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navvies volunteers restoring

waterway recovery group

waterways

Issue No 225 October-November 2007


Navvies Production

Editor: Martin Ludgate, 35 Silvester Road, East Dulwich London SE22 9PB 020-8693 3266 Subscriptions: Navvies subscriptions, PO Box 114, Rickmansworth WD3 1ZY

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).

Martin Ludgate

Printing and assembly: John & Tess Hawkins, 4 Links Way, Croxley Green, Rickmansworth, Herts WD3 3RQ 01923 448559 john.hawkins@wrg.org.uk

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 Palmer, Michael Palmer, Jonathan Smith. Secretary: Neil Edwards VAT reg. no: 788 9425 54 ISSN: 0953-6655 Š 2007 WRG

Martin Ludgate

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

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Contents In this issue...

Editorial Chichester disagreements 4-5 Chairman he hasn’t sent it yet so who knows? 6 Coming soon Autumn and Xmas digs 7-9 Camp Reports Grand Western, Chesterfield, Stowmarket, Mon & Brec 10-18 WRGBC Boat Club AGM report 19 Diary camp and working party dates 20-22 Letters Chichester; St Ives, Lapal 23-27 Camp Report Wilts & Berks 28-29 Obituary farewell to two old navvies 30-31 Newland A furnace in Furness needs help 32 Plant Bungle’s still fixing his crane 33-34 Progress L&H, Wey & Arun, Ouse 35-36 News Sale of the century (which one?) 37 Noticeboard It’s sprogging time! 38 Infill moose and noose! 39

Contributions...

John Hawkins

Front cover: Traditional mud-shovelling in the wing wall foundation trench at Creeting Lock, Ipswich & Stowmarket Camp (photo by the editor) Left: progress on the same site at the London WRG dig six weeks later Above: Launching the Barge Lock Appeal at Droitwich Below: Steppingstones Bridge on the Wilts & Berks benefits from another Canal Camp

...are always welcome, whether hand-written, typed, on CD-ROM, DVD or by email. Photos also welcome: digital, slides, prints. Please state whether you want your prints back. 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 or to contact the editor first. Contributions by post to the editor Martin Ludgate, 35, Silvester Road, London SE22 9PB, or by email to martin.ludgate@wrg.org.uk. Press date for issue 226: November 1st.

Subscriptions Subscriptions queries Until further notice please contact our head office on 01923 711114 or email enquiries@wrg.org.uk if you have any problems or queries regarding Navvies subscriptions. Sue Watts (see right) will still deal with new subs and regular renewals.

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. This is a minimum subscription which doesn’t even cover postage 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


Editorial

Another colour Navvies...

Welcome to another super-duper colour issue of Navvies - and welcome to another of Martin’s provocative editorials...

Another colour cover? Yes, that’s right – two Navvies in a row with colour! And that’s not all – in future it will be colour covers every time, thanks to our old friend Chris Griffiths of StroudPrint whose super new machine and very reasonable rates enable us to do this at very little extra cost. So there’s even more reason for you to send me lots of photos from your canal camps and weekend work parties. Make them at least 3 megapixels, remember to make some of them vertical ones (‘portrait’ rather than ‘landscape’ format in technical-speak), try to avoid getting to much detail in the area that will be obscured by the title, and you’ll have a very chance of breaking the stranglehold on the front cover that the Editor and David Miller seem to have at the moment. And if your camera won’t go as high as ? megapixels, please do keep sending them in as they’re fine for elsewhere in the mag.

Chichester

Portsmouth & Arundel Canal and connections

On our letters pages you will see an exchange of opposing views on the future direction of the Chichester Ship Canal Trust. The Trust has always concentrated all its efforts on reopening the ‘Chichester Ship Canal’ section of the Porstmouth & Arundel Canal from Chichester Harbour to Chichester city basin – this being a relatively achievable (if not easy) section. But its official aims have always included the much more difficult remainder of the original main line from Hunston through to Ford near Arundel on the River Arun – which could ultimately (at least for craft suited to the tidal Arun) provide a link to the Wey & Arun and the rest of the network. However at the recent AGM the Chairman and Committee asked the members to accept a change to the aims of the group, dropping all mention of the remainder of the canal and leaving only the Ship Canal section – on the grounds that (a) it’s what they’re actually working on, as evidenced by their name (b) the rest of the canal would be impossible to restore and (c) having an impractical restoration as an official aim could put potential funders off supporting the more attainable aim of opening the Chichester Ship Canal section. Others in the society disagree, saying that now is not the time to drop a potential link to the W & A, and that nobody has demonstrated convincingly that and aim of reopening to

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“It didn’t harm the prospects of a ‘quick-win’ restoration that its promoters’ ultimate aim is to open 17 miles of canal at a cost that will probably exceed £50m”

Editorial

...and the Chichester Canal

Ford is either impractical or likely to deter funders from supporting the Chichester length. A majority supported the change, but not the necessary 75 per cent. A similar proposal may well be submitted again next time. I’m not getting into any claims and counterclaims of skullduggery but on the basic principle I’m unconvinced by the committee view. I will be the first to admit that I am not familiar with the Hunston to Ford length having only explored a little of it some years ago. But looking at the catalogue of ‘impossible’ restorations over the years – the Huddersfield (“If ever I saw a hopeless case, this is it...”); the Wey & Arun (“Englishmen love a lost cause…”); the Hereford & Gloucester (“Nobody is going to restore it...”) I’d be very wary of dismissing any restoration as ‘impossible’ without at least an initial pre-feasibility study. (and thanks to the IWA’s new Power Family Award, grants for such studies are now more easily available) And those studies have a habit of coming out with something along the lines of “Yes – but at a price”. And if it’s a price that there’s no way you can afford, no problem. It can remain a long term aim until somebody can afford it, and I don’t see why that should detract from the prospects of the more achievable shorter-term aims – it might even enhance them. Take the Caldon Canal. Pretty much from the start of work on the ‘Destination Froghall’ project the stated aims were to restore the historic lower basin and lock at Froghall not only to create a splendid new terminus for the Caldon, but also as the very first step of restoration of the old Uttoxeter Canal. It didn’t seem to harm the prospects of what turned out to be the ultimate ‘quick win’ restoration that its promoters’ ultimate aim is to reopen 17 miles of canal abandoned over 150 years ago and used for a railway (part of which might still be needed by a railway society) at a cost that will probably exceed £50m. Indeed, the Caldon Canal Society even changed its name to Caldon & Uttoxeter Canals Trust to reflect this. Similarly, in 2000 reopening the whole Hereford & Gloucester still seemed a very optimistic idea to many, but having it as an ultimate goal if anything helped the much more achievable and shorter-term Over Basin Project. We could have said “We’re reopening this as a non-tidal basin off the Severn” but we didn’t, we said “This is the start of a 35-mile canal that will one day return to Hereford.” And looking back a few years, did the then Stroudwater Canal Trust suffer when it added reopening the ‘impossible’ Thames & Severn to the ‘difficult’ Stroudwater? Or the Wilts & Berks Canal Amenity Group when it moved from aiming to preserve what was left of a canal flattened by expansion of Swindon, Abingdon, Cricklade and Melksham to include reopening the whole lot to boats? I don’t think so. Sure, I’m an optimist. I wouldn’t be in canal restoration if I wasn’t. Maybe it needs a few doubters to keep us optimists in check. But the saddest thing would be if CSCT tore itself apart with internal disputes. I remember when the original Cromford Canal Society went into self-destruct mode in the 1980s, and the restoration was put back maybe twenty years. And I’ve seen outbreaks of civil war threaten several other restoration groups around the country. If there’s a serious debate to be had, it’s good to have it in public – and where better than in Navvies? But come on folks, isn’t some kind of compromise possible? Something on the lines of adopting a resolution to concentrate on opening the Ship Canal section first before committing resources elsewhere? Or changing the aims to something that looks less like a commitment, such as “where practical, at a later date to investigate, preserve or restore such other sections as are feasible…” Surely a wording can be found that will please all parties before their views get too entrenched. (Or am I being optimistic again?) Because nothing is likely to piss off potential funders more than watching their potential beneficiaries disappearing in a welter of infighting. Martin Ludgate

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Chairman

about 150 BW peeps (including a significant number of the BW directors) and the twist this year was that pretty much all the presentations were from third parties on the trials and tribulations of working with BW. The purpose was to highlight where BW could make improvements when working with people other than their own staff be they visitors, volunteers, etc. There was certainly a clear message from the top that BW need Chairman’s comment to grasp this nettle and that it won’t be done It’s that difficult time of year again. All the by just throwing regulations at us. Which is big, exciting things have just happened and encouraging to hear. the next lot of big, exciting have yet to be Whilst on this subject a few local socieplanned. Now the good news about this is ties have been asking about whether our that it gives me a chance to comment on a leader training sessions could be expanded/ few lower profile things and it gives all of us modified to suit their needs. A few of them a chance to do the little things that remind have changed/gained new working party you why you do this sort of thing. Go on – leaders and they feel a bit overwhelmed. We go digging with a weekend group, attend have been looking at this quite seriously and your local canal society’s social evening, rethink we might be able to put something read your old copies of Navvies, maybe even together in January. If your society is intergo boating! ested then please contact me. One prediction I am able to make about One of the other speakers at the BW next year is that, so far, there don’t appear to conference was Edd Moss, who gave a crackbe many “pie in the sky” projects queuing up ing presentation that showed a real underfor our attention at the moment. The projects standing of volunteers. This is very good all seem to be existing ones, which may well news, not just because 149 BW employees signal that 2008 will be a little more definite listened to what he had to say but because and dependable. That’s not to say they will Edd is the project leader for our work next be at all boring – they are all at interesting year on the Droitwich Barge lock. and important stages. I’m just saying there is Talking of which, you will have noticed less chance that the first words you will hear that this edition of Navvies has got a leaflet your Canal Camp leader say are “Well first for the Barge Lock Appeal with it. Now I’m let’s find the lock shall we…….” not going to try and convince you to give One project that will see a quite a bit of your money to this yet (that’s probably for us is the Wilts and Berks and our next visit is Navvies 226). The point I want to make is the Bonfire Bash. This is a chance to meet up that this appeal does include the opportunity with all the people you worked with over the to become a bronze, silver or gold patron. year and think about where you could work This is really aimed at organisations such as in 2008. Not only will there be representacruising clubs, but they don’t have to be tives of all the regional groups there with formal organisations; it can groups of boattheir 2008 working party dates but by the ers, pub quiz teams, digging buddies, InterSaturday night we will have the Canal Camps net chat groups, whoever. 2008 schedule done and dusted. Another For £120 a bronze patron gets their reason to attend is that by then we will have name dedicated on a ‘Brindley post’ by the placed the order to replace our last old style lock for all to see. So have a think about who van RFB and so it may well be you last you know who does deserve recognition and chance to see the old workhorse before it never got it. This is a chance to get even. We becomes a restoration project of its very will be working on the Droitwich in just 10 own. (Don’t worry, the replacement van will, months time and need this funding urgently of course, still be called RFB.). so rush the appeal leaflet to your club, bank One high profile thing that did happen manager, society treasurers, etc. and sign up to me recently was I addressed the British to become a bronze patron and carve your Waterways national safety conference. OK it’s name on history. not exactly a rock and roll gig but it was Hugs and kisses quite exciting. It was a big old affair with Mike Palmer

Your own Brindley Post!

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What’s next?

Christmas, that’s what - very soon! But first, there are a couple of autumn events coming up... October Camp on the Grand Western Canal By the time you read this you should just have time to book for the camp on October 20-27 which has been moved from the Chard Canal to Nynehead on the Grand Western. The work is clearing trees and vegetation plus some mechanical earthmoving, aimed at preserving the remains of the Nynehead Boat Lift. The leaders are Jenny Black and Adrian Fry, and accommodation is Burlescombe Village Hall - with excellent pub. Note the camp ends on Friday so only costs £36. Please book via head office 01923 711114 or the WRG website as usual.

WRG and KESCRG reunion Bonfire Bash on the North Wilts Canal Our friends in KESCRG are leading the Bonfire Bash. Over to Ian Williamson for the latest... The accommodation is booked at Kingsdown School (which, please note, is NO SMOKING anywhere in the grounds), NE of Swindon just off the A419. Please don’t arrive before 6.30pm Work will be a selection of things with the main site being at Purton Road where we’ll be doing some offside clearance, plus some work at Hayes Knoll nearby, some concreting at Lock 4 on the Seven Locks flight on the W&B main line, and possibly also some work at the old junction with the Thames & Severn at Latton basin and at Stepping stones bridge. See the WRG website for directions. And fill in the form overleaf and send it in asap!

London WRG and KESCRG Christmas Party Dig See page 9 for the latest news and a booking form for the first big Christmas event.

WRG Christmas Canal Camp on the Grantham Canal Time to escape from your relatives and work off some of those extra pounds you’ve put on over the Christmas holiday with a week’s work on the summit level of the Grantham Canal near Harlaxton. The work is likely to include bank protection and landscaping as well as the usual scrub-bashing, concentrating on creating an open area by the side or a restored length of canal for local folks to enjoy - as well as continuing clearing the feeder we started at last year’s Bonfire Bash. Leaders are Phil Rodwell and Martyn Worsley, and George ‘Bungle’ Eycott is in charge of catering (assisted by James Butler), so to be honest you probably won’t actually lose that much weight. Please book via the website or head office as usual.

Wilts & Berks Christmas Camp The Foxham and Lyneham Branch of the Wilts & Berks Canal Trust will be holding their usual Boxing Day to New Year’s Day camp again this year. Let’s hear from Rachael Banyard... We expect to be working mainly at Seven Locks, and depending on weather we shall be bricklaying, hedgelaying, and any other kind of laying that occurs to us at the time, plus a few bonfires to keep us warm. We shall be staying at the Foxham Reading Rooms, which is nice and cosy in winter, with the Foxham Inn round the corner with their usual choice selection of guest beers, Di has promised to produce some tasty cakes and keep us all well fed. If anyone would like to join us either for the whole camp or for a day or two, please ring me on 01249 892289 or 07767 895244.

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waterway recovery group

IN ASSOCIATION WITH

Reunion Bonfire Bash 2007 I would like to attend the 2007 WRG and KESCRG Bonfire Bash on the North Wilts Canal on November 3rd-4th Forename:

Surname:

Address:

email: Phone: Any special dietary requirements? I require accommodation on Friday night / Saturday night / both nights I enclose payment of £

(please make cheques payable to ‘WRG’) for food

(cost is £10 for the whole weekend, based on £2 for each meal.) How will you be travelling to the Bonfire Bash?

Do you want to work with volunteers from one of this year’s Canal Camps or from one of the regional groups? If so, which camp or group? Do you suffer from any 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 on a covering letter. 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: Bonfire Bash Bookings, WRG, PO Box 114, Rickmansworth WD3 1ZY

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KESCRG / LWRG/ WRG SW Christmas Dig, December 1-2 The annual joint Christmas Party Dig this year is happening on the Droitwich Junction Canal. The exact task list is in the process of being confirmed but will involve work on the section below Hanbury Locks, where we are to be doing some hedge removal and nature reserve building. A crack team of cooks will be cooking up the usual roast dinner for Saturday night and the usual real ale bar and silly games will be happening. To coincide with the 30 th birthday celebrations for KESCRG the theme for the Saturday night party will be “1977”. That’s right the year of Saturday Night Fever, the Queen’s Silver Jubilee, the death of Elvis, Star Wars, punk rock, and a British winner in the Wimbledon Women’s Singles. (Oh yes, and Canal Camps on the Droitwich and the Mont, the Deepcut Big Dig on the Basingstoke, and Navvies editorials concerned about what we could do to save the waterways from Government cuts...) Bookings this year will be through head office using the form below. Cost is £16 for the whole weekend. Tickets will also be available at the Bonfire Bash. Alternatively you can book online via the WRG website www.wrg.org.uk. Further details of the work and accommodation will be on the WRG website as soon as we know them… Ed Walker and Liz Wilson

London WRG KESCRG and WRG SW

Droitwich Christmas party dig I would like to attend the London WRG / KESCRG / WRG South West Christmas party dig on the Droitwich Canals on December 1st-2nd Forename:

Surname:

Address:

email:

Phone

Any special dietary requirements? I require accommodation on Friday night / Saturday night / both nights I enclose payment of £16 (please make cheques payable to ‘WRG’) for food How will you be travelling to the Christmas party dig? Do you suffer from any 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 on a covering letter. In the unlikely event that you should be injured, who should we contact? Name:

Phone:

Signed: Please send this form to: Droitwich Christmas dig bookings, PO Box 114, Rickmansworth WD3 1ZY

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Camp reports Grand Western Canal

Heaven in Devon 07: Grand Western camp 7 – 14 July Saturday

Reporting from the second half of this summer’s WRG Canal Camps programme. And beginning with a rather terse contribution from Ms Bayston... Shrek 3. Do not test me on this film, as I slept through most of it.

Wednesday

Everyone arrived, site visit and then food and Mitch joined us from her trip to Iceland and the introduction to the pub 200 yards down Bobby arrived. BBQ - an amazing evening of the road food, including curry from the pub.

Sunday First day on site, including pointing the old limekilns by the canal, bonfires, and working on the culvert.

Monday A normal day on site. More pointing of old limekilns.

Tuesday Cinema in Taunton in the evening – saw

Thursday Evening’s entertainment was a pub quiz written by Mitch.

Friday End of camp celebrations. An amazing lasagne cooked by Mitch. We then went to the pub for end of camp presents. This included Mr Lines getting a Cow to commemorate his Willy getting licked by a cow in the week (That’s the name of his car, by the way). A few people not including myself - stayed in the pub most of the night and had slightly too much fun.

Saturday

Limekilns under restoration by the Grand Western Canal

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The vans and trailer were packed and then we took them to the KESCRG camp. Cleaned the hall. I would like to thank everyone who came on the camp it was a great week. A special thanks to the local canal rangers and local people (specifically the pub) who made us feel very welcome. Alice Bayston Assistant leader


...followed by a tale of toilets that are rather more portable than they should be, and accommodation that doubles up as a climbing frame for local kids...

Camp reports Chesterfield Canal

Craig and Mike Chase enticing us to a deliciously prepared breakfast was welcomed in the morning. Well where do I start? At the beginning Off we went to site. First job on site would be a good idea!! After doing prepara- was to delicately pick up the porta loos that tion work for a different camp which got had been pushed over during the night and cancelled for various reasons, three camps were now lying in front of the gates. I were merged into one huge fun camp. So showed everyone the sites we would be move number 1 happened. working on. Our main job for the week was First day of the camp and Rob, Louise to dig the silt out of the gauging chamber (a (a newbie who is now hooked on WRG) and bit like a lock but with no gates and the myself arrived at the accommodation, which water doesn’t change level) and to uncover can only be described from the outside as a the bottom and find out if it was clay or brick derelict prison - but inside was a delightfully lined. I asked for desperate people wanting pleasing shock. The kitchen put a huge smile to hop in the mud. Mike’s hand went up like on Mitch’s face as it had a KESCRG size a diesel powered Golf. It was fast. So Mike cooker and there was a back room full of led the way!! comfy seats for us to drink Pimms in. Ooh Soon the delicate pushing of silt-filled did I say drink Pimms in the hall. Well, the wheel barrows was happening, and the local wildlife, (wildlife equally being the loading of buckets to tip into the barrows teenagers / chavs) couldn’t see us drinking in went smoothly too. I have never known a there so all was good. The one rule about bunch of mainly newbies to get on with the the accommodation was ‘no drinking where job in hand so fast. ‘Phil-the-female-type-ofthe local kids could see us inside the hall’ and dog’ led a small and delicately picked crew to all alcohol had to be smuggled in, in ruckdemolish a few courses of bricks off an oversacks etc. Anyway everyone arrived except flow weir that was built too high a few years one person and we all got to know each back. At lunch I was told it would be done other and started to chill out. by the time we departed promptly to the All of a sudden Lady Essex (aka Naomi Harger, aka Marjh) burst through the doors. She’s arrived then!!! No one is going to forget her name in a hurry. We all sit down to dinner when we get a visit from Mitch’s colleagues (the local bobbies) giving us their card along with “You may need this”. They were right, we did. The local Chavs later that evening tried to thieve our food away, then kick the doors in and shout verbal abuse at us. Then they went, and all was good. The dawn chorus of Clearing silt from the gauging chamber wrgies snoring and Cookie

Chesterfield Camp 13/14/15: “A Moving story”

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Camp reports Chesterfield Canal

showers. Once you think that, it doesn’t happen. The Stihl saw gave a good fight on the in filled concrete but even so, the concrete still won by the end of the week. That evening we shocked the local swimming baths with the distinct perfume of silt on our clothes and bodies and then back to the accommodation. Mitch made a wonderful roast dinner and the wildlife made themselves heard again and even showed us what they were drinking by throwing their cans through the open windows!!! They went away after a while but they came back later at 1am to use the hall as a climbing frame! The roof was their designated play area this time. Monday arrived and we all felt a bit tired due to the happenings during the course of the night and drunken party games weren’t to blame this time! On site we had an extra little treat for us in store. The chavs had decided to make it easier for those working in the silt to go to the loo. They thought it would be helpful to push one of the loos into the chamber, to save us having to climb out of the mud. A portaloo on its side isn’t that useful so we opted to lift it back out of the chamber and chain it to a tree every night. Chavs 1; wrgies 1! (Something moving number 2!)

Lady Essex’s ears detect an ice cream van...

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“Monday arrived and we all felt a bit tired due to the happenings during the course of the night...” Darren promptly arrived on site with a pump to get the water out the chamber as the levels had risen to just below wellie boot depth. (This wasn’t from the toilet’s contents, I hasten to add!) Darren is the man in charge from Derby county council countryside services. We told him our story about our sleep and lack of it! He set to finding us new accommodation. Within half an hour we were looking at new places. It was like moving house, choosing where we wanted to go! Everyone ate lunch and Mitch, Darren and I looked at a brand new conference centre. Spot on, jobs a good’un, we’ll have it! Site ended early to pack up and move to our new accommodation. (Moving number 3) Here we had our “local” directly above us so not far to walk and there was a noisy room the opposite end of the centre and even a shower for those wanting it in the mornings. It will even have off road parking next year and there is a basketball court to play on. Superb. Well done everyone at the council. Tuesday came and went with no hiccups. The dirtiest person that day was probably Lady Essex. She liked demonstrating proudly how well her Telly Tubby waders worked at keeping silt stuck to the outside of them! In the evening we went bowling and some went to the cinema. The cinema goers caught up with us after their film and then they found the dancing machine. (Go Cookie Craig, go!!!) At the end there was a leaders go. Now, I am no ace at dancing… in fact I can’t dance to save my life… and those machines… well, I just blagged my way through on one foot!! It worked! Wednesday we continued with the digging pleasures of silt and gave up with extracting the concrete from the overflow weir. At about 4pm there was a distinct pause in Lady Essex’s work and she dashed past me at high speed to find the ice cream van. Sure enough she bought an ice cream. Her decibel percussion tuned ears didn’t let her down!!! We were then treated to the biggest


“We even had a WRG wedding... it was a short-lived marriage due to the Daffern patent wedding certificate only lasting 24 hours”

Camp Reports Chesterfield Canal

and we had a few beautiful bridesmaids too (Lauren and Louise Roberts). (All very moving, number 4). It was a short-lived marriage due to the Daffern patented style wedding certificate only lasting 24 hours. Back to the accommodation where it was dinner and ‘Oscars’ time. (The Eckington Chavs won the Most Annoying Local Award, but they weren’t there to receive their certificate!!) And then party games central, organised by Cookie Craig. Saturday morning came far too early for me as I couldn’t sleep and saw the sun rise from a park bench by a stream admiring the views. We were The ‘WRG Wedding’ must take the prize for ‘most bizarre away from the accommodation dead on canal camp entertainment’ - unless you know better! the time we had planned. A first for Rob and me!!! barbecue I have ever seen. It was all suThanks to Craig for all the work organperbly cooked by Darren and Martin (Martin ising games and the other little bits and bobs being the Chesterfield Canal Trust man in you did, all the people who made breakfast charge). We even had burgers left over for and lunch during the week, Mitch for your lunch the next day. wonderful dinners as usual and everyone Thursday we had a new task on site. else for making it such a brilliant camp even We started clearing the old pointing out of when times were hard. Last but no ways some of the brick work and cleaning the least a massive thanks goes out to Darren, bricks ready for the Pointer Sisters to point in Martin and Mick the Derby council / Chesterthe afternoon. Emma was straight in like a field canal group guys. You were extremely duck to water. The fastest pointer in Renhelpful and a pleasure to work with. I hope ishaw!! We still had silt to dig out though! to see you all at the Bonfire Bash. That evening a group of us went swimming James Butler at the big pool in Sheffield. Built for the aka Dad to Lady Essex and the scary Olympics a few years ago, It has 2 slides and father in law to Lord Rob Hughes Essex a rapid and a wave machine and no signs anywhere. We had to ask 3 people on how to get back out to the car park! Note to Sheffield council: you need more signs up everywhere please! Last day on site and we completed most of the pointing and the digging out was finished. At lunch time Lisa, who some of you may remember from the Xmas camp, showed up to say hi to us all and we even had a WRG wedding with our very own Lady Essex and Rob Hughes being the lucky cou“Come on in - the water’s lovely!” ple. I was the Dad, Rob Daffern was the vicar

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Camp reports

Liz Wilson reports from the first ever camp at Baylham Lock

Ipswich and Stowmarket Navigation

Martin Ludgate

Liz WIlson

1 lock, 20 canal-campers, 2 cement mixers, 2 The two main jobs for the week were transit vans, 12 tons of ballast, 3 tons of 1)clearing and cleaning the lock of vegetation cement, 380 barrow-loads, 8m3 of concrete, and silt to enable a survey to be done, 280 sandwiches, 140 pints of beer...the 2)pouring a concrete foundation for a retainrecipe for a great camp...? ing wall. Easy peasy. Except the remoteness It was back in June that Mr Ludgate and of the site and a bridge with a weight limit I went to have a look at Baylham lock for a ruled out a readymix. So 8m3 of concrete had site visit. It seemed then like there was a to be mixed and moved the old fashioned huge expanse of time in which to way – with cheap labour. understand, prepare and ‘psyche Luckily, Young Chris was myself up’ for running a camp perfectly happy to be our there 3 months later, but it dischief mixer. In fact, there appeared bloody fast. Suddenly I wasn’t any other option found myself waiting at Reading because you couldn’t get station on the first day of the him away from the mixer camp (funny how a journey from with a crowbar. His zeal London to Ipswich can involve meant we often had the first waiting for a train at Reading) mix ready by 9.15am. Great, thinking, ‘Oh God, why am I except for the day when we doing this...again!’. didn’t actually need it til 4. Luckily, I knew I had a Pouring the foundation great team of people to back me was going to be an imporup. In fact, the 20 volunteers tant step forward in repairThe editor on piling duty ing the lock and showing the who turned up were almost the perfect mix of ‘old-hands’, DofErs Environment Agency and the and sometime-campers. The age range landowner that the newly formed ‘River pushed the limits, with Young Chris celebrat- Gipping Trust’ was serious about restoration ing his 18th birthday on the first day of the of the canal, earning them their place as a camp, and Ian in his 60s representing the force to be reckoned with. Some 40 years upper end. We were pretty broad in terms of previously, a botched repair job to the lock experience too, with Ed and Martin bringing had seen a new concrete retaining wall in35 years of london-wrg experience between stalled. Unfortunately, the repairers had not them, Assistant Leader Chris and I well into paid much attention to the need for foundaour 9th year of camps, and 4 newbies who tions, or noticed that a sneaky spring was could just about identify a canal. Not that Baylham lock looked much like a canal. A mess of trees, silt, dams, weirs and a river flowing the wrong way meant you had to stop and look at the site and wonder for a moment how it all fitted together. But that said, it scored top marks for being post-card pretty. Weeping willows, running water of the River Gipping, swans, a mill and a brick arch bridge made it a gorgeous and shady place to work, which was good, as we did actually see some sun during our time there. Tirfor gang celebrate getting the last bit of lockgate out

page 14


Martin Ludgate

located somewhere in the depths of the lock, changed dramatically over the course of the waiting to undermine their hefty chunks of week – as Chris pointed out, a great site for concrete. The hefty chunks are still there the all-important ‘IDT* Factor’. now. Unfortunately they’re lying in the water, Colin Turner, our knowledgeable and at 90 degrees to the position they were eternally cheerful local rep, was pleased with originally built. They gave us a great working the progress we were making, despite his platform to stand on whilst building the new slight amazement at the amount of ballast/ wall, but i feel sorry for whoever gets the job cement we were getting through and the of breaking up and moving that concrete resulting dents appearing in his credit card. away. We pretty quickly realised that our As the week went on it became clear weedy little pneumatic hammer was not that finishing the foundation and getting the really up to the job. lock clear was well within our capabilities and That said, the hammer did sterling work it provided a fantastic motivational drive once in pile driving, except for a few stubborn we could see what we were aiming for. I was piles, where twatting them with a sledge was continually impressed at everyone’s hard the only way forward. The piling team, led work and dedication to getting the job done. mainly by Sleepy David and Martin, produced You’ll notice in my introduction that I a fabulous curved line of piles in just the cite only ‘140 pints of beer’. If you do the right place - the formwork for what was to maths, that’s not actually very much over the be our new foundation. Unfortunately some course of a week for 20 people, but probably over-enthusiastic baling from inside the fairly accurate. We had a fantastic site, great formwork meant the pressure on the outside locals and a clean, shiny village hall to sleep of the piles was starting to make them go a in. But we were sadly deprived in the pubbit wonky. David Patey jumped in with a car- stakes. The only pub in the village of jack and some bits of wood to remedy the Somersham didn’t seem to quite understand situation, but we had to get some concrete in the concept of customers, and duly shut at there p.d.q. 9.30pm each night. Even on the night we And so on day 3, the barrowing began. And it never ended. It wasn’t my intention to be a tyrant of a campleader, but taking lunch in shifts was the only way forward once the concreting started. The barrow run was a proper treacherous one, complete with 30 degree slopes, 90 degree turns, fallen trees, ankle-deep mud, and a strict one-way system! We kept the barrow-loads to a minimum to make it easier, but that meant doing the journey twice as many times. However, the formwork and reinforcing kept appearing, the barrows kept coming and the vibrator kept vibrating...slowly our foundation started to take shape. The other main job, clearing the lock, was also well under way. The tirforing team relished the challenges of winching trees, lock gates, paddle gear and random junk out of the lock chamber. The pumps worked overtime (except when they didn’t) and young Colin found a new calling as a jetwash operator. There was a steady stream of Joe Public wondering past our site, so it was great to have a steady stream of progress for them to admire. The appearance of the lock Setting up reinforing for the concrete pour

page 15


David Miller David Miller

Before and after views of the lock chamber

site-hut (complete with gold taps) to its former pristine state. Was there an end of camp party? I honestly don’t know. I mustered up enough energy to tell everyone how wonderful they all were and collapsed into bed at 10pm. I hope the rest of you guys had a party anyway – you deserved one! Liz Wilson x * ’I did that’

page 16

Martin Ludgate

David Miller

managed to get there before closing, it was obviously at great inconvenience to the staff who were most annoyed at having to do something as menial as selling beer. That said, we did manage to fit in a full social calendar including a trip to Aqua Sauna (jacuzzui/sauna/steam-room haven in Colchester) and a visit to the beach for fish and chips. This unfortunately turned into ‘fish and chips huddled in a transit’ but er...the sea-air was bracing! Our barbecue at the rugby club up the road was thankfully graced with slightly better weather – necessarily so as we’d been kicked out of the accom for indoor bowls-related reasons. Comedy moments of the camp, which were highly un-amusing at the time, but now provide utmost hilarity included the combination to the car-park padlock mysteriously changing overnight, with all our vehicles locked inside. We remedied the situation with a wrecking bar, but not before all 20 of us had a go at entering the combination and stating ‘ooh yes, there’s definitely something wrong with that!’. Chris’ senseof-humourfailure at falling waste“Hands off - it’s mine!” deep into freezing muddy water was also decidedly un-funny at the time (well, at least to him!). Our last day on site was never going to be an easy one. We still had some tricky concreting to finish, reinforcing to cut and barrowing to be done. A perfect time for the pumps to pack up. Ed and I set out on a fruitless adventure to hire another pump from somewhere in Ipswich, only to be called an hour later with the news that they’d got the other one working again. Never mind. It meant we could press on and finish! Meanwhile Martin had managed to start some brick-laying on the first part of our new foundation, and Sarah and Paul did a great job of sorting, cleaning and checking off all the kit, as well as returning the

One of 380 barrowloads of concrete poured


“Stone-laying is a task for lovers of jigsaw puzzles it’s the selection of the correct piece that takes the time...”

Camp reports

Monmouthshire & Brecon

Summer Camp Retrospective NWPG in South Wales: July 2007 Although it’s now almost two months since our annual summer camp, it should not go unrecorded. The photographs give a flavour of the work, but perhaps not the weather which was mixed to say the least. This was Wales after all. We had two days of pretty continuous rain: the first Sunday was so bad that we couldn’t even start work; the last Friday (the 20th) was bad but not as bad as being experienced just across the Severn Estuary and we managed to do some work. Our work was centered around Lock 3 on the Crumlin Arm of the Mon & Brec Canal just to the north west of Newport. Sandwiched between the M4 and a steep hillside to the south, the canal climbs steeply up from the city centre (actually from a Wickes Retail warehouse) following parallel to the motorway before diving underneath it. It then reaches a spectacular flight of 14 locks, known by the same name, which take the canal almost vertically up onto the south west facing hillside of the valley that runs up to Crumlin and Ebbw Vale. It then follows this valley until a place called Cross Keys where it gives up the fight with the road builders. This, incidentally, is the venue for our accommodation, a spacious hall at the back of the Cross Keys Methodist chapel. It was a well supported week and we had the right team for the job that we’d been asked to do. The WRG camp under James Butler had made good progress on the rebuilding the stone walls of the lock by-wash. Our tasks were to keep going at this (perhaps completing it), to demolish the concrete dam at the head of the lock and to clear the lock chamber. The stone-layers persisted diligently with their task – hindered on occasions by the ingress of water running off the hillside, rain from above washing out the mortar (the wettest summer since records began etc..) or a lack of suitable stone. This is a task for the lovers of jigsaw puzzles – unlike brick laying, it is the selection of the correct piece that takes the time, not the putting it into place. The supply of stone was soon to be Tight squeeze: 5 tons into 9 feet will go - just! augmented. The less patient amongst the

page 17


Camp reports

Monmouthshire & Brecon

“The final job on the list was for headbangers only...”

place the top gate. We spent two days with party were allocated the task of clearing the our brick saw (no diamond disc) and the Dig lock chamber. The main purpose here was not to remove the usual dumper loads of Deep Bosch electric breaker removing about glutinous mud but to salvage stones which nine square feet of concrete. This was good exercise but wasn’t doing the drill a lot of over the years had been deposited by fair means or foul into the chamber. Being 9ft good and it was eating cutting discs at £4 a wide, the extra two feet compared to a time. The Trust had hired a hydraulic breaker standard narrow lock allowed us to operate a but this seemed even more ineffectual. three-tonne excavator in the chamber to load Thinking further on the matter we came to material into the dumpers. Not wide enough the not so surprising conclusion that we should go and change the breaker to one to rotate the machine, it was necessary to manoeuvre in and out of the chamber on a that worked properly. Duly done the next one worked and the remaining 27 square regular basis. However, this was still quicker feet of slab was disthan shovels and buckets. patched in a few hours. Other delays were caused The sill and forebay are by the need to pump out the chamber every mornnow ready for Richard ing as the flow down the Dommett’s new top gate canal was such that the that he and his team dams had to be broken spent the week assemevery evening. bling in the car park. Once loaded the We left the site on dumper was reversed out Friday, tidy but with the of the lock where the silt bywash still only about was washed out fire two thirds complete. The Now you see it, now you don’t: the chamber was cleared – brigade style with the outlet hose of a three inch concrete dam meets its nemesis hopefully not to be repump. The remaining filled with stone and guns stone was then taken up before the scaffolding to the lock ready to be goes up to repair the top put back from whence it three feet of towpath side came. As usual with chamwall. During the week we ber clearances there is the entertained ourselves with excitement of what you the usual diet of cinema find in it that others and bowling trips and the thought would never be less usual trip to a mine, found. This time we recovpicnic by a reservoir and ered a pistol – looked a walk over the top of a rather like a Colt 45 (gun wobbly, rusting, but very not drink), many glass bottles from different impressive transporter bridge. Thanks go out to the team, including of local breweries of the early 20th Century and the cast iron lock number”3”. No bodies and course our chef Sue (who had the pleasure no safe to accompany the gun though. of exploring the Cwmbran rather than The final job – in this list anyway as it Godalming branch of Sainsburys this year) was actually one the first – was for and to the local team who made us feel headbamgers only. This was the removal of welcome and ensured that we had work, a very well-made reinforced concrete dam accommodation, showers and fun. that had been placed above the lock to reBill Nicholson

page 18


“A number of us worked on restoring Weches Dam lock which, after being in use for some years, is now closed. It’s very depressing...”

WRG BC

WRG’s own boat club

WRG Boat Club News I do hope you get to read this as I will be sending it in to Martin for Navvies rather late. The trouble is, we are always off boating and not doing paperwork! I just can’t resist wanting to go to another place on the system. As I try to get this article started we are at the head of navigation on Reach Lode. What an exciting trip to get here. The lode is VERY weedy, not good for boating but just the place to collect oxygenating weed for your pond. We are the only boat here so feel we are doing something to keep it navigable. Will we brave any of the really difficult lodes that branch from the Ouse and Cam? These are under threat of closure. Something must be done! A number of us including wrgNW and Peterborough branch of IWA worked on restoring Weches Dam lock which, after being in use for some years, is now closed. EA haven’t a timetable or plans for it to be reopened.* It’s very depressing. Not so the ‘National’. Despite all the difficulties nobody was, or seemed to be, downhearted. I enjoyed it no end, though sometimes feel I was at another festival as I managed to miss seeing so much including people that I know, who assure me they were there. The boat club’s AGM was held at St Ives. Did you miss that? Lessons were learned. Ian learned that if you sit near the secretary you will get landed with a job. Maureen learned the mistake of leaving a bottle of wine within grasp of the club officers. I learned that problem of the timing and location for the meeting is insoluable or if there is a perfect answer we haven’t hit on it yet. At least this year it didn’t clash with wrg supper! What went on at the meeting? Well the minutes will become available sometime, remember the club motto. Things of note were... A wonderful speech by the CommodeDoor presenting the boat club

Aileen with her trophy award to Aileen Butler who has been at ‘The Sharp End’ of BCN clean ups and made noteworthy contributions in other areas of restoration. Congratulations to you Aileen and thank you for all you do. Money was discussed and it was agreed that as soon as we have £500 it will be donated to Cotswold Canals to help a little towards paying for the great loss they suffered because of the cancellation of the Saul festival. We nearly have the money and members are paying their subs as I write (I live in hope). The club officers remain the same, so there is no escape! We have about 40 memberships. Annual subscription remains great value at £10 and is due now! It was agreed that the block booking system for moorings at the National hadn’t worked, so we wont bother next year. Get your forms in ASAP to stand a chance of getting a good mooring. Well, as things are settling down for the winter, our thoughts stray towards next year. Let’s hope all goes well for the Saul festival and lots of members get there. It would be nice to gather on the Mont in late August and early September for the goings on there too. Any other ideas? xxx Sadie Dean (07748186867) * Peterborough branch have a petition to try to get EA to do something about it.

page 19


Navvies diary

Your guide to all the forthcoming work parties Oct 20/21

wrgBITM

Wey & Arun Canal: Stump removal. Accom: Plaistow

Oct 20/21

London WRG Cotswold Canals: Joint dig with WRG South West.

Oct 20/21

wrgSW

Cotswold Canals: Joint dig with London WRG

Oct 20-27

Camp 0719

Canal camp on the Chard Canal, Somerset.

Nov 1 Thu

Navvies

Press date for issue 226: including Canal Camps brochure

Nov 3/4

WRG

Bonfire Bash - North Wilts Canal: (led by KESCRG to mark their 30th anni

Nov 3/4

KESCRG

WRG Reunion (Bonfire Bash): KESCRG 30th Birthday party

Nov 3/4

NWPG

Wendover Arm

Nov 3/4

wrgSW

Bonfire Bash - North Wilts Canal

Nov 3/4

Essex WRG

Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation: plus AGM

Nov 3/4

London WRG Bonfire Bash - North Wilts Canal

Nov 3 Sat

WRG

Committee & Board Meetings: on Saturday at the Bonfire Bash

Nov 10 Sat

wrgNW

‘Paper Chase’ waste paper collection

Nov 17/18

wrgBITM

Chichester Ship Canal: Chainsawing and tirforing. Accom: St Johns Chape

Nov 17/18

London WRG Hereford & Gloucester Canal

Nov 17/18

wrgNW

Hollinwood Canal

Dec 1/2

KESCRG

Droitwich Canal: Joint Xmas Party dig with London WRG

Dec 1/2

London WRG Droitwich Canal: Joint Xmas Party dig with KESCRG

Dec 1/2

wrgSW

Droitwich Canal: Joint dig with KESCRG and London WRG

Dec 1/2

Essex WRG

Foxton Inclined Plane: Christmas Dinner weekend

Dec 8/9

wrgBITM

Xmas Work Party, venue T.B.A.: NOTE date changed from 15/16 to 8/9.

Dec 8/9

NWPG

Wilts & Berks Canal: Dig Deep project at Seven Locks flight (Lock 4) Xmas party, p

Dec 8/9

wrgNW

Lichfield Canal (provisional)

Dec 15 Sat

wrgNW

‘Paper Chase’ waste paper collection

Dec 26-Jan 1 Camp 0720

WRG Christmas canal camp on the Grantham Canal. Leaders: Phil Rodwel

Dec 26-Jan 1WBCT

Wilts & Berks Canal New Year Camp at Seven Locks. See p7 for details

Jan 1 Tue

Navvies

Press date for issue 227: including Canal Societies directory

Jan 6 Sun

WRG

Committee & Board Meetings

Jan 12/13

wrgNW

To be arranged (possibly Lancaster Canal)

Jan 12/13

London WRG Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation: To be confirmed

Jan 19/20

wrgBITM

To be arranged

Jan 19 Sat

wrgNW

‘Paper Chase’ waste paper collection

Please send updates to Diary compiler: Dave Wedd, 7 Ringwood Rd, Blackwater,

page 20


Canal Camps cost ÂŁ42 per week unless otherwise stated. Bookings for WRG Canal Camps (those identified by a camp number e.g. 'Camp 0720') should go to WRG Canal Camps, PO Box 114, Rickmansworth WD3 1ZY. Tel: 01923 711114. Email: enquiries@wrg.org.uk Dave Wedd

01252-874437

bookings@wrgBITM.org.uk

Tim Lewis

07802-518094

london@wrg.org.uk

Rick Barnes

07976-748345

rick.barnes@wrg.org.uk

01923-711114

enquiries@wrg.org.uk

020-8693-3266

martin.ludgate@wrg.org.uk

01923-711114

enquiries@wrg.org.uk

Eddie Jones

0845-226-8589

eddie@kescrg.org.uk

Graham Hawkes

0118-941-0586

grahamhawkes@btinternet.com

John Gale

01376-334896

essex@wrg.org.uk

Mike Palmer

01564-785293

mike.palmer@wrg.org.uk

David McCarthy

0161-740-2179

Dave Wedd

01252-874437

bookings@wrgBITM.org.uk

Tim Lewis

07802-518094

london@wrg.org.uk

David McCarthy

0161-740-2179

nw@wrg.org.uk

Eddie Jones

0845-226-8589

eddie@kescrg.org.uk

Tim Lewis

07802-518094

london@wrg.org.uk

Rick Barnes

07976-748345

rick.barnes@wrg.org.uk

John Gale

01376-334896

essex@wrg.org.uk

Dave Wedd

01252-874437

bookings@wrgBITM.org.uk

Graham Hawkes

0118-941-0586

grahamhawkes@btinternet.com

David McCarthy

0161-740-2179

nw@wrg.org.uk

David McCarthy

0161-740-2179

Martin Ludgate

iversary) Please book using form on p8

el Hall.

probably Devizes

l and Martyn Worsley

01923-711114

enquiries@wrg.org.uk

Rachael Bantard

012490892289

Martin Ludgate

020-8693-3266

martin.ludgate@wrg.org.uk

Mike Palmer

01564-785293

mike.palmer@wrg.org.uk

David McCarthy

0161-740-2179

nw@wrg.org.uk

Tim Lewis

07802-518094

london@wrg.org.uk

Dave Wedd

01252-874437

bookings@wrgBITM.org.uk

David McCarthy

0161-740-2179

Camberley, Surrey GU17 0EY. Tel 01252 874437. email: dave.wedd@wrg.org.uk.

page 21


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 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) 2nd Thursday of month Every weekend

BCNS BCS BCT ChCT DCT EAWA ECPDA FIPT GCRS GWCT H&GCT H&GCT H&GCT H&GCT IWPS IWA Ipswich LCT LHCRT LHCRT PCAS SCARS SCCS SHCS SNT SUCS TMCA WACT WACT WACT WACT WACT WACT WACT WAT WAT WBCT

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

page 22

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

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. Lancaster N. Reaches Lichfield Hatherton Sankey Canal Combe Hay Locks Basingstoke Haverholme Lock Newhouse Lock varied construction tidying road crossings Tickner's Heath Depot maintenance work Loxwood Link Winston Harwood Grp Hedgelaying (Oct-Mar) Drayton Beauchamp Drayton Beauchamp Wilts & Berks Canal

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

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 Paul Shaw Sue Williams Denis Cooper Paul Waddington Colin Greenall Bob Parnell Peter Redway Dave Pullen Mike Friend Brian Macnish Eric Walker John Empringham Colin Gibbs Peter Jackman Peter Wilding Laurie Wraight Keith Nichols Roger Leishman Pete Bowers Rachael Banyard

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 01524-35685 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 01255-504540 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


“I get the greatest buzz out of leading IWA at the National Festival – every year without fail. But this year it really was something super-special”

Letters

to the editor

Dear Martin

The National Festival (or St Ives on in Mud) Can I once again use your pages to express my thanks to all the wrgies who did not hear them in the arena at the national festival closing ceremony [pitched battle]? I get the greatest buzz out of leading IWA at the National Festival – every year without fail. But this year it really was something super-special. I know wrgies are renowned for their dirty weekends, but 2007 will go down in the annals of both IWA and WRG as one of the dirtiest. And yet it must have been one of the happiest. Being on site was near a religious experience, which was about the ability of the massed volunteers to both walk on mud and then set about turning wine into water with similar determination! All through the preceding week, whether I was sliding diagonally off the WRG camp car park, or watching you all man-handle the stock across the site from the nearest point of tracking or yellow brick road, I really wondered whether we would open to the public at all. And even though we opened on time Saturday morning – I still had the gravest doubts. But the public came in great numbers, and appeared to thrive on the conditions as much as you all did. The Festival site on Saturday morning The feeling of tremendous pride in you all is just overwhelming. “Thank you” seems so inadequate. John Fletcher, IWA National Chairman Dear Martin Just a short note to say how impressed I was with the huge amount of work carried out by Liz, Chris and their team of navvies a couple of weeks ago. Getting the steel work hammered in, the rebar installed and the concrete poured was a big enough task on it’s own. The fact that they also cleaned out the lock, removed all the old timber and steel, pulled out stumps, lifted coping stones and even got some amateur to lay a few bricks before they all went home was truly magnificent. I suppose I should be used to this by now as it always seems to happen on camps that I’m involved in but we really must get out of the habit of starting a big concrete pour at 4.30pm on Friday! It was great to meet up again with some old faces (yours among them) and note that despite the tabloids’ attempts to denigrate everyone under the age of 21 we still have youngsters who are prepared to do a good day’s work for no pay and a bed on a village hall floor. Once again, thanks to you and them for giving us a great start on the restoration of Baylham Lock on the Ipswich and Stowmarket Navigation. Spencer Greystrong

page 23


Letters

to the editor

“The rubbishing by those at the helm of the Chichester Ship Canal Trust of the restoration from Hunston to Ford - prior to any in-depth study - continues”

Dear Mr Ludgate At the Chichester Ship Canal Trust’s AGM on 16th August, the Special Resolution to delete all mention of (inter alia) the Portsmouth and Arundel Canal from the Trust’s Objects was very narrowly defeated (the Resolution needed 75% of the total votes cast: it only achieved 70.1%). This was a good result, given the following factors:(1) The Chairman, Rick Travis, and his allies, control the flow of information to members to accord with their own views. The ballot paper posted to members (members could either vote by post, or at the AGM) was little more than a propaganda sheet for the Special Resolution. The Board’s recommendation for a “yes” vote was printed right next to the boxes where members had to place their crosses; and the ballot paper stated that “it is the Board’s judgement that.....any suggestion that the derelict Portsmouth and Arundel Canal (Hunston to Ford) may be a viable restoration project is unrealistic”. (2) The Special Resolution was sprung upon members in the height of the summer holiday season, without any membership-wide discussion or consultation (any discussion or consultation was confined to the Trust’s nine Trustees, a considerable minority of whom oppose the Special Resolution, in any event). The only (unsubstantiated) explanation of the Board’s reasons for proposing the Special Resolution appeared on the ballot paper itself. (3) Any attempt by members to debate or discuss the Special Resolution at the AGM was forbidden: the Chairman brusquely informed members that the Special Resolution was not open for discussion. (4) My election statement (submitted by myself) printed on the ballot paper (I was standing as a candidate for the post of Trustee, largely to publicize opposition to the Special Resolution on the ballot paper) was edited in a way that presented me in a less favourable light, compared toother candidates. I had stated that I was standing “to support the Trust”, but this statement was omitted from the ballot paper. Other candidates with word counts longer than mine had similar statements included. [This is a comparatively minor point; but I set it out, just to demonstrate the manner in which the Trust is being run. The Chairman had told me that my “name will appear on the ballot paper as a candidate who is standing solely to oppose a resolution which is recommended by the Board”: I protested to Mr Travis about this threat, but his threat was carried out, nonetheless.] (5) To the best of my knowledge, the Chairman has failed to provide any evidence to anyone (including Robin Higgs, founder Chairman of the Southern Canals Association) to support and substantiate Mr Travis’s claims that, if the Trust’s Objects aren’t more focused, and don’t delete all mention of the Portsmouth and Arundel Canal, then the Trust may lose out on donations. Mr Travis has declined to enter into any proper two-way debate, or to provide members with sight of any documents supporting a case for the Special Resolution Mr Travis has not responded to the representations made to him, which havepointed out that:(1) It is highly unusual for a charity’s Objects to be ‘focused’ (i.e. made more narrow) as it increases the risk of legal challenges that the Trustees are operating outside their remit. (2) If particular stretches of the Portsmouth and Arundel Canal prove not to be to certain donors’ liking, donations can easily be ring-fenced for specific projects. The rubbishing by those at the helm of the Trust of the restoration from Hunston to Ford (prior to any in-depth engineering study) continues, as I’m informed that Mr Travis is planning to re-present the Special Resolution (or something similar to it) for approval by members at the next AGM of the Trust, in seven months’ time. Yours sincerely Simon Couzens

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“Anyone who has attended one of the Trust Chairman’s talks will know that restoration of all of the Portsmouth & Arundel Canal is impossible”

Letters

to the editor

We invited the secretary of the Chichester Ship Canal Trust to respond... “Simon Couzens stating that the Canal trust is steering the wrong course is so far off beam that it needs a response. Although I am a member of the Board of Trustees, these are my personal views. The name of the Trust is The Chichester Ship Canal Trust and it seems entirely appropriate and necessary that the objectives of the Trust reflect this. The Wey and Arun Canal Trust are looking at restoring the Wey and Arun Canal and are doing an excellent job. The Chichester Ship Canal Trust is restoring the Chichester Ship Canal and we have made great progress. It is however taking all our resources and the dedicated help of our fantastic volunteers particularly in the trading company to add to the funds to maintain and restore the Chichester Ship Canal. Although it is the West Sussex County Council that will determine the ultimate success of the restoration to the sea and I know the Trust is very grateful for their continuing support. Anyone who has attended one of the Chairman of Trust Rick Travis’s talks will know that restoration of all the Portsmouth and Arundel Canal is impossible and the Portsmouth part of the canal has disappeared completely under development. I think it is misleading to have restoration of the Portsmouth and Arundel Canal in the objective of the Trust. There are no plans even in the distant future and our aim should be focused on the reason why the Chichester Ship Canal Trust was set up in the first place: that is to restore the Chichester Ship Canal. There was just a the narrow defeat at the AGM, remember that 70.1% were in favour of the change and it was only defeated because a 75% majority must pass the motion for the new objectives. I think you must ask the question: is Simon Couzens’ view a minority one? As for the claims that the process for motion was in some way manipulated by the Trust board and “steamrollered through”: they are completely unfounded. In fact Simon Couzens did have an opportunity to put forward his views in the local newspaper prior to the AGM but he failed to attend the AGM or get elected to the Board of Trustees. Kind regards Richard Plowman Dear Martin, It’s strange how looking back foreshortens history. In David Howarth’s report of Martin Grundy’s death in Navvies 223, there is a reference to the ‘Ashtac’ (not Ashtec) digs of the early 70s predating the formation of WRG. While it’s true that the first ‘big dig’ – Operation Ashton or OpAsh – preceded WRG, this was in 1968, and the Waterway Recovery Group first appeared on the scene at the Guildford National Festival in 1970, and was consequently very much involved in Ashtac and the big Dudley Digs of that period. Even with the help of the recent CD-ROM to save me going all through my collection of Navvies Notebook and later Navvies, I can find no direct statement of the change of title from Working Party Group to Waterway Recovery Group. It seems to have happened very subtly with reference to the WPG Bank in Issue 24 of June 1970, and to the WRG Bank in Issue 25 of July of the same year. By Issue 26 in September, the magazine was stated to be published by Waterway Recovery Group! David Howarth also mentions Martin Grundy’s devotion to the western end of the Leeds and Liverpool. He was certainly a great encouragement and mentor on our cruise, in a small plywood cruiser, through there and out through the Stanley Dock Branch and Liverpool Docks in 1971. From there we crossed the Mersey to the Manchester Ship Canal and then up the locks at Ellesmere Port onto less adventurous waters. All best wishes Tim Dodwell

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Letters

to the Editor

The Lapal Canal restoration: “Is it really sensible to undertake such a massive project mainly to provide a marina?”

Dear Martin I was interested to read in the latest Navvies of the feasibility study into restoration of the Lapal Canal. I recently walked the course of this waterway, including following as close as possible the tunnel line overland, and it is clear that any restoration is going to be a mammoth undertaking and hugely expensive- there is virtually nothing left. Although the canal line seems to be available for most of the canal’s length, as well as the significant hurdle of Lapal Tunnel (which is to be bypassed by an overland route, which will necessitate a crossing of the M5) the junction with Dudley No. 2 Canal would seem to be built-over by a large engineering works and it is difficult to see a way round. Whilst I would obviously like to see waterways restored, one of the main justifications in this case from a reading of the piece seems to be to provide badly needed marina space in Birmingham. Is it really sensible to undertake such a massive project mainly to provide a marina, couldn’t it go elsewhere at a fraction of the cost? How many other waterways in the West Midlands could be restored for the same money? And surely a decision not to restore the long tunnel removes the major potential attraction of this canal? I find the argument for providing multi-user opportunities to be spurious. The canal line is already well used by pedestrians and cyclists, with diversion onto existing roads only required for a short length in Selly Oak and over the tunnel top. It would be far cheaper for the highway authorities concerned to formalise this use by using their powers to create either a public right of way or cycleway, provide a multi-user surface and signage, along with promotion. No-one needs to restore a canal for this. In some cases derelict canals are not easily accessible to the public at large and total restoration has the useful spin-off of providing Worth putting a canal through here? The route for towpath opportunities. In this case I the proposed Lapal Canal restoration think it is a tenuous argument. One thing I would say from my visit is that it was extremely disappointing to see a section of the canal near its terminus in Halesowen, which had obviously been restored in the not-too-distant past, already suffering from major neglect. A modern channel had been constructed of pile-driven sheeting capped with concrete coping, with excellent canal side paths popular with the public, but the waterway was choked by high bullrushes. It seems a shame to go to all this trouble and expense only to let things fall so soon into disrepair and one has to wonder if a sight like this will adversely influence those holding the purse-strings of funding. Restorations must be sustainable and care of work done has to feature. It didn’t look like the site of an active restoration drive to me and in fact I thought the push must have collapsed. I’m afraid it reminded me of one of the many Manpower Services Commission schemes of the 1980s which provided amenity space in local areas, so many of which have reverted to nature because no-one thought to budget for their upkeep, and which must be a constant reminder to those who worked on them that they really were, as they feared, wasting their time. Best wishes Andy Overton Any comments from Lapal Canal Trust or anyone else will be welcome ...Ed

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More St Ives National Festival thanks - from KESCRG and Mr Mac

Letters

to the editor

Dear Martin I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of people who contributed to the best ever National Festival for the KESCRG Bhaji stand. We took over £5000 over the three days which is not only far above expectation but has covered our lost revenue from the Wendover washout and secured the group’s finances for the coming year. The people I would like to thank are: The crew (stars) without which nothing would have been cooked, some old hands but also many new ones who THe KESCRG onion-chopping team in action at St Ives learnt a lot of new skills The hundreds of happy customers, new, repeat and those now sporting the most sought after mugs at the event Moose and his team for helping us out through out the weekend, not least of which was giving us a friendly, out of the way place to retire to that didn’t smell of onions. The site team who all together enable the event to go ahead in the first place The catering managers who set us up right! Box Bears who very kindly donated the bear for us to raffle – last chance to get a winning ticket at the Bonfire Bash!!! I am sure there are others in the midst such as Waterways World who had Liz’s photo and some words in the post-event write up in this month’s magazine, the festival news team etc etc thank you to all and see you for more of the same next year! Ian Williamson Dear Martin Please could I say a ‘thank you’ to all the navvies at the IWA National Festival for their help, understanding and kindness during my stay. I couldn’t say this personally as, when I came to leave after lunch on Wednesday, the only person around was that slave-driver ‘Moose’ who had sent every man, woman and child down to the field to dismantle the last fence panels. So THANKS TO EVERYONE - despite the rain and mud, it turned out to be a JOLLY SUCCESSFUL ‘DO’ David ‘Mr Mac’ McCarthy WRG North West

. . . . . .

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Camp report on Wilts & Berks...

It was not an auspicious start to the second of two weeks on Lock 4 of the Seven Locks flight. The last day of the previous week’s KESCRG camp was a washout with torrential rain all day. By the next day several roads were impassable for ordinary cars and the railway was flooded. On the arrival day of the camp, Rob Brotherston and Di had to take long detours coming from the south west, and Luke was held up for an hour or two coming down from Warwick. Three others phoned to say they’d leave it for a day or two as trains were cancelled, and four who had booked on the camp never made it. However two who hadn’t booked managed to turn up so we still finished with 19 including two Spaniards, one French and one Slovak. Luke got up at the ‘crack of sparrows’ on Sunday on got two pumps going but by the time our troops arrived it was still a soggy mess. Four locals turned up as usual, and two of them joined Martin Thomson’s team to start digging out gooey clay at the bottom of the offside wall and shovelling it into the digger bucket to be lifted out onto the spoil heap. T he other two locals, both experienced bricklayers, joined John Hawkins and Rob, and got to work on laying the first three courses of old brick. The rest of the team were mixing mortar, moving bricks up the field and lowering them down into the lock on the towpath side. By the afternoon we were able to put down a dry lean mix onto the clay to at least give a firm surface to stand on. After a long day we had transformed the site back to how it was the previous Thursday! We then got back to the Reading Rooms, got cleaned up, ate a scrummy meal from Di and adjourned to the Foxham Inn for a well-earned sample of real ale.

page 28

...reporting from a very wet and muddy but ultimately productive week rebuilding the walls of Lock Four While the heavy rain from the previous week wasn’t repeated, we continued to have showers nearly every day, but work still progressed apace. Two courses of brickwork were completed on Monday while Martin’s team had the unenviable task of continuing to dig out sloppy clay and putting down a blinding layer of dry concrete. Blocklaying was started at the top end of the lock, and Evelyne (our French visitor) trimmed back the towpath hedge to make it easier for people and machines to get up and down. In the evening 11 of us went to Devizes to our ‘local’ folk club, the others being offered (and declining) a trip to the cinema so a start could be made on Rob’s 1000-piece jigsaw. On Tuesday the bricklaying team achieved another two courses, while Martin led another teak putting in the blockwork back wall, the hollows being filled in by Robin and Evelyne. Jesus (one of our Spaniards, not the miracle-worker) and Mike kept the brick and

“Is it deep enough to swim in?”


“It was a very tiring week but all the team pulled their weight, which meant that the vital aim of bringing up the walls to above water level was achieved” blocklayers suppied with materials. We finished a little early on Tuesday because the whole camp had been invited to dinner by neighbouring farmers Philip and Ann Smith who own a strip of the canal, including Lock 1 of the Seven Locks. It was a lovely sunny evening after the showers of the day and we were able to sit outside to eat and enjoy the view. The ‘laying’ team excelled themselves on Wednesday, completing three courses of brick (about 630 bricks) and five of blockwork, with most of the hollows filled. Max, who had been involved with mixing mortar the previous three days, had the chance to try his hand a bricklaying, joining Elisa (Spanish) and Zuzanne (Slovak), but once again we were dodging the showers. We had a restful evening boat trip on the Kennet & Avon, with Di serving a buffet meal on board. The forecast was not promising for Thursday, and as it turned out six volunteers retired to the Reading Rooms after lunch when the rain started to get really unpleasant. The rest braved it out and managed to finish filling the concrete blocks and cleaning the whole area between the walls ready for the concrete pour arranged for Friday, setting up the chutes for moving the concrete to where it was needed. After a scrumptious meal a skittles evening had been arranged at the Trotting Horse pub in Bushton. The whole week had been exhausting moving soggy clay about – not least on your boots which doubled in weight and made moving about hard work, being also extremely slippery. Friday was nonetheless probably the hardest of all. We had requested four lorry loads of readymix concrete, but due to a shortage of drivers they only managed three. Each delivery had to be transferred into a fleet of four dumpers, manoeuvred up the towpath, and then shovelled down the chutes, and then a further team with shovels to transfer and spread the mix along the length of the area between the walls and vibrated to get the air out. It was

Camp report ...at Seven Locks

extremely hard work, even if we did get a short rest between deliveries. We eventually got off site at 7pm for quick showers while the BBQs were fired up. It was a very tiring week but all the team pulled their weight and worked incredibly hard, which meant that the vital aim of bringing up the walls to above water level, after KESCRG’s start the previous week, was achieved. The pumps had had to run day and night throughout the week to make it possible to work at all. Even Mina the dog only waited for her lead to be removed before collapsing in a small black heap in her bed at the end of each day. She even kept her moose quiet, she was so tired. Yes, there is a ‘Moose II’ on the WRG circuit, the difference being that this one is furry and squeaks. On second thoughts perhaps it’s just that this one is smaller... Rachael Banyard

Brick wall on the left, blockwork on the right, then backfill between them with readymix...

page 29


Obituary

college embarking on several years of courses in countryside management, horticulture and arboriculture. It was something he had a passion for because of the enjoyment he gained from his canal restoration. He was known affectionately as “Grandad” on s his courses. In Belfast he was an active member of a diving club. Then, despite having poor sight (registered as blind), he participated in many Howard Williams 1945-2007 things through the Cardiff Institute for the It is with great sadness that I have to blind. He kept allotments and was a beeinform you that Howard Williams, that crazy keeper, making honey and candles from the st old Welsh navvy recently passed away on 31 beeswax. Most surprisingly he produced the July. most amazing calligraphy which he did using For those of us who knew Howard, the an enormous magnifying frames with his news of his unexpected death came as a poor eyes only centimetres from the paper. great shock as he was such a great character Conversations with him were always and will really be missed. Many of our volun- interesting as he was obviously quite well teers may not recall his name, but will have informed, but he wouldn’t mind me saying met and remember him. This is because he could talk the hind leg off a sheep! He Howard, being Welsh, was infamous always had time for anyone and would althroughout WRG for his association with ways take first time volunteers under his sheep and judging by the amount of stick he wing and offer them advice and support. took extremely well about sheep and the He would often say “On the Mont” (it jokes he always made about it, I am sure was his equivalent of Uncle Albert’s “During there are those that will only remember him the War” from Fools and Horses), but we did fondly as “The sheep man”, as he was great finally persuade him out of Wales and he fun to be around. attended all but one of the five camps I I first met him in 1989 on our first organised at Bosmere and Creeting Locks on WRG camp. This was on Howard’s beloved the Stowmarket Navigation in the 1990’s. He Montgomery canal, where we were restoring thoroughly enjoyed those together with the lock flight and constructing the Nature others including the Wilts & Berks and at reserve. There he was on site dressed in Tring with BITM. He attended many National army boots, shorts and a white anorak, why Festivals and all the reunions. The last few I thought would anyone be daft enough to years I persuaded him to come to weekends come on a canal camp dressed in white, all with BITM and Essex WRG. No mean feat for will be revealed later. Incidentally it was at him as it often meant one or two train that camp that the sheep saga began, started changes carrying all his kit and medication to by another volunteer (who shall remain meet me at the local stations. I could always nameless) on his first camp, but those who ring him up even the night before and say knew Howard will know the joker well. “do you want to go-sorted the trains for Howard was born in Cardiff in 1945 on you,” and he would have no hesitation in the day the Japanese surrendered. He grew answering “Yep”. I think the last dig he atup there, married and moved to his wife’s tended was at Foxton with Essex WRG at native Ireland where he worked in the Belfast Christmas, and together with those he had shipyard. They had a son and a daughter but with BITM really made his (otherwise very sadly their marriage failed and he returned to quiet) Christmas, particularly as he lived on Cardiff alone and for many years managed a his own. bar. He was plagued with ill health for much Howard died on 31st July and I only of his life, but despite his failing eye sight, found out late on Wednesday 15th August. diabetes and epilepsy, he never complained The sad thing was he had been waiting and just got on with life, doing far more and for two years for a guide dog and only remaking much more effort than most able ceived one about two months ago and was bodied people do. quite jubilant about it. The trainer had been In his fifties he lost his bar job and coming round every day and called at his flat rather than do nothing, he went back to on 31 July only to hear the dog barking.

Howard Williams

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When he went in Howard was on the bed but the ambulance crew could do nothing for him; his heart failed. I think it was around that date that I last spoke to him on the phone. I only found out because I tried to ring him to wish the old boy happy birthday. His phone was not accepting incoming calls which was strange, so I called his mobile which was also switched off, so I rang the operator and she said he was no longer a customer. I always had Howard’s brother’s number on my mobile (just in case he was taken ill on any canal weekend/camp) and gave him a call. As soon as he said “you are his old canal pal, I have been trying to contact you, you better sit down” I knew what he was saying. Quite a shock coming out of the blue like that. Jeff, his brother didn’t know my name and had been trawling through his address book trying to find a clue. He was cremated on Monday 20 August at Cardiff crematorium. It was a simple non religious service with his sister speaking about his life. There were far more there than they expected with many from his blind club. WRG was represented by three of us,

which was good given such short notice. Top marks to Ralph Bateman who flew in from San Diego the day before and didn’t know the location until the morning of the funeral on his way to work in Winchester; he just kept driving to Cardiff! The service ended with Fleetwood Mack’s Albatross which Howard liked, quite fitting really. Howard will be greatly missed by all his friends (that includes the sheep), he was such a good laugh and a real mate, digs will not be the same without him and as Jude Palmer said “he certainly lived life to the full”. What of that white anorak? Well that was another string to his bow, it was his old archery one, he was a Longbow expert and blind archer and they all wear white on the ranges! Being a snappy dresser, it contrasted his dark glasses which protected his eyes and his identity as he was actually in the SAS! (Sheep appreciation society!) Bob Kearney . Any donations to Cardiff Institute for the Blind (See their web site) with a note to say in memory of Howard Williams from a WRG canal friend, or if you prefer to donate to WRG.

RIP Jack Walker

We are sorry to also have to bring you the sad news that Jack Walker has died at the age of 79. He was a regular volunteer for a number of years, working on the Pocklington, Wey & Arun, Cotswold and Grantham canals among others. He was born and lived all his life in the Ripley area of Derbyshire, where he worked for the Coal Board as a draftsman. Besides canals many his interests included aircraft and Computer Aided Design. Retiring early, he spent time with his family: he leaves a wife Joyce, son Robert and daughters Patricia and Jacqueline. He is pictured (left) with regular members of his team (left to right) Dave Walters, Horace Edwards and Phil Sparham. As Dave puts it “Some of you will remember us as a team of hard-working funsters, and this was our leader.”

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Newland Furnace

A historic iron furnace that once helped to supply the Ulverston Canal needs volunteers

Is there such a thing as a free Tirfor? No Such thing as a free tirfor

survived by sending ore from their own mines in their own ships to Ellesmere Port, and from there by narrow boat to the Black Country. Their pigiron from Newland, Backbarrow and Bonawe took the same route. The Newland Furnace Trust has workmeets most Fridays at 7pm and most last Saturdays of the month at 1pm. There is more information about Harrison Ainslie on the Lindal and Marton website and about the trust at http://www.cwaas.org.uk/ newland/. P Sandbach

A friend asked if we could do with a tirfor at Newland Furnace. I said no, but WRG might have it, and that would have been that except that Jen asked if we wanted anything for it. The penny was slow to drop. There are many things the Newland Furnace Trust might ask for. Two ton of gritsand and 30 bags of NHL2 would be nice. Ten builders to stick the furnace walls together using the resulting lime mortar would be better. We would like five archaeologists to remove the rubble from the furnace stack scientifically, or failing that, two strong men with pickaxes. Or we could ask for someone who knew how to change the drum on an Alko cement mixer. More realistically, can I put a request for volunteers in Navvies? Newland Furnace was built in 1747 by the company that would eventually become Harrison Ainslie. When the rest of the world converted to using coke to smelt iron, Harrison Ainslie stuck with charcoal into the 20th century. Newland ceased production in 1891, but the furnace stack is almost complete, and it is our intention that it will not be left to fall down. The work to be done includes sealing the top of the furnace stack to prevent water percolating through the structure, then pointing the stonework with lime mortar What has this to do with canals? Well the leat that drove the waterwheel at Newland was the feeder for the Ulverston canal. Until The tap hole of Newland Furnace about 1860 the company

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Bungle is still rebuilding a KL15 crane - will there still be any canals left to restore by the time he finishes it?

The story so far

In the last episode, we had discovered the bottom king post bearing had excessive play. In order to access this the superstructure needs to be removed and so the crane would need to be moved from its position on the bank of the millpond at Claverton Pumping Station on the Kennet & Avon to the hard standing on the other side of the bridge. The crane has been in this position for a couple of years....

Getting ready for the move

Plant

The KL15 Crane tion I had used my 110 with front hitch, but I had been most inconsiderate and sold it. My replacement vehicle (a series 3 soft top) had no front hitch, but that was soon rectified after a quick session on Ebay.

Moving day The fence was removed and the Land Rover attached to the front of the crane with the pole ready to drag it out of the corner where it had been resting for the past couple of years. Following a false start (note to self, forgetting to engage the freewheel hubs on the front axle can be embarrassing) the crane was soon on the move. Once the crane had been dragged forward and lined up with the gap in the fence, we moved the Land Rover around to the back of the crane to drag it out onto the main track. Again the Land Rover was coupled up and began to drag the crane up the slope onto the track. This involved the crane going onto a slight side slope, and suddenly the wedges stopping the superstructure moving slipped, the superstructure slewed downhill due to the weight of the counterbalance and

First job was to jack the crane up and re-fit the wheels. Also one of the tyres had a puncture already so this required fixing. Remembering the job of dismantling and reassembling the wheels was hard work, the wheel was taken to a tyre company who did puncture repairs for a fixed price - bet they regretted that! As the slewing gear was missing there was no slew brake, so the counterweight was wedged to stop the superstructure from slewing. The steering gear was refitted and greased, the tyres on the crane were bought up to pressure and the accumulated clutter (mainly wooden blocks that had been used to hold the crane up when it had no wheels) was cleared out of the way. There were some housekeeping tasks as well: as the engine was not fitted, it would be necessary to move the crane using a pole and Land Rover. The ‘pasty wagon’ (the WRG box body Land Rover) being a 130 was too large and far too heavy for use on the soft soil of the mill pond bank. When we had put the crane into posiEasy does it! The crane is moved for the first time in years

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Plant

“Next time the crane gets involved in a lifting operation for the first time in years. It’s the crane that’s being lifted...”

The KL15 Crane

the crane ended up balanced on two wheels at a precarious angle. The only thing stopping it sliding down the bank was the tow pole with a 35 year old Landrover on the end of it! After giving the situation careful thought, a chain pull lift was used to slew the superstructure back around. This allowed the crane to sit back on an even keel and the move continued with no further incident. Once the crane was on the main track it was plain sailing, one thing that was noticed was how Not what was meant to happen - the crane on two wheels much easier the steering was compared to when the crane was last moved, but then as it is almost all new or refurbished, that is hardly surprising really.....

Next time: The crane gets involved in a lifting operation for the first time in years as the “Goliath” at Claverton gets to grips with removing the superstructure. Yes, it is the KL15 being lifted rather than the other way around! George ‘Bungle’ Eycott

The crane arrives safely in its new home across the bridge. Bet you can’t wait for the next episode!

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Our regular lock at restoration progress around the country begins in the Midlands...

Progress

Lichfield & Hatherton and Wey & Arun

Lichfield & Hatherton Canals The Trust’s own volunteers have continued work at the Tamworth Road Locks site on the Lichfield Canal. They are currently reconstructing the bywash below Lock 26 in preparation for further work by visiting groups in September. Care has to be taken to ensure that there is provision for all possible future flow requirements if the Severn Trent Water storm drain that is currently laid in the canal bed is diverted into the canal. A large consignment of dressed stones from the contractors reconstructing the nearby West Coast Main Line railway is currently stored in Pound 25 and a stone cutter will be purchased to ensure the best use of these. The work container has been relocated to the compound below Lock 26 and materials are now stored, by arrangement with the owner, in the outbuildings. Discussions continue on best practice to rebuild the wall from Lock 26 to the A38 road crossing. Hedge planting has been authorised on the boundary with the A38. We have welcomed groups from Land Rover and the Environment Agency. Both have undertaken site tidying work with the EA volunteers concentrating on Fosseway Lane. The Land Rover Team are booked to return in September and we hope they will paint the lift bridge at Darnford Lane, design a system for raising the grille on the culvert under the bridge and possibly work on the site of the former flashflood breach by the golf club. Our partnership with Great Barr School has resulted in visits by pupils who have undertaken environmental work and carried out their own surveys. Meanwhile the construction of the navigation culvert under the Birmingham Road by contractors as part of the Lichfield Southern Bypass construction work is now complete. We are in cordial discussions with Staffordshire Highways on their plans to extend the Southern bypass and to tunnel under the freight railway close to former Lock 19. Regular maintenance work continues on the Hatherton Canal under the direction of

Denis Cooper. There are good prospects that the future widening of the M6 motorway will enable the Trust to resolve the major blockage where it crosses the canal. Discussion continue with landowners and developers to secure the best route east of Churchbridge for the canal to be diverted around the demolished Churchbridge Locks and Cannock Extension section of the route. Brian Kingshott

Wey & Arun Canal One by one, we are knocking down the remaining obstacles to starting construction of the B2133 bridge/tunnel at Loxwood. We can now be very optimistic that building will have begun in October. It has taken longer than we hoped, but we now have full clearance to distribute the Canal Completion Strategy produced by Atkins, the international consultants. The summary of the report (the Implementation Plan), a document of about 20 pages, is available for download at www.weyandarun.co.uk/ rest_strat_rpt.php. The Trust can’t emphasise too strongly that the Atkins report is the work of independent consultants. The Wey & Arun Canal Trust were only one of the stakeholders who commissioned the report. So it is not a statement of Trust policy, although it will certainly guide some of our thinking about future planning. The full report will be available on CD for a nominal charge. Many have commented that, following the lowering of Brewhurst Lock, the traditional short boat trip from the Onslow Arms to Brewhurst Bridge and back has become a little too short. It is already possible to experience the complete navigable section at Loxwood on a long trip at 3pm on Saturdays (booking with the office is advisable). Now, for an experimental period, there will also be a “Sunday outing” at 3pm on Sundays. This Sunday trip will go from the Onslow Arms to Baldwins Knob Lock and back, which will take just over 1 hour. Julian Morgan

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Progress

Sussex Ouse Navigation

Reporting from a fiveday dig at Isfield Lock in West Sussex where not everything went entirely to plan...

to a presumed high position. That done, the idea was for all to ride back from site in the Over the week-end June 23/24, we had a Land Rover, but alas upon turning the key a visiting work group from KESCRG and subnasty metallic sound was emmitted and no stantial progess was made. With two diggers start. on site we were able to excavate around the As the vehicle was broadside across the remains of the original lock gates and lift public footpath, although now flooded, it them clear of the chamber for storage to be was necessary to move the vehicle to a safe used as patterns for future replacement. position and the hired-in dumper was duly Also, the upper cut was ‘attacked’ by attached but failed to move the vehicle. It the chain saw boys and supporting crew and was now a desperate situation with the lock we now have a clear view of the original chamber full to the top and overflowing the profile of the canal almost to where it joins concrete dam which replaced the top gates the Ouse above the weir. A big thank you to into the upper cut. KESCRG members for your efforts which has I had on site my own very ancient significantly advanced our work. Benford dumper which due to its numerous I planned our own ‘Big Dig’ from Thurs- and varied deficiencies that I alone underday 19 - Monday 23 to try to complete the stand, is an ‘owner/driver only’. I waded over remaining chamber excavation at one hit to to where it was parked, inserted the crank maximise the cost advantage of a week’s hire handle, prayed and turned simultaneously of a dumper over a daily rate. and behold she responded with the usual Day 1 was fine apart from a track becloud of black smoke. coming detached from the digger in the I dove though 2-3ft of water and atsludge of the lock invert, but two hours later tached a chain to the Land Rover and with we were up and running again. her unladen weight of 2.5 tons and good Day 2 started by sitting in cars until 12 tyres she dug in and moved the vehicle to a noon due to thunderstorms and heavy rainhigh ground position, after which I gunned it fall, but then the sun came out and everythrough about 3 ft of water to a relatively dry thing was rosy again although the ground field and thence to the cars. was too wet for safe excavation and so we Day 3 cancelled as site flooded. re-arranged and tidied our tool container and Day 4 Sunday afternoon, I visited the then proceeded to explore the walls of the site and with the water now receeded, I was lock approach and discovered a barge lay-by able to re-fit the digger track and return which was certainly the wharf of the long digger to the safety of the compound. Also, gone paper mill. I investigated the Land Rover and discovBy now the river level was rising ered that only one bolt was holding the quickly, and upon the advice of the farmer starter motor in place and that was loose, we stopped work and prepared to leave the so by tightening this I managed to start the site, but as I drove the digger up the access engine and remove the vehicle for further ramp from the top cut, the law of sod deattention. scended upon us and the track came off. Day 5 saw 4 members on site and we With water now rapidly approaching the used the time to pump out the camber with 3 digger from two directions, I donned thigh pumps in action and also to clear a fallen waders and proceed to wade through rapdly willow tree from across the river. rising water to where my Land Rover was Needless to say, I am now awaiting parked, drove back to the digger and after delivery of a new digger track - what do they much manouvering and skidding was able to say about putting off what needs doing? drag the digger up the bank with the winch Paul Morris

Sussex Ouse

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Do you want to buy a statoinary engine? Or a roll of chestnut paling? Or a KESCRG mug that you already have? Or a Christmas pint to cheer the editor up?

Navvies news

Where are our mugs?

The National: a mugs game?

And from North West...

A question for all those at the National, now you have got home and unpacked ( I hope). How many of you have suddenly found that you are a proud owner of a green KESCRG anniversary mug, BUT you cannot remember how exactly you came by it?? Jogging some memories? Well KESCRG were asked to bring mugs etc for the Camp to use, but on tidying up we find poor KESCRG are down a lot of mugs which they do not seem to have received any money for... They would like to either have the money or the mug back. If you are coming along to Bonfire Bash (which you should be and already booked in!), please deal with Ian, Eddie or myself. Moose

...we have an even finer assortment of junk on offer to raise funds for restoration... WRG NW’s old 20ft by 10ft gazebo (used at IWA National Festivals 2002-6), consisting of two ‘concertina’ stell frames, two tops, six side panels, centre gutter, guy ropes and pegs. Very solid, not a lightweight job. Also usable as two separate units. Price negotiable. Three long wooden (not plywood) tables with folding legs. Free to waterways group. Ten rolls of chestnut paling fencing 1m high, total length 80m+. Free to waterways group. 1970s historic canal slides transferred onto CD-ROM at £1 each inc p&p. Cheques pay ‘WRG (North West) - to John Foley at 1 Ridge Close, Hadfield, Glossop SK13 2EA. Tel 01457 853582.

New on the web... A new website about Lord Rolle’s Canal, also known as the Torrington Canal, in Devon. See www.therollecanal.co.uk. Webmaster Adrian Wills weelcomes your comments on the site.

Plant for sale ‘Welsh Phil’ Scott has what he describes as “a list of classic tat” which is available for a suitable donation to the Droitwich Barge Lock Appeal... A c.1950s(?) Ransomes Ajax 12 inch mk2 cylinder lawnmower. A Thwaites Tusker Digger Dumper. complete with digging arm, dumper skip and a quantity of spare parts. Rough runner, needs work. A c.1952 Petter type A1 stationary engine, on trolley, restored. Single cylinder 4-stroke air cooled petrol engine, 2hp@1000 rpm. Plus another item probably not really described as ‘plant’: Nokia 5500D mobile phone, still in box with all the bits & car charger, unused. All located South Wales. Contact Phil by email to phil.o.scott@googlemail.com or phone 07780518984.

And finally... In theory the next issue including the Canal Camps 2008 brochure will be with you by mid-December and you can ponder which camps to go on next year while you are stuffing the turkey (if you’re a New Year camps cook), stuffing yourself (if you’re a volunteer) or stuffing the waterways (if you happen to work for DEFRA). But we all know what will happen, given that it’s now five weeks past the press date as I try to finish this issue, I’m owed three canal camp reports which I was promised but which never turned up, and I’ve just seen a pig fly past the window going “Oink oink, the Chairman’s page is on its way now, oink oink”... So rather than wait till the next issue when it will be too late, I’ll take the opportunity now to wish all the readers and contributors a happy Christmas and all the best for 2008. And thank you to everyone who contributed - especially if you sent it on time. [exits muttering: ‘bah humbug...’]

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NOTICEBOARD Online Navvies subscriptions 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

New arrivals Congratulations to Kaye & Ralph Bateman on the arrival of Jack Charles on September 11th and to Rachel and Tom Jeffries on the arrival of Henry Edward Kendrgick on September 29th Meanwhile the patter of tiny feet threatens to become a mighty rumble of tiny feet: Our best wishes to Emma & Dan Evans, Liz & Ian Williamson, Ruth & Steve Davis, Claire & Ian Nelson, Jo (‘Smudge’) & Dave (‘Taz’) Tarrant, Rachel Parr & Danny French, and anyone else I’ve forgotten. There should be one hell of a bunch of first-timers on rhe first camp of 2026...

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

Stamps wanted

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.

And so to 2008... Barn Dance March 1st BCN Cleanup April 5th-6th More next time

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Directory update

The following entries were omitted from the Directory last time: Rolle Canal and Northern Devon Waterways Society: Adrian & Hilary Wills, Vale Cottage, 7, Annery Kiln, Weare Giffard, Bideford, EX39 5JE. Tel: 01237 477705 Email: adrian@thewills.eclipse.co.uk or info@therollecanal.co.uk River Gipping Trust Lewis Tyler, Secretary, Church Cottage, The Street, Capel St Mary IP9 2EL. secretary@rivergippingtrust.org.uk Friends of the Cromford Canal Tony Brookes ggsonbolding@gmail.com mobile 07770 350853 The next full directory will be in issue 227. Please send additions, deletions or updates to the editor

Moving house... Steve and Ruth Davis have moved to 15 Guest Road Bishopstoke Eastleigh Hampshire SO50 6AP If you move house don’t forget to tell Navvies Subscriptions about it!

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


Infill

...which is like ‘backfill’ only inside the mag... ...and I’m afraid it’s all pictures this time, as nobody sent in anything else amusing. Come on folks, I’m sure you can write (or crib) the odd snippet for the back page. Please!

Why is Suzie trying to winch Ed’s Land Rover backwards into a ditch. Was it something he said? Note the fiendish grin on her face....

The pic last time of Bungle and lot of water at the abandoned Saul Festival site produced a couple of suggestions from John Hawkins: “I think that pump gland must still be leaking” “You did turn the tap off, didn’t you?”

Sorry but the true answer is infinitely more boring: they were using the Land Rover to anchor the cable while they shifted coping stones at Baylham. But feel free to ignore this disappointment and suggest what either Ed or Suzie might have been saying... ...and it wouldn’t be a real Navvies without at least one reference to well-known camp leader Mr Dave ‘Moose’ Hearnden. Here’s a photo sent in by John Hawkins...

“Anyone who deliberately disobeys the camp leader’s instructions will be given one firm warning...” ...or can you suggest anything better?

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Profile for The Inland Waterways Association

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