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navvies volunteers restoring

waterways

First of the summer camp reports

Book now for the Bonfire Bash Beware the Wendover Bee!

waterway recovery group

Issue No 230 August-September 2008 page 1


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 Printing and assembly: John & Tess Hawkins, 4 Links Way, Croxley Green, Rickmansworth, Herts WD3 3RQ 01923 448559 john.hawkins@wrg.org.uk 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 part of The Inland Waterways Association, (registered office: 3 Norfolk Court, Norfolk Rd. Rickmansworth WD3 1LT). The Inland Waterways Association is a non-profit distributing company limited by guarantee, registered in England no 612245, and registered as a charity no 212342. VAT registration no 342 0715 89. Directors of WRG: Rick Barnes, John Baylis, Mick Beattie, Malcolm Bridge, Spencer Collins, Christopher Davey, Roger Day, Neil Edwards, George Eycott, John Fletcher, Adrian Fry, John Hawkins, Jennifer Leigh, Judith Palmer, Michael Palmer, Jonathan Smith. Secretary: Neil Edwards ISSN: 0953-6655 Š 2008 WRG

Visit our web site www.wrg.org.uk for page 2


Contents

In this issue...

Above: Chesterfield Canal: London WRG volunteers shuttering up ready to pour the concrete foundations for the footbridge narrows at Renishaw. See pages 8-11 for a report of what the subsequent canal camp got up to. Left: Wilts & Berks: Lock 4 at Seven Locks nearing completion: see next issue for a full report and photos from the KESCRG camp there. Front cover: Work starts on clearing the Droitwich Barge Lock Back cover main photo: Cotswold Canals: taking down damaged brickwork ready for rebuilding on Gough’s Orchard Lock during Camp 0808 - full report next time. Inset (upper): Ipswich & Stowmarket Navigation: bricklaying on the ‘bendy wall’ during camp 0806 - see camp report on pages 12-14. Inset (lower): Chesterfield Canal: Camp 0804 volunteers building the Renishaw footbridge narrows - see report on pages 8-11. (Photo by Miccy Jay) All uncredited photos by the editor. And speaking of Canal Camps: don’t forget, the press date for issue 231 is September 1st, so let’s have all your camp reports and photos in by then, and we’ll make it a bumper issue!

Chairman is MKP in a hole digging mud, or slinging it at British Waterways... 4-5 Coming soon autumn and winter Canal Camps and Christmas digs 6-7 Camp reports from the Chesterfield Canal and the Ipswich & Stowmarket 8-14 WRGBC The Boat Club goes to Saul 15 Diary canal camps and weekend digs 16-18 Directory WRG and canal societies 19-21 Letters on Cookers and Campers 22 Progress roundup of what’s happening around the restoration projects 23-26 London WRG the dig that never was 27 Navvies news a new cooker, a lesson in Welsh and some unusual ice-cream! 28 Noticeboard job vacancies in WRG 29 Infill dangerous animals on the cut 30-31

Contributions... ...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 231: September 1st.

Subscriptions A year's subscription (6 issues) is available for a minimum of £1.50 to Sue Watts, 15 Eleanor Road, Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Manchester M21 9FZ. Cheques to "Waterway Recovery Group" please. This is a minimum subscription, 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


MKP gets deep down ’n’ dirty Chairman’s comment I’m writing this as I recover from the first Droitwich Canal Camp of the summer. It was really, really great. It was like the last twenty years had never happened – a big lock chamber full of wet, sloppy s**t, lots of shovelling and a barrow hoist! Top that off with a cracking good team of volunteers and, thanks to Jenny at Head Office, a fantastic accommodation and you can probably imagine my smile. There is still rather a lot to do but we managed one important bit, namely clearing enough of the structure for British Waterways to measure up for the gates. Which really does give us a bit of a spur as they will be coming to fit them on the last day of our last camp (i.e. as you read this). So by the time we all meet up at the IWA National Festival it should be complete. What’s more they have actually started building the channel and locks to get from ‘our’ Junction locks (the ones we finished restoring back in 2001-2) down, under the motorway and into Vines Park. So by the end of this year it will be technically possible to take a boat down from the Worcs & Brum Canal down into the centre of Droitwich. Obviously you won’t actually be allowed to do it as the hydrology and ecology of the Droitwich junction make it one of the most complicated schemes in the country and they will still be tweaking it and checking the mitigation has all worked but sometime in the following year the chance to boat to The Railway Public House will be very real. I saw quite a lot of the cruising ring that the DCT restoration will create when Martin, Jenni, Eddie and I did our sponsored cycle ride to raise funds for the Barge Lock appeal. In a spirit of openness and honesty I have to admit a deviation from what we promised. The actual event was on the Sunday. As Camp leader I was a bit busy on Sunday (as were Eddie and Jen) so we did it on the Saturday (but we did stick to the proper route and didn’t cheat nor nothing),

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whereas Martin who was busy on the Ipswich & Stowmarket on Saturday did it on the Sunday. The downside of the three of us doing the ride a day early is that we got to do it in the pouring rain. You can see photos of it on www.justgiving.com/wrgbikes. So an update on the Barge Lock Appeal would seem to be in order. The actual figure is tantalizing close to the magic £100k figure so if you have any donations hanging around then now would be a very good time to send them. I reckon that sometime during our next three weeks at Droitwich we shall hit the target which gives a new meaning to “just in time” funding. But, of course, it’s not raising the funds that counts it’s the actual work and so I am pleased to say that such is the level of confidence in the works being complete that the date of 26th Sept has been picked for the completion celebrations. It’s another Friday ceremony I’m afraid but that is the consequence of the work we do being appreciated by people who have big wallets but don’t work weekends. So if you can make a weekday then pop the date in your diary. One thing that has become obvious this year is a feeling among “A big lock chamber fu many of the volunteers (especially those who get involved as leaders) that we could do with a nice big project, where you don’t spend all week setting it up then taking it down again. (These things are of course cyclical and no doubt soon we will be bored with always going to the same site and want a bit of variety…) Anyway the point is that, thanks to several generous legacies, Mike Palmer

Chairman

“As anyone who has tried to deal with BW will tell you, their entire culture is based on trying to push the risk onto anyone else”


we are actually in a position where we might be able to help fund and run a big project. At this point in the year we normally write out to all the canal societies to see what projects they may have for next year. So this (next!) year we are also in the market for bigger projects that need a bit of funding and planning to get them going. More details to follow but here is one big tip: these are legacies that have been left to WRG not anyone else. Which implies that…

build a marina but when you are a volunteer trying to help out with a restoration then why should you assume all of the risk? When I refer to ‘risk’ I’m not talking about Health and Safety for once - just the basics such as “what are you going to do if you don’t complete all the work?” “Er… I don’t know mate, I’m doing you a favour here.” It’s often impossible to get the information you need out of BW because they are scared it might be used against them. It’s not the individuals, as they are (often) lovely they wanted to show what volunteers can do one of them even sponsored our bike ride they appreciated the way WRG do it it’s the culture/management regime that just So don’t think of this as just another doesn’t allow any element of risk to be taken funding application, as you would apply to unless it’s by someone else. Let us hope that IWA/HLF/Esme Fairburn/[insert name of any of now BW have officially raised the issue from the other funds that have helped canal restora- their side, they are able to understand how it tion]. This has to provide a genuine showcase feels to be on the receiving end of it. for volunteers and what they can do. We will be Finally my regular update on the WRG judging them critically - and if it is just something jobs list. I’m pleased to say that we have had that a contractor could do for a bit more money a few offers to deal with some of the jobs then we are not interested. This should focus (see www.wrg.org.uk) but there are still a on the extras that volunteers bring and maxim- few up for grabs. In particular one job has ise this. It may not come just come up, as my wife has now got herto pass in 2009, but self a job covering the whole country over maybe 2010… very irregular hours and also Mandy Morley Just to contradict is taking on some other responsibilities the opening paragraph, outside of WRG. Both have looked after WRG which might seem to Publicity for ages but are now having to step suggest sweetness and down from that task. So we really do need harmony with British someone (or ideally several someones) to Waterways (at least on help with this. You may have noticed that the Droitwich), I was previously I have been keen to stress that rather amused by revolunteering to take on one of these jobs cent press coverage doesn’t mean you are stuck with lots of concerning the Govern- committee meetings and being tied up for ment Select Commitparticular weekends. And it must be said that tee’s report on traditionally the job of publicity has involved “Whether to give BW a both of these things. However, just because big spanking about we have traditionally done things this way is pulling out of the Cots- no reason to keep doing so. If you can think wolds” (I think the of ways of raising our profile and getting actual title was slightly new members by any other technique then different). The select we would like to hear from you. And if you committee concluded fancy doing things the old fashioned way by that it was not fair that going to rallies, etc. then we would also like BW has to take all of to hear from you. ull of wet sloppy s**t” the risk of restorations We also need somewhere to store the when it was the whole of society that reaped WRG display stand (currently housed with the benefits in the long term. Unsurprisingly Mandy and Steve in Milton Keynes) so if BW agreed with this, and I thought to myself people can help out there than that would be “that’s a bit rich”. Because, as anyone who super. Contact me or Jenny Black at Head has tried to deal with BW recently will tell Office (01923 711114) for further info. you, their entire culture is based on trying to Anyway, back to the digging – it’s what push the risk onto anyone else. Which is fine summer was made for, you know… if it’s a contractor being paid a million quid to Mike Palmer

. .

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Coming soon

Festival, Bonfire Bash and (gulp!) Christmas... IWA National Festival canal camp, Autherley Junction August 18-28 By the time you receive this the National Festival will be just a few days away - and the site at Autherley Junction near Wolverhampton will already be well into the early stages of transformation from a field into the largest inland waterways festival in the country. But there’s still time for you to offer your services for a few days to help make it happen. Just email the leader Dave Worthington on dave.worthington@tiscali.co.uk or his assisant Jenny Black via head office on 01923 711114 (they’re in the process of moving office so you may get a redirection message) or email jenny.black@waterways.org.uk. Alternatively if you want to contact them after the camp’s actually started, use either of the camp phones 07850 422156 or 07850 422157 - but whatever you do, please tell them you’re coming, especially if you’re hoping for any camping space because there isn’t a great deal of it available.

Barge Lock completion ceremony, Droitwich Canals, September 26 Not a work party, but a celebration to mark what we hope will be the completion of one of our major projects for this year: complete restoration of the Barge Lock in Vines Park, Droitwich. Afraid it’s on a Friday, but if you can get the day off do come down and help us celebrate our achievements. Contact Mike Palmer for details.

Autumn Camp, Grand Western Canal, October 11-18 This year’s autumn camp takes place at Nynehead, where we’re carrying on our work to uncover and conserve the remains of the best surviving example of a whole series of boat lifts on this fascinating and little-known waterway. Your leaders for this week are Jenny Black (again!) and Adrian Fry, and Mitch Gozna will be cooking. Please book via the website or using a camps booking form.

Bonfire Bash, Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation, November 1-2 This is our annual reunion get-together for everyone from the summer canal camps, the WRG (and other) regional groups, and anyone else who wants to come - the more, the merrier. But by way of a change, it isn’t a big scrub-bash on a derelict canal, it’s a major push to improve the state of a waterway that’s actually open to boats, but which we nearly lost a couple of years ago when the original canal company went bust and IWA took it over to save it from closing down. As you might imagine it was in a bit of a state, and IWA subsidiary Essex Waterways Ltd has been doing its best to put it back in good order on a limited budget - and we’re going to help them. That doesn’t mean there won’t be scrub-bashing and bonfires - but they’ll be spread along the 12 miles of the banks of the navigation from Chelmsford to Heybridge near Maldon. And we’ll all get together for a party on the Saturday night as usual. More details next time; in the meantime fill in the form opposite and send it off.

London WRG / KESCRG Christmas dig, Wilts & Berks, December 6-7 Yes, it’s the c-word already - Christmas! And although we aren’t sure which site(s) we’ll be working on yet, it’s definitely on the Wilts & Berks Canal - so put the date in your diary and look out for more information in the next issue. And as usual, it isn’t limited to London WRG or KESCRG regulars - everyone is welcome irrespective of who they usually go digging with.

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New Year Canal Camp, December 26 - Jan 1 This is another one to note down in your diary, rather than anything definite. But rest assured, there will be a New Year Canal Camp, it will almost certainly involve scrub-bashing and big bonfires, 2009 will be welcomed-in in the traditional manner, and there will be more next time.

For details of all forthcoming events see www.wrg.org.uk

waterway recovery group

Reunion Bonfire Bash 2008 I would like to attend the 2007 WRG Bonfire Bash on the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation on November 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 £

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

(cost is £12 for the whole weekend) 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: Please send this form to: Bonfire Bash Bookings, WRG, PO Box 114, Rickmansworth WD3 1ZY

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Camp report

The Summer Canal Camps 2008 programme gets under way with a week of fun with concrete blocks on the Chesterfield Canal

Chesterfield Canal

Everyone arrived, most people with sleeping bags and bedding. James (not me the The Chesterfield camp this year all started other one) had had a thieving postie take his with a begging plea from Adrian Fry needing camp instructions away from him so he didn’t leaders ASAP. As the locals were so helpful know about needing to bring a sleeping bag last year I couldn’t sit back and let them see etc. By chance I took a spare and a pillow. Sunday came and people were stirring their camp being cancelled so Mike Chase and I were signed up. ‘I wonder if the Ches- quite early. (That changed by the end of the terfield curse would strike again?’ I thought... week!) We arrived on site - a concrete blocklined narrowing of the canal which will form The curse? Let me explain... It began on last year’s camp when minibus RFB (the the base for a footbridge - to find the local old one) had the clutch start to slip. Then the chavs from last year still hadn’t grown up beginning of May this year came and WRG and had destroyed the fencing. It made it North West had a dig on the site to be our easier for us to get in I guess! We had plenty camp, so I joined them to see our site. It of locals turn up and train a few people in was my birthday too and on the way home concrete block laying. Now if a duck takes to my “trusty” Land Rover decided the M1 was a water easily, then Chris and Frank must have great place to over heat - and got taken been ducks in a previous life. They grasped home on a low loader. So the end of May the block laying really quickly and became the experts all week and the teachers for came and London WRG had a dig there. An ideal chance to see how progress was going other people fancying the idea of laying a and do my site visit. I had a WRG van this block or two. time. ‘Nothing can go wrong, can it?’ I got We also had a slight “puddle” to fill in the biggest piece of metal in the tyre on the too. There is a natural spring under the site way back from site. Oh well bad luck strikes so an area of low land in the main walkway in threes... through the site had filled up with water. Our Saturday June 21st arrived. I had RFB task was to put earth in and stomp. We had (the new shiny one) to take to the camp. the Renishaw Stomp dance going on a treat. Remember the bad luck!!!?? Yes it came back A bit like Riverdance but classier! I then with the lights on the van wiring shorting out thought that to compact it further the locals’ 300 yards from where I picked the trailer up. Transit van might be a good thing to try. The front wheel went on and sank. I backed out I thought it was going to be one of THOSE camps. But thankfully that’s where the camp quick and left it alone!! That night some went problems ended. to the pub upstairs whilst the rest of us heard the bad singer from our beds through the ceiling. Monday came and the first job was to backfill the wall with clay and stomp it in. Then onto the block laying. We also trimmed back some trees that were overhanging the towpath. We got a bit carried away and Mick the local asked us to trim back the trees to get a line of sight through to make sure the bridge narrows were in the right place. ‘Too late now’, I thought... Maz got taught by the two experts and she was found to be a born natural too. Terry the local came on site every day and mixed some mortar, then a bit Blocklaying in progress Miccy Jay

Chesterfield camp report 0804

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a hand but by then we had moved on to smaller roots. He did a grand job moving the handle and the phrase for that day was “it’s moving, nearly out, keep going.” Tonight’s entertainment was organised by Mike. Not Mick or Mick. Yes confusion did set in by then in my head as Mick not the local joined us from now on. We went for a magical mystery tour, including a walk along the re-opened section that I boated on on NB Augusta a few years ago, at the Kiveton Park end of Norwood Tunnel. It was lovely to see it all again and two cargo boats moored up for the evening. Mick the local recommended the walk to us. “Oh yes” he said “there is a lovely walk going back along next to the canal feeder stream.” Lovely walk? More like a scrub bash site prior to a Reunion dig... The plan was to have a picnic which Louise had organised for dinner. This wasn’t the place for it. So Mike guided us to Kiveton reservoir. That closed in 10 minutes time. So here wasn’t the place either. About turn again. Next he led us to Mill Green in Staveley. This is the end of the other restored section which will be hosting the National Trailboat Festival next year. It was very beautiful and tranquil and the ideal spot for dinner. Thursday saw another delivery of blocks and sand. This arrived slightly later than the last lorry leaving us not much time to lay blocks that day. We got to a point where we were 1 row away from completion on the off side and 2 rows away on the towpath side. Friday again we laid, we back filled, we Tirfored, and a new job - counting kit in! The local project planner came to site and he said it was the best half hour of his week and was amazed by what we achieved, Mick the local was worried we weren’t going to leave his Sunday crew any work for that weekend and was impressed by how much we achieved too. I also got given a present from Mick and Louise (the locals not the WRGie ones) - my very own Derby Council T-shirt to be worn outside of Derby. I’m starting to get a collection of council T-shirts beginning with D now! We had somethingand-chips to let Louise have Mike Chase

more, then a bit more… he was just a mixing machine. ReadyMix, be careful! We also put a concrete slab down as the foundations had moved slightly when London WRG filled them. That evening we went bowling where Rachel who said she was rubbish at it proved to be fibbing - she scored more bowling one ball at a time than the rest of us bowling two. For this we gave her the ‘Lobbit and see’ award at the end of the week. Tuesday arrived and people weren’t getting up nearly as early as on the Sunday. I was slowly wearing them out!! Captain Chris, Frank and Maz with their teams were getting on so fast with their blocklaying that we organised a delivery of more blocks at 9:15am. This was great but it did mean we had to shift 2 pallets worth into the container in the evening. 1 pallet = nearly 100 blocks. 1 block = approx 15kg and getting heavier each time you pick another block up! So after last tea-break we all set out to move them. We were very pleased to see Louise with our dinner that night!!! Some people again went up to the pub but the rest of us stayed in the accommodation and listened to the line dancers hammering away at the floor above! No need to count sheep, we tried to count the beat but failed! Wednesday saw more blocks laid, more clay backfill, and then a new toy turned up a Tirfor winch! Emma and Rachel wanted a go so I showed them how to use it. Emma being Emma and liking a challenge wanted to go for the biggest root first. A bit ambitious as the Tirfor wasn’t man enough to pull it out. Or should that be Emma, Rachel and myself weren’t strong enough to move the handle any further? James came over to lend

Doing the Renishaw Stomp

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Chesterfield Canal

a night off and then silly party games commenced. Emma’s “playing card into a hidden envelope” game was great but the most laughs was her “hit a potato up around a cup and back by swinging another potato in a pair of tights” game. Nina who joined us to travel down to the Ipswich camp the next day probably thought we were a bunch of nutters. We were nutters, happy worn out nutters! My thanks go to: Mike for being my assistant, Louise for cooking all week, Emma for being MUP (most useful person) Chris and Frank for expertly training others up on block laying and to Terry, Mick and Louise the locals who came along and helped everyday and everyone else who made the week go so smoothly From what looked to be one of “those” camps at the start (and with Wimbledon starting we thought the weather wouldn’t be on our side) it turned out to be fantastic all round. Here’s to Chesterfield 2009! James Butler

The Assistant’s Perspective

The start day of the camp arrived, and so did the rain. After unloading the catering kit, Louise and I did the station pick-ups and shopping, whilst James welcomed those campers arriving by car. Sunday dawned dry, but very windy (the journey along the M1 was ‘interesting’ to say the least). Whilst James took a van load to site, shopping kept me away until lunchtime, when I joined the throng digging out the huge mound of clay for backfill – filling behind both the blocks that had been laid, and the quagmire area above which was a hazard when wet. After cleaning off the tools, I led a team scrub bashing the canal bed southwards from site – by the end of the day, a large clearing had been made. The weather improved on Monday. The previous day’s blockwork was backfilled by Emma and Rachel, whilst Chris and Frank taught Maz to lay blocks. My scrub-bashing team continued to wreak destruction south from site, though they were commandeered to help with the back-filling around lunchtime. In the afternoon, Emma and Rachel infilled one end of the wall with concrete, as the base had been found to not be level, making block laying rather awkward.

Mike Chase

The WRGNW visit over the early May Bank Holiday weekend took delivery of the site container (which only just fitted beneath the road bridge in Renishaw), and erected the fencing around the site (later to be trashed by the locals). At this time, excavations by the local team were of an exploratory nature, trying to find the clay bottom in order to site the foundations. By the start of the London WRG dig at the end of May the hole had been dug to full size, and a third of the offside base had been cast. We completed the remainder of the concrete on both sides, as well as having chance to clear some of the rubbish that had been dumped in last year’s site up by the road bridge. Louise serves ‘WRG pie’

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Mike Chase

Camp Report

The editor makes the mistake of asking both the leader and the assistant for a canal camp report...

Painting the container


Miccy Jay

Evening entertainment was bowling in Mansfield. Tuesday was my first full day on site, arriving to shouts of ‘Camera!!’ – Sarah, on seeing the mud had jumped in, not realising how glutinous it was, and was now stuck, with everyone else looking on. Eventually James and Ian freed her, though a separate welly rescue needed to be undertaken. After backfilling the previous day’s blocks, blocklaying recommenced with two teams, led by Chris and myself. Meanwhile, scrub bashing continued, with much being cleared to behind the towpath fence. Casualty of the day was Emma, so worn out she was almost asleep as the trailer was being packed. After site, a mini-tour ensued, when the two vans were driven up the Trans-Pennine Trail to view potential work sites. Wednesday saw much progress on the block laying – 1½ courses being laid before running out of blocks. The trust’s Tirfor appeared, Emma, Rachel and both Jameses making use of it to pull stumps from the canal bed. After showers, we started a sightseeing tour of canal sights at Kiveton Park. Following a couple of changes to plan, our picnic dinner was eaten at Mill Green, Staveley, site of canal trust work parties for the previous few years, and limit of navigable canal from Chesterfield. However, Chris was missing site, and proceeded to build a block wall out of carrots and coleslaw! On Thursday, the girls were finally able to paint the container, whilst everyone else backfilled the block work. After taking deliver of blocks at midday, block laying recommenced, though with an early finish, we only completed the previous day’s incomplete courses. From site we headed into Sheffield to the Ponds Forge Sports Centre to go swimming, during which the heavy rain set in.

Just two more courses needed on the right Friday was the last day on site, and there was little evidence of the previous night’s heavy rain. The blocks went up another course either side, after backfilling, and the scrub bashing was completed down to milestone 7. Louise was allowed on site for the day, the evening meal being supplied by the Barlborough Chippy. I had the honour of laying the final block of the week, to the tune of ‘Land of Hope and Glory’, performed by Chris, James and Frank. After checking the tools back in, and packing the trailer, there was just time for a group photo before heading off to the showers, then the hall for the last night party. Fun and games continued into the early hours. This was my first camp as assistant leader, and it was a pleasure to have James as a leader, and such a wonderful mix of campers, who gelled and excelled at whatever task was given to them. Louise, cooking for the first time on a camp did well, after the initial learning curve of the first meal. Her chocolate brownies were to die for – several campers begging for more. Mike Chase

Block Levels:

Offside

Towpath Side

Start End Sunday End Monday End Tuesday End Wednesday End Thursday End Friday

1 course 2 1/3 courses 2 1/3 courses Almost 3 courses 3 1/2 courses 4 courses 5 courses (complete)

1/3 course 1/2 course, outer face complete 1 1/3 courses 1 2/3 courses 2 2/3 courses 3 courses 4 courses (2 remaining)

Number of blocks laid: about 550, which were on average at least double handled, prior to laying. All that remains now is to lay the final two courses on the towpath side, backfill, then lay the brickwork on top and backfill that, then the footbridge can be installed.

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Camp report

“We compared Spain’s Euro 2000 victory to Team Dambuilders’ successful foiling of the River Gipping”

Ipswich & Stowmarket

carried out. At least, that was the plan… Camp 0806: Baylham Lock On Sunday morning the team arrived Ipswich & Stowmarket Navigation

on site and leapt into action. Steel piles were driven into the riverbed by a muscular team including Andy, Sir Clive and Sleepy Dave. Rapid progress was made and the dambuilding target was met by the end of the day. Meanwhile, several volunteers learned bricklaying skills working on the curvy wall at the top of the lock, and Laurie and Martin R fixed handles to the stop planks ready for insertion later in the week. After a productive first day on site we retired to the pub to watch the Euro 2008 Football final, where we (perhaps outrageously) compared Spain’s victory to Team Dambuilders’ successful foiling of the River Gipping. Score: WRG 1 – 0 River Gipping. Monday’s work moved along similar lines. There was progress on the wall, some scrub clearance, and pumping began on the ‘dry’ side of the dam. However, the River Gipping had crept to a stronger position overnight and the Dambuilders were called into action with reinforcements: sawdust to float into the joins between the piles, more piles, and Acrow props. Jack, Laurie and others battled hard for victory, while Sir Clive led the motivational singing: Daaah daa da daaah dada daa da… Score: WRG 2 – 1 River Gipping. By Tuesday enough water had been pumped out of the area at the top of the lock for more jobs to begin. A 1950s effort at rebuilding the curvy wall from concrete without foundations had led to an unsurprising collapse, leaving a very large block of concrete in the cut. Team Pecker made it their mission to remove it with the help of a pneumatic breaker and err… a bit more muscle and several inappropriate jokes. Sarah really got the hang of bricklaying and was joined by Martin R and Gerry, and some local volunteers to make further progress on the wall. Elsewhere on Nina Whiteman

WRG Liz: Come in Cook 1. Requesting distance from target. Over. Cook 1: This is Cook 1. Just leaving Tesco. ETA a bit later than we thought. Out. WRG Nina: Come in van and trailer. Requesting notification of tea o’clock and location of Burco. Over. Logistical officer: Digger here. En route. It may be beer o’clock before destination is reached. Out. And so the camp began: the volunteers arrived, there was tea (eventually), lots of dinner, a beer run, introductions, the safety talk, and a trip to site where the secret location of the WRG dam was finally revealed to the Dambuilders team. This team of volunteers had been recruited from across the country to carry out the task of building a dam across the river Gipping. The new dam would divert water away from Baylham Lock to enable further restoration work to be

Sarah bricklaying on the curvy wall

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Nina Whiteman

Liz Wilson

David Miller

site, David masterminded the removal of two large coping stones from the top of the lock wall and Jenny made mixing her speciality. In the evening we took a boat trip down the River Stour from Sudbury (courtesy of the locals – thank you!). The boats took us to a pub where most people had a beer, apart from one volunteer who rapidly regretted choosing the girly drink with the pink label. On Wednesday our river defences were declared sufficient for concreting to commence. The first job was to shutter the area of the stop plank groove to enable us to Clive breaks concrete Fish rescue seat the first stop plank in concrete. Once the shuttering was in place, the concreting team began mixing, barrowing, shovelling and bucketing in earnest. Even the leaders did some work! Pecking and bricklaying continued and a mission to rescue fish stranded by the dam began, led by the D of E-ers (Alex, Laurie and Jack). With our heads turned to other tasks, the River Gipping took its chance to eat away underneath our dam, so Colin, Matt, Alex and others were redeployed to create reinforcements with plastic and sand bags. Jenny, Sarah and co. provided back up by replenishing stocks of sand bags. The end of the day saw the scores edge to WRG 3 – 2 River Gipping in a thrilling struggle for supremacy (accompanied by bursts of the ‘Dambuilders’ theme tune). The competitive spirit extended to our evening activities where most of us discovered we were distinctly average - but stylish - at bowling. Thursday was another concrete day… as in, it happened, and we did some more concreting. Pecking, repairs to the dam, bricklaying and fishing continued and the team worked like a well-oiled machine. Martian Floodgates arrived on site bringing with him the only weather of the week: torrential rain just as the concrete was going in. He later redeemed himself by laying at least twelve bricks. The concrete team, including Andy, Pete and Martin R completed their task with determination and we left site crossing our fingers that the River Gipping would not level the scores. The evening activity was a fantastic BBQ at the local football club with impressive catering from Chris and Chad, and less impressive games of cricket and rounders, where one of the leaders Boat trip at Great Cornard Lock on the Stour

page 13


Camp report

Nina reports on a ‘thrilling struggle for supremacy’ between WRG and the River Gipping...

Ipswich & Stowmarket

The end of camp awards Award for fishing Award for good banter Award for vibration Award for mixing Award for attention to detail Right tool for the right job award Award for stories

Jack Laurie Peter Jenny Gerry Martin R Matt

Martin Ludgate

Above: Would you trust these two not to poison you? Liz obviously does! Below: concreting in progress

Martin Ludgate

learned that using her not-quite-empty beer can as a rounders post was likely to result in her clothes smelling of beer for the rest of the night. We may have played some drinking games. Returning to site on Friday, the team were disappointed to note that the River Gipping had made it 3 – 3. All hands to the pumps and it was soon WRG 4 – 3 River Gipping. Sarah and both Martins made a serious impact on the bricklaying, more fish were rescued, and by the end of the day there was substantially less concrete left in the cut – well done Team Pecker! And so the stop planks went in at the top of the lock leaving a more permanent obstacle to the river and removing the need for the highmaintenance dam. Final score: WRG 42 – 3 River Gipping. Thank you to everyone who came on the camp, to the locals for their support during the week, and to Geezer Chris and Chad for their fabulous cooking and entertainment. Nina Whiteman

page 14


Strange goings on at Saul: a disappearing gazebo, an unexpected birthday and a mooring official with some odd ideas... ’Pon my Saul! There was a good gathering of club members at the Saul Festival in early July. I use the words that way as I’m not sure that it was a gathering of GOOD members. Am I being paranoid when I suspect it was a fiendish plot, by those that were there early, that caused Pinvin to be one end of the moorings and Lynx at the other while all the others were moored close together somewhere between. There were lots of good things going on at the festival, and despite the lack of sunshine there seemed to be a reasonable number of visitors. I hope we will hear of financially successful results later. We were on the Gloucester and Sharpness canal for a while and had an interesting time exploring some of the bits of the Cotswold Canals. The funding for the restoration of these is the whole point of the festival. The clubhouse was erected on the Friday, near to where most of the members were moored. In the evening we had an informal social gathering. Members brought chairs, glasses and various baffles and potions. Important topics were discussed, such as: What did the mooring officer mean, when replying to a boater’s observation that they couldn’t get their boat into the specified mooring, he told them to ‘You will if you go at it hard enough!’ How come, at a past event, David had his fingers trodden on as he was leaving the bar? And, perhaps most important, can we have the AGM at ‘The National’ as the three club officers that were at Saul won’t be going? PLEASE let me know if you are attending The IWA National Waterways Festival & Boat Show August 23rd 25th at Pendeford Park aka Cut End or Autherley Junction so we can sort things out. With these imponderables on our minds we returned to our boats for the night.

WRG Boat Club

WRG BC at Saul Festival The Mysterious incident of the Gazebo in the night It was a bit windy in the night. While dog walking in the morning we noticed some peoples’ gazebos had collapsed. As we approached the spot where the clubhouse had been erected, there were the chairs but no sign of the gazebo. Had some kind person packed it away for safety? On closer examination we saw that the feet were still there so we started to hunt round. There was a very tall hedge which we couldn’t see over. But on instruction, we went back to a lower bit and from there we could see some legs in the air and bits of canvas that we recognised. We couldn’t access the cornfield (in which they lay) from that point so had to make a detour to reach it. We managed to dismantle it and wrap it all up without losing any bits, and pass it over the lower bit of hedge. We really tried hard not to disturb the growing corn! Once back we did an inventory check one pole bent/broken and one foot still missing despite extensive searching. So that was the end of the clubhouse for the Festival. We will try to get it sorted, but with two boats booked on dock for attention to their bottoms (one involving new planking), I’m afraid it is not top priority. The weather may not have been seasonable warm but what a surprise, especially for one club member, when going to the accommodation on the Saturday night to find a Christmas Party had been organised. It was to celebrate Father Christmas’s birthday. Well done and many thanks to those that not only organised it but managed to keep it as a surprise for Roger (How Old?!!) Burchett I am STILL having troubles with technology in the communications department so please be patient xxx Sadie Dean 07748186867

page 15


Navvies diary

Your guide to all the forthcoming work parties Aug 18-28

Camp 200821 IWA National Festival at Autherley Junction - site services Canal Camp. Le

Sep 6/7

London WRG To be arranged

Sep 6/7

NWPG

Droitwich Barge Canal

Sep 6/7

Essex WRG

Lichfield Canal

Sep 6 Sat

wrgNW

‘Paper Chase’ waste paper collection

Sep 13/14

KESCRG

Thames & Severn Canal: Dig Deep project

Sep 13/14

wrgSW

Thames & Severn Canal: Joint dig with KESCRG

Sep 13/14

wrgNW

To be arranged

Sep 14 Sun WRG

Committee & Board Meetings

Sep 20/21

wrgBITM

Cotswold Canals: Eisey Lock, Dig Deep project. NOTE NEW VENUE. (Wendover A

Sep 27/28

London WRG Thames & Severn Canal: Dig Deep project

Oct 4/5

KESCRG

Basingstoke Canal: Dig Deep project

Oct 4/5

Essex WRG

Foxton Inclined Plane

Oct 4 Sat

wrgNW

‘Paper Chase’ waste paper collection

Oct 11/12

wrgSW

Grand Western Canal: Joint with first weekend of Camp

Oct 11/12

wrgNW

Lancaster Canal

Oct 11-18

Camp 200822 Grand Western Canal Camp: Nynehead Lift

Oct 18/19

London WRG Ipswich & Stowmarket Navigation

Oct 18/19

wrgBITM

Wilts & Berks Canal: Dig Deep project at Seven Locks

Nov 1/2

WRG

Reunion Bonfire Bash on the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation: see page

Nov 1/2

London WRG WRG Reunion Bonfire Bash on the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation

Nov 1/2

KESCRG

WRG Reunion Bonfire Bash on the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation

Nov 1/2

wrgSW

WRG Reunion Bonfire Bash on the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation

Nov 1/2

Essex WRG

WRG Reunion Bonfire Bash on the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation

Nov 1 Sat

WRG

Committee & Board Meetings: on Saturday at the Bonfire Bash

Nov 8/9

NWPG

Basingstoke Canal: Dig Deep project

Nov 8 Sat

wrgNW

‘Paper Chase’ waste paper collection

Nov 15/16

wrgBITM

Wey & Arun Canal

Nov 15/16

wrgNW

Hollinwood Canal

Nov 22/23

London WRG Basingstoke Canal: Dig Deep project

Dec 6/7

London WRG Joint Christmas Party Dig with KESCRG

Dec 6/7

KESCRG

Joint Christmas Party Dig with London WRG

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

page 16


Canal Camps cost ÂŁ49 per week unless otherwise stated. Bookings for WRG Canal Camps (those identified by a camp number e.g. 'Camp 200821') should go to WRG Canal Camps, PO Box 114, Rickmansworth WD3 1ZY. Tel: 01923 711114. Email: enquiries@wrg.org.uk

eaders Dave Worthington and Jenny Black

Arm dig cancelled)

01923-711114

enquiries@wrg.org.uk

Tim Lewis

07802-518094

london@wrg.org.uk

Graham Hawkes

0118-941-0586

grahamhawkes@btinternet.com

John Gale

01376-334896

essex@wrg.org.uk

David McCarthy

0161-740-2179

Eddie Jones

0845-226-8589

eddie@kescrg.org.uk

Mitch Gosna

07768-525469

mitchgozna@hotmail.com

David McCarthy

0161-740-2179

nw@wrg.org.uk

Mike Palmer

01564-785293

mike.palmer@wrg.org.uk

Dave Wedd

01252-874437

bookings@wrgBITM.org.uk

Tim Lewis

07802-518094

london@wrg.org.uk

Eddie Jones

0845-226-8589

eddie@kescrg.org.uk

John Gale

01376-334896

essex@wrg.org.uk

David McCarthy

0161-740-2179

Mitch Gosna

07768-525469

mitchgozna@hotmail.com

David McCarthy

0161-740-2179

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

Tim Lewis

07802-518094

london@wrg.org.uk

Dave Wedd

01252-874437

bookings@wrgBITM.org.uk

01923-711114

enquiries@wrg.org.uk

Tim Lewis

07802-518094

london@wrg.org.uk

Eddie Jones

0845-226-8589

eddie@kescrg.org.uk

Mitch Gosna

07768-525469

mitchgozna@hotmail.com

John Gale

01376-334896

essex@wrg.org.uk

Mike Palmer

01564-785293

mike.palmer@wrg.org.uk

Graham Hawkes

0118-941-0586

grahamhawkes@btinternet.com

David McCarthy

0161-740-2179

Dave Wedd

01252-874437

bookings@wrgBITM.org.uk

David McCarthy

0161-740-2179

nw@wrg.org.uk

Tim Lewis

07802-518094

london@wrg.org.uk

Tim Lewis

07802-518094

london@wrg.org.uk

Eddie Jones

0845-226-8589

eddie@kescrg.org.uk

s 6-7 for booking form and information

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

page 17


Navvies diary

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 Canal SocietiesÂ’ regular monthly or West, London. Tim Lewis 07802-518094 weekly working parties NWPG: 9:00pm on 3rd Tue of month at the Please send amendments to Dave 'Hope Tap', West end of Friar St. Reading. Wedd (address on previous page) Graham Hawkes 0118 941 0586 3rd Sunday of month BCNS Jeff Barley 01543-373284 2nd Sunday & following Thurs BCS Buckingham area Athina Beckett 01908-661217 Anytime inc. weekdays BCT Aqueduct section Gerald Fry 01288-353273 Every Sunday ChCT Various sites Mick Hodgetts 01246-620695 Every Saturday DCT Droitwich Canal Jon Axe 0121-608 0296 Last Sunday of month EAWA N Walsham & Dilham David Revill 01603-738648 4th Sunday of month ECPDA Langley Mill Michael Golds 0115-932-8042 Second Sun of month FIPT Foxton Inclined Plane Mike Beech 0116-279-2657 2nd weekend of month GCRS Grantham Canal Colin Bryan 0115-989-2248 2nd Sat of month GWCT Nynehead Lift Denis Dodd 01823-661653 Tuesdays H&GCT Oxenhall Brian Fox 01432 358628 Weekends H&GCT Over Wharf House Maggie Jones 01452 618010 Wednesdays H&GCT Over Wharf House Wilf Jones 01452 413888 Weekends H&GCT Hereford Aylestone Martin Danks 01432 344488 Every Sunday if required IWPS Bugsworth Basin Ian Edgar 01663-732493 1st Saturday & 3rd Wed. IWA Ipswich Stowmarket Navigtn. Colin Turner 01473-730586 2nd Sunday of month LCT Lancaster N. Reaches Paul Shaw 01524-35685 1st, 2nd, 4th Sun + 3rd Sat LHCRT Lichfield Sue Williams 01543-671427 3rd Sunday of month LHCRT Hatherton Denis Cooper 01543-374370 2nd & last Sundays PCAS Paul Waddington 01757-638027 2nd Sunday of month SCARS Sankey Canal Colin Greenall 01744-731746 1st Sunday of month SCCS Combe Hay Locks Bob Parnell 01225-428055 Most weekends SHCS Basingstoke Peter Redway 01483-721710 2nd Sunday of month SNT Sleaford Navigation Mel Sowerby 01522-856810 1st weekend of month SUCS Newhouse Lock Mike Friend 01948-880723 Every Tuesday morning TMCA Brian Macnish 01732-823725 Every Sunday & Thurs WACT varied construction Eric Walker 023-9246-3025 Mondays (2 per month) WACT tidying road crossings John Empringham 01483-562657 Tuesdays WACT Tickner's Heath Depot Colin Gibbs 020-8241-7736 Wednesdays WACT maintenance work Peter Jackman 01483-772132 Wednesdays WACT Loxwood Link Peter Wilding 01483-422519 Thursdays WACT Winston Harwood Grp Tony Clear 01903-774301 Saturdays WACT Conservation Group David Jessop 01403-269384 Various dates WACT Hedgelaying (Oct-Mar) Keith Nichols 01403-753882 1st w/e of month (Fri-Mon) WAT Drayton Beauchamp Roger Leishman 01442-874536 2nd Thursday of month WAT Drayton Beauchamp Pete Bowers 01255-504540 Every weekend WBCT Wilts & Berks Canal Rachael Banyard 01249-892289

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

page 18

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

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


ASHBY CANAL ASSOC Rod Smith 4 Ashby Road, Sinope Coalville LE67 3AY Tel: 01530 833307 BARNSLEY, DEARNE & DOVE CANAL TRUST June Backhouse, 39 Hill St, Elsecar, Barnsley S74 8EN 01226 743383 www.bddct.org.uk BCN SOCIETY Jeff Barley, 17 Sunnyside Walsall Wood, W Midlands 01543 373284 www.bcn-society.org.uk BUCKINGHAM CANAL SOC Athina Beckett 2 Staters Pound Pennyland Milton Keynes MK1 5AX 01908 661217 email: athinabec@aol.com www.buckinghamcanal.org.uk BUGSWORTH BASIN (IWPS) Ian Edgar Browside Fm, Mudhurst La Lyme Handley, Whaley Br High Peak SK23 7BT 01663 732493 email: ian@browside.co.uk www.brocross.com/iwps/ index.htm

CHICHESTER SHIP CT Linda Wilkinson, 1 Chidham La Chichester PO18 8TL 01243 576701 www.chichestercanal.co.uk COTSWOLD CT 4 Black Jack St Cirencester GL7 2AA 01285 643440 mail@cotswoldcanals.com www.cotswoldcanals.com FRIENDS OF THE CROMFORD CANAL Tony Brookes 07770 350853 ggsonbolding@gmail.com www.cromfordcanal.org.uk DERBY & SANDIACRE CS Doug Flack 23 Thoresby Crescent, Draycott Derby DE72 3PH 01332 576037 www.derbycanal.org.uk DIG DEEP INITIATIVE Alan Cavender 10 Vicarage Rd Maidenhead SL6 7DS 01628 629033 alancavender@tiscali.co.uk www.dig-deep.org.uk

CALDON & UTTOXETER CANALS TRUST John Rider 1 Dainty Close, Leek ST13 5PX 01538 386790 john@riderjohn.jsnet.co.uk

DORSET & SOMERSET CANAL SOCIETY Derrick Hunt 43 Greenland Mills Bradford on Avon BA15 1BL 01225 863066 derrick.hunt@tesco.net

CHESTERFIELD CANAL TRUST Mick Hodgetts 31 Pottery La Chesterfield S41 9BH 01246 620695 chesterfield-canal-trust.org.uk

DROITWICH CT Vaughan Welch 29 Dice Pleck, Northfield Birmingham B31 3XW 0121 477 9782 kvwelch@supanet.com www.worcs.com/dct

Directory

Canal societies and WRG EAST ANGLIAN WATERWAYS ASSOC David Revill, 43 Kings Road Coltishall, Norfolk NR12 7DX 01603 738648 david_gisela@hotmail.com EREWASH CANAL P&DA Mick Golds 73 Sudbury Avenue Larklands, Ilkeston Derbys DE7 5EA Notts (0115) 9328042 ESSEX WATERWAYS LTD Colin Edmond Paper Mill Lock, North Hill Little Baddow Essex CM3 4BT 01245 226245 colin.edmond@wrg.org.uk www.waterways.org.uk FOXTON INCLINED PLANE TRUST c/o Mike Beech Foxton Canal Museum Middle Lock, Gumley Road Foxton, Market Harborough Leicestershire LE16 7RA 0116 279 2657 mike@foxcm.freeserve.co.uk www.fipt.org.uk ROLLE CANAL AND NTH DEVON WATERWAYS SOC Adrian & Hilary Wills Vale Cottage, 7 Annery Kiln Weare Giffard Bideford EX39 5JE Tel: 01237 477705 adrian@thewills.eclipse.co.uk www.therollecanal.co.uk

RIVER GIPPING TRUST Lewis Tyler, Church Cott The Street, Capel St Mary IP9 2EL. secretary@rivergippingtrust. org.uk GRAND WESTERN CANAL TRUST Denis Dodd, Wharf Cottage Nynehead, Wellington Somerset TA21 0BU 01823 661653 GRANTHAM CANAL RESTORATION SOCIETY Colin Bryan 113 Hoe View Road Cropwell Bishop Nottingham NG12 3DJ 01159 892248 colin.bryan@granthamcanal.com www.granthamcanal.com HEREFS & GLOUCS CT c/o The Wharf House, Over Gloucester GL2 8DB 01452 332900 www.h-g-canal.org.uk KESCRG Eddie Jones ‘Altamount’, Coventry Road Fillongley, Coventry CV7 8EQ 0845 226 8589 eddie@kescrg.org.uk www.kescrg.org.uk LANCASTER CT Paul Shaw 12 Malham Close Lancaster LA1 2SJ 01524 35685 paul_shaw@lineone.net www.lctrust.co.uk

page 19


Directory LAPAL CANAL TRUST 26 Loynells Road, Rednal Birmingham B45 9NP 01785 713862 www.lapal.org

STRATFORD ON AVON CANAL SOCIETY Roger Hancock 1 Tyler Street Stratford upon Avon CV37 6TY 01789 296096 rogmabhan@aol.com www.stratfordcanalsociety.org.uk

SCARS (SANKEY CANAL) Colin Greenall 16 Bleak Hill Rd Eccleston St. Helens WA10 4RW 01744 731746 SURREY & HANTS LICHFIELD & HATHERTON colin.greenall@btopenworld.com CANAL SOC CANALS REST'N TRUST www.scars.org.uk Peter Redway, 1 Redway Sue Williams Cottages Norfolk House SHREWSBURY & NEWPÂ’T St. John's Lye, Woking 29 Hall Lane, Hammerwich CANALS TRUST GU21 1SL Burntwood WS7 0JP Tam Hazan 01483 721710 01543 671427 tamir_hazan@lineone.net p.redway1@btinternet.com info@lhcrt.org.uk www.sncanal.org.uk www.basingstokewww.lhcrt.org.uk canal.org.uk/society SHROPSHIRE UNION CS NEATH & TENNANT Richard Hall, 35 Tyrley Cotts SUSSEX OUSE CANAL SOCIETY Market Drayton TF9 2AH RESTORATION TRUST Ian Milne 01630 657737 Paul Morris, Farmcote 16 Gower Road, Sketty, hall@ostw.co.uk Nettlesworth Lane Swansea SA2 9BY www.shropshireunion.org.uk Old Heathfield 01792 547902 Heathfield SLEAFORD NAV TRUST TN21 9AP NWPG Steve Hayes 01453 863683 Graham Hawkes 10 Chelmer Close sussexouse@hotmail.com 27 Lawrence Rd, Tilehurst N Hykeham www.sxouse.org.uk Reading RG30 6BH Lincs LN8 8TH 0118 941 0586 01522-689460 SWANSEA CANAL SOC grahamhawkes@btinternet.com email: steve.hayesClive Reed www.nwpg.org.uk kyme@ntlworld.com 17 Smithfield Road, www.sleafordnavigation.co.uk Pontardawe, Swansea, POCKLINGTON C.A.S West Glam. SA8 4LA Paul Waddington SOMERSET COAL 01792 830782 Church House, Main St. CANAL SOCIETY Hemingborough, Selby Bob Parnell, 34 THAMES & MEDWAY N. Yorks YO8 7QE Wedgewood Road CANAL ASSOCIATION 01757 638027 (eves) Twerton, Bath BA2 1NX John Epton, 45 Vinson CLo 01405 763985 (days) 01225-428055 Orpington BR6 0EQ www.pocklington. rtjhomepages.users. homepage.ntlworld. gov.uk/PCAS btopenworld.com/CC2.html com/john.epton/tmca SALTISFORD CANAL TRUST Budbrooke Road Warwick CV34 5RJ 01926 490 006 saltisfordcanal@aol.com, www.saltisfordcanal.co.uk

page 20

RIVER STOUR TRUST John Morris 2 Stockton Close Hadleigh Ipswich IP7 5SH jgmorris@btinternet.com www.riverstourtrust.org

WEY & ARUN CT The Granary, Flitchfold Farm Loxwood, Billingshurst West Sussex RH14 ORH 01403 752403 office@weyandarun.co.uk www.weyandarun.co.uk WILTS & BERKS CT George Eycott 36 Grange Court, Boundary Rd Newbury RG14 7PH 01635 569449 bungle@wrg.org.uk www.wilts-berks-canal.org.uk WOODEN CANAL BOAT SOCIETY 3 Beauchamp St Ashton under Lyne OL6 8LF 0161-330-8422 wcbs@beeb.net www.wcbs.org.uk WRG: GENERAL ENQUIRIES, CANAL CAMP BOOKINGS AND DRIVER AUTHORISATION PO Box 114, Rickmansworth WD3 1ZY 01923 711114 enquiries@wrg.org.uk www.wrg.org.uk WRG NORTH WEST Malcolm Bridge 3 Heather Bank Littleborough Lancashire OL15 0JQ 01706 378582 nw@wrg.org.uk www.wrgnw.org.uk

WRG NW - ENQUIRIES/ WENDOVER ARM TRUST PAPERCHASES Roger Leishman David McCarthy 7 Hall Park Woodstock, Berkhamsted 14 Crumpsall Lane HP4 2NU Manchester M8 5FB 01442 874536 0161-740 2179 www.wendoverarmtrust.co.uk www.wrgnw.org.uk


WRG BITM & 'NAVVIES' DIARY David Wedd 7 Ringwood Road Blackwater Camberley Surrey GU17 0EY 01252 874437 dave.wedd@wrg.org.uk www.wrgbitm.org.uk LONDON WRG Tim Lewis 5 Herongate Road, Wanstead London E12 5EJ 07802 518094 tim@timlewis.org.uk www.london.wrg.org.uk LONDON WRG: ENQUIRIES Lesley McFadyen (as per Martin Ludgate below) WRG EAST MIDLANDS John Baylis (see below) ESSEX WRG John Gale 24 Longleaf Drive Braintree, Essex CM7 1XS 01376-947360 essex@wrg.org.uk www.essex.wrg.org.uk WRG SOUTH WEST Gavin Moor 54 Kiln Close Calvert, Buckingham MK18 2FD 07970 989245 Gavin.Moor@wrg.org.uk IWA/WRG STAMP BANK Steve & Mandy Morley 33 Hambleton Grove Emerson valley Milton Keynes MK4 2JS 01908 520090 mail@morleytowers.org.uk

CANAL CAMPS MOBILES (A) 07850 422156 (B) 07850 422157 'NAVVIES' EDITOR Martin Ludgate 35 Silvester Rd London SE22 9PB 020 8693 3266 0777 947 8629 (mobile) martin.ludgate@wrg.org.uk 'WRGWEAR' CLOTHING Helen Gardner 33 Victoria Road Northwich CW9 5RE 07989 425346 wrgwear@wrg.org.uk WRG FORESTRY TEAM Graham Robinson Springwell Spark Bridge Ulverston Cumbria LA12 7ST 01229 861317 WRG BOAT CLUB Sadie Dean 236 Station Rd Whittlesey Peterborough PE7 2HA 01733 204505 07748 186867 (mobile) sadiedean@vodafone.net WRG DIRECTORS CHAIRMAN Mike Palmer 3 Finwood Road Rowington Warwickshire CV35 7DH 01564 785293 mike.palmer@wrg.org.uk TREASURER Roger Day, 5 Merton Road, Slough Berks SL1 1QW

WRG SECRETARY Neil Edwards, c/o IWA, PO Box 114 Rickmansworth WD3 1ZY neil@waterways.org.uk WRG PLANT Malcolm Bridge 3 Heather Bank Littleborough Lancashire OL15 0JQ malcolm.bridge@wrg.org.uk 01706 378582 SITES GROUP & PUBLICITY Judith Palmer 3 Finwood Road Rowington Warwickshire CV35 7DH 01564 785293 jude.moore@btinternet.com WRGPRINT John & Tess Hawkins 4 Links Way, Croxley Grn Rickmansworth WD3 3RQ 01923 448559 john.hawkins@wrg.org.uk IWA CHAIRMAN John Fletcher c/o IWA, PO Box 114 Rickmansworth WD3 1ZY john.fletcher@waterways.org.uk TRANSPORT MANAGER Please contact Mike Palmer (see above) until further notice WRG LOGISTICS Jen Leigh 45 Glebe Road Sheffield S10 1FB logistics@wrg.org.uk OTHER DIRECTORS George Eycott 36 Grange Court, Boundary Rd Newbury RG14 7PH 01635 569449 bungle@wrg.org.uk

Mick Beattie 22 Bridgewater Ave Anchorsholme Blackpool FY5 3NA 01253 864034 Adrian Fry 89 The Causeway Quedgeley Gloucester GL2 4LD 07976 640962 amf@wrg.org.uk Spencer Collins The Boatyard, 5 Hammond Way Trowbridge BA14 8RS 07976 084055 spencer.collins@wrg.org.uk Chris Davey 6 Partridge Ct Round Close Rd Adderbury Banbury OX17 3EP 01295 812002 chris.davey@wrg.org.uk Jonathan Smith 23 Hardings Chalgrove Oxford OX44 7TJ 01865 891 370 jonathan.smith@wrg.org.uk John Baylis, 215 Clipstone Rd West Forest Town Mansfield Notts NG19 0HJ 01623 633895 Rick Barnes 103 Boakes Drive Stonehouse Gloucestershire GL10 3QW 07976 748345 rick.barnes@wrg.org.uk

page 21


Letters

...to the editor

A job well done at Renishaw and Baylham. But sometimes a job slightly less well done on cleaning the cookers...

Dear Martin May I express through your columns our thanks to the leaders (Liz and Nina) and crew of the Canal Camp at Baylham Mill last week. They had a major battle erecting the dam across the cut as most of our waterway runs on gravel with a 3 foot topping of silt! Hammering 2 metre piles into that and making it reasonably watertight was no mean achievement. The next task of breaking up several tons of reinforced concrete that lay in the cut was another major mile stone. After the heavy work we also found some new brickies among the team and they’ve virtually completed our wall at the head of the lock despite the fact that the most famous brickie of them all still only managed to lay twelve bricks all Thursday afternoon. No names, no pack drill but YOU know who it was, don’t you? There seemed to be one or two fragile heads and stomachs most mornings which suggests to my untrained eye that some of the beer must have been ‘off’ the previous evening but that didn’t slow them down (well not too much anyway). Their hard work means that the old men they’ve left behind (Ipswich Branch, IWA) can finish off the wall and it’s associated work in the next two weeks rather than the next two years! We’ve got even more work next year and that will involve demolition with some ‘boys toys’, more concreting and more bricking. Our plans are somewhat ambitious, involving two full week camps and three weekend camps for some travelling WRGies so book early to avoid disappointment! Once again, thanks to everyone involved. Spencer Greystrong Treasurer, Ipswich Branch Inland Waterways Association Letter to WRG Chairman Mike Palmer from Martin Bloomfield of Chesterfield Canal Trust: Dear Mike Just a quick line to say many thanks for all the hard work put in by your red army. Yet again they did us proud and made a real difference to our rate of progress on the Renishaw section. The rest of the summer will see us finishing off the bridge hole narrows and myself using up several pens, papers and nerve ends trying to get a set of build drawings out of the county engineers. I have started to look for funds to finish building the bridge, but this takes time. Hope to see you all at Wolverhampton for the National. Could you please pass on our special thanks to James Butler who again did a brilliant job. Regards Martin Bloomfield Chesterfield Canal Trust Dear Martin In reply to the letter from Nick Wilde in Navvies 229, as one of the people who were there when the cookers got unloaded on their return from the National, I agree that they should be thoroughly cleaned before leaving site. Harry Watts spent a long time scraping the burnt on muck out of the KESCRG cooker before we returned it to them - they would have been pretty unimpressed if we had handed it back in the state it was left! HOWEVER, a pressure washer is not the answer. Using one will mean the cooker is left damp for some months, which means you end up with a rusty cooker instead. George ‘Bungle’ Eycott

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Would you like your project to feature in these pages? Why not send us a progress report?

Progress

Starting with Lichfield & Hatherton

as soon as the land becomes available. Exploratory work has been carried out in the The Tamworth Road site on the Ligarden of the Ogley Cottage to establish the chfield Canal continues to be the main focus footprint of the lock. This is the first stage of activity. Our regular team has been comtowards separating the lock from the cottage. pleting the brickwork on the bywash of Lock The Trust has drawn up a short list of 26 and this will be completed soon. They will consultants to undertake a feasibility study then move on to the long towpath wall of for the whole Lichfield Canal. This is vital to pound 27 down to the A38. This was built future funding applications and to safeguardusing the concrete blocks purchased under ing the line in the Local Development Framethe aggregates levy grant. It will now be work currently in preparation. faced in suitable bricks to produce a pleasing On the Hatherton Canal routine mainand appropriate finish. The environmental tenance work continues. The latest news team has also continued work in this area. on the M6 motorway crossing suggests that Planning work has started for the building of major road widening (which it had been the lock 25 bywash which may include a hoped would facilitate reinstatement of the circular feature modelled on the Staffs & canal) is not now contemplated and that Worcs weirs. any work may be limited to the hard shoulDiscussions continue on the status and ders. ownership of the culverted watercourse Brian Kingshott which runs through the track of the canal over most of its route through Lichfield. This will have to be removed and proper provision made for the water flow before further major works can be considered. This is a possible route to rewatering a small section. A small group has been set up to recommend ways of restoring Pound 26 through Mrs AttwoodÂ’s garden. Consideration is also being given to further work at Darnford Lane so that work The pound between locks 25 and 26, Tamworth Road site can move forward Martin Ludgate

Lichfield and Hatherton Canals

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Progress

Shropshire Union Canal Society are rebuilding the wharf wall at Redwith...

...Mont, Wendover...

Wendover Arm

The May working party is the only three-day one of the year, and fifty five volunteers took part in it. 83 metres of the wharf wall at Redwith are now finished, about a fifth of the total. 43 metres of batter wall and 15 metres of vertical wall were completed during the three days, and another 17 metres of batter wall started. The emerging pattern is that the lower course of the batter wall is done first, followed a day later by the upper part of the wall. The backfill is “limecrete”, a version of concrete which has lime instead of cement. This has all the working properties of concrete but, importantly, also has the same rate of expansion and contraction as the lime mortar in the walls. A delivery of sorted stone also helped, since an increasing proportion of the remaining reclaimed stone is either the wrong shape or too heavy to move by hand. An unusual feature of the site is that the towpath is open and remains so during the work party – the goodwill of visitors is apparent when we talk to them. Mike Friend

At the May work party a further 36 metres of pipe capping (a concrete cover being cast to protect pipe through which the canal water is currently culverted, so that the channel can be reinstated above it) was laid, all now in Stage 2 but leaving a temporary gap for the manhole. The second base of the mooring bay was poured, the formwork stripped ready for the third base and the formwork for the first wall erected – well done KESCRG who did all the work after the base pour on the Friday. The August work party is a nine-day effort and the aims, in order of priority are:

Martin Ludgate

Montgomery Canal

Redwith Wharf Wall: SUCS training WRG volunteers for last year’s Canal Camp

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1) To complete lining both banks as far as the new mooring bay. 2) To excavate and blind the second half of the mooring bay. 3) To pour the first length of wall for which the formwork is already in position. 4) To complete the formwork ready for another base pour and another wall pour (ready for KESCRG in October!). 5) To continue with Stage 2 pipe capping. We are hiring two excavators one 5 tonne (needed for bank profiling) and one 8 tonne (needed to reach Bentonite rolls on the banks) as well as two 6t and one 3t tracked dumpers for transporting spoil and materials. Operation “FLOODWATCH”: Jon Kelly is leading this investigation and still requires volunteers to complete the six to work in 3 pairs adjacent to the 3 known benchmarks at Wendover Basin, Perch Bridge and Halton Bridge. Their job will be to measure and note water levels at 15-minute intervals as well as observing the banks and the path adjacent to their position. Ray Orth and I will be working at the inlet to the pipe controlling the level increase in a measured way. Please contact Jon at jon.kelly2@gmail.com or on 07974855712 if you can help. Roger Leishman, Restoration Director


...while on the Wey & Arun Canal, the new B2133 Loxwood road crossing takes shape... Wey & Arun Canal

WACT

First it was the breakthrough (literally!) in the crucial Loxwood road crossing project on 2nd June when the Trust’s contractors, CJ Thorne of Uckfield, joined the excavated sections on the east and west sides of the B2133 road, so reinstating a link that has been broken for more than 100 years. There is still a lot of work to do before the new bridge (technically a tunnel because of its length) is ready for canal boats, but you can now definitely see its final shape. The total cost of the B2133 crossing project is estimated at £1.5 million, which the Wey & Arun Canal Trust has raised by its own efforts. During the last week of June the final precast beam has been lowered into place. For the latest news and pictures of the Loxwood bridge/tunnel construction, please see www.weyandarun.co.uk/ loxwoodbridge-05.php. Then we heard that Eric Walker, project manager for the B2133 Crossing in Loxwood (and before that for Drungewick aqueduct and canal bridge) was appointed MBE in the

Progress

...and Wey & Arun Queen’s Birthday Honours this year. Eric’s award was for “voluntary services to the Wey & Arun Canal” and everyone will surely agree that it is no less than he deserves. This year’s Poddle (the Trust’s sponsored walk) on June 8 attracted 251 walkers, which was the highest number for some years, and although we are still receiving sponsorship money in, £11,000 has been pledged. Heritage Open Days this year are on 13 and 14 September. Brewhurst Mill, Loxwood, will be open to the public from 2pm to 4.30pm on both days. On Saturday 13 September, there will also be a steam rally based on the Onslow Arms in Loxwood – proceeds will be donated to the Trust (although this event is organised by a Trust supporter, not by the Trust itself). So if you are steam fanatic as well as a canal one, do come and visit. The annual boat rally at Dunsfold is on Sunday, 5th October and part of the siltbar has been removed to aid navigation. For more information, please look on our website or email rallies@weyandarun.co.uk. Sally Schupke

The new Loxwood bridge (or is it a tunnel) under construction

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Progress

David Kitching

Buckingham Canal Society

Above right: as our volunteers began work on the Barge Lock in Droitwich, contractors were getting started on building the diversionary route that will link the Droitwich Junction Canal from the bottom of the restored Hanbury Locks via an existing navigable-sized (just!) culvert under the M5 to a new junction with the River Salwarpe above Droitwich, Two of the four new locks needed are in the form of a staircase, seen under construction. Right: Contractors at work on the restoration of Hyde Lane Lock, one of only two on the Grand Union Canal Buckingham Arm. Below: IrelandÂ’s newest restoration scheme. A proposal to restore the Corbally Extension of the Naas Arm (itself restored in the 1980s but sadly under-used) of the Grand Canal was launched this spring, with an Inland Waterways Association of Ireland rally at Naas and a campaign cruise in small portable craft to the original terminus at Corbally Harbour.

Vaughan Welch

...in pictures

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...in which LWRG don’t let the minor matter that the dig was cancelled stop them from writing it up for Navvies...

London WRG

...not digging the Mon & Brec

Not digging the Mon & Brec London WRG recently enjoyed a weekend not digging the Mon and Brec. It should be pointed out that our decision to pull out at the last minute from the planned dig didn’t owe ANYTHING to the bad weather and that London WRG laugh in the face of severe weather warnings. Hardcore WRGies Martin, Tim, Ed and Sophie were all set for the weekend but with only 2 days to go the dig hard to be cancelled when Ed pulled out muttering something about Land Rovers. Initially unsure what to do with the vast expanse of weekend stretching before me, I decided to try and recreate so far as possible the experience of being on a dig, whilst actually spending the weekend in an unfashionable part of North London. Being quite friendly with our upstairs neighbour, who is a builder, I managed to get a ride in a Ford Transit van stuffed full of tools, whilst listening to music that was considered crap even back in the 1970’s. Arriving back at my flat at 10pm disorientated and hungry, I hastily ate toast made from sh***y white bread before rushing round the corner to my local, where I pretended not to know anyone and talked loudly about tractor engines and my plan for upgrading my Landie whilst downing pints until the landlord tapped his watch and sent me home. Dragging myself home down the darkest path I could find, I laid my Therm-a-rest down on the bedroom floor and settled down to sleep. It wasn’t easy to recreate the sound of a dozen men snoring but in the end I settled for paying my housemate to stand in a corner of my bedroom sawing wood all night. With no work to do the next day, I wasn’t sure how to pass the time until I discovered I had relatives still living and went off to make their acquaintance (‘Mum’ and ‘Dad’ they call themselves). It was a novel experience being mud-free right

through the weekend but I can’t say I missed the exhausted Sunday night clothes and boot wash ritual. Meanwhile the rest of London WRG were also coping well. Ed Walker took the time to get to know the woman he lives with “apparently her name’s Suzie and she’s my girlfriend!” he exclaimed delightedly over the phone to fellow WRGies on Sunday evening. Tim and Martin discovered a local salon were offering a free manicure with every beard trim and hastened off to take advantage. Delighted with their new clean fingernails and debonnaire appearances, they decided to take in an arthouse movie after a few cocktails at Mahiki’s. Tim highly recommends Un chanson d’air (in Arabic with subtitles) which he says is a really beautifully shot epic about a young Afghani deaf mute boy’s relationship with an elderly blind poet, told against the background of the Cuban Revolution. We all enjoyed the experience so much, we’re planning to not go on a dig sometime again in the future.

But seriously folks... Our apologies that this is a slightly thin issue of Navvies, due mainly to a slight lack of contributions having been sent in. Not only do the regional groups all seem to be taking a break from weekend work (and therefore from writing about it) but we only managed to get a couple of camp reports from the first part of the main summer canal camps season written and sent in time for this issue. The rest of the camps will have happened in plenty of time for the next press date on September 1st so you’ve got no excuse for not getting them in. So let’s have some interesting contributions, let’s have some originality, but above all let’s just have some camp reports! And let’s have some regional groups’ weekend dig reports too. And let’s have some more ’amusing’ contributions like the anonymous one above too. The editor

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Navvies news

Trailers, cooks and ice cream!

Do you know what the Welsh for Waterway Recovery Group is? Well you do now!

Attention trailer-operators The Kit B trailer now has a “springy” lighting lead: although it is plugged into a socket on the trailer, this is only to enable the lead to be changed quickly so PLEASE DO NOT UNPLUG IT! It should be left plugged into the trailer at all times in normal use. The Kit A trailer will receive the same modification sometime this season. Bungle

...and cooks too Regular National Festival cooks (whether full time or breakfast only) will be pleased to hear that the “Sue Burchett Special” cooker has been retired from service and will be shortly turned into the next batch of Ford cars. It has been replaced by a shiny new stainless steel version with wheels! See picture on right. Also Bungle

Camlas Maldwyn

Bungle

...is Welsh for Montgomery Canal, as I’m reminded by anâattractive bilingual brochure giving details of Monty 08, a Taking delivery of the new cooker to replace the Sue Burchett Special whole series of events taking place on one of our long-standing favourite restoration projects the Montgomery Canal all this summer. Many of the events have already happened, but there’s still time to get along to the Welshpool Festival on the isolated restored Welsh length of the canal on 30-31 August and the Maesbury Festival on the navigble English length of the canal accessible by boat from Frankton Junction on 5-7 September. See www.monty08.com for more details. The brochure also contains a lot of information about the canal and all the organisations involved in restoring it including ourselves - and remember, the whole thing’s in Welsh as well as English. So for those who really wanted to know, the Welsh for Waterway Recovery Group is Grwp Adfer Dyfrffyrdd.

And finally... I see that the Waterhouse Restaurant by the Regents Canal in London is offering ‘Canal flavoured ice cream’, in honour of Carlo Gatti, ‘Britain’s first ice cream man’. Hmmm....

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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

Moving house

Sits. Vac. Wanted: volunteers to join the WRG Publicity team. For more details see Mike Palmer’s Chairman’s Comment on pages 4-5 and contact Mike - see below

George ‘Bungle’ Eycott has moved to:

Dear Deirdre

4 Lewendon Road, Newbury RG14 1SP

Our very own Agony Aunt says that she is sorry but she’s away on Canal Camps for a few weeks so hasn’t found time for a contribution to this issue.

If you move house, remember to tell Navvies your new address

Don’t forget! Droitwich Barge Lock celebration of completion of restoration on September 26th. Contact Mike Palmer for details. So we’d better get it finished!

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.

Photographs wanted! Been on a Canal Camp this summer? Take any good photos? Don’t forget to send some to the Editor for Navvies, and to Head Office for the WRG website and next year’s publicity

But she will be back next time, so in the meantime if you have any personal questions (the more embarrassing the better) please email them to deirdre@wrg.org.uk or post them c/o the editor and she will do her best to publicly humiliate you in print sorry provide helpful answers to your most intimate problems next time.

Congratulations... ...to Eric Walker of Wey & Arun Canal Trust on getting an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours

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

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Infill

Important safety notice

As head of Waterway Recovery Group, Mike Palmer has appealed to WRGies to PLEASE remember to wear safety gear when coming into contact with canal water. Volunteers are reminded that canals and their environs harbour a number of stinging and biting animals which is why proper equipment is essential for anyone working in or near water. Remember too that sturdy gumboots and/or waders are essential kit if you need to enter water, however shallow. You should of course have already received a guide to these creatures in your Volunteers’ Health and Safety Guide. In case you need a refresher, please study the information below:

Wendover Bee Until recently it was hoped these were extinct following a recent DEFRA elimination campaign, but the dreaded Wendover bees have unfortunately been spotted on several weekend digs in the Tring area recently. It can only be hoped that no further camps have to be cancelled due to infestations of these nasty little creatures, which bring most people out in hives and can kill with one sting. Behaviour: Thankfully exclusive to the Wendover area, the Wendover bee is not a sociable animal like every other bee in the world. This curmudgeonly insect lives out its short life by hiding in the cracks in beech trees. It especially hates the sound of brushcutters. Treatment: There is no treatment. If you’re unfortunate enough to get stung then it’s pretty likely you’ll die. Bad luck!

Toblerone Salamander It’s a common misconception that this amphibian was named after the popular chocolate snack: in actual fact the Toblerone Salamander is the original namesake for distinctively-shaped bar and not the other way

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around. Although rarely seen in the wild, WRGies tending bonfires are in with a good chance of seeing the young of this species as they hatch in the heart of bonfires. Behaviour: Eggs are laid by adults in the bark of trees. When forest fires occur (or humans incinerate the logs) the eggs hatch and the young swarm out of the hot ashes, often in great numbers. It then retreats to the chilly mud at the base of canals and rivers to cool off and stays there for mostly the rest of its life cycle. Normally a rare creature, there is some evidence that recent WRG activity is leading to a greater preponderance of these creatures, especially in the Wilts & Berks area. Treatment: Although not in itself dangerous, the young have been known to swarm over people standing close to bonfires, causing agonising burns.

Pigfish New to British waters, the Pigfish is originally native to Poland and it is thought the species was recently introduced in the country by accident when a lorry carrying a tanker full of the fish (a delicacy in Eastern Europe) collided with a red ford van on the Paddington flyover whilst on its way to a Polish deli in North London, spilling the cargo into the Regent’s Canal. This alien species has since thrived in the British canal system and is driving other species to extinction, most notably the Lesser Spotted Gnarlgrab (although I doubt anyone will much miss it). Behaviour: Basically homesick (but that’s no excuse for its behaviour) the Pigfish likes to lurk resentfully in the deeper parts of lock chambers. This large fish requires a high concentration of pollution in the water to survive, so it is especially found in inner city areas. Treatment: Really the worst thing the Pigfish can do is flick water at you resentfully. However imagine that the water it flicks contains a Chattering Gobsnipe, or a Venomous Katydid. Seems a bit more serious now, doesn’t it? Never underestimate the Pigfish. Cooking notes: 180C for 20 minutes wrapped in tinfoil, also barbecues well.


Infill

Harcourt’s Drudge

spur on the hind foot as any contact is instantly fatal). You are all responsible for you own safety, so please take the necessary precautions!

And speaking of unusual species...

Ethel

Affectionately known as the ‘Welsh Haggis’, this small, amphibious creature is Britain’s only egg-laying mammal. The Drudge has great historical importance in Wales, where it is held in great affection as it has sustained the populace through many a time of famine. The flesh is gamey and tastes very slightly of parsnips and rotting mackerel. Rather an acquired taste, it is however rich in Omega 3 and potassium. Behaviour: Although originally a gentle herbivorous animal according to historical sources, the Drudge has over the centuries become suspicious of man and at times of political turmoil and bad harvests these animals can become bitter and aggressive. Lives: in damp grass on steep slopes in Monmouthshire and the Rhondda valley, descends to drink and bathe in inland waterways during dry periods. Diet: sucks milk from the udders of sleeping cows, otherwise an herbivorous diet of beech bark, conkers and dandelion flowers. Treatment; WRGies digging the Mon and Brec can take comfort from knowing a Drudge can easily be fended off with a rubber glove (just avoid the sharp poisonous

...some ‘traditional’ boatmen and boatwomen seen at Gloucester during the Cotswold camp.

WRGieotypes No 5: The work-shy WRGie Midge likes to think he’s well-liked around the camp (he isn’t). Always the last to bed, he confuses WRG with a holiday camp and uses the daylight hours to recover from his monstrous hangovers. In winter you’ll find him ‘keeping an eye on the bonfires’ – full of useful advice for people tending them. In summer he’s more inclined to be working on his tan or standing around by the cement mixer, commenting on the dryness of the mix. Midge has a dream: a dream of leading his own camp. He sees himself the benevolent dictator giving orders from a deckchair, adoring D of E girls with blonde ponytails bringing him cool drinks. It’ll never happen. The WRG community forgives eccentricity, tolerates cross-dressing and doesn’t bat an eyelid at bed-hopping that would make a Frenchman blush – but the one thing it won’t stand is a slacker.

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Profile for The Inland Waterways Association

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