canals began. Close to my home in Derby, I paddled my plywood canoe in what remained of the Derby Canal’s Little Eaton branch and then, years later, we moved to Wolverhampton. My parents (especially my mother) found it a very depressing place, but to me it was heaven – mile upon mile of decaying (though just about still functioning) industrial canal. The canals, in this area at least, were wide and deep, and I spent hours bicycling around the towpaths looking in through the back doors of factories that were still busy doing fascinating things with glowing metal. It wasn’t long before I encountered working boatman ‘Caggy’ Stephens and worked with him ‘rubbish boating’ and dredging around the water intakes of canal-side factories. Our early married life was spent on a boat and we now possess one for holidays afloat – which brings me to the point of this letter. We’ve just been around the Stourport Ring. The River Severn and the Staffs & Worcs Canal were fine – in a boat 6’ 10" wide and only drawing about 2ft. Perhaps wider, deeper boats encounter problems, but to us both waterways seemed in generally good condition. After this the canal became noticeably decrepit. On the Wolverhampton flight, Lock 20 had only one top paddle; the other was totally missing. The pound above Lock 2 was almost dry with the top gate letting so much water through that the pound above couldn’t be filled without closing the bottom gates as well. On many of the pounds up this flight we were throwing up mud from the bottom of the canal. Only one of the paddles on the bottom gates of Lock 1 was operational. Several of the gates on the flight and some paddle posts were so rotten that great chunks were missing. Many of the ‘step across’ boards on the bottom gates were loose and worrying to use. At Factory Locks the pound below Lock 1 was totally drained; something one might expect in winter, but this was high season. The canal through Birmingham and on to Tardebigge offered no challenges and is

The Walsall Canal: it might look less industrial these days, but is it in danger of falling into disuse?

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splendid through the middle of the city – no complaints there! Tardebigge was being well used but is again sorely in need of maintenance. The stonework shows signs of slumping and coming apart and whole areas of brickwork in the lock walls are missing in several places. On one occasion I simply reached out and retrieved a brick that was half way out of its hole. There have been a number of instances of bricks such as this jamming boats which then go on to sink as the end of the boat continues to descend. The canal around Hanbury is heavily silted and narrow and then in the centre of Worcester the pound below Blockhouse lock is very choked with mud with even shallow-drafted boats struggling to get into the lock. This lock has only had one functioning paddle at either end for the past three years and now the towpath is subsiding into the culvert. Needless to say, nowhere did we see signs of any dredging taking place (or any maintenance at all, for that matter). Please don’t label me as someone who likes to moan! I am not. What I am, though, is a realist, who is looking at the current state of our waterways and is wondering what the future holds. The summer issue of the Inland Waterways Association’s magazine Waterways encouraged us to visit Walsall Town Wharf. Dear fellow canal-lovers, this is a great idea, but what we are not told is that the Walsall Canal between Tame Valley Junction and the Town Wharf was (when I last did it three years ago) barely navigable. If I tried it again today it would be worse still, possibly (dare I say it) disused. When I was working this length with Caggy, 40 years ago, the Walsall was one of the deepest canals on the BCN. The reason for writing is that I believe WRG in conjunction with IWA have a tremendous challenge ahead of them. The government are stepping back and we are in days of austerity. CRT smile sweetly, look at the voluntarily mown grass and painted lock gates and say everything’s fine, but the evidence paints a different story and unless some battles are fought and sensible decisions taken, our waterways will gradually become a thing of the past. John Cowie Given that I was taken to task the last time I printed a letter that was critical of the state of the waterways, for the avoidance of doubt I should point out that the above letter represents the views of the writer, not necessarily of WRG or the editor - but we encourage such comment and believe in publication as a matter of principle. And we would be very happy to print your responses, whether you are in agreement or not. Are the waterways in danger of becoming a thing of the past? If so, what ‘sensible decisions’ need to be taken? Is that a hint that abandoning the Walsall might be an option? Are there other ways to rise to the challenges? Or do you consider that the system is still basically sound, or even genuinely (if perhaps slowly) getting better? Please give us your views - we will do our best to print them all. The Editor Dear Sir

Wendover Arm Trust Grand Draw 2015 I would like to express to your readers a very big thank you for their support for the WAT Grand Draw 2015 [through the raffle tickets enclosed in issue 271]. This year we managed to raise just over £4500 towards the Restoration Fund. The twelve prize winners have all been advised and the common response was as always: “I never win anything...” After sending all the prizes, the thoughts are turning to next year’s Draw, when it is hoped you all will extend your amazing generosity again. The restoration is still continuing. It was with some amusement that on the Friday before the Grand Draw, I received a telephone call from the promoter of the Monmouthshire, Brecon and Abergavenny Canal Trust Annual Duck Race to tell me that I had won the second prize for the ‘race’ on the August Bank Holiday this year! So no longer can I use the phrase “I never win anything”! The full list of prize winners in the Draw is shown on the Trust website – www.wendoverarntrust.co.uk and follow the link. (Do you know a winner ?) Again, through the Navvies magazine, may the Trust say a very big thank you for your essential support. My best wishes, Michael Wright, Grand Draw 2015 Promoter

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Progress

Beginning our regular roundup of restoration progress around the country with news of the completion of a long-running lock rebuild in Sussex...

Sussex Ouse

The upper cut is almost completely cleared and the towpaths raised and reIt may not have been a great Summer for instated along its length. The long awaited many choosing to spend their annual holiday stop plank grooves have been delivered and in this country, but the Sussex Ouse Restora- have been put into place. tion Trust’s work on Isfield Lock has not All this work was achieved despite a suffered. Work has been maintained through- five-week period when our trusty and hardout the summer months and nearly all the working excavator was out of action with a objectives set for 2015 have been achieved. broken gearbox. I am happy to report that Our last report talked of completing the the problem has been fixed and the digger is rebuilding of the remaining 5m section of the now back in action. west chamber wall and continuing with the Future plans are now on the table and raising and rebuilding the upstream towpaths these include... along the lock cut. sourcing and building lock gates As September approaches I can report sourcing the timber for the stop planks that with materials totalling 45 tons of consourcing and fitting a lock ladder crete and 20 tons of old half bricks (‘plums’) putting into place safety fencing along the lock chamber rebuild has been comthe length of the lock pleted. The lock side has been back-filled, ...and thinking about an interpretation board landscaped and the newly-sown grass seed on the lock side to spread the word about has already taken. The resulting picture is so the history of the Ouse Navigation and the much different to what we have been used to work that SORT have been undertaking. as the site takes on a whole new, dare I say, So there is still plenty of work for Ted smarter appearance. Lintott and his small but very capable group of restoration volunteers down at Isfield lock, although they still have their sights on Iron Gate lock on National Trust land at Sheffield Park. As this is a possible restoration project, some of the workforce will be making site visits there before the winter to discuss with the NT the next stages of that idea. With plenty of work still to do in the future, this summer has however been an important landmark in the work being carried out by SORT. Restoration of the lock chamber at Isfield has been completed, ten years after the lock site was cleared and work began. Finished at last: the restored Isfield Lock chamber Terry Owen

Sussex Ouse

. . . .

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...while the Lichfield & Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust’s volunteers are concreting the canal bed and looking forward to dealing with a Big Pipe... Lichfield & Hatherton Canals

Progress Lichfield & Hatherton pected, partly due to the English climate! Detailed discussions with planners and developers have continued, bringing closer the need to deal with the routing of the canal under the Lichfield to Birmingham railway simultaneously with the driving of the Lichfield Bypass under the railway line. We are working to get the maximum benefit from offering to handle drainage which will run off from the substantial building works planned. Brian Kingshott

LHCRT

The work programme at Summerhill (reinstating a long section of towpath and a stream culvert under the canal on the length leading towards the aqueduct over the M6 Toll) has gone to schedule with all the grant requirements met within the very demanding timeframe. Both our keen in-house work volunteers and our contractors have performed magnificently. Western Power has installed an electricity supply under the towpath in channelling installed by our own workers which means that, in time, the pumping system to be installed within the aqueduct can be made fully functional. We were greatly aided by a number of volunteer parties from, among others, Jaguar Land Rover and Staffordshire Highways. On the downside, we suffered a break in and significant theft from our containers close to the quarry site. However, a generous member will be covering our losses! Work on concreting the bed at the Tamworth Road site on the edge of Lichfield city has continued but at a slightly slower pace. We have yet to persuade the Environment Agency that we should remove the next section of the Big Pipe (the stormwater drain laid in the bed while the canal was shut) and that we will not be extracting their water. We have also been saddened to lose the services of our invaluable site manager, Terry Brown, who has relocated to Spain. In addition, the use of puddle clay has proved Tamworth Road: progress with concreting, and the Big Pipe (left) more demanding than ex-

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Progress Wey & Arun Canal Wey & Arun Canal Contractors have been making excellent progress on two of the Wey & Arun Canal Trust’s restoration projects. At the end August, concrete was being poured for the replacement Compasses Bridge in Surrey and the new Gennets Bridge Lock in West Sussex. Compasses Bridge

week for its diversion on to the new bridge. “Volunteers can then start in earnest to carefully demolish the old causeway structure, potentially revealing elements of the original canal bridge buried inside. They will also have a major part in creating a public viewing platform and landscaped area at the site,” said project leader and bridge designer Tony Ford. WACT has formed a new working party for the Summit Level, usually turning out on the third Saturday of the month. Under the direction of Compasses site manager Dave Evans, the team has already been cutting half-bricks ready for when the bricklaying starts in the autumn. Members have also been making shuttering boxes ready for the construction of a slipway south of the bridge. A planning application has been made to Waverley Borough Council for the slipway, which will be suitable for trailboats. The road across the bridge was once the main route from Guildford to Horsham, preceding the busy A281. The Summit Level project is costed at a total of around £700,000, with £433,000 raised so far, mainly through donations and legacies. WACT is aiming to officially open the bridge along with 1¼ miles of the Summit Level – its first full navigation restoration project in Surrey – in September 2016. This will coincide with the 200th anniversary of the canal’s northern section, the Wey & Arun Junction Canal, being opened at the Compasses site.

Pictures by WACT

At Compasses, in the middle of the canal’s Summit Level at Alfold, the basic structure is being built by contractors CJ Thorne. They are expected to be on site for a total of six months. The bridge will replace a concrete causeway blocking the canal at one of the entrances to the Dunsfold Aerodrome complex, in Compasses Lane, Alfold. The causeway was built during the Second World War when the airfield was a Royal Canadian Air Force bomber base. With the piling and foundations for the new bridge complete, alongside the causeway, the first of the two sets of abutments and wingwalls were poured. This was followed by work on the second set of walls, following which construction of the main deck will begin. The ground has already been cleared ready for the road realignment and the installation of drainage headwalls has started. The main structure is due to be completed in November, following which Thames Water will move in to install a water main diversion. WACT volunteers will do much of the finishing work on the bridge, including the laying of bricks for the cladding. The next major milestone is in March 2016, when Pouring concrete to form the shell of the new Gennets Bridge Lock the road will be closed for a

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Gennets Bridge Lock The new Gennets Bridge Lock, near the West Sussex / Surrey border, is the next lock up from the restored Loxwood length of canal’s current northern limit of navigation, Southland Lock. Contractors Burras Ltd are building the concrete shell, with 30,000 bricks delivered ready for volunteers to complete the lining and work on a new bridge to carry the Sussex Border Path. Burras are now in the third and final phase of their work. Phase one was to put in the piling ‘temporary works’ around what was to be excavated in Phase two. There then followed the placement of seven reinforced slabs to form the invert. One of these slabs will be the base under the bridge. The work at the end of August was to construct the 1m thick reinforced concrete walls. Here, for each of the ten sections of lock wall the first lift is 3m and there will be a further lift of 1.2m to the underside of the copings. The curved top cill wall will be 2.4m high. As the lock bridge will carry a bridleway, West Sussex County Council require it to be treated as a highway; hence the need for a Section 278 legal agreement. As the concrete goes in for that part of the lock, the ‘proper officer’ is invited to attend and so far he has been satisfied with what he has seen. Burras has a 50 tonne crane on site, which makes WACT project leader Eric Walker wonder if there are any other canal locks in progress in the UK with such a large piece of kit.

One day during the construction, an Ordnance Survey surveyor turned up looking for Gennets Bridge, to be told: “You’re a year to early, mate, that is for the new one. The original was removed a 100 years ago or more.” So he made some notes on his (stone?) tablet. A ‘fence’ is still needed to keep out the great crested newts which were relocated from the muddy pool at the old lock site, as required by the Trust’s European Protected Species licence. It needs daily monitoring and repair, which is being carried out by a dedicated volunteer. “By the time of the next Navvies magazine, who knows what the rest of the volunteers will be up to, all buoyed up with lots of construction work to do,” said Eric.

Hunt Nature Park

Another WACT project, the Hunt Nature Park viewing platform, will be officially launched at noon on Saturday, October 24th, the day of the Trust’s autumn meeting. The park and viewing platform are elements in the Trust’s intention to create a 23-mile ‘green corridor’ through West Sussex and Surrey and underline the organisation’s environmental and community credentials. The platform, the woodwork for which was completed by volunteers in July, offers views across the park and previously hidden views of its meadow and its fine mature trees. The park straddles the Cranleigh Waters river, close to the original route of the canal, and is entered from the Wey-South Path. WACT has also raised its public profile at the Amberley Museum and Heritage Centre, at Amberley in West Sussex, where colourful new display boards have been installed at its exhibition. The exhibition, in the centre’s Gin Building, depicts the history of the waterway and the Trust’s quest to bring it back to life. The new panels were bought with the help of a grant from IGas, the onshore oil and gas exploration and production company which has operations at Storrington in West Sussex and Albury in Contractors prepare reinforcement and shuttering at Compasses Bridge Surrey.

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completion of CRT’s water control works at Whitehouses. Completion was promised by the end of August but design and finance problems seem to have dogged the project. The current position is, if financial authority is forthcoming, completion will be by October. We think that it unlikely that this will include delivery of the metal grid to go over, and handrail to go around, the settling tank. We still await the design of the blue brickwork that will retain the grid and cannot order the bricks until this is to hand. However, if CRT can finish by October, this will not hold up the WAT pipe capping through to Bridge 4 that it is hoped will be completed as soon as possible in 2016. Wildlife: When Phase I at Little Tring was completed we were all delighted at how quickly the wildlife took up residence, swans, mallards, at least three nests of moorhens, many fish including the large carp, and herons and terns busy keeping the numbers down. We once saw a photographer on the bank who was a butterfly expert and told us that the number and variety on our banks was amazing. This year on the newly re-watered section we have already seen a swan family with 5 cygnets, mallard families and coot families. Since re-watering commenced there has been a kingfisher’s nest in the bund at the end of Stage 1 and a reed warblers nest in the offside rushes near the bund at the start of Stage 1. And the water is teeming with fish! Roger Leishman 01442 874536 rwleishman@gmail.com

Progress Wendover Arm Wendover Arm

WAT

July Working Party: Pipe capping (concreting over the pipe that was laid in the dry canal bed to maintain the canal’s water supply function after it closed to boats) by Wendover Arm Trust’s volunteers progressed well although still restricted by the line of the pipeline. This meant placing the ready-mix concrete in short lengths that could be reached by the excavator bucket when unloading from the dumper end-on as can be seen in the picture. An unexpected discovery was made. Another, hitherto unknown, manhole was found on the pipeline. It is on a change in direction on the pipeline that is now heading directly towards the manhole at Whitehouses. A gap has been left in the pipe capping until the manhole brickwork is lowered, can be cleaned out and a reinforced concrete slab placed over it before the capping can be completed. August Working Party: the pipeline trench went to the offside permitting the excavator to travel alongside the pipe capping work. This meant much longer lengths could be concreted at one time. The slab to place over the newly discovered manhole was also cast and you can see from the photograph that it will not be long before capping reaches Whitehouses. Autumn Working Parties: Pipe capping will continue including sealing the recently found manhole and capping over it. Now the pipe trench is moving along from the high offside bank, progress should be much faster. The manhole near Bridge 4A is being left uncapped for the time being as it is acting as a drain for the bed of the canal, which is keeping fairly dry at present. Whitehouses: We are Pipe-capping continues in a site constricted by the pipe’s position beginning to despair over the

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Meanwhile on the Montgomery Canal, it’s a case of ‘no newts is good newts’ for the Shropshire Union Canal Society’s volunteers...

Progress Montgomery Canal

Montgomery Canal

Pictures by SUCS

It has been a difficult year for the Shropshire Union Canal Society’s restoration work on the Montgomery, a result of the Great Crested Newts (GCNs) present between Bridges 84 and 85. The elation last June of re-watering from Bridge 83 to 84 (Navvies 266) turned to frustration as months dragged by without a newt licence to allow work to start on the other side of Bridge 84. We occupied ourselves doing what we could on the banks and with moving into and organising our new compound. Finally in October we got a decision - Natural England rejected the Canal & River Trust’s licence application. We passed the winter and early spring on other parts of the canal with an extended hedge-laying season and some enhancement work. CRT reapplied in March and a licence for the first 85 metres of channel arrived on the Friday morning at the start of our May work party. This allowed us to complete the newt fencing around the area, which in turn allowed the newt trapping phase to begin. CRT ecologists visited site Stripping off vegetation and (below) placing it on the bank every morning for 60 days to check the traps and moved 70 GCNs out of the fenced area. Thus we were able to spend the July and August WPs clearing the site of vegetation. The chest-high vegetation was strimmed down by degrees before being scraped off by excavator. Each step was overseen by sharp-eyed ecologists who rescued a further 10 GCNs which had avoided the traps. Much of this ‘newt friendly’ vegetation has been placed along the offside bank between Bridges 83 and 84. September should see the start of more conventional earthworks. Detailed monthly accounts of the restoration work can be found on the Society’s website at: www.shropshireunion.org.uk/ montgomery-canal-restoration

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Progress Shrewsbury & Newport Shrewsbury and Newport canals

Finally, the Shrewsbury & Newport Canals Restoration Trust reports the first work on restoring the actual canal bed since the route shut 71 years ago then how to safely and accurately handle, unroll and cut the 1 tonne rolls of Bentonite and correctly join them. The first couple of lengths took quite a long time to lay and joint but work progressed faster as the team gained experience and we now expect that the rest of the section can be completed quite quickly as long as we have dry weather. This is the first actual work done to restore the bed of the canal since it was officially abandoned in 1944 and mostly sold off to local landowners in the 1960s. Fortunately this 100m length is still owned by the Canal & River Trust, who gave their blessing and support to the project. The Bentonite was donated by the IWA. When this section is complete the SNCT plan to move on to work on other sections which can then be gradually joined up to make ‘Destination Newport’ a reality. For information contact: John Myers, Tel: 01785 255263, Mobile: 07711 858986, email: jma2@onetel.com See the next Navvies for a camp report and a London WRG weekend dig report ...Ed

Martin Ludgate

Major steps have been taken towards restoring and re-watering the Newport Canal (the former Newport arm of the Shropshire Union) at Forton. The Shrewsbury & Newport Canals Trust (SNCT) has spent the last year planning the start of the canal restoration from Norbury Junction to Newport, their ‘Destination Newport’ project. This has the active support of the Norbury to Newport Canal Restoration Community Interest Company, Newport Town Council and the Inland Waterways Asociation Over the week of 22-29 August 2015 a WRG Canal Camp got the project started with the first restoration of a length of the canal at Forton, just east of Newport, Shropshire. In six days, with the help of heavy plant, nineteen WRGies plus volunteers from the SNCT re-profiled a section of the canal and laid a Bentonite waterproof lining in preparation for the re-watering. The SNCT will continue this work over the winter and the WRG are scheduling further weekend work camps to support this [The first, a very successful London WRG weekend, has already happened ...Ed]. It is planned to re-water the 100m length, between Forton Skew Bridge and Forton Aqueduct, by summer 2016 The WRG and SNCT volunteers went through a rapid learning curve to find the best way to excavate the correct profile and re-construct the towpath using 3 tonne London WRG laying Bentonite matting liner at Forton and 5 tonne diggers,

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Camp Report

It’s been a busy summer on the Cotswold Canals, with one lock nearing completion and another one (rather unexpectedly) added to our jobs list... Cotswold Canals Camp 12

Cotswold Canals (mainly) volunteers can achieve in a short space of time if the right things are in place to allow them to get on. The only issue with that particular stretch of canal is the redevelopment of the industrial units above the site of Hope Mill lock. This new building will make reinstating the canal very difficult; how on earth did it get planning permission?

I made two mistakes during the camp (that I know of). The first was sending Ricey off to buy some steel toe capped wellies so we could sloosh silt from the bottom off the lock chamber before Land and Water removed their big pump from just below the lock. He came back with five pairs of which two were used. I am now trying to work out who pays for them. Sunday: The weather was not good and we The second mistake was not managing had plenty of work on the horizon, but not to get anyone else to write the camp report... quite enough to be getting on with. Contractors Land & Water were due to be out of Saturday: Once arrived and settled into our Wallbridge by the start of the week but had luxurious accommodation, the group took a underestimated the quantity of silt to come walk along the towpath from Brimscombe out of the chamber and filled their tip area; Port to Bowbridge and Wallbridge lower lock. all the extra was having to be hauled away I’ve completed this walk several times in the by lorry which involved a lot of time-conlast year and every time, I find things have suming double machining. Being without a moved on considerably. New for me this brew kit or loo, the Wallbridge group upped time were the gates being in at Ham Mill sticks to the local café and Judi introduced Lock and completed brickwork/coping stones our French volunteers Arnaud and Nicolas to in the main chamber at Bowbridge. The the English tea cosy. progress is a clear illustration of what At Bowbridge we were waiting for the The Canal Camp project: completing restoration of Bowbridge Lock, starting Wallbridge Lower Lock

What’s the story about the

Cotswold Canals?

Why? Both locks are part of the Phase 1a section, from Stonebridge via Stroud to just below Brimscombe, which is being restored thanks to a £20m-plus Lottery-supported funding package. The locks were to be professionally restored, with funding from regeneration of Brimscombe - but the economic downturn put paid to that, so volunteers have had to make a much bigger contribution. And at Wallbridge, the contractors who were due to restore it pulled out at the last minute. The wider picture: The excellent progress this summer means that despite the extra work, Phase 1a is on target for completion soon, to a very high standard. This is critical, because the Cotswold Canals Trust is about to put in a Lottery bid for Phase 1b - to link Stonehouse to the canal network at Saul. And meanwhile things are stirring at the other end of the canal (remember Inglesham?) - working towards the eventual aim of reopening through to the Thames. Phase 3: Brimscombe to Water Park

Phase 1b: Saul to Stonehouse

Canal Camp site: Wallbridge and Bowbridge

Phase 1a: Stonehouse to Brimscombe

Cotswold Water Park

Phase 2: Inglesham to Water Park

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As with the previous week we descended on the pub quiz in Stroud and this time Peter, Simon, Barry and Tom took away the “mini quiz” prize though Stuart did try to sneak off with it.

Chris Blaxland

Tuesday: Weather much better. The Bowbridge team wadered-up and encouraged the silt down to the dam at the lower gate area where Coping stone removal at Wallbridge Lower Lock a sludge pump contractor to clear the area between the lock got it onto the other side ready for the conand the bridge so we could set scaffold up tractors to take it away. and start to repair the brickwork. Everyone At Wallbridge, the two stumps were got stuck in where they could, until the proving to be better rooted than they had weather worsened and we went home for an first appeared and more digging was reearly tea. In the evening some of us enjoyed quired. Also, the concrete walls blocking the a trip to the Daneway Portal of Sapperton paddle culverts were very strong and Tunnel (quite impressive) and looked at the progress was slow. The first of many trailer top 4-5 locks (more impressive in my opinloads of earth/concrete blocks were transion). The first of many jigsaw marathons ported to Brimscombe Port. A boat trip in began, with RAF Martin being prised away the evening was enlivened by a tree branch from the table around 1am! blocking the canal, and after that our intrepid cook Kate led a group to the local pub for Monday: Weather better. Land & Water were some spectacular darts. still at the bottom end of Wallbridge lock, where they were to remain for most of the Wednesday: Weather actually good. At week, but access to the top end meant we Bowbridge the contractor we were waiting could begin to clear two large stumps grow- for was definitely not coming until next ing on the offside wall, remove the concrete week, so a small team continued to clear the block retaining walls, clear the offside bank silt and stacked rubble ready for the barrow of vegetation and earth, and break through hoist’s return. At Wallbridge, Land & Water the concrete walls that had been built over looked like they might be finishing up, so we the upper paddle culverts. quickly got a team into the lock to sloosh as My journey back from site took longer much silt as possible down to their pump. than expected: We needed some more wellies, two pairs should be enough... Finally, the first of the Me “Hi Rob, why aren’t you in the van?” stumps came out; it looks much bigger lying Rob “There isn’t enough room, I’m going to down than it did standing up! walk back.” Skittles in the evening: if it takes skill to Me (feeling sorry for him) “I’ll walk back miss every pin, we were a skilled group. with you.” After last week’s camp softened the pub up Rob “In that case I’ll have your seat in the (thanks) we were provided with free chips van...” and returned the favour by drinking all their

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ale. Wednesday also marked the turning point where the camp whiteboard started to get increasingly surreal and baldly spelled.

break from bashing and chopping and sat himself down on a plastic oil drum and started bashing out some Chopin instead. It’s on the WRG group on Facebook. Some observations on the week:

Thursday: Weather hot! I went down early to Wallbridge to see if the Land & Water digger driver would give the other tree stump some encouragement. To my surprise they had already started to extricate themselves from site! This did allow us to get scaffolding in on the towpath side and Alex and others started clearance of the vegetation and earth on the offside. This was the first chance we had to have a proper look at the brickwork. We had thought it was in good condition - and happily this was the case, with only five or six courses below the coping stones looking like it needed to come out. In the evening the snug was our cinema with the Hawk getting his wish of half-time choc ices and Juan and Javier getting to watch Hot Fuzz again: the perils of doing two camps in a row.

· ·

Brilliant bunch of volunteers Jon Pontefract and Paul Weller: a pair of stars Brimscombe Port: perfect accommoda tion for canal camps (there is a year calendar on the wall in the accommodation and I counted nearly 100 days’ worth of WRG visits in 2015) Frustrating when you can see lots of work to be done but cannot quite access it Should we have had a tipper van?

Friday concluded with an award ceremony, with winners all round seemingly except for the leader. Would it have been so hard to complete the set? Teacher Chris (with some “assistance” by Ricey)

Chris Blaxland

Friday: Weather good. Everyone was at Wallbridge and with access to the whole chamber we could really crack on. A team of work-horses got stuck in to dragging the coping stones back and made it two thirds of the way down the lock by the end of the day. Another team started to remove the brickwork, this came out very easily as fine roots had worked their way into the mortar joints. In fact the amount of brickwork that needed removing was less than thought as it stepped back into the wall. After a few days of digging and mattocking by pretty much everyone at some point, the final tree stump finally gave in to some enthusiastic Tirforing by Thomas and Lily. This stump, which again did not look that big when vertical, had managed to wrap its roots around four of the faces of the quoin stone; had the digger driver given it a nudge the whole lot would probably have ended up in the main chamber. We started the offside scaffold but as Land & Water took their nice big pump away the water was now 4ft deep; easily deep enough to fill the camp leader’s waders if he was to bend down to adjust a footing, for example... Meanwhile Ricey inspired everyone with his ability to fall asleep in the break area. Friday also provided a musical highlight when we helped a nearby landowner to move a piano up some stairs and into a workshop. Once this was done, Javier took a

· · ·

Wadered-up and ready to go at Bowbridge Lock

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ble via the CCT website cotswoldcanals.com. There was also a barrow hoist and a couple Mk2 reports on KESCRG’s Summer of enormous and inconveniently sited tree Camp in Stroud... stumps. There was also a large pile of earth Saturday arrivals were planned for 1700. on the towpath side. Ah, yes; the offside Note to self, for leading in future: from bank turned out to contain some asbestos, somewhere in the general information about requiring specialist disposal. As McCarthy & Canal Camps, people get the idea that arrivals Stone, the developers of the neighbouring (if are from 3 o’clock, no matter what you actually much, much higher-up!) site, wished to give tell them in the joining instructions. a bit of land between their deep piling and One volunteer’s dad rang up with exthe lock to the canal, it would involve some pectations that I’d make special arrangenegotiation around only taking the land on ments because he would only be dropping once it was clean, so this meant that L&W off at 3! Anyway, the reason for this was to had dumped what they had cut away on-site have time for a proper handover from instead of taking it away. There was a neat, Teacher Chris, who’d run the previous Camp. fenced compound further down site which Chris also, very generously stayed with us as turned out still to contain their small digger we started the Camp off - thanks, Chris! and large dumper, rendering it useless to us. So with my Awesome Assistant, Jenny Back to the accomm for lasagne and safety Morris and nearly all the volunteers in place videos in the ‘snug’. at The Pickled Shark Factory (okay, Unit 1 Sunday morning started with kit-checkhas only a tenuous connection to Mr. Hirst’s ing led by Jenny some of the experienced most famous piece, but I think it’s a great volunteers and PPE issue for all. The KESnickname for it!) and contact established with CRG trailer was also attended to by some those who hadn’t arrived yet, we set off for a regular KESCRGies. The KESCRG Camp is walk along the canal... very, very much the better for being installed Those of you who avidly devour the with a resident Chief Mendologist, Mick regular updates in Navvies and online will be Lilliman, who also tows the trailer to Camp used to the scenario by now. Lock by lock, with his very useful pickup truck. All seven we move west along the valley in which sits DofEers arrived with the correct safety boots, Stroud. Once one lock is restored – and to to my considerable relief. I’ve found before comply with the requirement to properly that some people just read the bit about finish Phase 1a, each lock is indeed comturning up at 3pm and stop there without pletely restored, gates and all – we start continuing to the part that mentions mandaanother one and in the meantime, the Westtory steelie boots! ern Depot team of locally-based Cotswold Down to LWL. We established Brew Canals Trust volunteers do likewise. The nice Station Alpha. Martin Thompson and Robert thing about starting at Gough’s Orchard Lock Brotherston were already at work, continuing and walking to Bowbridge is that you get... the previous Camp’s task of breaking out the concrete infill from the side chamber. Ed Gough’s Orchard (previously restored Walker led a team who set to work on the and waiting patiently for its turn for nearside coping stones with a winch and landscaping, etc), strops; as not all the scaffolding was in place to enable anyone to stand in front of them Ham Mill (undergoing a rapid and impressive full restoration) they were winched back with everyone reGriffin’s Mill (completely restored and maining safely back from the edge. Bobby and helpers got stuck into the tree landscaped Bowbridge (almost completely restored) stumps, firstly to reduce them down as far as possible. At certain points later in the week, ...to show you all the stages of lock restoration. Tony took this process as far as he could by We were then picked up in the two red vans systematically mattocking every last bit of and driven to Lower Wallbridge Lock (LWL). trapped earth and anything else removable from the biggest one, so although it remained We already knew that contractors Land & Water had cut much earth away from the stubbornly atop the offside coping it was at offside bank and that the safety fencing was least much lighter by the end of the week! Mick & Ann and team started on brick installed, because it was visible on the handy webcam, permanently installed and accessireclaim. During the week, our volunteers

Cotswold Canals Camp 15

. . . .

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were to remove, inspect, clean up and stack several hundred bricks onto pallets. At certain points throughout the week, Karl took this process as far as he could by selecting the best of these and giving them a further clean-up, providing Paul Weller, our most excellent local project manager, with a supply of nice bricks with which to build the short retaining wall he has mind for somewhere on the offside. Meanwhile, Digger took the tipping trailer and a team of helpers to complete a soil-shift from Bowbridge back to Brimscombe Port. As we had also started chamber clearance at the head of the lock, we needed a pump running at one end of the lock and a generator at the other. This was how we ran into a couple of little ‘opportunities’ as first KESCRG’s Honda pump was misfuelled, necessitating a trip with Digger to Bungle’s for it that evening, for a strip and inspection (the Honda, I meant; what were you thinking?) which revealed that you get what you pay for as it was pretty much undamaged. Considering it didn’t exactly stop running on diesel, this was lucky. Meanwhile, Jon Pontefract’s newlypurchased generator developed such running trouble as to render it ‘u/s’ to us. Thing was, the hoist required about a 5kVa generator, with 32 amp output, so replacing it would be special call to the hire firm. I called on Monday. They were very busy and didn’t call back before Paul had a brainwave, went round to them and hired a transformer box instead! Note to self, for leading in future: when your site comes with a 240v supply, use it as much as you can - it’s quieter! Another note to self, for leading in future: if an electric boiler is being run off this supply, check that it’s plugged into a socket that would make it past the ‘visual inspection’ stage of a PAT test! Then, realise you can’t run that and the barrow hoist off the same board and revert to the gas Burco anyway! Sunday night was roast dinner and general socialising at either the Factory or down at the ever-welcoming Ship Inn. Monday started with my remembering to photograph the whiteboard upon which Jen had written the day’s plan. Days where the plan is at the factory and the leaders are on site do not flow as smoothly, I’ve found. Note to self and others, for leading in future: photograph the whiteboard on a smartphone with a good zoom in its picture viewer. Not only will you have your plan in

Lower Wallbridge Lock: taking out damaged brickwork

your pocket but you’ll have a reminder of what you did when writing the Camp Report. The day for the volunteers was all about removing more coping stones, reclaiming more bricks and staying out of Bobby’s way as he attacked the tree stumps with increasingly noisy implements. The day for Jenny and a small team involved planning some work at Inglesham Lock. Unfortunately, Erranditis Cotswoldis took hold of them and by lunchtime, they had reached Brimscombe Port, from whence they had started. At Inglesham, two stone wing walls awaited repair, for which access scaffolding needed to be placed in the cut from which the Thames & Severn Canal is accessed from the River Thames. Jen, Digger, Ed and Thomasina achieved this and Jen, Thomasina and Andy were to spend several days running this as a second site. Jen was so determined to move the stonework forward that she recruited a team for the Saturday and zoomed off back to Inglesham after the official finish to the Camp! The day for me involved improving the PR situation. Note to self, for leading in future: this is where quite a lot of your time can easily go. Firstly, we’d been misinformed about the protocol around the gates to the plumbers’ merchants’ yard, through which we accessed site. I’d been told they were

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shut at 1800 and that we’d need to erect some Heras around the site entrance as we typically left c.1730. The actual rule is that last out locks the gates and so on Monday morning, an open set of gates greeted the plumbers’ merchant as he arrived to open up. The carpenter occupying the workshop between the merchants and the lock tipped us off about this. Cue visit by yours truly to introduce self, apologise and confirm arrangements so as not to make the same mistake twice. It seemed there had also been some parking issues caused during the previous week (although from the conversation, I strongly suspect they were not the fault of the WRGies - for a start, they weren’t using white vans!) and the manager was very, very unhappy. I apologised and confirmed arrangements so as not to make the same mistake ever again and we shook hands on it. Everyone was briefed, as were the leaders of the next Camp and we had no further issues. Secondly, the carpenter was unhappy with the workshop toilets, which we were sharing, so from Tuesday morning, following a big clean-up (thanks, Mick and Scott!), we introduced daily checks and cleaning. Monday night featured curries followed by movies in the ‘snug’. On Tuesday, chamber clearance at the top of the lock continued with the mission to work out where the base of the area above the cill actually was. Patrick had a very good go at this and put a marker in. There was quite a bit to go with the digging so the team continued with it forthwith, Tony operating the hoist. Ed and team organised the pumps and then set to work extending the scaffolding with everything he could get hold of whilst Mick sallied forth to shift some sticky gloop offsite to Brimscombe. The other 4-wheel tipping trailer needing to be returned to Western Depot* and their very own Ron Kerby having arrived with it behind his pickup, a neat piece of timing enabled Paul, who had just done a deal with the tenant of the neighbouring storage yard on every other bit of matching scaffolding he had left, to get everything loaded straight on and round to our site before anyone could change their mind. Ed made short order of installing this from Tuesday and over the next two days had enough time for two trips to Alex Farm for more. Sadly, both were fruitless as the first time, there was no one there to let him in and on the second, it turned out there was no scaffolding there anyway. Next time,

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I will insist on the mobile number of someone there before letting anyone depart! * Note to self for leading in the future: if someone informs you that they need their trailer back and it’s complete news to you, consider the possibility that because you weren’t actually looking for another trailer. it may have escaped your attention that you had another trailer! More brick cleaning – the number was up to about 500 by Tuesday - and then an early off-site in order to clean up in time to go boating. Jen had organised a boat trip with CCT and it was handled in two shifts, such was the demand from the campers. Whoever wasn’t on the boat relaxed in a nearby café with some nice coffee and Jen & I used both shifts and the café’s comfy atmosphere to do some serious planning for next day. Dinner, back at Brimscombe, was pork in cider- mmmm! Wednesday featured all the exciting tasks of Tuesday except clearance; one of the two much slimmed-down (but still massive!) stumps now rested in a cleared above-cill area. Patrick and a team therefore started on taking the towpath-side quoin stone out. Once again, Jen and a small team worked with stone at Inglesham. A small team (with me included) assisted Paul Weller that afternoon at Bowbridge Lock, levelling-up a bypass pipe to take the constantly running water around the lock chamber and out of it and to dam up the other side of the two-pipe concrete culvert that currently fills the channel underneath the road bridge. This accomplished, we would be ready for Thursday and… The Giant Gloop Pump. On Wednesday evening we said goodbye to our wonderful cook, Eli and welcomed Bobby off the work site and into the kitchen. Wednesday evening was skittles night, up in the hills at the Stirrup Cup, where despite having just eaten copiously, the campers wasted no time in polishing off 4 bowls of lovely, piping hot pub chips set out by the publican as soon as we arrived! A nice pint or two of the local Tom Long bitter was enjoyed as were the comedic shapes of some of the ‘balls’ and some dazzling form was displayed as the pins fell. Thursday was Gloop Day. Jen, Stephen, New Martin, Libby and I arrived very, very early at Bowbridge with our breakfasts in our pockets in sandwich form. The locals’ ‘at least five pairs of waders’ from LWL turned


out to be three, so once a spare pair was found at Bowbridge that left only me without suitable rubberwear. I ended up with not a pair, but two right-foot, thigh-high galoshes. More like galosh and galosh, I suppose. I taped them onto my high-vis jerkin as we awaited the Giant Gloop Pump Lorry which was late. After 2 hours of quite successfully shovelling and sucking up gloop, with both bypass pipe and dams doing their thing, the driveshaft which drove the pump broke and it was game over. At least we’d had a chance to prove the process worked - this time the lorry was parked on the road bridge and sucking directly up – after the less than successful previous attempts. That afternoon, Paul rang. “I hate to see another canal worker in difficulty” he said. Would we go over to Ham Mill Lock, talk to Ron Kerby and see what we could do to move the gabion-building on a bit, as Ron would be without volunteers until Monday? Jen, Ed and I went off to meet Ron after we’d closed our site. Above the offside, tail-end wing wall area, bank retention gabions were being installed. The bank had been cut away, all the way along instead of section by section and it seemed there had been a little landslip at the far end from where the gabions had started to go in. 1.5 gabions were completed. We hastily replanned Friday (my notebook has two pages for Friday, the 2nd of which reads “Friday, but for real”) and then those who like that sort of thing walked to Stroud Brewery to anticipate a slightly different next day. Friday started with skeleton crew Tony, Karl and Mick closing the Wallbridge site down and Jen, Ed and Stephen emptying the trailer – whilst Ron brought us another one – and got the excavator and breaker out. Then the complete group split in two with one team selecting, breaking and loading stone and rubble at Brimscombe Port and the other emptying the results into gabions at Ham Mill Lock. Mick and I trailered the loads from one to the other and practised our reversing of trailers whilst we were at it. We continued this for the entire day and by 1700hrs, the gabion count was up to a tremendous five, meaning the Western Depot volunteers would have a good head start in their race against the landslips on the Monday. By the time the kit was cleaned and packed and the hall foyer tidied up we were more than looking forward to Bobby’s Mezze / Tapas Menu (just think of it as a

multicultural, indoor barbecue!) and some beer. Following some short speeches, several six-bottle bags of this substance changed hands with many compliments. Saturday morning brought me an idea. We’ve all seen the archetypal end of Camp team photo, but I decided to give it a twist by asking everyone to stand in the usual formation in front of the van but take a selfie of themselves and two weeks later they were still coming in via email. How I will put these together into a coherent whole, I do not yet know! After meeting three sets of DofEer parents and overseeing much cleaning and putting away of things from behind a stack of 7 DofE booklets, I made a pot of tea, held a handover with Nick Swift and Martin Carrick and then climbed wearily into my campervan. As I drove I reflected that I’d never had to do so much leading and coordinating and generally being available in the space of a week. Over two particular days of the Camp, we had on site Jon Pontefract & Paul Weller’s boss (several times), the project’s chief designer (with useful H&S observations), a senior engineer, BBC Radio Gloucester’s broadcaster, Spencer, and Stroud District Council’s photographer, taking pictures (for the cover, no less!) for their local magazine. All of this was on top of the work we were doing at the time. I’d like to thank each and every one of the volunteers and especially our KESCRG Core Team, for supporting the project all day, every day of the Camp, with their infectious energy and enthusiasm. With people like you, leading’s almost easy. Mark ‘Mk2’ Richardson

The DofEers get interviewed on the radio

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drop-in visitor centre – why let them get bored in the office when they could spend their time watching volunteers working hard The fourth band of volunteers took occuparestoring the local water feature? Oh, here tion of the ‘Brimscombe Hilton’ for the 8th to 15th of August. With the Heritage Lottery comes another one… Carpet bombing the cut with big lumps Fund’s deadline for Phase 1b funding fast approaching [See ‘What’s the story about the of puddling clay, even though this was not Cotswold Canals?’ Page 38], the mission was exactly in the Stroud Council plan – well it tidied up the site and we do need to keep all to get as much done on the Thames and Severn canal as possible. Our focus was to that valuable clay in a safe place. get Bowbridge lock ready for gates, and Vacuuming up mud with a tanker that, without much notice, would suddenly decide make some meaningful progress on the offside of Wallbridge Lower lock. to regurgitate its contents back into the canal Getting Amber from head office to cook every so often. Stand back Nick, James is in control of the big hose! (I think) for the week and drafting in more experiLaurence fashioning a wheelbarrow into enced hands like Alan Lines was a coup for Martin and myself; both of us new to assistgarden furniture during tea break. Talk about ing and leading a camp. Picking up the reins relaxing on the job Dan being interviewed for WRG promo from Mk2 was also a blessing – he had clearly sorted some of the local neighbour video – now where is the motorhome with issues the week before. The following are the hair and make-up team? I want my Latte my collection of memories of the week, NOW! informed by feedback from the team via the Amanda sitting atop of the brick pile. postcard box: What are we going to do with so many clean Finding the quadrant at Wallbridge – bricks anyway? Ian “I knew what it was straight away”. It Chris “my foot was dry before it went in had lain undiscovered since the last boats this wader” Mark and Mr Mole his van. Funny passed. name for a van. Alan’s new dream cake recipe – a slip of Peio the young Spaniard. Is he really the tongue involving some drizzle – isn’t that staying another week? That makes four, and what we got on Friday, Alan? far too much commitment to be healthy! Paul single-handedly taking on the I would also like to thank Evelyne, wheel barrow work, ably directed by RAF Richard and Chris Bushill. We all made a Martin on the first day. great team and I look forward to next year. Despite Martin Carrick kangaroo jumpNick Swift ing when achieving a clean sweep, all the boys being defeated by Amber at the pub skittles. So that’s what the WRG head office staff do all winter, practice their bowling skills on the office carpet. Respect. The pub quiz last used before James was born, containing questions about the long-distant 1980s – what, before the internet existed? Running a Making ‘meaningful progress’ on Wallbridge Lower Lock council worker

Cotswold Canals Camp 18

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MAKE SURE YOU WRITE OUT YOUR NAVVIES SUBSCRIPTION CHEQUE CORRECTLY - SEE BELOW RIGHT... Stamps wanted By the time you receive this issue, it will be only a few weeks until the Christmas cards start arriving through your letterboxes. So it seems a timely moment to remind you that the WRG Stamp Bank will as ever be happy to receive all your used postage stamps and use them to fund canal restoration. Not only that, but as well as stamps they accept:

. . . . . .

Empty ink and toner cartridges Aluminium cans and foil (or any other aluminium eg old pans) Foreign coins and notes Coupons that can be exchanged for items Old mobile phones Old die-cast (eg Dinky) toys.

Navvies News Directory updates The Navvies Directory in the last issue contained a couple of inaccuracies: The phone number for John Baylis (Erewash Canal Preservation & Development Association and WRG East Midlands contact) should be 01623 621208. There is a new contact for the Grand Western Canal Trust: Hugh Dalzell, 1 Town Hill, Culmstock, Cullompton, Devon, EX15 3JQ. e-mail: hugh.dalzell@btinternet.com Tel: 01884 849255. The next full directory will appear in issue 275: please send any updates, additions, corrections or deletions to the editor.

Frank Wallder

The funeral collection in lieu of flowers for Frank Wallder (see obituary, Navvies 272) raised over £1000 for the WRG Van Appeal. In addition, many of Frank’s canal books and tools have been donated to WRG and other Send them to IWA/WRG stamp bank, 33 Hambleton Grove, Milton Keynes MK4 2JS canal restoration groups. or to arrange collection for heavy or bulky Our thanks to Frank’s family and friends stuff contact Steve & Mandy Morley on 01908 for their kindness at this sad time, and to 520090 or steve@morleytowers.org.uk. Sophie Smith for her help with this.

Rita Cadisch R.I.P. Those who remember the old days when for many years Navvies was assembled by a team of volunteers at John Cadisch’s North Finchley industrial premises will be sorry to hear that John’s wife Rita recently passed away aged 89. Our sympathies to John, and to anyone else who remembers her.

Good luck, Amber! Amber Jenkins of Head Office has recently left for pastures new in Edinburgh, having been a useful member of the team and a great person to work with over the past 18 months. We wish her all the best for the future.

...and good luck Ian Mac Ian McCarthy (WRG North West veteran and Canal & River Trust volunteer) is standing for election as volunteer rep on CRT Council.

Navvies subscriptions cheques As we mentioned last time, cheques for Navvies subscriptions now need to be made payable to “THE INLAND WATERWAYS ASSOCIATION” (NOT WATERWAY RECOVERY GROUP) as the bank is becoming much stricter about the use of official company names. Please use the right name, to save us having to ask for a replacement

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Infill The vans quiz At IWA Northampton Festival boaters’ quiz, the quizmaster included an extra just-for-fun round of questions to entertain the teams while the final scores were being totted-up. As we were also using the quiz to raise some money for the WRG Van Appeal via a raffle, we thought it would be appropriate to have 10 questions all with ‘van’ in the answer. Here they are: see how you get on... 1: 2: 3:

Who had a hit single called Jump? What was the former name of Tasmania? In the film The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, who played ‘the Bad’? 4: Who was lead singer of the 1960s pop group called Them? 5: Who fell asleep for 20 years? 6: Which artist was famous for his picture Arnolfini Portrait? 7: Who had a 1970s disco hit called The Hustle? 8: Who played the character Bert in the film Mary Poppins? 9: What name is given to two zones of high radiation surrounding the Earth’s atmosphere? 10: Barry Foster played title role in which 1970s TV series? Answers: 1 Van Halen, 2 Van Diemen’s Land, 3 Lee van Cleef, 4 Van Morrison, 5 Rip van Winkle, 6 Jan van Eyck, 7 Van McCoy, 8 Dick van Dyke, 9 Van Allen Belts, 10 Van der Valk

And finally... ...on the subject of the Appeal, my thanks to whoever sent this ‘alternative fundraiser’ (right) for an Americal school Parent Teachers’ Association, with the suggestion that we might adapt it into a fundraiser for the WRG Van appeal. How about “I do not want to buy any fudge, so here is the £300 I have saved on dentists’ bills”?

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Dear Deirdre After running a disastrous camp earlier this summer, I’ve lost my confidence as a leader. Do you have any advice? - JZ, Cropwell Keynes

Deirdre writes Tricky thing, leadership. Sometimes a camp comes together beautifully, the team spirit emerges and the whole thing is an exhausting delight. But on occasion the magic just doesn’t happen. Teams don’t gel, the week is harrowing rather than satisfying and you end up feeling like a failure. The only way to recover from a bad camp is to get back on the horse that threw you. Sign up immediately to lead another camp next year. Failure must be a teacher, not an undertaker.

Dear Deirdre I’ve an embarrassing problem and I don’t know who to turn to. Although I’ve been digging for a decade now, I’ve no idea how a ratchet strap works. I’ve tried threading the strap through every damn part of it and I can never get the thing to work. I’ve just been jamming everything into the trailer and hoping for the best, but I don’t think I can get away with that for very much longer as the teapot is getting awfully dented. - Perplexed, Newport-on-Avon

Deirdre writes You are not alone. The mysterious ratchet strap has perplexed many a trailer packer before you. However there’s an easy solution – YouTube. There’s a ton of how-to videos on there explaining the enigma of the ratchet. Watch one now before the teapot gets any worse.


Outro More summer camp photos

John Hawkins

Grantham

Shrewsbury & Newport

Stover Stover

Dave Joyner

Swansea Swansea

Monmouthshire Monmouthshire & & Brecon Brecon

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Navvies 273  

Navvies 273. Waterway Recovery Groups magazine for volunteer restoring the waterways.

Navvies 273  

Navvies 273. Waterway Recovery Groups magazine for volunteer restoring the waterways.