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WINTER TALKS PROGRAMME 2016/17 Wednesday 2nd November 2016 Paul Brown (Senior project manager, CRT): Canal & River Trust-caring for 200 year old motorways? Wednesday 7th December 2016 Brenda Harvey, (CRT partnership chair and former chief executive of Ellesmere Port & Neston BC): The Waterways Partnership for North Wales and the Borders Wednesday 1st February 2017 Tony Hirst (former director of Ellesmere Port Boat Museum): Industry and the canals, inclined planes, tunnels and shafts of Shropshire Wednesday 1st March 2017 Graham Dodd (Author and trustee of Nantwich Museum): The canal at Nantwich

All talks start at 8pm in the clubhouse at Chester Boughton Ha Cricket Club, Boughton Hall Avenue, Chester, CH3 5EL Free to members; non-members ÂŁ2.50

2 EDITORS MUSINGS September 2016 I hope that you have all had a great summers cruising around our beautiful canal system. Now that $XWXPQLVKHUHLW¡VWLPHWRUHIOHFWDQGSHUKDSVPDNHSODQVIRUQH[W\HDU¡VWUDYHOV We started our waterways adventures, as we usually do, with a visit to the Moira Canal Festival, which this year was held over the weekend before the Spring Bank holiday. Next year they will be hosting the IWA Annual Trailboat Festival so dozens of trailboats will be gathering around the area during May. In order to make the most of their visit to the Ashby canal many will want to inspect the new section at the top end of the network at Snareston and cruise as far as Bridge 62. This is the latest feature to be opened in the restoration project, and who knows, there may be more opened by next May. From Moira we trailed north to Chesterfield where we spent a lovely few days exploring the Staveley section of the canal and then were privileged to be there for the opening of the new Staveley Lock and Basin. The Chesterfield Canal Trust worked extremely hard through very difficult weather conditions over last winter and were still busy with their diggers and machinery up until the actual opening of the Festival. All credit to them, they made their opening deadline and the result was a resounding success story with thousands coming to admire and support their work. After Staveley we then had a long trail over the Pennines to launch the boat at Scarisbrick Marina on WKH/HHGV /LYHUSRROFDQDO:HZHUHMRLQHGE\DQRWKHU:LOGHUQHVVERDWœ%HHKLYH¡DVZHPDGHRXU way to the locked swing bridges nos 9 and 6. CRT were duly there on time to open them and we were through to moor overnight at Eldonian Village. Next day we used our timed slot and went down the lock flight to moor in the Albert Dock for the Mersey River Festival. This was an excellent Festival, with free entertainment and music and we were lucky to have one of the hottest weekends of the year. It was attended by thousands and if you have never been is well worth the effort of getting down to the docks. The last music act of the day was Billy Ocean, who sung some of his best known songs. The atmosphere was amazing and the crowd so well behaved and friendly, I think we will be going again but maybe not by boat. Finally back up the locks to our own Festival in Eldonian Village, the local people turned out to see all the decorated boats moored in their section of the canal. There were tables and chairs set up in the VWUHHWVDVWKHYLOODJHUVFHOHEUDWHGWKH4XHHQ¡V%LUWKGD\ZHHNHQG7KH)HVWLYDOUDQRYHUGD\VDQG although the weather was not so good, a great time was had by all and hopefully we have shown the residents what a wonderful resource they have in their canalside location. We have just returned from the Pelsall IWA Festival of Water and were able to cruise some of the BCN system including the Anglesey Basin but more of that later. Please let me have some of your experiences to put into the next newsletter, hopefully in February. Jeanne Smith


North West Region Chairman Report - September 2016 2016 has been a very challenging and busy time for me with much success and a few disappointments. In summary. Exhausted and highly satisfied after the successful National Campaign Festival at Eldonian Village, Liverpool and gravely disappointed over the attitude of Bridgewater Canal Company. Bridgewater Canal Co. has been a big challenge as they seem to be ignoring the outcome of our consultation carried out in December 2015 and continue to harass boaters as they seek to increase revenue and ignore the CRT Reciprocal Agreement. The recent imposition of a 7 day no-return policy for CRT licensed boats, which has not been agreed with CRT nor publicised in advance, will have a significant impact on the local economy surrounding the Bridgewater Canal. We have recently started to make some progress although the amicable solution still seems far away. Keep in touch with the progress with this campaign via the News Bulletins on the IWA web site. It was as great to see the branch shortlisted for both the Waterway Managers Award (Outstanding Contribution) and also the Waterway Partnership &KDLUPDQ¡V$ZDUG at the Leeds & Liverpool Bicentenary Awards, this reflects all the hard work put in by the Branch Committee in organising the IWA Campaign Festival at Eldonian Village. Jim Mole, Peter Bolt & I will be attending the Gala awards dinner on 19th October. All branch members are urged to consider giving a few hours at a canal festival or similar event as this can be so fulfilling, just getting involved with the communities and chatting to festival goers about the value of our Waterway and handing out a few leaflets makes a great difference. I was recently passing through Audlem during the Transport Festival and decided to walk along the towpath to view the ERDWVDWWHQGLQJ&KDWWLQJWRRQHJURXSREYLRXVO\HQMR\LQJWKHPVHOYHV´+LDUH you enjoying the festival.. all the hLVWRULFERDWVORRNJUHDW¾,ZDVLPPHGLDWHO\ awash with praise and thanks for organizing a great day out for the family, (I don't think I look like an organiser, so presume that the few words of welcome made the erroneous connection ´1RQR, PQRWDn organiser, this is organised by the Parish Council and the Historic Narrow Boat Club, LW¡V a great day out though... have you seen Steam boat President yet, that's the boat tooting and hissing over WKHUH¾,HQGHGXSFKDWWLQJIRUDWOHDVWPLQXWHV answering eager questions, explaining about horse boats, where the canal goes to and which way was

5 Mersey Crossing ² Ellesmere Port to Liverpool Originally 16 narrowboats were planning to undertake the above journey in time for the Liverpool Riverside Festival held over the weekend of 3 rd/4th June and were required to be moored in the Boat Museum by Tuesday 31 st May. The intention was that there would be 8 boats crossing on the Wednesday and the other 8 on the Thursday due to the limitation of Brunswick Lock at the South end of the docks only being able to accommodate 8 boats per locking up into Liverpool Marina. The briefing with the Mersey pilot, Stuart Wood, took place at the Boat Museum on the Tuesday afternoon amidst varying levels of confidence or intrepidation and one boat had already dropped out. The weather forecast was predicting windy conditions but the pilot VWDWHGKHZRXOGNHHSXVXQGDWHGDVWKLQJVSURJUHVVHG$YROXQWHHUZDVUHTXLUHGWREH´WDLO HQG&KDUOLH¾VR+HOHQ¡VKDQGVKRWXSDVWKLVPHDQW0LNH&DUWHU ZLWKKLV9+)UDGLR  would be on board with us ² extra confidence! Back to the boats and readying them for the crossing, which meant removing all loose items from the roof and a final check of the weedhatch. This proved very fortuitous for one boat as they discovered one blade on their propeller was bent over at a 90° angle and a run of the engine confirmed that they would not be able to undertake the crossing so we were now down to 14 boats. During late afternoon and early evening the wind kept increasing and Mike came round all the boats to say that the crossing had been postponed due to safety grounds and that all 14 boats would cross on Friday 3rd on the early morning tide as there was a better forecast. After two days of increasing anticipation the alarm went off at 4.30 a.m. Friday morning and we woke to a wonderful calm sunny morning. The bridge over the lock had been swung and we started locking down into the basin where we all mustered before entering the Manchester Ship Canal, turning left and heading for Eastham Lock. It was still only 6.45 in the morning but we made good progress, past a couple of tankers moored just beyond the Boat Museum. We led the convoy along the canal at a steady pace and were ushered into the huge Eastham lock at 8.00 and, with very long ropes, the bollards are yards from the edge of the lock, tied up. The other 13 boats entered the lock, jockeyed for position as the water in the lock was swirling around creating interesting boat manoeuvres to come alongside. With all boats in, and secure, the lock keeper emptied the lock, opened the lower gates and, at 8.30 we all ventured out onto the Mersey tideway. All boats were told to stay well to the left leaving the lock and to hug the shoreline along the northern shore of the Wirral peninsular. Stuart, the pilot was on the lead boat and everyone followed him. We were tail end Charlie so left the lock last and the convoy started to make its way along the shoreline, powering against the incoming tide. As we were quite close to the shoreline the WLGHZDVQ¡WWRREDGEXW\RXFRXOGVHHLWZDVUXQQLQJIDVWHUWRRXUULJKWZKHUHWKere was a vast expanse of water as we cruised away from the lock, the estuary being very wide at this point.

6 There were some interested spectators along the Eastham Country Park and we got a few waves from the people there. Steadily cruising up the coast another interested party came alongside, an Atlantic grey seal, who popped his head up before diving below, just as the camera was ready! By 9.00 we could see the Liverpool waterfront in the distance but also there was a tanker heading in the same direction as us, having come out from Garston on the northern channel. As Mike was with us we could hear the chatter on the VHF that the ship was going to go across the front of the convoy, heading out into Mersey Bay. This meant that the front of the convoy had to slow to let it pass so there was a bunching up of the convoy. Also there was a very large ship which seemed to be coming straight at us but we learnt, again from the VHF, that it was mooring up, with the aid of two tugs at the terminal at Rock Ferry. This was the same point where we had to cross the river, on slack water, to head across to Brunswick lock. We could see that the first 8 boats headed into the mouth of the lock only to see them emerging again backwards into the river again. Strange manoeuvres we thought but then all was solved ± there were 3 yachts wanting to come out of the lock first onto the river! It was now 10.30 and as the first group locked up, we enjoyed the slack water and a beautiful calm sunny day and we just knocked Morialta out of gear and sat floating along with the other 5 boats. We came to notice after a while that we were gently heading away from the lock ± the tide had started to ebb so we all started to gently circle in the river waiting for the green light to enter the lock. Green light at 11.00 and we all entered the lock where it was very easy to moor as there were floating pontoons in the lock so it was just a matter of stepping off and securing ropes. We were greeted on the lockside above us by other members of IWA who had made the journey by other means of transport to welcome us into Liverpool. We locked up into the dock complex and made our way past Liverpool Marina, situated in Brunswick and Coberg Docks where there were some large, seagoing YHVVHOV:HZHUHWKHQHVFRUWHGE\WKH³ULYHUSROLFHPDQ´RQKLVMHWVNLWKURXJK Queens Dock, where the Liverpool Watersports Centre is located. On through Wapping Dock and Salthouse Dock before a sharp lefthand manoeuvre, past the temporary waterskiing jumps and into our final destination at the Albert Dock.


Photo Page. Each edition will feature recent waterways photos of branch members. If you would like to see some of your 2016 photos featured here please send them to the editor.

Moira Canal Festival May 2016

Liverpool Link June 2016

Duck Race at Moira

Mersey Crossing

Bridge 62 May 2016

Mersey Fleet arrive safely

To start, here are the favourite photos of the editor, taken at various waterways events during May and June.

Albert Dock water display

Eldonian Festival June 2016

Village Hall Social evening

Hollingwood Lock,

Chesterfield Canal

Eldonian Festival June 2016

Display of local FKLOGUHQÂśV work


9 The Ashby Canal- Boyhood Memories By David Pitney My first ever recollection of canals was the Ashby Canal. My mother was born and bred in Hinckley, Leicestershire and my grandparents lived in a house on the Coventry Road, about ½ mile from Bridge 17. I would accompany my grandfather, when walking his dog œ%R\¡DORQJWKHWRZSDWK The Ashby Canal at that time, before and during World War 2, was very active, with a constant flow of traffic to and from the coalfields at Measham, Donisthorpe and Moira. They were mostly motorised narrowboats towing butties, but quite often a number of butties were towed by large shire horses, beautiful animals and so well looked after. They towed boats unaccompanied, as they knew where they were going and how to get there, even knowing which bridge to cross when the towpath changed sides. The towpath was not very wide, so when we were confronted by these horses plodding towards us, they would not stop for an old man, a dog, or a small boy. It was a case of finding a gap in the hedge to let them pass. The path along Nutts Lane, off Coventry Road to Bridge 16 and then along the towpath to Bridge 15, was a nice Sunday afternoon walk. I often accompanied my parents, uncles and DXQWVWRWKHSRSXODUORFDOœ7KH/LPHNLOQV¡DW%ULGJHDVLWKDGDEHHUJDUGHQZKLFKZDV ideal for a short rest before the return walk. It also had an outdoor bowling alley, a long wooden structure with large wooden skittles. Participants rolling wooden balls from one end to the other usually ended with a great deal of hilarity. Nutts Lane ran along the entrance to Hinkley Town Wharf, but it was in a derelict state, overgrown with vegetation and at least two sunken barges in the entrance. ,GRQ¡WUHFDOOVHHLQJLWLQXVHEXWSUHVXPH coal was brought by boat and it eventually fell into disuse when the railways took over. I am pleased that it is now the home of Hinkley Boat Club and the wharf and its entrance are now fully restored. My grandmother told me of an amusing story about a greyhound. Where Nutts Lane joins the A5 there was a greyhound stadium and opposite my JUDQGSDUHQWV¡ house was a butchers shop. The butcher was going home when he met a very unhappy man dragging a greyhound behind him. He told the butcher he was useless at racing and was going to have him put down. The butcher offered to take him on and the dog must have thought his luck had changed, as he was fed on best cuts of meat and exercised regularly on the towpath. The butcher decided to enter the dog for a race and he won, furthermore he kept winning races. ,GRQ¡WNQRZKRZPXFKSUL]HPRQH\WKHEXWFKHUZRQEXWLWVKows if you give a dog a good home he will run to hell and back for you. The Ashby Canal runs for 23 lock free miles from Marston Junction to the other side of Snarestone Tunnel and is at present being extended further to eventually join with the restored Moira section. There are many features of interest, the main one being Bosworth Field, the site of the battle between King Richard lll and Henry Tudor during the War of the Roses . During my boyhood, my uncle took me to see King Dicks Well, which at that time was on private land. It involved crouching low across fields.

10 I expected something spectacular but all I saw was a group of large Stones around a ditch of dirty water. Not much has changed today except the ditch has been cleaned out and Bosworth Field is now a Visitors Centre.

Update on Ashby Canal Jeanne Smith. The canal is now in water from the slipway area to the rebuilt Bridge 62 and boats are now able to cruise this section. The next section to be restored can be seen in the photos which I took in May, when we walked down to the new bridge. Whilst there I also purchased the latest book written by Geoff Pursglove about the Ashby canal Past Present & Future. If anyone would like a copy it is £9.95 from the Ashby Canal shop and makes very interesting reading for those long winter evenings. The 2017 Trailboat Festival will be held at Moira over the late May Bank holiday, so if you KDYHQ¡WDOUHDG\GRQHVRSXWWKHGDWHLQ\RXUGLDU\LW¡VZHOOZRUWKDYLVLW

New section May 2015

May 2016 Winding Hole


Small Tasks Team The Small Tasks Team Volunteers were busy in August. The Ellesmere Festival EURXJKWDQRSSRUWXQLW\WRKHOSZLWKWKHKRVSLWDOLW\DWWKH¶+HULWDJH<DUG·7KH team also had its own stall and operated free boat rides from the town to the Yard. Having delivered the boat to Whitchurch, STTV again crewed the trip boat the following weekend. The Saturday was wild and wet. Unlike less lucky folk, we were relieved to find that our gazebo survived the night to enjoy a much better day on Sunday!

Another weHNODWHUWKHJURXSFRPSOHWHGWKHVXPPHU·VZRUNDW&DOYHOH\RQFH more in spite of some heavy rain. The new steps were finished as were a number of painting and other jobs.

For information about STTV contact Paul Mills 0151-336-1049 / 07947-887909

Or: John Bannister, N/B Bisbigliando

13 bbb

Norwood Tunnel Sees the Light of Day

Local people were for the first time given the opportunity to venture underground and view a 240 year old canal tunnel which has been abandoned since it collapsed over a century ago. Engineers from CRT, carried out a ten yearly inspection at Norwood Tunnel near Kiveton on 23rd and 24th August and, for the first time, invited a limited number of people into the tunnel to see it for themselves. At 2.6km long Norwood Tunnel was the longest canal tunnel in Britain when it was officially opened in May 1775. However subsidence from nearby mining works led to sections of the tunnel sinking and, despite efforts to raise the roof, it finally collapsed completely after heavy rain in October 1907. The collapse effectively cut the Chesterfield Canal into two sections and trade on the western section of the canal ceased between 1914 and 1918, but continued between Kiveton Park and West Stockwith until 1955. Today the eastern portal of the tunnel is bricked up for safety reasons and so, before the inspection could take place, the engineers had to break through the brick wall. Once through they used a small dinghy to inspect the 475m stretch between the eastern portal and the collapsed section. The engineers were looking for signs of cracks and leaks and also assessed the overall condition of the tunnel. As part of the project the Trust took the opportunity to give a small number of guests, including volunteers from the Chesterfield Canal Trust, the chance to venture into the tunnel to see for themselves. 2QHRIWKHQDWLRQ¡VPRVWFHOHEUDWHGHQJLQHHUV-DPHV%ULQGOH\ZDVZRUNLQJRQWKHWXQQHODWWKHWLPH of his death in 1772. The project then passed to John Varley and latterly Hugh Henshall. 5RELQ6WRQHEULGJHFKDLURI&KHVWHUILHOG&DQDO7UXVWVDLG´7KH1RUZRRGZDVZLWKRXWGRXEWRQHRI %ULQGOH\¡VJHPVDQGZHZRXOGOLNHWRVHHLWXVHGDVSDUWRIWKHFDQDOUHVWRUDWLRQ7KHWXQQHOKDV been considered for many years as the one obstacle to further restoration of the Chesterfield Canal. We saw this inspection as a great chance to see what state this part of the tunnel is in, and work ZLWK&57WRVHHKRZZHFDQJHWWKHFDQDOXSLQWR.LYHWRQ:DWHUV¾ (Copied from the IWA website)


Branch Chairman

Mike Carter H.0151 641 9316 M 07795617803 mike Vacancy

Vice Chairman

Mike Carter ( details as above)



Treasurer, Social Secretary & Assist Planning Officer

Jim Mole H.01606 40955 M.07580 162355

Minute Secretary

Helen Forkin

Publicity Officer

Jim Forkin H.01270 650054 M 07803 928929

Editor Packet Boat

Jeanne Smith M. 07746955931

Planning & Navigation Officer

Geoff Gittus H. 0151 605 1094 M. 07808 859751

Committee member

Lesley Taylor H. 0151 342 6651

Membership Secretary

Gaven Tillbee H.0161 491 1951 M 07974 996202

Assistant Membership Secretary

Andrea Tillbee M. 07875 067185

Merseyside Liaison

Dave Smallshaw H. 0151 924 2036 M.07941 461509

SCARS Liaison

Colin Greenall H. 01744 731746 M. 07944 101162

Chester Liaison

John Herson H. 01244 340029

North West Region Chairman

Bridgewater Canal Liaison

Ian & Vera Short

The Packet Boat - October 2016  
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