avvies N Volunteers restoring waterways No202 December2003-January2004
waterway recovery group
...are always welcome, whether hand-written, typed, on 3½" floppy disk, CD-ROM or by email. 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. Digital / computer scanned photos also welcome, either on floppy / CD-ROM 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Press date for No 203: January 1st.
In this issue:
Appeal All the news on The Right Tool for the Right Job Appeal including the Barn Dance 4-8 and the Hog Roast WRG Wear coming soon - WRG Bears 9 Camp Reports from the Chichester and the 10-14 Lancaster Obituary Brian Haskins 15 Diary camps and working parties 16-18 Letters on the Chard Canal, the Huddersfield 19-21 Narrow Canal and the Welsh weather Plant Bungle’s still rebuilding his crane 22 Logistics Jen’s plans for ‘04 23 Progress on the Wendover 24 Cleanup on the BCN in March 25 Bonfire Bash Report from the Basingstoke 26-28 Canal Navvies news Foxton Inclined Plane wins the 29-30 Lottery! Noticeboard who’s moving house? 31 Backfill a giant-size Christmas cartoon 32
And next time...
A year's subscription (6 issues) is available for a minimum of £1.50 (please add a donation if pos- ....we hope to bring you reports from various Christsible) to Sue Watts, 15 Eleanor Road, Chorlton- mas and New Year camps and weekend digs, a cum-Hardy, Manchester M21 9FZ. Cheques to DIg Deep update and some more information "Waterway Recovery Group" please. about forthcoming Appeal fundraising events. Visit our web site www.wrg.org.uk for all the latest news of WRG's activities
Cover photo: rebuilding the top ground paddle chamber of the bottom lock at Pewsham Locks on the Wilts & Berks, which looks set to become a regular site for volunteers over the next few years. And there’s more chance of us reaching our target sooner rather than later if we carry on finding new ways to raise the cash, rather than hoping it will keep coming in from IWA branches (to whom we owe a great debt of gratitude for their continued support) in sufficient quantities. The Editor begs your forgiveness... But the good news is that we do indeed seem to be I hope you will forgive me for filling five pages of able to keep coming up with new fund-raising ideas this issue with The Right Tool for the Right Job - a hog-roast, a barn dance and a Canalway Caval- the Appeal launched by our parent body the In- cade Quiz, to name but three. What can you do to land Waterways Association (and supported a raise money for the Appeal? Whatever it is, tell great deal by a lot of WRG people too!) to raise Liz, tell ‘Navvies’ and tell everyone else! £75,000 to re-equip us for the tuture. (3) Because there’s a bit of a shortage of other stuff The reasons for allowing the Appeal to take up so for this issue. Partly this is because it’s a natural much of te magazine are as follows... time for a slight lull in contributions due to there being fewer Canal Camps in winter, but there’s no reason (1) Because there’s actually quite a lot happening for that to mean a thin issue. on the Appeal right now. So please keep all the other contibutions coming in (2) Because I think it’s important to keep pushing - weekend dig reports, restoration progress updates, the Appeal to everyone who reads ‘Navvies’, to re- technical restoration articles, pieces about weird and mind you all that the Appeal’s still going on, that wonderful waterways in far-off (and not so far-off) there’s a lot of work to do, and that you might well lands, letters to the editor, snippets for the news or be able to help. We’ve raised a magnificent £50,000 the back page and everything else that makes it a (or very nearly) in less than a year, but there’s still good magazine. See - you knew I’d turn it into an another £25,000 to go to reach our target. ‘Appeal’ for more articles, didn’t you?
The Right Tool for the Right Job Appeal has raised nearly £50,000 so far!
Something else that I hope you’ll forgive me for is my not-terribly-good attempt at a Surveyor’s Staff (left) to indicate how much we’ve raised (honestly, you just can’t get the staff!) The sooner we reach the target, the quicker we rid Navvies of my dodgy graphics... Something rather more serious that we hope you’ll forgive us for is the (probable) non-arrival of the Canal Camps booklet that we promised we would indlude in this issue. We’re sorry but we with all the work involved in planning the schedule (eg liais-
ing with local canal societies about getting the landowner permissions for all the sites) we just didn’t have enough time to put together the booklet and include it, without delaying ‘Navvies’ - which we didn’t want to do. But you won’t have to wait until the next issue - we will send it out as a separate mailing as soon as it is ready, and in the meantime the details will be on the WRG website www.wrg.org.uk immediately they are available. Martin Ludgate
Use of mobile phones in WRG vehicles £60k
I am sure most people are aware of recent legislation introduced regarding mobile phones in vehicles. This will inevitably have an impact on WRG vehicles as an awful lot of volunteers seem to have mobiles and we even have 2 ‘official’ Camp Phones that are on all of our Canal Camps. The law states that it is illegal to use a handheld phone; this has been followed by lots of recommendations from various groups stating that it is inadvisable to hold any form of phone conversation while driving. Finally lots of companies, worried about the implications of being responsible for ‘obliging’ their employees to receive calls while driving, have banned the use of phones altogether whilst driving.
So what is WRG’s view of all this? Well firstly for all the obvious reasons we to have to request that volunteers driving WRG vehicles do not use phones - whether handheld or fixed - while driving WRG vehicles. £40k
Yes we know that sometimes you need to get directions to some of the very obscure places we work, that when you are driving a van and trailer finding somewhere to stop can be fraught and that it is very annoying to arrive back on site from the builders yard only to be told ‘ah we thought of something else while you were gone’. But there are ways round this, for instance - voicemail, text messaging and letting your passengers answer it.
However how about this for an additional argument...
The whole reason we are involved in WRG (and the reason we are so good at what we do) is that we want to do things a better way. So rather than accept the modern ways, let’s use our brains to avoid the problem altogether. So get hold of the map and study it before you set off. People put a lot of effort into joining instructions - please use them. And all those trips to the builders’ merchant are often a result of poor planning both before the event and on the day. Before you send someone off on a shopping trip check with everyone who might need supplies. Trying to answer the phone while negotiating a roundabout is part of the rat race that we are all trying to avoid. The job can always be done tomorrow *. So don’t hassle your drivers -send a text message and let them stop when safe to do so and get back to you. So just to reiterate...
If you are driving a WRG vehicle then don’t use a phone while moving. And if you know that someone is driving then don’t expect them to answer the phone. If you really have to communicate with them then do so on their terms - leave a voicemail or send a text. Mike Palmer, WRG Chairman * I am fully aware that I might regret saying this, and I apologise in advance to everyone to whom I have yelled ‘Oi - this is urgent, you know!’
Big thanks to the abseil team, who raised money for us and The Waterways Trust, a brilliant effort by everyone involved, especially as the Falkirk wheel is (a) a lot further to travel for most people, and (b) a lot further off the ground than the Anderton Boat lift! I’m glad you’re all safely back down, and now all you need to do is collect your money and send it in!
The Right Tool for the Right Job!
Thanks to all the IWA branches and regions who are continuing to send money, as well as individual members. They may not do anything as dramatic as jump off a boat lift, or silly as a Panto, but this is where the bulk of the money is coming from, and its good to know just how valuable our parent organisation’s members think we are.
Brief briefing on the Right Tool for the Right Job Just in case you’d forgotten... the IWA’s The Right Tool for the Right Job Appeal aims to raise somewhere in the region of £75,000 to re-equip WRG with vehicles, machinery, tools, catering equipment, safety gear and training, and set us up for our next few years’ canal restoration work. Over to Liz Williamson for the latest update... Current total – nearly £50k!!!! FANTASTIC JOB everyone!!!
Our intrepid team of abseilers prepare to jump off the Falkirk Wheel for the Appeal.
Above: ‘Is this a good time to tell you that I’m scared of heights?’ Helen (dressed up in her Purple Fairy costume) gets kitted-out ready for the Abseil. Below: ‘I’m enjoying this. Honestly!’
Peeling veg at the Reunion Bonfire Bash was obviously so boring that people were desperate to think of something more interesting to do… so, we have the “Dance for Tools” barn dance, on 28th February. See Helen’s article on page ?? for more details on where, when and how much. Nick Bennett is organising a Charity Hogroast in April, further details to be announced, and we will have the return of the Race Night – time, date and location TBA, but if your local society has an opening/anniversary that needs celebrating let me or Brian Bayston know ASAP. And we may not be as attractive as the ladies from Calender Girls , but obviously peeling all those potatoes gave us the idea for WRG’s very own calendar – or rather TWO calendars, one for the boys and one for the girls… Mitch Parsons is in charge, and the beer was obviously very good at the Reunion because she already has models for most months, but we would love to hear from any professional photographers or printers who might be able to help with shooting the pictures or putting the calendar together. Please contact me or Mitch to volunteer your services. That’s all for this month, enjoy the winter’s scrubbashing, and have a very merry Christmas. Luv n hugs
Appeal news ...including Viv and friends onion-peeling marathon... The Right Food for the Right Gob! It all started earlier this year at the Aston Locks Reopening (The official one!) just as I was leaving on the Saturday morning. My great friend Dr. Liz piped up ‘Has anyone spoken to you about doing a food stall at the ‘National’ later this year?’ Clearly the answer was ‘no’ but it did explain some of the vodka bribery from the previous night. Several brainstorms, a trial at the KESCRG tool fixing weekend (they all survived!) and several conversations with Jerry Sanders of National Waterways Festivals, and I found myself here at Beale Park ready to set up a food stand imaginatively titled ‘Appealing Food’ serving onion bhajis, vegetable pakora and lentil dahl.
Dr Liz Williamson STOP PRESS: Donations to the Bar at the Reunion raised over £250 for the appeal. Fantastic effort all you beer drinkers... and Cheers to Stephen for organising it.
With huge amounts of advice from Al Moore & Dr. Liz on the shopping front, and lots of help from Dave Lamen, we had one stall ready to be our home for the next 4 days. A mass crying, err sorry onion chopping and prep session ensued - into the small hours on Thursday night - and we were ready for the Friday opening. Friday was a good start for us as it was busy enough for us to get to grips with this new venture, but not so busy that I wanted to run away there & then! That is despite Jen having done a fab job of fixing up the fryers then Bungle trying to tell me they didn’t work... fortunately a new electrical safety test kit later, I was told it worked – well, I knew the oil was heating up somehow!!
Friday evening saw a comedy mass onion peel at the accommodation, and again prep for the next day of trading continued very late into the night.
Harry opens the bar at the Bonfire Bash - which raised over £250 for the Appeal. Well done, beer drinkers!
Saturday dawned hot & sunny and the talents of Ian Williamson were added to the stall. More prepared, more staff and news spreading around the boaters and other stall holders ensured a good business on Saturday when we doubled what we had taken the previous day, meaning that anything taken from then on was profit for the appeal – hooray!
Appeal news The Right Food for the Right Gob!
Sunday dawned brighter and sunnier and the wonderful smell of onions and spices abounded around the site. Closer to home, the smell seemed to be permeating from my skin no matter how many showers I had! Word seemed to have got around about both the food and why Another bhaji, another satisfied customer, another we were doing it (by this time I had lost all couple of quid for the Appeal! concept of why – oh yes, the Appeal!). We were lulled into a false sense of security as it was quiet in the morning... then all of a sudden, loads of people seemed to descend and it was flat-out frying. Anyone who has ever spent any period of time frying food in a +30C heat in a marquee in the middle of a field will maybe have some sympathy with how difficult a task this actually was! However, comedy value was injected by Mr Tim Lewis who managed to visit us no less than 4 times on Sunday – high praise indeed! More prep after the site had closed, although it was restricted by the amount we could fit in the fridge! Monday, and again a nice relaxed morning...well, until about 11.45 and then all hell broke loose. I looked around once to the front of the stall to see who was queued up; Bush, who was serving, shouted at me to not look round for fear I would lose my nerve, but to keep cooking as fast as I could! Several hot and fried hours later we found the end of the queue – just in time to catch the end of the Major Wrecks display in the arena – fantastic! A few more bhaji’s were served then a mass clean up followed at the close of site, and everything was returned to it’s rightful owner (hopefully!)
Somehow I came out the other side of the weekend almost in one piece although I may have to go through onion therapy. Apparently a book has also been opened as to how long it will actually take me to get rid of the dreaded onion bhaji smell!
Viv and Ian await the arrival of the first customers.
I know it was really hard work – more than I had envisaged, but I know it was a success, not only by the amount of money we have been able to contribute to the Appeal, but by the amount of people that came to ask for the same food they had just seen someone else with, those coming back to say how nice it was and those who came back and bought more. However, to those of you who have asked if we will be at the ‘National’ at Burton on Trent next year, I am open to vodka bribery (and plane tickets back from NZ) but am not promising anything!
Huge thanks to all those who helped me out: Bungle & Jen who somehow managed to get my catering hire stuff delivered (‘The order needs to be faxed through’ ‘We’re in the middle of the field, there is no fax!) and Bungle’s Dad for the use of said fax machine; Al Moore for the emergency shopping; Maureen for calming me down, the WRG Northwest stall for the moral support, comedy books and the endless supplies of tea; Ian for being a slave to the Fryers; Dave for endless help & advice; the onion peelers and veg preppers; Neil Ritchie for the sign; Harry T for the multitude of other signs (oh no, this is starting to look like film credits!); Chris’s wife for the loan of food temperature probes, and Tim for dragging me away from the stall for a whole hour! Last, but by no means least, a heartfelt thank you to all of you who supported us but especially to John Foley and Bill & Ed’s Organic Smoothie stall for their generous donations to the appeal. Viv ‘I’ll be in New Zealand by the time you are reading this’ West
New fridge-freezer bought by the Appeal and in use on the October Camp. (Steve is checking if it still smells of onions.)
Disclaimer; Although the brand new fridge freezer and fridge bought by the Right Tool for the Right Job Appeal was used on the Appealing Food stand, no responsibility will be taken for any smell of onion permeating from the said equipment every time the doors are opened for the rest of its life!
The onion-peeling team hard at work outside the WRG accommodation.
Appeal news ...and The Right Tool for the Right Hog? Dance for Tools As part of the Right Tool for the Right Job Appeal we are organising a barn dance. It will featuring live local band Tumbledown Dick who play mainly English music with Irish fiddle and the odd Scottish tune chucked in for good measure. There will be a cash bar, raffle and other games. Tickets are £10 each and this includes a fish and chip supper. The dance will be on Saturday 28th February at Benson Parish Hall, Oxfordshire (halfway between Reading and Oxford fairly close to where the ‘National’ was this year), doors open 7.00 pm, music from 7.30 pm and we’ll finish at 11.30pm. Directions will be sent out with the tickets and will be on the WRG website. To order your tickets send an SAE to ‘WRG Barn dance, Dr and Mr Williamson, 79 Oakley Road, Chinnor, Oxfordshire, OX39 4HR’. Please enclose a cheque made payable to ‘I Williamson’, plus a contact telephone number and state if you need a nonfish meal (probably vegetarian pancake rolls). We’ll also be selling tickets on the Christmas camp. At the moment we haven’t organised any accommodation but we will put details of local B&Bs and youth hostels on the WRG website. This is looking like being a really fun event and we’ve got 150 tickets to sell, so if your friends and family like a bit of dance then please bring them along. How about tickets as Christmas presents? – beats socks and ties. If you’d like to volunteer to help on the night or you’ve got any questions then please ring me on mobile phone 07989 425346 or email email@example.com. Come along and enjoy the Right Reel for the Right Job! Helen ‘BushBaby / WRG Wear’ Gardner The Right Hog? And the next fundraising bash will be a Hog Roast to be held in Reading on April 3rd 2004. This coincidentally happens to be my Birthday, but will be in aid of the Right Tool for the Right Job Appeal. Further details nearer the time but for now a date for people’s diaries.
I hope to be able to come up with some ideas for a Vegetarian option as well... maybe they could share the apple from the little piggie’s mouth? (only joking!) Nic Bennett Appeal Quiz After a few months’ gap, the Appeal Quiz should have reappeared on the WRG website by the time you read this. The idea is that we have a monthly (or thereabouts) quiz with a different theme each time, but all in some way connected with WRG or waterways - for example we’ve had a picture quiz with40 photos of canals that we’ve helped to restore, and a general knowledge quiz where all the answers began with ‘W’, ‘R’ or ‘G’. The next two are a London Waterways quiz (written by Mike Stevens) and my own set of ‘numbers game’ waterways questions (Can you decipher ‘13 L in the F B F (in B)’ or ‘2002 O of the F W’? If not, see below.) All we ask is that everyone who takes part makes a donation to the Appeal. And we give out a prize each month. See www.wrg.org.uk And still on the subject of quizzes... Canalway Cavalcade Quiz Last year the organisers of the Canalway Cavalcade festival, held at Little Venice in London over the May Day Bank Holiday weekend, decided that it would be a good idea to have a Boaters’ Quiz on the Friday evening, modelled on the successful and popular quiz held on the Thursday night before the National Waterway Festival. Yours Truly was duly requested to do the honours as question-master, and we agreed to ask all contestants to make a donation to the Appeal. So I prepared several rounds of questions, and waited for the teams to turn up. And waited. And waited... Maybe it was the miserable weather on the Friday evening (and the not-quite-so-convivial-as-sometimes site bar - we’re promised that this year’s will be better) that kept boaters in their boats, maybe it was the slight lack of publicity for the Quiz... I hope it wasn’t my reputation as quizmaster! Anyway I won’t have to make up so many new rounds this time, because I can use some of the ones I didn’t need last time. And all we ask is that all contestants make a donation to the Appeal. See you at Little Venice! Martin Ludgate PS the answers to the above questions: ‘13 Locks in the Farmers Bridge Flight (in Birmingham)’ and ‘2002 Opening of the Falkirk Wheel’
WRG Wear The big news this issue is that I’m relocating on a permanent basis so the address for WRG Wear has changed. As from now please send all WRG Wear orders to: WRG Wear Orders, NB Sussex, Weaver Shipyard, Saxons Lane, Northwich, CW8 1LB. The telephone number for enquiries is still 07989 425346 and the email address is unchanged firstname.lastname@example.org.
Coming soon: WRG polar blankets and bears...
I’m expanding the range in January so you’ll be able to order camisole style vest tops (strappy vest tops), long sleeved t-shirts and teddy bears and hopefully polar blankets, fitted t-shirts for females and mugs. [I’d like a fitted t-shirt for a mug please, Helen ...Ed] If you’d like a copy of the form when it comes out please send an SAE to me, or email me to get an electronic copy (Microsoft Word format). This year, during the camp season, we intend to not only send out camps t-shirts but also vest tops and camisole tops to each camp. I also carry a small stock of t-shirts in my car so if you see me on a dig just ask – and until I send the vests and camisole tops out they’ll probably stay in my car as well! As for a website – just as Navvies was going to press I heard that the pages had actually made it online. At the moment it’s just a couple of web pages so now you can download and print off the order form and catalogue, view the online catalogue (with some pictures) and see what the logos look like. In the near future the updated catalogue will be available and I’ll keep adding to the pictures and the ‘WRG Wear in Action’ pages. You can get to the WRG Wear pages from the main WRG website www.wrg.org.uk. Helen Gardner
Above: Sweatshirts and Rugby shirts are available from WRG Wear. Below: Tea in bed: the hat, large logo and small logo t-shirt are already available from WRG Wear; soon the tea mug will be too.
Chichester: clearing brambles and nettles... and the drains... Canal Camp 17, Chichester Canal ‘No solids, please’ The bright start on Saturday was a promising beginning... Our home for the week was the Chichester Scout hut, conveniently located behind the canal basin, next to the Police Station and within easy walking distance of all the evening entertainments. A site visit with Linda (the Local) on Saturday afternoon revealed a change in plan for the week’s work no longer was the priority to reinforce the banks in order to prevent fishermen falling in; now the main task was to make access through a mile of hedgerow for a Hymac to dredge a wet and weedy section of canal. The emphasis was to remove all vegetation but save good hawthorns, which would form the structure of a new hedge to be planted next winter. Over the weekend with the help of some very enthusiastic regulars, as
well as our ever-so-keen and jovial first-timers, excellent progress was made, thereby allowing on Monday a small team to be sent off to another section of hedgerow which needed ‘preparing’ ready for laying by BITM at their Christmas party weekend. Although the two sites were some distance apart they had some cutting similarities - the bramble, roses, nettles and other such nasty biting vegetation. By Monday evening volunteers were comparing their ripped and bloody arms. If it weren’t for the fact the thorns were still present, onlookers may have thought us a group of ‘self-harmers’. By Tuesday we had worked out the accommodation’s night-time heating and we could start sleeping without our woolly hats... But as one problem was solved another was rearing its ugly ‘head’ (if you’ll excuse the Americanism). The toilets. Familiar with only the tiny tinkles of little cubs and scouts once a week, they could no longer cope with the final journey of Liz Wain’s cooking (so good we ate too much). The authorities were called but as they denied responsibility, Elsans were enlisted, with the instructions ‘no solids, please’, it was like a holiday in Greece. As the worries about of Public Health rose, the Council eventually came out and cleared the drains, thankfully before Thursday’s ‘Curry Night’! One could say that the work was a little repetitive, with the hardest decision being what tool to attack the brambles with next, or whose bonfire was closest. As work rates slowed, a half-day was declared to recharge our batteries. This began with a very tranquil boat trip from the Canal basin up to the start of the unnavigable section where we were working.
Above: Assistant leader Stephen demonstrates his prowess on the long-arm slasher. Opposite page: the work was slightly repetitive, consisting largelyof cutting down vegetation (top) and carting it off for burning (middle), but this was made up for by the variety of entertainments organised including a boat trip on a restored part of the canal (bottom).
This was followed by our nightly visit to the best showers ever had on a camp, at the Chichester Marina, and then we travelled what seemed the furthest 33 miles ever to Brighton, for a night of Fish ‘n’ Chips, Arcades and Beer. The Fish supper had spurred everyone on, and with the goal of going home when they reached the red tree in the distance, quick progress was made in Thursday’s evil weather. Following the aforementioned Thursday Curry we descended on the local bowling alley, splitting into what by now were the three camp groups: the young (The Good?), the not so young (The Bad?), and the ones who were neither (... no comment). With only 100 points or so between the best bowler and least best bowler, the evening was finished off as normal in the bar, with the added attraction of air hockey and cheap drinks. Friday was spent burning everything left in sight and as the sun set, all that was left were smouldering fires and specimen hawthorns for a mile along the towpath. The week was rounded-off by a timely Halloween party, pumpkins and all, and just a little bit of beer!! Sorry no picture credits cos they were all taken on the WRG digital camera so I’ve no idea who took them but thanks anyway
Stephen and I would just like to thank everyone on the camp, especially our wonderful cook. Apologies for the toilet humour, but cheers for working so hard and really making it a fun week. Sorry there was no room for all the Otter (sorry beaver) jokes. By the way, where is the otter (Jude’s asking)? And sorry there was no room to mention youknow-who losing their ‘alcohol virginity’... and I am sorry I had to clear up the mess!! Jo ‘Smudge’ Smith
Camp reports Tewitfield Locks on the Lancaster Lancaster Canal Camp, July 2003 This Camp Report was written jointly, so to distinguish the two author’s contributions, Harri’s bits are written in normal writing like this, and Lou’s bits are written in italic like this... Saturday After leaving Cork on Thursday morning, I eventually reach Over Kellett village hall on Saturday afternoon after a detour via Lou’s, a shopping spree in Shrewsbury, a minibus pick up in Warwick (preceded by frantic phone calls trying to establish whether it was Warwick or Warwick Parkway station we were meant to be at) and a night at the Tom o’ the Wood. The final hurdle of the journey is finding the accommodation: I manage to stop right outside - without realising - to try to phone Rick to ask for directions, but since Orange phone reception is non-existent I end up asking in the village shop.
Since Lou is somewhere on the M5 with the van and kit, Rick and I are left to decipher her code as to who needs picking up when and where. I am duly dispatched to Carnforth Station (where they filmed Brief Encounter you know...) and then proceed to drag poor Stephen and John round the supermarket (thanks guys!). Collection duties are then passed to Craig, while I set about assembling a meal without a kit. After dinner, the kit is unpacked and checked, while we set some of the new recruits the task of assembling our brand new Right Tool for the Right Job Appeal cement mixer which they achieve with remarkable efficiency (even reading the instructions!). We all then adjourn to the pub, and attempt to plan the social schedule for the rest of the week. It’s a long way from Devon to Lancaster! Highlight of the epic journey was at the M5/M6 junction. You know how we always snigger at that sign on the way to Droitwich of a car and an upside down caravan ? Well they really do do that; holiday detritus scattered for a couple of hundred metres as the caravan disintegrated. Impressed with the Land Rover Discovery though, barely scratched by its roll across the carriageway. Anyway, after seeing that I slowed down in a paranoid sort of way. Top marks to Harri for constructing a decent meal without the use of any implements at all....
Despite what it might seem like from the Camp Report, the Lancaster Camp achieved a great deal of work, mainly on restoring the bywashes at Tewitfield Locks - some of which were built as open channels...
Sunday The fact that we haven’t yet established a routine for how the whole lunch delivery thing is going to work means I end up leaving Meredith stranded on the A6 in Carnforth for half an hour – sorry Meths! Some of the troops head off to the pub, while those of us who can’t summon the energy to walk that far play jenga, at which the hand-puppets win hands (or rather beaks) down. Video footage available from Alan Lines on request. Monday Today I discover the wonders of the shop that sells everything. ‘Roasting tin and an axe-handle? No problem’. Except I don’t know what size axe head we have (‘I’m only the cook!’) so promise to return with better instructions. For the rest of the week we keep ourselves entertained by coming up with ever more implausible combinations, all of which they manage to satisfy. For those of you who don’t know Carnforth, Iretons is the equivalent of Derwas Bros on the Mont. But bigger. “I’d like a garden pond and a jelly bag please....”
Camp reports Can Lou & Harri manage 3 pages without mentioning the work?
Most of last night’s pub crowd opt for a change of scenery and go to the cinema in Morecombe, while the rest of us do manage to make it down the road, entertaining our distinguished guest, Mike Woodhead from The Waterways Trust. Back at the accommodation, we enjoy a feast of cheese and salami, thanks to the French market in Market Harborough on Saturday. (thanks Craig!). Tuesday I get to spend a couple of hours on site, looking for the bywash on lock 4. Dr Steve and his frogs arrive. And full marks to Craig for letting Steve get out at the wrong gate to open it, and then driving off and leaving him there.... The evening plan is to go swimming in Kendal, but we discover their opening hours make this rather unfeasible, so the masses are kept from starvation with donuts while I do a ‘Ready Steady Cook’ imitation on the lasagne. I rifle through the van tapes and discover the joys of Abba Punjab. Not everyone agrees about the joys, but hey, drivers privilege. Wednesday On the pretence of taking Meredith to the station, I get an excuse for an outing into Lancaster. Meanwhile back at the accommodation, the frogs distribute themselves in a variety of compromising poses.
...and others were burried underground in culverts.
For the evening’s entertainment, after fish and chips, Lou and I take the DofE-ers plus other interested parties on a magical mystery tour of the canal, with thanks to Geordie Emma’s excellent navigation.
They mentioned it once but they think they got away with it... My chance to play dictator. Rick had disappeared for the evening, so there was no one left to play nice guy. This was the compulsory canal tour, on pain of not signing DofE books, with the threat that the less people looked like they were having fun, the longer the tour would be. Ah, remembering that evening brings me a little warm glow inside. Meanwhile, more trips to Iretons, this time for buckets. But we could have had dog food and metal polish too.... Thursday We are honoured by a visit from ‘Floodgates’, who has come north to take photos for his next restoration article. Tom, Ed and I commiserate with each other on England’s dismal performance on the first days play at Egbaston.
I can’t remember Thursday, my insomnia had trashed my short term memory by this point in the week. I’m sure though, that Matt was grinning and drinking tea, Graham was being mercilessly mocked for his former temporary job with BW, and Alex and Craig were escalating their light-hearted warfare. John was probably telling tall stories.... Friday After a morning on site cleaning and tidying... “Why do we have to go to site in the rain?” “Because you live in a temperate climate. Shut up and get in the van.”
...and lunch featuring the most bizarre fizzy orange crispy cakes, a grand water fight is staged in the hall car park with the (not wholly successful) aim of washing the vans. Lou then endeavours to shuttle everyone between the showers and boat trips... “and by the time I’d finished I was nearly dry!” ...while Rick tackles the challenge of the mountain of DofE books. Viv and her ‘errr-friend’ Tim, and Harry arrive to collect vans and kit and then we all enjoy a barbecue and Craig’s party games. Thank you from me to all the sandwich makers, and to everyone who responded to my pleas for help from the kitchen door during the week. And thanks from me for all the hard work and the laughs. Big thanks to the local canal peeps for contributions of beer, thanks to my Mum and Dad for lending me the barbecue and sharpening all the slashers, and thanks to Craig for being a star, Harri for top food at awkward times, and Rick for putting up with my style of assisting. There’s another few locks to go, so I look forward to a replay.
‘Top food at awkward times’ - Harri serves up the last-night barbecue.
Harri Thomsett Lou Kellett
Brian Peter Haskins 1933-2003 Brian Haskins was born in London in 1933 and then went to join his father who was a civil engineer working for the Indian State Railways. Returning to the UK after the war Brian completed his schooling and then took a degree in civil engineering at Loughborough University. After several posts in the London area he became a member of the Institute of Civil Engineers and then joined British Waterways at Watford. In 1969 he was appointed Area Manager for the old Northwich Area, which covered the River Weaver, Shropshire Union, Trent & Mersey and parts of the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal. I first met Brian in 1978 when I was asked by Graham Palmer, WRG founder, to supervise the rebuilding of Frankton Locks on the Montgomery Canal until he could get a local person to take over. That was the start of a long association with Brian, firstly restoring the canal and then through many other subsequent meetings. Prior to 1978, British Waterways had only allowed volunteers to do clearance work on locks at Stourbridge and on the Peak Forest and Ashton canals; some gate re-building at Marple by Dr. Cyril Boucher was the limit of repair work. I think that Frankton and Bugsworth Basin were the first parts of the BW system where volunteers actually did masonry repairs. Graham Palmer formed a WRG Montgomery Restoration Committee which Brian regularly attended. This always met on the Saturday or Sunday of a work party so that Brian and the WRG team could see progress and resolve any urgent work problems. Between meetings I met and corresponded with Brian to work out ways of repairing specific parts of the lock structure. In the early stages of the work Brian wanted improvements in our safety working and insisted that I wrote the first WRG Safety Manual to cover our methods of working.
Obituary R.I.P. Brian Haskins 1933-2003
Brian and Ken Goodwin also revised the schedule of costings for the restoration of the whole of the Montgomery Canal. On completion of Frankton Locks the WRG workers moved down to Aston Locks; the first work being the rebuilding of Lock 2. Here we ran into problems at the start of a KESCRG canal camp and on the Spring Bank Holiday Sunday morning, I had to telephone Brian at 0800 hours for urgent advice as the lock invert had not been built as everybody had suspected; we needed a change of plans to complete the weeks work within the schedule. Brian took this in his stride, left us to carry out our suggested modifications and he would see how we were going on Tuesday morning. The lock base was concreted and the brickwork eventually replaced, and my work was taken over by Mike Palmer. I had continued to see Brian through my role as IWA Region Chairman and following the reorganisation of British Waterways in 1989 he became BWs Chief Civil Engineer and although based at the Leeds office he stayed in the Northwich area. After his retirement in 1995 Brian continued his interest in canals, was appointed IWA Vice President and continued to be seen around the north at BW and IWA events; often with John Freeman ex BW Wigan Area manager or others from his time at Northwich. On November 14th. Warrington Crematorium was packed with BW staff and IWA friends to say goodbye to a real gentleman. We wish his wife Ann and the family our sympathy at this time. John Baylis.
Diary Dec 24-31
Canal Camps cost £35 per week unless otherwise Bookings for WRG Canal Camps (those identified by number e.g. 'Camp 0401') should go to WRG Canal PO Box 114, Rickmansworth WD3 1ZY. Tel: 01923 711114. Email: email@example.com Christmas Canal Camp at Dauntsey: Wilts & Berks Canal. Scrub clearance, hedgelaying, towpath work & bricklaying.
Dec 26-Jan 1 Camp 0318
New Year Canal Camp: Mon & Brec Canal. Jungle bashing at Fourteen Locks fl
Jan 1 Thu
Press date for issue 203: including Canal Societies directory
Chichester Ship Canal: Scrub bashing.
Marple & Kidsgrove: Setting finger-post bases at junctions.
Basingstoke Canal: Dig Deep project
Wilts & Berks Canal: Double Bridge or Pewsham Locks (Dig Deep)
Jan 24 Sat
‘Paper Chase’ waste paper collection
Hereford & Gloucester Canal
Basingstoke Canal: Backpump project at St Johns flight. (Dig Deep)
To be arranged
To be arranged
Winter Canal Camp on the Basingstoke Canal. Cutting down overhanging vege
Wilts & Berks Canal: Double Bridge, near Pewsham. Bricklaying, etc. Leader: R
Basingstoke Canal: Backpumping project at St Johns. (Dig Deep)
Feb 28 Sat
‘Paper Chase’ waste paper collection
Mar 1 Mon
Press date for issue 204
Wilts & Berks Canal: Double Bridge, or Pewsham Locks. (Dig Deep)
To be arranged
To be arranged
WRG/IWA/BCNSNational Canal Cleanup on the BCN: see page 28 for details and booking inform
To be arranged
National Cleanup Weekend
Mar 27 Sat
‘Paper Chase’ waste paper collection
Wey & Arun Canal: pre-Easter work camp setting up. (Dig Deep)
Wilts & Berks Canal: Dig Deep project
To be arranged
Easter Canal Camp on the Hereford & Gloucester Canal. Dredging and towpath
Hereford & Cloucester Canal
Wey & Arun Canal: Dig Deep project.
Little Venice Canalway Cavalcade: site Services
Wey & Arun Canal: Dig Deep project
Mon & Brec Canal: Joint dig with Essex WRG
Mon & Brec Canal: Joint dig with wrgNW
e stated. y a camp Camps,
Please send updates to Diary compiler: Dave Wedd, 7 Ringwood Rd, Blackwater, Camberley, Surrey GU17 0EY. Tel 01252 874437. e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Rachael Banyard
etation and pipelaying for the St Johns backpump.
ight near Newport.
h work near Hereford.
Canal society regular working parties
Mobile groups' social evenings (please phone to confirm before turning up) London WRG: 7:30pm on Tues 11 days before each dig. Usually at 'Star Tavern', Belgrave Mews West, London. Tim Lewis 07802-518094 or e-mail email@example.com.
NWPG: 9:00pm on 3rd Tue of month at the 'Hope Tap', West end of Friar St. Reading. Graham Hawkes 0118 941 0586 Regular monthly or weekly working parties: 3rd Sunday of month BCNS Jeff Barley 01543-373284 2nd Sunday & following Wed. BCS Cosgrove Athina Beckett 01908-661217 Anytime inc. weekdays BCT Aqueduct section Gerald Fry 01288-353273 Every Sunday ChCT Various sites Mick Hodgetts 01246-620695 Mon & Wed mornings CCT Cotswolds Dudley Greenslade 01453 825515 Every weekend (Sat OR Sun) CCT Cotswolds Neil Ritchie 01452-854057 1st Sunday of month CCT Cotswolds: summit Mark Welton 01453-872405 Wednesday evenings CCT Cotswolds: East end Keith Harding 01451-860181 Every Saturday DCT Droitwich Canal Jon Axe 0121-608 0296 Last Sunday of month EAWA N Walsham & Dilham Kevin Baker 01362-699855 4th Sunday of month ECPDA Langley Mill Michael Golds 0115-932-8042 Second Sun of month FIPT Foxton Inclined PlaneMike Beech 0116-279-2657 1st & 3rd Sundays GCRS Grantham Canal Colin Bryan 0115-989-2248 2nd Sat of month GWCT Nynehead Lift Denis Dodd 01823-661653 Tuesdays H&GCT Oxenhall Brian Fox 01432-358628 Wednesdays H&GCT Over Ted Beagles 01452-522648 Saturdays H&GCT Over Maggie Jones 01452-618010 Over wharf house fitout Nigel Bailey 01452-533835 Occasional Sundays H&GCT Every Sunday if required IWPS Bugsworth Basin Ian Edgar 01663-732493 1st Saturday & 3rd Wed. IWA Ipswich Stowmarket Navigtn. Colin Turner 01473-730586 01691-670826/49 2nd weekend of month IWA SBC Maesbury, Mont. Barry Tuffin 2nd weekend of month K&ACT John Rolls 01189-666316 1st Sunday of month LHCRT Lichfield Peter Matthews 01543-318933 3rd Sunday of month LHCRT Hatherton Denis Cooper 01543-374370 2nd & last Sundays PCAS Paul Waddington 01757-638027 2nd Sunday of month SCARS Sankey Canal Colin Greenall 01744-731746 1st Sunday of month SCCS Combe Hay Locks Bob Parnell 01225-428055 Most weekends SHCS Basingstoke Peter Redway 01483-721710 Last Sunday of month SNT Haverholme Lock Dave Pullen 01673-862278 3rd Sunday of month TMCA David Rouse 01474-362861 Approx 15th of month WACT Mid-Week group Colin Gibbs 020-82417736 Every Sunday & Thursday WACT Devils Hole Lock Eric Walker 023-9246-3025 Thursdays fortnightly WACT Maintenance Unit Peter Wilding 01483-422519 or for general information on Wey & Arun contact their office on 01403-752403 1st weekend of month WAT Little Tring Roger Leishman 01442-874536 Every weekend WBCT Wilts & Berks Canal Peter Smith 01793-852883 Every Sunday W&BCC Dauntsey / Foxham Rachael Banyard 01249-892289 Please send any amendments, additions and deletions to Dave Wedd (address on previous page)
Abbreviations used in Diary BCNS BCS BCT ChCT CCT DCT EAWA ECPDA FIPT D&SCS GCRS GWCT H&GCT IWA SBC
Birmingham Canal Navigations Soc. Buckingham Canal Society Bude Canal Trust Chesterfield Canal Trust Cotswolds Canals Trust Droitwich Canals Trust East Anglian Waterways Association Erewash Canal Pres. & Devt. Assoc. Foxton Inclined Plane Trust Derby & Sandiacre Canal Society Grantham Canal Restoration Society Grand Western Canal Trust Hereford & Gloucester Canal Trust IWA Shrewsbury & Border Counties
IWPS K&ACT KESCRG LHCRT NWPG PCAS SCARS SCCS SHCS SNT TMCA WBCT W&BCC WACT WAT
Inland Waterways Protection Society Kennet & Avon Canal Trust Kent & E Sussex Canal Rest. Group Lichfield & Hatherton Canals Rest'n Trust Newbury Working Party Group Pocklington Canal Amenity Society Sankey Canal Restoration Society Somersetshire Coal Canal Society Surrey & Hants Canal Society Sleaford Navigation Trust Thames & Medway Canal Association Wilts & Berks Canal Trust Wilts & Berks Canal Company Wey & Arun Canal Trust Wendover Arm Trust
Dear Martin May I be permitted to point out that myths and coincidence do not necessarily add up to facts? The use of ‘rain’ and ‘South Wales’ in the same sentence does not induce confidence in volunteers when the idea of working on the Mon & Brec is suggested. Currently the water situation in this outpost of the Empire is serious with a negligible amount of rain having fallen since the last WRG camp finished.
Does it only rain in South Wales when WRG are there?
Having mentioned coincidence, it has been noted that the monsoon season commenced on the arrival of a WRG working party. Now while I can’t agree that this is anything more than a mere whim of fate, it does seem rather odd. How can any group influence the weather in this way? Have we a rain-maker lurking in the guise of an innocent volunteer? Does someone walk around with a raincloud constantly hovering over his or her head? If so, perhaps I can invite this person to visit my drought-stricken garden. With such a shortage of rainwater there hasn’t been a single boat up or down the Fourteen Locks all summer - and that’s a fact! Regards, Ron Shakell
I thought I’d check whether South Wales in general and Newport (the nearest town to Fourteen Locks on the Mon & Brec) in particular are any wetter than anywhere else, or whether it only seems like that when WRG are there. So I had a quick look on the Internet... After a couple of false starts (did you know that (a) Newport, Shropshire, had the coldest temperature ever recorded in England - remember to pack your thermals when we get started on the Shrewsbury & Newport restoration in the next year or so - and (b) Newport Bowling Club, New South Wales, was the second-wettest place in the whole of Australia on July 2nd 2003? You didn’t? Shame on you!) I eventually tracked down some figures for Welsh weather. The good news is that although Wales is generally pretty wet and some parts such as Snowdonia are quite spectacularly soggy, the eastern side of the country close to the border (which probably includes the Mon & Brec) is much drier on average, with annual totals similar to much of the English Midlands. The bad news is that the wettest day ever recorded anywhere in Wales was when 211mm (over 8 inches) of rain fell in 24 hours on 11th November 1929 in the Rhondda - which is within 20 miles of the Mon & Brec worksites.
Incidentally, I’m not surprised that not a single boat has passed through the Fourteen Locks this summer... nor any other summer for the past 70 years or thereabouts! Nor will they, until we get the locks restored - so please do volunteer for a Camp or weekend on the Mon & Brec in 2004 and find out for yourself what the weather’s like, and whether the weather is dependent on whether we’re Proof that it doesn’t always rain on the Mon & Brec: the top lock at Four- there... if you see what I mean. ...The Editor teen Locks shows off its new gates on a glorious sunny June day.
Dear Martin Further to the comments about the Chard canal and the Somerset network in Navvies 200, a few comments...
...on restoring the Chard, the Huddersfield too-Narrow Canal...
Apart from the usual conflicts of varied ownership of the course of the former Chard canal there is also the Royal Navy to contend with at their airfield at Ilton (past the southern end of the Crimson Hill tunnel) sitting right across the canal, several major roads plus development around Ilminster and Chard.
While a complete restoration would be out of the question, there could be limited work done to the northern end and it is not beyond the bounds of possibility that the airfield could be bypassed by diverting the canal onto the old railway trackbed just to the west (would make a change, a canal being built on a railway!) and possibly terminating at Ilminster, though I don’t know of anybody who has done any serious looking into the costs involved. The Somerset network has reared its head several times over the years in the local press. The last that I recollect was after some particularly bad floods on the Somerset Levels: a sea lock and tidal gates were mooted for the Parrett just downstream of Bridgwater. By preventing tidal flooding of the Parrett, this would allow navigation throughout many miles of the Somerset Levels (could we see a restoration of the Westport Bristol Channel Glastonbury Canal Canal?) and provide a buffer (abandoned) for storm surges from the Waterways of Tone and other local rivers Bridgwater West Somerset Glastonbury plus additional jobs in boatBridgwater & ing and tourism. The latest and East Devon River Parrett Taunton Canal quoted cost for a lock and (tidal length (restored) gates was somewhere in the still navigable) Grand Western Canal region of £1.5m (about a Langport (to be restored) Taunton month’s WRG Camp beer
Tiverton Grand Western Tiverton Branch (open) EXETER Exeter Ship Canal (open) Stover Canal (restoration proposed)
River Tone River Yeo (tidal length (works Ilminster still navigable) abandoned Chard incomplete) Chard Canal (abandoned) Westport Canal (abandoned) This part of the Grand Western main line was never built
money?) but there seems to be little public movement on that front at present. Maybe if the Grand Western gets the £60m quoted for restoration through to Taunton they might find the extra money to do this, though I have heard murmurings about how nice it would be to extend the other way to Exeter and complete the Grand Western as originally proposed! Andy Carter Dear Editor
My wife and I have just returned from a visit to the Huddersfield Narrow Canal. What a spectacular job! Congratulations to British Waterways, the Canal Society, the Local Authorities, the Waterway Recovery Group and everyone else who played a part. In its 20 miles this canal now burrows under factories, squeezes between supermarkets and road widening schemes, ducks under dropped bridges and then dives underground through the longest canal tunnel in the country. It really is a remarkable conclusion to what most of us assumed was an impossible dream. We returned home thoroughly encouraged but with one unanswered question. Why was it that every Waterways employee we spoke to insisted that the tunnel was designed for boats 6ft 10in wide?
This is evidently not the case as a quick glance at ‘Bradshaws’ or ‘Priestleys’ will demonstrate. A couple of inches might not seem a lot, but to those who have reached Standedge Tunnel only to be turned away because their boat was built to the original ‘standard’ of 7ft, it makes all the difference in the world.
...and Americans who think were a drying-out clinic!
An article that appeared in Issue 7 of British Waterways’ house journal Waterfront encouraged us to send off for a draft list of minimum dimensions so that ‘the debating can come to an end.’ Surely the gauge of a waterway should be ‘as built’. I would be interested to know if British Waterways hold a different view. Yours Sincerely John Cowie
When the Huddersfield reopened and the tunnel and some locks found to be too tight for some boats (mainly (ex-) working narrow boats) BW’s initial reaction widening would cost so much that even if they had had the cash, it would have been much better spent on restoration elsewhere. However, I understand that they now support eventual enlargement of all sub-7ft ‘pinch points’ to their original size, gradually over the next few years as maintenance comes due on each structure. On the more general point of waterway gauge, I personally would usually favour structure dimensions being retained ‘as built’ but in a few cases this can be tricky - for example waterways (eg Thames & Severn, River Kennet, northern Trent & Mersey) where structures were rebuilt to a smaller size sufficiently long ago that they might be seen as having sufficient heritage interest (such as Garston Lock on the Kennet - probably the best surviving example of the turf-sided locks that were once common on English river navigations - which was rebuilt from 100ft x 17ft to about 72ft x 14ft in the 19th Century) that it would be wrong to enlarge them to original size. One might also compromise on dimensions if this seems like the only chance of a restoration proceeding: the Millennium Fund would probably not have funded restoration of the Forth & Clyde, had the promotors of the restoration insisted on reinstatement of movable bridges providing unlimited headroom for masted craft at all road and rail crossings. That’s an extreme case; others are less clear-cut. Should one accept (owing to limitations imposed by wildlife interests) restoration of a broad-beam canal to a standard that would make it difficult for two 14ft-beam craft to find a place to pass each other (or a restoration that’s too shallow for fully-loaded cargo carrying narrow boats), on the grounds that few such craft are likely to use it, and the only alternative may be a canal that’s not open to any boats at all? This is similar to the questions of whether we should accept restoration for unpowered craft only (as the EA wants on the River Stour) or with severe limits on boat numbers, compulsory towage in places or a ‘closed season’ - all of which have been proposed on the Mont. And I’m not sure what the answer is in these cases. Any thoughts, anyone? ...The Editor Dear Martin, As I constantly discover from living in America, the old adage of ‘two nations separated by a common language’ occasionally throws up a hiccup now and then. I am the proud possessor of two tee-shirts and two vests, both emblazoned with the words “Waterway Recovery Group.” I keep thinking I must be the only person in the United States wearing these shirts, and proud to be advertising the organisation.
Maybe WRG could change its name to Waterway Restoration Group so I don’t get any more funny looks! Thinking of you from the left coast of America, Jeremy Frankel
However, I have occasionally received some funny looks from people and I simply put it down to their never having heard of WRG. But this weekend I struck up conversation with this chap who was looking at the logo and actually asked me what it was. It was then that the penny dropped. Over here, the word ‘recovery’ is associated with the idea of people recovering from something, and coupled with the word waterway’ they associate it with drink(!). They think I am advertising some kind of 12-step sobriety programme!
At risk of being misconstrued?
The steering is very basic. The steering wheel connects to a shaft, which connects to another shaft dropping through the base. When the crane is being used for lifting, the steering wheel and shaft are lifted clear of the shaft in the bed; when the crane needs to be driven, the crane is slewed until the two shafts line up and then the top shaft is dropped back onto the bottom one. This locks the slew and connects the steering wheel to the steering arrangement under the base. This bottom shaft has a pinion on the end, which engages with a rack which is in turn connected to both front stub axles via a few rods and joints. Many of the rods are kept in place by large solid brass bearing blocks: these are all in remarkably good shape.
Bungle carries on taking a KL15 crane to bits... Rebuilding a KL15 crane George ‘Bungle’ Eycott is working on turning a rather knackered KL15 crane back into a useful piece of kit. Last time we heard from him, he’d removed the engine from the KL15, then succeeded in dragging the machine safely over a railway level crossing without getting stuck halfway across the tracks. (Just as well, really, there could have been some real chaos... ‘No, signalman, you misheard me - I said there’s a crane trashed on the level crossing, not a train crashed...’) We rejoin him as he starts to get into the nitty-gritty of taking the crane to bits....
So on the next visit the stub axles and all the steering gear were removed. Apart from having to cut most of the split pins, everything came apart remarkably easily (with the exception of one bolt which chose to break in half instead). Once again we were impressed by the way everything had a good coat of grease protecting it. The rack and pinion is exposed (being located next to the front wheel ensures that it gets well plastered with mud) and over the years the pinion has worn to the extent that tooth failure could not have been far away. A new pinion will be required. On top of this one stub axle pin came out very easily, but the other required the attention of ‘Sally Sledgehammer’ to get it to shift. Oh, and the drag link that transfers the steering between the two stub axles is not just bent but twisted as well, which would have added additional friction at the joints on each end. Hardly surprising that steering was hard work, really!
With the crane moved into its proper position for us to work on it, the next job was to look at the base. This comprises of a large platform, to which is bolted the back axle, brakes (ha ha), two front stub axles, steering assembly and drive train. First the wheels were removed; this revealed two problems. Firstly the front bearings had considerable play in them: they are bush type bearings so even if the parts are not available off the shelf, it will be a relatively simple task to machine them. Secondly we had assumed that the steering was hard work due to the flat tyres; however even with the wheels jacked off the ground, it was still very difficult to turn the steering wheel.
It appears that the drag link has been replaced by a fabricated version at some point, the construction of it just does not match the rest of the crane. This is not surprising as its position means that it would be prone to damage when driving over rough ground. Claverton has a small shot-blaster, which we wanted to try out on the crane. So we rigged it up to the compressor to try shot blasting the crane base. On the first attempt, the nozzle blocked almost immediately; on the second attempt it blew all the shot out in about 5 seconds. Some finetuning will obviously be required, but the results of the small patch we tried showed that it is very effective - if a little messy.
George ‘Bungle’ Eycott
The KL15 crane, with its wheels off and parts of its rather basic steering mechanism visible.
PS There would have been more pictures of us dismantling the crane, but some idiot (err, me) deleted the pictures off my camera before I had a chance to put them onto the computer...
Dig On It’s been an odd sort of year... I saved lots of money by not going on Canal Camps for the first year since I started digging all that time ago. It has to be said though that this was the only upside! In fact, I have done very little apart from things on the Logistics front which, frankly, after this many years of repainting and repainting and repainting ad infinitum... oops sorry... and repairing the kits is getting quite dull! This is why you will occasionally find a novelty item, some interesting engraving, or some ludicrously silly paint-job appear in the camps’ kits!! I am finding it hard to believe that I have only gone digging two weekends all year – both in January (!) with North West (!! - only joking you lot!), one being fairly local to me in Chesterfield, and the other being Operation Ironville (also not that far away from me!), which was great fun! Oh, and I ‘did’ the National too, minus the Festival weekend due to work at another festival (ironic, seeing as it was the same as the festival held a few miles away from the NWF site in Reading but I travelled 300+ miles to get there!)... but that doesn’t count! My raison d’etre is missing... please can you send it back to me if you find it?! (Perhaps I left it in the back of CFT?)
Why do fridge-freezers always blow up on the Basingstoke? Huge thanks to: Lorrae Carter for sorting things out for me at the bad start to 2003. Steve and Sue Johnson for suggesting we (Me and Corinne) did Operation Ironville, having a laugh with them and letting us stay the night at theirs. And Mr Baylis for organising the weekend! MKP, Alan Lines, and Martin (and Lesley!) for providing me with loads of photos of what you all got up to this year. Sorry I couldn’t really be part of it! And there’s plenty of room for more photos through my letterbox and the odd one by email (thanks for the mug shot, Mole!) so don’t hesitate to take lots next year and send them on and you WILL get them back if required!
As regards Logistical goings-on, there is not a huge lot happening at present due to Camps Brochure time taking priority. (and proper work!) Normal service will, I hope, resume in the New Year.
Bungle for PAT testing all the camps kits’ electrickery stuff for another year... you get the idea of how monotonous Logistics is now?! And remember, the word you are looking for isn’t difficult to say or very big (but it is clever and much more so than its alternative!).
Keeping true to Basingstoke Bonfire Bash tradition, Craig’s (not-so) old fridge freezer blew up at this year’s! So, from that day on I have decreed that:
Mark Bennett for looking after the spare fridges and freezers (you see, they’re invading... ) since the National - I haven’t forgotten!
No freezus fridgus of this Kingdom shall pass into the Realms of The Stoke of the Basing if it be for a celebration of fire and wizardry.
James Butler for offering to drive all over the place with whatever, whenever!
That’s two of them that have blown up there and we’ve only had the Bonfire Bash there twice! And they weren’t even that long in service. D’oh! Refer to the old adage: “Remember, remember, Basingstoke in November Fridge freezers, no reason, lost plot!” Well, there you go. And I did miss doing the ‘Ooh!’s and ‘Aah!’s with Bush Baby this year! I’ve spent far too much time working (yes, and for money too!) this year so I need to find a compromise for next. I think the bike may win at this rate, or maybe Dizzy’s lounge and hall... Unless of course someone finds and returns my raison d’etre! All that remains for me to say is to thank everyone who has helped in any way, however large or small, and this could take some time! So if I forget anyone, I’m really sorry but this brain has continued to disappoint (me!) and retained its 222 quality! Here goes:
Mr Mac for the kind donation of a couple of shiny Burcos and... well, for being Mr Mac! Stuart Priest, he of Over’s first camp fame, for being the only person to reply to my request in the last Navvies. Much appreciated, Stuart. Will try and contact you about it soon. Mitch for spending ages on the phone to me about tachos and driver hours and generally being an all-round top gal – the calendar awaits... And all of you who support Canal Camps in any way (that covers just about everyone, doesn’t it?) Thank you! Logistics wishes you all an incredibly Merry Christmas and a jolly fine New Year!
Cheers! Just Jen firstname.lastname@example.org Next time: The Grand Van Plan!
This has involved building (and subsequently dismantling) shuttering and reinforcing for 75 base and 75 upright sections of wall and pouring 586 cubic metres of concrete (150 lorry-loads), at a cost of around £100 per metre of completed wall. The final section of shuttering was removed before an appreciative audience of WAT members and friends by a team of work party ‘regulars’ (‘the real VIPs of this occasion’). Before opening a celebratory bottle of champagne, Restoration Director Roger Leishman paid tribute to the volunteers for all their hard work; to the ‘restoration widows’ for tolerating their frequent and often prolonged absences from home and for running the Tea Boat during the Festival which alone had contributed £4,000 to the cause; to the members of the Festival Committee without whose terrific efforts there would not have been the funds to go ahead with the work (the 2003 Festival raised a record £37,000); to the IWA whose granting of the Tim Wilkinson Bequest to WAT had secured the funding needed to complete Phase 1; and to the various regional restoration groups who had contributed to the work over the years.
A milestone (or rather 650m of concrete) on the Wendover Celebrations on the Wendover Arm On Sunday 16th November members of the Wendover Arm Trust celebrated the completion of the final section of reinforced concrete wall to be built during Phase 1 of the restoration scheme.
Since May 1998, WAT volunteers have built 650 metres of wall from Tring Stop Lock to the site of the new winding hole.
Meanwhile, work on the section designated for Phase 2 continues, with a furlong of scrub clearance and stumping to go before the line is clear from Little Tring to the new & recently-rewatered section at Drayton Beauchamp and Aston Clinton. Stella Wentworth
Above: Wendover Arm Trust volunteers posing proudly by their 75th and final length of concrete wall. Below: The completed wall, with the rebuilt LittleTring Bridge in the background. Hopefully this length will be reopened in May 2005.
The section between the stop lock and Little Tring Bridge has been funded by the IWA branches of the Grand Junction region, who raised over £30,000. Already 45 metres has been lined with Bentonite matting and capped with concrete. All being well, lining the rest of Phase 1 will be completed in 2004, with the new section ready for an official opening in May 2005.
BCN Cleanup 2004 Yes, it’s coming up to that time of year again!
The annual BCN Cleanup weekend takes place on 20th-21st March, and once again WRG, The local branches of The Inland Watersways Association, The Birmingham Canal Navigations Society and British Waterways will be getting together to see how many shopping trolleys, bikes, armchairs, bits of old car and anything else we can drag out of the murky waters of the Birmingham Canal Navigations in a single weekend.
Book now for the 2004 BCN Cleanup on the Curly Wyrley
The site for this year’s event has just been confirned as the Wyrley & Essington Canal, heading from Horseley Fields Junction, Wolverhampton, and heading eastwards as far as we can get. The local British Waterways will as usual be supporting us by providing rubbish skips, workboats, grappling hooks and litter-pickers... and a canal with a large supply of crap to heave out of it. Overnight accommodation and WRG catering will be provided, and we hope to arrange some kind of entertainment for the Saturday night - and we’ll tell you where it is just as soon as we know.
These events are vital for keeping the less well-used parts of the BCN system open to boats - most of these canals are classified as ‘remainder waterways’, meaning that BW are not allowed to spend more than the bare minimum on maintenance - and unless we help to clear out the humungous amounts of rubbish that the locals seem to delight in throwing into their local waterway, the canals will become completely choked with rubbish and no use to anyone. It’s also rather good fun, and the regular volunteers vie with each other to pull the most bizarre item out of the cut. In previous years we’ve found computers, traffic lights, kitchen sinks, lamp-posts and toilets! What will we find this time?
Just some of the junk we found under a sinMore details will be provided in the next edition, but in gle bridge on last year’s Cleanup the meantime, if you want to help to keep the BCN canals open please complete the application form below and send it to Head Office.
waterway recovery group
in association with BCNS, BW and IWA
I would like to attend the 2004 National Canal Cleanup on Mar 20-21 on the BCN Forename:
Address: e-mail: Phone:
Any special dietary requirements?
I require accommodation Friday night / Saturday night / both nights I enclose payment of £ (pay cheques to 'WRG') for food (cost is £8 for whole weekend, based on £1.50 for lunch each day, £1.50 for breakfast each day and £2 for Saturday evening meal) Do you suffer from any illness, such as epilepsy or diabetes, about which we should know, or are you receiving treatment or under medical supervision for any condition? YES / NO (If yes, please attach details) In the unlikely event that you should be injured, who should we contact? Name:
Signed (parent's signature also required if aged under 18): Please send this form to National Cleanup bookings, WRG, PO Box 114, Rickmansworth WD3 1ZY
I guess at some point, people must have gone to bed... Reunion Bonfire Bash 2003 Yes, I know I said ‘Nevermore’ after my last attempt at leading, so why was no-one there to stop me when I had the phone call from Adrian? Anyway, as I was second assistant leader to Jonathan and Ian it didn’t really matter – apart from the fact that we didn’t have a venue. The world of derelict canals seemed unenthusiastic about hosting a bunch of rowdies intent on burning their way across the countryside. However, at the 11th hour Pete Redway saved the day (and I’m sure that must have been said before) and it was off to the Basingstoke to deflower a bit more of Hampshire. If you weren’t there, but have watched The Great Escape every Christmas, I don’t need to describe the accommodation. One thing Aldershot has plenty of is huts – and the TA kindly lent us a small clump, surrounded by high fencing and decorated tastefully with posters describing the best way to dismantle an SA80, and detailed photographs of battle wounds. The only snag was that as the huts were highly flammable, we weren’t allowed to install any cooking facilities – so a market stall or two and several large tarpaulins were assembled outside for Jude and her team.
Last minute arrangements were made and vehicles sorted – James Butler travelling the length and breadth of the country picking up vehicles. Soon every vehicle WRG possesses was assembled, plus a couple more, London WRG having acquired (temporarily) a big Sherpa thing and Bungle arriving in some style (now there is something you don’t hear often) in a new long-wheelbase Transit minibus for us to play with. Tinted windows, more interior lights than the Titanic and power a-plenty. We heard a new expression, never before heard in any WRG conversation about vehicles – ‘too fast’! I discovered that accelerating out of a wet roundabout with only 6 people on board could provoke mild powerslides without trying – goodness knows what could be achieved with some effort! Anyway, clearly we had enough transport to shuttle people off to site.
Above: traditional Reunion work: watching the bonfire to make sure it doesn’t go out! Below: just some of Bonfire Bash volunteers seen at the tail of Ash Lock.
A small but select group disappeared off to install some more pipes at St Johns while the rest went to tackle Ash Embankment. Loads of stuff to clear but mostly bracken and other insubstantial undergrowth, leading to a few moans and groans but work progressed well. John Hawkins discovered that carving through undergrowth inhabited by wasps resulted in swift and painful retribution; and to prove that we continue to fail to learn, James suffered a similar fate. Maureen met a different bunch on Sunday, and these were clearly ready for her resulting in a hospital visit – when there are too many stings to count it’s best not to take chances. Having enveloped Aldershot in the usual pall of smoke, we returned to the accommodation for the usual entertainment. No fireworks for a variety of reasons (not least the possibility of burning down the accommodation) but Stephen Davis had arrived via the friendly local brewery so no-one really minded. He also brought his new fiancée (actually, his only fiancée) with him – brave, or foolhardy? Leave it until after the wedding, surely, before introducing the poor girl to ‘the sort of people I like to spend my time with’.
The weekend then moved through its usual familiar routine, with people disappearing off to the farflung outposts of the empire (or oop North as it’s known – this is not intended to be divisive in any way, even I live north of Aldershot ). Accommodation was returned to its former ‘splendour’ and kit packed. Many thanks to Pete, the hero of the hour; to Jude for gathering an excellent catering crew; and to the innumerable friends who - recognizing true incompetence when they see it - rang offering help and assistance. Our thoughts go out to Mr Mac’s camper which expired, clearly unable to cope with the thin Southern air, on the journey down. See you all soon somewhere. David Worthington
I guess at some point, people must have gone to bed, although some (nameless) folk were able to say ‘good morning’ to Jude as she set out to make A check if the kitchen was still there and to make breakfast. Sunday was more of the same (including the wasps) except for the Rugby. Harry had done things with cables and tellies and stuff and a contingent were able to watch Wales allow England the opportunity of beating a superior side. I have no idea why they made such a selfless gesture as I lost interest at that point.
It’s true! The accommodation really did have beds!
As well as the scrub-bashing work, a team spent the Bonfire Bash weekend carrying on with work on the St Johns backpumping scheme near Woking that is being installed to enable the Basingstoke Canal to stay open all year without running out of water. Above: digging out the trench for the backpump pipe. Above right: reinstating the towpath surface afterwards. Below: the pump inlet weir and chamber takes shape. If you want to help carry on this work, come on the February Canal Canp - see opposite page.
Foxton hits the jackpot We have just heard that the bid for £1.4 Million of funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund for Foxton Inclined Plane has been successful: HLF have given ‘Stage 1’ approval, which means that barring any disasters the money will be theirs. While this will not actually pay for the Inclined Plane to be reinstated as a working boat lift, it should be enough to fund the restoration of the upper and lower canal arms leading to the Plane, clearance of the trees from the Plane itself, and improvements to public access and interpretation facilities - and is seen as paving the way to later reinstatement of the lift. And there may well be some work for volunteers involved.
February Camp on the Basingstoke As mentioned elsewhere in this issue, the 2004 Canal Camps booklet should be with you in a couple of weeks’ time in a separate mailing,
February Canal Camp on the Basingstoke Canal Pete Redway has promised us a mix of work for the week, including both construction work on the St Johns Backpumping project, where the pipeline is approaching the bottom of the lock flight and the inlet weir chamber is nearing completion (see opposite), but also some more traditional winter Canal Camp work clearing overhanging tree branches from the canal using boats - and burning them (the branches, that is, not the boats) on big bonfires. So send in your booking for m (these are downloadable from the WRG web site www.wrg.org.uk if you can’t waif for your camps booklet to arrive) and we’ll see you at St Johns in February.
But in the meantime here’s some information about the first of the year’s Camps, which takes place on the Basingstoke Canal on February 14th to 21st.
Froghall Basin, where the Uttoxeter Canal leaves the Caldon Canal, will be the venue for a 2004 Canal Camp. Here, WRG North West are seen clearing trees around the basin on their Christmas dig.
The Lancaster Canal Southern Reaches? Gift Aid A number of ‘Navvies’ subscribers have asked about whether they can use Gift Aid to increase the value to WRG of their subscription money. We’re sorry to say that the answer is currently ‘no’. WRG is not a charity (although its parent body The Inland Waterways Association is) and therefore it cannot claim back income tax on subscriptions or donations. If you want to make a gift aid donation to IWA instead of adding a donation to your subs, then you can; but unfortunately the rules are that you can’t stipulate that the money be given to WRG.
Preston South End? In addition to the completed Ribble Link connecting the Lancaster Canal to the rest of the system, and the Northern Reaches restoration currently in progress (and supported by Canal Camps again in 2004) the Lancaster Canal looks likely to be extended in a third direction - the ‘Southern Reaches’.
VOLE Training Grants for Volunteers Do you or your volunteers need any training? The Waterways Trust can award grants of up to £100 per head for the training of volunteers under its “VOLE” training project (Vole stands for VOlunteer Learning and Experience). Any training which will be used to benefit the waterways or which will help people use the waterways is fundable - excavator driving, public speaking, events skills, computer skills.... the list is wide ranging and long! Both groups and individuals may apply. For more information please contact: Mike Woodhead, The Waterways Trust, Llanthony Warehouse, The Docks, Gloucester GL1 2 E H . Phone: 01452 318209 or Email email@example.com.
Lichfield award Well done to LHCRT for winning a regional nature conservation award (courtesy of npower and the local wildlife trusts) for their creation of woodland reserves including native flowers such as bluebells alongside the canal. Not bad, considering that it isn’t long since the local wildlife interests were sufficiently anti-restoration that they were actually trying to persuade the local authorities to remove statutory protection from the line of the canal.
Received anonymously... To the Editor, NAVVIES
A grant of £150,000 from the Regional Development Agency and a further £40,000 from Preston City is paying for a feasibility study into restoring the southern end of the main line of the canal in Preston back towards its original terminus (about half a mile south of where it ends now) and also the construction of a barrage across River Ribble, downstream of the confluence with the River Douglas, to make the crossing to the Ribble Link non-tidal and make it easier for boats to get from the main system to the Lancaster.
Lichfield needs you!
Anno domini / Tempus fugit etc.
After a bit of a lull in volunteer effort (at least by visiting groups) on the Lichfield & Hatherton Canals while the Trust concentrated almost all their efforts on raising money for the aqueduct over the new M6 Toll, they are looking to get back into hosting more working parties for visiting groups as well as a Canal Camp next summer. If your group still has some TBAs that need filling, get in touch with them.
The Cheapskate Hack who writes captions beneath photos in this SPLENDID PERIODICAL had best start bringing his own flask of tea and broken biscuits as the CHIEF TEA BREWER (of EXALTED RANK) has the distinct feeling that supplies might just run out as the aforesaid person reaches the Tea Urn.
Name and Address withheld” We think it may be something to do with the caption under the picture of Mr Mac with the ‘I dig canals’ t-shirt on page 35 of issue 201. In which case our humble apologies. And we really are sorry to hear of the sad mishap suffered by your mobile teabrewing facility on the way to the Basingstoke Reunion and hope that it is back in action soon.
Contacting the chairman: Mike Palmer, 3 Finwood Rd, Rowington, Warwickshire CV35 7DH Tel: 01564 785293 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Moving house... John Gale has moved to: 24 Longleaf Drive, Braintree, Essex, CM7 1XS. Tel: 01376 334896 Sally Nutt has moved to: 21A Lena Gardens, London W6 7PY Helen Gardner has moved to: NB Sussex, Weaver Shipyard, Saxons Lane, Northwich, CW8 1LB If you move house, remember to tell ‘Navvies’ so your subscription details can be updated.
Noticeboard Directory Updates? The next issue of ‘Navvies’ will contain the full Directory, giving contact details of all WRG groups, WRG Board and Committee members, and Canal Society work party organisers. Please send any updates to the Editor.
Free to a good home WRG NorthWest has been given a set of lightweight, plastic-framed, display boards which are suitable only for indoor use. Contact John Foley (01457-853582) for more information. Stamps wanted
New on the WRG Website... ...Camps 2004 details as soon as we have them. ...WRG Wear catalogue, order form, and pictures of people wearing WRG Clothes.
Navvies is published by Waterway Recovery Group, PO Box 114, Rickmansworth WD3 1ZY and is available to all interested in promoting the restoration and conSubscriptions / circulation servation of inland waterSue Watts ways by voluntary effort in 15 Eleanor Road Great Britain. Articles may Chorlton-cum-Hardy be reproduced in allied Manchester M21 9FZ magazines provided that Printing and assembly: the source is acknowlJohn & Tess Hawkins edged. WRG may not 4 Links Way, Croxley Grn agree with opinions exRickmansworth, Herts pressed in this magazine, WD3 3RQ 01923 448559 but encourages publication email@example.com as a matter of interest. Editor : Martin Ludgate 35 Silvester Road East Dulwich London SE22 9PB 020-8693 3266
The WRG Canal Camps mobile phones: 07850 422156 (A) and 07850 422157 (B)
Nothing printed may be construed as policy or an official announcement unless so stated - otherwise WRG and IWA accept no liability for any matter in this magazine. Waterway Recovery Group is a division of Inland Waterways Enterprises Ltd., a subsidiary of the Inland Waterways Association (a registered charity).
Send used postage stamps, petrol coupons, old phone cards, empty computer printer ink cartridges to IWA/WRG Stamp Bank, 33 Hambleton Grove, Milton Keynes MK4 2JS. All proceeds to canal restoration.
Directors of WRG: John Baylis, Mick Beattie, Malcolm Bridge, Roger Burchett, Spencer Collins, Christopher Davey, Helen Davey, Roger Day, Neil Edwards, John Fletcher, Adrian Fry, John Hawkins, Jennifer Leigh, Judith Moore, Michael Palmer, Jonathan Smith.
Inland Waterways Enterprises Registered office: Secretary: Neil Edwards 3 Norfolk Court, Norfolk Rd. Rickmansworth WD3 1LT VAT reg. no : 788 9425 54 © 2003 WRG Tel : 01923 711114 Registered no 4305322 ISSN 0953-6655
And finally... No room for anything else on the back page besides the cartoon this time, so I’ll just use this little bit of space to wish you all the best for what’s left of the Festive Season - and I’ll see you in 2004. ...Ed