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navvies volunteers restoring

waterway recovery group

waterways

Issue No 237 October-November 2009


Navvies Production

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

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.

Anne Unseld

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

Directors of WRG: Rick Barnes, John Baylis, Mick Beattie, Malcolm Bridge, Spencer Collins, Christopher Davey, Roger Day, Neil Edwards, George Eycott, Adrian Fry, John Hawkins, Jennifer Leigh, Judith Palmer, Michael Palmer, Jonathan Smith. Secretary: Neil Edwards ISSN: 0953-6655 Š 2009 WRG

John Hawkins

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


Contents In this issue...

Front cover KESCRG sit back and admire their brickwork at Eisey Lock (photo Bobby Silverwood). Back cover: “one careful lady owner, never raced or rallied” - Ju on the tractor at the National Festival (Martin Ludgate) Above: laying the concrete foundation for the chamber rebuild at Baylham Lock, Ipswich & Stowmarket Left: Gough’s Orchard Lock rebuilding in progress Below: can you guess where WRG East Midlands are installing mooring rings? See p35

Editorial Martin is appealing 4 WAS introducing Waterways Action Squad 5 Coming soon Christmas digs, the Barn Dance, the Cleanup 6-7 Camp reports Cotswold, Mon & Brec and Wilts & Berks canals 8-17 WRGBC what’s our boat club up to? 18-19 Diary canal camps and weekend digs 20-22 Letters Redhill, the Gipping and the Mont 23 Progress a roundup of restoration progress on projects around the country 24-28 Camp reports the Hereford & Gloucester and the Ipswich & Stowmarket 29-33 North West what’s a paperchase? 34 News WRG EM and WRGWear 35 Noticeboard who’s getting married? 36 Infill with Deirdre, Jane and John 37-39

Contributions... ...are always welcome, whether handwritten, 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 martin.ludgate@wrg.org.uk. Press date for issue 238: November 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


Editorial

Hasn’t your canal camp appeared in the camp reports section yet? Is that because you never sent one in?

Good news, bad news, and Droitwich First a thank you...

...to everyone who has sent camp reports and photos from this summer’s Canal Camps. I think we have a good selection in this issue and the previous one, taking in work sites all over the country and writing styles from the straightforward to the fairly inventive. Please do keep sending them in - I was just a tiny bit disappointed that we only received one camp report from what was billed as our most important site for the summer: the four weeks of work at Gough’s Orchard on the Cotswold Canals. Any chance of one or two more for the next issue? And what were all you folks at Redhill up to? I’m sure the readers would like to hear about everything that went on. And while we’re at it, now we’re through the main camps season and into the autumn when the regional groups tend to get more active, how about some reports from you folks too?

Waterways Action What? I can see the article on the opposite page raising a few eyebrows among the old hands in WRG. Who are these young upstarts trying to start a regional waterways volunteer group? Don’t they know that we’ve been doing that since before they were born? And as for them being part of British Waterways / TWT etc! Even giving them publicity in Navvies at all might seem like siding with the enemy. But my response is ‘give them a chance’, and even ‘think about whether you have an opportunity to give them your support’. OK if you’re anything like as old as me, you won’t be doing that by joining WAS - however that doesn’t mean your group can’t work together with them. And remember, we’ve been pushing the message to the waterways authorities about what volunteers can do for years: now that it looks like they’re starting to see eye to eye with us (including a comment I was very pleased to hear from Vince Moran of, BW director, that “It is not for us to tell volunteers what they can and can’t do”) and to start supporting volunteering with deeds as well as fine words, I feel it’s our duty to encourage them. And remember, too, that WRG has always seen itself as having a co-ordinating role as well as carrying out work ourselves - that’s why we list canal societies’ work parties and publish their progress reports; that’s why we work closely with KESCRG, NWPG and support the Dig Deep initiative; that’s why we lend our plant and equipment out to other groups; that’s why we published the Practical Restoration Guide. And that’s why we should work with new initiates like WAS - and I hope the EA can come up with a volunteering initiative on its own waterways too. And finally remember, too, that we were all young once. And it’s a bloody good job we didn’t take too much notice of the odd grumpy old git telling us we were wasting our time on one or two projects we’ve seen completed since then, like the Rochdale, the Huddersfield...

A cry for help Finally, a request for some assistance with Navvies - and in particular the ‘progress’ section. We are very grateful to Robert Goundry who volunteered in response to my appeal a couple of years ago and now does an excellent job of chasing up and forwarding progress updates from a number of waterway societies. But it would be really good if somebody could offer to help with this, to take on part of the work and help to ensure that all active restoration projects are reported on regularly in the magazine. Please contact the editor if you can help. Martin Ludgate

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There’s been a lot of talk recently among the powers-that-be about getting more volunteers involved in canals. Now, the talk is leading to some action...

The WAS

WAS all that about, then?

Introducing the Waterways Action Squad Those who are familiar with the age spectrum among our WRG North West regional group may raise a wry smile at the thought of somebody setting up an organisation for young waterway volunteers in the north west. But let’s hear about it from the horse’s mouth: one of the young volunteers in the new Waterways Action Squad explains what it’s all about...

Young people on board for the Waterways Revolution Waterways Action Squad, set up by The Waterways Trust and British Waterways, with funding from v and the Bank of America, aims to get more young people engaging in our waterways. We hope to improve young people’s attitudes towards waterways and the canal environment whilst we’re at it! Waterways Action Squad will recruit over 500 young people aged 16-25 years to volunteer on waterways across the North West. Volunteer opportunities will cover a variety of different areas – from practical tasks like hedge-laying, dry stone walling and canal clean-ups to customer service roles including walks guides and boat skippering. The first project undertaken by volunteers was the transformation of a graffiti covered canal ‘tunnel’ (actually a long bridge) near Ellesmere Port with an impressive mural, which has significantly improved the appearance of the canal close to the National Waterways Museum. Vegetation clearances and litter picks are also underway on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal, the Rochdale Canal and the Manchester, Bolton & Bury to improve the towpath for the local community. Other projects will include the creation of wildflower meadows, art installations and lock and bridge painting, but the possibilities are endless. If you’re working in the North West of England already and have a project you think the young people could muck in with then please contact Emma Wright from Waterways Action Squad on 0151 3734392 or emma.wright@thewaterwaystrust.co.uk Waterways Action Squad’s official launch event is on Sunday 25 October 2009 at National Waterways Museum Ellesmere Port. The event will include volunteering demonstrations, nature walks, bands on barges, street theatre, arts and crafts, plus local history photographs from the archives. There will be plenty to do for all the family (you don’t have to be a young person to come along) and entry is free if you bring this article with you. On the day, Waterways Action Squad will also launch a photography competition for young people with the theme ‘The secret life of canals.’ For more information visit www.thewaterwaystrust.org.uk Painting the mural at Ellesmere Port Mark Martin

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Coming soon Christmas camps

Your chance to celebrate the Festive Season by working on the Wilts & Berks Canal, or the Wilts & Berks Canal, or even the Wilts & Berks Canal...

Christmas is coming and the goose is getting fat! Or should that be the Moose? Because it looks like Dave ‘Moose’ Hearnden is going to be leading the WRG New Year Canal Camp from Dec 26 to Jan 1 on the Wilts & Berks Canal. It looks like we’ll not only have lots of scrub to bash, opening up lengths of canal around Steppingstones Lane Bridge and Shrivenham, but we’ll also be nicking some coping stones from a railway bridge near Didcot and (weather permitting) cutting and relaying them at Steppingstones. Accommodation is at Watchfield Village Hall. Contact Moose on 07961 922153 for more info but please book via Head Office. Meanwhile elsewhere on the Wilts & Berks, the Wilts & Berks Canal Trust will be having their own Canal Camp at Seven Locks - working on Lock 2, weather permitting, and scrub bashing and stump pulling below lock 1. “Expect plenty of bonfires”, we’re told. Accommodation is at Foxham Reading Rooms as usual - cooking by Di Smurthwaite. The camp starts on December 26 and runs until January 3 - volunteers welcome for any or all of this time. Contact Rachael Banyard on 01249 892289 And somewhere else on the Wilts & Berks, as Ed Walker reports... “By the

time you see this Christmas will be just around the corner which means it’s time for the annual KESCRG/London WRG (with WRG-SW) Christmas Party dig on the weekend of 5-6th December. This year we are working on the Wilts and Berks Canal at Calne where Rachael promises us over 100m of virgin canal scrub to bash, burn and Tirfor. Accommodation is the 5* East Tytherton Guide Centre which will boast all mod cons including showers, beer and cider (courtesy of Nic Bennett), the usual great food (courtesy of Bungle and Eddie) and a fancy dress party on the Saturday evening with the theme ‘Magic Roundabout and other children’s TV programmes’. The cost for the weekend will be £16 (not including drink) - please book on via head office using the form below.”

London WRG KESCRG and WRG SW Wilts & Berks Xmas party dig I would like to attend on December 5th-6th Forename:

Surname:

Address:

email:

Phone

Any special dietary requirements? I enclose payment of £16 (please make cheques payable to ‘WRG’) for food If you suffer from any illness about which we should know, or are you receiving treatment or medical supervision please attach details on a covering letter. Signed:

Please send this form to:

WRG/KESCRG Xmas dig bookings, Island House, Moor Rd, Chesham HP5 1WA

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Do you want to play your part in making Canalway Cavalcade at Little Venice even more of a success? Here’s your chance...

Then what?

Barn Dance, Cleanup, Cavalcade

Take your partners for the 2010 WRG and KESCRG barn dance. Same location (Ben-

son Village Hall, Oxfordshire) same band (Tumbledown Dick) and same price (£12 including food; extra charge for overnight accommodation / breakfast) as last time. More information in the next issue, but in the meantime please note the date March 6th in your diaries. Adrian Crow has volunteered to do the ticket-selling this time: if he hasn’t already collared you at the Reunion, look out for him at the WRG / KESCRG Christmas dig on December 5-6 or contact him by email at barndance@kesrcg.org.uk or on Tel: 07807 456235.

Coming not-quite-so-soon the WRG Leaders’ Training Day. For the last couple

of years we’ve held this during the daytime on the same Saturday as the barn dance and at the same venue, but this year we’ve decided to hold it slightly later in the year. See the next issue of Navvies for more details including date and venue.

Grappling hooks at the ready, it’ll soon be time for the BCN Cleanup again. But

not quite so soon as you might have thought, as this too has been delayed, to improve the chances of it not snowing on us (as it has on two of the last three) and also to avoid clashes with Easter camps, weddings and other things. It will now be on the weekend of April 17-18 and we’ll have more information for you in the next couple of issues of Navvies.

Little Venice bosses wanted It’s over six months till the annual IWA Canalway

Cavalcade rally returns to Little Venice in London, but we’re already on the lookout for help and this time it’s a bit different. I’ll hand over Dave ‘Moose’ Hearnden who’s led the event for the last couple of years, to explain... Moose here, as normal I am on the lookout for willing and able volunteers, but this is to help organise the Canalway Cavalcade 2010, and for you budding leaders of the future to come and have an active role on a committee, and be a voice in the organisation for a successful event. This is your chance: instead of turning up at the festival and thinking “why are they doing that?” “Could they not do this?” it could be that someone from outside the team who can bring with them a fresh pair of eyes and an open mind might help to make it even better. Canalway Cavalcade has been running for a long time - over quarter of a century - but there’s always room for improvement. Like any committee we have a chairman, and various managers who are tasked with being in charge of things such as: WOW (Wild over Waterways) which is a scheme run jointly by British Waterways, the Inland Waterways Association (IWA) and The Waterways Trust, aimed at children, to give them an interest in waterway based activities. Commercial the event aims to raise funds to not only cover its costs but support the waterways, and our main income is the trade side of the show, dealing with traders, who sell anything from tea towels, to scrummy fudge, to narrowboats - and we need somebody to communicate with these folks. Sponsorship as we are unable to put a price on the entrance gate because it’s an open site, we rely on sponsorship to bring in more money, either from the large companies based in Paddington or some of the local shops etc. Perhaps you are keen to help, but reluctant to take the step of being a manager just yet. Well nearly all the positions need a number 2 (or 3 in some cases), and more volunteers for these positions would help the workload throughout the event. If you are interested in any of the above, and have any questions or want to put your name forward please either email moose@wrg.org.uk or phone me on 07961 922153

. . .

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Camp report

Cotswold Canals at Eisey

KESCRG’s Summer Camp carries on with Eisey Lock and MK2 just about remembers it...

Briefly… KESCRG in the Cotswolds backfill behind – which we’d been contributKESCRG’s Summer Camp carries on with Eisey lock and Mk2 just about remembers it...

ing to on the Seven Locks job. Work split neatly into 4 main tasks. The first was to dumper-truck the bricks – handballed in and neatly stacked into the skip - from the compound down to the lock and then handball them all back out again. This exercise was repeated for the bags of sand and lime. Concurrently – except when at risk of being squashed by an oncoming dumper – another team, under the calm lead of Nic, handled the mixing of enough lime mortar to facilitate the next team’s work. These were the bricklayers, led by as many people as we could muster with previous experience. At the tail of the lock another team could often be found pumping out the chamber and attending to the nicely-curved wing walls. At certain times many volunteers could be found looking up. After work, we re-commuted back through to the departing Fairford traffic to Watchers, tried the beer again and partook of an absolutely topdrawer nosh-up, care of supercooks Rowena and Kate. More beer was then tried. Most days were a repeat of this with only a steady decline in the number of air-

All photos by Bobby Silverwood

Martin has reserved us a space in Navvies and wonders what I’ve got to fill it. Hmm. I’d completely forgotten that The Bobster had, er, delegated the Camp Report to me and following said week with a very busy work schedule combined with a 3-week DIY house move (in the middle of which my bus ‘went tech’), followed by bus-fixing, the National (mmm, onions…) and Dorset Steam Fair might have had something to do with it*. Anyway, as I recall, we met up on July th 20 (late for a KESCamp) at the superb venue of Watchfield Village Hall (lovely showers, friendly ‘local’), ‘oohed’ and ‘aahed’ about glimpses of the now-airworthy Vulcan** and tried the beer. The following day, we commuted up the A419 through Fairford Air Tattoo traffic and hit the site, on the Thames & Severn. It was a good bunch this year (it is every year but this was an especially wellbalanced team) of all ages and backgrounds and there was rarely a quiet or dull moment. Eisey had come along nicely after successive ministrations of brickwork by NWPG, London WRG and of course Our Lot. The week’s project was to continue building up the offside lock wall, using the original method – brickwork all the way back – but with a facing in new brick. The bricks behind were, of course***, reclaimed from the demolition of the original wall. This has made an interesting change from the modBricklaying in good weather... ern approach – concrete

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“Jon turned a routine van trip for materials into a road tour of the remnants and proposed route of the restored waterway...”

Camp reports KESCRG at Eisey Lock

craft and ‘oohing’ and ‘aahing’ at the Vulcan and varying intensity of rubbish weather to mark the progress of the week. A high point of the week for me was Jon’s turning a routine van trip to collect materials into a road tour of the remnants and proposed route of the restored waterway. Another was finding a branch of Cotswold Outdoors ‘twixt site and accom and the steady provision of DOOM BAR (yes, you must annunciate this beer name thus) in the local inn****. Slightly less high points? A tie between failing to reverse a full water-bowser trailer down a muddy slope, up a muddy slope and ‘round a corner with the dumper (it responded to ‘a bit o’ Digger lovin’) and the quick-release bucket latch which refused to re-lock (it did not respond to ‘a bit o’ Digger lovin’ and the plant hire firm was called). And a ‘Canal: 1; Excavator & Ed: 0’ moment. So there’s your brief update on the summer’s KESCamp. I’ll follow this up with some more detail after our forthcoming dig Progress: the wall at the end of the camp weekend, upon which I shall get the other KESCRGies to remind me of the names of the volunteers, how many courses we laid, what we had for dindins on Tuesday, etc, etc, all of which I will be needing help with by now. Look out for the full report on our website – www.kescrg.org.uk – and possibly another in our staggeringly irregular email newsletter, KESWRD. TTFN, campers! Mark ‘Mk2’ Richardson *

...and in not-quite-so-good weather

Or it could have been the cider; see: steam fairs. ** Bomber, Avro; not Dave, Lincs. *** “Not only is this not obvious, Mk2, but it’s also a bad pun”, I hear you murmur. **** Other, ahem, high points were to be found in said hostelry on certain evenings.

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Camp report Mon & Brec

Camp 09: Mon & Brec week 1 Shopping list: Beer Fridge Extra pans for meals on wheels Tesco shopping list Assistant leader Rain Post cap (actually ended up unused) Yup. We have them all. Time for the M&B camp 09 to begin then? The Friday before the camp Gordon Brown my very able assistant and winner of Best Camper award came to help load a fridge into the back of my car then go to Tesco for the food shop. Thankfully nobody from my work saw me unload a post bonker in Tesco’s car park and then load all the cold stuff into the fridge. Indeed we got many strange looks!

Wire-brushing and repainting the lock gates

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Dodging the rain on the Mon & Brec, where the only thing that ever dried out properly was the quick-setting mortar... Saturday came and possibly the earliest time to set off for a camp ever! 6am!!! Yes, Gordon and I decided to stop off for a MaccyD’s breakfast. It was possibly the last “decent” meal we would get for a few days. Now, I don’t normally say this about wrg food but on this occasion it was me that was cooking the next 2 meals! Normally we have the brilliant Sam and Toby cooking for us but due to unforeseen problems they had to drop out at short notice. (For that, guys, you got the First Great Western award for cancelling at short notice!) Arriving at 9am into Wales was a shock to all of us including the caretaker at the accommodation. After watching the ready-booked rain to fall, Adrian Sturgess turned up with the caretaker. Not together, I would like to point out before any rumours start! Three men and a dog bundled into Adrian’s Land Rover and headed off to Swindon to collect the kit. It felt like more of us were in Adrian’s landy than there were, as people were talking on his mountain rescue radios. Either that or the voices in my head were telling me what I may have forgotten to pack! Leaving Swindon we gained a duly present volunteer in the name of Louise Gale who was catching a lift. Seemed rude to leave her behind! Once back at the hall the rain was still raining, volunteers arrived, and I burned out my air bed pump. Light headedness soon came from the manual inflation of the bed. I would like to point out that one volunteer decided to get off the train early and have a nice cycle ride in the sun along the canal to the accommodation. It wasn’t sunny for long. Would the editor like to make a comment here on how wet it was?!?! [I’d just like to thank Gordon for coming out with a van to rescue me and the bike before I drowned. ...Ed] All present, we headed off to the time warp pub that is the Philanthropic. Many a discussion was had on whether a photo was square, hexagonal or 5 sided! Sunday arrived and after Frank rebuilt his bed (seems a tradition for Frank) - when


someone asked if he had a screw loose he replied in the only way possible. “No, my nuts have fallen off.” After Frank put his nuts back where they should be we headed off to the Fourteen Locks to be introduced to the local (Richard Dommett). A quick walk around and then we sheltered from the rain in the visitor centre, to see a TV screen with a history of the past few years of restoration - and there were some distinctively present wrgies on the video! When the rain stopped we went to the work site at Bettws Lane (or Malpas) Lock. Those with wellies went into the lock to bail water and wire brush the bottom of the lock chamber walls ready for repointing the stonework. For a few special people the task of looking for a phone in the silty slop had begun. The person who had the phone drop off their belt had ironically said before jumping into the canal bed “ooh look, here’s a phone in case we lose one”. If only they knew! Ok the phone found on the bank wasn’t any use. Those of us without wellies had a shock with the new quick-setting mortar. When we say quicksetting we decided to only make a small barrowload first to test it out. A 5 minute downpour was long enough for us to come out of hiding and find it had set hard! So using an empty hand wipe tub as a measuring pot we did tiny mixes and had lots of people pointing quickly before it set! Monday I woke up to lovely blue skies whilst taking Sandy the dog for an early morning run before cooking breakfast with the kitchen fairy aka Emma Greenall. OK, OK, by the time we set off for site it wasn’t a blue sky any more! After not poisoning any volunteers but becoming ill myself (not from the food!) we had a new cook arrive. A first time cooker, Rob Daffern did a marvellous job at getting all the food for the day into his Porsche, and at cooking the Fajitas! Mmm my favourite! On Tuesday I can’t stress enough the brutality of the mines in Wales! Well, that’s what our tour guide said at the Big Pit Mining Museum, where we went in the afternoon to avoid some more rain. In the morning, though, we had made good progress in pointing out the fluidness (or not) of the mortar and put some effort into real pointing! We also plugged a hole in the bank that a member of the public pointed out to us when he heard running water. In the morning we started lock gate painting using the brand new never-been-used scaffolding. At some point during the day we gained some FREE beer that was very kindly given to us by an IWA member called Mike Phillips. We thank you Mike. Also Sandy the camp dog got a gift too from the other James in the form of her own hard hat. It did the job: as she jumped into the van it protected her head. I can’t help thinking if she could see where she was going in the first place she wouldn’t have hit her head...

Clearing weed from the canal

Mixing the quick-setting mortar...

...to point the chamber walls with

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Camp report Mon & Brec

James reports on being interviewed by ITV while sheltering under a bridge, a Triumph Herald with no wipers, and the brutality of it all...

they decided to call it a wrap and come back another rainy day. And you think I’m joking! Thursday Ali had a big grin from driving the push along dumper back and forth up the tow path moving ballast as she went. (in one direction only, obviously!) On the way to the camp Ali’s car Alfie who is a Triumph Herald had windscreen wiper issues. The dumper had no wipers to worry about but some could have been handy I feel when we had a spot of the wet stuff! But all in all it was a reasonably dry day so we did some more lock gate painting. A breakaway Another load of rubbish from Ty Fynnon Lock party began clearing the undergrowth around the by wash on the next lock up, Ty On Wednesday the tea towel fairy Fynnon Lock. In the evening we watched the (not to be confused with the kitchen fairy) rain come down harder and harder. brought back our T towels all cleaned. It was Friday we chose to hold off from going only today that I found out she was taking to site as we had heard it was still raining some away every day and washing, drying really hard on site. No rain at the accommoand ironing them. When I sussed this out dation though. I went to check on site and she got a few more each day so all the t yes, it was wet and the lock and under the towels on that circuit got cleaned. The T road bridge had filled up to the point it took towel fairy is also known as the caretaker. over 4 hours to pump the water out. And it She did go bright red from one volunteer’s wasn’t a small pump either. I’m sure we comment. I won’t mention your name but could have launched a boat!! We had a party you know who you are!!! to celebrate the pointing, painting and On site we had ITV arrive. I knew this pumping we had done during the week was due to happen so I got in a van and left despite the precipitation! for Bristol and left ITV to Gordon when they Saturday we had a lie in and many arrived! Bristol seemed a much better place people left but a few of us tried to look lively to go as the fantastic, lovely, brilliant Mitch for week 2’s volunteers to arrive. I’m not Gozna had cooked us sure they were conTHREE meals in between vinced were they Rob? her night shifts at work. Over to you……………. The meals were amazing But before you say Mitch. A massive thanks anything Rob I would to you. Arriving back on like to say a huge thanks site ITV were still there. to Gordon for doing a I think maybe it was the fantastic job whilst I first time they have ever wasn’t feeling very well, interviewed anyone Mitch for her superb under a road bridge, meals on wheels, Rob next to a lock chamber for cooking the other with a storm drain just days and everyone else by their right shoulder for making it a good and the water level rising week despite the rain! “Brutality”: the trip down a coal mine quickly! Funnily enough James Butler

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Our biggest commitment to one site this summer was four weeks at Goughs Orchard on the Cotswold Canals. Sadly it’s only produced one camp report...

Camp reports

Cotswolds, Goughs Orchard

Camp 17: Cotswold Canals Gough’s Orchard Lock, 1-8 August On Saturday afternoon we all safely arrived at Selsley Scout Hall, and straight away began to get to know each other. The hall sits over a deep wide valley overlooking Stroud and you can see down it all the way over the Severn Estuary to Welsh Wales. We saw several stunning sunsets out there during the week! I say we all arrived; well all seemed fine until Martyn announced that our Leader would not be leading us until Sunday pm, but worse still we’d lost our Camp Cook and would therefore be living on a diet of cornflakes with cold beans on. After a moment of pandemonium and some thinly veiled threats, Heather and Tania agreed to start us off, and some splendid grub was duly rustled up. That was followed by the Safety DVD, which just gets better and better for every viewing (or perhaps the wall it’s projected onto is just a bit smoother and whiter each time I see it?) Then we headed to the nearby Bell Inn, not for the last time, whose landlord and regulars seemed genuinely pleased to see a second batch of WRGies enter their establishment (Well, we could hardly have been any worse than last weeks lot, could we?) A good mix of Old Hands - who should know better, so the DVD tells us - to three fine D-of-E-ers: Richard B, and the friends-almost-since-birth Hayley and Annie; Mike whose parents forced him to come, and the rest of us who for one reason or another had nothing else to do or just believed it would be a good idea: Alan the expert, Heather and Tania, Forestry Martyn, the other Richard, yet another Richard,

Michael, Andy, Matt and the other Chris (that’s me) – To say nothing of the dog, Barnie, who owns Martyn. Next day, keenly anticipated Teacher Chris joined us on site on schedule, and soon brought forth order out of chaos. After that we took turns to do the cooking of breakfasts and suppers, two of which were fabricated magnificently off-site by Mitch and vanned in for re-heating. For the most part we made our own lunches. The site is approached along a boulevard of broken bricks, hemmed in with great long heaps of mud and detritus recently excavated from the lock chamber and bridge hole. It’s nestled between the moderately used railway above and a tired industrial estate below, but plenty of trees give it a real air of rural tranquillity - that we would soon be breaking! The first and most important job of each day is to erect the grand gazebo and

Tania tackles a brick

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get the fine new Burco going, on its pristine flight case lid for a pedestal. Instead of 10 minutes of striking matches and swearing in pain from burnt fingers, it’s now merely 5 minutes of click-and-wait, to get it to light and stay alight. Meanwhile, Teacher Chris or Martyn must check the scaffold, not only in case of overnight mischief but also because the clips can gradually work loose and need to be tapped tight periodically. Then it’s all hands on deck. The brief was to remove all the failed brickwork (and large sections of early 20th century emergency repairs which had used incredibly resilient mortar, but which were attached to nothing substantial so had to come out one way or another – one way was to lever it off in huge chunks for breaking up later) and prepare for the new masonry to be built on a sound substrate. What a great noise, a dozen of us belting away like some avant-garde percussion orchestra, frequently punctuated by cries of “OW!” (or similar) as a stray digit gets in the way. Note to Logistics: Please can we include in the Brick Kit a selection of prosthetic thumbs for the future? At first there was some brick cleaning going on – pretty easy as the old lime mortar was the consistency of thick if rather gravelly cheese – but the priority was shifted towards making a real dent in the lock itself as brick

supply was not going to be a problem and some of the gang were getting a little bit disheartened by the rate at which the ‘bricks to be cleaned’ pile was increasing relative to the clean pile! But the whole week was mainly about chipping out those broken half-bricks to leave rows of headers outstretched to key the new build into. Some of the loose sections were still topped with huge coping stones, which had to be rolled gradually backwards into trenches dug for the purpose behind them. There was much levering and chocking to ensure they didn’t run away from us (or worse – towards us). The weather began well, then started playing jolly old games with us. Tuesday was fairly relentless rain, apart from the odd downpour, but it didn’t dampen our enthusiasm – much. The hall’s single shower was more eagerly queued for than previously though! That night we were given an excellent presentation by the head of the Cotswold Canals Trust, describing almost every structure of note on the navigation – past, present and future. The following day was lovely! However the boulevard of broken bricks resembled a newly re-watered section of canal, and presented an entertaining challenge for the girls trying to get to the site loo, stationed conven-

“This business is really going to the wall!”

page 14


“The girls trying to get to the site loo were forced to choose between boots full of water or dredged mud...”

Camp report

on the Boulevard of Broken Bricks

iently right at the entrance gate for easy servicing, but far from site. They were forced to choose between boots full of water or dredged mud, and generally ended up with plenty of both, all arm-flapping and shrieking not having helped their passage in the slightest! There was also far too much water in the lock to retrieve dropped hammers, and it had to be pumped out faster than it was pouring in over the sill and through the walls, until the lower scaffold joints could be reached for checking. Midweek, Annie and Hayley created a fine pasta bake and a truly magnificent bread-and butter pudding! Some of us had it outside, to make the most of a very pleasant evening, then went into Stroud for a bit of culture which took the form of Harry Potter VI at The Apollo. We had earlier been considering how to ease our toil with the stubborn brickwork with everything from a focused water jet, to blast out the more stubborn stodgy mortar, to using a big disc cutter; but we now saw a lovely demonstration of how a lot of bricks can be shifted immediately simply by annoying a large dragon on the other side of them) The following evening all of us piled into the vans for Saul Junction, to embark on nb Perseverance for a pleasant trip courtesy of the Cotswold Canals Trust followed by fish and chips in their Heritage Centre. Then it was back to the pub for a quick game of Monotony. The week ended with yet more bricks bashed and ‘copers’ moved! We were a bit sorry to end the camp without laying a single new brick, but still had a strong sense of achievement for a job well done.

So to the traditional Friday Night Barbecue in the car park – which became something of a party with Alan’s truck stereo for music. Saturday: clearup and go. Chris Colbourne

Who’d have thought a canal went through here?

Coping nicely

The end-of-camp photo

page 15


Camp report Wilts & Berks Canal

Our regional group WRG BITM led a camp at Seven Locks on the Wilts & Berks. Rachael Banyard takes up the story...

of “Mount Banyard” (dredgings from Dauntsey) to the offside of Locks 3 and 4. Graham used Blue to level off a patch beside Lock 2 Being a BITM camp, we started with the for the bricks from Lock 4 to be stacked, weekend dig, with the BITM weekenders together with a pile by the roadside The arriving on site first thing on Saturday morn- spreading of dredgings, other material and ing, the rest of the camp proper arriving top soil continued throughout the week during the day. I set the early arrivals up round Lock 3 and 4. We had several experiwith clearing fallen trees and brash around enced dumper drivers, e.g. Ian Rutledge, and below Lock 2, while Graham did the David James, and Olly, and one of our newbrick formwork retaining wall for the concomers, Calum, was also trained by Dave creting above the towpath ground paddle of Wedd to drive a dumper, along with our the lock. Adrian used the excavator ‘Blue’ to local, Gordon Williams. We also had good move spoil up from the farm to the offside of bonfires to burn the brash. Lock 3, with David Salisbury dumpering. Several of the team willingly did their Later in the morning, I went off to share of cleaning old bricks for use at Lock 2, Swindon railway station to pick up six volun- and cleaning the brickwork on the offside teers for the week’s camp, and in the afterground paddle ready to start the reinstatenoon, together with other arrivals at Bushton ment. We had our local work party - all Village Hall, our accommodation, the afternoon experienced bricklayers - working with us on was spent showing them the site, talking Sunday on Lock 2, and together with David about the aims and objectives for the week, Salisbury and Graham, the concreting was and giving the safety talk. This was followfinished above the ground paddle culvert. ing by a scrumptious meal cooked by June. Meanwhile, Rob Brotherston, our expert We had a number of different objectives culvert rebuilder, worked throughout the for the camp: tidying up and landscaping week on the culvert above Lock 1. He had round Locks 3 and 4, scrub bashing and clear- already completed the brickwork on the ing fallen trees from Lock 2 down to Lock 1, towpath side, and clay was brought down to rebuilding a culvert above Lock 1, brickwork puddle above it. After scrub clearance on the around Lock 2, and clearing around another offside, he managed to get the formwork in culvert and a ditch in an orchard near Waite and start rebuilding. By Thursday, when Rob Hill Farm. There were also dredgings to be had to go, he had completed that side to one spread on Philip Smith’s field. course from the top, and he kindly gave perThe work around Locks 3 and 4 occumission for our local work party to finish it! pied nearly everybody at some stage; there were piles of logs (from trees cut down last winter) to move down from the offside of the pound between Locks 4 and 3 down to Janet Nicholl’s farm to keep her warm next winter, and stacks of unused bricks to bring down from Lock 4 to Lock 2. There was also a flat-pack skip that was brought down to Lock 2 ready to go off to be weighed in for recycling. Various people were trained on the use of the brushcutter, and the whole area from Lock 2 up to Lock 4 was cleared. Adrian tracked Blue up from the farm, and The lockside lanscaping crew take a break Olly drove the dumper, to bring the remains

Wilts & Berks Canal WRG BITM at Seven Locks

page 16


There had been a large number of trees and she dug a trench down the ditch to try cut down on the offside above Lock 1, and and drain it off, but when this was insuffisome of these were cut up and burnt on the cient as the hole got deeper, the water had to Thursday, and on the Friday more scrub was be bucketed out. It was Friday before she cleared around the lock. In doing so, we reached the bottom of the brickwork, about a found the bottom gate recess on the towpath metre down, but the expected arch turned side, from which we can ascertain where the out to be not so much an arch as a level row rest of the lock is! Although there is a hole of bricks, with solid clay underneath, so the in the ground, the actual position of the lock culvert appears to be blocked. Water is still had been uncertain, because of the amount leaking through the brickwork, about four of vegetation smothering it. courses up from the bottom row of bricks, I gave Adrian training on my 12-tonne and we have to hope that it is not coming JCB, and he did some spreading of the silt in from the canal itself, since none is coming Farmer Philip’s field until air got into the fuel from the culvert. It will obviously need system, and the digger ground to a halt. It further investigation, using Blue. We have was then topped up, and the fuel system was had to do quite a lot of repairs to Blue in the bled, and it was up and running again. After last week or so, which has reduced the Adrian departed home, Dave continued amount of use possible on the camp. spreading the silt, and even offered to stay We had 8 young volunteers on the on after the camp to finish it off! camp (6 DofE-ers), and they all worked Di, who initially formed our detached really hard, were good company and livened work party, had started on the Saturday up the camp. In fact, everyone worked hard, clearing brambles and nettles from a large and we achieved a huge amount and transarea along and around the ditch in the orformed the whole area. Even our local chard. She now knows where to go scrump- “antis” must secretly appreciate the appearing in the Autumn! They turned out to be ance of the area between Locks 2 to 4, alcider apples - could there be a future for though they probably wouldn’t admit it! The Dauntsey cider? By the time a team joined weather was far from brilliant, but it didn’t her on Monday, there was a huge pile of dampen our spirits too much. We toured the brash for a bonfire, and a much wider area best of the local hostelries, had a cinema was cleared alongside the ditch with the aim night (split between Harry Potter, Public of bringing Blue in to dig out the ditch and Enemies and Bruno), a train ride and a visit up to the culvert. Di said that she had a to the railway museum and a skittles night, great team of bonfire burners, who serfinishing with a BBQ on the last evening. We enaded her every day! The smaller trees are very spoilt in having such a fine cook as were all cut down by hand and burnt, and I June, who made us some great meals. It went in with my chainsaw to demolish the was a really good camp. few larger trees on Thursday. The whole Rachael Banyard orchard is extremely overgrown, and it is quite difficult to tell which are the fruit trees. We had been told by Philip Smith, who owns the field on the offside of the canal, that there was a ditch which was culverted under that field and heading towards the canal, and the top brickwork of the likely culvert was visible in the orchard. Di spent much of the week digging down to try to find how deep the arch of the culvert was. The first half metre was fairly soft sloppy soil, but then she was faced with solid clay, which had to be prised off the shovel. Water then started Master at work: Rob and his culvert leaking through the brickwork,

page 17


WRG BC

Sadie reports from the Annual General Meeting of the WRG Boat Club, held at the IWA National Festival at Redhill

Boat Club report wrg bc news What an exciting year it has been for the boat club (so far)! It seems there have been a number of accidental boat gatherings when members have met up. I think we can claim to have experienced the shortest ever when coming to moor ‘Lynx’ at Nantwich on the River Weaver and ‘Glenmore’ and ‘Pendle’ were just passing! Luckily I know most members, or their boats, but others don’t. Please display the boat club sticker you got when you joined. Should you sell your boat please remove it! If you tell me of your change of boat and send the name of the new one I can send you a free new sticker. (I think you will have had enough expense changing boats!) The club AGM was held at the IWA ‘National’ at Redhill. I always give advanced warning/notice of the meeting but the fine details, such as time and place are decided once we are on site. Luckily, this year, these were in the newsletter before the meeting took place. Here is a summary of the minutes of the AGM held at Redhill on Sunday 30th August at 9.00 pm in our club house in the wrg compound. We started with a number of apologies: most noted was Roger & Heather Jeffries, who haven’t missed a ‘National’ before. We missed the support they give and send our very best wishes. There were 15+ members present when we started the meeting, there were late arrivals but it was dark, so I didn’t see and record them all. The minutes of the last AGM were discussed and then any matters arising. These included reports of the fantastically efficient job the secretary had done in carrying out all that had been asked of her at the 2008 AGM (you can guess who is writing this!) Lynn the Commode Door and Club Rep reported that she must be one of the very few Commodores of AWCC affiliated clubs who has had no trouble sorting out the clubhouse, bar rota, arranging moorings or

page 18

cruises for club members. She has attended AWCC meetings at Soar, Wolverhampton and Stafford Boat Clubs. The most usual things discussed include:

. . . .

funding for the waterways BW bollards the mooring lottery boat safety

Our excellent Midland Region Secretary, Margaret Smith stood down at the AWCC AGM and will be hard to replace. While out and about Lynn has been pleasantly surprised to meet several members - but be warned if you are not ‘flying the flag’ she may not recognise you! Two members she met were persuaded to purchase a club burgee - still a bargain at £10 she also has some AWCC ones for sale. The Treasurer sent apologies and the following report: The current balance in the bank is £83.80 which, when subs are in, should be in the region of £450 - £500 available for donations or whatever the club decides, although some needs to remain in the bank for club expenses and Handbooks, Membership Cards, Burgee Stocks etc. AWCC membership this year was £53. This should leave a possible maximum of £300 for future donations. 2 donations were made, each of £200: one to the Shropshire Union Canal Society for tools and materials for use on the ‘Mont’ and one to the Droitwich Canals, as agreed at last year’s AGM. It was proposed that subs remain at £10 and all agreed. The Secretary reported that the club has 41 members and this amazingly matches the £410 membership received! She had received letters of thanks from ‘The Mont’ and the Droitwich restoration. She attended the AWCC AGM and reported on the useful discussions and work that is being done. The AWCC feels there is a need to get other ‘big’ organisations (RSPB, National Trust, Sustrans etc.) on our side regarding the repair and maintenance of the canals. Copies of the Hand Book and Alert magazine will soon be


things he does and has done over the last 35 years. Congratulations and please continue as you are Roger! Under Any Other Business Aileen told of difficulties she had experienced obtaining temporary moorings at AWCC affiliated clubs in the London area. We will look into this. It was suggested that we consider including caravans and campers in the club. Sue’s sister in law had made a lovely quilt that Sue had raffled for wrg funds. She had asked stall holders at the festival to buy tickets and raised £200! Well done Sue. The raffle was drawn and ‘Outdoor Escape’, pitch F9, won. The meeting closed and the social gathering continued, during this I learned the exciting news that club member Bernard Hughes has been awarded the OBE, for work with the Fire Services and service to local councils. Congratulations to Bernard and I look forward to hearing about ‘the big day’, the ceremony and meeting the Queen! I wont go on about the difficult circumstances under which I am composing this article, I just hope it gets to Martin legible and on time, but note SUBS ARE NOW DUE. Please make me a happy secretary and cough up the £10 without me having to chase you. xxx Sadie (the optimist) Dean PS Many thanks to Maureen wrg NW for allowing us use of her awning, to increase meeting space, and for all her help.

Martin Ludgate

available via the internet. However to access them members will need a password. Please ensure our secretary, Sadie, has an up-todate email address for all members - this means YOU! Election of officers: Jim asked if those in office were willing to stand again. Although we were, Lynn asked if anyone wanted to take over any of the positions so we could have an election. However, before we were overwhelmed by the rush, Liz proposed that the officers remain in their posts, Graham seconded this and all agreed (they said!) When discussing future plans and next years AGM, there is always the problem that different groups are ‘digging’ elsewhere when a date and location is suggested. It was agreed that the best chance for most members to be present will be at the IWA National at Beale Park next year. Again there is the problem of timing, as most people will be working around the site and later at wrg dinner, the only hope is for an evening meeting (preferably well lit, says I). As we expect to have about £300 to donate to restoration projects there were many suggestions as to where it should go. Eventually it was agreed to donate to works local to the festival site. When available the Derby and Sandiacre, Cromford and Grantham canals’ restorations will receive £100 each. The wrg silver Bowl, for outstanding services, was awarded this year to Roger Evans for all the various, too many to list,

See you here next year? The last Beale Park IWA National Festival in 2006

page 19


Navvies diary

Your guide to all the forthcoming work parties Oct 24/25

wrgSW

Grand Western Canal

Oct 24-31

Camp 200923

Grand Western Canal: Nynehead Boat Lift

Oct 24-31

Camp 200924

Mon & Brec Canal

Oct 25 Sun EAWA/NWDCT North Walsham & Dilham Canal: Ebridge Oct 31/Nov 1 London WRG

Thames & Severn Canal: Eisey Lock (Dig Deep project)

Oct 31 Sat

BCS

Buckingham Canal: MADD (Make A Difference Day) at Hyde Lane Lock

Nov 1 Sun

Navvies

Press date for issue 238: including Canal Camps brochure

Nov 7/8

KESCRG

Wilts & Berks Canal - Calne Branch

Nov 7/8

NWPG

Basingstoke Canal

Nov 7/8

Essex WRG

Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation

Nov 14 Sat

wrgNW

‘Paper Chase’ waste paper collection

Nov 15 Sun EAWA/NWDCT North Walsham & Dilham Canal: Bacton Wood Lock Nov 21/22

London WRG

Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation

Nov 21/22

wrgBITM

Grantham Canal: Jungle bashing at Cropwell Bishop

Nov 21/22

wrgNW

Hollinwood Canal

Nov 29 Sun EAWA/NWDCT North Walsham & Dilham Canal: Briggate Dec 5/6

London WRG

Wilts & Berks Canal: LWRG/wrgSW/KESCRG Christmas Party dig at Caln

Dec 5/6

KESCRG

Wilts & Berks Canal: KESCRG/LWRG/wrgSW Xmas Party dig at Calne

Dec 5/6

wrgNW

Cromford Canal: (including Christmas meal)

Dec 5/6

wrgSW

Wilts & Berks Canal: Xmas Party dig with KESCRG and London WRG

Dec 5/6

Essex WRG

Foxton Inclined Plane: Christmas dinner, and continuing work from Oc

Dec 12/13

wrgBITM

Wilts & Berks Canal: Christmas Work Party at Calne

Dec 12/13

NWPG

Thames & Severn Canal: Eisey Lock (Dig Deep project)

Dec 12 Sat

wrgNW

‘Paper Chase’ waste paper collection

Dec 13 Sun EAWA/NWDCT North Walsham & Dilham Canal: Honing Staithe Cut Dec 26-Jan 1 Camp 200925

WRG Christmas Camp: venue to be announced

Jan 1 Fri

Navvies

Press date for issue 239: including Canal Societies directory

Jan 16/17

London WRG

To be arranged

Feb 6/7

London WRG

To be arranged

Feb 27/28

London WRG

To be arranged

Mar 6 Sat

WRG/KESCRG

Barn Dance: Benson Village Hall

Mar 28/29

London WRG

To be arranged

Apr 17/18

WRG/IWA/BCNS BCN Cleanup: note change of date

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

page 20


Canal Camps cost ÂŁ49 per week unless otherwise stated. Bookings for WRG Canal Camps (those identified by a camp number e.g. 'Camp 200920') should go to WRG Canal Camps, Island House, Moor Road, Chesham HP5 1WA. Tel: 01494 783453. Email: enquiries@wrg.org.uk Mitch Gozna

10:00am

ne

tober.

07768-525469

mitchgozna@hotmail.com

01494-783453

enquiries@wrg.org.uk

01494-783453

enquiries@wrg.org.uk

David Revill

01603-738648

david_gisela@hotmail.com

Tim Lewis

07802-518094

london@wrg.org.uk

Athina Beckett

01908-661217

Martin Ludgate

020-8693-3266

martin.ludgate@wrg.org.uk

Eddie Jones

0845-226-8589

eddie@kescrg.org.uk

Graham Hawkes

0118-941-0586

grahamhawkes@btinternet.com

John Gale

01376-334896

essex@wrg.org.uk

David McCarthy

0161-740-2179

David Revill

01603-738648

david_gisela@hotmail.com

Tim Lewis

07802-518094

london@wrg.org.uk

Dave Wedd

01252-874437

bookings@wrgBITM.org.uk

David McCarthy

0161-740-2179

nw@wrg.org.uk

David Revill

01603-738648

david_gisela@hotmail.com

Tim Lewis

07802-518094

london@wrg.org.uk

Eddie Jones

0845-226-8589

eddie@kescrg.org.uk

David McCarthy

0161-740-2179

nw@wrg.org.uk

Mitch Gozna

07768-525469

mitchgozna@hotmail.com

John Gale

01376-334896

essex@wrg.org.uk

Dave Wedd

01252-874437

bookings@wrgBITM.org.uk

Graham Hawkes

0118-941-0586

grahamhawkes@btinternet.com

David McCarthy

0161-740-2179

David Revill

01603-738648

david_gisela@hotmail.com

01494-783453

enquiries@wrg.org.uk

Martin Ludgate

020-8693-3266

martin.ludgate@wrg.org.uk

Tim Lewis

07802-518094

london@wrg.org.uk

Tim Lewis

07802-518094

london@wrg.org.uk

Tim Lewis

07802-518094

london@wrg.org.uk barndance@kescrg.org.uk

Tim Lewis

07802-518094

london@wrg.org.uk

Aileen Butler

01494-783453

enquiries@wrg.org.uk

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

page 21


Navvies diary

Canal societiesÂ’ regular working parties Amendments to Dave Wedd (see previous page) Once per month: pls check 2nd Sunday & alternate Thurs Anytime inc. weekdays Every Sunday Every Tue & Wed Every Saturday Last Sunday of month 4th Sunday of month Second Sun of month 2nd weekend of month 2nd Sat of month Tuesdays Weekends Wednesdays Weekends Every Sunday if required 2nd Sunday of month 1st, 2nd, 4th Sun + 3rd Sat 3rd Sunday of month 2nd & 4th Sundays 2nd & last Sundays Every Wed and 1st Sat 2nd Sunday of month 1st Sunday of month Most weekends Last weekend of month 2nd Sunday of month 1st weekend of month Every Tuesday morning Every Sunday & Thurs Mondays (2 per month) Wednesdays Wednesdays Wednesdays Thursdays Various dates 1st w/e (Fri-Tue or Fri-Wed) 2nd Thursday of month Every weekend

BCNS BCS BCT ChCT C&BN DCT EAWA ECPDA FIPT GCRS GWCT H&GCT H&GCT H&GCT H&GCT IWPS LCT LHCRT LHCRT NWDCT PCAS RGT SCARS SCCS SHCS SCS SNT SUCS TMCA WACT WACT WACT WACT WACT WACT WACT WAT WAT WBCT

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

page 22

Mobile groups' socials (please phone to confirm)

London WRG: 7:30pm on Tues 11 days before dig. 'Star Tavern', Belgrave Mews West, London. Tim Lewis 07802-518094 NWPG: 9:00pm on 3rd Tue of month at the 'Hope Tap', West end of Friar St. Reading. Graham Hawkes 0118 941 0586

BCN waterways Buckingham area Aqueduct section Various sites Chelmer & Blackwater Droitwich Canal N Walsham & Dilham Langley Mill Foxton Inclined Plane Grantham Canal Nynehead Lift Oxenhall Over Wharf House Over Wharf House Hereford Aylestone Bugsworth Basin Lancaster N. Reaches Lichfield Hatherton N Walsham Canal Pocklington Canal Stowmarket Navigtn. Sankey Canal Combe Hay Locks Basingstoke Stover Canal Sleaford Navigation Newhouse Lock Thames & Medway C varied construction tidying road crossings Tickner's Heath Depot maintenance work Loxwood Link Winston Harwood Grp Hedgelaying (Oct-Mar) Drayton Beauchamp Drayton Beauchamp Wilts & Berks Canal

Birmingham Canal Navigations Soc. Buckingham Canal Society Bude Canal Trust Chesterfield Canal Trust 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 Kent & E Sussex Canal Rest. Group

LCT LHCRT NWPG NWDCT PCAS RGT SCARS SCCS SHCS SCS SNT SUCS TMCA WACT WAT WBCT W&BCC

Mike Rolfe Athina Beckett Gerald Fry Mick Hodgetts John Gale Jon Axe David Revill Michael Golds Mike Beech Colin Bryan Denis Dodd Brian Fox Maggie Jones Wilf Jones Martin Danks Ian Edgar Paul Shaw Sue Williams Denis Cooper David Revill Paul Waddington Colin Turner Colin Greenall Bob Parnell Peter Redway George Whitehead Mel Sowerby Mike Friend Brian Macnish Eric Walker John Empringham John Smith Peter Jackman Peter Wilding Tony Clear Keith Nichols Roger Leishman Pete Bowers Rachael Banyard

07763-171735 01908-661217 01288-353273 01246-620695 01376-334896 0121-608 0296 01603-738648 0115-932-8042 0116-279-2657 0115-989-2248 01823-661653 01432 358628 01452 618010 01452 413888 01432 344488 01663-732493 01524-35685 01543-671427 01543-374370 01603-738648 01757-638027 01473-730586 01744-731746 01225-428055 01483-721710 01626-775498 01522-856810 01948-880723 01732-823725 023-9246-3025 01483-562657 01903-235790 01483-772132 01483-422519 01903-774301 01403-753882 01442-874536 01255-504540 01249-892289

Lancaster Canal Trust Lichfield & Hatherton Canals Rest'n Trust Newbury Working Party Group North Walsham & Dilham Canal Trust Pocklington Canal Amenity Society River Gipping Trust Sankey Canal Restoration Society Somersetshire Coal Canal Society Surrey & Hants Canal Society Stover 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


The National, the Gipping, the mystery of the moving building at Welshpool - and not one single mention of dogs!

Letters

to the editor

Dear Martin, We have just spent a most enjoyable day at the National. Once again the organisation and preparation of the site by WRG was quite outstanding. Thea & I go to many shows (agriculture, country and waterway) of all sizes throughout the country during each summer and the IWA Festival is without a doubt the most professionally put together. We notice so many little things that others miss which go to make the show that much better. Well done WRG, once again, and always, a first rate job! Regards Tim Boddington Although we appreciate Tim’s kind comments I feel we shouldn’t forget the efforts of the ‘blue shirt’ IWA volunteers who work alongside WRG’s ‘red shirts’ at the National ...Ed Dear Martin May I through the letters column express the profound thanks of the River Gipping Trust to WRG, both London and national, for their outstanding efforts over the last 2 months. Hopefully there is a report elsewhere in this magazine detailing what was involved in the restoration of Baylham Mill Lock on the River Gipping and you will know from your own visit just how much was done in such a short period. We old people from the Trust’s working party might have completed the work ourselves but it would probably have taken us a couple of years rather than the 6 weeks it actually took WRG. We now have another historic structure saved for posterity and, even better, we are one giant step closer to seeing the navigation open again. You can all feel justifiably proud of your achievements. Thank you. Spencer Greystrong Treasurer, River Gipping Trust Dear Editor These days I have to admit to being mainly an armchair supporter of canal restoration. One reason is that my doctor would probably have me certified and locked up just for thinking of battling away with a shovel; my wife would have me locked up without a doubt. But that doesn’t stop me wanting to join you at the reunion. That is, until I saw the photos on the back cover of Navvies No 236 of work in progress on the Mont in 1969. Now I know I don’t have that level of ability or passion, for it’s a fabulous job done. But I’m puzzled as to why a nice solid looking building should have to be taken down and rebuilt on the opposite bank. Do tell. I noticed an absence in the reunion of any mention of Welsh rain. A surprise for some? Regarding the photograph on page 39. This appears to show the determination of Mr Bungle in not calling for assistance of a mouse or a spider in unravelling a much tangled web. Keep up the good work please Ron Shackell OK I admit it - my pic of Welshpool was taken looking the opposite way from the original! ...Ed

page 23


Progress

Grand Union Wendover Arm Wendover Arm

The aim for the September Working Party was to complete bulk excavation down to top of pipeline capping for the rest of Stage 1 in order to leave the way clear for profiling and lining during the rest of the year. Weather permitting we also hope to have cut a large supply of Bentomat lengths to complete Stage 1, then on the Monday it was intended to pour the first base of the Stage 4 mooring bay at Bridge 4, to allow Pete and his gang on Thursday to strip and re-assemble the formwork for the second base. On the October/November/December Working Parties, as we have 150 metres of Stage 1 to complete, the aim is to complete 50 metres of bed and bank lining at each of these seven-day work parties. This will be entirely dependent on the weather and availability of volunteers but it would be

Phill Cardy

The July Working Party was very successful and we were able to profile the 1 in 3 slope at the bottom of the Stage 1 mooring wall and cover it in Bentomat matting and concrete blocks. The August Working Week (actually nine days) was also very successful as we had a virtually dry nine days and have now completely finished the restored canal (water and plants excepted) to the east end of the mooring bay as well as being well advanced with the next 15 metres of bank lining and bulk excavation ahead of this. Looking Ahead there are now about 150 metres of Stage 1 left to profile and line in order to complete Stage 1 with a temporary bund at the end. Our aim is still to complete this in 2009, weather permitting.

The Wendover Arm Trust find enough time off from relining their canal to explore the remains of a 200 year old pumping station

Laying Bentomat bank lining

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Margaret Leishman

The completed mooring bay

Barry Martin

a great achievement to complete the stage before the weather turns against us in the winter. Whitehouses Old Pumping Station One of our members, Professor Timothy Peters, is leading the investigations into the former pumping station at Whitehouses (decommissioned in 1836) and will in due course be reporting his findings and recommendations on preserving the site. Earlier this year Timothy Peters and Barry Martin made an investigation of the site and Barry was able to take some photos of the underground chambers on the site. These are full of brick rubble, no doubt from the demolition of the two cottages some time after World War II. Timothy Peters has been following up the history of the men who constructed the original pumping station and has had valuable information from local sources. We await with interest his findings in due course. In June Timothy and I visited the site with Industrial Archaeologist Barrie Trinder who is an expert on old stationary steam engines. One conclusion we reached was that an initial excavation to a depth of, say two feet over the site is going to be the best way of determining the general layout of buildings and other structures. This will need to be under expert archaeological supervision and it is hoped that a group interested in this kind of work can be found as the Trust’s volunteers cannot be spared from restoration works for this task. There will be the problem of where to store excavated material that needs to be retained for further examination or re-use. Another development that has taken place was a survey on the 19th August by the BW Underwater Team to determine where the shaft leading down to the heading to Wilstone Reservoir is located. They found the shaft just under 10m from the paddle gear at right angles to the canal near the cherry tree and covered with a concrete slab. The good news is that the shaft, brick lined and approximately 1.5m in diameter, appears to be in good condition – after over 200 years! The area has been fenced off to prevent the public straying onto a hazardous site For more information about our work see the Wendover Arm Trust website wendovercanal.org.uk. Roger Leishman, Restoration Director Tel:01442 874536

Unused since 1836: old chamber under the former Whitehouses pumping station

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Progress

Sussex Ouse Navigation Sussex Ouse With very little interruption from inclement weather on scheduled workdays this summer, work by the Sussex Ouse Restoration Trust has progressed well at Isfield Lock on the Ouse Navigation. The restoration of the east wall in the lock chamber and gate recess has been completed. Coping stones are back in place and the grass seed, perhaps optimistically sown along the newly levelled lock side, has grown to complete a satisfying picture. So by July work moved along to the east lower wing wall. It was soon apparent that the work required was more extensive than was originally anticipated. This section of the lock chamber wall required complete demolition down to the water-line, revealing an old and poor quality repair and a fairly serious fault line south of the gate recess and with brickwork literally coming away in workers’ hands. It was also necessary to remove the soil behind the wall down to the same level, to establish the true extent of the damage and repairs required. Not daunted by the task ahead, the re-building began and a strengthened ‘plateau’ level was established. The placing of a very large coping stone on the new wing wall end tested not only the ingenuity but also the physical strength of the team. August has seen the gradual rebuilding of the wing wall. It has been strengthened as it is now built with an increase in the number of leaves of brickwork and a back-fill of spoil and hardcore to help take the pressure from the bank above off the new wall. With work parties forced to abandon the site by the end of

page 26

Next we head down to Sussex, where SORT are progressing with Isfield Lock despite the job being harder than they expected September due not only to the possible worsening weather conditions and daylight available but also the presence of shooting parties on the Sutton Hall Estate, the pressure was on to complete the task. However with good weather and a regular attendance of volunteers over the next four weeks the Trust remained optimistic. Extra help is always welcome on the site, remotely situated alongside the River Ouse, and anyone interested in joining the regular Thursday and Saturday work parties, now or in the future, should contact Ted Lintott on 01444-414413 or tedl@talktalk.net

SORT volunteers rebuilding Isfield Lock


Finally, Spencer Greystrong reports from the River Gipping, otherwise known as the Ipswich & Stowmarket Navigation

Progress

...and the River Gipping

River Gipping: Baylham Lock 2009 cubic metres at a time, left to set under

water (because we couldn’t keep the site The Trust has only been in existence for 2 totally dry for 6 weeks) and then pump out years but before that the Ipswich branch of again and start the next section. IWA had produced some plans that would During the first camp the weather was see a major step forward in the restoration glorious and the first team from WRG under of the Ipswich & Stowmarket Navigation. leader Liz Wilson [see report in Navvies 236] Colin Turner was persuaded to come out of managed to get everything ready for the retirement one last time and take on the role Friday concrete pour in plenty of time. Beof Working Party Organiser so we decided to cause the lock has numerous springs we had go ahead. to construct a concrete sump and attach The work at Baylham Lock involved plastic pipes to it which would eventually run taking down 15 metres of lock wall, removthe length of the lock and feed all the spring ing 60 cubic metres of soil from behind the water to the sump. These pipes had hunwall, breaking out and removing 10 cubic dreds of holes drilled in them; they were metres of concrete from the invert, reformthen surrounded by gravel, covered with a ing the invert at its correct level using 10 polythene sheet and finally covered with a cubic metres of new concrete, rebuilding the 50mm layer of concrete. I made that sound lock wall, pouring another 15 cubic metres of easy but they also had to remove all the old concrete behind the wall and finally replacing concrete and then dig down 200 mm and the soil behind the wall. All this to be done remove thick glutinous clay before they could in 6 weeks commencing July 12! start putting in the pipes. Because the River Gipping is very prone Come Friday, the day of the concrete to flooding it was essential that the work was pour, we had the dumpers standing by (the carried out as quickly as possible and in the site is only accessible over two bridges with supposed driest time of the year. To get the an 8 tonne limit on each so the ready-mix work done we asked WRG if they could had to come in ½ a tonne at a time in the provide two full camps, one at the start and dumpers). Colin had made it very clear that one at the end of the period. We also asked the lorry had to be with us by 9.30am. FiLondon WRG if they could run a weekend camp between the two. Luckily both organisations said ‘yes’ so using Roy Sutton’s engineering report and recommendations, Colin started the detailed planning. Although we needed to remove the old concrete from the bottom of the lock Roy advised us that if we did the whole lot in one go there was every possibility that the wall next to the mill could start sliding into the lock bringing a 200 year old listed structure down with it. Our 2 year old Trust would probably not grow up to be 3 years old if that happened so the work had to be done in three stages. That meant that the replacement Setting up for the concrete pour, first week... concrete could only be poured 6

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nally at 10.30 it arrived at exactly the same (around 3 sq metres) then refill with fresh moment as a torrential downpour. The rain concrete to the correct profile. This cut- out itself we could have coped with but the river had to be taken down to the original blinding filled up so fast that it started flowing in the layer so we hired in a hydraulic breaker. wrong direction back into the lock! Frantic On Wednesday we removed the Acrow work with sand bags wasn’t enough so we props and started shifting the old clay and watched helplessly as one of the carefully bricks. This was an even longer job as the formed edges of the invert started sliding spoil that had been removed on Sunday had down into the centre of the lock. A disapsimply been dumped in the area that we pointing end to the camp but when we were going to pour on Thursday. We had phoned Roy Sutton to explain what had some pretty mucky people come Wednesday happened things didn’t look quite as black as evening. On Thursday yet again I arrived at he reckoned we could recover the situation 6.00 am for the pumps and yet again the during the next WRG camp. concrete pour went exactly as planned. Next was the London WRG weekend By Friday a significant part of the lock and they carried on the work of breaking up wall had been rebuilt, several tonnes of and removing the old concrete from the concrete had been poured for backfill and the invert. Colin’s original plan had been for our invert was complete. Our local group can now own group to do a concrete pour after Loncomplete the job without the time pressures. don WRG had gone and before the next I must record my admiration for the camp but it became obvious that we did not leaders and crews on all three camps. I’ve have the required manpower for such an done a few camps in my time and I think the operation. We therefore decided that London 2 one week camps were models of how a WRG would remove all the old concrete camp should be. They had a mixture of ages during the weekend but we would use Acrow but everyone got on so well. If a job needed props across the top end of the lock below doing, it got done; the leaders didn’t have to the cill to support the wall whilst we waited chase after people. for the next camp. We realised that this was What can I say about London WRG that placing a huge burden on that camp (two 6 hasn’t been said on numerous occasions betonne concrete pours in one week) but Ed fore? Thank the lord we’ve got a group of was leading that camp; he was with London experts like you willing to share your expertise. WRG and he agreed to take it on. It would be invidious to select just one or The deal with Ed was that the Trust’s two names so I will say on behalf of the River local work force would complete the blinding Gipping Trust THANK YOU ALL. You’re hard layer before he arrived with his team. Unfor- work has meant another lock on the Ipswich & tunately we needed stop planks at the lower Stowmarket Navigation has been saved. end of the lock to avoid another flood. This Spencer Greystrong took up all our time so when he turned up Treasurer, River Gipping Trust on Sunday [see camp report, p31] his first task was to get the site cleared, lay the pipes, the gravel, the plastic and the blinding. I switched on all the pumps so that we had a dry work area by 8.30. This time the ready-mix lorry arrived at 9.30 as requested and the concrete pour was complete by 12.30. That included vibrating and tamping to the correct profile. We now had to leave that to set before we could carry on with all the other jobs. One of those was to try and put right the damage caused by the rain during Liz’s camp. We needed to cut out the new concrete to the point where it was at least 200mm thick over ...and the end of the final week: job done! the full 3 metre width of the pour

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Camp report

Hereford & Gloucester Canal

“Making a Mark in the Park” H&G Aylestone Park, Hereford As the renegades of CC1309 headed out of town, the dust (mud) had hardly settled before the CC1609 Park Posse rode in to follow the well trodden tracks of their pioneer counterparts. The iron horse, stage coaches and new fangled horseless carriages delivered this band of trowel totting navvies to the homestead known as Yarkhill village hall. The coffee pot was still warm as the bunkhouse floor was quickly filled. Introductions were made, including the queens of the chuck wagon, Stella and sister Marion, our local settler volunteer camp cooks. Homestead rules and safety briefing quickly followed before the group mounted the two horseless carriages EHP & SAD and headed off to view their mark in the park before sundown. Careful not to make cabriolet horseless carriages the height restriction barriers were dutifully opened and closed all week to prevent unwanted travelling bands from settling in the park. There was no need for a hitching rail, there were no cowboys in this outfit! After chowing down on a substantial meal, the group headed off to a local saloon, alas only later to find they’d run out of beer, much to the chagrin of seasoned brewing aficionado’s Kim & Brendan. An early return to the homestead ensued. Sunrise on Sunday the happy band of divided up into working parties, bricklaying on the slipway with “Trowel slinger” Hawkins ruling over the long wall with Tom scouting out the ramp end of the wall. Fast trowel Frank moseying along on the short wall with Andrew in brickie support made up the core retaining wall bricklaying party with guest appearances’ from the Posse leader. Deputy leader “’Shorty” Danks (aka “Ickel” Martin) led a party off to extend the foot trail alongside the canal; careful of the ”big yellow thing that hisses” that lurked below the surface (high pressure gas distributer main!). A scouting party was sent off to high ground to make good picnic table bases cast the

previous week. The arrival of the Spalding stagecoach from the east brought Jodie & Millie complete with massive bedroll and a store and a half of clothes complete with a lovely pink valise to join the gang. Meanwhile back at the homestead Little Running in Mud Davenport from the NWWRG tribe and Debbie “Dog whisperer” Curtis awaited the arrival of the Park Posse. More massive chowing down ensued Monday, in between showers work progressed on all fronts, with Little Running in Mud leading the pioneer party up to higher ground in search on new picnic table base sites. In a true leader privilege to

John Hawkins

Meanwhile, way out in the Wild West of Herefordshire, Trowel Slinger Hawkins and the gang are gathering...

The leader is quite clearly out of his depth

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Camp Reports

“The bowling alley operators located us on the ground floor to reduce the risk of structural damage to their emporium”

Hereford & Gloucester Canal

change your mind, a rather dubious finished Adding, a new fangled heavier than air maconcrete base, having been lovingly landchine with big whirly thing on top might scaped by Lynn, Charlie, George and the drop out of the sky and men from its belly gang was declared fit for hardcore and was would come and tell us that we were on top duly broken out by Ben, Charlie & Steve. of a big yellow thing that hisses. So much “He’s not a leader he’s just a very naughty pressure it would be easy to overlook the boy” became the day’s cleanest sledging thinner red cable, that sparks, makes your remark! The ace shuttering team of Charlie hair stand on end and smell of burnt toast, & George set about re-accomplishing the which was close to the work site! Suffice to formwork for this location and began setting say services location and protection was a set up the other bases on the hill side. An key element of the safety plan. An evening’s on-site mix to order concrete delivery probargain deal ten pin bowling in Hereford, vided the mass-concrete backfill to the brick- saw “Dead eye” Tom being the high scorer work retaining wall built in the previous closely harassed by “Sharp Shooter” Steve. days, the path team coming back to assist in Given the variations of the bouncing bomb the raking effort. Again evening chow time technique on the 1st floor lanes by the previwas feast to behold, Rob B you missed out ous week campers, the alley operators loon an eating challenge! An evening trip to cated us on the ground floor to reduce the Over basin was lead by Deputy Danks as the risk of structural damage to their emporium. naughty boy did leader type stuff at the Wednesday was concreting day for two homestead. picnic table bases, might have been three but Tuesday was more of the same. The that is another story. Must try to get the muck & bricks duo of Brendan & Kimm odd Sherpa or two on Aylestone Park camps pandered to our brickie demands without to transport equipment up the hill, but we question and back chat (Note for MKP, good labourers are hard to come by but we had them!). Fast trowel Frank was so moved he adopted Brendan, who was later “branded” to let people know who his master was! Ben & Steve received training for operating the 7.5 tonne dumper. Ickel Martin in between organizing wagon masters to deliver supplies to site, progressed the swerving foot trail under the caution from the “man who watches big yellow pipe that hisses” that “we were being obProgress on the bricklaying served from afar”.

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“It was a testament to the whole hearted enthusiasm, commitment and work ethic that makes the WRG experience what it is”

Camp reports

Hereford & Gloucester Canal

did laugh as we wheel barrowed the poker and the plate compactor up those slopes. However the view from the top did compensate for the breathlessness, pink faces and muscle cramp! The laughter was as loud as the ace shuttering team when they re-constructed a third base formwork, practice makes perfect, with lovely views, and you get to burn off those calories from the excellent evening meals! Jeff a local volunteer assisted with the long wall as trowel slinger Hawkins, who graciously extended his stay, had departed the previous night for new territories’. Many thanks to “Bouncer” a local canine that not only runs around in circles on a lovingly finished wet concrete slab, but signs its name and those of its two human minders, hope it realizes that cement can burn your skin. Thursday: brickwork was completed, Jodie & Millie with Rachael & Hattie competed to be the “pointing sisters” supporting Tom Coleman on the brickwork under the beady eye of Fast trowel Frank. Debbie & Lynn were trained on operating the roller in

Quotes from the camp: “My first time on the H&G; 18 odd people and me!” “We are the pointer sisters for the wall We also learned to lay bricks n’all Back to the compound in a wheelbarrow train Without us on camp it won’t be the same” “Serial rakists and psychopaths, trifle and cheese. Wicked week, can’t wait for the next” “I have enjoyed the weeks’ bricklaying and maybe one day I will have my own gofer just like Frank!!” “I enjoyed mixing with Kimm, dreaming about custard but most of all being Franks gofer” “Shuttering, shuttering and more bloody shuttering” “An awesome week with awe inspiring characters” “Loads of fun on big toys, digging and dumping up a bloody big hill” “Great week(s), will never be forgotten. It will be recalled forever in my now necessary therapy sessions!”

between being in the raking team with Ju, Andrew, Tom, the deadly duo’s, and the rest of the posse not having a go on the bricklaying. Late in the day the “naughty boy” was able to get the 360 swing shovel in to start profiling the slipway slope. Timber path edging to the car park end was cut and installed by the team. Friday: George, free from his shuttering duties consolidated the effort to set out the slipway profile. As time run out the type1 sub-base was placed and compacted leaving the site ready for blinding and pavement concrete on another weekend visit. Concrete was poured for the final two seat bases with picnic table/seat combo’s being placed on earlier slab bases. It was a heartwarming moment for all the team to see a local resident to use the first seat installed on the high viewpoint, and payback for all the toiling up & down the hill. With a van & trailer going on the long trek to the east, that evening checking out back in the kit was entwined in the preparations for a stonking BBQ. Thanks to Julia, a local volunteer who collected Ed & Nigel from Gloucester station. With Ed departed with van & trailer an exhausted team settled down for a relaxing evening. Just one more day would have seen the pavement slab in, but over 200 meters of 1.8m wide footpath, 5 picnic table bases, slipway walls and profiled slipway sub-base constructed by the combined effort of Camps 13 & 16 was a high commendable achievement. Given the wet weather experienced in the first week, availability of bricklayers and the spread out site it was a testament to the whole hearted enthusiasm, commitment and work ethic that makes the WRG experience what it is. Many thanks to Fred, Lorraine, Sue (the cook) and Camp 13 folks, to Martin Danks my assistant leader, sisters Stella and Marion (our cooks), Charlie for the ace breakfasts and every one of Camp 16 volunteers, you were great. Hopefully see you on canal camp or site soon. The Party van will “rock” again next year! Martin “Naughty Boy” Thompson

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Camp report:

Ipswich & Stowmarket Navigation Ipswich & Stowmarket Camp Baylham Lock, August 8-15 Itinerary Sat: Arrive Pub Sun: Dig out rubble and lay binding layer for section of lock floor Bowling Mon: Concrete pour (6 cubic metres) Brewery tour Tue: Dig out rubble in last section of lock Swimming/Spa Wed: Continue digging out rubble and lay final binding layer Cinema Thu: Concrete pour (6 cubic metres) Boat trip Fri: Tool cleaning/sorting, scaffolding, brick laying etc. Barbecue Sat: Leave

“It should have been simple, except that the lock is built on a natural spring...”

so efficient that one afternoon a lot of us went to visit the rare breeds farm and another a van full went back to the hall early!! By Friday morning we were cleaning and packing tools whilst quietly ignoring Colin the local’s suggestion that we might want to root through the spoil pile looking for whole bricks to salvage. The work in the lock was back-breaking all week, leading to Andy and Brian shocking us all with their endurance – in contrast I was so knackered I was being sent to wash tools after Monday’s afternoon tea break. Luckily Kim appointed herself in charge of making everyone take a break and drink water regularly, so no-one actually expired. The job itself was moving all the rubble to one side and putting the shuttering, drainage pipes and blinding layer in place. Then dumper-full after dumper-full of concrete was poured in from the top of the lock. After this we had to manually shift the concrete into position, vibrate it and tamp it into the correct curve – after which we realised there was too much concrete and Ellie and I formed an amazing bucket chain to get the concrete Andy and Brian were hurriedly shovelling into buckets back out of the lock

Nigel Lee

As you can see above Ed and Nigel’s plan for the week was really quite simple: clear out the lock and finish laying a concrete invert floor (curved to help hold the walls in place). In addition to this there was some more concreting to do behind the walls, some bricklaying, some correction of Liz’s camp’s concrete (not their fault – the weather was evil), a little bricklaying and some excavating. In parallel Harri excelled herself in the kitchen producing ever more food – we soon learned when it was going to be a hard day as there would be porridge as well as a fry-up for breakfast. None of this was a problem for our hardy group of new and more experienced Pouring the first section of the new invert volunteers. In fact we were

page 32


effect leading to a relatively respectable score by the third game. Bowling was followed on Wednesday by a brewery trip, I won’t say ‘tour’ as the word tour implies the place is large enough that you have to move to see everything. This was not the case, in fact you could still see most things whilst sat on the loo due to the ill fitting door. The lack of tour did not make the visit any less entertaining and we did manage to ascertain that the brewer owns his own home, likes cats, and reads the Independent – so off you go, Sophie! By this time Max found himself reading the same sentence twice he was so tired, reading the same sentence twice he was so tired, so it was good that the next evening plans were was a nice relaxing visit to the spa, followed by the cinema the next night (Note to self – pick a shorter movie next time) and finally a boat trip. On the last night we had a barbecue back at the accommodation and gave out prizes – to Andy and Brian for being like Wind-Up toys and just keeping going, to Max for services to concrete and to Kim for being our MUP. All in all it was an excellent week and I recommend Ed and Nigel’s camps and Harri’s cooking to everyone. Helena Howarth

Anne Unseld

and into the section being concreted behind the walls (Note to Ed – less concrete per bucket is faster as we are then capable of lifting them onto the scaffolding). This process (without the bucketing) was repeated with the next section of lock over the following three days. It should have been simple except the lock is built on a natural spring so we had to keep all the pumps going until the last possible moment underneath the plastic liner as we poured concrete all around. As soon as they were turned off the water levels began to rise and we all watched in trepidation in case the concrete washed away. Meanwhile Ed, Adrian and Tony removed the bit of Liz’s concrete that had been damaged by flood water, using the Kango hammer (which leaves impressive bruises if you brace it against your knee) then filled the hole again with some of the excess concrete from the main pour (barrows-full this time rather than buckets). Up top, Anne and Jenny did a superb job at putting up shuttering then cleaning and roughening up the concrete surface ready for the next layer of concrete (ably mixed by Max). This was an ongoing job with several sections being done over the week. Elanor was our excavator driver-inchief, however Adrian and others also had a go once trained. Gordon did some minibus training and Martin some dumper training. Other toys in use were the steel saw, vibrator and Kango hammer, so by the end of the week we were a well-trained bunch. When feeling like a break from the heavy work, Andy also did some bricklaying and taught Kim and Ellie. This went well until Rob and I were sent to make the mortar – apparently there is a difference between sand and aggregate. Something to do with there being rocks in it I think… Our evenings were filled with the exciting activities outlined above, though throughout the week various members of the group declined the evening activities in favour of a little extra (and much needed) sleep. We went to the pub the first night, whereupon Max a local dog whipped Elanor across the back of the legs and flourished his stick at her. We did not return. At bowling Tim showed us all his skill at bouncing the ball off the barriers whilst I scored a record seven total misses in a row (unlike Tim’s group we had the barriers down) leading to the suggestion that I should try thinking of various annoying people as I bowled. This had a massive

Putting right the damage from ‘Liz’s flood’

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WRG NW

What’s a paper chase?

Cameron explains the truth behind the slightly cryptic entries in the Navvies diary...

and gets ready for the onslaught. Whilst we tidy up and close the container wagon doors Have you ever wondered what the words one of us drives off to the chippy to collect the ‘paper chase’ that appear in the Navvies diary order and we all head back to Mr Mac’s for mean? Cameron Abercrombie explains... some well earned food – we pay £1 for the Every 6 weeks or so a few volunteers of food and the rest is subsidised by WRGNW. WRG North West wake up one early Saturday At the end of the day it’s a great get morning, some from afar, some local to together, a useful fund-raiser for the waternorth Manchester, and descend on ways, we have fun and a laugh – and that’s Crumpsall, home to the very popular and what it is all about! loved Mr Mac for the paper chase. We start Cameron Abercrombie off at The Cleveland, a local pub that allows (I’ve been a wrgie for exactly 1 year this Saturday) us to use their car park to hold a huge 10 ton container wagon. We then break off into groups of 2-3 and drive off in cars with trailers or in our beloved van GCW and collect paper, card, old books - anything really that started life as a tree to fill up our containers. I say containers because at around 11am a second container comes along as by this time we’ve filled the first one! The first container wagon is opened topped and there is normally me and a couple of others climbing up a hill of paper to really pack tight all we have gathered. You can often hear Mr Mac shout ‘let’s build a new wall’ referring to us building a wall from boxes to Money raised by WRGNW doesn’t just go to supstop it all falling forwards! Then anport WRG - they are seen presenting cheques at other van load turns up, and bags after Redhill to the Chesterfield and Lichfield & Hatherbags after bags of paper and card get ton groups in support of their current appeals thrown up to us to empty filling the container even more! By the time the first container is full, all of ‘us’ doing the emptying have rather sore backs so we opt for driving about collecting waste paper and the others start to fill the second container. All this work is building up our appetites... Then the best bit - Fish ‘n’ chips, Mr Mac does a ‘roll call’ “who wants what” he’ll ask and taking it turns to shout to him our order, he soon drives off to the local chippy with that long order of food for all the hungry wrgies. After dropping the order off, he heads back to his house putting the kettle on

Raising funds for WRGNW

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Navvies News

WRG EM out and about The WRG East Midlands group based around the Erewash Canal has been active recently fitting boat mooring rings at two locations in the East Midlands. On the River Trent in Nottingham 45 rings were installed on the embankment outside County Hall for Nottingham City Council; this completes the improvement of the Embankment moorings started some years ago. As well as being a popular casual mooring this area is the main mooring site for the Nottingham Riverside Festival in August. In addition to fitting the new rings bent and damaged rings were removed. On the Witham Navigable Drains mooring rings were fitted for the Witham Fourth District Internal Drainage Board at Cowbridge Lock (pictured, page 3) and for the EA on the Maud Foster Drain in Boston on the Packet Boat Steps by Maud Foster Windmill.

WRG EM install mooring rings on the Trent

WRGWear: WRG logo clothing Lots of people are still sending in the form from the Navvies months ago so to save you all digging through to work out what issue it was here’s the order form again. Send the order with a cheque (made payable to WRG Canal Camps) to WRG Wear: 33 Victoria Road, Northwich, CW9 5RE, I send the money off to one place and the order off to the supplier (who then sends off to you without me being involved in that bit).  So that’s why the money may be cashed either before or after your stuff arrives and why I won’t know if it’s been sent and gone missing.  Please allow 28 days for delivery but contact me if it hasn’t arrived or if you have any other questions: wrgwear@wrg.org.uk or 07989 425346. Thanks. Helen Gardner PS I don’t do the tshirts with the list of camp dates on the back: they come from head office Indicate number required of each size Item

S

M

L

XL

XXL Price

Printed large WRG logo red tshirt

£8.00

Printed large WRG logo black tshirt

£8.00

Printed small WRG logo red tshirt

£8.00

Printed small WRG logo black tshirt

£8.00

Printed small WRG logo red sweatshirt

£13.50

Printed small WRG logo black sweatshirt

£13.50

Embroidered small WRG logo red poloshirt

£11.50

Embroidered small WRG logo black poloshirt

£11.50

Embroidered small WRG logo red fleece

£23.50

Embroidered small WRG logo red rugby shirt

£25.00

Total

Name:_______________________Address to be delivered to:_______________ __________________________________________________________________ Contact phone and/or email address:___________________________________

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NOTICEBOARD Online Navvies subscriptions

The Survey

You can now take out or renew a Navvies subscription online via the IWA online shop website. The address is:

If you haven’t already voted in the latest WRG survey for your favourite and least favourite WRG work sites there still might just be time

https://www.iwashop.com/ecommerce/ proddetail.asp?prod=nav1

http://tiny.cc/awesome_sites

Congratulations

to Dan & Emma Evans on the arrival of Toby Dylan Evans on August 17 weighing 8lb 8oz also to Leonie Greenhalgh and Ben O’Donohue on their wedding and to Alice Bayston and Antony Carver on their engagement

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

Stamps wanted

Send used 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.

Thanks... ...to Chris Griffiths of Stroudprint for his continued help with printing What? Nothing about dogs this time? Sorry!

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Results - and the theme for the next survey - will appear in Navvies 237

Directory update The entry for the Dig Deep Initiative in the Directory in Navvies 236 was out of date. It should have said: Alan Cavender, 53 Derwent Drive, Maidenhead, SL6 6LE 01628-629033 Next full directory in issue 239

Change of address

Mark ‘Mk2’ Richardson has moved to: 80 Byron Road West Bridgford Nottingham NG2 6DX If you move house don’t forget to tell Navvies

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


Have you an embarrassing personal problem that you’d like to entertain the Navvies readership with? Then write to Deirdre!

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With WRG’s own agony aunt

Dear Deirdre, I've just found out

I'm pregnant. How late in my term is it safe for me to continue digging? Deirdre writes: Worksites are dangerous, unsanitary places and the work frequently involves heavy lifting; for that reason I'd recommend to be on the safe side and leave site when dilated 3cm, maximum 4cm, and definitely when the head crowns. That way, if you push hard, you can be back on site before the mortar goes off. Congratulations!

Dear Deirdre, Help! I've lost my

Deirdre writes: over the years a

number of methods have been attempted to drag reluctant friends, partners and spouses along on digs. Experience has proven that the most fail safe method is to lie to them about what to expect. Conjuring up visions of en-suite accommodation, hunky young male volunteers and light gardening work by crystal-clear waters is the best way to lure new volunteers along. It is imperative you do not mention cold linoleum floors, Tesco Value mince or grumpy locals.

driver's license (turns out beer isn't Have you a question for Deirdre? Write to a soft drink after all). Any advice on the editor or email deirdre@wrg.org.uk how I can get to digs? The right tool for the wrong job? Deirdre writes: Hi there. You could thumb a lift from a WRGie who lives near you, but be careful who you choose. You're only 5 miles from 'Tractors' Tony Tatton; approach him for a lift only if you're interested in discussing pre-war threshing technology for hours whilst caught in a 15 mile tailback on the M4. Then there's Vern 'Vole Campaigner' Vickers: he's a great driver but you'd better have at least a mild enthusiasm for the conservation of small indigenous mammals before you get in a car for a lengthy journey with him. Angling Andrew Anderson has heated car seats, but you'll have to hear all about his fly fishing escapades. I wouldn't even bother to approach Larry 'Landrovers' Lane, for obvious reasons. National Rail Enquiries can be reached on 08457 48 49 50.

Dear Deirdre, my flatmate barely leaves the house except to go to work. She doesn't own a pair of flat shoes and the last time she took exercise was her school sports day. I really feel getting out in the fresh air would do her good - how can I persuade her to come digging with me?

Our picture shows Louise on the Mon & Brec camp using a stiletto shoe to hold the mortar for pointing stonework. Do you have any similar pics of unusual working practices to entertain the readers? (or for conspiracy theorists, to undermine WRG’s reputation next time BW comes snooping around trying to catch us out) If so, send them to the editor.

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Oh no, not Jane & John again!

“Do you know what ‘the right bra for the right job’ is? John doesn’t...”

The Jane and John Stories episode 4: Jane and John go to the National Jane and John have decided to take a break from real wrg work, they J have booked onto the National. The national is a big event with lots of boaters who, although they always moan about how nobody goes there because it’s not like it used to be, also moan about the queues caused by all the boats. There is also lots of mud, which means lots of toys to pull stuck things out with. John likes toys, especially if they have big engines. This year the National is in a windswept field in the East Midlands. The East Midlands is the home of a particularly useful local called Jim Baler-twine. As well as being the local, he also runs the stores and has a number of stock phrases including “we don’t keep those”, “I can only let you have 10 cable ties at a time” and “We have just closed, you will have to come back in the morning”. Jane and John arrive on site late in the evening. They lay out their bedding and then go to the eating tent where John joins in discussing such important subjects as the merits of JCB over Merlo telehandlers, why V8 engines should be fitted as a default to all vehicles, the correct part number for the police specification rear Land Rover suspension and which National had the best mud for getting stuck in (for reference, Salford, unless you are really old in which case it was Wakefield). These discussions continue late into the night until the beer barrel runs out; for some reason when this happens the discussions die down and everyone goes to bed. The next morning Jane and John get ready for a day on site. “Don’t forget your wrg key” says Jane. “Don’t worry” replies John “I have it attached to my belt”. “Now behave yourself and don’t get into any trouble” says Jane as she sends him out on site. John goes to the leader and asks what needs doing. “Ah, morning John. Can you drive one of the small tractors and plough in some water pipe?” John likes tractors, especially old ones. He grabs some keys and persuades one of them into life then sets off across the site to where a group of people are making sure some spades don’t fall over by leaning on them. Laid on the ground is a large blue pipe, John lines the tractor up and begins to plough a trench to put the pipe in, but unfortunately the plough keeps getting stuck. After a while Uncle Chill pulls up alongside with the bigger tractor. “Having trouble John?” Asks Uncle Chill. “Yes, I keep getting stuck” replied John, “Can you help?” “No problem” says Uncle Chill “unhitch the plough and move over”. John helps switch the plough to the bigger tractor and Uncle Chill soon has the water pipe buried. Once this is done John is asked to go and help the telehandler by being a banksman. The telehandler is being driven by “Paul the Puppy”. Paul is unloading trucks of various pallets but for some reason the forks won’t stay up in the air. “Would you like me to have a look and see what the problem is?” asks John “Yes please” replies Paul John looks under the back and soon spots a loose hose connection leaking oil. Once it is tightened up the forks are working properly again. “There you go” says John “That should make life easier”. “Thanks John” replies Paul “lets get these last couple of pallets off and then we can go back for a tea break”

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John and Paul finish unloading the truck and then Paul sets off back to the compound with the telehandler. John starts walking back and on the way stops at the “Guild of knot tiers” stand. There are a number of displays of different knots, standing there looking at them is Helena Twitterlot. Helena rides horses and she shows John a knot she uses for tying up her horse in the evening. Just as John starts practising he gets a call on the radio. “John from wrg1, John from wrg1, can you go down to the moorings and look into a problem with the pontoons please?” Helena offers to go along with John to look at the problem. “You go and stand on the pontoons” says John to Helena “I’ll look from the bank”. Helena walks out onto the pontoons, they bounce around as she walks along. Do you know what the “right bra for the right job” is? John doesn’t..... Helena stops walking as her feet are getting wet. “The pontoons are sinking” says Helena “Hang on a minute while I try tightening the clamps” replies John. He gets out his scaf spanner and leans down to check the clamps are tight. He gives each one a turn and they try again. “It’s no good John, we need more clamps” says Helena as her feet get wet again “Oh well, it’s lunchtime anyway, lets go back and have some food”. They set off back to the accommodation. As they go they see one of the telehandlers sat in the field with a bucket full of wood chip. The telehandler isn’t going anywhere because someone let it run out of diesel. Do you think wrg2 is a silly boy? John arrives back at the accommodation as sees Jane. Jane has had a hard morning banging in poles with a post cap. “Where have you been?” asks Jane “I’ve been having a great time” replied John, “Unfortunately for the first job my equipment wasn’t big enough to pull, luckily Uncle Chill was available, his equipment is superior to mine and he has had a lot more practise, he pulled with no trouble at all. Then I helped Paul, he couldn’t keep it up but I gave him a hand and it was soon sorted without needing professional help. I met Helena Twitterlot and she showed me some knots she uses for her evening hobbies but just as we started practising together we got called away. She came along to give me a hand and no matter what I did she kept going down, even after I tweaked the nuts myself. Oh I see you have spent the morning post bonking, has it been fun?” See Jane pick up the post cap, see the post cap fly. Poor John.....

WRGieotypes No 11: The Designated Driver Jennifer’s designated driver again tonight. She didn’t exactly volunteer for it, but there’s no-one else who can drive the van. Apart from Pete, of course, who’s got his ticket, but he said something about his knee playing up, and Paul’s Landrover’s got kit all over the back seats and they could all have fitted in Jon’s car but for the terrible smell of old dog. She doesn’t really mind but alcohol does make Jon’s endless boating stories easier to sit through. Maybe someone else’ll take a turn tomorrow. Meanwhile she’ll have another diet coke...        

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From this...

And from this...

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Navvies 236  

Navvies 236. Magazine for volunteers restoring the waterways.

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