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January 2013


Journal of the IWA’s Milton Keynes Branch

David and Jan King met up with this unusual craft and its captain on the Grand Union during August. Luke Parry, who is studying engineering at Warwick University, was raising money for the British Red Cross by sculling from Birmingham to Little Venice, sometimes in dreadful weather. The IWA (registered charity no. 212342) campaigns for the restoration, conservation and sensitive development of the waterways, and for their fullest commercial and recreational use consistent with safeguarding their historic and natural environment. If you are not a member and would like to find out more: * contact any of the Branch Committee listed on Page 16; * contact IWA Head Office on 01494 783453, or visit the web site:

Welcome to January 2013 Towpath Telegraph . . . The Branch’s recent efforts on the volunteering front have earned much praise from the Canal & River Trust—see the items on Pages 4-5 and 10-11. On other pages, you’ll find the Notices for the Branch and Region AGMs, news of efforts to secure the longterm future of the Bulbourne site, local Trust and Society news, and of course a report on the Branch’s Christmas social. A really “newsy” edition— we hope you enjoy it.

Chairman’s Column New members Message from Pat Pickup MK Branch Autumn Clean-up Northampton Gathering 2013 Music all the way at the Branch Christmas social Bedford-Milton Keynes Waterway news MK Visitor Moorings Diary Pages IWA Milton Keynes Branch AGM notice Fenny Lock Adoption Scheme makes progress C&RT Volunteering Update What future for the Bulbourne site? Aylesbury Canal Society’s new home to be ready in 2013 Buckingham Canal Society news WAT “Walk an Arm’s Length” raises £13,500 IWA Eastern Region AGM notice The Editor’s Page Getting in touch with MK Branch

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

Chairman’s Column What a year 2012 was! The Thames Pageant, the Olympic Games with our athletes' bestever performances, Bow Lock reconstructed but hardly used for taking materials to the Olympic site, C&RT came into being, the economy in the doldrums, prices rising quicker than the weeds along the Northampton Arm, and incomes pegged. So after the next couple of above-inflation rises, it's good to hear that boat licences on C&RT waters will not rise by more than the inflation rate (not so for Environment Agency waters though). We had a dire water shortage (no, let me finish!) in the spring, then far too much in the "summer" and autumn. A few crew and craft had lucky escapes. A narrowboat on the Nene was washed onto a weir and sank later - the crew of two scrambled to safety. A different kind of flood led to a narrowboat on the Thames sinking in seconds. It had been overplated, and the extra weight brought its engine-room air vent too close to the waterline. The five crew had no lifejackets, and they - and their dog - were extremely lucky to be rescued. The St Pancras Cruising Club, C&RT and Port of London Authority all have information available, as does the main IWA website, but last time I checked the information on VHF radios, this had not been updated (Navigation Committee please note!). If you intend to cruise the tidal Thames, make sure your boat and crew are suitably equipped - we don’t want our membership numbers falling any more, thank you. By the time you read this, C&RT will have been in existence for nearly six months, so what has changed since BW passed the helm to them? Although C&RT staff are on the whole ex BW, they do seem to be more buoyant and outward looking. In the South East area we are fortunate to have two excellent volunteer co-ordinators who have worked very well with our Branch; let's hope they stay. Also noticeable is the explosion of volunteer-led projects, and our Branch is right in there at the top - see Pages 10-11. I think this is a commendable start; could we extend it in the future? If you have any ideas or wish to participate on workdays please contact Rodney Evans who is the project co-ordinator and is, may I say, doing a grand job. It's also good to see that Northampton Page 2

Chairman’s Column—continued Branch are going to adopt the Northampton Arm, and that Buckingham Canal Society are adopting the whole of the Buckingham canal including the stretch in water and the lock at Cosgrove. We have been highly commended by C&RT on our Autumn Clean-up - see Pages 4-5. As usual, our efforts were generally appreciated by other canal users, who took a great interest in what we were doing at Leighton Town Bridge where the C&RT dredger was used to lift some heavy items. After mechanical and electrical problems on two boats, replacement vessels were quickly found, underlining the spirit of those who take part. Thanks to all who made the event such a success. Recent EC proposals threatened boating on UK inland waterways—ceasing the use of red diesel, annual safety checks, and a helmsman’s licence for you or anyone you allow to steer your boat. Thanks to all who wrote to their MEPs expressing opposition. The threat has now receded so that by the time you read this it will almost certainly have been kicked out—for now! It's essential we make our views known; if we just leave it to someone else, the results could be dire. It's worth mentioning a recent article which reminds us all to watch our speed. Wash, or lack of it, is not everything; speed has to take into consideration the canal width and depth, the draft and hull shape of your boat, the bank construction, and whether moored vessels are present. Just because you are not making a wash, this does not necessarily mean that your draw (the water ahead of you which will be drawn past your prop) will not pull out the pins of moored boats ahead. This brings me to one of my pet gripes. Often when passing a boat, however slowly, you will see it pulled towards you, then pulled towards you again as you have passed it. Inevitably this is a result of the mooring lines being at 90 degrees or so to the bank, creating a parallelogram. The bank can’t move, so the boat does! If the occupier puts “springers” out at an angle at bow and stern, movement will be at a minimum, and he will not need to shout out "Oy - slow down!". My email box is open to receive all views, opposing or otherwise! Thanks to all who have switched to receiving TPT electronically. Every penny counts, particularly now that HO plans to reduce the percapita payments towards the cost of printing and distribution. If you know anyone who may be interested in advertising in TPT, please speak to Les Franklin our Editor; advertising helps towards costs too. Milton Keynes IWA is "Your Branch"! Please let me know the things you like, or any ideas you may have on how we can improve. Contact me first preferably, but any Committee member will forward your comments. All praise or criticism will be discussed at Committee. I hope your Christmas was a happy one, and I wish you all the best for the coming year. I also hope that the weather will be more amenable to enjoying our wonderful waterways. Peter Caswell, Branch Chairman.

New Members

We welcome the following new members to the Branch. We hope to see you at our meetings soon—please introduce yourselves to a Committee member. Miss R Barnish, Bedford Mr H J Beales, Wolverton, MK Mr & Mrs J Clarke, Linslade, LB Mr C Fisher, Westoning Ms S Knight & Mr A Markiewicz, Biggleswade Mr T & Mrs L Munton-Willis, Leighton Buzzard Mr & Mrs G J Scott, Edlesborough Ms J Thompson, Stoke Goldington Mr S A & Mrs D R Webb, MK Mr I Wilmer & Ms E Payne, Tring

Message from Pat Pickup I would like to thank everyone who made a donation to St John’s Hospice, in memory of Ian, for their immense generosity. A total of £874 was collected at Ian’s funeral, and St John’s will be able to claim a further £113 in Gift Aid. We are really pleased with the amount donated, and very, very grateful. Thank you all. Page 3

MK Branch Autumn Clean-up “truly one of the best supported and best organised events . . . ” - Jeff Whyatt, C&RT

Watched by the hopper crew, the C&RT dredger hauls out a motorbike. Photo: John Highmore.

The latest Clean-up took place on 20-21 October, once again sponsored by the Wyvern Shipping Company, and supported by Canal & River Trust. We opted for one of our occasional clearances southwards from Fenny Stratford, as far as Grove Lock, south of Leighton Buzzard, and were fortunate to have two fine dry days for the event. A total of 41 IWA volunteers took part, contributing 314 man hours of volunteer time. Paul Swaby and Ian Tyler operated a Canal & River Trust dredger in support of the volunteer effort. The dredger was once again vital to the recovery of large and heavy items, particularly a metal drum found near Town Bridge, Leighton Buzzard. We also had the pleasure of the company of two other C&RT staff, John Highmore (Saturday) and Miriam Tedder (Sunday). This clean-up removed nearly 10 tons of rubbish from the canal and adjacent towpath and banks. Among the huge variety of items dredged from the canal were a drum with 200 metres of fibre optic cable, a generator, lawnmower, dishwasher, 3 motorbikes, 21 bicycles, 17 car and lorry tyres, a television, a sewing machine, 2 wheelbarrows, and the usual cull of shopping trolleys (17 this time). Some 20 black plastic sacks of litter were retrieved from the towpath and offside banks. Among the unusual finds was an extremely ugly marionette, which for some reason was immediately named "Little James", and seems destined to appear at future Clean-ups! Despite this, James Griffin did his usual stint in charge of the hopper crew, and also organised the meal at The Globe Inn for the Saturday when 39 people attended and enjoyed a pleasant evening. Page 4

Meet “Little James”!

MK Branch Autumn Clean-up—continued Another find was a keep-net full of Signal Crayfish, (right) which Miriam Tedder took home for her tea! Thanks go to all who gave of their time to support the event, but we must single out Geoff and Trish Wood on Shannon for special thanks because they stepped in at very short notice to tow the C&RT Flat when Brown Trout (Jonathan Brown and Athina Beckett) was struck down with a mechanical failure. Particular thanks are also due to the refreshment providers, Peter and Jane Caswell on Caspar and Jan King on Jappa who succeeded in making a dirty weekend that much more bearable. It was particularly nice to have Peter Caswell, our Branch Chairman, with us. Thanks also to Julia and Richard, who trade as J & M Canal Carrying Company on Towcester. They made a donation of £25 towards Branch costs in recognition of our efforts.

Northampton Gathering 2013 IWA Northampton Branch hopes to stage its annual Boat Gathering on the River Nene at Beckett's Park, Northampton, as normal on 3-6 May. The 2012 Gathering was postponed, then cancelled, because of drought followed by high river levels. This May’s Gathering will feature the regular attractions, such as boat handling competitions, the Westbridge Arm Challenge, and Saturday evening musical entertainment. Friday evening is earmarked for a special meet and greet gettogether, including a barbecue. Sunday evening’s quiz session will kick-off with a fish/chicken and chips supper. A real ale bar will also be available throughout the weekend.

Jeff Whyatt, C&RT Waterway Manager, South-East, writes: This is truly one of the best supported and best organised events in the calendar. With John and Miriam now understanding more about the detail on the ground, the better chance we have of getting other groups to replicate elsewhere. The commitment of MK IWA with James' direct support is never taken for granted, and I would like to extend C&RT's massive gratitude yet again for what is achieved twice yearly. Further details and entry

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Reports of this Clean-up have appeared in Waterways World and in Eric Young on 862988. Email: IWA’s Bulletin. The next Clean-up is on 22-24 March—Ed. From text by Rodney Evans, John Highmore, David King, Miriam Tedder and Jeff Whyatt.

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Music all the way at the Branch Christmas social With Wendy and Rodney Evans in charge throughout as mistress-of-ceremonies and funny-stories-man respectively, it was music all the way at the Branch Christmas social on 10 December. After a quiz set by Tony Collins, first act was Annie Roberts with a boaters' song by Barry Goodman:

And we’ll meet together when we get the chance And we’ll sing and we’ll play for the old step-dance

At the Navigation and the New Inn too, We’re going to have a bit of a do!

The Grapplers (Joseph Cresswell, Dave Roberts, Dave Darvill and Martin Banks, pictured above) were next, in languid mood, with a "Boaters' Lullaby" to the tune of Gershwin's "Summertime": Summertime, and the cruising is easy Fishermen jumping, and the toilet is high!

The water's shallow, and the scen'ry's bucolic, But wait, little boater, pump-out's nigh!

Heather Darvill re-cycled Julie Andrews' "Favourite Things", listing some of the not-so-favourite infirmities of increasing years; the applause was heartfelt! Martin Banks and his friend Neil followed, with a medley of Buddy Holly songs and others, accompanied on squeeze-box and guitar. Evita Cleverly's performance of a Christmas song "When a Child is Born" was unfortunately beset by problems with the PA system, but she persevered and received warm applause. Then Dave Roberts returned solo with "When We're on a Clean-up" to the tune of George Formby's "When I'm Cleaning Windows": James makes all the grapples, to drag along the bottom, When we first unpack 'em, it's three prongs each has gotten. When the working day is through,

those three prongs have become just two, James's welding just won't do When we're on a clean-up!

Rodney had interspersed all these acts with his stories, but his funny hat had gradually adopted an increasingly unsteady angle. All was clearly not well, and he was suddenly hustled off the stage by Doctors Cresswell and Darvill, complete with white coats and stethoscopes. After presumably receiving a calming injection, he was allowed to continue! The Grand Finale was a communal song to the "Teddy Bears' Picnic" tune, with words by Wendy Evans celebrating the Branch’s adoption of Fenny Lock: If you go down to the Lock today You’re sure of a big surprise. There’s lots of wonderful things to see You’ll never believe your eyes.

For every bod that ever there was Has gathered there together because Today’s the day the Lock begins its facelift!

It only remained for Athina Beckett to supervise the raffle draw, in which around twenty prizes were won. Among the guests, it was good to see Pat Pickup, recovering well from a recent accident. Thanks to Michael, Tracy and the Pavilion staff for the meal, to all the entertainers, to Wendy for organising them, and to all who contributed to the evening. Text and picture: Les Franklin. Page 6

BEDFORD-MILTON KEYNES WATERWAY TRUST NEWS The third annual Partnership Conference was held on 2 November at the Open University, chaired by Graham Mabbutt (Chairman of the Trust) and attended by some 100 delegates representing all interests in the Project. The programme included updates on the Project progress from the respective chairs of the two Consortium Delivery Steering groups (MK to M1 and M1 to Bedford).

MK Visitor Moorings

Jim Stirling (former Technical Director, BW and C&RT) gave a superb presentation on the Scottish Canal achievements, particularly the two east-west canals and the Falkirk Wheel – an exhortation to the The Branch has expressed Trust to seize the Brogborough Hill challenge! concern to C&RT regarding the




Further planning work and land agreements have been completed in Moorings throughout our the last year: initial actual digging should start in the Bedford Innova- stretch of the GU. Existing moorings have been abused tion Park site next year. The Bedford Community Boat project is moving forward. All money is to hand including loans, and the building contract for £115,400 is being awarded to Colecraft (the full value of £125,000 is made up by component sponsors). Bill Joyce is in charge of training of 16 helmsmen. Over 70 volunteers have come forward for all aspects of the boat operation, but several key management jobs remain unfilled. Good Friday 2013 remains the proposed start-up date. Rodney Evans.

by boats overstaying the designated time limits, preventing genuine visiting boats from using them. The Branch has made suggestions to C&RT on locations for Visitor Moorings, and for their more effective management.

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; - 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 7

Diary Page We look forward to seeing you at our meetings at the Pavilion (directions below), which continue on Monday 28 January. Our own events are in bold type; selected events held by others are in regular type. For more information on our own events, please contact Rodney Evans unless other Committee members are named (contact details on back page). For other events, sources of information are given where known. Tuesday 8 January IWA Northampton Branch Meeting, 8pm Building and Rebuilding of Blisworth Tunnel, with David Blagrove. The Walnut Tree, Blisworth. Saturday 26 January Buckingham Canal Society AGM and social evening 7.15pm Buckingham Community Centre, MK18 1RP

Monday 28 January MK Branch meeting: Historic Waterway Films. 8pm MK Village Pavilion, Worelle Avenue, Middleton, MK. Wednesday 6 February Bedford-Milton Keynes Waterway Trust 7 - 9pm Members & Local Community Update & Social. Drinks and nibbles with informal Q&A. The Broughton Hotel, MK10 9AA

Monday 25 February MK Branch AGM (see Agenda opposite), and 8pm TV Visit to GU in MK area - UK Boating TV films. MK Village Pavilion, Worelle Avenue, Middleton, MK. Wednesday 20 March IWA Eastern Region AGM, at Peterborough & District Indoor Bowls 7.30pm Centre, Burton Street, Peterborough, PE1 5HA. See Page 15 for Agenda.

Getting to the Pavilion

From H6 Childs Way (M1 or Central MK), turn south at Fox Milne roundabout into V11 Tongwell Street. Pass under a bridge, then turn right into Griffith Gate (signed Middleton and Milton Keynes Village). At next roundabout, turn right into Worelle Avenue. The Pavilion is clearly marked on the left after about 1/4 mile. Going north along Tongwell Street, cross H7 Chaffron Way at Monkston roundabout, then take first left into Griffith Gate, then as above. Arriva bus No 8 leaves Central MK Station (stop Y2) at 1922, calls at the Point (stop L3) at 1930, and arrives Tongwell Street (stop ) at 1946. Return bus services leave at 2155 and 2225. Footpath leads from stop (northbound) to Tanfield Lane, for access to Worelle Avenue.

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Diary Page—continued Thursday 21 March Friends of the Canal Museum meeting at the Canal Museum, Stoke 8pm Bruerne, NN12 7SE "Raymond's Progress" – talk by Steve Miles.

22-24 March MK Branch Canal Clean-up, Fenny to Wolverton. Contacts, timings and other details will be announced at Branch meetings and on the Branch pages of the IWA web site:

Monday 25 March MK Branch meeting: The Foxton Inclined Plane restora8pm tion, with Michael Beech, Museum Keeper and Secretary, Foxton Inclined Plane Trust. MK Village Pavilion, Worelle Avenue, Middleton, MK Monday 22 April MK Branch meeting: Waterways Photography Secrets, 8pm with Robin Smithett, much-published photographer. MK Village Pavilion, Worelle Avenue, Middleton, MK. Monday 6 May MK Marina Open Day. Activities and displays on and around the water. Milton Keynes Marina, MK6 3BX

IWA Milton Keynes Branch AGM Notice is hereby given that the Annual General Meeting of the Milton Keynes Branch of the Inland Waterways Association will take place at Milton Keynes Village Pavilion, Worrelle Avenue, Middleton, MK10 9AD, on Monday 25 February 2013, at 7.45pm. Agenda (please bring this notice with you): 1: Apologies for absence 2: Approval of minutes of meeting held on 27 February 2012 3: Matters arising 4: Chairman’s report 5: Secretary’s report (item will be used to

remind members of vacancy) 6: Treasurer’s report, and accounts for year ending 31 December 2012 7: Adoption of accounts 8: Election of Committee members

After the formal business, there will be an opportunity for members’ questions on IWA issues topics at the discretion of the Chairman. Under the IWA Branch Byelaws effective from 12 November 2007, there is no restriction on the maximum size of the Committee. Pete Bickers, David King and Dave Roberts retire by rotation; all seek re-election. Any corrections to the above will be announced at the meeting. Candidates for election or re-election must be paid-up members of the Association. It is no longer necessary for those who wish to be elected to be nominated and seconded, but all who wish to stand must agree to do so. In the current absence of a Branch Secretary, written consents from Branch members wishing to stand for election should be sent to Les Franklin, at 5a Grange Close, Leighton Buzzard, Beds, LU7 2PW, or by email to no later than 14 days before the meeting. After an interval, a UK Boating TV video entitled “TV Visit to GU in MK Area” will be presented. Page 9

Fenny Lock Adoption Scheme makes progress Since the Branch adopted Fenny Lock and surroundings last August, several work parties have taken place. Rodney Evans (Project Co-ordinator) and his volunteers have already made a significant impact on the area, clearing vegetation, removing rubbish, and repainting the lock, adjacent fences, seats, sanitary station area and Pumphouse doors. The appearance of the Pumphouse was further enhanced on a rainy 15 October by the arrival of two staff from nearby Dobbies Garden World, with a car-load of donated goodies. These included shrubs, herbs, spring bulbs, hanging baskets and other garden sundries. Rodney Evans and his volunteers had already prepared the small raised beds flanking the Pumphouse entrance, and under the guidance of Stewart McCullough, Plant Supervisor, Dobbies, they began positioning the plants and settling them in. They were fortified by tea and coffee served by Miriam Tedder, Vol- Stewart McCullough (Dobbies) supervises planting of the raised beds on 15 October. Photo: Les Franklin. unteer Leader, C&RT. By lunchtime almost all the plants were in place, transforming the front of the Pumphouse and promising an even better show when they are established. There is a mix of permanent plants (box, rosemary and other herbs), bulbs (tulip, daffodil), together with others such as sweet williams and pansies that can be replaced to give variety through the seasons.

One of the completed beds. Photo: Les Franklin.

The Branch is most grateful to Dobbies Garden World for this support for the Branch's efforts to help enhance the lock and its surroundings. Travis Perkins (Fenny Stratford) is also supporting the scheme by donating paint and other materials to supplement those supplied by Canal & River Trust.

Calling John Mayhead Your name was drawn as the winner from those recently agreeing to receive TPT on-line. Peter Caswell has tried without success to contact you to arrange handover of your prize (bottle of wine). Please contact Peter by the end of January, after which the bottle will be added to the stock of Branch raffle prizes. Page 10

Fenny Lock—continued On 12 November, the adoption was officially marked when Miriam Tedder presented Rodney with the Trust's Waterway Adoption Certificate. The scheme covers the length of the Grand Union between Bridges 94 and 96, with the lock and Pumphouse as the chief features of interest.

Rodney Evans accepts the Adoption Certificate from Miriam Tedder, with (left to right) Peter Caswell, Philip Strangeway, Lynda Holgate and Pat Titmas. Photo: Wendy Evans.

Future work includes completion of various painting and tidying jobs around as the weather permits, liaison with adjacent landowners regarding improvements to buildings and hedges, and meeting with other local stakeholders to investigate co-operation.

C&RT Volunteering Update Both the Fenny Lock Adoption and the Branch’s Clean-ups have received honourable mention in a C&RT Volunteering Update for November. At Fenny, passers-by are reported to have remarked how neat and tidy everything now looks. The Fenny Lock team is also stated as having been the first group to register under the Trust’s Adoption Scheme. The Update mentions the MK Branch Clean-up as being “impressive not only in its scale, but also in the extent of its organisation and the results it produces . . . The list of items pulled out of the water is truly mind-boggling” See the Volunteering Update at:

Grove Lock. A pub for all reasons and all seasons. A warm welcome from Gregg, Angela and the team at Grove Lock. Pop in for a drink of one of our outstanding caskconditioned 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, near Leighton Buzzard, LU7 0QU Tel: 01525 380940. Email: Page 11


On 24 October, Peter Caswell and Rodney Evans represented IWA MK Branch at a meeting called by Canal & River Trust to discuss the future use of the Bulbourne site. Since lock gate production ceased there some years ago, the yard has housed a blacksmiths' business and an archive store. However, some aspects of existing arrangements are not considered sustainable, and could lead to deterioration of the Listed buildings. The following points were made during the discussion: The site should be accessible to the public, and should be a part of the local community. It could serve as a “hub” for visitors to the area. Links to nearby heritage assets such as the dry dock, reservoirs and nature reserve, should be developed and enhanced. Pedestrian access could be improved with a footbridge across the canal, or adjoining the existing road bridge. The wharf, working yard and gantry crane should be retained. Possible use as a trip-boat base was mooted. There is no need for additional boater facilities, as users are served well locally. Status of the moorings on site should be reviewed. Local employment opportunities should be considered, including sponsorship of apprentices and links with local business. The site could provide a good base for a waterways or volunteer group. This could include an Education Centre or Meeting Room. The potential of the C&RT land owned opposite the site should be explored. This could provide a good location for a community building or visitor centre. It was stressed that any proposals need to make a commercial return, and that there are significant costs and hurdles that will need to be overcome before any development can take place. C&RT has set up a joint venture company, to ensure careful control over the yard's development and respect for its heritage features. Bulbourne yard’s tower. C&RT will now consult with the local Planning authority and other Photo: Les Franklin. community groups, and start to take the development forward. Edited from C&RT meeting notes.

Aylesbury Canal Society’s new home to be ready in 2013 Construction work began in October at the Aylesbury Canal Society's new home at Circus Field, Aylesbury. There will be a new basin with up to 40 moorings, clubhouse, and wet and dry docks. The Society has occupied the terminal basin at Walton Street since being founded in 1971. The move to Circus Field will allow Aylesbury Vale District Council's Waterside development to be completed. The Society, renowned for its warm welcome to visiting boats, looks forward to attracting many new members and visitors to its new base. ACS news release, October 2012. Page 12

Buckingham Canal Society news Work parties have moved to our Bourton Meadow site on the outskirts of Buckingham. Volunteers are preparing the site so that hopefully re-watering can take place next year. To keep within AVDC environmental regulations, the canal bed is being strimmed from end to end, and trees growing too close to the offside are being removed. At a later stage the offside hedge will be re-planted with saplings of native species. Furze Down Special Needs School asked us if we could provide practical tasks for pupils taking part in the Bronze Duke of Edinburgh Awards scheme. The two sessions held so far at Bourton Meadow have worked well for volunteers, staff and pupils. More sessions are planned for the future. The Canal & River Trust has asked BCS to consider adopting the canal at Cosgrove, and possibly Cosgrove Lock. Further discussions are taking place, with a meeting planned with Jeff Whyatt, Neil Owen and Lee King. We are studying the work being carried out already by IWA MK Branch at Fenny Lock, which we feel has progressed well, and hope we can come to a similar arrangement with C&RT at Cosgrove. We feel this would give the Society more of a presence in the Cosgrove area, and may encourage local residents and boaters to get more involved with the canal and lock, and possibly with the Society. The Society has a new web site that will be “going live” shortly, and hopes that IWA members will find it useful and user friendly. Future date for your diary: our Cheese and Wine social evening and AGM will take place at 7.15pm on Saturday 26 January in the large hall at the Community Centre, Cornwalls Meadow, Buckingham. Steve Miles will be our speaker, with a talk entitled “Narrowboat Raymond Revisited”. Athina Beckett, Chairman and Work Party Organiser.


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WAT “Walk an Arm’s Length” raises £13,500 The Wendover Arm Trust’s “Walk an Arm’s Length” sponsored walk event on 2 September took on enhanced importance this year when the Trust decided to cancel its June Festival at Boxmoor due to initial concerns about water supplies, followed by slow exhibitor take-up in the face of competing Jubilee events. Your Editor, and Mrs Editor, had a most enjoyable day taking part in the Walk, which was well organised, with marshals directing walkers at road crossings, and plenty of opportunities for refreshment. We were struck by how very pretty the Wendover Arm is, especially at the Wendover end. There was much to see on the way, including an exhibition of items found during the restoration, volunteer work going on at Drayton Beauchamp (right), and Tringford Pumping Station opened for the day. Many thanks to all those who sponsored us. We raised £645, plus Gift Aid of £96.25—a grand total of £741.25! You can see a full log of our day at:

Volunteers at work on the day of the Walk. Photo: Les Franklin. Almost 400 walkers took part in the event, but not all sought sponsorship. The final profit was over £13,500. “Reactions from walkers were overwhelmingly positive”, said Bob Wheal, Fundraising Director, “and we’re planning another Walk next year”. All the proceeds will be spent on materials and construction for the restoration. LATEST: WAT has just elected a new Chairman—Paul Leech—a seasoned waterway activist and a semi-retired civil engineer. Paul was also, as it happens, the first owner of your Editor’s house! We wish him well in his new post.—Ed.

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IWA Eastern Region AGM

Notice is hereby given that the Annual General Meeting of the Eastern Region of the Inland Waterways Association will be held on Wednesday 20 March 2013 at the Peterborough & District Indoor Bowls Centre, Burton Street, Peterborough, PE1 5HA, at 7.30pm.

Agenda (please bring this notice with you): 1: Apologies for absence 2: Approval of minutes of the AGM held on 14 March 2012

3: Matters arising from those minutes 4: Chairman’s report 5: Election of Committee members

The Chairman of the Region is elected in a separate ballot, and the Chairmen of each of the Branches within the Region are members of the Region Committee ex-officio. There is an election for the remaining members of the Committee. Under the 3-year rule, the period of office of those elected at the 2010 AGM comes to an end at the forthcoming AGM. Those elected in 2010 were John Hodgson, David King, Nigel Long and Peter Webb. All are eligible to stand again for election, although Nigel Long has indicated that he will not be standing. There is no limit to the number of members of the Committee, and therefore no limit to the number who may stand for election. It is no longer necessary for those wishing to stand for election to be nominated and seconded, but all who wish to stand must agree to do so. Consents from Region members who wish to stand for election at the 2013 AGM must be deposited with the Region Secretary, Nigel Long, at 7 Georgian Court, Peterborough, PE3 6AF, or by email to before the start of the Annual General Meeting.

The Editor’s Page This edition of TPT marks something of a change. First, it has been produced using new software, which we hope will lead to an improvement in the quality of colour images. Secondly, this edition has been printed by a firm local to IWA Head Office, then posted out from there at a considerable saving in postage costs. The envelopes have been stuffed by volunteers local to Head Office, so our grateful thanks go to them for this work for MK Branch. Although Head Office is thus now involved in the process of getting TPT to you, editorial control remains with the Branch. It’s a lot of new things to try out all at one go, so we hope it all goes smoothly! A bonus of the new printing arrangement is that we can have colour on the front and back pages at no extra cost. Far from discouraging you from opting to receive TPT electronically, we hope this will serve to whet your appetite for the all-colour on-line edition—allowing us to make further savings on postage! Let us cross our fingers for brim-full reservoirs and trouble-free cruising this year. In the summer (19-21 July), we have a National Festival to look forward to, quite near at hand at Cassiobury Park, Watford. The Festival is being put together by IWA’s Festivals Team, working with Watford Borough Council, IWA Chiltern Branch, Rickmansworth Waterways Trust and the Wendover Arm Trust. The event Chairman is Michael Stimpson, whose name will be well known to many members. The intention is to create a sustainable legacy of an annual waterways festival for the Watford area, to complement the current Rickmansworth Festival. Let’s wish them all success. Happy New Year! Les Franklin, Editor. Page 15

Getting in touch with MK Branch

The Branch AGM takes place on 25 February, and it’s your chance to offer to help the Committee run the Branch. We are still without a Vice-Chairman, Secretary or Education Officer, and would be pleased to receive any offers of help.. The contact list below is valid until the AGM. CHAIRMAN: PETER CASWELL Email:






ADVERTISEMENTS are welcomed to assist Branch funds. Suggested donations as below (payable to IWA Milton Keynes Branch) are requested before copy date above. Per edition Whole page £32.50 Half page £20.00 Qutr page £12.50 Inserts £15.00

3 editions £65.00 £40.00 £25.00 -


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.

EDITOR: LES FRANKLIN Email: PLANNING (non-C’tee): TONY BIRCH Contact via Les Franklin. INSURANCE/RISK ASSESSMENT (non-C’tee): MICHAEL WEINBERG Contact via David King. WEBMASTER (non-C’tee): VERNON DRAPER Email:

Get the latest waterway news at these web sites. Addresses change frequently, but these were correct on 04.11.2012.

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IWA homepage: MK Branch pages: at above address, under “IWA Local”, select “Milton Keynes”. Canal and River Trust: Bedford-Milton Keynes Waterway Trust: Buckingham Canal Society: Wendover Arm Trust:

Towpath Telegraph January 2013  

The magazine of the Milton Keynes Branch of the Inland Waterways Association

Towpath Telegraph January 2013  

The magazine of the Milton Keynes Branch of the Inland Waterways Association