avvies N No 204: April - May 2004 Mr. Macâ€™s Birthday Issue! waterway recovery group
The Right Tool for the Right Job Appeal has raised over £64,000 so far!
Cover photos: David ‘Mr Mac’ McCarthy MBE of WRG North West, supplier of cups of tea to thirsty WRGies everywhere, celebrated his 80th birthday recently. North West made sure it was an occasion to remember, by organising a grand party with band, singing, dancing and a cake depicting Mr Mac and his tea van. (pictures by Chris Griffiths) Above: Some of the volunteers at this year’s BCN Cleanup (see report, p26-29). Below: WRG North West don’t just hold birthday parties, they hold working parties too - here they are returning the WRG workboat from a short spell of impersonating a submarine to its normal floating state; they also cleared the swingbridge surroundings at Rednal Basin and added some final finishing touches to the Maesbury spillway.
In this issue:
...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 email@example.com. Press date for No 205: May 1st.
Chairman MKP on camps, minibuses, BW, 4-5 Driver Authorisation and awards Appeal update we’re gettin there! 6-7 Camp Reports from the Basingstoke and the 8-15 Wilts & Berks Training the 2004 training weekend 16 WRG Wear get your strappy tops now! 17 Diary camps and working parties 18-20 Letters to the editor 21 Preview of some of the summer camps22-23 Logistics brings you ‘Changing Minds’ and 24 ‘Cluedo’ Auction winning bids from last time 25 Cleanup report from the BCN 26-29 Mr Mac celebrates his 80th birthday 30 Navvies News volunteers wanted for WOW, 31-32 Boat Club News and unloved canals Noticeboard 33 Infill MKP exposed! 34-35
And next time...
A year's subscription (6 issues) is available for a ....we hope to bring you reports from the Easter minimum of £1.50 (please add a donation if pos- Camp on the H&G, the Training Weekend and sible) to Sue Watts, 15 Eleanor Road, Chorlton- Canalway Cavalcade, and another Preview article cum-Hardy, Manchester M21 9FZ. Cheques to giving details of the rest of the summer’s camps. "Waterway Recovery Group" please. And just maybe a pic of a new minibus! Visit our web site www.wrg.org.uk for all the latest news of WRG's activities
Restoration and conservation work on this set of old limekilns alongside the Grand Western Canal is one of the jobs for Camp 0408 on July 17th-24th. See pages 22-23 for a preview of some of this summer’s Canal Camps.
By the time you read this we will have bought our new minibus... Chairman’s comment Well it’s falling into place - perhaps a little slower than we had hoped but from here at the top I can see an awfully busy year. Firstly with this edition of Navvies you should have the Canal Camps 2004 brochure. We apologise for the delay but that is just one of the problems of a volunteer organisation -sometimes other things take priority. However this year we do have a great selection of Canal Camps including the reappearance of some old favourites such as Lichfield and Hatherton and the Cotswolds.
We have a new very long minibus: take extreme care when parking and manoeuvring; do not bend it!! Too many people have worked hard to get us this wonderful vehicle for us to mistreat it. This neatly leads onto the subject of the Right Tool for the Right Job Appeal. It looks like we are on the final stretch now - the last total I heard was £64,000 but that was some time ago. My genuine thanks to all those who have given time, money and effort to make our work better and more effective. All those who dig with WRG should be seeing the benefits of this appeal, not least of all in having a minibus that doesn’t use more oil than diesel! Staying on the subject of vehicles: my thanks to everyone who has responded so promptly to our Big Spring Clean of the databases and returned their forms.
Secondly by the time this Navvies is published we will also have taken delivery of our new minibus. Yes we finally stopped talking about it and actually went and found someone who would sell us (ver y nearly) what we wanted. So now we have a 17-seater transit minibus.
Despite the lack of brochure we already have quite a few bookings for many of these camps (you’d be surprised how little information some people need before signing up !) so I really do recommend you give the brochure a good reading, see what you fancy and book now.
Yes that is right: 17 seats, which is a very large vehicle so listen carefully, I will say this only once: Mike Palmer searches for inspiration for his Chairman’s Page page 4
One of the things that did show up was just what a complex arrangement the restoration scene is today. Just about every application generated at least one question (some applications generated many more - thank you Bungle!) and so some cards were delayed while these issues were sorted out. However pretty much everyone should now have any cards they requested. Many of the questions raised were similar so we have published a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section which should be included as an insert in this issue, and will also appear on the WRG web site. Please do read this, it may answer any uncertainties you still have. It seems the difficulties of working on BW waterways are cropping up more and more these days. Its not that we don’t value their support but boy, can they make it difficult! They just don’t seem to be set up for working with volunteers, and a recently published Volunteers Policy doesn’t seem to have helped, not least because it seems no-one in BW has actually been allowed to see it! Whilst in many respects I applaud the regionalisation of BW (after all who wants a homogenised network) it does seem that national communications are often not what they should be. An example of this is that for several years the IWA and BW have believed that a standard indemnity existed for groups working or holding events on BW waters. We have subsequently discovered that the wording is not actually appropriate and so a new version is being drafted, but recently several groups have been asked to sign the old indemnity as no-one in BW knew it was obsolete. So the moral of the story is don’t sign anything without checking with IWA Head Office that it is acceptable. You may also suggest that your local BW check with Jackie Lewis, Principal Lawyer at Watford for the latest information. You may be surprised to see we have a colour cover again. Well when WRG North West heard that Martin had selected the photograph of Mr Mac celebrating his 80th birthday for the front cover they all clubbed together to bring a bit of colour to this edition as a suitable way of honouring his many achievements.
...the weirdest weekend I have ever spent on the waterways... Other groups and individuals have helped us in this way before - it does make a difference to our appearance and recruitment and we are always glad to receive this sort of support. Does it guarantee you can choose the pictures? What do you think? One of the IWAs lesser known awards is the Volvo Penta Otter. Affectionately known as ‘The Rat’, it is awarded to the individual or organisation making ‘an outstanding contribution to environmental conservation on the inland waterways of Great Britain’. This contribution may relate to the structure of the waterway, associated buildings or the flora and fauna, all of which contribute to the special environment of the inland waterways. It has a fine pedigree and has been awarded to such important projects as the Aston Nature Reserve, but has not been awarded for the last few years for the simple reason that no projects have been nominated. This I could understand in the last millennium, when it seemed no project could exist without big excavators and a regular injection of ready mixed concrete, but surely there are projects out there that are producing very tangible contributions. If you know of one then contact IWA Head Office for further details of the award. Finally, one of the few treats for people as old and jaded as myself is managing to surprise other people. So to hear legendary waterways photographer Derek Pratt saying “that must be the weirdest weekend I have ever spent on the waterways” was particularly pleasing. Slightly more worrying was that I was naked at the time, save for ingenuity of a helpful police officer. Confused - well all will be revealed (quite literally) at the ‘National’ in August. Be afraid, be very afraid. See you all somewhere soon, I hope. Mike Palmer page 5
The Right Tool for the Right Job Appeal Update Just in case you’ve forgotten (how could you?!) our parent body The Inland Waterways Association – supported by lots of fundraising efforts by WRG volunteers – has been running an appeal called The Right Tool for the Right Job aimed at raising around £75,000 re-equip WRG’s volunteers with vehicles, tools, machinery, catering kit, safety gear and training to keep us restoring canals for the next few years. Liz Williamson brings us the latest news... We’re getting there!!
Also thanks to our sponsors: Chiltern and FFF Breweries, who gave generous discounts on the real ale for the bar; Waitrose, Wycombe Heights Ski slope, the Mill at Sonning, and other individuals who donated raffle prizes; and WRG North West for sending money instead of dancers – hope you had a fab time at Mr Mac’s Birthday. This was such fun that it may become an annual event – watch this space. Calendar WRGs – by the time you’re reading this some brave souls will have stripped off (in Gloucestershire, in March so it might be a tad cold!) and the photos will be at the printers. Expect the calendars (for 2005) to be on sale by the National! So that’s the Christmas shopping sorted... The Right Hog for the Right Roast – we’re very sorry that due to lack of bookings the Hog Roast that Nic Bennett was hoping to organise had to be cancelled. Let’s hope we can organise one later in the year instead.
Progress has been slow but steady over the last few weeks, but now that spring is here I’m sure there will be an increase in enthusiasm and energy!
Stop press news - ‘Dance For Tools’ Barn Dance Raises £900! This brings our total up to around £64,000. Fantastic effort by all those involved, and particular thanks from me to Helen Gardner for coming up with the idea and making it happen.
The Barn Dance in March raised over £900 for the Appeal.
So that’s what I’m planning – now let me know what you want to do! I’m still waiting for someone to do a sponsored brick-clean/shovel sharpening/ tool cleaning/painting...
Coming soon: Little Venice – the annual IWA Canalway Cavalcade rally at Little Venice in Loncon on the early May Bank Holiday will see the return of the Bhaji Stall – but a change of chef as Viv is reluctant to come back from New Zealand for us! So Ian Williamson will be in charge, and I will be assisting with the onion chopping. Anyone who wants to lend us a hand will be very welcome – please contact me a.s.a.p. London WRG have also agreed to bring back (by popular request) the Splat the WRGie game! Apparently it is going to be new and improved!
Look forward to seeing you all soon Love ’n’ hugs Dr. Liz firstname.lastname@example.org
National Waterways Festival, Burton-uponTrent. Plans are afoot for various things, but one idea that is brewing is a car wash in the car park. I have one volunteer to organise this, but we need to put a team together so that we continue to provide excellent car parking and site services, as well as raising some money. But it might just be a way of making car parking slightly less boring!! So if you’re interested, please contact me.
Dragon Boat Racing. Who was at Worcester ‘National’ and remembers WRG doing rather well in a Dragon Boat competition? The local Rotary Club in Abingdon is holding a charity regatta, and if I get enough people interested we should be able to raise some sponsorship and have fun too. I need names fairly urgently, so please email me a.s.a.p. if you’re interested. The event will be on May 16th.
Above: our victorious Dragon Boat team at Worcester in 1998. If you want to have a go at this in Abingdon on May 16th, contact Dr Liz. Top: ‘Splat the WRGie’ will return to LittleVenice on May 1st - 3rd.
At last: the WRG BITM Summer 2003 Canal Camp report... WRG BITM on the Wilts & Berks Canal 26th July to 2nd August 2003 Friday night: Jasmine and I arrived at Dauntsey, where we met up with Ian Rutledge and Rachael Banyard at Rachael’s house. Di Smurthwaite was already asleep, the time having gone 11.00pm. The evening conversation drifted towards a discussion on aircraft history and various airfields - this prompted by our proximity to RAF Lyneham, home of a large fleet of Hercules transport planes.
An hour later on site they were joined by Rob Brotherston, Ian Smart, Deb Turnbull and Luke Walker. At lunchtime, Jasmine and I delivered the sandwiches to site and found them hard at work in the barn, breaking and laying out concrete from the old garage base, which was covering the site where a wharf wall was to be built. David James arrived shortly afterwards. During the afternoon, the team pumped out the water from in front of the wharf wall. Ian Rutledge, Ian Smart and Dave went up to the far end of site near to Seven Locks to move logs to where they could be picked up by tractor and trailer. Whilst there, they coppiced the Ash stumps. Behind the Peterborough Arms, the rest of the team cleaned up and burned the rubbish which had collected around the lock. Half way up the canal, beyond the spillweir, Di pollarded the stumps of willow: basically removing the new growth so that later the stumps can be removed. In the evening after the meal, Phill took us to the Peterborough arms where we drank beer and played skittles.
Saturday morning we rose bright and early, ready to move into our home for the week – Foxham Reading Rooms. Phill Cardy and Dave Rudland arrived with Dave’s minibus; they also brought along half a tonne of scrap copper to offload - the money raised from recycling the copper goes back into restoring the canal.
Unloading done, we travelled to Foxham where Jeremy Yearron and Luke Walker arrived shortly afterwards.
The new concrete spillweir culvert pipe in place, with the remains of the old brick culvert visible around it
Sunday: after the customary cooked breakfast , everyone left for site. The weather was extremely hot: more squash than tea was drunk. During the day they finished clearing the concrete base of the old garage, and demolished three quarters of the spillweir culvert arch that was capped with 4 inches of concrete. (with the strength of steel!)
The lock area was strimmed by Larry Finnegan. Reinforcing frames for the wharf wall were constructed by the Foxham locals Mike Night and Cliff Brent. Di, Dave and Ian Smart continued clearing the scrub from the canal bank beyond the weir, whilst Deb and Phill continued to break the concrete encasement of the spillweir pipe, and Ian Rutledge and David coppiced ash trees. A Sunday Roast - lamb, roasted parsnips, potatoes and spring greens - was washed down with a pint or two of Hop Garden Gold Ale from the Hogs Back Brewery â€“ the barrel had been settling, having travelled from Surrey in the back of WNE. For afters we had chocolate pudding and cream...
Skittles scores: Deb Turnbull 53, Jeremy Yearron 62, Di Smurthwaite 49, David James 58, Rachael Banyard 55, Graham Hotham 56, Dave Rudland 49, Ian Rutledge 54, Ian Smart 55, Phill Cardy 54, Jasmine Hotham 54, Rob Brotherston 59.
That night we stayed in, held down by bloated stomachs and a little alcohol. The Monopoly set came out, and Ian Rutledge, Di, Jasmine and I played until 10.30.
Monday: a very early start - cook up at Installing reinforcing mesh in the foundation trench for the wharf wall (above) 5.45am to cook the ready for the arrival of the Readymix concrete (below). breakfast for 6.30am. The reason was to get some work done before a planned mid day visit to the brewery. (Yes BITM did manage to organise a real piss-up in a brewery!) The team arrived on site at by 7.30 am, and Jeremy, Phill and David took a Kango hammer to finish off the demolition of the culvert while Rachael trained Ian Rutledge on dumpers and large excavators, and Dave and Ian Smar t burned the stuff we cut yesterday.
Camp report Spillweirs and wharf walls at Dauntsey
The team left site around 9.30 am, changed at the hall, and then departed 10.30 destination Wadworths Brewery Devizes. Inside they found lots of low doors and pipes, but no hard hats (Risk Assessment Attached), they climbed 5 flights of steep, narrow twisting stairs to start the tour at the summit of the building. The guide for the tour, Tim, took them to see the Master Cooper Alister Simms: there are only five Coopers in the country of which only two are Master Coopers. They toured the whole brewing processing, from the thing where the barley gets mashed (Luke’s words) to the copper where the hops are added, then the fermenting tanks, which were originally built of copper with a lead lining, later replaced by stainless steel, where the yeast turns the sugars in to alcohol, and finally the hospitality room where the tour finishes and you get to sample the various beers produced: as you have probably guessed, the favourite part of the tour. After the tasting session every one went off to see the huge (18.5 hands) shire horses, which the brewery takes to various shows around the country. In the evening we sat down to roast belly pork on a bed of pineapple served with a sweet and sour sauce, then to finish we had shoo fly pie and cream. Stuffed full, a small contingent - Rachael, Ian Smart, David, Jeremy, Jasmine and myself went to the Peterborough Arms to enjoy a jar or two. Tuesday morning we got up slightly later, with the three ‘wrinklies’ tackling their fire duties and a bit of Tirforing. David, Phill and Jeremy dug out the base of the culvert and found a 5in diameter hole - the source of the leak! Farmer Jeff using his tractor and front-loader dragged out two concrete pipes from the stockpile, which Phill took to the spillweir site in the dumper. Rachael started to excavate the footings for the new wharf wall using a large JCB excavator. Luke and Ian Smart collected the plant trailer from Swindon and the reinforcing steel from Chippenham. Rob, Dave and Ian Smart started constructing the reinforcing cages.
Work finished at three, for a trip to the showers then an enjoyable trip to the Canal Museum in Devizes. In the minibus after the showers, Ian Smart discovered he had mislaid his keys. Having gone back into the sports centre and searched high and low, he returned back to the bus to discover them in his coat pocket, much to his relief and everybody else’s amusement (Rachael’s words). Back at base we sat down to chicken basted with tomato accompanied by vegetable chasseur; for pudding we enjoyed peaches and ice cream – then a walk in the rain to the Foxham Inn, where we drank Gem, 6X and Archers. Wednesday, a normal start. The second pipe was rolled into place by David, Phill and Jeremy, the first having been put in place on Tuesday. Clay was then shovelled and puddled using a trench compactor. Luke constructed the brick wall around the collar of the concrete pipe, while. Rob, Dave and Ian Smart had completed the job of building the reinforcing frames by the end of the day. Di Smurthwaite continued the Tirforing job, whilst Rachael opened a huge hole forming the footings trench for the wharf wall, which including having to dig out an old bus garage inspection pit. In the evening, an extra job - one of the Foxham villagers Carol Chatterton asked a favour: a herd of cows had invaded her garden a few days before, destroying the garden and knocking over the table made from old lock gate timbers; she asked if the group could assist in lifting it back into place, they duly obliged. Back at the hall, we enjoyed a barbecue in the car park. Dave ‘Pyromaniac’ James set fire to the beasts and a plume of smoke rose several feet into the air. Being the disposable type (the barbecues, that is), they were ready in 30 minutes with chicken and spare ribs turning to charcoal. Water was transported quickly to the inferno to quieten things down. Once cooked, it was served up with patties, spicy rice, plain rice with peas, pasta pesto, jacket potatoes, home made salsa, plus green pepper sauce, and to wash it all down a few more jars of the Hogs Back beer. Thursday: same start as yesterday. David, Jeremy, Phill and Harry continued to puddle in the pipe and reinforced the join between the two with concrete. Luke collected ballast and cement. Rachael completed the machine excavation of the wharf wall just before lunch, then Ian Smart and Rob finished the job by hand, digging out the base of the footings in tough clay.
Rachael cut an 18in square piece of timber – originally part of a lock-gate on the Gloucester & Sharpness Canal to 9 ft long; it was then lowered into place using the excavator to form the corner post of the wharf wall. Two reinforcing cages were lowered into place and then tied together by Rob and Ian Smart. Rosa Johnson arrived for the day, and joined forces with Phill, David and Jeremy cleaning bricks for re-use in the spill weir. Di continued with the Tirforing while Dave built a bonfire and burned the scrub cut on Sunday. In the evening the team left site at 5.00 pm, so we could go swimming at Chippenham; having arrived there to discover the pool was shut, we showered and took a walk to the town centre. Whilst we were out, Di and Rachael watched over the boiled gammon, potatoes, carrots and peas, and we arrived back to find Rachael carving the joint and Di bringing the gravy to the boil. For afters we tucked into lemon meringue pie. A few of us wandered down the Foxham Inn and played a few games of dominoes whilst drinking Faggins (very nice).
We were treated to a three-course meal: pizza starter, followed by chicken, chips, leeks and peas, and for pudding orange in jelly and ice cream. After the washing up was done, we retired to the Foxham Inn. I would like to pass on my sincere gratitude to everyone. Special thanks to Rachael Banyard who provided us with the accommodation, entertainments and led the work on site. Also to Di Smurthwaite, who supported Rachael, made all the puddings and purchased the food to get the camp started. For a camp to succeed, you require good support and willing volunteers – we had the very best, thank you all. Following the success of this camp, we are organising another BITM Camp: this time on the Wendover Arm at Tring near Aylesbury. The camp will run from 31st July to the 8th of August. The final weekend will overlap with WRG BITM’s working party weekend. More information to follow in later issues of ‘Navvies’. If you would like to join in please contact Graham Hotham on 01252 656087 and leave your name and phone number on the answer machine, or email: email@example.com. When available, details will be published on the WRG BITM website: Type www.wrgbitm.com into your Internet browser and follow the links.
Friday: our last full working day, the cook (myself!) overslept having advanced the alarm 30 minutes to 7.30 instead of taking it back to 6.30... However I managed to get the breakfast on the table by 8.15, and the team on site by 8.45, the priority job being to prepare the site for a 7tonne Readymix lorry, which involved grading back the Graham Hotham sides of the trench to prevent slippage, levelling the base and digging a trench for the foot of the wall. The JCB was used to lift in the last three re-enforcing cages. David, Rob and Ian Smart tied them all together and to yesterday’s cages, finishing fifteen minutes before the concrete lorry was due at 4.00pm; however it was 20 minutes late. When it eventually arrived it struggled to manoeuvre to the tipping point and eventually sunk into the mud. A route was created for the dumper to shuttle concrete from the lorry to the tip site, and the job was completed in 45 minutes, after which they had the fun and games of extracting the lorry from the mud. The day and work was finished at 6.00pm having washed and cleaned all the tools. JOB It wasn’t all hard work: BITM enjoying a barbecue outside the accommoWELL DONE!!! dation at Foxham Reading Rooms.
The St Johns Backpumping Project on the Basingstoke Camp 0104: Basingstoke Canal For those who want to read a camp report, here goes:
“It was a lovely week in Surrey, with a great bunch of volunteers, and, aided by the fantastic weather, we got loads of work done to a very high standard”. Being the kind of guy that has loads of time on his sticky hands (or, rather, needs to write more to get Ludgate off his back), I thought I’d also write you a short story about an imaginary camp that might have happened recently on the Basingstoke. Apologies for adopting this format, but I understand Legal Aid is drying up these days. Back some time around about the last millennium I vowed never to lead a camp again – something to do with the accommodation a Certain Individual assured me had been arranged turning out to be a marquee in a coal yard. So what changed, and why the Basingstoke, of all places, for it to occur?
(To find out the reason for ‘of all places’, and how the Basingstoke features in Marcus’s Advanced Theories of Volunteer Deployment across Restoration Projects, will require the purchasing of a number of pints of Lime and Soda, or Ludgate (a) to have wet his pants (again), and (b) be very desperate for copy, so I’ll stick to the ‘what changed’ bit...) The ‘seamless transition’ I was going through at work meant that sometime back in November, I had to book leave for the February camp, on the off (so far off it’s still in Yorkshire in kit form) chance that the brochure might drop through my letterbox with something attractive in it (well, it would be in it, rather than on it – just look at that ugly bird they put on the cover last year!). [If Marcus can see an ‘ugly bird’ on the cover of the 2003 brochure, he must have something up with his eyesight. ...Ed] Xxxxxxx† told me repeatedly over the next few months that any February camp would be cancelled. The Chairman (who’s he, anyway?) seemed to be of the same mindset. Strange, that. Those whose views are counted tended to agree. Nothing like a positive attitude, and that’s nothing like a positive attitude. No brochure, no leader, no work, no volunteers, no nothing.
Except there were was work and there were volunteers, including yours truly, who was whinging (time for ‘no change there (Ed.)’ comment about now Martin?) [On the contrary - right now it would make a very pleasant change for Marcus to start whinging instead of throwing brickbats about, making snide remarks, slagging-off all and sundry (but without the balls to actually mention most of them by name), making out that he’s singlehandedly saved the universe, and generally behaving like a spoilt child just because he’s been conned into spending a week in February somewhere near the arse end of Woking. See, I can do this throwing-insults-around-type-stuff too! ...Ed] about the unacceptable and far too common practice of cancelling camps willy-nilly. And so the sweet-talking phone calls began. Or, rather, initially, the sweet-texting texts. Full marks to MKP for triggering a case of déjà vu in describing the accommodation as ‘bad’, following it up rapidly with another text cursing predictive textology – I believe he meant ‘ace’, but on track record... The subsequent phone calls, conducted along the highly professional ‘if you don’t lead it, we’ll cancel it’ lines, [He’s only hacked-off because it worked! ...Ed] eventually saw me persuaded to trog down to the Basingstoke; a better option than losing volunteers by cancelling events. Agreement was reached largely to get Mike off the phone that night [Told you so! ...Ed] so I could ensure the good people of Nottinghamshire (Nick, Lynne, um, err...) could get to work on Monday morning! The important bits were sorted out over the phone with Pete during breakfast in the York Moat House Hotel, much to the consternation of my colleagues. Then others got involved. CDs full of useful information to look at on the computer I haven’t got [...and which you didn’t email me this camp report from? ...Ed ], ‘guidance’ notes suggesting I phoned Xxxxxxx† to find out how to run a large site and that I make a site visit at least two months in advance, [Well, why not? Just because there wasn’t two months left till the camp? I’d have thought mere time-travel would have been a doddle to someone as omnipotent as you. ...Ed] accounts forms without money, and travel directions without the name of the station [You work for the railways, and you need us to tell you station names? You’ll be wanting us to tell you the numbers on the locomotives next... speaking of which, I think you’ll find.... Ed] all came through the door. Additionally, several people started sending emails hourly telling each other what their latest plan was for how the camp was going to be run, how the vans were going to get there, and who was picking up the trailer. Nice. Especially when you’ve organised it yourself already your way, and don’t sit around trying to get a suntan off a computer all day. [Err.... I think you’ll find... Ed]
For the do’ers, there then commenced the Grand Red Van Tour: Leicestershire to Surrey, via Sheffield, Jeffreyshire, Hereford, Derby Signal Box (“You can’t bring that in here, mate, you ain’t an approved subby”. “I think you’ll find...”), and sunrise on the M25. I’d arranged to meet Pete early for a site visit. Pete’s definition of ‘early’ was developed during the week: phoning him while he was having his breakfast to report I had just found all the plant broken in to and the Portaloo upturned, having just arrived on site after a 150mile drive was only a warm-up! How do the local kids know exactly how many windows they need to break to come up with a total that’s £20 under your insurance excess every time? It wasn’t just the hired-in kit that needed fitter’s attention: the 5ft Redway, an essential, and not easily replaced, bit of kit for all work on the Basingstoke, had been experiencing electrical problems in the lead up to the camp, and required a jump start. When some of the new volunteers turned up at the de luxe accommodation on Bisley Rifle Range, they were very impressed by the amount of kit we brought with us. Comments along the lines of ‘everything except the kitchen sink’ were turned to humble pie when Pete delivered it.
The5ftRedway:anessentialand not easily replaced bit of kit... The absence of a kitchen and the presence of some hypersensitive fire alarms meant cooking on the veranda, which was quite cool (it being February). The only real drawback of the accommodation was the amount of effort it took to get everybody out of their beds (yep, beds) in their individual rooms each morning, washed in their own sinks, or through the showers (OK, only one between two, sorry, standards obviously slipping here) and dressed in their clothes warmed on their individually controlled radiators. A reveille of ‘The Last Post’ seemed appropriate, but by the end of the week, this had become ‘The Last Pile (thank God)’.
Doing the leading, assisting, cooking thing all on my own turned out to be a great plan. Such a simple camp to cook for: the paperwork from Head Office showed no allergies. Fantastic. Actually that’ll be no meat, no fish, no cheese, no crap or blended coffee, no squash other than Robinson’s noadded-sugar orange squash suitable for those with limp wrists, no pizza, no onion, no curry, no mushroom, no pepper... However, after the Camp Twat (official role, every camp must have one) managed to have 2ft-high flames coming off the breakfast on the first day, I shunned all further offers of ‘assistance’ in the ‘kitchen’. All are still alive to tell this tale (so don’t try to edit it).[What? Me, edit it? Good God man, it’s enough work to correct all the spelling mistakes and grammatical errors you don’t expect me to do any actual editing as well? ...Ed] Piling the approaches either side ot the St Johns backpump inlet chamber.
...righting the Portaloo each time the locals tipped it over... The work was suited to a small camp of about eight. As was the accommodation. Which was good, because we had about eight. What was not good was the people who thought they could invite themselves along. What was definitely not good was the people who when they were told that there was not space for them, told me that they would ‘find a bit of floor somewhere’ [Interesting accommodation indeed: beds for everyone, but still no floor space! If I weren’t a charitable soul I’d be almost tempted to think that Marcus was deliberately trying to keep some of us away for some nefarious purpose. Good job I’m a charitable soul. ...Ed] What was to be expected was that Bungle would turn up, ‘having sent me an email the other day’, and then %$^& about with vans and trailers, but, hey, he’s on the Board, so that’s (all right / to be expected) .
Having a small camp was a nice change, and really benefited a couple of the new volunteers, who may well not have developed so positively during the week on a larger or less well-integrated camp. Obviously the camp won’t have the same status in the anals (only one ‘n’ in enema, so two simultaneously in anal would be painful) of alcohol-enriched WRG history as that week Xxxxxx† ran with 92 volunteers restoring the entire Droitwich Junction, but, hey, Pete was happy with the work we did.
Oh, yeah, the work. In between righting the Portaloo every time the local inhabitants tipped it over (if you don’t clean it properly after each inversion, you’ll certainly have a load on your mind), we did some really sexy piling either side of the pumping station intake at the bottom of the St Johns Flight. This involved using a 3 tonne orange G-clamp, with Kubota written on it, to bend and temporarily hold the waling into position while knitting the web of tie-rods. Great fun (especially watching James’s three minute workout on the piling hammer), but woe betide any middle-aged bearded hippy on some dirty old coal barge that gets the approach to the lock wrong: expect to be projected in to outer space not only by the severely stressed waling, but also by those who took a lot of pride in getting it looking that good. We also pumped out the pump chamber. A simple task, were it not for the absence of a sump – the legendary Basingstoke greensand had collapsed in to it over the preceding months. And once pumped out, we then got to spend the week undertaking concrete repairs. Whoopee. Volunteer for a working holiday in the countryside, and spend your week dressed up like a Martian (no, not like Martin, out of some scab shop in Peckham), [Actually these days I find the scab shops in Wokingham sell a much better class of scabby clothes, but I very much doubt if they’d let Marcus in. ...Ed] down a dark hole, operating noisy vibrating machinery and applying horrible chemicals. The serious lesson from all this is that if only a few more minutes had been spent securing the formwork and vibrating the concrete properly back then, the poor buggers wouldn’t have had to spend a week doing this: this is what CDM regulations are all about, not paperwork production.
“Spend a week dressed up like a Martian” - carrying out concrete repairs to the inlet chamber.
Obviously, Pete had a whole lot of other little jobs to do. Like using four lorry loads of roadstone and two of crushed rubble to bring the whole area up to level and up to standard. And just moving that boat. With a volunteer about to enter each of the Forces (in the interests of national defence, I am not at liberty to inform you which Greg has opted for), for once it was the youth of the camp engaged in anorak rustling. At least Rick Ansell didn’t drop by to correct their knowledge of guns. For revenge, I took them all to the S&HCS social evening, to hear about the society’s plans to link to the Kennet & Avon, but they enjoyed that. Other evening activities involved watching Sleepy Dave reversing the trailer off site (it didn’t take him that long, but we did leave site pretty late each night), swimming, bowling, and not going to the cinema. Telling me you all want to go to the cinema, just so you can get off site early, then ‘changing your minds’, backfired on you the next morning, didn’t it? On site, breakfasted, lunch all made, pumping station pumped out, and the first mortar mixed by 0800 – a true crack of sparrow’s-fart start! [Almost as early as BITM managed on their camp - see pp8-11 ...Ed] Evening meals took their time, as we had to allow breaks for Greg’s Irritable Bowel Syndrome between courses. However, interrogation of someone over their relationship with ‘some minger off the Net’ filled the gap admirably. The final task of the week was to landscape the area around the pumping station, Langmans Bridge, and the access road. This was a really good way to finish the week, transforming the site. It demonstrated not only to those on the camp, but also to the (not very) poor bugger who has been trying unsuccessfully to sell his £0.75m house adjacent to a building site, my principle that using volunteers to undertake a task is not an excuse for lower standards, but rather enables the job to be undertaken to a higher standard than the economics and ethos of construction using paid employees allows. I think Pete was a little bit impressed, especially when we added a flower bed, just to really take the piss. Talking of standards, despite Gav’s best efforts, it was a little depressing that the shiniest of the three vans was JFH, ‘that wreck wot we flogged to Pete’! We also cleaned the mixer, which had obviously enjoyed its time imprisoned in the van over winter so much that it had spontaneously decided to mix mortar itself – what other explanation would there be for it to have turned up with a load already in it?
Marcus tries to avoid being asked to write a report again. And fails. A scientific experiment was then undertaken, in which we discovered that sound only travels slightly faster than tools, as items reappeared from the trailer accompanied by statements like “By Jove, I thought you said this was clean and ready for packing, dear boy”. So it was time for the reverse grand tour of the countryside, returning vehicles and trailers to their rightful keepers (and not any other combination that might have suited Bungle’s desire to help his friend’s aunt’s fourth brain-removed cousin move house), and we returned them with driver logbooks, whose adoption could mean that: (a)
people won’t get points and fines wrongly (about time);
the vans will undoubtedly drive themselves from time to time (apparently);
it’ll really piss off those who wear out WRG vehicles through excessive personal use (good); and
someone will probably have a strop because they didn’t get asked about doing it (unlucky).
Marcus will have two or three fewer things to snipe about in future. Not that that will make a great deal of difference, percentage-wise. ...Ed]
And they all lived happily ever after, despite my cooking. I hope you enjoyed the short story. If not, then you should have got off your arse and led the camp yourself. Or just let it be cancelled. [Or just written the camp report yourself. It doesn’t matter if you weren’t actually on the camp - I’m sure you could have achieved a similar level of accuracy. ...Ed] I’ve probably just ensured the next time I lead a camp will be sometime next millennium, or until desperation is next encountered, if (undoubtedly) sooner. And you don’t know where I live [Do we care? ...Ed], because I’m moving. Fast. Marcus Jones †
name obscured to prevent me being shot delete as suits your point of view possibly not the exact words used
Book now for the WRG Training Weekend 2004
Training can also be provided for those who are looking to attain instructor level in these categories. There is also the possibility of some chipper training but this has yet to be confirmed. Once again we have kindly been allowed access to British Waterways Heritage Skills Centre at Hatton. You are not obliged to stay for the whole weekend and may prefer to travel up for either the Saturday or the Sunday. Accommodation will be confirmed nearer the time.
WRG Training Weekend 7th/8th/9th May 2004 Time seems to be speeding by. Many of you have already requested a booking form, which is marvellous, and hopefully by the time you read this, you will have received them! All are welcome, regardless of experience, so if you are new to the group but feel there is something useful you could be trained on, please come along.
If anyone would like to offer their skills as an instructor, your support would be gratefully received! If you would like a booking form or have any other queries, please contact me at 53 Redgrave Close, St James Village, Gateshead NE8 3JD. Phone: 07719 6443870 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
The training programme will focus mainly on plant and machinery this year as we feel many people will want to refresh their skills in view of the updates to driver authorisation. The proposed categories are as follows:
Dumpers Excavators JCB 3CX Skid steer loaders Abrasive wheels First Aid Surveying
Training will be available on vans, minibuses and trailers (above), excavators and dumpers (right) and surveying and levelling (below)
. . . . . . .
Vans/Minibus and Trailers (dependent on your licence)
Latest news from WRG Wear If you’re using an old edition of Navvies or an old order form don’t forget to send WRG Wear orders to the new address: WRG Wear Orders, NB Sussex, Weaver Shipyard, Saxons Lane, Northwich, CW8 1LB. The telephone contact is still 07989 425346 and the email address email@example.com. A new initiative this year is to not only send camps t-shirts to each camp but also the strappy vest tops and the standard vest tops. So if you turn up on a camp you’ll be able to try on the items to see if they fit and also pay in cash (it will still be possible to pay by cheque). These will probably be cheaper because I’m doing a bulk order and there is no postage cost. In this issue of Navvies you’re (well the girls – unless you’re a generous male friend) getting the opportunity to order new strappy vest tops just in time for the camps season. Just fill in the order form below. Strappy vest tops – large WRG logo: £6.50 (sizes are all a bit on the large size!) Size:
The latest WRG clothing: strappy vest tops for the girls (and boys?) Please send the form to the address mentioned at top of article and make cheques payable to WRG Canal Camps. Please remember WRG Wear items are ordered on a per-item basis: if an item is sent out twice because the wrong size has been ordered then WRG ends up covering the cost of the postage for the second item. If it does happen that you’ve ordered the wrong size then please ring me to arrange sending a new item – I would much rather people wore the right size than not at all, but if could you consider popping 50p in the WRG donation tin next time you’re around, we can make sure WRG aren’t out of pocket. (Obviously if it is our mistake the please ring me asap and we’ll get the replacement article sent straight away) And the reason I ask for a contact number or email address is so that if there’s a problem with your order or an ambiguity then I can sort it out much quicker – otherwise I have to write!
Apologies for not having the rest of the range ready to go – I think I was organising a barn dance! I also hope to get the web-site up-dated soon – the latest version of the complete order form is available to download.
Name: Address: Contact telephone number or email address:
Thanks Helen Gardner
your handy guide!
Order the right size...
Canal Camps cost £42 per week unless otherwise stated. Bookings for WRG Canal Camps (those identified by a camp number e.g. 'Camp 0403') should go to WRG Canal Camps, PO Box 114, Rickmansworth WD3 1ZY. Tel: 01923 711114. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hereford & Gloucester Canal
Wey & Arun Canal: Dig Deep project at Haybarn Bridge
Little Venice Site Services
Wey & Arun Canal: Dig Deep project at Haybarn Bridge
Mon & Brec Canal: Joint dig with Essex WRG
Mon & Brec Canal: Joint dig with wrgNW
Little Venice: Sales stall only
Montgomery Canal: Newhouse Lock Abermule Newtown.
May 1 Sat
Press date for issue 205
May 8 Sat
‘Paper Chase’ waste paper collection
WRG Training Weekend: at BW Heritage Skills centre, Hatton
Wey & Arun Canal: Dig Deep project at Haybarn Bridge
May 16 Sun
Committee & Board Meetings: Hatton Park Village Hall
May 21/22/23 wrgBITM
Rickmansworth Canal Festival: Site Services. (Set up on Fri, open to public
May 29/30/31 wrgBITM
Wendover Arm Festival: Site Services (Set up Fri/Sat, open to public Sun/Mon)
May 29/30/31 IWA
National Trailboat Festival: Malpas, near Newport, on Monmouthshire Canal
Jun 1 Tue
Issue 205 Assembly: (unconfirmed)
Montgomery Canal: Newhouse Lock Abermule Newtown.
Basingstoke Canal: Dig Deep project, Backpumping at St Johns.
Jun 12 Sat
‘Paper Chase’ waste paper collection
Middlewich Folk & Boat Festival: Sales Stand
Basingstoke Canal: Dig Deep - Backpumping project.
IWA Campaign Rally at Runcorn: Sales Stand
Jun 30-Jul 7
Saul Junction Canal Festival: Site Services (runs Wednesday to Wednesday)
Jul 1 Thu
Press date for issue 206: including Canal Societies directory
Tool repair weekend
Saul Junction Boat Gathering: Sales Stand (provisional)
Wey & Arun Canal: Dig Deep project at Haybarn bridge.
Montgomery Canal: Newhouse Lock Abermule Newtown.
Hereford & Gloucester Canal
Jul 8 & 12
Tameside Canals Festival (swingbridge): Swingbridge erection on 8th and
Cotswold Canals: Towpath and bank protection work near South Cerney, on
Hereford & Gloucester Canal
Jul 11 Sun
Committee & Board Meetings: Hatton Park Village Hall
To be arranged
Please send updates to Diary compiler: Dave Wedd, 7 Ringwood Rd, Blackwater, Camberley, Surrey GU17 0EY. Tel 01252 874437. e-mail: email@example.com. Tim Lewis
removal on 12th.
Thames & Severn Canal
firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
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 Saturdays H&GCT Hereford (Aylestone) Brian Fox 01432-358628 Saturdays / Sundays H&GCT OverWharf House Maggie Jones 01452-618010 Hereford (Aylestone) Adrian Fry 07976-640962 Various 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 1st 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. Basingstoke Canal Camp: February 2004 This year WRG decided to widen my experience with a February Camp. I had mentally planned for a concentrated effort on pipeline construction at St. Johns; scrub-bashing was also included as a contingency if numbers were high.
The February Camp and the Essex WRG First Aid Kit
In the event a totally different mix of work, tailored to the skills on the camp, evolved this resulting in a very successful camp.
The week concentrated on the water inlet for the backpumping scheme at Langmans Bridge: work included internal finishing of the structure, piling and bank protection, and reinstatement of the lane to the site. The lane is shared access with residential properties and maintained by them, making-good our share of the wear and tear is good PR. Marcus will be reporting on the camp as leader. In addition I wish to add my own and the society’s thanks to everybody on the camp for their efforts and the excellent progress achieved during the week. Peter Redway Surrey & Hants Canal Society Working Parties Dear Martin In line with WRG’s general policy of improving Health and Safety, I recently carried out a First Aid Provision Assessment for Essex WRG, and produced a specification for two new kits, a custom kit for site use and a standard catering kit. As many readers will know First Aid equipment is not cheap, so I am very grateful to the Northampton Branch of The Inland Waterways Association for their donation of these kits, at a total cost of over £100. Of course we always hope that we won’t have any accidents, and that the kits will never be used, but I am now confident that we can treat minor injuries and provide emergency aid for major accidents until professional assistance can be obtained. Yours Sincerely
IWA Northampton Branch Chairman David King (left) presents the Essex WRG First Aid Kit to Glen Peckett
There is much preparation work to do including building a wooden former to support the existing arch during reconstruction, and also a temporary Bailey bridge needs to be removed from above the aqueduct. The aim of the camps is to progress the project to a stage where local volunteers can start work on rebuilding the stone parapets. Accommodation will be at the newly refurbished Dymock Village Hall.
Looking forward to the first of this summers Canal Camps...
Our second camp on the Cotswold canals this year will be returning to work on the Thames and Severn Canal (10th – 17th July) near Wildmoorway Lock which was restored a number of years ago. Much work has taken place in the area recently including the building of a new road bridge to carry the canal under the Cotswold Water Park Spine Road, and construction of a new visitors centre for the Cotswold Water Park. This camp will work on the canal below Wildmoorway Lock on the opposite side of the Spine Road, behind the visitor centre. Work will include bank protection, and raising and surfacing the towpath on this stretch.
Canal Camps 2004 Preview This year we are starting the main summer canal camp season in the South West. The first five camps will be on the Hereford and Gloucester, the Cotswold Canals and the Grand Western Canal. The festival camp at Saul Junction will be first. (30th June – 6th July) This has traditionally been a small canal camp to help the Cotswold Canal Trust run what has become a very successful festival. Jobs are typically the same as for a ‘National’, only with more technical involvement in things such as the site electrics. The festival itself takes place on the junction of the Gloucester and Sharpness and Stroudwater Canals, a very pleasant setting indeed. Accommodation will be at Selsley scout hut, which is near the excellent Bell Inn. This canal camp will be run by Nick Smith and Bungle.
This year’s canal camp on the Grand Western Canal (17th – 24th July) in Devon will once again be based in Burlescombe Village Hall just up the hill from the pub and the ‘ruddy brown git’. The leadership team is the same as last year with Judith Gordon and Gavin Moor leading and Mitch cooking. The work will include rebuilding a set of steps from a canal bridge to towpath level with some very large pieces of stone. The second task is clearing the vegetation from some lime kilns adjacent to the canal (see p3) and carrying out remedial repairs to help preserve this impressive feature. The camp should benefit from excellent local support from both the Canal Trust and the Canal Rangers. Adrian Fry
The second canal camp circuit starts on the Hereford and Gloucester Canal at Oxenhall with two week camps back-to-back (3rd – 10th and 10th – 17th July). The local canal trust have completed restoring House Lock at Oxenhall and are now looking to move onto their next project: this will be the restoration / rebuilding of an aqueduct. The Ellbrook aqueduct is built of local sandstone and needs to be strengthened with a concrete (steel reinforced) cap.
‘Requires attention’: Ellbrook Aqueduct on the Hereford & Gloucester is to be restored.
The new Spine Road Bridge, near the site for this year’s Thames & Severn Canal camp.
The National Waterways Festival Canal Camp 2004 I thought I would introduce myself and my able assistant: we will be running Waterway Recovery Group’s side of the National Festival – and also let you know how the organizing is going... I am the camp leader: my name is Moose (I think some people have other names for me but they may be unprintable!) and my able assistant is Ed Walker (or ‘Slow Ed’). As you can imagine there is a lot going on, and Ed and I have a couple of other people who are vital in the WRG set up, namely the cook (who at the moment I’m working on - hopefully she will agree to do it!) and Gav Moor who - work permitting - very foolishly volunteered to be the Person Back At The WRG Accommodation. He will be the person responsible for showing all the volunteers the lovely Health & Safety video (after last year’s National I would expect Gav to know the video sound track off by heart and be able to recite it backwards!) and looking after all the administration that is generated. This year, the National is at Burton on Trent. As normal it is running over the August Bank Holiday, but instead of four days it will only be open for three days (Saturday, Sunday and Monday) to the public. On Friday the site will be open only to boaters and traders who have booked in. But don’t think that will make it easier, the work to set up the festival will be just as daunting as normal - and then it’s all got to come down after the festival.
...and to the National Waterways Festival at Burton New people in WRG may ask: “Why should we help to run this Festival?“ Well the Festival is organized by The Inland Waterways Association (IWA), which is our parent organization, and they raise much of the money that we in WRG spend restoring the canals, so by helping them to run the festival we are saying ‘Thank you’ and hopefully also helping them to raise even more for us to spend... Next question will be “What is the work on site?“ If you can imagine a field that is larger than several football pitches and is open all around... well, you will find that you are missing several things that are necessary for holding a Festival. You will need marquees, tents, fencing, tables, chairs, the dreaded car parking (for traders and visitors), food courts, and very importantly a beer tent or two. As you will imagine this is just the top of the list: although some things like the Marquees and tents are erected by contractors and a lot of work is done by IWA’s own volunteers, there is still plenty for us to do. At the moment from January’s figures 230 boats have booked in (the maximum that can be accommodated is between 320 and 340) and in the campsite there are 100-plus bookings already.
Regarding bookings for the WRG side: not many volunteers yet. But before you all say “It’s ages away...“ it’s not when you are trying to plan the accommodation, work etc etc. So please help me – if you’re coming to the National camp send your booking form off to Head Office - whether you are coming for the whole camp or just a few days. If you’re not sure whether you can come – at least give me a call/email and I will make a note. If you won’t know until the last minute, you will still be able to turn up over the during the camp, but please try and give me at least 24 hours notice – especially if you want feeding. Anybody wanting to bring their own tent/caravan must book it through me beforehand due to lack of space.
Moose in action at last year’s National at Beale Park.
I hope to see you all there – you will enjoy yourself! Dave ‘Moose’ Hearnden Phone: 07961 922153 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Logistics Changing Cluedo...
Disclaimer: Please note the following article can be read only if certain standards are left in the cupboard under the stairs or in ‘the safe place’. Apologies may be given for whatever (and I quote) ‘withering prose’ follows due to sleep deprivation.
Laurence sets the reds to task with preparation, preparation, and preparation! Everything needs to have a really thorough clean down… amazing how one needs an angle grinder to remove dust! Then it’s time for these colours… “Are you excited? What do you think of these?” RED, LIME, BLUE, ORANGE, and FLUORESCENT YELLOW! Wow! But Laurence, all together? They’ll turn out to be brown then! Laurence runs in and throws some new-style accident books around the room for “the juxtaposition of form against function” at the last minute. Right Guys, that’s it. Time’s up! To see the results of their endeavours, wait for the post and go on a camp this summer!
Changing Minds Today we are visiting the leafy suburbs of Sheffield – an industrial city full of grimness (well, it is supposed to be ‘Grim up North’ in’t it?!). But not today – let’s meet our two brightly coloured teams, who both hail from one company. [Due to severe lack of time, the following is a rather condensed version … or just very poor!] The Yellow team are in charge of brochure production. For months they have been banished to their computers [Even having to miss Mr Mac’s 80th bash at which I was hugely disappointed! Sorry Mr Mac!] so Linda Barking is going to join them to infuse colour and texture as only she can! The Red team run the Logistics department. Tools and paint have gathered dust (if only it was just dust!! And concrete, mud, mortar...). Laurence Llewhatsthat Bowen comes to the rescue, with his lavish deep reds and floral (no, no, and thrice NO!)... well, ok, and rich textures.
I have a new song especially for Marcus – “I’m gonna wash that salt right offa my van” from the musical “South of Watford Gap”. And here’s a Cluedo special - I was going to leave revealing all until next time but it’s just too easy! I think it was Richard Cool, with the bowsaw, on the Mon & Brec! Cunningly deduced, don’t you think?!! Tee hee! [At least on this occasion I can tell the reason for decapitating this slasher is to make safe a split shaft. This kind of action should never be attempted unless good reason precedes it! Remember, Big Brother (or should I say Great Aunt!) is watching you! Just Jen email@example.com
Helping both teams along will be our one and only handyman, Handy Pandy!
Linda tries to get to the bottom of why they’re so behind with production – apparently, the photo hunt proves difficult each year. “But the main problem we have every other year is that we get complaints about the lack of ‘older’ people within the brochure. But it’s down to campers to take photos and send them in! Although we have seen a noticeable rise in photos sent in since the introduction of the new digital cameras.” ‘It was Richard Cool, with the bowsaw, on the Mon and Brec’ (Keep snapping away!)
Auction of canal books: the winning bids In the last issue of ‘Navvies’ we included an auction of second-hand canal books to raise funds for WRG: here are the winning bids for each item. For a number of items no bid was received. If you want to bid for any of these now, please do so by May 31st; anything left then will go to WRG North West for their sales stand.
The results of the last auction and one or two still to bid for...
Lot Reserve Winning bid
Lot Reserve Winning bid
Lot Reserve Winning bid
1 4 5 6 7 8 12 14 15 18 19 21 22 23 24
25 26 31 33 35 38 39 43 46 47 49 50 51 54 55
57 58 60 61 63 67 69 70 71 72 73 74 75
£3.50 £3.00 £3.00 £2.50 £3.00 £3.50 £3.50 £2.00 £15.00 £2.50 £8.00 £2.50 £4.00 £3.50 £4.00
£5.50 £6.00 £6.00 £5.50 £5.00 £15.00 / £7.50 £11.50 £9.50 / £5.00 / £5.00 £26.00 £4.50 £5.00 £6.50 £10.00 £5.50 £6.00
£4.00 £4.00 £10.00 £3.50 £15.00 £2.50 £3.00 £5.00 £2.50 £5.00 £3.00 £3.50 £10.00 £2.50 £3.00
£8.00 £8.00 £30.00 £4.50 £36.50 £5.00 £5.50 £7.00 £4.50 £10.50 £5.00 £10.50 £30.50 £4.50 £6.00
£4.50 £4.00 £7.50 £8.00 £3.00 £3.00 £8.00 £4.00 £4.00 £4.00 £4.00 £4.00 £20.00
£8.50 £8.00 £11.00 £12.50 £5.50 £3.50 £22.50 / £20.50 £6.00 £6.00 £6.00 £6.00 £6.00 £30.00
Total raised: £471.50
Items below received no bid. The price quoted is the reserve price. Bids of at least this amount (in multiples of 50p) are welcomed between now and May 31st. Please send bid and your contact details to WRG Auction, IWA, PO Box 114, Rickmansworth WD3 1ZY or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Note: postage will be added on to winning bids, at cost price. 2 3 9 10 11 13 16 17 20 27 28 29 30 32 34 36 37 40 41 42 44 45 48 52 53 56 59 62 64 65 66 68
Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal Water Rallies Cheshire Waterways British Canals An Illustrated History Know Your Waterways Canal Barges & Narrow Boats Boatyards & Boatbuilding 250 Waterway Landmarks A Short History Of The Narrow Boat Discovering Craft Of The Waterways A Pictorial History Of Canals Inland Cruising The Canals Book Along The Canal, The Kennet and Avon from Bath to Bradford-on-Avon FMC The Shell Book Of Inland Waterways Still Waters Glassfibre Boat Manual Fibreglass Boats The Medley Of Mast And Sail The Facts About The Waterways Fun On The Waterways The Future Of The Waterways Canal London’s Lost Route To Midhurst Idle Women Early Solent Steamers Knobsticks Tankers Knottingley Roses And Castles Epilogue The Number Ones
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Reporting from the Wyrley & Essington Canal
The accomm was a vast Victorian or Edwardian crumbling community edifice with a pipe which pumped obnoxious looking liquid onto a pavement and worried Jude. All the loos went bubble-bubble whichever one you flushed and the heating stayed on all night. London WRG arrived with our intrepid leader Aileen on board and decamped straight into the pub, unaware that the rest of us had already twigged that it wasn’t worth it, so we had a wait a little while to see them and hear their verdict that the pub wasn’t worth it.
BCN Cleanup, March 20-21 “So, what exactly WAS the New Invention?” Did you hear about the Brummie fisherman that caught a whale in the canal? He put it back as there were no spokes on it. It’s funny, that. Bicycle wheels seem either to come out of the canal spokeless, or with a near-servicable bicycle attached. Yes, the weekend of March 20-21 once again saw an invasion of the Birmingham area by the redshirt troops as the BCN Cleanup had its annual happening. More likely for political reasons than the state of the navigation – those who’d been to last year’s sub-Spaghetti Junction trash-o-thon would be severely disappointed with the, er, quality of the retrievals – this year’s exotic locale of choice was the Wyrley & Essington, in an area quite near to central Wolverhampton known as New Invention.
Saturday brought breakfast by the bucketload and wind by the skyload. The accomm being such a solid old pile, we didn’t realise until stepping outside that the wind was in fact howling a ruddy gale and by the time NJF spat me out onto the first site of the weekend, I had made a decision that the Aussie hat just wasn’t going to stay on (and let me tell you, it has to be howling for that hat not to stay on!) so it was on with the safety lid, along with the obligatory waterproof trousers, hooded hi-vis safety jacket, rubbery gloves and steelie wellies. A lot of trawling brought up a lot of nothing, but we did hit a rich seam of scaffolding and eventually, a small and almost serviceable red child’s pushbike. This was followed by a cycleway sign (complete with pole) and thus was the Wolverhampton & District Sub-Aquatic Cycleway was born, at least, in the imaginations of Martin and Mk2. Coming soon to an IWA meeting near you...
Does history record what the New Invention was? Answers, please, on a postcard. No, seriously, answers on a postcard (or perhaps a BBC Radio WM listener would be so kind as to ask Brummie historian Carl Chinn) as it seems not even Mar tin Ludgate knows! Anyway, the accomm was in the ever-so-signposted Brownhills. Ever noticed just how signposted-from-everywhere Brownhills actually is? And when you get there? Yup, absolutely nothing to write home about. So just to add interest, we’d all been directed to the showers, which weren’t open Friday night. The accommodation was, but those that knew where it was were not those who had compiled the joining instructions. Silly me for booking on in advance. What has Moose found? Answers on a postcard...
I killed time by riding the bike around and cannoning down a slope towards the canal, proving just in time that the front brakes still worked, until it was time to head back to our base for the weekend, Wolverhampton’s Broad Street Basin, a wonderful inner city oasis of engineering brick, boats, smoke, (what was being burned in Phoenix’s stove?!) BW blokes and sandwiches. I could not help but notice Wolverhampton Lower Level Station, still there, sitting since the ‘sixties unused and unloved but too listed for the BR merchants of doom to kill it completely like they did during the great scourges of the post-Beeching era, when even saved stations were either flattened or stripped of their fixtures and fittings in favour of bus shelters and plastic. It was too much for me. “I’m just going for a look at that station, Martin…” I walked round, talked my way in – the security guard was a very nice man who clearly understood that a bloke in a hard hat and hi-vis is probably aware of the H&S issues – and soon I was walking the platforms of quite possibly the biggest derelict station still extant, with the huge canopies rattling in the gale. The adverts on the walls were 40 years old, and the booking hall, oh, words cannot describe the combination of grandeur and dereliction and decay and potential! Whoever is in charge, please, please restore it!
The afternoon brought more wind, and a bridge ‘ole through which the wind blew so hard our faces were sandblasted as we pulled miscellaneous crap out of the cut. All the alarms – car, house, factory – were going off as things rocked in the wind. I succeeded in elevating myself to Grandmaster Anorak by identifying all the car parts which were retrieved. A MkI Manta rostyle wheel (rare!), a MkIV Cortina dash panel and an early XJ6 front seat were among the treasures, and a late afternoon tea break (with no hot water, as Sue’s camper van had run out) meant that I was able to identify the bonnet Andy R had pulled out. Later, at the accomm, Monsieur Floodgates said “we could have used you earlier; we found a car bonnet.” “FIAT Panda,” said I. “You mean you’re able to tell just like that?!“ I assured Martin that I had actually seen the piece in question... Saturday night’s feast was beef in Guinness (and veggies in sauce for the veggies) followed by a superb choice of gungey puds. I chose trifle and it was, as ever, understatement of the year. Beer was beered, wine was wined and a thoroughly good time was had by all and all my chocolate was eaten by folks various. Thanks Ed for the port. Any port in a (wind) storm!
In Wolverhampton they don’t just throw their rubbish in the cut, they throw their rubbish bins in too.
I retrieved a shopping trolley for the third time of the weekend... The next morning revealed that the wind had slightly calmed down so we set off for Broad Street to sign on and see if a fresh set of work sites might bring a slightly better class of crap. OK, so we were spoiled after Spaghetti Junction, but really! Things were much better once the group I was with positioned themselves at the end of a street where a recently-erected fence suggested that in the past, the fact that the street ran straight up to the cut meant it had functioned as the local rubbish tip. Out came all manner of things and as we moved up the canal the 1970s were here again. I will be restoring my trophy of the weekend, a perfect 1970s ‘Super Flyer’ skateboard, as a retro conversation piece!
Above: MK2 and Tim track down the remains of the Wolverhampton & District Sub-Aquatic Cycleway. Below: now you know where we find all that fencing for the ‘National’!
A coffee break was held in the car park of a suburban food pub where we were allocated exactly two spaces as it was Mothering Sunday. Sal did exactly that by keeping us all in order, only for Vaughan to spoil it by parking RFB across three spaces. Those sat in GCW avoiding the rain were mysteriously spirited to another work site before they could protest and spent the afternoon pulling out a big mattress, some fencing, a bed frame and various bits of (ahem) a late-1980s Vauxhall Nova. I retrieved a shopping trolley for the third time during the weekend, after a group of teenagers pushed it back in (again) and watched as it came back on the end of a grappling hook. A tip here: local youths’ prediliction towards all-white outfits means that as soon as you arrive, filthy with a grappling hook and equally filthy rope, they will no longer be in your way... Lunch beside the canal, a group pic on a bridge, and it was time to pack up the kit. The usual big discussion regarding van movements and who was going via Broad Street and we were off.
Our van, GCW, was ably piloted by yer actual Sal, who at one point realised that a complete turn in the road was both necessary and possible. She was thwarted, bizarrely, by a completely random bollard, placed in the opposite pavement exactly where the front bumper of the Tranny wanted to be. So, thanks Aileen for organisational derrings-do, thanks BW for the support-of-sorts, the Brownhills Community Centre for the accomm and absolutely no thanks to the weather for being a complete git. Six lorry loads of scrap (or something like that) were removed from the canal and once again the PR level of the BCN was raised to helicopter heights. No, seriously, we were watched from a helicopter at one point. The BCN, as ever, bizarre. See you next year. Bring beer, chocolate, a Brum A-Z and windproof headgear. Oh, and a guide to New Inventions of the Industrial Age. Mark ‘MK2’ Richardson
And from the leader... BCN THANK YOU Thank you from me to you all for turning up last weekend despite: being directed to the showers instead of the accommodation (actually only 3 or 4 of you got lost), the weather forecast of gales, rain and some sun (quite right!), Mothering Sunday, which could have kept you with your parent or child, lack of rubbish,at least initially (tidy burgers of Wolverhampton ably assisted by probationers) and lack of BW boats once we had some grot. Sadly all this was outwith our control, but hope you still managed a good time. I was sorry to miss the jollity of Sat eve. One paracetamol did what several gins can't...knock me out! My first ever dig with not a drop of alcohol on the Sat night! Had whisky been available... medicinal of course. My especial thanks to: Martin for printing and copying forms and notices, Tim for the risk assessment (kept for next year), Zone leaders Ed and Moose for organising work on site, Jude, Ellie and Tess for the catering and especially for the wonderful meal Sat night for about 50 on a domestic-size cooker, Sue B for the impromptu tea for too many,(until the water ran out)from her camper van, All who drove vans to Wolverhampton and to and from sites, James B for bringing Kit A and collecting waifs and strays at stations around the W. Midlands, Mark II for the promised report, and all who helped with advice and doing odd jobs. BW were pleased to have 6 skips full and were still unloading on the Tuesday after collecting more from the towpath. (Note NOT thrown back!) Well we've done our bit for the canals of Wolverhampton. Next year's cleanup has already been provisionally planned for a good fishing site, somewhat more 'downtown'. As it happens 2 weeks before the Easter camp it should be 12/13 March. I've already delegated the direction instructions and map to Marcus to do for IWA HQ,(and a map for the website please Marcus), so there'll be no mistakes. I hope to find and confirm accommodation in the Autumn. Twas great to see you all - and some new faces - hope to see you again. If any 'locals' and 'independents' read this, thank you for coming and mucking in, and to BCNS for providing and crewing the boat,the only one working on the Sunday. If anyone inadvertantly took home a grappling hook please let us know. BW were a few missing! Hugs Aileen Butler
NorthWest ...celebrating Mr Macs 80th birthday...
As I hope you have realised by now, David ‘Mr Mac’ McCarthy, stalwart of WRG North West, reached a significant birthday recently. Here are personal accounts from just two of the many folk who helped to make a really memorable day... Mr Mac is 80 years young!!
As Mr Mac said in his speech he was delighted that so many people didn’t have anything better to and had come. He also took the opportunity to pass around an exercise book (rescued from a paper chase) for everyone to put their name and address in – so that in nine-and-a-half years time when he organises the next ‘do’ he’ll know where we all are!!! Congratulations Mr Mac – and here’s to the next time!! Mandy Morley
Celebrate Friday27 February John and Tess arrived, had a good natter, went to bed.
On Thursday 26th February Mr Mac (a.k.a. David McCarthy of WRG North West) passed a milestone – his 80th Birthday. WRG NW decided to mark the occasion, on Saturday 28th February, in the only way possible – with a paper chase and fish and chip lunch in Crumpsall! The usual arrangements applied, but there were a few extra people around to assist. Mr Mac duly supplied hot beverages from his de luxe Camper to lubricate the proceedings.
Saturday 28 February
This was followed by ‘a celebration’ (that’s what the invite said) at North Cheshire Cruising Club that evening. This was similar to the good do for WRG NW’s 25th Birthday and included a lovely two course meal with wine, a real ale bar and musical entertainment by The Belmonts (a 60sstyle Band). It was also an excellent opportunity for a lot of old faces to get together and reminisce about how they restored canals in the old days! We all had a good time, drank lots of beer and ‘red medicine’ and for those who didn’t consider themselves ‘too veteran’ slept over, WRG style. Following a good breakfast we tidied up and scattered across the country. Thank you Malcolm, Liz and Jim for organising the ‘do’!
15.15 People started arriving. 90 of us altogether.
After the meal, like all good Birthday Parties, there was the discordant rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’ and the presentation of the cake: the Mr Mac Mobile Beverage Emporium has been immortalized – in cake!! Well-done Maureen! It was a Mac Camper Van, including the man himself inside, with flasks, cups, etc. Pity we had to eat it, but it was every bit as tasty as it looked. I had understood from original discussions that it was meant to be a surprise party, but Mr Mac seemed to know it was happening. He was able to explain how this came about: apparently he had wanted to mark the occasion with a ‘do’ and begun to organise his own, so certain members of WRG NW had to explain, “We can’t tell you what’s happening, but it’s all in hand!“
Dawned dry and sunny but cold. Paper Chase at Crumpsall. Good turnout ,lots of paper Lunch at Mac‘s At 1.00. 26 of us sat down to fish and chips. Back home for a rest, wash and brush up. 5.15 Left for N,C.C.C. Meet up with Maureen, Lynne, Nick, Pete and Kath to arrange the room,set up and dress the tables, thanks gang. Band arrived and set themselves up. 8.20ish Dinner was served. 9.00 Cake was unveiled. Songs were sung, Mac was speechless for once. We applauded his thanks. Tables cleared away to make room for dancing. Sometime much later after much celebrating, and drinking and dancing, the band packed up and went home. 60ish guests went home, the rest of us made our beds, said good night and went to bed. Sunday 29 February 7.30 Breakfast crew cooked breakfast, thanks Stootts 8.15 Breakfast was eaten. By 9.30 after a good clean up we vacated N.C.C.C. 9.45 We all went home by our various routes. This is my version of events on the day of Mr Mac’s 80th birthday party, which it was my pleasure to have helped organise along with Malcolm Bridge, backed by Jim. Big thanks to Maureen for the brilliant cake/sculpture of the tea mobile. Lynne for the flower, the table setting crew, the breakfast chefs, Pete and Kath for starting us dancing. And but by no means least David McCarthy MBE for being 80 and giving us a reason to...
Celebrate Liz Lamen
WOW needs YOU!
Yes, it was bound to happen sooner or later... as the events season draws rapidly nearer I am going to attempt to be appealing. Well actually I’m just going to blatantly beg! As many of you know by now I am the WOW Events Co-ordinator for this summer while Kirsten’s on maternity leave, and I want it to be a really successful set of events. In order to do this I need help and lots of it! What I’m asking for really is for lots of volunteers to come along and help out with the various activities and other bits and bobs at the events, in return for my eternal gratitude and maybe even a Christmas card.
It can be very satisfying and I believe it’s really important to get kids interested in the waterways at a young age – they are our new generation of canal campers after all.
Perhaps I should go back to basics for those of you who don’t know about WOW. It stands for Wild Over Waterways, and is a partnership between the IWA, BW and the TWT. The official purpose is to ‘involve, inspire and enthuse children and young people about Britain’s inland waterways’.
To contact me, either email isabelle.gascoigne@ britishwaterways.co.uk, call 01606 723829 / 07919 332295 or drop me a line at The Waterways Office, Navigation Road, Northwich, Cheshire, CW8 1BH. THANKYOU!!!! Love Izzy xxx Izzy Gascoigne
My role in this is to organise and run activities for kids at various waterway events around the country. There are only four of us that work for WOW, so we really do rely on people volunteering to help out and that’s where you come in.
Want a Bailey Bridge?
Please consider volunteering to spend a couple of hours, or more if you want, at one of the events (see below). We do all sorts of activities – some of them arty, some factual and there’s even one that involves a paddling pool! If you are brave enough to volunteer I will do my very best to make sure you end up doing something you’ll enjoy. So if you’d prefer not to get covered in glitter, maybe you could distribute squash to the hordes of other WOW volunteers around the site or help give out passports. I will also endeavour to give you a set time slot so you can plan your time and not get stuck doing the same thing all day. Who knows, you might enjoy it! The events I’m recruiting for this year are:
. . . .
Interested in canals? Like children? WOW needs you!
Calderdale Council have offered WRG a standard Bailey Bridge that has been used for temporary access across locks on the Rochdale Canal but is now no longer needed. WRG have no use for it ourselves, but are happy for any canal society that can make use of it to have it. It is a single type, to span 20ft, and it is missing a few bits - the timber chess sections and a couple of transoms - but the rest is available to anyone who wants to collect it from Callis Mill, near Hebden Bridge. Phone 01422 844990 or email email@example.com if you’re interested.
On the WRG website... (1) hopefully another one in the series of Appeal Quizzes should have made it onto www.wrg.org.uk by the time you read this.
Canalway Cavalcade (London) – 1st to 3rd May Crick Boat Show (Northamptonshire) – 29th to 31st May Water Racket (Wigan) – 10th July National Waterways Festival (Burton on Trent) – 28th to 30th August
We do pay reasonable expenses, including travel to the event if necessary, and will make sure you have sufficient squash and biscuits to keep you fortified! I’ll also make sure everyone gets plenty of breaks and variety of tasks. So please, please get in touch if you can help in any way.
(2) lost property page - the web page that aims to reunite all those lost clothes, towels and other bits of kit currently filling up space in various WRGies houses with their rightful owners. (3) Waterways Watercolours - waterways painter and former London WRG volunteer Mike Atkins is offering to donate a proportion of the proceeds of the sale of his paintings to the the Right Tool Appeal. (4) All being well, some pics of the first couple of camps this year and the Cleanup.
Navvies news ...including a list of canals that nobody loves... Coming soon... ...Canalway Cavalcade at Little Venice. Once again, KESCRG will be providing site services support for this popular and colourful event held annually in London on the May Day bank holiday weekend. See last issue of Navvies for full details and contact Eddie Jones on email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone him on mobile 07850 889 249 if you want to help.
What do these waterways have in common? These canals being: Bentley Canal / Neachells Branch / Anson Branch, Beverley Beck, Bourne Eau, Bradford Canal, Bradley Locks Branch, Bungay Navigation, Cann Quarry Canal, Carlisle Canal, Charnwood Forest Canal, Dartford & Crayford Navigation, river Foss, Guilsfield Branch, Halesworth (Blyth) Navigation, Hampshire Avon, Hollinwood Branch Canal, Hulme Lock Branch, river Idle, river Itchen, river Ivel, Leven Canal, Liskeard & Looe Canal, Newdigate (Arbury) system, Newport Pagnell Canal, Nottingham Canal (above Lenton), Nutbrook Canal, Penshurst Navigation, Portsmouth & Arundel Canal (Ford to Hunston), river Rother, Royal Military Canal, Shropshire / Coalbrookedale / Donnington Wood / Ketley canals, Sow Navigation, Stamford Canal, Tavistock Canal, Ulverston Canal, Walton Lock Branch, Walton Summit Branch, Weston Branch, Western Rother and Worsley Underground Canals. Well, you might think that the above is a list of all the no-hope canals that are never going to be restored. Alternatively you might reckon that they comprise the next generation that we’re going to get stuck into restoring once we’ve finished the current ones. And you might be right either way. Because what they have in common is that are all derelict, they all might just conceivably be worth restoring, but none of them have a canal society promoting their restoration or preservation, and so there’s a danger that if nobody adopts them soon they might be lost forever.
Well actually that’s not true of all of them: since The Inland Waterways Association came up with this list as a way of trying to highlight waterways whose potential ought to be considered but which didn’t seem to be being looked after by anyone, at least one new society has sprung into existence (on the Hollinwood Branch) and another looks imminent (on the Bradley Locks Branch). IWA is looking for some of its currently less-active members to take an interest in the waterways on this list, with a view to representing the interests of the waterway in local forums, and looking to set up local groups for these waterways where possible. Could you form a local group to support one of these ‘unloved canals’?
Want a BIG generator? Two large standby diesel generators may be available as a donation to a canal restoration group. They are static plant room generators but could be mounted on a trailer for mobile use. One is rated at 90kVA and the other is believed to be 110kVA. They are both in good condition and have done very few working hours. They would need to be removed from the present location in the south east. Even if they are not of direct use they may be a possible source of funds if sold. If you are interested, contact IWA member Geoff Thorne on 01784 458708 and he should be able to tell you if they are still available and put you in touch with the owners.
WRG Boat Club News Not much club news for this issue. The AWCC AGM is in March so a full report next time. Here is a news flash for members, especially those with wrgNW: Middlewich Boat & Folk Festival 1820 June. The festival directors assure me that there will be NO CHARGE for boats attending the festival this year. It is an event worth visiting, well wrgNW have their stall there, so it must be good. Club members can endear themselves by offering to help them, especially at packing away time. Some members will be boating to Saul Junction for the Cotswold Canals festival, however the increase in charges for boats attending, from £10 to £25, is a bit off-putting. Others are hoping to boat to the Clean Up but this will arrive on your doorstep after the event, making it history rather than news. xxx Sadie Dean
Contacting the chairman: Mike Palmer, 3 Finwood Rd, Rowington, Warwickshire CV35 7DH Tel: 01564 785293
Free to good home
(or donation to Wilts & Berks Canal Trust) One toad-grader
No, actually itÂ’s a towed grader. 8ft blade, worked fine when we last used it (about 5 years ago) so a quick grease round and it should be good to go. Buyer collects from Swindon area or can be delivered locally at cost. For further details contact Bungle either by email (email@example.com) or on (07771) 775745
Lost your boots on the last camp? Fed up of tripping over the pile of T-shirts left behind after the last camp you led? See the new Lost Property page on www.wrg.org.uk.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org as a matter of interest. Editor : Martin Ludgate 35 Silvester Road East Dulwich London SE22 9PB 020-8693 3266
The contact details for the Lichfield & Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust were out of date in the Directory in issue 203. The correct contact is Phil Sharpe, 34 Old Eaton Road, Rugeley, Staffs WS15 2EZ, Tel: 01889 583330, email: Phil.Sharpe@lhcrt.org.uk. The Chichester Ship Canal Trust contact is now Linda Wilkinson, 1 Chidham Lane, Chichester PO18 8TL. Tel: 01243 576701. New entry for the Sussex Ouse Restoration Trust: contact: Hazel Lintott, 26 Gundreda Road, Lewes, East Sussex BN7 1PX. Tel: 01273 475812, email: email@example.com. Email for Graham Hawkes of NWPG is firstname.lastname@example.org. Email for Alan Cavender of Dig Deep is email@example.com. Full directory in issue 206.
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 ÂŠ 2004 WRG Tel : 01923 711114 Registered no 4305322 ISSN 0953-6655
Heard on the ‘calendar’ weekend..... Dr Liz... found she was slim enough to hide behind the Burco! Gav... never before been asked to show more arse! Mitch... “There aren’t many trains, it’s a Sunday!“ Tunji... found he has a new occupation should his own job fall through! Harry... “Tur n the spade round, fur ther, further....no, not that far!“ MKP.... realised he could trust the Police! (see below) Further explanation needed? I’m afraid you’ll just have to wait till sumer and buy the Calendar...
Introducing the ‘virtual fundraiser’... I am indebted to Mr Marcus Jones for the following suggestion... Much as we all enjoyed the Barn Dance, and much as it contributed to the Right Tool appeal, one can’t help thinking that it’s a lot of work to get everyone to a village hall in Oxfordshire and back again afterwards, hire the hall, pay the band, organise the bar, order the food and so on and so forth... So Marcus has come up with the idea of ‘virtual fundraising events’. All we do is pretend that we’re going to have a fundraising barn dance, concert, booze cruise or whatever. We do all the planning, decide what band we want, choose where to hold it,try to decide if we can fit it into our crowded schedule, (most importantly) send off our cheques to the organiser, and then... stay at home. We all put whatever we would have spent on drink, food and car fuel into the Appeal instead. Then afterwards, somebody writes a report about it for ‘Navvies’ (it’s easy enough to fake-up the photos these days), Dr Liz includes it in her next Appeal Update, and nobody who wasn’t there (err, isn’t that all of us?) is any the wiser. We raise even more for the Appeal, as we don’t have to buy any food or drink, hire a hall, band, boat etc. But we don’t have the hassle of getting off our bums and dragging ourselves away from the telly for a Saturday night. And given the way that all these events merge into one blur in the average navvy’s memory, we can all look back on it happily afterwards, and remember how much we all enjoyed it despite London WRG arriving late because they got lost due to the rather vague directions, MKP falling asleep half way through the evening, Martin and Bungle having to be prevented from singing... and Marcus not turning up because he’s a boring old stay-at-home who’d rather spend his Saturday nights writing site safety plans than partying.
Mitch: “I say Mike, that looks like the Right Tool for the Right Job!” Or can you suggest a better caption for this pic of the WRG Chairman being arrested for indecent exposure by PC Mitch Parsons? (For more pics from the WRG Calendar Girls / Boys photo shoot see opposite page.)
Thank you to Lou Kellett for putting the problems of the BCN into context by passing on (a long time ago -sorry Lou) the snippet of information that an average of fifty one cars get driven into the canals of Amsterdam every year. Perhaps we’ll hold the Cleanup there next year instead...
Well-known waterways photographer Derek Pratt taking the photos of the WRG Calendar boys and girls. Above: “Could you try and show a little bit less ‘builder’s bum’ please?” Below: “I can just see the staff but I don’t think it’s quite upright.”
Picture of Mr Macâ€™s birthday card here