navvies volunteers restoring
Bonfire Bash report and photographs waterway Issue No 232 recovery December-January group 2008-9 page 1
Editor: Martin Ludgate, 35 Silvester Road, East Dulwich London SE22 9PB 020-8693 3266 Subscriptions: Sue Watts, 15 Eleanor Rd, Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Manchester M21 9FZ Printing and assembly: John & Tess Hawkins, 4 Links Way, Croxley Green, Rickmansworth, Herts WD3 3RQ 01923 448559 firstname.lastname@example.org Navvies is published by Waterway Recovery Group, Island House, Moor Rd, Chesham HP5 1WA 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.
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 ÂŠ 2008 WRG
Waterway Recovery Group is part of The Inland Waterways Association, (registered office: Island House, Moor Road, Chesham HP5 1WA). 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.
Visit our web site www.wrg.org.uk for page 2
In this issue...
Above A waterway that has recently acquired its own canal society: the North Walsham & Dilham Canal in Norfolk. Left: first boat in the new Margaret Fletcher Tunnel at the start of the Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal - see progress report on p26. Below: moorings under construction by Wendover Arm Trust - see progress report on p23. Front cover: digging holes for fenceposts at Heybridge on the Bonfire Bash - see report p8-12 (photo by Martin Ludgate). Back cover main: Group photo at Heybridge Lock on the Bonfire Bash (Martin Ludgate). Back cover top: The WRGFT Chainsaw team on the Grand Western (Jenny Black) Back cover bottom: London WRG setting coping stones at Baylham Lock, Ipswich & Stowmarket (Martin Ludgate)
Chairman MKP looks back and forward 4-5 Coming soon Xmas Camp and Cleanup 6-8 Bonfire Bash report from the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation 9-13 Canal Camp Report October on the Grand Western Canal 14-15 WRGBC WRG Boat Club AGM report 16-17 Diary canal camps and weekend digs 18-20 Letters Bonfire Bash and weddings 21 Progress Gipping, Wey & Arun, Mont, Lichfield, Wendover and MB&B 22-26 London WRG on the Cotswolds 27-28 SatNav let technology lead you to your canal camp accommodation 29 Navvies News Desert Island Digs 30-32 Noticeboard wanna buy a boat share? 33 Infill volunteering makes you sexy! 34-35
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 of large files it is best 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 email@example.com. Press date for issue 233: January 1st.
Subscriptions A year's subscription (6 issues) is available for a minimum of ÂŁ1.50 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 looks backwards...
Having spent the summer at Droitwich, the rather low levels of mud at the National were barely noticeable...
This is traditionally the issue of navvies that allows me to look both forward and back. To look back I would have to mention, amongst other things: a really great IWA National Festival, a successful Barge Lock appeal and project, some great support from local societies, regional groups enjoying some good numbers, an interesting BW AGM and a very different but very enjoyable Bonfire Bash. The National Festival at Wolverhampton was really rather pleasant. Having spent the summer at Droitwich (see last issue) the rather low levels of mud at the National were barely noticeable to me, though they seemed to be of some concern amongst the sandal brigade. The event was very refreshing - it appeared to have an audience that was really interested and appreciative that we were there, with much reduced levels of moaning and nit-picking. Hopefully a successful festival - on a site that some predicted would be a disaster - may widen the choice for future sites. My thanks to Dave, Jenny and every red and blue shirt volunteer who worked so hard to make it a success. Now it might seem strange to include the British Waterways AGM in a WRG review but I think it is worth mentioning for three reasons (two good, one worrying). Firstly it was good to see that BWs new National Volunteering Manager is making progress in getting the top brass to actually think about involving volunteers rather than just throwing a few sound-bites at it. Secondly there was a real attempt to provide a bit of blue sky thinking with an excellent debate about funding the waterways. One contribution, from John Gummer no less, will stick with me for a while: crushed down to a few sentences it went waterways supporters are currently in a similar situation to the one those who supported railways were a few years ago prone to be a reasonably pleasant and not entirely dangerous group of slightly potty people, and they were therefore patted on the head and told yes how very interesting but youre not really about the future. Compare that with railways now they have been given the kind of management which actually wanted new business! Waterways aficionados should take this on board! Which contrasted with a point made during the BW Chairmans speech earlier in the day. Whilst making the inevitable comments on the current financial situation there was a throwaway line about .having a plan in place for the next three years with a strong focus on managing the cash. Rather worrying for any of us with memories long enough to remember the times when bean-counters have ruled the roost previously. Most recent was the thoroughly groovy Bonfire Bash. My thanks to Moose and Roy Chandler and his crew for sorting everything out. Just in case you hadnt noticed this was not our usual jungle bash but an attempt to help out the IWA-run Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation by doing a few of the jobs that are easier to do when you have a hundred or so volunteers. This hopefully meant that the full time employees would have less fire-fighting to do and could concentrate on proper jobs. It was also interesting to discover they also have the possibility of a What, no mud?
Go on a canal camp and win a years free membership of The Inland Waterways Association!
...and forwards too
rather interesting major project (have we ever built a dry-dock before?) so we may be back there sometime. Im rather hoping that there will be a report on the Bonfire Bash in this issue [There is see pages 8-12 ...Ed] so that I can read about what happened on site because I spent most of the weekend inside the accommodation with the WRG Committee sorting out the camps programme for 2009 (and washing up!). Which rather neatly leads me to look forward to the future and the Canal Camps 2009 flyer that is inserted in this Navvies. This is hopefully of interest to everyone but perhaps for differing reasons: you may be looking forward to booking on a camp, but perhaps some of you may be thinking about putting your hand up to help with leading a camp. Dont be too scared by the idea we can offer you good support and we have deliberately picked some camps next year that dont involve major planning, complicated kit movements or sorting out lots of ancillary items, thus freeing you up to just enjoy the work and get your volunteers to achieve great things. James Butler and Suzie Pounce have taken over from Adrian Fry regarding getting together the leaders for our Canal Camps and so if you are interested then please contact them (before they contact you!). One of the things we always seem to fail to do is make the most of any publicity opportunities, so its nice to counter this with a couple of ideas. Firstly, we now have some nice, big, bold publicity banners. There is one in each van in the locker above the drivers head. Feel free to get these out and put them up wherever you are working, but please remember to take them down again when you finally leave site as we cant afford to consider them to be disposable! They are courtesy of that nice Mr Gilbertson at Head Office, and another of his clever ideas is that any first timers who book on a Canal Camp in 2009 will be given a years free membership of IWA. This is obviously of more benefit to IWA than us but it should hopefully show newcomers the bigger picture about waterways. And whilst we are talking about things that have been put in each van, Bungle would like me to tell everyone that each van now has a small bottle of the correct engine oil. Hopefully you should not need this as our new, regularly serviced engines should not be burning oil (and if they are then we want to know about it). However this does not mean that you can use this oil for tatty dumpers, pumps, starting bonfires etc. Its for the vans and the vans only. Finally as alluded to earlier, Adrian Fry is leaving the country for somewhat colder shores. Adrian has been a key figure with WRG in just about every role camp leader, director, regional group leader, project manager, planner and, most importantly, volunteer. During the last few years he has been key to finding all our Camp leaders and so truly without him our achievements would have been very much reduced. We all wish him well in his new adventures thought it is not as though we have seen the last of him I think James and Suzie have signed him up to lead a camp next summer. ...MKP on WoW at Autherley Mike Palmer
Ever fancied trying your hand at beinga canal camp leader, but not sure whats involved? Nows your chance to find out
Xmas camp: your last chance...
New Year Canal Camp, Wilts & Berks, December 26-Jan 1
By the time this issue of Navvies comes thudding through your letterbox, providing welcome relief from the dozens of Christmas cards from people that you forgot to send cards to, you might just be wondering how youll fill those cold turkey days between Christmas and New Year. Well, wonder no more: there is still space for more volunteers on the New Year Canal Camp. Over to Camp Leader James Butler for the latest news... When you read this Christmas will be very close upon us and the camp will be just one day behind the big day. The site is a virgin untouched 80-year-old stretch of scrub that is so overgrown that its totally impassable in many places. It should be a great site for those small controlled bonfires that we love to keep warm by on winter camps - not to mention lots of opportunities for marshmallow cooking! The accommodation is at Stratton St Margarets, which is north Theres a canal in there somewhere: New Year worksite east of Swindon, just off the A419 from the M4, and not far from the school that we used for last years Bonfire Bash. Please book on via head office if you possibly can, but if its too close to Christmas and Neil Scrooge Edwards has finally let the staff out on holiday you can always or get in touch with me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
WRG Leader Training Day, February 28 Once again we are running the annual leaders training day on Saturday 28th Feb at Benson Parish Hall. The idea of the day is to get together leaders and assistants and discuss all the different aspects of leading a WRG camp. WRG camps are supposed to be fun and safe experiences and its an opportunity to ensure that that continues. Were also very keen to get along as many people as possible who havent ever led but who think they might do so they can find out whats involved. We organise the day around an agenda otherwise we might just sit there all day chatting - any ideas of what youd like covered are very welcome. I would also like to encourage the more experienced leaders for a couple of reasons: things often change especially on the health and safety front and its an opportunity to keep up to date; also your experience is valuable and really adds to the general discussions. Even if youre not planning on leading this year wed still like to see you. And dont forget - regional groups weekend dig leaders are just as welcome as canal camp leaders. There is no charge for the day (and this includes lunch). If youd like to attend then
Book now for the 2009 Navvies Barn Dance - go on, you know you want to. And if its as popular as last year, youll need to...
...and your first dance
please contact Jenny Black at Head Office or myself: email@example.com or 07989 425346. If youre still not sure and want to talk it through first then please give me a call and Ill do my best to answer your questions. Directions, agenda etc will be sent out in advance. If you want to stay on and attend the rather fabulous barndance then youll have to buy a ticket in advance (see below). Helen Gardner
Navvies Barn Dance, February 28
The annual Navvies Barn Dance returns once again to Benson Parish Hall in Oxfordshire on Saturday 28th February 2009. As usual the fabulous live band Tumbledown Dick will be there to accompany and instruct your do-ci-does, etc. Money raised from tickets and from the Real Ale Bar will be split between KESCRG, London WRG and WRG SW. In a change to the menu from previous years, dinner of Chilli and Baked Potato will be included in your non-inflated £12 ticket. All the useful information is as follows: Date and time: Saturday 28th February 2009, 7.00 - 11.30 pm Venue: Benson Parish Hall, Oxfordshire, OX10 6LZ Food: Chilli and Baked Potato Supper included (veggie and mild versions available) Raffle and other fundraising games Accommodation: available at £2 per person. Sunday breakfast available at £2 per person Booking is essential as fire regulations mean we cant go over the limit for the hall For more info: please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org Tickets are available now from me at 24 Colemans Moor Road, Woodley, Reading RG5 4DN. Please send a cheque payable to KESCRG along with the names of those attending and their preferences for chilli options. Directions are available on the WRG website, if you would like a hard copy, please let me know when buying tickets. I look forward to seeing you all there! Bobby Silverwood
...and the BCN Cleanup
Believe it or not, there is a great deal of enjoyment to be had with a grappling hook, a length of rope and a weedy ditch near Walsall
BCN Cleanup, Tame Valley Canal, March 28-29 Sign up now for a fun weekend of pulling bikes, prams, old tyres and whatever else the worthy citizens of the West Midlands have no further use for out of the less-frequented parts of the Birmingham Canal Navigations, a 100-mile network covering the entire Birmingham and Black Country area. Not only is it fun (and yes, believe it or not there really is a great deal of enjoyment to be had with a grappling hook, a length of rope and a weedy ditch near Walsall) but were actually performing a useful service too. Over the past 15 years these events have helped to keep open the lesser-used northern parts of the network, which British Waterways is only permitted by law to spend the bare minimum on (even assuming theyve got the cash which they havent!) and which were in danger of deteriorating to the point where they would have been completly unusable. And that would be a real shame when weve put so much effort into restoring abandoned routes like the Lichfield and Hatherton canals to encourage more boats onto these underused waterways. This year its the turn of the Tame Valley Canal to receive the benefits of our efforts. Well be working from Tame Valley Junction eastwards towards Perry Barr Locks, but exactly how far we get depends on how much rubbish we find to pull out - and there are rumours of some good fishing to be had in the area. The event is run jointly by WRG, the BCN Society and local branches of The Inland Waterways Association but everyone is welcome. More details including accommodation will be in the next Navvies, but in the meantime feel free to fill in the form and send it off.
waterway recovery group
in association with BCNS, BW and IWA
I would like to attend the 2009 National Canal Cleanup on March 28-29 on the BCN Forename:
Address: email: Phone:
Any special dietary requirements?
I require accommodation Friday night / Saturday night / both nights I enclose payment of £
(pay 'WRG') for food (£11 for whole weekend)
Do you suffer from any allergy or illness, such as epilepsy or diabetes, about which we should know, or are you receiving treatment or under medical supervision for any condition? YES / NO (If yes, please attach details) In the unlikely event that you should be injured, who should we contact? Name:
Signed (parent's signature also required if aged under 18): Please send this form to: National Cleanup bookings, WRG, Island House, Moor Road, Chesham HP5 1WA
A Bonfire Bash with a difference: helping to improve a working waterway , instead of restoring a derelict one...
Reporting from Essex
Jenny Black and a couple of others booked them in and directed them to either the quiet or noisy gym. They soon sussed out Usually our November reunion weekend the lie of the land i.e. where the beer and takes the form of a big scrub-bashing session cider was, and directions to the chippy down on a long-derelict canal. A hundred or more the road, who must have thought his Christvolunteers turn up and spend the weekend mas had come early! slashing and burning as much as they can. We had a few emails and phone calls Theres no question that that kind of workfrom people unable to come for whatever party can make a real difference to a restora- reason, but not too many so we still had a tion project. But this year we chose instead good turnout. to spend the weekend doing a variety of Saturday morning: a couple of sore tasks to help the Chelmer & Blackwater, a heads I think, but did I care? No, everyone waterway saved from bankruptcy by our was up and breakfasted (thanks to Jude and parent body The Inland Waterways Associacooking team) and on the way to site at an tion, and now run by their subsidiary Essex alarming rate - by 09:20 the last van had Waterways Ltd. Over to WRG leader Dave gone, leaving just the usual mounds of Moose Hearnden to set the scene... detritus that a load of WRGies leave behind I had said all along that the work was as they head off to do battle... not all that you would expect on a Bonfire Back at the accommodation, after a Bash. I think that point was made. Essex large cup of coffee, in between fielding exWaterways Ltd were very keen for WRG to do pected phone calls, it was washing up time. a bit of work, and after the appropriate site This was followed by the dreaded sandwich visits and meetings, we got to late October session. We had four sites - which meant that and the Bonfire Bash was about to start... (hopefully!) if people had gone where we The week leading up to the bash Maria had indicated, then numbers of sandwiches and I took the tin shack to the sunny delights for each site should not be a problem! of Maldon: during the day we were out and about, during the evening we had a new pastime laminating all the direction signs for the vans - not just site but the hospital etc. Come Friday and we arrived at the accommodation to be meet by Dave Dobbin and John Gale of Essex WRG who pointed me in the direction where we could park up the tin shack. Once this was completed it was off to look around the school that was going to be our home and base for the weekend. We had two large gyms for sleeping, a decent kitchen and a dining hall, plus showers and toilets. The beer and cider had been set up. Geezer Chris and his lovely girlie Monique arrived. So we had a pow-wow to make sure we were both up to date. People starting arriving, some saying they had had a good journey. Not all, some having tried out the M25, but they arrived, gradually over the course of the evening, and Fencing crew show off their bonking technique Martin Ludgate
Bonfire Bash 2008 Report Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation
seeing how WRG works and maybe getting involved) we mustnt forget that there were actually some folks out there working on site all this time. Lets hear from Sophie about how the Site One team at Heybridge Basin got on...
Ah, yes, site. Despite the fascinating tales of sandwich making and vanfixing, and the attractions of the WRG meeting (and remember, these meetings are open to anyone interested in
There was a lot of resentment at last years Bonfire Bash at the amount of folks watching the bonfire and leaving decent folk to do the real work. This time round I thought if you cant beat them, join them. I planned to spend the whole weekend toasting my hands and catching up on the gossip. Unfortunately there werent very many bonfires this year and there was even less gossip. The parentage of all WRG babies has been accounted for, even the newest WRG relationships are now old news and no ones recently had any sensitive parts mangled in the Caribbean. Rain poured down, soaking the Path-relaying in progress on Site 1 kindling, the flame thrower had gone AWOL and Lunches were sent out (the sandwich the fire started extremely slowly. makers having been chastised by Jude for There was nothing else to do except work. messing about!) but in the meantime Mandy One team concentrated on fencing, using a had had a mishap with the borrowed minigiant corkscrew to bore into the ground for the bus: It just stopped and it has no more go. fence posts. Paul Ireson set to with the brush A work force of Bodgit & Leggit (alias Eddie cutter and cleared the nettles out of the way so the Jones, Malcolm Bridge and Bungle) soon got digger could work. A gazebo went up for tea to the bottom of the problem - a bodge done breaks and another team began to lay a new path. previously, and a new battery lead needed. Then there was the matter of the Bloody Eddie looked on the web for a Ford dealer Big Hole that needed digging. Some people said and came up trumps - only to find that they we were laying gas pipe, some people said it was had a lead in stock but they were closed until electricity, some water. A few cynics said it was Monday! So the AA were called, and - guess so the waterway could charge more for mooring. what - he had a spare lead on the van. Lead There were rumours it was being done to spite replaced, minibus went brum brum and the BW and prove that we could dig a huge great AA went off. hole on our own much better than they could. While this was going on, a WRG Committee meeting had begun in the accommodation. We have these meetings every two months, but the one at the Bonfire Bash is a bit of a special one because its where we plan the next years camps. By the end of the meeting this had been done, and the results had been put up on the projector screen, so people could see what camps they might like to go on - or even be persuaded by James and Suzie to lead - when they came off site...
Site Two: scrub-bashing as the boats pass at Elm Farm
Whilst the girls did all this, a number of WRG men supervised ie did no real work...
But ours was not to question why. We grabbed spades and set to as the rain fell. Anyone hoping to huddle by the bonfire was betrayed by their clothing letting off great clouds of steam, giving away their position. With the rain continuing apace, we soldiered on to lunchtime, when spirits were ...then bury your cables... raised by the arrival of a big cauldron of soup. Over lunch the weather really got into its stride and we were glad someone had thought to erect a gazebo. That afternoon the fire picked up just as boatloads of cut scrub began to arrive from Site Two, where proximity to neighbouring houses meant a bonfire wasnt appropriate. Grumbling about the weather and the clinging powers of mud, we worked on in the drizzle until the light began to fail. By this time I was wet through three layers of clothing and the clay-heavy soil was waterlogged and almost impossibly heavy to dig. Back at the accommodation there were showers but
Dig a Bloody Big Hole...
no hot water I suppose you cant have everything. We took comfort from the fact that washing in cold water was probably character-building. Jude cooked an excellent beef stew and two kinds of pudding, and there was much quaffing of ale thanks to the barrels provided by Moose. Later Martin presented a slide show of the years highlights and there was a sing-song. There was some grumbling about the noisy fans which came on in the middle of the night (and the snoring) but I always maintain that anyone who cant sleep on a dig cant have been working hard enough. On Sunday we woke to see dry golden leaves against blue sky and realised with relief it was going to be a beautiful day. This day it was all about The Hole. Three diggers worked without rest to complete the digging of a narrow trench about half a kilometre long. For once the role of banksman was a busy one as the diggers were working on a narrow footpath overrun with local walkers, boat owners and WRGies needing to get past to the loo, the tools and the brew hut. Following hot on the heels of the diggers were a party of WRG girls with spades. First we spread a load of gravel in the base of the hole (credit must go to those barrowing the gravel over from the other side of the water across the narrow
on the Chelmer & Blackwater
...and finally fill it in again. Remember, girls - green side up!
on the Chelmer & Blackwater footbridge). Then we stuck a big black plastic pipe in (apparently this was for electric cables). After than a slim blue water pipe went in. A few inches of soil on top (none of your dirty foreign centimetres here) and then a strip of yellow tape warning about the cables below. After all that it was just a matter of filling in the rest of the earth and restoring the turf as best we could. Whilst the girls did all this, a number of WRG men supervised ie did no real work. As darkness began to close in we found ourselves battling to finish. The turf jigsaw wed been carefully piercing back together became increasingly haphazard. Which way does this one go? asked Martin, struggling with an oddshaped turf. Green side up, some wag replied. We finished in the nick of time with barely enough light to admire our handiwork. Conversation back home on Monday morning: What did you do this weekend, Sophie? I dug a big hole and then filled it in.
I am assured by my wife Mandy, who was trundling round in minibuses (when they didnt expire on her!) that I was indeed at Site 2. This was at Elm Farm, about a mile and a half upstream of Heybridge Basin, adjacent to a housing estate which was the reason we werent allowed to have any bonfires. It was therefore somewhat ironic that we arrived on site to find a good blaze producing lots of thick smoke rising from one of the house gardens. The work was basically trimming back a hedge which was threatening to obliterate the towpath and to strim the vegetation between the towpath and the waters edge, making life easier for the many walkers along this section of canal. There were also a couple of mature trees which needed felling - one seriously overhanging the path and one which was
diseased - both of which were threatening to fall down on their own accord if not attended to. The tree felling involved the use of Essex Waterways Ltds work boat Buddy which resembles a small-scale army landing craft, having a drop-down flap at the front and straight sides. It was likely that the trees being felled would, at least partly, fall into the water and have to be cut up and retrieved using the boat. A boat trip from Heybridge Basin was therefore on the agenda for two Essex wrg regulars who also delivered a gazebo to site to find that the shelter had to be erected round the Burco which on arrival was already steaming away merrily. The mornings drizzle turned into afternoon rain and we were glad of the shelter of the gazebo, even though it felt like a Guinness Book of Records attempt to get everybody, plus lunch, plus the Burco, inside. As conditions deteriorated and the light failed it was agreed to suspend operations. The majority went back in a nice dry minibus; the boat crew returned in pouring rain and finished up unloading a dismembered willow tree next to the bonfire at Heybridge Basin for burning on Sunday. Sunday proved much more promising and
Meanwhile, the Site Two team were hard at work. Steve Morley reports...
Whilst the girls did all this, a number of WRG men supervised ie did no real work...
Could this be a sighting of the elusive Site Three gang?
were able to make up for Saturdays lost time. Much more towpath was strimmed and hedge trimmed; the pile of cuttings reaching enormous proportions. If only we had been allowed to burn it! The second tree was felled, testing the skill of our chainsaw operator as its diseased wood made it reluctant to drop in the desired direction. With the better weather there were more walkers about and we were encouraged by their positive response to what we were doing, even when we were asking them to take a detour round the roadway to avoid the work site. With the evenings entertainment and catching up with old friends it was a very enjoyable weekend, made all the better for knowing that we were helping improve IWAs own waterway.
Basically the work was to dig a long trench from the bridge by the lock up to the power supply post at the far end of the site. Both water and electric supplies were laid in the same trench - but from opposite ends. Both were teed off in three or four places to supply stanchions for the moored boats. The trench by the lock had to dug and refilled so that the two 360 degree excavators could be moved out. A layer of pea shingle was put into the trench first, and then after the pipe and cable duct were laid it was backfilled with a yellow tape laid in the soil to show where the cable was in the trench. Lastly, lets go back to leader Moose for some final comments...
Im afraid my repeated requests have failed to elicit any response from the folks who were working on Site Three, but as far as I can make out from a couple of photos smuggled out and the tiny bit of information I could glean from my contacts, if theyd produced a report it would have been something like:
I would like to thank Geezer Chris for being my assistant on a not-too-easy weekend, Maria and Monique for supporting us both, Jude for all the lovely grub, and the people who took turns in the kitchen. Also the van drivers, not just for the weekend but also the ones who delivered and took away vans and trailers - James, Eddie, Mike, Mike, Mandy, Geezer Chris (again), Mel, Rob and Martin. I hope everyone liked the T shirt design: a big thank you must go to Mr Mole for his design work and for Jancraft for travelling all the way down from foreign parts to print them. Thanks also to Essex Waterways Ltd, to Roy, Colin, Martin and John, and also for the help that Essex WRG gave. But I think the biggest thanks must go at all those volunteers who turned up, many of whom travelled for three to five hours (and I think the longest was just over 6 hours!) to be there. The reports and comments I have back just show what WRG can do: if the work is there, the kit is there, along comes WRG, who work their magic! Dave Moose Hearnden
A load of us went to Beeleigh where we cut down vegetation and burned it on bonfires.
So that will have to do. But lets catch up on the Site Four team, working right up near Chelmsford. From what John Hawkins says, it sounds remarkably similar to Site One - although the pictures suggest that in this case it wasnt just the girls doing all the work...
Site Four had some more cables to bury...
...while Site Two got to play with the workboat
How do you turn down the offer of being camp reporter with four pints of real ale inside you?
Grand Western Canal Grand Western Canal Camp October 2008
This is my third camp report in the two years I have been a Navvy. It seems I have many things to learn. How do you turn down the offer of being camp reporter with 4 pints of real ale inside? (Suggestions to Navvies at the usual address please). So, to this report! How to make it interesting and informative? As an avid reader of Navvies I know that people have tried many styles of camp report. However the truth always shines through: the week was mostly about the weather, the beer and the fires. This camp was no different, the weather was mostly kind, the beer was handsome and the fires were small and controlled as is the navvy way!
Accomodation and Catering The accommodation, a key and yet much overlooked aspect of happy camping varied from snug to get your chuffing knee out of my ear please Clive. Oh thats not your knee. The food was most ably and lovingly prepared by Mitch and the Bitch. Even the camp fire cooking went well until the Bitch set fire to the oven gloves! (but its OK they werent ours). As excellent as the food was, I feel I would be letting the camp down without mentioning No Beans Thursday! No names, no pack drill....but you know who you are!
On the work side there was plenty of tree felling... this was swiftly followed but lots of log creation and brush burning. To assist in the logistics of moving large quatities of
felled timber from point A to point B often via point C our host-with-the-most Dennis Dodds (or Double D as we prefer to call him) had employed a most interesting Chinese tractor which was instantly nicknamed Scoop, on the remarkable similarity it had to the Bob the Builder namesake. Then in came the much fabled Blue to dig out the roots and make that aspect of the works complete.
The team gets to grips with Scoop, the tractor
Other interesting work included the construction of timber decking over water to form a launch for small craft. This was thoroughly tested although I have to report that rowing an old Mirror dinghy along the 100 years of canal was much easier once Double D found the rest of the boat...thanks DD! There were also teams on fence erection and barrow run widening. One interesting aspect of writing a camp report long after its done is that strange notes that you made at
One interesting aspect of writing a camp report long after itd done is that strange notes you made at the time no longer mean a thing
Grand Western Canal
the time no longer mean a thing to you. So for people who were there, I hope these things mean something to someone.... Freddie the Fieldmouse Bobby and the Brew Kit and Beavers and Bananas.
Evening Entertainment Evening entertainment is often claimed to be at the heart of a successful camp. Personally I doubt it, but tagged along for the tour of a local cider factory whose name evades me. I am not sure whether that is due to the time since the camp or the consumption of nefarious liquids at the so called tasting.
Another one bites the dust...
Since the close of the October camp I am happy to report that the Watford and Near Keynes Environmental Restoration Society has failed to get off the ground but that the Fundamental Utilization of Chainsaw Kit certificates are now available for those who passed. Sadly however for those hoping for news on their Certificates of Underwater Nautical Tallents there was no passes... better luck next year. Clive Knight
The volunteers, the aqueduct, and the large heap of logs
Waterway Recovery Groups own boat club attends a couple of festivals, holds an AGM, and gives another £400 to canal restoration
Boat Club News
proposed and agreed to keep the same vibrant and dynamic team in place! Notes on the AGM which was held at Commode doors Report: Lynne has Maesbury Marsh during the Monty 08 Camattended four Association of Waterways paign Rally in September: Cruising Club midland meetings and was A number of club members attended made welcome by other clubs. Much of the the rally by boat and the occupants were at discussion centred on the increasing cost of the AGM. The boats there were: Grains in boating with higher licence fees, the ending the Water; Wild Otter; Pendle; Xai Xai; Pinvin of the right to use low-duty red diesel, lack and Lynx. of waterways maintenance and the introducOur illustrious little treasure(r) was also tion of tendering for British Waterways online there. Other wrgies were also in the room moorings. Clubs and individuals were asked but kept their distance. (I think this is beto lobby MPs and BW with phone calls, letcause Ian had warned them that getting too ters, and emails and support local protests. near me last year had landed him with the Boat safety also received attention and memjob of taking the minutes of the meeting. A bers were encouraged to take steps to avoid jolly good job he made of it too!) risk of fire and carbon monoxide poisoning. Apologies were received from Sue and It was not known how many club memRoger Burchett and from Claire Moynihan, bers attended the 2008 IWA National Waterour foreign correspondent (like being in ways Festival at Autherley, near Wolverglorious sunshine in Crete, while we were up hampton. A social gathering of seven boats to the ankles in mud, was some kind of from WRG BC was held (despite lack of excuse!) publicity) on D moorings prior to the IllumiMinutes of AGM held at the 2007 nated Boat Parade. The Silver Bowl for servIWA National Festival at St Ives were disices to WRG was awarded to Elaine Scott. cussed; mostly the discussion was along the Elaine has, since 1993 National Waterways lines of: Festival at Wakefield, worked every day at Who remembered them? Where were their copies now? What a good job Ian did taking and writing up the minutes. We were all sure that he had remembered everything accurately (before the effects of the wine kicked in), so everyone agreed and there were no matters arising. Election of officers As you can imagine, the present officers struggled to keep their exalted positions. In fact in all the excitement they must have missed the volunteers queuing to take over their jobs. Monty 08 at Maesbury: the site turns a trifle muddy... In other words it was John Fletcher
WRG Boat Club News
every festival on the Lavender Boat. A well deserved recipient. Boaters attending did not have any matters to be brought to the AGM. Wolverhampton Boat club had provided temporary mooring and car parking for club members attending the festival. In appreciation a WRG BC Burgee was donated and we appreciated the hospitality in their social club on several evenings. Our secretary was asked to write a letter of thanks to Wolverhampton Boat Club. (Which she has done) Suggestions were requested for suitable recipients of the Silver Bowl award next year. Secretarys Report: We currently have 42 members. Application for membership and is open to boaters who are active or previously involved with WRG restoration work or fund raising. Sadie assured us she will get efficient (but not yet). She was complimented on the clubs unique Christmas card she produced each year. Treasurers Report: Anne confirmed we have 42 members bringing in an income of £420. The bank balance was £186. Since 2002 WRG Boat Club had donated £2600 to the following restoration projects:
01/07/2006 Broxbourne Cruising Club 01/07/2006 Peterborough IWA towards raising Ramsey Hollow bridge 28/08/2006 Cotswold Canal Trust 28/08/2006 Wilts & Berks Canal Trust 16/10/2007 Cotswold Canal Trust
Many members also contributed, via the club, to the Boats for Bangladesh appeal. Any Other Business: Donations towards restoration were discussed using the money expected in this years subscriptions. The Droitwich and Montgomery canals were proposed. Members are keen that money should go towards restoration and or materials for restoration rather than mile posts or suchlike. It was agreed to give £200 to each. Sadie will contact someone involved in the restorations to find the most suitable way to donate the money. Sadie will try to sort orders for T-shirts etc. Venue for next years AGM will be either National Waterways Festival on River Soar (end August) or Mersey River Festival (middle of June). Officers agreed to decide where later. Membership Matters: It was agreed that a member who subsequently sells their boat can still belong to the club. It was agreed that the Joining Fee is increased from £5 to £10. This concluded the official business. 26/08/2002 LHCRT - David Suchet appeal The meeting continued as a social get 23/08/2003 WRG Right Tool for the Right Job together in the Beer Tent situated in a very 12/06/2005 wrgNW plant very muddy field at Maesbury Canal Festival and continued throughout the Hog Roast. We agreed that the festival was a great event despite the weather. All the hard work of the organisers was much appreciated. I am now in the process of sending out membership cards for 2008/2009. If you havent paid up by now please note the above decision about joining/rejoining fees! Please will members let me know their opinions for the venue for the AGM in 2009. I hope that this years club Christmas card will live up to expectations! xxx Sadie Dean ...but narrow boat Lynx flies the WRGBC pennant
Your guide to all the forthcoming work parties Dec 26-Jan 1 Camp 200823
WRG Christmas Canal Camp: Wilts & Berks Canal, near Swindon. Leade
Dec 26-Jan 1 WBCT
Wilts & Berks Canal Trust Camp: Bricklaying, scrub and stump clearance a
Wilts & Berks Canal: Seven Locks flight (Dig Deep project)
Basingstoke Canal: Dredging at Brookwood (to be confirmed)
Jan 10 Sat
Paper Chase waste paper collection
Chichester Ship Canal
Jan 31/Feb 1 London WRG
Thames & Severn Canal: Eisey Lock (Dig Deep project)
Wilts & Berks Canal: Steppingstones Lane Bridge (to be confirmed)
Thames & Severn Canal: Eisey Lock (Dig Deep project)
Wilts & Berks Canal: Seven Locks flight (Dig Deep project)
Feb 21 Sat
Paper Chase waste paper collection
Feb 28 Sat
Training Day: for canal camp and work party leaders. See p6
Feb 28 Sat
Barn Dance: Sat 7pm to 11:30pm. Benson Village Hall. Tickets £12 inc
Mar 1 Sun
Mini-AGM post-Barn Dance
Mar 1 Sun
Committee & Board Meetings: at Benson, the day after the Barn dance and
Wilts & Berks Canal: Seven Locks flight (Dig Deep project)
Wey & Arun Canal
Wilts & Berks Canal: Steppingstones Lane Bridge
Manchester, Bolton & Bury Canal
Mar 28 Sat
Paper Chase waste paper collection
Thames & Severn Canal: Eisey Lock (Dig Deep project)
Wilts & Berks Canal: Seven Locks flight (Dig Deep project)
Wilts & Berks Canal: Steppingstones Lane Bridge
Wilts & Berks Canal: Steppingstones Lane Bridge
Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation
Hereford & Gloucester Canal: Yarkhill
Please send updates to Diary compiler: Dave Wedd, 7 Ringwood Rd, Blackwater,
Canal Camps cost ÂŁ49 per week unless otherwise stated. Bookings for WRG Canal Camps (those identified by a camp number e.g. 'Camp 200823') should go to WRG Canal Camps, Island House, Moor Road, Chesham HP5 1WA. Tel: 01494 783453. Email: email@example.com
ers: James Butler and Ju Davenport
at 7 Locks & Foxton
c food. See p6
d Leaders Training
Camberley, Surrey GU17 0EY. Tel 01252 874437. email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 Tue & Wed C&BN Chelmer & Blackwater John Gale 01376-334896 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 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 Pocklington Canal Paul Waddington 01757-638027 Every Wed and 1st Sat RGT Stowmarket Navigtn. Colin Turner 01473-730586 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 Thames & Medway C 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 CBN CCT DCT EAWA ECPDA FIPT GCRS GWCT H&GCT IWPS K&ACT
Birmingham Canal Navigations Soc. Buckingham Canal Society Bude Canal Trust Chesterfield Canal Trust Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation 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 RGT 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 River Gipping Trust 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
My amazement increased yet more as I was immediately given a job to do: no faffing about looking for tools... Dear Editor I would like to thank Moose, Geezer Chris and all others involved in the organisation of this years reunion Bonfire Bash. Pre-organising who was going to which site massively decreased my early morning confusion as to what was going on. It was in fact so organised that I was removed from washing up duty as my group was leaving first! Upon arrival at site my amazement increased yet more: I was immediately given a job to do. No faffing around looking for tools and such-like. In fact work abounded and I was kept occupied all weekend (without any unexpected changes to the job description) - even if every time Maria wandered by with a wheelbarrow full of shingle I was sat on a bench (being a human clamp for Adrian as he cut bits of fence to size). Hence thanks again: to the organisers, to the cooks, to the drivers, to my fencing compatriots and to everyone else. Its just a shame there werent many new faces from the summer camps. Helena Howarth Dear Martin The Bonfire of Maldon Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation 1st-2nd November 2008 Sunday afternoon arrived very quickly and it was virtually dark as our group at Heybridge Basin placed the final ducting and trench backfill linking the three excavations together. Thus I did not see the various groups leave the four separate sites. May I therefore use Navvies to communicate sincere thanks from Essex Waterways Ltd to all those who came to The Bonfire of Maldon and gave us an amazing amount of work. Whilst this Bonfire Bash was different to the normal event, the maintenance and improvement works carried out are a tremendous boost to the three years of on-going work that we have been undertaking since IWA took responsibility for operating and maintaining
to the editor
the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation. This continued support from WRG demonstrates that IWA as an organisation is fully committed to the C&BN and shows just what can be achieved through the dedicated and highly skilled WRG volunteer groups. We are proud to be associated with WRG. Many of our customers who saw WRG operating during the weekend commented not only on the amount of work achieved, but also on what a great bunch you all were even when working through the awful wet weather on Saturday and this was confirmed when we joined you that evening at the Plume School. We have been used to arranging weekend work parties with individual WRG groups but the thought of you all coming at once was a little worrying, so especial thanks must also go to Moose, Maria and Geezer Chris for all their hard work and organisation which made the event such as success. We have already received several approaches for weekend groups for next year and these are being arranged. You are always welcome and we therefore look forward to seeing many of you again; perhaps next time we will have some sunshine. Sincere thanks to you all. Roy Chandler Director & Chairman, Essex Waterways Ltd (Body responsible for maintaining and operating the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation) Dear Martin I was wondering if you would be so kind as to print a sincere thank you to members of Essex WRG and a few WRGies from other groups for the generous gift and card to myself and my new husband Mike. We were married at Bishops Stortford on 20th September. The father of the bride, Bill Harrison, was seen in a rare non-standard WRG uniform of a morning suit and waistcoat, and myself, the bride, was not wearing steel toecap boots, Im sorry to say! However, we did get a little hint of WRG red running through the proceedings. Best Wishes to all Mike and Kay (Harrison) Porter
Ipswich & Stowmarket The River Gipping Trust
A new restoration society is formed, with plans to progress the restoration next summer - book now for camps 09 or 18 the draught of boats using the lock and replace it with a correctly profiled concrete invert. During the work we will be at risk of flooding should the river rise, so we need to minimise the length of time that the wall is down: to this end we have scheduled two WRG canal camps & a London WRG weekend next summer so as to achieve the work in a six week period. The two pictures show the progress that has been made on the retaining wall above the lock.
In 2007 the Ipswich Branch of the IWA, which has been working for some years to restore the Ipswich & Stowmarket Navigation (a waterway based on the River Gipping) was instrumental in the formation of the River Gipping Trust (RGT). Its object is raising increased interest in the river as a recreational facility for everyone, not just navigation interests: we find that (if known at all by the general public) IWA is perceived as a navigation body. During the past 18 months the trust has become a limited company and registered as a charity. Recently the trust held a public meeting to launch itself to the local authorities and the public. The meeting was well attended and a PowerPoint presentation of the history of the river, recent restoration by Ipswich IWA and our plans for he future was shown. It was well received with no objection raised to our plans. However we must not be too complacent about that as one notable abThe wall above Baylham Lock when work began on Camp sentee was any representative 0716, and complete at the London WRG dig in October 2008 from the Environment Agency. The trust now feels that it is in a position to take over the restoration work that has been carried out until now by the Ipswich Branch of the IWA, although still reliant on the branch for major funding at this stage. Plans for next year include taking down one wall of Baylham Lock and rebuilding it. While the wall is down we will take the opportunity to access the lock with an excavator, remove an ineffective flat concrete base that would restrict
Meanwhile down south, the good people of Loxwood are railing against the Wey & Arun Canal Trust and their new bridge...
Wey & Arun Canal
Wey & Arun Canal
Photos by WACT
Now that the construction of the B2133 bridge/tunnel has been completed, the contractors have left the site and the road is fully open to traffic. So does that mean that boats can now go under the road, through the new Loxwood Lock and onward towards Guildford? Well, not just yet. The first step is to open up the short section between the bridge/tunnel and the new Loxwood Lock. Then there are the lock gates to fit. The big pump for the back pumping system also has to be installed. The small supplementary back pump is already installed. The Trust has placed a contract with Burras Ltd of Hayling Island to install the retaining walls between the lock and bridge and the towpath behind the Onslow Arms to the bridge. This work is expected to finish by the end of the year. Our volunteers will put on the coping stones which are already made, just awaiting the opportunity to fit. Finally we will remove the bund behind the Onslow Arms. Unfortunately the new bridge / tunnel isnt universally popular: many people have commented on the unattractive design of the new 6ft high railings across the bridge (see picture). However the railings are traffic safety barriers that comply with technical standards specified by West Sussex County Council (WSCC) to take into account the needs of the British Horse Society for a bridleway alongside a highway - and there appears to be nothing that the Canal Trust can do about them. To end on a brighter note, the combination of National Heritage Open Days, the steam rally at the Onslow Arms and some unusually fine weather produced crowds of visitors to the area over the weekend of 13/ 14th September. The Trust is very grateful to Kate Russell for organising the steam rally Loxwood: excavating from the bridge to the and to Amberley Working Museum for their new lock (top), view through the bridge support. Sally Schupke (centre) and the controversial railings (bottom)
Mont, Lichfield & Hatherton
SUCS make progress with rebuilding the walls from Redwith to Crickheath, while LHCRT design an interesting bywash
Lichfield & Hatherton Canals
Shropshire Union Canal Society
The Trust has instructed W.S Atkins to draw up a feasibility study for the Lichfield Canal. This follows an extensive consultation period during which several of the major firms of consultants were approached. Work will start on 1st November and must be completed by the beginning of April so that the outcome can be incorporated into the Lichfield District Council Local Development Framework. For the first time, all the information which the Trust holds on the Lichfield can be drawn together in a professional document of use in many ways. Contracot Wrekin Construction is now well-advanced in extending the Lichfield Southern Bypass through the currently disused railway line from Lichfield to Walsall. This has required the destruction of the old Lock 19 which the Trust regrets but has had to accept. Wrekin is salvaging the large stone blocks and placing them on adjacent Trust land for future re-use. The focus in this area must still be on ensuring that an adequate and acceptable connection can be made between the original line and the diversion above Lock 19. Work has continued at Tamworth Road with our own team and visitors. The bywash on Lock 26 is now complete and design work for the bywash on Lock 25 is at an advanced stage. It will be designed as an interesting structure and with dimensions capable of handling flood event flows. Our engineering team has also been studying the Darnford Lane site and is looking ahead to preparing the whole length from the golf club to Cappers Bridge. On the Hatherton routine work continues, with future plans dependent on finding a new route through Little Wyrley Estate in the east, and the Highways Agency finally deciding how to increase traffic flows on the M6. It now seems far from certain that M6 will be widened with the ensuing possibility of provision being made for a navigable Progress on the wall at Redwith thanks to SUCS canal crossing. Martin Ludgate
September 2008 was the month that our luck with the weather ran out but despite this progress was good and a significant milestone reached in our restoration work which is currently concentrated on the Redwith to Crickheath length of the Montgomery Canal. In pouring rain, using two dump trucks, wheelbarrows and 22 volunteers, 16 tonnes of crushed stone was taken to the completed section of towpath, and then large quantities of limecrete were placed at various points on the batter wall and profiles erected. On the following two days building work was carried out in better weather on the vertical wall at Redwith Bridge and on the batter wall. WRG had constructed two bays of the Redwith Wharf retaining wall during their August work camp, and we filled one of these bays with concrete, trimmed the blockwork and continued the stonework facing. The headline news is that we reached the half way point 207 metres from Redwith in the batter wall. This was done not without a struggle, since the line and level of the piling at this point is probably the worst on the whole length. Progress on the lower courses of the wall is correspondingly slow. Mike Friend
Has your canal restoration project made some good progress recently? Tell us about it and well include it in our next update Wendover Arm September Working Party: Again, no respite from the weather. At the September work party it was too wet to cut Bentomat to line the canal. We are hoping to improve our chances of cutting Bentomat by constructing a concrete bed above general ground level with a slight fall to drain off rainwater and make it possible to cut providing it is not a rainy day instead of having to wait for the ground to dry out. On the bright side, the spoil fill above the coir rolls for both banks laid in August has been completed. The old route of the footpath at Bridge 4 was fenced off in preparation for removing the spoil between the abutments of the former swing bridge. At Pete Bowers weekday work party the third length of base formwork was erected ready for another pour in October. October Working Party: Again, more bad weather. Nevertheless tipping on both banks of Stage 1, to restore the profile where undercutting was necessary because of the line of the underground pipe (through which the canal water is currently pumped past the length of canal which wouldnt hold water), is complete. Both the first and second wall lengths were poured as well as the third base length. There was a problem with some of the pours due to spillage from the tracked dumpers linked to very wet ready-mix. Instead of a surplus for two pours both an extra delivery and mixing on site was required. Nevertheless, by mixing on site, the blinding is complete for all but the last wall length. At Pete Bowers weekday work party the fourth length of base formwork was erected ready for another pour in November. Future plans for working parties: When there are the resources available, bulk excavation and pipe capping in Stage 2 will continue but there are an increasing number of minor works that need to be completed during the winter months. While the banks are being left to settle, the only work that
can be carried out in Stage 1 is the mooring wall and this will be the first priority. The various works are: The cart track entrance is causing great difficulties when deliveries to the site are by large lorries and trailers. We are negotiating with Herts CC, who own the unused triangle of land alongside the entrance, to realign the fence to cut off the sharp corners at the bottom and top of the entrance. This will require several days of a work party to not only re-site the fence but also excavate both corners and lay a crushed concrete and road stone surface suitable for heavy lorries. We are continually prevented from cutting Bentomat because the ground at Little Tring is far too muddy because of bad weather conditions. The proposal is to lay a concrete platform exactly five metres wide with transverse grooves at cutting lengths. Provision will also be made for a roll of Bentomat to be positioned at one end with a spindle or rollers to support it for ease of unwinding and cutting. The bases for the two memorial seats, one at Little Tring Bridge, the other at chainage 3000. The ground around both footbridges needs clearing then covering with Geotex and road stone to enable people to view plaques mounted on the stanchions as well as keep the area generally tidy. This work was commenced at Bridge 4A by Pete Bowers and his weekday workparty. The area at Whitehouses needs clearing for exploration by Professor Timothy Peters who is leading the investigation into this historic site of a former pumping station and what should be done to preserve it in the future. The spoil deposited between the abutments of the former swing bridge at Whitehouses needs to be cleared. The remaining small trees in the tip site near Bridge 4 need clearing so that tipping can be completed and the site levelled over. Roger Leishman
. . . . .
Manchester Bolton & Bury
The first length of the MB&B opens in Salford, and meanwhile WRG NW return to the site of our earlier efforts near Prestolee
Manchester Bolton & Bury
Boats on the canal in Salford for the official opening of the first length in September
On Friday 19th September the first length of the Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal was reopened at Middlewood in Salford. The length consists of the new Margaret Fletcher Tunnel under the Inner Relief Road (on the site of the former staircase locks 1 & 2), a new deep lock (the third deepest in the country at 17ft 8ins) two new basins, and then the restored Lock 3 and a re-lined length to beyond the old Lock 4 (later Tunnel No 1). The restored length is 437m long, cost ÂŁ5.9M, and was built by contractors Volker Stevin, led by British Waterways; it is to form the centre of a ÂŁ600M redevelopment area. Meanwhile several miles north near Prestolee, there has been progress of a very different kind. A working party of Society and WRGNW members cleared the start of the Bury arm of the Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal Prestolee during work... ...and after clearance on 13/14 September. The length was from the top of Prestolee Locks to the 1936 breach, originally cleared by WRG 10 years ago; the canal was reverting to nature and had become almost invisible since then. Paul Hindle
Fed up of working in the hissing down rain? Spend a weekend at Eisey Lock on the Cotswold Canals, where the suns always shining...
London WRG at Eisey Lock
On this dig I brought along my friend Karen, who isnt a Londoner but a real person so she isnt afraid of the outdoors, owns Digging in the Cotswolds is like spending the flat-soled shoes and doesnt mind getting her hands dirty. She told me in confidence shed weekend in one of ITV1s Sunday night dramas: its picturesque, people have once had a dose of the Convols at university, which I assumed was something best tackled unfeasible rural accents and nothing really by taking penicillin and choosing your partbad ever happens. There isnt a lane in Ashton Keynes I cant imagine Hettie Waynthrop ners more carefully, but apparently is some kind of conservation volunteer work not or Inspector Foyle motoring down. Theres entirely unlike WRG. We were also assisted crisp cold cider on tap in the pub and the stream running through the village is so clear by a local who joined us on site during working hours but very sensibly went home for you can count the scales on the fat trout hot baths in the evenings, and a professional swimming there. brickie on a busmans holiday, who brought At the end of September London WRG enjoyed another blissful dig on the Eisey lock his own sandwiches along. With about fifteen of us on site, half of site, where all the memories are sunny and whom are bricking, progress was dictated by smell of apple crumble and factor 15. Here the speed at which mortar could be mixed. Julian, Dick, Anne, George and Timmy the We shamelessly gave the newbies the backdog stop by for picnics with tomatoes, hard breaking work of mixing and barrowing. boiled eggs and lashings and lashing of London WRGs currently on a half-arsed ginger beer, there isnt a hole in the ozone recruitment drive which is paying far greater layer and Sarah Palin doesnt exist.
London WRG at Eisey Lock Cotswold Canals
Eisey Lock: the coping stones go back on the rebuilt offside upper wing wall
...on the Cotswold Canals
good site-manager role keeping everything as efficient as possible and we made a getaway in good time on Sunday. Can I come again? asked Karen later via email, your beardy friends are lovely. Sophie Smith
dividends than is merited by the level of effort were putting into it. On this my third visit to the Eisey Lock the progress since last spring is really visible. Patches of fresh brickwork are growing and theres been some attempts at knocking out the inferior repair work done in the main lock chamber. Over the weekend we finished off one wingwall at the top of the lock and nearly finished its partner, with only 2 or 3 coping stones still to lay. At the lower end Martin and Dave picked up some tricky bricking around the overflow and the gate recess and made good solid progress. We began bricking up the thick section of wall that regulars on the site will know as the one with that bastard root going right through it. On the opposite side of the lock chamber a team rolled back the severely cracked coping stones and Tim, Alan and myself began pulling out the loose bricks, of which there were many. It was perfect weather for a dig with the sun just strong enough to cheer you up. Sunday was another perfect mild sunny day on site despite the misty start. Eventually we let the newbies have a turn at bricklaying and I took a turn running mortar and barrows of fresh bricks down to the far end where work was continuing on both sides of the lower gate. Harvesting was taking place in the fields nearby and clouds of chaff drifted over site now and again. Leader Elanor did a
Can I come again? asked Karen, your beardy friends are lovely
Above: the nearside upper wing wall Below: the nearside upper gate recess wall
Download WRG accommodation locations onto your Garmin satnav set
...can help you find your canal camp
Love them or loathe them, satellite navigation devices are becoming more and more popular. And although written directions to the accommodation for all WRG Canal Camps are sent out with camp bookings and can also be found on the web site, for added convenience you can now download the whole set and install them on your Garmin satnav - all you need is some free software from Garmins web site. All the locations are listed by name, e.g. Somersham Village Hall, and shown on the maps by a red WRG icon. To download the waypoints, or Points Of Interest (POIs) as theyre known, go to the Accommodation Maps page of the WRG web site: www.wrg.org.uk/village_hall_maps.htm. At the bottom of the page there is a link to the file that contains the POIs, icon and some instructions on how to install them. There is also a link to Garmins web site where you can download the POI Loader software, and check to see if your satnav will accept them. If you find that one of the waypoints is in the wrong place then just let me know - my e-mail address is email@example.com. Please be as descriptive as possible with your updates - e.g. its on the other side of the road or its the red-roofed building 100yds up the road towards the village: Identifying some of the locations involved a lot of headscratching and gazing at the satellite images in Google Maps in an attempt to match them with the written instructions. Although these POIs may make it easier or more tempting to drop in on a camp unannounced, please ensure the camp leader knows you are coming - preferably by booking through head office, but at the very least by calling them on the Canal Camps mobile phone - so that they can make their plans, have enough food etc. In some cases sleeping space can be at a premium and you may find that theres literally no room at the inn (and few inns have stables these days). Other potentially useful POIs for places such as supermarkets, builders merchants and railway stations can be readily found on the Internet, which may be useful when in unfamiliar territory. The POI files used by Garmin are in CSV format and may be compatible with other makes of sat. nav. but they have only been tested on a Garmin. Gordon Brown
As it appears on your Garmin satnav...
...and in real life
Navvies News MKP says dont panic
Just because its not on the card...
from the summer. It can be paraphrased as dont panic pretty much all our incidents occurred from people trying to rush things and improvise when situations changed suddenly. The waterway you are working on is going to take many years to complete, it really doesnt matter if actually takes many years plus a day because you were waiting till you could do it safely. Mike Palmer
Millie Osborn We are sorry to have to bring you the sad news of the death of Millie Osborn in October. Millie and her late husband Pat are fondly remembered for their involvement in many waterways organisations and campaigns around the Stoke-onTrent area where they lived including the Anderton Lift Appeal, Stoke Boat Club, the Caldon Canal Society and particularly for their central role in the Beatrice Trust which has helped so many local disadvantaged children to experience the waterways. But they were active in WRG too - in particular the Frankton Locks restoration on the Montgomery Canal, and on the Stratford-upon-Avon Canal during the volunteer Stratford Blitzes which helped to keep the restored canal open in the difficult years of the late 1970s and early 1980s when maintenance funding was short. A couple of days after Millies funeral, both Pat and Millie were honoured with a permanent memorial. Many of their friends gathered at a ceremony (pictured, left) to name a new bridge over the Trent & Mersey Canal in Stoke-on-Trent Osborn Bridge in their memory. Harry Arnold
Having looked both forwards and backwards in my chairmans comment, heres a brief reminder about some things that have always applied, both then and now. The WRG Driver Authorisation Scheme does not replace legislation, it operates alongside it! Just because the DA scheme does not include, say, demolition hammers doesnt mean that they are fair game for anyone. The rules regarding proper training, supervision, competence, etc. apply just as much for items not on the DA scheme as they do for items on it. And the right tool for the right job rule is still just as valid its perhaps the best summary of our Health and Safety audit
It doesnt matter if it actually takes many years plus a day because you were waiting till you could do it safely
An award for the BCN Cleanup, a new book of the best canal pubs, and what would you take on you Desert Island Dig?
What are your essentials?
Desert Island Digs Manky old work trousers and beaten-up steelies may be essentials in anyones rucksack but what luxury item do you bring on each dig? For me its got to be ear plugs. Heres what some other people on a recent London WRG dig would take on their Desert Island Dig: Martin D: bottle of red Krzysiek: MP4 player Nearly New Rachel: my embroidered pillow and my sense of honour
alongside waterways already open, there are a few favourites on canals we work on such as the Cotswolds, and several WRGie haunts from our earlier successes like the Navigation at Bugsworth and the Queens Head on the Mont. And every pub listed serves real ale. Published by Waterways World, its available from IWA Head Office online bookshop www.iwashop.co.uk.
Whats your luxury item? Take part in our exclusive WRG survey by following the link Well done... from http://tiny.cc/DesertIslandDigs. It only takes a minute! Results will be an...to all the volunteers and everyone involved nounced in the next Navvies. in running the BCN Cleanup last year and all Sophie Smith the previous years - and especially to Aileen Butler whos been the main WRG co-ordinator for the Cleanup for several years. Our efforts Fancy a pint? have been recognised by British Waterways Obviously somebody thinks quite a few of us as the Cleanups been chosen to be the first do, because they sent me a splendid book of West Midlands recipients of what is to bewaterside pubs by Mike Lucas, who has been come an annual set of BW regional awards touring with Mikron Theatre Company on their for volunteer achievement on the waterways. boat Tyseley for so many years that he probThe picture shows representatives of ably knows a thing or two about the subject. WRG and the other groups involved at the Although most of the pubs listed are presentation above Farmers Bridge Locks.
Dont get your kit nicked Return To The Ice Wells!
Watch out... ...theres a thief about! (says Martin, showing his age) One or two bits of plant have gone missing recently, thanks to todays crooks having access to Hiabs (those hydraulic arms that delivery trucks use for unloading). Dont think your generators secure, just because youve put it behind a fence - somebody could lift it over. Fix it to something bigger, or alternatively there are some useful ground anchors available for securing kit these days - George Bungle Eycott has details.
Those with long memories will recall a series of weekend digs and camps at the London Canal Museum. At these digs WRG volunteers carried out excavation works in the And finally.. historic ice wells where, before the days of mechanical refrigeration, ice imported from Thank you to everyone for their contribuNorway was stored before distribution to tions to six splendid issues of Navvies this restaurants and houses. year (he said, modestly), with special thanks A couple of years ago the museum held to Dave Wedd for long service on the Diary, a series of archaeology workshops which left Robert Goundry for chasing canal society the main visible icewell in a bit of a state so progress reports, John Hawkins of WRGprint it was decided to hold a work party to tidy it and his team of envelope-stuffers at assemup. Not being the most experienced shovel bly evenings (and the London Canal Museum wielders the museum trust asked London for providing us with a venue), Jenny & Co WRG to help out and a date of the evening at Head Office for their assistance, Chris of11th August was set. Griffiths for cover printing, Sue Watts for An email request bought in the sum subcriptions and anyone else Ive forgotten. total of one volunteer so on the set date Oh, and to Sophie Smith for such high qualHelena joined myself and three other muity contibutions that I almost dont mind her seum trustees to pick, shovel and wheelbartaking the mickey out of me so much. row the mounds of spoil. It was just as Seasons Greetings to you all from the well not too many responded as we comeditor, and Ill see you on the New Year pleted the work in just over two hours Camp or sometime in 2009. which, after washing the borrowed London WRG tools out in the basin behind the museum left us plenty of time to recover in a local hostelry. Im afraid London WRG cant promise many two and a half hour digs but it was certainly different to hold a working party on a working day! The Smallish Dig at the London Canal Museum Tim Lewis
NOTICEBOARD Online Navvies subscriptions Dont forget: You can now take out or renew Navvies subs online at www.waterways.org.uk/Restoration/index.htm or at www.iwashop.com/ecommerce/ products.asp?cat=126
Historic boat seeks co-owner Possible share for sale in working narrow boat owned by consortium of mainly WRG volunteers and friends. Contact Tim Lewis on 07802 518094 if interested. Moving house Mark Mk2 Richardson moved house a while ago (sorry!) to: 2 Church View, Loughborough Rd, Bunny, Notts NG11 6QS. Tel: 0115 921 3710 Abigail Davison-Hoult (formerly Abigail Jones) hasnt moved house but would like people to know that as well as a new surname she also has a new email address firstname.lastname@example.org
Dial-a-camp To contact any WRG Canal Camp: 07850 422156 (Kit A camps) 07850 422157 (Kit B camps)
Send used stamps, petrol coupons, phone cards, empty computer printer ink cartridges to IWA/WRG Stamp Bank, 33 Ham-bleton Grove, Milton Keynes MK4 2JS. All proceeds to canal restoration.
...to Judith and Kevin Pope on the arrival of Joshua James on October 3 weighing 7lb and to Gavin and Alison Moor on the arrival of Emily Elizabeth on November 13 weighing 6lb 11oz
Sits. Vac. A number of vacancies have arisen for outgoing people who can give presentations (H&S talk), manage paper work (risk assessments etc) and work in a fun friendly atmosphere (usually including a pub in the evenings) within a team of volunteers. We have offices around the UK (various canals and village halls). The lucky candidates will receive training (leader training day before the barn dance) and competitive rates of pay are offered (a free canal camp). To apply for this position or for more info please contact James Butler on email@example.com. Seriously we do need a few more leaders for 2009 camps. If youd like to help, please get in touch
Directory updates? The next issue 233 will include the full directory of WRG, other mobile groups and canal societies work party contacts. If your groups details have changed please contact the editor
Thanks... ...to Chris Griffiths of Stroudprint for his continued assistance with printing
Contacting the chairman: Mike Palmer 3 Finwood Rd, Rowington, Warwickshire CV35 7DH Tel: 01564 785293 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
...featuring Dear Deirdre Captions
Do you have a problem for our agony aunt Deirdre? Write to her via the editor, or email email@example.com
I find it very difficult to sleep on a WRG dig. Over the years Ive invested large sums of money in a folding bed, air mattress, thermal sleeping bags and travel pillows all to no avail. Im at my wits end. How can I ensure a proper nights sleep? Deirdre writes: If anyone complains they cant sleep, its because they havent been working hard enough. Put some back in it, you part-timer!
Our first picture in issue 231, featuring Eddie Jones of KESCRG and a sink plunger elicited the following suggestions: WRGie auditions for the Teletubbies - Andy Carter Mr W.G. Grace was adjudged out hit wicket by the umpire during the 1895 WRG vs KESCRG cricket match after headbutting the stumps - Andy Overton
I enjoy digging, but I find many of the men in my local group are very lecherous. How can I deal with this issue? Im 25. Deirdre writes: I get lots of letters similar to yours. Many women find my advice to introduce a younger, blonder female friend to their local group helps to deflect the attention from themselves. Have you a more attractive younger sister you can use? if all else fails, take comfort from the fact youre getting a bit old to be of interest to many of them now anyway.
...while the one of Bungle and a strange wooden construction produced these two: You think Im holding this up with my hands, dont you! - Andy Overton After the latest accommodation cockup Bungle finds himself in the doghouse - Andy Carter
Ive always been interested in canals, but gradually my fascination with waterways, locks and canal craft has reached a fever pitch. I cant sleep for thinking of canal boats and my every waking hour is devoted to the study and appreciation of canals and the pursuit of canal restoration. My obsessions taking over my life can you help? Deirdre writes: I dont know how to help you. Why dont you ask Martin Ludgate how he manages?
An idea for WRG Forestry?
News has reached us that - strapped for cash - British Waterways has been installing three large square wooden bollards at each lock on the Staffs and Worcs canal and also on the Wolverhampton 21 locks, the Stratford Canal and many other Midland waterways. Our initial information that these were from genetically modified trees with square trunks has proved wrong. They are - in fact to comply with new EU standards which will also require all boats to be fitted with square ropes by April 1st 2009. Consultations are still taking place as to whether mooring rings will have to be replaced by mooring squares. Sadie
Presumably to show what a load of wusses we are when it comes to Health & Safety, John Foley sent this 1903 picture from The Windsor Magazine of a timber flume in British Columbia. The accompanying text reads: These flumes, fed by mountain torrents, serve to float logs from the mountaintops down to the saw-mills. They are of rapid descent, and some are three or four miles in length. After the weeks work in camp, the lumber-men construct a sort of skiff of rough slabs nailed together, and instead of a long and laborious descent they will reach the settlement by water, travelling at a mile a minute. And you thought a ride to the station in RFB at the end of a camp was scary enough!
Talking a load of bollards
Let it not be said that the new bollards are a useless waste of BWs limited funds. This chap has clearly found an excellent use for them.
...from the free newspaper Metro comes the following snippet: Well, gentlemen if you want to attract a woman, you should promote your selfless side. Displays of altruism such as giving blood or volunteering are more sexually attractive to the fairer sex than any other traits, studies show. Nottingham University researcher Dr Tim Phillips, who emphasised selflessness is a human trait, said: it was important for our ancestors to choose mates both willing and able to be good, long-term parents. So now you know why we blokes do it. But what about the girls?
WRGieotypes No7: The Unnecessarily Short Shorts Gavins proud of his legs. Not bad for a man past retirement age! he exclaims when he looks in the mirror. Besides, its healthy to expose the naked skin to wholesome fresh air, everyone knows that. Come rain or shine, youll find him on site in the same minuscule old pair of cutoffs. Hes doesnt think anyone minds but hes noticed they do tend to give him jobs where he doesnt need to bend down so much. Probably thinking of his back. Yeah, thatll be why.
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