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January 2016

TOWPATH TELEGRAPH IWA Milton Keynes Branch Journal

Mike Grimes, Head of Boating, Canal & River Trust, enjoys a tea-break during the Branch’s Autumn Cleanup. Report: Page 4. Photo: Les Franklin. IWA (registered charity no. 212342) is the leading membership charity that works to resurrect and protect the waterways as a vital leisure facility for everyone to enjoy, and campaigns for their sensitive development 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 2016 Towpath Telegraph As we prepare this edition, mild weather has been followed by severe flooding in northern England, with some waterways affected. What will it be like for cruising next summer? The local waterway world is busy as always, with the prospect of grants to speed completion of Phase II of the Wendover Arm restoration (see Page 6), and to renovate the Three Locks Pumphouse (see Page 15). We hope you enjoy this edition.

Chairman’s Column New Members Stuart Bell CRT staff join the Autumn Cleanup— and they’re still talking about it! Warwickshire Branch does it too! Work party at Leighton Lock WAT and CRT lodge HLF bid to complete Phase II WAT Draw raises £4,500 Diary IWA Milton Keynes Branch AGM CanalFILE—part 4 People Wheelchair-adapted boat for hire Pete Winkleman agrees access for BCS excavator Jessica helps out at Cosgrove Dastardly deeds at the Christmas social Grant for Three Locks Pumphouse John Highmore moves on Getting in touch with MK Branch

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

Chairman’s Column I must begin by putting on record my deep appreciation for the support in running the Branch that I have received since I took over the Chairmanship. The Committee and those non-Committee members who do Branch jobs have got on with things cheerfully, some doing more than one job, and often taking on additional one-off tasks. I am grateful also for the support from members at our new meetings venue and at the Lock Help weekend and the Cleanups. But - well - you know what I am going to say next. The Branch doesn’t run itself, and we need more help to carry on running it. The seasoned Committee members who have stepped down have done so for the best of reasons - ill-health, advancing years or other commitments. The situation is not unusual—there has always been turnover in Committee membership for these sorts of reasons. I am most grateful to Rodney Evans for agreeing to continue for the time being as Adoption Scheme Co-ordinator. He still intends to leave the Committee, but will keep in close touch with us. As I write this in mid-December, we have one member considering taking a Branch post, but this will still leave some Committee members doing more than one job. This is unfair on those who therefore have to give up more time than they can really spare, and it cannot be allowed to continue for long. If it does, we will have to consider what Branch activities we must stop. It is in the hands of the membership—you—as to whether the Branch continues at its present level of activity, or has to curtail some of them. If you decide you can help, there is a wealth of experience to support you. We will be as flexible as we can in deciding with you what you do, and whether or not you need to attend every Committee meeting (or indeed any). The Committee is, I believe, a happy ship with a very "can-do" attitude. Helping to ensure that our stretch of the GU is looked after as well as possible, raising funds for local restoration work, sharing views with like-minded Page 2

Chairman’s Column—continued.

New Members

people—all bring great satisfaction. And fun too—it really is a A warm welcome to the case of “the more the merrier”. Why not consider sharing a job members below who with a friend? Just talk to us and explore the options with us. have recently joined the Amid reports of closures and maintenance backlogs on the Environment Agency's waterways, not to mention the recent flooding, IWA is stepping up its campaign for these waterways to be taken over by the Canal & River Trust. The transfer is still Government policy, and IWA has kept the issue in front of parliamentarians and the Waterways Minister. Now, with Defra considered likely to suffer further severe budget cuts, the Association is making further efforts to deliver a clear case, and seeks support from members. There is more information at:

Branch. We hope to see you at our meetings during the coming months— please introduce yourselves to a Committee member. Mr C Abbott, Potterspury Miss J Bellamy, Milton Keynes Dr J Cobb & family, Great Linford Richard & Barbara Goosey, Stoke Hammond Mr R & Mrs J Hudson, Newport Pagnell Mrs Rosemary Smith, Fenny Stratford Residents' Association

Having now held four meetings at Bletchley Royal British Legion, I hope that those attending are finding their way there more easily. For our first two meetings, a large Luton van beside the lamp-post that carries the British Legion sign didn't help! We are now placing signs either side of the driveway to Stuart Bell help you. At the Christmas social, I heard much praise for the venue and the meal, and no adverse comments. See Page 14. Stuart Bell, whom longIf you’re looking for a Valentine’s Day outing with a difference, why not pop up to Stoke Bruerne on 13 or 14 February, when Canal & River Trust is holding an Open Weekend during a stoppage, with the chance to inspect one of the lock chambers. Finally, many congratulations to Buckingham Canal Society on receiving Canal & River Trust's South East Volunteer Organisation Recognition Award 2015. The Society has made great strides this year, and the award is richly deserved. Please see the STOP PRESS item on Page 13. With very best wishes for the coming year. Les Franklin, Branch Chairman.

standing Branch members will recall with affection, died some weeks ago aged 82. Born in Aylesbury, Stuart trained as a dentist, and worked in Aylesbury until retirement in 1986, when he moved to Hollingdon and bought his boat Jezebel. He left a legacy to Wendover Arm Trust. We send our sincere condolences to his family. Information from Wendover Arm News, Autumn 2015.

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 3

CRT staff join us for Autumn Cleanup— and they’re still talking about it! Milton Keynes Branch's Autumn Cleanup took place on 16 -17 October in cloudy and occasionally drizzly weather, but spirits were high. We were pleased once again to have Canal & River Trust staff join us over the weekend. They included Mike Grimes, Head of Boating, John Highmore, Volunteer Development Coordinator, and three other staff. The CRT participation was a most welcome addition to the Photo: John Highmore. manpower. The dredger, manned by Jamie Cull and Brian Eales (above), assisted but was unfortunately out of action for part of Friday due to a blanket round its propeller. All agreed that the haul was the lightest for some time. On Friday the litter pickers reached Giffard Park at around 2.30pm. The hopper and pan had both arrived by 4pm. Items retrieved this time included a motor bike, a complete washing machine, and a very nice electric bicycle grappled from the towpath by Peter Caswell. There was the usual assortment of other items including several supermarket trolleys; regrettably a fair proportion of the haul seemed to be rubbish from boat-fitting activity. At the end of Friday, having spent most of the day with the hopper crew, a mud-spattered Mike Grimes said: I've really enjoyed it - I've had a fantastic day. It's really good work you're doing". At the Giffard Park pub, a Friday night meal was enjoyed by around 18 volunteers. The first day’s haul. Photo: Les Franklin.

Thanks to James Griffin (on Ocean Princess towing the hopper) and also for sponsoring the event once

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


Rothschild Road, Linslade, Leighton Buzzard, Beds, LU7 2TF Tel: 01525 372355 Fax: 01525 852308 Members of IWA, APCO, BMF, B&MK Waterway Trust, Wendover Arm Trust, Buckingham Canal Society, Aylesbury Canal Society

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

Autumn Cleanup—continued. again; to Athina Beckett and Jonathan Brown (on Brown Trout towing the pan); to Vernon and Marie Draper (on Reflections serving hot drinks and snacks); to Canal & River Trust for their support and participating staff; and to all Branch and other volunteers who turned out to help, whether waterborne or on foot. Thanks also go to Richard Goosey of Milton Keynes and Willowbridge Marinas for sponsoring purchase of a new 7-litre insulated urn which now allows hot drinks to be served as quickly as thirsty volunteers demand them! At the Branch meeting on 19 November, James Griffin presented his £100 sponsorship cheque to the Branch, and cheques to Jonathan Brown and Vernon Draper for fuel costs. Marie and Vernon serve hot drinks CRT's contractors weighed the haul this time at with the aid of the new insulated urn. only just over four tonnes, compared with 10-12 Photo: Les Franklin. tonnes in the past. Perhaps local regard for the value of the canal as heritage and amenity is widening at last. Mike Grimes wrote: "My team are still talking about it, so book us in for the next event!". The next Cleanup is provisionally scheduled for 15-16 April.

From press release by Rodney Evans and additional information from CRT.

Warwickshire Branch does it too!

Work party at

On 25 October, in an event apparently organised on very Leighton Lock similar lines to our own, IWA Warwickshire Branch held During October, four its latest Cleanup on the Grand Union at Leamington. Seventy volunteers used grappling hooks to haul up the usual variety of items: shopping trolleys, bicycles, tyres, road works signs, and assorted metal and plastic. A litter-pick produced over 30 black sacks of rubbish and a large quantity of needles, which were collected by authorised CRT staff and disposed of.

Wyvern Shipping Company staff headed by James Griffin installed four extra bollards at Leighton Lock, and painted the 25 bollards and main CRT sign at Leighton town bridge. The work was completed in three hours.

IWA volunteers were joined by local residents, members of an amenity group, and volunteers from Warwick University. CRT provided a hopper and push tug, gloves, litter pickers, grapples and co-ordination through volunteer leader, Steve Lambert. James reports that CRT As with our Cleanups, Warwickshire hold theirs twice a year. commented that they had never seen bollards At Sydenham Road Bridge, the tug was halted by a rope entanso quickly installed! gled on its propeller. After an hour’s struggle in cold canal waThe work party had the ter, the offending length was cut away and the tug restarted to use of a CRT flat to carcatch up with the hopper which had been bow hauled into ry materials, which were Leamington to collect the rubbish. IWA Bulletin, November 2015. supplied by the Trust. Page 5

WAT and CRT lodge HLF bid to complete Phase II Concern having been expressed at the rate of progress possible by an ageing volunteer workforce, Canal & River Trust and Wendover Arm Trust are jointly applying for a Heritage Lottery Grant which could enable use of a contractor to supplement volunteer work, speed completion of the present phase of restoration, and more than double the present navigable length to about three miles, to the old A41, Aston Clinton (right). About 80 people attended a meeting on 3 November at Green Park to hear of progress on restoration and the proposed HLF bid. The meeting was chaired by John Dodwell (Trustee Director of CRT), and there were presentations by Chris Sargeant (Chairman WAT) and James Clifton (Enterprise Manager CRT), followed by a Question & Answer session. Key aspects of the bid proposals were outlined:

Navigable by 2017? Photo: Les Franklin.

* Restore and re-water the remaining 1¼ miles of the dry section; * Enhance 6¾ miles of towpath for walkers, cyclists and anglers (whole length of the Arm); * Improve the linear waterway habitat in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty; * Recruit a team of 100 volunteers; * Outreach work, including telling the story of the canal’s construction, explaining its natural heritage, community activities and sporting events; * Total project cost: about £1.6 million, with WAT funds covering 15%, HLF grant 85%. Following submission of the bid in November, a Stage 1 decision is expected in March. Detailed designs and specifications would then be prepared for the Stage 2 submission in November 2016. Work could commence soon after a favourable Stage 2 decision in March 2017, with completion around Winter 2017. Several interesting points came out during the Question & Answer session: It is proposed that the Arm beyond Little Tring will be designated "narrow", due to the restricted size of the old A41 bridge, which will need a fender to ensure boats travel through the centre. A narrows leading from the Little Tring winding hole would stop wide-beam boats from going further along the canal; otherwise they would have to reverse back. Whereas volunteers work seven days per month, contractors would work full time, and would also benefit due to not having to clear the site after every work session. Contractors could have access to work sites at several points along the dewatered length. Pending completion of the restoration to Wendover, water flow could be increased by Page 6

HLF bid—continued. weedcutting and possibly by zoned deepening. Electricity used at Tringford Pumping Station will be saved when water from Wendover flows naturally. This potential saving of CO2 gives the bid a desirable “green” image, and the cost savings could contribute towards maintenance. IWA MK Branch has sent a letter in support of the grant application, drawing attention to the years of effort put in by WAT volunteers. If you Weedcutting and deepening at Wendover would improve natural would like to add your water flow. Photo: Les Franklin. individual support to the bid, visit Wendover Arm Trust’s web site, where you can download a sample letter and read how to send it in. Please go to Meanwhile, good progress has been made with the pipe capping towards White-houses. Spoil has been used to replace and consolidate the offside bank that had to be removed to enable the pipe capping to be laid. From the rubbish found during pipe capping work at Miswell Farm between Whitehouses and Bridge 4A, it is clear that the former Herts County Council tip there had overflowed into the canal bed in the past. The remains of the abutments of Bridge 4 have been exposed, and are in poor condition. Canal & River Trust has agreed to WAT's recommendation that they be demolished and removed, but first want a photographic/documentary record for their archives.

Information from WAT web site, November 2015.

WAT Draw raises £4,500

I would like to express a very big thank you for your support for the WAT Grand Draw 2015. This year we managed to raise just over £4,500 towards the Restoration Fund. The restoration is still continuing. The twelve winners have all been advised—the common response was as always: “I never win anything . . ." The full list of winners is shown on the Trust web site at: Again, a very big thank you for your essential support. Thoughts are turning to the 2016 Draw, when it is hoped you will extend your amazing generosity again. Michael Wright, Grand Draw 2015 Promoter. Page 7

Diary Our season of Branch meetings continues at our new venue, the Bletchley Royal British Legion. We hope you are finding your way now, but we repeat the directions below. Remember, non-members are always welcome at our meetings. From A 5: Leave A 5 at A 421 exit (signed MK South, Buckingham) on to Redmoor Roundabout. Take A 421 exit, V6 Grafton Street (signed Buckingham); continue to Bleak Hall Roundabout. Take 1st exit (signed Milton Keynes West, Buckingham), and pass over railway and dual carriageway, to Elfield Park Roundabout (intersection with V4 Watling Street). Take 2nd exit, A 421. Take next left, Denbigh Hall Drive; continue to mini-roundabout, take 2nd exit, Whaddon Way. Continue past Zebra crossing at pinch point, then immediately, at Dolphin pub, turn left into Melrose Avenue. After 100 yards, take driveway on right to Royal British Legion car park. The driveway is indicated by a small sign on a lamp post on the opposite side of Melrose Avenue. The building and car park fronting Melrose Avenue (marked ) is NOT the Royal British Legion. It is incorrectly marked as such on some maps. Members from Leighton Buzzard can reach the venue via the A 4146 to the roundabout near Willowbridge, then via Stoke Road, Water Eaton Road, Sherwood Drive and Whalley Drive.

Bleak Hall Rbt V6 Grafton Street A5

A 421 H8 Standing Way Denbigh Hall Drive Whaddon Way

Tower block

Redmoor Rbt V4 Watling Street

Royal British Legion Whaddon Way Local Centre The Dolphin

No Yes Melrose Avenue

Whalley Drive

Sherwood Drive Bletchley Park

Buses—Bus stops are marked . Bletchley Service No 4 leaves Milton Keynes Central Station (stop Y2), calls at the Point, Central Milton Buckingham Road Keynes (stop K3) at 1930, and arrives at Whaddon Way Local Centre at 1949. Return services Water Eaton Road leave at 2208 and 2238. (shortcut from Leighton Buzzard) Service No 4 also calls at the stop on the south side of Buckingham Road, near Bletchley Station, at 1930, arriving at Whaddon Way Local Centre at 1938. A return service leaves at 2219.

Thursday 21 January 7.45 for 8pm 13 - 14 February 10am - 4pm

Thursday 18 February 7.45 for 8pm

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MK Branch meeting - “By the Waters of Braunston” talk by Tim Coghlan, Managing Director, Braunston Marina. Royal British Legion, Melrose Avenue, Bletchley, MK3 6PU Stoke Bruerne Open Weekend. Guided tours of work site during stoppage for lock maintenance. Last entry to work site 3.30pm.

MK Branch AGM (see opposite) plus “Bletchley and the Grand Junction Canal", with Roland Doggett, Chair, Bletchley Archaeology and History Society. Royal British Legion, Melrose Avenue, Bletchley, MK3 6PU

Diary—continued. Thursday 17 March 7.45 for 8pm

MK Branch meeting - “Fifty years of the RBOA and memories of living aboard”, talk by Ivor Caplan, IWA Trustee. Royal British Legion, Melrose Avenue, Bletchley, MK3 6PU

Friday 15 Saturday 16 April

MK Branch Spring Canal Cleanup (dates subject to CRT approval). Working north from Fenny to Wolverton. Details will be announced at Branch meetings and on the Branch Canal Cleanups page at: If you can help, please contact Philip Strangeway.

Thursday 21 April 7.45 for 8pm

MK Branch meeting - “At last we head for Home”, with Philip Strangeway and Karen Holowka. Second part of their boating travelogue. Royal British Legion, Melrose Avenue, Bletchley, MK3 6PU

27 - 30 May MK Branch Lock Help Weekend (subject to CRT approval). Our major fundraising event. More details in May TPT.

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 Bletchley Royal British Legion, Melrose Avenue, Bletchley, MK3 6PU, on Thursday 18 February 2016, at 7.45pm. Agenda (please bring this Notice with you): 1: Apologies for absence 5: Secretary's report 2: Approval of minutes of AGM 6: Treasurer's report, and accounts held on 23 February 2015 for year ending 31 December 2015 3: Matters arising 7: Adoption of accounts 4: Chairman's report 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 16 May 2009, last amended 11 June 2011, there is no restriction on the maximum size of the Committee. Pete Bickers retires by rotation and seeks re-election. Rodney Evans is retiring from the Committee. Any corrections to the above will be announced at the meeting. Candidates for election or re-election must be 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 no later than 7 days before the meeting. After an interval for refreshments, our guest speaker will be Roland Doggett, Chair, Bletchley Archaeology & History Society. (Signed:) Philip Strangeway, Branch Secretary. Page 9

CanalFILE . . . . . . . . . .

Welcome to CanalFILE! During the next three issues we will be looking at the coming of the canal that was built through Buckinghamshire and Bedfordshire. We will answer the questions: "Why was it built?"; "What problems did the engineers face, and how did they solve them?" THE COMING OF THE CANAL The stretch of canal which runs through our area from Marsworth in the south to Wolverton in the north was built as part of the Grand Junction Canal. In the late 1780s there was a network of canals in the mining and industrial areas of the midlands, and a big market in London for the coal and goods produced there. But the only canal between the midlands and London was the Oxford Canal. This was narrow and not very direct - once boats reached Oxford they had to make a long journey down the River Thames. The Grand Junction Canal would be more direct, cutting journey times and taking goods right into the heart of London. Work began in 1793, and the canal was opened in 1805 when the Blisworth Tunnel was completed. OVER TO YOU Imagine you are the engineer with the job of building the canal. You do a survey and find the easiest route, crossing land on the same level where you can. But there are places on the route where the land rises and you can’t avoid them. What are you going to do? OVER THE TOP? One solution would be to build locks so that you take the canal over the top. But you might have to build so many locks it would take too long going through them all.

THE THREE LOCKS TEL: 01525 270214

Tring Cutting—a tranq


uil place full of wildli

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.



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

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . And it is often impossible to find enough natural water supplies on high ground. You need another solution. CUTTING OR TUNNEL? A cutting is a man-made valley through high ground, allowing the canal to go straight through the land without the need to build locks. But digging a cutting meant shifting huge quantities of earth and rock—without the help of modern earthmoving machinery. A tunnel was difficult and expensive to build. You only dug a tunnel if there was no other way around the problem, for example because the hill was too high.

Boats at Blisworth Tu

nnel—painting by Brian


AMAZING FACTS • £600,000 was raised at a public meeting in Stony Stratford to fund the Grand Junction Canal. • Over 30,000 labourers were employed in its construction. • The Grand Junction Canal reduced the journey from London to the midlands by 60 miles. • When Blisworth Tunnel was being built, the engineers struck unstable ground. They had to abandon this first attempt, and built a new tunnel on a different course. While this was being done, the two ends of the canal were joined by a horse-drawn railway over the hill.

WebFILE Even though the second Blisworth Tunnel was built on a new line, it has constantly given trouble. In 1982-4, the central third of the tunnel was entirely rebuilt using pre-cast concrete sections. You can see pictures of this work being done at: PLACES TO VISIT Tring Cutting is just south of Marsworth. It is an amazing place. One and a half miles long and 30 feet deep, you can walk or boat through the cutting. Blisworth Tunnel is located just north of Stoke Bruerne. You can walk to the south end of the tunnel from the Canal Museum. Beside the tunnel mouth you can see some of the concrete segments used for the reconstruction. It is also possible to go on boat trips through the tunnel. See you in the next issue!


Text: Jane Bidgood. Photos: Les Franklin.

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Wheelchair-adapted boat for hire

The Committee sends best wishes to PAT PICKUP, who fell and broke her hip in late November.

We're not aware of any Branch members who are wheelchair users, but if you are and you want to go boating, Canalbreaks at Hillmorton may have the answer. Beatrice is their wheelchair-adapted 2 - 4 berth boat that's available for self-drive hire.

Thanks go to EVITA CLEVERLY whose bicycle, donated to Buckingham Canal Society (see September’s TPT), has been sold for £80.

Most wheelchair-adapted boats are owned by charitable trusts who either provide a skipper and crew, or insist upon three able -bodied crew for each disabled person. Beatrice, on the other hand, is available for any couple or foursome confident enough to manage her.

Former Branch Chairman TONY COLLINS is recovering well from a knee replacement operation in November, but it prevented him and Diana from attending the Branch Christmas social—the first they have missed since 1999. Tony and Did send their best seasonal wishes to all Branch members.

She is fitted with ramps, a lift, a large wetroom with seating, and an adapted galley kitchen. Her high cruiser stern deck aids steering, which can be done with wheel or tiller. She also has a bow-thruster. Thanks to her low gunnels, the cabin windows are deep enough for good outside views from a wheelchair. Ipswich Branch’s newsletter Anglian Cuttings has an article by a couple who hired her - see: (Scroll down and click “Visit URL”) For more details see:


tel: 01908 672672

Modern full-service marina in the heart of Milton Keynes

10 & 15 year Leasehold moorings available at discounts


15 miles of lock-free cruising

Brokerage New and used boats for sale

Onsite facilities 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 Page 12

Pete Winkleman agrees access for BCS excavator Buckingham Canal Society has reached agreement with Pete Winkleman of MK Dons to allow access at the Cosgrove site for "Blue", our excavator donated to the BCS by IWA. Whilst "Blue" has been regularly maintained by a group of BCS volunteers we are very glad that we will finally get to take it on site where it can provide a great deal of assistance restoring this section of canal in the future. The next step is to put in place with CRT and Pete Winkleman a detailed plan with the best methods of working and repairing the leaks in the bank at Cosgrove. Neil Owen was our contact at CRT but, with the reorganisation of CRT, James Clifton has become our new contact there. Meanwhile our volunteers have been working at Cosgrove strimming to keep vegetation down and improve access along the towpath. At Little Hill Farm, the towpath had become overgrown, but several work parties have taken place, clearing at least half the towpath, and further work parties are planned here. Mark Hunt has joined us as a Support Worker for a year, this is the first time the BCS has had funding to take on an employee. The BCS held a very successful boat trip on the B-MKWT Community Boat John Bunyan on 24 October. 46 people joined us for a 2 1/2 hour trip on the River Ouse with Marie and Vernon Draper as part of the crew. The talks we give have also proved rather popular. Jonathan Brown and I have given five talks to various groups over the past couple of months. Athina Beckett.

Jessica helps out at Cosgrove Scout Explorer Jessica Greasby, 14, was on hand to help BCS volunteers continue the restoration project at Cosgrove recently, showing what young hands can do. Jessica (above, left) and Milton Keynes Scout Explorer leader Rex joined Athina Beckett and other volunteers to remove branches and twigs filling the canal. The team built a bonfire as part of the cleaning up process. Jess was able to use her knowledge gained as a Scout, both here and when she lived in Canada, and was well informed about how to build a bonfire. The Scout Explorers, aged 14 to 18 years, regularly volunteer with local community projects and an emphasis is placed on being outdoors whenever possible. “I’ve really enjoyed today and being part of the Scout Explorers. It helps me get involved with the community and volunteer, which I do lots of,” Jessica said. BCS press release and photo, November 2015.

STOP PRESS: Congratulations to Buckingham Canal Society upon receiving CRT SouthEast Region’s Volunteer Organisation Recognition Award 2015. The award was accepted by Athina Beckett at a meeting hosted by CRT at Stoke Bruerne on 12 December. Page 13

Photos: Sheila Franklin.

Dastardly deeds at the Christmas social

Forty-five people attended Bletchley Royal British Legion on 10 December for our first Christmas social there. The well-tried formula was followed: good food, song, prizes and drama. First, a quiz from Tim Armstrong got us guessing while the meal was served, and Wendy Evans did a brisk trade selling raffle tickets. After the meal, we first sang "I saw Three Ships" in a version by Wendy Evans: And what was in those boats all three, On Christmas Day, on Christmas Day

Our Chairman Les and his Lady, On Christmas Day in the morning!

Dave and Annie Roberts recycled the Max Bygraves song "You Need Hands", as applied to boating—with three hands each: When you open lock gate paddles, You need hands to hold the windlass tight.

You need hands to place upon the tiller And for tying up at night.

Rodney Evans and Michael Weinberg gave us yet another "Much Milton": At Much Milton in the Keynes We badly need new blood on our Committee. At Much Milton in the Keynes It doesn’t matter if you're plain or pretty.

There is a job that you will find is easy to perform, We meet in people’s houses where it’s always nice and warm, So please become a volunteer and find your life transformed! At Much Milton in the Keynes.

Next, Dave Roberts sang his version of Cyril Tawney’s "Cruise of the Calabar". This Calabar, whilst bound for Fenny "with a cargo of Tiddenfoot turf" came under attack from a pirate ship at Leighton Town Bridge . . . Then all was confusion while the stormy winds did blow Our bo’sun slipped on an orange peel and fell in the hold below. “A piratical junk,” our captain cried, “and on us she does gain When next I go to Fenny, me lads, by jaggers I’ll go by train!”

We got our arms all ready for to meet the coming foe Our grappling irons, our boarding pikes and Armstrong guns also. “Slap on all speed”, the captain cries, “for we are sorely pressed”. But the engineer replied from the bank that the horse was a-doing his best!

In "The Atherstone Incident", James Griffin and Julie recounted in verse the theft of one of the bikes from Ocean Princess, and how James gave chase on the other bike, found the thief quite by chance, and recovered his property after a struggle. The finale was a melodrama written and narrated by Tim Armstrong. The eponymous usurper, the “Dastardly Duke of Deanshanger" (yours truly) dies an unlamented death after the true Duke (Dave Roberts) returns from abroad to sweep the Duchess (Maureen Weinberg) off her feet. Family retainers were played all too convincingly by Rodney Evans and Michael Weinberg, with sound effects by Dave Porter and the audience. Finally it was time for Athina Beckett to distribute the prizes. Thanks to: Tim Armstrong for providing wine, acting as Master of Ceremonies and organising the evening with help from Marie Draper; Tony Collins for printing the tickets; Joe Sanchez and staff at BRBL for the splendid meal and room setting; and all who entertained us or contributed prizes. Les Franklin. Page 14

Grant for Three Locks Pumphouse

John moves on

A project to breathe new life into the Grade II Listed Soulbury Three Locks Pump-house is a step closer after winning initial support from the Heritage Lottery Fund. Canal & River Trust has been awarded ÂŁ8,000 to develop plans to restore the building, as well as finding a new use for it. The grant will also give the Trust the opportunity to engage local people and businesses. If the full project goes ahead, it will also provide training opportunities for heritage skills apprentices to learn new skills in the areas of historic carpentry, lime mortars, stone masonry and historic brickwork.

John Highmore, Canal & River Trust's Volunteer Development Coordinator, South East Waterway, has accepted a new job, and will leave the Trust on 6 January.

The pumphouse was originally built as one of the "Northern Engines", a series of steam-driven pumps that Photo: Les Franklin. returned lockage water to the Tring John has been extremely Summit. The pumps now in use are of course electrically pow- supportive of our own efforts with Cleanups, our ered and are located under the building, CRT news release, November 2015.

We have asked James Clifton of CRT to keep the Branch informed of progress on this project—Ed.

Willowbridge Marina

Adoption Scheme and other activities. We wish John every success in his new post. 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 15

Getting in touch with MK Branch MK Branch Committee looks forward to seeing you at our meetings and other events. Get in touch with your news and comments. This contact list is valid until February’s Annual General Meeting.







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MARIE DRAPER Email: DAVE PORTER Email: PLANNING (non-C’tee): TONY BIRCH Contact via Les Franklin. WEBMASTER (non-C’tee): VERNON DRAPER Email: * These posts vacant after February AGM.

Get the latest waterway news at these web sites. Addresses change frequently, but these were correct on 2 December 2015.

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:

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

Profile for The Inland Waterways Association

Towpath Telegraph January 2016  

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

Towpath Telegraph January 2016  

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