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avvies N Volunteers restoring waterways No 205 June - July 2004

waterway recovery group



...are always welcome, whether hand-written, typed, on 3½" floppy disk, CD-ROM or by email. Photos also welcome: slides or colour or b/w prints. Please state whether you want your prints back; I assume that you want slides returned. Digital / computer scanned photos also welcome, either on floppy / CD-ROM or as e-mail attachments, preferably JPG format. Send them to the editor Martin Ludgate, 35, Silvester Road, London SE22 9PB, or e-mail to martin.ludgate@wrg.org.uk. Press date for No 206: July 1st.


In this issue:

Chairman MKP on camps, the Appeal and 4-5 new blood wanted Appeal update we’re nearly there! 6-7 Camp Reports from the Hereford & Gloucester, 8-11 the Wilts & Berks and somewhere else WRG Wear strappy tops and vests 12 Quiz win £10 off a Canal Camp! 13 Auction More canal books for sale 14-15 Marple a memorial signpost 16 Logistics please clean your tools! 17 Diary camps and working parties 18-20 Letters on unloved waterways 21-22 Training weekend report and pics 23 Preview of some of all of this summer’s 24-27 Canal Camps - please book now! Cavalcde report from Little Venice 28-31 Plant Bungle’s still rebuilding his crane! 32 Navvies News 33-34 Noticeboard 35 Backfill 36

And next time...

A year's subscription (6 issues) is available for a minimum of £1.50 (please add a donation if pos- ....we hope to bring you reports from the first cousible) to Sue Watts, 15 Eleanor Road, Chorlton- ple of Canal Camps of the summer. Provided you cum-Hardy, Manchester M21 9FZ. Cheques to write them and send them in in time. Plus reviews "Waterway Recovery Group" please. of a couple of interesting recent publications... Visit our web site www.wrg.org.uk for all the latest news of WRG's activities

Martin Ludgate

Cover photo: Our shiny new minibus made its first appearance at the WRG Training Weekend, and by the time you read this it should have been sign-written and be ready for the summer Canal Camps. (photo by Martin Ludgate). Below: the pool at Little Venice full of boats for the Canalway Cavalcade rally over the May Day Bank Holiday weekend, See p28-31 for what might be Eddie’s last ever Cavalcade report.

The Right Tool for the Right Job Appeal has raised over £66,000 so far!

Bookings, please!


By the time you open your hot-off-thepress copy of ‘Navvies’, a quick glance at the Diary pages will reveal that the main summer Canal Camps programme is only a few weeks away. So if you want to come on one (or more) of these excellent weeks of waterway restoration and fun, please don’t just have a ‘quick glance at the Diary pages’ - please have a good read of the four-page preview article on p24-27 that several people involved in running Canal Camps have helped me to put together. This gives you the latest information available on all this summer’s camps - not just those that appear in the Camps Booklet, but also the Wey & Arun Canal Trust Camp and the BITM Camp too - including who’s leading the camps, what the work is, where the accommodation is... and last but not least, who the cook is. Armed with this information, you will - we hope - be able to make your mind up which camp you want to go on. Go on, do it now! You’ve only yourself to blame if you leave it too late and either the one you want to go on is fully booked, or the work’s been changed to something less interesting to you, because they didn’t know any trained digger drivers (or whatever) were coming...

...in which the editor says “Please” and “Thank you”



Thank you for the training weekend ...and speaking of trained digger drivers, my thanks to Ali (‘Womble’) for yet again organising an excellent training weekend at Hatton. Hope you all learned something useful. I did: I learned that just because Ali’s only got me down to train three van drivers over the weekend, that doesn’t mean I’ll get any time to work on ‘Navvies’ - she just kept finding more and more people for me to train!


Thank you for ‘Navvies’ £40k

...and speaking of ‘Navvies’, my thanks to everyone who contributed to this issue. I think we’ve got a good mix of articles - hope you enjoy reading them. And I hope one or two of you enjoy reading them enough that you might just feel inspired to write me something... Camp reports please!




...because the next press date is fast approaching. Now I know that in theory by the time the first camp at Saul ends, ‘Navvies’ 206 will already have gone to press, but... well, let’s just say it’s a nice theory - it’s just a shame it doesn’t stand up to rigorous examination! To put it another way: although we’re trying to get Navvies off a little more pronto these days (and my apologies for giving some of the regular contributors a bit of a verbal kicking at the last WRG committee!) it still takes a couple of weeks to put together. So if you all do your best to write your camp reports as soon after the camp as possible, this not only helps you to write them because it’s all still fresh in your memory, it’s also got more of a chance of just squeaking into the next issue - and that leaves more room in the following one for all the camp reports from later on in the summer. And don’t forget to take lots of pics - for ‘Navvies’, for the WRG website and for next year’s Camps Booklet. Sites please! A couple of things missing that might normally be expected in this issue are a piece encouraging you to come on this autumn’s Reunion, Bonfire Bash or whatever we call it this year, and an update on how the southern weekend groups are co-ordinating their efforts through the Dig Deep initiative. Well that’s because for various reasons (including several of our favourite canals being a bit ‘between projects’ at the moment) we’re a little short of suitable sites. So if you’re involved in a canal restoration society that has a job that could really do with 150 volunteers turning up to ‘blitz’ it on November 6-7 (and you can provide suitable accommodation), or alternatively if you have a project in the south or midlands that would really benefit from (say) eight weekend work parties plus a week’s camp per year for the next two years as a Dig Deep project (and you can give a commitment to providing all the necessary materials, permissions, accommodation etc) then please contact me and I’ll pass the details on to the relevant people. Martin Ludgate

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“Give the Camps Brochure a good read and BOOK NOW!”

The fact we have such a great vehicle is down to the success of the Right Tool for the Right Job Appeal. We hope to reach the Appeal target sometime soon but this depends on the wacky (and profitable) ideas that you can come up with. If you want to help in any way please contact Dr Liz. (see her article on p 6-7) My genuine thanks to all those who have given time, money and effort to make our work better and more effective.

The Appeal I said in the last Navvies that we were about to buy a new minibus. Well we have (see the front cover photo) and it is fantastic! It is comfortable, spacious, drives well (in fact it drives very well) and, by the time Roger has finished fettling it over the next fortnight, it should be ready for many years of ferrying navvies to sites all over the country. It will be on display at the ‘National’ at Burton, along with many of the other items that we have already purchased, but hopefully you will get to see it before that.

Important: small excavators All operators please read this... There was a recent incident on a WRG site, subsequently discussed by the WRG board, that has prompted the following reminder to all excavator operators and also to all organisers responsible for booking hired plant for working parties: Small excavators, in particular those below 1.5Tonne, are nowhere near as stable as their larger cousins on rough ground. Although they do have advantages such as easy access to restricted spaces their stability should be considered carefully when choosing plant.

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Canal Camps: book now to avoid disappointment! As predicted, despite a shaky start, the bookings for the summer Canal Camps are coming in thick and fast, so please do give the brochure/website a good read and book now. On pages 24 to 27 of this issue there is a preview article that gives the latest picture for each camp. In particular I would like to concur with the comments regarding the make up of Canal Camps these days. No longer just the preserve of youngsters - we find that more and more volunteers are coming from other areas, particular those who have retired early or moved onto part time working. Which often makes for a better balanced and more enjoyable (though not necessarily less hectic) Camp. New blood wanted We had a bit of a chat during a quiet moment of the last committee meeting and the subject of new blood came up. Of course it is vital that any volunteer organisation keeps bringing in and involving new members but it was felt that there may be a perception of a few barriers towards getting more involved. In some ways this is allied to the increasing “officialdom” that volunteering seems to be attracting. (I still dream of a headline that says “hooray - officials decide new legislation does not apply to volunteers”) So it is not surprising that some people feel that being on a committee, or even just helping out with a particular project, requires superhuman knowledge, skills and resolve. As anyone who is actually on the WRG Committee will tell you this is not actually the case - just like on a working party, we find jobs according to abilities and desires. Nor do we insist on endless commitment: one look at the minutes will tell you we all understand the phrase “sorry - didn’t have time to do this because work/the kitchen shelves/the war wound/two weeks in Barbados got in the way”. Indeed that is one of the real reasons for this paragraph, as more and more pressure from the day job becomes apparent, we do need more people to share the load.

Whilst I am on the subject of that last WRG meeting, can I just thank everyone that was there. I know people moan about Navvies being used to send private messages but I don’t do it that often - so for everyone that was at the WRG meeting on Sunday 17th my considerable thanks for the whole meeting: I left it refreshed and very optimistic. British Waterways Those that know me will agree I am a passionate believer that you should always try and see the bright side of things and that everything has a positive angle. And so I would like to ask all Navvies readers if they can provide me with any examples of how the current re-organisation of British Waterways has helped waterways at all. It seems that the change of policy towards everything being customer facing has resulted in many aspects of the volunteer involvement just disappearing out the window. Not just in restoration but in other areas as well. Their ridiculous assumption that ‘volunteers equals risk’ is killing off so many of the real partnerships that had flourished in the last few years. This isn’t just a random kick at BW - we still have friends in many places in BW (who I won’t name for fear of embarrassing them but you know who you are) but I just get so annoyed about all those ground staff who have blossomed during the last few years now having to say sheepishly “sorry, boss won’t let us do that”.


Has the BW reorganisation helped the waterways at all? Or is it just me - please prove me wrong! [BW told me that a benefit of last year’s major shake-up was that when the government recently hacked a couple of million off their grant (due to a cock-up on farm subsidies which left an £80m hole in DEFRA’s budget), thanks to the new BW organisational structure they were able to accurately target the redundancies that would see the departure of 10% of their staff, rather than having to cut back on such things as dealing with the backlog of engineering work on the canals. Does that count as ‘helping the waterways’?] Training Weekend And finally to end on a high note, last weekend we ran our Training weekend. This year we were again lucky to have the use of the Hatton training centre and the RTFTRJ Appeal meant that we could expand on our usual courses. Thus alongside the usual excavators, dumpers, skid steer loaders and all sorts of things we managed such as items as loading and securing of plant, chipper training and surveying. Particularly pleasing was the high numbers of volunteers from local canal societies who joined us. The whole event was a great success and this is entirely due to the efforts of all the instructors, Jude and Harry who checked all the plant then sent it away and especially Womble who, as ever, managed the whole thing superbly. We are thinking of running another one, more biased towards agricultural/ forestry skills, in the Autumn. Interested? Let me know. Martin Ludgate

So if you are interested in getting more involved in a particular aspect of WRG’s operations then please do ask whoever runs that bit.

That’s enough of all that. It’s summer - lets go reNew this year at the Training Weekend was a course by Bungle in ‘loading store something ! and securing of plant’ (although I’m not sure what the owner of the car will Mike Palmer think of having his vehicle described as ‘plant’...

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The Right Tool for the Right Job Appeal update Liz Williamson gives us the latest news on The Right Tool for the Right Job, The Inland Waterways Association’s appeal to raise around £75,000 to buy tools, vehicles, machinery, catering kit, safety gear, and training to equip WRG’s volunteers for the future...

The end is in sight: We’re planning to officially end the appeal at the IWA National Festival at Burton-upon-Trent, on the August Bank Holiday weekend, and we’re planning to end it in style, with several events over the weekend. That doesn’t mean that we won’t accept funds after that date, or support events in the Autumn, but we need to end the appeal sometime, and we hope to have raised our target of £75,000 by then. We’ve been shopping! We have a fantastic new shiny minibus, about to go on the canal camp circuit when it has been sign-written. And accompanying it will be the cement mixer and brick saws, brick kit, stone-work kit, catering kit and safety kit, most of which will be on its second summer of work. The storage to keep it all in will be built during the summer, and more enormous thanks to the Jeffrieses who have allowed us to use an area of their farm.

WE’RE NEARLY THERE! Current total=£66,304! The WRG calendar: to be launched at the National Waterways Festival, this will make a fantastic gift to your loved ones, work mates, enemies, etc. So that’s the Christmas shopping sorted. More enormous thanks to Mitch for organising this. The National Waterways Festival: as previously mentioned, a variety of things will be happening (as well as the usual fencing, litter picking, car parking, and running of the festival)...

Martin Ludgate

This is a fantastic effort, absolutely brilliant!! Well done to everyone who has donated, run events, helped out, publicised and persuaded/ cajoled/begged and otherwise extracted money from friends/family/companies. Huge thanks to all the support from IWA branches and regions, and to all our corporate donors, and of course all those of you who’ve donated personally. We can’t thank all of you here – but please know that you are truly appreciated.

Volunteers wanted to help out at busy times on the Bhaji Stall at the ‘National’ in Burton-upon-Trent

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. .


So I’ll see you at the ‘National’ – please contact me if you want to volunteer for any of the above. Love n hugs, Liz Williamson liz.williamson@wrg.org.uk

Car washing: for those of you who’d rather get wet and clean things, Mark Richardson is running a service for those who turn up to the boat festival by car – all 5000+ of them – to wash their cars whilst they go round the site. Teddy bear: ‘Worcester’ (a collector’s teddy bear, handmade by Sharon Spencer) raised £300 by being in the bar last year, and persuading people to guess his name. Sharon has offered to donate another bear with a different name, but we need people to accompany him to the bar (he’s under 18) WRG publicity stand: as usual, it will be in the IWA marquee, and is not only a place for people to donate, but also a great place to recruit new volunteers. Please contact Jude if you can spare a few hours. Finale: plans have changed, but we will definitely do something to mark the end of 18 months of being appealing. We’re sorry that details are a little hazy, but they will be circulated nearer the time. Information available from head office if you aren’t on the electronic mailing list.

London WRG’s fundraising efforts at Canalway Cavalcade included ‘Splat the WRGie’ for the youngsters (above) and an alcoholic tombola for the grown-ups (below) which between them raised £540, split between the Appeal and London WRG.

Martin Ludgate


Appealing food: Ian Williamson (with some dubious assistance from me!) will be smelling of spices and frying onions. Yes, the Bhaji stall will be back, by popular request, serving Indian style snacks to the public. Volunteers to come and help us gratefully received, particularly from 12 til 2 each lunch time over the weekend.

Martin Ludgate


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Camp Report

Land Rovers and psychopaths on the H&G... sorry, cycle-paths... Camp 0402: Hereford & Gloucester Canal Easter is here again and the Easter rabbits turned up a few weeks late. (Read the London WRG dig report). ( )


Saturday 3rd April arrived and went, and no WRGies to be seen. Well no WRGies for the next few days, as the start of the camp had been delayed by a few days due to heavy metals found in the canal. (or was it a trial of Marcus‘ idea of a virtual camp?) Wednesday came around and everyone arrived - and the camp leader was the last one to arrive and to tell us that we were working nowhere near a canal. Does this make it an anal camp? (Marcus told me to put that) Anyway the alternative work was to lay cyclepaths in a new park that is being created with the restored canal as part of it.

That evening the free showers didn’t happen as they shut early on Thursdays but to disguise our smells we lit the log stove and smoked our selves. Oh then Gav and Judith arrived in Gav’s new toy. That was when the main topic of conversation started for the weekend... Land Rovers!

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Bungle arrived and amazingly he didn’t break anything that day. But he had a go at lighting the wood stove, not believing that it smoked... and he filled the room with smoke better than anyone else had done the day before. I don’t remember that part in the health and safety talk about breathing in smoke. The fire brigade arrived an hour before Bungle lit the stove. I don’t know who pre warned them... Saturday we started to really motor on with the path. It started to look like a cycle path. We spoke about Land Rovers and Adrian drove round in Fast Eddie’s old Land Rover - soon to be his Landy. He enjoyed driving round to tell us when it was lunch and tea break, as site was gradually becoming very big. (bigger than Adrian’s credit card limit!) Anyway it beats having a Land Rover on your drive to just rev on a Sunday morning. Mitch had arrived straight from work and test drove Gav Gavs new Cherokee, Harry’s TVR and Adrian’s Saab. She declined the offer to test drive John and Tess’s Astra. Three people I won’t mention drooled over a petrol Land Rover engine but Marcus won the ‘Most people around a Land Rover engine’ award. By now there was an ‘antiLand Rover’ conversation group forming. We packed up early on site to get to the showers before they closed. They were the only showers we saw that weekend due to early closing times. It was Easter after all. Bungle amazed everyone after dinner by eating a whole bowl of grated chocolate with strawberry jam in. Yuk.

Alan Lines

Thursday everyone got to site to find two or three hundred tons of what was supposed to be 70mm stone. Some of it was, but the rest was up to 140mm. Anyway it had been kindly put right in the entrance to the site, so the first job was to clear some space for the HGV waiting outside to unload some more for us. That was just the first lorry of nine that day. After the mad start we got round to marking out and digging the first bit of the cycle path. (Apparently it was supposed to be curvy - we weren’t all pissed that day on site.) Some training on plant got underway and then we went back to the accommodation.

Friday we saw one of the locals (Martin) come and join us on site. He knows how to get into our good books by bringing doughnuts for us everyday. Thanks Martin. Again we made progress on the path, and yes we talked about Land Rovers.

Stripping off the grass and topsoil ready to lay the cyclepath. And no, they weren’t drunk - the path really is supposed to wander all over the place. which I’m afraid isn’t in this issue due to lack of space...

Alan Lines James Butler

Alan Lines

Sunday was a slow start due to excessive alcohol intake the night before. On site Martin won us over again by bringing hot cross buns with him and Harriet even made them hot for us somehow. I will let you guess what the conversation of the day was about. Some people left in the evening to go home and see relatives the next day. That was the excuse anyway. I don’t think they wanted to clean up the rest of the barrel of beer that was bought between 5 people. Like that would ever happen!

A big thanks goes to Harriet for making us fabulous food for the week, Adrian for running the camp, Bungle for not breaking anything except Jonathan’s fuel pump thingy and Happy Birthday to Harriet and Martin.

Alan Lines

Top left: laying the 70mm (or was it 140mm) stone. Top right: Rolling the finished surface of the cycleway. Above: Bungle demolishes a bowl of chocolate and jam. Below: “Can you see my hard-hat anyMonday we packed up the accommodation and had 2 hours where?” “Yes, you’ve just parked on it!” of work on site just tidying up and presenting Martin with a birthday cake on the back of a shovel. (Pure top quality class!) We also found out that Bungle’s hard hat can take the pressure of a Land Rover going over it.

James Butler

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Camp report

Dredging the Wilts & Berks at Dauntsey Wilts & Berks Canal:9th-16th April Easter Camp at Dauntsey Lock

Di kept us fed and watered, and Katy the dog enjoyed herself as usual, criss-crossing the canal, getting wet and muddy, and collapsing dogtired at the end of each day. It was a small camp, but it feels good to have made a start on the mammoth task. Perhaps one day there’ll be a trip boat up there! We have a new tenant at the Peterborough Arms. We have made ourselves known to him, and he seems very supportive for the canal restoration, which is good news.

We found that there were some parts of the canal which were wider than others, and to dredge to full width I shall have to hire in Hibberd’s 20 tonne digger, with a much longer reach. But by the end of the week we had 200 yards fully dredged to normal width, and Phill managed to grade 750 yards on the towpath side, so we have made a good start. David and Ray worked really hard, burning the remaining stumps, pruning the trees on the offside, playing banksman for Phill, keeping the pumps running etc. etc.

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Di Smurthwaite

I managed to track my digger across the bed of the canal without sinking up to the cab in silt, and up the far bank, where I started dredging to full width. We had already obtained permission from the farmer on that side to use the dredgings to increase the height of the field alongside the canal. It has all been worked out for the full length where we can deposit the silt, and we just managed to get the necessary length of hedge laid by the end of the hedge-laying season on the side where we need to lift the dredgings over into the onside field.

The Wilts & Berks at Dauntsey before...


Di Smurthwaite

The local farmers have been really helpful and co-operative, and not only allow me to move machinery up their fields, but also to deposit the dredgings in the fields alongside the canal. Rapid Hire supplied me with a 3.5 tonne digger for the week, which Phill operated, and with two pumps working flat out to lower the water in that section, he reprofiled the towpath and the towpath bank.

Di Smurthwaite

Rachael Banyard For some time I have been hoping that this year would see the final mile dredged to the east of the Peterborough Arms. I set about getting some quotes: one came back from Hibberds at £11,500, and then Land & Water estimated £16,000 - both quite a bit more than I had been anticipating! With not a lot of hope of raising that sort of money in the immediate future (or winning the lottery!) I arranged with three friends to come and help me - Ray Alldridge, David James and Phill Cardy and trekked my 12 tonne JCB up the adjacent field as far as the spillweir, to the start of the section to be dredged.

...and after the Easter dredging camp.

Camp Report: Canal Camp 0417a It all started a bit badly: our planned worksite was cancelled at the last minute due to the sudden appearance of great crested newts, so now we found ourselves in an unfamiliar village looking for the hall for the replacement week’s work. After we had driven up and down the same street for the fifth time a police car pulled us over. Apparently the local neighbourhood watch had thought we looked suspicious!! When we finally found the hall (cunningly hidden down an unmarked driveway) we discovered the gateposts were too narrow for a Transit - well technically they were fine for the Transit but a trip was in order for a new driver’s mirror in the morning (sorry Roger!). Within half an hour the rest started to arrive (helped by having a red Transit parked next to the driveway as a landmark). We rang the team bringing the van and kit to warn them not to try and get up the drive, they re-assured us it wouldn’t be an immediate problem as they had a puncture on the trailer and they had called the AA to get the wheel off for them, and they were still waiting... Jane attempted to sort the kitchen ready for cooking, and once everyone had sorted their kit out we had a quick drive down to site then back to the pub. A satisfactory pint or two was enjoyed in the local pub, around 11pm we made moves to leave but the landlord explained that he ran on Birmingham Summer Time (odd, being as we weren’t in Birmingham) which was a few hours behind the rest of the country. So we stayed for a few more hours - well, it would have been rude not to! Sunday started late (to be fair Sunday started the same time as always, but we were still on Birmingham Summer time). Bungle headed out to find a Ford dealer to get a new mirror for the minibus then came back when he realised it was Sunday! Meanwhile Jane started making breakfast in the kitchen. About lunchtime we headed onto site to make a start on scrub bashing along the canal bed, the usual activities commenced - fire lighting, general devastation of the undergrowth, and the comment of the day came from Steve: “My tool isn’t quite long enough”. We uncovered a spillweir which no-one seemed to know existed and made a start clearing the entrance to the lock. At about 6pm we headed back to the accommodation where Jane had made Lancashire hotpot: this was a fine meal enjoyed by all, which was followed by Pineapple not-upside-down cake. We then headed off to the pub, the landlord announced that tonight’s guest time zone was “Glasgow Spring Time”.

Camp report

“We uncovered a spillweir which no-one knew existed...” The landlord finally called time (well, there was no “real” beer left and Mark had even finished off the Lager!) and we headed back to the accommodation and enjoyed a bit of Lancashire coldpot before going to bed. Monday morning dawned bright (which is more than can be said for the heads of most of the workers!) and following an enormous breakfast we headed back to site to finish the job. The work continued apace and a few tree stumps were removed from the bed of the canal before the Tirfor decided that enough was enough and broke a shear pin. Despite this setback, bonfires burned bright, slashers slashed, bowsaws bowsawed and axes axed. Jane arrived with lunch (including chicken soup suitable for the veggies). In the evening Bungle tried to fit the new mirror and discovered he was short of one vital item, leading to the comment of the day: “Where am I going to get a screw this time on a Monday?”. Surprisingly the pub was closed (must have been running one time zone ahead of us that night) so a trip was made to the cinema and back via the off licence. The next day Steve found a couple of shear pins in the back of his car so the Tirfor was soon back in action and all were soon hard at work. Mark made the comment of the day whilst Tirforing out yet another tree stump: “Oh yes, I can pull for England”... Lunch was eaten; scrub was bashed. On the way home as we drove past the pub we noticed the windows boarded-up and a For Sale sign on it! This explained a lot really... so the evening entertainment was provided by Steve trying (and failing) to fit a new car stereo. I had to go to work on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday but the job basically consisted of more of the same. We uncovered the entrance to the lock down to the cill, completely exposed the spillweir (which pleased the locals no end as they could work out the level of the pound) and cleared a huge section of scrub. The tools were all packed away (strangely we had gained two mugs between unpacking the kit and repacking it, but we had lost two plates so we reckoned it was quits) and people headed off to various parts of the country. Big thanks to Jane for cooking and the locals for coming up with a good site so quickly! Just John

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WRG Wear

Get your WRG vests and strappy tops for the summmer

WRG logo embroidered sweatshirts £13.50 Size:

Sml Med Lge



Red Black Navy Grey

WRG Wear Summer’s here: the main camps season is approaching quickly. This year Canal Camps t-shirts with the list of camps on the back will be sent on each camp. In addition (anticipating hot weather) strappy vest tops and normal vest tops will also be available on camps (they won’t have the list of camps on the back). Please note: strappy vest tops will only be available in black and red colours and only in sizes Small/Medium and Medium/Large. If you need a white one or an XL then order through me. Vest tops will only be available in black in sizes L and XL. So now that you’re kitted out for during the day why not think about a smarter polo shirt and/or sweatshirt for the evening? Below is another chance to order polo shirts and sweatshirts for those that don’t have web access. Don’t forget the suncream, sunglasses and a raincoat – it’s still a British summer after all.

WRG logo printed polo shirts £10 Size:

Sml Med Lge



Red Black Navy White

WRG logo embroidered polo shirts £11 Size:

Sml Med Lge



Red Black Navy White

Helen Gardner PS I might even get around to updating the web page with more pictures of WRG Wear In Action... it’s this job thing – it gets in the way: not only do I have to turn up every day, but I have to work when I’m there etc etc etc...

Please tick the appropriate box(es) above, or if you want more than one of the same item, write the number required in the box. Then fill in the details below and send to Helen Gardner, NB Sussex, Weaver Shipyard, Saxons Lane, Northwich, CW8 1LB. Enquiries to Helen on Tel: 07989 425346 or email: wrgwear@wrg.org.uk.

WRG logo printed sweatshirts £12.50 Size: Red Black

Sml Med Lge



Name: Address: Total amount paid: (please pay cheques to: WRG Canal Camps)

Navy Contact telephone number or email address: Grey

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Navvies Quiz Win £10 off your next canal camp – just fill in the answers and send your entries in. The first bit is not even remotely canal related! Write down in full all the words that we’ve only given you the first letter to in the following well known sayings, phrases, lyrics, quotes etc. (for example: the answer to “3 W— M—” would be “3 Wise Men”).


Try your luck at this easy quiz and win £10 off your next Canal Camp


12345 O— I C— A F— A—

Here are five more of the same, but this time they are waterways-related...


7 D— A W—


B— 5 R—


5 G— R—


40 F— D—


U— 13


4 C— R—


24 H— F— T—


14 L—


4 W— D—


3 B—


1000000 D— Q—

What are these canal related places?


3 B— M—


Bird of prey hides dead at crossroads


S— W— A— T— 7 D—


You don’t need to take your head gear off


7 D— S—


Water container quay


24 C— G—


Not sitting and not in the middle of the tube


16 O— I— A P—


Small Italian city


9 L—


4 M— M—

Send entries to: ‘Navvies’ Quiz, WRG, PO Box 114, Rickmansworth WD3 1ZY. Or by email to the editor martin.ludgate@wrg.org.uk - please put ‘Navvies quiz’ as the ‘subject’ of the email.


F— 5 Entries must be received by next press date of July 1st. Answers and winner’s name in next Navvies. [Thank you Helen for demonstrating that at least one contributor understands that it’s a good idea to get things in by the press date if you want them to appear in ‘Navvies’. ....Ed] All correct entries will be placed in a hard hat and the winner will be the first name pulled out. If there are no all-correct entries, the winner will be drawn from those with the highest number of correct answers. The judges’ decision is final. Good luck!

Martin Ludgate

Helen Gardner Name:_____________________ Address:_______________________________

Available from WRG Wear: strappy vest tops


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Auction of second-hand waterways books

WRG Book Auction – February 2004 Over the past few months we have collected more waterway books for fund-raising. As usual, we have decided that the best way to sell them off is to auction them through the pages of Navvies with all the proceeds going to help fund WRG’s Canal Camps.

All the books (except where stated) are in fair second hand condition. The reserves suggested are the minimum that we would accept and are approximately half the price you might see from a specialised book dealer. You are invited to make your bids (in multiples of 50p please). Simply list down the Lot Number (the number on the left hand side) and the price you are prepared to pay for each book or other item being auctioned. The bidder offering the highest price for each lot gets the goods at the price bid. In the event of two equal bids, the first one received wins. All proceeds go to WRG, so you can afford to be generous. All bids should be sent to Waterway Recovery Group Auction, PO Box 114, RICKMANSWORTH, WD3 1ZY to be received no later than July 15th, 2004. Successful bidders will be notified shortly afterwards. Postage and packing is extra: £1.90 where the total of your successful bids is under £11.00 and £3.75 where the total of your successful bids is over £11 (UK only). Lot Title / Author (or other description) 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20

Pages Date Reserve

British Waterways Board – Annual Reports and Accounts 1975 (Soft back), mainly text a few photographs and charts 85 1975 £1.00 British Waterways Board – Annual Reports and Accounts 1979 (Soft back), mainly text a few photographs and charts 75 1979 £1.00 British Waterways Board – Annual Reports and Accounts 1980 (Soft back), mainly text a few photographs and charts 77 1980 £1.00 British Waterways Board – Annual Reports and Accounts 1980 (Soft back), mainly text a few photographs and charts 80 1981 £4.00 Watermills – Peter Wenham (Hardback): covering the development of watermills of England, Wales and Scotland. Mainly text with a few photographs, in good condition 240 1989 £1.00 The Calder Boats – Gabrielle Ross (Hardback) all text (library copy – a bit tatty) 346 1988 £1.00 Curlew on the Cut – Beatrice Lawrence (Hardback): a fictional narrow boat adventure 80 1986 £1.00 Lost Canals and Waterways of Britain – Ronald Russell (Soft back): very useful guide to tracking down remains of derelict waterways; includes Ordnance Survey references and historical backgrounds, mainly text with 8 photographs. 250 1983 £5.00 Small Boat in Southern France – Roger Pilkington: one of a series describing waterway voyages through Europe (Hardback), mainly text with a few maps and illustrations (library copy) 208 1965 £3.50 The Thames Valley – Frank Martin (Hardback): history, people and places in the Thames Valley. Text, illustrations and photographs 140 1973 £2.00 Working Boats – Roger Alsop & Graham Dodkins (Hardback): ‘Re-living the romance of the last days of commercial traffic on Britain’s canals’. Text and lots of photographs. 150 1988 £2.00 Your Book of Canals – P J G Ranson (Hardback) story of the canals (library copy) 75 1977 £1.00 Sweet Thames Run Softly – Robert Gibbings (Hardback) 230 1948 £2.00 Canal Architecture – Peter L Smith –(Soft back): mainly photographs and some text 32 1986 £0.50 James Brindley: the Pioneer of Canals – Laurence Meynell (Hardback) (library copy) 190 1956 £4.00 Holiday Cruising of Inland Waterways – Charles Hadfield & Michael Streat (Hardback) text, illustrations and photographs 150 1970 £1.00 The Water Gipsies – A P Herbert (Hardback) 390 1933 £4.00 British Canals an Illustrated History – Charles Hadfield (Hardback): the standard history of Britain’s waterways. Mainly text with some illustrations 250 1952 £3.00 Exploring England By Canal – David Owen (Hardback) text and photographs 200 1986 £2.00 By Lock and Pound – Vivian Bird (Hardback): four journeys to the coast by Inland Waterway, travelling by working boat from Birmingham. Mainly text and a few photographs. 200 1988 £4.00

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21 22 23 24 25

26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33

34 35

36 37 38 39 40 41 42

43 44 45 46 47 48 49

Canal Days in Swindon – Dr Eric V Tull: detailed recollection with many archive photographs of the Wilts & Berks Canal in Swindon 134 1993 £8.00 The Leicester and Melton Mowbray Navigations – Philip A Stevens (Hardback): history of two East Midlands river navigations. Good condition 150 1992 £4.00 Introducing Inland Waterways – Charles Hadfield (Hardback) text, illustration and photographs (library copy) 100 1973 £1.00 Three Men in a Boat – Jerome K Jerome (Soft back): reprint of the classic humorous account of a journey on the River Thames from Kingston to Oxford 240 1989 £1.00 Water Gipsies – L T Meade (Hardback): the adventure of Tag, Rag and Bobtail. Date of publication not known – but book appears to be in the late nineteenth century. Good condition for its age 225 £5.00 Slow Boat Through Pennine Waters – Frederic Doerfinger (Soft back): exploring the Northern Waterways Mainly text and 8 photographs 250 1971 £0.50 Discovering Canals in Britain – Peter L Smith (Softback) text, illustrations and photographs 90 1986 £0.50 The Canal Children – Brian Wright (Soft back) Based on the BBC – TV Serial, all text 165 1976 £1.00 Maiden’s Trip – Emma Smith (Soft back): fictional book based on the true story of the women who worked narrow boats during the Second World War 175 1964 £3.00 The Queen of Trent – Mitchell Dawson (Soft back) 178 1974 £2.00 The Butty Boy – Jill Paton Walsh (Soft back) for readers aged 8 to 12 years old 95 1975 £1.00 Discovering London’s Canals – Derek Pratt (Soft back) text with photographs by one of the best waterways photographers 55 1981 £1.00 Inland Waterways Of Great Britain - Lewis A Edwards former Hon. Secretary of The Inland Waterways Association (Hardback): standard reference book giving details of every waterway in Britain, packed with photographs and maps 456 1985 £10.00 Narrow Boat Summer – Pat Barton (Hardback) part of the children’s book club 140 1975 £2.00 FMC – Alan H Faulkner: a short history of the famous canal carrying company Fellows Morton and Clayton Limited (Soft back) A5 size horizontally, text and photographs throughout. Now scarce 48 1975 £5.00 The Londoners River – L M Bates (Hardback) Mainly text with some photographs 220 1949 £4.00 Canals in Colour – Anthony Burton (Hardback) 175 1974 £2.00 Rivers and Canals A history in photographs 1850s to present day – Penny Marchall (Hardback) 46 1986 £2.00 Know Your Waterways: Holidays On Inland Waterways – Robert Aickman Book by the founder of The Inland Waterways Association (Soft back), mainly text with a few photographs 127 £2.00 The Romance of London River – A G Thompson (Soft back – tatty condition): A history of the Thames 88 1934 £5.00 Slow Boat Through Pennine Waters – Frederic Doerfinger (Hard back):exploring the Northern Waterways; all text (library copy) 250 1970 £1.00 Northeast Waterways – Derek Bowskill: a cruising guide to the Witham, Trent, Yorkshire Ouse and associated waterways (Hardback); very entertaining text, plus maps, photographs and charts throughout 245 1986 £3.50 At the Water’s Edge, The Secret Life of a Lake and Stream – Stephen Dalton and Jill Bailey (Hardback) mainly photographs, good condition 160 1989 £2.00 The Great Days of the Canals – Anthony Burton (Hardback) text, illustrations and photographs large often table style full colour throughout 220 1989 £5.00 Historic Waterways Scenes – London & South-East England – Martin Denney (Soft back) Photographs and text 124 1983 £4.00 Canals In Camera – John Gagg (Hardback), photographs and descriptions 126 1970 £2.50 Tales form the Old Inland Waterways – Euan Corrie (Hardback) Good condition; text, illustrations and photographs 188 1998 £8.00 East Coast Rivers from the Humber to the Swale – Jack H Coote (Hardback): a Yachting Monthly pilot 95 1979 £2.50 Secret Waters – John Watney (Hardback): ‘A guide to the quiet and unspoilt rivers, lakes and canals of Britain and Ireland’; mainly photographs and some text 1620 1988 £8.00

page 15


Commemorating a stalwart of canal restoration from the ’60s It is 30 years since Marple Locks reopened. Dennis Suleman reports from an commemorative event that took place there at Easter:

BW, or BWB as they then were, were equally obstructive and even threatened to prosecute PFCS members for improving the canal! That they achieved their goal is testimony to their dogged determination and hard work over many years. Theirs was the first completed restoration in the North West and (I think) the third of a narrow canal nationally. (after Stourbridge and Stratford). They showed what could be done and paved the way for future restorations, particualy in this area. I doubt if we would have two restored cross Pennine canals today if the PFCS had not showed what could be done. Dennis Suleman

A signpost dedicated to Ted Keaveney was unveiled at Marple Junction on the 9th of April 2004 by Andrew Stunell MP. At the time of his death Ted was vice president of both the Manchester Branch and North West Region of the Inland Waterways Association and President of the Macclesfield Canal Society. The signpost was financed by IWA, MCS and BW. Over 100 people, many past members of the Peak Forest Canal Society, gathered for the ceremony together with 42 boats. It was thought appropriate to locate his memorial at Marple, on the 30th anniversary of the re-opening of Marple locks, as Ted, together with the dedicated band of stalwarts of the PFCS, fought long and hard to achieve their restoration. By today’s standards the restoration of the route from Marple Junction to Manchester was not difficult - all of the canal was still there and except for a few yards, still in water. All that was required was dredging and lock repairs but when the PFCS started their campaign, in the early 1960s, things were very totally different. Today the local authorities in this area are very supportive of canal restoration but at that time their attitude was that the best way to treat derelict canals was to ‘fill them in’.

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Above: In January, volunteers from WRG North West, Macclesfield Canal Society and Manchester IWA remove the rather tatty old sign and install foundations for the new one. Below left: Adrian Sains (BW), Andrew Stunell MP, Bob Keaveney, John Fletcher (IWA National Chairman) and Dr. Tim Dawson (Macclesfield Canal Society) at the unveiling of the new signpost. Below: the commemorative plaque.


Logistics WARNING: The following article will contain no blasphemy or basic Anglo Saxon, whinging or poppycock. [speaking of basic Anglo Saxon, did you know that ‘poppycock’ is Dutch for ‘soft shit’? ...Ed] Complaints regarding the exclusion of such items should be directed towards the Management (of Logistics) either electronically or by writing in person. This year is no different to any other it seems… I’m still mad busy at this point in it! And there was me thinking I could have some time off to sort myself out! Ha ha haah! Well, it’s not going to happen and I’ve still got the kits to sort for the main season!

Please send your dirty photographs to Jen


And lastly, at the end of the week please make sure the entire kit is clean, as are the vans and trailer that have attended your camp (preferably without mops please!). But please do enjoy your time with us!

Talking of which… Here follows a list of invariably annually-repeated notes for the coming season that may help keep the corners of my mouth turning up and not down! … which would be nice! And I know this appears every year and you are getting better (she says, hoping she won’t regret saying that at the end of the year!) but I do feel the need to reiterate the importance of the following notes!


· · · ·

Firstly, my biggest bugbear of the lot… letting shovels/trowels (and other items!) get caked in cement/mortar and then leaving them to harden off in the sun and over many weeks. Please think of the camp using the kit after yours. Would you like to have to use stuff twice its weight?! So please can you bear this in mind and have a bucket of water next to you to swill the tools in for when you have a break/lunch or have to leave that particular job for a bit. Mr Angle-grinder would like a holiday – much like its owner! Please use the kit lists I send for your camp. Items that go walkies on a regular basis are hard hats and mugs… particularly mugs! Keep an eye on them or there’ll be none left for the National (see brochure or the pre-camps review in this issue!)! If any first aid kit stuff gets used, especially the eyewash (don’t worry about the odd plaster!), could you give me a quick ring to let me know then I can place an order so things can be replaced! Thanks. Ensure you always use the Right Tool for the Right Job – if you are unsure as to either the correct use of a tool or the tool, which you require to do a specific job, please don’t hesitate to ask. ALWAYS make sure when you have parked up somewhere with the trailer, whether you are leaving it on its own or are remaining hitched up to it, you put the wheel clamp onto one of the rear wheels of the trailer. The most visible is usually the best.

And whilst all this is going on I would love it if you could please take lots and lots of interesting/detailed/group working/catering/happy photos with the camps’ cameras and your own. The choice of pictures for this year’s brochure was by far and away better than any year previously… but then there was choice for possibly the first time ever!!!!! So please please PLEASE don’t hesitate to send me photos on cd, disc, paper (yes, photos as they used to be!) or the odd couple on email (address at end) if you find you have a selection of camps ‘footage’. If you wish them to be returned we can fulfill that wish with no problems at all! And leaders (and any other campers to be honest!), I would be very grateful if you made note of any quotes that were made throughout the week and send them to me as well. And any first timers out there reading this, your feedback on the week (only a sentence or two needed!) or two you attend would also be very welcome. Email is probably best for that but I like proper post so a postcard or letter would also be cool! So everyone please remember to send all your dirty photos and hopefully clean postcards to: Just Jen @ wrg logistics, 45, Glebe Road, Sheffield. S10 1FB. My email address is: logistics@wrg.org.uk My thanks go to Mr Mac for ‘donating’ a couple of very nice shiny electrickery Burcos and Mark Bennett (huge apologies too!) for ‘looking after’ the fridges and freezers we use annually at the National! Plans really are afoot to sort out our storage problem (Thanks, Tom!)! There you go, not a whinge in sight … and Bungle said “If you can’t whinge there’s something wrong!” Tee hee. Well, I liked it! Happy Digging to all! And I hope to meet some of you out and about on a camp somewhere soon … which would be nice! Just Jen

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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: enquiries@wrg.org.uk

Jun 5/6


Tool repair weekend

Jun 5/6

London WRG

Lichfield Canal

Jun 5/6


Montgomery Canal: Newhouse Lock Abermule Newtown.

Jun 12/13


Basingstoke Canal: Dig Deep project, Backpumping at St Johns.

Jun 12 Sat


‘Paper Chase’ waste paper collection

Jun 18-20


Middlewich Folk & Boat Festival: Sales Stand

Jun 19/20


Basingstoke Canal: Dig Deep - Backpumping project.

Jun 25-27


Campaign Rally at Runcorn: Sales Stand

Jun 27 Sun


Crumpsall Park: Sales Stand

Jun 30-Jul 7

Camp 0403

Saul Junction Canal Festival: Site Services (runs Wednesday to Wednesday)

Jul 1 Thu


Press date for issue 206: including Canal Societies directory

Jul 3/4


Wendover Arm

Jul 2-4


Saul Junction Boat Gathering: Sales Stand

Jul 3/4

London WRG

Wey & Arun Canal: Dig Deep project at Haybarn bridge.

Jul 3/4


Montgomery Canal: Newhouse Lock Abermule Newtown.

Jul 3-10

Camp 0404

Hereford & Gloucester Canal: Oxenhall. Ellbrook aqueduct

Jul 8 & 12


Tameside Canals Festival (swingbridge): Swingbridge erection on 8th and

Jul 10-17

Camp 0406

Cotswold Canals: Towpath & bank protection work near South Cerney, on Thames

Jul 10-17

Camp 0405

Hereford & Gloucester Canal: Oxenhall. Ellbrook aqueduct

Jul 11 Sun


Committee & Board Meetings: Hatton Park Village Hall

Jul 17/18


Wilts & Berks Canal: dredging by the Peterborough Arms at Dauntsey

Jul 17-24

Camp 0407

Wilts & Berks Canal

Jul 17-24

Camp 0409

Wey & Arun Canal: Organised by NWPG. Dig Deep project at Haybarn bridge

Jul 17-24

Camp 0408

Grand Western Canal: Rebuilding stone steps, and clearing vegetation from

Jul 24 Sat


‘Paper Chase’ waste paper collection

Jul 24-31

Camp 0410

Mon & Brec Canal

Jul 24-31

Camp 0411

Wilts & Berks Canal

Jul 26 Mon

Dig Deep

Dig Deep committee meeting: Venue: Mad Hatter, nr Blackfriars Bridge, London.

Jul 31-Aug 8 wrgBITM

Wendover Arm Camp: Camp organised by WRG BITM and Wendover Arm

Jul 31-Aug 8 KESCRG

Mon & Brec Canal Camp

Jul 31-Aug 1 London WRG

Derby Canal

Jul 31/Aug 1 SUCS

Montgomery Canal: Newhouse Lock Abermule Newtown.

Jul 31-Aug 7 Camp 0412

Mon & Brec Canal

Jul 31-Aug 7 Camp 0413

Caldon Canal

Jul 31-Aug 8 WACT

Wey & Arun Canal Camp: Bank restoration, towpath work, coppicing and scrub

Aug 3 Tue


Issue 206 Assembly (unconfirmed)

Aug 7/8


Wendover Arm: Continuing work from the BITM Camp.

page 18

Please send updates to Diary compiler: Dave Wedd, 7 Ringwood Rd, Blackwater, Camberley, Surrey GU17 0EY. Tel 01252 874437. e-mail: dave.wedd@wrg.org.uk. Answerphone



Tim Lewis



Mike Friend



Graham Hawkes



David McCarthy


David McCarthy



Dave Wedd



David McCarthy



David McCarthy


malcolm.bridge@btclick.com enquiries@wrg.org.uk

Martin Ludgate






David McCarthy



Tim Lewis



Mike Friend


tigger.bounce@virgin.net enquiries@wrg.org.uk

removal on 12th.

David McCarthy


& Severn Canal

malcolm.bridge@btclick.com enquiries@wrg.org.uk enquiries@wrg.org.uk

Dave Wedd


bookings@wrgBITM.org.uk enquiries@wrg.org.uk enquiries@wrg.org.uk

lime kilns

enquiries@wrg.org.uk David McCarthy

0161-740-2179 enquiries@wrg.org.uk enquiries@wrg.org.uk


Bill Nicholson


Dave Wedd






Tim Lewis



Mike Friend


tigger.bounce@virgin.net enquiries@wrg.org.uk enquiries@wrg.org.uk


Stuart O’Hara



John Hawkins



Dave Wedd



page 19


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 tim@timlewis.org.uk.

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)


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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


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 What a cracking weekend! The four of us from the Grantham Canal were really impressed by the organisation and expertise at the WRG training weekend at Hatton. It was a slick operation from Ali’s timings through to Jude’s food.


The Training Weekend, the WRG board and unloved waterways

The one-to-one instruction was thorough, and allowed a good time for practice, with all of us gaining benefit from each individual section. We can thoroughly recommend attending one of these courses rather than learning on site. All of us look forward to working with the WRG teams on here on the Grantham later in the year. Thanks again, Colin, Charlie, Fred, and Martin. Sir, Oh dear, it appears (Basingstoke Camp Report, Navvies 204 p12-15) that Mr. M. Jones has been throwing his teddy out of the pram again. I could correct some of what he wrote, but it would only serve to inflate his ego still further. One thing I should point out however is that I am not and have never been a member of the WRG Board - though quite what difference that would make to me spending my Sunday afternoon fixing the trailer light socket on RFB I don't know..... I am a director of IWE but I don't see how that is relevent either - I am sure it makes sense in the twisted world of Marcus Jones. Yours, ever so sincerely (honest) Bungle The item in ‘Navvies News’ last time listing ‘unloved waterways’, and urging people to consider setting up new groups to restore canals that nobody is looking after, produced this response... Hi Martin, When did the Dartford & Crayford Navigation and the River Rother become derelict (Navvies No 204, page 32)? Has anyone told IWA Kent & East Sussex Branch? The same could be said of the River Idle. As far as I know, all three are still navigable. I would agree, however, that each of the waterways on the list needs a local group to protect their interests. Many years ago when I was a member of the IWA K&ES Branch Committee, we lost small parts of the Dartford & Crayford Navigation as it was unclear at that time whether it came under K&ES or London Branch (it formed the boundary between the two branches) and so nobody was paying sufficient attention to developments there. I also thought that some of the waterways on the list had groups formed to safeguard their interests and hopefully eventually restore them, viz Bradford Canal, River Itchen (or Itchen Navigation), Portsmouth & Arundel Canal (although perhaps the Chichester Canal Trust no longer involves itself with this former extension of their canal) and Liskeard & Looe Canal; have the local groups become defunct? There are also others that seem to have missed the list, such as, in my part of the country, the River Adur/Baybridge Canal, the Petworth Canal and the Canterbury Stour above Fordwich (which admittedly only had flash-locks, two in number), and the Little Stour was once navigable. Even the River Cuckmere was at one time navigable I believe. Well, if the Penshurst Navigation is included, why not these?

page 21

I am privileged to have seen the first lock above Tonbridge, although it would take some restoring now; the Penshurst Navigation never saw any traffic as the Upper Medway Navigation prevented it from operating by obtaining an injunction to protect their water supplies (or was it to prevent competition?). Of course, with the advent of flood protection measures (Leigh Sluices and Bewl Bridge Reservoir to name but two) further obstacles now exist to any potential restoration. We have, however, overcome such problems elsewhere, so who knows? I have no wish to poor cold water on others’ aspirations. The Royal Military Canal also had a local group at one time, but I have not heard anything of them recently. I note, however, that the Hollinwood Canal Society has very much arrived on the scene observe their Website, www.Hollinwoodcanal.co.uk. On a different topic, you promised us details a short while back of Mike Handford’s (crazy?) scheme to link the waterways of South Wales and the Welsh borders; nothing has yet appeared. Many Regards, Brian Andrews PS: If they had built the Weald of Kent Canal, which actually obtained its Act, then we would be looking at restoring a complete network of waterways in the south-east. This was to link the Medway at Yalding (where have I heard that name recently?) to the Rother near Bodiam with a branch to join the Canterbury Stour. With the advent of new-build projects e.g. the Bedford & Milton Keynes, perhaps it is time to look into this one again - what an exciting and attractive network that would create.

I will attempt to answer some of Brian’s points; if anyone else has any information, please do write to ‘Navvies’. More importantly, if anyone wants to do something about setting up groups to protect / restore any of these waterways, please tell us and we will make the readers of ‘Navvies’ aware of your plans. Brian is quite right that navigation is still possible on the Dartford & Crayford, Rother and Idle. However in the case of the Dartford & Crayford, the lock that used to hold back water on the Dartford branch was abandoned and the gates chained-open some years ago, making the river tidal thoughout and limiting its potential usefulness as moorings off the Thames: restoration of the lock might be worth considering. The River Idle is navigable but is, I understand, not an easy navigation towards the upper end with limited depth and no decent moorings at Bawtry. Improvements including creating moorings to encourage more use have been suggested: although whether this constitutes ‘restoration’ is debatable, it might be worth a local group being formed to press for it. I’m afraid I have no knowledge of the current state of the Eastern Rother - perhaps it doesn’t need restoring at all! I have heard rumours of a group being formed to restore the Bradford Canal but have no information about it - can anyone help? The Itchen Navigation has been subject to restoration proposals in the past, but I do not think that there is currently a group supporting it: if I am wrong can somebody please put me right; if I am right, how about somebody starting one? I have been told by a member of the Chichester Ship Canal Trust that while their constitution does not rule out supporting restoration of the entire Portsmouth & Arundel Canal including the Hunston to Ford length of the main line, they have no current plans to expand activities beyond the part under restoration as the ‘Chichester Canal’. However some members would like to do eventually, and to attempt to protect the route from further damage in the meantime. I am sorry to say that I believe the wonderfully-named East Looe Vale Improvement Society (ELVIS for short!) is defunct. If anyone has any confirmed proof that ELVIS is still alive - or knows of any new group formed to look after the Liskeard & Looe Canal - please tell us! Finally, Mr Handford’s proposal for the Welsh borders is that a restored Kington Leominster & Stourport Canal would form part of a new waterway from Garthmyl on the Montgomery, running via Bishops Castle, Knighton and Ludlow to Leominster, thence to Hereford and on to Brecon, thereby linking in the Mon & Brec and the H&G. He says that it should be complete at about the same time as the Llangollen & Bala Junction Canal. He also proposes restoration of the Nutbrook and Wisbech canals, plus an extension of the Ashby to join the Trent & Mersey as originally intended, and a new link from the Chesterfield to the Cromford. And he ends with “I kid you not”! The Editor

page 22


Training Weekend May 7th-9th

As we began to gather in the pub on Friday night, it was comforting to know that all of the preparation for the next two days of training had already been organised by Mike, Jude and Harry. The skills centre was booked, vans & trailers collected, plant hired and delivered, accommodation open and food shopping complete. Massive thanks to the three of you, who despite cooking or instructing all weekend, then had to make sure all of the kit was cleared and returned to its proper place on Sunday/Monday. Perhaps we should introduce ‘cloning’ to the schedule next year? As the night got blurrier, many faces, some new, some old and some quite jolly, appeared. We adjourned to the Scout Hut for a civilised round of port and cheese. Did I say civilised? I meant something else.

Ed Walker - I think

...reporting from the WRG Training Weekend

Saturday arrived sooner than some heads were prepared for but we managed to drag all bodies, living or otherwise, to site. And the training began… and it didn’t really stop… but thankfully the rain did. When you think that over 110 sessions took place in 2 days, instructed by a relatively small group of volunteers, it really is bloody fantastic. A huge THANK YOU to all the instructors who made it possible and thoroughly enjoyable. You always work your hats off and never complain. (although you do take the piss mercilessly!!)

After a long day of training on Saturday, Jude prepared us a veritable feast which was gratefully devoured. Later, a party was assembled to check that we hadn’t left anything in the pub the night before, and as we had gone in, it seemed rude not to stay.

Martin Ludgate

New for this year’s training weekend: chippers So what did we do? Lots of plant training; dumpers, skid steers, backhoe loaders, rollers and excavators in varying sizes, one of which offered a ‘unique perspective’ for one special trainee. There was minibus, van and trailer training, surveying and electrical wizardry and chippers too. A new and wonderful course was Bungle’s guide to lashing, strapping and bondage, occasionally referred to as ‘securing plant’ in better company. But we’d forgotten to order that.

Martin Ludgate

Sunday happened. There was lots of that training stuff again Eddie Jones explains how to and some of us wore hitch-up a trailer correctly our smart new coats. Thanks Martin! Gradually people departed for their corners of the country. Chris and Jen kindly filled in all the holes we’d made and we were left to solve the riddle of more vans than people and dig out stuck trailers. Thanks to all who came and conquered! We hope you enjoyed it and learnt something useful. I know I did. See you somewhere soon

It wasn’t all plant and vehicle training: we Big hugs also covered surveying and levels

Ali ‘Womble’ Bottomley

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Looking forward to this summer’s Canal Camps Canal Camps 2004 update By the time you read this, the start of the main summer Canal Camps season will be only a few weeks away. And an interesting season it promises to be, with plenty of work for young and old, for the experienced navvy or the new recruit... and such diverse jobs as installing a second-hand swingbridge, helping to run a canal festival, restoring some historic stonework locks, saving what must be just about the most knackered aqueduct that’s still standing, abseiling down a limekiln (no kidding!) and a good old-fashioned lock chamber clearance or two. So to help you make your mind up which camp(s) you want to go on and get your booking forms sent in, here is the latest news on what we’re doing this summer, where we’re doing it, and who we’re doing it with... Saul: Festival Fun and Folk Camp 0403, June 30 - July 7

Hereford & Gloucester: probably the most knackered aqueduct in the world Camps 0404 and 0405, July 3-10 and 10-17 Possibly one of the less-accurate statements to appear in the WRG camps booklet a few years ago was the one that described the Ell Brook Aqueduct near Oxenhall as ‘splendid’. It isn’t: it’s falling down and if we don’t do something about it soon it will collapse into the Ell Brook. Which would be a great shame as (a) it’s one of the few remaining structures on the canal that are still there and capable of being restored to their former splendour and (b) there’s probably no way the Environment Agency’s flood prevention rules would let us build a new one, so we’ve got to save the one that’s still (just) standing. Starting by (carefully!) taking down the stone parapets, adding a concrete cap to the arch and then starting to rebuild the stonework. Accommodation is in the excellent recently-refurbished Dymock Village Hall - with a pub next door! Cotswolds: return to a favourite site Camps 0406, July 10-17 The Cotswold Canals have been absent from the Canal Camps programme for a little while as the restoration has been in a bit of a ‘between projects’ phase recently while political negotiations have gone on in the background. Which is a shame, as it’s always been a favourite with WRG volunteers thanks to the superb local scenery and the excellent support we always get from the locals on the canal trust. For this camp we’re back at a site we worked on in the 1990s when we restored Wildmoorway and Boxwell Springs Locks. Since then, the culverted road bridge carrying the Cotswold Water Park Spine Road below Wildmoorway has been rebuilt, and we will be working on bank-protection and towpath raising on the far side of the road, in the hope that there will be water in the canal and a trip-boat running here in a year or two’s time.

Martin Ludgate

Nick Coolican-Smith and George Eycott are the leaders for a camp in support of an annual event that gets bigger every year: the Saul Canal Festival. Held in support of the Cotswold Canals Trust’s restoration plans, the event is a very well organised, well supported, proper canal festival - with the added attractions of music (the ‘Folk on the Water’ attracts the top acts every year) and beer (a well-stocked real ale bar). The camp accommodation has showers and a view that Harry Watts describes as ‘probably the best ever’ (maybe because it’s so close to a real Cotswold country pub!) - and Mike Palmer says “The worst incentive to come on this camp is that those who book for the full duration get a free WRG T-shirt...” Ellbrook Aqueduct on the H&G: we need to repair it before it falls down.

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Wilts & Berks: All change for Dauntsey! Camp 0407, July 17-24 This camp has moved (as they sometimes do) from the originally planned worksite at Seven Locks to Dauntsey, where Rachael Banyard and Luke Walker will have lots of interesting jobs around Dauntsey Lock. These include landscaping the lockside, completing the stone-faced bank above the lock, bulding a concrete footing for a wall between the Peterborough Arms car park and the wharf wall area, perhaps also bricklaying for a retaining wall, excavating and moving infill from the canal above the lock, profiling the towpath bank and dredging. And in case that isn’t enough to keep you busy, there’s backfilling and lanscaping at Seven Locks and painting the steel bridge deck at Foxham. Grand Western: give a man enough rope... Camp 0408, July 17-24 If you want to go on this one you’re going to have to book sharpish as it’s filling up fast. And why? Well, obviously the location in deepest Somerset (or is it Devon?), the popular leadership combo of Gav + Judith, and above all, a bid for the “most unusual job of the year” award. There’s a row of old limekilns that need preserving and restoring, and the only way to get at the more inaccessible bits safely is... on the end of an abseil rope! For vertigo-sufferers, we believe there is some slightly less precarious-sounding work. So with local support from the Canal Rangers, Mitch’s cooking, and the Burlescombe Village Hall in deepest Devon (or is it Somerset?) for accommodation, this sounds like a good one.

Wey & Arun: swinging Sussex Camp 0409, July 17-24 and WACT Camp, July 31-Aug 7 Our friends in NWPG are running the first of these camps, and although it doesn’t involve any dangling on ropes (we hope!) the work is a little bit different from the usual. Somehow the Canal Trust have come by a second-hand liftbridge from the Leeds & Liverpool Canal. (In the interest of political correctness I will refrain from suggesting that they bought it from some dodgy geezers from Liverpool who’d nicked it while BW weren’t looking) Anyway, it’s now in Sussex and the job is to install it to replace a low-level concrete and steel bridge over the canal. London WRG have already spent one masochistic weekend bashing rust off the new bridge and breaking out the remains of the old one, and are going back for more in a few weeks time (I told you they were masochists!) so by the time the Camp comes around, there should be some more constructive work rebuilding the abutments and installing the deck. Then on July 31st-Aug 7th the Wey & Arun Canal Trust will be running their own Canal Camp just a little further north at Lordings. This is a fascinating site on a very out-of-the-way rural bit of the canal, with an aqueduct, a lock and a water-wheel that used to fill the canal from the River Arun and has just been restored. Here we plan to rebuild the former aqueduct wall and form a pound (with the associated earthworks) that will be filled by the newly completed water wheel. The accommodation is at Kirdford Village Hall, another of those halls that just happen to have a good country pub next door! Unfortunately this one didn’t make it into the Camps Booklet, so WACT will be taking the bookings themselves - please contact Stuart O’Hara on 0208-656-5473 or email: ohara @thedogshome.freeserve.co.uk to book on. Mon & Brec: back to the valleys Camps 0410 and 0412, July 2431 and July 31 - August 7

John Wood

Those of you who enjoyed the Mon & Brec camps last year will know that it’s a great site in the South Wales valleys with an excellent partnership between British Waterways, the local authority, the Canal Trust and us. We have been a little bit slow getting the work sorted this year but leaders Rob Daffern & Mike Hamlyn (Camp 0410) and Ian Williamson & Liz The fascinating Lordings Aqueduct site on the Wey & Arun where Wilson (Camp 0412) are getting to grips with it. WACT will be running their camp on July 31 - August 7

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Wendover Arm: the proof of the proofing BITM Camp, July 31 - August 8

Another Wilts & Berks Camp; another change of site. What is it about the W&B? Anyway, we won’t be rebuilding a brick bridge (due to delays in getting the necessary permissions), so we’ll be clearing out a lock-chamber instead. That’s right - a good old-fashioned chamber clearance, just like we used to do in the old days... and just like we did at Froghall last year. First we clear the trees so we can see where the lock is, then we start digging out everything inside it.

Another one that didn’t appear in the Camps Booklet is WRG BITM’s week on the Wendover Arm in Buckinghamshire. This branch of the Grand Union was infamous for its ability to lose water, due to the porous soil it passes through. So restoring it isn’t simply a case of clearing it out and putting the water back in - its an engineering job involving reinforced concrete canal walls and a waterproof membrane across the bottom. The walls of the next section of canal at Tringford Bridge are now finished, and BITM’s job for the camp will be to lay the waterproof membrane of bentonite clay. The work includes digging out earth from the bed using excavators and dumpers, cutting and rolling out the membrane, and finally covering it in a protective layer of concrete. WRG BITM are running the camp in conjunction with the Wendover Arm Trust, and say that it is designed to meet the needs of people who are unable to commit to a whole week for whatever reason. “We will need a small core of people committed to work the whole week, with others joining in for 2 to 3 day periods during the camp, culminating with the regular members of WRG BITM joining in on the last weekend.” Contact Dave Wedd on 01252-874437 or email: bookings@wrgBITM.org.uk if you want to come on this camp.

Uttoxeter Canal: Froghall revisited Camp 0413, July 31 - August 7

St Johns Backpumping project: pump it up! Camp 0414, August 7-14

Coming on a camp? Best get your booking form in quick! Fantastic accommodation in Cross Keys Chuch Hall. Camp 0412 has been ‘adopted’ by KESCRG as their camp for this year, so lots of their regulars should be turning up for this one - and they’ve got Jenny Wilson to cook for them... yummy! Wilts & Berks: a real lock-clearance Camp 0411, July 24-31

The Uttoxeter Canal is the new name for the Cal- The St Johns Backpumping scheme is now neardon Canal at Froghall (because the locals are ing completion, and this will probably be your last hoping to eventually open the canal all the way to chance (OK we said that about the Mont!) to spend Uttoxeter) and camp leader Helen ‘Bushbaby’ a week working on this project to bring reliable Gardner has inherited the wonder that is Froghall water supplies to the canal and enable it to open Basin. Since we left it after one of 2003’s most to boaters all year. enjoyable camps (not to mention a couple of rather good weekend bashes in the winter), British Waterways and their jolly contractors have been hard at work turning a ruin into a real mooring basin - who knows what they will leave, but we will fling ourselves into it with abandon. (and with a hard-hat and wellies on?) Actually we’re now pretty sure that the work left for us to do will include laying paths all round the basin, landscaping, some more work on restoring the stone-walled cutting that used to carry a railway siding by the lock... and putting in bollards for the boaters to tie up to when they arrive, Great accommodation at a Scout camping centre in the wilds of Staffordshire, with good showers (if you don’t mind a picturesque walk in the woods to get there) and a very friendly local pub. Helen says “this is a fantastic opportunity to work on a project that you’ll be able to Re-pointing Froghall Lock on the Uttoxeter (formerly Caldon) Canal: come and work here on July 31-August 8. bring your boat to next year”.

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The last sections of the pipeline should be going in, the pump well chamber will need to be built, and if that isn’t enough work for the week, Pete Redway says he’s got some landing stages and bollards to install, for all the boat that are going to be arriving soon. It’ll be interesting work with a good mix of technical jobs and machinery operation as well as manual work. The accommodation is in Mayford Village Hall, with showers on the premises. Lancaster Canal: Northern heritage Camp 0415 and 0417, August 7-14 and 14-21 Tewitfield Locks on the disused Northern Reaches of the Lancaster Canal are an important historic site that English Heritage are keeping a close eye on, so this isn’t going to be ‘knock-it-down-andconcrete-it’ style canal restoration (not that we ever do that, do we?) but carefully conserving the original stonework and restoring it with traditional materials and methods, to the highest standard possible. The accommodation is described as “The most palatial ever” - with the added bonus of Harri T as cook for the first week. Lichfield Canal: sophistication in Staffordshire? Camp 0416, August 14-21 Leaders Mike Palmer and Becky Parr promise “exactly the same attitude as our camp at Froghall last year but with less mud - probably. Actually the work is quite similar: you have to excavate until you find a wall and then repair it.” But the site and accommodation are in uptown Lichfield so Mike & Bex claim they’ll be aiming for a more sophisticated (!) air than last year’s yokel-fest! Jude the cook is busy checking-out the shops for delicious local produce and the leaders are sorting out boat trips and social events for the evenings. We promise fun! Burton on Trent: boats and beer Camp 0418, August 23 - Sep 2 Finally, over to Dave ‘Moose’ Hearnden for an update on how planning’s going for the National Waterways Festival Canal Camp at Burton on Trent... At the moment from April’s figures 286 boats have booked in (the maximum that can be accommodated is between 320 and 340). The site plan has been finalized (except for the final tweaks, but all the major parts are now in and settled). British Waterways have been hard at work dredging the canal so boats can get to the bank: this work is almost complete. And the excellent news received for all of you trying to get out of car park duty, is that the local Sea Cadets are willing to help with at lest 10 suckers (sorry, volunteers) to help with the dreaded car parking. That means I can find you all nice jobs!!!

Canal Camp Bookings Unless otherwise stated, all bookings should be made on the standard form (included in the camps booklet, available from the address below or online on the WRG website) and be sent to WRG Canal Camps, PO Box 114, Rickmansworth WD3 1ZY. Tel: 01923 711114, email: enquiries@wrg.org.uk.

www.wrg.org.uk Just for your information, at the entrance to the site is one of the three breweries in the town. (We plan on running a brewery tour at some point in the camp - if we can organise it...) The Right Tool for the Right Job appeal is still in full swing, and according to the collect-o-meter in the last Navvies, we are still short of the target, so at the festival we will still be fund raising in several ways. These ideas require people to help. See Dr Liz’s article on pages 6-7 for more info. And the same plea: Regarding bookings for the WRG side, not many volunteers yet. But before you all say its ages away - it’s not, when you are trying to work out accommodation etc. So please help me and book through Head Office. This includes if you are coming for the whole camp or just a few days. Or give me a call/email and I will make a note. Any body wanting to bring their own tent/caravan must book it through me beforehand due to lack of space. If you really won’t know till the last minute if you can come at all, you will be able to turn up at any time over the fortnight - but please try and give me at least 24hrs notice especially if you require feeding. I hope to see you all there, YOU will enjoy yourself. My phone number is: 07961 922153, my email address is: moose@wrg.org.uk. My assistant is Ed Walker: 07887 568029, ed.walker@wrg.org.uk. Moose What Moose omitted to mention was that a theme has been chosen for the WRG end-of-camp party..... BEER! With the festival taking place in Britain’s most famous brewery town, we thought it would be a good idea to commemorate this with a themed WRG party. So simply dress up as your favourite brew: do you fancy being a Greene King, a Tiger or an Old Speckled Hen, supping a Bishop’s Tipple or an Abbot Ale? Whatever your tipple, show you’ve got the Courage of your convictions, demonstrate your Pedigree, take some Pride, and above all, don’t be an Old Fart! (PS to Dave Worthington, Rick Ansell, Liz Wilson and anyone who’s already named after a brewery - that doesn’t mean you can just come as yourself!) Martin Ludgate (with help from MKP, Adrian and lots of others)

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Eddie reports from Little Venice - for the last time? Little Venice 2004 Another Little Venice Canalway Cavalcade has been and gone, which despite the atrocious weather - both over the weekend and during the rig/derig - ran extremely smoothly. All due credit to the team for their professionalism, hard work and good humour for which I thank you. Some of you may have heard rumours about next year, so before they spread in an increasingly inaccurate manner may I put the record straight: KESCRG as a group will not be providing the site service team at Little Venice in 2005. There has been no falling out, arguments or trouble of any kind, but after supporting the event for many many years we simply want to have a change and use our volunteer effort do other things. Here is a hint of what we get up to behind the scenes... Monday/Tuesday immediately prior to the event I put the finishing touches to the risk assessment and volunteer requirements guide, and any other last minute ‘just jobs’ on the paperwork front that may have cropped up.

For some years on the Wednesday we have collected the marquees, stalls, tables, chairs, crash barriers etc. from Hackney by boat. This year was no exception, but we also collected the heavy (125A) cables and associated distribution boxes. Until last year we loaded at Springfield Marina on the River Lee but after a bit of a disaster which delayed us for hours we decided to instead use Bow Free Wharf, a little further down the Lee. I had arranged for the additional crew - comprising Helen ‘The Purple Fairy’ Dobbie, Mark ‘MK2’ Richardson and myself - to meet Paul and Lyn Ayres on narrow boat Aldgate in the pool at Little Venice at 10am Wednesday morning. ‘Cos of a key crisis I didn’t quite make it, and instead met them at 10:30 as they moored up outside the Pirate Youth Club in Camden. As an aside: travelling up to London on the train and then from Victoria to Camden on the tube got me some right funny looks dressed in my site clothes, heavy boots and well-battered Aussie hat. This all changed when I emerged from Camden Town, when I sort-of blended in with all the other weirdoes who hang out in that particular part of North London! Once we had dragged all the tat - sorry, bins full of banners, gloves, the stand pipe, hundreds of fire extinguishers etc. etc. from dungeons under the Pirate Castle (you think I jest!), loaded it all into Aldgate, cleared the furniture out of the Pirate Club nb Viscount ready for us to use as an accommodation boat it was 11:30am. This meant we were a little behind schedule as we had arranged to meet the delivery trucks at the wharf in Bow for 2pm. I have crewed for Paul and Lyn numerous times before on this run, and am well practised in the art of jumping onto Aldgate as it rockets out of a lock. Helen and Mark however were boating (Aldgate-style) virgins and rather taken aback at first. “He doesn’t back off for you to get on!” they cried until I had explained that Aldgate only has three modes; astern as you enter a lock, idle whilst in a lock, otherwise flat-out.

Eddie Jones

We were well on for getting to Bow for 2pm ‘till a fisherman’s rucksack and webbed kit-bag got caught round the blades as we were nearing Limehouse. This particular nasty took an awful lot of heaving on the boat-pole to get off again. In the end we reached Bow for about 2:30pm to meet the marquee gang and cable supply company driver who was rather bemused as had never Loading the gear for Canalway Cavalcade onto nb Aldgate at Bow delivered to a boat before!

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By the time the traders started to appear late afternoon we were well on track. The marquees were cabled up, the food area lit with festoon, security plus bog lights in place and I reckon Harry ‘H’ was actually standing there with two very big power plugs in his hands as Bungle turned up with Sammy (worth noting: smack on 6pm as promised - another first!) ready to power the site up.

Martin Ludgate

We cannot park Sammy ‘till Friday eve so in previous years have used WRG’s small generator Thomas to power the chillers in the beer tent and keep the batteries alive on the accommodation boats Thursday eve/Friday. This year saw the first visit of the considerably quieter fast-tow unit that Bungle came by from Vodafone, which Nick Coolican-Smith had towed to site very late Wednesday evening.

Waterspace discuss the problems of fitting 150 boats into the pool and still leaving room for the pageant, the boat-handling, canoe display etc. etc.

Back up at 7am Saturday morning to manage the traders cars onto site and unload them (Westminster Council had applied some very tough traffic risk assessment procedures this year), the PA boat powered, miles of festoon fastened to the pontoon in the pool, the event settled down to rubbish collection, people managing etc. as per any festival. Specials included supplying the chargers on nb Kildare in a trad way: I think in the end H and Bungle managed something with a boat pole and the towing mast to get the cable across. We also met the challenge of sourcing a serious amount of bark chippings to try and sort the mud-bath on site – not easy in the West End of London!

Once loaded (about 3 tons Paul reckoned) we headed back to the Regents via the Hertford Union and were in the Warwick Castle for a pint with London WRG at their special pre-LV social for about 8:00pm having collected the rubbish barge on our way back through Lisson Wide.

Friday started well early with us helping unload the first delivery of beer at 7am, and after a swift breakfast bun carried on in the rain with the jobs started the night before.

Martin Ludgate

The weather that had been threatening to play up all day Wednesday (and in fact had completely soaked Paul and Lyn on their way to LV Tuesday night) was back with a vengeance on Thursday morning as I left South London. I was on my way to Newbury via Chinnor (to collect the KESCRG open trailer) bound for a Vodaphone depot. Met Bungle, got soaked transferring the site electrical gear from Sammy (the generator truck) to the back of the Land Rover Discovery/trailer and then, having dropped Bungle back at his work, sloshed my way back down the M4 to LV. Once on site the weather abated slightly and the advanced crew managed a healthy start layingin the big power cables, erecting banners, wheeling the Portaloos into place, sorting the accommodation boats etc before dusk fell. MK2 and I headed back out to Enfield in the Disco with the now empty trailer to collect the PA. Just about made it back for a pint in the Warwick before closing.

Bearing in mind the time we started Friday morning it was a welcome first pint we supped as last orders were rung, having spent the evening getting the catering traders and their trailers into place.

Somehow we get the impression that whoever designed the hi-tech footbridge wasn’t thinking about KESCRG volunteers getting trolleys across it when they put the sharp corners in the ramps...

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...starring Bungle, the hi-vis bear! I will confess I didn’t appear too early Sunday (knackered, a beer the night before plus a very warm back cabin) but the usual jobs happened, such as collecting rubbish from the boats with nb Opportunity and the little plastic tub supplied by Wood, Hall and Heward acting as a tender. Some of the boaters commented we went straight from the rubbish run on Saturday to picking up the Mayor and associated dignitaries – I pointed out we gave them full Personal Protection Equipment so it was OK.

Apart from the fantastic weather the highlight of Sunday was Bungle dressing up as a bear for the kiddies’ teddy Bears Picnic and then donning a KESCRG hi-viz to steer nb Opportunity in the boat handling. This actually won him an award, sadly this was for his steering and not for wearing a hivis dressed in a bear outfit, which I feel is a great shame. The WRG chairman displayed why he is where he is today by suggesting that all of us piling onto nb Opportunity and then trying to sneak into the pool through the illuminated boats procession once it had started in order to get a good vantage point was not a good idea. He was proved correct and in the end we saw bugger all of the procession but did have a good sing-song. It was raining Monday when we got up, and despite our objections decided it liked it that way, so didn’t stop all day, at all, not even a little bit.

Martin Ludgate

By early afternoon we were all wet, the grass site wasn’t very grassed any more and the public having made a valiant effort gave up, so the traders joined them. By late afternoon having manned the car park and access ramps so the traders could limp away wounded and damp, the skies cleared and allowed us to wrap up site respectably early for the traditional drink-what-was-left-from-the-bar over a BBQ. At this point I must thank the volunteers who had promised to appear Monday to help with the de-rig and still did so despite the weather when they left home. I For collecting rubbish (and mayors and civic dignitaries) the also understand there is a story to be told volunteers had the use of nb Opportunity (above) and the of how London WRG turned a catering “little plastic tub” supplied by Wood, Hall and Heward. (below) wagon on the South Towpath unaided when we had used a winch to get it there in the first place – they do have a Moose though…..

Martin Ludgate

Sadly the clear skies Monday eve lulled us into a false sense of tranquillity ‘cos 7am Tuesday saw serious rain which really didn’t want to let up.

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A soaked team loaded the hired cables into the trailer, the old tat onto nb Viscount, cleared the accom boats and loaded the Amoses’ car, moved the bogs off site and loaded onto the bog mans truck, slipped around in the mud and were generally stars. Ask me about the BW dredger and the plastic tub if you want a laugh – won’t put in print though!

I left Ralph in Camden having unloaded and dragged the tat off nb Viscount back in to the dungeons under the Pirate Club ( I know you still don’t believe me if you have actually read this through, but they really are!), and loaded back onboard the loose furniture removed the week before. I then made the trip home to south London via Naseing in Essex to drop the big cables and then Chinnor in Oxfordshire to drop the trailer. Much as the Disco is a far better wagon to drive than the 110 when tired, soaking wet is still not fun. Finished the do with a very hot Radox filled bath late Tuesday evening.

If you want to keep up with what we are up to, check the Navvies Diary and please take a look at our new website www.kescrg.org.uk - still in its infancy but growing as we speak. Cheers Eddie Jones (That bloke who wears green KESCRG T-shirts at WRG events)

So there you have it. Yours if you want the challenge. Very rewarding but knackering and something we want a break from.

Above: Bungle entered the Boat-handling contest wearing a bear outfit and a hi-vis vest and won a prize while (below) London WRG interpreted the event’s theme ‘Steaming Ahead’ in their own way, by dressing as cannibals and boiling somebody’s head over a big coking pot.

Tim Lewis

So what are we going to do instead? Well once upon a time KESCRG had a very successful sales/publicity stand which (a) raised an appreciable amount of money in these increasingly expensive insurance times and (b), recruited new volunteers. We intend to kick this back into life taking it round the various festivals using the volunteer effort we have been putting into running the Little Venice site crew.

Eddie Jones

The site service team run under the KESCRG banner has produced many stars to whom the event and I can only offer a huge thank you, but it is time we moved on and did something different.

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The KL15

“I spoke too soon when I said it would be relatively simple...” Rebuilding a KL15 crane Well, it has been some time since there was a report on the crane, but the team have been busy getting Claverton open to the public so the crane has taken a bit of a back seat, but that doesn’t mean nothing has been happening...

Sadly I don’t carry this equipment around in the back of the Landie and it was even beyond the ability of the Claverton workshop, so we had to get someone else to do it. Whilst all of this was going on Pete carried out the rest of the axle refurbishment. Whilst chipping away the cement from the end caps he found some that wouldn’t come off and discovered the casting had the letters KL embossed on it. The axles are now back together and painted (see picture), next we will have to spend some more of Malcolm’s plant budget to buy the steering parts to put it all back together again. By the next Navvies press date we should have made some good progress as we have a whole weekend allocated to work on it in June when we hope to get the shot blaster to work on the base... Watch this space! George ‘Bungle’ Eycott


I did indeed speak too soon last time when I said that the front bearings would be “a relatively simple task to machine”. Unfortunately it turns out that the bearings were absolutely fine, it is the shaft they run on which was knackered. Now when these things are designed there is a bit designed to wear away (the bearing, made of brass) and a bit which is designed NOT to wear away (the axle shaft, made of steel) - if only someone had told the axle....

The solution to this is to replace the worn away metal on the shaft using a process known as metal spraying, then put the whole stub axle onto a big lathe and turn it back down to the right size.

The front axles of the KL15 crane reassembled and painted, ready to reinstall in the crane.

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WRG BC News May(be) Claire attended the Association of Waterway Cruising Clubs AGM at Stafford Boat Club in March for us, and sent these comments. A great deal of time was spent on discussing the different aspects of safety at canal works. The feeling is that red tape is getting out of hand: toilets have to be provided even for a one day cleanup and risk assessment done for everything, even for litter pickers! This puts weekend work out of the reach of small boat clubs who don’t have that sort of dosh, to spend on silly things. When you think that enthusiasts have been doing it safely for years, and the canals are much improved because of their work. The subject of moorings and so-called continuous cruising also caused some heated discussions - people hogging honeypot sites and such like, you know the beef!

Navvies news

...including the latest from the WRG Boat Club Hands up who is going to Saul Junction and who is going to The National? Please email, phone, put a message in a bottle or otherwise let us know. And another thing: why was no one from the boat club asked to contribute to the WRG Calendar? We could have done something most tasteful with club ‘members’ and the aid of a windlass and/or some carefully positioned burgees, shame! Or is somebody hiding something from us? xxx Sadie Dean 07748186867 sadiedean@vodafone.net

The question of tax on the cost of red diesel was also raised. It is always nice to meet friends from the other clubs at the AGM. Many Thanks to Claire for attending: it’s good to keep abreast of what’s going on and know what current problems AWCC are concerned with. We have to fly the flag too just like a proper boat club! However now is the time of year when we all want to be out and about the system flying the flag. Has yours faded to nearly grey? I told you not to leave it out overnight and in all weather! Treat yourself to a new one, still a bargain at A310. Order them from Lynn. Remember Campaign Cruises? Well we have been doing some of that. Unable to attend the usual Easter Gathering at Ellesmere Port, we stuck with the Flat Earth people and joined Peterborough IWA on a cruise round the Middle Level. The aim of the weekend was to highlight spots that needed attention, broken down and dangerous landing stages, three bridges that need raising, and dead ends with either no winding hole or a rather silted up one. Hopefully there will be lots of publicity to aid raising the necessary funding for the improvements, restoration and reopening of the various parts of the Middle Level. A lovely, mostly lock free area of waterways, that have a unique character. Contributing to restoration ain’t all playing in the mud!

On the subject of the calendar, as anyone who was at the photo-shoot will tell you, there was very little that was hidden from anyone! Seriously (if one can be serious about the calendar at all!) the volunteers were chosen by the simple expedient of Mitch waiting until everyone had drunk sufficient booze on the Saturday night at the Bonfire Bash that they would sign up for something as mad as this, and then getting their names down on paper, quickly before they changed their mind. ....Ed The Bonfire Bash - November 6-7 WRG’s annual reunion scrub-bash and party will take place on November 6-7 weekend on a site that is still to be announced - because unfortunately we haven’t found anywhere suitable yet. If you happen to know a site that has enough work (preferably scrub-bashing) to occupy 150 volunteers for a weekend, please get in touch. In the meantime, note the date in your diary, and look out for more information in future issues of Navvies and on our website www.wrg.org.uk. Thank you ...to Tom and Rachel Jeffries for offering us space on their farm in Northants to store some of our vehicles, trailers and kit between digs. We may well be asking for volunteers to help with a working party to construct a proper safe storage facility - contact Mike Palmer for details.

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Navvies news

Would you buy a used minibus from these people? The ‘Flights of Fancy’ quiz If you have whetted your appetite and honed your mind with the Right Tool for the Right Job Appeal quizzes on the WRG website, don’t miss the latest opportunity for some brain-teasing fun. BITM’s “Flights of Fancy” competition, a quiz to which all the solutions are names of lock flights, will be launched at this year’s Wendover Arm Festival.

Cotswold Latest The future of one of our favourite canal restoration projects hangs in the balance just a bit at the moment. A bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund for £23m towards restoring from Saul Junction to Brimscombe Port was deferred, and the bidders (BW on behalf of the partnership promoting restoration) were requested to come back with a smaller bid. They have now put in a reduced bid for about half this amount, as part of a revised package to restore from Stonehouse to Brimscombe. Fingers crossed that it gets approved at the next HLF meeting in July - we hope to report good news in the next ‘Navvies’. Whatever happens, hopefully it will bring an end to the slight hiatus in work for us on the Cotswold Canals - this has always been a favourite site for many in WRG, and we look forward to going back there.

You couldn’t make it up...

If you would like a copy of the quiz sheet and are not planning to attend any of the above events, please send an s.a.e. with your donation (cheques, postal orders or unused postage stamps equally acceptable) to: “Flights of Fancy” Quizmaster, 19 Wilsdon Way, Kidlington, Oxfordshire OX5 1TN.

Ever since the Upper Avon Navigation reopened in 1974, there have been proposals to extend navigation further up the river from Stratford to Warwick and link it to the Grand Union Canal near there, thereby opening-up several miles of attractive river, creating a broad-beam through route across the country, a new cruising ring etc. etc.Unfortunately these proposals have always had their opponents, including landowners, nature conservation interests etc who don’t want boats on the higher reaches of the river. But now Leamington Town Council have decided to oppose it on the grounds that if the river was opened up, boaters would stop using the canal - which would be a shame as they’ve spent lots of dosh on it...

The closing date for receipt of completed forms will be Friday 1st October 2004 Answers will be published in BITMites News, on the BITM website and in issue 207 of Navvies.

Coming soon: Greater London Authority opposes plans to widen the M25 because they are worried that it will take traffic away from the M1, which might then fall derelict from lack of use...

Copies of the quiz sheets will be available for a donation of 50p (or a little more, if you wish) at the Wendover, Saul Junction and Newbury canal festivals, or at BITM’s weekend digs between June and September. All proceeds will go to BITM’s van replacement fund.

As you will read elsewhere in this issue, we have bought a shiny new minibus, which means that our 15-seater Transit minibus N89NJF is now surplus to requirements and can be sold. That’s right - having spent the last year telling you how completely terminally shagged-out-beyond-all-recognition NJF is and how we can’t possibly survive unless you help us to buy a new one NOW... we’re now going to start telling you what a reliable good runner it is and how your canal society could really make good use of it! But seriously folks... although it’s true that we no longer wish to put our trust in NJF to get through the heavy use involved in doing a Canal Camps season every summer and spending the rest of the year out and about with a WRG regional group, it is still running well and bits haven’t actually started dropping off it yet. So if you happen to be interested in ‘taking it off our hands’ and getting a few more years notquite-so-heavy use out of it, I’m sure Mike Palmer can arrange favourable terms.

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For sale: minibus. Only one careful owner...

Contacting the chairman: Mike Palmer, 3 Finwood Rd, Rowington, Warwickshire CV35 7DH Tel: 01564 785293 e-mail: mike.palmer@wrg.org.uk

Moving house: Rick Barnes has moved to: 103 Boakes Drive, Stonehouse, Gloucestershire GL10 3QW. (One for the anoraks: anyone know the canal significance of his new address? See below right...)

If you move house remember to tell ‘Navvies’.

Noticeboard VINTAGE ENGINE FOR SALE Stuart Priest has offered to donate a vintage stationary engine for selling to raise money to the Appeal. It is a Pelapone PA1 dating from about 1927 on its original cast base with dynamo; engine has been rebored, new piston etc; original carb is missing but suitable replacement available. Worth about £300: offers to me and I’ll put you in touch with Stuart.

Stamps wanted

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

...to Steve Davis and Ruth de Newtown on their marriage ...to Rhys and Anna Jones on the arrival of Maria Margaret Jones ...to Graham Horn and Julie Oulton on their marriage

Help wanted: publications Do you have the use of a PC, knowledge of PageMaker software and a little time to spare helping us to update ‘What is WRG’ (and maybe other WRG publications in the future)? If so, please contact the Editor

Navvies Production

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 john.hawkins@wrg.org.uk as a matter of interest. Editor : Martin Ludgate 35 Silvester Road East Dulwich London SE22 9PB 020-8693 3266

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.

Anoraks’ corner: the answer to the question (above left) is of course that Boakes Drive, Stonehouse, is named after the former chairman of what was then the Stroudwater Thames & Severn Canal Trust, the late David Boakes 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).

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 © 2004 WRG Tel : 01923 711114 Registered no 4305322 ISSN 0953-6655

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“Cap”tion competition...

The benefit of hindsight Speaking of things we’ve said and then rather regretted it later, the waterways seem to have been a fair number of good examples of the benefits of 20/20 hindsight over the years. You know the sort of thing: “Nobody is ever going to restore the Nitts & Stuffs Canal”... or alternatively “The canal will reopen in 1996...” or whatever. Anyway, we have a small collection of these embarrassing quotes already, but if any of you have any more please send them in and we’ll publish a list of things that people (including ourselves) have said that we have later had cause to regret. And please don’t all send in the one that says “Inside this issue there should be a copy of the Canal Camps booklet...”

Canal history on the ’net... Roger Darlington’s Look & Learn Canals... Canals were discovered almost by accident, when James Brindley, the famous railway pioneer, fell into one and nearly drowned. The very first canal was built by Adrian in 1066 and ran from Newcastle to Carlisle, not far from Worsley, to prevent the Picts invading Germany...

The picture of Mike Palmer at the WRG Calendar photo-shoot produced a number of suggestions for captions. From Fred Hodgson: "My Cap runneth over!" or "You can stop blowing now sir!" or "Now will you buy a ticket to the Policeman's Ball?" Finally "Not without a hardhat, you don't!" (and Fred said ‘those were the printable ones...’) And Just Jen’s contribution, in Tom Jones / Full Monty style: Mitch: “You can leave my hat on...” Or from Andy Overton: Mike:"Good job you caught me in March, officer if you'd left it until summer you'd have needed a top hat". Or Mike:"Surely you've handled a truncheon before, officer?" Alternatively: Mitch:"What's that say on your helmet?" Mike:"I don't know,your hat's in the way" Andy says ‘I think that's enough... don't you?’ Yes, Andy, I think that’s probably quite enough. Unless any of you can think of any better ones...

Did we really say that? Did anyone spot this interesting idea in Navvies 204? “...hope you had a fab time at Mr Mac’s Birthday. This was such fun that it may become an annual event...”

‘Puddling clay’, named after a game called ‘puddling’ played at Clay Cross by Toll Puddle martyrs, was used to stop the water seeping out of the narrow boats, previously the job of a Dutch boy, Tom Thumb... Locks were built every so often, mostly in Scotland by Robbie Burns, to prevent boats running away downhill out of control until brakes were invented... Canal tunnels, or ‘chunnels’ were built wherever there happened to be ventilation shafts in hills. Aqueducts were constructed wherever they couldn’t find any hills to tunnel through... Traditional narrow boats were traditionally driven by Romanys following in a great tradition. They were also responsible for building the Roman canals, which were straight. Many of these remained straight until James Bingley bent them so you could travel around the hills instead of having to walk your boat over them... See http://rogerdarlington.members.beeb.net/ Canals.htm to read the rest of the remarkable story of the history of our canals.

And finally.... ...from that excellent publication Materials Recycling Weekly comes the following headline: WRG FINED FOR ODOUR OFFENCES

What happened? Did the showers promised in the Camps Preview not materialise? Did London WRG overdo the garlic at the Saturday night meal? Has Eddie Jones been at the Vindaloo again? No, I’m afraid it turns out to be the Waste Recycling Group, not us.

Profile for The Inland Waterways Association

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