a vvies N Volunteers restoring waterways No208December2004-January2005
waterway recovery group
Contents Contrib utions ... Contributions utions... ...are always welcome, whether hand-written, typed, on 3½" floppy disk, CD-ROM or by email. Photos also welcome: slides or colour or b/w prints. Please state whether you want your prints back; I assume that you want slides returned. Digital / computer scanned photos also welcome, either on floppy / CD-ROM or as e-mail attachments, preferably JPG format. Send them to the editor Martin Ludgate, 35, Silvester Road, London SE22 9PB, or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Press date for No 209: January 1st.
In this issue: Comment MKP, the armchair supporter 3-4 Auction Lots of canal books for sale 5-7 Cleanup Book now for the BCN in March... 8 Barn Dance ...and the Thames in Feb... 9 Camp reports Wilts & Berks, Grand Western, Basingstoke and Lancaster 10-19 Diary camps and working parties 20-22 Letters on South East waterways, Land Rovers and tits... 23-24 Logistics please be kind to brick-kits! 25 Bonfire Bash report from the Grantham 26-27 WRG South West a brand new WRG regional group is launched 28-29 And now it can be told almost a nice surprise for BW at Marple in 1969... 30 Camp report the Grandtham Canal 31-33 BITM quiz answers and winners 34-35 Dig Report work starts on the Hollinwood 36 Navvies News with Boat Club report 37-38 Noticeboard for ’HLA’ read ‘SAD’ 39 Backfill 20% of Womble for sale! 40
And ne xt time ... next time...
A year's subscription (6 issues) is available for a minimum of £1.50 (please add a donation if possible) to Sue Watts, 15 Eleanor Road, Chorlton- ....a report and pictures from the Christmas and cum-Hardy, Manchester M21 9FZ. Cheques to New Year working parties and camps. And the first "Waterway Recovery Group" please. ever (I think) Lavender Boat Camp Report... Visit our web site www.wrg.org.uk for all the latest news of WRG's activities
Cover photo: Restoring historic limekilns on the Grand Western summer canal camp. See camp report on pages 12-14. (photo by Alan Lines) Below: London WRG scrub-bashing on the Cromford Canal in November. This canal has been provisionally chosen as the replacement site for the New Year Canal Camp: see p38 for further information.
Although the Right Tool for the Right Job Appeal is finished we thought you’d like to see that it reached its £75,000 target!
Chairman’s comment This edition’s comment is rather “bitty” but that just reflects the time of year - lots of things planned, but not in any detail. So here we go…
Chairman “T her ob lem with vvolunolun“Ther heree is a pr prob oblem teer ceiv ed to do poor w or k” teerss per perceiv ceived wor ork”
It’s got dates, sites and lots of pretty pictures! Yes, it’s the 2005 Canal Camps brochure. It also has some job descriptions in it but I wouldn’t take them too seriously! But the message I gave last year is just as valid: each Canal Camp requires a huge amount of resources, and that includes volunteers. If you are interested in going on a camp please don’t leave booking till the last minute – the leader will be planning the work for many months prior to the camp, and knowing that they have the people to make it worthwhile means they have one less thing to worry about.
The other day I took part in a phone interview/questionnaire regarding volunteer work on the Cotswold Canals. I tactfully answered questions such as “What did I think were the major barriers to WRG volunteers making a contribution?” and “What could WRG offer the restoration project?” and put our view over in a positive and realistic way. But it seems there is still a real problem with volunteers being perceived to do poor quality work and to be difficult to work with, slow and unreliable. So it seems that one of the major barriers is that the Cotswold Canal partnership don’t really know us! Which is a shame really as I know we are all genuinely keen to go back and work on one of our favourite projects. Ah well – I am sure they will get the picture soon. You would think that a document titled National Forest Easy Guide would not be relevant to most readers of Navvies (with the exception of the Ashby Canal lot, of course). However it is a “practical and factual toolkit to help landowners plan and plant new woodlands”; 40 pages long, it fits in the pocket and is “packed with hints on choosing, planting growing and managing trees”. So if you are looking to improve your standing in green circles – it’s available from NFC on 01283 551211 or via their website www.nationalforest.org.
Safety Alert £30k
An incident on a Canal Camp was discussed at the recent WRG board meeting. The incident involved liquid splashing into a volunteer’s eye while mixing mortar. They were mixing by hand in a wheelbarrow, at the suggestion of the canal supervisor, because the mixer already had a different mix in it. Although Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) had been issued it was not worn for “a bit of hand mixing”. Although the liquid was just gritty water it could have been more serious. There are three lessons that we all should learn from here: 1) Although mechanical mixers do bring hazards of their own (fuel, moving parts, etc) their behaviour is much more predictable and “cleaner” than volunteers randomly slapping mortar about in an old barrow with shovels. 2) When even the most simple of tasks is changed then you should assess the risks again and in particular avoid discarding the PPE just because it is a simpler job. 3) The only reason we are able to discus this and issue this reminder is because someone did the paperwork. Despite the temptation to dismiss it as a trivial incident where no harm was done, someone took the time to fill out an incident form*. Whilst this incident resulted in nothing more than a wet (and slightly sheepish) face it may be key to preventing someone losing their sight. Reporting “near misses” is the best way to prevent real accidents. Please do let us know about them. *Available in the flight cases in the camp kits and online
Chairman TheBonf irireeBash:w iedffor or Bonfir weequalif qualified tha uzzw or d ‘div er se’ thatt cur currrent bbuzzw uzzwor ord ‘diver erse’
Some advance warnings regarding the Training Weekend – yes, we will be running it in 2005; yes, it will be on the 7/8th May; no, we don’t know exactly where it will be but most importantly; yes, it will be focussing on heritage construction skills rather than plant operation. Two reasons for this: firstly from the looks of our work programme next year that is where the skills are needed, and secondly plant hire is hellishly expensive and we probably can’t afford it.
Those of you who are active on sites may well have noticed that WRG had one more armchair supporter than it usually has – me to be precise! I have barely attended anything this year and when I have it has been a flying visit. Well I haven’t actually been at home in my armchair; it’s the dreaded work that has interfered with my digging. I’ve been very involved with a major project moving the BBC from Pebble Mill to our new premises at the Mailbox. Knowing just how often the BBC has helped out WRG (usually without knowing) I felt I couldn’t really ignore my bosses’ requests for 18-hour days and to work the whole of June and July when traditionally I would be playing on site somewhere. However work has settled down now (apart from Radio 2 falling off the air for 40 minutes the other night but that is another story!) and I should be back out to play – you have been warned. One of the things I did mange a flying visit too was the Bonfire Bash at Grantham. Even to an outsider this was a great event. We always used to worry that the Reunion attracted too many of one sort of group but that was not the case this time. It was a glorious mix of Canal campers, regional groups, new volunteers, old hands and people I haven’t seen for years. Indeed we qualified for that current buzzword “diverse” - well, as diverse as canal volunteers get anyway. Many thanks to all those involved in the organising, and very good to see the Grantham locals moving forward so positively. You will also note that so far I have not mentioned the National Festival at Burton. This is because they must now be getting very blasé about all this flattery heaped upon them from all sides. So there is no point to “congratulations on a fantastically successful festival”, no point to “well done to the whole WRG and IWAF team” and no point to “what a fantastic example to everyone of working together to produce long lasting effects”. So I won’t take up valuable Navvies space with any of that sort of thing. Regards
The Bonfire Bash: see pages 26-27 for a full report and more photographs
WRG Book Auction – December 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 Navvies - with all the proceeds going to help fund 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, P O Box 114, Rickmansworth, WD3 1ZY or by email to email@example.com (please make the subject of the email ‘WRG Auction’) to be received no later than 15th January 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). Title/Author (or other description) Pages Date Reserve 1 Canal Boat and Boaters – DJ Smith. Hardback. With line drawings and photographs 132 1973 £3.00 2 Water Rallies- David Owen. Hardback. Stories of his cruises to rallies in the 1960s as part of the fight to keep the canals open. Includes photographs 144 1969 £3.00 3 The Canals of Britain – DD Gladwin. Hardback. Covers the rise and steady decline of the waterways 253 1973 £8.00 4 Snowdonia – Anthony Hopkins. Hardback. A call to protect this national treasure. With colour photographs. Good condition 112 1993 £3.00 5 A Canal Armchair Book – John Gagg. Hardback. “A fascinating feast of items from Britain’s canals, illustrated and served in an easily digested fashion”. 144 1975 £2.00 6 The Canaller’s Bedside Book- John Gagg. Hardback. This book gives you details and advice you need when you plan your holidays. Includes text and pictures. 150 1973 £2.00 7 Marine Conversion- Nigel Warren. Hardback. Car engine conversions for boats. Includes pictures and charts 148 1977 £1.00 8 Discovering Canals in Britain- Peter L. Smith. Softback. Good condition. Assists with the planning of holidays. 96 £1.00 9 Slow Boat Through the Pennine Water- Frederic Doerflinger. Softback. “A favourite book for boatmen naturalists, canal preservationists and local historians.” 254 1972 £0.50 10 Back Door Britain – Anthony Burton. Softback. The story of a 1000-mile journey by canal. 188` 1978 £2.00 11 Ironbridge Gorge- Softback. Includes maps, pictures and text 27 £1.00 12 British Waterways: Cruising on the Llangollen Canal- Inland Cruising Booklet. Softback. Hurleston Locks to Llantysilio. Includes fold out map. 36 1970 £1.00 13 Boatyards and Boatbuilding- Robert J. Wilson. Softback. Fully illustrated. 32 1974 £1.00 14 Waterways World Guide – Staffordshire and Worcestershire. Spiral Bound with Maps. 20 1981 £0.50 15 Waterways Restored – PJG Ransom. Hardback. 21 Waterways covered. 179 1973 £2.00 16 The Canal Age – Charles Hadfield. Softback. A richly evocative account of the Canal Age in Britain, Europe and North America. 222 1698 £4.00 17 Back Door Britain – Anthony Burton. Harback. With photographs. The story of a 1000-mile journey by canal. 189 1977 £4.00 18 Canals in Colour- Anthony Burton. Hardback. Lots of Colour pictures and informative text. 175 1974 £2.00 19 The Kennet and Avon Canal- Kenneth R. Clew. Hardback. Story of the canal including its construction. 224 1985 £10.00 20 Through Britain on Country Roads- Peter Brerton. Hardback. Ideal Guide for those who take pleasure in driving along Britain’s quiet roads. Includes pictures and maps. 320 1988 £3.00 21 The George and Mary – Alan Faulkner. Softback. A brief history of the Grand Union Canal Carrying Co. 1st Edition. 32 1973 £10.00
Another auction of second hand w waaterw terwaays book bookss
24 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 50 51 52
FMC – Alan Faulkner. Softback. A short history of Fellows Morton and Clayton Ltd. Fully illustrated. 48 1975 £5.00 Waterways Cruising Guides Grand Union Canal North (1988), Oxford North Canal (1983), Trent and Mersey South and Caldon Canal (1982), Trent and Mersey North and Caldon Canal (1982), Grand Union Canal South (1985), Coventry Ashby and Oxford North Canals (1981), Staffordshire and Worcestershire (1981) £5 as a group The Ladyline Cruising Guides – Hugh McKnight and Julian Plowright. Llangollen Canal, Oxford Canal, Shropshire Union Canal, Grand Union Canal North and South, Grand Union Leicester 1985 £4 as a group Canals in Camera- John Gagg. Hardback. Enthusiastic look at the whole canal system in words and pictures. Black and white photographs. 127 1970 £2.00 British Canals: An Illustrated History – Charles Hadfield. Hardback 356 1974 £5.00 The Canals of South and South East England. – Charles Hadfield. Hardback. One of the canals of British Isles History series 393 1969 £10.00 Working Boats – Roger Alsop and Graham Dodkins. Hardback. Reliving the Romance of the last Days of Commercial Traffic on Britain’s canals. 159 1988 £7.00 Kennet and Avon Waterways, The Complete Chart Western Half Part 1-4 (1969) and Western Part 5-9 (1975) Imray, Laurie, Norrie and Wilson Ltd/ £2.00 Inland Waterways of Great Britain. – LA Edwards. Hardback. Comprehensive catalogue of dimensions, distances and history for each navigable river and canal 474 1985 £10.00 Journey Without an End – David Bolton. Hardback. A voyage through England’s Waterways in the 1960’s. 191 1987 £3.00 Galleywise – ‘not just a cookbook’ – Hilary Wickman. A comprehensive guide to all the problems and difficulties of cooking afloat. 158 1971 £1.00 Small Boat down the years- Roger Pilkington. Hardback. 164 1987 £3.00 London’s Canals – its past, present and future. Softback. Black and White photography, includes map of London canals. 64 1969 £3.00 The Ashton Canal – E. Keaveney and D.L. Brown. Softback. A history of the Manchester to Ashton-under- Lyne Canal. 35 1974 £2.00 Braunston to Brentford – Geoff Elwin and Cathleen King. Softback. A guide to the southern Grand Union canal survey of historical features. 56 1980 £1.00 Through London by Canal 1885 – Introduction by Arthur Lowe. A British Waterways Publication. 24 1977 £0.50 A Short History of the Narrow Boat – Tom Chaplin. Softback. 46 1974 £1.00 The BNC – Birmingham Canal Navigations. Black and White photographs included. 35 £1.00 Canal and Towpath Walks in the Home Counties. An Inland Waterways Publication. 48 1969 £0.50 Anderton for Orders – Tom Foxton. Softback. Memories of a working boatman in the early 1950’s. 152 1988 £3.00 No. 1 – Tom Foxton. Softback. Accompanying Anderton for Order. 136 1991 £2.00 Rose and Castles- Robert J. Wilson. Softback. Fully illustrated. 48 1976 £1.50 Epilogue – Robert J. Wilson. Softback. Fully illustrated with authors own photographs. 32 1977 £1.50 The Number Ones- Robert J. Wilson. Softback. The Story of the Life of Owner Boatmen on the Midland Canals. 1972 and 1973£1.50 ‘Looking at Inland Waterways’ – John Gagg. Softback As a group: £1.50 includes Narrow Boats (32p, 1975); Book of Locks (32p, 1976); Canal Tunnels (32p, 1976) ‘Looking at Inland Waterways’ – John Gagg. Softback. As a group: £1.50 includes Broad Canals (32p, 1977); Canals in a Nutshell (32p, 1977); Waterway Landmarks (32p,1976) Claytons of Oldbury. – Alan Faulkner. Softback. Fully illustrated. 48 1978 £1.50 Birmingham Canal Navigations –A Cruising and Walking Guide. IWA Birmingham Branch. Great Detail. Scarce. 1984 £5.00 The Waterways of Britain- Anthony Burton. Hardback. A Guide to the Canals and Rivers of England, Scotland and Wales. 176 1983 £5.00 The Facts about the Waterways- The British Waterways Board. Softback. 126 1965 £4.00 The Conservation of the Built Environment on the Montgomery Canal- Graham Deamer. Inland Waterways Association 57 1993 £1.00 A Source Book of Canals, Locks and Canal Boats –Hugh McKnight. Hardback. With black and white photographs. 144 1974 £2.00
53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73
Holiday Cruising on Inland Waterways- Charles Hadfield and Michael Streat. Softback. Invaluable companion to boat holidays. 160 1972 £1.00 Waterways Sights to See –Charles Hadfield. Hardback. Waterways by car rather than boat. 1976 £1.00 A Pictorial History of Canals -DD Gladwin. Hardback. 193 black and white photographs. 144 1977 £3.00 A Canalside Camera 1845-1930 – Michael E. Ware. Hardback. B/W Photographs. A remarkable collection of fascinating prints recording the construction, operation and maintenance of the canals. 115 1975 £3.00 Britain’s Holiday Waterways- Roy J. Westlake. Hardback. Superb collection of pictures that capture the atmosphere and charm of the canals and other waterways throughout Britain. 95 1975 £2.50 Canal- Anthony Burton and Derek Pratt. Hardback. Book portrays the broad spectrum of the canal scene through superb photographs and evocative descriptions. 96 1976 £2.00 Canal Walks of England and Wales- Ray Quinlan. Hardback. Fascinating collection of walks along some of the most varied and interesting canals. 182 1994 £4.00 Canal Songs and Songs From Canal Folk – Kate and John Raven. A musical documentary of the canals. 28 1974 £3.00 Water byways –David E. Owen. Hardback. Author navigates less cruised waterways. 192 1973 £3.00 Waterways Restored- P.J.G. Ransom. Hardback. 21 Waterways covered. Including pictures. 179 1974 £3.00 London’s Waterways- Martyn Denney. Hardback. Detailed survey of the history and structure of inland navigation in the Greater London Area includes all major canals and channels in use from the ninth century to present day. Includes photographs. 192 1977 £2.00 Navigable Waterways- L.T.C. Rolt. Softback. History of the canals, written by the famous waterways pioneer. 188 1973 £2.00 Saul Adams –John Poole. Softback. Imaginative account of life around the waterways and a rural area of south -west Cotswolds in the middle of the last century. 240 1973 £1.00 Fun on the Waterways – John Barnes and Peter Hume. Softback. A children’s guide and activity book. £0.50 Fourth Report from the Select Committee on Nationalised Industries Session 1977-78 – British Waterways Board 229 1978 £4.00 On the Canal – John Hollingshead. Softback. A narrative of a voyage from London to Birmingham in 1858 reprinted from ‘Household Words’ edited by Charles Dickens. 48 1973 £1.00 Royal Mail Mint Stamps – 4 Commemorative Stamps ‘Inland Waterways 1793-1993’ Numbers 24, 28, 33, 39 (in official presentation pack.) £2.00 Leeds and Liverpool Canal Craft- G. Wheat. Softback. Introductory book to the Waterways of the North. 24 1972 £2.00 The Sankey Navigation: The First Lancashire Canal- TC Barker. Softback. Origins of Lancashire’s first still-water canal. Reprint 1990 £2.00 Leicestershire Canals – Bygones in Camera – John Anderson. Softback. Black and White photographs 36 1976 £2.00 The Thames Valley – History, People and Places-Frank Martin. Author travels up the Thames Valley, from Staines to Oxford visiting and recording the many historic and beautiful towns and villages along the way. 142 1973 £2.00
Winning bids last time: The following are the winning bids received for each lot in the auction that appeared in Navvies 206: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
£12.50 £28 £28 £16 £15 £15.50 £18 no bid £7 £5 £4 no bid
13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24
£7 £8 £20 £28 no bid £8.50 £22.50 £4.50 £3.50 £7.50 £1.50 £10
25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36
£2.50 £6 no bid £3 £6 £4 £4 £5 £6.50 no bid £2 £8.50
37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48
£15 £2.50 £3 £5 £8 £4.50 £3.50 £3 £1 no bid £3.50 no bid
49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60
£1.50 £2.50 £5 £1 £5 £2 no bid no bid £2 £2.50 £5 £2.50
61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72
£5 £1.50 £3.00 no bid no bid no bid no bid no bid no bid no bid £5 £2.50
73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84
no bid £2.50 no bid £11 £4 £2 £2 £5 no bid £6 £2 £6
85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96
£6 £6 £4.50 £5 £6 £10 £8.80 £10 £9.50 £8.50 no bid £14.50
97 £10.50 98 £10 99 £8 100 £5 101 £5 102 £5.50 103 £3.50 104 no bid 105 no bid 106 £5 107 £5 Total £599.30
Cleanup Book now ffor or the BCN Clean up: Cleanup: Top quality rrub ub bish guar anteed! ubbish guaranteed! Book now for the BCN Cleanup 2005 Martin Ludgate
Following the slight disappointment at the poor quality and small quantity of rubbish found in the Wyrley & Essington Canal at the 2004 BCN Cleanup, British Waterways have promised us a great improvement next time. The 2005 event will be based close to BW’s Ocker Hill premises, and Last time Rupert found a scooter in the Wyrley & we are assured that all their staff have spent the Esssington - what will we find in the Walsall this time? last year filling the canal with all rubbish, just so that we won’t be disappointed when we turn up to clear it all out again on March 12th-13th.... But seriously, folks... The annual Birningham Canal Navigations cleanup isn’t just about having fun trying to outdo each other for the most bizarre object or the largest amount of trash pulled out of the cut. It’s also a vitally important exercise in trying to keep these fascinating canals open in the face of indifference by some of the local folks who see them as simply a handy rubbish tip, and the inability of BW to spend more than the minimum on maintaining them due to government constraints. The Cleanup takes part in a different area every year, and this time it’s the Walsall Canal between Ocker Hill and Darlaston that’ll get the treatment. And although we are assured that there is much more junk in the canal than we found last time - especially in the fifteen bridge-holes on this length if we run out before the end of the weekend, there’s also the first part of the Tame Valley Canal to tackle. And as usual the event will be supported by the local branches of the IWA, the Birmingham Canal Navigations Society, and British Waterways who will provide work-boats and rubbish skips. Overnight accommodation is available for Friday and Saturday nights (details in the next issue and on the WRG website) but people are welcome to just turn up for the day. For more information - or to offer to help with the organising the event - contact the WRG organiser Aileen Butler on 07703 567764. And to book on for the weekend, simply fill in the form below and send it off today!
waterway recovery group
in association with BCNS, BW and IWA
I would like to attend the 2005 National Canal Cleanup on Mar 12-13 on the BCN Forename:
Address: e-mail: Phone:
Any special dietary requirements?
I require accommodation Friday night / Saturday night / both nights I enclose payment of £
(pay 'WRG') for food (£10 for whole weekend; £2.00 for each meal)
Do you suffer from any allergy or illness, such as epilepsy or diabetes, about which we should know, or are you receiving treatment or under medical supervision for any condition? YES / NO (If yes, please attach details) In the unlikely event that you should be injured, who should we contact? Name:
Signed (parent's signature also required if aged under 18): Please send this form to National Cleanup bookings, WRG, PO Box 114, Rickmansworth WD3 1ZY
The Barn Dance is Back! In order to raise funds for the London Waterway Recovery Group and Kent and East Sussex Canal Restoration Group we are repeating the barn dance that we organised last year.
Barn Dance Strip the willow wing yyour our willow,, sswing par tner and pr op up the bar ... partner prop bar...
Once again we have booked live local band Tumbledown Dick who play mainly English music with Irish fiddle and the odd Scottish tune chucked in for good measure. There will be a cash bar, raffle and other games. Tickets are £10 each and this includes a fish and chip supper.
The dance will be on Saturday 19th February at Benson Parish Hall, Oxfordshire (halfway between Reading and Oxford), doors open 7.00 pm, music from 7.30 pm and we’ll finish at 11.30pm. Directions will be sent out with the tickets and will be on the WRG website. Tickets have to purchased in advance so that we can order food.
To order your tickets send an SAE to ‘WRG/ KESCRG Barn dance, Dr and Mr Williamson, 79 Oakley Road, Chinnor, Oxfordshire, OX39 4HR’. Please enclose a cheque made payable to ‘I Williamson’, a contact telephone number and state if you need a non-fish meal (probably vegetarian pancake rolls). We’ll also be selling tickets at the London WRG/KESCRG Christmas party. At the moment I am trying to organise village hall floor style accommodation but as we went to press I don’t have it confirmed. As soon as it’s confirmed it will be on the website and on the London WRG and KESCRG mailing lists (details of local B&Bs will also be there)
If you’ve got any questions then please ring me on 07989 425346 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
This was a really good event last year which is why we’re doing it again. We’ve got 120 tickets to sell so if your friends and family like a bit of dance then please order them some tickets – it’s open to everyone (and if dancing is not your thing then come along for the real ale at the bar). How about tickets as Christmas presents? – beats socks and ties.
Helen ‘BushBaby / WRG Wear’ Gardner
Camps Restoring TTown own Loc Lockk in Calne on the Wilts & Ber Berkks Camp 0419: Wilts & Berks Canal 11-18/09/04 This camp (despite what is described in the Camps Brochure) was set up to repair Town Lock in Calne. It is a relatively confined site, and the plan (the best laid schemes of mice and men etc.) was for no more than 12 volunteers. In the event, we finished up with 18, and extra scaffolding had to be found and erected to make sure that everyone could work without pushing anyone else into the canal - it was three or four feet deep by the end of the lower wing-walls! John actually managed at one point to drop tools into the water, and Liz bravely donned chest waders to retrieve them, only to find that in addition to the water there was 18” of silt! It’s a wonder she didn’t get sucked out of the waders.
It was actually quite convenient having Essex here for that weekend, as whilst waiting for the extra scaffolding for the lock, the camp could be divided between two teams: one working at Calne and the other helping Essex at Dauntsey with cutting up trees (not to mention trying to prevent them falling the wrong way) and bonfiring them. Martyn, a chainsaw expert, was very helpful with the larger trees, as John Gale only had a small bladed chainsaw, and Martyn could use my 20” blade saw. We also finally got permission from the Wildlife Trust to cut down a large field maple at Seven Locks before the bats took a fancy to roosting in it, and it was Tuesday before all the trees were removed, cut up and cleared away. On Tuesday, we had several visitors to see how we were getting on. Colin Fletcher, the Chairman of the branch that includes Calne, came to see what materials we still needed, the Mayor of Calne arrived and was very enthusiastic, Tim Preece (editor of Dragonfly, the Wilts & Berks newsletter), and finally Tony Key, who manages the Carp Project - Castlefields Area Restoration Project. It was really good to see such local involvement and appreciation. Ron Robertson, the Wilts & Berks master brickie, arrived to erect the scaffolding on Wednesday, by which time the rest of the team had cleared away all the encroaching vegetation, and removed most of the loose bricks, and cleaned a huge stack ready for relaying, a start of which had been made the day before. We had six D of E’ers on the camp, and all of them gained some experience at mixing and bricklaying, and of course endless brick-cleaning.
I had stepped in as leader only a week or two before the camp, as there were no other leaders available, and Dr. Liz was also able to fit in three days to assist. Originally, I had thought that my only immediate plan was to organise for Essex WRG to come for the first weekend to coppice some large trees in the hedge at Dauntsey ready for the final hedge-laying bash this winter on my stretch. It seemed to be economically feasible to combine the two teams’ accommodation in the Scout Hall in Calne, but with 23 sleeping on Saturday night, it was decidedly cosy. However, we had reckoned without friend Dave Dobbin from Essex, who is what one might call a rather “noisy sleeper”. After the first hour of rumbles had reverberated through the hall, there was a general exodus, with at least 5 sleeping peacefully in their cars for the Saturday night! A somewhat traumatic introduction for the newcomers... Rebuilding of the chamber walls of Town Lock, Calne, in progress
On Thursday, bricklaying continued apace on the main lock and wing walls, and some of the coping-stones could be manhandled back into position. Tony Key had also hired a 3-tonne digger, and we dug down the other side of the path to reveal the upper entrance to the lock. I trained Martyn for his WRG ticket on small diggers, and also Taz was tested for both minibus and van. By Friday, we had made considerable progress in restoring the lock to its former glory, but with plenty of work left for the NWPG to get going on the weekend at the end of the camp, and also London WRG were due in October. The mammoth meal for the Saturday night was ably cooked by Mandy Morley, and Di took over on the Sunday. She thought that she had prepared and frozen sufficient cakes in advance for the whole week, but with a larger than expected camp one or two extras had to be fitted in the baking time. Fortunately, the site was only about 400 yards from the Scout Hall, so she could walk down to site with lunch each day, and everyone seemed to appreciate the food provided. We managed to run to some big bowls of punch on the final evening, which went down quite well.
“...w ec “...wee had rrec eckkoned without Da bin fr om Esse x...” Davve Dob Dobbin from Essex...” . had a skittles match on Thursday, including a few We
rounds with “wrong hand”, “backwards”, “eyes closed” etc. Amazingly, the scores didn’t vary that much... Finally, Liz twisted my arm to say that I had to include a mention of my strange ability to mislay keys. Well, not actually losing them, but to find they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. At one point, we needed to use my large and battered van to move bricks, cement, sand etc. rather than mess up our shiny WRG vehicles, so I was driven to Dauntsey and dropped off to pick up the van. It was only when my driver had headed beck to Calne that I realised that it was the WRG van that actually contained the keys for my van, so he had to turn round and come all the way back. Two days later, Di brought me back to Dauntsey to do some office work, only to find that the papers I wanted were in my car at Dauntsey, but the keys were in my coat pocket at Calne! My thanks for all their hard work to Rob, Emily, John, Nahed, Taz, Martyn, Joe, Gareth, James, Luke, Will, Richard T. and Richard D., Jon, Helena, and particularly to Liz for her help, and for making it such an enjoyable camp. Rachael Banyard
The footie addicts found a pub nearby to watch England matches on a couple of nights, and we had a cinema run on Monday night: Dodgeball, The Village and I, Robot. On Tuesday, we drove out to see the 29-lock Caen Hill flight on the Kennet & Avon which is quite spectacular, and finished at the Barge Inn at Seend, which is right by the canal.
Work begins on repairs to the lower wing walls.
Camps Repor ting fr om the Gr and porting from Grand Western Canal... Camp 0408: Grand Western Canal 19-26/07/04 “Camp’s a bitch, but still you try” ‘Better late than never’, they say. I’m not too sure, having put aside the writing of this report for far too long, and now hoping to assemble something read-worthy based on very skimpy notes and memory. Besides, as I had made clear upon introductions around the table on our first evening, I am not in possession of a ‘ticket’ in piss-taking; clearly a requirement based on most articles in Navvies. Where do you get those tickets from? The camp was to comprise 3 projects within a very short distance of each other at Whipcott on the Grand Western Canal, a few miles east of Tiverton, so with 3 working parties, all ably directed by Judith, there is plenty of room for omissions and lack of continuity. Not even Judith can be on 3 planets at once!
Saturday: Assembled as last year at Burlescombe Village Hall. I was greeted by Mitch with “Where’s my cake then?” The chocolate brownie was safely in the car with another fancy Italian pastry effort of mine. What have I let myself in for every year? The ‘special’ safety video from Mitch, starring herself, was much enjoyed; and a quick browse at the WRG calendar led to the comment from Rich, a DofEer, “Is that compulsory?!”. A visit to the pub followed pasta dinner. Here I made myself better known to some of the group, though not necessarily welcome, by spitting beer over them as I choked over some shining wit of a remark about inbreeding. Sunday: Site camp was established atop the old canalside limekilns on which we were to start repair (hereafter referred to as Site 1). We were lucky that the absence of bat droppings had meant the all clear for us to work. We erected fencing to keep bullocks out and more to prevent pillocks plunging over the top. (They could hurt themselves, apparently.) The 3-oven kiln was very overgrown, but the open-top vents had been found and safely capped by the canal rangers. Some of us did a quick ‘Tony Robinson & team’ to try to establish the top level of stonework. Perhaps we might succeed next year. Site 2 was a few hundred yards downstream at Whipcott Bridge. Another case of excess foliage over dozens of years hiding a wharf, which we were to give a makeover. A permanent picnic area was in the making. Mattock-wielding enthusiasts quickly attacked both sites, and it looked like we could finish by Wednesday at this rate. (Yeah, well, I’m not that experienced.) Roast chicken fuelled us for ten-pin bowling in Taunton, where the cry of ‘Ave it!’ was oft-heard. Well done Jen! Shame I forgot to take my trousers.
Load-testing the new steps to the wharf
Monday: At last I got my hands on the wheel of the shiny new 17seater minibus, having gained my ticket for driving at the Big Boys & Girls training weekend at Hatton in May. (It was on that weekend that Mr Chairman had thrown a sulk because there wasn’t a ticket in rocket science. How about piss-taking training next year?) Shame the bus seemed to have a fault causing every driver so far to stall the engine. (Strange though that I couldn’t make happen until about Thursday.)
Much envy of the professionals who joined us at Project 1 and got strung up on the kiln face, but they were very good and soon transformed its looks, leaving us navvies to clear and burn the fallen debris. Fortunately, Alan’s risk assessment of everything we did, or were likely to do, prevented any injuries. An almost identical scene at Site 2, with the added thrill of tree felling, wall pointing and preparation for step making. (Well, I get easily excited too.) Beef Stroganoff, followed by Judith’s usual summary of the day’s events and progress. Her weather forecasting was proving 100% accurate, just as she had done last year at Boehill Bridge. (Nobody has yet been cruel enough to tell her that the forecast should come before the day and not at the end of it.) Everything done was captured by Alan on his digital camera, and we were able to view each day’s activities back at base. Tuesday: It was about this time that Gav commenced an unusual shopping quest (to help reverse the circumcision of the Burco), but we got on with the jobs in hand, with work also starting on Site 3 – a new wheelchair-friendly access footpath from a road bridge by Waybridge Tunnel. It was also about this time that the 3 D of E Award lads, Ben, Ian and Richard, (all local chaps), began to make their mark with tremendous enthusiasm, willingness and strength, though in my book there was nobody to match Little ‘Miss Dynamite’ Kirsty. She had set about clearing a heavily compacted landslip blocking access to the kiln wharf, her mattock a blur and with me as her ‘bitch’. I only had to throw the spoil down the bank, but I couldn’t keep up with her. Come the evening though, and she was perfectly happy to be the first to flake out, provide she had her teddy. Ahh! We all had ‘bitches’ – Gav was Judith’s bitch, Jen was Gav’s bitch, Alan was Jen’s bitch and so on. The only dog in the accommodation ought to have been happy, but he was already stuffed and doubled as a pillow at times.
Wednesday All sites made progress, including the next new site – painting the public information hut at the Ranger’s station. The workboat made trips between Sites 1 & 2 to carry bonfire material, Gav made his quest enter a second day, and Ian somehow made an entry into the canal. Was he pushed by the female crew? Examination of body-piercing had been taking place on board! An attempt began to establish wharf level under about 2 feet of soil at the bottom of the kilns, and this was eventually met by the gang afloat working from below to clear the wharf wall of its dozens of years of reclamation by Mother Nature. Cries of “Dr. Livingstone, I presume” could be heard. A multiple of ironwork items were found, though more by mattock than by trowel and brush as Robert - ever the perfectionist - would have liked. A half-day break was granted by Boss Lady, with freedom to do our own thing. It must have been tempting for the lads to nip home for real food like burgers and chips. (Only joking Mitch.) Activities included swimming, and a visit to the home of one of the local enthusiasts. What a home that is: the garden not only boasting a short stretch of ‘in-water’ canal, but also the remains of a boat lift, built by James Green, which is claimed to have fallen into disuse before any other lifts had even been built! The Grand Western Canal was more a dream than a reality, the original plan being to link the Bristol Channel to Exeter to avoid the treacherous waters around Lands End. Like many canal enterprises, funds became a problem and only short stretches were completed before the advent of railways sounded the death toll. However, it still serves us well as a linear country park.
In the afternoon Adam turned up when a mattock had been summoned by radio. We all make mistakes; my hearing is not 100% either. In the evening we had a choice of cinema or pub in Wellington. The workboat carries ‘bonfire materials’ between Sites 1 and 2
Camps “...Ian rreepor ted bac ported backk tha thatt he had sunk the rreed-boa eed-boa t...” eed-boat...” Other local dignitaries and the rangers joined us for an evening barbecue, and the young lads, suitably clad in safety equipment, worked as hard as before and fed us well. Thursday: This was to be Topless Thursday, and the girls showed more enthusiasm than the boys did, though no sighting of any piercing was reported. Gav and Alan held the end up for the men. Well done chaps!
Highlight of the day was watching one of the quarry lorries, heavily laden with stone, trying to overtake another on the hill leading from the hall. Low point was losing my car keys. Still no success with Gav’s mission impossible. Some of the gang had been with the rangers on their reed-cutting boat, and Ian was lined up for the same tomorrow. Friday: More hectic stone cutting, step laying, wall pointing, gate hanging and watching the AA attempt to break into my car without smashing the windows. Site 3 came to fruition, but plenty remains to be done with 1 and 2. Ian reported back that he had sunk the reed boat. Something to do with overloading at the front (no pointy bit on this one) and too sharp a turn. We were joined in the hall for a few minutes by a pair of swallows. My car keys were found on the evening clean-up, as was my camera, and at last Gav returned triumphant from his day’s travelling. He had found the knob he had been seeking! The Burco boiler would once more be complete. Saturday: The usual disbanding blues, and taking of photos of the progress for the ‘before and after’ album. Another success for Judith and the WRGies, and happy Grand Western enthusiasts who had seen big advances in the task of improving that lovely stretch of waterway. Richard Tyler From Camp Leader: A big thank you to everyone, you all worked so hard and got so much done. My comment to Gav at the beginning of the week that under no circumstances were we going to run more than 2 sites at any one time, was slightly thrown by the wayside, as one day we had seven different projects on the go! On returning to the sites a few weeks ago (to do a bit more clearance on the first of the WRG SW digs) the place was looking lovely. Well done guys.
Eight tonnes of chippings arrived for Site 3, and was duly barrowed to form the access footpath; pointing of the wall began in earnest at Site 2; and a few miles away at a council depot, work started on cutting some new step treads for site 2. Here John and Martin worked tirelessly with disc cutters to fashion required lengths from very large coping stones, the moving of which taxed even the young lads. Fortunately, being an old fakir (it’s close!) I remembered the ancient art of log rolling, and duly fashioned some from stakes ‘borrowed’ from the council stock. With fancy ropework by the lads, the result was propulsion beyond our hopes. Very, very satisfying! We had blocks queuing up for the cutters, before loading the finished lengths into XYZ (???) (Boss lady – can’t help having done maths to a high level!) to go to site.
The distant showers at Wellington Sports Centre following these sessions were particularly refreshing and I always took delight, as one of the gang of sweaty, dishevelled ragbags, in traipsing through the foyer and past the local folk in their designer sportswear. We got some funny looks.
“Much envy of the professionals who got ‘strung up’ on the lime kiln face...”
Camp 0414: Basingstoke Canal 07-14/08/04 So here I am, knackered, in need of some sleep and suffering from various injuries I hadn’t noticed at the time - must have been a good camp, then. Actually it’s the start of the camp for me, a spot of patio laying over the weekend has delayed my arrival until Sunday evening and left me in less-than-perfect condition. Ignoring umpteen years of Nationals and Christmas camps this is actually my first complete canal camp - and I’m assistant leader! As I missed the weekend I have roped in some of the others there to give accounts of the bits I missed; I haven’t used all that I was sent (2 pages from Ed!) but hopefully it should cover everything. Saturday Arriving on site in GCW I was met by Pete Redway who ran through the work for the week with Mark and me – basically piling and steelwork. Back at the accommodation James had arrived with the kit and important things such as the location and loading of the beer fridge were completed. By then volunteers had started to arrive and I took the minibus off to do the station run - not often you can go and pick up three women at once! The usual safety talk, dinner and evening in the pub ensued – with only 14 people on the camp it was going to be compact, but a high proportion of experienced bods (it looked like half of London WRG had turned up!) boded well. (Ed W) Saturday was the norm of ‘welcoming everyone to the camp’, showing the H&S video and giving them a short H&S talk, cooking dinner and then going to the pub for the first evening to meet all of the volunteers. Unfortunately, not having the kit lists, the kit was not booked in. Ed did find out that Yewande and Wendy were the same person, when picking them up from the train station! I met Pete on site to discuss the required work, got given the necessary keys and shown how to operate the generator. (Mark S) Sunday On site and a small group consisting of Sleepy Dave, Suzie, Andy, Gilly, Amy and I started work on the major job for the week – construction of the pump chamber for the back pumping scheme. The hole for the chamber had been excavated and propped already by the locals, our task for the day being to pour the initial ‘blinding’ layer of concrete. This being the Basingstoke, the job is never as easy as it sounds! Just keeping the hole dry enough to work posed a major problem all day: pumps kept breaking and we ended up bucket-chaining it.
Camps ...and the St Johns Bac kBackpumping sc heme ... scheme heme... In the end the lower level of the hole was dug down to level and the shuttering was emplaced. James then led a crack concrete mixing team of Laurie and Darren while Suzie and Dave concentrated on levelling and shuttering the upper level. By 5.30pm we had completed the pour not as good as we had hoped but considering the conditions a good effort. After a quick tidy up we headed back to the accom to experiment with the showers, results being the hose couldn’t keep up with three showers running at once. (EW) Sunday: I personally spent the vast amount of the day down the hole (seemed to be a bit of a theme for me for the week!). Spent the morning trying to level it out whilst sinking into the mud and then the afternoon putting down the blinding layer with Amy, Andy and me down the hole spreading out the concrete. Not really sure what went on at ground level! I do remember being quite worn out by the end of the day so we didn’t even make it out of the accommodation in the evening. (Gilly M) Sunday was first day on site, and a relatively slow day while we prepared many of the sites for the required works. The work included preparing the ‘hole’ and laying the blinding to the ‘lower’ area - we had the water problems that we experienced last year but managed to remove the excess clay, lay a pipe to hopefully persuade the water coming out of the ground (due to a spring) to go to our sump, and hence lay the blinding. This then meant that the reinforcement to this area could be started. The blinding to the ‘upper’ area was laid on Monday, and ‘sleepy’ Dave revealed that he has the art of floating concrete. (MS) Monday Much of the same really. Pete had managed to hire an electric puddle pump which did a far better job of keeping the hole dry. Inspection of the pour showed a patch of mud had forced its way up through the middle overnight, Amy set about repairing this while Laurie and Nicky made concrete to allow Dave to pour the upper blinding layer – if you ever want a patio done, get this team in!
After lunch Dave and I cut down the excess piling used to separate the upper and lower sections of the hole while Andy, Mark, Gilly and Wendy started assembling the reinforcing steel. Back at the accom again and Fred had cooked us a Shepherd’s pie; plans for the evening settled on the cinema while I headed back to darkest Essex to continue the PhD thesis writing. (EW)
A brief stop to look at a ruined castle and then we started back again. As it was still before 10 when we finished we headed for a nearby pub where the taller of us played “dodge the ceiling beam” or suffered concussion. Smaller camps even give you a fighting chance of memorising the drinks order.
My first day on site, so I started with a brief tour of the area and all of the work that had been done in my absence, mainly looking into The Hole (I was impressed so I’m giving it capitals). While most people got on with the jobs that they had already started, I got myself a JCB to play with and a couple of D of E’ers to boss around and set off to level out the towpath and fill in the holes. Lunch gave us the chance to see the modern art sculpture of reinforcing bars that had been made. Early afternoon saw the heavens open and a rapid tidy-up of site, it also gave me the chance to drive the digger back down a wet, sloping towpath that we had just covered in loose material. The evening’s entertainment was a trip to the cinema with deep and meaningful Fahrenheit 9/11 for some, and I Robot for the shallower action-junkies, me included.
Wednesday As site had now dried off, the work on the towpath was restarted with Mark on the excavator and the addition of a small sit-on roller. As well as making the path level we were laying new topsoil alongside it by the lock, to tidy the place up and eventually turf the area. After tea we all headed off to the pub that had been visited on the first night. We decided to take advantage of the nice night and sit outside at the picnic tables: of course it began to rain after about half a pint, but undeterred we just huddled under the umbrellas already there and even collected some of the ones that weren’t in use. We were soon joined by James and Mark who had been off on an errand.
Tuesday Thursday The compressor arrived at last so I took a team to start on the piling on the corner of the lock. Down The Hole the reinforcing bars were taking shape and making the workers down there look like hamsters in a cage, all they needed was a supply of tea with a straw to complete the image. It was still too damp to work on the towpath so shuttering for the concrete was also constructed. The day also fulfilled an eerily accurate prophesy from Fred who had said on Saturday that someone would slip over on the muddy ground and injure themselves before Wednesday. Stepping from the side of the canal onto a boat he slipped and hurt his ribs: he was taken away by James to be checked over by the professionals. We finished up earlier than normal again but this time it was planned, as we were going on a boat trip along the canal. Fred stayed behind to rest (having injured myself similarly in the past I sympathised). On the way we stopped off at the local fish and chip shop for a takeaway which we ate by the side of the canal. Rather than being a tour boat, it was just a gentle ride and gave everyone the chance to chat and find out more about each other. As there was a small bar, Mark got the first round in and within minutes we had managed to lower the whole tone of the boat. Probing questions to our new volunteers revealed some interesting facts about each, especially when Wendy and Nikki each decided they should start telling us who the other was interested in on the camp.
The morning of the concrete pour had arrived, the moment that we had all been waiting for with only a few last minute checks and odds and ends to be done - the best laid plans and all that. The first thing to be solved was the problem of a piece of wood lodged in the concrete left over from the camp the previous year: neatly camouflaged, it hadn’t been noticed until now. It should have been easy to lever out but we were slightly hindered by the reinforcing bars we had placed over the top of it, as a result it had to be smashed into short lengths and manoeuvred out through the gaps. An hour or two later we got on to double checking the measurements and discovered that somewhere along the way one had been taken from the aforementioned piece of wood rather than the back wall so some of the wires holding the bars together had to be cut and secured in the correct place. Those of us not playing in The Hole went back to tidying up the topsoil alongside the lock and flattening any of the more obvious bumps in the path. Gilly and I propped the formwork up so that it would take the weight of the concrete and discovered that hammering a prop in just that bit too far will cause all of the others to fall out. Fred came down to see how we were all getting on; before he left to take it easy and rest, he passed on leadership of the camp to Mark and we all said our goodbyes.
By the time we were happy with everything down The Hole, it was pretty much time for lunch where we sorted out who was doing what, less volunteers to be down there spreading the concrete than up top mixing it - strange, that. Mixing. Barrowing. Pouring. Spreading. Vibrating. Everyone swap places and more of the same. As an antidote to the concrete we offered swimming as the activity for the evening and a small contingent headed off as soon as the pour was finished leaving the rest to tidy and head back to the hall. Amy had offered to cook us tea but as she was one of those who had gone swimming we decided to take matters in to out own hands, it’s only stew, how hard can it be? Friday With bated breathe we approached the concrete to see how it had come out, and we were pleasantly surprised. Gilly and I were impressed that the shuttering that we had spent the previous afternoon trying to prop up survived, though we were all less impressed by the random odds and ends that had been thrown in to ruin our efforts at making a smooth surface. The compressor was due to be taken away again in the afternoon so we went down to the next lock to see how much more piling could be done: this lot was a straight run from the corner of the brickwork to the bank and had to be done from the side of a work boat; strangely this produced even less enthusiasm than normal. Amy, Wendy and Nikita worked to finish off the towpath and even went in for a bit of canal clearance, fishing out stuff from one of the side of the boat. Back in The Hole Mark was let out to go and sort out stuff for the barbeque and replaced by Matt. He and Andy Kate (See Ed’s Year in the life of London WRG in the last Navvies) were drilling holes in the wall and gluing in more reinforcements, they had a huge drill with a super-duper masonry bit... well they did until Andy snapped it. A dozen precariously-placed-but-level piles later the compressor was collected: they made up for delivering it late by collecting early. The collection was also made more interesting by sending a truck without a working winch to assist in the loading. As much as possible we sorted the tools and checked them to make it easier for the final packing, as well as tidying site and dragging the work boats back to their original positions, before we jumped into the vans to head back to the hall.
Clean clothes and clean people in preparation for the evening, followed by a run to the shops for many of us who were low on supplies. Those of us left decided to make use of the Frisbees Mark had brought with him, cries of “watch my car!” came from many involved but they shouldn’t have worried as hardly any of the cars were hit. We also had a look at the playground in the park next to the hall where we made the interesting discovery that you can make Postie James go interesting colours if you spin him fast enough. My experience with a rocking ride on a large spring was interesting as it was designed for someone considerable lighter than me, as a result it leaned over sideways until it was on the ground and as I had managed to wedge my feet in it I was left at the mercy of so-called friends... As is tradition we got the barbeque heated to perfection and then it rained, but this didn’t stop us enjoying the evening and we were rewarded by a nice night. The usual random chat led to discussions on GM crops, stargazing and probably the meaning of life; after that we got back to the serious business of drinking competitions and jellybaby kebabs (the secret is a low heat and regular rotation), and an attempt at jacket potatoes failed miserably. We soon gave up on the al fresco party and moved indoors where over the next hour or so we decided to give up and go to bed. Saturday A controversial earlyish start in the morning helped by Mark’s “Offspring” album played at high volume got us all up in record time so that tidying and sorting the kit was well underway when a normal camp would still be snoring. By about 11 we were finished, goodbyes were said and the occasional direction phoned through to lost relatives, everyone set off on their way for a well deserved rest, and in my case to suddenly realise that I was heading to the National the following Friday! A huge thanks to both Fred and Mark for being in charge of the camp and to Ed for being my standin at the start, and also to James for his usual job of moving vehicles. Thanks to Gilly and Andy Kate as they seemed to know what they were doing on the main job and to Sleepy Dave for knowing what to do on all the rest. Lastly thanks to everyone else, mostly new volunteers who I hope will make it to another camp. Richard Worthington With additional contributions from Gilly Macey, Mark Scoble and Ed Walker
Camps Lancaster canal camp rreepor loods ... portt lost due to ffloods loods... The editor would like to apologise in advance for the following camp report... Unfortunately as Lou explains, the original ‘antediluvian’ report for this camp was lost due to unforseen circumstances beyond the control of the leader. We therefore thought it would be a good idea for the various people from the camp who were present at the Bonfire Bash to write down their recollections of the camp, so that the editor could type them up the following morning and try and make sense of them. Unfortunately (a) we had this bright idea rather late on on the Saturday night when one or two people might just have had the odd drop to drink an (b) we didn’t think to do anything about ensuring that only people who’d actually been on the camp contributed to the report. Also in all their comments, nobody seems to have mentioned what the actual work for the camp was. As far as I can tell from the pictures, they spent the week clearing and repairing rather muddy lock overflow bywashes as part of the restoration of the Tewitfield flight of locks. Although I haven’t risked adding captions as I’m not entirely sure... Lancaster Canal: Week 1, Take 2 (Lou) The first report, written by myself and ‘Meths’, died in the flood at my house in the autumn. Which is why none of you got a thank you letter. Sorry about that. And… err… cheers, gang, top job! (Harri) It’s all kind of blurred into one… But you were all fab – thanks for all helping out with lunch and in the kitchen. Social highlights included the mystery tour aborted due to torrential rain, a trip to the cinema (King Arthur was terrible – the critics were right!), and a visit to Morecambe – “A man must stand on a mountain with his mouth open for a long time before a roast duck will fly in…”
(Tony) Also for Southerners, the expression “See Morecambe and die” was never truer. (Felix) Wouldn’t know about the cinema – I was working on my accountancy studies. But vivid memories of Craig’s cookies and cakes, lots of wet weather, liquid mud, pesky tree stumps and DOEs... And let us not forget the Truckhaven visits and the misdirected bucket. (No names shall be mentioned…(Lou)). (Craig) The shower blocks will be a lasting memory for the D of E lads and many a story will be told around a scrub-bash bonfire about the truck driver’s sponge (complete with hair). (Bush Baby) Being as how I was so grateful for the army of helpers that had got my kit to my camp at Froghall, I offered to help Lou out by taking the van and trailer to hers. Began to regret it when the M6 slowed down to 5mph. Then on finally getting to Over Kellet I promptly drove past the hall – one 16-point turn later I arrived. Then my hero the long-suffering Toby turned up to rescue me. (Tom) The final night party was enlivened by the arrival of the following week’s leaders who joined in all the party games resulting in copious random bruising. Vague memories exist of attempting to write D of E reports at 11pm. (Phillippa) Water, water and more water mixed with mud, mud and more mud. Just as well there were Craig’s cookies and sloe gin to keep the spirits up.
Camps “...w ed “...waater ter,, w waater and w waater mix mixed with m ud, m ud and m ud...” mud, mud mud...” (Ralph) I was supposed to come. But they didn’t have any whisky left. (in what looks suspiciously like Lesley’s writing) …and I hope he doesn’t recognise my writing as this is just a fill-in sentence… (Steve B) Shows promise but needs to work on presentation.
(Geezer Chris) Geezer was there in spirit!
(Harry) Though I wasn’t actually there I did see the results of the camp – bloody marvellous and I know if I had been able to be there I would have had a brilliant time.
(Nina) All I saw was Craig in a grass skirt… (Sparky) The camp closest to my home, which I missed. I did try to have a look at the work in progress(?) but at 80 (sorry officer 70) mph going downhill on the M6 to Lancaster it is difficult to look at the canal and the mad motorists at the same time. Try again next year! (Jim) If I had had the time to go on any canal camps this year it would have been this one.
(Jonathan) Clay. What more can I say? But pass the mattock… (Ed H) Work was a peripheral activity... (Lou) I think the above is harsh. We did lots of work, and it was great! LCT were fab, Helena and Andy were top notch. Rob was an absolute star. Trish enjoyed it so much she stayed for a second week. Next year the Mont!
(Jen) The kit ended up on the camp after several detours. Heaven knows what happened to it beforehand and heaven knows what happened to it during, but needless to say some of it came back at the season’s end. And beware the toast with no ears.
Lou Kellett Actually it’ll probably be ‘the year after next, the Mont. But I reckon one more camp will do it. ...Ed
(Dr Liz) I wasn’t on the camp, but found the photos in the camp camera on the Wilts & Berks a few weeks later so I send them in for Lou. Looked like they had fun! (MKP) *&%$ #%$* GOD IT LOOKED GOOD WHEN IWAAC SAW IT 1 MONTH LATER! (Rick) And thus… the Goddess of Clay said “Lo, fill the thy dumper by hand… and mind the rut”
Diary Dec 18 Sat
Canal Camps cost £42 per week unless otherwise stated. Bookings for WRG Canal Camps (those identified by a camp number e.g. 'Camp 0420') should go to WRG Canal Camps, PO Box 114, Rickmansworth WD3 1ZY. Tel: 01923 711114. Email: email@example.com ‘Paper Chase’ waste paper collection
Dec 26-Jan 1 Camp 0422
Wilts & Berks Canal New Year Canal Camp. Leaders: Dave ‘Moose’ Hearnden and James Butler.
Jan 1 Sat
Press date for issue 209: including Canal Societies directory
Wilts & Berks Canal: Hedge laying at Dauntsey Lock
Chichester Ship Canal: Hedgelaying
Buckingham Arm: Little Hall Farm - scrub bashing, strimming and tirforing. No d
Wey & Arun Canal: Dig Deep project
Jan 22 Sat
‘Paper Chase’ waste paper collection
Uttoxeter Canal: Froghall project. Including London WRG AGM on Saturday ev
Cotswold Canals: Hedge laying
Lichfield & Hatherton Canals: Dig Deep project
Wey & Arun Canal: Dig Deep project
Feb 19 Sat
WRG/KESCRG Barn dance: see P7 for details
Hollinwood Canal (provisional)
To be arranged
Feb 26 Sat
‘Paper Chase’ waste paper collection
Derby Canal: Hedge work. Inspection, survey, general clearance and tidying ready for a
Uttoxeter Canal: Froghall project
Wey & Arun Canal: Dig Deep project
BCN Cleanup weekend Major cleanup based around the Ocker Hill area of the Walsall Canal. See P6 f
BCN Cleanup weekend
Lichfield & Hatherton Canals: Dig Deep project
Wilts & Berks Canal: Dauntsey
Mar 25-Apr 1 Camp 0501
Easter Canal Camp on the Uttoxeter Canal at Froghall. Dates and cost to be co
To be arranged
Montgomery Canal (provisional): or possibly the Shrewsbury & Newport Canal?
Lichfield & Hatherton Canals: Dig Deep project
Basingstoke Canal: Dig Deep project
Apr 9 Sat
‘Paper Chase’ waste paper collection
To be arranged
Mon & Brec Canal: Dig Deep project
To be arranged
dogs on site.
Please send updates to Diary compiler: Dave Wedd, 7 Ringwood Rd, Blackwater, Camberley, Surrey GU17 0EY. Tel 01252 874437. e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. David McCarthy
a 12-mile laying exercise. Dave Dobbin
WRG enquiries 01923 711114 email@example.com for information and booking form. WRG co-ordinator for the Cleanup is Aileen Butler.
David McCarthy 0161-740-2179 Dave Wedd
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Canal Societiesâ€™ regular monthly or weekly NWPG: 9:00pm on 3rd Tue of month at the working parties 'Hope Tap', West end of Friar St. Reading. Please send any amendments, additions and Graham Hawkes 0118 941 0586 deletions to Dave Wedd (address on previous page) 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 2nd weekend of month K&ACT John Rolls 01189-666316 2nd Sunday of month LCT Lancaster N. Reaches Will Warburg 01931-713317 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 1st weekend of month SUCS Newhouse Lock Mike Friend 01948-880723 3rd Sunday of month TMCA David Rouse 01474-362861 Every Sunday & Thurs WACT varied construction Eric Walker 023-9246-3025 Mondays (2 per month) WACT tidying road crossings Brian Crossley 01737-843192 Tuesdays WACT Tickner's Heath Depot Colin Gibbs 020-8241-7736 Wednesdays WACT maintenance work Peter Jackman 01483-772132 Wednesdays WACT Loxwood Link Peter Wilding 01483-422519 Tues, Thurs & Sats WACT Winston Harwood 01293-424672 Various dates WACT Hedgelaying (Oct-Mar) Keith Nichols 01403-753882 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
Abbreviations used in Diary BCNS BCS BCT ChCT CCT DCT EAWA ECPDA FIPT GCRS GWCT H&GCT IWPS K&ACT
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 Grantham Canal Restoration Society Grand Western Canal Trust Hereford & Gloucester Canal Trust Inland Waterways Protection Society Kennet & Avon Canal Trust
KESCRG LCT LHCRT NWPG PCAS SCARS SCCS SHCS SNT SUCS TMCA WACT WAT WBCT W&BCC
Kent & E Sussex Canal Rest. Group Lancaster Canal Trust 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 Shropshire Union Canal Society Thames & Medway Canal Association Wey & Arun Canal Trust Wendover Arm Trust Wilts & Berks Canal Trust Wilts & Berks Canal Company
I detect from the tone of the letter from David Hodgkinson, published in Navvies 206, that he may have thought that I was criticising IWAKES [The Inland Waterways Association, Kent & East Sussex Branch] in my original letter. This is far from the truth, as I believe that IWAKES is doing a great job in keeping waterways matters to the fore in their area, as is evidenced by the excellent update he provided on activities on the various waterways they cover. My original letter was intended to point out a few anomalies that had arisen in the list that was published of ‘unloved waterways’, using the waterways that I knew most about as examples.
...on K ent and East Susse Kent Sussexx waterw estor terwaay rrestor estoraation
David is quite right that my comments regarding the Dartford & Crayford Navigation and the River Rother date from the time that I was still part of the Kent & East Sussex Branch Committee; at that time the Dartford & Crayford Navigation was still in use commercially (just) and the Barrier was still not in place. I was a founder member of Kent & East Sussex Branch (or Tonbridge Branch as it was formerly known), serving on both its Steering Committee and the Branch Committee from 1974 to 1976, when I moved away. I subsequently served on the original South East Region Committee, under Mike West, and attended Deepcut Dig in 1977. Recently I returned to active participation in the waterways scene and am now a member of the Wey & Arun Canal Trust Council of Management, and I also have membership of the Surrey & Hants Canal Society (Basingstoke Canal) and the IWA South London Branch. In between, I retained my interest and connection via Navvies. I am a little disappointed at David’s assessment of the potential of the Royal Military Canal; whilst it is true that the Canal was built for military purposes, it did have some passenger traffic when it was still navigable. Subsequently the water authority built two dams, at Appledore and West Hythe, to lower the section between and avoid possible flooding in this area of major farming activity. A gauging station was also built into Iden Lock at the western end. It would be a relatively simple matter, I’d have thought, to reposition this gauging station and restore Iden Lock, thus extending the potential boating available in the Rother/Brede area by several miles, as far as the Appledore Dam. I agree that proceeding beyond this point may not be viable, owing to the need for at least one new lock and the need to raise the water level, with the inherent danger of flooding, but the first section is surely worth considering. I do, however, remember that, in my day, the members of the local angling society were most vociferous in their opposition! I am delighted that progress is at last being made on the Thames & Medway Canal and agree that this should be a major priority for IWAKES. The Thames & Medway Canal Society was formed following a rally at Gravesend Basin organised by the Tonbridge Branch in 1975. It has achieved much in its efforts to date and now has a real chance of seeing the Basin reconnected to the remainder of the Canal, if the developers can be persuaded to make adequate provision in their plans. Much activity is currently taking place in order to achieve this, and Roy Sutton, IWAKES Branch Secretary and IWA Hon Surveying Consultant is very much involved. Of course, it would be extremely difficult to restore the Canal beyond Higham as mainline trains now use its tunnel! Nevertheless this is another example of a local waterway being brought back to life to the great benefit of the local community, as, of course, is the other restoration priority that he mentions, the Sussex Ouse. I would endorse David’s final paragraph, as the Branch has much valuable information and many contacts on the ground, but do not be put off making the attempt, hopefully in concert with the Branch. If those involved had listened to ‘the voice of reason’ we would now have no Wey & Arun Canal or Thames & Medway Canal, to mention just a few local examples, and the majority of waterways in this country would have died long ago. On a different tack, Martin, I am afraid the gremlins have struck again in your listing of BW Priority One schemes, which talks of ‘the Ashby Northern Reaches’. The Ashby Northern Extension is one scheme and the Lancaster Canal Northern Reaches is the other, which have become combined. As regards the Wey & Arun (Priority Three), whilst I agree with your comment, I am pleased that BW recognises that the Canal is of sufficient importance to include in their lists. Much has been achieved by the Trust in recent years and it is possible to see the restoration being finally achieved in the not too distant future, and that is why I am now actively involved. Regards Brian Andrews Although it may also have been referred to as the Ashby Northern Extension, I have always known it as the Ashby Northern Reaches, which makes sense to me as (like the Lancaster) it is a restoration of an existing waterway, not a new extension - albeit with some diversions needed in places. ...Ed
Letters Spor ts br as: ar ood Sports bras: aree the theyy a ggood thing in Land R over Ro erss or not?
Dear Martin, I wish to raise a strong objection to a statement made in Rosie de Winton’s KESCRG Mon & Brec camp report. Left unopposed it could have serious effects on the willingness of male volunteers to participate in the essential work of WRG.
Rosie’s statement that “...whilst the Land Rovers were very good for bouncy tracks and slopes, it was a better experience if wearing a sports bra.” cannot be allowed to stand unqualified. Such sweeping generalisations which attribute the opinions of individuals to the populus en masse are simply unacceptable. “Better” for whom? Probably for the wearer alone and universal adoption of this policy, which can only cause hardship to the majority of casual observers, is quite undemocratic and intolerable in our modern society.
I myself have experienced an increasingly marked indifference to going out of doors during the period in question and I am firmly of the belief that the “Brassiere Robustness Factor” ,as I call it ,is almost entirely responsible for my apathy. I appeal to all female WRGies to ignore this mean and selfish dictat.
As one who has taken a great interest in this subject, I can state that the rigidity of standard brassieres has increased out of all proportion to necessity in the last twenty years or so. Personally, I believe it to be one of the major factors responsible for the deterioration in the male libido and consequent fertility concerns. To further compound this biological disaster by advocating the wearing of sports bras for non-sports activities risks a virtual neutering of the male species.
Best wishes One good way of keeping Logistics happy is to ensure that your trailer is propAndy Overton erly packed at the end of the camp - like this splendid example from Grantham
New Balls Please! Don’t panic, Mr Mainwaring! Don’t panic! [Apologies to our younger readers who haven’t caught any of the numerous re-runs of Dad’s Army!] Yes, panic over (what panic?) The Tirfor that ‘went missing’ at this year’s National went home with Moose who thought it was lost property so it wasn’t actually lost at all! But if lost is somewhere the object shouldn’t be then lost is what it was! It wasn’t where it was supposed to end up… which was where it started off… but at least it is now no longer lost, and indeed has been found. We know exactly where it ended up. And by the time you read this article it will be at its original destination! Hoorah! Thanks, Lynn! – And her Air Force!! After having a quick (well, it wasn’t quick at all in terms of time… just in relation to how long it would have taken for me to do it properly, i.e. wash down all the kit, replenish anything broken or lost etc.) repack at Tom’s ready for Smudge’s Grantham camp, I found the brick kit in a terrible state! It’s taken a bit of a beating this year. It is there to be used but when I find bolster chisels that have gone way past the point of being blunt (let alone sharp!!) it leads me to believe they’re being abused too! And ‘way past the point of being blunt’ means that the middle of the chisel is concave!! Not good. I can and do sharpen them when they’re blunt; it’s going to be much harder getting the edge back on these. The spirit levels have suffered this year. Just one question, how are you supposed to check if your bricks are level if you can’t see the bubble through the sight glass? Makes it pretty useless doesn’t it?! Think about it! Another brick kit item that’s been having a hard time lately is the scutch hammer – I found both of Brick Kit One’s forced into the ammo box widthways. Their fit could be described as snug, but I’d rather say they just didn’t! So please don’t do that. And yes, I will try to get ‘round to drawing you a map so you too can pack a brick kit so it fits easily in the ammo box (‘cause it does!!). Our brick kits are really showing how Canal Camps have changed somewhat in their nature. It’s quite a different picture now to how things used to be ten or more years ago. And they were different to how things were ten years before that and so it goes on. The reason for having Brick Kit One & Two as opposed to Brick Kit A & B is that they were only sent out when requested as opposed to being sent out with the other kits as standard. Camps now just can’t get enough of them – literally! But change is what happens in time; whether it be to safety or training issues, or to the nature of the projects entrusted to us, or to what projects actually exist, or to the monetary situations of every project, or even to current interest of canals generally.
Logistics In whic h Jen ggoes oes w which waay past the point of being bblunt... lunt... With so many factors dictating what we do, or can’t do, it’s no wonder our work/equipment/needs change. It’s time we reviewed what is contained in the kits in a major way, unlike the occasional additions I make anyway. You’ll have to wait and see what changes are made – I doubt it will be drastic! At the last meeting (September), Gav Gav appealed for cleaner, tidier vans! To be honest, I’d given up asking as it always seemed to fall on deaf ears or excuses! But please do keep them clean and tidy especially as we have good vans not ‘old knackers’! You can expect a reminder premain season next year too! “Kilometres are for tacho discs!”… quite rightly so, and of course what I should have said in my article last issue was that could you please only write mileage in km when the vehicle you’re driving doesn’t allow you to read it in miles!! D’oh! Sorry to mention this but due to not being one of the lucky customers who receives any form of Broadband, please, please, PLEASE can you not send more than ONE or TWO photos by email! And please don’t send one at a time if the number of the counting shall be more than two eithe… apologies if I did not make it clear before. Two swift thank you’s that I missed last time … Huge thanks to Lorrae Carter who works behind the scenes and helps smooth over any hiccups we might have insurance-wise. And thanks to Bungle for PAT testing all things electric at the Bonfire Bash! No time for lily gilding at present… Camps brochure time! Logistics – Tool Painters and Lily Gilders [I liked it so much I thought I’d use it again! Could be the new Logistics slogan… Get the plates ready, John!] Just Jen email@example.com And my address, for those of you who can’t find it in the directory pages of this magazine (only joking…well, maybe): 45 Glebe Road, Sheffield S10 1FB.
Bonfirire Bash Repor ting fr om the V ale of porting from Vale Belv oir (pr onounced ‘Bea Belvoir (pronounced ‘Beavver’) Bonfire Bash - Grantham 2004 Ah, fallen victim to Martin’s undeniable charm again (or could it have been the Guinness?). Off we went to the Vale of Belvoir - to the land of peculiarly English spellings, where they drive tralctoirs, pop to the pub for a few pints of biltoir (or a drop of the almboir nelctoir) and then home for a spot of sulppoir. Radcliffe on Trent was the birthplace of my mother-in-law - never let it be said that Navvies isn’t educational - although no-one seemed interested by that, except Rupert but then he was trapped in the back of a moving Land Rover at the time. And Land Rovers (Rolvoirs?) may well be the reason I was asked to write this, as an observer, dubbed the Land Rover Wh*re by Sal’s Andy (who I assume has a proper name too).
The main plan was to bash scrub and stack the big bits next to the towpath and burn the little bits. Jonathan and Ian, with trailers and helpers would then do a circuit collecting as much as they could carry and take it off where we would then watch Eddie and friends dismantling the ‘not so’ chipper. This machine was sick before we started, needing a new set of teeth and, given a diet of slender willows, would strip them into long fibres which then wrapped themselves around its innards and choked it. So, unload trailer (and roof) onto ever growing pile, claim a brew from Mr Mac and off round the circuit again. A bit of a rustle of anoraks when I referred to Ian’s Land Rover as ‘pink’. Never do this when trapped in a confined space with Jonathan and Mark II although at the speed we were travelling I could have bailed out. Interested to discover that a Disco with trailer, lights and a flashing beacon is invisible - the locals clearly all learned to drive on a Scalextric track and consider straddling the crown of the road to be the correct position. (See para 5). Sunday saw a very scared white van man who clearly hadn’t expected to meet another vehicle - his journey didn’t finish in the ditch but more by luck than judgement.
Accommodation was at a large school but actually only just large enough and in the absence of elastic sides, London WRG were obliged to sleep in the science labs - a bit of a busman’s holiday for some. Stephen had brought his pet barrels and the bar was in full swing when we eventually arrived. (I won’t bore you with the ‘first on the scene of an accident’ story, but it delayed us somewhat). Saturday dawned and after a very short walk to breakfast (sleeping in the dining room!) we headed off to site.
This may be inaccurate but I believe Smudge led a small contingent off to do something with a by-wash - Martin may know - and the rest of us headed off to bash scrub. And what a lot of scrub there was too - none of this nambypamby weedy stuff but lots of baby willows that needed dismantling and the stumps tirfored out so that we don’t have to do this every couple of years. Given the clement weather and (mostly) dry site, work proceeded apace. Pulling stumps out with a Tirfor. (or should that be a Tilrfoir?)
All well ahead of the tirfor crews and a big job for someone in the near future (I think that’s a ‘watch this space’ moment) and plans to pop the small ones with a Land Rover and rope.
The day followed the usual pattern as people drifted off home and site emptied. However, the finished bits looked positively scrubbed.
The ‘not-so-chipper’ doing its best to chew willow. The day was enlivened by a Dachshund who trotted up the towpath with Neil in hot pursuit. Rather than run it over, we stopped, but clearly neither the Disco nor the trailer was sufficient to slow it down and it trotted under both. Al then discovered what was amiss and also gave chase, having apparently hankered after a Dachshund for some time. Shortly afterwards, along came an owner carrying another Dachshund and apologising profusely for his dog getting in our way. No idea how this ended but the Forestry Team were cooking sausages the next day - perhaps I misheard.
Thanks to Gav and Adrian and the local organisers for considerable belvoiring away in the background, to Jude and Dr Liz and her team (dangerous to list these as someone will get forgotten), Mr Mac, for being Mr Mac, Ian for letting me play with his Landie and everyone else who did things worthy of note, i.e., not the wally in the unlit RAV4 who spread bits of his vehicle up the A52. Kit packed - with Jen comfortingly in charge and vehicles dispersing home. Geezer got a lift in a recovery truck - who wants to do the ‘haven’t you got a spare’ joke - and one small group were collected in a Rolls Royce! So a short break until LWRG/KESCRG Christmas bash in Lichfield and maybe time for a brief appearance at the magical mystery Christmas dig. Dave Worthington
Lots of food and libations into the wee small hours - other people’s fireworks to enjoy, and a few sparklers.
Back to school, where there was a small queue for the one shower (we did only have a small part of the school) mostly making admiring comments on the selflessness of people willing to share a shower cubicle to speed up the process - and there was even the sound of running water from within.
Smudge’s team admire their completed bywash
Little change on the chipper front - except that they found out a quicker way of dismantling it so downtime reduced, and some of the scrub was returned to site where Ralph burned it on his ‘little’ fire. (Needed the heat to bake the potatoes and very good they were too).
Sunday and more of the same, enlivened by a change of leaders as the first batch went off to a meeting. Given the absence of Jonathan, I swapped over and joined Ian in the Land Rover (OK, Andy, I admit it) while Mark joined Welsh Phil. I also got to spend most of the day driving - and what a civilised thing is a modern LR.
Some stumps took the ground with them when they came out
SouthWest A ne w WR G rreegional ggrroup new WRG is launc hed launched WRG South West - a “new” Regional Group As you may have heard over the last few months, WRG now has a new regional group WRG South West. After many years of “you know, we ought to form our own group” type conversations in a variety of hostelries, about ten of us decided over the summer that we would do just that. Why the name? Well, many of the founding “members” live in that area, and we decided that we would like to work on canals within easy striking distance of the majority of the present group, hence the South West. Some facts:
. . . . .
We don’t have a membership (much like WRG central)
Grand Western Canal 22-24 October 2004: The Inagural WRG South West Weekend. The Friday evening started with a Chinese meal while sat in the village hall of Burlescombe, Devon, the home of the Grand Western Canal. This was to be the first WRG SW weekend dig, and it was to be a small affair, quite literally for a couple of people! Present were Adrian, Rick, Judith, Welsh Phil, Dippy Claire, and Mitch with a flying visit from local Chris on the Friday evening. The Chinese was quickly followed by a visit to the local Ayshford Arms, a fab pub where the locals were pleased to see us back. The next morning after a leisurely breakfast at 8am cooked by Ade, and a quick make of sandwiches for lunch, we made it to site by about 10am, to meet up with Ranger Mark our local contact. The work for the two days was to consist of cleaning the stonework of vegetation, moss and algae on the limekiln walls from a work boat, and some pointing on the wharf walls. With the rain coming down in a steady downpour it was decided that pointing was out of the question on the Saturday, so we went to the lime kiln site to have a go at the stone walls. A flotilla of Land Rovers made it into the cows’ field, and that’s where we stayed for the next two hours drinking tea and coffee in the back of the Land Rovers watching the rain lash it down.
You don’t have to live in the South West to dig with us (I’m in Bucks for heavens sake!) No particular skills are needed (just enthusiasm and a sense of humour) Our focus will be on safety and fun We’ll still keep digging with other groups (sorry, but you can’t get rid of us that easily!)
Within the next couple of months we should have sorted out a mailing list, our dates will be appearing in the Navvies diary and we are hoping to put some web pages up, but if you want to know more in the meantime please contact me on the e-mail address below. We hope that you’ll come out and join us soon. Gavin Moor Gavin.Moor@wrg.org.uk
Some provisional dates have been agreed (indeed one has passed - see below) and we’re busy confirming that various societies can host us. We’ve also arranged the use of some tools and will need to ready these for use shortly.
WRG South West volunteers repointing wharf walls on the Grand Western
Eventually we ventured out down to the limekilns which did actually afford us some protection, and started to do some clearance work - with Judith saying “You will tell me when you think its raining too hard, won’t you?” Once we’d started the work we hardly noticed the rain, and very quickly we turned the bank into a slippery quagmire reminiscent of the National Festival site! An afternoon of very hard work was completed by all, with all but the last couple of metres of wall totally cleared, and with only a couple of stoppages to shelter within the lime kilns when the heavens really opened. One of these stoppages allowed us to assess the potential work to be carried out during next summer’s two camps on the Grand Western, where one of the jobs will be clearing the lime kilns of all the build-up of soil, mud and leaf debris right back to ground level. Eventually when the light started to fade we decided enough was enough and dripped our way back to the hall. Then followed a trip into Tiverton Leisure Centre for a shower, these were different showers to the ones we’d used on the summer camp, and we were spoilt: with wood veneer lockers and opaque glass shower cubicles it was rather luxurious.
The next morning it appeared to be drier, so we struggled into damp clothing for a cooked breakfast, not only was Mitch up before breakfast but she had cooked it! We made it onto site again by about 10am, this time to the Wharf for the pointing. We were now joined by Robert and Kev, and Chris reappeared so a small group went to the lime kilns to finish off the last couple of metres of wall, while the rest of us got on with the pointing. The sun made a brief appearance before the rains came again and we were soon trying to find shelter and stop the lime mortar from becoming liquid mortar! We managed to get a good portion of the wall completed; in all, we managed to do a fair amount of work over the weekend considering the weather conditions. A big thank you to Judith for organising/leading the weekend and to all who came along to make the first WRG SW weekend a success. Keep an eye out in Navvies for future dates for WRG SW and we hope to see you soon. Mitch Parsons
When the Leisure Centre Manager heard what we were doing he let us in for free, as he was so impressed that someone was doing something with the Canal! They’re a friendly lot in the south west!
We then made it to the pub for a cooked meal of steak and chips and a small amount of alcohol was consumed! Arrangements were made with the pub for our return in the summer, so for those of you wishing to come to the Grand Western Camp on either week next summer you can look forward to a quiz night, a race night and a bowling competition in the new bowling al- The limekilns with all vegetation removed. Next year maybe we’ll fire them up ley, against the locals! and make our own lime mortar....
And now it can be told:
A sur prise pr esent ffor or BW ... surprise present BW...
“I’m afraid I really can’t print it in Navvies” Just occasionally, something happens that you really can’t go in to print about at the time, but which is such a good story that it seems a shame that it only ever gets recounted late at night to a select few in a pub somewhere. But after the passage of a suitable number of years there may eventually come a time when perhaps it can appear in ‘Navvies’ after all. One such tale, submitted by Jim Woolgar, involves Marple Locks, in the days before restoration work on the Peak Forest had been officially sanctioned... Probably some time in 1969 or 1970,even before WRG was really off the ground in fact, there were funny goings on involving the Peak Forest Canal (or to use GKPspeak The Poofkers). I was not involved in the early days, so did not know the origins of Above: a brand new lock-gate for the idea, but I Marple - won’t BW be surprised? bet Mr Mac Below: Whoops - the truck’s sunk! does…
Basically a lock gate was to be made, fitted to a lock at Marple and given as a surprise gift to British Waterways. As a security measure (and probably as they were well known to us Southerners), the gate was manufactured in steel at a small engineering works near Woking. Once the Steelwork was completed, timber facings were fitted by a volunteer Navvy. One Friday the gate was transported north, for fitting the following dark winter’s morning. The day turned out to be darker and wetter than anticipated. The first step was to go in at the top end of the chamber, inspect it and clear any debris. This was not a problem as the canal was dry and there was little muck. The Plan of Campaign was discussed: truck with gate on to move adjacent to lock; when crane arrives offload new gate, lift out old gate onto truck, position and fit new gate. Dead simple: should only take a couple of hours… The crane arrived and started off along the towpath, then suddenly it stopped at a funny angle having travelled only some twenty yards. “Oops - what‘s up?” “Ah, the front wheels have sunk in the ground.” In fact they had gone through the top slab of a spillway culvert. With a lot of jacking up and packing we were able to get the crane out and back on to the road. An investigation revealed that there were more of these culverts; as we were limited with equipment there was no alternative but to call the exercise off. “Now what?” We had to do something with the gate: it was pointless to take it back down south. So a few phone calls (no mobiles then) and it was taken to somebody’s works yard and offloaded. In fact this was the ‘highlight of the weekend’: it was a simple matter of lifting it off the truck and laying it flat on the ground - no problem. It was lifted off and slowly being lowered when there was a great crash as it hit the ground, causing a considerable dent in the bottom of the gate. The reason it fell being due to the fact that the crane wire had a loop of wire trapped on the drum; as it uncoiled the loop was released causing the gate to drop several feet. It would have been a far different story if it had happened when we were in the lock chamber... We spent the rest of the day working on the Balance beam which was to fit the gate. There must be a sequel to this story: the gate was fitted, but I believe only when the official restoration was under way. Do you have any suitable stories for “And now it can be told”? If so, please send them to the editor. And please note: we are not prepared to publish items that have been sent to us anonymously, although we don’t mind withholding the author’s name if requested to. Next time, we have a tale about... on second thoughts I won’t say, just in case anyone tries to stop me from printing it....
Canal 20: Grantham Canal 23rd to 30th October The Tale of Two Sites, Two Assistant Leaders and Two Cooks. (Where the Dickens was the BW engineer when we needed him?) It was the best of camps; it was the worst of BW. It was the age of wit; it was the age of fools. It was the epoch of Spill Weirs; it was the epoch of mud. It was the season of light; it was the season of darkness. It was the spring of leaks; it was the winter of no sloes. We had everything before us, we had nothing before us. We were all going direct to the pub; we were all not going direct to the bowling alley.
“A ffar ar ffar ar better thing tha thatt w wee do now than BW ha or e” havve done bef befor ore” Back at Spill Weir School for the Technically Advanced the removal of the old, crumbling spill weir began. We have now amended Kit ‘A’ to include one jackhammer and one Jonathan. (A Yorkshireman - every kit should have one).
In short the camp was so far like the rest, that some of its noisiest authorities (BW) insisted on it being just like the original plunger weir for good or for evil in the superlative degree of comparison only.
The day ended, the team came back to site, and after some kitchen shenanigans had a very late (but very tasty) roast pork dinner. Then the news came through. The Mole has landed. So we decided to go to the pub. With Mole of course.
For those of you who’d rather not read the complete works of Dickens here is a leisurely summary of the week that was:
Monday: The spill weir crew found themselves demoted from Grammar School WRGies to penal convicts as the lumpen concrete remains of the old spill weir had to be reduced to tasty bite sized chunks with sledge hammers, to be suitable for use as a hard core in the new weir. If we were a little indiscreet we might mention how a certain little leader had a little incident in a little digger. But Blue getting stuck wasn’t a set back with a Yorkshireman on site, and some exemplary camp teamwork soon removed the littlest digger from its premature muddy grave.
Friday: Thanks have to go to ‘Fast’ Eddie and Jenni for bringing up the minibus from the South, arriving at 1am and leaving at 7pm. (A veritable ginger Santa plus elf, visiting by night and leaving gifts for the good little campers). Saturday: The camp began in earnest, so Taz and Smudge shopped till they dropped. (We’re reliably informed that some of it was in aid of the camp). This was to be no supermarket sweep however. Oh no. Like the distilled essence of Rick Stein (Hang on, wouldn’t that be pure alcohol?) Smudge went about getting our supplies from nothing less than a Farmers Market, and thanks to some hard bargaining/pleas to traders’ sense of charity campers were set to enjoy the freshest produce that camp budgets could buy.
Meanwhile, the scrub bashers were scything through the scrub at a satisfying rate of knots, though the home fires were resolutely refusing to burn with any real enthusiasm. Methinks the rain on Saturday might have had something to do with it.
As the afternoon progressed a steady stream of volunteers trickled in, as the rain trickled down. Nice. Volunteers for cooking (not literally, we’d bought enough fresh meat at the market) were Rob, John and Harri who set about turning the farmer’s tip top beef mince into Legendary Lasagne, with a fruit flan to follow. WRG – brings out the new man in you.
There was a sense that we’d unwittingly taken the WRG equivalent of the 11+ and the spill weir was definitely the Grammar school. But hey! Slashing and burning is FUN dude! It can even help you with your Maths. You get 20 points for a badger… On the plus side, the scrub bash site was 30 seconds from the accommodation so tea breaks were had in the warm.
Sunday: Hi ho, hi ho, and off to site we go. This was to be, as the intro suggests, a tale of two sites. There was The Spill Weir: all demolition duties, technical tinkering, concrete calculation and reinforce reckoning. And then there was The Scrub Bash: All… well, bashing scrub really.
Making shuttering, ready for the concrete pour
Campanology (bell ringing, not the study of WRG’s summer activities that is) was the entertainment that evening. And they say canal restoration is for anoraks! A fascinating insight (and a few friction burns) were had as we not only tried our hands at bell ringing, but were taken up the bell tower (titter thee not) directly under the bells themselves to see what happens when you pull the rope. The several tonnes of bronze swinging three feet above our heads were slightly less disconcerting than the easily detectable sway of the 300 + year old tower beneath our feet. I know they say lime motor is flexible, but this was taking the St Michael! To calm our nerves we were taken to a very, very good pub at Granby. The kind of pub where it looks like they’ve run out of wallpaper and have resorted to using beer mats. We’re talking about serious ales. For the non-discerning lager drinkers there was the added attraction of the staff. We salute your optimism, lads!
Assistant Camp Leader No. 1 (Vulcan Dave), had to go home so Assistant Camp Leader No. 2 (Mr. Mole), took over duties. Mole headed up the scrub bash team for the third day running and, glory be to the Badger Lords of Fire, we had ourselves a burning! In an incident on the scrub bash site that afternoon Bernd’s phone went walkabout in the bottom of the waterlogged cut, having been ‘lifted’ by a light fingered Hawthorne branch. He managed to find it again, but it appears he had to change his network provider: from O2 to H2O… Back at the spill weir site a team worked to fence off a culvert to prevent sheep re-enacting scenes from The Rock in the pipes and undoing all our good weir work by forming a woolly blockage further down the line. Thursday: The day of the first concrete pour arrived. While ballast was ferried and shuttering trimmed, the steel reinforcing was bent so that slabs one and three could be cast.
Tuesday: Mark Scoble, rally-driving supremo, took a pit stop to join us as our technical advisor on site. We evened-out Base slab one and the gradient of the spill three were laid and viweir. Original spill weir brated by the custom(let us call it ‘Plan A’) ary lady D-of-Eers. had just one deep drop, With a vibrator of and that had helped to course. The bells didn’t erode and undermine make them tremble for the weir. So plan B was that long. to have two smaller drops over the course of Cook Number 2, Harri the weir. Mark Scoble T, turns up. (Are you preferred Plan C: no confused yet? We sure Casting the spill weir base drops but a series of as hell were). Whatcobbles to slow the ever we ate that night, speed of water. BW engineer turned up and liked and whoever cooked it, it was good. We can say Plan C too. BW man went back to BW and Office this with confidence, as all the food we ate that BW didn’t like Plan C and wanted plan B. By which week was fantastic. time on site foundations for Plan C had been conSo, to that night’s frivolities. We had planned to structed. BW was in danger of being introduced go the cinema but a late finish, and lots of dirty to Plan F.... people to get through just three showers, meant Scrub bashers continued to bash. We even took that this plan had to be shelved. Plan C turned to on the cops(e). Plan B (I’m getting a strange sense of deja vu here!), and Smudge booked two bowling lanes. Back on the domestic front, Cook No. 1, Lizzie We drove to the bowling alley. Well, we drove to Wain, turned up in time to eat dinner! To quote a bowling alley. Turned out to be a different bowlRob, “The cook that doesn’t cook. Does she acing alley. So we drove to the real bowling alley. tually cook??” That had our heads spinning. Oh, Only it was in the middle of Nottingham, (a city the bells, the bells! that has a quite fascinating road network, but one Wednesday: Two BW men came and decided that loses it’s allure after the third lap). And it was Plan B should be built, so Plan C foundations had next to a Brian Adams concert venue. Which to be changed to Plan B foundations. (Lots more meant the fans had taken every space in a 4-mile road scalpings to be shovelled? We recommend radius. (‘Everything I do, Means no parking for you use a Jonathan). you,’ etc etc).
But we got parked up in the end and some truly horrendous bowling ensued. Jonathon proved to be the best bowler, which isn’t surprising really, as it’s really just demolition by numbers. Friday: The day went by the numbers really. Slab 2, of Plan B was laid on the adapted foundations of Plan C and made to butt up to Slab 1 and over lap Slab 3, with reinforcing cut by Assistant Leader No. 2, and was all finished in time to eat the creations of Cook No.2. Simple. A long day’s mixing, vibrating and tamping was finished up with a bit of mud wrestling. Harrv threw mud at Lydia. So Lydia threw mud at Harrv. And then… well we’re not sure about the sequence of events but it finished with scenes akin to the famous washout at Glastonbury. Harrv was sporting a puddled clay mohican, Lydia looked like she’d eaten a Magnum in front of hand dryer, the real colour of Ela’s waterproofs was open to debate and… Gareth was very, very clean. This could not be allowed to stand. A pursuit followed and despite his valiant efforts Gareth was cornered in the farmyard and unceremoniously dipped in a puddle of slurry to the bemusement of onlooking livestock. It being Halloween, a party was had back at the accommodation. Fab cheesy witches’ hat biscuits and pumpkin soup were just some of the delicacies served up during a three-course dinner which was followed by grateful thanks to all by Mole & Smudge. Apple bobbing, half naked twister (just the boys, sadly. Unless you actually like films about gladiators…..), and general merriment followed.
To all the volunteers we met that week, whether old hands or green D-of-Eers, we can only repeat our sincerest thanks for being top campers! Many, many thanks,
Comments out of The Black Book: “Hello is that BW?” ”Yes” ”Could you give me the amount of materials we need for this spillway?” ” Yes. We did one exactly the same size and the very minimum you need is: 20 ton of planning’s; 20 ton of ballast; 100 bags of cement 500 feet of timber; 12 sheets of shuttering. Nothing less. That’s the bare minimum I’m telling you, we know.” One week later… “Hello, is that BW? “ ”Yes” ”You know you gave me that bare minimum quantities for the spillway? Well we had 50% left over”. “That’s funny. So did we!” This would have been the conversation if Mark Scoble hadn’t look through the material spec and rationalised it...
Saturday: After a final breakfast there commenced what was possibly the fastest post-camp clean-up in history, and by 12:00 noon the hall was spotless and the kit trailer looked like a strong contender for ‘Best Packed of Season’. Take a look at the photos Jen! [See p24 ….Ed] The impetus may have come from the two leaders keen to head off to Mr. Watts 40thbirthday party, (some people’s hair needs more preparation than others) but the achievement was really down to some fantastic teamwork, with all the volunteers pulling together. (No, not in the Palmerette sense of the word).
Epilogue: “The changing of Plans is a difficult matter….” The prolonged ‘discussion’ over the design stage meant that the weir was not completed during the actual camp, leaving the relatively simple job of casting the walls onto the tops of the three steps to be done. This was finished during the Reunion bash the following weekend, giving people who were not comfortable with Belvoir-trimming as a group activity the opportunity for more gentile pursuits. [I think he means either ‘gentle’ or ‘genteel’ but on the other hand, having seen the way they wear their hair in Tottenham, and knowing how keen these folks are on using the odd snip ‘down under’ too, I’m not so sure.…Ed]. The results can (assuming Martin’s had the disc in time) be seen here.
Smudge & Mole
Playing ‘Twister’ in the accommodation: is this what MKP means P.S. Ellllllaaaaaaaa!, Elllllaaaahaaaaaa! (p3) when he talks about ‘improving our standing in green circles’?
WRG BITM The solutions to the ‘F lights of ‘Flights Fanc ancyy’ quiz Flights of Fancy Quiz: the answers On behalf of wrgBITM, Stella & Dave would like to thank all Navvies readers who took part in the wrgBITM Flights of Fancy quiz over the Summer. The quiz raised about the same amount as two days at a festival running the Canal Restoration Game so we were very pleased with the support we received.
A very special “thank-you” goes to Dunton Ltd who generously donated one of their new, solid brass, Dunton Double windlasses as a highly appropriate prize for this competition. And the winning team is: Kath Horrocks and Pete Richards from wrgNW, who had 72 correct answers, 2 ahead of the next-closest contenders. Well done Kath and Pete! We were amazed at how far north, south, east and west the quiz sheets had travelled: Carnforth (Lancs), Illminster (Somerset), Ipswich (Suffolk), Anglesea and all points in between. Some of the answers we had back called for additional research, to establish whether they were optimistic guesses or flights we simply had not come across ourselves. Canalplanner and the Ordnance Survey’s placename gazetteer came in very useful with this.
For anyone who missed it, this competition consisted of 75 crossword-style clues, the answers to which were all names of flights of at least 3 locks (not all of them still navigable) around Britain.
To those of you misled by the three typographical errors in the quiz sheet, the Quizmaster offers most sincere apologies. It was, however, reassuring to find that that the winner and runners-up were the same whether the marks were totalled out of 75 or with any or all of the inaccurate clues omitted. Nevertheless, lessons will be learned!
Stella Wentworth of BITM presents winners Kath Horrocks and Pete Richards of North West with their super Dunton Double windlas during the Bonfire Bash in November
Just to be sure, in a few cases we contacted contenders and offered bonus points in return for verifiable references to the existence of lock flights at places they’d suggested which appeared to fit the clue just as well as the one we’d had in mind. In the end, however, no such bonus points were awarded: those plausible-sounding names had been mere flights of fancy. Some of the replies were memorable too. I loved the idea that a bath might be a European-approved function. I would never have dared suggest, however, that a passing reference to NorthWest’s sales stand could possibly be interpreted as “min worth”. Pax, Mr Mac and friends– we know you deal with valuable merchandise so this was not accepted as a correct answer! As promised, here are the answers, and also the name of the canal on which the flight is (or used) to be found. 1. Marple 2. Moredon 3. Perry Barr 4. Lapworth 5. Hatton 6. Combe Hay 7. Hurleston 8. Watford 9. Rowington 10. Crofton 11. Baddiley 12. Napton 13. Ryder’s Green 14. Audlem 15. Rothersthorpe 16. Siddington 17. Marsworth 18. Barrowford 19. Farmer’s Bridge 20. Bosley 21. Soulbury 22. Bingley Five Rise 23. Ashted 24. Wilmcote 25. Camp Hill 26. Seend 27. Llangynidr 28. Fort Augustus 29. Maryhill 30. Deepcut 31. Stockton 32. Wheelock 33. Bascote 34. Tewitfield 35. Curdworth 36. Wigan 37. Prestolee 38. Aston
Peak Forest Nth Wilts BCN Stratford on Avon GU Somerset Coal Llangollen GU Leic Arm Stratford on Avon K&A Llangollen Oxford GU Shrop Union GU Northampton Arm Thames & Severn GU Leeds & Liverpool BCN Macclesfield GU Leeds & Liverpool BCN Stratford on Avon GU K&A Mon & Brec Caledonian Forth & Clyde Basingstoke GU Trent & Mersey GU Lancaster BCN Leeds & Liverpool Manch Bolton & Bury BCN
WRG BITM “I w ouldn’ gest NW’ wouldn’ ouldn’tt dar daree sug sugg NW’ss stand could be ‘min w or th’...” wor orth’...” 39. Atherstone 40. Stoke Bruerne 41. Shireoaks 42. Cloberhill 43. Banavie 44. Walsall 45. Aldam 46. Calcutt 47. Hazelhurst 48. Tardebigge 49. Knowle 50. Blackburn 51. Caen Hill 52. Tinsley 53. Bank Newton 54. Norwood 55. Claydon 56. Cefn 57. Wolverhampton 58. Delph 59. Pewsham 60. Offerton 61. Boghouse 62. Bratch 63. Foxton 64. Red Bull 65. Frankton 66. Stourbridge 67. Tycoch or Ty-coch 68. Woodham 69. Grindley Brook 70. Garrison 71. Grove 72. Falkirk 73. Braunston 74. Johnson’s Hillock 75. Adderley
Coventry GU Chesterfield Forth & Clyde Caledonian GU Dearne & Dove GU Caldon Worc & B’ham GU Leeds & Liverpool K&A Sheff & Sth Yorks Leeds & Liverpool Chesterfield Oxford Mon & Brec Crumlin Arm GU Stourbridge Wilts & Berks Worc & B’ham Forth & Clyde Staffs & Worc GU Leic Arm Trent & Mersey Montgomeryshire Stourbridge Monmouthshire Basingstoke Llangollen GU Wilts & Berks Edinb’ & Glasgow Union GU Leeds & Liverpool Shrop Union
And finally, if you would like further information about Dunton windlasses, they are available from the following suppliers: NABO (c/o Mrs M. Darlington, 111 Maas Rd, Northfield, Birmingham B31 2PP. Wharf House Chandlery, Bottom Lock, Dark Lane, Braunston; Northants NN11 7HJ. Streethay Wharf, Streethay, Lichfield WS13 8RJ. Uxbridge Boat Centre, Uxbridge Wharf, Waterloo Road, Uxbridge, Middx UB8 2QX. Stella Wentworth
Dig report Hollinwood Canal first working party weekend
The work this weekend was firstly to make the presence of the Canal Society known, to build awareness of their aims and intentions regarding the restoration of the canal. Many of the structures in the country park are listed structures and there is already some pressure to carry out work in order to better preserve these. Initially a number of trees were cleared from the coping stones of an isolated short stretch in water, with habitat piles being created from the resultant brush wood. One tree adjacent to the bridge at the tunnel entrance was also removed.
The Hollinwood Canal Society first formed itself in October 2003 with the aims of seeing the restoration of the Hollinwood Branch of the Ashton Canal within Daisy Nook Country Park, the reconnection of Daisy Nook with the Ashton Canal main line, and the creation of a new canal link through to the Rochdale Canal.
Work was made interesting by the vast number of people using the canal towpath and the country park for leisure pursuits. There was never a quiet moment. Cyclists, walkers, joggers, dog walkers, families, horses, fishermen/women were passing all the time. It is clear the park and the towpath are a vital resource for the local community.
The first weekend of volunteer work took place on the 16/17 October 2004 on the Daisy Nook Country Park section of the canal adjacent to the visitor centre. A mile or so section of canal including several derelict locks runs through the country park, with isolated sections in water, and coping stones visible along nigh on the entire length. Other short lengths of the canal are filled in and either used as bridle paths or access routes across the remainder of the canal.
On the second day work consisted of clearing trees which were causing instability in the wall of what had been a tunnel but is now an open cutting. We had to have people on horse-watch to warn us to switch off the chainsaw as the horses were very nervous beings. Nonetheless, we cleared a 5 foot wide strip of the bank along the length of the former tunnel of all trees and saplings. It is hoped that this will eventually serve as an alternative bridle path to the canal which is currently being used as such (see picture). There is at least one local very busy riding school which is dependant on this wonderful traffic-free route. It will clearly be some time before this plan can be put into being as the remainder of the tunnel wall to the untrained eye appears to lack the strength which would be required to take the weight of the horses along the bank top.
The ffir ir st w eek end w or ty irst week eekend wor orkk par party on the Hollinw ood Canal Hollinwood
The Hollinwood Canal society is in sore need of additional volunteer resources - a working party organizer to name but one - as Ed Mortimer, one of the main driving forces behind the society feels that support in this area is one of the limiting factors in the potential success of the venture. For more information, they have a website â€“ This opened-out tunnel on the Hollinwod Branch is currently used as www.hollinwoodcanal.co.uk. a bridle-path, but it is hoped that eventually the horses will use a cleared Alison Johnson strip along the bank, and the canal can be reinstated.
Free to a good home… Six large panels of Mahler Hayley style display stand with various connector bits – Kescrg has been loaned some new display stands so Ian would like some of his garage back! Please phone Dr Liz on 07711 955973 for further details!
WRG isn’t Appealing! Well done folks, we’ve done it!! WRG is not appealing any more! The only thing left to say is a huge THANK YOU to every one who has contributed in any way. You are all wonderful people, and I hope to see you all on a restoration project where you can see all the new kit in action. Lots of love n hugs Dr liz
Handy hints and tips for the new Minibus The new minibus is quite different from the old Transits. Here are some useful tips: 1. Yes, it is quite long and you do have to treat it with some respect however don’t be scared by it. The only time you REALLY notice the length is when you come to park it... You will need two spaces, one behind the other. The other thing to note is the long overhang at the back, watch out when doing a tight turn next to things (trees, lampposts, walls etc) as the back will swing out somewhat. 2. Yes, the side door really does only open that far, this is because of the lower step needed compared to VOJ. There are no secret catches to open it all the way. 3. It has TWO wheels each side at the back. If you are leaving a site with a stoned or hardcore surface, stop when you get to the road and check nothing is between the two tyres. If something is stuck, not only will this wreck the tyre but it can really spoil the day of the driver behind when half a brick leaves your back wheels at 60mph. 4. While we are talking of doing 60mph... It is quite quick. Keep an eye on the speed, especially if you have just got out of another van. Unlike most vehicles where the speedometer over reads, this one is calibrated as it is linked to the tacho, therefore when it says 60mph, it means 60mph. Remember there is a “spy in the cab” (or tachograph) which will record your speed. At best Roger will give you a bollocking, at worst it will be used in a court of law. 5. Ah yes, the tachograph. A more complex and irritating tachograph I have yet to see! To get your disc back you need the ignition ON, press the eject button and the lights will do a “Knight Rider” impression, when they change to flashing on alternate sides press the eject button again and the disc drawer will finally let you have your disc back.
Navvies news ...inc luding how to driv ...including drivee the ne w minib us ... new minibus us... 6. Another catch with the tacho unit, you need to slot the disc under the bit at the back then push it down onto the center spigot bit (this will be obvious when you do it). DO NOT push it down all the way around the edge, the disc will jam and get chewed up. Oh yes, and remember that the disc goes in with the side that is recorded on upwards. 7. Tacho unit again I’m afraid. The mode (driving/ rest/other work) is indicated by three green LED’s that are difficult to see in the day. Don’t worry too much if you forget to change the unit over to work, as soon as the vehicle moves the trace will change to drive automatically (although the LED will still show rest). 8. In the old buses you had a button on the dashboard to turn on the back interior lights, there isn’t a button anymore, however if you turn the UPPER of the two interior lights in the front, as if by magic they will all come on (the same is true of VOJ). 9. Yes, you can tow with it! Hooray! Unfortunately it has (or at the time of writing, had - one is now completely flat, oops) two enormous steps at the back, expressly designed to get demolished when you turn the trailer around (even doing a tight U turn without reversing is enough to badly bend them, trust me on this). If maneuvering the trailer it may be a good idea to remind your banksman to keep an eye of the towbar area...... 10. To turn the foglights on, pull out the headlight switch. A small orange light to remind you they are on is cunningly hidden from view so remember to turn them OFF again. 11. It has air conditioning which will no doubt be a bonus in the summer but it does affect the fuel consumption so remember to turn it off when you are not using it. Also, the air conditioning comes on automatically to de-humidify the air when you have the heater direction set to the windscreen, this helps it to demist the screen quickly. Once the screen has cleared, turn the control back from the windscreen position slightly to allow the air conditioning (and huge fans at the front of the van) to cut out. Try and use the air conditioning for ten minutes or so at least once a week even if you don’t need it as this prevents the compressor from getting damaged due to lack of use. George ‘Bungle’ Eycott
Navvies news Volunteer anted ffor or the Xmas olunteerss w wanted Camp on the ... Cr omf or d Canal! the... Cromf omfor ord Stop Press: New Year Camp to move to Cromford Due to shortage of suitable work the planned WRG New Year Canal Camp has had to be moved from its original planned site on the Wilts & Berks Canal. As we went to press we were still waiting for final confirmation of permission for work to go ahead, but it will almost certainly be relocated to the Cromford Canal, working on at least half a mile of heavy scrub clearance between Codnor Park Reservoir and the Golden Valley. Your leaders for the week are Dave ‘Moose’ Hearnden and James ‘The Postie’ Butler with Maria in charge of catering. (and dogs Bess and Major in charge of stick-fetching and rabbit-chasing) The accommodation is provisionally Waingroves Community Centre (near Codnor (fairly near Ripley (not far from Derby))) with a very convenient local pub selling excellent CHEAP real ale and real cider. (London WRG tested!) We will welcome in the year 2005 with a fancy dress New Year party with a theme of “One hit wonders and five-minute heroes” - and a prize for the best costume. Everyone is welcome to attend for the whole camp or just for part of it, but please do book on first: if possible using the usual camps booking form (available on the website), or if you only decide to turn up at the last minute please get in touch with the leaders on 07961 922153 (Moose) or 07850 422156 (Camp Phone A) and warn them you’re coming. See you there!
WRG Boat Club News THe plot to get a block booking at the National seems to be working as 12 or 13 members have returned forms and money and Edwina is sorting it all out (I hope). Roger Jeffreys has said he wants to be our harbour master if he is working with Waterspace next year - is he bring brave or foolish? Congratulations to Di and Reece Jones for winning the award for the longest and most meritorious voyage taking into account the aims of the festival (or something like that, I’m not sure). Very well done to both for planning and making the meritorious journey. Who does all the work involved in keeping a detailed log? Hopefully a team effort too!
I willl have sent out the minutes of the AGM by ‘snail mail’, many thanks to Margaret English for doing them in my absence. It is very difficult to believe - as our AGM is such a quiet and orderly affair - but there is some confusion over the silver bowl (bowel) and what was decided should be done with it! I know nothing - I wasn’t there! Still we did sort out donations, to the Right Tool appeal and towards parts and spares for the dumper. Claire has attended an AWCC meeting for us; here are some of the issues raised... The right to use red diesel will end in 2006 if we don’t fight hard to keep it: members should let us know their views and write to their MPs. Action is also needed over the funding (or shortage of funding) for the waterways museums. The seemingly constant changing of BW staff is not only causing problems at user group meetings due to lack of continuity, but is also giving rise to complaints about the condition of locks, towpaths etc. The price of BW service cards is to be standardised across the system at £6.50, with water and showers free. (no mention of washing machines or dryers) It seems that there are ‘Explorer Licences’ available for 56 days per year that can be applied for by downloading documents from the Internet. These are for boats based on private waters. It all seems a bit vague but sombody had actually seen one on a boat and asked what they were. In the Stoke area they are planning to prosecute cyclists who speed on the towpath, but nobody is sure who is going to ‘stick it on them’. (or risk getting knocked down trying?) The AWCC rally 2005 will be at Hopwood (near Tardebigge) but there is no final date yet. There will be a boat gathering at Leamington Spa on 30th April - 1st May. Thank you to Claire for attending. The next meeting is on Jan 15th so comments and views in time for that, please. By the time you read this you should have received your new membership card. (unless you haven’t paid up in which case it is TOO LATE!) It is most important that you can produce this card when you want - or need - to use any facilities offered by other AWCC clubs. I hope you are managing to enjoy some winter boating, closures permitting. XXX Sadie Dean
And finally... Thank you from the Editor to everyone who has helped with Navvies this year, whether by sending articles or photos in (apols for having to hold a couple of items over from this already-stuffed-tobursting bumper issue - you’ll have to wait till next time for our first ever Lavender Boat Camp Report), by helping with assembly, subscriptions, address labels and the other behind-the-scenes work that ensures that the mag comes out. A merry Christmas to all our readers, and if I don’t see you on the Cromford, a Happy New Year for 2005.
Mike Palmer, 3 Finwood Rd, Rowington, Warwickshire CV35 7DH Tel: 01564 785293 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Wanted Canal Camp Leaders for 2005. Contact Gav Moor (email@example.com) or Adrian Fry (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you want to offer your services to help to run one of next year’s camps.
Moving house Ed Walker (who is now Dr Ed) has moved to39 Hamble Road Didcot Oxfordshire OX11 7QS. 01235 818438. Ed@edwalker.eclipse.co.uk Adrian Fry has moved to 89 The Causeway, Quedgeley, Gloucester GL2 4LD.
Stamps wanted The WRG Canal Camps mobile phones: 07850 422156 (A) and 07850 422157 (B)
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.
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 email@example.com as a matter of interest. Editor : Martin Ludgate 35 Silvester Road East Dulwich London SE22 9PB 020-8693 3266
Noticeboard Online Navvies subscriptions You can now take out or renew Navvies subs online at www.waterways.org.uk/restoration/index.htm or at www.iwashop.com/ ecommerce/products.asp?cat=126
BIKE FOR SALE OK it’s nothing like the pic on the right - it’s actually a folding motor cycle. Di blasi Range Rider 1989. 49cc. Only done 600 miles. Ideal for getting back to the car after a weekend’s boating. Goes easily into the boot. Takes up little space. £600 or near offer. 10% of proceeds to WRG. Phone 01257 274440
Last four 2004 WRG Canal Camps T-shirts (size XL red only) available from Head Office Tel: 01923 711114 £6 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).
Change of identity
New minibus HLA is now renamed SAD in memory of Sheila Davenport. Thanks to the anonymous donor who paid for the change. 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
Still not got your WRG Calendar yet? Only £10 (cheques to ‘Inland Waterways Enterprises’) from WRG Calendars, IWA, PO Box 114,RIckmansworth WD3 1ZY
Contacting the chairman:
Health & Safety, Telegraph-style Thank you to David Mack for drawing to my attention the 28 October “Faqs! Facts! Fax!” section of the “Connected” supplement which deals with readers’ computer problems. The salient part reads:
I have taken a number of photographs at a canal working party, some people are wearing helmets, but others do not. I would like to cover all the heads with helmets and so far I have managed to use cut and paste with square or rectangular shapes, but this doesn’t look right so is there any software that will allow me to copy and paste more rounded shapes? - L. E. Haworth, via e-mail And the helpful reply: Most advanced image editing programs have a ‘freehand’ drawing tool that lets you define complex shaped objects, which you can then copy and paste into another location. You can also ‘feather’ or blur edges and fiddle around with the lighting, colour, contrast and brightness settings so that it will blend in seamlessly with the subject and background. I would start with a novice-friendly program like PaintShop Pro... So who is L.E. Haworth (or L.E of Haworth)? And where was the working party at which hard hats weren’t worn? And is the Torygraph going to follow this gem up with some more helpful hints for WRG Health & Safety for the modern high-tech navvy, such as how to play with the colour balance of your site photos to remove blood-stains after an accident, tips on forging a CITB dumper-driving certificate using Adobe Illustrator, the use of cut-and-paste to remove unsightly ambulances from your restoration photos, and how to use your digital camera’s photo-stitching software to reassemble a volunteer after a particularly nasty incident involving untrained use of chainsaws... “What are KESCRG up to?” asked the caption of the cover photo in Navvies206 (reproduced, right), and Steve Hayes has kindly sent in some suggestions... 1: Roy Sutton tries to convince the KESCRG Coxless Four of the necessity of water and oars.
Do you have any more suggestions? Or do you have a suitable photo for a caption competition? If so, please send them in.to the editor for including in the next issue.
2: The KESCRG Rocketry team prepare their entry for the ‘X Prize’.
A very special offer...
Dave Dobbin reports that the Essex WRG email mailing list has been receiving spam (unsolicited junk emails) recently with names of WRG personnel incorporated into the subject lines. (presumably extracted automatically by the junk-mailer from emails sent to the list)
...also from Dave Dobbin, for fans of the radio show “I’m sorry I haven’t a clue”, announcing the arrivals at the waterways ball...
Recently they were offered ’80% off Ali Bottomley’. Dave says “It wasn’t clear which 20% of Womble we could expect to receive but I believe there was some mention of drugs and Viagra...”
“Mr and Mrs South-Yorkshire-Navigation and their son Philip Daniel who works in catering: Chef Phil Dan South-Yorkshire-Navigation.”