navvies volunteers restoring
In this issue:
Camps preview Getting trollied on the BCN
waterway recovery group
Issue No 222 April-May 2007
Editor: Martin Ludgate, 35 Silvester Road, East Dulwich London SE22 9PB 020-8693 3266 Subscriptions: Sue Watts, 15 Eleanor Road, Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Manchester M21 9FZ Printing and assembly: John & Tess Hawkins, 4 Links Way, Croxley Green, Rickmansworth, Herts WD3 3RQ 01923 448559 firstname.lastname@example.org Navvies is published by Waterway Recovery Group, PO Box 114, Rickmansworth WD3 1ZY and is available to all interested in promoting the restoration and conservation of inland waterways by voluntary effort in Great Britain. Articles may be reproduced in allied magazines provided that the source is acknowledged. WRG may not agree with opinions expressed in this magazine, but encourages publication as a matter of interest. 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. Secretary: Neil Edwards VAT reg. no: 788 9425 54 ISSN: 0953-6655 ÂŠ 2007 WRG
Inland Waterways Enterprises Registered office: 3 Norfolk Court, Norfolk Rd. Rickmansworth WD3 1LT. Tel : 01923 711114 Registered no 4305322
Visit our web site www.wrg.org.uk for
Contents In this issue...
Editorial Martin has a rant about BW 4 Chairman if he sends it in in time 5 Whats next? training and Cavalcade 6-7 Whats next? Canal Camps preview 8-9 Cleanup Report from the BCN 10-11 Logistics Whose kit is it anyway? 12-13 WRG South West at two years old 14-15 WRGBC Boat Club news 16 Outdoor Show WRG meets Bill Oddie 17 Diary camp and working party dates 18-20 Letters What do you think of Navvies? 21-23 Progress roundup of the latest news 24-29 BITM at Latton and Wendover 30-32 News and book auction results 33-34 Noticeboard save your stamps for WRG 35 Backfill Whats Bungle up to now? 36
Above: Coming soon: Little Venice (see p6) Left: Book now for the Training Weekend (see ...are always welcome, whether hand-writp6) Below: WRG SW on the Grand Western ten, typed, on CD-ROM, DVD or by email. (report on p28-29) Cover: The BCN Cleanup Photos also welcome: digital, slides, yields another trolley (report on p10-12) 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 CD-ROM or DVD. Contributions by post to the editor Martin Ludgate, 35, Silvester Road, London SE22 9PB, or by email to email@example.com. Press date for issue 223: May 1st.
Subscriptions A year's subscription (6 issues) is available for a minimum of £1.50 to Sue Watts, 15 Eleanor Road, Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Manchester M21 9FZ. Cheques to "Waterway Recovery Group" please. Please note that this is a minimum subscription which doesnt cover costs but is kept low so that everyone can afford to subscribe. Please add a donation if you can.
all the latest news of WRG's activities page 3
Working with BW
Those who have had the dubious pleasure of listening to me sounding-off on various waterways topics may know that Im not a great one for bashing British Waterways. Its not that Im an admirer of everything BW does, or scared to criticise BW when approWelcome to the new-look Navvies priate. Its just that I dont follow the Thou shalt hate the British Waterways Board with As I hope youve already noticed weve all thy heart and with all thy soul and with all given Navvies a bit of a make-over, for the thy mind and with all thy strength mantra first time in several years. There have also that folks from various parts of the waterbeen some changes in the way its produced: ways movement seem to have based their John Hawkins of WRG Print has got a shiny beliefs on at times. Unpopular though such a new printing press, which means that (a) view may be, I do believe that in some ashopefully well be able to do things ourselves pects BW has changed for the better over the like colour covers and full-page front cover years. For example in its attitude to restorapictures which in the past have meant the tion which went from unsympathetic, via a added expense of using professional printers, period of voicing its support in principle but but also (b) its a bit of a learning experience putting all kinds of bureaucratic obstacles in for John right now, so please bear with us if the way in practice, to the genuinely helpful the results arent quite perfect yet. attitude on the Droitwich five years ago Anyway we hope you like it (especially where BW staff provided all sorts of help and the larger print size, as requested) but if you expertise at Hanbury Locks even though the dont, please feel free to give us your construc- canal was as yet not part of the BW network. tive comments on how we can improve it. No, I prefer to target my criticism of
Working on BW canals
Derelict lock on the Grantham Canal: an ideal volunteer project - if only BW would trust us
BW where I think its deserved. over two years and doesnt want to risk A couple of weeks ago I attended a blowing it by letting volunteers loose on her Northern Canals Association meeting, patch. And that IWA has been in dispute hosted by the Grantham Canal. Now the with BW for almost six months on the subGrantham has some serious onbstacles to ject of BW trying to get volunteer groups to complete reopening - in particular a major sign legal indemnities before it will allow road blockage at the Nottingham end which work to go ahead - with no sign of a resoluwill almost certainly mean a lengthy divertion. sion. But it also has many miles of relatively Thats not BW showing a responsible unobstructed waterway, some locks already attitude to H&S. Its arse-covering. And BW restored, several more to restore which knows it. would make excellent volunteer projects, Martin Ludgate and an IWA trailboat festival next month which should give the project a big boost. Clearly its a project with a lot going for it, where volunteers can make a big impact - or it should be. But unfortunately we were told there is little chance of canal society work-parties getting going on restoring the canals locks again, and our chainsaw experts in the WRG Forestry Team have been told they arent welcome on a potential project there. Because BW doesnt trust the volunteers to do the job safely. Of course its right for BW to be concerned for volunteer safety on its sites - especially in the light of a volunteer fatality last year on the Cotswold canals (albeit we will never know whether it was an accident or natural causes). And thats why BW is developing a system of accreditation of volunteer groups which have shown that they have put suitable H&S procedures in place. And a policy of on-site supervision of those groups which havent reached this stage yet. But then I hear that despite their splendid job at Foxton Incline, WRG FT cant be trusted at Grantham because they dont work in forestry full-time, so BW cant be sure theyre up to scratch. (And the BW chainsaw bods who I recently saw clearing a fallen tree from the cut - very competently and safely in the face of a lot of moaning from boaters about how slowly they were taking it - do work with chainsaws every day of their lives, do they?) And that one reason for keeping us off the Grantham is that the local BW manNot to be trusted: WRG Forestry Team at Foxton ager has an accident-free record of
Training and a couple of festivals, thats what! Get trained! By the time you read this issue of Navvies the WRG Training Weekend on May 12-13 will be just a few weeks away. And as we go to press, we still dont know exactly what well be training you to do... because lots of you havent yet told us what you want to learn! However we will definitely be offering:
. Piling: on a real site on the Saltisford Arm of the Grand Union Canal . Vans and trailers . First Aid . Dumpers and small tracklaying excavators
Other than that, its down to you: we hope to provide lots more training including use of digital tachographs (as fitted in all our vans that can tow except RFB), catering, and bricklaying - plus setting up for bricklaying. But unless you tell us what you want, its unfair to ask our instructors to give up their weekend when their services might not be needed. The site will be in the Hatton area again, and overnight accommodation is available on Friday and Saturday nights at (note change from the last few years) Rowington Village Hall. To book yourself in for some training and overnight accommodation, just contact Ali Bottomley on firstname.lastname@example.org, 0191 422 5469 or 07719 643870. But before the Training Weekend happens, its... Little Venice again Just a quick update on where we are with plans for The Little Venice Canalway Cavalcade, which you all know and have marked in your diaries already... but just in case you havent its the 5th, 6th and 7th May 2007. For those who have no any idea what is Cavalcade, heres some info to help you poor people: Little Venice is a place in London close to the Paddington Railway Station. Where the Regents Canal meets the Grand Union Paddington Arm, the water widens out into an open space called Brownings Pool, which has a tiny island in the middle. On the May Day bank holiday weekend every year, IWA holds a rally here: so far this year we have 90-plus boats booked in and these will be moored in the pool. Most of them will have bunting and flags etc flying, so the whole scene will look very colourful. Part of the purpose of the event is to promote the waterways in and around London, and lots of other things based around the capitals canals such as the London Canal Museum. On the towing path we will have stands from lots of canal societies and other groups, and various traders of all kinds... and London WRG. OK hopefully youve got the idea of what the events about - now this is what we need to help to run it. Im after volunteers to help run the Site and Services, so Canalway Cavalcade comes to Little Venice we can put up the Market Stalls, put out
tables and chairs, take traders to their allocated space etc. and generally keep everything running smoothly before, during and after the weekend. Accommodation is slightly different from what you might be used to at, say, the National Festival, in so much as we use boats to sleep on. I will be on site from Tuesday 1 st May and the accommodation will hopefully arrive either the 1st or the 2nd, then from Wednesday onwards suppliers will be bringing in such things as the marquees, tables, chairs - and thats when we get busy. Before people cry out Why no mention of beer?, yes we are having beer, should have between 10 and 20 real ales, cider and other drink. All the beer etc should be coming by boat, but Im sure Site and Services will be involved with the Beer Tent somehow! Anyone interested in helping please call me on 07961 922153 or even better drop me an email on email@example.com Dave Moose Hearnden And when youve recovered from Little Venice its time for... Saul Festival 2007 including Folk on the Water For those who dont know, Saul has become a major event in the folk music calendar but it is not just about good music, there is lots of real beer, boats and stalls. In fact everything you need for a good festival. As a bonus, every penny raised (and there are lots of them) goes to the Cotswold Canals Trust to help restoration. This is like doing the National, but because it is smaller we also get to do some of the more specialist jobs that on bigger events get done by contractors. Everything from building the bar and chiller room to helping with the big barge Sabrina (which becomes a theatre for the event). As many of you will know, supporting the Saul Canal Festival is a WRG South West camp, but you dont have to be a regular wrgSW volunteer to help - the more the merrier! The team is being assembled, Adrian Fry leading, Lauren Spurling ably assisting, Bungle bungling and new for this year, Eli cooking. The only person missing from this team is you! Because the event has grown, so has the camp and so this year it will run from Tuesday 26th June through to Wednesday 4th July and will cost the princely sum of £48. So stop thinking about it, write out a cheque payable to wrgSW, fill in the form and post it with the cheque to: Cath Coolican-Smith, Apsley Mews, Whitchurch, Ross-on-Wye HR9 6DJ Waterway Recovery Group South West
in association with Cotswold Canals Trust
I would like to attend the 2007 Saul Festival Canal Camp on June 26th to July 4th Forename:
Address: e-mail: Phone: I will be joining the camp on I enclose payment of £
Any special dietary requirements? and leaving on (pay 'WRG SW') for food (£48 for whole week; £6.00 per day)
Do you suffer from any allergy or illness, such as epilepsy or diabetes, about which we should know, or are you receiving treatment or under medical supervision for any condition? YES / NO (If yes, please attach details) In the unlikely event that you should be injured, who should we contact? Name:
Signed: Please send this form to Cath Coolican-Smith, Apsney Mews, Whitchurch, Ross-on-Wye, HR9 6DJ
Camps 2007: Way out West!
In the first part of our preview of the 2007 Canal Camps programme, Adrian Fry gives us the lowdown on whats happening this Summer...
The first part of this summers activities will see our volunteers heading westwards to Devon, Wiltshire, South Wales and Mid Wales for some interesting work in some attractive rural locations. The canal camps programme kicks off in the south west corner of the UK with two camps on Lord Rolles Canal. (23rd-30th June, 30th June-7th July) This is a followup to last year when we ran two camps here, restoring the offside wall of the Sea Lock where the canal leaves the tidal River Torridge. Therefore, not surprisingly, this year we will be restoring the nearside wall of the lock. As per last year the locals will have installed the scaffolding prior to the WRG camps so we will be able to get to work on the lock wall straight away. Theres also a wharf wall above the lock which is in need of repair. While weve been away this winter the locals have been experimenting with casting coping stones and there will be a few more of these to make and a number to install. Lord Rolles canal is located in a stunning location near the small village of Weare Giffard and within walking distance (along the Tarka Trail, a disused railway line) from Bideford. The accommodation is on-site in a converted barn and has power showers, an undercover BBQ - and even beds! And just like last year, Spencer Collins will be running the second week of this project. Meanwhile the second canal camp circuit will be getting started a long way further north, as WRG returns to the Montgomery Canal for two canal camps (23rd-30th June, 30th June-7th July). Despite something of a tradition of camps on the Mont being billed as The Last Ever Mont Camp, Mike Palmer has so far not said these camps will be the last ever Mont camps, possibly because there is the potential for a big project on the Mont in 2008. (watch this space!) The first camp will be run by Mike Palmer and Bex Parr, then Harry Watts and Helen Temple will take over for the second week. They may be experimenting with techniques involving excavators in preparation for next years potential project. However the main job for this year will to rebuild a wharf wall in stone near Redwith Bridge. This is a waterway with a lot of heritage interest, and so the work will all be done using traditional techniques and lime mortar, and the stone will be sourced locally from a disused wall further along the canal. We will be staying at Llanymanech Village Hall which comes with good recommendations from WRG NorthWest. Following its exploits on Lord Rolles Canal, the southern camp circuit will head a short distance back up the M5, but stop before it leaves Devon for a week on the Grand Western Canal. (7th 14th July). Accommodation as usual for the Grand Western will be the excellent Burlescombe Village Hall which is very conveniently sited a short walk from the Ayshford Arms. This camp will be run by Phil Rodwell and Alice Bayston and we have a fantastic level of back up from the local canal trust and the Devon County Rangers. The work for the week will be to continue the restoration of Lowdwells Lock which was started last year. One of the main tasks will be to install a dam (piling, with an enormous amount of clay behind it to add support) above the head of the lock so that the chamber can be drained and inspected. Other work for the week will include taking down one wing wall ready for reconstruction and possibly starting to rebuild the other. In addition to this the rangers will undoubtedly have many other little jobs that need doing. Back in Wales, the Mont camps will be finishing and the kit will travel south to the Mon and Brec for a three week project (7th 14th July, 14th 21st July, 21st 28th July) Rob Daffern and James Butler will be running the first week and NWPG the second. We will be working on the section of the canals Crumlin Arm between the bottom of the Fourteen Locks flight and the junction with the main line at Malpas, and the majority of the work will
be focussing on construction at Lock 3. Tasks will be varied and there is the possibility of formal training in heritage and environmental restoration techniques. .James and Rob say they will be doing the usual extensive range of social activities including a visit to the Newport Transporter Bridge. Continuing its gradual retreat from the West Country, the other camps circuit will transfer from the Grand Western to Seven Locks near Lyneham on the Wilts and Berks for two weeks. (14th 21st July and 21st 28th July). The first week will be the KESCRG Camp run by Mark Richardson and Kate Penn, the 2nd week will be run by Rachel Banyard and Luke Walker. Work will be continuing on Lock 4 rebuilding the whole of the offside wall using a brickwork front, blockwork rear and concrete fill in between, helping to maintain the rapid rate of restoration on this flight of locks. Accommodation will be at Foxham Reading Rooms. That takes us up to the end of July. The second half of the Canal Camp season will see us returning to the Cotswold Canals for the first time in a number of years, to work on Rucks Bridge, which needs its parapet walls rebuilding. Its also likely that this camp will make a start on the restoration of Eisey Lock, both these sites are at the Latton end of the canal (away from the pressures of the BW-led Phase 1a restoration). But in case you thought the eastern half of the country was missing out this year, we will also be running camps on the Grantham and Chesterfield canals and the Ipswich & Stowmarket Navigation - plus an interesting and very high-profile project to build a winding hole and slipway on the Sleaford Navigation. And as always the summer camp season will culminate in the IWA National Festival, which this year is at St. Ives in Cambridgeshire, where Moose (Dave Hearnden) and Paul Shaw will be running the show. For full details of the rest of the summers camps, see part two of this preview in the next issue of Navvies. Adrian Fry
Summer Camps - part one
Cotswold project: Rucks Bridge on the Thames & Severn needs new parapets
Reporting from the darkest Walsall Canal Every year, volunteers descend on the Black Country canals armed with grappling hooks, intent on dragging out everything that the locals are equally intent on throwing in... It was the year of the leg. It started with Dippy Claires: the knee gave out just as it was meant to carry her into the van going to site from the signing-in point at Ocker Hill Yard, so she spent a restful weekend in the accommodation via a checkup at the local A&E. The next leg belonged to a passing cyclist on the first day of a fitness regime who came off her bike after viewing the work of Mooses team. Luckily Moose was there to organise the emergency services. Unluckily the leg was at right-angles to itself and obviously broken. We later heard that shed been operated on the next morning and was grateful to those around for their help. Even so, Moose and Joyce (local but staying with us) had to write and sign statements for British Waterways in case an insurance shark gets to her later. The third leg was Flash Gordons, causing his disappearance between tables when it tangled with a chair leg (the fourth leg?) in the rush for dinner. And of course various were somewhat legless on Saturday night. On the other hand many arms were needed to pull out of the canal tractor tyres full of mud as well as the whole gamut of every other sort of tyre. Tims team cleared a lock of fifteen supermarket trolleys - and found another 28 in the surrounding lengths of canal. And of course the usual selection of ironmongery was found - bicycles, pushchairs, bits of car, a window frame (large), goal posts (larger), a cash register and a safe. It was obvious that since we had last been there two years earlier the good burgh-
Another Good Year for the cleanup ers of the area had thrown the chore of ironing to the winds, and the ironing boards into the cut. Three were found that I heard of! The total scrap heap this year came to about 70 tons. Softer finds were clothing including almost an entire mans outfit (but luckily no man) fished out by the BW boss, a drowned falcon (tagged and obviously owned by somebody), and a live crayfish. The latter was not quite so soft and blackly slimed in the characteristic BCN way, but still took several washes to determine that it was an American one and therefore to be discouraged. But no-one had the heart to kill it or eat it, so back in the canal it went! Oh dear... This years local publicity for the event must have been good because Ive never had so many local people ringing me beforehand for details, staying with us in the accommodation or turning up on the day. More than 30 of them on Saturday, and one family found it so much fun that they came back for more on the Sunday. The accommodation was the now usual cosy youth centre at Willingsworth School. But ten fewer sleepers, and one snooker
table folded away, meant no-one had to sleep on or under the table this year. A few enthusiastic locals chose to join in everything including meal, quiz, and sleep-over. They said theyd do it again - but with ear-plugs. Eli and Maria, i/c catering, found a surfeit of lasagne and sultanas in the kit. On a waste-not-want-not-everything-must-go basis the scrumptious evening repast was (guessed it?) lasagne followed by apple and sultana crumble and treacle sponge. Accommodation-baked cakes the next day must have finally finished off the sultanas. Beer was on tap, courtesy of Nic, and the pub quiz courtesy of Martin mixed the various folk from all over England into a jolly and competitive whole. (not to mention a bunch from Wales who were even more jolly than the English, thanks to something involving 30 men in a field with odd-shaped balls) Many thanks to all the above, plus the drivers and other helpers out - and to KESCRG for kindly loaning their cooker for the weekend and letting us play with their super new trailer. The slime will still be black next year but nobody seems to mind - thank you all for all the work you did both on site and back at base and being so smiley about it all weekend.
Top: Its mine! No it isnt, I got it first! Above: another heap of scrap heads for the Aileen Butler skips. Below: Any any any old iron?
What is logistics? Have you missed having a logistics article in the last few issues of Navvies? If the answer is yes, just read on and see whether you really did
please note that it is I who sorts out what kit and vans go where (although admittedly at the moment it is going to be a little more challenging as we currently only have two vans and two trailers oh, and a number plate!) and the list does not materialise by itself! Plus I feel I need to stress there are reasons why I plan it like I do so dont go changing it at any whims you may have please! The Definition of Logistics - I think you will find it is the art of moving and supplying troops and equipment. Admittedly I would never attempt moving our troops although sometimes the van movements may assist with this by default. In fact the definition in the Oxford English Dictionary is very similarly The activity of organising the movement, equipment, and accommodation of troops. So when you find yourself short
It has come to my attention recently that it seems I need to remind all you camp leaders (new and old all of you!) out there about the fact that Logistics is (and always has been I think you will find) in charge of the kits and trailers, and contrary to seemingly recent popular belief I do actually need to know when you are planning on picking up kit. My reason for needing to know (and it is on a need-toknow basis) is partly due to the fact that I dont need my time wasting by anyone else and it would be very dull if Id driven down to the containers to sort out kit only to find it had already disappeared! You may need to pick up the other trailer to the one you thought you were going to have and you will need to know where to pick said trailer up from, as assuming itll be parked up at the containers is just a f*# -up waiting to happen. Im not so worried about this during the main camp season between camps because at the end of the day it is up to you to sort out between yourselves once you know what circuit your kit and vehicles Im enjoing this! - Alice cleans the griddle are on. With this in mind,
of a particular piece of kit or something is broken, please let me (not anyone else) know. There is no North/South divide when it comes to Logistics, contrary to the rumour mill, other than the main one of Im up here and camps are predominantly down there! Itll make no difference to my phone where you are and you will find my number in the camps phones under Logistics (strange that!!). For camps outside the main season or at the start or tail end of it, please could you contact me in plenty of time beforehand to go through the finer details of your camps logistical stuff? If you dont manage to get through and speak to me please text your comment/query and Ill get back to you as soon as I can. Please remember that if you need assistance in finding someone to move vans and trailers around for your camp, or you are one of those people who can assist (unless Mr Butler can work out how to do the lot!) you only have to call Logistics and well see what we can do. Please note that things do change and although the likelihood is that things will stay as they are on the grand van plan there are moments when changes are necessitated (like vans being taken out of service for more attention than just a service, or sold, or there are great floods in the South or the list could be endless!). That is why its important that everybody who has a camp to run gets in touch with me. And it really doesnt add much to your planning if youre thinking Im trying to make work for you you never know, it may even make your life easier! Somewhere along the way memories seem to have been wiped and this information has not been retained the above is not new information, I am merely re-iterating so we dont have a repeat of a few former inconveniences: the trailers are and always have been Logistics domain, and when its to do with movement all vehicles come under my remit lets face it, the trailers arent going anywhere far by themselves (unless we take them back to Droitwich!!!). Talking of trailers, I have to thank Alice for coming over and helping me with mundane jobs at the containers like packing and packing and packing (is there an echo in here?!!!) of the kit trailers, and cleaning the griddle (which she appears to love!). The improvised apron caused huge (and muchneeded) amusement, particularly the cross-
Have you missed it? your-back gaffer tape, and actually worked rather well see photo. And lots of thanks to Tom & Rachel (as ever) and The Baystons for impromptu and very warm hospitality much appreciated! Thanks also to Mr Lines and Smudge & Taz for being the only ones who still send me cds of photos - but then seeing as my design services seem to be no longer required I guess I dont need any but thanks anyway! I tell you, it really does make me wonder in this age of communication that we live in our communication skills are worse than ever! People assume more and more they think that so-and-so has received/read their emails never assume that emails are that efficient! There are so many glitches in the whole system - so dont bank on it! And not all of us sit at a desk all day. Just remember those points when you feel the need to get irate with someone for not returning their email dated the whatever of the other month. There is every chance they may not have even seen it! As Ive said before, computers are the work of the devil and they have done little to disprove it! And finally to those who write sarky comments back at me on the paperwork (kit lists) - dont! I can laugh as well as the next person at something amusing but when you receive thirty-odd copies of the same dubious comment it gets really quite tiresome and the reason why there is such a comment on each and every kit list is because there are too many people out there who cant seem to use the eyes God gave them a cross is all Im asking for, not a tick or a dash or whatever the hell some of those symbols are Jesus wouldve known the difference!!!!!! You see, youve missed my articles havent you?! Well, I know it will have made a couple of you smile anyway. An Anonymous Logistician Who can be reached (if its working!) on firstname.lastname@example.org Or by the generally more efficient snail mail way: 45, Glebe Road, Sheffield. S10 1FB
Our newest regional group is two years old! South West News wrgSW is now over two years old in its current formation at least, though thanks to the Navvies archive, Ive learnt that there was an an attempt to set up a south west group in the early 1990s did that ever to come to anything? Since the last update in Navvies 213, weve been working our way around the restoration projects in the region. Now I come to look back, we do seem to have attracted quite a range of varieties of inclement weather Weve been to the Hereford end of the H&G several times, including an October weekend when we had to scrape a layer of ice off the dumper seats in the morning before we could get on with finishing the cycle path at Aylestone Park. Weve also done some scrub clearance on the Yarkhill section and solved the problem of the smoking stove at the village hall, with a bit of prodding and poking. We spent a frosty Saturday on the Wilts and Berks, continuing with putting up the compund fence at
Shrivenham. Our May Bank Holiday long weekend on the Grand Western was wet, but we succeeded in exposing the offside wing wall of Loudwells Lock ready for rebuilding and clearing a load of vegetation down at the wharf. However, the weather was only partly to blame for the final scoreline:shrub one, Land Rover winch nil In complete contrast, we spent one of the hottest weeks of the year providing a site and services team alongside wrgNW for the Saul festival, where we also had a plant stall, which may become a regular fundraising venture for the group. More recently, we have been involved in the first work in Phase 1A of the restoration of the Cotswold Canals. Goughs Orchard Lock is the first lock down from (or last one up to, depending on which way you look at it!) Brimscombe Port, which will be the terminus of this section of the project. We supported WRG Forestry Team while they removed large willows which were growing in the line of the canal and the following weekend did some smaller scale scrub bash-
WRGSW attacking the lower wing wall at Lowdwells Lock on the Grand Western
ing of our own. The next stage will be to excavate a large quantity of spoil from the cut and the chamber, and then move on to repairing the brickwork of the lock itself. Weve been gradually accumulating tools and catering kit, and by the time you read this, should be in the process of fitting out a trailer to put it all in. Many thanks to all of you who bought raffle tickets and to Barrus for providing the prize. Thank you also to wrgNW for their donation. Anyone is more than welcome to come and dig with us we define the south west in very broad terms, as volunteers over the last year have come from an area stretching from Plymouth to Cleethorpes. In the next year, we hope to hold joint digs with LWRG and KESCRG, and will again be supporting the Saul festival in June. Our dig dates are listed in the Diary, with contact details for the weekend organiser. It may be possible to arrange lift shares if necessary. We should have a web site before too long, and already have a mailing list: contact Jenny at Head Office (email@example.com) to be added to the electronic version, or give me a ring on 07745 752045 if youd prefer to receive information in a more old fashioned
way! Also, as Gav is going to be otherwise occupied for a while (many congrats to him and Alison and baby Jennifer!), please direct any queries regarding wrgSW to me on that number or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Harri Thomsett
Goughs Orchard Lock emerges from the scrub
The WRG South West Raffle raised over £1200 towards our new trailer. The trailer is an Ifor Williams BV85 and by the time Navvies is posted we will be busy fitting it out to carry all our kit to digs.The winning tickets were drawn by Chris Coburn (second from right in the photo). The winners were: 1st prize: P Dutson (wins Airdeck 270 inflatble donated by BARRUS) 2nd J Topley (wins 1 case of wine) 3rd J Arnold (wins £30, donated by WRGNW) WRGSW are grateful to everyone who entered, to Barrus for donating the top prize and to WRG NW for the third prize.
what is ahead. However on some occasions the notice gets left there after the river is reopened. This can be most frustrating and being able to make a simple phone call to clarify things would be a great help. When the seasonal inspectors are working again I will find out the phone numbers of those covering each section of the Nene, so should you need to get information WRG Boat Club News March 2007 from them when you are journeying this way, you will be able to phone me for the numbers. I hope you have all managed some I have been asked about mooring places interesting wrging and boating this winter. for leaving boats before or after the event. We have been boating around the Middle Most boat clubs on the Nene are AWCC memLevel. The highlights being the raising of the bers, none of those on the Great Ouse are. formerly notoriously low Ramsey Hollow [...although you can take out a membership of bridge, and a gathering of boats and boaters the useful Great Ouse Boating Association on March 3rd in support of SOW (Thats Save which provides members moorings on the Our Waterways - nothing to do with Pig river and its tributaries ...Ed] Dyke). Moorings are being provided near Ely, Well is seems that spring is nearly here, you will receive more information about these. but as I write we are unable to set off on Straw If you need to leave your boat for any Bear to go up the Nene because it is in flood.* length of time I advise the Middle Level as a safer Aha I thought, lots of people will be haven that the Nene- see above re flooding! coming in this direction for The National, To other club business: Lynne has perhaps I can be of help if I tell them what attended a meeting for us and will probably to do should the situation arise when they have attended another by the time you get to are travelling this way. read this. I plan to attend the AWCC AGM I have today spent a jolly time trying where I hope to be able to collect AWCC bookto get information about the state of the river lets for distribution to members. It is looking by phoning the Environment Agency. This can doubtful that I will get there by boat*. Reports take some time and infinite patience, but I will on these meetings will be circulated. stick with it until, if possible, I find a number Lynne did tell me of some scary reports for you that will give direct access to a person from the Fire Service about incidents on who can impart the information needed. boats. Please check you boat for safety and [several hours pass] your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. Well I have now spent much time on Just to clarify a popular misconception this project with no success. There are no I will not be just popping over to the Great local office numbers available so all calls are Ouse from my home moorings to get to St diverted to 08708 506506, an office in Shef- Ives, as you can gather from the above I am field where, after the usual lottery of numheading for the canals first. bers, you may get to talk to someone who We plan to take Lynx to Saul and look will either connect you to a river inspector or forward to meeting other members there and give you a name and number to ring. One I elsewhere as we travel about. was given was for an inspector on The Great We have a lot of boat work to do this Ouse, but as he didnt answer the phone, I year so our travels will be a bit curtailed!* dont know if he would have information on Hope you have all made a good start to conditions on the Nene or not. the year and are flying the boat club flag! (New The Nene does go into flood after periods ones available from Lynne at only £10 each) of heavy rain, and on these occasions the river XXX Sadie Dean is closed to navigation as some locks are re* I eventually spoke to a man, at present the versed (the top mitre gates are chained back Nene is the highest it has been for seven years. and then the guillotine tail gate is opened so I remember the awful floods then. It will take that the lock acts as a weir) to enable the extra eight to ten days for the water to clear and that water to discharge downstream. When this is if it doesnt rain again. Heavy rain is forecast happens a notice is usually attached to the top tomorrow and will last at least two days. Oh lock of the Gayton flight, warning boaters of yippee, should I build an ark?
Our very own boat club
In a new venture for the WRG publicity team, we took our display to the national Outdoor Show at Birminghams NEC. Jenny Black reports... WRG gets outdoors and dirty at the Outdoor Show! Over the weekend of March 17-18 when lots of you were braving the bikes and prams of the BCN, a bunch of WRGies braved bikes, ramblers, Bill Oddie, and Shewee sales representatives to promote the Waterway Recovery Group at the Outdoor Show at the NEC. The event was a great success and through our win a canal camp competition we gained over 250 new contacts we have even seen a few canal camp bookings from the show already! Hopefully Alices personal quality selection programme will also bring in some new faces to WRG over the summer months! Thanks to some begging by Viv we even got Bill Oddie to draw the winner of our canal camp competition (although he does look slightly bemused by the whole affair!). The stand looked amazing thanks to MKPs new found artistic talents and to Paul (IWAs Finance Managers husband) who printed up the panels free of charge! With a touchscreen, the internet, plasma screen and slide show our stand competed well with others around us and we did a brilliant job in promoting WRG and all its great work!
...at the Outdoor Show
Everyone played a vital visual role in promoting WRG throughout the show (and in the bar helped by the great positioning of the stand) and hopefully contacts with other organisations such as the Guides and Outward Bound / Environmental Unis will strengthen camp bookings and encourage people to get outdoors and dirty in 2007! A big thank you to Jude, James B, Alice, Kate, the Tweedles, John Hawkins, Dave Moore, Viv, MKP, Harry and Paul for all their help! Jenny Black
Above: Bill Oddie draws the winning ticket Below: part of the WRG display
Your guide to all the forthcoming work parties Apr 21/22
Wilts & Berks Canal: Dig Deep project
Wey & Arun Canal
Apr 28 Sat
Paper Chase waste paper collection
May 1 Tue
Press date for issue 223
May 4/5/6/7 WAT
Wendover Arm Canal: Local work party, capping the pipeline and lining th
Canalway Cavalcade at Little Venice: BITM Sales Stand only
Wendover Arm Canal: NOTE Sat/Sun only, Monday off.
Wilts & Berks Canal: Joint dig with wrgNW. Seven Locks flight.
Wilts & Berks Canal: Dauntsey. Joint dig with Essex WRG
WRG Training Weekend
London WRG Wilts & Berks Canal: Dig Deep project
Rickmansworth Waterways Festival: Site Services, plus BITM Sales Stand
Mon & Brec Canal: Dig Deep project
Hollinwood Canal: (provisional)
May 20 Sun WRG
Committee & Board Meetings
Wendover Arm Festival: Site Services, plus BITM Sales Stand
Wendover Arm Festival Bhaji stall
Mon & Brec Canal
To be arranged
London WRG Mon & Brec Canal: Dig Deep project
Jun 9 Sat
Paper Chase waste paper collection
Jun 14 Thu wrgNW
Catering for World Canals Conference
Middlewich Folk & Boat Festival: Sales Stall
Mon & Brec Canal: (provisional) Dig Deep project
Wilts & Berks Canal: Dig Deep project
Lord Rolles Canal Camp: Stonework on the Sea Lock at Weare Gifford
Montgomery Canal Camp: Stonework, rebuilding wharf at Redwith bridge
Jun 26/Jul 4 wrgSW
Saul Junction Festival: Site services
Jun 30-Jul 7 Camp 0704
Lord Rolles Canal Camp: Stonework on the Sea Lock at Weare Gifford
Jun 30-Jul 7 Camp 0705
Montgomery Canal Camp: Stonework, rebuilding wharf at Redwith bridge
Jul 1 Sun
Press date for issue 224: including Canal Societies directory
Please send updates to Diary compiler: Dave Wedd, 7 Ringwood Rd, Blackwater,
Canal Camps cost ÂŁ42 per week unless otherwise stated. Bookings for WRG Canal Camps (those identified by a camp number e.g. 'Camp 0701') should go to WRG Canal Camps, PO Box 114, Rickmansworth WD3 1ZY. Tel: 01923 711114. Email: email@example.com
firstname.lastname@example.org Cath Coolican-Smith email@example.com
firstname.lastname@example.org Martin Ludgate
Camberley, Surrey GU17 0EY. Tel 01252 874437. email: email@example.com.
Navvies diary Canal SocietiesÂ’ regular monthly or weekly working parties Please send amendments to Dave Wedd (address on previous page)
3rd Sunday of month 2nd Sunday & following Thurs Anytime inc. weekdays Every Sunday Every Saturday Last Sunday of month 4th Sunday of month Second Sun of month 2nd weekend of month 2nd Sat of month Tuesdays Weekends Wednesdays Weekends Every Sunday if required 1st Saturday & 3rd Wed. 2nd weekend of month 2nd Sunday of month 1st, 2nd, 4th Sun + 3rd Sat 3rd Sunday of month 2nd & last Sundays 2nd Sunday of month 1st Sunday of month Most weekends 1st Sunday of month 1st weekend of month Every Tuesday morning Every Sunday & Thurs Mondays (2 per month) Tuesdays Wednesdays Wednesdays Tues, Thurs & Sats Various dates 1st w/e of month (Fri-Mon) Every weekend
BCNS BCS BCT ChCT DCT EAWA ECPDA FIPT GCRS GWCT H&GCT H&GCT H&GCT H&GCT IWPS IWA Ipswich K&ACT LCT LHCRT LHCRT PCAS SCARS SCCS SHCS SNT SUCS TMCA WACT WACT WACT WACT WACT WACT WACT WAT WBCT
Abbreviations used in Diary BCNS BCS BCT ChCT CCT DCT EAWA ECPDA FIPT GCRS GWCT H&GCT IWPS K&ACT
Mobile groups' socials (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 NWPG: 9:00pm on 3rd Tue of month at the 'Hope Tap', West end of Friar St. Reading. Graham Hawkes 0118 941 0586
Jeff Barley Athina Beckett Gerald Fry Mick Hodgetts Jon Axe David Revill Michael Golds Mike Beech Colin Bryan Denis Dodd Brian Fox Maggie Jones Wilf Jones Martin Danks Ian Edgar Colin Turner John Rolls Lancaster N. Reaches Will Warburg Lichfield Sue Williams Hatherton Denis Cooper Paul Waddington Sankey Canal Colin Greenall Combe Hay Locks Bob Parnell Basingstoke Peter Redway Haverholme Lock Dave Pullen Newhouse Lock Mike Friend Brian Macnish varied construction Eric Walker tidying road crossings John Empringham Tickner's Heath Depot Colin Gibbs maintenance work Peter Jackman Loxwood Link Peter Wilding Winston Harwood Grp Laurie Wraight Hedgelaying (Oct-Mar) Keith Nichols Drayton Beauchamp Roger Leishman Wilts & Berks Canal Rachael Banyard
Buckingham area Aqueduct section Various sites Droitwich Canal N Walsham & Dilham Langley Mill Foxton Inclined Plane Grantham Canal Nynehead Lift Oxenhall Over Wharf House Over Wharf House Hereford Aylestone Bugsworth Basin Stowmarket Navigtn.
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 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 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
A full letters section this time, thanks perhaps to last times stir them up editorial? And is there any consensus on what Camp Reports should be like?
to the editor
Dear Martin I am one of WRGs armchair supporters. I am also an armchair supporter of a dozen or more similar organisations - not all of them canal-oriented. All produce newsletters of various sorts. All have strengths and weaknesses. I read them all from cover to cover. But Id just like to say that Navvies stands out from the pack. It has it all. The incredible range of material, the different styles, the serious and the lighthearted, the stuffy and the vulgar, the ponderous and the incomprehensible... no other newsletter from any one else remotely approaches the sheer energy and verve of Navvies. And on every page there is the burning commitment to the cause of waterway restoration however it is expressed. Please dont try and change any of it. Navvies is just wonderful just as it is. Yours sincerely David Smith Dear Martin I dont, for the most part, have a problem with the Camp Reports nor with the general tone and content of Navvies but I do think that Nick Bailey has a point that you would be unwise to not take on board. I disagree with you that Navvies should be primarily for those actively involved in restoration, I dont think it should favour any one group but should appeal to all. It is very important to realise that todays armchair supporter could be tomorrows active volunteer but only if they are enthused by Navvies rather than put off. By and large I find that the Camp Reports describe an environment where a great deal of hard work is done by day in a friendly and inclusive atmosphere, with a great deal of fun had by all after hours. New people seem to be welcomed. This is surely just the sort of message to get across to encourage new volunteers. Where things go wrong, and it is just one such example that seems to have irritated Nick Bailey, is when the report gives the impression that it was all play and no work amongst a cliquey group of private pals. Im not saying that this is a true picture of the real camp - that isnt important - what matters is the impression received by a potential volunteer. I dont think you should be censoring reports but I do think that report writers need to bear in mind who will be reading them and for what purpose. It is important that they constitute a record of WRGs activities for the future (and that includes the fun side) and appeal to those who are thinking of getting involved. They should be entertaining and should not get too mired in blow by blow accounts of every brick cleaned but, as with most things in life, there is a balance to be found. Most writers get it right but I do think that Nick is right to point out that, occasionally, some people seem to be losing sight of the point of writing the report at all. If my impression of a particular leader from their previous Camp Reports was that, as a newcomer, I was likely to find myself gatecrashing someone elses private playground I would probably steer clear of their future camps. Surely that can do no-one any favours? Regards Andy Overton Dear Martin Well I fell for it - the old write something provocative in the editorial so I get lots of letters to fill the magazine Editors trick. I seem to recall that back in my youth I wrote to you in a similar vein to Nick Bailey. I cant remember the responses I got but it doesnt really matter anyway because the subject of censorship is far more important than the opinions of a few readers. About the only reason I can think of that MIGHT warrant your blue pencil is if the
report contains something that might be construed as offensive to an individual or group of individuals. The fact that I might not like the style of a report, or that it contains too many in jokes for my taste is certainly not grounds for censorship or even editorial adjustments. As we all know, actually getting people to write anything for publication in a magazine like ours is hard enough and if we are going to start telling people how to write their articles we will soon end up with either no magazine at all or one that is filled with stuff that nobody wants to read. I think your feelings are just about right. If there is any censorship then it should be self imposed. Make your contributions interesting for everyone, not just the 30 odd people who came to your camp. (Did I mean 30 odd people?? As most of them are very odd, I probably did.) Perhaps we should also remember that receiving your copy of Navvies every couple of months isnt compulsory. If you dont like reading it then you can keep your £1.50 per annum and invest it in something more meaningful like half a pint of best bitter. Spencer Greystrong p.s. I still think youre the best editor of Navvies weve had for the last 81 issues (at least until we can find some other mug.) Dear Martin After reading Nick Baileys letter (Navvies, issue 221) I was left wondering how your correspondent would define constructive criticism and whether we were, in fact, playing for the same team. I, too, pay well in excess of the £1.50 asked for a Navvies subscription, but not in the belief that my subscription goes straight into funding waterway restoration. Nor do I have any concept of it being a membership fee. I remember being set straight on this latter point on my first canal camp: WRG has no membership as such - it is a co-ordinating body of willing volunteers with a group of subscribers to its magazine, I was told by a seasoned regular. That was in 2001. Now Im a regular with quite a few Canal Camps, an awful lot of digs, a committee position with KESCRG, editorship of KESCRGs email newsletter and a motley selection of dig and Camp reports published in London WRG News and Navvies under my belt. So thats whoever Mark Mk2 Richardson is. Those who get out there regularly know exactly who I am, and all about my slightly leftfield (but certainly not clever) take on life. Readers of two specialist car magazines may also have heard of me, as Ive been a published freelancer (as in: paid) in the past, too. I have never, ever, been accused (let alone publicly) of writing drivel and I bitterly resent it. With regard to the Camp reports content, read the text. The first half informs the wider readership of what we had to do last October and how we did it. Everything that needed to be said was said; it was a comparitively simple Camp, with the only complication being sourcing appropriate bricks and how this was eventually done is covered in the report. No one who was not on the Camp, or had never been on a Smudge Camp, would have bothered reading the second half. Would they? Yours sincerely Mk2 PS After this little episode, I will think twice before volunteering to write for Navvies in the future. Sir
On behalf of the KESCRG committee, I hearby nominate a Special Service Award for the maximum amount of personal publicity for the KESCRG 30th anniversary year to our group secretary of the past 2 years - Mark Mk2 Richardson. Viv Watson Vice-chairman KESCRG also WRG cook, WRGNW youth division and general volunteer in the restoration movement since 1991
This is a situation where British Waterways has lost out and the restoration movement has gained
to the editor
Dear Martin In the last edition of navvies you talk about Derek Cochrane being a lone voice in the wilderness. He was one of a few! Derek is of the old school and BW will be much worse off for his leaving: the experience that BW have lost over the past couple of years must add up to many hundreds of years. Derek was / is a great supporter of the Mon & Brec Restoration and gave us a lot of help and leadership during his time in the job. I think he will go on assisting various restoration schemes in his retirement. Another character that BW have lost - but the wider restoration movement have gained - is Richard Dommett MBE. Richard retired in 2004 and is now a tireless worker for the Mon & Brec Canals Trust and the Somerset Waterways. WRGies visiting the Fourteen Locks site will already have met Richard. This is a situation where BW have lost out and the restoration movement have gained. Thank you to Richard and Derek, oh and to you BW for your short-sightedness! Chris Morgan Dear Martin I hope that you can find room for this letter as it is not about a WRG camp or even a WRG dig, but it is about what was very much a WRG occasion. Mavis and I, through Navvies, would like to say a big thank you to all the members of WRG who worked so hard to make the wedding of Judith and Mike such an enjoyable and memorable day. We would like also like to say a big thank you to everyone who turned out to celebrate the event with us. It was great to meet so many of the friends we have made over the years. We have never seen so many wrgies so well turned out - you all scrubbed up really well. Judes Mum and Dad (a.k.a. Mavis & David Moore) Mr & Mrs Palmer
on the Lichfield Canal Our regular round-up of the latest progress from around the system kicks off with a report from the Lichfield Canal
With gates (albeit temporary ones) in Lock 24, it starts to look like a real canal
Work has continued at the Tamworth Road Locks site in Lichfield using both the TrustÂ’s own volunteers and visiting Groups. Most recently we have welcomed London WRG, WRG NW and Newbury Working Party Group, all of which put in excellent work. Lock 24 has now been infilled and prepared for landscaping. A pair of BW donated lock gates have been installed at the tail to give a cosmetically good impression from the road - until such time as a decision can be made on whether and how to restore this lock. Much bricklaying has taken place in Pound 25 and below Lock 25 in Mrs AttwoodÂ’s garden. The Canal Walk on Sunday 22nd April has focussed attention on making all work sites as attractive as possible. Bricks and recovered stone have been moved to storage. There has also been work on the trees with removal of old ones and preparation for replanting. The garage which stood above the bywash on Lock 26 has been removed ready for work on the channel once designwork has been completed. All this is dependent on
agreement with Severn Trent Water for the removal of the land drainage pipe which currently runs along the canal bed, and a scheme for temporary rerouting down Pound 27. The Trust is now consulting its engineering advisors on the best method of rebuilding the long wall down to the A38 crossing below Lock 26. This will be the next major project for visiting groups and the local volunteers. This will form a mooring place for visiting boaters wanting to walk into Lichfield, and so design is more critical than usual. The whole area from the head of Lock 24 now presents a pleasing appearance with clear evidence that the canal is heading for full restoration with the possibility of a limited rewatering in the not too distant future. Although the Trust has a heavy financial commitment to the culverting work which will take the diverted canal under Birmingham Road (and which is being carried out as part of the construction of the new Lichfield Southern Bypass), it is confident that it can continue funding active restoration on the present scale. Brian Kingshott
The garage built over the Lock 26 bywash: now you see it... and now you donÂ’t!
Grantham Canal update: Bridge 19 Cropwell Bishop Following on from the possibly confusing reports [See letters pages ...Ed] from the Bridge 19 camp last October on the Grantham Canal at Cropwell Bishop, Nottingham in the previous Navvies I will attempt to write a very small update from the Canal Society perspective so you can see how nice the site looks and what a good job we managed to achieve. This old swing bridge site is situated in
...and the Grantham...
Bridge 19 with work in progress...
what is normally the dry section of the canal. But since Thames Water had all their drought notices printed in water soluble ink the bed of the canal has changed - along with the fact that Colin and I inserted a board into the paddle fitted to the dam at the top of lock 11 to retain any water that might collect. Just after the camp finished and the rains came, the section collected a good depth of water. As you will see from the pictures that is not a narrowboat travelling through with a full load of bricks on board it is the stock of bricks that BW gave us to use for repairs, only for us to find that they were huge Imperial size ones that were far too big compared to the GranthamÂ’s original old English size. So yes youÂ’ve guessed it they are a complete waste of time - but look very impressive sitting in the middle. The pictures show what a good job was made of a very difficult site in so far that there were five different sizes and types of bricks in situ. I have tried to show before and after shots for comparison. Martin Day
...and after the end of the camp, with water in the canal... and bricks!
carried on with much valued visits by various groups attending to bywashes and culverts, and also helping with site fencing and the creation of safe walkways around the site. This won much praise from locals and the Newport City Council because of the extra access for all it gained. On the lower Crumlin Arm the Trust has been able to continue the work on locks Monmouthshire & Brecon Canals 3 and 4 with regular one a week working parties by our very own Ant Hill Mob: this Its now over four and a half years since group of retired citizens are really getting the intrepid wrgies first got involved with us stuck in on Tuesdays come rain or shine, led in South Wales. by our very own Richard Dommett. Lock 21 at the top of the Fourteen Lock Recently the Trust was able to take part Flight stands testament to the skill and com- in the opening of another obstruction at mitment of the WRG organisation and its Bettws Lane. This will eventually allow boats volunteers. Since completion of the lock the to travel to Tamplin Lock by Ash Tree Bridge. top pound to Ruskin Avenue has been We have everything crossed now for Septemdredged and made navigable. The section ber and the results of our Big Lottery Living has been invaded by Canadian pondweed, Links bid, which could see the tricky and which inhibits the propeller of the trip boat, expensive section restored from there and so induces many pleasurable hours of through Cwmbran to the start of the navigabow hauling! ble length at Five Locks. On the main line in the Torfaen BorThanks to all volunteers who have ough, Ash Tree Bridge and the area around it come to Wales (rain or shine!) to make our was brought back to life by two camps of project that little bit easier. WRG and KESCRG in 2003. We will always welcome new volunteers This section is now awaiting water: a to join the Ant Hill Mob at Lock 3, please major leak is currently being fixed by concontact Richard Dommett on 01873 832153 tractors for Torfaen Council (March 2007). for more information. Work at the Fourteen Locks site has Chris Morgan
...the Mon & Brec...
Official opening of Bettws Lane Bridge on the Mon & Brec main line
WACT: living life on the edge
In early December, volunteers from the Wey & Arun Canal Trust planted 6,000 hedging plants along a 1,500 metre stretch of the canal near Pulborough. Undertaken at the landowners request, the huge task took three-and-a-half days and involved fortythree people, some of whom worked on all the days. The plants were mainly hawthorn and blackthorn, which volunteers quickly learned to recognise and deal with carefully as they have very sharp thorns. Other species were randomly placed along the hedge to give variety. Each plant was firmly heeled-in to the ground and a bamboo stake, to help keep it upright when the wind blows, was pushed in alongside. A plastic guard was then wound round the plant to help prevent it being nibbled by rabbits and other small creatures during the first years of its life. Maintenance Manager David Jessop was delighted at the response to his request for volunteers. Although most workers came from Sussex and Surrey, there were others from as far as Buckinghamshire and even one person from France. It was a pleasure working with such a cheerful, hard-working group of people. They used their initiative in sorting out what was needed and just got on with the job, commented Richard Watson, one of the organisers. This task follows on from the erecting, during the summer, of a post and wire fence along much of the same stretch of the canal, by members of the Wey & Arun Canal Trusts Mid-Week Working Party, led by Peter Jackman. The fence and hedge now prevent sheep from going into the canal and mark a walking corridor through this peaceful part of Sussex.
...Wey & Arun and Stour...
Essex / Suffolk Stour Just a brief report this time to say that work proceeds, but slowly, on the restoration of the lock at Stratford St Mary. We have a work party at the lock on the third Saturday of each month, to which all volunteers are welcome: contact John Morris on Tel: 01473 822612 or email: RST@the-morrises.net. For more information and lots of photos, see website www.riverstour.com/Stratfordlock
First boat through the Wey & Aruns rebuilt Brewhurst Lock
The Wendover Arm Trust have started relining the Phase Two length of the Arm - and are finding some tricky challenges facing them as work proceeds
...Wendover Arm... Wendover Arm Trust report The past year has been a turning point in the Phase II section of the restoration, which runs from the end of the restored length at Tringford to the end of the dry part of the canal at Drayton Beauchamp near the A41 crossing. We have been assessing the programme and estimate for Phase II based on experience to date and the final design. The experience to date has exposed several problems:
Gabions are not practical but the alternative of hollow concrete blocks with coir rolls along the top is more expensive Â– coir rolls alone will add ÂŁ50,000 to Phase II. Current winter weather conditions mean that final profiling and lining with Bentomat cannot be done during the winter months. Even bulk excavation and pipe capping (covering the pipeline which carried water through the dry length of canal) is slowed down in winter by dumpers having to drive more slowly in the very muddy conditions. We are now having to experiment with using tracked dumpers when the conditions are very muddy but these cost over three times as much as a wheeled dumper to hire.
nearly 20% on an eight hour day and we only have a seven hour day at best during mid-winter. This travelling is necessary for security and refuelling from our secure diesel storage at Little Tring. The extended nature of the work in progress together with the distance from Little Tring and extensive use of hired plant means that work has to be planned very carefully against the availability of volunteers. If at all possible, volunteers are asked to let Ray Orth or myself if they are coming to a work party at least two weeks in advance. Another thought is that work would speed up if there could be a week day work party between our monthly work parties to strike and re-erect formwork for the pipe capping and reinforced concrete mooring walls. This would require some form of transport for tools and small materials, a problem when the VW Transporter cannot use the road along the canal bed in muddy conditions.
Until the first length is in water later this year, it is difficult to finalise cost and time estimates for Phase II but there will be a substantial increase on our initial estimates and timescale. Despite the difficulties over 100 metres of pipe capping has now been completed and the slab for sealing the first manhole has The pipeline capping is in places under been cast ready for placing in position. the offside bank, requiring tipping after Meanwhile blinding work has commenced in excavating for the capping to make up conjunction with the west offside wing wall the profile. This means leaving the spoil of Footbridge No. 4. Work on the west end for about six months to consolidate walls at Bridge 4 was due to continue at the before it can be profiled and the March work party, while at Footbridge 4a all Bentomat laid without fear of subsidwing walls are now cast and back filling ence. should have commenced at the March work party. Working at Drayton Beauchamp has For more information see the Wendover meant an even greater overhead than Arm Trust restoration website managed by first envisaged Â– excavators take at Oliver Revel http://wendovercanal.org.uk/ least 45 minutes each day to travel to Roger Leishman and from Little Tring; an overhead of
...and finally the Wooden Canal Boats Society Wed also like to hear from someone who enjoys entering information into a Were expecting to have a Hymac on the computer. There are about a million saleHeritage Boatyard site at Stalybridge ready to able items that we want to list on our make a start on excavating the slipway on website as well as selling some things on February 14th. Ebay. A lot of our work at the moment is about turning an avalanche of donated Most of our volunteer time is currently tied up in running our new huge charity shop goods into the avalanche of money thats on Stamford St in Ashton under Lyne. This is needed for restoring wooden boats. Recycling trips continue to run on the bringing in enough money to enable us to run the society on slightly less of a shoefirst Sunday and Monday of each month string, but at the moment it means that we (except in May when its the second Sunday and Monday). Sunday trips depart dont have much time for working on the Portland Basin at 9.30am and Monday boats. Anyone in Greater Manchester who would like to work in the shop should contrips from the same place at 6pm. All are welcome: ring the above numbersfor furtact me on 07931 952 037 or the shop on ther details. 0161 330 8422.
Wooden Canal Boat Society
A canal through here soon: the JCB in the picture has just started clearance work for reinstatement of the Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal in Salford as part of the Middlewood development
...on the Wendover and at Latton BITM Digs 2007 The two digs we have had so far this year have seen a pretty healthy turnout, and weve achieved most of our objectives. In January, we were on the Buckingham Arm, and not only were there 25 of us, but we were augmented by a contingent of 10 from Birmingham University Conservation Group. So its just as well that Cosgrove Village Hall is fairly roomy. Rachael divided us up into three teams, as the local Society had lined up a variety of work for us along about half a mile of the canal. They wanted us to dig into the big dam where the bridge used to be, to see how much of it was still there, and our geologist Simon took charge of that team. There was also some strimming/brush cutting and scrub bashing, and a bit of tirforing,
with Mike Paice as our team leader. A further project was to erect two information boards at either end of the Arm, with holes to dig and concrete the posts in under Grahams supervision. However, the best laid schemes of mice and men can gang astray (sorry if Ive misquoted), and things did not go quite to plan. Within five minutes of arriving on site, Mike had spotted a huge willow growing on the side of the cut, which, as he pointed out, would have to come out sooner or later, so why not while we had plenty of manpower? Simon soon discovered that most of the bridge had long since disappeared, so his team and Mikes joined up to work on the willow, which took most of the weekend! It took 3 five-tonne tirfors, pulling from different directions, to pull the tree down on its side on the canal bed, so Ian could start
BITM get to do some serious Tirforing...
chainsawing bits off to be carted away for burning. Before the day was out, it had seen off Ians chainsaw, so he had to borrow Rachaels, and it still took some hours to reduce it to manageable hunks, and then the efforts were got underway to try to pull the stump out. Usually, Mike has his personal two-edged Scandinavian super-sharp axe, of which he is very proud, as it has demolished many a tree in double-quick time over the years. Unfortunately, he had forgotten it this time, so it was a case of tackling the huge roots with mattocks and bowsaws, and finally on Sunday most of it was removed. (see inside cover photograph Navvies 221) There was also a fallen tree across the towpath half a mile down, which was sawn up and burnt. Erecting the boards did not take too long, so Graham was mostly able to supervise any scrub bashing etc. James did some brush cutting on Saturday, while I struggled with large clumps of brambles on steep sloping banks on both days. Quite a few saplings were uprooted and planted in gaps in the hedge. There was a cold wind blowing on both days, but at least it was dry, and the sun even managed to poke through once or twice. A pesky Jack Russell fancied our Mina, and was not put off by the difference in height, and defied capture by James for quite a while. Our February dig was a first for us, in that we were not just working on two sites, but on two different canals! Latton Basin was on the North Wilts, just at the old junction with the Thames & Severn, whereas Rucks Bridge and Eysey Lock were actually on the Thames & Severn. Rachael led the North Wilts, and Simon the Thames & Severn. Before everyone arrived they sat down and divided the 24 expected volunteers into two groups, as
far as possible providing an even list of expertise for either site. Tirfors would be needed at both sites, (although the Eysey Lock local work party had cut many of the trees down to ground level), but there were two colossal and awkwardly-shaped ash stumps at Rucks Bridge. Obviously yet another challenge for Mike, so he was definitely allocated to Simons team. I was at Latton, so I have had to pick Simons brains on how that panned out. Once again, three tirfors were needed for each stump. This time, Mike had remembered his Famous Chopper, and set to on the roots of one, with wood chips falling like rain on the surrounding countryside, not to mention on the rest of the group, busily engaged in uprooting a thicket of blackthorn saplings
...Jack and Mattt take the strain...
that covered the canal bank. Ians chainsaw, now repaired, was felling trees up at the lock, with brash and logs fuelling bonfires on either side of the lock, and this continued on Sunday. Simon, Mike, Ian II and Phill tackled a fallen willow down by the bridge that, being willow, had well rooted itself in the cut, and it only succumbed to a twin-tirfor approach after it had been sawn in half. Ian, Mike and Simon separately endeavoured to test the concept that the water in a wet-suit provides insulation against the surrounding cold, but were only able to demonstrate that this does not apply to wellies. Or socks. Or trousers. Meanwhile, at Latton, the main challenge was two very large trees growing on the aqueduct. One of them was doubleforked, with two large trunks, which we attached a rope to so Rachael could cut them separately to fall onto the bed of the canal, and the branches were cut up and burnt on a large bonfire along with a number of smaller tirfored stumps from the area. The trunks were cut up into logs and stacked, but the rootball took three tirfors, and a lot of puffing, panting and straining, before it was uprooted. The other large tree was much more of a problem. The base of the trunk turned out to be about 4 ft. across, once Rob and I had demolished part of the stone wall to reveal the roots, some of which were almost as thick as the five main trunks on the tree. We knew there was a thick root running along the outside of the wall in either direction, and Rachael had thought that if she cut through those the tree would hopefully fall forward into the water below, but once we found there were many equally thick roots running back across the aqueduct, that obviously wouldnt work. I started attacking one of these roots with an axe, but the occupants of the nearby Lock Cottage were worried that if we couldnt actually fell it, and control the fall, it could cause a lot of damage, or even blow down later in strong winds. Rachael had to restrict herself to removing two of the trunks to lighten the load, and leave Doug Small, the local work party leader, to decide where to go from there. It
While Mike enjoys a big macho challenge, Dave Wedd likes a different sort of challenge, using different sorts of skills, which are usually undertaken in close proximity to water. This time, it didnt involve a canoe, but he clung on spider-like to the vertical wall of the aqueduct, removing dogrose, bramble and ivy from the stones. A few of us leaned over the parapet and took bets as to whether hed fall in, but he disappointed us, probably because he had a rope attached to some part of his anatomy for most of the time! We are really lucky, in that June, our regular cook, copes uncomplainingly no matter how many of us there are. Shes always up with breakfast underway before 7 a.m., and if Mikes on the dig he makes porridge and brings a cup of tea round to everyone to turn them out of their sleeping bags. Quite a few BITMites are natural early risers, and we are mostly on site between 8.30 and 9.00 a.m. June has all the lunch ready, including home-made cakes, by 1 p.m., and were even provided with big boxes of home-made cookies for our tea breaks, and a delicious meal in the evening. Our May dig is on the Wilts & Berks then in June were on the Mon & Brec: new volunteers always welcome: see the Navvies diary pages for details. Di Smurthwaite
doesnt look quite so big now its out
If youve got anything that you want to share with the rest of WRG (other than infectious diseases) please feel free to send it to Navvies News The Oxford Social
Join the new WRG forum
times, people failing to get in to it at all), a replacement forum WRGie Words II has been set up using a different host. Jonathan Price has once again kindly offered to set it up, but unfortunately he has no way of transferring all the members across from the old forum. So anyone who wants to join in the jolly discussions on all topics to do with WRG (and quite a few that are nothing to do with WRG - theres a specific part of the forum tor those) should register on the new site at http:// wrg.ipbfree.com/index.php. And of course its open to everyone who wasnt on the old forum, too.
A group of WRG regulars based in the Oxford area have started meeting socially in the pub on an occasional basis. Any Navvies readers in the vicinity are welcome to join us. The regional groups LWRG, KESCRG and wrgSW are currently represented among our number, but wed love to see anyone, active digger or armchair supporter! At the moment, were meeting approximately monthly, on a Wednesday evening from 7.30pm in the Eagle & Child pub on St Giles in the centre of Oxford. The pub has several real ales on tap and does a good selection of reasonably priced food, served til 9pm. Grahams walk for Julie Please contact me by email at Graham Horn of NWPG lost his wife firstname.lastname@example.org or phone Julie to cancer towards the end of last year. 07745 752045 if youre interested, and Ill make sure youre added to my list to be told Here he shares with us his plans for how he is to commemorate her life... about the next meet. Harri Thomsett The time has come to launch my long walk for Julie. Which means I am looking to Book auction results you and all your friends and colleagues for The successful bids in the book auction sponsorship, money, dosh. The short story is that I am walking the Macmillan Way (290 in Navvies 220 were as follows:miles across England) in April/May, raising Inland Waterways of Europe £6.00 funds forMacmillan Cancer Support and the British Canals: an illustrated history £10.00 Duchess of Kent House Trust, in memory of Bradshaws Canals £50.00 Julie. Thanks to my good friend Phil (who Waterways Postcards £8.00 can do websites) you can read all about it Waterways Heritage £6.00 Narrow Boat Painting £25.00 here www.walkforjulie.org.uk. And thanks to Pleasure and Leisure Boating £10.00 other good friends Alison and Martin, you Canal and River Cruising £5.00 can send sponsorship forms back to their The Navigators £5.00 address (100 Westwood Road, Tilehurst, Inland Cruising £5.00 Reading, RG30 5PP) so that letters dont pile up at home whilst I am away. I hope that the two organisations will The books not listed above were unsold. received half of the sponsorship each, but I need to present two forms to you, and you WRGie Words II can choose which one to fill in. So they are on the website. Please print them off and The original WRGie Words online disinvite your own friends and colleagues to cussion forum having gone a bit quiet, contribute as well. Perhaps they can sponsor mainly because of technical problems with the site taking a long time to load (or some- YOU to walk for a day. And take a look at
that competition. How can you not enter that? There will a worthwhile prize (dont know what yet) but it might be: 1st prize one day walking with Graham, 2nd prize 2 days walking with Graham. And yes, please come and walk with me. Or join me for an evening (Ihave lots of B&Bs and pub meals to get through). Or help me spread the word. However you can help I will be very grateful, so by all means get in touch. Best wishes and thank you Graham Horn
What can you buy for £4,873.19? The answer is: a reasonable repair job on a Transit after youve crashed it. Im not going to embarrass anyone by naming names, but thats how much the total bill to our insureres was for repairs to RFB (and the vehicle it hit) in a fairly low-speed collision worked out at. And dont just think Oh well, the insurers will pay - thats why we have insurance. Thats also why our premiums (premia?) are so high. So drive safely, folks!
And speaking of driving... Most of your WRG driver authorisation cards will expire this year or next year. When we re-vamped the scheme a few
years ago we deliberately set an expiry date so that we wouldnt end up with a database full of people who are authorised to drive vehicles but who we never see on digs any more. Or a lot of people who we do still see, but who havent driven some of the types of vehicle on their card for so long that theyve probably forgotten how to drive them. So check your card to see if its about to run out, and remember you will need a copy of your driving licence, signed by an approved WRG signer-of-driving-licences, before you can renew it. And dont wait until youre sat in the cab of an excavator in the middle of one of this summers camps before you realise that youre no longer insured to drive it because your card just ran out.
Hoppers for sale ...or possibly available on free loan to a good home. Two dredging hoppers, both 70ft long, are available. One is a Grand Union rivetted type, recently rebottomed, retanked and reinforced with extra knees; the other is a 1992-built deep-sided hull with a worn tank-lining and dollies in need of attention. Any sensible offers above the scrap price will be considered - or free loan. They are currently gathering rainwater and leaves on the Coventry Canal. Contact Martin Guest on 01482 888054 or 07990 685123 if you are interested.
Thank you to Steve Hayes for this photo of a rather different lock rebuilding project: constructing a second chamber at Esna on the Nile to relieve congestion at the existing lock
NOTICEBOARD Online Navvies subscriptions Dont 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
Boat share for sale One or more shares are likely to be available in the well-known traditional ex-working narrow boat Fulbourne, owned by a consortium of WRG volunteers and other waterways enthusiasts. If you are interested contact Tim Lewis on 07802 518094
Congratulations... to Gav and Alison Moor on the arrival of Jennifer Grace Moor on 2/2/7 weighing 7lb 3oz.
Dial-a-camp To contact any WRG Canal Camp: 07850 422156 (Kit A camps) 07850 422157 (Kit B camps)
Send used stamps, petrol coupons, phone cards, empty computer printer ink cartridges to IWA/WRG Stamp Bank, 33 Ham-bleton Grove, Milton Keynes MK4 2JS. All proceeds to canal restoration.
Congratulations to Harri Harri T Thomsett and Rick Rick B Barnes on their engagament
Navvies Directory update
The Cotswold Canals Trusts contact details have changed to: 44 Black Jack
Street, Cirencester, Glos GL7 2AA. Tel: 01285 643440, Website: www.cotswoldcanals.com email: email@example.com
Grantham Canal contact Colin Bryans a email is: firstname.lastname@example.org Dorset & Somerset Canal contact Derrick Hunts email is: email@example.com Full directory will next appear in issue 224: send any updates to the Editor.
Helen Bushbaby Gardner has temporarily run away to the other side of the world to get away from organising WRGwear WRG logo clothing. We hope that she will return soon but in the meantime any orders may be subject to some delay. Lost property Lost at Mike and Judes wedding: one silver Sony Cyber-shot DSC-S600 digital camera, without a case. If you accidentally took it away with you, please contact Wen & James Carrington on firstname.lastname@example.org
Contacting the chairman: Mike Palmer 3 Finwood Rd, Rowington, Warwickshire CV35 7DH Tel: 01564 785293 email: email@example.com
Does anyone read Navvies at all? Oh, perhaps I should have mentioned that this particular brain-wave was dreamedThe reductions in Government grants to up towards the end of a London WRG session at the Star Tavern, where the Fullers British wateways are clearly starting to have Ales really are most excellent... an effect on the maintenance budget. Not only has £5m of major works had to be postponed indefinitely from the canal sysAnd speaking of beer... tems winter engineering programme thanks How many people noticed that the Next to Government department DEFRAs cretintime section on the Contents page of Navous (*) levels of incompetence, but indivies 221 consisted of the following? vidual maintenance projects have had to be scaled-down too. And next time: We really havent a In the case of the stop-gates on the clue what were going to include. Because Foxton Incline upper approach arm, I am this issues so late going to press that all the reliably informed that this scaling-down has taken the form of supplying a set of 13ft 8in things we were hoping to report in issue 222 have made it into 221. But as we suspect lock-gates for a 14ft wide canal. nobody reads this paragraph anyway, well (*) Its been called that in the House of Com- offer a free pint to the first person to show a copy of this page to the editor while on mons, so it must be true! licenced premises.
BW cuts start to bite...
A profitable sideline?
A discussion among WRGies of the waterway funding crisis led to some helpful suggestions about what could be done to raise more cash for the canals. And we think weve hit on a good idea... Apparently an easy way of fleecing (sorry catering for the needs of) railway enthusiasts is the drivers eye video - a DVD of a section of railway line, shot fhrough the cab-windows to give a view thats not generally available. (at least since the demise of those old 1950s diesel units where you could bag the front seat and look out through the rear windows of the cab and over the drivers shoulder at the track ahead) I am given to understand that these are popular enough that over in Germany a TV station has been known to give its entire night-time schedule over to virtual cab-rides of popular bits of track. So lets do the same for the canals. But as it would take a lot longer to get round the whole network at 3mph with a video, well start by just doing steerers eye videoss of all the most popular canal tunnels.
Not many of you, it appears, given that nobody claimed their pint. And Im sorry, youre too late now. But it confirms my suspicions - and youll see that theres no next time piece in this issue.
This issues caption competition involves George Bungle Eycott driving WRG Plants box-bodied Land Rover (also known as The Pasty Wagon) - and rather a lot of water. Suggestions to the editor, please.