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navvies volunteers restoring waterways

BCN Clean Up Report and pictures

It’s not just canal camps What are the regional groups up to?

Inglesham ’18 Another Cotswold summer planned

issue 288 april-may 2 0 1 8


Intro BCN Clean Up

Pics by Alex Melson,Tim Lewis, Martin Ludgate

The annual BCN Clean Up sees volunteers descend on a rubbish-filled length of the Birmingham Canal Navigations network. Elsewhere in this issue is a report of the weekend, and here are a selection of pics of what we found...

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In this issue Contents For latest news on our activities visit our website wrg.org.uk See facebook group: WRG Follow us on Twitter: @wrg_navvies Production

Contents

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, George Rogers, Jonathan Smith, Harry Watts. ISSN: 0953-6655

© 2018 WRG

From the Chairman Project planning 4-5 Editorial Don’t forget the weekend groups! 6 Coming soon including Training Weekend 7 Camps preview Lichfield, Wey & Arun 8 Introductions Two new head office folk9-10 WRG NorthWest Round-up 11-12 WRG BITM Maidenhead dig report 13-15 Kescrg at Inglesham previewing work this year at one of our main current sites 16-17 London WRG A year(ish) in the life 18-19 Diary WRG, IWA, CRT, canal societies20-25 Progress around the country 26-29 WRG BC news from our Boat Club 30-31 Clean Up report from the BCN 32-33 Montgomery Appeal and update 34-36 News Pocklington opening in July 37 Infill Smartphone apps for WRGies 38 Lancaster Camp in pictures 39

Contributions... ...are welcome, whether by email or post. Photos welcome: digital (as email attachments, or if you have a lot of large files please send them on CD / DVD or to contact the editor first), or old-school slides, prints. 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 289: 1 May.

Subscriptions A year's subscription (6 issues) is available for a minimum of £3.00 to Sue Watts, 15 Eleanor Road, Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Manchester M21 9FZ. Please pay cheques to "The Inland Waterways Association". This is a minimum subscription, that everyone can afford. Please add a donation.

Cover Picture: The volunteers on the BCN Clean Up have hooked something big! See report, p32. (Pic: Martin Ludgate) Back cover (top): Inglesham Lock at the end of last year’s work - see p16 for plans for 2018’s work there. (pic: Kescrg) Back cover (bottom): end of first week of Easter camps on the Lancaster - report next time, please! (pic: David ‘Evvo’ Evans)

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chairman’s Comment ...on Project Plans and why they’re important, the demise of the WRG North West Paper Chase, fudge preparation, and a new arrival... Chairman’s comment Seeing as we tend to spend much of our time standing outside in the middle of nowhere gazing up at the sky and wondering what it’s about to do, safe in the knowledge that we can’t really affect it either way, I guess it seems rather foolish to spend this edition talking about planning. Especially given that, when we are not staring up at the sky, we are peering into muddy holes and muttering “I wasn’t expecting that”. However as everyone – from a first time volunteer through to the boss of the Health & Safety Executive – expects us to be well planned and prepared, I think it’s worth a page or so of talking about it. Somewhere on the spectrum of people mentioned above sit the trustees of Waterway Recovery Group’s parent body The Inland Waterways Association. Whether you think they sit closer to the ordinary volunteer or the HSE CEO rather depends on your point of view (but please remember that I and a few other WRG Board members are also IWA trustees these days!) I have mentioned the IWA’s annual objectives a few times recently, and this time I want to explain about a specific one that goes: “Ensure active projects have clear, well thought through project plans, thoroughly supported and understood by their governance structure [Project Owner: Mike Palmer]” So that’s the first thing to notice – yes, it’s my promise to deliver this on behalf of IWA. But hopefully that’s shouldn’t surprise you as mainly that seems to be all I’ve ever been banging on about. Sometimes under the heading of Health & Safety, sometimes just under the heading of “why, oh why, oh why…” And it’s not as though the Restoration sector is terrible at it. Every edition of Navvies usually has several Canal Camp reports detailing how things went very well, together with maybe an article from a local society about how, after months (years!) of careful thought and preparation they are ready to start on a long-held dream to culvert a river under their canal, carry a road over it, dig something up, re-water a section, etc. But throughout the sector these reputations for careful planning are, to be blunt, incredibly fragile. Just a couple of setbacks and suddenly a reputation built over many years is lost, seemingly forever. So I have no problem with continuing our emphasis on Project Planning. What exactly are we doing about this then? Well one part of the jigsaw is already completed and, inevitably, it relates to Health & Safety. A few months ago we published a video called Creating a Culture of Safety. Whilst it can (and should) be watched by anyone involved in restoration, one of the main target audiences was the high level management & trustees of restoration schemes. In particular it sought to make sure they gave the Project Planners enough support and resources to ensure that those clear, well thought through project plans we are all after come to fruition. For those who think that is a little too abstract and are after something more definite about project planning our next video will be called… um… err… Project Planning. Whilst it will cover what we (and HSE/funders/insurers/etc.) expect to be covered by a project plan the main purpose of this video is just to counter the common reasons why people put off writing one: I’m not the right person to write it; I’ll get it wrong and people will laugh at it; What’s the point?; I don’t have all the answers yet. That sort of thing. We will be canvassing both our leaders and locals about what they fear regarding project planning but if any of you readers out there have any contribution on this subject, be they personal experiences (good or bad) or just observations from other sectors of life

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please do let me or Head Office know and we can add them to the scripting sessions. Speaking of Head Office, this nicely links into even more practical direct action - elsewhere in this Navvies you will see an introduction from Mikk Bradley. our newest member of staff. Mikk has joined us with a specific focus on improving the planning throughout the sector. Initially he will be working with our Canal Camp leaders to help us get the very best results from this summer, but after that expect to see his influence far and wide. The WRG Board warmly welcomes Mikk and I’m sure once you have met him you will too. Mikk has just come back from the Easter Lancaster Camp so he has thrown himself in right from the start. I can just about squeeze a comment on Publicity & Events into my theme by saying that we are just planning our schedule of appearances over the rest of the year. Indeed next weekend a group of us will be heading off to Oxfordshire to chop a LOT of Fudge in preparation for our usual assault on the dental health of the residents of Little Venice and sundry other waterway festivals. However, I can’t really manage this final comment under any other heading than “unplanned opportunity readily grabbed at with no real idea of where it could lead, but through hard work and ingenuity they pulled it off”. Last weekend saw the final Paperchase (waste paper collection for recycling) being undertaken by WRG North West. There have been many articles in Navvies about this iconic event over the years and no doubt sometime soon there will be a proper obituary for it; detailing all the streets pounded, tonnes of paper saved, funds raised, percentage of Planet Earth rescued, number of years ahead of its time, etc. However for me it represents a definite part of my growing up and knowing it’s no longer there will seem strangely unsettling. At least I think it’s no longer there – I can’t help noticing the current public campaigns for plastic bottle recycling. And Mr Mac is never one to miss on an opportunity so perhaps it will be reborn as the Plastic-chase or maybe the Bottlechase. Which is, I suppose, something we have put a lot of preparation into! Hugs and Kisses Mike Palmer

Jane Barkess

PS There is, of course, one other project that has been running for a while now and was suitably planned and prepared for – on behalf of the Board, and everyone in WRG, I warmly welcome Archie to the world.

The last Paperchase: the final skip is filled

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editorial

Comment

It’s not just about Canal Camps: WRG’s own mobile working party groups and our friends in Kescrg and NWPG are out and about all year round What, no Canal Camp reports? You won’t find any of the usual Camp Reports from our week-long working holidays in this issue. Why not? Well, for the usual reason that I can’t publish any if nobody sends me any in. Which gives me the opportunity for my usual editorial whinge, followed by a bit of the usual editorial begging for somebody to send me some for the next issue. But in fairness it’s also because this is a time of year when we don’t run so many Canal Camps - the Easter camps were just too late to feature in this issue (other than in a few ‘stop press’ pics on the back cover). So it also gives me the opportunity to mention a relatively unsung part of WRG: the regional mobile working party groups. Together with the two independent mobile groups (NWPG and Kescrg) they probably achieve a similar total amount work during the year as the canal camps do - and it can be some very interesting work too. They are often in first on new projects, before we’re sure there’s enough work to occupy a whole week’s camp. They usually have a higher proportion of experienced volunteers, which can mean they’re more suited to specialist tasks. And between them they can provide some continuity which keeps work going all year round on the major projects (you may remember the regular reports from the Dig Deep Initiative which was aimed specifically at coordinating the groups’ work to achieve this.) Look at our diary pages (especially in the winter months) and you’ll find that every couple of weeks there’s one or other of these groups working on a canal somewhere. Then look in pages 11 to 19 and you’ll see that we’ve taken the opportunity offered by the lack of camp reports to include reports of what four of these groups have been up to. WRG BITM have just made a successful weekend of what I think is the first ever WRG visiting working party on the Maidenhead Rivers, a restoration that I felt was a rather distant prospect a few London WRG rebuild a wharf wall on the Lichfield years ago but seems to be really taking off. Kescrg have been heavily involved at our major Canal Camps site at Inglesham, organising the pre-summer weekends getting things going, and the end-of-season weekends to finish things off before the site’s shut down for the winter - and they’re planning to do it all again this year. WRG North West have visited three interesting sites already this year - Lancaster, Hollinwood and Grantham. And London WRG have managed to work on at least half a dozen different sites recently, including ‘old favourites’ (the Cotswold and Wey & Arun), ‘up and coming’ projects (such as the Buckingham) and somewhere a little more off the beaten track (the Thames & Medway). Despite their supposed geographical basis they all welcome volunteers from anywhere, they all have their regulars who go on every dig, occasionals who only come out once or twice a year, and ‘WRG Tarts’ who’ll work with whatever group happens to be visiting their favourite site. So let’s hear it for the regional groups, and I’m sure they’d like to hear from you. Martin Ludgate

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coming soon Lots... We’ve got a training weekend, leader training day, Canalway Cavalcade, and then a whole summer of canal camps to look forward to... Canalway Cavalcade at Little Venice 5-7 May: last call Once again, a team of volunteers will be helping to set up and run the Inland Waterways Association’s popular annual canal festival at London’s Little Venice. Contact George Rogers on georgmrogers@outlook.com or 07789 493967 if you want to join them.

Leader Training Day 12 May We have a new team in charge for this year’s Leader Training Day of David Evans and George Rogers. It’s at Rowington Green Village Hall, and it’s aimed at existing camp or weekend leaders or cooks, and also importantly anyone thinking about becoing a leader (or and assistant, or a cook). Participants should arrive at 9.30 (for breakfast buns etc) for a 10.30 start, with sessions including Leading People, Effective Communication, Safety Updates, Host Societies and WRG, Risk Assessments, and more... and there will be some fun and active parts to the day as well - plus a separate session for cooks in the afternoon to pick up tips from some of WRG’s finest chefs. Lunch and dinner will be provided free of charge, as will be space to lay your bed if you want to stay the night after an evening’s discussing the finer points of dynamic risk assessments, catching up with mates, making new pals and enjoying some local lubrication. Please book on to the day as you would for camps – by phone to head office or online – making sure to let us know dietary considerations, etc.

WRG Training Weekend 23-24 June, Cotswold Canals

Martin Ludgate

We don’t have a list of what training we’ll be offering on at our annual WRG training weekend - not because we’re lagging behind with the planning, but because the idea is that we don’t tell you, you tell us what you want to learn about. Yes, that’s right: get in touch with us, the sooner the better, tell us what you want to be trained in, and we’ll do our best to organise it - whether it’s machinery (for example dumpers, excavators), practical skills (such as bricklaying) vehicles (vans or trailers), other equipment (levels / surveying or scaffolding), Health & Safety (we’ve done courses in site First aid and in writing Risk Assessments in the past). Just get in touch with us at Head Office (01494 783453 or enquiries@wrg.org.uk) and tell us what MKP teaches scafolding: what do you want to learn about? you want to learn about. And remember, it’s not just for people going on canal camps - volunteers from the WRG and other mobile groups, canal societies, and anyone else involved in waterway restoration are all welcome to attend.

And then: lots of Canal Camps - see over...

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coming soon Camps Previewing a couple of interesting sites in the summer canal camps programme, just a couple of months off by the time you read this... Summer camps preview 2018 part 2 Lichfield Canal When is the camp? 28 July – 4 August What’s the work? Building a canal retaining wall and towpath at Fosseway Heath. Why is it important? Initially this section will form a wetland nature reserve just north west of Lichfield, and part of a wildlife corridor following the canals from Huddlesford to Hatherton. But in the longer term it will form part of a working restored canal, linking with nearby projects already completed at Fosseway Locks, at Tamworth Road Locks, and also with a site on the southern edge of Lichfield, where the Lichfield & Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust is currently running a £1m appeal to build a new tunnel to take the canal under a railway line.

Work begins on the retaining wall on the Lichfield

What’s the bigger picture? Ultimately the Trust plans to open the entire six-mile canal. It will link the Coventry Canal at Huddlesford Junction to the underused northern reaches of the Birmingham Canal Navigations at Ogley Junction via the M6 Toll Aqueduct already built. Together with the restoration of the Hatherton Branch linking to the Staffs & Worcs Canal, it will open up all sorts of through routes and cruising circuits.

Wey & Arun Canal When is the camp? 7 - 14 July, 20 - 27 October What’s the work? Building a towpath at Birtley and boardwalks for a nature reserve at Shalford. Why is it important? The nature reserve at Shalford ties in with the new Hunt Park which has been created (with a lot of input from the Wey & Arun Canal Trust) in an area which will form the site for the new northern end of the canal, replacing the original link to the River Wey which has been lost. And the path at Birtley is the first work on a section of canal that will be seeing more attention once the Shalford section is complete and a way has been found to get the canal through Bramley. What’s the bigger picture? Both of these lengths are part of a plan by WACT to get work going at the north end of the canal, to complement the extensive length already fully restored in the Loxwood area further south and the recent work on the Dunsfold site in between. Ultimately these will all link together to restore the entire 23-mile canal and re-create London’s lost route to the Sea.

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introducingMikk and Nicola Our head office now has a Technical Support Officer (as mentioned in Mike’s Chairman’s Comment) and a new Volunteer Support Officer New at Head Office... We have recently welcomed two new additions to the staff at the head office of WRG and our parent body The Inland Waterways Association. They’re going to be coming into contact with WRG folks quite a bit in the coming months, so we’ve asked Technical Support Officer Mikk Bradley and Volunteer Support Officer Nicola Kiely to introduce themselves to the Navvies readership...

Mikk Bradley Technical Support Officer

Background: I am a chartered Civil Engineer and have over 40 years experience in the construction industry mainly in the water / river / canal field. I have worked for consultants and contractors and have worked for private and public organisations. I have worked with within Waterway sector throughout much of my career. Early in my career I worked for British Waterways Board in Technical Services where I carried

out the engineering for projects from site survey through to construction completion. It was during this time that I gained the experience necessary to apply for chartered engineer status with the Institution of Civil Engineers. I joined the National Rivers Authority (now part of the Environment Agency, EA) and later with the consultant Halcrow. I worked as Engineers Representative on many flood defence schemes. Under the New Engineering Contract I worked as supervisor on flood defence schemes. I also trained as an asset inspector for EA assets. In 2013 I joined Canal and River Trust as a senior waterway engineer for the London Waterway. In a restructure in 2014 my role became more focused on asset inspection and I was responsible for the London Waterways and the Grand Union Canal as far north as Leighton Buzzard. Current position at WRG / IWA: My role as Technical Support Officer is a new one at WRG / IWA and requires me to support canal camp leaders in putting together Project Plans, Method Statements and Risk Assessments that insurers have asked to see. Project plans etc were being prepared but were not consistent in their content. My job is to ensure consistency and that they meet the requirements of insurers. I will also provide other technical support required to canal camps and other activities of WRG / IWA. Outside of Work: In my spare time I enjoy gardening and DIY. In my semi-retirement I will have more time for these activities. I have been a runner for many years and hope that I will be able to find time to get back into regular training and maybe compete in more races. I am a member of Wendover Arm Trust and plan to spend some time volunteering with them. I also enjoy spending time with my family and enjoy seeing my grand-daughter growing up.

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Nicola Kiely Volunteer Support Officer

Ian Stewart

Tim Lewis

I’m the new Volunteer Support Officer at The Inland Waterways Association. I’ve got my work cut out for me here, and I’m

hoping to support as many of you as I can over the next coming months. I will mainly be booking up Canal Camps and supporting Alex Melson with all the WRGie team admin. I have worked with many charities in the past such as Macmillan, Mencap and the National Childbirth Trust, where I helped manage and support their 300+ branches and volunteers. My experience of canals is limited to walking or cycling along the towpath, but I’ve signed up to help out at one of the Inglesham Lock Canal Camps this summer and I’m looking forward to it. The Grand Union Canal is just near to where I live and love walking or jogging along the pathway so I’m enjoying working for an organisation that helps to protect and restore these great waterways. It sounds like I’ve joined the organisation at a really exciting time, as you go through your rebrand, and I’m looking forward to learning more about the fantastic work the IWA and WRG does. To contact me, please email Nicola.kiely@waterways.org.uk or contact me via Facebook – see you soon!

Mobile group at work: London WRG build steps at Cosgrove and help finish Compasses Bridge - see p18-19

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groups NorthWest It isn’t just about Summer Camps. At this time of year the regional groups are busy with weekend work, so let’s hear from them, starting with NorthWest WRG NorthWest

Carolyn Chafer

In recent months, WRG NW have worked on the Hollinwood, Grantham and Lancaster canals. In January, we continued the work we’d previously been involved with on the Fairbottom branch of the Hollinwood. This was yet another attack on the many stumps left after our last big cutting session, some five years ago. On Saturday a group of about a dozen split roughly equally between Tirfor winching out old stumps and cutting back willows nearer to Valley Aqueduct, stopping short of fully cutting them down. Numbers were lower on Sunday but work continued. Overall a satisfactory weekend though there is still plenty left to do. For the February dig, we were working between locks 15 and 16 near Woolsthorpe on the Grantham. The task was to clear some of the branches overhanging the canal, as well as clearing some of the larger trees blocking the path on the offside. The Grantham Canal Society locals had done a good job of clearing the scrub to give us access which made our own work much easier. Some of the team set to work with the chainsaws while the others built fires to burn some of the existing scrub and set up the Tirfor. The branches that went into or were already in the canal were Tirfored on to the towpath, where the GCS guys disposed of them. They were also useful in working from their boat to help reduce the size of the trees. On Sunday, our numbers were slightly reduced, although by now we could pull the limbs on to the offside, so could all work together. The end result was as usual a big difference to the area.

This was the first of our two ‘luxury’ accommodations. We stayed in the recently refurbished function room of the Dirty Duck pub, next to lock 16 and also the GCS storage area. Also, very conveniently next to the work site. As the landlord didn’t know if his new cooker would be delivered in time, the Canal & River Trust had kindly offered to pay for our meals in the pub, meaning full breakfast and evening meal. The quality of the food was excellent which just added to the whole experience. I think we’d be happy to go there again. Our second of the ‘luxury’ accommodations was at the Kendal hostel, while we were

Grantham: George on the pull

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Diane RIchardson

working at Stainton on the Lancaster canal. No evening meal or breakfasts included this time, though we were adequately catered for by our normal standards. We arrived on site on Saturday to find that Lancaster Canal Trust volunteers had been on site the previous day, and had attempted to build a ramp into the canal bed, although because of problems with pumps the bed was not drained fully, and the ramp was a bit too wet to use. We attempted to replace the wet material with dry, pointed the wing wall at bridge 173 with lime mortar, and used the telehandler to stack blocks onto pallets ready for transporting into the canal. On Sunday, the work was very similar, although as the weather was much drier we were more hopeful about the stability of the ramp. However, it proved insufficient to take the weight of a dumper, let alone the telehandler which was the main item that would be using it. A couple of us stayed on an extra day to help the LCT volunteers with their 4th day of the work party. The plant hire company delivered some mud boards which we laid across the ramp, although this unfortunately still proved to be unable to take the weight Cutting back vegetation on the Hollinwood of the machinery. One thing over the weekend was watching the excavator owner-operator who was on site with us. He had a digger bucket which rotated and swivelled, and his skill at using it had us all in awe – he could do anything with it! On a sad note, by the time you read this WRG NW will have held the final ever paperchase, on April 7th. Waste paper recycling companies have decided it is no longer economic to collect the paper from us, so it’s been decided to call it a day. Hopefully a report on this will appear in the next issue of Navvies. Repointing abutments with lime mortar on the Lancaster Paul Shaw

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groups

WRG BITM

The WRG BITM (Bit In The Middle) group has been breaking new ground as the first visiting group to work on the Maidenhead Waterways...

And so to the BITM February dig: The local trust, Maidenhead Waterways Restoration Group (MW) had identified a 350m section of The Cut south of Braywick Park that contained a number of challenges. The first 100m (Section 1) was (please note the use of the past tense) blocked by fallen trees and old wood that had floated down and become snagged. This section could only be accessed by boat from either end. The focus in the next section was a number of trees overhanging The Cut at Hibbert Road Bridge. At the Causeway (a further 200m to the south) The Cut was all but blocked by a tight clump of large trees. The accommodation had been arranged for us in SportsAble in Braywick Park. The sports centre had all the essentials we required; plenty of parking, space to sleep,

Maidenhead Waterways To Reading

Cookham Cookham Lock

Fleet Ditch

r Th ame s

The background: There is a small network of rivers and man-made watercourses through Maidenhead which, following the end of their use as a commercial waterway and before the completion of the Jubilee River flood channel, had formed the Maidenhead flood relief scheme. Since the completion of the Jubilee River in the early 2000s the waterways have not been maintained and as a consequence have become overgrown and blocked in many places. As part of the plan to regenerate Maidenhead, the waterways in the town centre are in the process of being cleaned and refurbished, and the water feed from the Thames has been unblocked and is now maintained to ensure a good flow of water. To date no work has been done on the section going south from the town centre to the Thames at Bray Marina (Bray Cut, or simply The Cut) and it is still overgrown in many places to the point that it is almost impossible to get even a canoe through. In the next two to three years the plan is to create a navigation channel suitable for small boats and canoes from Bray to Maidenhead‌

good kitchen and well stocked bar! We assembled on Friday evening and enjoyed a nice meal prepared by Sally of SportsAble and had a few drinks while enjoying the usual BITM banter. After the bad weather that had plagued the last two digs it was great to wake up on Saturday morning to blue skies and sunshine. After breakfast the group split into three and made their way to the different sites where we were joined by a group of volunteers from MW.

Widbrook

Rive

BITM on the Maidenhead

Boulters Lock

Maidenhead York Stream

Moor Cut

Braywick Park Hibbert Rd The Causeway

Possible new lock Bray Lock

Bray The Cut To London

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Section 1: In preparation for the weekend ported by a team to handle the cutting back, MW had arranged for the hire of a 3m by 5m tirforing, and transport of the material to the pontoon to allow us to tackle Section 1. This road for disposal on Monday. At the end of was delivered and assembled on Friday and Saturday the team were probably ahead on moored at Braywick Park. On Saturday points but it was not certain that it would be morning Rob and his trusty crew cast off the completely cleared by the planned finish time pontoon from the park and started working on Sunday. However revitalised by June’s on cutting a 5m channel through Section 1 to cooking and a few pints of Rebellion the Hibbert Road bridge. They made good team were in no mood to be beaten and by progress and were through by just after lunch had emerged clear winners. lunchtime. However the amount of cut All sites were cleared by just after material together with the removal of rooted 14.00 on Sunday and then back to Sports trees and old timber that was caught up Able for lunch. Once we packed the van and would take not only the pontoon team but cleared up the hall we were away by 15.30 also two smaller boats with Stella, Dave, Liz having had a very enjoyable and successful and Ian until lunchtime on Sunday to clear. weekend. With the much appreciated support of one of the local riparian landowners we had access to The Cut adjacent to Hibbert Road bridge. The area was overgrown with trees that had fallen into The cut, partially blocking it. The team here spend the weekend not only clearing the fallen trees but also dealing with the material that the boat teams were removing from Section 1. At the Before and after shots looking north along Section 1 end of the weekend new bushes were planted to fill in the edge of the garden. The Causeway: Probably the most challenging single blockage was just south of the Causeway where many years ago two large trees had fallen into The Cut, and were now surrounded by new trees and ivy. This was definitely one for Rachael and Ian and their trusty chainsaws, sup-

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Acknowledgements: As ever our thanks must go to June for the catering. The whole team was appreciative of the friendly welcome and great service we received from the SportsAble staff. As this was our first visit to Maidenhead there was clearly a lot of planning and coordination with MW and I would like to especially thank Ian Caird for all his hard work as well as all the MW Unloading the pontoon at Hibbert Road Bridge volunteers who supported the site visits and joined us over the weekend. Our thanks also to the MW trustees who very generously donated some beer tokens for Saturday evening. Steve Illman

The aim is to open up a route into Maidenhead, where clearance has already taken place as seen here

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groups Kescrg at Inglesham Meanwhile Kescrg are looking forward to getting back to work on their regular site at Inglesham on the Cotswold Canals. Care to join them? WRG Camps Inglesham 2018 running there Maybe (like me) you are already booked on this year. 25-28 Jun: Kescrg long to one of the Inglesham canal camps on the Well bank holiday weekend Cotswold Canals this summer… lucky, lucky, 9-10 Jun: Joint Kescrg / ...or maybe (like me) you have been on lucky you – it London WRG weekend one or more of the Inglesham camps in the just so haplast couple of years… pens that 7-14 Jul: Canal Camp led ...or maybe (like me) as a bright-eyed 7 Kescrg are by Kescrg year old you boated up the Thames with once again 14-21 Jul: Canal Camp your parents and were enraptured by the focussing (fully booked) mysterious turning at the head of navigation, much of our 21-28 Jul: Canal Camp bisecting the arms of the Thames and the weekend dig Colne, disappearing under willows and a efforts this 11-18 Aug: Canal Camp barely visible bridge, a pathway disappearing year on the 18-25 Aug: Canal Camp into the past guarded by the proud Round Inglesham 25 Aug-1 Sep: Canal Camp House… project. In ...or maybe even (like me) you once the last two 8-9 Sep: Kescrg weekend read of the mighty sea-captain Horatio years, with a 6-7 Oct: Kescrg weekend Hornblower, traversing the Thames and concerted Severn canal by fly-boat on an urgent miseffort from All volunteers welcome on sion from Gloucester to London to receive WRG camps all of these (except on the his first commission on the ill-fated HMS and a fully booked camp). Atropos (note: not Fran’s narrowboat of the number of same name)… our weekend visits, the rebuild has proWhatever your connection, it is hard to gressed at some pace following the initial deny the romantic appeal of Inglesham lock chamber clearance - the walls are complete as the junction of the Thames and Severn on both sides between the bridge and the Canal and the River Thames, the gateway to lower gate recesses, and the Round Housethe Cotswolds. No wonder then that you are side is complete to just below the upper gate desperate to hear of plans for the continued recess. The compound-side upper wing wall restoration of this iconic waterway landmark, and paddle hole has been completely rebuilt and to learn how you can get involved beand the bywash channel reinstated. tween now and the summer in the Inland By the time you read this we will alWaterways Association’s very own restoration ready have held our April weekend, opening project before signing up for one of the six up the site after winter and hopefully com-

Inglesham 2018!

Inglesham and the Cotswold Canals INGLESHAM LOCK ANDJUNCTION

Phase 1b: Saul to Stonehouse Phase 1a: Stonehouse to Brimscombe

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Phase 3: Brimscombe to Cerney

Phase 2: Inglesham to Cerney


pleting the backfill and landscaping on the Round House side of the lock. [Stop press: unfortunately it got cancelled owing to flooding - so all the more reason why we could do with plenty of volunteers on the May and June weekends.] With this complete we will no longer need the access to that side of the lock which will allow us to demolish the remains of the upper gate recess, paddle hole and wing wall on that side in preparation for rebuilding. Which brings me to the late-May Bank holiday weekend. Following on from the success of our 40th anniversary celebrations last year, we are again holding a long weekend (on site Friday 25th-Monday 28th May), though possibly not with the 50+ people we had last year... The plan for this weekend is to take the whole of the compound-side wall down to water-level, and continue the careful dismantling of the upper wingwall etc to sound brickwork (did I say ‘demolish’ earlier? Slip May 2017: early stages of the first chamber wall rebuild... of the tongue). We’ll also be carrying out a mammoth material shift to get over 50 packs of bricks & blocks on site in preparation for the rebuild and the summer camps. Then in June (9th/10th) we have a joint dig with London WRG, where hopefully we will be taking the compound-side wall down to sound brickwork, cutting out the ladder recess and starting the rebuild to give the camps a flying start with perfect coursing to build up from(!) Then the six WRG camps start – Kescrg is providing the leadership team for the first week (7-14 July), and it looks like the second week (14-21st) is already full- so book now to avoid disappointment! Into September and October, we are running 2 more weekends (8/9th Sept & 6/7th Oct) to continue the work from the summer, and put the site to bed for the winter. Wouldn’t it be amazing to be putting the coping stones back on in September and October, as we were last year?! So, there you have it- if you want to be part of this great project, either book on a camp, or anybody is welcome on any of the Kescrg weekends. Just drop me a line via email steve@kescrg.org.uk, contact head office and ask to be added to our mailing list, keep an eye on our webpage (www.kescrg.org.uk) or join our Facebook group. So many different options! Stephen Davis ...and completed in October 2017. Now to repeat this on the other wall

page 17


groups

London WRG

Finally London WRG’s volunteers are out and about on the Buckingham, Shrewsbury & Newport, Cotswold, Wey & Arun, BCN, you name it... railway and the Thames estuary - providing opportunities for train-spotting, ship-spotting, and for Paul (who lives in Essex) to “Even being outside in a camper van is arrive on the dig by ferry. not soundproof against Tim setting off In May we headed for the Midlands the fire alarm with toast.” That quote again, this time to the Lichfield Canal for comes from the opening paragraph of the just about our only bricklaying work in the first dig report of 2017 in our London WRG whole year (makes a change from a couple newsletter, and things could probably only of years back when we spent a lot of our get better from there. In fact we had a great time rebuilding Cotswold lock chambers). We weekend of scrub-bashing on a new (to us) were rebuilding a wharf near the Boat Inn at length of canal near the Shrewsbury end of Muckley, and as well as the bricklaying there the Shrewsbury & Newport Canals, and was some towpath work and channel profilthe Canals Trust supplied us not only with ing using machines. plenty of scrub to bash, but with ridiculous June saw us on the Cotswold Canals amounts of cake to eat at tea-break time. It doing some actual canal digging - yes, we seems that they’ve hit on the idea of dispensing refer to our weekends as ‘digs’ but it’s rare free cake to the public to encourage them to that we actually get in thre with our spades become engaged in the project, and are using and shovels. On this occasion, however, we similar means to encourage us. Not surprisdonned our wellies and waders and got ingly, this is fast becoming one of our regular some in-depth experience of the canal, cutsites despite its distance ting a channel through from London (where at the silt to help to get least a handful of us the water draining do actually live). down the canal in Next it was down preparation for landto the Wey & Arun based dredging. for some bricklaying In July we made on the wing walls of our first visit for a the almost-finished while to the Buckingnew Compasses Bridge ham Canal, a joint at Dunsfold. This had weekend with KESCRG been a regular site for where we worked on London WRG over the clearing and re-profillast couple of years, so ing the canal bed and it was good to see it moving the towpath nearing completion. slightly up the bank. March saw us on This was near to the the Thames & Medsite of the demolished way, probably the Bridge 1 at Cosgrove, closest to London of the first bridge on the our regular sites. We canal, and work was in carried on scrubpreparation for the bashing the canal project to rebuild the channel and banks bridge - see later. between Gravesend A joint dig in and Higham where it September saw us Wey & Arun: the editor puts up shuttering runs in between the combine our efforts David Miller

London WRG: A year (and a bit) in the life...

page 18


Tim Lewis

with WRG NorthWest on the Chesterfield vating spoil from under the bridge so that we Canal. We marked the start of the scrubcould extend the working platform that will bashing season by clearing a length of canal be used during the rebuild, plus building near Staveley of a lot of small trees and elder steps to take towpath walkers over the top of bushes (having first rescued a large number of the bridge abutment as a safe route past the elderberries - the product of these is currently site while the arch is being rebuilt. We also maturing away in a couple of demijohns). got to sleep in a nice friendly cricket club Meanwhile another team put the copings on with on-site real ale bar! the new Constitution Hill Bridge on the reUnfortunately our planned early March stored length the other side of Staveley. dig on the Shrewsbury & Newport fell foul of Another visit to the Wey & Arun the weather, so our next outing was the meant more finishing-off jobs at Compasses annual BCN Clean Up - see report elseBridge plus some earth-moving for the Canal where in this issue. Trust’s next project in the Dunsfold area By the time you read this we’ll have building a slipway. In the longer term this been back to the Buckingham, where the will enable trailboats to use the canal - and in canal society are optimistic about getting on the short-term, it will mean the Trust can get to rebuilding the bridge arch soon. the dredger in, so it can clear the channel. And finally, for our next dig, the penduThen in October it was back to the lum has come full circle (or something like Shrewsbury & Newport, and another new that) and we’re back where we started 2017: site - the first visiting work party at Berwick the Shrewsbury & Newport on 12-13 May. Tunnel, clearing vegetation as the first stage After that, it’s another joint dig with Kescrg of a plan to open up the towpath and offside at Inglesham on the Cotswold Canals (see back to create a footpath loop and raise pages 16-17) and then we’re hoping to head awareness of the canal restoration. for the Wilts & Berks - but date and venue to We joined in with the rest of WRG at be confirmed. the Uttoxeter Canal Bonfire Bash, then New volunteers are welcome on any of headed back to the Wey & Arun yet again, our digs - for details see the Navvies diary; where work on the slipway was making good see wrg.org.uk and find us under the ‘reprogress. We spent a rather muddy weekend gional groups’ tab; find London WRG on taking down the scaffolding after a concrete Facebook; or ask head office to subscribe pour for the first side-wall of the slipway, you to the London WRG email mailing list. and re-erecting it ready for the second one. And to read about our exploits in more Our last outing for 2017 was our tradi- detail, London WRG News has a new editor tional joint Christmas bash with our friends (thanks Fran!) and is available online - click in Kescrg, this time on the Cotswold Cathe link at the bottom of the London WRG nals. It’s also traditional to have a fancy page on the WRG website. dress party and themed fun & games on the Martin Ludgate Saturday night - this year the theme was ‘sport’, and Emma won with her Highland Games costume (complete with a ‘caber’ cut down on site earlier in the day). The work was the first instalment of a scrub-bashing project west of Stonehouse at Bonds Mill Bridge - the second instalment was the New Year Camp (see report last time), while the third and final instalment was our first dig of 2018, which left it looking pretty tidy. February 2018 saw us back on the Buckingham with another weekend of preparation for the rebuilding of Bridge 1 at Sport-themed fancy dress: can you work out what they are? Cosgrove. Jobs included exca-

page 19


navvies

diary

Canal Camps cost £70 per week or as stated. Bookings for WRG Camps with Moor Road, Chesham HP5 1WA. Tel: 01494 783453, enquiries@wrg.org.uk. D May 5/6/7 NWPG May 12 Sat LTD2018 May 12/13 London WRG May 13 Sun WRG May 18-20 wrgBITM May 25-28 KESCRG Jun 1-7 WAT Jun 2-10 wrgNW Jun 9/10 KESCRG Jun 9/10 London WRG Jun 9/10 NWPG Jun 9/10 WRG Camps Jun 20 Wed wrgNW Jun 23/24 TW2018 Jun 30-Jul 1 London WRG Jul 6-12 WAT Jul 7-14 CC201805 Jul 7-14 CC201806 Jul 14-21 CC201808 Jul 14-21 CC201809 Jul 21-28 CC201811 Jul 21-28 CC201812 Jul 21-28 CC201813 Jul 28-Aug 4 CC201814 Jul 28-Aug 4 CC201815 Aug 3-9 WAT Aug 4-11 CC201816 Aug 11-18 CC201817 Aug 11-18 CC201818 Aug 11-18 CC201819 Aug 18-25 CC201820 Aug 18-25 CC201821 Aug 18-25 CC201822 Aug 25-Sep 1CC201823 Aug 25-Sep 1CC201824 Aug 31-Sep 6WAT Sep 8/9 KESCRG Sep 8/9 NWPG

Wey & Arun Canal: Dunsfold Summit or Shalford Leaders/Cooks Training Day: Rowington Village Hall Shrewsbury & Newport Canals Committee & Board Meetings: Rowington Village Hall Rickmansworth Festival: Site Services (open to public on Sat 19 & Sun Cotswold Canals: Inglesham (long bank holiday weekend) Wendover Arm: Profiling & lining Fri-Thu CANCELLED: (was Montgomery Canal) Cotswold Canals: Inglesham (joint with London WRG) Cotswold Canals: Inglesham (Joint dig with KESCRG) Cotswold Canals: Stroud Phase 1A or Phase 1B Uttoxeter Canal: Family Camp Ad Hoc Meeting Training Weekend - Cotswolds TBC Date and venue to be confirmed Wendover Arm: Profiling & lining Fri-Thu Cotswold Canals: Inglesham (KESCRG camp) Wey & Arun Canal: Birtley or Shalford (NWPG camp) Cotswold Canals: Inglesham Lock River Waveney: Geldeston Lock Cotswold Canals: Inglesham Lock River Waveney: Geldeston Lock Derby Canal: Borrowash Bottom Lock Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation: Barnes Mill Lock Lichfield Canal: Fosseway Heath Wendover Arm: Profiling & lining Fri-Thu Swansea Canal: Trebanos Locks and Ynysmeudwy Locks Cotswold Canals: Inglesham Lock Grantham Canal: Lock 14 dismantling Monmouthshire Canal: Cabin Lock Cotswold Canals: Inglesham Lock Grantham Canal: Lock 14 Monmouthshire Canal: Cabin Lock Cotswold Canals: Inglesham Lock Grantham Canal: Lock 14 Wendover Arm: Profiling & lining Fri-Thu Cotswold Canals: Inglesham Cotswold Canals: Stroud area

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

page 20


WRG and mobile groups

h number e.g. 'Camp 201802' should go to WRG Canal Camps, Island House, Diary compiled by Dave Wedd. Tel: 01252 874437, dave.wedd@wrgbitm.org.uk Bill Nicholson

20)

Tim Lewis Mike Palmer Dave Wedd Bobby Silverwood Roger Leishman Ju Davenport Bobby Silverwood Tim Lewis Bill Nicholson Malcolm & Barbara Tim Lewis Roger Leishman Bill Nicholson

Roger Leishman

Roger Leishman Bobby Silverwood Bill Nicholson

01844-343369 01494-783453 07802-518094 01564-785293 07816-175454 07971-814986 01442-874536 07808-182004 07971-814986 07802-518094 01844-343369 01494-783453 Bridge 01494-783453 07802-518094 01442-874536 01494-783453 01844-343369 01494-783453 01494-783453 01494-783453 01494-783453 01494-783453 01494-783453 01494-783453 01442-874536 01494-783453 01494-783453 01494-783453 01494-783453 01494-783453 01494-783453 01494-783453 01494-783453 01494-783453 01442-874536 07971-814986 01844-343369

bill@nwpg.org.uk enquiries@wrg.org.uk london@wrg.org.uk mike.palmer@wrg.org.uk bookings@wrgbitm.org.uk bobby@kescrg.org.uk rwleishman@gmail.com nw@wrg.org.uk bobby@kescrg.org.uk london@wrg.org.uk bill@nwpg.org.uk enquiries@wrg.org.uk enquiries@wrg.org.uk london@wrg.org.uk rwleishman@gmail.com enquiries@wrg.org.uk bill@nwpg.org.uk enquiries@wrg.org.uk enquiries@wrg.org.uk enquiries@wrg.org.uk enquiries@wrg.org.uk enquiries@wrg.org.uk enquiries@wrg.org.uk enquiries@wrg.org.uk rwleishman@gmail.com enquiries@wrg.org.uk enquiries@wrg.org.uk enquiries@wrg.org.uk enquiries@wrg.org.uk enquiries@wrg.org.uk enquiries@wrg.org.uk enquiries@wrg.org.uk enquiries@wrg.org.uk enquiries@wrg.org.uk rwleishman@gmail.com bobby@kescrg.org.uk bill@nwpg.org.uk

ease contact diary compiler Dave Wedd: see top of page

page 21


navvies

diary

Canal societies’ regular working parties 3rd Sunday of month ACA Every Sunday if required BBHT Every Tuesday BCA Once per month: pls check BCNS 2nd & 4th w/e of month BCS Thursdays Sep-Apr BCT 2nd Sun & alternate Thu BuCS Every Mon and Wed CCT Every Mon am Thu pm CCT Various dates CCT Every Sunday ChCT Every Tue and Thu CSCT Every Tue & Wed C&BN Every Friday ECPDA Most Wed and Sun DSCT Second Sun of month FIPT Thu and last Sat of month GCS Tuesdays H&GCT Weekends H&GCT Wednesdays H&GCT Thursdays H&GCT 3rd Wed and last Sat K&ACT 2nd Sunday of month LCT Every Wed/Thu/Sat/Sun LHCRT 3rd Sunday of month LHCRT Last weekend of month MBBCS Alternate Saturdays MWRT Two Sundays per month NWDCT Weekly PCAS Every Wed and 1st Sat RGT 2nd Sunday of month SCARS 1st Sunday of month SCCS Last weekend of month SCS 2nd Sunday of month SNT Every Thu and Sat SORT various dates SRL 1st weekend of month SUCS Every Tuesday morning TMCA Most days, please contact WACT 1st w/e of month (Fri-Thu) WAT Every Sun WBCT Every Wed WBCT 2nd and last Sun of month WBCT

Snarestone Peter Oakden Bugsworth Basin Ian Edgar Basingstoke Canal Chris Healy BCN waterways Mike Rolfe Basingstoke Canal Duncan Paine Aqueduct section Tim Dingle Buckingham area Athina Beckett Cotswold (W depot) Reg Gregory Cotswold (E end) John Maxted Cotswold Phase 1a Jon Pontefract Chesterfield Canal Mick Hodgetts Chichester Canal Malcolm Maddison Chelmer & Blackwater John Gale Langley Mill John Baylis Derby Canal Keith Johnson Foxton Inclined Plane Mike Beech Grantham Canal Ian Wakefield Oxenhall Brian Fox Over Wharf House Maggie Jones Over / Vineyard Hill Ted Beagles Herefordshire Wilf Jones East Kennet & Avon Mike Bennett Lancaster N. Reaches Robin Yates Lichfield Hugh Millington Hatherton Denis Cooper Creams Paper Mill Steve Dent Maidenhead w/ways Ian Caird N Walsham Canal David Revill Pocklington Canal Richard Harker Stowmarket Navigtn. Martin Bird Sankey Canal John Hughes Combe Hay Locks Derrick Hunt Stover Canal George Whitehead Sleaford Navigation Mel Sowerby Sussex Ouse Ted Lintott Baswich, Stafford John Potter Montgomery Canal David Carter Thames & Medway Les Schwieso Wey & Arun Canal Northern office Little Tring Roger Leishman Swindon Oliver Gardiner Wootton Bassett John Bower Pewsham Ray Canter

01827-880667 0161-427 7402 01252-370073 07763-171735 01252-614125 01288-361356 01908-661217 01452-614362 01285-861011 07986-351412 01246-620695 01243-775201 01376-334896 01623-621208 07845-466721 0116-279-2657 0115-989-2128 01432-358628 01452-618010 01452-522648 01452-413888 0118-969-9861 01539-733252 01543-251747 01543-374370 07802-973228 07581-092001 01603-738648 07702-741211 01394-380765 01744-600656 01225-863066 01626-775498 01522-856810 01444-414413 01785-226662 01244-661440 01634-847118 01483-505566 01442-874536 07785-775993 01793 636297 01249 659111

Please send updates to Navvies diary compiler Dave Wedd (see previous page)

page 22


Canal societies and CRT Canal & River Trust ‘Towpath Taskforce’ maintenance working parties 1st Wednesday of month 2nd Saturday of month 2nd Saturday of month Every Tuesday Alternate Thursdays 1st Thursday of month 1st Sunday of month 3rd Thursday of month Last Saturday of month 3rd Thursday of month 1st Saturday of month 4th Thursday of month Every Wednesday 1st Wed & Fri of month Last Sunday of month 1st Saturday of month 2nd Friday of month Every Wednesday 1st Thursday of month 3rd Wednesday of month 3rd Thu & Sat of month 3rd Friday of month Alternate Tuesdays 1st & 3rd Sat of month 3rd Thursday of month 3rd Tuesday of month Last Tuesday of month Every Tuesday Every Thursday 2nd Thursday of month Alternate Tuesdays Alternate Thursdays 3rd Saturday of month 2nd Wednesday of month Every Friday 3rd Saturday of month 2nd Wednesday of month Every Tuesday Alternate Fridays 2nd Thu & Fri of month Alternate Wednesdays 4th Saturday of month 2nd Tuesday of month Every Tuesday Every Thursday

Anderton Weaver Audlem Shropshire Union Aylesbury Aylesbury Arm Bath Kennet & Avon Blackburn Leeds & Liverpool B&T Bridgwater & Taunton Burnley Leeds & Liverpool Cheshire Locks Trent & Mersey Chester Shropshire Union Devizes Kennet & Avon Fradley Coventry/ T&M Gailey Staffs & Worcs Gloucester Glos & Sharpness Hatton Grand Union Hawkesbury Coventry/Oxford Hemel Hemp. Grand Union Huddersfield Huddersfield Broad Icknield Port BCN Mainline Knottingley Aire & Calder Lancaster Lancaster Canal Lapworth Stratford Canal Leeds Leeds & Liverpool Leicester Soar/Grand Union London Cent. Regents/Docklands London East Lee & Stort London West Paddington/ GU Mirfield Calder & Hebble Mon & Brec Monmouth & Brecon Newark River Trent Newbury Kennet & Avon North Staffs Caldon/T&M North Warks Coventry/Ashby Oxford Oxford Preston Lancaster Canal Sefton Leeds & Liverpool Selby Selby Canal Skipton Leeds & Liverpool Sneyd Wyrley & Essington South Derbys Trent & Mersey Stratford Stratford Canal Tamworth Coventry/ Fazeley Tipton BCN Mainline Weaver River Weaver Wigan Leeds & Liverpool Worcester Worcester & B’ham

Abbreviations used in Diary: ACA BBHT BCNS BuCS BCS BCT ChCT CBN CCT ECPDA FIPT GCS H&GCT KACT KESCRG LCT

Ashby Canal Association Bugsworth Basin Heritage Trust Birmingham Canal Navigations Soc. Buckingham Canal Society Basingstoke Canal Society Bude Canal Trust Chesterfield Canal Trust Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation Cotswolds Canals Trust Erewash Canal Pres. & Devt. Assoc. Foxton Inclined Plane Trust Grantham Canal Society Hereford & Gloucester Canal Trust Kennet & Avon Canal Trust Kent & E Sussex Canal Rest. Group Lancaster Canal Trust

LHCRT MBBCS NWPG NWDCT PCAS RGT SCARS SCCS SCS SNT SRL SORT SUCS TMCA WACT WAT WBCT

Jason Watts Jason Watts Sonny King Steve Manzi Alice Kay Steve Manzi Alice Kay Liam Cooper Jason Watts Steve Manzi Sue Blocksidge Sue Blocksidge Caroline Kendall Sue Blocksidge Sue Blocksidge Sonny King Becca Dent Sue Blocksidge Becca Dent Alice Kay Sue Blocksidge Becca Dent Wayne Ball David Ireland David Ireland David Ireland Becca Dent Caroline Kendall Wayne Ball Steve Manzi Liam Cooper Sue Blocksidge Sonny King Alice Kay Alice Kay Becca Dent Alice Kay Sue Blocksidge Wayne Ball Sue Blocksidge Sue Blocksidge Sue Blocksidge Jason Watts Alice Kay Caroline Kendall

07824 356556 07824 356556 07876 217059 07710175278 07825 196 365 07710175278 07825 196 365 01782 779903 07824 356556 07710175278 07917 585838 07917 585838 01452 318028 07917 585838 07917 585838 07876 217059 0113 2816811 07917 585838 0113 2816811 07825 196 365 07917 585838 0113 2816811 01636 675704 020 7517 5556 020 7517 5556 020 7517 5556 0113 2816811 01452 318028 01636 675704 07710175278 01782 779903 07917 585838 07876 217059 07825 196 365 07825 196 365 0113 2816811 07825 196 365 07917 585838 01636 675704 07917 585838 07917 585838 07917 585838 07824 356556 07825 196 365 01452 318028

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 Stafford Riverway Link Sussex Ouse Restoration Trust Shropshire Union Canal Society Thames & Medway Canal Association Wey & Arun Canal Trust Wendover Arm Trust Wilts & Berks Canal Trust

page 23


navvies

diary

Inland Waterways Association and other one-day working parties Every Tue/SatIWA West Country Bridgwater & Taunton Canal: Taunton area 10am-1:30pm Every Tue/SatIWA West Country Bridgwater & Taunton Canal: Bridgwater area 10am-1:30pm May 6 Sun May 9 Wed

IWA Northants Northampton Arm: 10am-2pm. Painting, vegetation & litter IWA Peterboro’ Horseways Channel: Horseways Lock and Channel. 10am-3pm

May 10 Thu IWA NSSC/CUCT Uttoxeter Canal: Work party at Bridge 70, Crumpwood. 10am-3pm May 13 Sun IWA Lincs/SNT Sleaford Navigation: Various work on navigable section May 15 Tue BCP/IWA Oxford Oxford Canal: Banbury Canal Partnership, 9am-1pm May 15 Tue IWA Northants Northampton Arm: 10am-2pm. Painting, vegetation & litter May 17 Thu IWA NSSC/TMCS Trent & Mersey Canal: Cheshire Locks. Meet at locks 47 & 48 May 19 Sat IWA Chester Shropshire Union Canal: Chester area, painting & veg clearance. 10amMay 19 Sat

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

May 22 Tue BCP/IWA Oxford Oxford Canal: Banbury Canal Partnership, 9am-1pm May 22 Tue IWA NSSC/BPT Burslem Arm: Luke St, Middleport, Stoke on Trent. 10am-3pm May 23 Wed IWA Peterboro’ Horseways Channel: Horseways Lock and Channel. 10am-3pm May 26 Sat Jun 3 Sun

IWA Peterboro’ Horseways Channel: Horseways Lock and Channel. 10am-3pm IWA Northants Northampton Arm: 10am-2pm. Painting, vegetation & litter

Jun 10 Sun IWA Lincs/SNT Sleaford Navigation: Various work on navigable section Jun 27 Wed IWA Peterboro’ Horseways Channel: Horseways Lock and Channel. 10am-3pm Jun 14 Thu IWA NSSC/CUCT Uttoxeter Canal: Work party at Bridge 70, Crumpwood. 10am-3pm Jun 16 Sat Jun 16 Sat

IWA Chester Shropshire Union Canal: Chester area, painting & veg clearance. 10amIWA Manchester Venue T.B.C.: Greater Manchester area. Veg clearance, etc. 10am-

Jun 19 Tue BCP/IWA Oxford Oxford Canal: Banbury Canal Partnership, 9am-1pm Jun 19 Tue IWA Northants Northampton Arm: 10am-2pm. Painting, vegetation & litter Jun 21 Thu IWA NSSC/TMCS Trent & Mersey Canal: Cheshire Locks. Meet at locks 47 & 48 Jun 27 Wed IWA Peterboro’ Horseways Channel: Horseways Lock and Channel. 10am-3pm Jun 26 Tue BCP/IWA Oxford Oxford Canal: Banbury Canal Partnership, 9am-1pm Jun 26 Tue IWA NSSC/BPT Burslem Arm: Luke St, Middleport, Stoke on Trent. 10am-3pm Jun 27 Wed IWA Peterboro’ Horseways Channel: Horseways Lock and Channel. 10am-3pm IWA branch abbreviations BBCW = Birmingham, Black Country & Worcestershire; Other abbreviations: BCN = Banbury Canal Partnership BPT = Burslem Port trust; CUCT = Caldon = Trent & Mersey 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 'Rose & Crown' Colombo Street, London NWPG: 7:30pm on 3rd Tue of month at the 'Hope Tap', West end of Friar St. Reading.

page 24


IWA and partners For WRG, canal societies and CRT working parties see previous pages

4pm

Steve

07855-794256

steveb.215@hotmail.com

Mike Slade

07977-263840

mike.slade@waterways.org.uk

Geoff Wood David Venn

01366-324102

geoff.wood@waterways.org.uk david.venn@waterways.org.uk

Steve Wood

07976-805858

steve.wood@team.waterways.org.uk

Chris or Steve Hayes

01522-689460

workparties@sleafordnavigation.co.uk

Colin Garnham-Edge

bcpontheoxford@gmail.com

Geoff Wood

geoff.wood@waterways.org.uk

John Brighouse Jason Watts

4pm

07808-878317

john.brighouse@waterways.org.uk jason.watts@canalrivertrust.org.uk

07710-554602

secretary@manchester-iwa.co.uk

Colin Garnham-Edge

4pm 4pm

bcpontheoxford@gmail.com

Steve Wood

07976-805858

steve.wood@team.waterways.org.uk

David Venn

01366-324102

david.venn@waterways.org.uk

David Venn Geoff Wood

01366-324102

david.venn@waterways.org.uk geoff.wood@waterways.org.uk

Chris or Steve Hayes

01522-689460

workparties@sleafordnavigation.co.uk

David Venn

01366-324102

david.venn@waterways.org.uk

Steve Wood

07976-805858

steve.wood@team.waterways.org.uk

07710-554602

jason.watts@canalrivertrust.org.uk secretary@manchester-iwa.co.uk

Jason Watts Colin Garnham-Edge

bcpontheoxford@gmail.com

Geoff Wood

geoff.wood@waterways.org.uk

John Brighouse

07808-878317

john.brighouse@waterways.org.uk

David Venn

01366-324102

david.venn@waterways.org.uk

Colin Garnham-Edge Steve Wood

07976-805858

bcpontheoxford@gmail.com steve.wood@team.waterways.org.uk

David Venn

01366-324102

david.venn@waterways.org.uk

MK = Milton Keynes; Mcr= Manchester; NSSC = North Staffs & South Cheshire & Uttoxeter Canal Society;

RGT= River Gipping Trust; SNT = Sleaford Navigation Trust; TMCS

in pubs.

Please phone to confirm dates and times

SE1 8DP.

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

page 25


progress

Stover

Our regular roundup of progress on canal restoration projects around the country begins this time in the south west... Stover Canal Work is continuing to restore water into a small section of the long redundant Stover Canal in south Devon. The project started in 2016 when many tons of silt were excavated from the Ventiford Basin in Teigngrace at the terminus of the two-mile canal. In the process, four old barges were found and three of these were carefully uncovered and the details fully recorded. The granite walls of the basin have been pointed with a lime mortar mix to make them water resistant. In the meantime, planning permission has been obtained to construct a small dam at the downstream end of the basin and suitable types of waterproof lining were investigated. A grant application has been lodged with the National Lottery and we are hopeful that sufficient funds will be forthcoming to complete construction this summer. The remaining barge is to be excavated during May leaving the way clear to build the dam. However, given the accumulation of water seen over the current winter showing that there is still an impervious layer present, it is now planned to use puddling clay as a liner. Once in place it is expected that floodwater will fill the basin over next winter. Landscaping will complete the project with a replica derrick being put in place to show how goods were loaded into the barges on their way down the canal to the River Teign and then on to the port at Teignmouth. Rob Harris

page 26


Ventiford Basin, head of the Stover Canal under restoration (above), restored with some accumulated water in (below) and an impression of how it will look when the project is complete (opposite)

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progress Wendover Meanwhile the weather’s been too bad for channel relining work, but the Wendover Arm Trust has found enough to keep its volunteers busy... pseudo weir and wing walls to the wharf wall at Whitehouses is that the design has been January and February Working Parties: received by WAT but is still being costed by No progress on the channel relining front the Canal & River Trust. WAT have agreed to during these two Wendover Arm Trust work- pay the cost. It is something that could be ing parties due to bad weather conditions. done by volunteers but would probably There was even a short step backwards extend our programme by up to a year. when melting snow coming down the offside Water from Wendover: CRT has at bank washed out spoil from above the coir long last restored the flow of water from rolls as the spoil had not had time to settle Wendover by reed-cutting the growth that and dry out. was blocking the channel. Our newly reBoth work parties concentrated instead stored Phase II length is again in water and on scrub-bashing the offside bank between hopefully the wildlife will come back again. I the cart-track entrance and Bridge 4 (Stages don’t think that I was the only person deeply 4/5) as shown in the picture. upset at the loss of wildlife, particularly fish At the February working party the that were so plentiful in our new waters. We opportunity was taken to dig trial holes to only hope that CRT keep their eye on the ball determine the exact line of the former canal in future so that we do not have another bed through the old tip in the filled-in length ecological disaster. just beyond the limit of navigation at Little Roger Leishman, Restoration Director Tring. When the boundaries were pegged out 01442 874536 in 1997 the existing offside fence was asrwleishman@gmail.com sumed by British Waterways to be correct but when WAT subsequently installed the towpath side fence we nearly lost a crowbar into loose ash of the canal bed leading us to realise that the line of the canal strayed a bit off course. In the event the BW land fenced off was the same area as before even if not 100% on the line of the canal. Whitehouses: The latest news on the design and Clearing overgrown vegetation on the offside bank progress of the WAT

Grand Union Wendover Arm

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progress Sussex Ouse Down in the deep south, the Sussex Ouse Restoration Trust has finished work at Isfield Lock and is looking to move on to new projects Sussex Ouse The Sussex Ouse Restoration Trust work-party is removing construction kit from the completed Isfield Lock site, and cutting up the cleverly-converted horse box which has served as the site’s ‘welfare facilities’ for many years. Surround fencing has been completed with an entrance gate and an information board installed. General maintenance and tidying up of the site is on going. The recent heavy rainfall has filled both the upper and lower cuts and at one point the lower cut water level temporarily broke through to the River Ouse allowing a glimpse of what one day is hoped to be achieved? The parapet to the bridge at Bacon Wish Lock has been cleared of saplings and repointed with the owner’s permission. Future strategy includes a trip boat to Isfield Lock, but plans are still in the very early stages. Meanwhile the website sxouse.org.uk is being renewed and The completed Isfield Lock chamber, and (below) brought up to date. the upper cut above the lock with water in it Terry Owen

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Boat club

News

WRG Boat Club is encouraging members to head for IWA St Neots Festival in August - and has some handy hints and tips for getting there... £10,000 grant from the Lottery to make a Feasibility Study for the route etc. They are really getting somewhere with their plans to open up the first length leading off from the Worcester & Birmingham Canal, and are also able to run a monthly narrow boat trip on the adjacent length of the W&B with the Sense Charity. I’m really getting ahead with paperwork at the moment – I was due to go to Straw Bear this week, do lots of clearing up and then move to the place where they are going to do various paint jobs on it. Huh! The weather has been appalling all week, with temperatures well below freezing and snow clogging up the roads. I can’t even GET to the boat and, if I should, the canal is frozen over! Yes I’m fed up. Bet by the time you read this the weather will be wonderful and you’ll wonder what I’m going on about! I have just read an article about Boat Maintenance you should carry out on a regular basis. I will pass it on to all as I’m sure you will benefit from the advice. I call it – “When do you have time to cruise?”

WRG Boat Club News Some cheery news to start – Erewash Canal Preservation & Development Association has managed to purchase the Sandiacre Lock Cottages from the Canal & River Trust. Well we can pride ourselves that we donated money to the Group to aid this purchase. I do get a feeling that CRT are sometimes ‘selling off the family silver’ so it’s good that these historic buildings have gone to a group that will preserve them! Have you read the news that the Government has decided to ‘target solid fuel pollution’? Of course the easiest group to get at are boaters that use solid fuel, they do so little polluting when compared to industrial units but, as I’ve pointed out, they are easy sitting targets. It’s ok for me as I use a diesel fire, but that’s not the point. In Lynx we used a range but we always put smokeless fuel on it. What steps will be taken against boaters, especially those that live on board? We will have to wait to see. The Lapal Canal Trust has received a

Martin Ludgate

. Check your oil level daily . Clear the gunwales and drain ‘run-offs’’ least monthly. . atCheck battery acid levels every 2-4 months. . Check and Adjust fanbelts every 2-5 . months. Bleed the air from the coolant system’s

Get your Abloy key for the Nene guillotine gates

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. . . . . .

keel tanks every 5 months (I’ve never done this!) Check the coolant system for leaks and corrosion every 3 months. Check bolts on propshaft, tighten if necessary, every 3 months. Check steering and propulsion for leaks and corrosion, every 3 months. Check and top up hydraulic systems every 3 months. Drain off fuel sedimenters/agglomerators (whatever they are) approx every 100 hrs of use. Replace the pre-filter on the fuel system.


Well all that should keep you busy, keep your engine healthy but hopefully not keep you from enjoying the canals and the restoration thereof!

Getting to St Neots: part one

free. There is a pump out in March, you’ll need to get a card for this one, and it’s available from the ‘One Stop Shop’ (Fenland District Council) on the Broad Street nearby also at The George Campbell Leisure Centre too, which is just opposite, in the park. March is an interesting town so best allow time to explore, you might even find time to visit St Wendreda’s Church, which has amazing angels on the end of the beams of the hammer beam roof. Continuing your journey the next lock is Marmont Priory, it’s wise to phone the lock keeper, Maureen Norton, in advance of your visit as there needs to be enough water in Well Creek for you to navigate with ease. She may be able to lock you through with another boat. After that it’s plain sailing till you get to Salter’s Lode Lock. Please check the lock times, different every day, depending on the tide times [And it’s more complicated if you’re in a full length boat as you’ can only pass when the tide makes a level ...Ed]. Paul’s phone number is 01366 382292. I thought I’d best send this in advance as some people set out ages before the event, well Fred and I used to! More to follow... I wish all going to St Neots by boat a very happy journey. See you all there, I hope. xxx Sadie Heritage 01733204505 or 07748186867 sadiedean@msn.com

Martin Ludgate

It’s dawned on me that it’s four years since I made the journey from the Middle Level, up the River Nene and to the canals so the first thing was to check that the phone numbers I have are up to date, well they are now! As you approach the river Nene you travel the Gayton Arm, usually pausing to fill with water and Doodloo at the facilities. The Marina opposite there sells Nene Keys, also known as Abloy keys. You’ll need one of these for all the locks on the Nene. There are various places to moor on the banks but do not moor above locks on the lock landing stages. In case of emergency moor below the lock! There’s a pump out at Stibbington and one on the embankment at Peterborough. Once down the Nene you’ll be going to Stanground lock to access the Middle Level Navigations. You must give at least 24hrs notice to Stangound so please phone Tina 07824600470 in good time and turn up when you say you’ll be there, remember lock keepers have the power to delay your journey! Middle Level Lock Keepers don’t get overpaid so I think a tip would be a good idea (remember that you have to come back that way too). At the lock you can buy a Great Ouse windlass that also works the locks on the MLN. You’ll also need a key to get to the lock compounds, there to keep the vandals at bay I think. Tina also has Navigation Notes for the Middle Level Navigations. This week’s homework is to visit the Middle Level Commissioners Website, look for the Navigation Notes and Salters Lode: you’ll need to plan your passage through the tidal lock download them for

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BCN cleanup

Report

Reporting from a weekend of pulling old bikes, shopping trolleys, tires, prams and a few more exotic items from the Birmingham Canal Navigations sites. This year we worked as one team led by two leaders, whereas in previous years we The work: pulling rubbish out of the Wolhave split up. Starting from Sneyd Junction and headverhampton and Wednesfield to Sneyd Junction areas of the Wyrley & Essington Canal, ing towards Wolverhampton, the pulling out using grappling hooks. was hard due to the reeds in the nature Friday saw arrival at the “smart” accom- reserve, but as we got closer to the urban modation that is the Malthouse Stables Activ- areas, more rubbish started coming out. The ity Centre at Tipton. The beer was tapped workboats had issues this year, even though we were inundated with them, also the disand volunteers went out for a fish & chip supper or to the local Mad O’Rourke’s Pie tance from the worksite to the rubbish skips Factory pub. where they were emptied was an issue. No A jolly Friday evening social ensued as boats were emptied at all on Saturday, Sunold friends met up. Some familiar faces were day saw one, and the rest were done on missing so I hope you all had a good excuse! Monday after we had left. On Saturday after a cooked breakfast, The weather was kind to us and the we did the safety talks and arranged work event was very well attended by the public and BCN boaters wanting to give a bit back, which was nice to see. Although our total pull-out for the weekend was half our normal haul, both teams were relatively busy and pulled out the usual items: tyres, trolleys, bikes, roadwork fencing etc. Interesting finds included a safe with cash, watches, ID and passports included. All of which were passed onto the local police. I think the hardest part of the weekend was the distance between the accommodation and worksite, our van drivers worked hard all weekend back and forth so I would like to thank them, especially Sleepy Dave who “was not happy”. [But was he Grumpy? I hope he wasn’t Dopey ...Ed] After our fabulous evening meal prepared by Maria and George we enjoyed an al fresco party hosted by the visiting working boat Swallow, this involved the tasting of as many different whiskeys as you can plus other drinks, and then Alan Lines and others set up the now popular You can’t describe us as ‘working tirelessly’ (sorry) alternative Port and Brie table Tim Lewis

BCN Clean up report 2018

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Tim Lewis

do it without you. Thanks to all the van drivers for your efforts before, during and after the event, you know who you all are. Last thank you is to you all for attending, it really is a great event, and you friends put the ‘great’ into it. Take care and see you all soon. Chris Morgan

One of the more unusual finds: a safe

Martin Ludgate

which everyone sampled, other cheeses and spirits were available and were sampled. Several hangovers needed curing the next day after the mixture of alcohol and cheese! Three barrels of local ale were emptied over the weekend, plus we sold the now collectable BCN Clean up badges which added to our funds along with the beer profits. Special thanks to Sarah and Alex and Toby at Head Office who work so hard doing things throughout the year. Over 30 tonnes this year estimated by CRT. Their Chief Executive Richard Parry attended the skip site on Sunday morning to thank us all for our efforts. I am looking at the Dudley No2 Canal next year, possibly Gosty hill to Blowers Green, and already have a new accommodation in mind. A busy urban area which should produce a lot of rubbish... watch this space... Thank you to Moose and Nigel for doing the Zone Leader job. for the coordinating in between at site, Thanks to Tony and Baz and Brian Bayston and his volunteers from CRT and the Friends of Tipton Cut, and to Dave Pearson of IWA for his organisation. SB skip hire also deserve of a thank you as CRT’s own skip provider Biffa no longer want dirty mixed waste, so we could not do this event without SB Skip Hire. I would also like to thank the volunteer crews from BCNS/CCT and CRT: we couldn’t

A boatload of assorted junk heads for the skips, courtesy of the Canal & River Trust

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Montgomery Appeal WRG’s will be increasing its practical support for the Montgomery, but a little later than planned. In the meantime you can help in other ways... Please help restore the next part of the Montomery Canal Restoring the Montgomery Canal should be one of the ‘easier’ ones. After all, (a) it is in single ownership (*); (b) it has a water supply; (c) all the locks have been restored (largely by volunteers) (*); (d) it has no really troublesome large waterway structures. So why is it taking so long? Lack of money is the simple answer. So the Restore the Montgomery Canal! Appeal has now been launched to help put that right. After a period of comparative quiet (during which the The Shropshire Union Canal Society (SUCS) volunteers got on with Montgomery re-lining the dry canal bed), the recent Heritage Lottery Fund Award has kick-started more restoration; briefly, it will enable Canal another 1.5 miles to be opened up, from the current limit of navigation at Gronwen Bridge to the winding hole (turning To Llangollen Canal point) at Crickheath Basin), and provides all the offline Llangollen To nature reserves needed in Shropshire to mitigate the Hurleston Frankton effect of boats on the restored canal and allow it to be reopened to navigation. Former Aston Rather than waiting until that’s comWeston Arm Locks En pleted in 2020/21, restoration is now being g Maesbury W lan Gronwen Bridge planned for the final two dried-out miles in ale d (limit of navigation) s England. This includes a plan to rebuild Crickheath Pant School House Bridge, the last demolished School House Bridge bridge in Shropshire. The intent is to Llanymynech (to be reinstated) Carreghofa make maximum use of volunteers, Vyrnwy Locks showing their skills in earth moving, Old railway crossing Aqueduct concrete pouring and bricklaying, etc. (restored) (removed 2017) The new arch will be constructed by Arddleen using a tried and tested flexi-arch 4 road blockages Burgedin precast concrete design which installs between Llanymynech Locks the arch in only half a day (Intrigued? and Arddleen Then look at www.macrete.com); the road surface will have to be done professionally. We aim to do all the rest with volunteers. 12 mile isolated restored Why? We just haven’t the money to hand it Welshpool navigable length from all over to contractors. But we still have to Arddleen through buy materials and hire plant etc etc. Welshpool to Refail This is where you, the reader, come in. “All we need is love”, the Beatles sang. Well, our words are Berriew “All we need is money” – money Refail 3 locks restored but for materials and plant hire. several road blockages That’s why you’ll find with this remain south of Refail Navvies an Appeal Leaflet – it’s been put in by volunFinal length into Newtown obstructed by teers in the hope you’ll sewer in canal bed, terminus basin built on, fill it in and donate as possibility of diversion to new terminus A bridge herecan. by this Newtown much as you The time next year: London

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(*) Except for the last twostart miles the Newtown end WRG preparing for the of at rebuilding at Bridge 1


first target is to get £300,000 for School House Bridge – we’re already over half way. That makes it easier for you to help us reach the target! WRG has had a long connection with the Mont – as have other volunteers, starting right back with the 1969 Help to turn this... Welshpool Big Dig. Since then, about 50% of the Canal’s 35 miles have been re-opened to navigation. WRG rebuilt the locks at Frankton and Aston and also built the first Aston nature reserves. Last summer – as Navvies reported – WRG North West (with some help from SUCS) dealt with a long standing barrier to restoration at Pant when - in the space of less than a week they removed almost 1,100 ...into this... tonnes of spoil where an old 1950s railway causeway blocked the canal. And there will be WRG Camps next year (they’ve been rescheduled: see panel at bottom of next page), dealing with a leaking section. Looking ahead, we plan to continue with the re-watering of those last two miles to get to Llanymynech on the Welsh border. From there, the canal is in water. Lots of The site of School House Bridge and an impression of it when complete careful dredging

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is needed, and four bridge problems to resolve and re-connect to Welshpool (and a 12-mile isolated restored length reaching right down to Refail). Volunteer civil engineers are taking a lead in updating the solutions designed back in the 1980s – readers with long memories will recall the canal came close to getting funded for full restoration then. Two of the four problems relate to minor roads and the plans are to rebuild. The other two are where an A road crosses – the probable answer is to lower the canal under the road. So you can see the plans are there. Just add cash, you might say. Anyway, please think about it – and look for the Appeal leaflet! Flashback to the 1990s: one of WRG’s earlier big John Dodwell projects on the Mont was Aston Locks, reopened in 2003

Bringing it up to date: WRG’s most recent involvement was the 2017 removal of the Pant railway embankment by WRG NorthWest , leaving School House Bridge as the only blockage on the English length

WRG Canal Camps on the Montgomery You might have been expecting this piece to end with a plug for this year’s camps, but in fact we’re likely to postpone them to 2019. Why? Simply because with the amount of planning, preparation and investigation that we found was necessary for what is effectively a new site to WRG, we would rather delay our start until next year, to make sure absolutely everything is in place in good time and they run smoothly when they happen. We will be going there in 2019 - watch this space!

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News

navvies Check your trailers! Recently I was asked to have a look at a trailer, being from a well known manufacturer in the north of Wales it was built like a brick outhouse and had done very little work so I wasn’t expecting to find much wrong. How wrong I was! The trailer arrived with a flat tyre, so I fitted the spare, the old tyre was scrap (not only towed some distance flat, but showed signs of perishing as well). Upon closer inspection ALL the tyres had signs of serious cracking so all had to be changed. Being short of time I booked the trailer into a local dealer who we use regularly for the main service, as I towed I noticed the brakes were not as good as I would have expected so was not surprised to get a call from the dealer the next day to tell me that it needed all new brake cables and shoes…. So, how did this trailer get to this state? Well, basically upon digging into it no-one had serviced the trailer since it was new over a decade ago! Because it saw little use and was a well known ‘substantial’ make, everyone assumed it was fine and it was only now it was starting to get towed longer journeys that someone highlighted the fact that it should be looked at, and just as well that they did. Just because a trailer is not used much, that does not mean it doesn’t need checking and/or servicing. Cables seize through lack of use and tyres perish at the same rate (in fact if left not fully inflated in one position the cracking can be accelerated). In addition, modern brake shoes do not contain asbestos (which is a good thing) but unfortunately the replacements are more brittle and on a heavily laden trailer have a tendency to crack to the extent that in some situations (think excavator trailer which runs at its full weight nearly all the time used by utilities so relatively high mileage) they may require changing on every service! I am sure many of us have been guilty (myself included) of the “yeah, I know that it is a bit dodgy but it is only going down the road” or “its only one trip”, it is all fine until something goes wrong and something or someone gets hurt (or worse). George ‘Bungle’ Eycott

Congratulations... ...to Jenny Black and Adam ‘Digger’ Morris on the arrival of Archie John Sydney Morris on 12 March, weighing 8lb 6oz.

Van lights If you are getting really keen and checking the front fog lamps on the WRG vans, make sure the steering is straight ahead. The Ivecos are fitted with cornering lights (which turns on the fog lamp on the side to which you are turning) so if the steering is turned even slightly away from straight ahead it will give the impression of a blown bulb. These bulbs are not cheap and not the easiest to change so best to be sure before doing it.

R.I.P. NW Paperchase 1977-2018 On Wednesday 7th March 2018 WRG Northwest took the difficult decision to switch off what has for many years been its life support machine - the Paperchase. Accordingly, Saturday 7th April 2018 would be the last time the Paper Tigers of WRG Northwest would descend on the streets of Crumpsall to relieve the local populace of their paper assets. A full obituary and post-mortem will appear in the next issue of Navvies. No flowers by request. Any donations should be left in a brown paper envelope behind the hot water pipes in the gents’ toilets at Manchester Piccadilly Station. Brian Lomas

The Basingstoke needs you! The Basingstoke Canal Society, which led the restoration of the canal from the 1970s to the 1991 reopening, is appealing for volunteers. At a difficult time, with the canal’s county council owners strapped for cash and a proposal to transfer it to the Canal & River Trust under discussion, they urgently need: Volunteers with town planning experience A membership secretary. A press officer Local people ‘on the ground’ to raise its profile If you can help with any of these, get in touch with Ken Sankey on 07850 652769 or email ken.sankey@basingstoke-canal.org.uk.

. . . .

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infill including Dear Deirdre Appy Campers! Download these smartphone apps for WRGies from the Navvies App Store... Kit-tris: Realistic Canal Camps catering kit packing game. Don’t forget the toaster... Insta-grapple: Share photos of your finds from the depths on Cleanups. #shoppingtrolley #bike Snorify: enter the number of volunteers on your camp and the name of the village hall / scout hut / sports pavilion you’re staying in, and it comes up with a sleeping plan to cram them all in without anyone’s foot being in anyone’s ear. Pay to upgrade to SnorifyPro, and it even separates the snorers and non-snorers. FireFix: point your device at your bonfire and it’ll tell you what to do next. Put more wood on, less leaves, big log, fold it in, start toasting marshmallows, remove Tim Lewis from the vicinity… Cindr: Dating app for folks whose favourite perfume is Odour bonfire, and who definitely sleep together on a first date. VänBer: Summon the nearest red van - special “urgent call” feature for when you’ve been accidentally left on site alone with your (it now turns out) crazy Cindr date. Brick Crush: Mind numbing repetitive time wasting game Skrape: allows volunteers who are brick cleaning on remote sites to connect. Live streaming will prove who indeed has the shittiest and biggest pile of bricks HungryHall: takes a simple recipe and turns it into a mind-blowingly complex catering operation to provide every combination of meat eater, vegetarian, vegan, non spicy, gluten free, and just plain I-don’t-eat-couscous-on-Tuesdays bloodyminded. Plus an add-on for multi-site camps that gets the right sarnies to the right site at lunchtime without taking them on a tour of half of Gloucestershire.

BarPump: Plug in the dimensions of your air bed and who you nicked the footpump from and it’ll calculate whether you’ll get it pumped up and make it to the pub for last orders TripeAdviser: lets you star rate people’s Navvies camp reports for quality of in-jokes, smutty double entendres and bad puns. With the inevitable one-star rating from one random outlier who hasn’t been on a dig since 1972 but doesn’t see why those of us who have should enjoy reading or writing about it... RealAleQuick: order your pint via hands free as you leave home to be waiting for you on the bar as you arrive. SnoreNav: companion to Snorify - find your way back to your own bed after a midnight toast orgy/ bathroom trip/song session. In-app purchases include light switch location, and noisy door proximity warnings. Angle-Grindr: hook up with like-minded people on nearby canal restoration worksites with notquite-compatible power tools, and swap attachments that don’t fit either of them... Scaff-Me: From a photo of worksite it calculates number of scaffold poles, clips etc, designs your scaffolding, and orders almost all of it (except the one important bit that you can’t manage without, and don’t realise is missing until Sunday morning when nowhere’s open) from local hire company. Grin-dr: Photo-app automatically corrects the grumpy pub faces of Alan Lines’ photos to look cheerful... Thermarest-5k: Fitness app - train yourself to optimise your timing of leaving your bed to minimise amount of breakfast queuing but avoid being left with the last cold egg. WRG Weather: Special feature to enable accurate timing of tea breaks and concrete pours. Messenger link in to accommodation crew for alerting need for ice pops or hot soup as appropriate. Pint-Rest: Share photos of WRGies falling asleep over their beer

Dear Deirdre Every time I go on a dig my nails keep splitting, flaking and breaking off in a way that’s really painful. Is there any way to stop my nails getting broken every time I go on a dig? - MT, Newmarket

Deirdre replies A few years ago I discovered that if you get a gel hardener put on your nails by a professional, they’ll be tough enough to survive a dig unbroken. You need to go to a nail salon so they can cure it under a UV light. I don’t know what they use but I think it’s the same thing they use to coat nuclear submarines. While you’re there ask them to paint over it with a brown varnish, that way the dirt won’t show under your nails.

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outro Lancaster camp

As we went to press, the first of two weeks of Easter canal camps re-lining a length of the Lancaster Canal had just ended. We hope to have full reports from both weeks in the next issue; in the meantime here are a few pics by David Evans showing the bund being removed at the start of work (above), the waterproof lining membrane being spread out (below) and (back cover, bottom) the state at the end of the week with many of the blocks laid.

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Navvies April - May 288  
Navvies April - May 288