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1 to attempt (eg the fulfilment of an obligation) by exertion of effort; 2 archaic to strive to achieve or reach ~ vi to make an effort to do something n a serious determined effort

Northampton Branch Newsletter - November 2012

Page 16 latest: Branch adopts Northampton Arm

IMPROVEMENTS MADE TO THE ARM Following problems experienced by members this year when navigating the Northampton Arm due to weed and low water levels caused mainly by lack of dredging, the Branch complained to the Canal & River Trust (CRT) who agreed the situation was not satisfactory and revealed that £100,000 had been made available for maintenance. Most of the problems it seemed were under water and clearly CRT had a big job on their hands to get the 17-lock Arm back into a good and acceptable condition. Happily, the bulk of the work was carried out over the summer months and into the autumn, particularly when the flooded River Nene was closed, thus attempting to keep disruption to boaters to a minimum. Branch committtee member Alex Madisons has been keeping an eye on progress and he notes work done during the warmer and (relatively!) drier weather was of huge benefit, by allowing quicker drying times and without need of protection from the elements. On the right, Alex’s picture looking down the flight from lock 3 shows reeds encroaching into the main channel — he reports that these can only be cleared properly once the pound is re-filled, enabling the use of specialised weed cutting equipment. It is understood twice-yearly weed cutting is planned. (Continued on page 30) The IWA was founded in 1946 to campaign for the retention, restoration and development of Britain’s navigable waterways and for their fullest commercial and recreational use. The IWA is a registered Charity (no. 212342) , whose work is supported by members’ subscriptions.


AA unique opportunity to experience the delicate flavours of Indian cuisine at its best!





EDITORIAL MUSINGS 2012 is nearly over and it’s not been a good year for boating. To start the year we had very hard frosts with the canals being frozen with several inches of ice for quite a long time. Then came the drought with reservoirs very low, some down by at least 70% for that time of year, so a hosepipe ban was imposed and restrictions were implemented on the canals restricting lock opening times to just a few hours a day. Some parts of the system, including the Northampton Arm, were closed. Then the rains materialised and didn’t stop, causing flooding and events across the country had to be cancelled. Our annual Boat Gathering in early May was postponed until the August Bank Holiday but the rain came again and more flooding on the River Nene and it was eventually cancelled until next year when it will revert to its normal slot over the early May Bank Holiday Weekend, 3rd-6th May. We also had the Queen’s Jubilee Pageant when it rained all day and was very cold for June, The St John boat Crusader from Blisworth was involved and volunteers repainted her to show her at her best. The crew kept changing throughout the procession as it was so cold. There was a report on this in a previous edition of Endeavour. During the closure of the Northampton Arm, vital maintenance work has been carried out, repairing leaking lock gates and remedial work on lock walls. It has been done much quicker than in the ‘closed season’ when it’s cold and wet and everything has to be protected from frosts. Weeds have been able to spread across the channel due to the flooding and closures but will be cut away when the Arm is refilled and specialist cutting equipment can be used. We can now look forward to 2013 and hope the weather is better for boating, walking or whatever you want to do. I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

IWA Northampton Branch web site Please visit it regularly to see any updates




8th 5pm

Carols and Illuminated Boats at the Canal Museum and a Christmas Market at The Navigation Inn, Stoke Bruerne. 11th 8pm IWA Northampton Branch Social Meeting at The Walnut Tree, Blisworth. Quiz Night with Mick and Catriona Butler.


8th 8pm

IWA Northampton Branch Social Meeting at The Walnut Tree, Blisworth. Speaker: David Blagrove — “Building and Rebuilding of the Blisworth Tunnel.” 28th 7.45 pm IWA Milton Keynes Branch meeting at The Pavilion Community Sports Club, Worrelle Avenue, Middleton, Milton Keynes Village, MK10 9AD (accessed off Tongwell Street V11).Speaker: David Tucker — “Historic Waterway Films.”


12th 8pm IWA Northampton Branch Social Meeting at The Walnut Tree, Blisworth. Speaker: Steve Miles, Friends of Raymond — “Update on Restoration.” 25th 7.45pm IWA Milton Keynes Branch AGM plus “ TV visit to GU in MK area” UK Boating TV (see above for location).


12th 8pm IWA Northampton Branch AGM at The Walnut Tree, Blisworth, followed by speaker tba. 25th 7.45 IWA Milton Keynes Branch meeting. Speaker: Michael Beech, Museum Keeper & Secretary, Foxton Inclined Plane Trust — “Foxton Inclined Plane – Restoration Progress.”

Buckingham Canal Society Work Party Dates December 9th, 13th, 27th. January 10th, 13th, 24th. February 7th, 10th, 21st. March 7th, 10th, 21st.



Stowe Hill Wharf, Heyford Lane, Weedon, Northants NN7 4SF Tel: 01327 341365 Graham Shepherd and Robert Gudgeon welcome you to Stowe Hill Workshop 

Full Repaints


Hull Blacking/Stern Gear


Inspection and Repairs


Engine Repairs and Maintenance


Complete Fit-Out and Woodwork Alterations


Plumbing Installations and Repairs


Electrical Installations and Repairs


Stockists of Morris Oils and Grease


Full range of Batteries always available (please let us know your requirements)

By road we are easily found, a few yards off the A5 at Stowe Hill towards Nether Heyford. By boat close to Bridge 26



Branch Chairman’s Jottings by Bernard Morton What a memorable year 2012 has proved to be for our inland waterways. First we had the floods and drought (memorable for different people in differing ways) and then, after what I suppose had to be the inevitable delay, the introduction in the summer of the Canal & River Trust. From all accounts the Trust appears to be settling in well. I urge you all to read the valedictory IWA Chairman’s message from Clive Henderson in the current winter issue of Waterways. In this he puts the record straight on a number of issues which have caused consternation and criticism amongst a minority of the Association’s membership – sadly we have not been immune to this attitude from several members within our Branch but as so often, people engage their mouths without being in full knowledge and appreciation of the full facts of the situation which is not, whichever way you look at it, very helpful and constructive. Some in fact have elected to go their separate ways. However, this is now all water under the bridge and we need to give the CRT support in every way we see fit. The Branch has ideas how it can take this forward, so watch this space. Meanwhile, I would just like to reiterate the observation of Endeavour editor Tony Clarke in the last issue. Referring to CRT projects locally, he wrote: “I think we should all pull together to aid these projects although, of course, always bearing in mind that we should never compromise the established objectives of our Association. Remember – we are primarily a campaigning body.” BOAT GATHERING. Plans for the Branch’s 2013 Boat Gathering on the Nene at Becket’s Park, Northampton, are well underway. The dates are from Friday through to Monday, 3-6th May, the early Spring Bank Holiday when, given a little luck, temperatures should be on the rise. Please note the dates in your diaries and resolve to come along. In recent years it has been pleasing to see more boaters attending from down river, using the Gathering as a stepping stone on the way to the canal system for a summer of cruising on what is to them often unfamiliar waterways. On the other hand, canal-based boaters frequently cruise down river from Becket’s Park. For the latter, it can be a delight to get onto the deeper, wider Fenland rivers – if only to find out how fast your narrowboat can really travel! As always new volunteers to help organise the Gathering are needed. The “faithful few” soldier on but they would love to hear the cavalry approaching from the rear to take some of the load off their shoulders. Please contact me soonest and I will point you towards the action … We are still aiming to produce a Branch calendar choosing from the pictures entered into the Photographic Competition being promoted at the Gathering with the support of our friends Skears Photographic. I know some of you have photographs in hand which were taken for the aborted 2012 competition. Make sure you enter them in

8 2013. The theme of the competition is “Waterways Throughout The Year” covering all aspects of the waterways world, afloat as well as ashore. So get out there now and start snapping. Views of the waterways in winter can be especially captivating – atmospheric sunsets, frost, snow, ice-covered canals – it’s all there for the taking! There’s a Gathering report on page 10, advertisement on page 21 and an entry form will be included in the next Endeavour in February. BRANCH MEETINGS/SOCIAL GET-TOGETHERS. I have to confess that the number of people attending our regular social get-togethers have, to date, been disappointing, although October was better than September and I am writing this before the November meeting. But perhaps this is one of the reasons why attendances have fallen somewhat. We advertise these events on the second Tuesday of each month from September to May as “meetings”. In fact, they are not meetings in the true sense of the word. There is nothing formal about them at all (except where the AGM is concerned when we keep the formal part as brief as possible). They are purely social meetings so that like-minded people can get together and chat and listen to a speaker talk about a waterways topic, usually with a good range of illustrations on a big screen. As these get-togethers are held at the Walnut Tree Inn at Blisworth, there’s every opportunity to imbibe pleasantly or even have a bite to eat beforehand. The odd-one-out “meeting” is in December (11th) when we have a quiz presented in light-hearted style by Mick and Catriona Butler. These are fun occasions. Please do your best to join us – and bring a Christmas table decoration with you to add to the festive atmosphere. Mince pies, of course, will be served. DONATIONS. I am pleased to report that donations have been made to two local canal enterprises listed to benefit from this year’s Boat Gathering which never happened. Your committee felt unanimously that we should honour our commitment to these organisations and therefore £500 each has been presented to the Buckingham Canal Society and the Braunston-based Friends of Raymond. Fortunately, there was sufficient in the Branch “kitty” to allow us to make these donations and I think this demonstrates clearly where our priorities lay – namely, providing support for those groups fighting to restore and maintain our waterways heritage, particularly as the BCS and the Friends are local to us. REGIONAL MEETING. I recently represented the Branch at a meeting of the IWA’s Eastern Region to which Northampton is affiliated. Hosted by the Great Ouse Branch (formerly Cambridge Branch), Peterborough Branch was also represented with Milton Keynes and Ipswich Branches sending their apologies. As so often among boating people, discussions at one stage leaned towards matters lavatorial. It was reported that there are now only three pump-outs available on the Nene – at Northampton Marina at Becket’s Park, at Wellingborough Embankment (look out for a small brick building by the paddling pool and water point and all will be revealed) and at Peterborough. What a pity the facility at the Nene Park football ground at Irthlingborough is defunct, although the splendid moorings remain. On the Middle Level, the pump-out at March, at one time closed, is available again. All

9 these pump-outs are now token operated. Discussions about token availability are on-going with the EA. At the moment, tokens can be obtained at Northampton Marina and (hopefully) from Nene-based boat clubs. This is a situation which needs to be firmed up soonest. SEASON’S GREETINGS. So once again we move into the festive season, the time of the year when we are told we require to be jolly! Who am I to argue with this? But do try to keep boating, towpath walking, and participating in other waterways activities as often as you can in order to keep them well to the fore in people’s minds. My sincere Season’s Greetings to you all.

LIGHT UP THE CANAL FOR CHRISTMAS Come along to Stoke Bruerne on Saturday 8th December, decorate your boat and join in the Christmas Illuminated Boat Procession. There will be a prize for the Best Illuminated Boat and the good news is, that although they will be attending in fully lit up mode, successive winners Tim and Roberta on Nb Inchy won't be competing this year! Tim said: "We've won every year since the competition has been running and it's time to give someone else a chance." So, there's a challenge for you - get down to Stoke Bruerne on the 8th and give it a go. Organisers, Friends of the Canal Museum say: "Tim and Roberta will prove a hard act to follow but we are looking forward to seeing some new entries this year who will step up to the plate and put on a good show." If you'd like to be part of the procession, which is led by Mike Partridge on trip boat Charlie, contact the Harbourmaster David Blagrove on 01604 862174 for details of how to join in. After the procession the boats will be invited to moor up so visitors can walk the towpath to the tunnel and back admiring the boats. The evening continues with the children from Stoke Bruerne, Tiffield and Whittlebury Primary Schools who will be singing carols on the Museum Green to the accompaniment of Andrew Woodward and Lincoln Noel on the electric piano. Hot soup and roast chestnuts will be available and new this year will be a Christmas Market at the Navigation Inn open all day and in the evening running all through the weekend until late. So come along and get those Christmas gifts. If you are still raring to go after the carols are over, Julian and Sarah at the Navigation will be putting on a special Christmas Disco and will be serving mulled wine and a Christmas Fayre Menu. Also watch out for some real reindeer and Santa Claus at the Christmas Market. More details at


NORMAL SERVICE AGAIN FOR NORTHAMPTON BOAT GATHERING The following Press Release was issued in November: Weather permitting, it will be “service as normal” for the 2013 annual Boat Gathering organised by the Northampton Branch of the Inland Waterways Association on the River Nene at Becket’s Park, Northampton, over the early Spring Bank Holiday weekend, 3-6 May. The 2012 Gathering had to be postponed and then later cancelled because of high river levels or drought plus, eventually, a lack of adequate volunteer site manpower. Now planning is well underway for next Spring’s Gathering which will feature the regular popular attractions, such as boat handling competitions, the Westbridge Arm Challenge and Saturday evening musical entertainment in the marquee on the Lock Island in Becket’s Park. Friday evening is earmarked for a special meet and greet gettogether, including a BBQ. Sunday evening’s quiz session will kick-off with a fish/ chicken and chips supper. A real ale bar will also be available throughout the weekend. Entries will be sought for a photographic competition which hopefully will comprise pictures for an IWA Northampton Branch Calendar for 2014. Further details and entry forms are available from Eric Young on 07973 739833 or 01604 862988. Email:

A view of the last Gathering at Becket’s Park in 2011


BUCKINGHAM CANAL SOCIETY REPORT Athina Beckett, Chairman of the Buckingham Canal Society, reports: The BCS work parties have moved to our Bourton Meadow site on the outskirts of Buckingham. Volunteers are preparing the site so that re-watering of the canal can take place, hopefully next year. To keep within Aylesbury Vale District Council environmental regulations, the bed of the canal is being strimmed from end to end and trees growing too close to the non-towpath side of the canal are being removed. At a later stage the hedge along this side of the canal will be re-planted with native species of saplings by our volunteers. Furze Down special needs school approached us and asked if we could provide practical tasks for their pupils who were taking part in the bronze Duke of Edinburgh awards scheme. Three sessions have been carried out so far at Bourton Meadow and our volunteers have worked well together with staff and pupils from the school, with pupils enjoying themselves and asking us to provide extra sessions for them! More work parties are planned for the future. The CRT has asked the BCS if they would consider adopting the canal at Cosgrove and Cosgrove lock. Meetings have already taken place with CRT and the BCS committee are in favour of adopting the canal and lock if a suitable agreement can be reached with the CRT. Milton Keynes IWA have adopted the lock at Fenny Stratford and we are studying the work being carried out by them as we feel the adoption has worked well for them and hope we can come to a similar arrangement with the CRT at Cosgrove. The BCS feels this would give the Society more of a presence in the Cosgrove area and may encourage local residents and boaters to get more involved with the canal and lock and possibly our Society and also provide new tasks for our volunteers to carry out, such as lock gate painting. Future date for your diary, our Cheese and Wine social evening plus AGM will take on Saturday 26th January in the large hall at Buckingham Community Centre. Steve Miles will be our speaker with a talk titled “Narrowboat Raymond Revisited�. I do hope Northampton IWA members will join us on the 26th, for as well as being an AGM it has always been a very lively social event.

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Treasurer’s Report The treasurer reported that Head Office would be reducing the magazine subsidy from 1st January 2013 by 10% and subsequent years. Current costs are £1,400 pa for the printing and posting. Members should be asked if they have e-mail if they could take Endeavour this way as this would save money. Lynda Payton reported that CRT were looking for funding to support a number of appeals. Agreed to discuss at next meeting. Branch Meetings Speakers have been arranged until December 2012. With so few members attending these meetings, it was discussed how to increase numbers. Boat Gathering It was necessary to cancel he Boat Gathering in August due to lack of manpower to operate safely and effectively. It will revert to the early May Bank Holiday weekend for 2013 (3rd –6th) Reports from Local Societies Illuminated Boats/ Carols will be held on Saturday 8th December at Stoke Bruerne. The manager of the Navigation Inn is hoping to run a Christmas Market, with proceeds from traders forming a donation to the Friends of Canal Museum. An appeal is to be made at the Branch meeting for Illuminated Boats to participate in the parade. Any Other Business Rumours that the New Inn on the A5 is to reopen under new ownership. CRT was seeking funding for a viewing platform by the Iron Trunk Aqueduct. It was highlighted that the paucity of moorings on the River Nene is in contrast with the situation on the Great Ouse where there are plenty of EA moorings in very good condition and in addition to GOBA moorings. The mooring situation on the Nene was very poor now and problematic in times of strong stream. It was agreed that the Branch should highlight this situation with EA by letter and push for more moorings to be created.

13 October

Branch Meetings The talks have now been arranged until April. It was discussed how we could increase attendance. One idea is that posters listing all forthcoming talks should be distributed to local marinas and pubs. Branch Magazine/Website Cost of producing and posting Endeavour was discussed in the light of subsidy being reduced from Head Office by 10% every year from 1st January 2013. We need to encourage more members to take it electronically as printing and posting costs are rising and we would rather donate our funds to waterway causes. Membership The Branch currently has 315 memberships and 493 members, a slight increase for the Branch when nationally numbers are declining. Planning Barby Pools Marina –Warwickshire. Objections made on the grounds of waterway congestion in the area. Reports from Local Societies Village at War had been hugely successful and had broken all records. All charities with stalls had also done well. Plans for the Christmas Market at the Navigation Inn during the Illuminated Boats and Carol event were progressing well. CRT appeals in our Branch area were discussed and it was agreed that a donation of £200 should be given to support the Iron Trunk Aqueduct viewing platform. Any Other Business Bernard Morton and Alex Madisons met with Neil Owen from CRT to review the state of the Northampton Arm. Neil was keen to point out that £100,000 had been allocated for work, which was mostly below water level so therefore not immediately obvious. Seals on lock gates had been renewed, brickwork repaired etc. It was suggested that the Branch adopt the Northampton Arm in conjunction with Barclaycard and possibly other significant companies such as Carlsberg, Asda and Travis Perkins. It was agreed to speak with Jeff Whyatt from CRT to find out how this could be progressed.



Membership There are 483 members and 308 memberships; this was five down from the previous month. 10 more members had agreed to take Endeavour electronically (now about 70) in an appeal to save on printing and postage costs. Boat Gathering Formal approval has been given by EA for the event to go ahead on 3rd –6th May 2013. Northampton’s Mayor and Mayoress have already confirmed to attend — one of the Mayor’s charities is the Northampton Sea Cadets. Planning Matters It was reported that Barby Pools Marina had been approved by Daventry Council but approval was also required by Rugby Council. Developments at Willow House at Blisworth and Sandlanding Wharf at Arm End are both pending following site visits. Daventry Council is currently visiting known mooring sites within its area with a view to charging any permanent moorers council tax. Region Meeting (attended by Bernard Morton) He reported that remedial work by CRT had been done on the Northampton Arm during recent flight closures and that Lynda Payton had been appointed to the South East Waterways Partnership. Pump out facilities at March were being reinstated but with a token payment system. Token payment also at Peterborough, Wellingborough and the new Northampton Marina. Clarification is being sought on whether Elsan facilities are available and if these also require a token. Local Societies Friends of the Canal Museum are organising an Illuminated Boat Parade and Carol Singing on 8th December outside the Museum. Also a Christmas Market on 8th & 9th at the Navigation Inn, Stoke Bruerne. Any Other Business 45 people have booked for the Branch Dinner and it was agreed that the raffle should go towards the viewing platform at the Iron Trunk Aqueduct appeal in addition to the £200 already granted. A questionnaire to survey after-dinner opinions will also be prepared. AOB-Adoption of the Northampton Arm Bernard Morton had spoken to Jeff Whyatt and received a very positive response. CRT expressed the hope that Branch involvement, such as this adoption, would help secure match funding.


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Tel: 01604 832585 FOOD SERVED EVERY DAY


THE LOCKGATE CAFÉ at Whilton Marina, alongside the bottom lock Under the personal supervision of Annette and Sandra

 Hearty freshly cooked meals, including full breakfast menu and Sunday roast lunches (pre-booked)  Light snacks, sandwiches, rolls and home-made cakes  Hot and cold drinks  Children’s portions Only fresh and locally sourced produce is used in our café

OPEN 7 DAYS A WEEK Tel 07531 490486 E-mail: Also enter “Lockgate Café” into the Facebook search box to see us in action!




Latest news: THE BRANCH IS ADOPTING THE NORTHAMPTON ARM It has been decided by the Branch committee that the Branch should adopt the Northampton Arm — the only through route from the canal system to the River Nene and other Fenland waterways. This move follows discussions between Branch Chairman Bernard Morton and Jeff Whyatt of the Canal & River Trust. The CRT are very positive about the Branch’s involvement and hopefully this could result in some form of match funding. There will be more information in the next issue of Endeavour. Meanwhile, keep up to date with this exciting news as and when it happens on our web site (contact details on page 3).

LICENCE FEES: 2013 and beyond Trustees of the Canal & River Trust have decided to limit boat licence fee increases for three years from 2014 to inflation only. Their decision was made at the same time as endorsing the third and final year of British Waterways’ planned licence prices which will see licence fees rise from 1 April 2013 by 4.6% (2% above inflation). Simon Salem, Marketing Director of the Canal & River Trust, said: “Whilst boaters alone can’t be expected to pay the full cost of looking after the waterways, their boats are integral to the appeal of the canals and rivers and therefore to the ability of the Trust to win support from other sources. “In making a three year decision to peg licence fees to inflation, we have listened to boaters’ clearly expressed desire for certainty over future fees. We have also done what we can to limit increases recognising that the number of boats on the waterways has remained static and that boaters face significant financial pressures as part of the wider effects of recession.”


BLACKSMITH in Tug Store at tunnel entrance, Stoke Bruerne Wrought Iron Work for Boat or Garden

For further details, either visit or ring O1604 859726 / 07761 833049


BRANCH NEWS HELP YOUR BRANCH SAVE MONEY The Editor writes: With the cost of postage and printing rising, if you have an e-mail why not have Endeavour delivered straight to your computer in COLOUR? It now costs ÂŁ1,400 to print and post Endeavour to members each year. There are some members who already receive their copy by email but the more who do so, the more money we can give to deserving causes. If you would like to help by receiving your copy by e-mail, all you have to do is e-mail and you will get an email when it has been published on line. If you have missed any or would like to look back at old editions, you can see them on our web site at Do keep looking at the web site for updated information and if there is anything that you would like there, please let me know (contact details inside back page).

Cheques presented On Tuesday 9th October at our Branch social meeting, our Chairman Bernard Morton presented ÂŁ500 cheques to the Buckingham Canal Society and Friends of Raymond. These organisations were going to be beneficiaries of our Boat Gathering but as this had to be cancelled due to weather conditions so a reduced donation from existing funds was made. Athina Beckett, from the Buckingham Canal Society, said the donation would go towards the re-watering of the arm from Cosgrove to the A5. Steve Miles, from Friends of Raymond, reported that essential work was being carried out and this would help with the costs.

Athina Beckett and Steve Miles receiving their cheques from Bernard Morton


EASTERN REGION ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING Notice is hereby given that the Annual General Meeting of the Eastern Region of the Inland Waterways Association will be held on Wednesday 20th March 2013 at the Peterborough and District Indoor Bowls Centre, Burton Street, Peterborough PE1 5HA at 7.30 p.m. AGENDA 1. Apologies 2. Approval of the Minutes of the AGM held on 14th March 2012 3. Matters Arising from those Minutes 4. Chairman’s Report 5. Election of Committee Members (see notes below): The Chairman of the Region is elected in a separate ballot and the Chairmen of each of the Branches within the Region are members of the Region committee ex officio. There is an election for the remaining members of the Region committee. Under the 3 year rule the period of office of those elected at the 2010 AGM comes to an end at the forthcoming AGM. Those elected in 2010 were: John Hodgson, David King, Nigel Long and Peter Webb. All of those individuals are eligible to stand again for election [although Nigel Long has indicated that he will not be standing]. There is no limit to the number of members of the committee and therefore no limit to the number of those who may stand for election. It is no longer necessary for those who wish to stand for election to be nominated and seconded but all who wish to stand must agree to do so. Consents from members of the Region who wish to stand for election at the AGM 2013 must be deposited with the Region Secretary [Nigel Long 7 Georgian Court, Peterborough PE3 6AF or by email at] before the start of the Annual General Meeting CONSENT FORM I agree to stand for election to the Eastern Region Committee at the 2013 Annual General Meeting. I am a member of Eastern Region (Sign) -----------------------------

Print Name ------------------------


Narrowboat partially sinks on the River Nene at Ditchford In early November, the Northampton Chronicle & Echo reported that a narrowboat had partially sunk on the River Nene after taking to the water despite warnings about strong streams from the Environment Agency. The boat got into trouble at around 3pm at Ditchford. Two people were on the boat when it became lodged at a sluice gate. Fortunately, they were able to get ashore safely uninjured. The owner of the boat subsequently arranged for it to be recovered. The Environment Agency had issued a strong stream advice warning before the boat sunk because of high flows on the River Nene. A spokesman for the Agency said: “We would recommend every boater to sign up for the strong stream advice service and to take the warnings very seriously when they are issued. If there is a strong stream, we will call you free of charge to advise you not to go out on the river.� The free warning is sent to any boaters who sign up for the service when flows reach a level that could be hazardous to boaters. The spokesman said notice boards are displayed prominently on the river banks to inform boaters of the status of the river and red flags are also raised at several boat clubs. To sign up to receive this free service, call the Environment Agency on 01522 785943.

NEW BRANCH MEMBERS ARE WELCOMED We extend a warm welcome to the following IWA members who have joined Northampton Branch since the last issue of Endeavour NEW MEMBERS Mr D Sibley - Earls Barton Mr S J Millward & family - East Hunsbury, Northampton MEMBERS WHO HAVE MOVED TO THE BRANCH Mrs J Middlemas -Thurso, Caithness Mr G & Mrs P Morrell - Great Billing, Northampton Mr B & Mrs L Streeter - Hastings, East Sussex

We look forward to meeting you all at Branch events The IWA 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 the Association accepts no liability for any matter in the magazine. Neither the editor nor IWA can accept responsibility for any errors or omissions in the magazine, and opinions stated are those of individual contributors. We will, however, gladly publish corrections if notified. The editor reserves the right to shorten or modify articles published in the interests of clarity or space.


BRANCH DINNER Forty-five members and guests attended the Branch’s Annual Dinner held on the 10th November at the Heart of England, Weedon. Generally it was voted a huge success with lovely food and good service. Your committee decided to limit numbers attending this year as the 2011 dinner proved to be rather over-crowded. Also, no entertainment was provided which gave more opportunities for general chat— from the noise level apparent throughout the evening, this change met with universal approval! Right: convivial parties in the dinning room Below left: Eric Young wearing the raffle prize his wife had won! Below right: Sandie Morton with her raffle prize

Come and join us next year and enjoy the Branch Annual Dinner. Details will be published in Endeavour .



FAMOUS ACTORS TOP THE BILL IN “STOP THE MONSTER MARINA AT ONLEY” PROTEST Actors Timothy West and Prunella Scales recently joined over 50 campaigners at the site demonstration of the proposed 550-berth marina Barby Pools Marina at Onley, on the North Oxford Canal. Other celebrities there included canal and railway historian David Blagrove. Amongst the demonstrators were a number of boaters, some of whom came with their boats, which were moored along part of the half mile plus frontage which this marina would occupy. Others included local Barby and Onley villagers, amongst whom was the Vicar of Barby, who said he would support a small 100-berth marina close to the village, but not this one, which he agreed was ‘a monster marina.’ The protest was organised by Tim Coghlan of Braunston Marina and canal boater Deborah Bradshaw. The now long-running campaign has been called “Stop The Monster Marina at Onley” by its supporters because of the proposed marina’s massive scale. It could be the second largest marina on the inland waterways, but located in a canal-pound which already has the UK’s highest concentration of marinas. With over a half mile canal frontage, it would occupy some 12% of the entire six mile canal frontage between Braunston and Hillmorton, and be the fifth marina in that short stretch. Protestors claim the proposed marina would have an adverse effect on the already congested Braunston Pound, which has been identified by the Canal & River Trust as the busiest stretch on its waterways. They claim there are also water shortage issues after the experience of this summer, when for the existing traffic levels lock restrictions remained in place until June. Many are also concerned at the loss of this quiet rural stretch of canal on what is possibly the most unspoiled section of the North Oxford Canal. In particular the marina would be highly visible from the summit of the nearby Barby Hill, accessible by footpath from the canal. Finally there would be the loss of industrial archaeological remains of the Victorian Great Central Railway line on the site, which is now also a nature reserve. The developer claimed there is a need for this marina, which is supported by the Canal & River Trust. But the campaigners have carried out their own research, proving that this is not the case, and that there are already over 350 vacant berths within a fifteen mile radius of Braunston Marina. Shortly a further 250 berths will be added with the new marina at Cropredy coming on stream in April 2013. Planning permission already exists for 100 berth extension to the marina at Hillmorton and a 250 berth marina at North Kilworth, and another 250 berth marina is going through planning near Hawkesbury Junction. Tim Coghlan of Braunston Marina, who is a campaign co-ordinator said: “The Canal

23 & River Trust have been irresponsible beyond belief in supporting so many marina developments in such a small area, for which there is no proven need, and on an 18th century canal network that was never intended to be used by motorised vessels on this massive scale. In the name of charity, why are they allowing our canal heritage to be wrecked?” Timothy West said: “In broad terms we just feel that anything which spoils the countryside ought to be for a very good reason, and I don’t think this is a very good reason.” Prunella Scales, who is also a former Chairman of the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England said: “I grew up in extreme countryside and I just think it is a vitally important part of British life and philosophy. We must look after our countryside. It is part of our culture. We have a very compact geography and it is something we should value and cherish.” Timothy West and Prunella Scales then each read a verse of the two verses included in the foreword to Tom Rolt’s Narrow Boat – the ‘bible of the canals’ – the second verse believed to have been inspired by the view from Barby Hill, which would be compromised by the massive development... White mist about the black hedgerows, The slumbering Midland plain, The silence where the clover grows, And the dead leaves in the lane. The demonstrators partly ascended Barby Hill to look back on the view of “the slumbering Midland plain”, with the Malvern Hills just visible some forty miles away. After that, they returned and crossed back over the bridge and went onto the proposed development site, to find that the very day before it had been probably been deliberately muck-spread ankle deep in foul-smelling farm manure, which covered the footpaths around the surviving railway embankment, stopping inspection of it. Campaign organiser Deborah Bradshaw, who had witnessed the muck spreading, said: “This was a cheap and disgusting attempt by the developer to stop us seeing just what he is intending to destroy. This is no caring Green development – just a slimy-green developer after his money. I am now more determined than ever to stop him.” The campaigners instead went off the footpaths, trespassing along the old railway embankment of the old Great Central Railway embankment where they were able to see how it was now covered in mature trees and rough vegetation, including profusions of buddleia, that provide a sanctuary for butterflies, including the rare Holly Blue. Here historian David Blagrove talked about the history of the Great Central Railway, the last and probably finest achievement of Victorian railway engineering, which envisaged a stand-alone railway line from Liverpool to the Continent via a Channel

24 tunnel, with tracks and tunnels widely enough spaced to allow for the larger Continental trains. He said: “It was a tragic lack of foresight that led to its closure in 1962 – had it remained, the HS2 railway would not be needed today.” In another dramatic development, a local protester, who was a former Onley prison officer who had worked at the prison farm, pointed out that the site of the filled-in pond near the barns, was a buried dump of blue asbestos, which was never intended to be re-excavated under any circumstances. He also mentioned that asbestos from demolished wartime buildings was scattered about on the site, and all this could be the campaign’s trump card. Concluding the visit, Tim Coghlan said: “What our campaign to date has achieved has been to put the developer on the back foot, where once he thought he was walking through an open door, with the full support of the Canal & River Trust. In particular our challenge to prove need has not been met – a key requirement for development in open countryside. The planning application, which was six years in the making, and has now been under consideration for some months, should have been heard in August. But as of now no date has been fixed, and it will be November at the earliest. More and more people are coming out on our side, including our local MP Chris Heaton-Harris, our County Councillor Robin Brown, and of course our distinguished guests, Timothy West and Prunella Scales, for whose gracious support we are extremely grateful.”

Onley Marina demonstrators

(Photo by Pete Horton)

Latest news. On October 31st, Daventry District Council approved the plans for the marina to be built. The development was criticised by MP Chris Heaton–Harris and rival marinas, but the Council said that it couldn’t refuse permission just because it gave competition to similar businesses. The development would provide about 100 jobs. Your comments are welcome. Please email me — details inside back page. Editor.

25 THE WEEDON WAR MEMORIAL PROJECT We are now just under two years away from the start of a rolling four-year series of centenaries when the country and the Commonwealth remember the carnage of the First World War. Communities up and down the nation lost loved ones. Fathers and husbands, sons and brothers; their loss remembered on a series of memorials unveiled in the years after the war ended. The Imperial War Grave Commission (now the Commonwealth War Grave Commission) started its enduring work of burying the dead combatants in the now familiar immaculately kept cemeteries and memorials that dot Flanders and other areas of conflict. We remember these men, and those of subsequent conflicts, on the 11th of November each year in a series of ceremonies and services. At a local level, names are often read out at the Memorial Service on the nearest Sunday to Armistice Day. But what do we actually know about those names from our local community? Who were they? What was their family life? What do we know of their military record? Two Northampton IWA Branch members – David Ingleby and Jenny Copeland – are gathering research material for a book commemorating the sacrifice of the men from the village of Weedon Bec with a view to publication in the autumn of 2014.They explain: “We are delving through military records (not all of which survived the attentions of Mr Hitler in WW2) and will research the various regimental war diaries to find out the circumstances of what was going on when they were killed. “We are looking at family history resources to find out where the families came from – were they Weedon families, from the surrounding area or from further afield? Was there an Army connection? In quite a few cases, yes there was. The presence of the Army’s huge Ordnance Depot with its permanent battalions and batteries must have had a huge influence on the village. “A trip to Ypres and Perronne is booked for March to visit as many of the Western Front cemeteries to photograph as many graves/memorials as we can. Those who fell in other theatres of war – Jerusalem, Palestine, Gallipoli, the Balkans, Iraq and Northern Italy we’ll probably have to pass on. “In many cases the families of the dead soldiers have either died out or moved away to other parts of the country. We are trying to track down as many as possible to see if there are surviving memorabilia – letters, photos, artefacts etc. that may have been passed down the generations. Finally we are looking at contemporary sources to find out how the village coped with war time conditions. “We have already uncovered several interesting stories – some heartrending. A series of letters from a distraught mother desperate to find out what had happened to her son. The young boy who signed up whilst underage, was found out and sent home, re-enlisted when he was of the proper age and was killed 11 days before the Armistice, having won the Military Medal. The two men who enlisted under assumed names – will we ever know why they hid their true identity? “This project is, no doubt, one of many that will be going on over the next few years to commemorate the men from a specific community. We hope that we do justice to the brave men of Weedon Bec and do something to ensure their names and their lives are not forgotten.”


“ A BUMPER RESULT” FOR VILLAGE AT WAR WEEKEND Stoke Bruerne steps back in time to the 40s Thousands turned out over the weekend at the end of September to watch, or be part of, the huge cast of 40s re-enactors at Stoke Bruerne’s 5th Village at War event, breaking all previous records for attendance and funds raised to help support the Canal Museum. This year two Spitfires from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight buzzed the blue skies above the picturesque canal village while Home Guard platoons rubbed shoulders with Field Marshal Montgomery and Sir Winston Churchill to the nostalgic strains of Vera Lynn’s White Cliffs of Dover being played out over the tannoy. David Blagrove, Chairman of the organisers, Friends of The Canal Museum said: “One of the car parks was full by 11 o’clock, which hasn’t happened in the past.” David added: “As far as I’m aware the event is uniquely positioned, we don’t know of any other canal community in the country where such an event takes place.” As well as the air display, there were countless re-enactors including the Women’s Land Army, Spivs, Policemen, the 7th British Infantry, Airborne Forces, French Foreign Legion and many Photo: James Rudd more with full sup-

27 porting armoury in the form of tanks, military vehicles and, of course, colourful vintage boats on the canal. Musical entertainment was provided by the glamorous Lola Lamour and George Formby (aka Paul Casper) while dance classes were to be had at the Village Hall along with afternoon Tea Dances. The whole village got involved, with the Church hosting 1940s fashion shows on both days and schoolchildren at Stoke Bruerne Primary running a “nippy style” Tea Rooms. Michael Butler, Chairman of the Village at War sub-committee, said: “We are immensely grateful to the residents of Stoke Bruerne who not only let us take over their village for two days, but decorate their houses and even help us set up and run the event.” As well as The Friends of The Canal Museum, village organisations, charities and canal societies benefit through direct fundraising. It is anticipated that the good weather and increased attendance this year will result in a bumper result financially. (Photos by Tony Clarke unless stated)



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RECYCLING REMINDER The Branch recycles ink jet cartridges and mobile phones to raise cash to help local projects. Please bring them along to Branch meetings or ring 01604 767212 to arrange collection. Please no Epson ink tanks.


Lock 5

Continued from front page A mix of workers was employed to carry out repairs, the team including CRT workers, contractors and also a contingent studying construction from the Milton Keynes College. Repairs to the brick work mortar utilised a lime mix mortar more suitable for this type of work. “I’m no expert,” said Alex, “and I was told the mortar sets quicker in warmer weather and the fingers don’t freeze! “Because of the drought situation at the start of the year, when the prolonged closure of the Arm was envisaged, it was decided the work required would be brought forward as it was thought the movements on the Arm would be restricted. Also the better weather would in fact mean the work could be completed quicker as there would have been fewer periods when work couldn’t take place because of the colder, freezing weather over the winter period.

Although the pictures were taken initially to show a repaired section of the lock wall, it transpired that this was a rare opportunity to see how the locks evolved over time. “You can see a wooden vertical beam which is thought to have been part of the original landing wall, and how the wall is now made up of layers of stone work, concrete and newer coping stones – I use the term ‘newer’ loosely!” added Alex.

31 Lock 10

Some areas of brickwork needed to be removed completely and replaced. Some of the original bricks can be reused (far bank) but in many areas, including this one, reclaimed bricks are used. These are reclaimed from many sites not necessarily associated with the canals, but preserve the heritage of the canal. Materials similar to those already in use need to be sourced. Sometimes these need to be hand cut to size as bricks from earlier periods were not necessarily uniform in size.

Areas of brickwork that have been prepared prior to repair. Over time it is in areas like these that can’t be seen which contribute to the leakage rate from the canals. The obvious areas you see of water pouring through or round lock gates is just a part of the problem, but unseen is the water flowing through degraded brickwork.


Old Stager writes…

“AGAINST THE FLOW IN THE 1960s” I clearly recall my first encounter with an overflowing top lock, ie, running weir. It momentarily dented my canal confidence less than 24 hours after it had begun. The location: Cosgrove, which we all know well. The year: early autumn 1965. Our “voyage of discovery” had commenced only the previous afternoon, in a 26ft centrecockpit plywood cruiser from the old Bletchley Boat Co at the Willow Bridge yard at Fenny Stratford. We had already safely negotiated the small drop at Fenny Stratford Lock (something of a false dawn!) and decided to press ahead northwards to Cosgrove. And all had been well that first night. Two very young daughters settled almost immediately, and amazingly, in their bunks. Weather: fine, warmish. Couldn’t have been better for a canal initiation. The decision had been made to pass through Cosgrove Lock first thing in the morning and then onto Stoke Bruerne before returning to Fenny. But what faced us in the morning was totally unexpected – what looked like a Niagara wall of water pouring over the top gates. What was it? Was the canal overflowing? Our somewhat rudimentary instructions on locking at the yard had not hinted at this eventuality. Was there some form of tidal wave heading our way? (The word tsunami had not entered the general lexicon then; it would have sounded far more dramatic!) After due examination of the canal above the lock, my wife, as sensible and practical as ever, suggested towing the boat into the lock, closing the bottom gates which had been left fully open overnight (then the normal practice as commercial carrying was still around) and see what happened. Well, within seconds, Niagara ceased and we gingerly opened the top paddles to achieve a level which, to our inexperienced eyes, seemed a very satisfactory development. Then, of course, another drama. Two fullyloaded narrow boats hove into view and we had to clear the lock area hastily to allow them to pass. We watched the locking techniques employed closely. So that’s how it’s done – where’s the problem? We pressed on with confidence, eager to tackle the Stoke flight of seven locks, a task which however was beyond us simply because of lack of time, electing instead to walk to the top, complete with youngest in a pushchair. In pleasant autumnal weather we cruised back to Fenny, aware more now of the passing countryside as we became increasingly familiar with the workings of the boat countryside which was quickly to become the new self-styled “city” of Milton Keynes. Today, in retrospect, I think the MK town planners did a brilliant job in creating the largely tree-lined canal corridor from Fenny towards Wolverton, with its well-marked paths wandering off into the various housing estates which are well disguised by summertime foliage. My OS map of that period just modestly identifies Milton Keynes village, augmented by my X marks recording our overnight mooring

33 spots of this first and subsequent cruises. In following years we enjoyed two trips on the Thames from the High Line Yachting base on the Slough Arm on board a concrete cruiser names Bramble. Not being engineering minded, my first reaction was how on earth did concrete float? But it does, as does steel when properly shaped and put together, and, of course, the bumps and indentations in the concrete were easy to smooth out. I believe the trade name for the material used was Seacrete. Would any more knowledgeable reader than I care to enlarge on this development which apparently succumbed relatively quickly to the popularity of steel. At the time of these waterway trips, I was engaged in the production of a brochure for Geoff O’Connell, who ran the Bletchley Boat Co and whose grand plan was to replicate a central booking agency covering the canals and rivers such as Blakes and the emerging Hoseasons did for the Broads. After three years I believe 17 yards had “signed up”. Eventually the venture was overtaken by Blakes and Hoseasons, but Geoff was undoubtedly a worthy pioneer in popularising inland waterway holidays. This is a topic which takes me to a reference in the book British Canals, An Illustrated History by the renowned waterway historian Charles Hadfield first published in l950 by David and Charles and subsequently reprinted numerous times. Recalling in the chapter “Transformation Scene” that on the lst January l948 the British Transport Commission took over, or nationalised, most of the waterways owned by independent companies, the author notes that at that time there was hardly any pleasure boating on the waterways and such as existed was considered an oddity in a basically transport situation. Under the Commission, the Docks and Inland Waterways Executive had been given responsibility for the canals and on the cover of the Executive’s magazine, Lock and Quay in l949, a yacht and cruiser were pictured on Scotland’s Crinan Canal. A pleasure boat would not be depicted again, among the barges, working narrow boats and lock views until 1957, when much had changed. Nevertheless, that first issue of Lock and Quay, in September 1949, carried a significant paragraph: “A good deal of interest had been shown in pleasure cruising on the canals. Though primarily concerned with the commercial use of the waterways, we are anxious to encourage this interest, particularly if it helps to swell the revenue…Some waterways are already in use for pleasure boating, and some, though apparently quite suitable, do not seem to appeal. Others that might be suitable require attention to make them serviceable, and we are seeing what can be done without undue expense to improve these.” So we can affirm that at least the potential for amenity use was on the official radar over 60 years ago. With the constant proddings of the IWA, this potential has largely been realised – some might even say exceeded in certain areas! Now we have the Canal & River Trust. What will Old Stager (sadly, not this one) be saying in mid 21st century about the happenings of today? In fact in what form will Old Stager then be communicating to the masses. Answers on a postcard, please, preferably via snailmail...


Les Etheridge succeeds Clive Henderson as IWA National Chairman Les Etheridge has been appointed as the Inland Waterway Association's new National Chairman in succession to Clive Henderson. Les’ interest in inland waterways started in 1971 following a holiday on the Norfolk Broads. He subsequently joined IWA as a family member in 1982, and three years later bought his own boat. For over 27 years Les has extensively cruised the system, additionally taking other opportunities to walk or boat on non connected parts of the system. His active role in IWA started in 2004 when after responding to an advertisement in Waterways, Les joined IWA’s Finance Committee and was subsequently elected as a trustee in 2006. For the last four years he has been National Treasurer and last year worked with WRG in respect of IWA’s Inglesham Appeal. Locally, Les is also the treasurer of IWA’s Kent & East Sussex Branch and Chairman of the organising committee of the 2013 National Trailboat Festival. Commenting on his role as the incoming National Chairman, Les said: “It is important to remember that IWA is concerned for all the nation’s inland waterways, not just the half managed by the Canal & River Trust. “Whilst CRT and IWA have similar objectives, we clearly have different roles. CRT is a navigation authority, whereas IWA is not (other than for the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation), and that potentially leads us at times to different views. A comparison was made at our AGM to CRT being the landlord and IWA being the tenant’s association and I firmly believe that is a valid way of looking at it. “As two charities it is natural for IWA and CRT to work together for the common good in terms of delivering our charitable objectives. So hopefully we can celebrate each other’s successes and equally tell each other when we think something is wrong. My intention is to ensure that in a professional and constructive way CRT is well aware of IWA’s views.”






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BRANCH SOCIAL MEETINGS Regular Branch Social Meetings are held on the second Tuesday of each month from September to May inclusive at THE WALNUT TREE INN, BLISWORTH at 8pm All members and non-members welcome. Food and drink available

Next meeting: Tuesday, 11th December Quiz night with Mick & Catriona Butler Tuesday, 8th January Speaker: David Blagrove — Building and Rebuilding of the Blisworth Tunnel Tuesday, 12th February Speaker: Steve Miles (Friends of Raymond)— Update on Restoration Tuesday, March 12th AGM followed by speaker (to be confirmed) Tuesday, 9th April Speaker: Richard Thompson — Manchester Ship Canal The next edition of Endeavour will be published February 2013


WHO’S WHO IN NORTHAMPTON BRANCH 2012/2013 Bernard Morton

Branch Meetings

07785 375787

Graham Treagus

E-mail: bernard.morton

E-mail: graham.treagus


Branch Secretary Sandie Morton E-mail: sandie.morton

Membership Secretary & Planning Officer Geoff Wood E-mail:

Deputy Chairman & Police Liaison Officer Eric Young E-mail:

Boat Gathering Chairman Michael Butler E-mail:

Boat Gathering

Treasurer & Planning Officer

Sub-Committee members

Alex Madisons E-mail: alex.madisons

Newsletter & Website Editor Tony Clarke 07939 977859 E-mail: tony.clarke

Michael Butler (Chairman), Catriona Butler, Roger Hasdell, Alex Madisons, Bernard Morton, Sandie Morton, John Pomfret, Sam Samuells and Eric Young (also occasional members Ian Bekusch and Peter Canfield)

Non-Committee posts

Publicity Officer


Lynda Payton

Archivist, Endeavour Advertising & Distribution


Catriona Butler 01604 473756

Roger Hasdell 01604 767212

Profile for The Inland Waterways Association

Endevour November 2012  

Northampton newsletter November 2012

Endevour November 2012  

Northampton newsletter November 2012