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January 2014

TOWPATH TELEGRAPH

Journal of the IWA’s Milton Keynes Branch

 Autumn

Clean-up report

 Buckingham re-watering  B-MKWT

and WAT news

Frozen in: a wintry but colourful scene at Leighton Buzzard in February 2012. We wish readers a “good road” and a very Happy New Year. Photo: Les Franklin. 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: https://www.waterways.org.uk


Welcome to January 2014 Towpath Telegraph It’s good to have Peter Caswell taking an active part in Branch affairs after his transplant—we have a Column (below) from him again this time! The Autumn Clean-up was as productive as ever, thanks to the more antisocial of MK’s inhabitants, but this time there were fewer supermarket trolleys than usual—see Page 4. We offer sincere congratulations to Athina Beckett and her volunteers for the rewatering of the Bourton stretch of the Buckingham Canal—see Page 6. We hope you enjoy this edition.

Chairman’s Column New members HLF award for Stoke Bruerne Another ten tons . . . Robin Smithett Buckland Lock is re-opened John Bercow re-opens 400 metres of Buckingham Canal Roy Cleverly receives Richard Bird Medal Diary Pages IWA Milton Keynes Branch AGM IWA Eastern Region AGM Bedford-Milton Keynes Waterway news: John Bunyan receives “Pride in Bedfordshire” award 4th annual Partnership conference Princess on VIP trip MK Mayor hosts Charity Dinner Paul Strudwick (London Region Chairman) writes Wendover Arm Trust news Agreement with Tesco for Broadwalk clearance Another convivial Christmas social Northampton Boat Gathering C&RT Stoppages Getting in touch with MK Branch

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

Chairman’s Column It is always difficult writing this column for January’s edition - I am scribing away in 2013 and you will not read it until 2014 - but here goes! I will first take the opportunity to reflect on our Branch’s achievements in 2013. We staged two Canal Clean-ups (successful as always), supported this year by a grant from Luton and Bedfordshire Community Foundation’s London Luton Airport Operations Fund. This was used to buy equipment to make the task easier and slicker, personal protective gear, and to partly reimburse those taking part for fuel costs. Wyvern Shipping also continued their sponsorship, which is much appreciated. We also received a commendation from the Waterways Renaissance Awards scheme for our Clean-ups. See Page 4 for a report on the Autumn event. We raised record funds at our Lock Ransom Weekend in May, and we had a presence at the Linslade Festival in July. Improvements at our adopted stretch at Fenny Lock continued apace (with a lot more planned for 2014). We were pleased at the award of a Richard Bird Medal to our own Roy Cleverly (see Page 7). Our programme of social/education evenings continues, and many of you will have enjoyed our home-produced entertainment at the Christmas Social (see Page 14). C&RT consultations on various matters took place in the South East Region, and Committee members attended to put forward the Branch's views. Many of you are also members of the Buckingham Canal Society, so I must also mention the historic re-watering of a section of the canal at Bourton Meadow (see Page 6). Well done BCS! 2013 was another traumatic year for me health-wise, but I was able to spend a couple of short breaks on Caspar with family before going into Harefield Hospital for the heart transplant which I was very fortunate to receive on 26 June. Afterwards I had a few return visits for treatment when I Page 2


Chairman’s Column—continued. did not need to stay on the ward all the time. I took the chance to explore the Grand Union on foot around Harefield and Rickmansworth as part of my exercise regime. I know that several of our members have not enjoyed the best of health in 2013; I hope you all enjoy improvements in 2014. What’s in store for us in 2014 and beyond? We will be starting the year with an adequate water supply, due to the measures put in place during the last drought (well done, C&RT). Hopefully supplies will be slightly less of a problem, in some areas at least! 2014 is the last year for above-inflation increases for the cost of your navigation licence (for 3 years anyhow). The outcome of the threat to end the use of red diesel for propulsion (EU pressure) is still to be decided. We can expect stricter control of the use of several visitor mooring sites in the south east (with charges for overstaying or returning too frequently), with more sites due to be included. Since 2008, leisure boat owners in France have had to install grey water holding tanks. How long before some Eurocrat thinks all EU inland craft should have them? Yes, detergents high in phosphates can encourage weed growth, and soapy water can cause problems with dissolved oxygen which may harm other aquatic wildlife, and boaters should where possible use phosphate-free detergents. Let's keep our house in order, so that no-one else tries to do it for us. After all, how many tanks can be fitted into a narrow boat—red diesel, white diesel, grey water, black water, fresh water, hot water, gas, beer . . . ? One of C&RT’s long-term aims is to encourage more people to visit the canals—a good thing of course—and the government has committed a large sum of money to help this. I do have some reservations, as I have enjoyed the relative peace of the system over the years. For example, improvements to towing paths makes them more tempting for cyclists. I am in favour of sensible cycling where the towing path is wide enough, but C&RT must deal with this issue early, so as to minimise the risks to other users. Another example is the proposed scheme, for either the South Oxford Canal or Weston Turville Reservoir, to create a “Blue Gym”. I would not want to see bodies doing sit -ups on the towing path with the aid of wooden rails painted blue and pink! But others don't share these doubts, and maybe this is the way we have to go if we are to attract the younger generation, who may want more than just a towpath to walk along through the countryside. C&RT trustees are keen to make the canals an “open air class room”. I would like our Branch to be involved in educating young people on the history of our canals and the benefits they can bring. We have been advertising for over two years for an Education Officer, a role that can be developed to suit the post-holder. If you are interested, or know of anyone who might be, please get in touch. Our AGM is due in February (see the Notice on Page 9), and if anyone would like to get on board the Committee and freshen up our ideas, please feel free to contact our Branch Secretary to put yourself forward for election. Wishing you all the best for the coming year and hoping that it is a kind one in all respects. Peter Caswell, Branch Chairman.

New Members

We welcome the members below who have recently joined the Branch. We hope to see you at our meetings— please introduce yourselves to a Committee member. Mr B & Ms L Ashmore, Northill Mrs H & Mr G Ashworth, Luton Mr R Green, Buckingham Mrs C Jones, Old Wolverton Rev M & Mrs E King, Welwyn Garden City Mr D Pym & family, Bletchley.

HLF award for Stoke Bruerne Canal & River Trust and Stoke Bruerne Canal Partnership have been awarded £67,000 by the Heritage Lottery Fund, for new information boards, family activity packs, and for training volunteers to give guided tours and work with local groups and schools. James Clifton, C&RT Enterprise Manager, said: “The award will allow us to tell the story of this historic site, through a series of panels along the canal, provide a more interactive experience, and better explain the waterway’s rich heritage”.

C&RT news release, October 2013.

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Another ten tons of rubbish, but not so many trolleys! A total of 298 volunteer hours were notched up by 35 IWA members during the Autumn Canal Clean-up through Milton Keynes on 18-20 October. Better-than-forecast weather was a welcome contrast to the Arctic conditions for the Spring event. Once again the Branch worked in partnership with the Canal & River Trust, six of whose staff turned out: Ian Tyler, Paul Bird and Wayne Moore manned the dredger, and John Highmore, Miriam Tedder and Nick Strivens provided active support to our volunteer team. After the Clean-up, we received the following email from Jeff Whyatt, C&RT Waterway Manager, South East Region: Dear David, Many thanks for the update. The input from your 35 volunteers is a continuing testimony to their tenacity in tackling the 'dumped rubbish' issue which does seem to be never ending along this area. I noticed the shopping trolley haul getting smaller— perhaps due to some of the restraint systems the supermarkets are increasingly using? The total recovery list is hard to believe, comical even if it were not true! Every time I read through the list I shudder to think what must be present in undredged areas. We must see if we can share this with a few other adoption groups to get them doing something similar in their localities. Really glad to hear that the person who fell in is ok, and appreciate your input and continued focus on safe working overall. Kindest regards, Jeff Whyatt, Page 4

Volunteers busy on the hopper. Photo: Vernon Draper. The Clean-up was again sponsored by the Wyvern Shipping Co, and was the second of two supported by a grant from Bedfordshire and Luton Community Foundation's London Luton Airport Operations Fund. The 70-foot hopper, from which submerged items are grappled, was towed by Jappa, steered by David King who also organised the event. Brown Trout (Jonathan Brown and Athina Beckett) towed the 40-foot pan that collected rubbish from the off-side. Other members dredged from the bank and litter-picked the whole length of the towpath. One volunteer accidentally fell into the canal, but was swiftly recovered and suffered no after-effects. The life jacket had inflated correctly. The 10 tons of rubbish included an answering machine, a wheel clamp, golf bag, an epee (who is for fencing?), a fridge-freezer, 2 baby buggies (fortunately minus babies!) and chocolate bars (abandoned by Weight Watchers?), not to mention car parts, road furniture, assorted metal and plastic objects and 24 bicycles (mainly dumped in the Wolverton area) all dredged from the canal. Many black bags were filled with litter collected along the towpath. Why must certain people pollute this beautiful waterway and green corridor? On a more optimistic note, only five supermarket trolleys were recovered—the lowest


Another ten tons—continued. number that anyone can remember.

BUCKLAND LOCK IS RE-OPENED

One concern was the volume of cut branches recovered from the water. Some were of significant size, and branches accounted for about a third of the contents of the hopper. There seemed little doubt that these branches had been left by contractors engaged by C&RT to cut back foliage. This concern has been communicated to C&RT.

Following the collapse of one wall before Easter, Buckland Lock (12) on the Aylesbury Arm was reopened on 23 November.

On the Saturday, all those involved were once again generously provided with a hot lunch by Lionhearts Cruising Club. Julia and Richard Cook of the J & M Canal Carrying Co. also again supported the Cleanup with a donation in thanks for easing the passage of their fuel boat Towcester through Milton Keynes where dumped rubbish in the canal can cause serious problems.

The new lock wall has been formed from over 450 tonnes of concrete, braced with steel piling, and faced with 7,000 bricks. The top gate was replaced, the bottom gates refurbished, and the brickwork of the opposite wall and lock approaches re-pointed. Other work along the Arm was carried out during the closure.

Congratulations to all who took part for another job well done. The next Clean-up is scheduled for 11-23 April.

Information from David King and Rodney Evans.

ROBIN SMITHETT

We were shocked and saddened to learn of the sudden death on 15 November of waterways photographer Robin Smithett. Robin had been due to present his illustrated talk “Waterway Photography Secrets” to the Branch on 25 November. He had had to cancel a previous booking owing to ill-health while awaiting a kidney transplant. He had received this and had seemingly recovered well. Robin began to photograph waterways in the mid 1980s, his interest caught by the brightly coloured boats and picturesque scenery. He was a member of The Guild of Waterway Artists, providing high quality photos for the waterways press, and had a particular affection for Hotel Boats, which led to his book 'Precious Cargo', published in 2000 and widely acclaimed as their definitive history. We send our condolences to his wife Margaret and their family.

From IWA Head Office Bulletin, December 2013.

The completion was delayed three months by initial investigation work and the need to build an access road through the Arla Dairy development site. C&RT news release, November 2013.

Further down the Arm, Bridge 15 (Broughton) has been hit by an unknown vehicle, causing an estimated £30,000 of damage. It has been hit three times recently, and had only just been repaired after the last accident. Repairs are again under way. IWA HO Bulletin, December 2013.

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 Aylesbury. 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

The WYVERN SHIPPING Co Ltd

Rothschild Road, Linslade, Leighton Buzzard, Beds, LU7 2TF Tel: 01525 372355 Fax: 01525 852308 http://www.canalholidays.co.uk james@canalholidays.co.uk Members of IWA, APCO, BMF, B&MK Waterway Trust, Wendover Arm Trust, Buckingham Canal Society, Aylesbury Canal Society

d s an e k a re ir rt b eekly h o h S w Page 5


JOHN BERCOW RE-OPENS 400 METRES OF BUCKINGHAM CANAL

Photo: Richard Lewis.

On 26 October, Buckingham Canal Society celebrated the re-watering of the Bourton Meadow stretch of the Canal. The Rt. Hon. John Bercow, Speaker of the House of Commons and Patron of the Society, cut the ribbon to declare the stretch open. Athina Beckett, BCS Chairman and Work Party Organiser, recalls the day and sums up the Society’s immediate aims.

The turnout was very impressive, with approximately 200 people attending, including many of the Buckingham public as well as BCS volunteers and members. John Bercow gave his opening speech in a very novel way from a canal boat. The scissors to cut the ribbon were brought to him by canoe! This seemed to go down well with the public who enjoyed this extra piece of entertainment! The Mayor and Deputy Mayor of Buckingham, several Buckingham Councillors and the Head of Aylesbury Vale District Council were also in attendance. You can hear an audio clip of the speeches by John Bercow and Athina Beckett at: http://www.buckinghamcanal.org.uk/2013/11/bourton-meadow-grand-re-opening/ Whilst contractors had laid the lining in the canal bed, our volunteers had contributed 1,816 hours of work to the project at Bourton Meadow. This includes planting over 5,000 aquatic plants along the canal bank. Overall this year volunteers have worked over 4,000 hours on Bourton Meadow and on our three other sites. The Society is also very grateful to WREN, Aylesbury Vale Community Chest and Buckingham County Council Local Area Forum for the grants without which this work could not have taken place. As we had hoped, getting part of the canal in water has sparked a great deal of interest, particularly at the Buckingham end. The society must now build on this and keep the interest going and, over the next few years, work towards joining up the various sections of the canal. So that the Northampton side does not feel forgotten after Bourton Meadow (still a working project), plans are to move the work parties back to Cosgrove and continue the work of getting this section of canal in water, hopefully starting next year. A date for your diary: our 22nd Annual General Meeting (with a Cheese and Wine social) will take place at 7.15pm on Saturday 1 February at Buckingham Community Centre, Cornwalls Meadow, Buckingham. All are welcome. LATEST: Waterway Recovery Group has just donated its excavator (nicknamed “Blue”) to BCS.

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Roy Cleverly receives Richard Bird Medal At the October Branch meeting, Chairman Peter Caswell presented a Richard Bird Medal to Roy Cleverly. The Medal is awarded to those whose efforts and support are considered to have brought significant benefit to the Association over a sustained period. The following is taken from the citation that David King prepared for the Committee's nomination. According to IWA Head Office records, Roy joined the Association on 12 June 1972, and was from that time an active boater. (Roy says that prior to his arrival in Milton Keynes in 1994. he never held active posts in the IWA or any other waterways group, but attended fairly regular work parties from about 1986 to 1994 as a member of the Erewash Canal Preservation and Development Association—Ed.) He quickly secured appointment to the Branch Committee in Milton Keynes and became ViceChairman in 2000 when the Branch provided much volunteer support to the National Festival in Milton Keynes which took place the following year. Roy took over as Branch Chairman in 2002, and for the following 6 years remained in that post and regularly also attended Region Committee meetings. Roy was the main organiser, during his term as Chairman, of the twice -yearly Canal Clean-ups through Milton Keynes for which the Branch rightly secured much positive comment.

Branch Chairman Peter Caswell presents the Medal to Roy. Photo: Les Franklin.

Roy also organised the Branch’s major fund-raising event, the Lock Ransom weekend at Soulbury, and the Branch attendance at the Great Linford waterside festival where he used his boat to provide free rides to the public to promote the IWA. Roy had to stand down as Chairman due to the failing health of his partner, June Stevenson, herself a recipient of a Richard Bird medal, but remained a member of the Branch Committee up to the AGM in February 2013.

Boat Safety Certification Alan Stewart

Lloyds Academy Diploma in Small Craft Surveying Ex-Merchant Marine Engineer

Authorised Boat Safety Scheme Examiner Visit my website: http://www.boat-safetyexaminer.co.uk Contact me by phone on 01234 767156 or mobile 07976 900113 Alternatively e-mail me at: alan_breck_stewart@msn.com Page 7


Diary Page Our first meeting of the New Year takes place at the Pavilion (directions below) on Monday 27 January. We look forward to seeing you then, and at subsequent meetings. 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). Non-members are always welcome at our meetings. Monday 27 January MK Branch meeting: An Evening of Waterway Films. 7.45 for 7.55pm MK Village Pavilion, Worelle Avenue, Middleton, MK Saturday 1 February Buckingham Canal Society AGM and Cheese & Wine Social 7.15pm Buckingham Community Centre, Cornwalls Meadow, Buckingham

Monday 24 February MK Branch Annual General Meeting (agenda: see Page 9), 7.45 for 8pm and Quiz set by David King. MK Village Pavilion, Worelle Avenue, Middleton, MK Tuesday 11 March Northampton Branch meeting: Gloucester Docks, talk by 8pm Tony Conder, former Curator, Waterways Museum, Gloucester Walnut Tree Inn, Station Road, Blisworth, NN7 3DS

Monday 24 March MK Branch meeting: Lock Gates - building, repair & 7.45 for 8pm abuse, with Lee King & Neil Owen, Canal & River Trust. MK Village Pavilion, Worelle Avenue, Middleton, MK 11 – 12 April MK Branch Canal Clean-up - Fenny Stratford to Wolverton.

Two-day event to be trialled. Those attending by boat are asked to be at Fenny Lock overnight Thursday/Friday to ensure a prompt start on the Friday morning after a Health & Safety briefing at 09.30am.

Friday 10.00: Start Fenny, work to Giffard Park. Saturday 09.30 Work to Galleon, Wolverton.

Final details to be announced at Branch meetings and on MK pages of IWA web site: https://www.waterways.org.uk/miltonkeynes/cleanups

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. Page 8


Diary Page—continued. Thursday 17 April Friends of the Canal Museum meeting: Tale of Two Canals, 8pm talk by Steve Morley. Venue to be confirmed—see http://www.friendsofcanalmuseum.org.uk/

Monday 28 April MK Branch meeting: Tooleys Boatyard – past & present, 7.45 for 8pm with Matthew Armitage, Director, Tooleys Boatyard. MK Village Pavilion, Worelle Avenue, Middleton, MK 2 - 5 May

Northampton Branch Boat Gathering, Braunston. See Page 14. Details to be posted on Northampton Branch pages of IWA web site, or info from michael.butler@waterways.org.uk

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 24 February 2014, at 7.45pm. Agenda (please bring this Notice with you): 1: Apologies for absence 2: Approval of minutes of meeting held on 25 February 2013 3: Matters arising 4: Chairman’s report

5: Secretary’s report 6: Treasurer’s report, and accounts for year ending 31 December 2013 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. Lyn Banks has resigned from the Committee. Peter Caswell, Rodney Evans and Marie Draper 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. Written consents from Branch members wishing to stand for election should be sent to Philip Strangeway, at 3 Northwich, Woughton Park, Milton Keynes, MK6 3BL or by email to philip.strangeway@waterways.org.uk no later than 14 days before the meeting. After an interval for refreshments, a Quiz will be held.

IWA EASTERN REGION AGM We would normally publish an Eastern Region AGM notice in this edition, but as we go to press, we have not received a notice. Eastern Region is currently without a Chairman or Secretary, but we understand that candidates have put themselves forward for these posts. The Region AGM is likely to be held during March in the Cambridge area. The notice giving full details will be published before the end of February on the Association's web page: https://www.waterways.org.uk/branches_regions/eastern/eastern Page 9


John Bunyan receives “Pride in Bedfordshire” award The Bedford-Milton Keynes Waterway Trust’s boat John Bunyan has been recognised at the Pride in Bedfordshire Awards as the winner in the category ‘Raising the Profile of the Town.’ A ceremony held in December at the Corn Exchange in Bedford heard how John Bunyan had attracted visitors into Bedford and had carried 3,000 passengers on cruises along the River Great Ouse since its launch in July, as well as carrying wedding parties, many chartered functions and holding a multi-faith blessing service. The Trust is urgently seeking more volunteers to run John Bunyan: Crew—cabin and deck crew, helmsmen or boatmasters; Maintenance—engine servicing, DIY enthusiasts to help with adding fixtures and fittings, and help with painting and other heavier jobs; Admin—marketing, communications, volunteer management. On the waterway project, volunteers are sought for project management and planning, environmental and ecological impact studies, health and safety, marketing, communications, events, administration, project leadership, engineering expertise, fund raising etc. If you are interested please email christine.tilneybmk@gmail.com or phone 01480 477351 and leave your contact details. Alternatively speak to any crew member on the John Bunyan and ask for a volunteer registration form. See www.b-mkwaterways.org.uk for full details.

4th Annual Partnership Conference, 7 November

There was a definite upbeat feel at Bedford-Milton Keynes Waterway Partnership Conference for the sixty guests who attended the Rufus Centre, Flitwick. Speakers expressed the view that 2013 had seen small but significant progress made. Photo: Adrian Bullers.

Princess on VIP trip On 25 September, the Mayor of Milton Keynes Cllr Brian White hosted a VIP cruise aboard James Griffin’s Ocean Princess to promote the B&MK Waterway Project. Guests included councillors, developers and planners, all looking at the benefits of waterside developments for local communities. Cllr White said: “I have supported this project from day one and am pleased to see the progress it is making. We look forward to seeing part of the waterway built in Milton Keynes shortly”. Page 10

Milton Keynes Cllr John Bint, answering a question from Trust VicePresident Jane Wolfson about which Council will “dig first”, said that he could not commit to a date, but “the pieces are coming together”. Local Authority representatives reported on several aspects of the scheme. Covanta's withdrawal from their planned development had created some uncertainty, but the Waterway route has been secured by the announcement by a Parliamentary Select Committee that future development on the site must include the Waterway. Engineering issues with Network Rail at Marston Mortaine were being progressed. Final proposals from Barratt Homes for their 400-home development were awaited. The major obstacle to the Waterway in Central Beds is the lack of any planned development on the route at present. Halcrow had continued work near the A421 for drainage, levels, locks and costings, and further studies elsewhere. Engineering studies would take place when any development occurs, to ensure that land is suitable for the route. By early next year it is hoped that most of the route through the Bedford Borough area will be known.

Information on this page from B-MKWT news releases, September—December 2013.


MK Mayor hosts Charity Dinner On 14 October, Milton Keynes Mayor Cllr Brian White hosted a Charity Dinner in support of his nominated good causes, including the Bedford-Milton Keynes Waterway Trust. He said he was pleased that the route through Milton Keynes was now secure, but said that work was needed to recruit developers to “join the dots”. Graham Mabbutt, outgoing Trust Chairman, thanked Cllr White for hosting the event, and reported on the success of the Trust's trip boat John Bunyan. The event raised over £400, to be shared among the charities supported by the Mayor. A number of IWA MK Branch members attended, and the Branch was grateful to receive £75 as part of the proceeds. Text and picture: Les Franklin.

Cllr Brian White.

PAUL STRUDWICK (LONDON REGION CHAIRMAN) WRITES

You may have read about changes to canalside water points. As I understand it, the present taps are now illegal as new regulations stipulate a non-return valve, and C&RT could be prosecuted if they do not change them to conform. I am told they will be retaining the “traditional” cast iron points where they can. Where they cannot, the replacements look cheap, have sharp metal edges and, where I have met them, they have nearly always been unlocked with the padlock missing! If they had first talked to us, the users, we could have helped them design something that works! You have probably heard that the National Festival at Cassiobury Park was a financial and public relations disaster. The Trustees have occasionally to take decisions which are at best unpalatable. We spent a long time looking at the viability of the proposed National at Stratford next year. With great reluctance we agreed that the proposal to run it with an unpaid gate was not viable, and we had to decline the opportunity to run the Festival. In my opinion the present funding of the Environment Agency Navigations is the greatest threat to navigation in 50 years. The Thames is not really in danger of closing - some gin palace skippers may have to work their own locks, but they and the river will survive. But the East Anglian waterways, with their smaller number of boats, could be in real danger. All Branches are sending letters to MPs in their areas. We know they work - there has already been one Parliamentary Question, and the Waterways Minister asked the questioning MP to meet him to discuss the situation. There was a change of Waterways Minister in the recent reshuffle—this could make our letters more effective, as they help to alert the new Minister to the problem. At the moment this is a political campaign, but if direct action by members is necessary, we will let you know what we need you to do. My thanks to Paul for vetting (and contributing to) TPT in the absence of a Region Chairman—Ed.

THE THREE LOCKS TEL: 01525 270214

A very traditional canalside pub . . . Dating from the early 1900s, the Three Locks is full of character, with the added appeal of wide country views, and of course the passing boats. The Three Locks is now family-run by Michael and Susan Schwartz. Our focus is on customer service, with high standards in our beers, wines and soft drinks, and in the quality of our food - locally sourced and freshly prepared. We are open daily from 12 noon, and our friendly and efficient staff look forward to welcoming you.

Web: www.thethreelocks.co.uk

Email: info@thethreelocks.co.uk

10% discount on food for IWA members - please show your membership card. Page 11


WENDOVER ARM TRUST NEWS Paul Leech, who has been Trust Chairman for only about a year, has sadly had to tender his resignation on grounds of ill-health. During his months in office, Paul has been extremely active in promoting the cause of the Trust, and will be much missed. The Trust is also saddened to learn of the recent death of Sheila Lewis, widow of WAT Founder, Chairman, and subsequently Vice President Roger Lewis who died in April 2007. She staunchly supported Roger in setting up the Trust, and was a key figure in helping organise and run the annual Canal Festival, which raised significant funds for the restoration.

Restoration progress Despite delays due to poor weather, the re-lining of Phase 2 Stage 2 was virtually completed in November. A few metres of bed lining remain to be done when sufficient Stage 3 bank lining has been completed to allow laying of an entire roll of bed lining material. When 100 metres of Stage 3 lining (including the concreting through Bridge 4A narrows) are complete, another stretch can be rewatered. This is anticipated for around July 2014. The re-lining process has been refined such that 20 metres of lining or 40 metres of pipe capping can be completed in one week-long work-party. The Restoration Committee is considering how work can be carried out more productively during poor weather, including the laying of a roadway as part of rough profiling from Little Tring westwards.

The Trust has appointed a professional fund-raiser, to drive renewed efforts to secure funds for completion of Phase 2 of the restoration (Drayton Beauchamp to Little Tring) and for Phase 3 (Drayton Beauchamp to Wendover). It is also seeking a volunteer Fund Manager to work alongside the professional fund-raiser, to liaise with local authorities, and arrange public meetings. A volunteer is being sought for the post of Merchandise Manager, to work with newly-elected Council member Martin Bird, who has been appointed Events Manager. Volunteers are also welcome on restoration work parties—contact restoration@wendoverarmtrust.co.uk As a further effort to raise funds, WAT has joined the “Easyfundraising” scheme, in which online shoppers nominate the charity they wish to support, then some of the purchase money goes to the charity. Donations are treated as coming from the purchaser, so they are eligible for Gift Aid. To find out how to help WAT in this way, visit http://www.wendoverarmtrust.co.uk/easyfundraising.html WAT is considering how to celebrate its Silver Jubilee in 2014. Ideas under discussion include a Restoration Open Day to coincide with the re-watering of Phase 2 to Bridge 4A (see left), or another “Walk an Arm’s Length” event. Other good ideas will be welcomed. The memorial plaques stolen from the seats along the Arm in July are to be replaced with plaques of a composite aluminium and plastics construction, fixed with high-security stainless steel screws. At the Trust's Restoration Open Day in September, its Grand Draw prize-winners were announced. The first three prizes (donors in parentheses) went to:

1st: Week's canal boat hire (Wyvern Shipping Co Ltd) Mrs P Preston 2nd: Day boat hire (Grebe Canal Cruises) Sue Foster Some 900 metres of pipe 3rd £100 Cash Prize (Mr & Mrs B Martin) Mrs Wright capping, and 1400 metres of lining remain to be done to reach the bund at Little Tring. At the present rate of progress, this puts completion of Phase 2 at around 2022, subject to funding. Page 12

The full results can be seen at: http://www.wendoverarmtrust.co.uk/grand-draw-2013.html Thanks to those that have so generously supported the Grand Draw this year. Another Grand Draw will be held in 2014. Information on this page from Wendover Arm News, December 2013, and from Trust web site.


Agreement with Tesco for Broadwalk clearance The Branch's adoption of the canal between Bridges 94 and 96 with Fenny Lock as its main feature is now well into its second year. Until recently, work has focussed on bringing up to scratch the Lock area embracing the lock itself, Pump House, bollards, sanitary station and refuse point surrounds, fencing, seats and signs. After the October Working Party completed outstanding painting, attention switched to the badly neglected towpath hedge north of the lock, and the Broadwalk behind. Approaches to MK Council led to a productive meeting with Tesco (who have returned to the Distribution Centre) and C&RT, orchestrated by Alan Holmes of MK Council, at which a combined approach was agreed. Robin Carr, Tesco’s Site Manager, has already used contractors to clear initially the majority of the brambles and scrub that had choked the Broadwalk. A band of about 3 metres of scrub and dead alders remains behind the hedge for some 300 metres which our Working Parties will clear. In December, a 50-metre length was cleared. Machine wielding volunteers were assessed for safe operation by C&RT. When clearance is complete, the hedge can be replanted with whips at its thinnest points by C&RT and then laid by us and C&RT. Dobbies World have again kindly supplied winter planting for the Pump House gardens and hanging baskets, so the area is all set to face the winter. Remedial painting will be needed in the Spring as winter weather will undoubtedly wreak its toll. Many thanks are due to all Working Party members who have toiled so effectively and cheerfully since the Adoption in August 2012, and also to Miriam Tedder, C&RT Volunteer Leader, who has facilitated our efforts with supply of mate- Fenny Lock in late autumn rials and equipment as well as working with us on many occasions. sunshine. Text and photo: Rodney Evans.

Willowbridge Marina http://www.willowbridgemarina.co.uk

01908 643242 office@willowbridgemarina.co.uk

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 13


Another convivial Christmas social On 9 December, Branch members enjoyed an excellent meal at our Christmas Social at Milton Keynes Village Pavilion. At the same time they tried to solve some anagrams and other teasers provided by Tony Collins. Our Mistress of Ceremonies was Wendy Evans, whilst Rodney entertained with jokes and stories between acts.

Northampton Boat Gathering IWA Northampton Branch is to hold its May Day Bank Holiday Boat Gathering at Braunston in 2014. The Gathering has usually been held on the River Nene in Northampton, but the last two years have seen cancellation due to river flooding or water supply problems on the Northampton Arm, allied to declining support. The Branch has accepted an offer by Tim Coghlan of Braunston Marina to hold the event there. The change of venue gives the Branch a chance to promote itself in the far west of its area where many of its members live or keep boats, and who perhaps considered Northampton to be too far away for a weekend event, especially in view of the heavily locked Arm.

James Griffin’s lecture on narrow boat design. Photo: Les Franklin. Pat Pickup gave us the Lament of the Ostrich: “you never see an Ostrich on a Christmas tree!”. The Grapplers (Messrs Banks, Cresswell, Darvill and Roberts) followed with “Barbecue Blues” to the tune of “Smoke gets in your eyes”. They say today you'll find All who cook are blind. When they set their fires,

You will realise, Smoke gets in your eyes.

Dave Darvill's "Christmas Hamper" poem was about a mystery gift: Let's open it . . . no card or name. Will it be Turkey, Goose or Game?

An unfledged chick, of straggling limb It must be from that scoundrel Jim!

Keep it for me -

Just hold that lock now,

The Gathering is open to IWA members and others, Annie Roberts' version of "The Twelve Days of Christmas", in which an inand will run from 2 - 5 May, creasingly inebriated Scotswoman consumes a succession of alcoholic beveragcentred at the historic es, was disturbingly convincing. Your reporter's wife (herself a Scot) insistently Nurser’s Dock on the old denied having taken part in the rehearsals! Oxford Arm at the Marina. A full range of attractions is The Grapplers led us in a jolly ditty to the tune of "O Sole Mio": being organised. Just hold that lock, now, Oh, please, some water save, For entry details please I'm on my way now, Be nice, I crave! phone Tony Clarke on With priority. 01327 857573 or 07939 Rodney Evans then announced that Wendy had recently mastered the mysteries 977859, or email: of the Personal Computer, whereupon she recited a poem summing up the fears tony.clarke@waterways.org.uk Northampton Branch news release, Nov 2013.

Page 14

of all computer-phobes:


C&RT Stoppages

Christmas social—continued.

Canal & River Trust's Stoppage Notices now appear on its main web site at: http://canalrivertrust.org.uk/ Mr James Griffin, assisted by his friend Julie, presented a learned illus- notices There are several trated discourse (photo opposite) on an ancient boatmen's tradition that ways to find what you want: The computer swallowed Grandma, Yes, honestly, it's true. She pressed CONTROL and ENTER, And disappeared from view . . .

. . . So if inside your Inbox, My Grandma you should see, Please COPY, SCAN and PASTE her, And send her back to me!

profoundly influenced narrowboat design. His researches have convinced him that the helms of both traditional and motor narrowboats were evolved to permit the steerer to use a hula-hoop whilst waiting for locks and at other idle times. Drawing upon his years of practice, Mr Griffin demonstrated the art, pointing out that the pastime is especially suited to the waterways: the presence of the steerer within the hoop keeps it safe from loss; thus they are seldom found in the canal.

* Search box—select waterway and type of Notice you want; * Link to Winter Works page, where you can download area maps (these are not updated automatically).

Heather Darvill followed with some excellent hints on bathing your cat, and the safe avoidance of the many dangers in doing so. Your * Link to an interactive map, reporter is certain that all present now felt able to accomplish the task where you can again specify the information you want; with absolute confidence. Or you can sign up to receive

To the tune of the “Eton Boating song”, all joined in a final song, the updates. If you have previously last verse of which went: received email alerts, you

So PETER, we pray that your new [heart] Will serve you the rest of your life. God bless you and keep you both healthy; So here is to you and your wife.

And now it is time for the raffle We've come to the end of the show, We wish all a very good Christmas, Good luck and take care as you go.

must re-register, as your account is protected by encrypted passwords that cannot be Thanks to Michael and his team at the Pavilion, to Rodney and Wendy transferred over. If you alwho organised and linked the entertainment, to the entertainers them- ready have a MyTrust account you can simply sign in.

selves, and to those who donated the many raffle prizes.

MILTON KEYNES MARINA

Info from C&RT web site, December 2013.

tel: 01908 672672

Modern full-service marina in the heart of Milton Keynes

10 & 15 year Leasehold moorings available at discounts

Relax

15 miles of lock-free cruising

Brokerage New and used boats for sale

Onsite facilities include Chandlery & full services Workshop, slipway

Secure car parking Laundry

Boat Brokerage Widebeam facilities

MK Afloat

Day Boat Hire Book now

Pub with carvery restaurant Indian & Chinese takeaway

For Moorings Availability and Prices, visit http://www.mkmarina.co.uk Page 15


Getting in touch with MK Branch Our Annual General Meeting takes place on 24 February. We would welcome nominations for election in addition to those seeking re-election—see Page 9. This contact list is valid until the AGM.

CHAIRMAN: PETER CASWELL Email: peter.caswell@waterways.org.uk SECRETARY: PHILIP STRANGEWAY Email: philip.strangeway@waterways.org.uk MEMBERSHIP SECRETARY: PETE BICKERS Email: pete.bickers@waterways.org.uk TREASURER: DAVE ROBERTS Contact via any Committee member.

E FOR COPY DATTPT NEXT

1

SOCIAL/PUBLICITY, B-MK WT REPORTER AND FENNY LOCK CO-ORDINATOR: RODNEY EVANS Email: rodney.evans@waterways.org.uk BUCKINGHAM CS REPRESENTATIVE: ATHINA BECKETT Email: chairman@buckinghamcanal.org.uk TRADE REPRESENTATIVE: JAMES GRIFFIN Email: james@canalholidays.co.uk

APR

MARIE DRAPER Email: marie.draper@waterways.org.uk DAVID KING Email: david.king@waterways.org.uk

ADVERTISEMENTS 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 Inserts

Per edition £32.50 £20.00 £12.50 £15.00

3 editions £65.00 £40.00 £25.00 -

Get the latest waterway news at these web sites. Addresses change frequently, but these were correct on 11 December 2013.

EDITOR: LES FRANKLIN Email: les.franklin@waterways.org.uk 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: vernon.draper@waterways.org.uk

IWA homepage: https://www.waterways.org.uk MK Branch pages: at above address, under “IWA Local”, select “Milton Keynes”. Canal and River Trust: http://canalrivertrust.org.uk Bedford-Milton Keynes Waterway Trust: http://www.b-mkwaterway.org.uk Buckingham Canal Society: http://www.buckinghamcanal.org.uk Wendover Arm Trust: http://www.wendoverarmtrust.co.uk Friends of the Canal Museum: http://www.friendsofcanalmuseum.org.uk Leighton Buzzard Canal Society: website down at present

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. Page 16

Towpath Telegraph January 2014  

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