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The Newsletter of the Shrewsbury District & North Wales Branch Spring 2013


Winter Walk – Newtown

ontrary to expectations the majority of walkers who turned up for the Branch Winter Walk on the first Saturday in January, opted for the longer route from Brynderwen. A bemused bus driver issued 39 human and two dog tickets and seemed to be worried that we had a long walk back to the bus station in Newtown. In fact he tried, unsuccessfully, to find a closer dropping off point in Abermule village.

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The longer route took walkers from Brynderwen Lock (the first to be built on the Western Branch, restored by the Shropshire Union Canal Society (SUCS) and reopened in 2002) and passed bridge 146, an early example of the use of cast iron girders to support the deck. In the late 19th century a small warehouse was erected alongside a coal wharf just below the lock but only the wharf cottage survives today. Page 2


Further along the towpath, walkers stopped to admire the Brynderwen New Road Bridge which was cast by the Brymbo Ironworks in 1853 and leads onto the elegant bridge over the Severn, also cast at Brymbo, and engineered by Thomas Penson, the County Surveyor. The next bridge which carries the Abermule Bypass was built in 1973. As originally designed it would have severed the canal, but following protests an oblique concrete tunnel was included, the first time on the whole of the Montgomery Canal where a structure was designed to take account of possible restoration. Unfortunately, it did not include a towpath so walkers had to take the new footpath which goes under the road and joins the canal at the far side of the bridge. The canal now parts company with the A483, and continues up the north-west side of the valley passed Byles and Newhouse locks both of which were restored by SUCS in 2004 and 2006 respectively and onto Aberbechan. Just before reaching the village, there were lime kilns on the left, and a fulling mill and mill house on the right. All long gone but the triple-arched aqueduct over the Bechan Brook, constructed in stone and brick still exists. It was nearly replaced by an iron aqueduct in 1859, but the canal company decided to repair it instead. Those who opted for the shorter walk joined the towpath at Aberbechan, having walked along the B4389 from the main road. The route then continued along the towpath to Freestone Lock, where it diverted through a gate on the left into the nature reserve and on to Penarth Weir. Having promised everyone that the towpath along the whole route is part of the National Cycleway and therefore very firm and mud free, this diversion caused a slight panic as some of the less well shod walkers tried to hop or step around muddy puddles - unfortunately not very successfully! Returning to the towpath by the unrestored Freestone Lock walkers set forth along the ‘dry’ section all the way to Newtown. Whereas the whole of the canal route south from Frankton Junction to here is managed by the Canal & River Trust, the section from here into Newtown was sold in 1973 to the Mid-Wales Development Corporation, who were keen to acquire it as the route for its trunk sewer to the treatment works near Penarth Weir. The land is now owned by Severn Trent plc. Just a pumping station, several lime kilns and two more locks to pass before journey’s end. Dolfor Lock below which there was a wharf, warehouse and workshop and Rock Lock the site of which is shown by the change in the level of the towpath. And finally a well earned rest and excellent lunch at the Waggon & Horses Inn which was built some time between 1833 and 1842, though the attached terrace is earlier. Well not quite finally as walkers had to wend their way back to the centre of Newtown and their car. Once again many thanks to Peter Brown for his excellent historical notes and route plan which are available on the Branch web-page for anyone who wishes to learn more or go on the walk.

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The Branch Committee Michael Limbrey, Greenfields, Weston Lane, Oswestry SY11 2BD 01691 654081 michael@limbrey.net Chairman Carolyn Theobold, Nb Albion, The Wharf, Norbury Junction ST20 0PN 07976 250681 carolyn_t@mac.com Vice Chairman David Aylwin, Wyndcliff, Pen y Garreg Lane, Pant, Oswestry SY10 8JS 01691 830403 shrewsandnwales@waterways.org.uk Region Chairman Alan Platt, Argoed, Pen y Cefn Road, Caerwys, Flintshire CH7 5BH 01352 720649 alanplatt@hotmail.co.uk Secretary Dawn Aylwin, Wyndcliff, Pen y Garreg Lane, Pant, Oswestry SY10 8JS 01691 830403 shrewsandnwales@waterways.org.uk Treasurer Denis Farmer, 8 Kingbur Place, Audlem, Crewe CW3 0DL 01270 811157 janden1@btinternet.com Heritage and Planning Officer Peter Brown, 34 Waterside Drive, Market Drayton TF9 1HU 01630 652567 iwa@peter-quita.demon.co.uk Social Secretary Janet Farmer, 8 Kingbur Place, Audlem, Crewe CW3 0DL 01270 811157 janden1@btinternet.com Membership Secretary Dawn Aylwin, Wyndcliff, Pen y Garreg Lane, Pant, Oswestry SY10 8JS 01691 830403 shrewsandnwales@waterways.org.uk Web-master Alan Wilding, Priory Lodge, 154 Longden Road, Shrewsbury SY3 9ED 01743 359 650 alan.wilding@waterways.org.uk Newsletter Editor David Aylwin, Wyndcliff, Pen y Garreg Lane, Pant, Oswestry SY10 8JS 01691 830403 shrewsandnwales@waterways.org.uk Committee Members Gerallt Hughes (General Secretary Committee for Wales) Ty’n y Coed, Arthog, Gwynedd LL39 1YS 01341 250631 gerallt.hughes@waterways.org.uk Susan Wilding, Priory Lodge, 154 Longden Road, Shrewsbury SY3 9ED 01743 359 650 alan.wilding@waterways.org.uk Hugh Appleton, Ann Appleton 01691 828124 annandhugh@btinternet.com Branch Web-pages waterways.org.uk/shrewsbury http://www.facebook.com/pages/IWA-Shrewsbury-Branch/388651831206061 President

Shroppie Fly Paper The Shroppie Fly Paper is the newsletter of the Shrewsbury District & North Wales Branch of The Inland Waterways Association with a membership of about 390. Nationally the IWA has about 18,000 members and campaigns for the conservation, use, maintenance, restoration and development of the inland waterways. For further information contact any committee member. Copy for the Shroppie Fly Paper is welcome in manuscript form, on disc or by email. Photographs may be in any common computer format or as prints. Please supply a stamped addressed envelope if you require photographs to be returned. ‘Letters to the Editor’ intended for publication are invited, as are comments for the Editor’s private guidance. The Inland Waterways Association may not agree with the opinions expressed in this Branch newsletter but encourages publicity as a matter of interest. Nothing printed may be construed as official policy unless stated otherwise. The Association accepts no liability for any matter in this newsletter. Any reproduction must be acknowledged. The Inland Waterways Association is registered as a charity No 212342. Next Copy Date: 1st June 2013

Printed by Downstream Print

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Editorial

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t is AGM time again! Don’t sigh — this is your chance to meet the committee and say what you think about the waterways. Alan Platt, IWA trustee and Region Chairman, will be on hand to answer your questions. After the short business meeting there will be a talk given by John Dodwell, C&RT trustee. See page 8 for more details. Do you remember this? It is the winter 2006 edition of Shroppie Fly Paper. As a result of mismanagement of payments to farmers, DEFRA ran out of funds and drastically cut the budgets for many of its departments including British Waterways. The cover shows a reproduction of the statement with a superimposed a picture of a canal collapse and a voice bubble asks “How are we supposed to repair this?”. I thought it was very clever but nobody else did and it caused some confusion. Even the printer asked several times for confirmation that it was correct. And so my stint as editor got off to a less than glorious start. Hopefully things improved a little over the next 20 editions, there were not many complaints but perhaps you were all being polite. I thought the winter 2012 edition would be my last so, once again, could not resist the temptation to get artycrafty. My thanks go to everyone who has helped with advice or by contributing articles and pictures. It has been very enjoyable but it is time to let someone else have a go. May I introduce Michael Haig who has kindly agreed to take over … David Aylwin

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'm delighted to have been invited into this corner of your magazine to introduce myself as the editor-in-waiting of Shroppie Fly Paper – an opportunity that I'm looking forward greatly to taking on in full from the next issue. When my wife and I moved to the area some years ago — we live in the village of Woore — we soon realised that we were lucky enough to be in 'canal

Acknowledgements Front Cover: Winter at Market Drayton by Peter Brown Back Cover: Hack Green Bridge by Denis Farmer Other photographs by Peter Brown, Dawn Aylwin, Maggie Rowlands, John Myers, Peter Bolt. Thank you to all who contributed articles.

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heaven', surrounded by historic waterways that cried out to be explored, enjoyed and carefully maintained. Through a not-uncommon progress from hiring to shared ownership, we arrived at our very own NB TAMARIND, which we have moored at OverWater Marina near Audlem almost since it opened. So we see the Shropshire Union and its sister canals, the Llangollen and Montgomery, very much as 'our' home waters and I trust that future issues of Shroppie Fly Paper will continue to reflect our affection and respect for these waterways. David has done a great job over the last seven years of making your magazine an informative and entertaining read. With your support through contributed articles, photos and good advice I hope to maintain that, and I look forward in the times ahead to meeting more of you, both through these pages and in person. Michael Haig

Region Chaiman

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irstly may I wish you all a somewhat belated Happy New Year and may it be a good one for the Waterways. There are two separate items of national news which I want to touch on in this article and both concern the relationship of the IWA with the Canal & River Trust. The first is the news that Robin Evans is shortly to stand down as Chief Executive of CRT; a press release was issued by the IWA and this acknowledged his work in transferring the care of a large section of our waterways from BW to CRT, and the steady improvement in the condition of the waterways that has taken place over the last few years, especially when viewed in the context of the economic climate and stringent cuts. Robin Evans played a significant part in that improvement and in the transfer from BW to CRT. There will always be room for improvement in the condition of the canals and there will never be enough money to carry out everything that is wanted. What we want and what is realistic are different things and we should accept that we may look at the stars but live on the ground. Page 6


There has been criticism of his salary, and there have been hopes expressed that his successor will have a more reasonable one, and one fitting a major national charity. I agree but the reality again is that we live in an age when the top people demand and get the top salaries. In my working life I have seen the gap between the average wage and the high earners increase immensely, again I don’t like it but it’s there, and there is an old adage about monkeys and peanuts. What there is now is an opportunity for a new Chief Executive to be fully attuned into the new charity ideal from the outset, rather than being a convert to it from a different regime, and I trust that those who have the task of picking the new head will take and listen to the opinions of what are called the stakeholders, which includes us. The second issue concerns those boaters that are sometimes referred to as ‘Continuous Moorers’ and here IWA can find itself in a position where whatever policy we take is wrong in someone’s eyes. So let me repeat what IWA’s policy is: namely that we fully support the genuine continuous cruiser who lives on his boat, travels throughout the system, or a substantial part of it, and doesn’t have a home mooring. They are a valued part of the boating community, do a great deal of good in maintaining usage of frequently underused parts of the system and we thoroughly support them. On the other hand we do agree with CRT in its current campaign to take to task and enforce the regulations and the law for those who simply abuse the licence by shuffling around a very limited section of waterway, frequently overstaying on visitor moorings and preventing their use by bona fide cruisers. In no case are IWA encouraging any sort of enforcement action by members or boaters apart from backing up any individual who sees a blatant abuse of the rules and draws it to their local waterway office’s attention for them to take action. This is not a major issue as yet in this region but it is a big problem elsewhere, principally on the Western Kennett and Avon and London. In London the situation is chronic and has been allowed to become so over a number of years. Therefore the London Region has addressed this and rather than call for an immediate rigid enforcement of the rules from now, which might well be challenged in the courts, it has suggested a compromise whereby there is some latitude in the short term. My colleague, Paul Strudwick’s proposal, should you wish to look at the detail, can be found on the IWA website under www.waterways.org.uk/branches_regions/london/news and it seems to me a sensible and practical set of proposals, although they contain a lot of specific detail I am not able to assess. If there are pockets where there is chronic overstaying then please feel free to let us know. And finally, the snow has gone from my village for now, but may well return but spring should not be far away and in the meantime there is a surge of activity in work parties being organized throughout the region and I only wish I had the time to get involved myself. Alan Platt Page 7


The Inland Waterways Association

Shrewsbury District & North Wales Branch Invite you to a talk by

John Dodwell C&RT trustee and historic boat owner at The Alb, 14 Smithfield Road, Shrewsbury, on 9th March 2013 Programme 10.30am 10.45am 11.15am

Coffee Branch AGM Talk by John Dodwell

Followed by optional lunch and then a short walk to Victoria Quay for a town loop boat trip.

John Dodwell

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rustee John Dodwell talks about his early days, the new Canal & River Trust and his hopes for the future in this extract from an interview first published in Waterways Magazine February 2012. My first waterways recollection is of an old sailing dinghy which my father used at the Thames at Laleham. Later we hired boats on the Broads and bicycled along the Basingstoke Canal. I went angling by Chertsey Bridge and when I was 16 I spent a week canoeing on the Thames from Lechlade to Chertsey – you’ll note I went downstream! In the ’60s I was a regular volunteer on the Stourbridge Canal restoration. Later I was part of “Protest” canoe trips on the derelict Basingstoke, Kennet & Avon, Ashton and Lower Peak Forest canals. I was at “Operation Ashton”, Welshpool, Droitwich Dig and other celebrated restoration work parties. The Upper Avon restoration caught my attention – I can talk for hours about the building of George Billington Lock. By now, I’d been helping out on hotel boats and was hiring boats. In the meantime, I’d taken a leading role in IWA’s campaign about the Transport Act 1968. I was IWA General Secretary from 1971-4 and campaigned successfully against the proposed handover of BW to regional water authorities. After that, I went back to being a chartered accountant and went into corporate finance, specialising in raising money for small companies, including those in the property sector. I was chair or finance director of a number of companies, including some on the Stock Exchange’s AIM market. I was involved with Page 8


charities, including their investment portfolios. I set up my own water freight advisory firm and became chair of the Commercial Boat Owners Association. In the last five years, I have also been a member of the Government’s Inland Waterways Advisory Council and of the British Waterways Advisory Forum. All three as a volunteer – the same as being a CRT Trustee. About 10 years ago I bought a boat and I now own an old BCN tug built of riveted steel at Harris Bros yard at Bumblehole, Netherton. HELEN is 51ft long and draws 3ft along her whole length – and yes, I do know the bottom is sometimes too near the top! For the technically minded, the engine is a three-cylinder Bolinder. Why did I want to be a Trustee? Well, I reckoned I could offer a combination of my long and deep waterways knowledge with my experiences in running businesses, including those in property; and I felt I was able to put forward a users’ viewpoint. You can read the full interview with John Dodwell in the February 2012 edition of Waterways Magazine available on the waterways.org.uk website in the publications section and there is a video interview with Tony Roome of RYA on youtube.

Canal Art Exhibition at Audlem Mill

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udlem Mill, by the Shropshire Union Canal in south Cheshire, is holding its annual exhibition of paintings of canal and waterways scenes from 17th March to 13th April 2013. Audlem Mill is one of the oldest and best known canalside shops in Britain, and this is probably the only opportunity in 2013 to see so many canal paintings brought together in one place. Most members of the Guild of Waterway Artists will be exhibiting their works, together with paintings by acclaimed Audlem watercolour artist Sheila Webster, and several others. Entry to the exhibition is free, and all works are for sale. The exhibitions at Audlem Mill in previous years have proved to be extremely popular, and visitors have travelled from all over the country. During the exhibition (and for the whole of the spring and summer season), Audlem Mill is open seven days a week. Visitors should ring 01270 811059 for further information. Page 9


Montgomery Canal Forum

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he Montgomery Canal Forum will be held at The Elephant & Castle Hotel, Broad Street, Newtown, SY16 2BQ at 2.30pm on Monday 22nd April.

So much happens on the Montgomery Canal and the Forum will showcase some of this. Last year we looked at canalside businesses – what they give to the restored canal and what they get from it. This year we look at third sector activities to see some of what they contribute to the canal and get from it, with activities for youth and disabled, and introductions to canal heritage. At the Forum there will be presentations from: – Ÿ Heulwen Trust, believed to be the first charity in the World to provide canal boat trips for disabled children and adults Ÿ The Shropshire Union Fly-Boat Restoration Society who run SATURN, the last horse-drawn Shropshire Union Canal fly-boat, restored to her former glory to preserve her and to educate present and future generations about our waterways, narrowboats and horse-boating Ÿ The Llimeys, the Friends of the Llanymynech Limeworks Heritage who support the continuing development and promotion of the Llanymynech Heritage Area. Plus a look at Canoeing activities on the Montgomery Canal and an update on funding applications from Alex Ball, Development Manager working for CRT on behalf of the Montgomery Canal Partnership with the opportunity for discussion about the future of the Montgomery Canal. This is a public meeting, open to anyone interested in the restoration and development of the Montgomery Canal for present and future generations. You will be welcome. There is a carpark at the hotel or town carpark. Enter through hotel reception from hotel carpark. Michael Limbrey

Whitchurch Waterway Trust

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he Whitchurch Waterway Trust Gathering of Boats is being held on 21st and 22nd of September 2013 on the restored Arm of the Llangollen Canal at Whitchurch. The cost of entry is £12.50 per boat including mooring, plaque and competitions. A boater's social evening is being held on 21st to include a warming meal and pudding at a cost of £6.50 per head. Entry forms available from Mike Parsonage, Willow Cottage, Horsemans Green, Whitchurch SY13 3DY; Tel: evenings only 01948 830447; e-mail: wwt@mican.co.uk or from the website www.whitchurchwaterway.org.uk. Linsay Green Page 10


Living along the Cut: Canal Memories

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he Friends of Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Llangollen Canal World Heritage Site ‘Aqueducks’ have been awarded a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to collect memories and images from the local communities along the 11 miles of the World Heritage Site. These will be digitally archived and shared with Welsh and Shropshire archives, and made available for public use as podcasts, and DVDs. The project aims to reconnect the local people with their own David Metcalf shows an engraving histories about the canal and of the Pontcysyllte aqueduct surrounding industries, and will be another aspect of history of the world heritage site other than that which took place 200 years ago. These local industries have seen a total decline in living memory, and their recent history will soon be lost and forgotten despite having been a vital part of the area for more than 200 years. The speed with which the Flexys site, adjacent to Trevor basin, has been completely flattened and lost in the last couple of years indicates how important it is to get to those people who remember before they move away or move on. So, to these ends, we intend to hold a series of walks, some talks and ‘Show and Tells’ along the 11 miles of the WHS, running between March and June. This will be followed up with recording sessions from people, images and objects which have come forward during the process. I am arranging some digital audio recording training for volunteers too. The final phase will be celebration and presentation of some of the results in September and the beginning of October. Any help with this project will be gratefully received. It should be very enjoyable and we should also learn a lot along the way. I have no idea what results will come out from this, that is part of the fun! When we did a similar thing on a small scale in Chirk Bank a couple of years ago, there were some very interesting stories and memories, about the canal and its characters, all new to us. I very much hope that new photographs will come forward, and I am constantly surprised by what people stash away in their sheds and attics because they might be useful one day. Please phone 01691 773197 if you would like to know more. Maggie Rowlands Page 11


Norbury Canal Festival 4th - 6th May 2013

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his year’s Norbury Canal Festival will be a little different to previous ones. As well as the traditional craft and food stalls and refreshments in the garden of the Norbury Junction Inn, more stalls and activities will be spread along the canalside, in and around Norbury Wharf and in the CRT yard, making better use of both sides of the canal. Children’s activities are being increased this year. As always there will be a bouncy castle, face painting and funfair rides. A clown and children's entertainer has been booked and discussions underway for other entertainers. At the Wild Over Water tent they will be able to take part in interactive games about canals. In association with Norbury Wharf the Shrewsbury & Newport Canals Trust will again be operating boat trips along the canal to give people the experience of seeing it from the water In the large marquee there will be a Bands night on the Saturday evening headlined by Rock Dogs with the Lawrence Jones band as support. On the Sunday evening will be a ceilidh and hog roast featuring the Boat Band and a caller. Late on Monday afternoon will be all the thrills and excitement of International Tag Wrestling. On the water there will be a number of boat traders together with a gathering of narrow boats. The very popular cheese boat will again be moored in front of the Junction Inn. Visitors will have the opportunity to look inside some of the narrow boats to see what life is like on board. On Sunday the full Burton Borough Brass Band will play music through the early afternoon and this will be followed by an ‘Open Mic’ in the marquee. The traditional canalside service will be at 3.30pm and this year we hope to make it more central to the Festival by holding it on a moored boat. There will be lots of parking in a field near to the Junction Inn and a shuttle bus will be available for anyone who prefers to ride to the event. The Shrewsbury & Newport Canals Trust has united with the Norbury village community, the Junction Inn and Norbury Wharf to jointly organise a much bigger and better Festival. John Myers

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A brief history of Belvide Reservoir

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homas Telford seriously underestimated the water needs of the new canal from Wolverhampton to Nantwich. He intended supplies coming from the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal at Autherley to be augmented by two reservoirs: Belvide and Knighton — the latter being added when the Newport Branch was proposed. Belvide Reservoir was completed by the end of 1833; it had a head of 8 feet, covered 50 acres and held 2,000 locks of water. Telford designed an earth dam with a clay core; William Cubitt, his successor, strongly recommended that it be faced with Staffordshire blue brick laid endways in mortar, so as to protect the face from wave action.

Telford’s valve

Before boats started using the canal, the reservoir was house listed recognised as being too small, and so Cubitt Grade II heightened the dam to give a head of 12 feet. Even this was inadequate — the minutes record the opinion that ‘Upon this reservoir mainly depends the prosperity of the Company’ — so the decision was made to increase the head to 20 feet and the area of the reservoir to 200 acres, raising its capacity to 13,600 locks of water. The Ellesmere & Chester Canal contributed towards the cost, and the Exchequer Bond Loan Commissioners (who were owed £160,000) agreed that repayments of principal and interest could be suspended to help pay for the works. A stone coping gave additional strength to the facing of brickwork. Water supply continued to be a problem in dry summers. In 1856 an agreement was made with Mr Giffard of Chillington Hall that water could be drawn from his lake if necessary, on payment; this agreement was occasionally invoked in later years.

Cubitt’s valve house doing the same job as Telford’s, but built much cheaper In 1868 it was reported that winter winds had thrown

spray over the turnpike road, making it nearly impassible. Nevertheless, in 1870 the Committee agreed to raise the maximum head to 24 feet, thus impounding 20,300 locks of water — ten times Telford’s original proposal. On 3 February 1877 the Rev Wrottesley, rector of Brewood, together with seven co-signatories from Horsebrook and Stretton, wrote to the Board of Trade saying that because of the recent rains the reservoir was too full of water and a portion of its banks were unsafe; if they gave way, inestimable damage to life Page 13


and property would ensue. The Secretary of State asked for an immediate report, ‘in view of the former calamities which have occurred by the bursting of large reservoirs’, By this, he was probably referring to the Bilberry (1852), Dale Dike (1864) and Cwm Carn (1875) dam bursts. George Jebb, the Company’s engineer, inspected the reservoir and concluded that there were no grounds whatever for concern. He commented that a man lived by the reservoir and inspected it daily. The Rev Wrottesley wrote again, concerning a leakage from the reservoir into the turnpike road, but Jebb considered that this was caused by a broken pipe in a drain taking spring water under the road. Despite this public show of confidence, Jebb recommended to the Committee that a waste weir with a brick channel should be constructed at the south end of the dam.

The dam and the end of the waste weir inserted in 1877

When war was declared in 1914, the Shropshire Union’s Executive Committee decided to place watchmen at its most vulnerable locations, one of which was Belvide Reservoir; the appointment continued until December 1918. In fact air raids never happened this far west, and sabotage did not prove a problem nationally either. The importance of the reservoir was diminished as trade decreased and when water became available from Barnhurst Sewerage Works, near Autherley Junction. Indeed, in the mid 1950s a scheme was devised to pump water from the canal into the reservoir in times of surplus and release it in dryer months. Brick buildings to hold the pumps were constructed at either end of the feeder channel. These survive as brick shells, but it seems unlikely that they were ever used. Peter Brown

The two 1950s back-pumping houses

Please note:There is no right of access to the reservoir. The photographs were taken by the author with the permission of British Waterways. (now Canal & River Trust)

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Shrewsbury District & North Wales Branch 2014 Calendar

PHOTOGRAPHIC COMPETITION For the past two years the calendar has been a great success selling out well before the New Year and making a good profit for the Branch. So once again we are inviting members to send in photographs for the 2014 calendar. All photographs must be taken within the Branch area, that is from Droveway Bridge on the southern end of the Shropshire Union to Barbridge Junction in the north, the Middlewich Arm, the Llangollen and Montgomery Canals, the Shrewsbury & Newport Canals and the River Severn north of Bewdley. Images must be submitted in digital format at 300dpi minimum and should be landscape for the twelve pages for the months and portrait format for the front cover. Every photographer whose picture is chosen will receive a complimentary copy of the calendar. Anyone can enter this free competition and photos will not necessarily be judged on their technical merit. We want to create another exciting and interesting calendar which will appeal to everyone and not just boaters. An evocative scene, wildlife, a view of an historic building or structure; in fact anything that’s a snapshot of waterways life. Please send the following information with your photograph: Ÿ Name, address, email and telephone number Ÿ Title of Photograph Ÿ Location of Photograph Ÿ Time of year the picture was taken (so it can be used for the appropriate month) For those of you who have bought a copy of this year’s calendar you will have noticed that each month has been sponsored by a different waterways’ business which helps to pay for the printing costs. Hopefully the same organisations will sponsor us again but just in case – if you would like to sponsor a month please get in touch. Also one or two of our sponsors like to have photographs which reflect their business or location so a bit of research might not come amiss! This year’s calendar can be seen on the Branch website. Please send your photograph to:

shrewsandnwales@waterways.org.uk Closing date is Monday 20th May Page 15


Shrewsbury District & North Wales Branch

Diary 9th March

Talk by John Dodwell and AGM At The Alb, 14 Smithfield Road, Shrewsbury followed by a boat trip. See page 8. Please contact Janet Farmer 01270 811157 janden1@btinternet.com if you plan on attending

23rd March

Unveiling of Maureen Shaw panel At Middlewich. See page 19

23rd – 27th March SUCS Work Party Hurleston Junction. See page 23 8th April

Branch Business Meeting 7.30pm at the Narrowboat Inn, Whittington. Members are very welcome to join us but please confirm time and date before attending.

20th April

Northwest region ‘Get Together’ At Fiddler’s Ferry on the Sankey Canal. See branch webpage or contact Alan Platt for details 01352 720649

20th April

Llimey’s Wildlife Event Llanymynech 11.30am to 3.00pm Please contact Joan 01691 830365 if you can help

22nd April

Montgomery Canal Forum Elephant & Castle Hotel, Newtown at 2.30pm

26th April

Skittles Challenge at the Staffordshire Boat Club. Please contact Janet 01270 811157 if you are hoping to go and help the branch retake the coveted trophy. Yes we lost out last year to another branch! See page 21

4th – 6th May

Norbury Canal Festival See page 12 for details or just call at the branch stand adjacent to NB GRAPEVINE and say hello.

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11th May

Montgomery Canal Triathlon See page 30 and contact Peter or Judy 01691 831455 if you are able to help or even want to enter the challenge

9th June

Pirates on the River Severn Festival. See page 27. Contact Alan 01743 359650 if you are able to help on the branch stall

10th June

Branch Business Meeting 7.30pm at the Narrowboat Inn, Whittington. Members are very welcome to join us but please confirm time and date before attending.

14th – 16th June 7th July

Middlewich Folk and Boat Festival Annual Branch Outing To National Waterways Museum at Ellesmere Port. Details on page 19. If you are planning to go please contact Janet 01270 811157

19th – 21st July Waterways Festival (The National) Cassiobury Park on the Grand Union Canal. If you are planning to go and are interested in helping set up and run a branch stall please contact Dawn 01691 830403 24th – 28th July North Wales Boat Show 27th - 28th July Lock-wind at Hurleston Bottom Lock Details in next edition 12th August

Branch Business Meeting 7.30pm at the Narrowboat Inn, Whittington. Members are very welcome to join us but please confirm time and date before attending.

16th – 18th August Llanymynech Folk Festival. Please contact Dawn 01691 830403 if you are able to help with WOW activities on the Sunday 21st – 22nd September Whitchurch Waterways Trust Gathering of boats. See page 10 for details. Contact Mike Parsonage 01984 830447 evenings only. Please support the branch stall Page 17


Tugboat Ted

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etween us, Ethelted and I have had over 20 years of boating and almost as long writing for the Shroppie Fly Paper. "All good things..." as they say, and we now have to report a change of life style. LEO is FOR SALE. The humans have decided that the time is right and reluctantly have to admit that Bears seem to wear better than their species! We have been promised a comfortable ‘berth’ looking over the canal in Audlem, so that we can still report on local activities. Not the same of course but both we and the humans have some good boating memories and will stay involved with waterways. I will continue to keep you up to date with social events for the branch and let you know what is happening locally on the canal. Winter is inevitably a quieter time on the locks in Audlem. Movement, this year was very much curtailed by the locks being closed for longer than usual for work on lock gates. Volunteers have been at work as well as C&RT. The volunteers the humans have spoken too on their walks were somewhat frustrated by the weather. Still wet at that stage and making the lock gates too sodden to paint. Speaking of volunteers. The Branch now own some hi-viz jackets so that, should you be willing and able, you will be safe as well as advertising our branch of the IWA. They come in various sizes. Since I last wrote and before the magazine goes to print there have been various events over the winter. The annual walk, with 39 people, took place on the 5th January and I believe that there are already plans for next year. The Annual Dinner in early February and the Branch Quiz on the 15th February will all have been and gone when you read this but our important AGM will take place the Alb in Shrewsbury. Important as the AGM is, this event is usually as much a social gathering and this year we have John Dodwell, a Trustee of C&RT and a historic boat owner to talk to us. Our annual outing with a boat theme is on 7th July, when we join forces with the Friends of the Montgomery Canal for a day out at the Ellesmere Port Boat Museum. Details will be elsewhere in the magazine. This outing is arranged for a Sunday which will enable us to see the steam engine running — always a thrill — we are looking forward to it. Tugboat Ted Page 18


Maureen Shaw Panel

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he Inland Waterways Association (Chester and District Branch) is pleased to advise that the official unveiling of the ‘Maureen Shaw Panel’ will take place on Saturday 23rd March at 2.00 pm at the Wardle Lock, Middlewich and we would like to invite you and members of your organisation to attend. Fiona Bruce, MP for Congleton, who is the current holder of IWA’s ‘Parliamentarian of the Year’ award for her work in supporting the waterways will be in attendance and Sharron Underwood, Maureen’s daughter, is flying in from Thailand to do the actual unveiling. There will be an exhibition of Maureen’s memorabilia at the lock by courtesy of Kerry Fletcher, Heritage Officer for Middlewich Town Council and we hope to have tea and light refreshments available. This will not be a day for grieving but to celebrate the working boat people and their lives and particularly Maureen’s. Therefore, anyone coming in ’working boat’ dress would add to the occasion. The local paper has indicated that they will be doing a feature on Maureen and other working boat people prior to the unveiling. Please make a note of the date and we look forward to seeing as many of you as possible on what promises to be a memorable occasion. Peter Bolt Email: peter.bolt@waterways.org.uk

Looking Forward to Summer Ellesmere Port Boat Museum Sunday 7th July

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his outing has been arranged on a Sunday so that we can see the steam engine working at the Museum, the archives will also be available for those interested and our branch historian Peter Brown will be there to help. We are combining this outing with the Friends of the Montgomery which should make it even more fun. We can make our own way to the museum, hopefully sharing transport where possible to arrive around coffee time. Alternatively, the "Friends" plan to run a coach from Llynclys - about a mile out of Pant with a pick up point (and parking facilities) at the White Lion Pub. If you wish to use this, the expected fare will be £10 per head and you need to contact Peter Richards on 01691 831455 to book a place. The special entry fee for non members of the museum will be £5 with £1 charged for the half hour boat trip if you choose to go on it. Even for those of us who have visited the museum from time to time, it will be good to get an up-date and chance to explore. To keep the "wolf from the door" the cafe will be open for snack meals on a pay as you go basis. Please let me know before the end of June if you plan to come so that I can warn the museum of numbers. Do join us if you can - contact Janet Farmer on 01270 811157 or e.mail janden1@btinternet.com Page 19


Letters Dear David Thank you for the ‘Shroppie Fly Paper’ newsletter Winter 2012. It was good to see my letter included on page 17. Could I ask please if you would forward a complimentary copy of the news letter to Clinton Ford at Nantwich Marina, marked for his attention, as he would like to see the article and file it away? In passing I found your magazine to be of great interest and, dare I say it, of more interest than the National one. Being a member of Chester Branch I have never seen your magazine before. Could I make a donation and receive a copy 4 times a year or would I need to transfer from Chester Branch to your branch? Once again congratulations on a really good interesting magazine. Yours sincerely Bob Gale Thank you for your kind comments. It is good to know that we get it right some of the time. SFP is published three times each year. It is distributed to Shrewsbury District & North Wales branch members but is also available, along with past issues, on www.waterways.org.uk/shrewsbury, otherwise printed copies are available for a subscription of £5 including postage. Editor Dear David In Michael Limbrey’s article “Looking Back” in the winter edition of SFP he referred to the recorded message from the Prince of Wales in which he (the Prince) mentioned the Montgomery Canal and his involvement in the restoration in the 1970’s. Michael added “with funding provided by The Prince’s Trust.” I was Chairman of Shropshire Union Canal Society at that time and would like to correct that statement — one which has occurred in the intervening years. The funding came from The Variety Club of Great Britain under the auspices of ‘The Prince of Wales Committee’. I don’t think The Prince’s Trust was in existence then. ‘The Prince of Wales’ Committee’ was set up in 1971 to concern itself with making people more aware of environmental problems in Wales and encourage them to take voluntary action. Hence the reason why the section of the Montgomery which was restored with funding from The Variety Club and the volunteer work organised by SUCS was in Wales and not in England (at Frankton) where the Montgomery commences. Pat Wilson Page 20


Dear David, Of course Pat Wilson is right. She was involved in the Montgomery project before I came to this area and it was indeed the Prince of Wales' Committee that was involved in the restoration. European Conservation Year was held in 1970 and Prince Charles had thought this had made a real impact. He wanted to continue this through committees in Wales, England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. In Wales, the Prince of Wales' Committee promoted community enterprise in projects of environmental improvement. With the local council and other organisations – including of course BW and SUCS – it set out to restore the Seven Miles from the obstructed Gallowstree Bridge, north of Welshpool, to Burgedin, later called the Prince of Wales' Section. When the restoration of the Seven Mile length concluded the Montgomery Waterway Restoration Trust was established, taking its name from the earlier steering group. The secretary of the Prince of Wales' Committee was Brian Lymbery, and the different way we spell our names caused a little amusement when the Prince came to Bank Lock to open the section. The story of the funding is intriguing, and followed (I was told) a chance meeting on a train between David Wain, as Chairman of IWAAC, and Charles Quant, Chairman of the North Wales group of the Prince of Wales' committee. I was told that though the funds came through the Variety Club, money had actually been derived from a number of sources. Charles Quant himself, described at his death in 2007 as one of Wales' best known journalists, later became chairman of Montgomery Waterway Restoration Trust. It was Charles too who passed on the idea of Heulwen to encourage the setting up of other such projects across the waterway system. Do people get bored when I say that the Montgomery restoration is quite a story? Michael Limbrey

A Spring Invitation from Stoke-on-Trent Branch

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fter their successful SKITTLES event last year, we have been invited to join them again at the Stafford Boat Club at 7.30 on Friday 26th April. Those of us who went last year will remember the excellent hot pot supper & apple pie which is to be repeated at the reasonable price of £7.50 This together with the exercise and company makes for a good evening. Payment is on the night and there is easy parking. Anyone interested in going by boat can have free mooring for the night but needs to contact Pete Hardy on 0771 696 0049 ASAP. We do need to have an idea of numbers in early April so please contact me — Janet Farmer on 01270 811157 or email janden1@btinternet.com. Page 21


Twenty Years

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s 1993 really twenty years ago? I asked my wife. She was busy and answered, “Mmmm.” I couldn't disturb her, so I could not tell her that it is twenty years since we started to work digitally in our branch. Today 'digital' means emails to and fro, as well as writing for SFP. Rummaging in the archive I found a report written for this magazine in 1993. It serves today as a reminder of how much water has passed under the bridge since then – in every sense. In 1993 … Ÿ we were waiting for a grant decision which would lead to the rebuilding the canal from Frankton to Queens Head, including the new Graham Palmer lock below Lockgate Bridge and a new Perry Aqueduct: in the event the project was phased and all we got to start with was the restoration to the Perry, but no aqueduct... Ÿ Aston top lock was nearly finished, and WRG had started working at Lock 3. To reach this they planned to set up a monorail system which had come from the Droitwich, but the track remained at the side of the towpath and they used more conventional means to get down to the lock... Ÿ in addition WRG were starting work on Aston Nature Reserve, with big yellow diggers carving a new watercourse out of the canalside land... Ÿ Barry Tuffin was running boat trips at Maesbury... Ÿ we were expecting a new bypass for Pant and Llanymynech, with a new bridge and canal diversion, but that of course never happened and residents remain plagued by the main road and fearful of cavalcades of wind-farm turbines passing through their villages... Ÿ a new length of canal had been opened at Llanymynech as a precursor for the development of the Heritage Area... Ÿ after the interminable pouring of tons of concrete to create a watertight pound between the locks, SUCS were nearing the end of many years work at Burgedin locks: new gates were to be fitted to open the canal as far as the main road at Arddleen... Ÿ at Buttington the Heulwen Trust were planning a second boat: now they are running their third... Ÿ at Welshpool, work was ahead of schedule to create the new wharf, opened by the Prince of Wales in May... Ÿ a plan was being prepared to reopen the canal to Berriew... Ÿ and to celebrate that and the IWA Golden Jubilee, we were planning to hold the National Trailboat Rally at Welshpool in 1996. Page 22


You can reflect that twenty years earlier, in 1973, Frankton Locks were still dammed off from the Llangollen Canal and the only navigable length of the Montgomery was the isolated section in Welshpool, where the Town Lock was receiving the gates that have just been replaced. But you can also remember that this was the year the Prince of Wales Committee announced its project for the Seven Miles north of Welshpool — which of course was successful — and IWA matched that by proposing to tackle the dry Four Miles from Welsh Frankton to Queens Head — which proved to be another story, as they say. It is of course only a coincidence that in these two years, the first forty years ago saw the first stirrings of restoration outside Welshpool, and in the second, twenty years later, so much activity was in place and planned. What does 2013 have in store? Michael Limbrey

Shropshire Union Canal Society Work-Parties

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he Shropshire Union Canal Society is currently arranging a work-party from 23rd through to 27th March inclusive and has invited IWA members to join them. The proposal is a general decorative uplift of Hurleston Junction and a rolling programme of overhanging vegetation removal upstream towards Wrenbury (or as far as we can manage in that direction). There is plenty of work to do and the content is flexible so we should be able to accommodate adverse weather and volunteer turn-out. There will be a training day organised by C&RT for the event leaders to recognise and manage environmental concerns such as bird-nesting and the best safe way to tackle off-side vegetation clearance. If you have any suggestions for tasks, please let me know and I’ll take a look to see if we can gain C&RT agreement to progress. The Society work-parties will focus on tackling issues that improve navigation or on canal-side upkeep and other related work. It is planned to arrange two regular "boater friendly" five-day working parties each year, one in Spring and one in Autumn. They will start on a Saturday (an opportunity for weekend-only volunteers) and carry through to the Wednesday as work pace, volunteer availability and weather permits. Additional working parties will be arranged ad-hoc as opportunities arise, e.g. the installation of a commemorative bench. All events will be posted on SUCS website http://www.shropshireunion.org.uk Andy Hellyar-Brook SUCS Enhancement and H&S Officer Page 23


Overwater Marina Wins Two More Awards

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verwater Marina continues its winning streak scooping up two more awards for 2012.

In November 2012, Janet Maughan collected the Green Apple Environment Award at a prestigious ceremony at The House of Commons. Overwater Marina was recognised for its commitment to the environment and best practice, which includes the spacious design of the marina, the landscaping, wildlife, recycling and encouraging greener alternatives to the standard toilet chemicals as well as other household products. Overwater Marina has been invited to have their winning paper published in The Green Book, the leading international work of reference on environmental best practice and will be considered to represent the UK in the European Business Awards for the Environment. The Green Apple Awards began in 1994 and have become established as the country’s major recognition for environmental endeavour among companies, councils, communities and countries. The Green Organisation draws their judges from the Environmental Agency, the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, the Chartered Institution for Wastes Management and other independent bodies. In October 2012, Alexandra and Anthony Davis attended a glittering awards ceremony at the new Salford City Stadium in Manchester where they won the Tourism & Leisure Business of the Year Award at the UK Heart Safe Awards 2012. This was awarded for Overwater Marina’s continued commitment to the safety of their moorers and visitors. Earlier in the year, the North West Ambulance Service generously located an AED (Automated External Defibrillator) at the marina and all the staff have been trained in its use. Anthony is also a qualified RLSS Lifeguard, and Alexandra, a highly qualified safety diver and an HSE/RYA First Aid Trainer/Assessor. Luckily the local village of Audlem has an excellent First Responder Team who can be on site in minutes for emergencies. UK Heart Safe works with Hands on Hearts, a charity set up with the aim of putting an AED into every school in the country to prevent the needless deaths of children at school. Other companies who won awards on the night for promoting safety at work were Airbus UK and Tottenham Hotspur Football Club. Overwater Marina is very proud to be associated with such a good cause. In 2011 Overwater won 3 awards, Best Start-up Business Award from the South Cheshire Chamber of Commerce, the Environment Award from the Marine Trades Association and became the first canal marina to ever win 5 Gold Anchors from THYA/British Marine Federation. Page 24


Llangollen Canal

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o we really need another marina on the Llangollen Canal? Well apparently we do! Developers have announced plans for two proposed (but unconnected) marinas. The first to be announced is a 188 berth marina at Ellesmere and the second a 178 berth marina at Wrenbury. The complex at the Ellesmere Wharf, which according to the Nigel Thorns Planning Consultancy would act as a key attraction in the town, includes a hotel, restaurant, swimming pool, fitness suites, indoor sports courts and bowling green and has already generated a lot of heated discussion locally. Councillor Alan Clarke, Mayor of Ellesmere, is reported to be in favour of the scheme stating: “We can’t not look forward to a positive development which will help with the future growth of the town”. While another councillor warned that the scheme ‘is over-development. The intensity of which wouldn’t look out of place in a city’. The planning application for a 14 acre site at Wrenbury is the second one to be made here; the first being in 2008 for a much larger marina. According to Enzygo Ltd a new marina on the Llangollen Canal is needed for an identified and growing demand for offline moorings on this very popular canal. The plans can be seen on www.cheshireeast.gov.uk application number 12/3358N. However the proposal has been met with strong opposition from local people who fear that an increased number of boats in the area would lead to more delays for motorists at the Wrenbury lift bridge. We moved our boat up from the London area in 2001 and moored at Chirk Marina for a couple of years and for the first time we met ‘canal rage’. Why? Congestion! As the planners have identified, the Llangollen canal is popular attracting boaters from far and wide and naturally all want to cruise over the two aqueducts. To manage this within holiday time constraints entails long cruising hours, and the rush to get to the spectacular landmarks leads to frustration and temper tantrums when long queues form at locks, tunnels and at the aqueducts. However canal rage is not confined to the obvious pinch points. Having moved up from the south of England, lock, stock, barrel and boat we lived for a year in the then BW cottage in the Ellesmere Yard and were regularly entertained by the loud bangs and screaming matches. To add a potential 300 plus boats to the already congested canal will exacerbate the situation which has got even worse in the last 12 years. Apart from the congestion on the canal, the existing marinas must also be considered. According to an article in Towpath Talk only 48 of the 159 UK marina operators are trading at a profit with 77 showing signs of failure and 45 currently up for sale. Fortunately the marinas in our branch area all appear to be thriving (although Chirk is in receivership the problem seems to be with the golf club not the marina) but many are still advertising mooring spaces. So if the existing marinas in the area are not full why do we need new ones? Dawn Aylwin Page 25


Mid-Week Volunteers

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he Canal and River Trust is organising mid-week volunteering opportunities on all of the North Wales and Border Counties waterways with the valuable support of our volunteering partners at the Shropshire Union Canal Society, Friends of the Montgomery Canal Society and The Inland Waterways Association. By working together to promote these mid-week volunteer opportunities we hope to achieve regular, vibrant and productive volunteering tasks which will be of great benefit to the waterways. Through these opportunities we aim to build a network of trained volunteer leaders and volunteers to support the activities of Canal and River Trust and the independent volunteering activity of partners. From wildlife surveys to weed control, hedge-laying to heritage structure preservation we have a full schedule of volunteering tasks on the Shropshire Union Canal, Montgomery Canal and Llangollen Canal every fortnight. By joining in and helping even for a few hours at our work party days you will be helping us to take care of these wonderful waterways. This is a great opportunity to learn more about these unique canals set in areas of Special Scientific Interest and World Heritage sites. We shall be painting locks, managing nature reserves, preserving some of the historic structures, planting fruit trees and many more interesting tasks. Every second Friday throughout the year there will be task days at different locations on the Montgomery canal from Frankton through Welshpool down to Newtown, and the Llangollen canal from Llangollen to Hurleston Junction. Every second Wednesday throughout the year the task days will be at locations on the Shropshire Union Canal including the Middlewich branch. Please call each week to find out where we will be and to let us know you are coming along, or call if you would just like to know a little more about what we do and how you can get involved. Many of the locations are accessible by public transport, but we also pay some travel expenses and promote car sharing. Contact Glenn Young on 07775 118823 or by e-mail glenn.young@canalrivertrust.org.uk Glenn Young Canal & River Trust

Winter Woes

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he winter weather of 1870/71 was particularly harsh. On 23rd December the temperature fell to minus 20º Centigrade in much of Shropshire and the Welsh border area, and stayed below freezing throughout January. Icebreaking attempts proved futile, even the main line being closed except for the section from Chester to Ellesmere Port. Two horses borrowed by the Engineering Department from the Carrying Department died as a result of their efforts; four others were severely injured. For several weeks much of the Shropshire Union’s trade had to be transferred to rail. Perhaps some of it never returned to the canal. Peter Brown Page 26


PIRATES ON THE SEVERN Sunday 9th June 2013 Shrewsbury and Shropshire Waterways & Leisure Group are thrilled to announce that a second River Festival will be taking place on Sunday 9th June 2013 at 10.00am to 5.00pm in the lovely Quarry Park and on the river, here in Shrewsbury. Come and enjoy a day of family fun with a "Pirates on the Severn" theme whilst at the same time learning about water safety awareness. Food and drink, Craft and Trade Stands, Live Music and Dancing, Boat Flotilla, Get Hooked on Fishing - free kids activity, Boating stands, Vintage Cars, Children's free drop-in Workshop by Hey Doll "Pirate" theme, Steam Boats, ‘Sabrina’ Boat Trips, Canoe Hire and free taster sessions.

Membership Matters

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warm welcome to the following members who have joined the Branch since the winter edition of this magazine: Mr & Mrs Drake from Oswestry, Miss Garstang from Rhos-on-Sea, Mr Howells from Montford Bridge, Ms Jenkins from Rhos-on-Sea, Mr Maguire from Shrewsbury, Mr Rennie from Ruthin, Ms Rogers from Aberystwyth and Ms Woodhouse from Abergele. Occasionally I refer to the old minutes I acquired when I became Secretary; they date from September 1980 but I know this was not the first meeting because it clearly states ‘The minutes of the previous meeting were read and approved’. There are a few names I recognise because they are still on the Shroppie Fly Paper circulation list and one, a Mr M Limbrey is still on the committee 33 years later. The minutes then jump from 1988 to 1994 and a few more names I recognise appear including Janet and Denis Farmer. In 1997 Denis was elected Chairman and Janet took on the role of Social Secretary; prior to this Denis was Vice Chairman and they were both labelled as ‘Sales Officers’ a title which does not appear on the committee today. Perhaps it should but that’s another story! Since 2000 Denis took on the role as Treasurer and Janet has remained the Social Secretary organising trips and events to suit all tastes. So it’s not really surprising that after 20 years Janet and Denis are hinting that they would like to retire from office. No they are not callously leaving us for another interest although I have seen and sat inside a smart new campervan, but they do want to ease back. So the Branch is actively seeking two members to initially share the work with a view of taking over as Treasurer and Social Secretary – hence the advertisements over the page. Dawn Aylwin Page 27


Situations Vacant Branch Treasurer Wanted an enthusiastic numerate volunteer to work with the existing Treasurer preparing and keeping accounts for Branch meetings and HO records with the view to eventually taking over full responsibility. The lucky person will have to be a member of the branch committee. Status within Branch: VERY HIGH Generous Salary: NONE Ring Denis on 01270 811157 for details

—o— Social Secretary Wanted an outgoing and enthusiastic person to organise social events, trips and anything else you can think of. Advice and help will be available from Janet Farmer. The most difficult part of the job is finding dates to suit everyone! Essential experience: NONE Generous salary: Expenses only! Ring Janet on 01270 811157 for further details

Llanymynech Folk Festival

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his is planned for the 16th, 17th and 18th August and will take place in various venues around the village. It will kick off with a concert in the Village Hall on the Friday evening and hopefully there will also be sessions in all three of the village pubs. On Saturday there will be various workshops throughout the day (clog dancing, song, instruments, costume making and so on), dance displays in the street followed by a TWMPATH in the Village Hall in the evening (as Llanymynech is an international village we are using the Welsh version of barn dance!). Sunday will see a West Gallery Service in the church going back to the days when music in church was provided by the local songsters rather than an organ. This will be followed by a procession to the Heritage Area where there’ll be stalls, crafts, dance displays, music and other family activities including WOW organised by the IWA. Hopefully August 2013 will be hot and sunny. If you would like more information or would like to offer your services please contact 01691 83036. Joan Zorn Page 28


Aqueduct Marina Awarded Investors in People Status

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hurch Minshull Aqueduct Marina is proud to announce that the business has been awarded the coveted Investors in People Status. Started in 2009, the business began with the opening of the Marina and has grown to include a brokerage, chandlery, boat servicing and repairs, boat painting and a café. From an initial workforce of just four, the expanding business now employs over twenty people. The decision to apply for Investors in People Status was an easy one. After all, receiving the award would be a good commendation for the business and the way it looks after its employees. The process would prove a little more complicated than that. After the application was made, the Marina had to show that it had all best practice processes in place to ensure that it qualified. This meant properly documenting all our staff development interview and review systems to demonstrate that there are mechanisms in place to allow all members of staff to be happy in their work and responsibilities. The documentation of the processes was then backed up by interviews with the awarding body to prove that the marina systems operate as they should. Quite a bit of work and effort went into this procedure and the Marina was immensely pleased that the process was successful and resulted in the award being made. Directors, Robert and Andrea Parton said, “This is a fantastic accolade for the Marina and we would like to thank all the team for their part in helping the business develop. We see the Investors in People status as recognition for everyone’s hard work in delivering improvements and growth across the business whilst still remembering and including all individual employees. All aspects of the business have a healthy order book and we are constantly pleased by customers’ praise and satisfaction. This is due in a large part to the dedication and commitment of the team and we would like to thank them all as we continue to work towards further improvements and higher standards of service.” The ‘Aqueduct’ Team. Julie Lovell, Sarah Rayner, Cathy Barnes, Chris Moran, Sarah Beastall, Coryn Lawton, Nick Beech, Robert Parton, Joe Sheen, Steve Wallace, Phil Langley, Paul Duncalf, Will Brown, Mick Mellor, Alex Strachen, Andrea Parton.

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Montgomery Canal Triathlon Saturday 11th May 2013

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hought last year’s Triathlon was a ‘one off’ to celebrate the Jubilee and Olympics? So did I! But due to popular demand the Friends of the Montgomery Canal have decided (or had their arms twisted) to repeat the event. Once again cyclists will start from Newtown and peddle their way down 13½ miles of towpath to Welshpool where they will exchange their two wheels for a canoe. Paddling the 11 miles from Welshpool to Llanymynech is the section which requires the most stamina (well according to last year’s entrants it was a bit of a ‘killer’) but everyone managed to survive and most had a well earned rest before completing the day with a 10½ mile walk to Frankton Locks. Exhausting? Gruelling? Yes but without exception everyone seemed to enjoy the day, so much so many have already signed on to repeat the experience. Last year, on behalf of the Branch and with the support of many of our members, I helped to organise the final section – the walk from Llanymynech to the end of the canal. Unfortunately this year, due to the event being moved from June to May to escape the ferocity of the swans protecting their young, I will be away. However I am not indispensable and there must be many more Branch members willing and able to step into the breach. Amongst other tasks such as helping to lift canoes round locks and across the roads, the Friends of the Montgomery Canal will need volunteers to: Sign on the walkers just before they set off (some hardy entrants will want to set off immediately, others after a rest and some who will just turn up to do the walk) Sign off the walkers at the end (last year we were surprised at how quickly some finished) Provide first aid on the walk (either to walk with the sweeper making sure there are no causalities along the way, or be available at the end of a phone) Sweeper(s) (the last to leave on the walk and much needed so the people signing off at the end are not left there all night!) I have only listed some of the tasks Branch members helped with last year but there are plenty more throughout the day. Even if you can only spare a couple of hours your help will be much appreciated so please ring Peter Richards on 01691 831455.

www.montgomerycanal.me.uk/triathlon2013.html Page 30


Chirk Ellesmere

Montgomery

Gobowen

Whittington

Canal

Oswestry

Triathlon

Graham Palmer Lock

Aston Locks

Saturday 11th May 2013

Guilsfield Arm Burgedin Locks

Bank Lock Cabin Lock Crowther Lock Pool Quay Lock

Welshpool

CYCLE 13½ miles from Newtown to Welshpool

Brithdir Lock

Berriew Aqueduct

Berriew Lock

n

e ry M o

m

Brynderwen Lock

o ntg

Newhouse Lock

Newtown

Freestone Lock

WALK 10½ miles from Llanymynech to WelshFrankton.

CANOE 11 miles from Welshpool to Llanymynech

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a

al

Carreghofa Locks

Welshpool Lock

Belan Locks

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Weston Arm

Queens Head

Maesbury Marsh

A 35 mile endurance challenge Complete one section or attempt all three

Frankton Locks


Hack Green

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ome members have expressed concern about the condition of Hack Green Bridge (86 on the Shropshire Union Canal) and the lock landing below the bottom lock which has been closed off with posts and wire because of the very poor state of the bank.

CRT has stated that repairs to the bridge are due to commence in April without any closure of navigation. Below the locks CRT is presently working on a scheme which they intend to undertake in the next few months.

Hack Green bridge and the towpath below the bottom lock

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Shroppie Fly Paper March 2013