avvies N Volunteers restoring waterways No220December2006-January2007
waterway recovery group
...are always welcome, whether hand-written, typed, on 3½" floppy disk, CD-ROM, DVD 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 / DVD or as email attachments, preferably JPG format. Send them to the editor Martin Ludgate, 35, Silvester Road, London SE22 9PB, or email to email@example.com. Press date for No 221: January 1st.
Subscriptions A year's subscription (6 issues) is available for a minimum of £1.50 (please add a donation if possible) to Sue Watts, 15 Eleanor Road, Chorltoncum-Hardy, Manchester M21 9FZ. Cheques to "Waterway Recovery Group" please. Visit our web site www.wrg.org.uk for
In this issue:
Chairmans Comment 3 Coming soon Christmas Camp, Barn Dance, 4-6 BCN Cleanup and training weekend WRGBC WRG Boat Club report 7 Camp Report October on the Grantham 8-11 Bonfire Bash November on the Grantham12-15 Diary Canal Camp and working party dates 16-18 Letters is Navvies too cheap? 19 Progress a roundup of progress from the Wey & Arun in the south to the Manchester Bolton & Bury in the North - and a tale of a struggle against 20-25 bureaucracy on the Stowmarket Groups News in photos from the WRG and 26-27 other regional work party groups Navvies News and a book auction 28-30
Noticeboard Backfill more wacky picture captions
And next time... ....we hope to include reports from the Christmas and New Year camps and weekend digs, a Dig Deep update, more the 2007 Cleanup, the Barn Dance and the training weekend, the first of a series of articles previewing the 2007 Canal Camps... and just possibly something about what were going to be doing in 2008. Yes, thats right - 2008! all the latest news of WRG's activities
Cover picture: Winching stumps out at the Grantham Bonfire Bash. See pages 10-13 for a report. Below: rebuilding bridge abutments on the October camp, also on the Grantham. Report on pages 14-17.
Chairmans Comment Welcome to Christmas past, present and future ..
It must be Christmas as this issue of Navvies contains not one but two extras. The first is certainly the greatest gift ever given with Navvies. It is a CD with every single issue of Navvies on it. This counts as great for two reasons firstly it allows you to pick up those boxes of back issues that are gathering dust in the loft, put them in the recycling box and send £3.50 to WRG NW in lieu of not actually taking them all the way to the North West paperchase yourself. Secondly, it means that you can now read all of WRGs history. This is not a gimmick; it really is an important tool vital for anyone researching waterway history and an excellent way for everyone to browse back through the last four decades. Go on try issue 50 for a start and just see how much things have changed (and how much some things have not changed at all).
A Christmas Comment from Mike Bah Humbug Palmer...
It is often said that if we forget our history then we are condemned to repeat it. Well I dont think Navvies actually solves this as you can see the same mistakes cropping up again and again [and we are not just talking about the spelling]. But Navvies represents the distilled wisdom of the entire movement and we should celebrate it, hence this CD. It is our way of saying thanks to everyone who has supported us from the start and equally importantly it is a cheap and effective way of passing on our history to those who have joined us more recently. Our thanks go to Tom Turner who handled the technical bits and we have been able to fund it thanks to legacies left to us by supporters. However, without wishing to sound disrespectful, I think one of the best points about WRG is that we do not dwell on the past: we have always looked positively towards the future. No matter how crucial or complex the project we have just completed, it is not as important as the one we are about to tackle. You may be a newcomer on your first dig but you are just as important as the most experienced old hand. So what of the future? Well, the second extra enclosed with this magazine is the new style Canal Camps mini-brochure* giving details of our Canal Camps for 2007 there are some cracking projects on there so please do give it a browse and consider booking on for a week or perhaps taking the plunge for a weekend with one of our regional groups. So thats Christmas past and future, what about Christmas present? We have just ordered two new vans hows that for a Christmas present for us all! See you in 2007,
* As I mentioned in the last issue we are producing this mini-brochure to give more flexible arrangements with lower costs as we believe most of the Navvies readers have got the general feel from previous brochures and the website. However, if you want a copy of the full brochure, or know of someone who does, then please drop a line to Jenny Black at Head Office. (jenny.black@ waterways.org.uk)
What will we find at the 2007 BCN Cleanup on March 17-18? See page 5
The Xmas Update: Chesterfield Camp Just to keep you all updated with the preparations for the Christmas Canal Camp: it will be starting on Boxing day (the 26th) and finishing on New Years Day (the 1st).
Weve had the site visit: the locals seem very friendly (shame about the brats), the hall will accommodate us fairly well, the kitchen has two 6ring cookers so I dont have to try a collect KESCRGs (but they had offered if it was needed, thank you), plus a potato rumbler and even more impressively a dishwasher! No showers in the hall but we wont have to mess about driving to a leisure centre as there are sports club type showers just across the car park from the hall.
The Cleanup, Christmas Ca nal Camp and barn dance...
And on the subject of the hall: it might not be a hot hall, so be prepared: we can turn the heating on and leave it on if need be, but make sure you bring something to go under airbeds and sleeping bags. The work site is all of ten minutes walk from the accommodation. (but to drive it will take about 15 minutes!) The work will be slash and burn, and more good news is we do not have to remove the roots as they hope that where we are working will be in water within in a couple of years. Chesterfield Canal Society has various projects on schedule, and we are part of the first phase of this. Only one little site problem is a power line that is close to one area. But the wooden pylon should burn well. (Only kidding!) Directions will be distributed in the normal way, i.e. you book on and directions will be sent (oh so easy) and well put them on the website too. But basically junction 30 of the M1, at the top of the slip road turn left (thats assuming youre coming from the south; turn right if youre coming down from the far north) onto the road signposted to Sheffield, and the village of Renishaw is on that road. Please note that there are no trains running on Boxing Day and no coaches on Boxing Day or New Years Day; also possibly a modified service for some of the other days of the camp - best to check in advance. Next door to the accommodation is a Working Mens Club: not sure what beer they serve but it would be cheap! A little walk (15 minutes) takes you to a large pub serving real ales including guest beers like Timothy Taylors Landlord, Castle Eden and coming soon The Dogs Bollocks. No orange cider though. Fancy Dress party for New Year is being arranged by Paul (my assistant) and the theme is Heavenly bodies and star signs. Paul is also looking at swimming pools etc. for evenings out. Over the last couple of years on the Cromford Canal, lots of places were closed because of the time of year but well do our best. As normal please book in through Head Office with the usual camp form. Dave Moose Hearnden And dont forget the 2007 Barn Dance... As we enter the festive season and the KESCRG/LWRG party our planning brains are in gear for next year already. YES it is ticket booking time again for The Navvies Dance of the Year. This will be the 4th Annual Barndance: an event open to everyone, blue shirts included. Time: Saturday March 3rd; bar will open at 7pm. Place Benson Parish Hall Oxfordshire.KESCRG, LWRG and WRG South West would all like to cordially (actually only blackcurrant to be added to cider available) invite you to dance the night away in the not so sleepy village of Benson and you never know there might just be a STRICTLY BARNDANCE competition to boot. Our regular format applies with excellent music, real ale bar, raffle of ex-christmas presents and a fine Fish and Chip supper all for the princely sum of £12 per person, due to increasing scarcity of cod. Accommodation will be available overnight (extra £2) in the scout hut as per previous years, and prior booking is required. Breakfast (extra £2) will this year be back in the main parish hall as we have booked it for WRG Committee meeting on Sunday. WRG Leaders training/review session will also be in the parish hall during the day on Saturday. All cheques payable to KESCRG to be forwarded to: Barn Dance Tickets c/o Bobby Silverwood, The Old Post Office, Kiddington, Woodstock OX20 1BE Wed love to see as many old and new friends as can possible make it. Ian Williamson
BCN Cleanup: March 17-18 2007 Last year we found a coffin (empty) in the Wyrley & Essington Canal. In previous years weve found computers, traffic lights, washing machines, lamp-posts and toilets. What will we find this year? Its an often-repeated (and actually perfectly true) fact that Birmingham has more miles of canals than Venice. Unfortunately it also seems to be the case that parts of the BCN have a lot more shopping trolleys, bikes, prams and bits of old car in them than the Venetians are ever likely to find in their canals. And its also the case that while the canals of Venice seem to be getting more and more crowded with gondolas, water-buses, water-taxis and the like, parts of the BCN are in danger of falling into dereliction from lack of use. Which is where we come in... The more rubbish that accumulates in the lesser-used northern parts of the system, the less people are likely to want to take their boats there. And the less boats that use it, the more its likely to get clogged up with weed and rubbish. Which is a shame, because besides a few lengths of waterway best suited to lovers of ex-industrial dereliction, there are a lot of pleasant and surprisingly rural bits of waterway on the northern BCN - and when we get the Lichfield and Hatherton canals restored, youll be able to get to them without having to cruise through the arse end of Walsall or Wolverhampton to get there. And you never know, some of the grottier bits of the system might benefit from some regeneration funding and end up with rather less of the sort of landscape which led a well-known waterways guidebook not many years ago to say something like The best way to experience the atmosphere of the Walsall Canal is to go out of your back door and stand in your dustbin... But in the meantime its down to volunteers with grappling hooks to keep these canals open. And this year well be based at Ocker Hill and working on either the Walsall or Tame Valley canal, or possibly both. Aileen Butler (07703 567764) will be the WRG leader for the Cleanup: offers of help with the organisation would be appreciated. It is expected that BW will as usual provide grappling hooks and gloves. Anyone wanting to stay in the WRG overnight accommodation should book using the form below. Those who just want to turn up for the day do not need to book, but should turn up at the BW Ocker Hill yard to sign-in. Accommodation is in the same place as last year, the Willingsworth High School, Bilston Road, Tipton, West Midlands DY4 0BZ. Directions will appear on www.wrg.org.uk, and will be sent to everyone who sends in a booking form. So dont delay - send your form off today! Oh and by the way, the coffin we found last year had been lost by some drama students who were making a video. A Birmingham version of Death in Venice, perhaps?
waterway recovery group
in association with BCNS, BW and IWA
I would like to attend the 2007 National Canal Cleanup on Mar 17-18 on the BCN Forename:
Address: e-mail: Phone:
Any special dietary requirements?
I require accommodation Friday night / Saturday night / both nights I enclose payment of £
(pay 'WRG') for food (£10 for whole weekend; £2.00 for each meal)
Do you suffer from any allergy or illness, such as epilepsy or diabetes, about which we should know, or are you receiving treatment or under medical supervision for any condition? YES / NO (If yes, please attach details) In the unlikely event that you should be injured, who should we contact? Name:
Signed (parent's signature also required if aged under 18): Please send this form to National Cleanup bookings, WRG, PO Box 114, Rickmansworth WD3 1ZY
...not forgetting the return of the WRG Training Weekend Training Weekend May 11/12/13th 2007 Its back again and celebrating its 10th birthday so hopefully it will be a good one. We will endeavour to provide training for those of you who need to refresh old skills or wish to learn something new, regardless of experience, so if thats you, please come along! The training programme this year will hopefully be based around your needs be that the usual plant/machinery type training or site skills such as bricklaying, tirfors, surveying etc. Its really up to you to let me know what would be useful for you or your local group. So, with that in mind, the reason this article is out so early this year is to allow all this to happen it is no good phoning me in the middle of April and asking if your group could be trained in First Aid or Chippers I need to know well before! Training can also be provided for those who are looking to attain instructor level in certain categories. So if you think you have a training need, write me a wish list and well see what Santa Womble can do! As always, the success of the weekend relies on those kind people who volunteer to train others so if you would like to offer your skills as an instructor, your support would be gratefully received! Please contact Ali Bottomley, 53 Redgrave Close, St James Village, Gateshead NE8 3JD. Phone: 07719 6443870 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Just some of the training on offer last time. Whatever you want to learn about - just ask Ali!
wrg bc news November I hope all members had a good trip back from Beale Park or in any other way an enjoyable conclusion to the boating season (whatever that is, possibly the free from stoppages time, though I hear they are planning to change even that!) For the information of those planning to brave the Nene etc next year, it took us 9 days to get from The Shroppie to the Middle Level. The worst hold up was at Fradley, where it took us two and a half hours to do the three locks from Woodend to the junction. This was in October, I imagine it could be far worse in the summer. As I write this it is hardly November and I am trying to avoid the fact that Christmas approaches. Still, as I frequently observe while boating, You dont have to wait for Christmas to see a pantomime! You dont even have to boat, you can read possible pantomime scripts in reports from meetings! Here, from one meeting, we have Baron Hardup wailing about a reduction in his grant from the Wicked DEFRAuder. There will be no new restoration projects started and aid for existing work will be cut, he threatens. Ah ha, look behind you! We all know you made a £3million profit last year AND awarded yourself a £68,000 bonus! Boo Hiss. Another humourous scene comes from complaints that the paddle gear on the Erewash Canal is very heavy and most difficult to operate. There was no promise of them being sorted out but the Waterways Manager has offered to go out, with a group of boaters of mixed age and ability, to test the locks (Ask me! Please ask me to be one of them!). The results would then be used to assess the problem and address the issues. I hope the weather favours them on their day out. Silly us, we thought the problem is that the paddles are hard to work and an engineer and/or mechanic addressing it with tools and an oilcan would be better equiped to sort it out. At another meeting an ecologist listed problem plants and animals that are invading West Midland Waterways. No 17 was Crocodiles! So watch out any captains who still have both hands. Could we start a profit making hook fitting service? Perhaps we could all add to the 5.8million visits by anglers to BW waters by dangling a ticking alarm clock over the side of our boats, in the hope that the croc will swallow it and warn us of its presence. Well, it worked for Peter Pan. Christmas should be the season of goodwill, when we are told Tis better to give than receive. We boaters may have the chance to GIVE MORE to HM Revenue if they stop us using red diesel at the end of the year! Many thanks to David for attending the AWCC regional meeting at Coventry to represent us. He did over 250 miles on the round trip for us. Surely there is someone living nearer who can do the job, approached with the right attitude these can be enjoyable. The other AWCC reps are a welcoming crowd and you can usually get lunch too!
The latest from WRGs Boat Club... in the UK and Greece! Planning and looking forward to next years boating is my way to get through winters of ice and stoppages. A number of boats have booked for the National and quite a few are planning to go to Saul. Please let me know of any other wrg related venues members can boat to, working ones prefered. [I hope some of you can get along to the protest events organised in support of the campaign against Government cuts in BW funding, such as the campaign cruise to Parliament on January 16th or the national series of events planned for Feb 24-25 - see www.saveourwaterways.org.uk for details. Assuming you dont all believe that the whole DEFRA cutbacks thing is a BW fabrication! ...Ed] I wish you all the best for a peaceful festive season, and some good boating as you dodge the stoppages. xxx Sadie Dean Just a few lines from Granny Ogg your correspondent far far away. It doesnt seem like a month before Christmas with temps of 26C during the day, but there you are, its luverly! We have quite a range of boats around the coast from Med. gin palaces, speed boats etc and grey ships of all sizes belonging to NATO, over and underwater models that make lots of bubbles. There are some genuine fishing boats too and I thought I was in with a chance of flying our burgee on one last week, when one of the fishermen invited Hamish, Holly and me to go out with him fishing. The dogs are allowed on the beach now the tourists have gone and we often go down, and have watched the men repairing their nets. Well my Greek is coming on but definitely lacking the finer points (even with a well thumbed dictionary). You know how boaters get onto the subject of toilets, well even in Crete this subject crops up! The boat had all the things to haul up the nets and so forth - but a loo? Dont be daft, what a silly thing to look for. Anyway when I saw the food supplies brought on board.... bread, olive oil, yoghurt, honey and fruit I thought this a bit OTT for a trip into Souda Bay. Scrabbling into my faithful book of words I then discovered we were going to be out ALL NIGHT. So with my great Scottish charm (yes really I can be charming) I said Hamish and Holly would need their tea soon so we had better give the trip a miss this time and escaped off with a big sigh of relief. I spent the rest of the evening doing my Greek homework and polishing my broomstick! Love Claire xxx
Camp reports A week restoring Bridge 19 on the Grantham Canal Mrs. Tarrants Diary The October Canal Camp 2006: Bridge 19, Grantham Canal 1st question of the Camp is: will the opening sentence of the Camp welcome be my husband and I? This is the first entry in Mrs. Jo Tarrants (Smudge to you and me) big black book. Well have a few more later, although the one which reads Mk2 is a good driver is not available as Ive cut it out, framed it and hung it on a wall. Once again, Dave Taz Tarrant was both assistanting (on the Camp) and captaining (mainly in the sky and on two occasions, right above the work site). On the first Saturday, an enthusiastic bunch of between 20 and 25 people, of which many were returnees from the previous Easter and October Camps, assembled at Cropwell Bishop Memorial Hall (built in the 1920s by volunteer locals, no less!) near West Bridgford. I had brought minibus SAD and James Cropwell Butler had towed the kit trailer with his Landie. Viv Watson joined us, bringing with her a GCWful of food and random tat; well, thats what happens when you borrow a van from NW.
The task, upon which the project depended to proceed to the next phase, was actually to conserve a structure which would not actually be used in the future. Bridge 19 was formerly a farm crossing. I say formerly for two reasons. Firstly, it hadnt been used for many, many years; Bridge 20 is a modern replacement but even that has to come out at some point. Secondly, as fellow campers Maggie & Derek told us, a Canal Camp had demolished it down to the abutments last year! Our job was to conserve the abutments as they were not just existing features of the canal, but architecturally interesting. The brick facings, some nice old work and some 20th century bodgery, were built over an earlier stone structure. In fact, it was dated: 1790! With much advice from a friendly BW conservationist, we would remove the bad or unstable work (oh, and a pretty chunky tree, too) and rebuild and repoint the abutments. This would be topped off (!) by restoring the scattered array of big copingstones to their rightful position. The main problem was that although there were plenty of bricks to reclaim, there were an awful lot of courses requiring rather shallow bricks. Cue much headscratching. Our man at BW did a ring round and James, Viv and I were on our way to the BW yard at Loughborough. Both vehicles (GCW and James Disco) came back groaning and Viv & James came back giggling, having diverted to explore the floods in 4x4 low-box mode. Good job the journey was fun (for them, anyway) as the bricks didnt blinking well fit. Cue more headscratching and then another idea. Nearby were the remnants of a related building, and it was allowed to pick up and re-use any scattered bricks we found hidden under all the stinging nettles which had grown over the area. We were not of course, allowed to remove any fixed bricks as this would constitute demolition, for which planning permission wasnt in place. Remember this when youre leading a Camp and are desperate for heritage materials! Most of these bricks didnt blinking well fit.
Removing a rather inconveniently placed stump
Cue much, much more headscratching by BW and a chat with John A. Stephens. Now Mr. Stephens walks his dog by the canal and supports the project through his eponymous builders merchants businesses in Nottingham. He had kindly donated the materials for mixing and came to the rescue with the bricks by allowing the BW conservationist to have a rummage around for the some of the right size. BW kindly paid for the pallet of reclaimed bricks and one trailer loaded by hand (!) later, we were in business.
Extra-curricular activities included not one but two trips up bell towers (local WPO Colin is a campanologist), bowling, the cinema (yawn) and a real ale pub, fresh from a nasty refurb involving the décor from hell (methinks one L. L. Bowen had been involved) with very, very nice beer. The Cropwell Bishop pubs were tried, too (one was found guilty) and so were the local stilton and venison along with more of the beer from the Lleweylln Bowen Arms in a cask out the back of the hall. All of the latter were offered on the cheap by friendly locals!
I like brick-cleaning. No, really! Whilst all the mixing, bricking, repointing (and head-scratching) was going on, another team was scrub-bashing the course of the canal and lighting a few small, controlled fires in order to toast marshmallows, er, I mean burn the scrub. (Or do I, Nic?) The net result was that we did it! The structure was completely finished apart from a few copers by the end of the week and even those were sorted out over the Bonfire Bash weekend. And I think it looks great; reclaimed bricks, lime mortar (with handfuls of very fine agg thrown in to make up for the lack of suitable sharp sand) battered with stiff brushes whilst going off and absolutely no roots left to grow into it and wreck it again! James seems to Diversions during the week included looking into the sky for Taz, visiting Anchor Supplies (an excellent military surplus shop in Nottingham) for ammo boxes to put in James wagon, and the rather incongrous appearance of a bride on site. The latter event will no doubt provide the GCRS with some memorable publicity pictures as once the voluptuous model in the long white dress and utterly useless shoes had posed for the real pictures in the bottom of the lock, Colin and Smudge persuaded the stylist and snapper that she just had to strike a pose with all the redshirts at Bridge 19. Modelling such a glamourous profession!
The last night party assumed a predictable theme: Halloween. DofEr Marcus turned 18 the following day, so what better than a Halloween-themed 18th party? After teams decorated pumpkins and Viv judged (Colins amazing bellringer silhouettes won his team the top honours), apple-bobbing ensued and then Cameron the dog was dressed up in an age 3-5 devil outfit for a game of pintail. Cameron just sat there with a look of utter disdain on his chops and after wed taken the photos, another idea was mooted. Pin the Tail on Marcus. If theres one thing worse than having to admit that you chased a DofEr around the room whilst blindfolded in order to pin a vecro tail onto his childs devil outfit, it was being Marcus and having to answer the question: what did you have got a strop on! do for fun in the evenings on your Canal Camp, son? That and being surgically removed from the devil outfit afterwards.
Mr & Mrs Tarrant
...including Mrs Tarrants Diary (thatsSmudgetoyou,bytheway) During the night, an aircraft carrier was expertly modelled by someone under the influence of both beer and being a Geordie. Once everything was packed up on Saturday, a select group adjourned to the oddly-named village of Hose for lunch in an excellent pub. And this one had an appropriate, and very original, interior, thank you very much. Mk2: I like this pub so much Id like to live in this village. Smudge: Mark, could you really live in a place called Hose? On which note
Quotes of the Day, taken from Mrs. Tarrants Diary: Saturday Late night room not used tonight. Dullards, said Mk2.y Tirfor 0, Marcus 1. Marcus managed to break the shear pin, assisted by Paul. Essex boys strike again! Taz & Smudge are cool. Beer is cool. - Chris Abram. I am still cold. - Tom Monday Camp photo taken at last. Remind me why I gave up my half-term for this? Youre DofE? Nope.Guess Im just crazy. Tip of the day: an empty egg-box makes an ideal receptacle for your six favourite Weebles. Tuesday Six oclock already? I was just in the middle of a dream: I was pointing bricks in a big muddy stream. Now I cant be late coz I guess I just wont get lunch. These are the days when you wish your breakfast was already made. Just another manic WRGday! Dare I point out that its Tuesday? said Mk2. Viv wears fluffy monster slippers.
Before and after pictures of the Bridge 19 abutments (but not the same side!)
We went bowling. Marcus & Tom won. We dont know how; it was all a bit odd. Chris broke one of the lanes with his high speed bowling at 14.6mph. If Smudge sees a real zombie, its not gonna survive. It is 12:17am and Martyn has just rattled the bench. Rotter. Wednesday Mk2 struggling to envisage Viv cutting up venison with her cleavage [diagram of cleaver, by way of explanation] Early Spanner of the Day: Paul & Dave to ensure that gas is on when Burco-lighting.
Having a fish-n-chip supper instead of Vivs pasta cheese surprise. Just as well; what would the surprise have been? Pasta Cheese Surprise = Lasagne, tomorrow! Thursday Tonight, we will mostly drop Marcus on a sleeping Paul whilst hijacking him. Ooops, sorry, Paul. Despite lack of sleep! Scrubbashers were sugsesful in completing there task. Now thats what you call a bonefire. (To be fair, Jon did apologise in advance for his spelling) Bonefire? Ohhh, says Cam!
Rebuilding the abutment walls
Friday Balloon game. Vivs team rather crap at this. Only cos we played proper! More games. Apple-bobbing. James v Viv, Dave v Big Chris, Smudge v Ian. Twister next; Viv playing in monster slippers. Chocolate sauce applied to various places on Dave, Viv, James and Tom by Nic. Paul eats lollipops. Didnt he see what it did to Kojak? Toms page: Busy day meant no time for a power nap! Time for beer. Hey you guys! Daves page: Maggie says Chris is a fiend in a sleeping bag! Sunday, I had to get very drunk with other DofErs. Wednesday, very wet, film was crap. Bloke from Goonies says Hey you guys! Vivs page: 20 minutes to Marcuss birthday. Who needs Lego when you can use Giant Jenga, Bourbon Creams and random cutlery to make an aircraft carrier. Weebles are missing. Mk2: Weebles would be ideal aircraft carrier crew because theyd wobble, but not fall down. Dunno about the ship itself. Viv: the aircraft carrier looks cool:
. . . . .
Dave & Toms Tips (abridged):
. . . . . . .
Navigation light - Toms phone The sea - blue towel and Toms jumper Crap on top of the thing - cutlery, cupcake, bottle tops
Big Cs page: I enjoyed cement mixing. I am the cleaning bricks king! [Big Chris, can you come back, sometime real soon?!]
Do not give Nic matches Do not let Chris loose in a bar Do not drink Old Rosie cider (loud noises!) and dont eat yellow snow Jenga is good for building a semi-edible aircraft carrier Wellingtons melt Dogs dont like being dressed up Dont leave Dave unsupervised
Credits (those viewing this on a PDF may roll them at their chosen speed):
. . . .
Flag from jigsaw puzzle Lift - Bourbon biscuits
Toasted marshmallow anyone?
. . .
Smudge for leadership and encouragement Viv for things best descibed with mmmmmmmm!! and cos shes huge fun Colin and Martin, the outgoing (sadly) WPOs from GCRS (Grantham Canal Restoration Society), for beer in the hall, bellringing, more beer and lots of on-site support; The caretaker of the Memorial Hall and various tradesmen for putting up with us living there for a week whilst they were trying to do things to it BWs conservation adviser for arranging the bricks, visiting regularly and generally being encouraging Staff of the BW yard at Loughborough A very patient bride Mark Mk2 Richardson and various diarists
...reporting from the Grantham Canal - and its feeder Bonfire Bash 2007 When I volunteered to run the reunion, I didn't quite anticipate it would be so hard, certainly harder than running a National Festival camp! Having met the Grantham Canal Restoration Society on different site visits it appeared we would have plenty of assorted work to do. Running 3 sites was going to be interesting, so I chose my Assistant with care along with the Team Leaders: they were chosen for their ability to follow instructions, and I knew that when I said I wanted small controlled bonfires then sure enough then that's what I was going to get... yeah right!! I will now leave it to the team leaders to write some words about the weekend, as with visiting all the sites I was bound to miss out on some of the highlights, although I did witness the tug-o-bonfire or burning branch rugby that appeared to go on when Moose was left to look after James's site on the Sunday late morning!
First lets hear from Ian on Site 1... Well after many versions of van and Land Rover movements in true WRG logistics style it wasnt until wed completed the weekend that the plans could be written for it! Anyway it all ended up with my wife and Land Rover staying at home and minibus SAD staying up north. I had been dropped at Cherwell Valley services to be met by Bungle NOT in a WRG van and Bobby, hence from there we headed up to the great Grantham of the north (well it is for me). After duly partaking in a drink or so I headed for a piece of floor and away from Harry and the port gang. Who spotted the wise old beard of Eddie running around with a piece of paper tugging at volunteers elbows? Not sure why as I couldnt read the resulting note (and neither could he next morning). As expected next morning avoiding port proved to have been a good plan. After plenty of tea and brekkie Eddie and I left in DOK with trailer and followed Rachel to meet Mitch on site. To the exclamation what - neither of you saw the artic lorry wrong side down in the hedge? as it turned out that was the OTHER way to site.
Anyway after a speedy walk aound site I was up to speed according to Mitch as I had been told all she knew! Over the long horizon appeared a busload of navvies and very speedily (for a Saturday morning after the Friday night before), the site 1A gang split into 3 groups. Richard and Rowena in one with the scrub bashers, Phill and Peter in another as the dam busters, with the remainder looking at a pile of wood and 300 metres of ditch with not enough bank apparently. Then Daddy Cool arrived with THE MACHINE. Phills team rapidly set the pace with stakes and boards flying into position, the boarding crew took a little longer to work out a method even with machine help. As for the scrub crew they seemed to be out-classed by the scrub, struggling Site 1: the drinking trough area takes shape to make inroads.
Sunday appeared all too quickly and we raced back to site to finish what we started, surprisingly no mud or water fights but small, controlled burning was the order for the R&R team. Progress on back filling the new dam and finishing the wattle boarding was excellent and we just ran out of time to trim the tops of the last set of poles. Almost all complete as Mitch had described. Many thanks to Mitch and Dave for ensuring we had enough materials and very clear pictures of what was needed. Ian Ian Williamson
Now its over to Liz on site 2... A large contingent of us were shipped over to Site 2, to work on clearing the feeder ditch which serves the Grantham Canal. The ditch was suitably overgrown with a nice mixture of trees, brambles and bushes and stretched all the way up to the horizon at the top of the field a great site to get stuck in and take out some serious aggression on helpless vegetation! Of course, it took us a while to get there and despite the assistance of Jamess friendly disembodied female Sat-Nav voice (At the next available opportunity, please make a U-turn) we missed the turning and James proceeded to undertake an impressive 58-point turn at a deceptively narrow point in the road, unperturbed by the fact that he was towing a trailer, and the White Van Man we were holding up was looking progressively more grumpy. The feeder was located at the edge of a field, and the nice farmer had given us permission to use his land for our bonfires. With lots of scrub, and lots of room, we soon had some impressive flames. We stuck to Mitchs instructions of keeping bonfires less than 6 foot high, but made up for this by making them 15 foot wide. Some screeching was heard towards the end of the first day the muddy ditch had claimed its first victim! The traditional first response 3-point action plan kicked in without fail: 1. Point and laugh. 2. Take photographs. 3. Assist person in climbing out of the ditch. As the person in question was inappropriately-dressed and carrying a small Gucci handbag, I fear points 1 and 2 were extended somewhat for maximum amusement. Ed Walker
TEA! was communicated across 500metres or so and everyone ran to have a brew from none other than THE MAC himself. With the superb quality of service it took some time to properly appreciate it which we duly did. Lunch came and went and boards and stakes got bashed and Mr Cool set about the drinking trough - the only bit of the feeder that the cattle would in future be allowed to use. Soon the sun passed away over the trees so we grabbed our tools, the bus and headed back to base. The evening passed by with superb chilli, not a surprise to those who had spent a day sorting out all the spare camp food some weeks ago but very enjoyable all the same. Soon the air was thick with Dr Busker, signalling a great sing-song.
The day ended with a short debate on whether or not to ditch the leftover Above: scrub-bashing along the line of the feeder on Site 2 soup in the hedge. It was decided Below: a good example of a small controlled bonfire on Site 3 against, and the half-full saucepan duly placed in the back of the kit trailer. After 5 minutes, this was forgotten, and we then proceeded to encourage James to drive along the track at high speed, with the intention of hitting as many potholes as possible, and seeing how much of a big muddy splash we could create. The smell of soup soon reached us and we realized something was amiss. A quick look confirmed that chicken soup was in fact dripping from the back of the trailer. On arrival back at the accom, several of us had the joyous task of hosing down the inside of the trailer, and all the tools therein, which had been liberally coated.
...in which Liz and Mooses teams steal each others fires! The following day half of us got lazy, and discovered it was far quicker and easier to wait for those at the neighbouring bonfire to cut down trees, and then steal them when they werent looking. It took a surprisingly long time for them to work out what we were doing, despite the fact that our bonfire was reaching magnificent proportions with relatively little effort. Once they did notice our thieving tendencies a tug-of-war ensued. I dont remember who won, but I do know that the tree was hardly worth burning by the time wed finished with it. We rounded off the day with some relaxed marshmallow-toasting courtesy of Marshmallow Man himself. Liz Wilson
And finally its Moose with the news from Site 3... Site three was at the far end of the site where we were working on the Bonfire Bash two years ago: that year we were only allowed to have small fires and the idea was to have a big chipper in to chip everything else. This year before we got to site, our leader Mitch (all bow!) said I could have fires but they had to be controlled, well that settled it. But all the roots had to be pulled out. Now we were eager to get to site. Off we eagerly went, towing Kit A and with a coach following, off we go. We left the school and got on the main road no problem. We even turned down the next road at the required time, but we had a little confusion set in when a road junction appeared which we had not been expecting. In truth the road has a horrible wiggle and believing the road went to the left and we had gone straight over we found a nice place to do a U turn, with said trailer and the following coach. Back onto the road, and came to a bridge, asked around and it seemed to be the site, so unloaded the trailer of tools of torture, including several Tirfors and away they all went looking for trees to pull out, cut down etc etc... While I was still at the car sorting out signs etc. I get a phone call from Elanor, which basically said I think this is wrong - nothing to cut down. Doh! While they all walked back I looked at the map that the Polish coach driver had, and realized that at that funny junction we should have gone straight over, the site was about a mile down that road. Now the thought of doing a Uturn in a small country road was not appealing, and as for the coach! It was decided to follow carry on down the road and pick up the correct turn etc. No problems, locals were waiting for us. Finally we are at site having lost about an hour due to this little cockup.
The troops poured off the coach all eager, within minutes smoke could be seen and the first few trees were already on the ground, being hacked into little bits for the fire. Notice I said fire (singular), but within a couple of hours there were three.
...and when I nod my head, you hit it...
The plan of action was that we would be on site again on the next day, so we would cut a few trees down and leave the branches and trunks ready to be burnt for Sunday. While the fires got going on the Sunday we could then get more people trained in the correct use of tirfors and all the roots could be pulled out and thrown on the fires. Gosh, what a good plan (I hear you say).
After a very successful day on site, lots of stumps had already been pulled and had ended up on the fires. More stumps were ready to be pulled on Sunday and plenty of wood to burn. Graham had done a good job of instructing three teams on the use of tirfors. Plan for tomorrow was already set. The coach turned up, and the merry (or was it weary?) troops were taken back to the accommodation. We loaded the trailer with the tools of torture and scuttled back to the accom as well.
So off course as our troops were getting all the trees etc, that had been cut down to keep our fire going, it was noted that some troublesome people by the smaller fire resorted to pinching our hardwon wood for their own fire, but we had a secret weapon Siobhain and a Tweedle.
As we were leaving site my mobile bleeped to say it had a message, Maria set about finding out who had tried to contact us, and it was our glorious leader, Mitch (all bow!). And the message which had been sent much earlier in the afternoon said Oh, plans have changed - you will be going to another site tomorrow. Doh!
Moose & Maria
Having to practice reversing once back at the school because James had just thrown his car and trailer in an untidy mess (just no consideration, most likely speeding!). Back at the accom spoke to Mitch (All bow!). On a section of the feeder stream which one team had started, the work was to scrub bash the channel so that it would have a better flow. But as the going was slow (James was the leader at this site) they needed the superior support from site 3s experienced crew. So that was the new plan. Saturday Night, Jude and her merry willing volunteers made a lovely meal that was very tasty, filling (still had seconds) and hot. Thanks Jude and all your helpers. I think after that it was showers and beer?
While the Site leader was away the two fires were compared, I would say our fire was a much better controlled, neater and obviously better supervised (I was leaning on the spade most of the time, watching it! And Im not biased or anything).
And lastly, back to the leader... I will finish by saying a BIG thank you... Firstly to everyone who turned up and put in all the hard work into making great inroads to the massive task in hand. I think the majority made it to site on the Sun morning which was great, and thank you to you all for those 20 minutes of help at the end so we all could get away at a decent time. To Jude and Elinor and everyone in the kitchens who provided us with the fab evening meal and breakfasts. To my contacts within GCRS who helped make things happen. To Moose and Maria, Ian Williamson, James the (ex) Postie and Phil the 'Bitch' for being 'controlled'... mostly! And finally to Vulcan Dave who was excellent as an Assistant, couldn't have done it without you. The end result... well what can I say? Thank you
Sunday morning, I thought I had been reduced in the ranks to a volunteer instead of site leader, all ready to take down a couple of trees etc only to find that James yes, expostie James had a training session to go to and he would be off site only for about an hour or so. After going to site and showing us the work James then sauntered off leaving his troops and me doing his work, and went back to the accom to play with tachographs. He had the cheek to arrive back on site just as we started to pack up. (He had to come back to tow the trailer back, even though I could have) It had been decided beforehand that we were off site for 14:00 and have lunch back at the school, etc.
By 14:00hrs we had made a tremedous difference, the locals were pleased, the site was left very clean and tidy with two very large mounds of ash.
The feeder bank protection nearing completion
Canal Camps cost £42 per week unless otherwise stated. Bookings for WRG Canal Camps (those identified by a camp number e.g. 'Camp 0701') should go to WRG Canal Camps, PO Box 114, Rickmansworth WD3 1ZY. Tel: 01923 711114. Email: email@example.com
Wilts & Berks Canal: Dig Deep project at Seven Locks. Xmas party and accom
Dec 26-Jan 1 Camp 0621
Chesterfield Canal Christmas Camp: Leaders: Dave Moose Hearnden and Pau
Dec 26-Jan 1 WBCT
Wilts & Berks Canal Christmas Camp: at Foxham & Seven Locks
Jan 1 Mon
Press date for issue 221: including Canal Societies directory
Postponed: Dig moved to Jan 20/21
Wey & Arun Canal: Dig Deep project
Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation: (subject to final confirmation)
Jan 7 Sun
Committee & Board Meetings
Wey & Arun Canal
Jan 13 Sat
Paper Chase waste paper collection
Buckingham Arm: Cosgrove.
Hollinwood Canal: NOTE new date. Daisy Nook, with accommodation. Celebrating wrgN
Grand Western Canal: (to be confirmed)
Wilts & Berks Canal: Dig Deep project
Lichfield Canal: (provisional)
Foxton Inclined Plane
Wey & Arun Canal
Cotswold Canals: Thames & Severn - Latton & Rucks Bridge
Hereford & Gloucester Canal: probably Yarkhill (to be confirmed)
Feb 17 Sat
Paper Chase waste paper collection
Lichfield Canal: Dig Deep project - plus London WRG AGM on Saturday evening
Mar 1 Thu
Press date for issue 222
Mar 3 Sat
WRG/KESCRG Barn Dance: Benson, Oxfordshire . Accom available
Mar 3 Sat
Leaders training day at Benson, Oxfordshire
Mar 4 Sun
Committee & Board Meetings at Benson, Oxfordshire
Wilts & Berks Canal
Wilts & Berks Canal: Dig Deep project
Lichfield Canal: Dig Deep project
Lancaster Canal (Northern Reaches)
Hereford & Gloucester Canal: Yarkhill scrub bashing
Crayford Navigation: Removing trees blocking navigation. Organised by Kent & Tidal river, so only working 5 hours from 8.00am each day
WRG/IWA/BCNS BCN Clean up. Supported by WRG South West and London WRG but everyon See p6-7 and please book in using the booking form provided
Please send updates to Diary compiler: Dave Wedd, 7 Ringwood Rd, Blackwater, Camberley, Surrey GU17 0EY. Tel 01252 874437. email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
modation at Devizes
NW 30th anniversary.
East Sussex IWA.
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: email@example.com. NWPG: 9:00pm on 3rd Tue of month at the 'Hope Tap', West end of Friar St. Reading. Graham Hawkes 0118 941 0586
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 Thurs BCS Buckingham area 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 David Revill 4th Sunday of month ECPDA Langley Mill Michael Golds Second Sun of month FIPT Foxton Inclined Plane Mike Beech 2nd weekend of month 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, 2nd, 4th Sun + 3rd Sat LHCRT Lichfield Sue Williams 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 John Empringham 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 Grp Laurie Wraight Various dates WACT Hedgelaying (Oct-Mar)Keith Nichols 1st w/e of month (Fri-Mon) WAT Drayton Beauchamp 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
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 01603-738648 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 01543-671427 01543-374370 01757-638027 01744-731746 01225-428055 01483-721710 01673-862278 01948-880723 01474-362861 023-9246-3025 01483-562657 020-8241-7736 01483-772132 01483-422519 01903-721404 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 As a follow up to the letter from Martin Day, published in Navvies, I now probably hold the title of Old Geezer being born in 1941 (you do the sums). As part of my introduction to the construction industry after leaving school, it was drummed into me by the then (old geezers) to a young upstart that one of the important constituents of good mortar, plaster and concrete was a supply of clean mixing water as any impurities especially of a decaying vegetative nature would have a serious detrimental effect on the quality of the mix apparently due to chemicals produced by the decaying matter. The reported B.W. guidlines as stated are therefore most likely to be correct and not a product of our current jobs worth society. No doubt there exists a British association of concrete manufacturers or such like and I would think they could provide the definitive answer. As to the 200 year analogy, probably then they relied on actual craftmanship in the cutting and shaping of stone and brick to form the strength factor of the structure rather than our current near enough and infill with mortar or concrete concept of building. All thats new does not necessarily stand up for 30 years - let alone 200' Paul Morris We have also been contacted by Liz Wilson who confirms that there is a specification for water to be used in concrete and mortar mixing. We hope to put the details on the WRG website useful documents section in due course. Basically it may be OK to use surface water eg canal water for mixing, but depends on certain tests of levels of impurities including a visual check for colour (no darker than pale yellow), a limit on the amount of organic matter, a pH value of no less than 4, no noticeable odour, no foam that lasts more than 2 minutes, and various other chemical checks. ...Ed Dear Martin I would like to thank everyone who donated to the Woodland Trust in memory of Dave Tenko Johnson. I am pleased to advise that as a result an acre of woodland at Moss and Height Spring Wood, Ulverston, has been dedicated to his memory. Many people from WRG donated, and it is much appreciated. Thank you all Alison Johnson
Water, a memorial woodland, and the small size of print in Navvies
Dear Martin I look forward to receiving your excellent and informative magazine. I rely on it for restoration news. My own efforts in the field are over: I started in 1960. There are two points I would like to raise: Firstly, the print is too faint and small for comfortable reading. Secondly, WRG is shooting itself in the foot by the extremely low subs figure of £1.50. I know of no other trust or society that maintains a cost including pence - it should be £2 at the very least. Fifty pence is useless: a cup of tea, bag of chips or bus fare are all too expensive for 50p! Im suggesting a rise of 50p a year - nobody who can afford to work on the canals is unable to find 50p a year. Thank you
Bill Browns comments are appreciated, as are any constructive criticisms of the magazine. It is now some years since I last gave Navvies what used to be a fairly regular makeover stylewise, and the next one is overdue. I will definitely include an increase in the type size when this happens, hopefully in the next issue or the one after. Having had my first pair of varifocals for two years and now in need of stronger ones, I am beginning to appreciate the problems of small print myself! I admit that I have at times tended to squeeze down the size of print to avoid having to increase the number of pages - but with the changes to postal rates thats less likely to be an expense. As regards faintness of the ink, Im afraid thats probably down to the way we print the mag ourselves using what is not exactly state-of-the-art technology. And both of these are ways that we keep the costs down to the minimum - but point taken about the value of 50p (I remember when it bought two and a half pints of beer!) and I will raise the subject of increasing the subs price at the next WRG Committee meeting. The Editor
Volunteer work starts on the ManchesterBolton&BuryCanal John Fletcher
Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal Volunteer work parties recommenced on the Manchester Bolton and Bury Canal, on the Bolton Arm of the canal, from the Junction at Nob End, towards Bolton. Organised by Membership Secretary/ Newsletter Editor Paul Hindle (a skilled multi- WRG Forestry at work on the Manchester Boltasker!) which included British Waterways staff, ton & Bury Canal at Nob End the canal society, WRG North West and WRG Forestry.
The volunteer work was followed up by British Waterways staff spraying towing path and tree stumps to minimise regrowth. Thames & Medway Canal
As multi-million pound contract restoration commences on the ground at the junction of the canal and the river Irwell, and contract dredging funded by a S106 agreement commences in Radcliffe, volunteers removed trees from the washwalls of the Bolton arm and removed overburden from the cobbled towing path in a weekend working party.
A view of the towpath of start of the Bolton Arm with clearance completed.
Wed be very glad to have more volunteers to help with all these tasks! Contact us by email at Thames. Medway@ntlworld.com if you can help.
The Trusts working parties continue their weekly efforts. At the Gravesend end of the canal most of the work is weeding, strimming and cutting back vegetation, while at the Higham end the task is the removal of large quantities of dumped household rubbish. Items removed include three piece suites, office chairs, double glazing units, toys and doors from vehicles and houses. Hundreds of tyres have also been removed.
Angela Acott Just some of the rubbish pulled out of the Thames & Medway at Higham
Wey & Arun Canal
The Wey & Arun Canal Trusts present major project is reinstating the B2133 main road crossing at Loxwood. The group have been busy doing all those odd jobs that need to be done, for instance concreting in the bollards at the new lock before they get stolen. In October the mitre boards were put in place ready for the gates. Once the contractors had finished lowering the pound, everyone was asked to help the Onslow Arms to get their pub garden back to straights which included replacing the Wendy house and private garden. The next major task will be the arrival of more contractors to connect the sewer diversion.
...plus the latest on the Thames & Medway and the Wey & Arun...
Our present activities are on the following sites:
Loxwood Lordings (Orfold) Dunsfold Bramley
Over the last couple of months the Mid Week Working Party has cleared the Dunsfold area to enable us to have our first boat rally on that section. This involved quite a lot of branches being removed from the water and towpath clearance. We launched a work boat and everyone had loads of fun getting really wet and covered with duckweed before the rally on 1st Before and after shots of Tannery Lane Bridge on the Wey & Arun October. This group has also Canal. Hope you can tell which one is which! been busy erecting a fence at Lee Farm Bridge. Keith Nicholss group is beginning to start coppicing in Sidney Wood, but the big news is the clearance work undertaken last month in Bramley, just outside Guildford.
A working party led by our Maintenance Manager, David Jessop, tackled the area near Tannery Lane Bridge. The bridge itself is a roving (towpath crossover) bridge and is the only one to be found along the Wey & Arun. Trees needed to be removed, undergrowth cleared, and at the end of the day we had enough wood ready for a huge bonfire. The above pictures tell the before and after story. BT assisted by felling one enormous willow that posed a threat to the overhead wires. Further Saturday working parties are planned for this area and if you would like to help, David would be delighted to hear from you. Email David_Jessop@weyandarun.co.uk or phone the WACT office. This is highly visible work by the Trust in the Bramley area so we are naturally keen to make a good job of this initial clearance work.
...and a different kind of restoration on the Huddersfield... Finally, we are looking forward to receiving the WS Atkins Canal Completion Strategy Report which is due at the end of the year. We hope it will identify an approach for implementation within a 10 to 15year period and comprises five sub-studies:
.. .. .
Navigation Assessment of Water Resources Engineering Plan Strategic Environmental Assessment Economic Analysis Sally Schupke
Huddersfield canal Just when you thought the Huddersfield restoration was all done and dusted, it looks like further restoration is in the pipeline - but it wont be a volunteer job! Plans for a massive redevelopment of Huddersfields Waterfront Quarter which were given outline permission in September will mean the opening-up the Huddersfield Narrow Canal where it currently tunnels under the Sellers Engineering works. The £200m scheme will transform a 12-acre site bordered by Manchester Road, Chapel Hill and the river Colne.
The outline application includes a 150-bed hotel, 4 residential blocks ranging from eight to nine stories and one block of 18 stories. The concrete lid currently covering the canal would be removed, the existing lock next to Wilsons Yard moved, the water level raised, and a new canalside route for walkers developed. Phase one - which will comprise residential and employment development - is expected to be complete by Summer 2008.See www.waterfrontquarter.co.uk for details. Sleaford Navigation Work on the construction of a new footbridge across the River Slea could start in the New Year. Sleaford Navigation Trust has secured a grant of up to £50,000 from landfill tax funding agency WREN, along with another £4,000 from the Inland Waterways Association, towards their project. The Trust is working with Lincolnshire County Council in the Lincolnshire Waterways Partnership to get quotations for the work. The design for the new bridge (see diagram below) will be based on a Dutch lifting style. Lincolnshire County council head of technical services David Cragg came up with an innovative outline drawing for a curved bridge which has been adapted to satisfy Environment Agency concerns that a central support in the river as originally proposed might cause a bottleneck and flood risk. Instead a suspended middle section will rise to allow boats to come up the river and moor by Eastgate Green or turn around. Mr Cragg said: It is certainly the first bridge like it in the county. We could have gone for one single span but it would have made it quite high when raised and more weight would be needed to counterbalance it.
The existing low-level footbridge over the Sleaford Navigation in Sleaford...
Trust chairman Christine Hayes said: It is going to be a far more user friendly bridge. It will be much wider than the present one and easier for people with wheelchairs and pushchairs to cross. Six potential contractors have proposed designs in steel, aluminium or timber and one will be selected by the beginning of next month. Construction could begin by the spring. The Trust have been in discussion with WRG to enlist volunteer help next summer [see the 2007 WRG Canal Camps programme that should hopefully be included in this issue ...Ed] to build a slipway for small boats, dinghies and canoes and to construct a winding hole which would allow boats to turn around in the river at Eastgate Green. Wendover Arm Footbridge 4a: At 10.30am on Saturday, 21st October, Sir John Johnson, Chairman of the Chiltern Conservation Board, unveiled the Chiltern Bridge 4A plaque on the new timber footbridge, for which the Board gave a grant to the Trust of almost £10,000.00. All four wing wall bases have now been cast, and no more work will be carried out until the wing walls at the east end of Bridge 4 are completed. Channel lining and mooring: During the September and October work parties bulk excavation was well in hand up to the pipeline manhole in the bed of the canal at chainage 4290, and a further 20 metres of pipe capping was completed. It is the intention to build the next temporary bund at this manhole with a view to re-watering this section during next year.
...plus more work for WRG next year on the Sleaford... The weather has precluded laying Bentonite lining and block and spoil covering, but coir rolls, of which the Trust has a good stock in hand surplus from the Aston Clinton bypass donated to the Trust by Balfour Beatty, have been laid along the top of the block lining, where aquatic planting will take place. Footbridge 4: The timber handrails of the footbridge have many splits and gaps with sharp edges that still require attention as well as trimming the ends of all the handrails. The problem arises from a government edict to BW that they must use sustainable timber. The best hardwood for smooth handrails is not sustainable, hence the problem with the handrails. Which comes first, Health & Safety or sustainable timber?! Ron Pittaway and Ken Graves have been considering various options, including the use of sustainable softwood that has a shorter life than hardwood. The west end towpath wing wall base has now been cast, and the east end wing wall blinding laid complete with concrete base and stop plank channel. At the November work party, weather permitting, it was intended to complete both east end wing wall bases complete with stop plank channels. For latest news see http://wendovercanal.org.uk
...and an impression of the Dutch style liftbridge that will replace it
...or rather lack of progress on the Stowmarket Navigation Stowmarket Navigation or The Lament of a Working Party Organiser
It is important first to ascertain if the structure that you are about to work on is listed. When Ipswich IWA enquired of the local council about Creeting Lock, we were initially told that it wasnt listed, but the Environment Agency insisted it was, so to be on the safe side we asked again; this time we were told it was listed. As we are working on a river navigation, the river is, as many are, a parish boundary, and the boundary runs through the centre of the lock: Creeting on one side and Barking on the other. With good local government efficiency, as the lock is called Creeting Lock, they had listed it in the Barking parish register, hence they could not find it first time round.
One of the joys of being a I applied for listed The locks present state of work party organiser is dereliction is due to the EAs lack building consent for dealing with the red tape, Creeting Lock bewhich has to be sorted out of care. We are going to repair it cause I had a survey before work can start. It at our expense, and the EA charge report that had been sometimes makes you feel us £50 to give us consent to do produced by IWAs as if you are about to comhonorary Consulting the work. Can you beat that? mit an illegal act rather than Engineer that recomvoluntarily restore part of our built heritage... mended the use of concrete to repair the invert.
Baylham, the lock that the EA claim to own, but want to charge us for permission to restore it for them
I filled in the forms, produced drawings of the proposed work, supplied a location map and copies of the report all in triplicate and in my innocence sat back and waited for the consent to arrive. Instead a letter arrived asking why we were not going to rebuild the invert brick by brick so I then had to produce a justification for using concrete: two more pages in triplicate. I have just obtained listed building consent for Baylham lock on the River Gipping; that was fairly straightforward as I presented it as a virtual repeat of consent previously granted for Creeting Lock. However we still cant start work because the EA are being awkward about land drainage consent, as they claim that they own the lock and so does the land owner. Although we cant influence the outcome of this dispute and we have the landowners consent to do the work, for 11 months the EA would not give me the forms to apply on, so I declared that we are in dispute and asked for their appeal procedures. Then the forms arrived, but I am still waiting for consent. So that they should not be too rushed, they are allowed two months in which to reply. They also charge £50.00 to give consent. They claim to own the lock, so its present state of dereliction is due to their lack of care. We are going to repair it at our expense and they charge us to give us consent the do the work. Can you beat that? I suggested that in the circumstances they return our cheque uncashed, but no longer being the innocent that I was when I started this job, I am not holding my breath. I thought we were nearly there. But I should have known better. There is always another bureaucratic obstacle to be overcome and a fee to pay to get it removed. I had informed the council that we had agreed with the landowner to rebuild a collapsed bank-retaining wall that was in the curtilage of the lock and water mill, both listed buildings. I sent them photographs of the location and the collapsed wall, and a section drawing of the proposed wall. I waited 2 months, no reply.
Does this country deserve volunteer effort at all? I phoned. Aah, the man dealing with this has left, so no action, we will phone you back, and they did. They said that as we were not going to replace the ugly concrete wall with another ugly concrete wall, but with a brick faced one to match the lock, we require planning permission, cost £135, plus listed building consent, paper work in multiple copies amounting to 42 sheets of paper and all for a wall 21 metres long x 2m high all below ground level. How stupid can it get? We also have to satisfy the local wildlife trust that we were not going to disturb an otter holt - an otter holt in a brick lined channel!!! I have come to the conclusion that this country does not deserve voluntary effort. Or am I just being a grumpy old man? Colin Turner
At least somebody appreciates Ipswich IWAs efforts on the Gipping
Some photos of what the regional groups have been up to
Below Left and Below: Goughs Orchard Lock on the Cotswold Canals before and after WRG South WestÂ’s attention on initial scrub clearance. Centre: London WRG carrying on with the rebuilding work at Steppingstones Bridge on the Wilts & Berks which was begun during the summer Canal Camps. Bottom: WRG North West return to one of our old favourites - the Montgomery Canal. We will be having our first Canal Camp there for some years during 2007.
Above: WRG SWs scrub-bashers in action again, this time clearing up a length of previously coppiced hedge at Yarkhill. Any visiting groups with a free weekend will be very welcome to help there - please contact Chris High on firstname.lastname@example.org. Below: NWPG putting the finishing touches on the rebuilt Brewhurst Lock on the Wey & Arun. Right and Below Right: KESCRG and London WRGs Xmas dig this year featured a fancy dress party in the evening on the theme of The Beatles, featuring Chris and Nigel Lee as a pair of fairly convincing mop-tops, and Helen as the Abbey Road zebra crossing. Report next time.
Navvies news And the latest on the Save our Waterways campaign Save our Waterways The Save our Waterways campaign against Government cuts in funding to navigation authorities British Waterways and the Enviroment Agency (see Editorial, Navvies 219) gathers pace. A national series of almost thirty boat blockades and similar events around the country (and even one in Sydney, Australia) attracted something approaching a thousand boats and many thousands of supporters and members of the public - many of whom signed the petition in support of the reinstatement of proper funding for canal maintenance. Next in the schedule are a campaign cruise from various places on the tidal Thames converging on the Houses of Parliament on Tuesday January 16th. The organisers are still hoping for more boats to really make an impact - and for those without boats to turn up and wave banners on Westminster Bridge. After that comes a national series of Last push events on the weekend of 24-25 February, timed to coincide with the delivery of the petition to DEFRA, the Government funding agency responsible for the cuts in funding to BW and the EA. See www.saveourwaterways.org.uk for details of these and any more events. Meanwhile a parliamentary debate was due to take place on December 6th, and waterways minister Barry Gardiner who hasnt exactly distinguished himself so far looked set to get a bit of a kicking.
A signpost was unveiled earlier this year at the juinction of the Bugsworth and Whaley Bridge arms of the Peak Forest Canal in memory of supporter and North Cheshire Cruising Club stalwart Dennis Suleman. It matches the signpost erected earlier at Marple in memory of Ted Keaveney.
Van speed limits A bit of asking around among some of our WRG van drivers recently revealed a certain amount of ignorance on what the national speed limits are for these vehicles. For minibuses and vans (other than small car-derived vans) they are as follows: Motorways 70mph; non-motorway dual carriageways 60mph; single carriageways 50mph. And yes, the cameras really will catch you if you exceed them!
And if you agree with the campaign, you can add your name to the list of supporters without even leaving your computer. An online petition to No 10 Downing Street has already attracted several thousand signatures: just go to the dedicated campaign website www.saveourwaterways.org.uk and follow the link. And if you dont agree with the campaign - and Im sure theres a fair bit of dissent in the ranks, even thought hasnt made it into print very much yet - then please write to Navvies letters page and lets get a discussion going on an issue that affects all of us in waterway restoration.
See the Grantham camp repoirt for the circumstances surrounding this curious photograph
Portable publicity stands One of the frequent suggestions that bubbles up to the surface whenever navvies are grouped together is the idea of small, portable publicity stands when we are digging to try and tackle the passing traffic. After all the secret of success is to get directly to the consumer and if they are already interested enough to wander along the towpath . Well Frank Wallader would like to try and develop the idea a bit. We have already had the discussions and identified all the difficulties and downsides - now we need a few people who are willing to try and give it a go. Frank gives his opinion on the sort of person we are looking for: We must not expect the WRG group or local organisers to take these extra tasks on board, they have enough to do already. We need either new personnel or those who would otherwise be considering retirement. These people need to be confident and communicative with good knowledge of restoration scene in general and prepared to research the local situation. The aim would be to recruit a publicity organiser for each WRG group to work with the local restoration groups. There may also be a role for a national co-ordinator who could contact the local societies for information to pass onto the individual bods and ensure they have adequate supplies of publicity materials.
Navvies news Have you been questioned by BW about Health & Safety?
Secondly the good news is that although your individual answers will be scrutinised, this is really about cracking down on the ones we are just as worried about as well. You know, the local workers, both official and unofficial, who crop up whenever we are sitting in the pub one evening having the talking about unsafe, have you ever worked with conversation. Further good news is that in correspondence about this the phrase quasi-contractor has been used. Hopefully this means that our frequent protestations that, although we have some of the characteristics of contractors, there is no need to manage us in such a rigid regime have started to seep through to the management. Mike Palmer
So if you can help with any of the above or perhaps with storing or transporting the kit (which we intend will not be some blow-away flimsy thing nor a dreadnought type market stall) then please contact us at email@example.com and we will forward your message to On the Wilts & Berks, thanks to a generous loan from Dave Rudland, Frank. the last 800 metres east of Dauntsey to White Hill Farm are now dredged Mike Palmer
BW Safety questionnaire
Some working party organizers may have received a questionnaire from British Waterways asking lots of questions about safety and planning and competence and stuff. Well, firstly if you have any questions or want any advice on this then please contact me. Alternatively you can check the WRG website, where all of our H&S documentation is.
Navvies news Save all those Christmas stamps and send them in to WRG! Sad news from Fourteen Locks Unfortunately the locks were targeted by a bunch of little oiks during November and some of our good work on restoring this historic flight of locks has been undone. The vandals dug up footpaths, wrecked and burned fencing, smashed windows at the canal centre and generally made the local volunteers start to wonder why the hell they bother. Which is a tragedy because they had built up a really good working relationship with almost all of the local people, and were hopeful of funding from HLF to start restoring the locks of the main flight. The Canal Trust is now appealing for local people to report the actions of this minority of feral youth and we all hope they get what they deserve. But in the meantime Santas Grotto at the Canal Centre was still due to open as usual before Christmas, Chris Morgan of the Canal Trust has vowed that The vandals will not drive our volunteers away, and I can only echo that sentiment and urge you to continue giving the Mon & Brec your support in the coming year.
Apologies... ...in general for the late arrival of this issue and the previous one, and for both of them maybe giving a slight impression of having been thrown together in a hurry even more than usual. Thank you all for your patience: normal service will now be resumed. ...and in particular for a cockup in the Noticeboard page last time in which I inadvertently gave Gilly Macey and Liz Wilson of London WRG a houseswap. Im sure neither of them would really have minded living at each others houses, but I cant help thinking that Gillys boyfriend might have been a little surprised... Anyway Liz lives at 1 Claybrook Road Hammersmith London W6 8LN while Gilly lives at 12 Dyson Close Huntingdon PE29 6GQ. But Im sure the girls will be able to swap any wrongly-addressed Christmas cards that youve already sent.
And speaking of Christmas cards... Dont forget to save all the stamps and send them off to the WRG Stamp Bank - see opposite page for details.
And on the subject of Christmas... Seasons Greetings to everyone from the Editor. Many thanks for all your contributions and other help with Navvies in 2006. Ill see some of you on the Chesterfield Camp to wish you a Happy New Year in person, but to everyone else heres to a happy and successful 2007. And dont forget January 1st is the Navvies 221 press date!
We dont seem to have received many bids for the books offered last time. Come on folks - these reserve prices really are very low, so there are some real bargains to be had. All the proceeds will be split between WRG and the Stover Canal restoration. Bids should be no less than the reserve, and should be made in multiples of 50p. The highest bid gets the book - or in the case of two equal highest, the first one received wins. Please send your bids to Rachael Banyard, 5 Canal Cottages, Dauntsey Lock, Chippenham SN15 4HD or by email to the editor, with Book Auction as the subject. Inland Waterways of Europe (hardback) Roger Calvert 1975 £2 British Canals: an illustrated history (paperback) Charles Hadfield 1974 £2 Bradshaws Canals & Navigable Rivers of England and Wales Henry de Salis 1969 £2 Waterways Postcards 1900-1930 (paperback) Hugh McKnight 1983 £2 Waterways Heritage (paperback) Peter Smith 1975 £1 Craft of the Inland Waterways (paperback) D.J.Smith 1987 £1 Narrow Boat Painting (hardback) A.J.Lewery 1991 £2 Observers Canals (hardback) John Gagg 1988 £1 Pleasure and Leisure Boating (A Practical Handbook) Sydney Crossley 1899 £2 The New Narrow Boat Builders Book (paperbacki) Graham Booth/Andy Burnett £1.50 Canal and River Cruising (The IWA Manual) Shiela Davenport 1990 £1 The Navigators (paperback) Anthony Burton 1977 £1 Inland Cruising (hardback) Tom Willis 1987 £1.50 Historic Waterways Scenes - The Trent and Mersey Canal Peter Lead 1993 £2
Contacting the chairman: Mike Palmer, 3 Finwood Rd, Rowington, Warwickshire CV35 7DH Tel: 01564 785293 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Online Navvies subscriptions DonÂ’t forget: 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
...on your nuptials to Mike Palmer and Jude Moore, who will be married on January 27th
Moving house Ed Walker and Suzie Pounce have moved to: 6 Edmonds Court Didcot OX11 8QY. Tel: 01235 512096
Free to good home: One Portacabin
20ft by 10ft. Free to any restoration group who can collect it from near Ipswich. Contact Colin Turner on Tel: 01473 730586 or email: email@example.com
Navvies Directory update
Lichfield & Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust has a new Work Party contact: Sue Williams, Norfolk House, 29 Hall Lane, Hammerwich, Burntwood WS7 0JP. 01543 671427, firstname.lastname@example.org And so does the Buckingham Canal Society: Athina Beckett, 2 Staters Pound, Pennyland, Milton Keynes MK1 5AX. Tel: 01908 661217, email@example.com The Chichester Ship Canal Trust has a new website: www.chichestercanal.co.uk IWA Ipswich (working on the Stowmarket Navigation have a new email contact: firstname.lastname@example.org As does Colin Greenal of the Sankey Canal (SCARS): email@example.com The next Navvies will contain the full directory of WRG and canal society work party contacts. Please send any updates to the eritor by January 1st.
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 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 magaManchester M21 9FZ zines provided that the Printing and assembly: source is acknowledged. John & Tess Hawkins WRG may not agree with 4 Links Way, Croxley Grn opinions expressed in this Rickmansworth, Herts magazine, but encourages WD3 3RQ 01923 448559 publication as a matter of firstname.lastname@example.org terest. Editor : Martin Ludgate 35 Silvester Road East Dulwich London SE22 9PB 020-8693 3266
WANTED Issues 161 (Spring 1991) and 180 (Summer 1997) of IWA Waterways magazine Donation plus p&p offered Contact Roger Squires 020 7232 098 or email@example.com
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: Rick Barnes, John Baylis, Mick Beattie, Malcolm Bridge, Spencer Collins, Christopher Davey, Helen Davey, Roger Day, Neil Edwards, George Eycott, John Fletcher, Adrian Fry, John Hawkins, Jennifer Leigh, Judith Moore, Michael Palmer, Jonathan Smith.
Inland Waterways Enterprises Registered office: Secretary: Neil Edwards 3 Norfolk Court, Norfolk Rd. Rickmansworth WD3 1LT VAT reg. no : 788 9425 54 ÂŠ 2006 WRG Tel : 01923 711114 Registered no 4305322 ISSN 0953-6655
...while the picture of the aquatic racing car on a Dutch canal elicited the following suggestions... New F1 rules mean wet weather tyres must now be tested under the most extreme conditions (Andy Carter) Schumacher walks on water (Andy Carter) After problems with rivers drying up in summer in central Europe due to climate change, Dutch barge skipper reveals the solution (Andy Overton) Frog Tours come to Rotterdam! (Brian Andrews) Hey big fender! (Kate Bonson) ...suggested for the Wey & Arun moving house picture in the last issue include... By dint of teamwork, Bungle was finally released from the privvy after the lock jammed (Andy Carter) Drastic measures were needed to freshen the air in the Navvies bothy following the Curry Night (Andy Overton) Who forgot the door? (Brian Andrews) Hold still - Im sure the keys here somewhere (Brian Andrews)
(Kate also manages to earn a Golden Anorak award for knowing that in fact the use of old tyres for boat fenders is an offence in the Netherlands!) Lastly a late entry for the previous issues photo of Liz Wilson, some Welsh sheep and a tea-pot: Liz began to doubt the advice that mint tea would work just as well as mint sauce (Brian Bayston)
And finally... Following on from the photo last time of a boatload of Moose drool, Kate Penn sends this even scarier pic from a shop in Cardiff...
That b***** gate manager is never satisfield wherever we put the paybooths! (Brian Bayston - who knows a thing or two about the siting of festival paybooths... allegedly...) Wey & Arun Canal Trust go into bee-keeing in a VERY big way (Brian Bayston) Eager to use their new facilites, willing hands unload the WRG PortaSauna (Steve Hayes) Following the reduction in funding available from IWA Restoration Grants, WACT resort to stealing paybooths from the National Festival to pay for the next stage of their Loxwood project (Wayne Arun)
Many thanks to you all. Keep them coming - and especially some more contributions for the back page besides caption pics and jokes about Moose!