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avvies N Volunteers restoring waterways

No 221 February - March 2007 waterway recovery group


Mike Chase Dave Wedd

Above: WRG North West celebrate their 30th anniversary with a weekend working party on what must have looked an unlikely candidate for restoration in 1977: the Hollinwood Branch. Below: WRG BITM getting into some serious stump-removal on the Grand Union Buckingham Arm. Front cover: removing trees from the bed of the Chesterfield Canal at Renishaw during the New Year Camp. (Photo by Martin Ludgate)


Contents

Contributions...

...are always welcome, whether hand-written, typed, on CD-ROM, DVD or by email. Photos also welcome: digital, slides, colour or b/w prints. Please state whether you want your prints back; I assume that you want slides returned. Digital pics are welcome as email attachments, preferably JPG format, but if you have a lot it is preferable to send them on CDROM or DVD. Contributions to the editor Martin Ludgate, 35, Silvester Road, London SE22 9PB, or email to martin.ludgate@wrg.org.uk. Press date for No 222: March 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 Why are we writing this stuff?

In this issue:

Coming soon Barn Dance, BCN Cleanup, Leader Training Day, Easter camp, Training Weekend, and World Canals Conference 5-7 Xmas digging on the Basingstoke 8-10 Camp Reports Chesterfield and Wilts & 11-15 Berks New Year Camps Directory of WRG and canal societies 16-17 Diary Canal Camp and working party dates 18-20 Letters Camp reports: are they crap or what? 21 Progress roundup from all over the country plus the latest from the Dig Deep Initiative and 22-27 the Wooden Canal Boat Society Essex WRG at Foxton Incline 28-29 Stamp Bank save your recyclables! 30 Navvies News Save our Waterways! 31-32 Noticeboard Backfill An IWA National Festival carol!

33 34

And next time... ....we really haven’t a clue what we’re going to include. Because this issue’s so late going to press that all the things we were hoping to report in issue 222 have made it into 221. But as we suspect nobody reads this paragraph anyway, we’ll offer a free pint to the first person to show a copy of this page to the editor while on licenced premises. all the latest news of WRG's activities

Editorial

In the Letters column on p21 the authors of a camp report in the last issue are taken to task, on the grounds that the content of the report in question was not terribly comprehensible or informative to someone who was not present at the camp, and of limited use to those who were on the camp because they knew it all already. While the letter-writer is of course welcome to put his views across in the letters page - I made it clear in the last issue that constructive criticism is welcome - I thought I would raise the subject here. Because I’m not sure to what extent I agree with him. I see the aim of Navvies (and whether it achieves that aim is a different question) as not just being to ‘inform the wider membership’ - however much they may have donated over the years - but being a combination of informing, entertaining, amusing, stimulating debate, providing a means of communication between volunteers, and probably several other functions that I can’t immediately think of. I also see different parts of Navvies as fulfilling different functions: the Editorial and the Chairman’s page are more likely to involve attempting to stimulate debate, the Navvies News pages are more for informing folks, Backfill is purely for amusement and so on. So where do camp reports fit in to this? Up to now I have tended to leave it to the report writers whether they concentrate on the factual side, do their best to entertain the readership, use them as a means of exchanging in-jokes within the WRG regulars, or whatever. This has given us quite a wide variety of contributions. I remember one which was so serious and factual that it managed to report on a camp that ran from December 24th to January 2nd without ever mentioning either Christmas or New Year. And I remember another which concentrated so much on the social side that it never mentioned what the work was at all. Add in the odd report written in verse, as a variation on popular song lyrics, in Biblical style or in the form of a laboratory experiment report, and you end up with quite an entertaining variety of styles. Or alternatively you end up with a hotch-potch that pleases nobody.

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Personally I see camp reports tending towards the ‘entertainment’ end of the spectrum - ideally they combine the work done, the social side, the gossip, in-jokes and so on into something that gets the atmosphere of the camp across to those who do have some idea of what a Canal Camp is, but weren’t actually there. And maybe reminds those who were there of what a good time they had - and that they might like to book on another camp this year. Although I’m very happy for folks to include lots of factual stuff about the restoration in their camp reports, I’m also aware that if you really want the lowdown on what’s happening in the restoration world, the people who know about it are the active members of the local canal societies. That’s why I’ve been keen to get the Progress section of the magazine going again, and why I’m thankful to those who responded to my appeal last year for assistance in chasing up the canal societies for contributions - and to the canal societies who have contributed. Am I taking the right approach? Is it OK for camp reports to try to entertain to the point of occasionally veering towards incomprehensible, so long as the Progress section keeps us all informed of the more factual stuff? Or do we owe it to the readership to fill the mag with copy that they can understand? And anyway, who do we see as ‘the readership’? Is it really the prime purpose of Navvies to tell the armchair supporters what their money is paying for? Personally, while I very much value these people’s support and hope that they find something of interest in the magazine, I see Navvies as primarily being written by and for those volunteers who are active in the physical side of waterway restoration. My feelings towards camp report writers have been “While you’re probably going too far if most of the WRG regulars can’t understand your in-jokes, I wouldn’t worry too much if they’re rather lost on some of the rest of the waterways movement. I won’t censor your contributions if I can help it - but I do encourage you to at least occasionally think about who you’re writing it for, and who will be reading it.” (Of course, whether anyone takes any notice of these feelings of mine is another matter!) Am I right? Or should I get the blue pencil out and start hacking away at folks’ contributions? Come on baby, light my fire... ...but make sure you don’t leave it burning overnight! You may recall Dave ‘Moose’ Hearnden’s piece last time encouraging folks to go along on the New Year Camp - even though thanks to the various problems affecting several of us involved in Navvies, unless you subscribe to the online version via the website you won’t have actually seen it until after New Year (sorry!). Unfortunately in among the serious and not-so-serious comments that tend to characterise Moose’s contributions (and sometimes I can’t tell which are which!), we inadvertently ended up giving a false impression that we were planning on leaving the bonfires on site burning overnight. We would like to take this opportunity to point out that in line with our insurers’ rules (not to mention common sense), all fires should be allowed to burn out (or if necessary extinguished) before leaving site each day. British Waterways: canal restoration supporters? With my IWA Restoration Committee hat on, I recently attended a meeting with Derek Cochrane, British Waterways Regeneration Director, in which various aspects of restoration were discussed including the difficulties experienced in organising volunteer work on BW sites, ensuring that restored waterways will be maintained, raising major funding, conflict between navigation and nature conservation and so on. We then got onto the detail of how the BW funding crisis was affecting the current ‘big four’ BW-supported schemes - the Droitwich, Cotswolds Phase 1a, Manchester Bolton & Bury Middlewood scheme in Salford, and the Liverpool Link new canal - and the good news is that (fingers crossed) there is a very good chance that they will all survive. I was struck by how much effort Mr Cochrane and his people had put (and are still putting) into making sure none of these fall victim to the cuts, and how sad it is that he is a victim himself: he retires in April, three years early. And how all this doesn’t quite chime with all that I’ve heard elsewhere in the last few years about how BW don’t support restoration, haven’t really changed in 40 years, and so on. Was I having the wool pulled over my eyes at the meeting? Or was Mr Cochrane a lone voice crying in the wilderness - which has been duly silenced by BW? Or are folks simply unwilling to accept that the leopard can ever change its spots? (Thinks: if this editorial doesn’t generate enough to fill the letters column next time, then I give up!) Martin Ludgate

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Take your partners for the Barn Dance...

Coming soon

By the time you read this the fourth annual WRG and KESCRG Barn Dance at 7pm on Saturday March 3rd will be only about three weeks away. The venue as ever is Benson Parish Hall in Oxfordshire, and Bobby Silverwood is handling ticket sales this time. So if he hasn’t already collared you and relieved you of a very reasonable £12 for excellent music, dancing, fish-and-chip supper and quite possibly a chance to take part in a ‘Strictly Barn Dance’ session, please feel free to send your cheque (pay KESCRG) to Barn Dance Tickets c/ o Bobby Silverwood, The Old Post Office, Kiddington, Woodstock OX20 1BE. And remember to add and extra £2 if you want to stay overnight in the nearby scout hut, and another £2 if you want breakfast back in the main hall the following morning. Also happening the same day is the...

The Barn Dance, Leader Training Day and Cleanup...

WRG Leaders Training Day Taking place in Benson Parish Hall on Saturday March 3rd i.e. in the daytime before the barn dance, this aims to help all those budding camp leaders and assistant leaders out there to learn what’s involved, and to help our existing leaders improve their leadership skills - not forgetting the weekend work party organisers from the regional groups too. For more details and to book a place, contact Mike Palmer on 01564785293 or email mike.palmer@wrg.org.uk. Then it’s only another fortnight till the annual... Black Country mud-wrestling contest ...otherwise known as the Birmingham Canal Navigations Cleanup. This year we aim to remove as many as possible of the old bikes, prams, shopping trolleys, lamp-posts, computers, coffins, rockinghorses, toilets (to name but a few of the things we’ve found in years gone by) which have somehow found their way into the murky waters of the Walsall and Tame Valley canals. We’d love to see you there (on the Cleanup, that is - rather than in the murky waters of the BCN!): please fill in the form below and send it off pronto. The accommodation is once again the Willingsworth High School, Bilston Road, Tipton, West Midlands DY4 0BZ: directions will be sent to everyone who sends in a booking form. Aileen Butler is the leader: any queries or offers of help should go to her on 07703 567764.

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:

Surname:

Address: email: 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:

Phone:

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

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Coming soon...

...the Easter Camp, the Little Venice Canalway Cavalcade...

Easter on the Wilts & Berks This year’s camps programme kicks off with a week-and-a-bit on the W&B - it begins on Saturday March 31st but runs through to Easter Monday April 9th. The bad news is that this means it costs £54 for the whole camp; the good hews is that we should be able to get a whole lot more work done.

The main site will be Seven Locks near Lyneham, where work should be proceeding well on rebuilding Lock 4 by then. And there’s also a likelihood of work on other sites including possibly Steppingstones Bridge. So get your booking forms in as soon as possible - see the WRG website or contact head office. Little Venice Canalway Cavalcade Just to get you all thinking… 1st Bank Holiday in May 2007 - book a space for the Canalway Cavalcade extravaganza of the year! There! That made you all look! Yes, it’s that time already: another year gone, and time once again for me to start appealing for some volunteers to help with the general setting up and breaking down of the site for IWA’s annual Canalway Cavalcade rally at London’s Little Venice, as well as helping over the weekend of 5th - 7th May itself. Those who know the site will understand the words ‘cramped’ and ‘short of space’. Unlike the National Festival over the August Bank Holiday, which usually uses several farmer’s fields, Canalway Cavalcade is set among the offices and blocks of flats near Little Venice 2006: we need your help to make it happen again the centre of London, where the Regents Canal and the Paddington Arm of the Grand Union meet in Brownings Pool. Over the weekend, we are expecting up to 100 boats, and for the event these boats mostly will be decorated in bunting and flags, making a fine sight in the pool. Normally most of London WRG can be found aboard an old working boat called Fulbourne. I would say beavering away at making a disguise for the boat, so it can enter the pageant, but I don’t believe they have any idea at what they are doing [Rats! Is it really that obvious? …Ed] and meanwhile Cavalcade is looming on the horizon. Plans are still taking shape for this year’s event. But as normal I need…

. .

The volunteers’ accommodation for the ‘Moose Camp’ as it has become called. Hopefully this will be on several boats.

. .

There is fencing to be done - but thankfully not on the scale of the National.

Help setting up stalls. One of the main aims of the Cavalcade is to make people in the vicinity aware of what they have on their doorstep. People do come from miles around: not only the boaters, but we will also have traders – everything from the herb man and clothing stalls to the IWA stand and the Canal Museum – plus several food stands such as the Austrian Sausages, baked spuds and fudge. Our one and only Bungle will need help (people have been saying that about Bungle for a long time) to fetch and carry cables from the ‘pasty wagon’ Land Rover (if he hasn’t already broken it!)

…and lots more of the sort of jobs that help to make an event like Canalway Cavalcade such a success. Because accommodation space is likely to be at a premium you have to book in. (Tay: I have already put your name down, no escaping!) If you are interested let me know on email moose@wrg.org.uk or Tel: 07961 922153. Dave ‘Moose’ Hearnden

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Coming soon...

...the Training Weekend and the World Canals Conference Then just a week later it’s time for the.... WRG Training Weekend As mentioned last time the type of training on offer at the Training Weekend on May 12-13 will very Want some scaffolding training? Better tell Ali quick! much depend on what you want to be trained on as long as you get in touch with the organiser Ali ‘Womble’ Bottomley in time and tell her what you want to learn about. There will be more information in the next issue, but at the moment it looks like digital tachograph use (for the new vans), small excavators, piling, dumpers, First Aid, catering, banksman duty, bricklaying, drystone walling, and loading & securing of plant are all likely to be on the programme. For more information contact Ali Bottomley on 07719 643870 (apologies: the number given last time was incorrect) or email aliwomble@fsmail.net. ...and now for something completely different: World Canals Conference 2007: 13-15 June 2007, Crowne Plaza, Liverpool Returning to the UK, the 20th anniversary World Canals Conference in Liverpool provides a fantastic opportunity for the waterways movement as a whole to showcase achievements and current campaigns on our waterways and show what volunteers can achieve either through their own endeavours or working in partnership. And with Liverpool celebrating its 800th anniversary, prior to it becoming the European Capital of Culture in 2008, there is plenty to celebrate. We hope that you are going to be there at the party! The focus of the 2.5 day conference will be on the role of volunteer and community organisations alongside professionals in regeneration and development of waterfront projects - and we have secured a wide range of speakers to provide an insight on what has made waterfront projects so successful in the UK. Many of the international waterways community have already expressed interest in attending and bookings are starting to come in. We have also got Continuous Professional Development certification for the event to try and attract the likes of surveyors, planners and architects from their desks as it can actively contribute to their training days (hey, they may even be able to get work to pay!). There are also special rates for those attending from charities. Roger Squires of IWA has done a great job in securing a wide range of excellent speakers and we are arranging tours focusing on the successes in the North West on day two of the conference - why not book for the whole conference and maybe bring along that bloke from the planning department who really needs to understand more about what volunteers can achieve! It is not all work and no play - there is also a Gala Dinner (with The Caldon Canal Stompers Jazzband strutting their stuff) and a Mersey Ferry Evening cruise - both of which have tickets available. So even if you cannot come along for the whole conference, why not book a table together or join us on a cruise along Liverpool’s historic waterfront and help us host this international community and welcome them in a way that only the waterways movement in the UK can. All conference booking, agenda, speakers, hotel and travel information is available at: www.wcc2007.co.uk where you can book direct on-line or download a booking form, or contact me on jude.moore@waterways.org.uk Many thanks

Jude Moore

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Xmas digging KESCRG and LWRG on the dig that nearly wasn’t ‘Slash and Burn’ (or more like ‘Pruning and Toasting’) The London WRG-KESCRG Christmas dig that nearly bit the dust…Right from the word ‘go’ it was almost as though some unseen force was willing it not to happen, but a catalogue of disasters, lurgy, traffic jams, misunderstandings and lack of trees is not enough to get in the way of a good WRG party and against all the odds the weekend went ahead with its usual degree of fun, frolics, and pyromania. I’m sure Eddie is in a better position to furnish you with the details, but I believe that an unfortunate misunderstanding between Mr. Jones and Pete Redway (i.e. mistaking the Christmas Dig for the Christmas Camp!) resulted in the failure to book any accommodation for the weekend, followed by a last-minute dash by Pete to secure something for us. The result was….cosy, and a little bit scummy. There was a definite fudging of boundaries between the eating and sleeping areas, and between the sleeping areas and the route to the toilet, and between the toilet and the baby, and between the muddy boots and everything else. But I think the atmosphere was all the better for it; my housemate Rob (braving his first ever wrg experience!) commented that all it needed was a few chickens and a goat to turn it into a real kibbutz.

As the evening progressed, it became apparent that something was amiss! Where were the Christmas Party stalwarts!? No Eddie, no Ian, no Dr. Liz and no Martin. Well Martin had decided to put in some serious hours to get the somewhat delayed Navvies completed (true dedication to the cause Mr. Editor!), Ian and Liz had been detained by a work function, and our esteemed dig organiser and bearded role model Eddie had been struck down with something nasty and viral. Nonetheless, the wrgies (and Kescrgies) soldiered on and attempted to make up for their lost trade in the local pub. FIRE! What a joyous wake up call. There’s nothing like being gently awoken from a deep warm slumber by a klaxon. Was the scummy scout hut going to burn down around our ears? Sadly not; the fire alarm was ringing for some banal baconrelated reason, but it didn’t lessen the pain. ‘I’ll get up when I’m on fire’ was the muffled wit I heard from the next sleeping bag as Chris Wicks rolled over and went back to sleep (and then everyone else rolled over, and one fell out). The early morning crew headed off to site to do something ambitious with a boat (more on this from Mk2) whilst the rest of us had a leisurely breakfast due to the fact that we’d all been woken up half an hour earlier than needed. A fleet of vehicles (and James’s Land Rover) got everyone to site where there was an impressive view of the underside of the M25 (well, impressive if you’re a highway design geek, of which there were several). After taking an inordinate amount of time in getting everyone kitted out with hats, gloves, bow saws, phallic fire-making apparatus, and some serious discussions about where to site the Burco, we were let loose on the scrub.

The arrival of the London WRG minibus was delayed somewhat by a small detour around Tooting but we were still relatively early in getting to the accom and staked out some space in the rapidly disappearing floor. It was clear that as much as beer is an integral part of any such weekend, it didn’t warrant 3 sleeping spaces all to itself (unless anyone wanted to become a human drip-tray) so our first task was to move it to the garage. Ellie had also just turned up with the shopping which was duly decanted into the compact kitchen in the style of a carrier-bag assault course. The scrub to be bashed might not have been up to the usual size...

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“The boat?” I hear you ask. Well, meanwhile, in the middle of the canal, Mk2 reports from aboard a very stuck Bantam... Did any of you wonder where I was on the Saturday of the Christmas Party Dig? I mean, it must have seemed quiet to the rest of you. It sounded so simple, the way Stephen “Lead a Weekend Lastminute.com” Davis put it to me on the Friday night, in the pub: “I need someone else who knows their way around a boat to join Daddy Cool, Alice, Bobby and Kate on the tugboat tomorrow.” I said I’d do it. Stephen then informed me of the early start. I uttered an ut...but it still managed to keep some suitably smoky fires going terance not renowned for its relevance to gatherings of polite comBut let me stop here for a minute to re-define pany and resolved to rise as and when. scrub. I’m sad to say that despite the valiant efforts of Pete Redway to secure some tree-related In the event, the “snooze feature” fire alarm made carnage for us, the local council (God love ‘em) sure that everyone had an early start. Nigel drove had changed their minds about what we could and our little team to Pablo’s house (somewhere on the couldn’t cut down, citing that planning permission Woodham Road) in the back garden of which was was required for the removal of any of the larger to be found Pete Redway and the canal, with sevtrees. We were restricted to cutting vegetation of eral things floating on it. The first of these was ‘75mm or less at breast height’. Even using a Bantam, neatly attached (via winched cables) to man’s interpretation of 75mm and the breast height which was a dumb barge. The second was a little of er…someone with high up breasts (help me skiff, which was partially full of water. Daddy Cool out here!) that didn’t leave much in the way of stuff learned the ropes of the former whilst I started to to chop. A few brambles…the odd spindly tree… bail out the latter. Along came Pablo. He handed but luckily there was enough debris and dead stuff me a pump (“prime it with water first”) and pointed lying around to feed our need for flames, ample out the sump built into the skiff- neat. opportunity for sitting and chatting, and playing with the new London WRG flame-thrower dubbed ‘Ed’s So off we went: us, the tug, the barge and the little phallic fire making toy’. skiff. The Plan was to go down through five locks and along to where the rest of the KESCRGies & In the absence of Eddie or Ian, Daddy Steve had WRGies were working. And the, er, tea was. We been drafted in at the last minute to run the site were looking forward to some of that as we ran and generally take on the pressures of leadership. aground. Much Poling on the Basingstoke (that wellThe pressures began in earnest with a phonecall known postwar comedy) followed and we were off from Ian and Liz who had come to a standstill on again. About two runnings-aground later, I began the M40, and had yet to collect the KESCRG to wonder about that tea, and three runningscooker from Chinnor and bring it to Woodham. aground later, we realised that things were not goWithout the cooker, Ellie was going to have a real ing to improve. This was after I’d removed (whilst challenge on her hands cooking dinner for 30 peo- balancing on the skiff, wielding a boat pole) a washple, so it wasn’t looking good. An hour later, Ian ing-line cover from the prop. This was before we and Liz reported that they still hadn’t moved and decided to turn around and put the boat away. had in fact got out of the car for a stroll and a chat to other drivers. Time for decisive action; Nigel Bobby had been playing in the well-known postwar and James were dispatched in James’s landie to comedy from the front end of the barge for some fetch the cooker from Chinnor. ‘Oh and while time, and with the idea being to turn the tug ‘round you’re on the way, could you just stop by the other on its axis so as to free it, the thing was detached,. site and tow Pete Redway’s car out of the mud There was Bobby, the barge and the middle of the where it got stuck after trying to tow the boat off channel all to themselves. Until the only two other the bank where it’s got stuck 2 hours and 15 me- boats to navigate the Basingstoke that weekend tres after leaving its mooring. Ta.’ arrived. Together.

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Xmas digging “Someone had cut down a nice Xmas tree which I took home...”

That kerfuffle over, we realised that Pete had come back in his car to find out where the hell we’d got to. We saw only the towing eye and cracked jokes about pulling the still-stuck tug out with Pete’s Peugeot 205. Jokes over, we tied several ropes together and tried it. This method got us through the next several runnings-aground (probably the same ones as before but approached from a return direction) until Pete’s not-exactly-hefty car lost traction on the muddy towpath. So we called James. The muchmore-hefty version of horse-boating-updated had us back to where we’d started, via one snapped rope and some false starts with too short a line. Now all we had to do was moor up. Now if how we even got the thing away in the first place was Mystery No.1, Mystery No.2 was how we were going to get it back there. It simply wouldn’t come any closer to the narrowboat it needed breasting-up to than about six feet.

Meanwhile back on the main site, a last minute phonecall from Ian and Liz confirmed that they were moving again and were set for a quick turnaround at home, ensuring delivery of the all important cooker by Ellie’s deadline of 4pm. As a result, James and Nigel never got to go to Chinnor, and we all returned from site to lovely smells and some industrious soup-preparation. The traditional fancy-dress competition was well supported; the ‘Beatles’ theme giving ample opportunity for the usual medley of intricate costumes, last-minute attempts and cross-dressing that such an occasion requires. Claire and Amy won the overall prize for their commendable ‘Octopus’s Garden’ and Nigel and Chris Lee got a special mention for their similarity to...er…each other!? I was just pleased that the 8 quid I forked out on black and white stripey tights for my pirate costume at the ‘National’ wasn’t wasted. There was also time for much eating of food and drinking of beer, as well as the traditional KESCRG 100 draw, and handing over of the KESCRG award – an act which rendered its recipient nigh-on speechless. And for those of you who know Mk2, you’ll know that’s rare.

The second day on site saw some more leisurely pruning and toasting. We also took the opportunity to admire some London WRG brickwork that Martin and Sleepy Pablo’s neighbours had become cuDavid had done in a rious by this point and offered us a previous life. And I winch. We winched the tub and barge was very pleased to a bit closer to the narrowboat, but not see that someone close enough. The barge, meanwhile, had cut down a nice was still across the neighbour’s jetty. little Christmas tree, They didn’t mind as they’d sold their which I duly took boat (not enough water to use it) and home and decorated. didn’t need to use the landing stage Liz manages to find another use for the (It’s currently sitting in until March (time moves slowly on the stripey tights she bought for the National my lounge; slightly Basingstoke), so it was okay to leave browner and more them as they were. So we did. The neighbours then shrivelled than when it first arrived, but still doing provided coffee for the other two (the girls were a good job!) leaving with James as they were on hall-decorating duty) whilst I went to await RFB and our lunch The first tea-break was somewhat delayed by the (it was mid-afternoon by this point and when we absence of cups, but we got through it somehow, eventually returned to the main site, it was after- and lasted until 2pm, when it was decided to pack noon tea-break!) which we ate on the tug. up and head back home. Learning points? Well, don’t expect a boat that floats in one part of the Basingstoke to necessarily float in another. Don’t untie a dumb craft if there’s any risk of a boat or two coming. If someone lends you a shiny new winch, don’t drop it in the cut (!). Don’t discount the pulling power of a Peugeot 205. “Right. I am now having my tea break!” said Mk2.

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The scummy scout hut was cleaned and tidied to a standard far greater than it had ever seen before, and all the kit, catering and volunteers were packed into their respective vehicles. So thanks to everyone who made the dig-that-nearly-didn’thappen, happen. Liz Wilson


Christmas Camp 2006 - Wilts & Berks Canal Our regular Christmas to New Year camp run on behalf of the Wilts & Berks Canal Trust provided a variety of sites, variety of jobs, and even variety of weather! Firstly, we enjoyed Rob Brotherston’s company over Christmas itself, when Di was hedgelaying at Dauntsey, and Rob and I were able to clear away her brash and have a nice big bonfire - with a break, of course, for a big Christmas dinner, Sadly, Rob lost one of his dogs a few days before, but Mina tried to make it up to him with a big fuss. Others arrived on the Wednesday, and we all went off to Foxham to do some scrub bashing and another big bonfire, and cleared all the area where the bank had become somewhat overgrown. By Thursday, with another increase in campers, we started on Lock 4 at Seven Locks. The local work party had cleared back the bank on the towpath side on Christmas Eve, so after dumpering several loads of blocks, sand and cement up to the area, three of us were able to start blocklaying. Dave Rudland cut down several trees below Lock 2 (as part of the preparation work for laying the hedge next winter), and Alan Simister and I found plenty for our bonfire there. I had cut down a huge ash free growing by the side of the towpath above Lock 2 on Christmas Eve, and three of us spent Friday cutting this up for logs to sell for fundraising, and burning all the smaller branches. We were able to keep a bonfire burning through Saturday as well, despite the weather trying its best to damp it down! We had torrential rain on Friday night, but fortunately this was while we were tucked up snugly in a Swindon cinema watching Casino Royale, which was much enjoyed by all.

The Christmas camp on the Wilts & Berks Canal

We had plenty of good hot meals and home-baked puddings, courtesy of Di, and the big pot of spag bol. sauce on Saturday night even defeated Rob, so it made a tasty addition to the tomato soup for Sunday lunch, even if it was (in Luke’s terminology) Y.M.C.A. - Yesterday’s Muck Cooked Again. No less than five jigsaws were completed, and Rob was torn between jigsawing, scoffing food (including any sandwiches left over from lunch) and walking his dog. We thought that Boxwell must at times have had to cross his paws.... Puppy Mina had a whale of a time. Getting wet and muddy every day is her idea of heaven, and she certainly achieved that. I felt that this was more like a gathering of friends than a camp, and they made a great team. I think we all thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, and we got most of what we were hoping for finished, despite the weather. My grateful thanks to all. Rachael Banyard

Luke Walker

Saturday dawned dry and bright, and blocklaying was proceeding apace when the rain started again about 3 p.m. By the time we got back to the Foxham Reading Rooms, we were well and truly soaked. The same thing happened on Sunday, so once again we had to finish early, but we made the most of our time throughout the camp by being on site soon after 8.30 a.m. each day, and with a nice big breakfast inside us. Our loyal team even worked on New Year’s Day until lunchtime, so after pretty well four days the blocklaying was up almost five courses right along the towpath side, with all the hollows filled with concrete as well.

Camp reports

page 11

Chamber rebuilding work in progress on Lock 4

page 11


Camp reports ...and New Year on the Chesterfield Canal Chesterfield Canal New Year Camp In the interest of trying to please everybody (but more likely managing to annoy all the readers in equal amount), we decided to have a different person write each day’s contribution to the camp diary, and in a different style each day… Day 1: I’m not sure what style this was supposed to be – maybe you can work it out? The happy campers arrived to the sound of the local oiks racing along the main road beside the accommodation, Randy-shaw Village Hall. The air was heavy with the smell of testosterone and the sound of small engines being over revved.

The 3am entertainment turned into the sound of heavy banging. Our resident bouncer, Tweedle Dee (or Tweedle Dum – who can tell?) had a sly peep through the curtains, and decided that returning to bed was a wise course of action, having seen absolutely nothing going on through the 1mm gap that he had created. Further investigation in the morning revealed that the aforementioned oiks do not like Vauxhall Corsas (We can see their point). The Corsa was now missing most of its glass and both door mirrors, and half the number plate was now on the parcel shelf. The rest of the car park was full of Porsches, Ferraris etc (believe that if you dare) which hadn’t been touched. Day 2: Sci-fi style Flash (“Ah – ah!”) Gordon was awoken by the sound of Corsa Beating. Fearing the forces of evil were taking over the control base that was the accommodation he sprung into action and leapt towards a brew. Realising that saving the universe was not a good idea on an empty stomach, he treated himself to a full ‘superhero’ fry up, courtesy of ‘Frank, the Breakfast Boy’. This set him up for a full day of slashing and burning the minions of ‘The Derelictor’.

David Miller

Our esteemed leader Mr David Hearnden (known to his friends as Moose T. Horney, and to his enemies as Moose T. Horney) gave us the standard safety talk; including how to properly protect a broom-handle or cucumber (depending on your school’s budget). As is customary, he took the piss out of everybody, especially the illustrious and dashing assistant Paul. The only person to escape the usual tongue lashing was the most beautiful and mysterious chef Maria – we believe that threats had been involved.

Much to our concern, the barrel of beer provided by our Brewery Manager, Nic, was unavailable due to lack of settling time, and we were forced to delve into his supply of bottles. Consumption of these helped most of the occupants of the alternately hot and cold non-motel style accommodation to either sleep through or completely ignore the events that transpired at about 3 am the following morning. The karaoke in the adjacent working men’s club accompanied us into the small hours.

Working with the local chainsaw expert

page 12

Armed with his weapons of mass restoration, “Flash… Ah – ah!” and his League of Wrgies set about reclaiming the Chesterfield Canal from the clutches of ‘The Derelictor’. A tea raid was launched on a sewage works since a local informer had warned us that the forces of evil may have been organising their main force for a counterattack there. This proved to be a red herring, which led to a rather unpleasantly scented brew. Undeterred, “Flash… Ah – ah!” and his League of Wrgies continued their struggle though the undergrowth, sent from ‘The Derelictor’ to slow their progress.


The League feasted in the sewage works again on a fine lunch prepared by Maria, stomachkeeper of the waterways, so the slashing and burning continued. KAPPOW! “Flash… Ah – ah!” felled a Lieutenant of ‘The derelictor’s’ army with a single blow from his WMR. Many of the local vigilantes fought furiously all day, and made great inroads (incanals?) into the forces of ‘The Derelictor’. BANG! Fran the Fearless battled hand against claw with several of ‘The Derelictor’s beasts’. Moose ‘T-he Merciless’ Horney was amazed by the progress ‘The League’ was making against their foe, and hoped that tomorrow would bring equal success. He began planning an expansion of ‘The League’s’ area of operations against ‘The Derelictor’ beyond The Second Bridge. Although, many of The League were injured or killed in pursuit of the cause, their sacrifice of life or limb was not forgotten by their fellow heroes, who toasted to their eternal memory late into the following morning. “For there is navigable and derelict and derelict canals must be restored. Even in the face of Armageddon I will not compromise in this”

Ye Olde Day Three: Olde Englishe Style Bryght was the morrow when ye olde party of wrgies set forth in search of what advaenture might awayt upon ye syte of ye olde canal. A mounde of ashes was syghted and yay verily when Mr Moose of T’Horney walked upon the ashes he cryed alouded “forsooth tis still hot”. “Nay, prithee, thou liest” they did crie, for verily they had read ye syte safetie planne. The party then went forth and wyth their mightie axes held high they did fall mightilie upon the trees and presently a fyre did rage. Twas discovered that Squire Bennett of Readinge did display his affections for a tall and willowy ladye of the leafy varietie. Upon gallantly embracing her slender boughs he exclaimed ‘my dear I want to drop thyne…’. Alas, ere he could finish his sentence, Squire Bennett found himself distracted by the cryes of a group of fair maidens further up ye canal and felt twas his duty to ensure that yonder gathering was not in any immediate peril. Further down ye olde canalle another partie of wrgies were to be found questing for a passage through ye route to Brydge Manor. Their hopes were raised upon syghting possible remains of a previous route, despite their gallant efforts the residents of the local estates volunteered to continue the exploration at a later date. Shortly before leaving ye olde canal several local carriage owners were keen to demonstrate their mastery of their steeds along the route of ye olde canal. However, their boldness was perturbed by the raging hearths strewn about the landscape (and the presence of a number of wrgies clad in ‘daye glowe’ shining armour). The party retired to Ye olde tavern where tragedy befell. For upon the cryes of “landlord a quarte of thyne fynest frothing ale” the answer came “nay for thou hast drunk ye caske drie”. Luckily for the weary party, supplies of other fyne beverages were sufficient to quench ye parties’ mightie thirst. Also present in ye fyne tavern was a test of the knowledge of the party. Sir Ludgate of Dulwyche and his team ‘slashe and burne’ conquered their opponents, but gallantly and generously returned their winnings to yon local hospice. Day Four: ‘A study into canal restoration and the role of WRG’ C.yrnfr F.raquryc J.rnerorvat U.ryqpncgvir

When Moose threatens to fire his assistant leader, he isn’t kidding!...

Abstract: We examined claim that a group called WRG can restore canals with high degree of effectiveness. We examined this claim and found it to be true.

page 13


Camp reports

Featuring “The man who filled the canal in 20 years ago” Introduction: There is a long standing claim among canal circles that WRG can work to effectively to forward the restoration of canals however aside from “The New Navvies” (Squires et al 19??) there has been little serious study of this area. We sort to remedy this by carrying out a formal study. Due to the time of year scrub bashing was chosen as the activity for the experiment. Experimental: A party of 30 wrgies were given the task of clearing an area of scrub through the use of hand tools and small controlled fires to dispose of the cut material. To allow for a greater variety of data to be collected the following were added to the experimental environment:

· ·

A man who filled canal in 20 years ago Rain

Results: The wrgies effectively cleared a large area of scrub. It was noted that they divided themselves into groups to perform different tasks. An example of this was the self described “Tree Slaves” Lisa, Jen and Andi who handled the transportation of trees from the cutting area to the small controlled fires.

Unfortunately the study had to be terminated early since the subjects escaped to the pub and cleaned it out of quavers and pork scratchings. Another complicating factor was the presence of non wrgies (termed ‘locals’) in the area of the study; however since they followed the wrg way of working we do not believe this compromised the study. We would like to thank IWA head office for allowing us to run this study and the Chesterfield Canal partnership for providing funding. Day Five: txtspeak style Got up-nrthrn snshne?? J . T&Cof frm Moose T Horney . Bfast grub v gd. Lisa bacon butties J yum. Slash and burn. l8er angry farmer L tld us 2 gerof his land. Locals impressed. Xtrem fellings. Lcl man w chnsw. Locals v plsed brought lgr In pub plnty to drink no orng cidr. Qt of dy: ‘I have never managed to make Elanor squeal’ - Welsh Phil Day Six. A real novelty: told in the style of a WRG Camp Report We finished pretty much all of work on site with help of the fully qualified and trained local chainsaw guy, making a real transformation on the section we’d worked on and leaving it nice and tidy and starting to look like a canal again – albeit a rather derelict one.

The man who filled in the canal 20 years ago was corralled by a small number of wrgies thus minimising his impact in the wider group. The rain had no measurable effect. Discussion: Wrgies were found to be very effective at clearing scrub and thus we believe that at least part of their reputation in canal circles can be supported by this study.

page 14

Canal camp report writing by committee


The Canal Trust had And finally let’s hear from the Leader: donated a stack of postcards showing the canal Having seen the before and after photos as it was in about 1960, it is amazing how much work was comand we fancied that it pleted. When Maria and I carried out the perhaps it was just site visit, we thought ‘this will keep us busy about recognisable profor a camp’. I didn’t think that on the secvided you (a) reinstated ond day I might have to speak to the loa brick bridge where cals for another site - although as it was there was now an earth it was not needed. Not that we slowed bank at the far end of our down or anything: it looked as thousands site (or quite possibly just of locusts had descended on the bit of dug out the bridge which canal. One minute trees were standing, might well lie buried unthe next minute you were moving along der the embankment – a the canal so trees further on could be cut fair amount of staring at up and either logged for the locals or postcards and quite a bit burned on the small controlled fires! of trial digging were not entirely conclusive) and I would like to mention the generosity of the (b) built a nice dirty ironChesterfield Canal Trust, all the way works to replace the through the camp, with their support and nasty modern housing “Flash I love you but we only have donations, which were very much apprebetween the accommo- 14 hours to restore the canal!” ciated. The put on a very good slide show, dation and the canal. Sewhich showed how our section of canal riously, this length is looking likely to turn into the would fit in to the greater scheme. I know they are start of a fairly major WRG involvement in restoring hoping that the trial dig might take place very soon. around a mile of canal, and probably a further mile Perhaps next time we go up there our section will heading northwards alongside the old railway line be added to the length of canal now in water. (As towards Killamarsh, and I think we can be proud of long as photos are taken just to keep Editors happy!) the good start we’ve made on the work. I must thank all those that turned up for the camp: The Chesterfield Canal Trust folk were totally im- Frank and his team who cooked breakfasts and pressed with the amount of work we’d achieved Maria who cooked, made the sandwiches and all week. We tidied up, checked we hadn’t left any made cakes that always seemed to have gone tools, made sure all the fires had completely died by the time I got there. Thanks also for Maria and down, local girl Lisa ended the day by jumping a a couple of people who helped on New Year’s eve water-filled ditch after much prompting, and we preparing a excellent three course meal, during headed back for an excellent last night supper. which I heard the Editor say “sorry Maria – can’t eat a pud as I seem to have eaten too much 1st The theme for the last night party was ‘Star signs and 2nd course!” Last, a big thank you to Paul who and heavenly bodies’, which was interpreted in was an excellent assistant. Paul should be leadvarious ways: Nic covered his costume with ‘au- ing camps in the near future. (He must have been tographs’ of famous people (“star signs”, geddit?), good - I didn’t sack him a single time!) the Editor dressed as Neptune (the sea-god, rather than the planet), and “Flash… ah – ah” dressed Some fact and figures for the camp: maximum as – you guessed it – Flash Gordon. A certain present 30 people; average on site over the camp amount of drink was consumed both in the hall 25; in that time we had 32 different people turn up and the pub, and 2007 was welcomed in. At some - and for ‘match funding’ grant applications it would count as about 122 person-days. point we must have gone to bed… Day Seven – The morning after the night before: Bridget Jones’s Diary style Cigarettes consumed: don’t know Calories consumed: too much to remember need bigger knickers Trees Felled: lots Alcohol consumed: yes Snogs: probably Hangover: vv bad Pregnancy tests required: 5

Also I have never had such good support before from the locals working on site with us - mainly from the Chesterfield Canal Trust: there were a maximum of 7 of them on site, an average of at least five, and once again a useful contribution to any ‘match funding’ with about 19.5 person-days. Thank you everyone.

Dave ‘Moose’ Hearnden

See back cover for more photos of the camp ...Ed

page 15


Directory

PleasehelpuskeeptheDirectory up to date - see below right ASHBY CANAL ASSOCIATION Rod Smith 4 Ashby Road, Sinope Coalville LE67 3AY Tel: 01530 833307 BARNSLEY, DEARNE & DOVE CANAL TRUST June Backhouse, 39 Hill St, Elsecar, Barnsley S74 8EN 01226 743383 www.bddct.org.uk BIRMINGHAM CANAL NAVIGATIONS SOCIETY Jeff Barley 17 Sunnyside Walsall Wood, W Midlands 01543 373284 www.bcn-society.org.uk BUCKINGHAM CANAL SOC Athina Beckett 2 Staters Pound Pennyland Milton Keynes MK1 5AX 01908 661217 email: athinabec@aol.com www.buckinghamcanal.org.uk BUGSWORTH BASIN (IWPS) Ian Edgar Browside Farm Mudhurst Lane Lyme Handley, Whaley Bridge High Peak SK23 7BT 01663 732493 email: ian@browside.co.uk www.brocross.com/iwps/index.htm CALDON & UTTOXETER CANALS TRUST John Rider 1 Dainty Close Leek ST13 5PX 01538 386790 email: john@riderjohn.jsnet.co.uk CHESTERFIELD CANAL TRUST Mick Hodgetts 31 Pottery Lane Chesterfield S41 9BH 01246 620695 www.chesterfield-canal-trust.org.uk CHICHESTER SHIP CANAL TRUST Linda Wilkinson, 1 Chidham Lane Chichester PO18 8TL 01243 576701 www.chichestercanal.co.uk

page 16

COTSWOLD CANALS TRUST Neil Ritchie The Chapel House Sandford Rd, Churchdown Gloucestershire GL3 2HD 01452 854057 email: NeilSigns@aol.com www.cotswoldcanals.com DERBY & SANDIACRE CANAL SOCIETY Doug Flack 23 Thoresby Crescent, Draycott Derby DE72 3PH 01332 874239 www.derbycanal.org.uk DIG DEEP INITIATIVE Alan Cavender 10 Vicarage Road Maidenhead, Berkshire SL6 7DS 01628 629033 email: alancavender@tiscali.co.uk www.dig-deep.org.uk DORSET & SOMERSET CANAL SOCIETY Derrick Hunt, 43 Greenland Mills Bradford on Avon, Wilts BA15 1BL 01225 863066 email: derrick@hunt@tesco.net DROITWICH CANALS TRUST Vaughan Welch 29 Dice Pleck Northfield, Birmingham B31 3XW 0121 477 9782 email: kvwelch@supanet.com www.worcs.com/dct/home.htm EAST ANGLIAN WATERWAYS ASSOCIATION David Revill, 43 Kings Road Coltishall, Norfolk NR12 7DX 01603 738648 email: david_gisela@hotmail.com

GRAND WESTERN CANAL TRUST Denis Dodd, Wharf Cottage Nynehead, Wellington Somerset TA21 0BU 01823 661653 GRANTHAM CANAL RESTORATION SOCIETY Colin Bryan 113 Hoe View Road Cropwell Bishop Nottingham NG12 3DJ 01159 892248 email: colin@granthamcanal.com www.granthamcanal.com HEREFS & GLOUCS CT c/o The Wharf House, Over Gloucester GL2 8DB 01452 332900 www.h-g-canal.org.uk KENT & EAST SUSSEX CANAL RESTORATION GROUP Eddie Jones ‘Altamount’, Coventry Road Fillongley Coventry CV7 8EQ 0845 226 8589 email: eddie@kescrg.org.uk www.kescrg.org.uk LAPAL CANAL TRUST 26 Loynells Road, Rednal Birmingham B45 9NP 01785 713862 / 020 8293 9744 www.lapal.org LICHFIELD & HATHERTON CANALS REST'N TRUST Sue Williams, Norfolk House 29 Hall Lane, Hammerwich Burntwood WS7 0JP 01543 671427 email: info@lhcrt.org.uk www.lhcrt.org.uk NEATH & TENNANT CANAL SOCIETY Ian Milne 16 Gower Road, Sketty, Swansea SA2 9BY 01792 547902

EREWASH CANAL P&DA Mick Golds 73 Sudbury Avenue Larklands, Ilkeston Derbys DE7 5EA Notts (0115) 9328042

NWPG Graham Hawkes 27 Lawrence Rd, Tilehurst, Reading Berks RG30 6BH 0118 941 0586 email: grahamhawkes@btinternet.com www.nwpg.org.uk

FOXTON INCLINED PLANE TRUST c/o Mike Beech Foxton Canal Museum Middle Lock, Gumley Road Foxton, Market Harborough Leicestershire LE16 7RA 0116 279 2657 email: mike@foxcm.freeserve.co.uk www.fipt.org.uk

POCKLINGTON CANAL AMENITY SOCIETY Paul Waddington Church House, Main St. Hemingborough, Selby N. Yorks YO8 7QE 01757 638027 (eves) 01405 763985 (days) www.pocklington.gov.uk/PCAS

SCARS (SANKEY CANAL) Colin Greenall 16 Bleak Hill Rd, Eccleston St. Helens WA10 4RW 01744 731746 email: colin.greenall@btopenworld.com www.scars.org.uk SHREWSBURY & NEWPORT CANALS TRUST Tam Hazan email: tamir_hazan@lineone.net www.sncanal.org.uk SHROPSHIRE UNION CS Richard Hall, 35 Tyrley Cottages Market Drayton TF9 2AH 01630 657737 email: hall@ostw.co.uk www.shropshireunion.org.uk SLEAFORD NAVIGATION TRUST Steve Hayes, 10 Chelmer Clo N Hykeham Lincs LN8 8TH 01522-689460 email: steve.hayes-kyme@ntlworld.com www.sleafordnavigation.co.uk SOMERSET COAL CANAL SOC Bob Parnell, 34 Wedgewood Road Twerton, Bath BA2 1NX 01225-428055 rtjhomepages.users. btopenworld.com/SCC2.html RIVER STOUR TRUST John Morris 2 Stockton Close Hadleigh Ipswich IP7 5SH email: jgmorris@btinternet.com www.riverstourtrust.org STRATFORD ON AVON CANAL SOCIETY Roger Hancock, 1 Tyler Street Stratford upon Avon CV37 6TY 01789 296096 email: rogmabhan@aol.com www.stratfordcanalsociety.org.uk SURREY & HANTS CANAL SOC Peter Redway, 1 Redway Cottages St. John's Lye, Woking GU21 1SL 01483 721710 email: p.redway1@btinternet.com www.basingstoke-canal.org.uk/society SUSSEX OUSE REST. TRUST Paul Morris, Farmcote Nettlesworth Lane, Old Heathfield, Heathfield TN21 9AP 01453 863683 email: sussexouse@hotmail.com www.sxouse.org.uk SWANSEA CANAL SOCIETY Clive Reed 17 Smithfield Road, Pontardawe, Swansea, West Glam. SA8 4LA 01792 830782 THAMES & MEDWAY CANAL ASSOCIATION John Epton, 45 Vinson Close Orpington Kent, BR6 0EQ homepage.ntlworld. com/john.epton/tmca


WENDOVER ARM TRUST Roger Leishman 7 Hall Park, Berkhamsted HP4 2NU 01442 874536 www.wendoverarmtrust.co.uk WEY & ARUN CT The Granary Flitchfold Farm Loxwood Billingshurst West Sussex RH14 ORH 01403 752403 email: office@weyandarun.co.uk www.weyandarun.co.uk

LONDON WRG Tim Lewis 5 Herongate Road, Wanstead London E12 5EJ 07802 518094 email: tim@timlewis.org.uk www.london.wrg.org.uk LONDON WRG: ENQUIRIES Lesley McFadyen (as per Martin Ludgate below) WRG EAST MIDLANDS John Baylis (see below)

ESSEX WRG Dave Dobbin WILTS & BERKS CANAL TRUST 130 Ashingdon Road Rochford, Essex George Eycott SS4 1RR 36 Grange Court, Boundary Road 01702-544096 Newbury RG14 7PH email: essex@wrg.org.uk 01635 569449 www.essex.wrg.org.uk email: bungle@wrg.org.uk www.wilts-berks-canal.org.uk WRG SOUTH WEST Gavin Moor WOODEN CANAL BOAT 54 Kiln Close, Calvert SOCIETY Buckingham 3 Beauchamp St MK18 2FD Ashton under Lyne OL6 8LF 07970 989245 0161-330-8422 Gavin.Moor@wrg.org.uk email: wcbs@beeb.net www.wcbs.org.uk IWA/WRG STAMP BANK Steve & Mandy Morley IWA IPSWICH 33 Hambleton Grove Colin Turner Emerson valley Cornerways Milton Keynes MK4 2JS Elm Lane, Copdock 01908 520090 Ipswich IP8 3ET email: mail@morleytowers.org.uk 01473-730586 email: restoration@ipswich-iwa.co.uk CANAL CAMPS MOBILES www.purbrook.demon.co.uk/iwa (A) 07850 422156 (B) 07850 422157 WRG: GENERAL ENQUIRIES, CANAL CAMP BOOKINGS AND 'NAVVIES' EDITOR DRIVER AUTHORISATION Martin Ludgate PO Box 114, 35 Silvester Rd Rickmansworth WD3 1ZY East Dulwich 01923 711114 London SE22 9PB email: enquiries@wrg.org.uk 020 8693 3266 www.wrg.org.uk 0777 947 8629 (mobile) email: martin.ludgate@wrg.org.uk WRG NORTH WEST Malcolm Bridge 'WRGWEAR' CLOTHING 3 Heather Bank Helen Gardner Littleborough NB 'Sussex' Lancashire OL15 0JQ Weaver Shipyard 01706 378582 Saxons Lane email: nw@wrg.org.uk Northwich CW8 1LB www.wrgnw.org.uk 07989 425346 email: wrgwear@wrg.org.uk WRG NW - ENQUIRIES/ PAPERCHASES WRG FORESTRY TEAM David McCarthy Graham Robinson Woodstock, 14 Crumpsall Lane Springwell, Spark Bridge Manchester. M8 5FB Ulverston 0161-740 2179 Cumbria LA12 7ST www.wrgnw.org.uk 01229 861317 WRG BITM & 'NAVVIES' DIARY WRG BOAT CLUB David Wedd Sadie Dean 7 Ringwood Road 236 Station Rd Blackwater Whittlesey Camberley Peterborough PE7 2HA Surrey GU17 0EY 01733 204505 01252 874437 07748 186867 (mobile) email: dave.wedd@wrg.org.uk email sadiedean@vodafone.net www.wrgbitm.org.uk

WRG DIRECTORS CHAIRMAN Mike Palmer 3 Finwood Road Rowington Warwickshire CV35 7DH 01564 785293 email: mike.palmer@wrg.org.uk

TRANSPORT MANAGER Please contact Mike Palmer (see above) until further notice WRG LOGISTICS Jen Leigh 45 Glebe Road Sheffield S10 1FB email: logistics@wrg.org.uk

TREASURER Roger Day, 5 Merton Road, Slough Berks SL1 1QW

OTHER DIRECTORS

SECRETARY Neil Edwards, c/o IWA, PO Box 114 Rickmansworth WD3 1ZY email: neil@waterways.org.uk

Mick Beattie 22 Bridgewater Ave Anchorsholme, Blackpool Lancs FY5 3NA 01253 864034

WRG PLANT Malcolm Bridge 3 Heather Bank Littleborough Lancashire OL15 0JQ email: malcolm.bridge@wrg.org.uk 01706 378582

Adrian Fry 89 The Causeway, Quedgeley, Gloucester GL2 4LD 07976 640962 email: amf@wrg.org.uk

SITES GROUP & PUBLICITY Judith Moore 3 Finwood Road, Rowington Warwickshire CV35 7DH 01564 785293 email: jude.moore@btinternet.com WRGPRINT John & Tess Hawkins 4 Links Way Croxley Grn, Rickmansworth WD3 3RQ 01923 448559 email: john.hawkins@wrg.org.uk IWA CHAIRMAN John Fletcher c/o IWA, PO Box 114 Rickmansworth WD3 1ZY email: john.fletcher@waterways.org.uk

George Eycott (see under Wilts & Berks Canal Trust, left)

Spencer Collins The Boatyard, 5 Hammond Way Trowbridge BA14 8RS 07976 084055 email: spencer.collins@wrg.org.uk Chris Davey / Helen Davey 6 Partridge Ct, Round Close Rd Adderbury Banbury OX17 3EP 01295 812002 email: chris.davey@wrg.org.uk Jonathan Smith 23 Hardings, Chalgrove Oxford OX44 7TJ 01865 891 370 email: jonathan.smith@wrg.org.uk John Baylis, 215 Clipstone Rd West Forest Town, Mansfield Notts NG19 0HJ 01623 633895

Updating this Directory: please help!

The aim of this Directory is to give up-to-date contact details for all parts of WRG, plus all other groups that are involved in volunteer work on waterways. However it can only be as accurate and up-to-date as the information that is supplied to us. If you spot anything incorrect, please tell us. Also if you are involved in a canal society not listed here that carries out volunteer work, please give us your work party organiserÂ’s details. And if your canal society is currently listed but no longer carries out work-parties please tell us, and we will remove your entry so that you are not troubled by queries from would-be volunteers. A fuller list of canal society contacts is available in the IWA's Waterway Societies Guide, available from IWA Head Office and on www.waterways.org.uk. Thank You. 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 0701') should go to WRG Canal Camps, PO Box 114, Rickmansworth WD3 1ZY. Tel: 01923 711114. Email: enquiries@wrg.org.uk

Feb 17/18

wrgBITM

Cotswold Canals: Latton on the North Wilts Canal, and/or Rucks Bridge & Eisey Lock on

Feb 17/18

wrgSW

Hereford & Gloucester Canal

Feb 17 Sat

wrgNW

‘Paper Chase’ waste paper collection

Feb 24/25

London WRG

Lichfield Canal: Dig Deep project plus London WRG AGM on Saturday evening

Mar 1 Thu

Navvies

Press date for issue 222

Mar 2/3/4/5

WAT

Wendover Arm Canal: Local work party, concrete capping & bridge wing walls

Mar 3/4

Essex WRG

Wilts & Berks Canal

Mar 3 Sat

WRG/KESCRG Barn Dance: Benson, Oxfordshire. Accom available.

Mar 3 Sat

WRG

Leaders’ Training day: at Benson, Oxfordshire.

Mar 4 Sun

WRG

Committee & Board Meetings: at Benson, Oxfordshire

Mar 10/11

KESCRG

Wilts & Berks Canal: Dig Deep project

Mar 10/11

NWPG

Lichfield Canal: Dig Deep project

Mar 10/11

wrgNW

Lancaster Canal (Northern Reaches)

Mar 17/18

wrgBITM

Hereford & Gloucester Canal: Yarkhill scrub bashing

Mar 17/18

Essex WRG

Crayford Navigation: Removing trees blocking navigation, plus cleanup organised by Ke Tidal river, so only working 5 hours from 8.00am each day

Mar 17/18

WRG/IWA/BCNS BCN Clean up: Supported by WRG South West and London WRG but everyon Please book in using booking form on page 5.

Mar 17/18

wrgSW

BCN Clean up

Mar 17/18

London WRG

BCN Clean up

Mar 24 Sat

wrgNW

‘Paper Chase’ waste paper collection

Mar 31-Apr 1 wrgNW

Manchester, Bolton & Bury Canal

Mar 31-Apr 9 Camp 0701

Wilts & Berks Canal Camp: Seven Locks and Steppingstones Bridge. Cost: £54

Apr 6/7/8/9

London WRG

Possible long Easter weekend dig: to be confirmed.

Apr 14/15

KESCRG

Wilts & Berks Canal: Dig Deep project. Joint dig with wrgSW

Apr 14/15

wrgSW

Wilts & Berks Canal: Joint dig with KESCRG

Apr 21/22

wrgBITM

Wilts & Berks Canal: Dig Deep project

Apr 21/22

NWPG

Wey & Arun Canal

Apr 28 Sat

wrgNW

‘Paper Chase’ waste paper collection

May 1 Tue

Navvies

Press date for issue 223

May 4/5/6/7

WAT

Wendover Arm Canal: Local work party, capping the pipeline and lining the cana

May 3-8

IWA

Little Venice, London: The ‘Moose Camp’ - site services for IWA Canalway Cavalca

May 5/6/7

wrgBITM

Canalway Cavalcade at Little Venice: BITM Sales Stand only

May 5/6

KESCRG

Wendover Arm Canal: NOTE Sat/Sun only, Monday off.

May 5/6/7

Essex WRG

Wilts & Berks Canal: Joint dig with wrgNW

May 5-7

wrgNW

Wilts & Berks Canal: Dauntsey. Joint dig with Essex WRG

May 13/14

WRG

WRG Training Weekend: see page 6

May 19/20

London WRG

Wilts & Berks Canal: Dig Deep project

page 18


p

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.

n the Thames & Severn Dave Wedd

01252-874437

bookings@wrgBITM.org.uk

Nick Coolican-Smith

07714-146811

nickcoolicansmith@hotmail.com

David McCarthy

0161-740-2179

Tim Lewis

07802-518094

london@wrg.org.uk

Martin Ludgate

020-8693-3266

martin.ludgate@wrg.org.uk

Roger Leishman

01442-874536

rleishman@ukgateway.net

John Gale

01376-334896

essex@wrg.org.uk

Bobby Silverwood

barndance@kescrg.org.uk

Mike Palmer

01564-785293

mike.palmer@wrg.org.uk

Mike Palmer

01564-785293

mike.palmer@wrg.org.uk

Eddie Jones

0845-226-8589

eddie@kescrg.org.uk

Graham Hawkes

0118-941-0586

grahamhawkes@btinternet.com

David McCarthy

0161-740-2179

nw@wrg.org.uk

Dave Wedd

01252-874437

bookings@wrgBITM.org.uk

nt & East Sussex IWA.

John Gale

01376-334896

essex@wrg.org.uk

e welcome.

Aileen Butler

07703-567764

enquiries@wrg.org.uk

Tim Lewis

07802-518094

london@wrg.org.uk

David McCarthy

0161-740-2179

David McCarthy

0161-740-2179

4

al de rally. See page 6

nw@wrg.org.uk enquiries@wrg.org.uk

Tim Lewis

07802-518094

london@wrg.org.uk

Eddie Jones

0845-226-8589

eddie@kescrg.org.uk

Alice Bayston

07920-408328

alicebayston@hotmail.com

Dave Wedd

01252-874437

bookings@wrgBITM.org.uk

Graham Hawkes

0118-941-0586

grahamhawkes@btinternet.com

David McCarthy

0161-740-2179

Martin Ludgate

020-8693-3266

martin.ludgate@wrg.org.uk

Roger Leishman

01442-874536

rleishman@ukgateway.net

Dave ‘Moose’ Hearnden

07963-922153

moose@wrg org.uk

Dave Wedd

01252-874437

bookings@wrgBITM.org.uk

Eddie Jones

0845-226-8589

eddie@kescrg.org.uk

John Gale

01376-334896

essex@wrg.org.uk

David McCarthy

0161-740-2179

nw@wrg.org.uk

Ali Bottomley

07719 6443870

training@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 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 PlaneMike 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 Every Tuesday morning TMCA Brian Macnish 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

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 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 01732-823725 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, I expect that postal delivery staff felt a bit tired (and even emotional) after their Christmas exertions, so I did not receive Navvies 220, the issue for December 2006-January 2007, until 4th January. This was 3 days beyond the deadline for issue 221, which means that I am too late to offer you public congratulations for being on the verge of beating the late, greatly lamented Graham Palmer’s record for the number of issues of Navvies he edited. If my shaky arithmetic is correct, Graham was well ahead of the field with 80 issues to his credit, and number 220 was your 80th. No-one else came anywhere near these achievements, though I am in no way belittling the efforts of the 3 other Editors that Navvies has had. Perhaps it would be more appropriate to hang fire until you have actually broken the record, but I thought I would mention it now in the hope that a suitable celebration of some sort will be organised. It will be a milestone not to be missed. The recovery movement owes you a debt of gratitude that extends well beyond editing Navvies, important though that is. You seem to get to every dig, and not just as a reporter, as you have manual skills like brick-laying on your CV. I recall that you have also been able to make a significant contribution to the entertainments at National Festivals/ Rallies and I fancy it was you who introduced us to that charming little place named Sodding Chipbury in one of the pantomimes. On top of this, you have for a number of years been holding down a job with a leading commercial waterways magazine - and also managing to keep a venerable vehicle on the road. It is even older than my 29-year old VW campervan, if my memory serves me correctly, and that takes a lot of effort to keep in working order. How do you do it? Anyway, please accept the warmest congratulations from an armchair participant of some antiquity - and keep up the good work! With very best wishes Stan Holland Dear Martin Thanks very much for the cd rom included with the latest issue. It was a real journey back to the 70’s looking at those copies. It seems not so long ago, but that’s age I suppose. I remember the I.W.A. council meetings when both Graham and myself where members and he had a nickname for everyone. They were trying times for the waterways - but then what’s new?

Letters

Some bouquets and some brickbats for Navvies We still had hopes of reviving the long distance narrow boat traffic and to get back the Right of Navigation taken away by Mrs Castle, but neither came about. Ashby Canal carriers where operating camping boats then and Graham and other wrg members often acted as steerers. The less said about Graham’s mechanical ability the better... The wonderful boat sketches in the early issues evoke the period, and the pictures of the Smalley excavator so proud in the wrg red brought from the proceeds of raffles, green shield stamps, (remember those?) and very determined fund raising are history . Its also a good job the elf-andsafety mafia weren’t about or the story would have finished there and then. Keep up the good work and thanks to all. David Warren Dear Mr Ludgate I would like to comment on the camp report ‘A week restoring Bridge 19 on the Grantham Canal’ in Navvies issue 220. I though the intention of these reports was to inform the wider membership what was achieved at the worksite. In this instance, on pages 8 and 9 we get some attempt but by pages 10 and 11 it had deteriorated into a complete load of nonsense. Whoever Mark MK2 Richardson and his ‘various diarists’ are, they should remind themselves that they are not writing these reports to show how clever they are to those who attended (who know what went on already) but to keep those who, over the years, subscribe far more than their membership fee to help keep work ongoing, informed of what their money was used towards. I can forgive a lot for a bit of humour, but I couldn’t even raise a laugh at this drivel. Later pages, mercifully, redressed the balance. PS One more issue and you become the longest serving editor. Congratulations! Yours faithfully

Nick Bailey

page 21


Progress

The Dig Deep Initiative makes progress on the Wey & Arun.... Dig Deep Report December 2006 The Dig Deep initiative is a scheme to co-ordinate work by several mobile working party groups based mainly in the south of England. The way it works is that particular restoration jobs are adopted as Dig Deep projects, committing the groups to giving a certain amount of support to these projects over a period of time, and thereby making it easier for the local canal societies which are leading these projects to commit to the necessary funding, materials and equipment to finish the job within a reasonable timescale. In July I reported that we were working on three projects but were about to start on the fourth. As of today I can report that we have started and essentially completed the fourth – in five months! Such are the benefits of Dig Deep and of a co-ordinated response to a specific request for volunteer support from a well organised canal society. So what have we been up to?

Supporting our efforts have been the Winston Harwood Group of WACT who have worked every Thursday through October and November, doing those key setting up tasks ready for the weekend camps. Other work has included the modification of the lower gates (now with “letter boxes”!), the construction of steps down from the lower gate platform, the re-instatement of the back pump system and the fitting of railings and bollards. It would be difficult to find another current project offering the range and variety of work as we’ve had here. The volunteer teams have done those tasks best suited to volunteers. At the beginning of November the professional gate fitters from Callis Mill (Hebden Bridge) arrived and in four days completed the transformation of what looked like a building site with many months of work ahead to a fully operational lock with only the dams to be removed before a boat could once again pass through. None of this would have been possible – to paraphrase the Oscar ceremonies – without the input of Graham Baird, WACT’s project officer. His careful planning of the work, ordering of materials and target setting has ensured that the job was completed on time as we in Dig Deep had promised the Trust it would be. I look forward to further Dig Deep projects on the canal under his leadership and direction.

Bill Nicholson

You may have read or be aware of the Wey & Arun Canal Trust’s Loxwood Crossing project. This is a three year plan to take the canal under the lowered B2133 in the village. The first part, a new lock to the west of the road was built in 2005 with Dig Deep help. This year, the Trust asked Dig Deep to take on responsibility for the rebuilding of Brewhurst Lock to a reduced height as its own volunteers would be substantially engaged on other parts of the project. With the support of WRG, three weeks of backto-back canal camps were booked through July into August to break the back of the work. Reports on this work can be read in Navvies 219. Since then the combined Dig Deep teams of London WRG, BITM and NWPG plus a reunion visit from the WACT summer camp team have put in about two weekends per month focussing on the completion of the new top end (gate recesses, paddle holes etc.) and the casting of the new concrete copings over the Rebuilding begins on Lock 4 at Seven Locks, Wilts & Berks whole length of the lowered lock.

page 22


We have not quite finished here. NWPG and KESCRG are returning to Brewhurst early in the New Year to complete the landscaping and tidying up of the site at which time the work of the contractors up at the Onslow Arms should be done and the dams can be removed. Dig Deep is not just about the Wey & Arun. In fact during 2007 we’ll be spending a lot less time there as the Trust’s money will be fully committed to paying for the new road bridge at the Onslow Arms to be built. On the Wilts & Berks we will be hoping to make significant progress on the re-building of Lock 4 at Seven Locks near Wootton Bassett. NWPG started work on the towpath side chamber wall on their Christmas dig and the aim is to complete this wall by the summer when it is proposed to start the off-side on back-to-back WRG/KESCRG camps. The second chamber wall is not straightforward as the drainage run off from the hill has moved the old wall in towards the centre of the chamber, so much so that the existing structure will have to be completely removed and a new concrete base/footing built.

...and the Mon & Brec, Wilts & Berks and Lichfield canals Re-building the by-wash channels is the area where most work is needed as there is little left of the existing structure that can be re-used. Finally, another canal where we will be at work in 2007, but where bridge funding means that resources are stretched, is the Lichfield. Our input will maintain our involvement and hopefully the momentum of volunteer work at the Tamworth Road site in the city. Most of the remaining work is on the construction of the brick waterway walls between the locks although there is also work on Lock 24. So we have plenty to do in 2007 and your help will help us do it – whether on a Dig Deep weekend or on one of the summer camps. All the visiting groups, London WRG, KESCRG, NWPG and BITM would welcome offers of help. Please consult the Navvies Diary which contains details of dates and who to contact. Alternatively you can get information form any of the Dig Deep Group web-sites as well as reports on work and progress made at the Dig Deep project sites. Bill Nicholson

Bill Nicholson

On the Mon & Brec we have agreed to continue the work started during 2006 on the restoration of Lock 3 of the Crumlin Arm near Newport. The locks here are all built in stone – awkward, uneven and difficult-to-lay sort of stone of the type you tend to find in South Wales. We are also using lime mortar throughout which whilst not difficult to use, takes more time to prepare. WRG and NWPG will provide three weeks of summer camp plus Dig Deep weekends during which we hope to complete Lock 3 and make a good start on Lock 4.

Progress

NWPG at work on the by-wash of Lock 3, Crumlin Arm, Mon & Brec Canal

page 23


Progress

Boat spotters: the Wooden Canal Boat Society needs you! Awards for All Lottery Success for Wooden Canal Boat Society The Wooden Canal Boat Society (WCBS) has received a huge boost for its project to set up a Heritage Boatyard beside the Huddersfield Narrow Canal in Stalybridge. An Awards for All Lottery grant of £9661 will enable the Society to excavate a traditional sideways slipway for the restoration of historic wooden narrow boats. The Society occupied the boatyard site, a former railway crossing of the canal, in 1999. The land belongs to Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council who have been tremendously supportive of the project. In 2000-2001 stage 1 of the boatyard was completed with the building of a high quality boundary wall, landscaping and retaining walls set in the ground. This was financed by a landfill tax grant from Greening Greater Manchester.

The first boat to use the slipway is likely to be Hazel, the 1914 built Runcorn 6 plank wooden header narrow boat. Believed to be the last survivor of her type, this boat will be used to provide waterway holidays for people recovering from depression, and other stress related illnesses, when she is restored. Earlier in 2006 the Hazel restoration fund passed the £20,000 mark. A further £80,000 needs to be raised for the boat to be fully restored and fitted out. The completion of the slipway will remove a major barrier to the Hazel project. The Wooden Canal Boat Society now has a huge charity shop at 205 Stamford Street, Ashton under Lyne. This is helping greatly with the task of funding the collection of six historic narrow boats which are based at Portland Basin museum, Ashton under Lyne. One important job that the WCBS is trying to do is to assess the number, condition and likely surviveability of the remaining wooden working boats on the waterway system. Previous appeals for help with this have not met with a huge response from canal enthusiasts. Boat spotters are urgently needed to report back information on wooden boats around the network. The main boat work during 2006 has been the extensive work carried out on Southam’s conversion. The object is to make her into a comfortable and mobile boat that can be taken away to waterway events to promote the Society’s work. In the past the WCBS has not been well known away from the Tameside area, though its work in preserving a sorely neglected aspect of canal heritage is relevant to the whole system.

WCBS

The big difficulty with the site has always been its height above the canal, mostly about 2 metres. Funding for the necessary excavation and permanent buildings was arranged for 2003, but this fell through because of problems within the funding body. WCBS volunteers then set to work with picks and shovels to lower the ground level. Despite the primitive methods a surprisingly large hole was dug. It was, however, likely to take years before a full length slipway could be excavated. Recently, volunteers have concentrated on recovering stone from walling in the area to be excavated to be re-used in the completed boatyard.

Although more excavation will be necessary to get the boatyard fully functioning, this grant will enable the Society to get a basic slipway up and running where boats will be slipped for maintenance and restoration. Work is expected to start early in 2007

Runcorn Wooden Header Hazel: £80k needed to restore her

page 24

The WCBS offers plenty of opportunities for people to get involved. More volunteers are needed not only for the heritage boatyard project, but also for working in the shop and market stall, maintaining and repairing boats, becoming part of the successful fundraising team, boatsitting, helping with the twice monthly recycling trips and many other interesting jobs. Contact the WCBS at 33, Beauchamp Street, Ashton under Lyne, Lancashire, OL6 8LF. Phone 0161 330 8422 or 07931 952 037, Website www.wcbs.org.uk or email wcbs@beeb.net


Wey & Arun Canal Loxwood: At the Loxwood new lock the ‘topping-out’ ceremony took place on 22nd November as the last coping on Horse Bridge was fitted. There are still a few things to be finished, but these were held back due to excess water and the need to prepare the bridleway to Brewhurst lock for the Santa Cruises. During a visit by Callis Mill, the lock equipment contractors, to Brewhurst lock (that’s the one which is being reduced in height to enable the canal to fit under the B2133) they replaced the top sill mitre to enable the top sill itself to be installed. As I write, Burras, the main contractor, is pressing on with the work on the section of canal behind the Onslow Arms which is being lowered, putting on the pile-capping beam, but has had some equipment failures. The retaining wall along the towpath will then be finished and once that is complete, the towpath has to be reinstated. The bund at Brewhurst can then be removed. Hedgelaying:

Elmbridge (near Cranleigh):

Wey & Arun latest: Brewhurst and elsewhere Brewhurst Lock: November has been a busy month at Brewhurst Lock and as a result a great deal has been achieved. The last two Dig Deep weekends took place, with NWPG tacking on an extra day to their weekend and London WRG casting the last of the coping sections. Several tasks are outstanding, such as painting, fencing, landscaping, top-soiling and seeding, but visitors can now see Brewhurst Lock in its reincarnated form. We look forward to the day when boats are once again passing through the structure. It was decorated for the Santa Cruises with Christmas lights, toys and the “charming singing mice”. Sally Schupke

WACT

December saw three very large work parties taking part in planting a long hedge (about 1.5 km) beside the canal at Lee Farm, north of Pulborough. Our maintenance manager, David Jessop, was in charge and he was delighted with the response, including a number of new Trust members who came along to “have a go”.

Progress

Horse Bridge topping-out, and Brewhurst Lock rebuilt. (can you spot the mice?)

WACT

John Empringham and his group of volunteers made the first “keeping up appearances” visit to the stretch of canal behind Utworth Manor. This was the length on the summit pound cleared by the mid week working parties last winter. From clearing this new stretch only about a year ago, the brush and brambles had grown back to several feet high in places.

page 25


Progress

The Shrewsbury & Newport Canals and the Montgomery... Shrewsbury & Newport Canals Trust Lubstree Wharf Work Party – 5 November 2006 It may have been Guy Fawkes Day, but for the S&NCT volunteers it was another tiring but satisfying day. The work parties are an important but integral part of the S&NCT strategy to enable the restoration of the canal to occur. Our task at present is to clear away all the debris and oppressive vegetation that masks the important facets of the S&NCT.  On this Sunday it was another ‘go’ at clearing the ivy from the old buildings that still remain at Lubstree, and at trimming up the neat brick wharf edges that are still present under a mass of earth and weeds for the full length of the remaining waterway.

Shropshire Union Canal Society The Society’s restoration efforts on the Montgomery Canal have now turned to the Crickheath North area, and we are delighted that our application for Heritage Lottery funding has been successful. The site is now established with tool containers, storage compound and welfare cabin, and volunteers have steadily cleared the area of vegetation to allow safe access to all parts of the site. During the winter the project will be discussed in detail with British Waterways and a works programme drawn up. New skills and equipment are being acquired to match the changing needs of the Montgomery restoration. Two volunteers now have certification for chainsaw operation and four are accredited to operate the newly-obtained digger, now known as Big Arthur. We have been instructed in the use of lime mortar and will soon receive instruction in the building of stone walls. Crickheath is a very big site with lots of different work to do, so please come along to our work parties in 2007. Details from Mike Friend on 01948 880723 or 07909 912611, or email tigger.bounce@virgin.net. Wendover Arm Trust We have at last put the problem of the Nuttall’s bund behind us and are making real progress on the first 321 metres of lining the channel, working back from the sump at Drayton Beauchamp towards the navigable section. A third of the pipe capping (of the pipe in the canal bed which the canal water was piped through) has been completed and bulk excavation is rapidly approaching the end of this stage. The design has now been all but finalised using hollow concrete blocks.

WAT

Twelve members arrived at 9.30 am, and it encouraging to meet two ‘new’ recruits – Tony & Jennie Perks from Shrewsbury. During the day the assistant gamekeeper of the Lubstree estate popped by for a chat; he runs a restoration building business, and said that they could offer advice and guidance when we come to the reconstruction work ourselves.

Muscles may ache at the end of these parties, but it is fun and the work is vital if the Shrewsbury & Newport canals are to be regenerated. If you can help in any way, please get in touch with Tam Hazan by email on tamir_hazan@lineone.net  or see website www.sncanal.org.uk.

The plaque on Drayton Beauchamp Bridge, Wendover Arm

page 26

The target next year is to have 150 metres in water (at Wendover level) with a temporary bund to hold it back. This will be greatly assisted by the help we will be getting next year from visiting groups, particularly a week-long work party in August with BITM.


Progress

The downside to progress at present is the wet weather we are experiencing. This delayed the next 20 metres of pipe capping at the December work party as it would have been very unwise to transport dumpers of ready-mix from Little Tring in the very muddy conditions at places along the route. Fortunately bulk excavation was able to progress without delay so there was no hold up in the use of hired plant. It was possible to transport ready-mix concrete to footbridge 4 so we were able to erect the formwork and cast the east end wing walls ready for backfilling and construction of the diverted footpath to the new bridge in due course. Footbridge 4: The timber handrails of the footbridge have now settled down much better than was thought possible at first so it has been agreed to fill and sand them in the Spring (Option 1) and hope that this will suffice; if not the capping of the handrail with a 145 x 34 section redwood (Option 2) has been voted the best alternative. The east end wing walls have now been completed ready for backfilling and construction of the diverted footpath. There has been no news of the Footpath Diversion Order being arranged by Herts County Council: the new footbridge can be used by the public once all work is completed but the existing route over the canal bed cannot be closed until the Diversion Order is effective. It is not intended to complete the west end wing walls whilst there is priority work to be done at Drayton Beauchamp. Footbridge 4A: The work on the handrails is as for Bridge 4 above. It is intended to cast the west end wing walls at the January work party (weather permitting) so that the footbridge can be opened for use, but it is not intended to complete the east end wing walls whilst there is priority work to be done at Drayton Beauchamp. Drayton Beauchamp Parish Meeting: This body, which represent the interests of the residents of the hamlet of Drayton Beauchamp, jointly with Bucks County Council, funded the provision of a seat and plaque at Saxon Bridge, the bridge carrying the new A41 Aston Clinton by-pass over the Wendover Arm Canal. They asked the Trust if they would install the seat and plaque and in July, Bob Fletcher led a small group to install the seat and in November Ray Orth and I fixed the plaque to Saxon Bridge.

...and finally the Wendover Arm of the Grand Union Canal The name of the bridge is derived from the finding of a Saxon burial site when the route of the bypass was being investigated and one of the graves contained high-class artefacts that indicated the burial of a lady of high status, hence the reference on the plaque to a Saxon Princess. The plaque on Saxon Bridge As already reported, we have three bookings of visits from KESCRG and BITM for next year as follows:-

. . .

KESCRG - Saturday, 5th and Sunday, 6th May 2007 WRG BITM - Saturday, 28th July to Sunday, 5th August 2007 KESCRG - Saturday 6th and Sunday, 7th October 2007

For more information contact Roger Leishman, Restoration Director at 7 Hall Park, Berkhamsted, Herts HP4 2NU,Tel: 01442 874536, or email rleishman@ukgateway.net

Progress reports Does your local canal restoration project not seem to appear very often in the Progress section in Navvies? Would you like to see it featured? We can only print what we receive (OK, we could just make it all up, and see if anyone notices - like the completely fictitious camp report we printed a couple of years ago, which nobody spotted at all!) But believe it or not weÂ’d rather actually print the facts... So if you are involved in a canal society and havenÂ’t already been persuaded by one of our Navvies team to send in the occasional progress report, why not just do it without us chasing you? (Or persuade somebody else in your society to do it for you?) See page 3 for editorial contact details.

page 27


Groups

Essex WRG learn to use wood chippers at Foxton Inclined Plane Training and scrub bashing at Foxton

Volunteer efforts had been concentrating on the upper arm, to prepare the ground for the contractors who were to reprofile and line the arm, and a substantial pile of cuttings had been created in the bed of the canal, with the promise of more to come on our next visit. But with no bonfires allowed we needed to use a chipper, and to use a chipper we needed to be trained. This was duly arranged for the Friday before our next working weekend. A group of five trainees and two “helpers” duly reported on a frosty February morning to the work compound at Foxton. The training consisted of a theoretical session considering the health and safety aspects of using wood chippers before looking at the machine itself. We were grateful to the Foxton Inclined Plane Trust for the loan of the meeting room above the Museum as the site hut in the compound had been taken over by BW engineers and contractors.

Steve Morley

One of the sites which Essex WRG regularly visit is Foxton, on the Grand Union Leicester Line, where an inclined plane operated at the beginning of the last century to by-pass the flight of 10 locks which was causing delays to boat traffic. One day Foxton Inclined Plane Trust would like to see the Incline rebuilt and reopened, but in the meantime the location has become a popular local attraction. Volunteer work over the years has developed the site which is now attracting large numbers of visitors – on a nice day it feels like half of Leicestershire is walking the towpath, watching boats work the locks, visiting the museum and getting in the way of volunteers trying to lay the hedge.

The project is now at the stage where a partnership between the Trust, British Waterways and the County and local councils has gained a significant Heritage Lottery Fund grant to reinstate the upper arm leading to the Plane and carry out improvement works to ease visitor access to, and interpretation of, the site. Nowadays we are working under the direction of British Waterways rather than the Foxton Inclined Plane Trust, and one result of this is that bonfires are no longer allowed – I’m not sure whether on environmental or insurance grounds.

The Chipper is put to good use on Foxton Inclined Plane

page 28

Our instructor then showed us over the machine, which taught us precisely why the health and safety arrangements are so important! We then hit a snag, as the instructor was not happy with the retro-fitted emergency stop, which basically didn’t stop the feed. After some hurried phone calls BW were able to locate and hire in a replacement machine and the practical training was delivered in the gathering gloom of a winter’s afternoon. We all passed the training and the chipper was put to good use during the weekend both on the existing material and the scrub being bashed by the rest of the group who had now joined us.


As well as more tree pruning and chipping, the work in October was another ‘first’ for Essex WRG. We had obtained a grant from the Waterways Trust to put up bat and bird boxes and these were placed on trees located on a map supplied by the regional ecologist. The trees had also been marked, B for bat and V for bird (!), so we knew what to put where. The reasoning behind this work was that although hundreds of trees have been planted to replace those cleared from the Plane and elsewhere from the site, these will not be big enough for bird nesting for a few years.

John Gale installing a bird-box The whole site is undergoing a transformation, with major works to rewater the upper arm and replacement of pathways around the site to improve disabled access to the museum and locks. Foxton Locks will be well worth a visit later in the year when the major works are complete. Meanwhile, Essex WRG are currently planning return visits in February and December and would welcome anyone wishing to join us. Steve Morley

Mandy Morley

There’s plenty of work to keep us busy at Foxton for some time yet. There are moves afoot to lay on training in stump grinding so that we can work on clearing the inclined plane and there are miles (literally) of hedge to lay, repair and trim.

Steve Morley

British Waterways’ Project Manager, James Clifton, was keen for us to have our certificates presented formally and at our October visit to Foxton we were introduced to the Regeneration Director of British Waterways, Derek Cochrane, who made the presentations. This was also an opportunity to say ‘thank you’ to BW for laying on the training, which has increased our skills and potential usefulness to other projects. We did the formal bit – the presentation, handshakes, speeches, photos – before retiring inside for tea and buns. Derek had stated his intention to gain greater involvement from volunteers in working with British Waterways and we were able to discuss the sort of work that would be attractive to volunteers – put simply restoration rather than maintenance – and the need for a common set of requirements throughout BW for things like health & safety and supervision.

BW’s Derek Cochrane presents Essex WRG volunteers with wood-chipper training certificates

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Stamp bank

Save your stamps, cans, ink cartridges, pans, dinky toys... Stamp Bank Update WRG Stamp Bank is alive and well and continues to raise money for canal restoration. How it works is simple – I collect items which can be sold for cash or exchanged for goods, either for direct use or to sell on. What do I collect? As the name suggests, the main activity involves stamps; new or used, UK or overseas. It would be really helpful if stamps from the general mail were left on paper, trimmed with a margin of about 6mm (1/4 inch) all round. I spend many hours cutting surplus paper from the stamps which have been received: this is the philatelic equivalent of brick cleaning and I have a large backlog if anyone is interested in helping out – it’s actually quite therapeutic! Stamp collections can be sold in albums or stock books and there is no need to unmount these. When the stamps have been sorted they go to the Shropshire Union Canal Society to help fund work on the Montgomery Canal. Aluminium can be sold for recycling if collected in sufficient quantity. Cans and foil are the main sources, preferably crushed to reduce the volume. Steel cans should be avoided (if it is attracted to a magnet it’s steel) as they have little value. Foil comes in many forms; as milk bottle tops, food/takeaway trays, yogurt pot lids, wrapped round chocolate, etc, but please avoid plastic packing which looks like foil – crisp packets and the like. Generally, if you screw it up and it stays put it’s aluminium; if it tries to spring back to shape it’s plastic. Old aluminium saucepans and other items are also accepted. When sufficient has been amassed the aluminium is transported to York, where the Pocklington Canal Amenity Society has an arrangement with a local scrap dealer who is prepared to pay for what, to him, are small quantities. Coins and banknotes are also accepted. If current, these can be collected together and sold to someone visiting the appropriate country. If old, they can be sold to dealers, or as a last resort can be melted down! The main recipient of these is the Chichester Ship Canal Trust in Hampshire. A traditional source of income for Stamp Bank has been trading stamps; Green Shield and the like. Yes, people still find these tucked in the back of drawers and send them in.

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Coupons for exchange for items, as given for example by petrol companies, are also welcome. Unfortunately cigarette vouchers are now worthless as the schemes have been shut down to discourage smoking. This is a shame because the catalogues used to have useful items like digging spades and steel tape measures which could be used directly by restoration groups, as well as providing sale items or raffle prizes. I currently need someone who has the time to persuade the companies to exchange out-of-date vouchers – would suit someone with a telephone and the necessary cheek! As one source of income dries up, another opens. A relatively new venture is collecting empty toner and ink jet cartridges and old mobile phones. These are sold to raise money for the restoration of the Wilts & Berks Canal. Again, it is the accumulation of small quantities into bulk amounts that makes the venture worthwhile. We have also done well with a collection of old die-cast models – Dinky Toys and the like. Please turn out your old toy box and pass on your old model cars, whatever their condition. How much is raised? This is difficult to answer, as much material goes to canal societies to add to what they collect themselves. The target for stamps is £1000 a year and Stamp Bank’s aluminium contributes a reasonable proportion of the £400-500 a year made by PCAS. Items of goods can be used can be used as sales items of raffle prizes to indirectly add to a canal society’s funds. Toner cartridges vary tremendously depending on type, but some can realise as much as £5. How do you get stuff to Stamp Bank? Quantities which can be posted can be sent to IWA/WRG Stamp Bank, 33 Hambleton Grove, Emerson Valley, MILTON KEYNES MK4 2JS. We have a collecting point at the IWA stand at the National Waterways Festival (look for the blue barrel) and other events that the IWA attends. I can sometimes make arrangements to collect larger quantities through various contacts around the waterways system – contact steve@morleytowers.org.uk or phone 01908 520090. If digging with Essex WRG, bring stuff with you! Who benefits from Stamp Bank? The main recipients have been mentioned, but in recent years projects such as the Foxton Inclined Plane Trust, the Buckingham Canal Society and regional WRG groups have received donations in cash or kind. Although we’re not talking Heritage Lottery Fund millions, Stamp Bank makes a valuable contribution towards various schemes’ running costs which would otherwise have to be found from elsewhere. Thank you to all, known and anonymous, who have contributed in the past – and all future contributions will be most welcome. Steve Morley


Navvies news

Mersey Basin Voluntary Sector Forum For those of you who don’t already know about the Mersey Basin Campaign, it is a 25-year government-backed project working across the North West to achieve the three main objectives of – improving river basin quality, encouraging sustainable waterside regeneration and engaging individuals, communities & businesses in the process. The campaign organises a wide variety of events throughout the year, and the Voluntary Sector Forum may well be of interest to wrgies What? Mersey Basin Campaign Voluntary Sector Forum 2007 Where? Maritime Museum, Liverpool. When? Thursday February 15th 5pm to 8pm Please join us for the Voluntary Sector Forum 2007, this year featuring the first public presentation from the new regional director of Natural England, Richard Leafe. The Voluntary Sector Forum is the Mersey Basin Campaign’s annual event for volunteers and waterways enthusiasts in the Northwest, providing a chance to hear from leading figures in the region and network with other volunteers and professionals. Officially launched on October 11th last year, Natural England is the government’s newest agency, created by combining English Nature with parts of the Countryside Agency and the Rural Development Service. The agency will play a critical role in protecting and enhancing the country’s environment, and is also charged with helping people enjoy, understand and access the natural environment. Before joining Natural England, Richard Leafe worked for English Nature for 16 years. He will introduce the new agency and explain the important role for volunteers within it. He will also examine the environmental challenges facing the region. The forum will also once again feature the official presentation of the Unilever Dragonfly Awards, recognising the top volunteers working on the region’s rivers and waterways. To find out further information or book a place(s) at the forum, please contact Bev Mitchell via email at b.mitchell@merseybasin.org.uk or telephone 0161 2428200. As in previous years, we expect the evening to be very popular so places will be allocated on a firstcome-first-served basis. A programme for the evening and a location map will be sent out with confirmation of your booking. Please help to minimise the environmental impact of the event by travelling by public transport if possible. I hope to see you there.

Izzy Gascoigne 01270 537071

The Mersey Basin Voluntary Sector Forum needs you! Apologies and Thanks:

Martin and I would like to apologise for the late arrival of the last two editions of Navvies. These were caused, along with other problems, because we have both had personal family problems over the past few months. Added to the fact that both the print machine and the folder/stapler would not run properly for issue 219. However now onto the ‘thank yous’, and in no particular order…

. .

to Jenny at 114 for the ‘slick’ team (well I think that is what she called them!!) for the rapid way in which they got issue 219 into the envelopes and into the post, from everything in kit form-you can always do it again. to the ‘team’ – Richard Cooper, Dave Wedd and Eric Beesley, who ventured into darkest Croxley Green to get issue 220 all stuffed into their envelopes. (The quantity of CDs completely filled the back of my estate car, hence an assembly at the museum was really impossible.) And back to 114 ready for despatch in the New Year.

As Martin commented about Navvies assembly evenings the other day: normal service (whatever that may mean) will be resumed in the New Year…Well not quite; and this is where I must give my biggest thanks:

. . .

to Tess, who has helped with WRG Print (she was really the person who talked me into doing it many years ago) over the years. Because of her declining health she will no longer be able to help with wrg Print, nor participate in Canal Camps, weekend digs etc. to everybody who has spoken to me during the year about Tess and her problems - it really does help. to the London Canal Museum for the continuing use of the facilities at the museum and those few people who turn up regularly for our ‘normal service’.

And if it’s not too late, a belated Happy New Year to all. Many thanks John Hawkins

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Navvies news

Good news, bad news, and waterways campaign news Thank you ...to the kind sponsor who has paid for the colour cover of this issue. If you would like to sponsor a future colour cover (at a cost somewhere in the region of £200) please get in touch with the editor.

Training award Elsewhere in this issue there’s a fair bit about training - the WRG Training Weekend, the Leader Training Day, and Essex WRG’s training session on wood chippers at Foxton. But don’t forget that if what’s on offer at these type of events doesn’t match the sort of skills that would help to make you a more effective waterway restoration volunteer, there’s always the IWA Training Award scheme. This provides grants of up to £750 towards any kind of training - be it machinery operation, traditional crafts or whatever. Just get in touch with IWA head office on Tel: 01923 711114 or email iwa@waterways.org.uk for details.

Correction Some confusion crept into the site description for the Stowmarket (River Gipping) which appeared in the Camps 2007 insert in the last Navvies. To put the record straight, the lock we’re hoping to work on (permissions permitting) is Baylham Lock. The one that IWA Honorary Engineer Roy Sutton has carried out a study on was Creeting Lock, which has now been restored. We’ll need to clear out quite a lot of mud from Baylham before anyone can do any kind of engineering study!

Stop Press: Good News We’ve just heard that there’s a good chance the Wilts & Berks will be able to build on our work at Abingdon last year in a rather unusual way. What we built was the first 150 metres of a diversion to enable the canal to bypass the original route where it has been built on through Abingdon town. Well now the next couple of miles of the diversion is to be built for us - it will double-up as the emergency outfall channel for a new water supply reservoir, and Thames Water will construct everything except the two locks needed. But only if they get planning permission to build the reservoir.

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Stop Press: Bad News Remember the problems the Lichfield Canal has had with new road schemes not making provision for the restored canal, resulting in the Canal Trust having to raise the extra cash? Every time we think we’ve seen the last of this sort of problem, it seems to crop up again somewhere else. This time it’s on the Fens Link, a proposed new route across the Fenlands from Boston to Peterborough which combines restoration, new construction, enlarging of unnavigable channels and some bits of completely new waterway. And unfortunately a new road to be built from Peterborough to Eye appears to have been given the goahead without the road-builders having to provide a bridge for the new route. Thus adding an extra blockage to the waterway before work has even started on building it - and just as things seemed to be moving forward at the other end of the Link near Boston. Makes you wonder why we bother, doesn’t it?

Save our Waterways But assuming you actually think it’s worth trying to save the waterways, you might like to know what’s happening in the campaign by the IWA and other national waterways organisations against current Government spending cuts. The good news is that all the campaign events so far have been very successful. The Campaign Cruise past Parliament in January brought a large number of boats onto the water in Westminster, and generated an impressive amount of press coverage for the campaign. And preparations are in full swing for the ‘Last push’ events around the country planned for 4-5 March to coincide with the delivery of a national petition to the Government. The bad news is that - not really surprisingly - the campaign has yet to enjoy any success in actually getting the cutbacks reversed. While we were all away for Christmas they sneaked-out details of the 2007-8 BW grant which is just as low as last year’s. (Still, at least they haven’t cut it any further!) And in the meantime emergency engineering problems on the Mon & Brec and at Netherton Tunnel serve to demonstrate how quickly a reasonably well-maintained but underfunded waterways system could revert to its perilous state of the 1960s and 1970s if the current situation is allowed to go on for much longer. For the latest details of all campaign events contact IWA on 01923 711114 or see the dedicated campaign website www.saveourwaterways.org.uk.


Contacting the chairman: Mike Palmer, 3 Finwood Rd, Rowington, Warwickshire CV35 7DH Tel: 01564 785293

Noticeboard

email: mike.palmer@wrg.org.uk

Navvies Directory update

Online Navvies subscriptions

The Wooden Canal Boat Society’s contact details are now: 33, Beauchamp Street, Ashton under Lyne, OL6 8LF. 0161 330 8422 or 07931 952 037

Don’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

Congratulations...

to Mike & Jude and to Gilly & Steve ...who will be married by the time this appears in print. Also to Izzy Gascoigne and Andy Rutter on their engagement.

Dial-a-camp To contact any WRG Canal Camp: 07850 422156 (Kit ‘A’ camps) 07850 422157 (Kit ‘B’ camps)

Stamps wanted

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 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 injohn.hawkins@wrg.org.uk terest. Editor : Martin Ludgate 35 Silvester Road East Dulwich London SE22 9PB 020-8693 3266

Website: www.wcbs.org.uk email: wcbs@beeb.net Please send any updates to the Directory (see p16-17) to the Editor.

CHANGE OF ADDRESS Helen (‘Bushbaby’ / WRGWear) Gardner can now be contacted at 33 Victoria Road, Northwich CW9 5RE All post including wrgwear orders should go there. But Helen says “Don’t panic - I still have the boat. It’s just that that address is more reliable”

Complete set of

Waterways World Magazine

from 1981 to date available for a donation to WRG. Will need to be collected from Bedford. Contact the Editor 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 © 2007 WRG Tel : 01923 711114 Registered no 4305322 ISSN 0953-6655

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Infill

Miles from anywhere? Andy Overton sends in this photo of a milepost:

A Christmas carol... ...dedicated to the hard-working IWA Festivals Team. Thanks to Moose for sending it, and to whoever the anonymous author is. Sorry it’s late for Christmas...

God bless the National Festival Team Let nothing you dismay Please find some time to raise your glass To toast this Christmas Day The volunteers who still remain And those who’ve gone astray Oh tidings of rain that’s on its way On it’s way Oh tidings of rain that’s on its way. God save the National Festival Team There’s nothing gets you down Come rain or shine, or hail or storm You never wear a frown. The tents get pitched, the boats get moored Sometimes a mile down Oh tidings of boats so far away Far away Oh tidings of boats so far away. God grant the National Festival Team The patience of a saint Another trader has just come in, Who saw where he went? We’ll fit him in just over there Pretend the line is bent Oh tidings of plans that’s gone astray Gone astray Oh tidings of plans that’s gone astray God rest the National Festival Team There’s another one next year. Another place to pack them in Meet friends and drink warm beer Another place to work and toil More sawdust over here Oh tidings of August holiday Holiday Oh tidings of August holiday God praise the National Festival Team For hearts so gold and true Without the team that comes each year Whatever would we do? So raise that glass and give that toast To a right old motley crew Oh tidings of work without any pay No, no pay Oh tidings of work without any pay page 34

As Andy points out, it is clearly (well I’m not sure how clearly by the time you read it) marked ‘56 miles’. And it stands by the Dutch River (the tidal part of the River Don) near Goole in Yorkshire. But where exactly is it 56 miles from? Andy has walked the entire River Don searching in vain for another milestone. It’s clearly nothing like 56 miles from the river’s moth at Goole, but neither is it 56 miles to anywhere up-river - even right up to the head of navigation at Sheffield. And going east, you reach the mouth of the Humber and hit the North Sea before you’ve covered 56 miles. “Could it be 56 miles from the source of the R. Don near Dunford Bridge?” asks Andy, “And if so, what is the point of such an esoteric marker?” Suggestions to the editor.

Anagrams

“It’s that time of year when there’s nothing better to do in the office than have a trawl through the Internet,” says Andy Carter, obviously keen to get his excuses in first for what is clearly going to be a really dreadful contribution to the Back Page... And he doesn’t disappoint. “Finding an anagram program brought up some interesting variations on well-known phrases. Rearranging the letters of ‘waterway recovery group’ gives: “Cow perverter or away guy” “Cow grew voyeur at prayer” Rearranging the letters of ‘volunteers restoring waterways’ gives: “Worn-out sweats gas irreverently.” “Artist’s worn-out lawyer revenges.” “Narrowly view sternest outrages.” While jumbling ‘British Waterways’ gives: “Why, a brassier twit!” “Wittier, brash ways.” “It is a swarthy brew.” Can any of you do better? Send us your most and least appropriate anagrams for any waterways organisation and we’ll print a selection next time.


Bill Nicholson Dave Wedd

It isnÂ’t all scrub-bashing: NWPG installing gate quadrants and backpump outfall at the rebuilt Brewhurst Lock on the Wey & Arun (above) and BITM continuing the work started at the Bonfire Bash on rebuilding the banks of the Grantham CanalÂ’s Knipton Feeder. Overleaf: sometimes it is all scrub-bashing: a selection of photos of the work on the New Year Camp and the KESCRG / London WRG Christmas dig, taken by Alan Lines, David Miller, Bobby Silverwood, Mike Chase and the editor.


Profile for The Inland Waterways Association

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