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May 2013


Journal of the IWA’s Milton Keynes Branch

The weary hopper crew arrives at New Bradwell during the Branch Clean-up on 22-24 March. They had braved biting winds and snow, amounting to near -whiteout conditions on the most exposed stretches. See the full report inside. Photo: David King. 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 May 2013 Towpath Telegraph . . . Spring seems to have sprung at last! Although it didn’t spring in time for the Clean-up, there is good news on Page 5 regar ding funding and recognition for this event. The weather also allowe d work to re-start at Fenny Lock—see Page 11. T here’s more Branch news on Page 6.

Chairman’s Column New mem bers Letter from Sussex Near-whiteout for Branch “ Spring” Clean -up Branch awarde d £1,000 to fund Clean -ups Clean-ups reach Waterways Renaissance Awar ds finals More Branch news Wyvern seeks to adopt Leighton Lock Diary Pages Name that meadow Wendover Arm Trust news Fenny Lock gets a spring clean Our local waterway projects Stamp Bank still going strong go from strength to Bedford-MK boat nears completion strength—see reports on NavCom seeks new recruits Pages 10, 12, 13 and 14. Bedford-MK route development continues An exciting time for Buckingham Canal Society No room for an Editor’s Lockside failure on Aylesbury Arm—lengthy stoppage likely page in this newsy edition— Have your say on HS2 we hope you enjoy it. Getting in touch with MK Branch

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

Chairman’s Column It appears that every waterway Chairman o r Ed itor is co mmenting on the weather - well, I am not going to break that trend. Ou r "Spring" Clean-up took place in exceptional weather! Spring -like it was not - it was the worst I can remember for a Clean-up. Thanks to all those who turned out, and especially to those hardy souls who continued through to the bitter end - and bitter it was. Read the fu ll report on Page 4. Membership of our branch continues to fall. Unfortunately new members gained are not keeping up with the ones not renewing. Your Committee identified 26 locations in which we have placed small stands containing membership leaflets in an attempt to spread the news of IWA and gain some new members; only time will tell if the effort proves to be worthwhile. If it is successful I am sure there are many more places we could roll it out to, but of course someone has to monitor the sites and refill the stands as necessary. At present we have as many sites as we can manage. In my Chairman’s report at the AGM, I omitted to thank the partners of the Committee members who work uncomplaining in the background (am I on dodgy ground here?), not seeking the limelight. I now put that right: thanks to you all for putting up with your partners disappearing off to Committee meetings leaving you to tidy the dinner plates, for taking the telephone messages, proof reading articles, having ideas bounced off you, having your holidays and away-days carefully planned not to clash with watery events, marking up leaflets, fetching and carrying, and the myriad other tasks. Without your support the Committee could not work. It’s been a very busy period for your Committee. We have said goodbye to Roy Cleverly who stood down after 16 years' service, and hello to two new members, Judith Annan (now our Secretary) and Lyn Banks, Judith and Lyn make for a better balance of our Committee’s gender ratio. We have responded to C&RT’s mooring proposals for the South East, with two of our Committee attending the review of the results. We applied to the Bedfordshire and Luton Community Foundation’s Luton Airport fund for a grant towards the cost of our clean ups and I am pleased to record that we were successful. We have also entered our Clean-up project in the Volunteering category of Page 2

New Members

Chairman’s Column—continued the Waterways Renaissance Awards. See Page 5 for details and latest T he members below have joined the Branch since the news on both of these. last TPT . We hope to see

The princely sum of £1,600 was donated to waterway good causes. you at our events or meetRodney Evans and I have been attending meetings on the future of ings soon—please introduce Bulbourne Yard near Tring. Although just out of our area, it is an yourselves. iconic part of the Grand Union’s history, and we are keen to ensure Mr D & Mrs S Fothergill, Clophill Mr J Gardner, Buckingham that the best use is made of the site and that its heritage is protected. Mr A J Keel, M aulden Mr P & Mrs C Lavin, Luton

In our area we have agreed to distribute the Boat Safety Scheme’s booklet on the prevention and recognition of carbon monoxide poisoning, but unfortunately due to the atrocious conditions on the Clean-up weekend, this got off to a slow start. Our Lock Ransom takes place on 24-27 May at Three Locks, Soulbury - we had a heat wave last year - maybe that’s the place to be! The response so far to our appeal for help has been, shall we say, below narrowboat cruising speed. I know many of you are reluctant to commit too far in advance, but it does help our case in appealing to C&RT for reserved moorings if we know how many boats are attending. Your Committee also needs to judge whether we have enough folk to make the event work. S o even if you are only a "maybe", please tell me or any other Committee member.

Letter from Sussex Former Branch Chairman Tony Collins has written to say that, due to advancing age, he and Diana have reluctantly sold their narrowboat We stmead: We're not on our last legs by any means - nothing that a full service an d a fe w ne w parts couldn’t cure - but as we ha d such a terrific time in MK, we felt we couldn’t stop boating without passing our grateful thanks to the Branch Committee and members for making our stay so memorable. We enjoyed every minute of it.

On 27 July, the Linslade Canal Festival will take place at Tiddenfoot Waterside Park. We have attended for many years to promote IWA (and of course in particular our Branch), but for the last few years, due to a lack of support from branch members, we have shared a stand with Buckingham Canal Society. You need only commit for a few hours, and if we have enough people there is time for all to have a wander around and see all the other stalls and demonstrations. It is very much a country fair theme with many crafts represented. If you can help, please talk to Les Franklin or Dave Roberts (the old hands), or my- We plan to do some touring in the summer, by car or self, or any other Committee member. Have a happy summer - I hope we have one for all our sakes - cruising or whatever else you may be doing on or off the water, and I look forward to seeing you at our social/education evenings starting in September, if not before. Peter Caswell, Branch Chairman.

coach - the local firm do a good line in day trips or short breaks. And we promise we won't be joining the Zimmer frame race on Eastbourne sea front just yet!

We also hope to join in a Clean-up dinner or two, and IWA Northampton Branch has agreed with Canal & River Trust to the Christmas social. It will be good to catch up with adopt the 17-lock Northampton Arm of the Grand Union Canal. you for all the news. Until then take care, all of you, The Branch will use funds raised from its annual boat rally in Beck- and we hope you have a ett’s Park to purchase new equipment for litter picking, hedge mainte- good boating season.


nance, painting and other tasks on the Arm's locks and bridges. It is hoped that volunteers from the Friends of Beckett’s Park, Northamp- With all our best wishe s, ton Open Space, Barclaycard, and other organisations will participate. T ony & Did. IWA press release, March 2013.

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Near-whiteout for Branch “Spring” Clean-up Thirty-four heroic volunteers battled in atrocious weather to complete the Branch's socalled Spring Clean -up on 22-24 March. Organised in partnership with the Canal & River Trust and sponsored by the Wyvern Shipping Co Ltd, the event was also funded by Bedfordshire and Luton Co mmunity Foundation’s London Luton Airport Operations Fund (see opposite).

The loaded hopper arrives at Wolverton . Photo: Rodney Evans.

Among the 10 tons of items dredged from the Grand Union Canal between Fenny Stratford and Wolverton were 20 supermarket trolleys, 27 bicycles, assorted traffic cones and road signs, a huge tractor tyre, mattresses, carpets, mowers and other garden tools, domestic white goods, severed tree branches, and other debris. Two small boats (one home-made) were recovered (it is not recorded whether they were licensed!). Twenty four black plastic sacks were filled with litter from the towpath and offside banks. Canal & River Trust provided the workboats (70-ft hopper and 40-ft pan), and a dredger crewed by Paul Swaby and Ian Tyler. They gave very necessary assistance in retrieving the heaviest items and, together with C&RT volunteer leaders John Highmore and Miriam Tedder, contributed wholeheartedly to the success of the Clean-up. The hopper, towed by David King aboard Jappa, was manned by grappler teams led by James Griffin (Friday and Sunday) and Mike Harper (Saturday). The pan, manned by volunteers collecting rubbish from the offside bank, was towed by Jonathan Brown aboard Brown Trout. Other volunteers used grappling hooks from the towpath and bagged up towpath rubbish. Conditions on the Saturday were especially poor, and the leaders of the Scout group from Leighton Buzzard quite correctly decided to withdraw from the event. The biting winds and snow deteriorated to a near-whiteout at Target Turn. Thankfully though, all had been well fortified by a splendid lunch generously laid on by Lionhearts Cruising Club at their base at Linford. That evening, Marie and Vernon Draper once again organised a meal at the New Inn, New Bradwell, which was enjoyed by those who attended. Marie and Vernon also provided the boat-based refreshments throughout the weekend. A most welcome donation of £30 was received from Julia & Richard Cook (J & M Canal Carrying Co), who sell fuel from their narrowboat Towcester. The Clean-ups make a real difference in navigating their deep-draught boat though the MK stretch. An icy Sunday morning started with the hopper resembling a skating rink, and the bag of rock salt provided by C&RT was completely used in keeping surfaces safe. The crew was joined by Martin Page 4

Branch “Spring” Clean-up—continued Cook, an assessor for the Waterways Renaissance Awards (see right). Sunday lunchtime saw the Clean-up flotilla arrive at the Galleon, Wolverton, without mishap. Final operations were somewhat hampered by the presence of three boats on the towpath moorings that had been reserved by C&RT for Clean-up vessels.

Clean-ups reach WRA finals

T he Branch has entered the Clean-ups in the prestigious Waterways Renaissance Awar ds competiton—the “ Oscars of the waterways”. Branch volunteers contributed a total of 335 person hours. This in- Awar ds asse ssors visited cludes some boat travelling time for those who attended by boat, but earlier this year for a presendoes not allow for the road travelling time of other volunteers. An tation, and an assessor atestimated further 50 hours was put in by David King and others to tended the March Clean-up.

organise and run the event. To this must be added the paid time spent by C&RT staff. Entries must relate to proThe Branch is grateful to Canal & River Trust, Wyvern Shipping Co Ltd, Lionhearts Cruising Club, J & M Canal Carrying Co, Bedfordshire and Luton Community Foundation’s London Luton Airport Operations Fund, and all who turned out to make the Clean-up a success once more despite the appalling weather. Information from Rodney Evans and David King.

Branch awarded £1,000 to fund Clean-ups We are pleased to announce that the Branch has received a £1,000 award funded by the Bedfordshire and Luton Co mmunity Foundation's London Luton Airport Operations Fund. The award is to be used to defray the costs of mounting the two Clean-up weekends in 2013. The award recognises the direct costs incurred by the Branch, and also the considerable costs incurred by the volunteers themselves in attending the Clean-ups. In making our application, Tony Collins and Peter Caswell set out typical costs per Clean-up, including repair and replacement of grappling hooks, food and refreshments, paper and printing ink for posters, Health & Safety leaflets, sign-in book, etc. The heaviest costs for volunteers are those for fuel.

jects that are located on or adjacent to a UK inland waterway, are innovative and inspirational, involve participation by a range of partners, have enriched the enjoyment of the waterway, and have a proven track record of success. In their submission in the Volunteering category, Tony Collins and Peter Caswe ll referred to the obvious environmental benefits of the Clean-ups, and also to the social benefits such as community involvement, and the educational opportunities for youth groups taking part. We are delighted to say that our submission has reached the finals. Winners for each category will be announced at a ceremony in Birmingham on 23 May.

Excellent Boats on a Beautiful Canal Our base at Linslade is within weekend reach of the Waterways Museum at Stoke Bruerne, or the Chiltern Hills and Aylebury. Choice of exciting one- or two-week cruises including the Thames. 35 luxury boats, 2 to 8 berth. Boat Builders - Repairs - Dry dock - Blacking - Repaints Waterside holiday cottage

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d s an e k a ir re r t b eekl y h o h S w Page 5

More Branch news At the Branch A GM on 25 February, Roy Cleverly stood down after 18 years on the Co mmittee including six years as Branch Chairman. In paying tribute to his service, Peter Caswell said that Roy's wise counsel and eagle eye for errors would be much missed. See also photos below. Peter welcomed two new members to the Committee: Judith Annan and Lyn Banks. The meeting ratified donations from Branch funds to waterway causes, and accordingly cheques for £350 each were presented to representatives of Bedford-Milton Keynes Waterway Trust, Buckingham Canal Society, Waterway Recovery Group (BITM) and Wendover Arm Trust. At the Committee meeting on 14 March, Committee posts were filled by former post-holders, and in addition Judith Annan has bravely taken on the job of Branch Secretary, for which the Committee is most grateful. The updated Branch contact list will be found on the back page. At the following Branch meeting (25 March), Peter Caswell presented a cheque for £200 to James Clifton (Canal & River Trust) for the viewing platform project at the Wolverton Iron Trunk. James Griffin of Wyvern Shipping Co Ltd presented a cheque James Clifton and Peter Caswell. Photo: Les Franklin. for £100 to Peter Caswell as sponsorship for the recent Clean-up, and also cheques for fuel to Jonathan Brown and David King who skippered the towing craft for the Clean-up. At the Committee dinner on 4 March (held every year to welcome new members and thank those retiring), Roy Cleverly was presented with a splendid stool painted in beautiful roses-and-castles style, as well as a thank-you card containing a montage of images of his boat Imogen Rose (now sold). Left: Peter Caswell applauds as Roy receives his gift, and (right) Roy and his wife Evita pose together to show it off. Photos: Les Franklin.

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Wyvern seeks to adopt Leighton Lock Wyvern Shipping Co Ltd is to seek agreement from Canal & River Trust to adopt Leighton Lock. An initial work party was arranged for 16 March. James Griffin writes: Despite the cold and rain we had ten volunteers for the work party - seven from Leighton Buzzard Canal Society, Julie from Network Rail, Derek and myself from Wyvern, and Miriam Tedder from C&RT. The rain stopped about 10.30, and we moved the hopper into the lock and lowered the level until the gunwales were level with the lock side. This made loading with wheelbarrows very easy. We set to with shovels and forks to clear three tons of vegetation left by a previous BT work party for disposal. We then cleared 20 years of BW rubbish—old bags of wood, broken paddle gear—from inside the pump James and volunteers at Leighton Lock. cement, -house. Ed from C&RT saw that nothing of value was thrown away—there was virtually nothing of any use, so the hopper was soon very full. Without road access BW had used the pump-house as a dumping ground when doing maintenance at the lock. We then cleared the outside coal bunker from the days of steam-driven back pumping. By 13.30 we had cleared the lock surroundings and pump-house just as it started to rain again. That afternoon I backed Ocean Princess from the yard and with Julie's help delivered the hopper to Grove lock for unloading first thing Monday morning. On the Wednesday, with the help of Mike Palmer, I delivered the empty hopper to Fenny Lock for the M K Clean-up the following weekend. Altogether it was a very successful work party, and we can now think about planting and lock painting in the summer. Thanks to all those who made the day such a success.


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Diary Page We hope to see you at our activities during this summer—let’s hope we get a decent one this year! Here are details of our o wn events (bol d type), and a selection of events organised by others. And we look forward to meeting again at the Pavilion in September. 3-6 May

Northampton Branch Boat Gathering. River Nene, Beckett's Park Northampton. Boat competitions, live music and real ale bar, boaters’ auction, IWA sales, guided town walk, and photographic competition. Info:

4-6 May

IWA Canalway Cavalcade 2013. Little Venice, Paddington, London. Boaters’ gathering, pageant of boats, trade shows and stalls, kids’ activities, Morris Dancers, real ale bar, food. Sunday: procession of illuminated boats at 21.00. Info:

Monday 6 May

MK Marina Open Day. Milton Keynes Marina, M K6 3BX Activities on and around the water, displays by local waterway groups. Info:

11-12 May

An Introduction to Canal Painting, with Terence Edgar. The Canal Museum, Stoke Bruerne, NN12 7SE 2-day course - booking essential. £85 per person including materials but not lunches. Info:

18-19 May

Rickmansworth Festival. Batchworth Lock and Rickmansworth Aquadrome. Music and performing arts, displays, traders, boats and catering. Info:

25-27 May Branch Lock Ransom Weekend, Three Locks, Soul bury. Our major fundraising event for waterway causes. Sat. ev: Bring-your-own barbecue, weather permitting. Sunday: finish ti me depending on boat traffic. If you can offer hel p, please contact Peter Cas well. 25-27 May

Crick Boat Show, Crick Marina. Waterways heritage and wildlife, boat trips, trade and craft stalls, food, and loads for the children. Info:

14-16 June Stoke Bruerne Gala, Stoke Bruerne, NN12 7SE Boat trips through Blisworth Tunnel, historic boats, children's entertainment, canal craft demonstrations, music and much more. Info: 14-16 June Great Linford Waterside Festival, Linford Manor, MK Weekend of music and attractions for the whole family. Info: 22-23 June Blisworth Canal Partnership Photo Exhibition, Blisworth Village Hall. A much-awaited exhibition of the late Jim Payler's photographs of the local waterways. Info: Page 8

Diary Page—continued 13-14 July

Buckingham Canal Society Canal Festival, Cosgrove Lock. Details TBA:

19-21 July

IWA National Festival, Cassiobury Park, Watford. Boats, accessories, food, IWA shop, crafts, waterway skills workshops, Spitfire flypast (circumstances permitting), music, fairground. Info:

Saturday 27 July Linslade Canal Festi val, Ti ddenfoot Waterside Park. Branch sharing pitch wi th Buckingham Canal Society. We welcome your hel p for this event—please contact Dave Roberts or Les Franklin. Saturday 14 September 10.30am

Walk the Route to the Bedford junction of the Bedford-MK Waterway. In association with Bedfordshire Ramblers. Meet at Aspects Leisure Centre, Newnham Avenue, Bedford, MK41 9LW Follow the Great Ouse to Kempston Mill, option to return by the new Bedford Community Boat (subject to weather conditions and availability). Info:

14-15 September

Stoke Bruerne Village at War Weekend. All the usual nostalgia, including Spitfire display (Sat only), living history groups re-enactors, character actors. Info:

Sunday 15 September 11am on

BMKWT Heritage Day, Church of St Lawrence, Broughton, M K. Waterways and local heritage talks, followed by barbecue (small charge to cover costs) in the grounds of the Old Rectory next door Info:

Monday 23 September

MK Branch meeting. MK Village Pavilion, Worelle Avenue, Mi ddleton, MK. Croati an cruising vi deo by Rodney Evans, and Members’ Boating Forum.

Name that meadow

Ownership of the plot of land to the east of the Tiddenfoot footbridge, Linslade, has been transferred fro m Canal & River Trust to Leighton-Linslade Town Council, as part of the Council’s plans for the southward extension of the Ouzel Valley Park. The plot is occupied by the sweeping curved ramp that leads up to the towpath side of the bridge. Organisations and townspeople were invited to suggest names for the land. Among the suggestions were: Arrietty’s Acreage (from The Borrowers), Oliver Pike Garden (after a local naturalist), Lovat Mead or Meadow (an alternative local name for the Ouzel), Bevan’s Mead or Meadow (after Benjamin Bevan, the local canal engineer), Tiddenfoot Meadow, and Sand Wharf Meadow. On 11 February, the town’s Leisure and Community Committee chose Peace Meadow, put forward by the Leighton Buzzard and District Archaeological and Historical Society, as it marks the spot where Edward the Elder, King of Wessex, made peace with the Danes in AD 906. Page 9

Wendover Arm Trust news WAT GRAND DRAW 2013—T wo books are enclosed with the printed edition; please spread these around to friends and families. Apologie s if you do not require tickets, but you might like to make a donation to the T rust instead. Wyvern Shipping has donated a week’s 4-6 berth boating holiday, and Grebe Canal Cruise s has donated a day boat hire. T here is a flight with Vir gin Balloon Flights, £100 in cash from Barry Martin, a Swarovski necklace, and many other prizes. If you can donate a prize, please contact the T rust. There is one certainty: someone is a winner. Please ensure that all tickets have at least a name and telephone number on them, and return all tickets to Michael Wright, 54 Meadowcroft, St Albans, AL1 1UF, by 27 August. For more tickets, please send an S.A.E. to the same address, or telephone 01727 860137.

Wendover Arm Trust's recently elected Chairman Paul Leech is determined to keep the Trust in the public eye, and is seeking members' help in ensuring that its display stand attends as many local events as possible. A series of new leaflets is being planned, and members' help with old or recent photographs of the Arm, knowledge of local history, wild life and walks is being sought for these. In February, four Trust Council members met members of the Wilts & Berks Canal Trust to discuss topics of mutual interest, especially funding possibilities. The Wilts & Berks project is a formidable task, with 68 miles of waterway to restore and 400 landowners to negotiate with! WAT still requires about £400,000 to complete Phase II of the Wendover restoration. When Phase II is complete, the budget for Phase III stands at £2.6 million. The Trust's Council has had much discussion as to whether to repeat its “Walk an Arm's Length” in 2013. The 2012 event, though highly successful, was a huge task for its organisers, and there was concern that a repetition too soon would attract less public support. It has therefore been decided that a repeat event will be considered for 2014. During January and February, the poor weather prevented any work on bank and bed re-lining. Seven days were spent pumping out as much water as possible between Little Tring and the end of completed lining, 1,275 metres in length. However, good progress was made on scrub bashing the towpath bank between Little Tring and Bridge 4, and preparing the base for a bench seat that Ray Powell, a former IWA Chiltern Branch Chairman and Director of the Trust, is installing in memory of his late wife, Ann Powell. At Whitehouses (see photo), it has been found necessary to remove an old cherry tree whose roots are causing damage to the brickwork of the settling tank and wharf wall, and could also affect the 200-year-old shaft that takes water from the canal into the heading connecting to Wilstone Reservoir. The WRG Forestry Team has agreed to take the tree down. C&RT are arranging a bat survey in the shaft. The Trust has come to an agreement for further tipping on the Herts County Council land at Bridge 4A, to support the base of a former council tip that is moving towards the canal. At the January and February working parties, small trees and scrub were removed to clear the site. Three mature trees will also be removed on condition that they are replaced with new plantings when the tipping is completed. The WRG Forestry Team has also agreed to deal with these three trees, and they will be cut into logs for sale to raise funds for the restoration.

Masonry at Whitehouses, seen in 2012. Photo: Les Franklin. Page 10

Work parties in the immediate future will be devoted to bed and bank lining on Phase II. In May, a KESCRG work party will continue restoration work at Whitehouses. Condensed from Wendover Arm News, Spring 2013.

Fenny Lock gets a spring clean At last the weather improved enough to convene another Work Party on 8 April. At the Lock itself, arms and gates were repainted with wh ite Sadolin after cleaning and rubbing down. The new sections of fence at the Refuse/Sanitary Station were painted, and the majority of the rest was second-coated Autumn Gold by Mike Harper. Mike and Judith Annan completely rubbed down and repainted the motor cycle barrier gate assembly in white Hammerite. The swingbridge decking and adjacent paving was cleared of moss and dirt, and white ironwork was washed and partly touched up with white Hammerite. Pat Titmas and Lynda Holgate did much of this, but all helped too. A C&RT logo was put in place over painted-out graffiti on the Lock signpost. The map near the railway bridge was thoroughly cleaned by Mike Annan, including removal of graffiti. Future work will include re-painting of lock arms and gates as necessary, and stencilling the lock number (22), preparing and painting edge masonry, washing and painting the fence north of the Pump-house, and re-planting of hanging baskets for the summer.

STAMP BANK STILL GOING STRONG A reminder that the IWA/ WRG Stamp Bank is still open for business, and raising funds for waterway restoration. Your used postage stamps (trimmed to leave 1/4-inch margin, please), aluminium cans and foil, coins and banknotes (British and foreign), coupons (e.g. petrol station vouchers), empty toner and inkjet cartridges, and old mobile phones—all these can be turned into cash!

Please send them to IWA/ Stamp Bank, 33 HamC&RT has been asked to waterproof the lock-up roof, as damp is get- WRG bleton Grove, Emerson ting in to tools and materials. Rodney Evans is in touch with Milton Valley, Milton Keynes, Keynes Council over the overgrown state of the Broadwalk, and it is MK4 2JS., or contact Steve hoped that the exterior of the Red Lion public house will be refur- on 01908 520090 or email bished when the weather improves. Information from Rodney Evans.

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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 c handlery purchases and services in the yard to IWA members. Page 11


The B&MK Co mmun ity Boat is nearing comp letion, with wo rk ahead of schedule and delivery expected at the end of April. Following a competit ion early this year, the boat has been named John Bunyan. The winning name is seen as having a strong lin k with the town of Bedford, and will be familiar to both locals and tourists.

Training to Maritime and Coastguard Agency standards has begun for over 40 crew members, and this Bunyan takes shape. will be intensified when the boat is John Photo: Colecraft Ltd / B&MK Waterway Trust. delivered. For Boatmasters, the training is particularly demanding, requiring competency in first aid, firefighting, and river rescue. A Search and Rescue plan has been drawn up, which identifies over 20 rendezvous points where emergency vehicles could gain access to the boat's route if necessary. John Bunyan is scheduled for at least 92 trips between June and September. Brochures have been published, and a web site goes live soon. The booking lines are already open (9.30 to 13.00 every day and 13.30 to 17.00 Wed and Thurs), on 0330 1239 511 (from mobiles as part of call allowance) or on 0800 3282 803 (free from a landline). A small team is making feverish preparations, but many more volunteers are still required to spread the load: booking line operators (do this from your own landline), business managers, administrators, co-ordinators for special trips such as Santa trips, service and maintenance personnel, as well as more boat crew, and people to do just a one-off task or two. Volunteers will be offered free prelaunch trips on the boat with their families to test out all systems before the first paying passengers come aboard. If you can help, please contact Roger Crews via the booking line (see above) or email

NAVCOM SEEKS NEW RECRUITS IWA's Navigation Co mmittee, a sub-committee of the trustees, is looking to recruit new members. It has responsibility for preparing policy and directing campaigns on all issues involving navigable waterways in the UK. Its particular remit is to strengthen the Association’s work in representing boat-owners’ interests, as well as promoting improvements to the waterways for all users and the wider public. It meets six times each year in the Midlands, but there is also much work done between meetings. The Committee is seeking members with a sound knowledge of boating, and extensive knowledge of the waterway network, and who have time to commit to IWA’s cause. There will be meetings to attend, guidance to be written, research to be undertaken, media to persuade, and members to be listened to. Technical boating knowledge, a keen understanding of social media, and a determination to help improve the waterways would all be invaluable attributes. If you feel you could help out, please contact Alison Smedley for an initial chat, by telephoning 01538 385388, or by email at Page 12

. . . AND BEDFORD-MK ROUTE DEVELOPMENT CONTINUES There is much activity underway on developing proposals for several sections of the route. MK Council has set up a project team to look at the options for the route from the Grand Un ion to Broughton Brook. Route A (the waymarked route) dates from the time of the Lottery bid. From a junction with the GU near Childs Way, it passes south of Willen Lake, crossing the Ouzel, then north of Fox Milne roundabout, and joins Broughton Brook nearby. However it would require a costly underpass under Brickhill Street, and the path round Fox Milne roundabout is very tight. Route B leaves the GU opposite Campbell Park, runs between the two Gulliver sites, and passes under Brickhill Street via an existing pedestrian/cycle underpass. It crosses Willen Lake via a buoyed channel that takes it under Portway. It crosses the Ouzel, then passes between Portway and the Pineham sewage works to join Broughton Brook. Route C is the latest variation. It follows Route B as far as Willen Lake, but continues north before crossing the Ouzel further downstream. As with the other routes, an aqueduct is needed for the Ouzel crossing, but this route crosses downstream of a weir which could allow for a lower aqueduct. All routes then follow Broughton Brook towards Kingston Bridge and Junction 13 of the M1. At Eagle Farm North, on the western approach to the M1, warehousing development is proposed. Work has been done in order to understand the constraints for the route, and engineers have produced Courtesy B&MK Waterway Trust. a design that takes these constraints into account (see diagram). The route has to lock up to pass over a high pressure gas pipeline. Three further locks take the route up and over the A421 to a short summit level at a height suitable to pass under the Cranfield-Wavendon Road. A further lock lowers the route to pass through the cattle creep beneath the M1 at Junction 13. On behalf of Central Beds Council, Halcrow is conducting a study for the Ridgmont Station area, via the Prologis Amazon warehouse and beside the Bedford - Bletchley railway. As electrification is due to commence soon, and the waterway route passes through a pinch point here, it will be vital to avoid Network Rail installing hardware on the line of the planned route. Jim Stirling, former technical Director at the C&RT, is studying the feasibility of options for surmounting Brogborough Hill. Halcrow is working on the design for the waterway to pass beneath Station Road at Marston Moretaine, taking a planned cemetery into account. Agreement has been reached regarding the construction of the waterway through the Covanta "waste to energy" development at Bedford. As a Planning obligation, Covanta has to provide for the waterway through its site, including two road crossings and the prior positioning of electric cables. Covanta will give the local authorities the ÂŁ3,375,000 funding required to construct this section of the waterway, and part of this sum will be paid in advance of the site becoming operational to enable detailed design work to be done. The agreement is regarded as setting a good precedent for ensuring that developers play a full part in delivering the waterway. Information from B-MKWT newsletter, April 2013, and Broughton Update meeting papers, March 2013.

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An exciting time for Buckingham Canal Society The planning application to Aylesbury Vale District Council fo r re-watering Bourton Meadow has been approved, and WREN has awarded us a grant of ÂŁ 69,985. Over the last few months our volunteers have completed preparing the site before contractors start work on re-lining, and have been assisted by pupils from Furze Down School. Waterline So lutions are the company selected to reline the canal. We hope this work will start in June, and the Bourton Meadow stretch will reappear as a proper canal once again. The Society has adopted the Cosgrove end of the canal from Canal & River Trust. Trials to re-water this section will take place over several weekends in May. This includes building bunds at every 200 metres, then filling the spaces between with water and monitoring the seepage, and of course hoping the water stays in the canal bed! The outcome will hopefully be yet another stretch of the canal in water. In preparation for this, training sessions for our volunteers to learn to drive excavators and dumper trucks were arranged over a weekend in March at Bourton Meadow, as the Dumper training at Bourton Meadow. Photo: Richard Lewis. C&RT will only allow trained operators on site at Cosgrove. This proved to be a very successful weekend with several volunteers now able to drive both excavators and tracked dumper trucks. Now of course we have to join up both ends, and that will take more time, with support from our members and funding via grant applications. There is much enthusiasm for this, and significant interest from our Patrons and various organisations. So there's a lot of hard work taking place at present, but also some fun events planned, such as our Canal Festival which takes place on 13-14 July at Cosgrove Lock. All IWA members are very welcome to join us and help us raise funds to restore the Buckingham Canal. Athina Beckett.

Boat Safety Certification Alan Stewart Lloyds Academy Diploma in Small Craft Surveying Ex-Merchant Marine Engineer

Authorised Boat Safety Scheme Examiner Visit my website: Contact me by phone on 01234 767156 or mobile 07976 900113 Alternatively e-mail me at: Page 14

Lockside failure on Aylesbury arm - lengthy stoppage likely On 28 March, the towpath side of the lock chamber at Lock 12, Buckland, on the Grand Union Aylesbury Arm subsided into the lock. The whole of the lock chamber wall has buckled into the lock chamber by about 3 feet, leaving the lock impassable. Canal & River Trust has closed the canal from locks 11 to lock 13 until further notice. There is local speculation that nearby development has altered groundwater conditions, leading to the collapse. C&RT is investigating. The chamber wall will need to be rebuilt, so a lengthy stoppage is likely. Boats based in Aylesbury Canal Basin are trapped—a particular hardship as they were also trapped for long periods during the water shortages of 2011-12. A crane-out may need to be organised. Repair work has already begun, with the aim of opening in time for the August Bank Holiday weekend. Information from C&RT and IWAweb sites. Photo: IWA web site.

Have your say on HS2 IWA is co-ordinating a campaign to modify and improve the alignment of the HS2 rail route where it adversely impacts on the inland waterways - both for existing navigable waterways, and for those under restoration. All IWA Branches are being consulted, as they may have members who go boating in the affected areas, so MK Branch wants your views. The waterway locations affected by Phase 2 of the scheme are listed at: Full details of the HS2 proposals can be seen at: IWA wants to know the views of members on the following (it doesn’t matter how near or far away from the areas affected you are): 1: Which of the proposed crossings do you think are of the greatest concern to waterways interests? 2. Is there anyone who would like to join the working group on this issue? 3. How do you rate the importance of this issue for IWA to tackle? Please let Peter Caswell or Les Franklin have your thoughts by 18 May, and we will co-ordinate a Branch response. Meanwhile, discussions are continuing on the two major concerns on HS2 Phase 1. They are the sizeable bridge required over the Digbeth Branch of the Birmingham Canal Navigations, where the railway is planned to enter the new Curzon Street station, and the proposed double crossing of the Trent and Mersey Canal either side of Woodend Lock, where there are concerns that the line will damage the tranquil environment that the listed lock and house currently enjoy. Page 15

Getting in touch with MK Branch At February’s AGM, Roy Cleverly stood down from the Committee after many years of service (see Page 6), and we welcomed Judith Annan and Lyn Banks. Here is the updated Committee list.





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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 members and readers. Get the latest waterway news at these web sites. Addresses change frequently, but these were correct on 16 April 2013.

T RADE REPRESENT ATIVE: JAMES GRIFFIN Email: MARIE DRAPER Email: LYN BANKS Email: DAVID KING Email: PHILIP ST RANGEWAY Email: EDITOR: LES FRANKLIN Email: PLANNING (non-C’tee): T ONY BIRCH Contact via Les Franklin. INSURANCE/RISK ASSESSMENT (non-C’tee): MICHAEL WEINBERG Contact via David King. WEBMAST ER (non-C’tee): VERNON DRAPER Email: 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: Friends of the Canal Museum: Leighton Buzzard Canal Society:

*** STOP PRESS *** Jonathan Brown welcomes your help in doing some minor repairs to the WOLVERTON TRAIN MURAL (frost damage, some graffiti). He is flexible on dates, so let him know when YOU can be available. Contact him via Athina Beckett — see above. Page 16

Profile for The Inland Waterways Association

Towpath Relegraph May 2013  

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

Towpath Relegraph May 2013  

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