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Northern Navigation News

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Newsletter of the North Riding Branch of the Inland Waterways Association

Michaela and Billie Jo at their refreshment van in St George’s Field, next to the River Ouse and Skeldergate Bridge

Issue 9 - Summer 2013

The Inland Waterways Association Selby Boat Centre & Boroughbridge Marina are pr oud sponsors of Nor thern Na viga tion News proud Northern Naviga vigation


NORTHERN NAVIGATION NEWS SUMMER 2013 TEMPORARY FACILITIES AT MARYGATE LANDINGS A lot has changed since I last wrote an editorial. The toilet block by Lendal Bridge, York has been demolished at last, awaiting the construction of the new restaurant. Very basic facilities have been introduced for boaters in the meantime and we, in the North Riding Branch (IWA) are making sure that the new facilities are as agreed in the Planning Permission nearly five years’ ago, now. There is a temporary waterpoint at the left hand end of the hoarding along the Marygate Landing side of the site. The rubbish facilities at Marygate Landing are now on the BW key and are next to the waterpoint. Unfortunately, you have a very long walk to empty your toilets in the Portaloos, which are in Museum Gardens behind the building site. The quickest way is along Judi Dench Walk, up the cobbled hill and through the main gates of Museum Gardens and keeping to the left head back towards the river. The facilities at the rear of the new restaurant will be much improved, and (we intend to keep the developer to this promise) there will be an additional waterpoint at the bottom of Marygate by the steps and the cobbles.

FIRST OPEN DAY AT CASTLE MILLS LOCK On Saturday 4th May we held the first Open Day of 2013 with the broadbeam “Moonriver” cruising along the River Foss, piloted by Michael Cadoux (Chair of North Riding Branch IWA). We have opened the lock since then, but have been hampered by low water levels in the river itself. This is ;largely due to the problems with the Environment Agency managed sluice at the rear of the lock. It is hoped that this will be replaced with an automatic sluice later in the year.

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We have operated the lock twice so far this season, and do not intend to operate it again until the next planned Open Day on


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Saturday 28th September 2013. If the water level problems persist, then the Open Day will be re sited at the end of Marygate with a boat cruising on the River Ouse. Please contact the Voluntary Head Lock Keeper: Tony Martin on 07588-236-597 oe e-mail castle.mills@waterways.co.uk for an update.

THE NAVIGABLE RIVER FOSS In future, when a boat owner books passage along the River Foss in York, you will be e-mailed (or given) a map of the River Foss from Castle Mills Lock to the Yearsley Pool. Alright, it is a map from the 1880s, but it is easy to follow and will be accompanied with some ‘dos and don’ts’. According to the length and draught of your boat, you will told how far you can progress along the River Foss. We might also insist that one of the lock keepers accompanies you on the trip. We have been asked for the map in the past, and have, frankly been remiss, in not providing one earlier. As to accompanying you – thank the boaters who have occasionally travelled too far up the River Foss and upset members of the River Foss Society. Although, the public were delighted to see the ‘first boats for a decade’, we have to be aware of the fragile ecology of York’s secret river, and will monitor the water level in the upper reaches of the River Foss more closely. Tony Martin (Editor)

RUNNING THE STICKLEBACK CAFÉ The Stickleback River Café is located on the north side of the River Ouse near Museum Gardens, just down from Lendal Bridge. Alice Gosling talks about her experience of running the café this year. Having had no previous experience of the boating culture, when I decided to take on the challenge of running a riverside café I had no idea what to expect. Even if I'd tried I don't think I could have foreseen the world I now find myself engulfed in. One not only full of engine issues, leaky pumps, faulty boilers, refuelling, refilling and restocking, but also full of boat people. It's these people who have really made my experience so far a brilliant adventure. If you own or are interested

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The “Stickleback” and Alice Gosling (right)

in boats you are automatically a friend, and there's such a lovely sense of community - everyone seeming so willing to help each other out, whether its a piece of advice, the use of a toilet for a desperate girl, or a tug home! (Shout out to Colin for that one). And with the new addition of the amazing Two Hoots Icecream boat and future prospects for the Arts Barge it's a really exciting time to be involved in this growing community. On quiet days, even though business might not be booming, I've enjoyed chatting to all sorts of people over a cuppa. Whether it's businessmen celebrating exciting deals, artists who are feeling inspired by the river or cave dwelling hippies, everyone has such interesting stories to share and the river café provides the perfect platform to do so (when I don't have a mountain of washing up to get through).

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It's been a brilliant experience so far and I really look forward to what the summer has to bring!

NORTH RIDING BRANCH COMMITTEE NEWS CURRENT MEMBERS: Michael Cadoux (Chair) Tony Martin (Secretary) John Reeve (Treasurer) Keith Chapman (Press Officer) Peter Hopwood Adrian Lovett Roy Shilleto Contact: Tony Martin (Secretary): 0742-806-4863.

COMMITTEE MEETING On Thursday 16th May 2013 at 7.00pm at the Minster Inn, Marygate, York the last Committee Meeting of the North Riding Branch (IWA) was held. It was well attended by members and Alison Smedley of IWA’s Head Office was visiting York. She has been touring around the branches of the IWA over the last few months, and helping to set up Working Parties, which are listed in Towpath Talk each month. She has been a long term volunteer and officer of the IWA. Recently she has been recently employed by the IWA HQ at Chesham to enable all the branches to establish Work Parties and contact with their wider communities, whilst building up the membership. Alison also works closely with the Canal and River Trust. Alison spent half a day in York, watching Castle Mills Lock in operation with Michael Cadoux (Chair) and Tony Martin (Chief Lock Keeper), plus volunteer lock keepers. Whilst on the Friday, Alison met the Ecologist of the CRT at Pocklington Canal and then went on to visit East Yorkshire Branch. She is keen to establish close ties with the newly formed CRT and its Volunteer Co-ordinators. Her main pre-occupation is with the spread of Himalayan Balsam along the banks of the waterways , and has arranging a Working Party with the Pocklington Canal Society, a date to be arranged in late

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A summer day on the Ouse near Lendal Bridge (Photo: Neil Ward)

June – see www.waterways.org.uk for details. Michael said that the North Riding Branch would look at setting up Work Parties in 2014 (we have since learnt that there is Himalayan Balsam along the Ripon Canal. John Reeve (Treasurer) gave a report on the Navigation Committee (IWA) and his role as a Trustee of the Teeside Watersport Centre (see his report ‘Our Friend in the North – below). Tony Martin (Secretary).

DIARY A much reduced Rivers Festival starts on July 13th 2013 and ends with the on 21st July. The annual Dragon Boat Festival is, as usual, run by York Rotary Club and will be held on Sunday 14th July 2013 starting at 10.00am.

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Sadly the Beverley Barge Trust will not be coming to York Look up the Rivers Festival on: www.york.gov.uk/festivals. TUESDAY 10TH SEPTEMBER 2013 at 11.00am Linton Lock Café – North Riding Branch (IWA) Committee Meeting. Any IWA member is welcome to attend – phone Tony Martin on 0742-806-4863 OR e-mail tonymartin451@yahoo.co.uk. FOR ALL DETAILS. SUNDAY 15th SEPTEMBER 2013 on the River Tees – see the enclosed flyer for details or contact John Reeve on 01642580350 or johnreeve1@synergybroadband.co.uk SATURDAY 28th SEPTEMBER 2013 End of Marygate, York. The traditional Open Day organised in co-operation with York Older Peoples’ Assemblies’ 50+ Festival will be at a change of venue. This starts at 10.00am and goes through to 4.00pm, with Moonriver cruising up and down the York stretch of the River Ouse. Depending on the water level in the River Foss being high enough and whether the construction of the new sluice by the Environment Agency has commenced or not, we will be demonstrating Castle Mills Lock. SATURDAY 28th SEPTEMBER 2013 – History Walk along the banks of the River Foss with the City of York’s Archaeologist, John Oxley. Meet at Monk Bar (end of Gillygate) at 2.00pm.

ELECTRONIC VERSIONS OF NORTHERN NAVIGATION NEWS In future, any IWA member within the North Riding Branch (IWA) area who is currently on e-mail will receive an electronic copy of Northern Navigation News which will be sent from Tracy Higgins at IWA Headquarters in Chesham. The default option is that members on e-mail will receive the newsletter electronically only, but you can opt back in to receiving a paper copy by contacting tonymartin451@yahoo.co.uk.

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SAILING WITHOUT SIGHT by Diane Roworth Sailing and blindness are two things that most people would not put together in the same sentence. How can anyone who cannot see, sail a boat? Surely anyone who can’t see fully would be a liability on a boat and anyway, why would they want to go sailing? Those are views that have been expressed to me – but not views with which I, as a visually impaired person would agree with and happily, not views with which EAST (The East Anglian Sailing Trust) concur either. I am registered blind, but with some useful central vision. I had my first experience of sailing almost 16 years ago, as part of a family holiday on a flotilla in Greece. My first taste of sailing of the English coastline, was in May this year, with EAST. EAST offer sailing opportunities to anyone who has a visual impairment, from those with limited vision (like me) to people with no sight at all. Why? Because the members of this trust love sailing and want to share their love of sailing with others, particularly people who would find it difficult to sail without support. Sailing may seem to be a bit of an extreme ‘sport’ for anyone with less than perfect vision. But it has many aspects that make it suitable for visually impaired people. Firstly, it is a complete experience. All the senses are used at any one time. For example, learning how to interpret whether you are making maximum use of the wind in the sails, through feeling it on your body and face us quite an art! Feeling the motion of the boat as it travels through the water and heels over with the guardrails almost in the sea is as exciting for visually impaired as it is for sighted sailors. That’s all tactile stuff that can be enjoyed equally. A boat also has some distinct advantages for anyone without full sight. It is relatively small to find your way about and things don’t move, (if you are good at keeping them ship shape that is), and lots of things can be done without needing full sight, for example tying on the fenders, pulling on ropes even taking the helm. An audible compass or an understanding and facilitating host, such as those on the EAST weekend make helming achievable.

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River Foss Society formed to protect and promote enjoyment of the river from Pond Head (Oulston) to Blue Bridge in York where it joins the River Ouse. The inaugural meeting was held on 23 July 1973 in the Folk Hall, New Earswick.Members are holding a 40th Anniversary Celebration on the same date in 2013 and in the same place. At least one walk and one other event are organised each month until October. Secretary – Tel no 01904 760871, E mail: m.burton599@btinternet.com Membership – Tel no 01904 768071, E mail: chrisandpete@haxby147.fsnet.co.uk

www.riverfosssociety.co.uk Please note that all views expressed in “Northern Navigation News” are those of the authors and may not represent those of the Inland Waterways Association.

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Boats moored near Marygate Landing (Photo: Neil Ward)

EAST provide sailing opportunities three times a year, for visually impaired people with some experience or those who would love to give it a go. Volunteers offer themselves and their boats for use. The ratio is always one fully sighted person to one visually impaired person. We sailed for a long weekend off the Ipswich coast, calling in at Brightlingsea and Harwich, trying our luck in the open sea before moving into the relative safety if the Stour estuary. It was cold and pretty grey for most of the weekend, but, to my surprise we achieved 8 knots in what seemed like very little wind. The boat was a 37ft Beneteau and as soon as there was a sniff of wind, our captain hoisted the sails and cut the engine – which was delightful. There is nothing quite like gliding through the water using only the power of nature to get you where you want to be.

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So what did I do you may ask, that I hadn’t done before? I got the opportunity to try an audible compass. I took the helm, steering


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the course set by our skipper. If I deviated either to port or starboard, the audible compass let me (and everyone else in board) know! Too far to port, it beeped in a low tone, too far to starboard, it beeped in a high tone. The further off course I deviated, the higher and more insistent the beeps became. I did feel sorry for my companions, so after a while I relied solely on my skipper telling me to turn further to port or starboard to keep on course. Under verbal instruction I reversed out of a side-too mooring in Harwich, and tacked merrily up the Stour on our last day and yes, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. In summary, I can say that sailing is a totally sensory experience: hearing the many and varied sounds of water, wind and bird life, the smell of the sea and even the fish and chips as you near land, the sensations of the wind as you make 8 knots, the motion of the boat as it glides through the water and the warm comforting feeling as you go below deck on a cold dismal grey May day – bliss. I thank my hosts, David and Carole, and the other 8 boat owners who gave up their time to take visually impaired people for an exciting weekend off the Ipswich coast, and of course EAST for making the whole thing happen. I know they not only want to promote their sailing weekends to visually impaired people, but also recruit crews who will help it happen, If either of those scenarios apply to you – please get in touch with me, Diane Roworth on diane.roworth@btinternet.com

OUR FRIEND IN THE NORTH by John Reeve Keep Your Speed Down! On the River Tees there are two issues of power craft speed. The maximum permitted speed, for powered craft, is 5mph for most of the River Tees. Apart from the Emergency Services, safety & Coaching boats are allowed to keep pace with the faster rowing boats during training and competition. There is also provision for Jet Ski and Water Ski boats. However, that is only permitted on the 1000 meter course immediately above the Tees Barrage and only during pre-arranged time slots. However, a newcomer to the River Tees, Infinity Marine, proposes to establish a Water Bus Service between Yarm and Stockton (the speed question is a real concern for a regular river bus service on

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the River Ouse at York – Editor) The owner has published his intention to apply for a raising of the speed limit during peak commuting times. However, the majority of regular river users are not in favour: for the following reasons: (a) Training is carried out during the morning by Rowing Team GB and others and (b) the damage to the banks and the environment. I reported at the Board Meeting of the Watersports Centre (John Reeve is a Trustee), that some powered craft seemed to be exceeding the speed limit and not observing the normal ‘rules of the river’ i.e. ‘keep to the right’. On both these matters, in behalf of the TRUT board I am in contact with the Canal and River Trust in Leeds on this issue. Navigation Committee (IWA) Following my appointment to represent the NE and Yorkshire on the Navigation Committee, I attended their April 2013 meeting. Much of the business did not impact directly on the North Riding Branch area, but could affect IWA members who cruise more widely. There was discussion on enrolling and keeping members and membership services and recent proposed changes to the Canal and River Trust mooring regulations. The on-going overstay monitoring and control was also discussed, as was the recent update of the BSS inspections and the change to co-ordinated electronic recording and certificate issue. High Speed 2 (HS2) Also more relevant to our widely cruising members and our colleagues in Leeds and Sheffield was HS2 phase 2. The IWA are spearheading the campaign to ensure the mitigation of the effect on the waterways. They have set up a national Sub Committee chaired by Vaughan Welsh (Chair of the West Midlands Region and Chair of the Restoration Committee and a member of the CRT Council. In the NE that role will be taken by David Stowe of Shipley). New Head of CRT Staff Richard Parry has been appointed as the CRT Chief Executive to succeed Robin Evans. His former career was in Railway Management on the West Coast Services.

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The Northern Navigation News, Summer 2013, IWA North Riding Branch