Page 1

September 2010


Journal of the IWA’s Milton Keynes Branch

Historic pair “Raymond” and “Nutfield” at the Linslade Canal Festival on 31 July. They were also with us for our Lock Ransom weekend on 28-31 May. Photo - Les Franklin.

The Inland Waterways Association

Founded in 1946, the IWA campaigns for the retention, restoration and development of Britain's navigable waterways, and for their fullest commercial and recreational use. The IWA is a registered charity (no. 212342) whose work is supported by members' subscriptions. If you are not a member and would like to find out more: contact any of the Branch Committee members listed on Page 16; contact IWA Head Office, Island House, Moor Road, Chesham, HP5 1WA, telephone 01494 783453; visit the IWAweb site at

Welcome to September Towpath Telegraph . . . Welcome to a new-look TPT! We hope you like it and soon find your way around. The re-vamp is in preparation for the forthcoming transfer of the Branch’s web presence to the IWA’s main site. In particular, TPT downloads will be accessed via thumbnail images of the front page, so every front page must look different. Hence the big photo there. So send in your topical pics and we’ll consider them! We’ll tell you more about this when it’s about to happen.

Chairman's column New members People John Garner, 1931-2010 Director’s Cut Brisk trade at Linslade Canal Festival Boat death - Coroner asks for jury inquest Olympic site walks Canal Museum is a Winner! New date for 2011 National announced Diary page Bercow new BCS Patron Clean-up meal arrangements Getting to the Pavilion Poached bream or crayfish, anyone? Search for first B-MKW petitioners Maps for MK visitors Coalition supports third sector for BW and EA IWAC axed Clive joins BW Board Notes on the Nene One in three rivers low despite wet July Editor’s Page Getting in touch with MK Branch

2-3 2 3 4-5 5 6 6 6 7 7 8 9 9 9 10 11 11 12 - 13 12 13 14 14 15 16

Inside you’ll find reports on our summer activities, local news, and of course our d ia ry of f o rth c o m in g meetings. We hope you Wow, where did those three months go? It seems only a few enjoy this edition.

Chairman’s Column

weeks back that I was writing my first column, and now our editor is breathing down my neck for my September contribution! Although our social and committee meetings don’t take place We welcome the following members who have recently during the summer, your Committee is always working away at joined MK Branch. We hope something or other. May was a particularly busy month.

New members

to see you at our socials On Saturday 1st, Dave Roberts and Les Franklin took Taid to Tesco at please introduce yourselves Linslade to talk to the public and hand out SOS2010 literature. David and to a Committee member. Mr W & Mrs L Campbell, Dunstable Mr T& Mrs P Cavender & family,Akeley, Buckingham Mr J & Mrs J Grubb, Daventry Mr THill, Buckingham Mr & Mrs G M Jeffryes, St Ives, Cornwall Mr T& Mrs E Mather, Wilstead,Bedford

Jan King, accompanied by Rodney Evans, Jane and myself, took Jappa to Campbell Park to do the same. Thanks to all those who took part. On 8 May, our webmaster Vernon Draper and editor Les Franklin went on a training day to learn about the workings of the new IWA website which our Branch’s site will eventually be part of - there is much work to be done here. Thanks to Vernon and Les for giving up a Saturday for this. On 13 May, Rodney Evans, Les Franklin and I met with numerous persons including Councillors, Safer Communities wardens, Probation officers and community artists including Bill Billings’ son Ryan, to


Stop receiving Towpath Telegraph by post, and view it in full colour over the telegraph wires via the IWAMK Branch web site (you needAcrobat Reader). Email Pete Bickers (see Page 16) with your name, postal address and IWAmembership number. You’ll receive reminders when new editions are available, and information such as AGM notices as required by IWAByelaws. For more details, please contact the Editor.

Page 2

Chairman's Column - continued.

discuss the future of the Wolverton Train Mural. We came away very positive with what we thought was a solution, but unfortunately the lady who was going to manage the project has now said she cannot. Wolverton and Greenleys Town Council, who were considering taking ownership of the project and funding the initial repairs, have gone quiet. So there is still much to do. We ended May and began June with the Lock Ransom at Three Locks. The weather was flaming flaming awful in fact! We started with a dry day on Friday, but Saturday was wet and miserable, and no one even contemplated barbecueing that evening. Sunday was dry, but with a relentless wind all day. A few hardy souls were determined to have a barbecue, so we found a corner sort of out of the wind and lit up, but after the food was consumed and washed down with a little something, we all headed off to the shelter and comfort of the boats again. We decided not to stay on into Monday! Despite the weather the splendid Best wishes to BETTY sum of over £600 was raised, which will eventually go toward waterway GARNER, who is recauses - well done everyone who helped. Thanks to those generous souls covering from an eye who keep filling our bucket; long may you continue to do so! operation, and has the


On 31 July, Dave and Annie Roberts, Les Franklin and I took our stall to the Linslade Canal Festival, which was again a splendid day for meeting the public and promoting the Branch and canals generally. Although fund-raising isn't the main reason for attending, we made over £60 profit (see front cover and Page 6). We have been displaying the same publicity material for many years and feel it needs freshening up. Some new faces behind the stall would also not go amiss, so if we are to attend next year let's have some volunteers come forward with their ideas and willingness to implement them. Thanks to those who staffed the stall this year.

prospect of an operation on the other eye at a later date.

As can be seen from the contact list on the back page, ROY CLEVERLY is now on email. Roy was the only Committee member who didn’t have email, but June Stevenson’s son Alan has re-conditioned an old Finally I must mention the tragic occurrence on our patch at Stoke PC and fixed it up for him. Hammond in which a holidaymaker lost her life after being swept into the After some coaching seswater by a falling willow tree (see Page 6). I am sure you will all join me sions from computer guru in offering our condolences to the family of Wendy Brennan. Sheila Franklin, Roy is now well up the PC learning I look forward to seeing you at our new season of meetings. curve! Peter Caswell, Branch Chairman.

A warm welcome from Gregg, Angela and the team at Grove Lock. Pop in for a drink of one of our outstanding cask conditioned ales or wines from around the world, or perhaps stay a little longer and enjoy some of our excellent home-cooked food.

We look forward to seeing you soon. Grove Lock: Grove, nr Leighton Buzzard, LU7 0QU Tel: 01525 380940. Email: Page 3

John Garner, 1931-2010

The news of the death of much-loved Branch member John Garner on 22 April from stomach cancer came as May's TPT was closing for press, and it was not possible to include a full tribute in that edition. The following tribute is drawn from three sources: the article in May 2006 TPT about the Garner family, David King's notes taken at John's funeral, and a recent conversation with Betty Garner, to whom I owe special thanks. John Alfred Garner was born in 1931, the younger son of George and Agnes Garner, in a cottage at Anchor Row, Buckby Wharf. Both George and Agnes (née Dorsett) came from boating families. George had worked for Messrs John Walker of Bugbrooke, one of several contractors who delivered coal from the Warwickshire coafields to the Ovaltine factory at Kings Langley before Ovaltine introduced its own fleet. Agnes and her parents had worked for L B Faulkner of Leighton Buzzard. John's older brother George (always known as Henry) had been born on the boat at Longford in 1929.

In 1927, two years after Ovaltine had set up its own fleet, George and Agnes started work for them, quickly followed by other members of the family. They maintained the cottage where John was born for some years, because job security was virtually non-existent in those days. One of John's early memories of the Ovaltine factory was three splendid greenhouses filled with tomatoes and geraniums. John could not guess why they were cultivated in such vast quantities - surely they weren't ingredients for Ovaltine! The factory was surrounded by sports fields and other facilities for the employees. A picture taken just before World War II shows Ovaltine motor Charles and butty Susie immaculately turned out in their "floating advertisement" livery. John stands in Susie's hatches, his brother at the motor's tiller, with their father (in trilby) on the gunnel. During the war, the appearance of the Ovaltine boats suffered, as repainting took a low priority. By the end of the war, John and Henry were in their mid-teens, and as the company John Garner (left) and his brother George “Henry”. would not pay them their own wage, they left the Ovaltine boats in 1946. For John the move to the land was permanent, but Henry returned to the cut in 1948, and their father George continued in Ovaltine employment, mostly at work in the factory itself, until 1955. The last coal was brought by water to the factory inApril 1959. Although John had left the boats and was living in Linslade, he was still in touch with the cut. In 1950 he met a boating girl, Elizabeth (Betty) Clutton, whose parents had worked for Thomas Clayton (Oldbury). They married early in 1953, and had a delayed honeymoon in Blackpool thatAugust. Page 4

John Garner, 1931 - 2010 - continued.

John and Betty had two children, Roy and Linda. For the rest of his working life, John worked mostly as a lorry driver for local employers, including Boss Trucks, a local sand quarry, and latterly Liptons. When John retired at age 60, he and Betty had the time to enjoy the waterways for pleasure, first aboard Pegary which they owned for 18 months before buying Louise. Ten years later they bought Pegary back again from one Dave Prior! John maintained a keen interest in the "Ovaltine-ing" history of his family, as well as being a regular attender of Branch meetings and clean-ups until recently.

DIRECTOR’S CUT: Your home movies wanted for TV

Ian Bild of Available Light Productions Ltd writes: “I am researching for a BBC4 documentary - ‘The Story of the Canals’, which will use home movies of people who worked on or enjoyed the canals, with their recollections, to tell the story of the canals in trading days, and their more recent reinvention for leisure.

The funeral service at Crownhill Crematorium on 6 May was conducted by the Reverend Wyn Jones. There were approximately 120 people present, with the IWA and other waterway users well represented. The tribute was given by the minister who said that John was very much part of the community in Linslade as well as being more widely known and liked through his life and love of the canals. “I am looking for home movies made by people John was a gentleman in every sense, and was always generous with his who used the canals for both knowledge and his memories of boating life. It was a privilege to have work and leisure. It would known him. be a great bonus if the film Les Franklin and David King. makers or people appearing in the films were still alive, Postscript: Recently, a relative of John's grandmother Fanny Garner and could be interviewed (née Knibbs) got in touch having visited the MK Branch web site and seen for the documentary. I our May 2006 article about the Garner family and the Ovaltine fleet - would be most grateful for written with John’s help and featuring some of his photographs. Mr any help you could offer.” Knibbs requested permission to use two photos of Fanny and her husband John "Jack" Garner on his own family web site. With Betty's Ian Bild, Available Light blessing, this permission has been given. Discussions are taking place in Productions Ltd, tel: 0117 efforts to ensure that John's unique collection of family and waterway 90 8 4 4 3 3 , o r e m a i l : photographs is preserved and catalogued.

Our base at Linslade is within weekend reach of the Waterways Museum at Stoke Bruerne, or the Chiltern Hills and Aylesbury. Choice of exciting one or two week cruises including the Thames. 28 luxury boats, 2-8 berth. Boat builders. Repairs. Dry dock. Waterside holiday cottage.

Rothschild Road, Linslade, Leighton Buzzard, Beds, LU7 2TF Tel: 01525 372355 Fax: 01525 852308 Web site:


Members of IWA, Blue Riband, BMF and B&MK Waterway Trust

Page 5

Brisk trade at Linslade Canal Festival Another successful Linslade Canal Festival has come and gone. The Branch stall did a brisk trade throughout a breezy but dry day. Punters were as always lured in by the noise of the Marble Race - one hopeful was only three years old, and did very well! Highest score of 63 marbles in the pot was by Declan Collins who wins £5. The Treasure Island pins were all sold out by late afternoon - the winning pin was placed by Jake Peters - he wins £10. Our profit of £65.69 comprised £40 from the Treasure Island, the remainder from the Marble Race and a few pounds donated. We thus topped last year's take Annie supervises competitors at the Marble Race. Photo - Les Franklin. of £63. Well done all who helped.


A jury inquest is likely following the accident near Stoke Hammond Lock on 15 July, when Mrs Wendy Brennan was swept off a Wyvern hire boat by a falling group of willow trees, and was trapped under water. She was air-lifted to hospital, but died a few days later.


James Griffin reports that an inquest is to be opened on 3 November, and the Coroner has asked for a two day Inquiry with a jury to be held next January or February. Vince Moran, BW Operations Director in charge of safety, is holding an internal audit, and the results should be made Guided walks at the Olympic available soon.

site start at 11am every day from Bromley-by-Bow tube station. See industrial gems of the past, the local waterways, and the construction site itself. Hear why East London was chosen for the Games, and the latest on the athletes and venues. Reserve you r place on line at index.php?pageid=8 or turn up on the day. Cost: £8 adults, £5 children and concessions. Page 6

Willow trees are notoriously brittle. On 11 July, just a few days before the Stoke Hammond incident, over 40 boats were delayed for more than a day when a large willow tree fell and blocked the Trent & Mersey Canal in Rugeley. IWA Lichfield Branch reported that a group of towpath walkers had a narrow escape as some of the smaller branches fell just a few yards in front of them. There were no boats passing at the time. Editor’s note: A Coroner may call a jury for an inquest at his own discretion, but must do so in certain cases, including a death that affects public health or safety. An inquest’s purpose is not to assign guilt or blame, but to establish the identity of the deceased, time and place of death, and the simple facts behind the death. No other evidence is admissable.



The Canal Museum at Stoke Bruerne scooped top honours in two categories at the Northamptonshire Heritage Awards, winning Best Event and The People’s Choice Award. The awards, which are supported by Renaissance East Midlands, are a celebration of the work taking place in the county’s museums, heritage sites and historic houses. The winners were announced at a ceremony at Burton upon Trent is to host the 2011 National Festival & Kelmarsh House on 23 July. Boat Show over the weekend

As part of the awards, members of the public were invited to vote for their 29 – 31 July 2011 on Shobnall favourite museum, historic house or heritage centre, with the Canal Fields. This date is a change from the normal practice of Museum winning this coveted accolade.

holding it over the August bank holiday and has come after significant consultation with traders, the public and IWA volunteers who are vital to the staging of the event.

The Museum also won the hotly contested Best Event award for its popular ‘Village at War’ event. Organised by the Friends of the Canal Museum, the event is now a firm fixture in the East Midlands calendar. Over the first weekend in October, the village is transported back to the 1940s with period re-enactments, tea dances, vintage canal boats and displays of World War II military vehicles. The Festival was last held in Louise Stockwin, Assistant Museum Manager, said: “Winning the People’s Choice Award is especially rewarding as it recognises the hard work put in by both the Friends and the Museum staff to making the Museum a lively, attractive and interesting place to visit. We are so pleased that so many people have enjoyed visiting the Museum.” David Blagrove, Chairman of The Friends of the Canal Museum said: “Winning two such prestigious awards is especially welcome after gaining a runner-up placing in the Community category of the Waterways Renaissance Awards earlier this year. We are delighted that so many people voted for the Museum, demonstrating that it is indeed a popular visitor attraction for all the family.”

Burton upon Trent in 2004, and it then attracted over 300 visiting canal boats and good numbers of traders, campers and the public. The location offers visiting craft a wide choice of cruising routes. Nearby restoration projects include the isolated section of the Ashby Canal, the Uttoxeter Canal, and the Derby Canal.

Waterways Trust press release, July 2010.

IWA Bulletin, August 2011.

Boat Safety Inspections DAVID TUCKER Authorised Examiner for the Boat Safety Scheme Competitive rates. For more details, please contact David on 01908 670151 or 07788 705969 mobile Email: Page 7

Diary Page

We look forward to seeing you at our new season of socials at the Pavilion (see map opposite), beginning on Monday 27 September. Here is a list of our events (in bold type), together with selected events staged by others. For more information about our own events, please contact Rodney Evans, unless other Committee members are named (see back page). For other events, contact details or sources of further information are given where known. Saturday 25 September, 2pm

The Grove School, Stafford St, Market Drayton, Shropshire, TF9 1HF IWA National AGM. See Autumn Waterways.

Monday 27 September, MK Village Pavilion, Worelle Ave, Middleton, MK 7.45pm The Grand Canal of China, with Liam D’Arcy Brown. Friday 1 - Sunday 3 October

Stoke Bruerne Village at War weekend - wartime song and dance, films and displays. Sit in a replica Spitfire! FoCM: Waterways Museum, 01604 862229, or

Fri 15 – Sun 17 October MK Branch Autumn Clean-up Fri: start 12 noon, Fenny Stratford to Three Locks; Sat: start 9.30am, Three Locks to Grove Lock; Sun: start 9.30am, Grove Lock to Slapton. Peter Caswell (general); James Griffin (Fri ev. meal); David King (Sat ev. meal). See opposite. Monday 25 October, MK Village Pavilion, Worelle Ave, Middleton, MK 7.45pm Wetlands Wildlife, with Chris Ward, international wildlife photographer and Group Leader, RSPB North Bucks Group. Monday 22 November, MK Village Pavilion, Worelle Ave, Middleton, MK 7.45pm North West Passage, talk by Ian Fletcher, intrepid boater in ApyWanderer. Monday 6 December, MK Village Pavilion, Worelle Ave, Middleton, MK 7.45pm MK Branch Christmas Social – ticket event further details to be announced. Saturday 11 December, 5pm on

Stoke Bruerne village: illuminated boats and carol singing. Prize for best illuminated boat. Lantern procession, carol singing on the Museum Green with the children of Stoke Bruerne Primary School, hot food and beverages, village gift shops open for last-minute presents. More info: e-mail

Monday 24 January, MK Village Pavilion, Worelle Ave, Middleton, MK 7.45pm James murders the Nile – with James Griffin, Managing Director, Wyvern Shipping Co. Monday 28 February, MK Village Pavilion, Worelle Ave, Middleton, MK 7.45pm MK Branch AGM (agenda in January TPT), followed by BW South East Update for boaters, with Jeff Whyatt, General Manager, BW South East. Page 8


The Rt Hon John Bercow, MP for Buckingham and Speaker of the House of Commons, has become Patron of the Buckingham Canal Society. At a meeting with the Society and Buckinghamshire County Council, John said, “I am delighted to become the Patron of the Buckingham Canal Society. I have been very impressed with the vision of the canal restoration. It has many potential benefits that it can bring to Buckingham and the Ouse Valley both from economic, environmental and potential flood management perspectives.

Getting to the Pavilion

Here’s a reminder of the location of our socials venue, just off Tongwell Street, MK. There is ample parking in two car parks, level access, and a bar awaits you inside. See you there!

From H6 Childs Way (M1 or Central MK), turn south at Fox Milne roundabout into V11Tongwell Street. Pass under a bridge, then turn right into Griffith Gate, signed Mi d d l e t o n an d M i l t o n BCS press release, August 2010. Keynes Village. At the During the summer, work parties have been held at Little Hill Farm, roundabout turn right into where restoration of the bridge continues. Large quantities of mud have Worrelle Avenue. The been removed from beneath the bridge, to find a firm base from which to Pavilion is clearly marked, on carry out brickwork repairs safely. From September, work parties will the left after about 1/4 mile.

“Local residents and councillors have come together and are driving this through both the Buckingham Canal Society and the Buckingham Local Area Forum, demonstrating the best practices of the community working together with the support of local government. This project will clearly benefit all the communities it touches both in collaboration that it brings and the end result of a restored waterway.”

return to the BBOWT Nature Reserve.

Paraphrased from Buckingham Navigator, Summer 2010.

Clean-up meal arrangements

On our Clean-ups, all who take part look forward to the gettogether over a meal after the day’s work on the Friday and Saturday evenings. Even if you can’t make the Clean-up itself, you are welcome to join us for either evening. For Friday evening at the Grand Union, James Griffin is reserving 40 seats, and is negotiating “a fantastic bargain limited menu” - further details to be announced.

Fox Milne Rbt.

Central MK

A4146, M1 (Junc.14) Total Petrol Stn.

Pavilion Community Sports Club MK10 9AD


For Saturday night at the Grove Lock, David King has arranged the following menu at £16.95 for 3 courses or £13.50 for 2 courses: Starters: Prawn Cocktail Homemade Soup Garlic Bread Main: Bunkers Sausage & Mash with Onion gravy Fullers beer battered Cod & Chips Treacle glazed home baked Ham and Eggs with Chips Vegetarian Risotto Desserts: Sticky Toffee Pudding Bread & Butter Pudding Selection of Ice Creams Please contact James or David (see back page) with your choices.

A4146 Bletchley, (A5)

Mercedes Benz

Going north along V11 Tongwell Street, cross the Monkston Roundabout at H7 Chaffron Way, then take the first left turn into Griffith Gate, and then as above.

Page 9

POACHED BREAM OR CRAYFISH, ANYONE? Canal users are being asked to look out for fish thieves on the Grand Union. This follows an incident in July, when a bailiff from the Luton Angling Club came upon two men, possibly East Europeans, with eight dead bream in a bucket. The fish were confiscated.

The Club manages the fishing rights on the Grand Union between Stoke Hammond and Pitstone, and on other local waters. Club Press Officer Steve Sharp commented that cases have been reported (though none yet locally) of migrants camping on river or canal banks and killing fish and swans for food. “Unfortunately getting true names and addresses from any fish thief is extremely difficult, especially when they do not speak English. Instead they are generally told to vacate the area immediately. “If people are allowed to take fish, it costs money to re-stock the waters. It also upsets the natural balance of nature, affecting such things as the heron population of which there are currently good numbers along the canal. Hopefully by having more 'eyes' along the canal then these incidents will be very few in number. “Lots of Eastern Europeans also visit the canal to catch the non-native Red Signal Crayfish, which makes good eating, I'm told. Many kilos are caught by individuals who use bread in the margins to tempt them to the surface. Your members may notice this going on, but we do not try to stop this.” Anyone with information is requested to phone 07735 337341.

Email exchange following local press report.

Willowbridge Marina 01908 643242

Willowbridge Marina is a working boatyard specialising in lifting boats in and out of the water, as well as on and off transport. We are a family-run business, working hard to provide services to canal boat owners and users in the Milton Keynes area. We offer the following services: - Well-stocked Chandlery, including stainless steel fastenings and Calor Gas fittings; - Red Diesel (currently at 68p per litre); - All boat services, including coal, LPG and pump-out; - All mooring services, including limited linear moorings, wireless internet and power, toilets, showers, laundry and extensive storage ashore. We offer a 10% discount on chandlery purchases and services in the yard to IWA members. Page 10


Next year sees the 200th anniversary of the meeting in Bedford when a navigable waterway between the Grand Junction Canal (now the Grand Union) and the River Great Ouse at Bedford was first proposed. Bedford-Milton Keynes Waterway Trust has launched a search to trace descendants of the eight signatories of the petition for this meeting which was called by the then Mayor, Charles Short, for noon on 4th November 1811 at Shire Hall. The signatories were: John Foster (1765-1831, a landowner of Brickhill House, who also owned sugar estates in Jamaica); John Rawlins (wine merchant); R. W. Robinson; John Emery; Samuel Gifford; William White (corn merchant and miller at Kempston Mill, who died in July 1815 after falling from his horse in Clapham Road); Charles Bailey and Richard Leach. Jane Wolfson, Trust chair, said, “The Trust is planning to celebrate this anniversary, and show how much progress has been made with the current project. It has been agreed that we should try to trace as many as possible of the descendants of everyone named on the petition, including the then Mayor, and invite them to join our celebrations. We would like to hear from anyone who is a direct descendant, or if they know someone who is. However, we would need to know details of the ancestry line.�

Rodney Evans reports: The Trust is monitoring a planning application for allotments at Broughton involving a new footbridge over Broughton Brook (this section is scheduled to be widened and deepened for the B&MK route). The Trust and British Waterways have lodged requirements for adequate headroom and breadth.

Maps for MK Visitors

If you can help, or have any information, please contact Alan Mayo (01234 409737 or ) or Neil Hayes (01234 A guide map of shops and 826216 or ). Recent B-MKWT press release.

During September, some guided walks give you the chance to explore several sections of the projected route of the waterway. Saturday 11 September, 10.30am, Ridgmont Station, MK43 0XP. An 8mile walk to trace a section of the B-MKW route from the M1 cattle creep, via Brogborough Hill, to the Marston Vale Forest Centre (refreshments available). As parking is limited at Ridgmont, you are recommended to arrive by train (9.33 from Bedford St John's or 10.11 from Bletchley. On concluding the walk, you can return via Stewartby Station (1 mile away), or take the shuttle bus back to Ridgmont. Organised in association with the Bedfordshire Walking Festival and Bedfordshire Ramblers. Sunday 12 September, 10am - 1pm, The Old Rectory, London Road, Broughton, MK10 9AA. A choice of two guided walks (4 or 6 miles) along sections of the route, plus barbecue, project progress talk and exhibition. There is also an Open Day at nearby St Lawrence's Church. Please park considerately around the Green in London Road. B-MKWT web site.

other services in Fenny Stratford - for boaters and walkers entering Milton Keynes via the canal from the south - was produced last year. It is available from the information box (BW key) at Fenny Lock. A companion map covering Cosgrove and Wolverton - for those entering the city from the north - has now been produced, and is available from a new information box at Cosgrove Lock. Periodic revisions will be made, and if you spot anything that is no longer correct, please contact Les Franklin (see back page). Page 11

COALITION SUPPORTS THIRD SECTOR FOR BW AND EA Before the election, IWA cautiously supported BW's proposals for moving into the third sector - and indeed helped develop them - while at the same time it re-published its long-held vision of an Inland Waterways Conservancy (IWC). The Association welcomes the coalition government's confirmation of support for the third sector idea, also the fact that government is considering the inclusion of Environment Agency navigations in the new body, which the Waterways Minister sees as completely new rather than a re-branded BW.

The government is only currently considering BW and EA waterways. If the new combined body is created, it would represent the biggest change since nationalisation in 1948. Inclusion of other waterways later is likely to be on a voluntary basis. IWA hopes that waterway charitable trusts will see the benefit in merging to create an even bigger trust. At an appropriate time IWA would encourage the Chelmer & Blackwater (the one waterway it manages) to opt into the IWC. BW has considered suitable governance arrangements at workshops to which IWA has been invited, and these continue. Wide-ranging primary legislation to set up the new body seems unlikely due to pressure on parliamentary time. The government is likely to retain ownership of the waterways and lease them to the new body using provisions of the 1962 and 1968 Transport Acts. IWA has submitted its own governance proposals. These envisage a main board to set policy, together with a much broader-based national interest stakeholder council. Below this, regional offices would manage local water partnerships. These partnerships would bid for central funding, co-ordinate local fundraising and volunteer effort, and make decisions about local priorities. BW plans to trial the new arrangements, when finalised, on the Kennet &Avon Canal.


The new government has begun its widely foreseen cull of non-departmental public bodies (quangos). One casualty is the Inland Waterways Advisory Council (IWAC). Since its relaunch in 2007, IWAC has produced some useful research and reports in support of the waterways. Its abolition is a matter of regret, and raises concerns as to how essential research can be conducted in future. It could be commissioned by Defra or by the proposed new thirdsector body. Alternat-ively there could be an opportunity for IWA to commission research, subject to adequate funding. IWA Bulletin, August 2010.

Page 12

Future funding challenges were what caused BW to propose third sector status. It could raise charitable funds, reap tax advantages and harness volunteer effort more effectively. Defra and the Minister have accepted that continuing government financial support will be essential, with the aim that Exchequer support reduces. The Minister also understands that the income from the BW property portfolio dowry is essential for the third sector body’s success, but his statement only commits “a large proportion� of BW property to that dowry. IWA will continue to campaign for all of the BW property portfolio to be charity-locked so that its income goes to the third sector body. Defra has to find 25-40% cuts by 2014, and waterways funding cannot be expected to be a very high priority. The cuts to both BW and EA grant-inaid have already begun, and their full extent will not be known until the outcome of the Comprehensive Spending Review in the autumn. Including EA waters, and eventually others, may provide some saving from economies of scale, but the main benefit will be more seamless and consistent management, regulation and charges. Since the change in government, IWA has lobbied Ministers, senior civil servants and other influential stakeholders, and has supported numerous consultations and working groups. An IWA parliamentary reception in

THIRD SECTOR FOR BW AND EA - continued. June enabled engagement with many new MPs. This is paying dividends: IWA-initiated parliamentary questions are being raised, and at an adjournment debate on the waterways the Minister made some very helpful comments. IWA’s approach of co-operation rather than confrontation seems to have raised its credibility in government circles, as indicated by Clive Henderson’s appointments as BWAF Chairman and an ‘Observer’ to the BW board (see right). IWA does not believe that these represent a conflict of interest, but will keep this under review. The financial climate is now very different from when the SOW and SOS campaigns were launched. Then, Defra and the waterways appeared to have been singled out. Now there are deep cuts across most government departments. When the Comprehensive Spending Review outcome is known, a key question will be whether waterway funding has been disproportionately reduced.

CLIVE JOINS BW BOARD BW and Defra are considering the creation of two new positions of Special Advisors to the BW Board to support the proposed transition to third-sector status. While these deliberations are in progress, Clive Henderson (IWA National Chairman) will serve as Observer to the Board, attending all its meetings until the final selections are made.

Some may be concerned over possible waterway closures, and there can be no guarantees. IWA will fight suggestions of any permanent closures, and will strive to ensure that any unforeseen temporary closures are rectified as soon as practicable. The proposed new governance arrangements would give IWA and appropriate waterway societies a key role in setting local priorities and making any future difficult decisions.

BW chairman Tony Hales said: “We have to begin a root and branch change in the way managers, users and campaigners work together. I cannot think of a better person to help us start this process than Clive.”

IWA Bulletin, August 2010.

BW press release, July 2010.


tel: 01908 672672

Modern full-service marina in the heart of Milton Keynes

10 & 15 year

Leasehold moorings available at discounts


15 miles of lock free cruising

Brokerage New and used boats for sale

Onsite facilities Chandlery and full services Brokerage Workshop, slipway Secure carparking Pub with all day carvery Indian and Chinese takeaway

For Moorings Availability and Prices, visit us at Page 13

Notes on the Nene

Peter and Jane Caswell braved the River Nene for their ‘summer’trip in June. Many of you will have used this river on your way to the National at St Ives but, for those who haven’t used it for a while, here are a few observations:


Visitor Licences are now available for 1 day (up to 7 single days in a season), 7 consecutive days (1 per season), or 31 days (1 per season). We obtained our licence by post from the Peterborough office, whose staff were very helpful, but visitor licences can still be purchased at Gayton Marina. An Environment Agency key is needed for all locks and services, at a cost of £10 each.

One in three of the rivers in England and Wales are running low despite July being the wettest month of the year so far. Recent Environment Agency figures show that 17 of the 47 major river flows in England and Wales are below average.

The Dog-in-a-Doublet pub has been closed for two years, so don’t cruise down to the sluice expecting to have a meal and a pint when you get there. Walking along the road from the EA mooring to view the tidal side of the sluice is a risky business - take care if you do. We experienced lots of problems with blanket weed. On one occasion we stopped to clear the prop at a lock landing stage, but as soon as we moved off it fouled again in a matter of seconds. It was most prolific in the lock channels, and particularly at Cogenhoe.

Most of the rivers running lower than normal are in the South West, South East or Midlands, where people have enjoyed a hot, dry summer.

Beyond Northampton there are no official rubbish disposal points until Peterborough. The regulars apparently now know the collection days in the villages and put their sacks on the verge for collection. I saw boaters using the grounds maintenance skip at Rushden and Diamond FC, but this is wrong and not the answer. I shall raise this matter at Region as our Even in the North West, fellow Branches have closer contact with the EA. whe re there has been torrential rain recently, the river Dee is still “notably low” because of dry weather earlier in the year. Hire boat operators have had to relocate their boats east on the canal to West Yorkshire as a 60-mile stretch of the Leeds-Liverpool canal is closed. The Rochdale Canal is currently as yet unaffected by closure due to the ongoing water shortage, restrictions are however in place to conserve water. IWA Bulletin, August 2010.

Page 14

We noted that nearly all, if not all, the canoe portage points were incomplete. Perhaps there is some financial benefit to the EA in leaving them in this state - like the houses in Spain that do not have their block work rendered to save the owners having to pay a community tax on them! Although some additional moorings have been provided, they are generally in very short supply - you need to moor up early or you can easily cruise another 3 hours or more to find an overnight mooring. I read that at the new marina being built in Northampton, there will not be any car access, nor will there be any adjacent car parking, only a drop off point by the town lock. Access will be by a chauffeur-driven electric buggy! Despite keeping “all we might need” on our boat, we always have numerous boxes and bags to load before a trip. It's probably best not to want that buggy late on a Friday night! Peter Caswell.

Editor’s Page

For most people, interest in the recent past seems to kick in when we have aged and matured enough to put our childhood years (and maybe the years just before we were born) into their historical context. If we have the leisure time to indulge this interest, it may broaden to include more remote periods of the past.

A recent TV programme about the National Waterways Museum at Ellesmere Port made the point that nostalgia is all very well for the enthusiast visitor or dedicated museum volunteer, but it doesn’t pull in the typical punters in the form of Mum and Dad with their 2.2 children wanting a good day out. Mum and Dad may feel some affection for the 1980s or 1990s, but waterway history may be too distant to attract them and lead them into a wider interest - including active IWAmembership - until they are older. Children are interested in history in their own way - the Horrible History book series has been a phenomenal success. (Watch out for a new title "The Creepy Canals" - tunnel ghosts, murders on the cut, suffocation in smoke-filled tunnels, etc, etc.) Most children enjoy a hire-boat holiday, but it's an expense that many parents cannot afford. The WoW campaign is doing its bit to get children interested, and WRG attracts many energetic young adults. One thing worth trying might be a membership category for grandparents and grandchildren, at a price comparable to senior joint membership. If this mild bit of social engineering is tried, perhaps Branches could organise special meetings and events - such as quiz evenings and boat trips - to suit them. But I wonder whether the IWA, while not at all giving up on recruiting younger members, should nonetheless accept that they will always be hard to recruit because there are some phases of life (especially the teenage, parenting and career years) when people are just too busy. Maybe the Association should unashamedly make extra efforts at recruiting the generation coming up to retirement or just retired (do we advertise in Saga magazine or retirement advice magazines?). There are the energetic and experienced people most likely to become not just members, but active members. Les Franklin.

IT ONLY COSTS £1 . . . !

Michael Wright sent in this picture of something new to do with supermarket trolleys. He writes: “I suggest this exercise outweighs tipping them into our waterways. It could also become more popular than ”crop circle design”. And it only costs a pound! See you at Tesco . . .” Page 15

Getting in touch with MK Branch Your waterway news, views and comments are always welcomed by the Branch Committee. Here’s how to contact them. Email addresses are shown in “anti-spam” form - please type “@” or “.” as appropriate with no spaces. Full Committee contact details on request from Peter Caswell. CHAIRMAN and ACTING SECRETARY: PETER CASWELL 96 Gaddesden Crescent, Wavendon Gate, Milton Keynes, MK7 7SQ Email: iwamksec at caswell dot eclipse dot co dot uk VICE-CHAIRMAN AND PLANNING: JOHN HERRICK Email: johnherrick at talktalk dot net SECRETARY: VACANT MEMBERSHIP SECRETARY: PETE BICKERS Email: pete at srekcib dot freeserve dot co dot uk TREASURER: DAVE ROBERTS Email: mk dot iwa at taid dot info A DVE RTISE MENT S are welcomed to assist Branch funds. Suggested donations as below (payable to IWA Milton Keynes Branch) are requested before copy date above. Whole page Half page Qutr page Back page Inserts

Per issue: £32.50 £20.00 £12.50 £45.00 £15.00

3 issues: £65.00 £40.00 £25.00 £90.00 -

SOCIAL / PUBLICITY, & B-MKWT REPORTER: RODNEY EVANS Email: rodneyevans12 at o2 dot co dot uk BUCKINGHAM C.S. REPRESENTATIVE: ATHINA BECKETT Email: athinabec at aol dot com TRADE REPRESENTATIVE: JAMES GRIFFIN Email: james at canalholidays dot co dot uk MINUTES SECRETARY: MARIE DRAPER Email: marie239 at btinternet dot com ROY CLEVERLY Email: roycleverly at mypostoffice dot co dot uk DAVID KING Email: davidjsking at talktalk dot net SUZANNE TOMKINSON Email: suzanne dot tomkinson at hotmail dot co dot uk

DISCLAIMER: The views expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the Inland Waterways Association or of the Milton Keynes Branch. They are however published as being of interest to our members and readers. Get the latest waterway news at these web sites (addresses change frequently, but these were correct on 2.8.2010):

Page 16

MICHAEL WEINBERG Email: michael dot weinberg at btinternet dot com EDITOR: LES FRANKLIN Email: les at lesfranklin dot co dot uk WEBMASTER (non-Committee): VERNON DRAPER Email: vernon dot draper at btinternet dot com IWA: MK Branch: BW: (corporate); (leisure) The Waterways Trust: Bedford-Milton Keynes Waterway Trust: Buckingham Canal Society: WendoverArm Trust: and Friends of the Canal Museum:

Profile for The Inland Waterways Association


Towpath Telegraph September 2010


Towpath Telegraph September 2010