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avvies N Volunteers restoring waterways No 210 April - May 2005 BCN Cleanup report and pictures

Canal Camps preview

waterway recovery group


Contents

Contributions...

...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 email attachments, preferably JPG format. Send them to the editor Martin Ludgate, 35, Silvester Road, London SE22 9PB, or email to martin.ludgate@wrg.org.uk. Press date for No 211: May 1st.

Subscriptions

In this issue:

Chairman’s Comment a tirade from MKP 4-5 Cleanup report from the BCN 6-9 Camp preview looking forward to summer 10-11 Training book now for the training weekend 12 Cavalcade Little Venice needs volunteers 13 Foxton the Plane Truth from WRG FT 14-16 Logistics Jen threatens to whinge next time 17 Diary Canal Camp and working party dates18-20 Letters Tirfors and the New Year Camp 21 Progress Dig Deep update 22-23 Wooden Boats WCBS open a shop 24 Forestry WRG FT on safety and training 25-26 And now it can be told Droitwich crimewave!27 Groups BITM and London WRG 28 Obituaries 29 Plant Bungle’s Crane and Sammy 30-32 Barndance report 33 WRGBC WRG Boat Club news 34 Noticeboard 35 Backfill late arrivals at the waterways ball 36

And next time...

A year's subscription (6 issues) is available for a minimum of £1.50 (please add a donation if pos- ....part two of the Camps Preview, covering Canal sible) to Sue Watts, 15 Eleanor Road, Chorlton- Camps from August onwards. Also reports and piccum-Hardy, Manchester M21 9FZ. Cheques to tures from the Easter Camp at Froghall, and from "Waterway Recovery Group" please. Canalway Cavalcade and the Training Weekend Visit our web site www.wrg.org.uk for all the latest news of WRG's activities

Martin Ludgate

Cover photo: One of two motorcycles (along with five shopping trolleys) found in Ryders Green Bottom Lock during the BCN Cleanup - see report on pages 8-11. (Photo by Steve Barrett) Below: Coming soon: the WRG Training Weekend. See page 12 for details.

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There now follows a Party Political Broadcast by the Canal Restoration Working Party... It appears that there may be a General Election in the UK in the not-too-distant future.

Editorial

Regular readers of Navvies have probably not noticed any great political bias either way in these pages; indeed the only mention of politics at all is probably the very occasional reference to MPs of all parties as a bunch of untrustworthy lying bastards who are only in it for themselves. And given that for most of us the choice appears to be between the bunch that brought you such triumphs as railway privatisation and the poll tax, the current lot who appear to have avoided such disasters mainly by avoiding doing anything of any substance at all during the last eight years, and a third party that has shown a remarkable lack of initiative in cashing-in on the general disillusionment with the other two, there really doesn’t seem to be a great deal to be achieved by voting for any of them - if indeed there is really any significant difference between them at all.

Which bunch of lying scumbags will you be voting for?

However there is one subject on which there does seem to be some slight discernable difference between parties - and believe it or not it’s British Waterways! As those of you who go boating on the canals may well have noticed, BW have gone into the property development business in a fairly big way in recent years. Not everyone is in favour of this - some of us don’t particularly want to see every town centre waterway surrounded by ‘prestigious waterside apartments’, ‘landmark office developments’ and the like - but it does bring in £25m a year of income for BW. And while we all have our opinions on how BW should spend its money, it does appear that this independent property income has to a certain extent reduced BW’s susceptibility to Government whim, helped them to work towards eliminating their long-standing maintenance backlog on the canals, and provided a future source of investment in the waterways from sale of property. But now the Conservative Party have announced that if elected they will force BW to sell off all its non-operational property. And will they allow BW to re-invest the estimated £400m proceeds in the waterways? No, they’ll put it towards the cost of redundancy money for the civil servants they’re planning to get rid of. And will they increase BW’s annual grant to make up for the loss of income? BW’s Chief Executive doesn’t believe so - he is concerned that eventually waterways could become unsafe due to lack of maintenance and have to close. Neither does The Inland Waterways Association, which has described the Tories’ plans as ‘a disaster’. Of course the Conservative Party have defended their proposals, saying that there will be no danger to the waterways because, after all, the safety-related backlog has already been dealt with, and we’re just dealing with the statutory arrears now, i.e. work that needs to be done sometime but isn’t endangering safety of waterways users. Well it doesn’t take a genius to spot that today’s ‘statutory arrears’ is tomorrow’s ‘safety-related backlog’. Well, not quite tomorrow: let’s say ten years’ time - in other words so far into the future electorally that the Tories needn’t bother worrying about it. And when the waterways start falling to bits again due to lack of maintenance, we’ll start to get the “why bother restoring canals when you can’t keep the existing ones maintained?” type of arguments all over again. Don’t get me wrong - I am no great lover of the Labour Party (particularly in its current guise). And I wasn’t terribly impressed when the present Government knocked a couple of million off BW’s grant last year because they had cocked up on farm subsidies and were short of money in that department. But at least they have raised it back to roughly its former level this year. And at least they supported the elimination of the waterways maintenance backlog through extra one-off grants over the previous few years. And at least they haven’t (yet) nicked any of BW’s assets and sold them to pay for dole money. It is very tempting to put on one’s rose-tinted spectacles when looking back at boating in the ‘old days’. But those were the days when lack of maintenance over time had led to the ‘tunnels crisis’, with Blisworth, Wast Hill, Ashford, Leek, Preston Brook, Netherton etc etc tunnels closed for years. While the current state of the canals is not perfect (as demonstrated by the recent breaches and bank-slips on the Rochdale, Llangollen etc), maintenance-wise it is probably the best it has been for many years and getting better. Can you trust the Tories to increase BW’s grant by £25m a year to avoid getting on the slippery slope where the backlog starts to build up again? I can’t. BW can’t. IWA can’t. If you can’t, don’t vote for them. OK Party Political Broadcast over; normal service will now resume.

Martin Ludgate

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Chairman

“BW is not set up for working with volunteers” Chairman’s Comment There are only a few rules to be followed when writing the Chairman’s Comment for Navvies... Rule 1. Always avoid making any hasty response to a particular issue: wait until all the facts are known and you have talked to all the people concerned. Rule 2. Always give a clear message: never contradict yourself further down the page. Rule 3. Never insult more than a small number of readers. However, I may well break all three rules in this comment as it will consider British Waterways’ recent perceived increase in Health & Safety management as a knee jerk reaction to the recent tragedy on the Kennet and Avon (in which two contractors working for BW were killed when a tractor overturned into the canal). Many Navvies readers do not go anywhere near a BW canal, but there is the risk that this problem may spread and I do not want to have to go through it all any more times than is necessary. Some groups are already deciding that working on a BW waterway is just too difficult and unrewarding, and that the attitude of BW negates any contribution that they can make. And, in the year of the volunteer, for any waterway to be missing this contribution seems a real shame – and it is not just the likes of WRG for whom this problem exists. All over the network there are reports of boaters, boat clubs and the like being faced with this sort of excessive/inappropriate management when they try and run a festival, improve their moorings, etc. Here is my take on the problem: BW is not set up for working with volunteers, and does not appear to recognise that a different style of management is needed. Currently, when BW try to work with volunteers they fall back on using the only ‘third party’ management infrastructure that they have: the ‘contractor relationship’. The vast majority of BW’s third party dealing is with professional contractors.

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As the contractor relationship is first and foremost financial, there is always a temptation for contractors to ‘cut corners’ - if the job is done more quickly or uses less resources then they get paid more. To counteract this there is a huge raft of management to avoid these things happening: penalties, clauses, contracts, etc. And BW are very very good at running contractors – by and large, their sites are well managed, safe, and produce high quality work. But how does this regime translate to volunteers? Quite simply it is inappropriate. (Please forgive me if I use the ‘perfect volunteer’ here – the real world will appear later.) Why would the volunteer wish to cut corners? They are giving their time freely to support something they believe in. A volunteer inherently cares about the environment he or she is working in – otherwise he or she would not be there. Nobody is being pressured to work faster, cheaper, or to lower standards. Volunteers know that restoration will take years and that there are no shortterm gains. Consequently, many of the risks associated with conventional contractors just don’t exist with volunteers. Indeed considering volunteers in the same vein as employees means that a considerable raft of other legislation applies: I understand fully why welfare legislation is so important to employees to avoid exploitation and poor conditions. Equally, when you are talking about full time employees, then using a training regime to ensure that they have appropriate skills is sensible. But to insist that a volunteer attends courses before they can make a contribution - rather than just ensuring suitable supervision - is hardly likely to encourage them, is it? In fact, it is the opposite - discouragement - which sums up the whole approach. A volunteer is made to feel that they cannot be trusted to make a contribution without the supervision of a (paid) project officer. And if they do manage to get on site, they will see the welfare caravan and portable toilet hired in at great expense, remember the cost of their training course, and ponder “Why am I doing this? Perhaps I should just let the professionals do it. I’m no cheaper than them now, and it’s costing me to attend.” Perhaps that is the plan all along. If it is, then BW really are missing a trick. Everyone agrees that if you really want to engage people then actually getting involved is what counts. If you take away the hands-on opportunity, then waterways just join the list of things that people consider “worthy” but don’t get passionate about.


We need to have that opportunity, and to have it denied because BW cannot adjust their management to cope with using a different sort of worker is a tragedy. Volunteers bring a huge range of other skills that fall through the net when you apply ‘standard contractor rules’... “Do you have a certificate in pointing?” “No, but I am an architect who has been specifying this sort of thing for 20 years.” Of course I have used the example of the ‘perfect volunteer’, and we know that that is not always the case. We too can be subject to financial pressures, deadlines or just the overwhelming desire to see some progress. That is the (hopefully not too contradictory) message: if we are to avoid the pitfalls of being judged alongside contractors, then we must also resist the pressures that they are subject too. The waterway restoration movement has long recognised that you have to tailor your volunteer management to suit the volunteers. That is why you may encounter very different styles of management depending on whether you are on an old hands’ weekend or a Canal Camp. Yes, there is great variation in standards between restoration groups (and even greater variation in standards between the volunteers in each group) but the risks have been recognised and, by and large, are being dealt with appropriately. We can recognise that there are several ways of getting to the same (safe) point.

Chairman

“We are not contractors. But we can work to the same standard” So the message we will be taking to BW is that we are not contractors. We can, however, work to the same standards - but we will manage and work in a different way. The irony is that where people are willing, we can have some cracking proper professional relationships with the likes of BW and other authorities. And despite the fact that we have been trying to influence BW for years now, we shall continue to try and make them realise just what they are missing out on. Because when you see what results we deliver when we get it right every now and then, just imagine what would happen if we got it right a lot. Meanwhile we shall continue to act as an example to all volunteers everywhere. Two final points to finish up this tirade: I apologise that I appear to be using ‘contractor’ as a dirty word. I do not mean any disrespect and I value all those contractors that are working on the system, and I have enjoyed working with many of them.

For those that are higher up the ‘perfect’ scale, treating them as a contractor is inappropriate as they do not represent the risks that contractors do. And for those slightly less-than-perfect volunteers it is also inappropriate: they need examples and encouragement to improve their contribution not regulations, penalties and clauses.

For those that doubt that the ‘perfect volunteer’ exists: I bet you have all worked alongside someone who says “I doubt I’ll ever see this canal open in my lifetime”, but who still works every weekend. And you have all seen a bricklayer on a site somewhere shake their head and knock off the course of bricks they have just laid.

So to refer back to Rule 1: we have yet to meet BW at a national level about this but it has been a long running sore for several years and it seems BW do not wish to acknowledge that a different style of management is required. Currently they seem to prefer the sound bites of ‘must be seen to be responsible’, ‘must ensure the valuable heritage is protected’, ‘duty to public safety’, etc. Our record in all these areas is very good; more to the point it has improved disproportionately as restoration has evolved. Yes, there are some groups to whom paperwork is a dirty word but equally there are many who justify real trust and who respond positively to encouragement.

So what are we doing regarding those who do want to work with BW? Obviously a lot will depend on the outcome of our meeting with them. However one thing we are going to do is to publish on the WRG website www.wrg.org.uk a complete list of every Canal Camp we have ever held, what work was done on the camp, and who it was led by, so that our leaders will find it easier to demonstrate competence and experience. If you have been a Canal Camp leader and for any reason do not want this to be published, please contact me. Mike Palmer

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BCN Cleanup

Reporting from the Walsall Canal I-SPY… …on the Birmingham Canals! BCN Clean-Up 2005, March 12-13 There are lots of fascinating things to see, smell and trawl for, on the Birmingham Canal Navigations. This booklet will show you some of the more amazing sights of the BCN. Score as many points as you can, and don’t forget to send your completed book to Big Chief I-Spy (aka the Duke of Edinburgh) and you will receive either the coveted Gold Award, or a manky old tachograph disc, whichever comes to hand first. An Accommodation You need one of these in order to get completely trolleyed (see: trolleys) on Friday and Saturday nights and not have to drive home. Here’s a typical one: a 1950s/60s/70s school in Tipton, in which youngsters are expected to grow into upright citizens, having spent their youth in a brutalist concrete box being reminded of courtesy, respect, and always wearing a condom. This accommodation is warm and has strange showers which are surprisingly satisfying.

How many unsuspecting locals signed on at your base camp, and how many brought their own kebs? Score 25pts How many actually came back on Sunday? Score 750pts Leaders You need these in order to know what you are doing, when you are doing it, and when you are allowed to go and have some tea. Here are some examples: Aileen: This is the site leader who gets everybody to the right place at the right time and then gets them all to sign on to site and to sign for borrowed BW tools (see: tools). Aileen is the link between the BW folks and the volunteers, and warns you not to get shot when you go out to site. Score 50pts for spotting Aileen’s make-up on site DrEd (mouse slayer) and Moose (Mr Moose to you): These are the zone leaders, and their job is look after a specific part of the site and ensure that you don’t actually get shot, or even injured in a normal kind of way, like having a grappling hook (see: tools) swing straight into your shins during your first half hour on site. Which zone leader were you working with? Score 50pts for DrEd and 250pts for Moose (or else he’ll rip your nuts off)

How utterly incomprehensible were the directions to your accommodation? Score 25pts

This is where you meet up with all your chums and sign on to the work site. Here you will find a leader (see: leaders) and an assortment of British Waterways staff with cool Brummie and Black Country accents. There might also be boats belching odd smoke, some big hoppers full of scrap (see: trolleys) and possibly, a Wolf.

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Martin Ludgate

Base Camp

Can you tell what it is yet?


Tools The main tool used on the BCN (other than BW blokes and boats) is of course the ubiquitous grappling hook. The reason for this ubiquitousness is that whenever you turn around or try to hook something with your grappling hook, someone else’s will somehow get in the way. How many hooks and ropes did your group get hopelessly entangled, and was any of the original colour of the rope still visible by lunchtime on Saturday?

BCN Cleanup “...the BCN approach to building a kit-car...”

Score 25pts per hopelessly entangled rope and hook

Old Tools: A popular thing to fish out is a tool from a previous Clean-Up, or something which once cleaned up a bit, can be re-used. Grappling hooks will re-appear, and Martin will no doubt add another bicycle to Fulbourne’s inventory.

Crap

How useful was your tool?

This is the whole point of the exercise. You get more points for the more outlandish/filthy/heavy thing or things that you drag out of the canal. Don’t forget that if you are in Moose’s zone, the quality of the crap always seems to be higher (the rotter). Here are some of the things you might just catch on your grappling hook:

Score 25pts for fishing out a grappling hook or a keb. Score 50pts for still using the bicycle you fished out last year.

Car Parts: Particular to the West Midlands is the BCN approach to building a kit-car. You fish various parts of several cars out of the oily water and attempt (a) to identify the car of origin and (b) build a whole one before the bits get chucked into the BW working boat. What sort of car originally contained the parts you dredged up?

Miscellaneous bits of crap and nicked stuff: This category will include bicycles, motorbikes, tyres (of all sizes and types) and the usual selection of roadworks and sunken vegetation. How much black, slimy sludgy stuff seeped out of your pieces of miscellaneous crap? Score 20pts for just all over your site boots and 100pts for so much it formed its own little support network and starting having a black, slimy, sludgy stuff coffee morning right there on the towpath.

Score 75pts if Mk2 immediately identified the exact make, model and year of the car, and 250pts if Mk2 wasn’t on your zone, but you managed to at least work out that it was maybe a Japanese 4x4. Trolleys: These devices fulfil two main purposes: (a) to convey shopping from a supermarket to a parked car (see: car parts) and (b) to be chucked into the canal in order to make navigation hazardous. Trolleys, of course, breed ferociously in canal, especially if the alpha male bread-crate trolley is also present. One lock can contain as many as five trolleys, but surprisingly, none ever seem to still contain the £1 coin. Martin Ludgate

Which supermarket (not mentioning ASDA by name) did your trolleys come from?

Score 25pts per ASDA trolley, 50pts per any other trolley, an extra 20pts per pound coin remaining. Deduct 20pts per missing wheel. One of two motorbikes found in Ryders Green Bottom Lock

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BCN Cleanup

“What kind of weird things did you drag out?” Specialist and/or unique bits of dumped stuff: This category will include anything that doesn’t come out of the canal in large numbers. What kinds of weird things did you drag out besides the usual items? Score 50pts for a TV set Score 500pts for a Pentium 4 PC, which is more up to date than the machine this report is being written on Score 100pts for a cooker of any kind and 200pts for a fridge Score 100pts for a keyboard weighing so much it might be made of concrete Score 100pts for a working pogo stick Score 200pts for a ceramic toilet Score 50pts for a bikini top or bra and score 500pts for finding the other half of the outfit (this being Topless Tipton, of course). Score an additional 500pts for knowing the cup size Score 750pts for dragging up the entire bottom of an old speedboat (“just look at what you could have won”)

Deduct 25pts if you wanted the minibus driver to pick you up but waited under the bridge ‘ole where he can’t see you

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How long did you spend touring Wolverhampton in the minibus looking for an open offie, to return only for the last line of ‘Happy Birthday’? Score 50pts for each time your beer stash clinked on the speed bumps Score 200pts if you actually remembered to buy some beer/wine BEFORE the event and bring it with you Evening Entertainment This is what happens after the big dinner and is generally done on a DIY basis. Opportunities to score abound. Score 25pts for having seconds of at least one of the puddings. Score 75pts for having cheese and biscuits sometime after 1am. Score 20pts for spotting Mike Palmer asleep with his head on the table just after dinner.

Score 100pts for Frank, acquiring a page of the BW blokes’ Stihl Products Girlie Calendar (featuring a lightly-oiled and scantily-clad female holding a Stihl chainsaw) and getting as many people as possible to sign the back of the poster to Tenko, who is recovering from serious illness. Score an extra 100pts Another boatload of junk is unloaded if you looked at the picture and actually noticed the chainsaw… into the skips at Ocker Hill

Steve Barrett

Deduct 25pts if you went and thoroughly washed your hands and then decided to take your site jacket off

This is what happens when you return to the accommodation (see: accommodation), weary after a day’s hard grappling. A nice surprise is the big dinner coinciding with someone’s 50th birthday (congratulations, Lesley!) and there being not just sausages, mash, onion gravy, swede, carrots and peas all served up by Jude and Ellie, but also a choice of three partyesque puddings (rice pud, choccy something and trifle with real strawberries!) and candles, one of which is in Lesley’s dollop of mash.

Score 20pts for WhichChris looking up an internet clubbing guide on his whizzy mobile telephone just to prove that there is indeed a club in Sheffield called Bed, only to find that it has closed.

But be careful… Deduct 50pts if you turned around to see a local kid chucking whatever you just dragged out back into the canal

Big Dinner


Eventually, everyone finally tires out and goes to bed only to find that (a) they are going to slowroast overnight because the heating system has been left on and (b) the lighting circuits are so convoluted that it is impossible to turn the lights on in the loo without fully illuminating at least one of the dorms. How did you find your way to the toilet? Score 50pts for avoiding wet feet.

BCN Cleanup “....including the need to recognise rodents...”

And finally… To complete your booklet, you will need to spot those who made it happen. Score 1000pts for Aileen putting it all together Score a zillion points for Jude and Ellie cooking up a storm in a compact and bijou facility. Score 750pts for BW blokes, Claire the BW PR (who makes good tea), several senior BW visitors and model BW vans which made nice (and collectable?) souvenirs. Martin Ludgate

Score 500pts for a Vaughan-quality risk assessment including the need to “recognise rodents” (score an additional 50pts per rat and 250 pts for being a mouse slayer).

Score 250pts for drivers doing ferry runs between sites in increasingly smelly miniWe’ve been framed! buses, Just Jen bringAnd from the leader... ing the cooker from Lichfield (and Alice Many thanks to all those hardy folk who braved the chilly weather to go from Sheffield) and fishing on the Walsall Canal of the Birmingham Canal Navigations. Great James (newly-qualified were the hauls and black were the WRGies, but it was a very productive minibus licence holder) weekend, and British Waterways and future boaters of the length of canal and DrEd (newly-quali- are grateful. BW will let us know the final total of tonnage retrieved from fied mouse slayer) for the depths after collecting the rest of the rubbish you pulled out the next other van and trailer morning, assuming the locals hadn’t tipped it back in by then. So great was shenanigans. Score an the amount of rubbish that not a lot of distance was covered. Another time? additional 25pts per BW officials joined us each day to help and see how it all worked (and it time that DIG-SAD’s did). It was good to see so many locals of all ages join us, maybe some future tachograph tried to eat WRGies there, including perhaps Peter Smedley who came to collect his your disc. parents Sunday lunchtime. Score 100pts for Phoenix, Bittell, Wolf and crews and scrap-hauling lorries operated by someone called Brian. “See you next year on the BCN”, says Mk2. Mark ‘Mk2’ Richardson

Special thanks go to the great catering team of Jude and Ellie, with some assistance from Tess. Not only was the food good but they also made a gooey chocolate cake for Lesley’s birthday. Also to drivers Mark II, Sleepy Dave and Daddy Cool, Martin for paperwork, runarounds Ed and James Butler for collecting and returning van, kit and cooker, Ed (again) and Moose for being able Zone leaders and, of course, to your good selves for all your hard work. Aileen Butler PS have just heard from BW that it was 7 skips = 27 tonnes of rubbish.

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Preview

Looking forward to the first of the summer Canal Camps Canal Camps Preview 2005 By the time you read this, the first of this year’s camps will have happened. Predictions are that the Easter Camp at Froghall Basin on the Uttoxeter Canal will have been a great success and all will have enjoyed Peggy’s excellent ice creams in the unusually warm spring weather. However I would say that, as I’m the leader! That said, there are still plenty of camps to go, and here is a taster of what’s to come for the first half of the 2005 Canal Camps season... As we move into the summer, 25th June sees the start of Camp 02 on the Sleaford Navigation. Leaders Nina Whiteman and Izzy Gascoigne promise you a warm welcome for a camp that offers a chance to practice your machine work, as well as a variety of other tasks as they repair the river bank and improve the towpath access. Wednesday 29th June sees the start of the popular camp that helps to run the Saul Canal Festival with the Cotswolds Canals Trust. Like a smaller version of the National (but getting bigger every year) this is always a fantastic camp. Leaders Nick Coolican-Smith and Lauren Spurling have asked that you book on to Camp 03 quickly as spaces are limited!

July also sees the start of two slightly longer projects for WRG. Camp 05 on the Wey & Arun Canal starts a three week project to lower Brewhurst Lock, north of the village of Loxwood. Believe it or not, the aim of this project is to actually lower the lock by several feet! This first week has been “adopted” by the Newbury Working Party Group (NWPG) who will offer the chance for you to learn and practice a variety of construction skills from the 9th of July. Camp 07 (starting on July 16th) will continue the project with Ian Williamson and (Purple) Steve Davis – both of KESCRG fame – at the helm. Finally on July 23rd, we hand the site back to the members of the Wey & Arun Canal Trust who will be running Camp 09. (It is their canal, after all!) Also starting on the 9th of July will be the first of two weeks on the Grand Western Canal in the beautiful Devon countryside. Judith Gordon and Jenni Copeland are leading Camp 06 and will handover to... me... for the start of Camp 08 on July 16th. The continual support we receive both from ranger Baker and also the members of the Grand Western Canal Trust make these camps fantastic fun. This year we will finish the restoration of Whipcott wharf, and continue the restoration of the nearby Lime Kilns – the perfect opportunity to practice (or learn) some heritage pointing and stonework skills. Are the rumours about Diggerland, Topless Thursday and the pub landlord cooking our dinner true? You’ll have to book on to find out.

Colin Bryan

We then move to the Grantham Canal where Camp 04 starts on July 2nd. As long as Mark Scoble’s boss lets him have the time off work, he’ll be there to help build on the success of recent camps and the 2004 Bonfire Bash. Work details were still being finalised as we went to print, but we are likely to be demolishing and then re-building footbridges on this beautiful rural canal One of two culverted footbridges on the Grantham Canal that are to be demolin the Vale of Belvoir – nice! ished and replaced with full-size bridges, starting on this year’s Canal Camp

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At the end of July, camp 10 (starting on the 23 rd) moves to Shrivenham on the Wilts & Berks Canal where you’ll have a chance to practice your carpentry and bricklaying skills as we build the form-work to act as a support while a traditional brick bridge is re-built.

Preview

Lowering locks, raising bridges, running festivals....

David Jowett

Two of our shiny red vans will also make their regular foray into God’s beautiful country that week to start work on the Crumlin branch of the Mon & Brec at Fourteen Locks close to Newport. As the name suggests there’s a flight of 14 locks here and, along with the complex system of channels and ponds that controlled the water supply, it is a sight to behold as it drops into the valley below. There will be a wide variety of work on offer here, including repairs to the stonework and a chance to practice pointing. Volunteers have already restored one lock here and the task for Camp 11 is... well, let’s be realistic about this shall Come and help to run the Cotswold Canals Trust ever-expanding Saul Canal we? Festival: Canal Camp 03, starting on June 29th. Coming in the next Navvies will be details of Camps 12 to 20, which include more fun on the Wilts & Berks, a second week on the Mon & Brec, camps on the H&G, the Lichfield, and also details of a camp on the Ramsey Forty Foot Drain in Cambridgeshire. If that wasn’t enough, we’ll also being enticing you to attend the IWA Festival, the Christmas Camp plus details of the wrg Bonfire Bash in November. I look forward to seeing you on one or more camps this summer. Gavin Moor

STOP PRESS: Camp Leaders We still have a small number of vacancies for Canal Camp Leaders this season. If you’ve not been in touch with me already and are willing (or could be bribed) to lead a Canal Camp this summer, please get in touch ASAP. Plenty of work on the Grand Western (Camp 08, starts July 16th) including... err... pointing...

email: Gavin.Moor@wrg.org.uk Tel: 07970 989245. page 11


Training

New for this year: training in shuttering & reinforcement As many of this year’s projects require skills of a non-plant variety, we have decided to offer a slightly different programme of training at this year’s Training Weekend.

Martin Ludgate

WRG Training Weekend 2005: May 7th/8th

The proposed courses are as follows: First Aid, bricklaying, heritage pointing, levels & surveying, banksman (signalling), electrickery, shuttering & reinforcement, and loading & securing plant. As Training available in surveying and levelling they will be there anyway, it is also possible to offer training on vans and trailers, as well as the beavertail for those who would find this useful. Hopefully a dumper and our excavator ‘Blue’ will be available for training on one of the days when they are not being commandeered by Bungle for lashing down to the beavertail! The list is all well and good, but if there are skills that have been missed that your group or society would find invaluable this year, please let us know so we can try to arrange courses for you. The other point is that all of the training invariably costs money, so if no-one books on or shows any interest in the courses, there is little point in us booking an instructor. So don’t leave it until the last minute to find that your course has been cancelled due to insufficient numbers – phone/email now! Although the accommodation is booked for Hatton Scout Hut, the site has not yet been confirmed but obviously it will be nearby, possibly on our doorstep! You are welcome to drop in for one of the days or to stay for the whole weekend. Accommodation will be available from Friday night. Bookings and enquiries to me on Tel: 07719643870 or 0191 422 5469 and email: training@wrg.org.uk.

Martin Ludgate

Ali Bottomley

Also on offer at this year’s Training Weekend is training in loading and securing of plant, but this time with real plant rather than somebody’s car, and with the beavertail truck instead of the trailer

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Canalway Cavalcade: Little Venice, April 30-May 2 Just an up date on how the plans for Canalway Cavalcade at Little Venice are going... I am still looking for volunteers (you can never have too many?)

Coming soon

Please come and help at Canalway Cavalcade Speaking to the Commercial Manager (or Jerry to those who know him), they have had a lot of interest from the traders.

Lots of people have said they will be coming but can you please send an email or phone me. This will then remind me to save a berth on one of our ‘floating hotels’! Accommodation is on two or three boats that have been assigned to this task.

Those who have been to the Cavalcade before will notice the site layout has changed slightly and the WRG group has moved to behind the new bridge, further down the Paddington Arm, the old grass site (or mud as per last year) will be left just for ramblers.

At the moment I have been told that there are 100 boats already booked in, but they still expect a rush closer to the time because people will have assumed someone else will have done it.

Please contact me on my normal email address moose@wrg.org.uk or mobile phone number 07961 922153. Dave ‘Moose’ Hearnden

Martin Ludgate

If anyone tries to tell me its too far to travel, I have a volunteer who came last year, worked on site and liked it so much that he has booked his rail ticket already for this years event... Patrick is coming from Scotland. (Tay, that’s your excuse out the window)

KESCRG’s Little Venice team last year. Do you want to be part of Moose’s team there this year?

page 13


Dig Report

I hope I’m right in saying Friday was the most productive day felling-wise, due to the wind getting up over the rest of the weekend and making conditions for felling unsafe at times. The wind certainly had a tendency to blow straight across the top of the plane from the locks’ direction so whilst down below things sometimes felt reasonably calm, conditions “upstairs” were somewhat gusty!

WRG Forestry Team return to the Foxton Inclined Plane Foxton Revisited – 11th to 13th February 05 Thursday night saw Tenko, Sparky, Alison, and Sue return to Gumley ready for the off on Friday to get things set up for the weekend ahead. Friday - Hazard tape was reeled out to demark our territory, crash barriers were put up to keep strangers out (or us in?!), one or two fence rails were taken off, and the tracked chipper was… tracked onto the incline.

An intelligent conversation ensued around breakfast-time regarding the restoration of the plane – something to do with whether they’d keep the existing structure… “Concrete’s concrete, isn’t it?!” Sue said. Dr Liz had trouble with trousers … Ian wasn’t part of “Wife Swap” merely ‘trouser swap’ as Liz had just picked up a random handful of work trousers to go away with! John and Tess appeared ‘as if by magic’ and we would’ve had a complete set if Tea Boy hadn’t been called away to do some real work!

The ‘Pigeon Tree’: now you see it...

page 14

Jen Leigh

Jen Leigh

Felling commenced with Sparky on the lower incline and Alison on the upper. Tenko was restricted to light duties only – supervising mainly!

Saturday arrived and with it Tea Boy (aka Clive)! He arrived and left before most of us got up… after making a brew of course!

...and now you don’t


Saturday was an odd (and incredibly blustery!) day… there were actually too many people owing to the goal posts being moved – more to the point, the tracked chipper could be tracked so smaller numbers were fine! Nothing was actually allowed to drive on the incline in September but then BW decided this time we could! This meant a great deal to those of us who were there in September. A tracked chipper was just the job as it meant taking the chipper to the brash and not the brash to the chipper. The only problem now was that it seemed a little pointless having it in one spot most of the day and dragging stuff to it! But then I guess you don’t often get the opportunity to complain about having too many people on site so we shan’t mention that. And thank you to the relatively local IWA branch members who volunteered and turned up!

After his mammoth tour of the South, Tea Boy rang when he was nearly back with us to find out if we wanted any shopping getting. Sparky asked if he could get a big bottle of inspiration as we hadn’t used any perspiration! Alison cooked us a lovely meal after which we adjourned to the public house for a jar or two. Sunday came and Tenko was far from being in the doghouse this time. Even Molly Dog took pity on him! So we all crept away as quietly as we could to leave him (and Alison) in peace. The Chipper Crew were going great guns once the chipper was moved down to the path around the lower basin. The chips were strewn over the muddy pathway to make it easier to walk on and the piles of brash disappeared steadily.

Jen Leigh

Due to leaves on the line and sand potentially getting in the sandwiches (or was it sawdust?!) Mike Beech from the Museum very kindly offered their mezzanine facilities to us for lunch. Much appreciated! Even the cheap seats!

A few trees found their way to the ground whilst Tenko’s light duties were chief chain-sharpener and Safety bloke, i.e. watching the trees to check they weren’t about to fall on our heads! And that was without anyone at the root of them, chainsaw in hand - it really was that windy!

“A tracked chipper was just the job as it meant taking the chipper to the brash and not the brash to the chipper”

page 15


Dig report

“A consistent procedure should be adhered to throughout” Lunch was in comfort and warmth again in the museum and included the delicious freshly baked pasties from the bottom of the lock flight!

We finally went back to the hall to pick Tenko and Alison up when site was clear… we all but bundled Tenko into RFB in his pit but Alison pulled the plug (from the airbed!) on him so that was foiled. And now we know just why he’s been so tired and ill! Many best wishes to Himself from all of us and fingers and everything crossed! The moral of this Foxton tale then is don’t let anyone else on your site in between times when you visit, or (because that’s not very volunteer-friendly or ‘PC’), the people overseeing the project should insist on a consistent procedure that should be adhered to throughout. That may sound harsh but despite being volunteers our work in this field is (and has to be) at a professional level and we certainly are not ‘playing at it’!! But we still manage to have fun at the end of the day so we must be doing something right! Just Jen

Jen Leigh

By the end of the day a substantial part of the brash piles left by some ‘kind people’ were cleared although there are still some that remain on the upper incline. I have to say that was the more annoying part of this weekend was that we always make the site tidy at the end of the day… well, after each tree to be honest! A tree gets felled, all scrubby bits removed, then it’s logged up and the relevant bits are chipped or stacked in a log pile. So to encounter many large piles of brash on our return was disappointing to say the least! The weather aside, we could have progressed much quicker and further without having to tidy up site first! Mind you, if we’d had the tracked chipper in September we would have progressed much further anyway! C’est la vie! (Sorry Rog!)

The highlight of the day came when Sparky decided the wind had dropped enough to lay the affectionately named “pigeon tree” to rest. Definitely Sunday afternoon’s entertainment! Everyone stood well away whilst Sparky got on with it. There was a big cheer and round of applause for him when the tree fell exactly into the gap between the fence and the Oak! [The cutting-of-thethroat gesture and fence pointing weren’t correct!!]

A clear view down the Inclined Plane to the boats moored in the arm below

page 16


WRG Logistics Report There’s nothing to see here! Well, as in nothing’s happened on the Logistics front… a very similar picture to this time last year I seem to remember. But much planning has been done for various new ideas. How many of them come to fruition remains to be seen. (Mucho time dependent!) ‘Other things’ take precedence around this time but next time full whingeing will no doubt resume. Or maybe the issue after that… I may give you a longer break from it… or maybe you will all give me a break from feeling the need! If you recall the last issue of Navvies Martin thought I was complaining about his choice of picture (the trailer pack) that accompanied the previous issues article. (And here I am sending you another short article! D’oh!) Nothing was further from my mind! I merely wished to point out that whilst the trailer packs that have appeared in Navvies previously have looked fairly neat and not “thrown in” (like some I’ve seen!! If only “thrown in” was just an expression!) they weren’t actually correct! Plans are afoot to show you how to pack a trailer - it’s really quite simple and please bear in mind that we’ve been doing this a while and know what works. But no offence to you, Martin, was ever intended.

Coming soon: “How to pack a trailer” Any bits and pieces you find if you too have a clear-out (mine’s next on the list of things to do… well, nearly!) and you think they may be of some use to me please let me know (email/letter/phone call) what you have and I’ll see if we can’t make some use of them. Thanks also to Graham ‘Sparky’ Robinson who has fashioned some new grappling hooks out of coat hangers and paperclips … sorry, no not really… who has bought us some shiny new grappling hooks. Ta very much! And that, my friends, is small onions… for now! Until next time. Just Jen logistics@wrg.org.uk

Jen Leigh

Thanks very much to Steve Morley for donating some Bonzer can opener parts he found when having a clearout! Amazing what you can find in the back of the shed or garage! Don’t even go there with this place – I dread to think what’s lurking in some of those hidey holes I’ve stored stuff away in. All I have to do with those spare parts now is ‘evict’ them from our house and put them to us … Like so much other stuff! Hmmm …

Logistics

To avoid the possibility of any further misunderstandings between the editor and Jen about the choice of pics to fill any spare space on the Logistics page, this time we have used one of Jen’s own photos - a view up the Foxton incline with clearance work in progress by WRG FT (see report on previous pages)

page 17


Diary

Canal Camps cost £42 per week unless otherwise stated. Bookings for WRG Canal Camps (those identified by a camp number e.g. 'Camp 0502') should go to WRG Canal Camps, PO Box 114, Rickmansworth WD3 1ZY. Tel: 01923 711114. Email: enquiries@wrg.org.uk

Apr 9/10

NWPG

Basingstoke Canal: Dig Deep project

Apr 9 Sat

wrgNW

‘Paper Chase’ waste paper collection

Apr 16/17

wrgBITM

Lichfield Canal: Dig Deep project

Apr 16/17

KESCRG

Mon & Brec Canal: Dig Deep project

Apr 16/17

wrgSW

Mon & Brec Canal: (provisional) Joint dig with KESCRG

Apr 23/24

London WRG

Wilts & Berks Canal: to be confirmed

Apr 30-May 2 IWA/WRG

Site services for IWA Canalway Cavalcade rally at Little Venice

Apr 30-May 2 wrgBITM

Little Venice: Sales Stall at Canalway Cavalcade

Apr 30-May 2 wrgNW

Mon & Brec Canal: Fourteen Locks. Joint dig with Essex WRG.

Apr 30-May 2 Essex WRG

Mon & Brec Canal: Joint dig with wrgNW at 14-Locks at High Cross. Mainly scr

May 1 Sun

Navvies

Press date for issue 211

May 7/8

NWPG

Lichfield Canal: Dig Deep project

May 7/8

WRG

WRG Training Weekend: Bricklaying, stonework and heritage building repairs.

May 14/15

London WRG

Basingstoke Canal: Dig Deep project

May 14 Sat

wrgNW

‘Paper Chase’ waste paper collection

May 15 Sun

WRG

Committee & Board Meetings

May 20/21/22 wrgBITM

Rickmansworth Canal Festival: Site Services. Festival will be open to public on

May 21-22

Cotswold Canals: (provisional)

wrgSW

May 28/29/30 wrgBITM

Wendover Arm Festival: Site Services. Festival will be open to public on 29/30 o

Jun 4/5

wrgNW

To be arranged

Jun 4/5

London WRG

Grand Western Canal: to be confirmed

Jun 7 Tue

Navvies

Issue 211 Assembly: Date unconfirmed. London Canal Museum 7pm onwards

Jun 11/12

KESCRG

Basingstoke Canal: Dig Deep project

Jun 18/19

wrgBITM

Basingstoke Canal: Dig Deep project at Brookwood. Joint dig with NWPG.

Jun 18/19

NWPG

Basingstoke Canal: Dig Deep project. Joint dig with wrgBITM.

Jun 25/26

London WRG

Mon & Brec Canal: Dig Deep project

Jun 25 Sat

wrgNW

‘Paper Chase’ waste paper collection

Jun 25-Jul 2 Camp 0502

Sleaford Navigation - Canal Camp

Jun 29-Jul 5 Camp 0503

Saul Festival - Canal Camp. Note: runs Wednesday to Wednesday

Jul 1 Fri

Navvies

Press date for issue 212: including Canal Societies directory

Jul 2/3

wrgNW

To be arranged

Jul 2-3

wrgSW

Grand Western Canal

Jul 2-9

Camp 0504

Grantham Canal Camp

Jul 9-16

Camp 0505

Wey & Arun Canal Camp (NWPG): Dig Deep project at Brewhurst Lock. Organ

Jul 9-16

Camp 0506

Grand Western Canal Camp

Jul 10 Sun

WRG

Committee & Board Meetings

Jul 16/17

London WRG

Derby Canal: to be confirmed

page 18


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

p

rub-bashing.

21/22.

only.

nised by NWPG.

Graham Hawkes

0118-941-0586

grahamhawkes@btinternet.com

David McCarthy

0161-740-2179

Dave Wedd

01252-874437

bookings@wrgBITM.org.uk

Eddie Jones

0845-226-8589

eddie@kescrg.org.uk

Gavin Moor

07970-989245

gavin.moor@wrg.org.uk

Tim Lewis

07802-518094

london@wrg.org.uk

Dave Hearnden

07961 922153

moose@wrg.org.uk

Dave Wedd

01252-874437

bookings@wrgBITM.org.uk

David McCarthy

0161-740-2179

malcolm.bridge@btclick.com

Dave Dobbin

01702-544096

essex@wrg.org.uk

Martin Ludgate

020-8693-3266

martin.ludgate@wrg.org.uk

Graham Hawkes

0118-941-0586

grahamhawkes@btinternet.com

Ali Bottomley

07719-643870

training@wrg.org.uk

Tim Lewis

07802-518094

london@wrg.org.uk

David McCarthy

0161-740-2179

Mike Palmer

01564-785293

mike.palmer@wrg.org.uk

Dave Wedd

01252-874437

bookings@wrgBITM.org.uk

Gavin Moor

07970-989245

gavin.moor@wrg.org.uk

Dave Wedd

01252-874437

bookings@wrgBITM.org.uk

David McCarthy

0161-740-2179

malcolm.bridge@btclick.com

Tim Lewis

07802-518094

london@wrg.org.uk

John Hawkins

01923-448559

hawkins@jote.fsnet.co.uk

Eddie Jones

0845-226-8589

eddie@kescrg.org.uk

Dave Wedd

01252-874437

bookings@wrgBITM.org.uk

Graham Hawkes

0118-941-0586

grahamhawkes@btinternet.com

Tim Lewis

07802-518094

london@wrg.org.uk

David McCarthy

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

Martin Ludgate

020-8693-3266

martin.ludgate@wrg.org.uk

David McCarthy

0161-740-2179

malcolm.bridge@btclick.com

Gavin Moor

07970-989245

gavin.moor@wrg.org.uk enquiries@wrg.org.uk

Graham Hawkes

0118-941-0586

grahamhawkes@btinternet.com enquiries@wrg.org.uk

Mike Palmer

01564-785293

mike.palmer@wrg.org.uk

Tim Lewis

07802-518094

london@wrg.org.uk

page 19


Diary

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 email tim@timlewis.org.uk. NWPG: 9:00pm on 3rd Tue of month at the 'Hope Tap', West end of Friar St. Reading. Graham Hawkes 0118 941 0586

Canal SocietiesÂ’ regular monthly or weekly working parties Please send any amendments, additions and deletions to Dave Wedd (address on previous page) 3rd Sunday of month BCNS Jeff Barley 2nd Sunday & following Wed. BCS Cosgrove Athina Beckett Anytime inc. weekdays BCT Aqueduct section Gerald Fry Every Sunday ChCT Various sites Mick Hodgetts Mon & Wed mornings CCT Cotswolds Dudley Greenslade Every weekend (Sat OR Sun) CCT Cotswolds Neil Ritchie 1st Sunday of month CCT Cotswolds: summit Mark Welton Wednesday evenings CCT Cotswolds: East end Keith Harding Every Saturday DCT Droitwich Canal Jon Axe Last Sunday of month EAWA N Walsham & Dilham Kevin Baker 4th Sunday of month ECPDA Langley Mill Michael Golds Second Sun of month FIPT Foxton Inclined PlaneMike Beech 1st & 3rd Sundays GCRS Grantham Canal Colin Bryan 2nd Sat of month GWCT Nynehead Lift Denis Dodd Tuesdays H&GCT Oxenhall Brian Fox Weekends H&GCT Over Wharf House Maggie Jones Wednesdays H&GCT Over Wharf House Wilf Jones Weekends H&GCT Hereford Aylestone Martin Danks Every Sunday if required IWPS Bugsworth Basin Ian Edgar 1st Saturday & 3rd Wed. IWA Ipswich Stowmarket Navigtn. Colin Turner 2nd weekend of month K&ACT John Rolls 2nd Sunday of month LCT Lancaster N. Reaches Will Warburg 1st Sunday of month LHCRT Lichfield Peter Matthews 3rd Sunday of month LHCRT Hatherton Denis Cooper 2nd & last Sundays PCAS Paul Waddington 2nd Sunday of month SCARS Sankey Canal Colin Greenall 1st Sunday of month SCCS Combe Hay Locks Bob Parnell Most weekends SHCS Basingstoke Peter Redway 1st Sunday of month SNT Haverholme Lock Dave Pullen 1st weekend of month SUCS Newhouse Lock Mike Friend 3rd Sunday of month TMCA David Rouse Every Sunday & Thurs WACT varied construction Eric Walker Mondays (2 per month) WACT tidying road crossings Brian Crossley Tuesdays WACT Tickner's Heath Depot Colin Gibbs Wednesdays WACT maintenance work Peter Jackman Wednesdays WACT Loxwood Link Peter Wilding Tues, Thurs & Sats WACT Winston Harwood Various dates WACT Hedgelaying (Oct-Mar) Keith Nichols 1st weekend of month WAT Little Tring Roger Leishman Every weekend WBCT Wilts & Berks Canal Peter Smith Every Sunday W&BCC Dauntsey / Foxham Rachael Banyard

Abbreviations used in Diary BCNS BCS BCT ChCT CCT DCT EAWA ECPDA FIPT GCRS GWCT H&GCT IWPS K&ACT

page 20

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

01543-373284 01908-661217 01288-353273 01246-620695 01453 825515 01452-854057 01453-872405 01451-860181 0121-608 0296 01362-699855 0115-932-8042 0116-279-2657 0115-989-2248 01823-661653 01432 358628 01452 618010 01452 413888 01432 344488 01663-732493 01473-730586 01189-666316 01931-713317 01543-318933 01543-374370 01757-638027 01744-731746 01225-428055 01483-721710 01673-862278 01948-880723 01474-362861 023-9246-3025 01737-843192 020-8241-7736 01483-772132 01483-422519 01293-424672 01403-753882 01442-874536 01793-852883 01249-892289

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


Dear Martin I would like to clarify a couple of points that were raised in the Wilts & Berks New Year Camp report. The Wilts & Berks Canal Co always has had a New year Camp. A couple of times this has also been the official WRG New year camp but when that has been held at another venue the Wilts & Berks Canal Co have still had their New Year camp. Comments regarding the changes in venue for the WRG New Year camp were slightly distorted due I believe to a oversight by Rachael when compiling the Camp Report. Maria and I carried out a site visit with Doug and Bob who are the local organisers from the Wilts & Berks group. We walked the whole length of the Pewsham stretch. After reaching the far end Doug had to rush back as he was going away that afternoon.

Letters

...on Tirfors, Nationals and New Year Camps... Because time was getting short I said to Rachael that I needed to know if they could find another site by the next weekend. As nothing was heard the dig went ahead; as reported in the last issue of Navvies we had a very successful camp on the Cromford Canal. Dave ‘Moose’ Hearnden

Bob, Maria and myself walked back up the stretch looking at what was being asked of a camp. I asked Bob about how many locals they get on average and the answer was ten to twelve on a typical weekend. I then asked how long would it take them to carry out the work that Doug had suggested.

Dear Martin,

This work involved pulling (using tirfors) stumps to a place where they could be burned, gathering up any bits of chopped trees and bushes so they could make the fire for the stumps. The only bit of scrub bashing was about 150 metres of scrub that could be done with a brush cutter. This small section had been scrub bashed by Rachael and team before the end of 2004 tree-cutting season.

But here goes some hopefully straight record setting…

Bob reckoned it would take a few days - maybe three or four. And that was working on 10 to 12 people. I was leading a camp that I could expect up to 25 people. When I explained this, he agreed that there was not the work for a camp of this size. Maria & I left Wilts & Berks disappointed because I had expected to find a scrub bash suitable for a WRG camp, and that was not the case. After 10 years of scrub-bashing on the Wilts & Berks it was almost completed! Whilst that represents good progress on the restoration of the canal, the prospect of a WRG New year canal camp with not enough work was not a happy thought. London WRG were going to the Cromford Canal the following weekend for a scrub bash, so I decided to see what they had to offer. Alternatively we could try going back to the Grantham where the Bonfire Bash had been a month or so earlier. With this in mind I phoned Rachael and mentioned the lack of scrub for bashing. We had a lengthy discussion about how much work there was, and whether we could do brick laying and hedge laying etc. I kept explaining that this was the WRG New year scrub bash and it is a Scrub Bash, always has been a scrub bash, not tirforing, not brick laying I did say that if they could find some suitable scrub to be bashed I would consider having the camp on the Wilts & Berks but at the present time, I would not lead the Wrg New Year camp with so little work to be done.

Right then, where do I start? I’m afraid there’s a huge yawn factor attached to this letter and it’s predictable that I’m replying… I would really have rather just let the subject lie!

I wish to furnish you all with some facts about the end of last year’s National: Number One: Moose departed site before I took the last trailer away (Bungle can vouch for that!), Number Two: So yes, I did more than just ‘help’ move a trailer… I moved it right away from Burton(!), Number Three: There was no Tirfor sat on the floor by the trailer where it had been lurking the previous afternoon, Number Four: I didn’t find said Tirfor inside the trailer when I had to repack it there, Number Five: Aargh! A huge wave of apathy and boredom has washed over me! Regarding Moose’s letter and also being very good at Pedantry – as I am at present due to lack of sleep and brochure-related stress – I never said that the Tirfor was actually lost in the first article, merely missing! And when I mentioned lost in the subsequent article I qualified what I meant by saying “if lost is somewhere the object shouldn’t be then lost is what is!” At the end of the day, we’re all aiming for the same goal and we’re all volunteers so the last thing I want to do is to aggravate anyone but please remember it works both ways and bitching won’t help encourage Lynn (so sorry about this!) or anyone else for that matter to donate anything to us in future. I hope Moose doesn’t take this the wrong way and feel the need to write another letter … I suspect everyone would rather the subject was closed! Happy Faces anyone? Just Jen Please can we have some letters on more interesting subjects next time? ...Ed

page 21


Progress

What’s happening on the Dig Deep projects Dig Deep update It has been sometime since the last report on Dig Deep. However as observers of the Navvies diary will be aware the words “Dig Deep” continue to appear regularly against dig venues and the programme of co-ordinated working has been ongoing despite a relatively quiet year in 2004.

Our work at Lichfield will be to support the local trust in their ongoing project to reinstate the length of canal running alongside Tamworth Road including Locks 24, 25 and 26 and the intervening pounds. Many of us have already worked on the locks on this section (and the programme includes more of this) but this will be opportunity link all the earlier work together and provide a restored length of canal in a very public area. The work will be mainly bricklaying, concreting and support tasks. On the Mon & Brec we will be continuing the good work started by last year’s WRG and KESCRG camps at the Fourteen Locks site on the Crumlin Arm just outside Newport. Our work will be based around the summer camps organised by WRG concentrating on the restoration of the second and third locks from the top of the flight and their associated weirs and side ponds. Work will commence in April and continue through to October and will involve digging out and careful conservation and repair of the many stone structures on this historic site. The objective of the local trust is to flood the pounds and add to the attraction of this already fascinating site. If successful then there are another eleven locks and pounds to work on in future years.

Bill Nicholson

To the unfamiliar, the Dig Deep Initiative involves five mobile working party groups (London WRG, KESCRG, Essex WRG, NWPG and WRG BITM) committing themselves to carrying out a certain amount of volunteer work (whether in the form of Canal Camps or weekend working parties) on certain restoration projects in southern England that have been adopted as ‘Dig Deep Projects’. And thereby hopefully enabling the local canal societies that we are supporting on these projects to be able to commit funds and materials to them in the knowledge that there will be the labour to complete them.

As I said, 2004 was a fairly quiet year for Dig Deep projects but in some ways this has helped us to find some venues on canals new to Dig Deep. So for 2005 (and possibly 2006) we shall be working on both the Lichfield Canal and the Mon & Brec Crumlin Arm for the first time as Dig Deep projects.

Dig Deep on the Wey & Arun: the scaffolding is removed allowing Haybarn Swingbridge to swing for the first time

page 22


In agreeing these two new sites we have been taking a risk in that both are away from our traditional stamping ground – the South and South East. We have recognised that without the Wilts & Berks currentlly having a suitable project ready to start, and with the Cotswolds being on what seems to be ‘indefinite hold’ for volunteers we are going to have to travel further afield. This makes it difficult for those volunteers in some of the groups who tend to attend for a day only, and has affected the attendance on some of these more distant digs. So volunteers from any source will be particularly welcomed at these new sites as we need to maintain our side of the commitment. More locally, the familiar Basingstoke and Wey & Arun canals remain on our schedules. The most successful Dig Deep project of 2004 has been the rebuilding of the Haybarn Swing Bridge on the Arun Canal section of the W & A. By the time you read this we hope that the work will be substantially complete ready for the re-opening ceremony in July this year. In one year exactly Dig Deep have transformed this former fixed concrete farm crossing into a navigable opening with a refurbished swing bridge from the Leeds & Liverpool Canal. Working in partnership with the Wey & Arun Canal Trust and with the selective but appropriate use of contractors (steel repairs and transporting the bridge) this project has been an excellent example of Dig Deep at its most effective.

Progress

“Volunteers from any source will be welcome at these new sites” Potential volunteers will find the canal camps for all three 2005 Dig Deep projects listed in the 2005 Camps Brochure. Further details about the new projects can be obtained from the Group’s Dig Deep reps: LWRG – The Navvies Editor;KESCRG – Ian Williamson; NWPG – Graham Hawkes; BITM – Dave Wedd; Essex WRG - Dave Dobbin. Contact details can be found in the Diary or Directory section of Navvies. Bill Nicholson

Martin Ludgate

Once Haybarn Bridge is complete, we will move up the canal to assist in the rebuilding of Brewhurst Lock to reduce its height by approximately 1.5m as part of the Loxwood Crossing project, which aims to get a navigable canal under the currently culverted B-road. Three weeks of summer camps run by NWPG, KESCRG and WACT, supported by WRG will provide an intensive programme of work aimed at substantially completing the lowering of the lock in time for the re-watering of the canal before the Santa Plenty of work for future years: Fourteen Locks on the Mon & Brec Cruises restart.

page 23


WCBS

The Wooden Canal Boat Society Shop needs help! The Wooden Canal Boat Society

Goods are collected using the societyÂ’s boats on monthly recycling trips, and the schedule of these trips for the rest of the year is as follows: May 8th, June 5th, July 3rd, August 7th, September 4th, October 2nd, November 6th, December 4th. For further information or to offer your services, contact WCBS, 5 Oaken Clough Terrace, Ashton under Lyne OL7 9NY. Tel: 0161 330 2315, mobile: 07931 952 037, email: racheldixon@beeb.net.

WCBS

As part of its boat-based recycling project, and to help raise funds for the restoration and maintenance of its fleet of six historic wooden working narrow boats based at Portland Basin on the Ashton Canal east of Manchester, WCBS has opened a shop in Stalybridge selling clothes and bric-a-brac.

The shop is on Corporation Street, Stalybridge (close to Huddersfield Canal Lock 6w), and WCBS are appealing for volunteers to help with staffing the shop, internet sales, sales through free ads, sorting, checking and storing of collected goods, and expanding the range of their collections.

Wooden narrow boat Lillith leaves Fairfield Junction on one of WCBSÂ’s regular recycling trips

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WRG Forestry Team report Greetings. A mixed bag from WRG Forestry this time... Firstly I’m pretty sure many of you will by now have heard of Dave ‘Tenko’ Johnson’s illness and subsequent major op. If there are people out there who haven’t: after a short illness Tenko went to hospital for an MRI scan which quickly led to an operation on a brain tumour. He is now as I write convalescing at home. I’m sure I express the thoughts of all WRG/IWA and the many local groups who know Tenko in wishing him a full recovery and letting Alison know that we are thinking of you both. Follow that! What can I say? The whole team were at Foxton for a long weekend, with no real inkling about what was in store about seven days later. Talk about knock me down with a feather! Anyway His Nibs insists it’s business as usual and he is now reading Navvies from cover to cover, which is a bigger shock still. A word or two from the team... Our long, very long, week at Foxton in September featured in Navvies 209, the article by Jen being almost as long as the week itself, although I do believe that much ended up on the cutting room floor. We achieved a lot, a hell of a lot. Thanks to Mike Beech and FIPT volunteers and to Essex WRG. Working with British Waterways was, well, interesting at times but thanks must go to Peter Ruffle and James Clifton and I think a lot was learned by all parties as to the workings of a British Waterways/ WRG project. We still haven’t finished, even after a long weekend in February of this year (report by Jen elsewhere possibly) so we will have to arrange a further visit later in the year. Other visits have been made to the Hollinwood canal in October, Grantham and Cromford canals in November, and Stroudwater canal in January. All attempts to remove a couple of sycamores from the Tamworth Road site on the Lichfield Canal have been hampered by unfavourable weather conditions. I mean it’s been too bloody windy. More details can be found on the WRG Forestry web site www.wrgforestry.org.uk which Alison has been beavering away at for the last few months and pretty impressive it is too, if you don’t mind me saying so.

Forestry

WRG FT on safety, training, assessment and hi-vis in bed... Now the whinge (thought you ‘d got away with it?)... It was quite noticeable at Foxton how many casual volunteers were turning up without proper Personal Protection Equipment i.e. no hard hat and unsuitable footwear. We can provide a few hard hats and hi-vis but I really thought that by 2005 all groups or individuals would have the relevant safety gear. Perhaps it’s time IWA circulated its branches with a reminder re. working parties and health & safety issues. When working on a WRG FT site (note the wording) you are operating under insurance arranged by IWA, but this is not the same cover as that provided for other WRG/local groups. To comply with WRG FT cover you will require hard hat, eye and hearing protection (best provided for by wearing a combination hard hat such as the ‘balance’) protective footwear (which doesn’t necessarily mean chainsaw boots but does mean steel toecaps), gloves where appropriate, and hi-vis at all times (wot even in bed? Well why not?) You will also be required to hold an NPTC Certificate of Competence for the task that you are to perform. I’m thinking principally about chippers here: a WRG authorisation card without the relevant NPTC card is not acceptable I’m afraid. What happens when we work with another WRG/ local group is at the moment a bit of a grey area, saw and chipper operators do not need to have a Certificate of Competence, only a WRG authorisation card. Following our last visit to Foxton we have altered our Risk Assessment to limit the number of operators using a chipper to two people. We have found from practical experience that having too many people milling round the chipper is too stressful (and I’m being serious here) and therefore dangerous to the operators. Let’s clear up the confusion between training and assessment: is there any? Judging by the some of the twaddle I heard at the Bonfire Bash, I would say ‘yes’.

page 25


Forestry

“We all need to practice our skills - and regularly.” We’re talking forestry training here: nowt to do with your 360ºs,dumps or smalls, proper job right. Training for chainsaws, chippers, tree climbing, pesticide approval etc. is organised by an outfit called Lantra (means absolutely bugger all) and is undertaken by an individual/ firm/college known hereafter as the training provider. At the end of a Lantra course you will receive a certificate which is basically a certificate of attendance. OK so far, wake up at the back. This is fine for the small jobs typically in agriculture where a farmer needs to lop the odd branch or fell the occasional tree; in fact Lantra was born out of the the old ATB (Agricultural Training Board). It is not however acceptable for mainstream arboriculture and forestry.

I’ve been asked how do we ’join’ WRG FT. Well, there is no ‘joining’: our safety policy spells out the structure and working practices and basically says volunteers with relevant training are encouraged to work with WRG FT. However possession of a C of C does not automatically guarantee operative status, this depends on practical experience. In other words I’ll be watching you and if you’re good, you’re in but if you’re shite, you’re not. Couldn’t be simpler! Oh and by the way if you’re wondering who watches me now that Tenko’s put his feet up for a while, I’m booked in for a refresher course this month at The School of Forestry and on behalf of the team and myself I hope I pass the exam. Can’t help feeling I’ve heard that before somewhere. An article on the black art of Tirforing next time, written by a mystery correspondent. Well it’s a mystery to me who’s writing it. Graham ‘Sparky’ Robinson

A Certificate of Competence is awarded by the NPTC (National Proficiency Test Council) after a successful assessment by a training assessor and is the industry standard. So to recap Lantra - training, NPTC - assessment. The two are intertwined and an individual can be both trainer and assessor and many are, however you cannot be assessed by the person that trained you. Incidentally undertaking a Lantra course is not a prerequisite to taking an assessment, if you feel competent enough then just take the assessment… but I wouldn’t recommend it.

Martin Ludgate

So just how competent are you? Gaining a Certificate of Competence is of little use if you don’t build on the knowledge gained in training with regular practical experience. We volunteers with WRG are all classed as ‘casual users’ and there are moves afoot to introduce refresher courses every three years to iron out any ‘bad habits’ that may appear in our work. BTCV have being doing this for many years now. We all need to practice our skills and regularly.

page 26

Tenko in action on the Cromford at New Year


Dig Report - KESCRG and London WRG cause mayhem in Droitwich! 11-13th March 1997 In an unprecedented outbreak of responsible behaviour, the Editor felt that given a rather sensitive situation on that particular waterway at the time, it might be best if the following report received several years ago remained unprinted. However with the Droitwich funding very nearly in the bag, we feel that we can now reproduce the dig report, written by someone who will remain nameless but for our purposes will be referred to as Medical Student Liz... “The quiet market town of Droitwich was recently shaken by a series of strange, and some might say, criminal activities. The crimes include criminal damage, breaking and entering, robbery, arson, and being drunk and disorderly. “It all started one Friday night, when they began to congregate in ‘The Railway’ pub. It seemed at first that it was going to be a quiet weekend, until reinforcements from London arrived. Locals were still under the impression that their town would not be disturbed when it was revealed that one of the most feared members, known only as Tim Lewis, had been accidentally left in London. Later that night, the first signs that all was not right became apparent, to anyone awake at 4am, as a nameless supplier left a newly painted trailer and a clean pair of wellies at the accommodation, and then disappeared in a cloud of diesel smoke. “As the sun rose, the group seemed eager to begin their activities. To maximise their impact, the group divided into three, each with a different target. Firstly, the notorious leader, Ken, most feared for his uncanny ability to survive on Yorkie bars and Marston’s Pedigree, took ‘control’ of a flat-bed truck, on the seemingly innocent mission of refuelling before picking up some stone slabs. Some witnesses have suggested the subsequent damage to the garage’s diesel pump was an accident, but there is the more sinister possibility that it was deliberate sabotage. “Meanwhile the rest of this group were at the council yard, commencing the wanton destruction of, apparently, anything that didn’t move quickly enough. The truck then joined them, fresh from its sabotage, and lifted some stone slabs. We have been reassured that the owners of the yard actually invited the group to clear the yard, but did not specify the methods! “The second group, led by Martin “mine’s a pint”, had the mission of taking the dredger through the town to the top of Lock 1. Not even a padlock was going to stop them, according to forensics a pair of bolt croppers was used to force entry into the boat. Once they had gained access, they were even less subtle when trying to free the controls - a brick was all that was necessary.

And now it can be told: Arson about on the Droitwich...

“Witnesses reported seeing the boat suddenly list over as the arm swung through 120 degrees, and something emerge very fast from the engine room ‘...it was horrible - it looked like a wookie in a red T-shirt’. They set off down the canal, not needing the steering as they bounced from bank to bank, using the dredging arm if they got really stuck! The third group, under the leadership of “Sweetpea” were comparatively well behaved, contenting themselves with removing the undersized stop planks from lock 5, and failing to start the concrete mixer at lock 4, although they did take delivery of the slabs from the yard. “Meanwhile, the demolition group were getting a little carried away, with a caravan, a portacabin and a large wooden prefab building to pull apart. A thick cloud of black smoke rising from the portacabin “...it was too big to shift so we thought we’d burn it anyway” attracted some new recruits with their own shiny red vehicles, who apparently didn’t enjoy the sight as much as the vandals and doused it. Never ones to miss the chance of talking to men in uniform, two of the vandals tried to entice them to the pub - but was it just to recruit them? “Back at the accommodation and contemplating a shower before supper, the group were startled by the phone. The message was unclear, but sounded like ‘...we’re out of fuel... send help... sinking fast... Mayday Mayday...’ Loyal to their fellow group members, they sprang into action, and only 30 minutes later reached the not-stricken-at-all vessel, which had found some more fuel, and was continuing its slow and unsteady progress from bank to bank. “Sunday was surprisingly uneventful - possibly because about a third of the gang disappeared off to various war councils and secret committee meetings. Without their leadership, the destructive tendencies were dampened, and the remaining members contented themselves with some serious team work shifting 6 stop planks to lock 5 and finishing the landing stage at lock 4. The only problem they had was that nobody had thought that sun cream would be necessary in April, and there were some red faces, noses and necks! It was at this point that the vandals began to disperse, before the riot police were necessary.” ...from the Droitwich Gazette - NOT! Do you have a suitable contribution for ‘And now it can be told’? If so, please send it to the Editor.

page 27


Groups

London WRG and BITM report on their recent activities WRG BITM on the Buckingham Buckingham Canal Society now have a new site to work on which proved to be a very attractive one on a working farm with cattle, sheep, etc. and a lovely old stone farm house. As usual we stayed at Cosgrove Village Hall which had been recently been refurbished. I arrived to turn on everything in the village hall and met new man Mike who hadn’t been able to find anyone in the pub as the barman hadn’t heard of WRG! Introductions were made and I left to return home to my nice warm bed leaving the rest of them to sleep as usual on the village hall floor but they do tell me that it was comfortable! On my return next morning the Yoga class was a bit of a surprise as nobody had mentioned them when I booked the hall, but we managed to sort things out and share the hall space. Thought I might lose and few men as the Yoga class all seemed to be young, attractive and female but managed to persuade them to continue on to site. BCS’s new site is at Little Hill Farm near Wicken, Northants. and after unloading the van, the quickest way to site was through the cattle shed but the 30 or so cattle all looked quite friendly. The BCS haven’t had a Tirfor for the last year so there were a lot of tree stumps to attend to. The work went extremely well with a lot of tree stumps being removed. The main excitement happened on Sunday, when one of the wheelbarrows was left a little too close to the fire and the tyre exploded! On Saturday evening after a much appreciated meal cooked by June we all prepared to the Barley Mow pub where they have a game of Northampton skittles. Tony reckoned that he knew the rules as he grew up in Northampton but hasn’t played for a while. The rest of us all had a go and the match ended in a play-off between Mike and Jonathan from BCS. Jonathan reckoned that he let Mike win as he was the visitor!!

page 28

Sunday saw us return to site with a visit from the farmer and landowner who was very impressed with the work done, so a very satisfactory weekend was had by all. London WRG news

Athina Beckett

Our first outing of 2005 was to the Wey & Arun Canal’s Dig Deep project, Haybarn Bridge, where a low level farm crossing is being replaced by a second-hand swingbridge that has arrived from the Leeds & Liverpool Canal (having made a journey of over two hundred miles, which gives a whole new meaning to the term ‘movable bridge’). Our previous two digs on this site having been spent mainly demolishing the rather solid remains of the concrete farm crossing, it was good to be doing something constructive this time. After due deliberation and discussion about how exactly we were going to do the job, we started work on the rather complicated curved abutment wall that the swingbridge will swing against, and also on the walls surrounding the pivot. By the end of the weekend good progress had been made on both sides, and NWPG have been back since then and carried on the work to the point where the bridge could be opened for the first time. Our second working party of the year was at Froghall on the Uttoxeter Canal, where we spent the weekend installing mooring rings, restoring the old railway siding cutting alongside the lock, and having and AGM at which we decided who was going to lead all the digs for the next year. If you weren’t there, beware - it could be you! One thing that we did decide at the AGM was to temporarily take the back three seats out of minibus GCW to make it more suitable for carrying our gear. Anyone else contemplating doing anything similar please note (a) you’ll need plenty of elbowgrease and WD40 and (b) you’ll need to have the seats officially checked when you re-install them. Unfortunately our next dig got cancelled as the Cromford Canal was under several inches of snow with the promise of more. But a fortnight later we had a good turnout at the Cleanup (see report elsewhere) with a most satisfying amount of crap pulled out compared to the disappointing quantity last year. By the time you read this we will have been back to the Lichfield, which looks like becoming a good regular site for us over the next few years, and be looking forward to digs on a new (for us) Wilts & Berks site, the Basingstoke, and our first trip to the Grand Western for 14 years. New volunteers always welcome on LWRG digs contact Tim Lewis for details. Martin Ludgate


Dennis Suleman Dennis Suleman died suddenly at home on 22 January 2005.

Obituary

Dennis, who had a long-term interest in inland waterways, recently described his boating activity as “40 years and 30,000 miles”. A long standing member of the North Cheshire Cruising Club, he was well known throughout the waterways system, which he cruised extensively in his boats, both called Le Dolce Vita. Usually in the company of friends, he enjoyed walking the towpath of waterways - open, closed, or under restoration - in the process of which he took many slides and photographs, which he then put to good use in his celebrated canal quizzes. His questions tended to be themed and a cryptic clue was given to assist or confuse those taking part according to whether you could follow his thinking. It was a pleasure to be a member of a team as the evening was always so enjoyable and challenging and it didn’t really matter if you won, but if you did you really felt you had been honoured! Dennis retired early from the toy trade and was able to devote time to cruising the system with his wife Annice. He was a member of the Inland Waterways Association for many years and was an active member of the North West Region Committee and of Manchester Branch Committee. He was branch sales officer and editor of the branch magazine “Manchester Packet”. Dennis organised the memorials at Marple for Dr Cyril TG Boucher and Ted Keaveney on behalf of the region. The fingerpost at Marple Junction was the memorial to Ted. North West WRG, Macclesfield Canal Society and British Waterways worked with Dennis on this project. Over the years he also contributed letters, articles and photographs to the waterways press and was a ready source of advice, information and help to anyone who took the trouble to seek him out. He was a supporter of WRG and a regular reader of Navvies. His other main interests, apart from his family, were computers and Rhodesian Ridgeback Dogs, about which Dennis was well liked and respected and will be sadly missed by his wife and family and by the members of the NCCC, WRG(NW) and Manchester IWA, to whom he was a good friend, and by all who knew him. His funeral service was well attended by waterway enthusiasts. The Inland Waterways Association North West Region Committee have received donations in memory of Dennis and, in conjunction with Annice, they will decide on a suitable memorial to him. Those of us who knew Dennis are sure that he would have wanted any such memorial to be practical rather then purely decorative, just as were the memorials that he organised. Contributions from Margaret Fletcher and Roy Pickford Lynette Griffiths We regret to report the death of Lynette Griffiths. Those with long memories may recall her from London WRG in the 1970s, when she was known as Lynette Fenley. A long illness had kept her away from the waterways in recent years. Our sympathies to Chris, and to everyone else who knew her. Ernie Pull We are sorry to have to report the death at the end of January of Ernie Pull. Ernie had been a waterway restoration volunteer for nearly 40 years, working on projects around the country, especially on the Basingstoke Canal (where he attended some of the earliest working parties in the 1960s) and the Wey & Arun Canal where he was a work-party organiser. He was one of the founders of the IWA London & Home Counties Work Party, which led first to the publication of Navvies, and later to the foundation of WRG. He worked alongside WRG’s founder Graham Palmer on the Stourbridge working parties. He also attended the London Boat Show as a volunteer on IWA’s stand, every year from the very first one in the 1950s until 2004. His funeral was well-attended by his many friends, some of whom worked with him as long ago as the early 1960s.

page 29


Plant

We also found that the reason the back end looked a bit skewed was that most of the bolts holding in the counter weight had snapped and it is being held in by ‘The Force’.

Hasn’t Bungle finished fixing his crane yet? Rebuilding a Jones KL15 crane You may have noticed that the last couple of issues have been missing the regular instalment on the Jones Crane. This is because we have mainly been continuing to shot-blast the structure and so there has not been much to report.

The plant budget has been depleted by a few quid and in return we received new steering parts, so the new rack and pinion have been fitted to the steering sub assembly. They require a bit of final fitting to get it running smoothly but at least we can be confident that the steering wheel will remain connected to the axle for years to come.

Now the structure is done, the panels are being sent off to a contractor to be done in a shot blast booth.

Bungle

As part of the shot blasting we removed the jib hand winch and discovered that in order to s qu e e z e th e diesel engine in, the back of the main structure had been ‘adjusted’ by the addition of several washers next to the win ch . Th is had the effect of spreading the frame by about half an inch so the doors would still shut.

page 30

Pete Dunn does the final construction of the steering assembly


The tyres have been proving a challenge. The existing ones were well beyond their life – in fact this had been picked up on the last inspection some years ago and the tubes had stopped holding air long before the crane arrived at Claverton. When I rang up my local supplier of “odd” tyres (funnily enough, Kwik Fit just gave me a blank look when I read out the size) he remembered fitting the same size tyres to milk floats some years ago; following some research we were told they would arrive in about a month’s time. However that date has been and gone, and apparently they were not on the container ship they should have been... we continue to wait in hope!

“Having been bolted together for 57 years they wouldn’t budge...” We skipped this stage and went straight to the air impact wrench which dealt efficiently with the bolts. Then we tried to separate the two halves; these having been tightly bolted together for 57 years, they wouldn’t budge. Eventually we cut the old tyre off and tried tapping around the inside of the rim with a hammer, then belted it around the inside with a hammer and finally tried the heavy air chisel to try and prise the buggers apart. At the time of writing the two halves are obstinately refusing to come apart – more next time….. George ‘Bungle’ Eycott

Bungle

Part of the job of fitting the tyres is to take the old ones off. In theory you simply undo a ring of bolts (after letting the air out – if applicable), separate the two halves of the wheel and lift the tyre/tube off. In practice you get your largest socket bar and try to shift the rusted, cement coated bolts, then you jump on it, curse, skin your knuckles as it slips and so on.

Plant

The last of the structure is shot blasted after all the panels and the winch have been removed

page 31


Plant

Thanks to Harry, Malcolm, Luke and Judith for spending two weekends in a cold workshop helping do the work. Thanks to my Dad for letting us take over his workshop for two weekends! Bungle

WhatÂ’s involved in giving Sammy his regular servicing Sammy

Above: Judith starts testing the large pile of electrical kit. Below: Luke and Harry working on the exhaust

Bungle

The second weekend concentrated on testing and inspecting the electrical kit. This involves opening up every connector and item of equipment to check the terminations and to check the entire length of the 2043 meters of cable we carry before testing each item with a Portable Appliance Tester. This year we had a new helper in the form of Judith Gordon who recently became qualified to do the work so the job went a lot quicker.

Bungle

Sammy is the big generator lorry which helps power a number of festivals around the country including Saul, Wendover, Canalway Cavalcade and the National. This is run by WRG volunteers and every year we do a maintenance session. This year we did two: the first one concentrated on the generator itself, oil and filter changes, checking for leaks etc. One of the jobs we have to do every two years is to clean out the exhaust. This involves removing the roof skin and the soundproof panel underneath and then shovelling out the accumulated soot and replacing any singed soundproofing. If we donÂ’t do this you end up with a sort of chimney fire but far more dramatic as the flames are blasted out the back of the exhaust ports!

page 32


Barndance

The Barndance This year’s barndance was held on 19th Feb 2005 and proved to be even more fun than last year. We raised a grand total of around £700 to be split 50/50 between KESCRG and London WRG. Well done to those who spotted that the year was wrong on the ticket - but nobody spotted that it was wrong last year as well!

Reporting back from another successful event

Some thanks: a lot of people helped set up and clear away on the night and didn’t get a thank you, so thanks: it’s definitely a job to do with many hands. To all the bar staff, chip servers, raffle ticket sellers and folders, microphone handlers, doormen, rubbish collectors, taxi drivers and others too numerous to mention - cheers. Thank you to everyone for turning up, having a good time, drinking beer and spending money. Thank you to anyone who donated a raffle prize and Stephen for transportation of beer.

Soon to become an annual event? The Barn Dance at Benson Village Hall was so successful that it is to be repeated next year.

Wendover Arm Trust

The date for your diaries is Saturday 18th February 2006. Details will be confirmed in a forthcoming edition of Navvies and tickets will be on sale from the Bonfire Bash onwards. We hope to sell out this year so get your tickets early to secure your place.

Helen Gardner

Martin Ludgate

Finally thanks to Dr Liz and Ian the other 2/3rds of the management committee (and lan the licencee for that matter!). Dr Liz and Ian really helped the whole process go smoothly and easily - so much so that we’ve decided this should be an annual event to brighten up the winter period the Navvies Barndance.

Any constructive comments and suggestions can be sent to me at wrgwear@wrg.org.uk (I’ve sorted the salt and vinegar crisis).

Phase 1 of the Wendover Arm restoration, in water and all ready for an Easter reopening.

page 33


WRG BC news

There are quite a few rallies / festivals that members are attending this year and it would be a good idea to have some form of club gathering at them. Meeting in the bar seems to be one of our popular activities. We are very good at it and try to get in plenty of practice!

The WRG Boat Club head for Three Mills

The AWCC AGM will have come and gone before the next issue of Navvies, as will the BCN Cleanup. I look forward to hearing from club members who do attend things telling me what went on, and I look forward to being inundated with offers to write the club news!

WRG Boat Club news Many thanks to Sue for writing the last wrgbc news. I think it was so popular that you should not be subjected to my ramblings six times a year; I will therefore coerce others into taking a turn. Come on, volunteer now before I get out the thumbscrews.

xxx Sadie Dean

We have all been invited to attend the Three Mills Rally of Boats organised by IWA North & East London Branch, on 8-10 July. I have copies of the very interesting programme and application form but for those with the technology contact Pete Nash, email peter.nash@cancer.org.uk for more information and/or boat entry form.

London WRG on the Uttoxeter Canal (above) continuing with re-pointing the old railway siding and (below) meeting young Peter Smedley attending his first working party at the age of 10 days. See page 28 for a London WRG report.

Martin Ludgate

Again I’m sorry to say I wont be able to go because as I said (well it was my mother always saying it to me) ‘you can’t do everything’ and we will be with Lynx on the Gloucester & Sharpness Canal at the Cotswold Canals Trust’s do at Saul Junction, the weekend before and for some days after the festival.

Martin Ludgate

Did you join in on the Caldon at Easter? Unfortunately ‘you can’t do everything’ and as we were planning on taking Lynx to Ellesmere Port, we couldn’t be there. I hope others will have been able to make up the numbers, and someone will let me know how things went.

page 34


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

Directory update

Hazel Lintott, contact for the Sussex Ouse Restoration Trust, has moved to: 4 Farm Cottages, Parkfield Way, Haywards Heath, West Sussex RH16 4TB. Gavin Moor’s address was wrong in the Directory last time: it should be 43 Kiln Close, Calvert, Buckingham MK18 2FD. John Rider (Caldon & Uttoxeter contact) had his email address given incorrectly in the Directory last time. It should be: john@riderjohn.fsnet.co.uk. If your contact details change, please remember to tell the Navvies editor so that we can update the Directory.

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

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

Noticeboard Moving house

Eddie Jones and Jenni Copeland have moved to: Altamount, Coventry Road, Fillongley, Coventry CV7 8EQ Tel: 01676 541123 Matt Taylor and Annette have moved to: 21 Carl Street, Buranda, Brisbane, Queensland 4102, Australia - and extend an open invitation for any WRGie passing through Brisbane to stay with them. email: mttaylor2000@yahoo.com Chris Spencer hasn’t moved house but his phone and email have changed: Mobile : 07967 461050 Home / fax : 020 8962 0797 email : spencer.mccormack@btinternet.com

Congratulations! ...to Tunji Faleye and Nerina Julian on their engagement. ...to Bernd and Daphne Schimansky on the arrival of Nina on February 10th.

Viv Watson... ...would like it to be known that she is now back in the UK again, that she is now officially a Watson again, and that she is living with her parents near Chester and contactable on her old mobile number. Nothing printed may be construed as policy or an official announcement unless so stated - otherwise WRG and IWA accept no liability for any matter in this magazine. Waterway Recovery Group is a division of Inland Waterways Enterprises Ltd., a subsidiary of the Inland Waterways Association (a registered charity).

Directors of WRG: John Baylis, Mick Beattie, Malcolm Bridge, Roger Burchett, Spencer Collins, Christopher Davey, Helen Davey, Roger Day, Neil Edwards, John Fletcher, Adrian Fry, John Hawkins, Jennifer Leigh, Judith Moore, Michael Palmer, Jonathan Smith.

Inland Waterways Enterprises Registered office: Secretary: Neil Edwards 3 Norfolk Court, Norfolk Rd. Rickmansworth WD3 1LT VAT reg. no : 788 9425 54 © 2005 WRG Tel : 01923 711114 Registered no 4305322 ISSN 0953-6655

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Backfill

Late arrivals at the waterways ball... Following Dave Dobbin’s contribution last time, here are some more from various contributors who would probably rather I didn’t shame them by mentioning their names... Mr & Mrs Derton-Boatlift and their daughter Ann.

What was Eddie up to?

Mrs d’Union attending with her mother-in-law ‘Gran’.

Martin Ludgate

Mr & Mrs Junction and their son Saul. (Their dog can’t stand the heat and lets them know it - he just wilts and barks.)

Last issue’s caption competition produced a number of suggestions, starting with one from Dorian Mead: Eddie: “...and if I ever catch those lightfingered toe-rags who raided the trailer...”

Mr & Mrs Tontunnel and their son who is in the Royal Engineers in the army, and therefore known as ‘Sapper’. From the Thames Valley, Mr & Mrs Ingtonlock their son Edward, known as Ted. Mr & Mrs Nackweduct and their daughter, Lou, Mr & Mrs Dedgetunnel and their son, Stan Mr & Mrs Ley and their earlybird son, Bing... who is always up by five.

Yes, there really are crocodiles in the Walsall Canal...

...and a selection from Brian Bayston: Graham teaches Ed how to eat genetically modified spaghetti. Eddie: “ you’re sure Jenni won’t be able to escape from this one?” Eddie: “Which end do you tie to the headboard?” “Ed tries to make a model of the Coventry inner ringroad”

...and from Steve Hayes:

Steve Barrett

Graham: “then all you need is two baked bean tins and you can continue to broadcast”.

After a few beers, in a magnificent but futile attempt to impress the ladies, the mem- ...or can you suggest a caption for this pic of the bers of the WRG - Bondage for Beginners Editor and one of the more unusual things that class show off their new-found skills. we found during this year’s BCN Cleanup?

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Representing WRG Forestry, Mr & Mrs Saw and their son Shane ...with their German friends Frau und Herr Weiser and their son Helmut. Mr & Mrs Dinghole and their daughter Win. ...and finally (and please can this be the very last word on this particular subject!)... Mr & Mrs Tirformissing and their son Ivor.

Profile for The Inland Waterways Association

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