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avvies N Volunteers restoring waterways No 182August - September 2000

Works! -- latest latest news news WRG Works! The Waltham Waltham Abbey Canals The Camps: Elsecar, Elsecar, Droitwich, Droitwich, Over Over Camps:

waterway recovery group

Contents Contributions... ...are always welcome, whether hand-written, typed, on 3½" disk (please include hard-copy) or by e-mail. Photos also welcome: slides or colour or b/w prints. Please state whether you want your prints back; I assume that you want slides returned. Computer scanned photos also acceptable, either on disk or as e-mail attachments, preferably JPG format. Send them to the editor Martin Ludgate, 35, Silvester Road, London SE22 9PB, or e-mail to Press date for No 183: September1st. (apart from WRG Works! coverage - included in a separate insert printed later)


In this issue:

Chairman 'Waterways for tomorrow' 4-5 WRGWorks! more on our 30th birthday 6-7 Waltham Abbey not the festival, the canals! 8-9 Little Venice Canalway Cavalcade report 10-13 Bankside the (un)popular serial returns 14 Dig Report from Over (where else?!?) 15 Progress England, Ireland and Over 16-17 Diary camps and working parties 18-20 Letters to the editor 21-22 Logistics how to put a griddle in a trailer 23 Camp reports the Sleaford, Droitwich 24-31 and Dearne & Dove Canals Training weekend report and pictures 22-33 Bits and pieces and coming events 34 Noticeboard stamps wanted! 35 Backfill excuses for bricklayers 36

And next time... ...a very special issue to commemorate 30 years of WRG. Full coverage of all WRG Works! events, plus - assuming you write them - all the rest of the summer's camp reports including the festival at Waltham Abbey. We might even stretch to printing a colour cover and - if you're really lucky - a full-colour 'Last Ditch' cartoon! And more details of the forthcoming Bonfire Bash and Xmas events.

A year's subscription (6 issues) is available for a minimum of ÂŁ1.50 (please add a donation if possible) to Sue Watts, 15 Eleanor Road, Chorltoncum-Hardy, Manchester M21 9FZ. Cheques to "Waterway Recovery Group" please. Visit our web site: for all the latest news

Cover photo: Camp 0007 volunteers rebuild the side-pond paddle chamber at lock 2, Droitwich Junction canal - see camp report on p30-31(Martin Ludgate) Below: first 'narrow boat' in the Hereford & Gloucester Canal at Over for about 120 years! By the time you read this, there should be enough water at Over to float a more conventional canal craft in - and by the end of September there might even be some of them floating in it... will you be there to see it? See p6-7 and get your booking form in! (Adrian Fry)

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It's all Over now... You will be relieved to read that for the first time in many months, I'm not trying to beg, cajole, bully or blackmail you into spending your remaining spare time helping the Hereford & Gloucester Canal Trust's major project at Over. Because by the time you read this, the deadline for completion will be within a day or two, and - all being well - the work will be finished. The very latest news - as I write this very latest of late editorials - is that the lock upper wing walls are up to three-quarters full height, the feature wall bricklaying is complete, the gabion bank is finished, and lots of landscaping is under way all over the site. We are about to begin a final nine-day blitz to get it finished, and with Swan Hill Homes (and their subcontractors CJL) giving full co-operation - they want it finished as much as we do because their show home opens in a fortnight! - it looks like we'll do it. Just. So (fingers crossed, touch wood) well done everybody who helped to complete one of the volunteer movement's biggest projects to date - and we look forward to see you all at the opening in September. It ain't all Over... Strange as it may seem to some of us, there does exist a canal system beyond the confines of Over Basin - and there's some important news in the big wide world of the government and British Waterways. As covered in Mike's 'Chairman's Comment' on the next page, 'Waterways for Tomorrow', the waterways 'daughter paper' to the government white paper on Transport has finally been published. Mike deals with the document in a general manner overleaf; I would like to quote a couple of specifics... On roads crossing disused canals: "The Government wants to see new road and other development proposals take proper account of waterway restoration. We will publish guidance for local planning authorities, and for those preparing new development proposals, to ensure in particular that the effect of new road schemes on waterways earmarked for restoration is considered fully from the outset." OK, 'considered fully' doesn't necessarily mean 'fully provided for' but it's a step in the right direction. "The revised Planning Policy Guidance Note PPG13 will encourage local authorities to identify and, where appropriate, protect disused waterways where there is a realistic likelihood of a restoration project proceeding in whole or in part within the development plan period, by allocating the land in development plans and ensuring the sites and routes are not severed by other uses. Restoration projects will need to be assessed on a case by case basis taking into account criteria including whether the project is credible in concept and capable of delivering economic, environmental or social benefits." Once again, the LA's are being 'encouraged', not 'instructed'. But it still looks good - especially for restorationsthathavegotfeasibilitystudiesandcost-benefitanalyses done. And anyway, the government seem much worse for not making provision for navigation (remember Latton, BNRR, Derby southern bypass) than local authorities are. So when the Government starts telling LA's

Editorial to make provision, maybe there's a chance they might follow their own advice next time they build a trunk road? "We will also issue guidance in the Design Manual for Roads and Bridges encouraging HighwaysAgency road designers to consider waterway restoration projects at the outset and to provide navigable crossings where appropriate. This guidance will apply formally to road schemes taken forward by the Highways Agency but will influence other road designers who refer to the Design Manual when drawing up their proposals." Still, only 'encouraging' not 'requiring', mind you. But maybe this signals a reduced likelyhood of the BNRR / Lichfield & Hatherton fiasco happening again. On the subject of nature conservation... "A moderate amount of boat traffic is, in fact, generally helpful in sustaining biodiversity on canals. In a small number of cases there has been conflict between navigation and environmental objectives, mainly when disused canals are being restored..." [...or sometimes when disused canals have already been restored - in which case 'environmental objectives' is an interesting phrase to describe the takeover by wildlife supporters of a canal restored from 'dry ditch' by pro-navigation interests... but there you go...] "...TheGovernmentbelievesthatthedifferentpartiesshould work together constructively to resolve these difficulties the waterways serve many purposes and it is in everyone's interest to co-operate... We will be issuing guidance on the notification and management of SSSIs which we hope will help to minimise difficulties of this kind. English Nature is willing to consult the Inland Waterways Association... before it notifies new SSSIs affecting waterways." ...I wonder if IWA might occasionally have to remind EN of their willingness to consult? Meanwhile the newspapers are full of reports of BW 'planning to spend ÂŁ70 million on a new canal to link Bedford to the GU' and lots more about BW supporting canal restorations, without any mention of any other organisations being involved at all. So what is this? One of those unfortunate cases where BW appears to take credit for other people's work - and this time other people's fundraising too? No, actually BW publicly launched an initiative to test the viability of six schemes (Mont, Droitwich, Cotswold, Bedford-GU, Foxton, Lancaster northern reaches) and their press release gave full credit to all the other organisations involved - including WRG. Unfortunately the newspapers then wrote-out all the references to anyone but BW! It's enough to make you scream! Or maybe it's enough to make you sign up for all the WRG Works! events, and show the world and the press that it's not just BW that restores canals! Martin Ludgate

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Chairman Have you sent your booking form in for WRG Works! yet? Chairman's Comment By the time you read this we will be at the end of our summer Canal Camps and, as I write this, they have all been real crackers. A really great bunch of people both old and new have made great progress on sites all around the country. But just as we all pack up for the summer there is one little item on the horizon - WRG Works!. It is just possible that with all the recent high profile announcements from British Waterways you might have missed out on the fact that it is our 30th Birthday. We felt that no one single event would be appropriate to represent such a milestone so we decided to hold a whole series of events. This should give anyone who has ever been involved with us a chance to contribute, be it for one day or the whole fortnight. In addition all the works represent completions of projects, re-openings, rewaterings, steps forward (both large and small) and other such celebratory things. So the second half of September looks like this: The main event at Pant on the Montgomery Canal will take place on 16-17 September 2000 and will be a big jungle bash. There will be our usual “reunion style” party on the Saturday night, hopefully with fireworks and a bonfire. A small number of people will be needed from the Thursday before (14 September) to the Monday after (18 September), to get the site ready and tidy up - please contact Lou Kellett if you can help. The next site to come “on line” is Darnford Lane at Lichfield. This will be interesting and varied work - lining 50 metres of the canal from the lift bridge to an earth dam, so if you’ve got large excavators or vans on your ticket, we’d like to hear from you! We’d also really welcome lots of other people too, because there will be many other jobs.

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From Monday 18 September to Friday 22 September, we’ll need a fair number of people to help with the work (contact Dan Evans if you're interested) and on Saturday/Sunday 23-24 September, we’ll need lots of people to help us finish the work, and possibly rewater that part of canal. We’ll have a big party on the Saturday night featuring the WRG curryathon and a racenight. Finally we move to Over (of course) on Monday 25 September to Thursday 28 September 2000 This will be an opportunity to tidy up the site and get everything ready for the grand opening at the weekend; tell Adrian Fry if you can help with this. The official opening will be at 1 o’clock on Friday 29th Sept and there will be a hog roast on site that evening, and a big party on Saturday 30 September. The Saturday party will have live music and discos and will follow ‘The Restoration Game’ - an even sillier and more spectacular version of the WRG Boaters’ games held at the National. This will be held on site on the Saturday afternoon and we’re hoping for a team from each of our regional groups plus other guest teams. For more information and contact details for all the WRG Works! events, see the article on pages 6-7 of this issue or the WRG web site Q. So where do you fit in all of this? A. Wherever you want to !!! We have been keen to ensure that there is something for everyone. If you like our usual “reunion style” events then come to the big Pant junglebash or the Over celebrations. If you are after a slightly quieter party then perhaps the Lichfield Curryathon and Race Night is more for you. Similarly if you want to spend the day chopping down trees then Pant is for you. If you want to spend time wrestling with the intricacies of rubber lining or stone facing then perhaps Lichfield or Over are more your scene. Or then again just come for the lot. So contact your digging buddies and even if you just come along to moan about how good it was in the old days then you will be welcome. But please note: because this event is so complex the accommodation requirements are equally complex (12 people on Thursday night and 160 people on Friday night!). So please ensure you do book rather than just turn up.

In order to book for the weekends please use the form in this Navvies. If you are keen to work during the week then please contact the site leader directly (see pages 6-7) to discuss the availability of accommodation, we can only take so many people and first choice must go to those with the relevant skills, attitude or who can commit to several days. So that’s what we are doing in a positive, upbeat, forward-looking manner. What’s the rest of the waterways movement doing? The Department of Environment, Transport and the Regions have finally issued the “Waterways For tomorrow” document. A direct reply to IWAACs “Undervalued Asset” report and the result of a lot of campaigning by IWA, BW and many others, it seems to place waterways much higher up the political agenda than before. As well as issuing a series of challenges to the whole waterways movement it also accepts all of the proposals that BW obtained from their recent consultation “Partnership With The People”. Put simply, the politicos have been convinced that there are votes in waterways. However it is important to note that there is no statutory legislation to back up this new vision. BW have only been “asked” to carry out these new duties, they can be told to stop at anytime. So unfortunately it is not quite a case of putting our feet up and letting it all happen. We still have to encourage people to demonstrate they have an interest in the waterways and value them appropriately. (And no, that is not the same as getting lots more people on to the waterways.) Undoubtedly the document is very good news for the waterways in general but what does it mean for us? Reading through the document you cannot miss the references to volunteers and the community. Who exactly are these volunteers? I feel that in many of the cases they are probably not us. Obviously where it mentions direct restoration then we are part of the jigsaw, but only part as they often refer to the other type of essential volunteer. Those who do the mowing, man the information centres, run the trip boats, empty the litter bins, etc. This is much more the preserve of the local societies and just as we have a duty to ensure “best practice” amongst volunteers doing actual restoration work then they should ensure that all their secrets (and problems) regarding encouraging a real local commitment should be brought together and shared to ensure success.

Chairman "Waterways are much higher up the political agenda than before" Make no mistake, these volunteers make a vital contribution to any canal restoration scheme (especially the exit strategy i.e. how the canal runs after it is restored). Whatever happens Mr Prescott has launched a challenge that will require many, many more volunteers. So although the Government “appear” to given waterways a new level of protection they do want their reward for all this assistance, namely the commitment of many more people than just us nutters in wellies. So to sum up we have won a major battle, but there are now new challenges to ensure that waterways get the full respect they deserve. And our contribution to this? Doing what we have always done - being the best and insisting on the very highest standards, whether we are doing the job or someone else. And so what have WRG Brass done to try and encourage you to be the best? Well firstly we have replaced a couple of vans to make sure that as you move around the country you have the most reliable, safest kit you can have. We have traded in LRY against a new minibus and also bought a new panel van that will eventually replace JFH but while we have the Over commitment we will keep JFH on till September. Secondly we have ensured that our new restoration bible the Practical Restoration Handbook has been circulated to WRG regional groups, each van has a copy as does each Camps Kit. This is full of good advice and I strongly recommend that whenever you are given a job to do that you read the relevant section for good hints and tips. Best wishes and see you in September. Mike Palmer PS Regarding the BW announcement that they will restore 200 million quidsworth of canals. Well they have since said they do not understand how the press had got so confused as they had only said they could identify 200 million quidsworth of work that they would like to be involved in if only someone can find the money.

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By the time you read this, the "WRG Works!" programme of events to mark WRG's 30th birthday will be less than a month away. Time to start filling in those booking forms (enclosed with this 'Navvies' and the last one), and looking forward to a fortnight of hard work and celebrations. Or just a couple of days - you'll be welcome at any or all of the events.

First of all, we have two days to turn this....

...into a restored canal! WRG Works! kicks off on September 16-17 with our annual Reunion Weekend - that's right, the one we usually hold in early November - at Pant, on the Montgomery Canal. The 'Pant Dry Section' is a two-mile length of impenetrable jungle near the Welsh border - one of the last totally unrestored bits of the 'Mont' - that needs to be completely cleared of vegetation before it can be made waterproof, re-watered and hopefully re-opened to boats in a few years time. This is a chance for you to practice your slash-and-burn conservation skills and meet up with all the people you met on your summer Canal Camps. But it's not just a reunion for campers; volunteers are welcome from WRG and other regional groups - and anyone else who wants to help keep the momentum of restoration going on "The most important unrestored canal in the country". Accommodation is at Oswestry Secondary School. There will be a party on the Saturday night hopefully the fact that it's September rather than November 5th won't stop us celebrating with the usual fireworks and bonfire. Fill in and send off the enclosed booking form to reserve your place. A small number of people will be needed from the Thursday before (14 September 2000) to the Monday after (18 September 2000), to get the site ready and tidy up. The accommodation for these days will be at West Felton Village Hall. More details from Lou Kellett: Tel 01524 221518 or e-mail

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Next we have a week to make this... For more info on

phone 01923 711114 e-mail or see the WRG web site ...waterproof and fill it with water! The article in the last 'Navvies' concentrated on the weekend work, but we need weekday volunteers as well. The work at Lichfield will be run as an extra Canal Camp running from 18th to 22nd September - and we need lots of volunteers to line the canal... no, that doesn't sound right... we need volunteers to install the lining in the canal! The section of canal at Darnford Lane is to be waterproofed using a novel Bentonite membrane - which comes on rolls. The rolls will be mounted on an excavator boom so we need people with WRG driver authorisation for Large Excavators - plus we need people to work on joining the sheets together, to puddle the sides where the rubber joins the piling, to drive dumpers bringing clay/earth etc. and many other jobs. So volunteers are welcome, whether for the whole week or just a day or two. Accommodation for the week is at Cruck House It should be a fun week - with the usual Lichfield mix of entertainments, including a boat trip, quiz and skittles. Contact Dan Evans (Tel: 0208 560 1798 mobile: 07968 196896 e-mail: or Izzy Gascgoine (Tel: 01234 838529 mobile: 07932 730519 e-mail: for more details and to book your place for the week! The culmination of the week's work will be a weekend 'bash' on September 23-24 to finish off the work including - we hope - the re-watering of the canal plus (surprise surprise) another party on the Saturday night. Please use the enclosed form to book for the weekend; accommodationi is at the 8th Scout Group Hall.

Finally we have four days to make this...

...into a showpiece canal basin! OK, only kidding - see p17 for some rather more up-to-date pictures of Over! We need volunteers on Monday 25th to Thursday 28th September to make sure all's ready for the Official Opening on Friday 29th and the finale of WRG Works! - the Grand WRG Celebration Party on Saturday 30th. Contact Adrian Fry (Tel: 07976 640962, e-mail: for more info and to volunteer for weekday work, and use the enclosed form to book accommodation for the weekend.

Don't miss it! It's a long time till our 40th birthday!

Martin Ludgate

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Feature Alittle-knowncanalsystemwithin afewyardsofthisyear's'National' Waltham Abbey Royal Gunpowder Mills Canal System If anyone working in August on the National Waterways Festival site at Waltham Abbey looked eastwards they would see beyond the Lee Navigation and the flood relief channel a high security fence with fine mesh screens in sections, and behind this the roofs of buildings scattered through woodland. The screens were dust filters erected during decontamination of what was virtually an unknown Government establishment - originally Waltham Abbey Royal Gunpowder Mills, under Crown ownership from 1787 and latterly after WWII a research facility for rocket fuels, propellants etc. The Mills produced gunpowder based on natural products - saltpetre, sulphur and charcoal - the woodlands mentioned above were plantations of alder, willow and dogwood for charcoal making. From around 1880 production switched to chemically based product but gunpowder continued to be produced for specialised fuse purposes until 1943. The Establishment closed in 1991.

The Mills set high quality standards and discoveries made there and processes devised strongly influenced not only military applications but also the huge demands of the 19th Century for gunpowder for civil use - mines, harbours, railways, construction etc. Explosives production for safety reasons is in small separated buildings and the site is extensive - 170 acres - and contains no less than 300 buildings, 20 of which are Grade II* or Grade II listed and one Grade I. A refurbishment programme is under way at present and WARGM will open as a major industrial archaeological interpretive centre in 2001. Why write about this in a journal devoted to waterway restoration? The answer lies in the crucial role water played in the operation of the Mills. Firstly as a basic and vital power source until superseded by steam, for grinding, mixing pressing etc. But beyond this water was particularly appropriate to the special transportation needs of gunpowder. It needed a secure smooth-running transport mode both for import of raw material and for finished product - the link from the Mills via the Lee Navigation to the Thames for the Docks for imports and for finished supply to the Woolwich Arsenal and the magazine at Purfleet and to the canal system for supply to the military depot at Weedon was ideal.

However it was the production process which created the third application of most interest to the canal enthusiast. The need for separated production meant that there was a continual movement of material between the buildings - fuel, basic intermediate and final product, general stores. Much of this involved some hazard spark, sudden shock etc. The transport medium had therefore to be as smooth and controllable as possible. What better than water? So within the Mills was created an internal canal system between the facilities, each with its own canopied loading wharf and connecting with the Lee Navigation via the Powdermill Cut. There were two watermen to control the water flows, The later of the two interchange locks between levels, built 1878. (Les Tucker) one living on site.

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The system was complex and interlinking with a total length of about 3 miles and was on two levels with 2 internal locks and one on the Cut and included 4 aqueducts: all still exist except the lock to the Cut. In the latter part of the 19th Century the Mills had 15 covered boats ranging from 20 to 30ft. in length, 16 open boats and 4 barges for transportation on the Lee and Thames. 4 boats are at present preserved under water, pending future developments, a further 3 on land and the last sailing barge is still sailing.

Above: close-up of paddle gear at the 1878 lock - might the unusual design be influenced by the need to avoid jolts? Below: one of many canopied loading points, serving a cordite store. Note the lightning conductor: a gunpowder mill would have been an interesting place in a thunderstorm. (Photos by Les Tucker)

Over the years with changing production requirements parts of the system were filled in, new sections opened and sometimes filled sections were reopened. However basically the structure, the locks and the aqueducts have survived, in what is in the wooded sections virtually a wilderness - overall a unique example of a highly specialised industrial water transportation system for a unique purpose. Perhaps a future Waltham Abbey camp will be on the other side of that fence? Les Tucker To find out more about the Waltham Abbey mills and their canals, contact Waltham Abbey Royal Gunpowder Mills, Powdermill Lane, Waltham Abbey EN9 1BN. E-mail, web site

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Little Venice KESCRG site services camp for IWA Canalway Cavalcade rally Diary of a KESCRG volunteer: "Big time in Little Venice" Tuesday 25th April 2000 -Tuesday 2nd May 2000 Tuesday: Eddie Jones had phoned me on Sunday to see when I could come down. So I arranged to set off straight after work so I could meet him the Tuesday night.... it was a desperate rush to get everything ready... It wasn’t until I was on the train that I realised I’d forgotten my shaving kit and my hairbrush. I then set off on the Tube to get to little Venice, near Paddington. It was 9:30 by the time I got to the pub where I was to meet Eddie, who told me that it was just he and I from KESCRG. The rest would be turning up in the next couple of days. After a couple of pints we decided to go to the meeting that we should have been attending! All the other organisers from the various groups were there; the meeting was to discuss the final details before Canalway Cavalcade began. Most of what was being discussed was beyond me, but luckily Eddie had already briefed me on our role. That night we were to sleep on a narrow boat on the Paddington arm from Little Venice pool. The boat was called Michael and we were supposed to be sharing it with some teenagers from a youth group who were to help us the next day. However an argument had broken out and the youth leader had decided to punish the whole group by sending them all home.

Wednesday: We got up at about 7:00 am. Eddie and I went over the days plans once again. I was to set off on the Tube and catch a train from Victoria to Stoke Newington, to pick up the marquees, tables and chairs and the crash barriers that were to be set up at Little Venice. Two other KESCRG members Nick and Sally would be there to help. On the way I managed to pop into a shop and buy razors. It started to rain. We were to load up a box truck with the gear and then take it down to the River Lee and unload it. From there we would load it onto a working narrow boat (which Eddie had gone to collect) and then take it by canal to Little Venice. We went via the Hackney Cut and joined the Grand Union (Regents) Canal which took us past the back of King’s Cross, Camden Town and Regents Park. It was very interesting to see and meet different people on the canal and also to see parts of London in a way not normally experienced by most people. The boat, called 'Angel', was a working narrow boat owned by Paul and Lynn who were to be mooring at Little Venice for the duration. When we reached Little Venice Maureen and Brian had arrived. Maureen was to keep us fed and watered for the duration of the Cavalcade. This first day had been absolutely exhausting, and tomorrow we were to unload the boat and set up the marquees. Luckily there would be more people turning up to help. The evening was spent, as most evenings would be, drinking beer. This was the first chance I had to chat with Ken Parish, the chairman of KESCRG. He had just bought a new narrow boat and was to show it off at the cavalcade. It was his birthday soon so he was going to throw a party at the end of the cavalcade.

Thursday: It was an early start again. Paul, Lynn, Brian, Eddie and myself started to unload and sort out the equipment from 'Angel'. We had three marquees, pedestrian safety barriers, trellis tables for the traders' stalls, some market stalls, and lots of chairs. Most of this was put in a corral to keep it away from the public, as today was going to be spent putting up the marquees. Dorothy and Libby and a few early traders helped us with setting up the frame for the two bigger marquees. Alan joined us at midday just in time to help with hammering the spikes into the ground. Alan’s job for the weekend was as Communications, monitoring the walkie-talkie radios that were to be used by the various organLucky me, a cabin all of my own! isers and volunteers.

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This evening the boats were to be swapped about as the Tideway Adventurers, who would be helping out Dorothy and Libby, were to get Michael and we were to get three boats in return. One boat would be our kitchen and the Comms centre (as well as Alan, Brian and Maureens sleeping place) and the other two would be for everyone else to sleep on. I can’t remember what we did in the afternoon, I was too tired! Friday: Today was when most of the traders would be arriving and a lot more volunteers; Helen Gardner was to organise the rest of the KESCRG volunteers over the weekend, leaving Eddie to look after site infrastructure. Another Ed, from London WRG, turned up to help with the last of the setting up. He was also to be a steward for the weekend. A couple of old faces turned up as well; Jenni and James who I had met at Wey & Arun joined us to help. In the morning I helped Helen and Ed with setting out bins, stalls and fire extinguishers, and generally helping out the traders as they arrived. The afternoon was spent helping Eddie and Brian setting out the electrical cables for the site. To say that some of those cables were heavy would be an understatement! And it started to rain again. Just before dinner I managed to get a decent wash, I was very pleased about that! [as were the rest of the volunteers, I'm sure. ...Ed] That night we managed to get to the pub for a couple of drinks before closing time.

Eddie, Ken and Jenni obviously having an important meeting… Saturday - Start of Canalway Cavalcade 2000. This morning was bright and sunny and as we finished our breakfast the traders were arriving to open their stalls. My mission for the morning was to help Ian, James, and the others to erect the entertainment tent. It was much older than the marquees and a bit more difficult to put together, but between six of us we managed to set up the frame and haul the canvas roof into position. Just in time as well, as the band had arrived and was waiting patiently for us to complete our task. With this done I got a chance to look around the Cavalcade and see what was going on. The Cavalcade was to be officially opened at 2pm, and we were asked to make the Horse Bridge where the ceremony would take place secure. The ceremony was then followed by the boat pageant. All the boats had been decorated with flags and bunting, and it was a beautiful sight.

Little Venice in full swing.

The weather was nice and getting better all the time. That night we ate like kings (as always). Maureen’s fabulous cooking meant that rather than burning off a few pounds with all this work, I was in trouble of not being able to fasten by belt! Three more days, excellent!

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The first thing to go were the lights, followed by the emptying and removal of the portable toilets. For this job I got the wonderful task of standing in the middle of the road and directing the busy traffic around the pump truck! At 6pm the site closed for the last time and the volunteers began the task of tidying up; collecting the last lot of rubbish, the fire extinguishers, taking down the remaining electric cabling. As the traders packed up their stalls and left we set to dismantling the marquees. There were a few more people to help in this and they came down easier than they went up. All the tables, chairs, mud weights, bins, signs, and any other stuff that we could find was stacked up near our boats ready to be taken away the next morning.

The bank holiday brings flocks of visitors.

With the days work over it was time to celebrate everyone’s hard work with a barbecue of our own.

Car parking space for traders was being borrowed from a nearby office. It was required that someone be there at the beginning and the end of the day when traders’ vehicles were arriving or leaving the car park. This evening was my turn. It’s not the most interesting job you could get, and in hindsight I should have taken something to read, but I did get to use a walkie-talkie for the first time.

Tuesday: The numbers had fallen as a lot of volunteers had to be back at work today but there were enough people still around to finish off the last tasks.

That night instead of drinking…oh no I remember now, we drank that night as well. Sunday: Today the weather was fabulous. Nice and warm and beautiful sunshine. With so many volunteers for the Cavalcade itself, it meant that we could have a more relaxing time - sitting in the sun drinking beer. This night there was a barbecue held for all the traders, boat owners and volunteers. So we all got our tickets for the free food and lined up. After the meal we were heading off to see the procession of illuminated boats in the pool when the chief caterer called me over. They had over catered and there was plenty of uncooked food left. Being grateful for KESCRG’s help he wondered if we could use it. I asked Maureen and she said that we were to have out own little barbecue tomorrow night so any food was welcome. We didn’t expect the amount they gave us. Around a hundred drumsticks, burgers, potato salad, coleslaw, Waldorf salad, vegetarian sausages, and pudding for afters. Banoffee pie, yum yum! Maureen Brian and I sorted out all the extra food and then we headed for the pool just in time to catch the last of the procession. Tonight was also Ken’s party. Eddie supplied the music and Ken supplied us with free beer for the night. It was a pleasant end to a long day. Monday: Today was the last day of the Cavalcade, so I took the opportunity of buying a few bits and pieces (and some more fudge!) before the work of clearing the site began in the evening.

As Eddie took Alan to catch his train home the rest of us got to grips with dismantling the KESCRG tent and moving the marquees, barriers, tables etc, round to the pool. From there we would lug them up a flight of steps to the roadside to await the lorry. As Jenni and I packed up the last of the stalls, the rest were collecting tables and crash barriers that had been left dotted around the pool. The pontoon bridge was towed away by Brian and Maureen and then they set off on a narrow boat, taking it back to its mooring. Ian, Ed, Jenni and I moved the marquees and stuff using a small narrowboat to ferry it round to the steps. It was then time for Ian and Ed to leave us. Eddie arrived back and Martin and Lesley turned up to help with moving the stuff to the top of the stairs. The lorry was over 2 hours late but it eventually arrived and we set to, loading it up. As I was the only one who had packed it up originally (way back it the beginning of the week) I had to do my best at recalling how we had originally distributed it in the truck so that we could get it all back in. As is usually the case when you try and pack something a second time, it all fitted in better than before. There was even room to spare for an extra chair to make up for the one that fell off You would think they’d have the lorry last something better to do! Ken, Brian year.... and Maureen 'chewing the fat'.

With this done the whole Cavalcade had been put away till next year. I had got the rest of the week off work so I was in no rush, but the though of getting home for a real bath was very tempting. In the end though Lesley convinced me to take a cruise with Martin, Eddie and herself on nb 'Fulbourne', to take it back to its moorings. We would travel up the Grand Union to the Black Horse at Greenford and moor for the night before setting off for the remainder of the journey. We would then Bashful, Grumpy, Dopey, Sneezy, Happy, Doc, and the other leave 'Fulbourne' and collect the London one. (aka Jenni, Brian, Eddie, Maureen, Alan, Ed, and Ian.) WRG van and travel back into London (a mere 20 minutes!) to drop Eddie of at work and drop Wednesday: I woke up to the sound of Martin starting up the engine. Lesley handed me a welcome me off at Victoria station. cup of coffee and I contemplated getting up. Today We all said our goodbyes and then the four of us set we would be travelling until about 6pm by which time off on 'Fulbourne', a working boat that has been we should have got the boat home and would be on basically modified, with a simple kitchen (cold and our way back into London by van. I didn’t get to steer cold foot-pumped water) and bunks. We set off after but instead I got to operate the lock gates. There is a 7 o'clock, with the sun low in the sky. Eddie told me certain procedure to follow.... for example, if you’re about the boat and our journey, and Martin gave me emptying the lock the top paddles have to be shut... or you’ll just keep getting water coming through. This a chance to try piloting the boat myself.... just wont make emptying slower but it wastes water. It’s very different from anything I’ve done before. You have to push the tiller in the opposite direction you As we travelled along we passed many of the boats want the boat to turn. I was generally OK with this until that had been present at the cavalcade. we came to a narrow viaduct and I suddenly went into car driving mode and steered 'Fulbourne' into the There were a few marinas - some of these were old quarries that had been flooded and put to a more bank. Luckily we just bounced off and kept going... environmentally sympathetic use.... we eventually As it got darker we put the light on to illuminate our arrived at 'Fulbourne’s' moorings next to a sewage way along the canal. We reached the pub at about works. Eddie decided to have a go at getting 10 p.m. and Eddie took over to get 'Fulbourne' Fulbourne safely in place which entailed him reversing 'Fulbourne' ½ mile along the canal and turn it moored safely. under a bridge to guide the boat between two othWe met up with Dorothy and Helen who had boated ers. There wasn’t much room to play with and it took down from her moorings a little further along the all of us pulling, tugging and pushing at 'Fulbourne' canal. Libby arrived later after searching around for and the neighbouring boats to get it docked. somewhere we could get a bite to eat. In the end it was decided that we would try and find stuff on the It was then time to clear away the last bits and pieces boats and cook something up. Martin did a wonder- before leaving 'Fulbourne' and getting into the van for ful job producing a dish comprising of pasta, toma- the trip back into London. It had taken us a whole day by boat, it would now take us less than an hour to get toes, and tuna. through the traffic and into the heart of London. First stop was at jazzfm where we said our farewells to Eddie and then Martin and Lesley dropped me off outside Victoria. I said goodbye to them and set off on the Underground all dirty and smelly (me, that is) to catch the train home from King’s Cross. Goodbye London, goodbye Little Venice, hello bathtime! Steven Swaby

Black Jacks Lock with Eddie steering 'Fulbourne'. All photos by the author.

KESCRG will be at Canalway Cavalcade again next year; in the meantime if Festival Site Services work appeals to you, there's still just time to volunteer for this year's National Waterways Festival Canal Camps - see Diary for details. ...Ed


Bankside Moorings

written written by by Bruce Bruce Tunnel Tunnel

The front door of the ‘Floundering Arms’public house by Bankside Moorings in the village of Sodding Chipbury opened and landlord Matthew ‘Beer Matt’ Young looked left and right along the banks of the Kennet & Basingstoke Canal in search of potential custom. However the towpath was deserted, apart from a lone angler perched on one of the mooring bollards above Sodding Deep Lock, staring gloomily into the water in the vague hope of catching one of the few fish in the canal. (Fewer than usual, as it happened: Matt had been out with his nets and explosives a couple of days earlier, and fish pie was on the ‘specials’ board outside the pub door) Away to Matt’s right, across the canal at Palmer-Castle Boats’ premises, the purple glow from an oxy-acetylene cutting torch illuminated the gloom under the boatyard’s awning as one of their staff neatly divided a 70ft narrow boat into ten 7ft lengths: clearly another of their sharedownership boat schemes had ended acrimoniously. Between the boatyard and the lock, directly opposite the pub, was an overgrown plot of derelict land, where an old canal toll-house had stood until it had had to be demolished to avoid the threat of English Heritage making it a listed building. Matt had bought the site cheaply from the waterways board, hoping to convert it into a beergarden. Unfortunately when selling him the land they had neglected to mention the ‘connection fee’ that he would be charged for installing his own footbridge over the canal to link it to his pub. Nor had they told him about the rare nettles growing in one corner of it - leading to its current status as a Site of Special Scientific Interest and an unofficial dump for abandoned stolen cars, whose rusting bodies usually stood on four piles of bricks - the wheels long since removed and sold. But on this occasion, Matt was surprised to see that all of them had a full set of wheels - although in most cases they didn’t all match each other, and several of them didn’t look like car wheels at all. Not dissimilar, in fact, to a large number of motorbike wheels that a bunch of volunteers had dragged out of the canal during a recent ‘Cleanup’weekend. What could this mean? Somebody was putting wheels back on the scrap cars in order to sell them? Surely not! Matt asked the lone angler if he knew anything about it. “Funny you should mention that - I was fishing here last night and I saw a bloke in a red T-shirt and wellies arrive in a Transit van and unload a load of rusty old wheels out of the back. I didn’t say anything, ‘cos I just assumed he was dumping them in the canal...” Meanwhile, two miles away at Spaglingworth Locks on the Thames Berks & Andover Canal, 20 Canal Camp volunteers were hard at work on their least-favourite job - brick-cleaning... In fact not just their least-favourite job - it was their only job.

page 14

“Please Oz”, asked volunteer, Jill McEwan “Can’t you find us anything else to do?” “Sorry Jill”, replied camp leader Austin ‘Oz’ Collingwood, “the local authority haven’t given the canal society Detailed Planning Permission to start any of the other jobs yet. And they only just gave us permission to clean bricks - apparently there was a complaint from one of the locals about the noise from the hammers and wirebrushes last year. So be thankful you’ve got brick-cleaning to keep you occupied for the rest of the week.” “The rest of the week? But we’ve nearly finished them all and it’s only Tuesday.” “Don’t worry - Gordon went down to Sodding Chipbury last night and collected a whole load more bricks from underneath all those abandoned cars in the SSSI, so you’ve got plenty to be getting on with... and we’ve got a raiding party tonight going round every garden in the village, demolishing all the barbecues and bringing back all the bricks for cleaning...” “But I don’t see the point - all these locks are being built in concrete; we don’t need any clean bricks anyway!” “Well, we’ll just pack them in the trailer at the end of the week, and they can go on to next week’s Camp. They’re working on building a whole new canal basin at a place called Under, and they’re on the scrounge for all the materials they can lay their hands on for free - or preferably cheaper.” Jill knew enough about canal society politics not to question what ‘cheaper than free’ meant, but anyway at that point Henry Banks, chairman of the Thames Berks and Andover Canal Trust, put in a few words... “It’s all right, they don’t need to go to the next camp we can use them here.” “But I thought you’d got permission to do the locks in totally modern style, on the grounds that they’re virtually a brand-new flight.” “Yes - and it’s written into the 'Section 114 Outline Planning Agreement' now, so we couldn’t build them in the traditional way even if we wanted to - not without having to bribe the officials all over again. But the Agreement doesn’t say anything about the bits of the locks that aren’t visible. Which is just as well, because steel and concrete cost money, but since they signed the Agreement we’ve been donated loads of traditional materials for nothing. So we’re doing it the opposite way round from normal canal restoration - we’re building as much as we can from traditional materials but making it look modern. So the chamber walls are concrete-faced brick instead of brickfaced concrete. And the gates are wooden, but painted in metallic paint to look like steel. The paddles are all manual ones disguised to look like hydraulics and the pounds are lined in clay, but with 300mm of steel piling above water level. And anyway Jill, you’ll be glad to hear that we’ve just got permission to start on another job, so you can have a change from brick-cleaning.” “Oh good, I could do with a break” said Jill, cheerfully. “Well you’ll certainly get a ‘break’ “ said Henry, with a chuckle, “the new job’s preparing the aggregate for the concrete chamber walls. Here’s your sledge-hammer, and over there is a pile of granite coping stones that we’ve been donated...” To be continued...

"AnOver" weekend in Gloucester: June 10-11 Friday Night (skip this bit if you’re not interested in the gossip)– My introduction to the Royal Exchange was, apparently, fairly typical. I do like a pub where arriving at 10.30 does not necessarily mean just a swift pint before closing… unfortunately some people chose whiskey to have the pint of. Others didn’t make it home at all! Saturday – As someone who has been a bit busy getting married etc. to be at Over every “over” weekend, I’m VERY impressed with the progress that has been made. Someone has even managed to work out how to turn the rain off, and it was lovely and sunny all weekend. However, Adrian still had plenty for us to do! 158 Big blue coping bricks were laid on top of the first third of the long arm of the wharf wall. Ian, Martin, Jude, Rick, Stephen, me, Graham Hawkes, and various other locals and NWPG formed a crack team, all the available bricks were laid and pointed, and it looks dead sexy. Even Mr Penny was forced to concede that it was very nice! Only need to do another 500 or so… More brick work was required to build a support for a diesel tank, Phil Cardy and other NWPG types were such a quick job of this that at one point it looked like Phil was going to get bricked into it! Lots of shredded bark was spread on the towpath, by Marcus, Lesley and Pauline and others who I can’t remember. The pile was a nice soft sweet smelling place to snooze on too! Jen used Blue to dig out the foundations of the “feature wall” on the long wharf side. Later on Stephen, Jenny and Rick were involved putting up the reinforcing mesh for the foundation and back fill.

Dig report You didn't think you'd get away withoutareportfromOverdidyou? Saturday eve (optional extra section of report) Ralph had woken up by the time we left site – and had gone to the pub. Ali cooked a delicious chilli, with all the etcs. We had a huge cheese board for afters, and Birthday cake, thanks to Lou and her book of cakes. I don’t think that the blue sponge inside the pig cake for Jude was standard, and whilst we all know her obsession with pigs, I didn’t realise Martin collected hideous alien faces with optional detachable ears! [I thought it was supposed to be a picture of me ...Ed] Early night back from the pub – the dawn chorus hadn’t started. Sunday – I think other jobs went on, but the main one was laying the foundation of the feature wall, a pour of 7m3 of concrete (it should have been 6m3, but Jen had got carried away with Blue.) Unfortunately it was in the most awkward place to get at with machinery, so we all spent the day doing what Navvies do best – shovelling! Some navvies shovelled ballast into big square bags, others shovelled ballast and cement into the 2 mixers set up on the wharf wall, and others shovelled the concrete into the right places of the foundation. Occasionally the ballast bypassed the mixers when Mike and Ian got too enthusiastic. Martin on the Skid-Steer kept us provided with cement, bags of ballast and water, with the help of a team of dumpers. He also provided the cabaret, finding new and interesting ways to park and unload the skid steer. Obviously 2 days of summer weren’t quite enough to change all the Over mud into solid ground. Huge thanks to Adrian for spending more time at Over than at work (?Over time), Ali for the top food, and all the folks who stayed until 6.30 on Sunday to finish the concrete. Its fab to see the visible progress, and that this really is a feasible project. Keep up the good work, see you at the next weekend. Love n hugs,

Laying foundations for the Feature Wall (Martin Ludgate)

Dr Liz (Williamson!!)

page 15

At 11.40, our boat and nb Dympna moved into Lock 1. The land crew raised one of the gate-racks [Irish term for ‘gate-paddles’ ...Ed], flooding the bow; that rack was dropped and the ground-racks [You guessed it: Irish term for ‘ground-paddles’ ...Ed] were raised. The level crept up, the gates were opened and amidst applause, we moved out of the lock on to the Royal Canal: something for which a lot of people in RCAG, IWAI and Waterways Ireland had worked for a very long time. The water got clearer as we went uphill, but people washed their hands after immersing them: very wise, given the colour and the smell. The stonework Reaching the Royal throughout was attractive and in very good condiBoats from the Dublin Millennium Rally ascended tion. Only one lock caused difficulties. the Royal Canal from the Liffey on 20 May 2000, the Behind Croke Park (the national Gaelic Sports stafirst ascent since 1955. All the obstacles to naviga- dium), where new stands are being built, scaffoldtion were removed, however temporarily, and large ing had closed off the canal. The contractors had numbers of Waterways Ireland staff, and Royal Ca- removed it for the rally; it will be reinstated later, but nal Amenity Group and Inland Waterways Associa- it won’t last much longer. It was not until the last tion of Ireland members, came to help. minute that we saw a plastic pipe in the water, crossBoats had entered Dublin along the Grand Canal and ing the canal. We managed to raise it and pass it locked down on to the Liffey; nine then tackled the back over the roof of the boat. ascent to the Royal. It has five double (staircase) locks Lock 2 (21' 6" rise), at Binns Bridge, caused probwithin a mile, which makes water supply a problem, lems. The lower chamber is entirely under a roadso the fleet was limited to three lockfuls of boats. bridge. The right-hand gate (looking upstream) is We entered the Royal at 10.00am. The first part, Spen- on an island between the canal and the railway-line. cer Dock, is tidal: there used to be a sea-lock, but the Some boys got on to it, goodness knows how, and gates were removed. The entrance is crossed by two operated the gate: it opened almost all the way, but non-working lifting-bridges, two pipes and a temporary the left-hand gate opened only halfway. There was bridge. You need a tide high enough to float your boat but a huge amount of rubbish in the chamber, with tyres, low enough to allow you under these fixed obstacles. footballs, cans and bottles predominating, and a foul Then there is a high-level drawbridge at Sheriff Street; smell. John the diver had to descend a ladder into the lock, but even then it took ages to dislodge it no longer lifts, but we went under easily. The dock curves left and at 10.30 we found the earlier enough rubbish to get the gates open. We got in at boats waiting for the tide to enter Lock 1 at Newcomen 12.55, the ground-racks were raised and the smell in the chamber got much worse as the accumulated Bridge, which is now in effect the sea-lock. rubbish of years surged up. When the gate-racks Just beyond here is where a fixed low-level railway were opened, a tide of foul black water poured in bridge used to be. This insuperable obstacle to naviand an unpleasant mist formed. But we got through, gation was replaced by a lifting bridge which doesn’t rewarding the local lads with bottles of orange. work: it is too heavy for its worm drives. During the week before the rally, it was removed altogether; Lock 3 (17.7') had a very tall lower chamber; jets of however, it was to be reinstated after the rally. It water from the sluices flooded the bow and we had to ask Dympna to stay behind so that we could hang would be nice if it could be made to lift first! further back in the lock. On the next level, we passed Mountjoy prison, (where the ‘ould triangle goes jingle-jangle’ in the traditional song). I talked to a woman who used to hitch lifts on the working canalboats (all horse-drawn) to visit relatives in Mullingar. We entered Lock 6 (17.4') at 15.30; it led to Shandon Gardens, our destination. At 16.00 we were tied up in time to greet the arrival of the Royal Canal fleet from Lock 12: a Leisureways hire-boat and (mastless) sailing-boat. Later, there was a blessing of boats, followed by a reception in a marquee in a small nearby park. There were speeches and, of course, the song:The OldTriangle. And there were many remembrances of Eddie Slane of RCAG, who died in 1999 after years of work for the restoration of the Royal. Brian Goggin First boats past the railway blockage for 45 years. (Brian Goggin) Editor, IWAI ‘Waterways News’


Royal Canal: first boats through Dublin for 45 years!

page 16

Progress pictures. Well, if nobody sends me any words...

Above: an unexpected re-watering - Spring rain meant that lock 15 on the Somersetshire Coal Canal became temporarily navigable, for the first time for 100 years. canal society members took advantage! (Dick Davis) Above right: a more permanent reopening - a currently isolated length of the Ashby at Moira Furnace. BITM were there with their Restoration Game for the National Trailboat Festival. Incidentally what's that chap in the white shirt doing - trying to stop the viaduct falling down? (Stella Wentworth) Right: Tina Angus installing the commemorative plaque on Kevin's memorial pile during BITM's weekend at Lichfield. (Dave Wedd). Below: Work starts on the concrete base for the lock forebay at Over - where the rate of progress is so fast that by the time this is published it willl probably be more suitable for the 'Archive' page! (Martin Ludgate)

page 17

Diary Canal Camp and weekend working party dates

Canal Camps cost £35 per week unless otherwise stated. Bookings for WRG Canal Camps (those identified by a camp number e.g. 'Camp 0002') should go to WRG Canal Camps, PO Box 114, Rickmansworth WD3 1ZY. Tel: 01923 711114 e-mail:

Aug 21-29 Camp 0019

Waltham Abbey Festival Canal Camp Site Services for the National Waterways Festival. Leaders: Michelle Parsons & Jude Moore, with cooking by Ali Moore & Jenny Worthington. Setting up and then running the world's largest inland waterways festival.

Aug 24-Sep 1 Camp 0020

Waltham Abbey Festival Canal Camp Site Services for the National Waterways Festival. Leaders: Michelle Parsons & Jude Moore, with cooking by Ali Moore & Jenny Worthington. Running, and then taking down the world's largest inland waterways festival.

Aug 25-28 wrgNW

National Festival: Sales Stand

David McCarthy


Sep 1 Fri


Press date for issue 183

Martin Ludgate


Sep 2/3

Essex WRG

Grantham Canal CANCELLED New venue to be announced.

John Gale


Sep 9/10


Basingstoke Canal Answerphone Dig Deep project at Woodham with London WRG

Sep 9/10


DATE CHANGED to Sep 23/24

Sep 9/10

London WRG Basingstoke Canal Tim Lewis Dig Deep project at Woodham with KESCRG


Sep 9/10



Castlefield Carnival (Manchester)David McCarthy wrgNW Sales Stand


Sep 16/17

Montgomery Canal Lou Kellett 01524-221518 Start of ‘WRG Works!’ 30th Anniversary celebrations. Clearance of the last large dry section in the Crickheath - Pant area. See pages 6-7 for more info on WRG Works!

Sep 16/17 wrgBITM

Wey & Arun Canal Dave Wedd Dig Deep project at Rowner Lock


Sep 16/17 wrgNW

WRG Works! - Montgomery Canal David McCarthy


Sep 18-22

Lichfield Canal Dan Evans 07968-196896 An extra week’s camp as part of WRG’s 30th Anniversary celebrations. Installing waterproof lining at Darnford Lane. See pages 6-7 for more info on WRG Works!

Sep 23/24 NWPG

Wey & Arun Canal Graham Hawkes 0118-941-0586 Dig Deep project at Rowner Lock NB. MOVED FROM SEP 9/10

Sep 23/24

Lichfield Canal Dan Evans 07968-196896 Weekend dig and party as part of WRG’s 30th Anniversary celebrations. Hopefully will see canal re-watered at Darnford Lane. See pages 6-7 for more info on WRG Works!

Sep 23/24 wrgNW

“WRG Works” - Lichfield

Sep 24 Sunwrg

Committee & Board Meetings

Sep 25-28

Hereford & Gloucester Canal Adrian Fry 07976-640962 Extra camp at Over Basin as part of WRG’s 30th Anniversary celebrations. See pages 6-7 for more info on WRG Works!

page 18

David McCarthy


Sep 29/30

Hereford & Gloucester Canal Adrian Fry 07976-640962 Over Official Re-opening (Friday) and WRG party (Saturday) as the finale of WRG's 30th anniversary celebrations See pages 6-7 for more info on WRG Works!

Sep 29-Oct 1 wrgNW

WRG Works - Over (Gloucester)

David McCarthy


Oct 1/2

Essex WRG

To be arranged

John Gale


Oct 7/8


To be arranged



Oct 7/8

London WRG Wey & Arun Canal Tim Lewis Dig Deep project at Rowner Lock. NOTE change of date from Sep30/Oct 1.

Oct 7/8


Wendover Arm (Little Tring) Dave Wedd 01252-874437 Bring-a Boat weekend. Open to anyone with a boat. Absolutely any boat - paper, gravy etc. Work: scrub bashing and Tirforing, plus building a dam and draining the stoplock. A chance to see the road bridge under construction (contractors start July 24th).

Oct 7/8


‘Paper Chase’ waste paper David McCarthy 0161-740-2179 collection (Sat) & Plant maintenance (Sun). NOTE NEW DATE.

Oct 14/15


Basingstoke Canal Dig Deep project at Woodham

Graham Hawkes


Issue 183 Assembly Provisional date.

John Hawkins


Tim Lewis


Oct 17 Tue Navvies Oct 21/22

London WRG Lichfield Canal


Oct 21-28 Camp 0021

Cotswold Canals Camp Clearance of canal line (lots of reeds) to return sections to water.

Nov 1 Wed Navvies

Press date for issue 184

Martin Ludgate


Nov 4/5

London WRG Droitwich Canal: Tim Lewis 020-8367-6227 Joint dig and bonfire party with KESCRG, plus anyone else who wants to join in - summer Canal Camp volunteers from Droitwich, Basingstoke and elsewhere welcome. More details next time.

Nov 4/5


Droitwich Canal: Answerphone 01622-858329 Joint dig and bonfire party with London WRG (see above)

Nov 4/5

Essex WRG

Lichfield Canal with NorthWest

John Gale


Nov 4/5


Lichfield Canal with Essex

David McCarthy


Nov 11/12 KESCRG

To be arranged



Nov 11/12 wrgNW

‘Paper Chase’ waste paper David McCarthy collection (Sat) & Plant maintenance (Sun)


Nov 18/19 wrgBITM

To be arranged


Nov 19 Sun wrg

Committee & Board Meetings

Dec 2/3


TBA: Xmas Party dig with LWRG Answerphone

Dec 2/3

London WRG TBA: Xmas dig with KESCRG

Dec 2/3

Essex WRG

Foxton Inclined Plane John Gale Hedge maintenance & Christmas Dinner


Dec 2/3


Lichfield Canal: Xmas Party & Dig David McCarthy


Dave Wedd

Tim Lewis

01622-858329 020-8367-6227

Please send updates to Diary compiler: Dave Wedd, 7 Ringwood Rd, Blackwater, Camberley, Surrey GU17 0EY. Tel 01252 874437. e-mail: Fax: 0870-063-3713 page 19

Diary Canal society regular working parties These working parties take place regularly on a weekly/monthly basis

Mobile groups' social evenings (please phone to confirm before turning up) London WRG: 7:30pm on Wed 10 days before each dig at The Mad Hatter pub, in Stamford Street, London SE1. Tim Lewis 020-8367 6227. Venue subject to alteration at short notice - please check. NWPG: 9:00pm on 3rd Tue of month at the Hope Tap, West end of Friar St. Reading. Graham Hawkes 0118 941 0586

1st & 3rd Sunday of month BCG Elsecar Spencer Collins 3rd Sunday of month BCNS Jeff Barley 2nd Sunday & following Wed. BCS Cosgrove Athina Beckett Anytime inc. weekdays BCT Aqueduct section Gerald Fry Every Sunday CCS Dixon's Lock Mick Hodgetts 2nd & 4th Saturdays CCT Thames End George Smith 4th Mon of month, 6pm CMT London Canal Mus. Martin Sach Every Saturday DCT Droitwich Canal Jon Axe 1st weekend of month D&SCS Various sites Doug Flack 1st & 3rd Sundays GCRS Grantham Canal Colin Bryan 2nd Sat of month GWCT Nynehead Lift Denis Dodd Tuesdays H&GCT Oxenhall Brian Fox Wed/Thu/Fri H&GCT Over Paul Brown 2nd & 4th Sundays H&GCT Over Paul Brown Every Sunday if required IWPS Bugsworth Basin Ian Edgar 1st Saturday & 3rd Wed. IWA Ipswich Stowmarket Navigtn. Colin Turner 2nd weekend of month IWA SBC Maesbury, Mont. Barry Tuffin 2nd weekend of month K&ACT John Rolls 1st Sunday of month LHCRT Lichfield John Horton 3rd Sunday of month LHCRT Hatherton Denis Cooper 2nd & last Sundays PCAS Paul Waddington 2nd Sunday of Month SCARS Sankey Canal Colin Greenall 1st Sunday of Month SCCS Combe Hay Locks Bob Parnell Most weekends SHCS Basingstoke Peter Redway 3rd Sunday of month TMCA David Rouse Approx 15th of month WACT Mid-Week group Colin Gibbs Every Sunday & Thursday WACT Devils Hole Lock Eric Walker Thursdays fortnightly WACT Maintenance Unit Peter Wilding or for general information on Wey & Arun contact their office on 01403-752403 1st weekend of month WAT Little Tring Roger Leishman Every weekend W&BCAG Peter Smith Every Sunday W&BCC Dauntsey Lock Rachael Banyard

0114-285-3044 01543-373284 01908-661217 01288-353273 01246-454163 01285-861639 020-7625-7376 0121-608 0296 01332-874239 0115-989-2248 01823-661653 01432-358628 01386-443826 01386-443826 01663-732493 01473-730586 01691-670826/49 01189-666316 01543 262466 01543-374370 01757-638027 01744-731746 01225-428055 01483-721710 01474-362861 020-82417736 023-9246-3025 01483-422519 01442-874536 01793-852883 01249-892289

Please send any amendments, additions and deletions to Dave Wedd (address on previous page)


page 20

Barnsley Canal Group Birmingham Canal Navigations Soc. Buckingham Canal Society Bude Canal Trust Chesterfield Canal Society Cotswolds Canals Trust Canal Museum Trust (London) Droitwich Canals Trust Derby & Sandiacre Canal Society Grantham Canal Restoration Society Grand Western Canal Trust Hereford & Gloucester Canal Trust IWA Shrewsbury & Border Counties Inland Waterways Protection Society

K&ACT Kennet & Avon Canal Trust KESCRG Kent & E Sussex Canal Rest. Group LHCRT Lichfield & Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust LWRG London Waterway Recovery Group NWPG Newbury Working Party Group PCAS Pocklington Canal Amenity Society SCARS Sankey Canal Restoration Society SCCS Somersetshire Coal Canal Society SHCS Surrey & Hants Canal Society TMCA Thames & Medway Canal Association W&BCAG Wilts & Berks Canal Amenity Group W&BCC Wilts & Berks Canal Company WACT Wey & Arun Canal Trust WAT Wendover Arm Trust

Dear Martin, I was delighted to read in the last (excellent) issue (No. 181) of the plans for the “30th” and particularly THRILLED to read of the REUNION weekend on the Montgomery at PANT and the ‘spectacularly impenetrable jungle’ laid on for our attention. However, when I saw that the writer was none other than our splendid former Chairman, Alan Jervis, my heart sank. Not for nothing is he known as the “HARROGATE RAIN GOD . Some weeks ago WRG North West answered his call, albeit with some trepidation, to go to the Mont and though the heavy rain diminished on the journey there on the Friday night (a good omen but before HE had arrived), Saturday saw such rain that the some volunteers decided just to work on until the evening meal they COULDN’T GET ANY WETTER! Some who were long serving contemporaries of Alan, said that they could not EVER remember having worked in such a downpour, ‘OPERATION ASHTON’ included !! September is often a dry month, the school-holidays having just finished but I don’t think we can take any chances Malcolm Bridge and John Foley have very kindly agreed to join me as TRUSTEES of a fund to which we ask you all to subscribe (but ESPECIALLY those going on this first anniversary bash ) so that we can provide funds to send Alan on an all-expenses-paid journey to a suitably ARID part of Africa or India and which has not seen rain for years, so that he can ( like Her Most Gracious Majesty) bring instant relief to the locals and HOPEFULLY, ensure that WE have a DRY weekend - well as far as the weather goes anyway. We shall, of course, deal properly with any surplus funds at the West Felton HARVEST FESTIVAL in the LOCAL. Yours,

“Mr. Mac”

Dear Martin, While leading a party of Industrial Archaeologists along the Wey & Arun recently, I mentioned that the Americans are belatedly getting into voluntary canal restoration. This brought forth the comment that any day now we should expect a Hollywood movie about how the yanks restored the English canal system. Having had a good laugh at this, it then occurred to me that, money being worth more than pride, if WRG could flog ‘em the film rights.... Yours (for 10%)

Jon Sims

Dear Martin, In the process of devouring the contents of ‘Navvies’ 181 with my customary relish (well, the dog refused to eat it), I came across a comment on page 25 that had me intrigued. It was a reference to the unusual pleasure to be derived from “cooking for a hoard of hungry navvies" Now, as readers of a certain magazine may know (it would be quite improper for me to mention ‘Canal & Riverboat’ by name as this might look like an attempt to curry favour with the Editor by gaining free advertising), I seem to be getting a bit of a reputation as a collector of odds and ends relating to inland waterways.

Letters Send AJ to Africa! Sell Hollywood the film rights! Indeed, the tatters of my reputation on the home front are such that the lady in my life has been known to refer to my harmless and healthy hobby as a form of hoarding. Since she is usually right, I clearly have to take this utterance on board. But would I really hoard navvies? Where would I put them? How would the aforesaid ladyi-m-l take to their muddy boots and robust humour? Could I stick pins through them and put them on the wall? They would undoubtedly be useful in many ways. I have a 22year-old van to keep on the road, plenty of jungle bashing to do in the garden, a brick wall that needs to be partially rebuilt and other things of that sort which are gradually getting beyond the ability of the lady-i-m-l. But would I find enough mud to keep them happy? Could I afford to feed them? Can they sing in tune? Regretfully, I have had to decide that I can’t really take up this form of obsessive collecting. Pity, but there it is. It may have occurred to people reading this rubbish more seriously than it deserves that I am clearly suffering from homophobia, and I have to admit that this might to some extent be true. It may well be a reaction to our local newspaper which gets thoroughly confused over homonyms (or homophones, if you prefer) with their regular references to things like “a site for sore eyes", “attempts to diffuse a simmering row”, “pupils getting there homework done”, “practise making perfect”, and so on. It’s enough to make anyone homophobic. Which, by a weird leap of mental agility inspires me to ask whether anyone can give me some enlightenment about today’s university students. In a letter published in the latest Bulletin of the Railway & Historical Society, Dr. W. T. W. Cory, D. Eng., M. Sc., C. Eng., F. I. Mech. E. writes robustly in support of a little humour, even at meetings and in some publications of such a learned society. At the end of his letter, he apologises for the élitist way in which he signs it, confessing that his doctorate is only in Engineering, is from a very new university, very near the bottom of the league table and with a very ethnically mixed student base.” With regard to the students, he adds: “We have representatives of at least four genders here.” It is the last sentence that gives me a bit of trouble. It is some time since I took an active interest in such intimate matters, and I have difficulty in thinking what four genders might be, let alone considering the possibility of five or more. What is going on? I like to keep up-to-date with today’s trends, and am wondering whether anyone nearer the age of Dr Cory’ s students can enlighten me. Practical demonstrations will not be required. This is pure research. All the best,

Stan Holland

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Two letters that were copied to me for publication and should have appeared in the last issue, but somehow didn't quite make it....

Letters 'Thank you' for the Cleanup and the training weekend. Dear Martin Just a brief note to say a huge ‘thanks’ to Womble for all her hard work to make the training weekend the success it was this year. Despite several people’s efforts to mess up everything she’d sorted by returning their forms beyond merely late [Sorry! ...Ed], Ali managed to provide a comprehensive and effective timetable which enabled many to be trained up on various useful things. I think many instructors agreed that the ‘two-session’ plant lessons were a good thing, and the weather stayed on our side too (for a change!). You see, it’s not always ‘grim up North’!! So a whopping great big THANK YOU is in order for Miss Bottomley (as can only be said by affecting a broad Geordie accent!). And also thanks must go to Dave at Lineside Garage, Elsecar, for mending Laryetta so speedily on Monday to get her back home!! Just Jen

from Brenda Ward of IWA Lichfield Branch and Vaughan Welch of IWA Birmingham Black Country and Worcester Branch to Mike Palmer: Dear Mike May I take this opportunity on behalf of BBC&W and Lichfield IWA to thank you and your members for the effort put into the Cleanup on the Dudley No 2 Canal this March. The smooth running of the operation was, I feel, due to the team work that took place. The combination of British Waterways, IWA, Coombeswood Canal Trust, Dudley Canal Trust and all involved in WRG made the event as successful as I believe it was. British Waterways were very pleased with the weekend and have written accordingly. [See below ...Ed] Thank you once again. Yours sincerely, Brenda Ward (Lichfield Branch) Vaughan Welch (BBC&W Branch) From Chris Bailey of BW to Brenda Ward of IWA Lichfield Branch: Dear Brenda Re: Dudley No 2 Canal Cleanup Just a quick note to say thank you for your efforts regarding the above. The end result of all your good work was 240 cubic metres of rubbish removed from the canal and an extremely worthwhile public relations event. I should be grateful if you would pass on my gratitude to the multitude of people and different groups involved. Thank you and well Done! Yours sincerely, Chris Bailey Canal Manager, Black Country

No comment! (photo by John Hawkins)

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While on the subject of the Cleanup, 2 London WRG kebs (painted red / white) were mislaid during the weekend. If you know where they are, please tell me. Oh sorry - a keb's one of those big forks with the prongs at right angles to the handle. ...Ed

Campin’ology The camp season is already about half way through and several changes to the proceedings have taken place (a fairly common and to be expected occurrence!). Not least of all the addition of two new and very shiny vans which has changed the van schedule. The kits are still going to the same places but now RFB and GCW (the new minibus) are paired up and follow Kit A’s circuit whilst NJF has taken the place of LRY which is paired up with the panel van and doing Kit B’s circuit. Confused? You would be if you had to keep track of everything and its whereabouts!!!! Some of you still haven’t got the gist about getting your vans to your camp either – please try to sort things out at least a few weeks in advance so that people can plan for it in their own manoeuvres and eliminate last minute panic! There has also been a change of venue for a couple of camps which has involved us going to that infamous muddy hole down somewhere South (which looks less and less like one and strangely enough more like a canal wharf! How did that happen?!!!!) and doing a bit there instead. But we’re flexible (!!) and have come to expect these alterations during the season. As regards to the kits themselves you should find that they have now received a lick of paint (with some exceptions, namely bowsaws!!!!) – a difficult task during the season! Both of the main trailers were internally marked up before the season had started and has proved to be quite useful, although I have to say that I thought it was fairly obvious that the first aid kits went in the Sick Bay! Put the large wooden (dependant on which kit you have, Wrgopoly or Scrabble – new for 2000) accommodation box in first, one of the large signs on top to protect the paintwork, then the two first aid boxes, and top it off with the griddle. Please ensure that the griddle isn’t going to wander about as we at Logistics have no long term use for a large cracked piece of cast iron (I think many of you may appreciate what the short term use would be!)! I find the ‘cross your griddle’ ratchet formation works very well. If however there is a spare fridge in the trailer, the griddle can sit fairly safely on top of that. As for ‘Bays’ not quite matching their relative quota, I’d just like to say that tools are not immovable objects!!!!! Get the idea?

Logistics "Confused? You would be if you had to keep track of everything" We seem to have had a spate of breaking items from our large hammer line this year so there is much reshafting to be done. If you find your mattocks/picks have slightly wobbly heads just immerse them in water overnight and you’ll find it works wonders! We’d both like to add a note about broken items of kit – if you do break something (and we know it’s inevitable, even through proper usage!) please do tell us; that’s what the kit lists are there for. Don’t think that because you’ve returned all parts that it then counts as the unbroken version! As for the ‘comedian’ that put both wire brushes back in to the brick kit minus all of their bristles, well … need I go on? There has also been a wee bit of tea-leafing from village halls going on … when checking in the cutlery at the end of the week remember ours has ingenious holes in the end (one for kit A, two for kit B and three for kit C) so only put ours in the tray please! Also when checking cutlery, mugs, plates, bowls and hard hats at the start and end of the week can you write down the number rather than just putting an ‘X’. It’ll mean you don’t have to spend ages looking for something that wasn’t there in the first place (Am I expecting miracles now?!!). Other than that, the camps seem to be bimbling along nicely thank you all very much and lots of good work has been done and much fun had. Just as it should be. Carry on enjoying … ‘Just Jen’ P.S. I hope you’ve all been snapping away with those cameras, with entries for the ‘Worst packed trailer Award’ – I’ve seen a few contenders already.

P.P.S. Whilst on the subject of pictures, can everybody that has good photos of any wrg stuff/people/ camps etc. please bring them to the 'National' so we can scan them. We are trying to get a good collection of pictures together and we know that there are many out there!!! Our latest aquisition - a brand new panel van - is introduced to its new friends Thanks. in the WRG fleet at Droitwich, courtesy of WRG Logistics. (Martin Ludgate)

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Camps Sleaford: "it smelt worse than any baby’s nappy..." Camp 0004: Sleafod Navigation 24th June - 1st July 2000 In the weeks leading up to the camp, things were very uncertain: first it was on, then it was off, then it was on... (memories of Pant?) Di and I had gone up to make a site inspection at the end of March, combining it with a BITM dig on the Louth Canal, and Dave Carnell of the Sleaford Navigation Trust had met us to show us the planned work. Cogglesford Lock, on the edge of Sleaford, needed quite a bit of ivy clearance and pointing and the installation of stop plank channels, and this was to be the main task, probably with scaffolding being installed in the lock. A secondary task was to clear a bywash on Haverholme Lock, so the water could be diverted and that lock repaired at a later date. Then the RAINS CAME. Apparently Lincolnshire had an overdose over the next six weeks or so, and by early June a torrent of water was pouring through Cogglesford Lock. An attempt was made to divert the flow - unsuccessfully - and even Noah’s Ark would have been swept away. Our revered Chairman considered either canceling or diverting the camp to another venue. Seven days before the start of the camp, Dave Carnell took the decision that there would be enough work to keep us occupied on the bywash, which then became the main work-site.

We went in with chain saws on the first day, cutting down the trees that had to come out, to a manageable height for removing with a Tirfor winch. Then the trunks were cut into lengths that we could hide up in the woods - and still the local vandals managed to sneak in that night and roll the trunks back into the river, so they all had to be retrieved the next morning - very frustrating! By the end of the first day, it had become evident that there was far more work involved than we’d realised, and a camp of mainly first-timers had to knuckle down and probably work harder than they’d ever done in their lives! Poor Richard, in particular, marvelled at the energy and stamina of the females in the group, and occupied himself in between bursts of work throwing sticks for Katy (much to her delight). Our two youngest, Bonnie (a D of E) and Roland, proved that being slim with no obvious muscle was no indicator of strength, and they lifted and pulled and shovelled s..t as well as any of us. A large section of the bywash was hardly visible when we started, with frees, scrub, nettles and ropes of ivy covering it, but once we’d cut down some of the trees and started clearing it, it became clear that it had originally been stone-faced in the invert as well as the sides. A certain amount of silt had built up in the bottom, which had to be dug out by hand, but the worst problem was the trees growing out of the side of both bywash and lock. We couldn’t get hold of a Tirfor until Thursday, so as much preparation was done as possible, sawing through roots and digging stone out, but one nearly defeated us even then. Phil, Dave, Alan, and Dave Turner of the Trust, all took turns straining on the Tirfor handle, and when at last the earth started to move everyone gathered round and a cheer echoed round the valley.

The bywash consisted of a stretch in water - but filled with reeds - then a weir under a boardwalk-type bridge, from where the ground dropped away for a long section, finally tumbling over a natural stone outcrop to drop into the river below the lock. Di spent three days proving that she’s never happier than when soaking wet, covered in mud, and smelling to high heaven, pulling reeds out of the section in water, and keeping Roland, Anna and Phil busy carting away huge heaps of stinking vegetation. Anna, the mother of a small toddler, swears that it smelt worse than any baby’s nappy, and we were The stump that almost defeated the volunteers. (Rachael Banyard) happy to take her word for it!

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George, our American navvy, cleared a long section of bywash wall, while Ken did a splendid job clearing ivy from round the lock and back from the coping stones. Miriam kept us from getting dehydrated by keeping the Burco and teapot on the go. A local farmer, Norman Osborn, who is a member of the Trust, brought his tractor and flail in and cleared some of the vegetation round Cobblers Lock, which was finished off by a small team, and the ivy was cleared from round Cogglesford Lock, even if we couldn’t actually work on the lock. A treecreeper and a dipper were both nesting in the sides of the lock, so that might have prevented us anyway. The amount of work achieved delighted the Trust, and also our team got a great sense of satisfaction. We had a new WRG dog, Bella, who seemed to enjoy herself, even if she didn’t quite get into the state that Katy managed each day. Talking of dogs, we probably had more problems with the accommodation than we expected. We were staying at a relatively newly built Rugby Club, which appeared to be very plush. However, despite Dave Carnell checking in advance on our behalf whether dogs were allowed, and being assured that they were, when we arrived we were met with a lady steward of the Club insisting that no dogs were allowed. We had also thought that we would be staying - and sleeping - in the large carpeted clubroom upstairs (complete with long well-stocked bar, which remained obstinately closed throughout our visit). But no: other plans had been made by the Rugby Club, and we were to sleep in small concrete-floored changing rooms downstairs. These did have showers, which were great, but were very cramped. There were only a men’s loo and washing facilities on that corridor, and the steward suggested that we used it in shifts in the mornings! I had visions of also having to have breakfast in shifts, and not arriving on site until ten at the earliest. However, it turned out that there were ladies’ cloakrooms upstairs. Next problem was that the place was like Fort Knox. The outer door was both locked and alarmed, during the day when we were out, and was supposed to be at night once we were all in. The door to the corridor with the changing rooms was also locked, as were each of the changing rooms separately, and we were instructed to keep them locked even while we were upstairs in the clubroom. Finally, the clubroom itself was also locked, and sorting out all the different keys could have been a nightmare, except after Sunday the steward was on holiday and we gradually relaxed the rules! The dogs had been kept in the changing rooms, but on the final night all twelve of us and the two canine WRGies enjoyed the comfort of the clubroom.

Camps "...we trebled the number of local drinkers..." Phil uncomplainingly got up early each morning and helped me cook breakfast, so we could all get off to site in good time. Miriam and Anna turned out to be excellent cooks, so we were all kept well fed, and there were outings to cinema, swimming pool, bowling alley and an assortment of pubs, in one of which - way out in the countryside - we trebled the number of local drinkers. We were well supported by the local Sleaford Navigation Trust members, who were very helpful. Rachael Banyard.

Above: the bywash emerges from the undergrowth. Below: the 'smelly bit' of the bywash - still in water and full of reeds. Photos by Rachael Banyard.\

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Camps Elsecar: " rained and it rained and it rained..." Camp 0006: Dearne and Dove Canal, Yorkshire July 1st - 8th Arriving bright eyed and bushy tailed at Wathupon-Dearne (twice in as many weeks for some of the group!) the 14 of us immediately gelled into a well-oiled machine. The compulsory safety talk, huge dinner and a trip to the local pub then followed. Sunday, still bushy eyed and bright tailed we set off to repair the cofferdam above lock 3. As is always the case when any work is done on the cofferdam, it rained and it rained and it rained. When the day had finished we were extremely proud of our work and the group had not fallen out with each other. The group consisted of 3 Duke of Edinburgh's Award people (two of whom had just completed their expedition), me - who had done the WRG thing but not a camp - several completely new people including two from Japan, several young experienced people and several old hands (Spencer, Jen and Harrie). That night we did karaoke and strangled “Bridge over Troubled Waters” and “Summer Days” (supposed to be Nights but I could not read the words off the 2x3 metre screen in front).

Monday, with no permission from the Local Council to work on lock 3, we burnt some old lock gates, bailed out BCG’s old dredging barge which had sunk over the winter, cut back the grass between locks 1 and 2 and I discovered that my ability to use the dumpy level was not as crash-hot as I thought. The second day was rounded off with Harrie’s “beef” stew made with pork sausages and a trip to the bowling alley which had changed to a Bingo hall while Spencer had not been looking. Incidently I won but hey, I cannot help my all round brilliance. We finished the day in another local pub. Tuesday started with the same work as Monday because there was still no permission to work on lock 3. I tried again to carry out the level survey and discovered that my survey skills were fine but my ability to copy 45.200 from the map to my pad (42.500) was the problem. Rob went for a swim and pulled 2 sleepers and a cable drum from pound two. The bailing of the boat was hindered a little by the dumper’s reluctance to start and the brush around lock 3 was cleared. Judith also showed off her acrobatic skills when she was lowered down the lock wall to retrieve a piece of lost kit. Tuesday evening saw us at Meadowhall where we watched “Chicken Run”. “Where there’s a will there’s a way. And I WILL be going that WAY!” And so from Meadowhall we retired to the pub. By Wednesday we had permission to clean the forebay of lock 3 so the water was removed and a visual inspection carried out. Claire and Leona (the two expedition D of E'ers) painted the balance beams on lock 1 under the careful supervision of Olga the art student. The silt heap was flattened and the lock gates continued to burn.

Camp 0006 at Elsecar, Dearne & Dove canal: breaking up old lock gates...

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Wednesday evening saw all of us (except Spence and Rob) driving around the countryside collecting clues. Congratulations go to Ed Walker (London WRG) and his team for winning the competition.


Congratulations also to Dave for stopping in the middle of the single-track road preventing everybody except my team (Land Rover based) from getting on with the treasure hunt. On returning to the pub most the teams participated in buying Spencer and Rob bribes. This resulted in the trailer almost being painted yellow by Mr. Daffern early on Thursday morning. Well done to Rob who managed to drink as much as Spencer and still walk home. Thursday started a little slower than the other mornings as our leaders were a little under the weather. The dredging of the forebay started on Thursday afternoon. Thursday evening found us at the swimming pool and in the 'Fat Cat' in Sheffield, enjoying fish and chips with lots of gravy. Friday morning started with the final destruction of the lock gates on the fire and while the forebay was being pumped out the mound of silt was raked over to remove the large stones and bricks. After lunch the sill in lock 3 was exposed and a mud fight followed shortly after. Following more silt movement and mud fights it was time to pack up and go home. Harrie had returned after a week at work and cooked us a fabulous 5-course meal which was followed by the 2nd Annual Elsecar Oscars and a return to the karaoke.

"...and our leaders were a little under the weather..." 'Oscars' were presented to:

. . . . . . . . . .

Richard (3rd D of E'er) for rescuing a duck from the over-spill weir. Philip (me) for gas production. Helen (my fiancée) for her ability to shriek “Philip!” Wayne (Japanese Girl) for her ability to shriek whenever Spencer asked for a kiss. Bruce (Japanese bloke) for being the hardest working newcomer. Norman (a local man) for life time achievement. Claire for mumbling in her ”bedbug….sleeping bag…OLGA!”


Stefan (an old hand) for his impression of Wee Willy Winky. Les (new but older than me) for his ten pin bowling abilities. Olga for being scared during “Chicken Run”.

A final note for the camp has to be a huge thanks to Spencer and Rob for organising a fantastic week, to Harrie for cooking fantastic food and to everybody who went for being just fantastic. Philip Walker

...and painting new ones. Photos by Ed Walker.

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Camps Droitwich: "Chris broke nearly every tool in the trailer..." Demolition Droitwich: Camp 0005 July 1-8 The aim of the week was preparation for the bricklayers on the second week’s camp, so we knocked down by hand and Kango a lock chamber lower wing wall. First we thought we had to take it down for purely aesthetic reasons, but it soon became obvious that it needed to come down for structural reasons, as the backfill was found to consist of a range of interesting objects from old steel trackway, scaffolding poles, chicken wire and lumps of wood, and much of the concrete could be dug out loose by the shovel full. Most volunteers had a go on the Kango, most of them kangoing and do-going off somewhere else less noisy, but we did get three consistent kangoers - Hyesha, Matt and Jane, all of them wielding a kango as if it were a regular pastime for these three first-timers. Other more constructive activities for the week included David and Phil C rebuilding the top of the side pond paddle pit to lock 2; Lisa, Lindsey and Nina pointing up the Pissoir (steps) of Lock 2; and the resetting of Copers for lock 3’s side pond overflow weir and upper wing wall. As is traditional, five or six pallets of bricks were also cleaned ready for reuse, and transported randomly between a number of locations at regular intervals.

As I didn’t arrive until Sunday evening, the following is a compilation of the edited highlights of Stephen’s and my recollections of activities during the week:Like all well prepared camps, the preceding Friday evening was spent in the Royal Exchange in Hartpury, followed by toast, some drinks, a drool over Gav’s new car and the most fantastically complex but divinely inspired logistical plan for getting 1 van, 1 minibus, a trailer containing gas cooker, and 3 cars the 40 minutes up the road to Droitwich, picking up various kangos, brick saws and gas pipes on the way - with only 3 drivers. So the morning dawned, the plans were abandoned, we did what came naturally - and it all went swimmingly from there. On arrival at Droitwich, rumours of the accommodation’s untimely demise were found to be slightly over exaggerated, though it seemed that the keys had preceded the building by a month and taken an extended vacation. The vans, kit and cook duly arrived, many thanks to Gav and Jude, and it was time to pick up people from the station (sorry Nina) and to play the name game - which I think I won, to be fair (unless you were all having a big joke on me. Which wouldn’t be nice now, would it, Ermintrude?). Saturday night turned into something of a geography lesson, debate raging over whether Slovenians could be regarded as foreign, or just not from this valley. So to Sunday, and the emphasis for the week was on quality, and with help and guidance from Mr Palmer the volunteers got stuck into the various tasks round site... not to mention laughing at Chris as he broke nearly every tool in the trailer. Marcus, Clive and our illustrious leader arrived in the evening, along with JP bearing gifts in the form of our excavator 'Blue' - which was very efficient in removing the lower wing wall of Lock 3 so that we could reclaim the 'cow nose' bricks for the same wall on lock 2. Marcus was also able to give some of the new volunteers a taster session in 'Blue' later in the week.

Kangoing down the lower wing wall at lock 2. (Steve Davis)

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As the week progressed, a genetically modified Scrabble board evolved and there’s nofink lyk a gud gaim ov fonetik skrabl… as we all know. On Monday the canal in the town centre received a muchneeded spring-clean, and Nina’s Kit eventually found his way to the camp. By Tuesday the chamber clearance was completed, resulting in some strange graffiti on the invert and Phil gaining the nickname Chick-Poo, due to a flowering relationship of an undetermined nature.

Camps "Rumours of the accommodation’sdemisewereexaggerated." Wednesday – and upon cleaning Phil’s shaft, the discovery was made that nowhere is better on a hot sunny day than deep underground in a 2ft-diameter culvert, armed with nothing but a teaspoon, a bucket and a rather poorly torch (Sorry Nina). The acoustics however were resonant and the mud just that perfect consistency for the inevitable. The ensuing bath in the cut really should not be tried at home. (Though if diving into your bath at home emanates quite the same oil slick, I would get your plumbing inspected asap…)

All ready for the Camp 0007 brickies. (Steve Davis) Dizzy Lizzie’s cooking was exemplary, with even three courses on the Tuesday evening, though this did mean some volunteers doing a bit of intercourse washing up and Marcus having to eat a rather large Mike. Not sure whether this was before or after Nina poisoned Mike (the real one, not the bun) with excessive amounts of garlic in his stuffed pepper. This was followed by a trip to pub skittles, with the help of a fat little bitch, much slobber and Nina’s quote of the week, “ooh it was minging, that dog licked all the balls and then it was my turn!”

The requisite trip to the cinema resulted in the majority of us watching Chicken Run, though for any of you with contacts at Worcester cinema the broken seat was nothing to do with us. Not at all, Ohhhh no. The week was rounded off with an indoor BBQ and the arrival of Martin, Lesley, Ian and the good Dr Liz to continue our work the following week and attempt to return the site to the state it was in the previous Saturday! Many thanks to Lizzie, Mike, Clive, Jude, Gav and everyone, (including those who managed to stay up to 5am and still manage a day’s work on site) for helping us have a fantastic week. Remember - this is a Chicken Farm, we are the Chickens, so just don’t stop reaching for the skies.... Joanne 'Smudge' Smith (assisted by Steve Davis)

But it wasn't all demolition - there was repointing the 'Pissoir' (left, Joanne Smith) and some traditional manual digging work. (above; Gavin Moor)

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Camps Droitwich:featuringtheChipShop Saga and Cookie's Water Trick... Camp 0007 - Droitwich Junction Canal 8th-15th July This camp began where Camp 0005 left off - and this camp report begins where the Camp 0005 report ended on the previous page, with Camp 0007’s leaders arriving in the accommodation on the Friday evening. Saturday: (Song for the day - ‘Momma told me not to come!’) [Note: this camp was notable for the use of a CD player to wake the camp for breakfast every day instead of the traditional cry of “BREAKFAST!!!!!”. We have therefore included in this report a daily suggestion of an appropriate song that might have been played - but wasn’t.] By morning the leaders had organised themselves, and were awaiting the arrival of the volunteers... by mid afternoon the leaders had disorganised themselves again: Ian had left until Sunday night and Liz until Tuesday. Dizzy, Jude, Smudge, Steve D., Clive, Gav and a few others were left over from the previous week. Everything was set up for the week ahead, with Jude acting as cook until Dr. Liz joined us later in the week. A scan through of the camp forms sent her into attack mode. One poor soul had put “no mushrooms” under dietary requirements. “OK, which one of you is mushroom man?” Steve C. backed down, muttering in embarrassment that he really didn’t mind and could take them or leave them, and besides, his mate had filled in the form. Martin introduced himself and everybody, gave a safety talk, and MKP launched into a description of the week’s work. Our job was to replace some brickwork which the previous camp had demolished as it had been put up incorrectly, in places out of bond, and not in the correct profile. We must let “attention to detail!” be our motto. We took a quick look at the site in the gathering darkness before retreating to the ‘Railway’ pub. My notes for the day also include a ‘candlelit shower’and ‘porn-star name-game’... make of that what you will. Sunday: (Song for the day ‘Sunday bloody Sunday’) Mike set us to work on a variety of interesting jobs such as moving dirt from one place to another, brickcleaning, moving clean bricks from one place to another, moving dirty bricks from one place to another... Lunchtime brought a surprise for Mike. The lunch crew hadbeengivenham,cheese&saladtomakesandwiches with. They had made a whole container of ham-cheeseand-salad sandwiches. No veggie sandwiches from Simon, Lisa and Brian (Ed supervising)

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But by afternoon some actual brick-laying had begun, on the lower wing wall of lock 2. Another evening was spent in the ‘Railway’. Monday: (‘Rainy days and Mondays’) Despite Mike’s assurances that the BBC had promised fine dry weather all week we spent most of the morning huddled together beneath the trees, sheltering - and guess what? We’d forgotten to bring the brew-kit to site with us. Lunch was eaten back at the accommodation due to the rain. We explored the potential of the last camp’s home-made scrabble set and Ian’s giant dominoes, or threading liquorice bootlaces through your nose. Luckily the sky cleared and we went back on site for the afternoon. Bricks became recognisable as falling into one of several groups: big old engineering blue, newer railway blue, soft red, new red, bullnose and cownose. Wheelbarrows distributed each type to the jobs that wanted another type, and then redistributed them back again. The big blokes carried big blue coping bullnoses without the benefits of a barrow. By way of a change, in the evening we went to the pub... but a different one! We loaded ourselves into two minibuses and went to the Boat and Railway for a skittles evening. Marcus divided us into two teams - balanced evenly by having a leader, an Ed and a Steve in each. Ian’s team won, but Martin’s team gained top marks for artistic interpretation. Tuesday: (‘Sailing’? Or maybe ‘Could it be I’m falling in, love?’) Awhole new culture has arisen. The Lock Three demolition crew all have nicknames: Chisel, Six-pack, Bigboy and Crabs. They worry that being off-site on washing-up duty might make them miss out on new in-jokes, and so they set to inventing washing-up in-jokes. The weather was greatly improved, which was just as well, as Luke went for an involuntary swim in the slime belowlocktwoandhadtobesentbackforanearlyshower. Marcus and JP went off on a mysterious errand and returned with ‘Yellow’ (a small JCB painted the regulation yellow, instead of blue like our own one that’s called ‘Blue’) to be used for various jobs including excavating ready for backfilling behind the lock two lower wing wall. And we went to the ‘Railway’ in the evening - but we didn’t walk there, we took a ride from Ladywood in the day-boat. Unfortunately we couldn’t all fit in - it’s not just a legal requirement, it’s a physical impossibility! Wednesday: (‘Hanging on the telephone’) Awakened by the loudest morning music yet! Those who missed the evening boat trip stayed behind to return the boat from the yard opposite the pub to Lock One at Ladywood. Meanwhile bricklaying was in progress on several bits of wall, with several brickies on each - mixer in great demand. The lower wing wall at lock two was several courses up, the nearside upper wing wall demolition at lock three had been finished and rebuilding was in progress, with each course slightly overhanging the previous one to gradually bring the wall to the same profile as the cast iron buffer beam that would be built into it at water level.

The side-pond paddle well at Lock Three was nearing completion. The side pond exit weir chambers at both locks were receiving attention, and work had begun on the top end of the nearside lower wing wall of lock three. Then came a real emergency... Cookie dropped his mobile phone in the canal just below the top cill of Lock One! The lock is full of blackish slime, wheelbarrows, bikes and lawnmowers. The water appears to be round about welly depth. Rhiannon, a student, on being offered £20 to rescue it, made a brave try, but discovered her wellies were, as usual , about one inch too short Evening entertainment (part one) was the ‘Chip Shop Saga’... Izzy and Alex came back from Izzy’s Graduation just at the point when Dr. Liz was away at the ‘Neptune’s Corner’ chip-shop collecting our enormous selection of pies, fish, chips, sausage etc. They drove off to buy some themselves; meanwhile Liz arrived back and started doing a ‘feeding of the five thousand’ act handing out portions to the rest of us. Shock horror: one pie and chips is missing! A quick phone call to Neptune’s Corner - “Have you got two customers there called Izzy and Alex? Yes, well could you please give them our other Chicken and Mushroom Pie with chips. Thank you.” As Alex and Izzy left, the entire staff of the chippy were descending into a blazing row, accusing each other of being responsible for losing our pie. It’s nice to know they value our custom so highly. Evening entertainment (part two) was a trip to the cinema in Worcester for ‘Chicken Run’ and ‘Mission Impossible 2’... then back from Worcester exhausted. All that sitting in the dark sends you to sleep, so straight to bed for once. Thursday: ‘Another Brick in the Wall’ JP, Chris and Simon went to Worcester for the day to do a job that originally was planned to have a camp of its own... but the Worcester camp got diverted to Over so Droitwich did the Worcester job... is that clear? But on to more important stuff - Steve C’s phone was rescued (we don’t think the phone will recover, but the sim card with everyone he knows, including the girlfriend, worked when transferred to Simon’s mobile.) Lesley’s wellies are approx one inch longer than Rhiannon’s. Steve agreed to buy £20 worth of wine for Friday’s barbecue, in thanksgiving. Lots of bricks were laid - with several of our new recruits graduating from laying the ‘bricks you can’t see cos they’re at the back of the wall’, onto the ‘bricks you can’t see cos they’re below water level’ and finally onto the ones that everyone will see when the canal’s restored... remember, “attention to detail”, guys! It began to look like several of the jobs would be completed by the end of the week. Brian and Nathan trained on ‘Yellow’, re-digging the mid-canal bed drainage ditch, which had been partially infilled with the passing of time. Preparations were made for pouring a reinforced concrete base for the backfill of lock two’s lower wing wall. Lots of earth was shovelled and barrowed to make room for the concrete; lots of water needed to be fetched from above Lock 1 for mixing concrete, leading to...

Cookie’s water trick: rather than walk up and down from below lock two to above lock one about 10 times, filling two buckets each time until the water butt is full, Steve C. has a Good Idea. If a water butt was balanced on a pallet and the pallet carried by four blokes with scaff poles for handles, one trip would do! Unfortunately 120-150 litres of water weigh rather more than Little Ed, who was used for the load test... The combination of having to squeeze past the generator on the towpath, a steep downhill by the lock and too high a centre of gravity in the water-butt led to Luke getting wet again. A second attempt with longer poles and eight people carrying gave a better result... it probably would have been quicker to make 10 trips with a bucket after all... This was a particularly good day for such antics, as there was a Very Important Meeting going on about the canal restoration (MKP wore a suit and shaved, so it must have been Very Important) and several of the VIPs who were busy determining the canal’s future came to the site to view progress. What better than a bunch of clowns carrying a water butt with scaff poles and a pallet to convince them that this is a restoration project to be taken seriously? I think we went to the ‘Railway’ in the evening but I can’t remember. Friday: (‘Wonder Wall’) A really big effort to get as many jobs finished as possible saw bricklaying going on late into the evening and we did indeed finish most of them. The coping stones went back onto the top of the side-paddle chamber, the rebuilding of both sidepond exit weirs was finished, the concrete base behind the lock two wing wall was laid, and several more courses added to the wall. But sadly the lock three upper wing wall rebuilding crew were still several bricks short of a wall when they finally decided to call it a day, and head back to the accommodation for the Last Night Barbecue. This was accompanied by speeches from the leaders and MKP, some awards for brick-cleaning above and beyond the call of duty, and a big bowl of Simon, Steve and Nathan’s ‘Big Boys Punch’, and I can’t really remember much after that... Saturday: (‘When will I see you again?’) The Big Boys Punch made for a slightly late start, but eventually the kit was duly counted and packed into the trailer, the accommodation was tidied and the volunteers departed, leaving the leaders with a week’s worth of good memories and a small mound of unclaimed towels. Well done everybody: you were a brilliant bunch of volunteers (and co-leaders and cooks, not forgetting breakfast chef Hannah). We had loads of fun and a great deal of useful work was achieved - with ‘attention to detail’ of course! Lesley McFadyen Martin Ludgate PS Please all come back to Droitwich on 4-5 November - we’re having a Bonfire Bash and working weekend for everyone from Camp 0007 plus the regulars from KESCRG and London WRG and anyone else who wants to come - see next ‘Navvies’ for more details.

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Training Reporting from the fourth annual WRG Training Weekend. Blistering Barnsley! What a scorcher! Sitting here at my 'puter and gazing at the rain clouds forming, I now realise that the training weekend, all those weeks ago, was in fact the shortest summer season on record. And we couldn’t have asked for more: fabulous weather, tip top accommodation, a superb set of instructors and rather enthusiastic trainees. (I have just checked my word count and I’m in trouble. Martin says this will not fill the page..Mmm)

Although the numbers were supposed to be considerably smaller this year, it turned out that many of us who live in the North decided that a short jaunt across the Pennines, or down the A1, was quite appealing. As a result we numbered about 50, with 35 people being trained on a wide variety of stuff. (technical term, naturally.) It was also great to meet a number of volunteers who had never actually attended camps or weekends before. To those folks, thanks a million. You fitted in brilliantly and I know some have already attended further camps or are digging as we speak/write/ panic (Martin wants this tomorrow!) This year we changed the format slightly by trying to offer more training time, so that some skills were given 2-3 separate sessions. This seemed to work quite well, particularly with the backhoe loader, as it is such an involved piece of equipment. Many of those who had been trained to some degree before, were recommended for authorisation and for those who were perhaps grappling with the excavator for the first time, they hopefully received excellent tuition and a good grounding in safety and awareness issues. It takes more than a weekend to learn just a little of what there is to know, so keep up the training on camps and beg for your share of practise time.

The machinery-based training this year included dumpers large (above left) and small (below left), telehandler (above right) and breakers (below right). But it wasn't all machinery - training was also available in First Aid, catering and bricklaying. (Martin Ludgate)

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It was a lovely site to train on, complete with a real canal and spontaneously combusting railway tracks. For this, sincere thanks goes to the Barnsley Canal Group for being so generous and helping us out as it is extremely difficult to find suitable sites.

Training "...35 people being trained on a wide variety of stuff..."

Humungous thanks go out to all the instructors, without whom the event is also not possible. They certainly deserve a mention: To Fab Fred Towey, Harry the Hero, Daddy Cool, Jolly Just Jen, Mr. Collins, Mucky Mick, Dad Burchett, Mike ‘I love that JCB’ Palmer, Jude-Jude, The Treasurer’s husband, (accounts nearly done, honest!) Mr. Floodgates, Chris ‘Star’ Spencer, Fast Eddie, Marcus, Gav-Gav, Andy Jones and the new and approved Big Boy Barrett. Thank you to Jude, Lou and Al for the splendid cooking, to Bungle for sorting the radios, to Mike, Spence, Jen, Bizzie and others who helped to make it all work. [And thanks from all of us to Womble for organising an excellent weekend. ...Ed] Authorisation forms have been sent away if I had them, so if you are still in possession, sort it out! This year I had a very jolly time and hope you did too. Feedback welcome (maybe). See you soon, Ali 'Womble' Bottomley P.S. Al, you will be pleased to know, I have bought a new car with brakes. P.P.S. Viv, stop sending me e-mails about good weekends and no t-shirts as my boss is very nosy and now has completely the wrong idea!

Training in progress: in the foreground Fast Eddie is explaining about disk-cutters, while in the background training is taking place on three different types of earth-mover: (from left to right) a JCB 3CX backhoe/loader, our very own JCB 803 excavator, and a larger tracklaying excavator. (Martin Ludgate)

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Bits & Pieces TheAldermanChristmasCamp and the Droitwich Bonfire Bash Coming soon (1)... ...the Droitwich Bonfire Bash. London WRG and KESCRG are getting together to organise a major working weekend plus bonfire and fireworks on the Droitwich Canal on November 4th-5th. Anyone is welcome to attend, including people from any of the regional groups or canal camps - and especially those campers who the KESCRG and London WRG people met on this summer's Droitwich and Basingstoke camps. More details from the editor, or in the next 'Navvies'.

Coming soon (2)... "Dear One and All Just a short note to let you all know about the forthcoming Alderman Brothers Xmas camp. It’s to take place on the Basingstoke Canal running possibly from xmas eve through to 1st Jan (depending on the hall keys). The main work will be the usual scrubbashing with any leftovers from the summer camps. The cost will be £5 a day with £10 for New Years Eve to cover the jollities! The catering will be looked after by Karen Alderman and Maureen Amos, so if you are interested in booking on the camp, please watch this space for more details in the next issue of Navvies, or call me on 0793 877380. Ta for now Clive Alderman"

Coming soon (3)... KESCRG and friends are camping at the Dorset Steam Fair again on Sept 1st-3rd. If you're interested in joining them, contact Ian Williamson on 01844 351549. Discount for booking in advance.

Enclosed... ...with this 'Navvies' - as well as the WRG Works! form (sent it off yet?) - is an IWA Christmas Cards and Gifts leaflet. Please support them because (a) they support us and (b) it costs them extra money to include it in 'Navvies' as it pushes it up into the next weight band for mail - and that's enabled us to squeeze in an extra four pages!

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WRG BITM... ...have a new chairman - Tony Hinsley. Congatulations (or commiserations!)

Free to a good home (1)... Two complete display stands in perfect condition (not Marler Hailey but similar; works on tubular aluminium poles with slots. Looks sturdy but comes in plastic carry bags. Probably more suitable for semipermanant displays. Contact Sue Burchett 07973 771196.

Free to a good home (2)... 1500 litre heating oil tank, buyer collects. Can probably arrange delivery for a fee. Contact Ian Williamson on 01844 351549.

"Fancy A Dirty Weekend?" ...isn't just a WRG slogan, it's an exhibition about WRG currently running at the London Canal Museum until 22nd October.

For Sale (1) Hiab arm for sale with rotating clam shell bucket suitable for use for dredging etc. Offers please to Spencer Collins 0114 2853 044 or e-mail

For Sale (2) KESCRG have a catering double deep fat fryer for sale: approx £200 ono. It is a 3KW heater each side, with independant temperature control. Contact Ian Williamson on 01844 351549.

Free piling hammer service Aldridge Piling Equipment are looking for sites available between now and November to field-test their new types of piling hammer, suitable for attachment to 3t-9t excavators, designed for driving steel trench sheeting or plastic piles up to 6m. Contact them on 01543 277 680 or e-mail if you think your canal restoration project may be suitable.

Congratulations... John Wood of WACT on being awarded the MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours List for services to canal restoration and conservation.

New on the WRG Web Site... Photos from most of this summer's Canal Camps and the training weekend - and lots of info about WRG Works! See All suitable photos welcome - please send them via the Editor, either by post or scanned as e-mail attachments.

The WRG Canal Camps mobile phones: 07850 422156 (A) and 07850 422157 (B)

Send all your used postage stamps, cigarette and petrol coupons and old phone cards to IWA/ WRG Stamp Bank, 33, Hambleton Grove, Emerson Valley, Milton Keynes MK4 2JS. All proceeds to canal restoration.

John Ward has moved to: 32 Badgers Hollow, Peperharow Road, Godalming, Surrey GU7 2PX Tel: 01483 527124 Mobile: 07971 336535 Alison Mackender ('Allie Mac') has moved to: 3 Georgina Close, Manea, Cambs PE15 0HZ Mobile 07989 706347 Ed Walker has a new phone number: 020-79781130 If you move house, tell Sue Watts (below) or e-mail Edd Leetham to make sure your 'Navvies' gets redirected.

For up-to-date information by e-mail about the H&G Over Project and other canal restoration matters, subscribe to the:

Canal Restoration Mailing List To subscribe, simply send a blank e-mail to: Once you've subscribed, any message you send to gets sent to all the other subscribers.

Navvies Production

Editor : Martin Ludgate 35 Silvester Road East Dulwich London SE22 9PB 020-8693 3266 Subscriptions / circulation Sue Watts 15 Eleanor Road Chorlton-cum-Hardy Manchester M21 9FZ Printing and assembly: John & Tess Hawkins 4 Links Way, Croxley Grn Rickmansworth, Herts WD3 3RQ Watford (01923) 448559

Navvies is published by Waterway Recovery Group Ltd, PO Box 114, Rickmansworth WD3 1ZY 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 in-

Moving house? Changing email address? New mobile?



1 4 8 6 person-days work by WRG so far this year

If you don't think your group's numbers have been included, contact the Editor

Moving House....

Noticeboard For an explanation of the WRGometer see issues 179-180

Stamps wanted

On the 'net... Grantham Navigation Association web site: Hereford & Gloucester Canal Trust web site: Pocklington Canal Amenity Society web site: default.asp WRG NA web site: and contact e-mail addresses - Ian Nelson: and Spencer Collins: Peter Smith's new e-mail address: terest. 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.

Registered in England no 1599204 Directors :

John Baylis, Malcolm Bridge, Roger Burchett, Ray Carter, Christopher Davey, Helen Davey, Š 2000 WRG ltd Roger Day, Richard ISSN 0953-6655 Drake, Neil Edwards, Waterway Recovery Group John Hawkins, Judith Ltd is a subsidiary of the InMoore, Michael Palmer, land WaterwaysAssociation Jonathan Smith. (a registered charity). Secretary: Registered office: 3 Norfolk Court, Norfolk Rd. Christopher Davey Rickmansworth WD3 1LT VAT reg. no : 285 1387 37 tel : 01923 711114

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Hints and tips for WRG bricklayers: Top Ten bricklaying excuses... No 10: "How am I supposed to lay them level when the course below is all over the place?" [best avoid this one if you laid the previous course yourself.] No 9: "Of course if the mortar hadn't been too dry..." No 8: "Of course if the mortar hadn't been too wet..." [Really adventurous bricklayers can manage to use both of these when talking about the same mix of mortar] No 7: "It's built in Double Dutch Toilet Wall Bond. Surely you've heard of it?" No 6: "Who cleaned these bricks?" [Warning: using this one too often can result in a lengthy stint at everyone's favourite job...] No 5: "You can't expect a straight wall when all the bricks are different sizes!" No 4: "Of course it's level. It just looks crooked because everything else slopes." [Try not to be around when they let the water in. It's difficult to argue that the surface of the canal isn't actually level.] No 3: "A real professional brickie would never be expected to work in this weather." No 2: "It would have been much easier if the guys who laid the foundations had had a spirit level." No 1: "Of course all canal walls lean backwards at an angle of a few degrees from vertical. Didn't you know that?" [Don't try this one if your wall actually leans outwards.]

Seen in the 'Times'...

Mrs. Smeaton’s Guidance for Correct Comportment of Ladies and Gentlemen attending Voluntary Working Parties on the Inland Waterways of these Islands of Ours As I once more take up my quill pen, I hear the friendly chatter from beside the sudsy steaming sinks in the kitchen.... There's many a fruitful courtship that has begun over the handling of plates and tea-cloths; yet some of the less-imaginative of our young gentlemen canal-restorers consider that it is a man's rôle in life to withdraw immediately after dinner to the local hostelry, to their port and cheroots. To my mind, this is a loutish and ignoble practice. And it it is certain that the loud cries of superiority and satisfaction that are often heard issuing from them as they depart will create a low impression not only upon the gentler sex who remain, but also upon the cook. This hard-working lady (or even gentleman, in these enlightened times) has - of course - ways of indicating her displeasure in the early hours of the following morning, which would not be soothing to any; but far less so to those who overindulge to the extent of wishing only for silence, darkness and the comfort of an ice-pack. Yours ever,

Mrs.E.Smeaton And finally... when we finish restoring the famous 'Pant Dry Section' on the Mont, will we be able to celebrate the rewatering of this length with a 'Pant-wetting weekend'?

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Profile for The Inland Waterways Association

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