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navvies volunteers restoring waterways

Lancaster camps Reports and pictures

Cotswold jackpot Now to rebuild the next four miles...

Paper Chase finale End of an era in WRG (NW)

issue 289 june-july 2 0 1 8

Intro Something new...

And still we keep hearing of new waterway restoration projects being launched. Here, one of the latest - the Dartford & Crayford Navigation - is seen hosting St Pancras Cruising Club’s narrowboats for a week, and sailing barge Decima for the winter. They were there for a festival to support the Dartford & Crayford Creek Restoration Trust’s plans to reinstate the derelict lock (above), get the liftbridge (below) working again, and turn the waterway back from a semi-navigable tidal creek off the Thames estuary into a working navigation.

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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 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

Š 2018 WRG

PLEASE NOTE: Navvies subs renewal cheques MUST be made payable to The Inland Waterways Association

Contents Editorial Great news for the Cotswold Canals. But camp reports: who needs them? 4 Coming soon Summer camps and reunion 5 Dig report Kescrg / LWRG at Inglesham 6-7 Camp reports Easter on the Lancaster 8-14 Letters Camp reports, apps, paper chases 15 WRG NorthWest R.I.P. paper chase 16-17 WRG BC news from our Boat Club 18-19 Diary WRG, IWA, CRT, canal societies 20-25 Progress Special Cotswold Phase 1b 26-29 Progress around the country 30-34 News and safety updates 35-37 Infill including Dear Deirdre 38 Cotswold looking back on Phase 1a 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 290: 1 July.

Subscriptions A year's subscription (6 issues) is available for a minimum of ÂŁ3.00 (cheques payable to The Inland Waterways Association) to Sue Watts, 15 Eleanor Road, Chorlton-cumHardy, Manchester M21 9FZ. This is a minimum subscription, that everyone can afford. Please add a donation.

Cover Picture: Joining sections of liner together on the Lancaster: see reports, p8-14. (Pic: David Miller) Back cover: A joint KESCRG and London WRG weekend helps get the 2018 work programme at Inglesham Lock underway - see report, pages 6-7 (pic: Ian Stewart)

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Editorial Camp reports? ground to the restoration, how they fit together, and a map. These have met with entirely positive feedback so far, and I have The start of the main summer canal camps every intention of continuing them (but note programme is just a few weeks away as this that the last issue, being entirely free of issue of Navvies lands on your doormats (or camp reports, was also entirely free of these e-doormats in a few cases!) So this is tradiFact File panels...) tionally the time when the Navvies editor So I’m asking you, the readers: what starts appealing, begging, pleading, cajoling are your views on us continuing to fill a (or cudgelling as my spell-check once sugnumber of pages of the magazine with canal gested) you into writing and sending in some camp reports? Should I continue to encourcanal camp reports as soon as you get back age people to send them in? Or just publish from your camp. That way you can write it what I get (because, don’t worry, I won’t bin while the memories are still fresh in your mind, any of them - any more than I’ll bin any and importantly we can get it into print in time more letters critical about the magazine to tell all the readers what they’ve missed and either) but don’t go chasing after any more? maybe encourage a few last-minute bookings And I’m also asking you, the writers of for the late summer and autumn camps. camp reports: are you up for trying to impart So as you can imagine, I was delighted a little more practical information alongside to receive a letter to be published in this the entertainment and in-jokes? Or are you issue (page 15) congratulating us on an happy to leave that to me and my Fact Files? excellent and entirely camp report free issue But in the meantime, if we haven’t last time - because they’re “all pap and no completely put you off, please do get those pith”, and full of social gossip of no interest reports sent in as soon as you can! to anyone who wasn’t there. But hey, I didn’t take on the editorial role for an easy life... Cotswold hits the Lottery Jackpot! But does the letter writer have a point? Are we simply wasting space that could be On to more cheerful and less controversial better used on ‘hard’ canal restoration news? matters. As you’ll read elsewhere in this I’m not sure. There are two camp reports in issue, the Cotswold Canals have passed the this issue, from the two weeks’ work in April first big hurdle and (subject to securing on the Lancaster. One of them is a factual but match funding, detailed planning, consents interesting read about the trials and tribulaand much more stuff) £10m from the Heritage tions of a doing a technical canal-lining job Lottery Fund should be heading their way in due course. This forms part of a £23m packin not terribly good weather and ground conditions, while the other is a more lightage to reopen four more miles of canal (known hearted bit of entertainment based around as Phase 1b) to connect the six-mile Phase 1a length through Stroud (which we’ve been fitting the week’s activities to a common theme - which you’ll have to read it to find working on - along with Cotswold Canals out. However I have to say that I enjoyed Trust and lots of other folks - for much of the past decade) to the national canal network. reading both of them, even though I wasn’t on either camp (indeed I haven’t worked on This is brilliant news: all of our (and by the Lancaster Northern Reaches since 2003, ‘our’ I mean the whole restoration movement’s) good work in recent years has paid or even seen more than a fleeting glimpse from the window of a Pendolino on the West off - whether it’s CCT and the Council putting together a convincing bid, or the volunteers Coast Main Line for a decade - note to self: showing the quality of work that we achieved must rectify this soon!) on Phase 1a and that we can be trusted to It also may be worth mentioning that carry on doing on Phase 1b. Congratulations for the last few years in almost all cases the to all involved - and we look forward to camp report(s) for each restoration project have been accompanied by a ‘Fact File’ panel working on it in the years to come. Martin Ludgate giving the work for the camp, the back-

Camp reports: are they a load of crap or what?

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coming soon Camps A whole summer of canal camps to look forward to... and then in November we’ve got a site for the annual Reunion bonfire bash Summer camps preview 2018 part 3 By the time you read this the first of the summer canal camps will be just a week or two away. And already as we go to press a number of the summer camps are already fully booked and not taking any more volunteers. We’ve also had to postpone two Montgomery Canal camps to next year (to allow more time for preparation), while the two weeks planned for the River Waveney have now reduced to just one. But the good news for those of you who haven’t booked on a camp yet is that there are still several with spaces available. So here are a selection... River Waveney Camp 2018-12, 21 - 28 July. Last year we began taking down and rebuilding the first lock chamber wall at Geldeston Lock on the River Waveney, on the Norfolk / Suffolk border. This year we’re back again to carry on the good work - and we’ve planned it so we won’t get flooded out by high tides this time. So it’s a chance to do some demolition and bricklaying on an attractive site with a couple of unusual features: the first is that it’s only just above the current head of navigation on the river, so you’ll see boats arriving and leaving at the nearby wharf during the camp. And the other is the lockside pub for after work... Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation Camp 2018-14, 28 July - 4 August. For a change from restoring long-derelict waterways, here’s a chance to work on an active river navigation complete with boats. Operated by WRG’s parent body the Inland Waterways Association (which saved it from closing when the original company went bankrupt), it’s operated and maintained with the aid of a great deal of volunteer support. We’ll be carrying out brickwork repairs at Barnes Mill Lock, repairing a footbridge and resurfacing the towpath. And for something completely different, accommodation is on a converted barge (with beds!) which goes up and down with the tide twice every day. Monmouthshire Canal Camp 2018-22, 18 - 25 August. This is another one that’s going to be just a little bit different from the typical canal camp. Yes, there will be canal restoration - continuing the work on the Ty-Coch flight of locks as well as the start of clearance on the next project, the Five Locks flight - but in addition, there will be an archaeological excavation, digging trial pits and looking for artefacts from what was once an important centre for the operation of the canal. Grantham Canal Camp 2018-24, 25 August - 1 September. There’s still room for more volunteers on this third of three weeks at Woolsthorpe Locks, near Belvoir Castle in Lincolnshire. This has been a regular site for several years now and Lock 15 is nearing completion, so this summer we’re hoping to move on to Lock 14 - so it’ll be taking down the damaged brickwork, then casting a concrete base before rebuilding it with new bricks and blocks, and all the other jobs involved in lock restoration.

WRG Reunion Bonfire Bash, 3-4 November The good news is that we’ve got a site for our annual big autumn get-together and working party for all our volunteers from canal camps, the regional groups, and everyone else. It‘s the Lichfield Canal, and we’ll have details of the planned work and accommodation plus a booking form next time. But in the meantime, put the date 3-4 November in your diary!

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DIG report Inglesham This year’s work at Inglesham Lock on the Cotswold Canals continues with an excellent joint weekend dig by Kescrg and London WRG Kescrg and LWRG at Inglesham

Tim Lewis

In Navvies 288 we included an article previewing this year’s work on the project to rebuild Inglesham Lock, where the Cotswold Canals meet the River Thames. There are six weeks of canal camps planned for the summer - some of them getting fully booked already, so hurry up and get your bookings in! But first regional group Kescrg, which has adopted Inglesham as its main current project, had a couple of weekend work parties planned to get things going. The second of these was a joint dig with London WRG in early June. After last year’s success in rebuilding the first chamber wall, this year it will be the turn of the second wall. The aims for the June weekend were to prepare the main wall for rebuilding, dismantle damaged brickwork on the upper wing wall, start work on the gate recesses, and finish the spillway walls. Over to Fran to tell us how they got on...

Working on the gate / paddle recess walls

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This was a well attended dig with 27 attendees in the hall with the smallest hand basins in the Cotswolds. Unfortunately Sophie forgot her toothbrush and clothes and Mark2 had forgotten his trousers. Ian S offered some sunscreen for general protection. Luckily some pyjama substitute was found and when Mark2 went to buy some trousers he also found a toothbrush so despite everything, all was well to get to site in the morning... The first job of the morning was to pump out the lock so that Ed could inspect the scaffolding which Tim swept clear of green slime. Paul, Sophie, Ian R, Darren and Nick went to Alex Farm to perform the traditional task of moving something from one place to another, and brought back some bags of lime for mortar later. Ian W had gone to Travis Perkins for essential supplies, while the rest of us were waiting for the water to go down, so that we could get into the lock. The main jobs were exposing and cleaning some stone paving which forms the backfill behind the brickwork of the main chamber wall, and to which the blocks will be keyed in when rebuilding begins. Vee was in her element ‘brick cleaning in the horizontal plane’, and Inka, Kirsty and others joined her to do this. Rick marked the damaged brickwork to be removed. David S started to remove the brickwork for the paddle recess. Pete removed the spoil using the excavator (Alan was his banksman) and we essentially carried this cycle on all day with lengthy breaks from the sun for tea and cake. Meanwhile Paul R was haunching concrete against the completed overflow spillway wall, while Gary and Stephen were patching some damaged stonework which formed the corner of the gate recess, using shuttering and filling in the gaps. Bobby removed a nest of bees who were in the way on a folding shovel – luckily they weren’t feeling as aggravated as the horseflies who were a general nuisance. Perhaps they were attracted by the squashed

Tim Lewis

Paul Rodgers

fly biscuits which were part of a generally fantastic selection and to which Martin D felt very partial. After a lengthy discussion when Martin thought he had seen a heron and we decided we were not ornithologists, we realised we had seen a kite. I’m not sure what he was hunting but I felt quite worried about Paul being out in the open. The most important thing to happen was that Bungle came and fixed the LWRG Burco by putting a new thermocouple onto it. He then made some rather acid comments about how rusty it was, which we ignored [See also Bungle’s article on fixing Burcos, p35 ...Ed]. Though he really really wants us to get a new handle for the tirfor. As well as the hall, our accommodation featured a selection of campervans. Vee had a fully-formed campervan, Ian R his converted van and Martin D was in a van called Stanley that has some carpet in the back. Tim actually left on Saturday to stay in a hotel for a ‘pleasant evening’ with Sarah. We were woken on Sunday by Penny testing the hall’s fire alarms which Haunching the bywash spillweir wall wasn’t particularly noisy but led to a thick See back cover for another pic from this dig smog in the air and the sensation that we had a bonfire... After another filling breakfast we headed for site where the demolition around the paddle recess had been completed and Mick and Alan could start bricklaying to rebuild it. Stephen and Gary distressed their stone repairs by dimpling the concrete and generally we did much of the same as Saturday. Pete, Paul and David completed the demolition of the old lock head wing wall and David S. cut out a ladder recess. We then had to photograph our wonderful stone paving that we exposed through our (until now unknown) archaeological skills, as soon it will be covered in mortar and blocks. But I think it is fair to say we have prepared the site for a full and productive season of summer camps. Dismantling the upper wing wall stonework Fran Burrell

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camp report Lancaster First of two weeks over Easter on the Lancaster Canal Northern Reaches, and Dave ‘Evvo’ Evans takes us through the process of lining the canal... The weather nobbled our preferred Camp 2018-03 access plans which meant that most of the Lancaster Canal 31 March - 7 April The first week of two at Easter to reline the First Furlong section of the canal near Stainton Cross on the edge of the Lake District. (A long way north for a southern softie like me!) The aim was to reline the canal, and cover the liner with dense concrete blocks for protection. Lancaster Canal Trust had worked very hard leading up to the camp to have everything ready for us – apart from the weather! The week was wet, cold, muddy, hard work and fun; well, fun most of the time! The team got on with it without complaint but did have to have a couple of half days off when the weather was just too foul. On one of the breaks, an excursion took place to look at the Ribble Link, which joins the Lancaster Canal to the River Ribble and therefore the rest of the canal network, before dropping in to see Dave Joyner, a WRG stalwart who has been feeling under the weather of late.

blocks (at 118 blocks per linear metre) had to be moved along the towpath (200 yards of it) in small loads. Most blocks had to be handballed at least four times each, which tested the 3000 abrasions limit of WRG’s rigger gloves, until being plonked gently in their final resting place. Anyway, after removing as much of the wet silty muck from the cut as we could (liner laying is best done in dry conditions, apparently!), we had to get the large, unwieldy rolls of geotextile (the soft fluffy-ish stuff) and the EPDM (the heavy rubbery stuff) into position; and cut the geotex to length – three 30 metre lengths per roll. Following one last patrol of the first 30m to be lined, to remove any sharp or lumpy bits left behind, we spread three lengths of geotex across the canal bed and up the sides. [see pic, opposite top]. Now for the EPDM – all 550kg of it – to cover the geotex. It was a folded lump, cut

fact file Lancaster Canal Length to be restored: 14 miles

Locks: 8


Date closed: 1950s

Canal Camp site: Stainton

The Canal Camp project: re-lining the canal near Stainton.

Stainton Crooklands A5




The wider picture: The Trust’s long-term aim is complete reopening of the abandoned ‘northern reaches’ from the limit of navigation below Tewitfield Locks to Kendal. However the southern part of this section is beset by main road blockages (particularly the M6); while proposals to reinstate the Kendal terminus have strugged with planning issues. The First Furlong aims to ensure that there is visible physical progress, and to Tewitfield Locks extend the current trip-boat operation once the nearby Stainton Aqueduct (damaged in the winter 2015-16 floods) is repaired.

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Why? The Lancaster Canal Trust’s ‘First Furlong’ project aims to re-water one furlong (220 yards, about 200 metres) of the dry Hincaster section of the canal which extends for five miles from Stainton Tunnel to the original terminus in Kendal. It has proved difficult to make the channel watertight, so a decision has been made to line it using an EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer) rubber membrane, protected by a geotextile layer underneath and concrete blocks on top.

Canal blocked by roads at various points

Navigable to Preston 41 miles

Pictures by David Evans

to length, and no-one was sure or could find out at the time (it was Easter Monday), where it should be placed before unfolding. Best info was one side of the cut at the bottom of the slope but when we looked at it, the folds suggested it should be the other side. We moved it over and started unfolding to find out it should have been placed in the centre of the cut! This was learned on the Tuesday from the experts from Adaqua Ltd who had come along to teach us how to join the sheets of EPDM together and pass on other useful tips. Thanks guys. No work on jointing could not be done on the Wednesday because it rained all day so the experts went fishing! Being volunteers we carried on pretty much regardless with other preparations. After a lot of lifting, wafting, flapping, exclaiming, and similar ‘-ings’, the sheet of EPDM was in place as wrinkle free as it could on a slightly curving canal. [see pics below]

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Now the lesson on jointing the sheets – get them lined up, no wrinkles, dry, clean… then apply sticky stuff to hold adhesive tape to EPDM 1, lay tape on to sheet one, sticky stuff to EPDM 2, lay sheet two on top of one, smooth and squash together and let the chemical reaction finish the job. Very simplified description, I’m sure you’ll appreciate. After this, another layer of geotex to cover the EPDM folSliding the blocks down the slope and laying them on top of the liner lowed by laying the blocks. Getting them down to the bed was a challenge so we made a slide out of plywood as we could not carry them down the bank. From the bottom of the slide they were carried and laid in position across the bed and up most of the way of the sides. We didn’t get as much done as we would have liked but the weather wouldn’t let us work safely or where we wanted to on a number of occasions. Nevertheless, good progress was made. Peter Jones and his bunch of LCT volunteers were a great help and my thanks to them. Special thanks to the WRGies for spending their ‘holiday’ in the wet and mud with me! They were: Mikk B, Ray D, Ian G, Ruth H, John H, Ben J, Susan M, Tom M, Jon P, Duncan Q, X, Paul S, Sandy S and Liz W. Jenny Hodson and Martin Danks were above excellent as assistant leader and cook, respectively. Over to Paul Shaw and his report for week two! David (‘Evvo’) Evans

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camp report Lancaster Christine Monks then takes over with a slightly more unorthodox report from the second of two weeks of beavering away on the Lancaster... Beavering About (aka Canal Camp 2018-04, Lancaster Canal 7-14 April) With inspiration from and apologies to Crosscrake & Sedgwick Beaver Cub Scouts, or at least their posters on the wall of the accommodation... Beavers are furry industrial creatures who love nothing better than moving mud and vegetation to make the waterways a better place for their community. The Beavers are also the youngest members of the Scouting Movement (with a mental age akin to most WRGies) and so similar Activity Badges have been created for the WRG team trying to fix the leaky Lancaster canal, during the second of the 2 Easter Camps. Some of the badges were awarded to team members at the end of the week, for outstanding contributions to the particular activity… Safety Badge: We began by avidly watching the safety video [I have to say at this point that I am typing this up from Christine’s handwritten notes, and I read that as ‘anally watching the safety video’. I’m sure Mr Freud would have something to say about that. ...Paul]. We stared with amazement at the technology of the captions. The exams for this will be taken at the end of the week. As nothing untoward happened, it must have sunk in. (This badge was awarded to Chris B for his ‘animated and vocal’ banksman signals) Animal Friend Badge: Many frogs and a few toads had to be re-homed to avoid being squashed between the fluffy white underlay and the black industrial pond liner. Then there was another layer of fluffy stuff followed by thousands of building blocks. There were so many hidey holes in the gloopy mud for the frogs and toads that were transported by yellow bucket to the adjacent, much cleaner, beck. We also had to take care when driving past the many horses using the narrow back lanes around the site, on our way to and from the accommodation. (This was awarded to Susan, for her tireless frog rescuing activities) Disability Awareness Badge: Besides the geriatric volunteers hobbling about by Tuesday, we also had to learn sign language and wait for “Mike!”, “MICHAEL!”, “MICHAEL, SHUT UP AND LISTEN!”. There were also incidents of temporary blindness due to goggles being splashed with mud or steaming up to contend with. (The Hawk received this award … in large format!) Space Badge: There was a lot of gazing into the sky – sometimes to forecast the next rain shower, sometimes in despair. The dark sky made us stare in awe and wonder to see as many stars as the building blocks we were laying in the cut. Photographer Badge: Just as we began to feel happy about a job, we were photographed. “Smile, it’s for a good cause”. We wished we get could get one of our DofEers to have a mud bath for us to photograph, but none obliged. (It will come as no surprise to many of you that a certain Mr D Miller received this award)

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Cooking Badge: Our cook Bev had a special activity badge just for herself. Not only did she cook, but she cleaned the toilets – not at the same time! She took people’s food idiosyncrasies in her stride, all with her ever present Welsh smile. (As expected, given to Bev) Explorer Badge: Matt, Reuben and Sam explored the one-way system and various road closures around Lancaster and Morecambe trying to find the cinema, and failed miserably. David was also directed the long way to the ‘nearest’ pub to the accommodation by his enthusiastic back seat drivers. (Despite the long list of short-listed candidates, Mike was given this one for his wanderings along the towpath to feed the ducks) Cycling Badge: We all did well at this. We recycled and upcycled with abandon. We even made a tandem wheelbarrow run. (Yolande was awarded this for arriving on her motor cycle) Campcraft Badge: There was a variety of bedding brought. There were squeaky airbeds, slippy mats, fishing loungers and a contraption made from the centre’s folding chairs. Brew kits and teapots were left and some instructions were difficult to follow. Counting volunteers and checking who was going for showers (and when) taxed even the bestest (sic) of leaders.

David Miller

Experiment Badge: We explored and experimented with the moving of the blocks in various ways. Suggestions included the use of drones, the air ambulance, hot air balloons, kite power, conveyor belts and 4-wheel drive monster inflatable trucks. We tried ski-jumping the blocks into the bed from the towpath, which proved to be quite succesful, as well as the more traditional dumper, telehandler and digger.

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Communications Badge: This overlaps a bit with the disability awareness badge, as in the having to learn sign language and wait for “Mike!”, “MICHAEL!”, “MICHAEL, SHUT UP AND LISTEN!” (The award had to go to Christine, who was really the only one that could get Mike to understand what was going on) International Badge: On this camp we were truly international, as we had campers from 3 countries – England, Scotland and Wales! (Reuben was given the award for making it across the Scottish border) Time on the Water Staged Activity Badge is the badge that the Beavers receive. We, however – for possibly obvious reasons – renamed it the Time in the Water badge, and we all achieved various grades. (The award could only really go to one person, that being Teacher Chris for testing whether the telehandler really could swim) Digital Maker and Digital Citizen Badges: We all made extensive use of the digital technology availableespecially the Wifi in the hall. On site, the mobile phones proved invaluable in contacting the puncture repair man, to come for the telehandler – again! (the 2 awards though, were goiven to our 2 DofE ers, Matthew & Sam, as you’d find them staring at their screens in every possible spare second) Moving on Badge: We nominated the frogs for the moving on award. Hopefully they will be happy in their new home, but will return to repopulate the canal when it is finally re-watered (However, as Ian and Ben had left us on Monday they were jointly given this award in their absence)

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Sports Activity Badge: Although we tried to gain the sports activity badge, suggested team sports of mud splattering, bog snorkelling, water skiing on the white fluffy stuff and water bed racing were strangely rejected by the volunteers. Collectively we were as mad as a yellow bucket of frogs as well as industrial and friendly as beavers, as despite downpours and permanent waterlogging of the canal bed, we almost finished our mammoth task. We went home counting blocks instead of sheep … Christine Monks [Badge descriptions by Christine, Awards by Sarah]

David Miller

I’d like to add my comments to Christine’s report. Sarah had nominated me for the Chief Scout Award. I have to say, I’m no Bear Grylls! I think she only did that though so that the young leader’s badge was available for herself. The weather, as is so often the case, was definitely against us. The geography of the section of canal we were working on meant that for each mm of general rain fall, the canal level rose by 2.5mm. We had a lot of rain during the week and the previous week, so we were constantly battling trying to keep the work area dry – ironic for a canal that leaks! The trouble is it’s the sides that leak, meaning that the bed will fill to a level of about 450mm if we let it. We had a great week anyway. When we could, we ‘dry’ (no mortar infill) laid a lot of blocks, so my great thanks to everyone for persevering with this repetitive, physically demanding task. My special thanks to my assistant, Sarah, and our cook Bev. You both did an amazing job Paul Shaw

What it looked like towards the end of the second camp

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letters to the Editor Dear Martin We are very sorry to hear that WRG NorthWest’s Paper Chase has finally been forced to weigh in its last bundle (or stuff its last container?) Having been present at the first, it was great to make it to the last one and re-live all those happy hours spent wandering the streets of Crumpsall picking up bags of waste paper, cardboard and various other items to sell on the WRG stand! There was a wonderful turnout of friends old and new despite the rain. A cracking job has been done by all the volunteers over the last 405 collections and especially by David Mac. He certainly deserved his MBE: putting up with a mountain of waste paper in his back garden every month, not to mention he and Mrs Mac having the house invaded by navvies every few weeks. We were overwhelmed by our reception (despite the fact that we haven’t done a Paper Chase since 1986!) Apologies if we didn’t get to speak to everyone o the day, but it was well worth the effort travelling to Manchester to see you all. Many good memories to take home with us on a crowded train to Cumbria. A grand day out! Best wishes Tom & Celia Cook

checker, not “carnally”) that Tim Lewis actually hasn’t taken a picture of. It’s not been downloaded that often, though, for some reason. Just Feet would be useful on the Reunion weekend: the app locates your site boots and a bicycle delivers them to the foot of your bed in the morning. Beta testing has indicated that hall caretakers can get a bit twitchy about this one because all the boots were supposed to be left in the entrance bit and not in the hall itself. Finally, in addition to Vänber, we all need Haze: it’s like a satnav, but crucially, includes crowdsourced information which helps you remember the conversation that happened last night when you were three pints in, during which you, Bungle, Martin and somebody or other from WRG Northwest agreed this evening’s van and trailer movements, enabling you get into the right van and get it to its next parking place efficiently. The next release is expected to include ‘Now Find Where I Left My Own Car’ functionality. Coming soon to Apple and Android, I hope. Yours, posing for hard-hat-and-hi-vis selfie. Mark ‘Mk2’ Richardson It wasn’t actually Sophie; let’s just say it was a Dr McFloodbush production ...Ed

See the report on the final Paper Chase on p30 Dear Martin May I be the first to congratulate whoever (but probably Sophie) gave us the Appy Campers piece (Backfill, Navvies 288); I haven’t laughed out loud so much (in an, erm, public place...) for ages! May I contribute another app, though? Perhaps to accompany Snorify, we also need Snorezam: point your device at the heap of bedding from which appalling noises are emanating and it identifies which WRGie it is. This is especially useful for those who arrive at the accomm late after an evening’s worth of protracted vehicle movements involving following Bungle around the countryside and need to know where to pitch or have forgotten to pitch their bed before going to that pub that stays open rather late. Then there’s TimTim, the satnav that takes you to somewhere canally (No, spell-

Dear Martin Regarding your appeal for camp reports, I confess I did notice their absence from the latest issue of Navvies. I thought issue No 288 was unusually good. Work camps are a valuable tool, promoting restoration, recruiting restorers and progressing the work, but pages and pages of reports that “Chloe strained the spaghetti through her tights, served Alfie his portion in a wellie and then we all went to a barn dance” are of limited interest to someone who was not there and is chiefly, nay entirely, interested in the canal. OK. Maybe I exaggerate a little, but if there could be a little more pith and a little less pap, I for one would be very grateful. Yours aye John Felix See editorial comment, p6

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R.I.P. WRG (N 40 years (and 4 months)

1978 –

Pictures by Jane Barkess

As a northern Mancunian, there are three things close to my heart which emanate from those parts: Holt’s beers; the music of The Fall; and the activities of WRG (NW) – all of them acquired tastes. In January of this year Mark E Smith, leader of The Fall, died, and in March WRG (NW) decided it was time to lay the Paper Chase (waste paper collection) to rest. That just leaves Holt’s beers unscathed from this unholy trinity. In reality the decision was taken for WRG (NW) when were informed by our paper yard that it was no longer financially viable for them to pay us for our paper, let alone provide us with a skip. So on Saturday 7 April we had a wake to mark the end of an era, and give the Paper Chase a good send-off. (They do like a good funeral in those parts.) Thankfully, the Three-line Whip issued by Mr Mac resulted in a good turnout, including our founder Tom Cook (see Navvies 278) who came out of retirement to face the music. Clearly, the shock was too much for Mr Mac who decreed that we would be treated to lunch at the knock-down price of £1. It was an act of great benevolence, or a cunning ploy to avoid inheritance tax, depending on your point of view. Meanwhile, those out collecting on the streets were returning with a shedload of books. The final leaflet we had distributed had, perhaps, wrongfully encouraged them (for one last time) to rid their households of unwanted books. This had resulted in us inheriting a number of sizeable libraries which, after vigorous culling, largely ended up in the skip. Well, it was either that or John Foley’s car would have become an immobile library. On the plus side, it meant we sent the skip away with a good, Approaching the ceremonial closing of the final skip

page 16

W) Paperchase

– 2018 well-packed load on board. The damp Mancunian weather would also have helped the soggy paper move the scales in the right direction at the weighbridge. Back at the Church Hall the usual free-for-all for fish & chips was augmented by gentle conversation and yarns, which naturally reflected on the old days, before being briefly interrupted by the arrival of the last tin of broken biscuits. The stories continued and meandered their way through the decades, before being brought right up to date by ageing navvies swapping tales about pacemakers. Then slowly, in some cases very slowly, the throng said their goodbyes and left their hall of fame, the ghosts of Paper Chases past ringing in their ears: “Has anyone done Kearsley?” And for those interested, when the Crumpsall Paper Exchange ceased trading on 7 April 2018, the closing figures were as follows: Group photo including (left) Paper Chase founder Tom Cook 405 collections / rounds of mayhem 3,810 tonnes of paper carted away 103,000 pounds raised, and laundered through Chinese chippies 8,000 portions of fish & chips stuffed away 1,500 gallons of tea poured 12 tonnes of broken biscuits dunked in tea 120 burnt out volunteers 6 burnt out vans 1 hell of a lot of fun Well, is that it for WRG (NW)? Not quite. There are still the digs, the sales stand, and the ad hoc meetings. And if you were to drop in on the Cleveland Hotel, Crumpsall, you might chance upon a gaggle of ‘look-back bores’ in red T-shirts, supping Holt’s beers, discussing how to get a blue plaque stuck on the wall of Woodstock – the spiritual home of WRG (NW). Brian Lomas

page 17

Boat club


Following on from the last article urging WRG Boat Club members to head for IWA St Neots Festival in August, here’s what to see on the way... WRG Boat Club News

etc. It would be a great shame if the club had to fold up due to lack of support! There is lots going on before and after the festival, if you’re coming by boat please allow plenty of time as it’s a really beautiful area and there’s lots to see and do. For one thing there’s a campaign cruise in support of the reopening of Welches Dam. As far as I know Fred and I were the last to use the route between Horseways Lock and Welches Dam. That was in January 2006 the year that the Environment Agency closed it. I know that it’s still closed despite all the campaigns and cruises to, and near to, there. I’m sure that there will be lots of information and maps on the IWA stalls for us to look at. In the last Navvies I wrote about getting down the Nene and through the Middle Level but found, subsequently, that there were lots of other articles on travelling to St Neots, which you’ve probably read. So I’ll tell you of interesting places to visit, if you’ve plenty of time. There’s plenty of interesting and beautiful places to visit on the Nene: Wadenhoe,

Martin Ludgate

Well, far be it for me to swear but, I have to mention GDPR! General Data Protection thingy. The AWCC have done a lot of work about this and Lynne, your trusty Commode Door, and I have studied their results and even signed the papers on the club’s behalf. What else is there to say? What ‘data’ do we keep on members? I have a list of names and addresses, which I use to send out membership cards each year (if you renew and PAY UP!) I also have a list of the names of members’ boats and some, but not all (hint) email addresses. Ann our little treasure(r) keeps account of who’s paid, when, and if not why not? (That last bit’s not true; just that my job is to nag the slackers). Can’t think of anything else. If you object to any of this I can remove your details from the lists but obviously you won’t get a membership card! I never let anyone but club members know even the name of your boat and certainly wouldn’t part with your addresses! Right that’s enough of that! The AGM - this will be at St Neots during the Inland Waterways Association’s Festival of Water (which takes place over the August bank holiday weekend), probably on the Saturday; this depends on the timetable for the festival. Please try to come and please consider becoming a club officer. I have to admit that I’m not as young as I used to be. (Who is?) Also other club On the Nene at Wellingborough officers need help

page 18

Martin Ludgate

Fotheringhay, Wansford and the Nene Valley, Railway to mention only a few. Having passed through Stanground please find time to explore the Middle Level as you may not travel this area again for some time. Here you’ll learn what flat and straight really mean if you travel along the romantically named 16 foot, 20 foot and 40 foot drains! I remember Fred saying that we weren’t getting any nearer to a distant bridge, it was then I realized that I have the habit of watching the bank passing by, to measure our progress. If you go down (Ramsey) High Lode you can moor at the end, where The Great Whyte flows from its journey Join a campaign cruise for Welches Dam Lock, shut since 2006 under the town, and explore Ramsey, which has an Abbey and a taries. The river Lark will get you to Rural Museum. Prickwillow Engine Museum, which was If you travel through the lock (a rather formerly the Drainage Engine Museum, and awkward one, as when the water situation is home to lots of large engines and as I allows, both bottom and top gates can open recall a history of Fen drainage with illustraso you can’t get across), once through you tions. have access to many ‘lodes’ and Woodwalton Another engine is to be found on The Fen. New Dyke has a turning place at the end Old West River (the length of the Great Ouse but Monk’s Lode doesn’t. Also beware of from Pope’s Corner to Earith), and that is the Exhibition Bridge, which you come to by Streatham Old Engine. This isn’t open very turning right at Nightingale’s Corner, as it often so check first. I’ve only seen it by gets lower on one side than the other, and peering through the window! from front to back! After this there’s Huntingdon – interestWhen you continue on through March, ing? Well Oliver Cromwell came from here, (well worth a visit as I said last issue), there’s but there are not a lot of moorings. Upwell and Outwell to pass through on your Then there’s St Ives where there are way to Salter’s Lode. Ask yourself: ‘Am I up good moorings and an interesting bridge at Outwell or out at Upwell?’ with lots of history and a Chapel on it! The Once through Salter’s Lode Lock you’re whole town is fascinating. briefly at sea (well, in tidal water), until you Soon you’ll be in St Neots, all ready for enter Denver Sluice and the non-tidal Great the Festival, lots to do and explore, if you’ve Ouse. time, and the WRG Boat Club AGM, not to Once through, you pass (or stop at) be missed! Littleport (where the riots started) and can Look forward to seeing you there. travel to Ely, a really interesting city, where xxx Sadie Heritage, Secretary there’s a magnificent Cathedral. 01733 204505, mobile: 07748 186867 Alternatively you can pop up the tribusadiedean@msn.com

page 19



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 Jun 30-Jul 1 London WRG Jul 6-12 WAT Jul 7-14 CC201805 Jul 7-14 CC201806 Jul 7-14 CC201807 Jul 14-21 CC201808 Jul 14-21 CC201809 Jul 14-21 CC201810 Jul 21/22 wrgBITM 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 1/2 London WRG Sep 8/9 KESCRG Sep 8/9 NWPG Sep 8/9 wrgNW Sep 15/16 wrgBITM Sep 22/23 London WRG Sep 22 Sat WRG Sep 23 Sun WRG Sep 29/30 wrgFT Oct 5-11 WAT Oct 6/7 KESCRG Oct 13/14 London WRG Oct 13/14 NWPG

Wilts & Berks Canal Wendover Arm: Profiling & lining Fri-Thu Cotswold Canals: Inglesham (KESCRG camp) Wey & Arun Canal: Birtley or Shalford (NWPG camp) cancelled: (was Montgomery Canal) Cotswold Canals: Inglesham Lock cancelled: (was River Waveney) cancelled: (was Montgomery Canal) To be arranged 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 Wey & Arun Canal Cotswold Canals: Inglesham Cotswold Canals: Stroud Phase 1A or Phase 1B To be arranged To be arranged Buckingham Arm Logistics Committee & Board Meetings: Location to be confirmed Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation Wendover Arm: Profiling & lining Fri-Thu Cotswold Canals: Inglesham Lichfield Canal Wey & Arun Canal: Birtley or Shalford or Dunsfold

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

page 20

WRG and mobile groups

h number e.g. 'Camp 201805' should go to WRG Canal Camps, Island House, Diary compiled by Dave Wedd. Tel: 01252 874437, dave.wedd@wrgbitm.org.uk Tim Lewis Roger Leishman

Dave Wedd

Roger Leishman

Roger Leishman Tim Lewis Bobby Silverwood Bill Nicholson Ju Davenport Dave Wedd Tim Lewis Mike Palmer Mike Palmer Nigel Lee Roger Leishman Bobby Silverwood Tim Lewis Bill Nicholson

07802-518094 01442-874536 01494-783453 01494-783453 01494-783453 01494-783453 01494-783453 01494-783453 07816-175454 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 07802-518094 07971-814986 01844-343369 07808-182004 07816-175454 07802-518094 01564-785293 01564-785293 07802-854694 01442-874536 07971-814986 07802-518094 01844-343369

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

ease contact diary compiler Dave Wedd: see top of page

page 21



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 2nd full 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 Nob End Ian Astbury 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 07855-471117 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


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


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



Inland Waterways Association and other one-day working parties Jun 26 Tue Jun 26 Tue Jun 27 Wed Jul 1 Sun Every Tue/Sat Jul 8 Sun Jul 10 Tue Jul 11 Wed Jul 12 Thu Jul 17 Tue Jul 17 Tue Jul 19 Thu Jul 21 Sat Jul 21 Sat Jul 24 Tue Jul 24 Tue Jul 25 Wed Jul 28 Sat Aug 5 Sun Aug 8 Wed Aug 8 Sun Aug 14 Tue Aug 16 Thu Aug 16 Thu Aug 18 Sat Aug 18 Sat Aug 21 Tue Aug 21 Tue Aug 22 Wed Aug 25 Sat Aug 28 Tue Aug 28 Tue

BCP/IWA Oxford Oxford Canal: Banbury Canal Partnership, 9am-1pm IWA NSSC/BPT Burslem Arm: Luke St, Middleport, Stoke on Trent. 10am-3pm IWA Peterboro’ Horseways Channel: Horseways Lock and Channel. 10am-3pm IWA Northants Northampton Arm: 10am-2pm. Painting, vegetation & litter IWA W. Country Bridgwater & Taunton Canal: Taunton area 10am-1:30pm IWA Lincs/SNT Sleaford Navigation: Various work on navigable section IWA BBCW Staffs & Worcs Canal: Kidderminster. Plastics clearance, Br 17 IWA Peterboro’ Horseways Channel: Horseways Lock and Channel. 10am-3pm IWA NSSC/CUCT Uttoxeter Canal: Work party at Bridge 70, Crumpwood. 10am-3pm BCP/IWA Oxford Oxford Canal: Banbury Canal Partnership, 9am-1pm IWA Northants Northampton Arm: 10am-2pm. Painting, vegetation & litter IWA NSSC/TMCS Trent & Mersey Canal: Cheshire Locks. 10am-3pm. Meet at locks 47 IWA Chester Shropshire Union Canal: Chester area, painting & veg clearance. 10amIWA Manchester Venue to be confirmed: Greater Manchester area. Veg clearance, etc. BCP/IWA Oxford Oxford Canal: Banbury Canal Partnership, 9am-1pm IWA NSSC/BPT Burslem Arm: Luke St, Middleport, Stoke on Trent. 10am-3pm IWA Peterboro’ Horseways Channel: Horseways Lock and Channel. 10am-3pm IWA Peterboro’ Horseways Channel: Horseways Lock and Channel. 10am-3pm IWA Northants Northampton Arm: 10am-2pm. Painting, vegetation & litter IWA Peterboro’ Horseways Channel: Horseways Lock and Channel. 10am-3pm IWA Lincs/SNT Sleaford Navigation: Various work on navigable section IWA BBCW Staffs & Worcs Canal: Kidderminster. Plastics clearance, Br 17 IWA NSSC/CUCT Uttoxeter Canal: Work party at Bridge 70, Crumpwood. 10am-3pm IWA NSSC/TMCS Trent & Mersey Canal: Cheshire Locks. 10am-3pm. Meet at locks 47 IWA Chester Shropshire Union Canal: Chester area, painting & veg clearance. 10amIWA Manchester Venue to be confirmed: Greater Manchester area. Veg clearance, etc. BCP/IWA Oxford Oxford Canal: Banbury Canal Partnership, 9am-1pm IWA Northants Northampton Arm: 10am-2pm. Painting, vegetation & litter IWA Peterboro’ Horseways Channel: Horseways Lock and Channel. 10am-3pm IWA Peterboro’ Horseways Channel: Horseways Lock and Channel. 10am-3pm BCP/IWA Oxford Oxford Canal: Banbury Canal Partnership, 9am-1pm IWA NSSC/BPT Burslem Arm: Luke St, Middleport, Stoke on Trent. 10am-3pm

IWA branch abbreviations BBCW = Birmingham, Black Country & Worcestershire; Other abbreviations: BCN = Banbury Canal Partnership BPT = Burslem Port trust; CUCT = Caldon TMCS = 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

& 48 4pm 10am-4pm

& 48 4pm 10am-4pm

Colin Garnham-Edge Steve Wood David Venn Geoff Wood Steve Chris or Steve Hayes David Struckett David Venn Steve Wood Colin Garnham-Edge Geoff Wood John Lawson Jason Watts

07976-805858 01366-324102 07855-794256 01522-689460 01366-324102 07976-805858

07940-878923 07710-554602

Colin Garnham-Edge Steve Wood David Venn David Venn Geoff Wood David Venn Chris or Steve Hayes David Struckett Steve Wood John Lawson Jason Watts

07976-805858 01366-324102 01366-324102 01366-324102 01522-689460 07976-805858 07940-878923 07710-554602

Colin Garnham-Edge Geoff Wood David Venn David Venn Colin Garnham-Edge Steve Wood

01366-324102 01366-324102 07976-805858

bcpontheoxford@gmail.com steve.wood@team.waterways.org.uk david.venn@waterways.org.uk geoff.wood@waterways.org.uk steveb.215@hotmail.com workparties@sleafordnavigation.co.uk david.struckett@waterways.org.uk david.venn@waterways.org.uk steve.wood@team.waterways.org.uk bcpontheoxford@gmail.com geoff.wood@waterways.org.uk john.lawson@waterways.org.uk jason.watts@canalrivertrust.org.uk secretary@manchester-iwa.co.uk bcpontheoxford@gmail.com steve.wood@team.waterways.org.uk david.venn@waterways.org.uk david.venn@waterways.org.uk geoff.wood@waterways.org.uk david.venn@waterways.org.uk workparties@sleafordnavigation.co.uk david.struckett@waterways.org.uk steve.wood@team.waterways.org.uk john.lawson@waterways.org.uk jason.watts@canalrivertrust.org.uk secretary@manchester-iwa.co.uk bcpontheoxford@gmail.com geoff.wood@waterways.org.uk david.venn@waterways.org.uk david.venn@waterways.org.uk bcpontheoxford@gmail.com steve.wood@team.waterways.org.uk

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

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

in pubs.

Please phone to confirm dates and times

SE1 8DP.

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

page 25



With the news that the Heritage Lottery Fund has given its provisional bring boats from the national network onto a ten mile length of the Cotswold Cotswold Canals restoration: the next phase begins £10 million of Heritage Lottery Fund money should – all being well – mean that following completion of the ‘Phase 1a’ length of the Cotswold Canals through Stroud which we’ve been working on for much of the last decade, major work will be able to start on the all-important next section, from Stonehouse to Saul Junction. Why is it ‘all-important’? Because this, the ‘Phase 1b’ length in Cotswold restoration terminology (see map below), will connect what’s already been restored to the national waterways network, meaning that boats from all over the country will be able to cruise through to Stroud and on to Brimscombe. It will quite literally put the Cotswold Canals on the waterways map – and add a great deal of impetus to the Cotswold Canals Trust’s campaign to carry on right up the valley, through Sapperton Tunnel, and down past Cerney, Weymoor Bridge, Eisey Lock and all our other familiar worksites to reach the Thames at the site of our current Inglesham Lock project. But to strike a note of caution, be aware of the ‘all being well’ bit above. The HLF hasn’t actually handed over a cheque for 10 million quid. What it’s done is given the bidders (Stroud District Council and CCT) £842,000 of development funding and told them to go and prepare a second stage application for the full amount. Yes, the £10m has been earmarked for the canals project (in effect, it’s ‘theirs to lose’), but there are several ways in which the bid could slip up before passing the final approval. For starters, it’s part of a bigger package of £23m to cover the total cost of reopening these four miles. So there’s £13m of ‘matching funding’ to secure. £5m of this has already been committed by bodies including SDC, CCT, the Canal & River Trust, but that leaves £8m still to confirm – and there have been canal projects which have had to withdraw their applications simply because they couldn’t raise the rest of the cash from other sources. Secondly, Phase 1a: Stonehouse to Brimscombe. Nearing completion (except Brimscombe Port and upper end, deferred pending confirmation of funding)

Phase 3: Brimscombe to Water Park. Likely to be last to be restored, but some work already done at sites including Cerney, Chalford, Coates Phase 2: Water park to Inglesham. Work done or in progress at several sites including Weymoor Bridge, Eisey Lock and current Inglesham Lock project

Phase 1b: Saul to Stonehouse. Provisional approval given May 2018 for £10m towards £23m package to complete around 2024

page 26

Cotswold Canals: Phase 2 there could be issues with permissions or ownership, as happened when a single landowner refused to sell his land and scuppered a bid to reopen the Ashby Canal to Measham some 15-20 years ago. And more recently, the unexpected discovery of seriously contaminated land put up the cost of reopening the Wendover Arm’s next length to the point where a bid had to be withdrawn having already had first stage approval. But if it dodges all these potential pitfalls (and plenty of canal schemes have – including the Cotswold Phase 1a length – so let’s not be pessimistic), what will it mean for us volunteers? That’s not an easy question to answer, as you’ll see if you look back at our involvement in Phase 1a. (And here, for the avoidance of any misunderstandings, I’d like to make it clear that by ‘our’ and ‘we’ in this article, I’m referring not just to WRG but to the whole volunteer restoration input, including CCT, KESCRG, NWPG, SDC and any others I’ve forgotten)

Pictures by Martin Ludgate

approval to a bid for £10 million of funding towards a £23m package to Canals, we look at what it might mean for volunteers in the coming years...

Pike Lock is already partly restored...

...while Newtown Lock was completed many years ago and has seen regular trip-boat use...

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When Phase 1a got its Lottery cash, it looked like it would be a chance for volunteers to heave a sigh of relief, look forward to the boats coming back to Stroud, and in the meantime find some other sites to work on. Because the plan was for contractors to not only do the serious construction work (new road bridges in Stroud town centre, at Bowbridge and elsewhere, excavating a filled-in length at Ebley, and a major diversion at Capel Mill Viaduct) but also most of the 11 lock restorations and other work too. But those were the glory years of the early to mid 2000s, when nobody had heard the words ‘credit crunch’ (and if I had, I’d probably have thought it was the name of a breakfast cereal) It seemed a reasonable plan that commercial developers would make so much out of redeveloping Brimscombe Port that they’d agree to pay for rebuilding the Brimscombe canal basin and restoring the top end of the Phase 1a length of canal as part of a planning deal. Times changed. Brimscombe went from being a source of funding for the rest of the canal restoration to being a site that would need major public money to get it going. So the restoration project was reduced slightly in scope, postponing the Brimscombe Port work and the length down as far as the tail of Hope Mill Lock until later. And between there and Stroud, four of the lock rebuilds – Ham Mill, Griffin Mill, Bowbridge and Lower Wallbridge – were taken on by volunteers to cover the cash shortfall. But while that gave us a lot of extra work, and extended the timescales compared to full-time contractors doing the job as originally planned, it served a very useful purpose in showing the HLF what a ‘professional’ job volunteers could make of restoring historic structures – which can’t have done any harm when the bid for Stage 1b went in. al To & n Gloucester r a te s C s ce n e s u o p Saul Junction Gl h a r S Whitminster Lock (part restored) To Sharpness


Two new bridges needed under A38 roundabout

River Frome

Westfield Lock (buried and part demolished) Dock Lock (part restored) Blunder Lock (restored) Pike Lock Newtown Lock (part restored) (restored)




Diversion needed including using existing bridge under M5 (alongside river).Two new locks to be built

m ot or wa y



‘Missing mile’ obliterated length

New navigable sized culvert needed to take canal under railway

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Stonehouse Start of Phase 1a length to Stroud and Brimscombe Port

...but we’ll have to find the buried remains of Westfield Lock before we can rebuild it. So basically the above four paragraphs are a long-winded way of saying ‘we can’t say for sure yet, because things change’ to the question of exactly what volunteer work there will be in Phase 1b. But it’s certainly going to be a different kind of work. As with Phase 1a there are the time-sensitive major engineering construction projects which will have to be done by professional contractors. In this case there’s a railway bridge needed just west of Stonehouse (you’ll have seen the site, if you were on the last new year camp); there’s a diversion needed to get the canal under the M5 motorway (by squeezing a new canal channel alongside the River Frome as it passes under an existing bridge); and two bridges to get under the A38 main road. Why two? Because the canal crosses where there’s a traffic roundabout! What this section doesn’t really have is very much lock restoration work. Two of the locks (Blunder and Newtown) have already been restored. Three more (Dock, Pike and Whitminster) have already been partially restored. One (Westfield) lies buried and part demolished. What this section does have (or rather what it doesn’t have, if you see what I mean!) is the ‘missing mile’. A whole mile of canal more or less disappeared during the M5 construction, and anyway would need replacing on a different route as part of the new motorway crossing. So a whole mile of new channel will need to be built, complete with two new locks to replace one on the original route and to put it at the right level to get under the M5. And there will need to be new bridges for footpaths and farm crossings. And that ‘missing mile’ work is likely to be where we come in. And when? Well, the second stage bid is likely to be submitted next year, in the hope that the final go-ahead will see major work begin in 2020. And in parallel with this work, thanks to support from Stroud District Council and the Government’s Homes & Communities Agency, it looks like Brimscombe Port’s regeneration and the postponed work at the top end of the Phase 1a section can get under way too. (So it’s probably as well that we’re moving west, as they’ll want to demolish our accommodation at Brimscombe Port soon!) All being well, a reopening to boats all the way through from Saul Junction to Brimscombe could happen by 2024. I’ll see you all in the Ship Inn for a pint! Martin Ludgate

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The Wendover Arm Trust has news of progress on the restoration and how you can support it with the raffle tickets enlosed in this issue Grand Union Wendover Arm - and GRAND DRAW 2018 It’s that time of year again when canal camps are punctuated by monsoon seasons. That is my experience anyway! Having just read Martins’ latest edition, it is now time to update you on the next big event on the WAT calendar. This, of course, is not talking about the continuing restoration, which progresses steadily metre by metre, and which we have news of below, but first we must mention how you can support it via the WAT Grand Draw - this year on 2nd September, taking place at the familiar St. Mary’s Parish Church in Drayton Beauchamp, Tring. We trust the Mayor of Tring will again officiate. The prizes are as exciting as ever, with

the week’s holiday on a narrowboat sponsored by Wyvern Shipping Co Ltd of Leighton Buzzard. (I love the pronunciation of this place by the lady on the SatNav!) The second prize is a dayboat hire from Cowroast Marina sponsored by Narrowboatdayhire.com – for up to 10 guests. The third prize is for two people to visit the dizzy heights of The Shard and a lunch on the Thames. There are also cash prizes up to the value of £100 and a total of ten prizes plus two ‘novelty’ prizes. Tickets are priced at a mere £1.00 each and there will be a book of ten tickets enclosed with this edition of Navvies. The full prize list is shown on the Trust’s web site, as are the full progress reports by way of the magazines. Extra tickets are always available from the Grand Union Main Line to Birmingham

Wendover Arm of the Grand Union Canal

Marsworth Aylesbury Arm Tringford

Infilled section: solution needed for contaminated infill problem

To London A4

Little Tring



Aston Clinton Weston Turville

Phase 3 Aston Clinton to Wendover: in water at reduced level, two new bridges needed


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Phase 2 Little Tring to Aston Clinton: under restoration

Phase 1 at Little Tring: reopened 2005 including new bridge and winding hole

track. “Old Man’s Beard” had taken over a great deal of it and is notoriously difficult to remove. The water supply from Wendover was interrupted this winter due to the growth of reeds. This has now been dealt with by CRT and the wildlife is returning. The clearance of endless undergrowth is being tackled by the ‘Tidy Friday’ crew, who gather on the Friday following the work party week that finishes on the Thursday. A very successful regime... Finally, it should be mentioned that there will be an ‘Restoration Open Day’ at St.Mary’s Church, Drayton Beauchamp from 12.30 – 4.00pm on Sunday 2 September 2018, when all are welcome. Come and see the progress (with the workers and the machinery in action.) Michael Wright

Pictures by WAT

Promoter, but beware, there are 3 Michael Wrights on the WAT membership list! See www.wendoverarmtrust.co.uk Now on to progress on the actual canal restoration... There was a bit of a setback this year when an investigation into the infilling of the canal just past the current limit of navigation near Little Tring (which was done in the period 1918 - 1928) revealed that it would not be possible just to re-site the infill to a local area. The infill now is described as “hazardous”, which requires specialist treatment . The infill was negotiated by Tring Urban District Council with the Grand Junction Canal Company, who were the owners at the time and who asked for it to cease in March 1928. The Wendover arm Trust and the Canal & River Trust are now on plan ‘B’ which seeks a possible diversion around the problem. The Whitehouses (former pumping station) project is still ongoing following the completion of the archaeological dig. In the basement, were found bottles of unknown chemicals , which were duly analysed, WAT’s volunteers doing emptied and made safe. The bottles have been retained and are now safely stored for display at some future location. Because of bad weather the March and April working parties concentrated on clearing the vegetation on the banks between Bridge 4 and the cart

serious mechanical vegetation clearance

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progress Wilts & Berks Meanwhile on the Wilts & Berks, they’ve been clearing some new sections of canal and towpath towards the west end of the canal Wilts & Berks Canal

Pictures by WBCT

As part of the preparation for a long distance walk in 2013 the Melksham, Chippenham and Calne branch of the Wilts & Berks Canal Trust was asked if it could clear 800m of tow path north of the A4 as permission had been granted by the landowner. The canal line was covered in very dense scrub including brambles some 30mm thick. Fortunately pedestrian access to the site was possible. We planned to clear a path 1.2m wide along the whole 800m, and work was started in January 2013. We suspect we were the first humans to access this line of the canal in over 100 years. After much work with multiple start points we were successful in clearing a safe route for walkers along the line. We had just spent a couple of hard months clearing a path and didn’t really want it to stop there. The landowner was approached again and a lease was obtained. We set to organising the full clearance of this section, and we developed a three year clearance plan with Ellendale Environmental. This involved clearing sections of 50m and leaving 50m of the line,

From this...

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...to this

and carrying this on in subsequent years until the clearance was finished. Although no clearance was possible during the bird nesting season the towpath grass was cut to a length to enable fauna and flora to flourish. We are fortunate to have enough volunteers in the branch to be able to work on two sites at a time, but we were very grateful for assistance given to us by the Foxham and Lyneham branch of the WBCT and the WRG Bit In The Middle team. These extra volunteers helped clear the line and remove stumps from the canal bed. Because of this extra help we were able to approach Ellendale for advice on tidying the far bank and, following this advice, we were able to complete this as well. At MCC we do not like to fell trees, and we are unlikely to have horse/donkey drawn boats on our section, so the trees along the line really do enhance the beautiful Wiltshire countryside. However a number of large trees would have blocked the navigation of this section so they had to come down. Some of the trees were outside our chainsaw qualification limit, so we were grateful for the expertise of the WRG Forestry team who visited the site on a number of occasions and felled these larger trees. The hedgerows had been allowed to simply grow wild and were a complete mess, overgrown in some areas and sparse in others. By chance I discovered that a lady I had chatted to was a qualified hedge layer. Always looking for ways of extending the skills of our volunteers, I asked if she could come along and give us some advice and practical demonstrations on hedge laying. Fiona is still with us and making great inroads to relaying hedges on this section, even when the rest of her volunteer team aren’t available! We cleared the section according to the three year plan, which taught us more skills and awareness of the environment in which we work. A number of local Cubs and Scouts groups came along and helped us plant whips in the hedge supplied free by the Woodlands Trust We have recently found a company who will grind the 55 stumps left on the tow path free of charge. Once the path is safe to walk on we will open this section to the public. WBCT Land Team are talking to the landowner who owns the next section north with a view to getting a lease to work on the next 700m. If we get a lease on this section we could, in 3-4 years’ time, be standing on the edge of the infamous Stanley Aqueduct whose collapse in 1901 was the final nail in the coffin for the Wilts & Berks. Of course if we reach the Stanley Aqueduct it should be rebuilt… shouldn’t it? Dave Maloney Chairman, MCC and F&L branches, Wilts & Berks Canal Trust wbct.org.uk melkshamwaterway.org.uk

Meanwhile on a completed length a little further west, the restored Double Bridge saw its first boat

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progress Wey & Arun Our regular roundup of restoration progress from around the country concludes with yet another lock completion on the Wey & Arun... Wey & Arun Canal First boats cross the border

Pictures by WACT

The Surrey/Sussex border near Alfold (Surrey) and Loxwood (Sussex) was the scene of celebrations on 21 April with the completion of Gennets Bridge Lock by volunteers. After the ceremony, small boats were able to navigate across the county border, possibly for the first time since the late 19th century. The Wey & Arun Canal Trust has invested about £375,000 and a huge amount of volunteer effort in the lock rebuilding project. Local landowner Nigel Gibbons unveiled a plaque on the bridge and said “When the Canal Trust first approached me, the project manager promised to create a showpiece site. That promise has certainly been fulfilled and the surroundings look magnificent”. The lock is faced with locally made bricks so that its appearance is similar to the original lock that disappeared in the early 20th century. Earlier, volunteer colleagues had The lock in the distance, and (below) crossing the border presented a card and gifts to Eric Walker, MBE, who retired as project manager earlier this year. As well as rebuilding the lock, the volunteer team constructed a new arched bridge to take the Sussex Border Path across the canal and restored the canal channel northwards towards the Surrey border. After returning from a boat trip across the Surrey border, Chairman Sally Schupke commented “This was a short but historic voyage, marking another milestone in the restoration of the canal link between London and the South Coast”.

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been a motley assortment of bolts being put back in the wrong place (or worse, not put back at all and lost) or reports of multiple and mutually incompatible faults. For example one was labelled “Will not light / does not change to full power”. Well either it won’t light or it will light but only runs on simmer. Incredibly when we took this one apart we discovered the high temperature / high voltage silicon cable to the spark igniter had been repaired with insulation tape (see picture, below). With one exception, the root causes have been down to overheating, i.e. they have been allowed to boil dry. Even if you think you have got away with it, the chances are that if you boil it dry you will have weakened some components (the thermocouples appear to be particularly sensitive to this, which is why you cannot get them to stay lit) so it may work on your camp but will likely fail on the next. If you do get a faulty Burco, by all means let head office know (we have spares and will endeavour to get it swapped out), put a note inside the box saying what the fault is so we have some idea what we are fixing (and let us know if it has been boiled dry, we would rather know before we start so we can get the bits ready), and please don’t start pulling it to pieces..... Bungle

Historic England supports us! WRG’s parent body the Inland Waterways Association has been awarded £161,066 from Historic England’s National Capacity Building programme over two years to support its Waterways Restoration Hub. The Restoration Hub supports the creation of a robust waterway restoration sector, delivering re-openings of waterways and preserving our heritage, by providing a central service for advice and resources, plus practical, hands-on help to give restoration groups more support to manage their projects. This grant will help fund WRG activities to support volunteers within the restoration sector, through funding WRG training days, Canal Camps, youth engagement, and some Personal Protection Equipment costs. In terms of the wider restoration sector it will allow IWA to promote multi-partnership working, provide technical guidance, engage stakeholders and champion canal restoration. Over the next two years you will see the Restoration Hub grow into a centralised service for the entire restoration sector to support the 60 volunteer groups restoring 700 miles of waterway, in order to help them effectively progress the work they are undertaking. We aim to build knowledge and capacity at a local level, resulting in more of these waterways being re-opened - thus securing the future of our waterway heritage. For more information contact myself on email Alex.melson@waterways.org.uk. Alex Melson

...then don’t bugger about with it! We spend a lot of time repairing equipment, we understand that kit gets heavily used during the summer and there will inevitably be wear and tear. However the job is made much harder when well meaning people “have a go” at fixing things, especially if they do not tell us they have done it so we first have to work out what bodge has been attempted before we can understand what the fault is. This winter the prime examples have been gas Burco boilers. Clearly some people have tried to fix them and the result has


If you don’t know what you are doing...

“even a two year old knows this isn’t right”

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Safety focus: Dust Masks Our insurers have asked WRG to advise and ensure Dust Masks are fitted correctly on site. There are a number of tasks that involve our volunteers to wear respirators on site. Without trying to patronise large swathes of volunteers please read all about how to ‘correctly’ fit a dust mask! Why wear Dust Masks? Dust Masks protect workers against airborne particles including dust and powders. They are used commonly across a number of industries, including construction, agricultural, and pharmaceuticals. Commonly a requirement on restoration sites, dust masks are needed for a number of tasks, including: cement mixing, carpentry, drilling or cutting. Types of Dust Masks: The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) designates three ratings for dust masks under EN 149 standards. Each rating offers varying levels of protection depending for different workplaces. Dust masks are designated under these three ratings: FPP1: Protection against low levels of dust, as well as solid and liquid aerosols. These dust masks offer protections up to 4x Occupational Exposure Limits (OEL) or 4x Assigned Protection Factor (APF). Commonly suitable for drilling, cutting, sanding or carpentry. FPP2: Protection against moderate levels of dust, as well as solid and liquid aerosols. These dust masks offer protections up to 12x OEL or 4x APF. Commonly suitable for plastering and sanding FPP3: Protection against moderate levels of dust, as well as solid and liquid aerosols. These dust masks offer protections up to 50x OEL or 20x APF. Commonly suitable mixing lime mortar and cement. Once the level of contaminants has been identified based on the workplace, you will be able to choose to appropriate dust mask. Fitting Dust Masks: Without ensuring a proper fit for the dust mask, it’s almost a pointless exercise wearing one. In a recent review of restoration site across the country it was identified that mask were not fitted correctly. The following section is not an attempt to be patronising, but to demonstrate the proper way to fit a mask, to ensure all wearers are effectively protected against harmful particulates.

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The following points show the correct method of fitting a mask: Hold the respirator in one hand and separate the edges to fully open it with the other hand. Bend the nose wire (where present) at the top of the respirator to form a gentle curve. Turn the respirator upside down to expose the two headbands, and then separate them using your index finger and thumb. Hold the headbands with your index finger and thumb and cup the respirator under your chin. Position the upper headband on the crown of your head, above the ears, not over them. Position the lower strap at the back of your head below your ears. Ensure that the respirator is flat against your cheeks. Mould the nosepiece across the bridge of your nose by firmly pressing down with your fingers until you have a good facial fit. If a good fit cannot be achieved, try another size or design of dust mask. The Elephant in the room – Facial Hair: As you may be aware, some of your volunteers may have a beard! The Health and Safety Executive notes that Facial hair – stubble and beards – make it impossible to get a good seal of the mask to the face. If you are clean-shaven when wearing tightfitting masks (ie those which rely on a good seal to the face), this will help prevent leakage of contaminated air around the edges of the mask and into your lungs. You will therefore be breathing in clean air, which will help you stay healthy. Those undertaking operations requiring respiratory equipment should be clean shaven to maximise the effectiveness of the mask. However alternative forms of respiratory equipment are available for those wishing to maintain their beard. For more information contact me at alex.melson@waterways.org.uk. Alex Melson

Safety report 2017 As WRGies should realise, WRG takes Accidents, Incidents and Near Misses very seriously. For the last few years I have volunteered to undertake the task of reviewing these on behalf of the WRG Board. At the Leader Training day and the WRG Committee meeting, I presented the report for the year 2017 (which covers October 2016 - October 2017). Overall for 2017 accidents, incidents and near misses have been nothing abnormal: a couple of vehicle incidents, and cases of thorns piercing gloves and going into hands and fingers etc on scrub-bashing working parties. That’s not to say we should be complacent about any aspect of safety but here we will highlight just a few points raised by the report – starting with one to remind us that accidents can happen in the kitchen as well as on the worksite. Nearly all accidents and incidents could have been avoided. For example going to hold a pan when the pan is on the stove: the chances are that it will be hot, so use oven cloths or tea towels to save burning yourself. If one worksite had been properly cleared after work had been done previously, then someone might not have belatedly found the sharp metal bar in the long grass the following year: it had obviously been cut and just left. The adage ‘a tidy site is a safe site’ comes to mind – try to make sure it comes to mind at the time, rather than later! The vehicle incidents in all cases relate to driver error. Nobody is perfect, but perhaps if instead of struggling with a large vehicle you give yourself space and assess the issues before attempting to drive, you will help to avoid these. Otherwise once you have damaged the van it’s a bit late to then say “yes it was a bit tight”. A banksman, even for a van, is a good idea. Similarly, perhaps more thought could be given when people arrive on site to parking the kit trailer. If you think will it be in the way, could it be moved to a better position? Now (same as always) the biggest moan: when the forms are filled in they often do not having enough details: such as no date, no location, no treatment received. It is important that all the information is included as it helps to monitor for trends and prevent a recurrence. The WRG Board will act on any trends (for example we now have mandatory safety

specs on site and have replaced the Burcos with self-igniting ones) – but only if we can see what the trends are. Be sure to use the right form. As we said last year: if there is an injury, it doesn’t matter how minor, then the accident form needs to be completed. If there is an incident but no injury to anyone, then use an incident form. A near miss is something that could have caused an accident or injury, such as cutting a tree and leaving it hanging and then leaving site. If the tree were to fall down later, it was just very lucky that nobody was near it at the time if it came down. So only one form will need to be completed for every occurrence. To repeat: if there is an injury, which requires treatment or use of the first aid kit, it should be on an accident form and not the incident form. If you have any further questions about dealing with accidents or incidents or any other aspect of safety, please contact head office. Dave Hearnden

WRG Forestry looking for work WRG Forestry Team are looking for work sites for their qualified chainsaw specialists for their 12-13 Jan 2019 and 16-17 Mar 2019 weekend work parties, and for a week’s camp during October 2019 school half term. If your canal society has suitable work, email them on nigel.lee@wrg.org.uk.

Lost property Found in minibus D16EHP, two beds. One blue air bed and one clip-together metal sprung frame in a red bag (picture below). Claim by end of July (to bungle@wrg.org.uk) or they go to a local homeless charity.

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infill including Dear Deirdre Dear Deirdre I’m in a bit of a quandary. I accepted a lift from a fellow volunteer to get to the last dig and unfortunately I left my boots in the back of his car. I do have a spare pair of boots but I left those in the van. I’d buy another pair, but I left my wallet on a limestone wing wall at Inglesham. What on earth am I to do? - JK, Milton Thrubwell

Deirdre writes Why don’t you start bringing your mum on digs? you clearly still need her to look after you.

Dear Deirdre For years and years we’ve been told that the derelict factory we use as accommodation at Brimscombe is about to be demolished, and obviously we all ignore it now. I keep a folding bed there, along with a pair of orthopedic pillows, a duvet and some clothes. Obviously I leave a spare pair of work boots too and my digging anorak, along with some Christmas decorations, a coffee maker and a flatscreen TV. Then there’s my microwave so I can heat up porridge on digs. I’ve also started getting mail delivered there, I’m on the electoral roll and I’ve registered with the local doctors. But the rumours about demolition are getting more urgent. Do you think I should start moving my stuff out? - AL, Brimscombe (obviously)

Deirdre writes Yes I think within the next four years you might definitely have to think about hiring a removal van and starting moving your stuff out. Do you have a question for Deirdre? Just email it to the editor and we’ll get her reply

Overheard at Inglesham...

Read all about it!

Just in case the piece in the last issue extolling the attractions of the Inglesham Lock restoration project weren’t enough to tempt you to book on a camp (or at the very least a weekend) there this summer, well surely this list of quotes garnered by Tasterella Taster from a recent London WRG and KESCRG joint dig will finally make your mind up for you...

The papers seem to be particularly full of wacky stories about canals right now... First there was a story from the Grand Canal in Dublin, where on a hot weekend everybody headed down to the canal (Dublin’s canal’s seem popular with everyone but boaters!) with a few cans of beer and some food. Unfortunately many revellers were a little less than careful about disposing of their empty cans and trash, resulting in the canalside looking like a rubbish tip. So the publicly spirited landlord of a canalside bar hit on a way to get it tidied up - he offered a free pint of beer in exchange for every sackful of litter from the canalside. We’re wondering if any BCN pubs might be tempted to do the same for next year’s clean up... no, probably not. Next it was the pair of Glasgow lads who had a few beers and headed off down the Forth & Clyde Canal in search of a chip shop - rowing along in an inflatable paddling pool, beer cans clutched in their hands, singing a song by Oasis. Finally, back in Dublin, Deliveroo have taken to delivering takeaways by water using a kayak. Hope the pizzas don’t get splashed.

1. 2. 3. 4.

I’ve somehow left my clothes behind Has Tim dropped anything in yet? Watch out for that green slime Fran! It’s just like brick cleaning, but in a horizontal plane 5. When’s tea break? 6. I thought this was meant to be a girly weekend? 7. I’ve managed to knock the bulb out now, this handle is too long 8. So those jeans have lasted 22 years have they... by ‘’lasted’’ do you mean they are still just about ‘decent’? 9. That loo has a heated toilet seat 10. Take a bucket in with you, the flush isn’t really up to the job

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outro Cotswold lookback

Griffin Mill 2012

Ham Mill 2014 As we look forward to the start of the next phase of the Cotswold Canals restoration (see p26) we look back at the locks we’ve helped restore on the current section - and what they look like finished... Wallbridge Lower 2015

Bowbridge 2014

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Profile for The Inland Waterways Association

Navvies June-July 2018  

Navvies June-July 2018