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SOUTH WEST REGION COMMITTEES South West Region Committee: Chairman: Roger Holmes roger.holmes@waterways.org.uk Hon. Secretary: Ray Alexander southwest@waterways.org.uk Sou'Wester Editor Peter Kelly souwester@waterways.org.uk Topsâ€&#x;l, 25 Essa Road, Saltash, Cornwall, PL12 4EE 01752 843556 NavComm Rep. Martin Turner . Committee Members Geoff Harman Lynda Martin. Branch Chairmen: ex officio Avon & Wilts Branch Committee: President: Fred Blampied Chairman: John Gornall & Membership: Vice-Chairman & Events: Geoff Harman, Hon. Secretary: Hon. Treasurer: Committee: Salisbury Group:

johngornall@uwclub.net 0117 3296470 harman@lampeter99.plus.com 0117 9623812 Jeanne Aldous avonandwilts@waterways.org.uk 0117 9324889 David Chalmers davidchalmers00@hotmail.com 0117 9720423 Tim Wheeldon John Lewis. Ron & Myra Glover glover3@gotadsl.co.uk 01722 710322 Jon Van de Geer 01722 412841

Gloucestershire & Herefordshire Branch Committee: Chairman & Publicity Roger Holmes roger.holmes@waterways.org.uk Hon. Secretary: Susan Holmes rogervectis@aol.com Hon. Treasurer: Martin Phillips martin@douglas-phillips.org.uk Committee: Chris Hanscombe Maggie Jones David Ramsey Belinda Sprigg Martin Turner Gordon Harrower gordon.harrower@waterways.org.uk South Wales Branch Committee: Chairman: Margaret Gwalter iwa@gwalter.co.uk Hon. Secretary: Pat Cleary southwales@waterways.org.uk Hon. Treasurer: Henry Brown Membership Tony Pugh Committee: Jude Biss Bill Hockey Mike Synan West Country Branch Committee: Chairman: Bob Abbott Hon. Secretary: Peter Kelly Hon Treasurer Mike Moore Committee: Chris Jewell Ray Alexander

bob.abbott@waterways.org.uk westcountry@waterways.org.uk bude.canal@gmail.com Hilary Wills Adrian Wills

The views expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the Inland Waterways Association or of the South West Region. They are, however, published as being of interest to our members and readers.

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Region Chairman 2013 was a challenging year for the IWA. The National Festival at Watford, whilst being a successful event for those who attended, was not a success financially. This caused much heart searching and a final decision was made not to have similar events in the future as it was felt that type of gathering has less relevance in the current time. I personally have attended festivals by boat, car and train since 1970s and can remember the time when excursion trains ran from London to the Festival. Times move on and in 2014 there will be the very successful Canalway Cavalcade in London, the Trailboat Festival (in this region on the Grand Western Canal) at the end of May and a campaign festival in Chester. There will also be a boaters gathering on August Bank holiday (to be advised). Retaining membership in the current climate continues to cause concern, and so there will be no increase in subscriptions and various schemes to encourage new members are being trialed. There is still the problem of continuous moorers particularly in the lower Kennet and Avon. The navigation committee and the region committee support the effort (by CRT) to remedy this problem which has grown up over many years. If you have any thoughts on this please let me know. This is the season of AGM's. The details of your branch meeting are elsewhere in this issue, I hope to attend as many as I am able and look forward to seeing you there. Most branches have something following the AGM which I am sure you will find interesting. The regional AGM takes place on the Saturday of the Trailboat Festival and full details are elsewhere including an informal dinner in the evening, at which Les Etheridge the national chairman will be speaking. Enjoy the waterways this summer in any way you can. Roger Holmes SW Region Chairman

roger.holmes@waterways.org.uk 2


Inland Waterways Association

South West Region Annual General Meetings Notice is hereby given that the 2014 Annual General Meetings of the South West Region, and the several Branches within that Region, will be held as follows: South West Region:

5 p.m. Saturday 24 May 2014. The Globe Inn, 14 – 16 Lower Town, Sampford Peverell, EX16 7BJ For further details see pages 5 & 6.

Avon & Wilts Branch:

Saturday 5 April 2014 2 pm. At The Swan, Warminster Road (A36), Stoford, Salisbury, SP2 0PR. For further details see page 8.

Gloucestershire and Herefordshire Branch: 7:30 p.m. Thursday 6 March 2014, Gloucester Yacht Club, Gloucester Docks, Gloucester. For further details see page 9.

South Wales Branch:

7.00 p.m. Thursday 6 March 2014. Beulah United Reform Church Hall, Rhiwbina, Cardiff. CF14 6LT For further details see page 9.

West Country Branch:

11.20 a.m. Saturday 8 March 2014. Quay House Visitor Centre, 46 The Quay, EX2 4AN For full details see page 7

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Inland Waterways Association

South West Region Annual General Meetings AGENDA (Applicable at all General Meetings) 1.

Apologies for absence.

2. Minutes of 2013 Annual General Meeting and any Extraordinary General Meetings held subsequently; and matters rising from these meetings. 3.

Branch Chairmanâ€&#x;s Report (Not for Region AGM)

4.

Region Chairmanâ€&#x;s Report.

5.

Financial Report. (Not for Region AGM)

6.

Election of Committee. (See notes below)

7.

Any items requested by members of the Branch or Region.

Notes: 1. Candidates for election to a Region or Branch Committee must be members of the relevant Branch or Region and the candidate must indicate his/her willingness to stand. 2. All elected members of a Region or Branch committee who have held office for a term of three years have to retire, as does any member co-opted during the committee meeting since the last AGM. Members in either category are eligible for re-election. 3. There shall be at least 3 elected members of each Branch or Region committee but there is no upper limit to the number of members. 4. In addition to the elected members, each Branch chairman is ex officio a member of the Region committee. 5. The committee officers (Chairman (not Region), Hon. Secretary and Hon. Treasurer (not Region)), shall be elected by the committee at the meeting following the AGM. Inland Waterways Association

4


South West Region

AGM Weekend – 24-25 May 2014 This year's Annual General Meeting is being hosted by the West Country Branch and will be held at the Globe Inn, 14-16 Lower Town, Sampford Peverell, Nr. Tiverton, Devon, EX16 7BJ on Saturday May 24th 2014. A supporting programme is being arranged for the weekend, which coincides with the three-day IWA Trailboat Festival on the Grand Western Canal to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the opening of the canal. Programme of Events Saturday 24 May 2014 1.00pm 2.30pm 4.15pm 4.30pm 5.00pm 7 for 7.30pm Sunday 25 May 2014 10.00am 10.00am 2.00pm

Informal lunch at the Globe Inn Informal visit to Trailboat Festival (by car) Return to the Globe Inn Tea and Biscuits Region Annual General Meeting Region Dinner, followed by a short address by Les Etheridge (Chairman, IWA)

Meet at the Globe Hotel Sunday activities Pub Lunch at the Globe Inn, then disperse

For more information please contact Ray Alexander, 1 Knowle Village, Budleigh Salterton, Devon EX9 6AL (tel: 01395 442010 or 07786 176875) (e-mail: rayalexander01@gmail.com) or Bob Abbott, West Country Branch Chairman, 37 Wideatts Road, Cheddar, Somerset BS27 3AT (tel: 01934 742237 or 07850 529102) (e-mail: bobabbott43@live.co.uk). For confirmation of your booking please enclose a stamped addressed envelope or include an e-mail address. Information on the menu options for the Region Dinner and on the Sunday activities will be sent to you at the same time. Accommodation at the Globe Inn is limited and additional accommodation nearby has been provisionally booked if required. Some members may wish to book accommodation for the Sunday evening in order to participate in the th Trailboat Festival activities on Monday 26 May.

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Inland Waterways Association

South West Region

AGM Weekend – 24-25 May 2014 Accommodation and dinner booking form. (please complete this form and send by 15 April if possible)

I/we will be attending the AGM and require the following:Name(s): - Member 1 Member 2 Address: -

Tel no: Mobile: E-mail (print clearly please):Price th Accommodation Saturday evening May 24 2014 @ £60 double, including breakfast Tea/coffee Saturday afternoon @ £2 per person th Dinner on Saturday evening May 24 2014 @ £20.00 per head (includes Coffee, excludes drinks) th Accommodation Sunday evening May 25 2014 @ £60 double, including breakfast Total

Amount

Please indicate if you will also be joining any of the following: Saturday informal lunch Yes/No Saturday informal visit to IWA Trailboat Festival Yes/No Sunday Morning activities Yes/No Sunday Pub Lunch Yes/No Total payment enclosed: When completed, please send, with appropriate remittance (cheques payable to IWA West Country Branch) to: Ray Alexander, 1 Knowle Village, Budleigh Salterton, Devon, EX9 6AL.

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West Country Branch AGM This year the Branch AGM will be held in Exeter 8 March 2014. We last visited Exeter in 2006 and will follow a similar routine this year simply because it worked so well then with over 50 attendees, enjoying an interesting talk, a good lunch and a fascinating walk around the Exeter Port area. The day starts at 1000 by meeting at the Quay House Visitor Centre, The Quay, Exeter. At 10.15 a.m. our speaker, (yet to be determined) will give his/hers presentation; This will conclude at 11.15. At 11.20 the annual General Meeting will take place at the same venue and will conclude at 12.20 to allow members to move to the adjacent Prospect Inn for lunch. At 2.30 p.m. we take part in a guided walk with an Exeter City Red Coat Guide. The walk is entitled “the Port of Exeter” and lasts for one and a half hours. It is all on level ground and should be very interesting. The cost is £3.00 per adult and must be booked and paid in advance using the booking form below. Travel directions from West and South: Take the City Centre exit from the A30; continue straight on (passing Sainsbury‟s on the right) until the Swimming baths (a large glass building) junction with lights. Turn right here for Haven Banks. After a quarter mile (with a boatyard to your left) turn right to the long stay car park which is 50 yards on the right. Walk from the car park back to the road to the City basin and cross the river by the suspension footbridge to Quay House Visitor Centre. Travel directions from East and North: M5/A30 take the city centre exit and follow the sign for City Centre and Haven Banks car parking until the swimming pool junction is reached, turn left; Follow directions for West and South above. I/we will be attending the AGM and require the following:Name(s): - Member 1 Member 2 Address: -

Tel no: Mobile: E-mail (print clearly please):Price Amount Guided Walk, £3.00 per adult Numbers attending and taking lunch. – required for Prospect Inn (Make cheques payable to IWA West Country Branch) Please return form to Peter Kelly by 1 March 2014.

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Avon and Wilts Branch AGM After two years holding the Branch AGM in Bristol, on a weeknight evening, with a skittle alley adjacent, the Branch committee felt it was time to bring the occasion to a different part of the Branch territory. Enquiries were accordingly made of the Salisbury Group as to whether there might be a suitable venue in the southern part of Wiltshire, and whether they would kindly assist in arranging the meeting. Both questions were positively answered, and a venue, a date and a time are now finalised. We will be holding the AGM, with a talk following, and a buffet supper, and skittles, at The Swan at Stoford, which is on the A36, a few miles north of Wilton, and no great distance from the junction of the A36 with A303. th

This will be on Saturday April 5 . We are no longer restricted to holding a Branch AGM before the end of March, so creeping over the boundary into a new month is within our rights. Anyone can arrive during the lunch period that day, and obtain pub food at the bar, on payment. There will be space at which to sit to eat. The AGM itself will start at 2 pm, and hopefully will be concluded by 3 pm. Following the business, our local members have enlisted the services of a local historian, George Fleming, who will give a talk entitled “Canals in Wartime”. He has spoken to the Salisbury Group on past occasions, including one meeting very recently. He is described as a very good speaker, and always interesting to hear. The buffet supper will be timed to follow at 5 pm, although Mr Fleming‟s talk is not expected to run for as much as two hours! The cost of the buffet, to be booked and paid in advance to Geoff Harman, will be £9. Once we are well fed and watered, there will be time during the rest of the evening for as many games of skittles as participants wish, or are capable of managing. The pub has plenty of car parking spaces on the opposite side of the main road. The lunchtime menu can be viewed on the pub‟s website, www.swanhospitality.co.uk For any further information, and to book a buffet supper, please contact Geoff Harman, 0117 962 3812, or geoff.harman@waterways.org.uk

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Gloucestershire and Herefordshire Branch AGM th

This year's Annual General Meeting is being held at 7.30 p.m.6 March 2014 at the Gloucester Yacht Club, Gloucester Docks. It will be followed by a talk from Ed Helps, South Wales and Severn Waterways Partnership (C&RT) and Managing Director ABC leisure; the largest hire fleet in UK. This will be followed by a presentation to Hugh Conway –Jones.

South Wales Branch AGM The South Wales Branch AGM will be held at 1900 Thursday 6th March at the Beulah Road United Reform Church Hall, Rhiwbina, Cardiff CF14 6LT. (PLEASE NOTE: The church is in Beulah Road but the hall is round the corner in Heol-Y-Deri) On conclusion of the AGM business a talk will be given by Mike Jones (Neath & Tennant Canals Trust) on the subject of The Neath & Tennant canals.

Somerset Navigators Boat Club Thanks to the interest shown at the well attended meeting, organised by th IWA on 28 November, at Sampford Peverell SNBC has had a welcome increase in membership, with a number of others expressing interest. nd Hopefully this bodes well for the AGM on 22 February as the Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer, who have all been on the committee for many years, will not be seeking re-election. We sincerely hope there will be a big attendance of members.

Keep Wales Tidy Awards 2013 The Swansea Canal Society (SCS) is proud to announce that it has been awarded the Bernard Jones Memorial Award for 2013. The award was presented to the Society at the Keep Wales Tidy Awards Ceremony at the Pierhead rd Buildings in Cardiff on Thursday 23 January. Representing the SCS were David Henry (Chairman), Martin Davies (Secretary), Michelle Davidson (Trustee), and Gordon Walker Councillor for Clydach and SCS member)... However, all were keen to stress that the award is, of course, for everyone who toils week in, week out, in all weathers, to make this canal such a beautiful sight .

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Avon & Wilts Branch 100 Club Avon & Wilts Branch has for very many years successfully run a Lottery under the title of the 100 Club, in which for an annual subscription of £6 per person participants have one chance in three draws during the course of the year to win a cash prize. There‟s nothing to prevent anyone increasing their sub so that they hold more than one chance. One half of the funds raised through the Club is donated to the Branch, for the purposes of an agreed restoration or conservation project, and the other half, less expenses, is paid as prize money to successful participants in the draws. For the last sixteen years, at least, the Club has been in the administration and management of two loyal, long-standing members of the Branch, John and Doreen Kemp, who live in Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol. The time has now come when John and Doreen feel unable to continue in their roles, due to advancing years, so as of the end of 2013, they have gracefully bowed out of the 100 Club administration. The Club has not, however, been lost to view, as a replacement organiser very quickly became apparent among the Branch membership. This is Vivienne Hook, of Knowle, Bristol, who now has all the paperwork and operational material at her fingertips. If you are already a participant in the 100 Club, please welcome Viv as the new point of contact. Her address is “Wye Knot”, 48, Broadfield Road, Knowle, Bristol. BS4 2UQ and her telephone 0117 977 1373. Her e-mail address is vivienne.m.hook@blueyonder.co.uk If you haven‟t so far become involved, and wish to do so, contact Viv for an application form, and see what comes your way in the months and years ahead. We paid tribute to the long service of John and Doreen Kemp at the Sunday Lunch gathering at Bristol Golf Club the other weekend, but that tribute becomes the printed word here. We are enormously grateful to them both for their dedication to the cause of Branch fundraising for such a long period, and wish them well for the future. No doubt they will continue to support Branch social activities as long as they are able. Rosie Gornall, our Branch membership secretary, joins Vivienne as a second new trustee of the club funds.

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Boating entries open Trailboat Festival at the Grand Western Canal Devon County Council has announced that boating entries can now be made for the 2014 IWA National Trailboat Festival, which is being held at the Grand Western Canal over the late May bank holiday weekend. For information and a downloadable boating entry go to Boats at the 2008 IWA National Trailboat Festival also held at the Grand Western Canal

www.devon.gov.uk/grandwesterncanal and scroll down to find the link to the National Trailboat Festival page. Alternatively ring the Canal Ranger Service on 01884 254072. The event will form the main celebration of the Canalâ€&#x;s bicentenary year. Construction work began in 1810 and was completed in 1814. The main focus of the weekend will be a big public festival day held at the Mid Devon Showground, near Tiverton, on Saturday 24th May, with a range of live music, The repaired embankment covered with hessian

performers and entertainments, all erosion control sheeting with a birthday party theme. There will also be a number of smaller satellite events happening at locations along the Canal on the other two days, including an illuminated boat parade in Tiverton and a „Navvies Fairâ€&#x; in Sampford Peverell, featuring lots of period costume! The event will also provide an opportunity to celebrate completion of repairs to the breached embankment at Halberton, and will enable the message to be spread nationally that the Canal is once again fully operational. Works are due to be finished here in March. Samba band performing at the 2008 IWA National Trailboat Festival

Thousands of visitors enjoyed live music and entertainment at the 2008 festival which was also held at the Canal and the 2014 festival aims to be even better.

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GLOUCESTERSHIRE AND HEREFORDSHIRE BRANCH - SOCIAL MEETINGS th

6 March – Branch AGM Followed by Ed Helps South Wales and Severn Waterways Partnership (CRT) and MD ABC leisure the largest hire fleet in UK . Followed by a presentation to Hugh Conway –Jones rd

3 April -Somersetshire Coal Canal ---Roger Halse Summer Break th

4 September -Carrying from Sharpness to Birmingham nd 2 October- Glass Eels-- Andrew Kerr

Tony Condor

th

6 November Leominster Canal th

4

December

Christmas

social

with

food

and

entertainment

Enquiries roger.holmes@waterways.org.uk

Big Lottery Fund 2007

Somerset Levels – Waterlinks The Waterlinks project is one of six schemes vying to win a single award of between £25 million and £50 million with the public deciding the eventual winner in a televised vote on ITV. If Waterlinks win the vote, they will create a web of more than 20 projects, harnessing water in old and new ways for the benefit and enjoyment of local people, visitors, business, wildlife and the wider environment. The projects are based around several key sites located on, beside, and linked by water. They are also clearly categorised by theme so a visitor arriving at the Waterlinks network could focus on an interest in heritage, wildlife, active leisure pursuits or education activities. Anne Fraser, Chair of Waterlinks, said: "Waterlinks tells the hidden, often mysterious, story of Somerset‟s role in shaping the history of this island. Waterlinks also provides a unique opportunity to create something truly remarkable, not only for today but for generations to come." By Editor: Extract from a press release - Big Lottery Fund - 4 June 2007

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INLAND WATERWAYS ASS. AVON & WILTS BRANCH SALISBURY GROUP PROGRAMME 2014 20th Feb “Rings around London”. London‟s waterways are some of the most varied cruising possibilities in the UK. Rarely beautiful but always fascinating and often challenging in a variety of ways. Robert Dean will give us an eclectic exploration of some of the interesting points along the way. It is worth walking towpaths for a glimpse into our industrial history and the worst of modern regeneration Thurs

Thurs 20th March “The Severn Bridge Disaster”. “Disaster waiting” gives us a comprehensive overview of the construction of the River Severn Bridge, its day to day operation and destruction at the hands of two runaway tankers. Paul Barnett will attempt to unravel several myths which have sprung up around the event with the use of recently unearthed documentary evidence. The doomed vessels still remain within the icy waters of the R. Severn. Thurs 15th May “The Wilts & Berks Canal, The most ambitious restoration?” exciting and ambitious canal restoration project in the country. It will include a brief history of the canal, as well as an overview of the Wilts & Berks Canal restoration project covering the reasons for the restoration, what has been done so far, the challenges that are faced and the plans for some major projects in the near future. Thurs 19th June “The Wilderness Trailboat? A 45 year Obsession”. An Illustrated talk by Ian Graham, founder of Wilderness boats, will be telling us about these glass fibre trailable canal & river craft. He will cover the period from “back of envelope sketches” in the 1960s to the design and development of the craft as we know them today. With a generous sprinkling of “Wind in the Willows” we will hear about the current capers and activities of the Wilderness boat owners club who trail and cruise around the UK as well as in various parts of Europe.

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Thurs 17th July Boules & BBQ at the Green Dragon. 7.00pm Thurs 16th Oct “Boating around Vancouver”. In 2013 Ron & Myra Glover had a change from cruising around Europe in their own boat. They flew across the islands in the waters around Vancouver. They navigated rivers, creeks and visited the islands to sample the local way of life. Thurs 20th Nov “Barging on North East Waterways” The N/E is one of the very few areas of the country where commercial cargo carrying on the inland waterways continued beyond the 1960s. In the late 1970s and early 80s Nick Grundy did a number of trips as crew on a 300 ton commercial barge, carrying cargoes on the Humber, Trent, Yorkshire Ouse and Aire & Calder Navigations. This included a 3 month period of full time barging, mainly carrying sand & gravel from Rampton on the tidal Trent to Knottingley. Nick will tell us about his experiences of commercial barging Where Time & Tide Wait for No Man”. Thurs 4th Dec. Waterways Quiz at Chilworth Village Hall organised by Southampton Canal Society. Thurs 11th Dec, Christmas Dinner at The Green Dragon Alderbury. Further information can be obtained from: Ron & Myra Glover Jon Van de Geer

017227 10322 01722 412841

glover.3@btinternet.com

Meetings commence at 7.30pm and are held at: The Green Dragon, Old Road, Alderbury, Salisbury, Wiltshire, SP5

Audlem Mill, 6 April to 4 May Every year, Audlem Mill in Cheshire hosts an exhibition of what is probably now the largest number of canal paintings assembled anywhere. The 2014 Canal Art Exhibition from 6 April to 4 May, organised in conjunction with the Guild of Waterway Artists, will include paintings, and some photographs, by many of the best canal artists in the country.

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Messing About on the River We should have gone to the AGM. But we needed to check out the depth of the river and any hazards to navigation before winter th came and Saturday 19 October was one of the few days the boat was available. On top of that, the crew were ok and the forecast was good, so we went for it. The challenge was Matchbox arriving to get “Matchbox” launched into the Avon down the existing slipway at the Adventure Centre just upstream from Melksham Weir, do the „recce‟ up the river as far as we could get, return, pull her out again and get clear before the afternoon Canoe Club session. The reason we needed to do it was to prove the Avon was suitable for canal traffic for 1.6km up from the weir, where the new junction is proposed for the short link (0.7km and 3 locks) back to the historic route of the W&B south of Forest Farm. th th Also we are planning a Melksham River Festival on the w/e of 6 & 7 September 2014, to commemorate the centenary of the Act of Abandonment, as well as (fingers crossed) getting Planning Consent for the Melksham Link project. We have already got the dates in the diary of the Wilderness Trailboat Club and the Steam Boat Association, so having a decent stretch of river for cruising is important. (Put the dates in your diary now, before you forget!) “Matchbox” belongs to Ian Graham, of Wilderness Boats at Semington. She is an 18‟ Wilderness “Beaver-Cub” with an outboard motor, two berths and a draft of about a foot. Ian pulls her on a 4 wheel trailer behind his Isuzu 4x4. His crew comprised Trish (from Wilderness Boats), Ian Simpson (WBCT member and Wilderness owner), John Tucker (one of the Bailey Bridge Boys) and me. So we all met shortly after 9am at the top of the Slipway. “Slipway” is a generous description of the steep slope which starts at the top with smooth cobbles with grass growing in between, and ends with a concrete section which finishes abruptly and obliquely about 6 inches above the river level! I wouldn‟t want to be uncharitable to the person who designed it but if they‟re reading this, an explanation in the next issue of Dragonfly as to how they On the slipway thought boats could be launched (and more importantly, recovered) from it would be of great interest!

15


Above Melksham Weir

No prizes for guessing why Mike Lee was commissioned earlier this year to design a proper one, to IWA specification, on a convenient site a few metres downstream. We now have Planning Permission, and the go-ahead from the EA to build it as long as we finish th before 28 Feb when the fish spawning season apparently commences. (More crossed fingers for a dry January and

February). Anyway, I digress. Ian G had checked out the “slipway” and taken heed of the warning from Jon Finch of the Canoe Club about it, so arrived with various scaffold boards, rope, winches etc. The first task was to build an extension to the slipway out of the boards, whereupon “Matchbox” was backed gently on her trailer into the river. Whether it was the fault of a dodgy scaffold board or Ian‟s stress calculations, remains in doubt. What is beyond doubt is that one board broke and the last 6 inches of her descent was more rapid and vertical than intended. Nothing else suffered however so there she was, bobbing happily on the river while we were starting to contemplate how to get her out again! Putting those thoughts to one side, we had a very pleasant cruise with Ian G at the helm, John plumbing the depths, Ian S for‟ard lookout, me marking the chart and, most importantly, Trish supplying the coffee and biscuits. The really good news was that with an average mid channel depth of over 2m and a minimum of Potential blockage but well up river 1.2m, the river is fine for canal boats well beyond the intended new junction. Also, the EA had done some clearance of fallen and overhanging trees in the summer – so no serious hazards to navigation either. So by shortly after midday we were back to the slipway and Ian went off to get more materials to rebuild the extension.

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We stayed with the boat and watched the canoeists arrive. Fortunately, we weren‟t in the way as they were operating from their newly completed landing stage. Ian returned with lots more rope, a two part aluminium ladder and more boards, and Trish arrived with her 4x4 for extra grunt. We then built a stronger ramp, got it into position and rolled the trailer down into the water. Then, after Ian had greased the runners, “Matchbox” was manoeuvred into line and winched onto her trailer. So far, so good. The cobbles were too slippery to give enough grip so both 4x4‟s were positioned on the tarmac at the top of the slope and roped to the trailer. The big heave began. We were so nearly there! With only inches to go, one of the ladders bent and the load on the Isuzu increased causing its clutch to give up the fight. With all handbrakes on, and “Matchbox” listing significantly, we paused to scratch heads. It was a bit like the final scene in “The Italian Job” with the coach balanced on the edge of the ravine! By this time the sun was Just the one bent ladder going down and the helpful canoeists had departed, to be replaced by local lads and lasses offering not so helpful advice. There was nothing for it but to lower her back in the river, moor up for the night and return with more kit on Sunday. We got the trailer back out and cleared up the area. When cool, the overstressed clutch appeared to be working again. The problem then was - where could we moor “Matchbox” securely for the night? With the locals still focussed on us and looking more like vultures as the sun got lower, we all climbed aboard again and motored upstream to a secluded spot, tied up to a couple of trees, locked up and walked back to our vehicles in the gathering gloom. Sunday dawned wet and Ian decided to wait for dryer weather, so it was Tuesday before she was brought back to the slipway and recovered successfully. Fortunately, no damage apart from scaffold boards, ladder and clutch. So, mission accomplished with thanks to all concerned and a huge debt of gratitude to Ian Graham and his Wilderness Team. I‟ve started on a navigation chart of the river to inform future boaters and we all look forward to a great weekend next September. Longer term, we are a step closer to seeing craft from the Kennet & Avon on the river heading towards Lacock and beyond! Paul Lenaerts

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Editorial In late October 2014 I will be deeply involved in the finance and running of a large International Conference and Exhibition in Aberdeen (the preliminary work has already started), which will take me away from some of my IWA commitments, in particular, editing Sou‟Wester. We therefore will require someone to volunteer (!) to take over the post from the summer onwards. I have always felt quite strongly that this means of communication – originating in the Region for the membership of the Region - should continue as long as possible. Hopefully this has been reflected in Sou‟Wester since I became editor in Autumn 2007 with Issue 143. Although many have written off the South West because of the lack of waterways! I remember a senior member listing over 30 working waterways in our West Country Branch area alone. If you add in these to those in the three other branch areas we must have more ex and working waterways than any other Region. Historically they are quite unique and certainly very interesting. Now, for the wrong reasons, our area is in the news; with a wave of storms battering us causing serious flooding on the Somerset Levels and severe damage to our lines of communication. Considering the former problem, one can only speculate that, had the 2007 Big Lottery Waterlinks project (see page 12) won, would it have prevented the current situation occurring. This matter will be discussed at the Navigation Committee‟s next meeting. Returning to the matter in hand, If anyone is interested in taking over the editorship please contact me; I am happy to assist in the layout etc. of future Sou‟Westers, as long as I am available. Whilst the next issue will be a special Grand Western Canal Trailboat Festival edition there will be room for other articles plus those anecdotes and short/sharp reminiscences you love, so send them to me and make it a good issue. Issue 166 Contributions by 7 April, Printing 14 April, Posting 21 April. we will need to keep to this deadline. However, Contributions will be very welcome earlier than 7 April. Finally, It has taken me some years but at last I have won a prize from the A & W 100 Club! Peter Kelly

Avon & Wiltshire Branch 100 Club The lucky winners of the December draw are: First Prize

Mr D G Ware from the Isle of Wight

Second Prize Third Prize

Mr John Webb from Bath Mr Peter Kelly from Saltash

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Sou'Wester Winter 2014, Edition 165  

IWA South West Region Newsletter, Winter 2014 Edition 165

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