SPRING 2011 | Issue 231
waterways Keeping Our Waterways Alive
Paddling through Scotland
A boat of your own
Getting afloat in 2011 VIEWPOINT IWA at work Community boats in profile COVER.indd 2
News from the branches
INGLESHAM LOCK Progress report from the Thames & Severn
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What’s been happening around the network
A round up of commercial carrying developments
Restoration Update From the Cotswold Canals, the Wilts & Berks and the Thames & Medway
The Column of the National Chairman
Funding IWA’s Campaigns
Inglesham Lock Update A progress report from the Thames & Severn Canal
A boat of your own
Getting afloat in 2011
The Next Generation Attracting young people to the world of the waterways
Paddling through Scotland The kayak trip of a lifetime
Canal Camps 2011
IWA at Work
Community boats in the spotlight Enjoy a holiday with a difference with WRG What the press has been saying about the inland waterways What’s been happening around the branches Readers’ letters Who’s who at the inland waterways
Watch this space
As we went to press we still awaited detailed consultation by Defra on their proposals to establish a new charitable body to take on the operation of the waterways currently run by British Waterways. We also don’t know whether the waterways operated by the Environment Agency, also Government funded, will be included in these proposals but we remain optimistic that the supporting case for this, which we have made for some time, will be recognised and adopted. Whilst these uncertainties hang over the waterways, the proposed Government Grant proposals over the next few years have been released. Defra’s own cut in its central funding of around 30% over the period to 2014/15 had lead to expectations of significant cuts but the proposed settlement for British Waterways envisages a cut of 24% in grant (£39m compared to £51.3m in 2010/11) for the remainder of the Spending Review period to 2014/15. The charitable body which the Government wishes to establish is intended to be in place and operational from April 2012. Government is understood to have promised that its contract with the charity would not be less than £39m per year for the first eleven years of its operations through to 2022/23, although we would expect, and will press for, this to be increased by an appropriate amount to cover the EA waterways if included.
Will the new waterways charity be viable?
Whilst IWA welcomes the commitment to a long term government contract for the charity, it is both surprised and deeply disappointed at the scale of the cuts and the immediacy of their impact on waterway budgets. This increases our concerns about the condition of the waterways on the day that the charity is supposed to take them over, since the existing maintenance backlog burden can only be worse in the short term. We have always said that our support of the concept of an independent charity set up to operate the majority of the waterway network of Britain was conditional on there being adequate Government support and funding to secure a viable and sustainable future for the new charity. The proposed settlement does raise questions about Government’s commitment and whether it really understands the value delivered to
WATERWAYS EDITOR: Keith Goss Tel: 01283 742951 E-mail: email@example.com ART EDITOR: Liane Hunt ADVERTISEMENT MANAGER: Ian Sharpe Tel: 01283 742977 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org ADVERTISING DESIGN: Jill Brown, Clare Salisbury ADVERTISING PRODUCTION: Samantha Lloyd E-mail: email@example.com EDITORIAL BOARD: Neil Edwards, Jo Gilbertson, Keith Goss, Clive Henderson, Peter Johns, Jim Shead REPROGRAPHICS: Waterways World Ltd, 151 Station Street, Burton-on-Trent, Staffordshire, DE14 1BG. Printed in England by Warners (Midlands) PLC, Bourne, Lincs Articles may be reproduced provided permission is obtained and acknowledgement made. ISSN 0969-0654 l
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Founded: 1946, Incorporated 1958 Registered Office: Island House, Moor Road, Chesham, HP5 1WA Tel: 01494 783453 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Web site: www.waterways.org.uk Chief Executive – Neil Edwards Company Secretary – Helen Elliott-Adams Operations & Information Systems Manager – David Forrester Campaign & Communications Manager – Jo Gilbertson Nothing printed in Waterways may be construed as policy or an official announcement unless stated, otherwise IWA accepts no liability for any matter in the magazine. Although every care is taken with advertising matters no responsibility whatsoever can be accepted for any matter advertised.
Where a photo credit includes a note such as CC-BY-SA, the image is made available under that Creative Commons licence; full details at www.creativecommons.org
the nation across so many aspects of life around the network and its impact on the UK economy. The waterways deserve a viable home following more than 60 years of Whitehall ‘direction’ since nationalisation. The next few months will be a critical time as the trustees of the new charity begin meaningful negotiation with government over the long term funding contract to ensure that it is adequate.
What is IWA’s future role?
The draft charitable objectives of the new body have been revealed and we are pleased to note that they align with our own in many aspects but do not completely overlap them. We think that IWA has a vital role to perform as the new charity takes shape and begins to operate the waterways, subject to adequate funding as mentioned above. We believe that our role is as A Critical Friend – critical where criticism or constructive comment is deserved – critical in the crucial sense of the word as we will be able to speak and lobby in areas where the new body may feel restricted in view of its significant dependency in the longer term on Government funding support, possibly linked to laid down performance measures ‘negotiated’ at the vesting date. We must also continue to act as the vital coordinator and campaigning organisation for all inland waterways, especially those not included in the new waterways charity and give high level support to those undergoing restoration in real and aspiration terms. My own role as observer to the BW Board was widely welcomed in waterway circles whilst reservations were aired in some quarters. It came with confidentiality restrictions but after six months I can confirm how useful it has been for the waterways. I have been able to advise on the challenges facing BW as they prepare their employees for the challenges ahead.
What would Tom Rolt think?
I will close with a look back at last year’s wonderful tributes to the centenary of our joint founder Tom Rolt’s birth. It was a year of celebration of his vision and passion for the waterways, and it saw the unveiling of two blue plaques in his honour as well as revived interest in his life and writings. IWA launched an appeal to raise £125,000 to fund the acquisition of a section of the Thames & Severn Canal beyond Inglesham Lock and its restoration as a lasting tribute to his memory and we still need you to support this in the months ahead. The year closed with the wonderful news that Sonia Rolt, Tom’s widow and a Vice President of the IWA , was recognised with an OBE for her own outstanding contribution to industrial archaeology and to heritage.
Clive Henderson COVER PICTURE A privately owned narrowboat at Braunston. Is this the year to get a boat of your own - see pages 18 - 23? LAURIE TETLEY
IWA waterways - Spring 2011 | Contents-Column.indd 1
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| IWA waterways - Spring 2011
IWA waterways - Spring 2011 |
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| IWA waterways - Spring 2011
| IWA waterways - Spring 2011
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waterways Keeping Our Waterways Alive
Defra Funding Settlement for BW
he outcome for the waterways of the Government’s Spending Review is becoming clearer. Defra announced funding for Arms Length Bodies on Monday 20th December www.defra.gov.uk/ news/2010/12/20/budget-allocations101220/. This included the Grant-inAid for British Waterways. There is a 19% reduction in grant for 2011/12 compared to the current year. British Waterways has said that this cut means that it will have to take difficult decisions www.britishwaterways.co.uk/ newsroom/all-press-releases/display/ id/2934. The charitable body which the Government wishes to establish to manage the British Waterways network is intended to be in place by 1st April 2012. The proposed settlement envisages a cut of 24% in grant (£39m
compared to £51.3m in 2010/11) for the remainder of the Spending Review period and the Government is understood to have committed that its contract with the charity would not be less than £39m per year through to 2022/23. Whilst IWA welcomes the commitment to a long term government contract for the charity, it is both surprised and deeply disappointed at the scale of the cuts. IWA is seeking further information from British Waterways about the practical implications for the waterways and is seeking an urgent meeting with the Waterways Minister Richard Benyon about those implications, not just for British Waterways but also for the financial viability of the charity.
Waterways Minister Richard Benyon.
First Draft of New Waterway Charity Objectives A first draft of the possible charitable objectives for the New Waterways Charity (NWC) was presented at the British Waterways AGM on 2nd December 2010. Full information can also be viewed at: www. britishwaterways.co.uk/marketingtheNWC. Charitable objects are the legal definition of what the charity is about. They define what the charity will do.
inland waterways and the conservation of flora, fauna and geological or physiographical features of special interest on, by or associated with the inland waterways.
n to educate the public about the Inland Waterways, their history, development, use and operation by all appropriate means including the provision of museums.
n to promote encourage undertake and assist in the restoration of the inland waterways (whether or not owned managed or operated by it) for the public benefit.
and proposals will be included in the Defra consultation. BW says that there will be updates about research on the site www.britishwaterways. co.uk/marketingtheNWC. They can be contacted at NWC@britishwaterways. co.uk to give them your ideas, views and questions.
IWA viewpoint The purposes of [NWC] are: n to own, operate and manage inland waterways in the UK for public benefit, use and enjoyment (for navigation; for recreation or other leisure-time pursuits of the public in the interests of social welfare with a view to improving their conditions of life; for the improvement of commerce and industry generally). n to protect and conserve sites, objects and buildings of archaeological, architectural, engineering or historic interest on, by or associated with the inland waterways of the UK. n to further the conservation and enhancement of the natural beauty of the
Cause NWC exists to protect and promote our inland waterway network and to ensure that our unique waterway heritage will always be a valued part of local landscapes and communities.
Marketing Strategy British Waterways explained at the AGM that further development work on the marketing strategy including the naming of the New Waterways Charity is being done
IWA was particularly pleased to see that the objectives are to follow many of IWA’s own which have been core values of the Association for over 60 years. IWA was specifically pleased to see that as a result of continued lobbying by the Association, the NWC would now be including restoration as a key objective of the new organisation. At a recent meeting of IWA’s trustees, the objectives and new organisation of the NWC were discussed in detail. IWA trustees agreed that for the immediate and forseeable future, IWA’s role would be to become a ‘critical’ friend of the NWC and to ensure that boaters’ and other users’ interests were properly represented.
| IWA waterways - Spring 2011
Spring 2011 | NEWS | FREIGHT | RESTORATION
Diesel supplies – the key facts
he British Marine Federation has published a guidance note on the Fuel Quality Directive. It contains specific advice and information on biodiesel and other changes taking effect shortly. The overriding concern is that some suppliers will provide road diesel with a red marker dye and this supply will contain up to 7% biodiesel or FAME (fatty acid methylester). The Department of Transport has completed a survey of fuel suppliers and estimates that 75% of the gas oil supply to the relevant sectors will be ‘sulphur free’ and will not contain FAME. Full details of this survey are not yet available but the following suppliers have made their intent public: Greenergy - Dedicated sulphur free gas oil no FAME content Ineos - Dedicated sulphur free gas oil no FAME content Mabanaft – Dedicated sulphur free gas oil no FAME content from five out of six terminals, one will have FAME content. This supply is likely to incur a price premium estimated at between 2 and 4 pence per litre. A FAME free supply may not be available in all parts of the country so it is critical that you discuss the situation with your fuel supplier who should be able to advise you of the sulphur and bio-fuel content of the fuel. Wherever possible a FAME-free supply should be secured in which case the implications of the change are expected to be minimal and limited to the lubricasity characteristics of the fuel which can be relatively easily addressed by the use of an additive. We have been informed that the Federation of Petroleum Suppliers are in the process of producing a chart highlighting the nationwide availability of sulphur free gas oil with no FAME content. We will distribute this information as soon as available. For further information please visit: www.londonboatshow. com/pdf/Fuel%20update%206Dec.pdf.
New Mole Launched
IWA, through its Restoration Grants Fund, recently helped to fund a river clearance boat, known as New Mole, for use on the Melton Mowbray Navigation. The vessel was launched in January, with a formal presentation party planned for the end of March when it is hoped to demonstrate the vessel at work clearing weed. The New Mole is an innovative workboat with a hiab crane, a clam shell bucket and stabiliser arms driven hydraulically by an outdrive from an air cooled engine. This avoids all the problems of weed with water-cooled engines.
ould you like to get more involved with running IWA? Or having more of a say in what we do and how we go about it? We are always looking for members who might be interested in becoming more active at local branch and region level, or by participating on one of our national committees, or as a trustee of the Association. IWA has been well served by some long standing stalwarts, but it is important that we do not stagnate, and we wish to encourage interest from people with professional skills, ideally in current employment, or recently retired, to ensure currency of skills, in the following areas: legal, corporate finance, planning, IT, ecology, skills with younger people, engineering, retail, Health & Safety. Trustees and most of the national committees usually meet six times each year, although meetings may take place by electronic means such as telephone calls, video conference call or by exchange of electronic mail. Trustees are in charge of the governance of the Association and have overall responsibility for overseeing the correct running of IWA including succession planning. Trustees oversee the national committees, but delegate most relevant aspects to them. The main national committees are: n Navigation Committee n Restoration Committee n Finance Committee n Promotions and Communications Committee n Waterway Recovery Group Posts are by selection (by the membership via a ballot for trustees, and by recommendation to trustees for other national committees). We believe that there is a role for everyone somewhere in the organisation - and we will make every effort to try to find a role that gives people a sense of doing something worthwhile. Being a trustee or a committee member is not a ‘life sentence’ or necessarily onerous, and terms of service are usually for three year periods. There is a genuine opportunity to get involved and give something back to the waterways. Our aim is to involve more people, and spread the load, and take better advantage of skills on offer from members.
Current vacancies exist for fund-raising and membership recruitment in particular. Finance Committee will be formally seeking some new members over the summer. Look out for the formal notice for trustee nominations in our next issue - but think about it now and please have a chat with the relevant committee chairman. If you don’t know who to speak to, Neil Edwards or Jo Gilbertson at head office will be happy to point you in the right direction.
IWA waterways - Spring 2011 | News-Spring.indd 9
waterways Keeping Our Waterways Alive
restructuring From January, the Chelmsford Branch has moved from Eastern Region to become part of London Region.
Also from 1st January there is a new branch in IWA’s North East & Yorkshire Region. The proposed new branch has an established committee that has been operating as a section within West Riding Branch, originally formed six years ago as the Ouse/Ure Section of that branch. The initial membership of the new branch will comprise existing members of West Riding Branch living in YO and HG postcode areas, other than any members who wished to stay in West Riding Branch. Members of East Yorkshire currently living in YO postcode areas will remain in East Yorkshire Branch, unless they wish to move. Existing members of West Riding Branch living in TS, NE, SR, DH and DL postcode areas will remain with that branch unless they express an interest in moving, but new members living in these areas will be allocated to the new North Riding Branch. North Riding Branch will take on waterway responsibilities for the Ouse/Ure corridor above Goole, Ripon Canal, the rivers Foss, Wharfe, Swale and the tidal Aire below Chapel Haddlesey, which is only accessible from the Ouse. Rivers flowing into the North Sea above this corridor, including the Tyne, Tees and Wear, would also be part of the new branch’s responsibilities.
announces national dredging contract
ritish Waterways has awarded a national dredging contract to marine-based civil engineer Land & Water Services Ltd. The initial contract from December 2010 to March 2015, will run up to and beyond the launch of the new waterways charity which is scheduled to take over the custodianship of British Waterways’ canals and rivers in 2012. Increasing the forecast spend on dredging in each of the next two financial years to £5m, the award of a single national contract to Land & Water will allow British Waterways to deliver more dredging for the investment available. Whilst still to be finalised, 2011 dredging priorities are likely to include the Leeds & Liverpool Canal between Farnhill and Bingley, stretches of the Brecon & Abergavenny Canal and the Aylesbury Arm of the Grand Union Canal. This announcement follows face to face meetings between IWA and BW over the condition of waterway depth and the need to increase dredging generally. Land & Water in action on the Stratford Canal in December.
Shobnall Fields for ever Burton festival to take place at the end of July
WA’s 2011 calendar erroneously shows this year’s IWA National Festival and Boat Show as taking place at Shobnall Fields, Burton upon Trent over August Bank Holiday weekend. As previously reported in this magazine, the Festival will in fact be staged in Burton over 29th to 31st July. The calendar was prepared and printed before the Festival date was announced. We apologise for any confusion or inconvenience that may have been caused. This new date is a change from the normal practice in recent years of holding the event over the August Bank Holiday, and has come after significant consultation with exhibitors, attending public and IWA volunteers who are all vital to the staging of the Festival. The Trent & Mersey Canal, which runs through Burton upon Trent, offers many of the visiting craft a wide choice of cruising routes to and from the Festival. What can you expect from the Festival? Amongst the other delights, there will be: over 350 boats; exhibitors selling a wide range of products from chandlery to home-made sweets; live bands and other entertainment; real ale bar; fairground rides and Wild over Water (WOW) activities for children. For full details of the 2011 National Festival & Boat Show visit www.waterways.org.uk/festivals. A full preview of this and other rallies and gatherings will be published in the next issue of Waterways published in late April. The delightful rally site at Shobnall Fields.
| IWA waterways - Spring 2011
Spring 2011 | NEWS | FREIGHT | RESTORATION Please send any news and views on inland waterways freight to David Hilling c/o IWA Head Office
everal years ago an April issue of Waterways World had a picture of Stobart liveried boatmen and narrowboats which caused considerable amusement and ‘took in’ not a few people! However, under the Stobart company umbrella there is now a Ports Group which at the Widnes Mersey Multimodal Gateway (3MG) already has an impressive container interchange and agreed plans for port facilities, storage and interchange facilities across the Mersey at Runcorn.
Links have been established for the provision of an energyfrom-waste plant and also for the handling and processing of biomass products and together these could provide considerable potential for local barge and also seagoing movement of freight - just the sort of customer base widening that waterborne freight so urgently needs. Tesco led the way on the MSC. The way ahead for waterborne freight must also be seen as an exercise in multimodalism – there is all too little ‘origin-destination’ traffic available to inland shipping.
FREIGHT BY WATER IN THE FREIGHT TRANSPORT ASSOCIATION
he board of Freight by Water (FbW) has agreed to a merger with the Freight Transport Association and a definitive membership arrangement to form the basis for renewal and recruitment of FbW members is to be worked out after further discussions. A working group of FbW members is to “advise and assist FTA on activities under the FbW brand”. It has been agreed that the FTA will embrace FbW within its International Supply Chain Forum, that the FTA will be making a presentation on coastal and short sea shipping to the Parliamentary Maritime and Ports Group and that there could be a later presentation on inland waterway issues. There is no obvious recognition of the fact that there is a Parliamentary Waterways Group which on a number of occasions has considered freight and overlap should perhaps be avoided. The FTA is organising a Freight by Water conference in Bristol (March 18th) following the successful pattern provided by FbW conferences at London, Hull and Liverpool. One has to hope that history will not repeat itself. Following the Freight Waves conference in 1975, in which the IWA’s Inland Shipping Group had a hand, a National Waterways Transport Association (NWTA) was created to provide a unified voice and lobby for the inland shipping industry. In the 1980s NWTA was absorbed first by the British Motorship Owners Association and then by the Chamber of Shipping - and disappeared completely. The Waterways Freight Forum proposed by the 2002 government Freight Study Group certainly had NWTA in mind but then became combined with short sea and coastal shipping promotion and became Freight by Water. Past attempts by the ISG to interest the FTA in inland waterways was always disappointing but perhaps FbW will be more successful.
in e Stobart may not yet be involved Not such a spoof anymore? Eddi ed a Ports Group and form has pany com the but narrowboat carrying is operating at Widnes.
WATERBORNE FREIGHT – 2009
n 2008, internal barge traffic amounted to 3.7 million tonnes, was the highest for six years and foreign seagoing traffic on the waterways also showed a useful increase. Was waterborne freight at last responding to modal shift policies and showing the upturn for which many of us hoped? Alas, this was not to be and given the profound impact of the economic recession it is hardly surprising that 2009, for which statistics have recently been published [Department of Transport, SB(10)21], should show a considerable decline. The barge traffic is down to 3.3 million tonnes, foreign seagoing traffic at 27.5 million tonnes is the lowest for at least two decades and coastwise and one-port traffic penetration of the waterways are also down. However, domestic waterborne freight - inland, coastal and one-port - still accounts for 6 per cent of the total tonnes lifted and 22 per cent of the tonne-km performed. The Thames and Medway region accounted for 2.28 million tonnes (down from 2.43) of barge traffic and all other regions showed declines – the Humber down to 0.53, Lancashire to 0.25 and the Severn to 0.16 million tonnes. Dry bulk cargo, especially aggregates, accounted for 63 per cent of the barge traffic with inland shipping dependant on a very narrow customer range and with the health of the construction industry being a significant determinant of waterborne freight.
IWA waterways - Spring 2011 | News-Spring.indd 11
waterways Keeping Our Waterways Alive
Mann’s Bridge on the Grantham Canal.
New Gates for the Cotswold Canals
private company has been awarded a £600,000 contract for lock-gates on the Cotswold Canals restoration project. Hargreaves Foundry of Halifax, the firm that took over the Callis Mill lockgate workshops closed by British Waterways in 2007, won the contract to produce 22 pairs of gates for the Stroudwater Canal using traditional methods. David Marshall, spokesman for Stroud District Council’s canals team, said: “Hargreaves were awarded the contract on the basis of value for money. In addition to their technical expertise, they are one of very few lock-gate manufacturers with the production capacity to design, manufacture and deliver every element of this bespoke restoration project to meet our timescale.”
Thames & Medway Listing
nglish Heritage has recently recognised the Thames & Medway Canal with a ‘Grade ll’ listing of Gravesend canal basin, by the Secretary of State Jeremy Hunt. The listing recognises the basin, the swingbridge, the existing parts of the original 19th century walls, as well as the two locks, one of which was recently rediscovered under a disused car park. All have a historic and rarity value in the South East. Chairman of The Thames & Medway Canal Association, Brian Macknish, said “I am delighted and applaud any action that helps protect our waterway heritage from inappropriate developments. The listing of this fantastic piece of heritage brings us a step closer to realising a long term ambition of reopening the stretch of canal between the canal basin and Mark Lane (700yds), making more than three miles of navigation accessible from the River Thames.” Funding has been secured by Gravesham Borough Council from the Government’s Homes and Communities Agency as part of The Thames Gateway Parklands Initiative. A new slipway has been constructed at Mark Lane and work is also in hand to dredge 1,200 yards of canal to just beyond the last remaining swing-bridge. Further along the canal a new pumping system will bring excess water from the marshes to help maintain the canal water level. An improved footpath has been constructed alongside the canal where traffic shares the towpath. Improvements are to be made to the remaining sections of the towpath, all of which forms part of the Sustrans No1 National Cycle Route which runs from Inverness to Dover. The improvements form part of the wider local project to create a series of waterfront spaces linking the riverside areas in the town centre to the countryside.
Grantham Canal Bridge Setback
he Grantham Canal Partnership has accepted defeat in a long-running campaign to have a vital bridge on the navigation restored to accommodate future boat traffic. Mann’s Bridge (No 16), situated near Cotgrave, was one of many original minor canal crossings in line to be restored along with the rest of the canal. However, the road at this point has been upgraded to become a key feeder for the new A46 dual carriageway linking Newark with Leicester, and the Highways Agency refused to include the bridge rebuilding in the plans – despite accommodating the canal in another, much larger, bridge nearby. A final appeal to a Supplementary Planning Inquiry has now proven unsuccessful. Peter Stone, Hon Secretary of the Grantham Canal Partnership, said: “The bridge may have to take a different form – perhaps a hydraulic vertical lifting bridge. The eastern most 26 miles of the canal aren’t lost forever, but solving it won’t be cheap.”
Frome bridge saved for the Wilts & Berks Canal
endip District Council and the Wilts & Berks Canal Trust have worked together to save an historic bailey bridge from demolition. Volunteers from the Trust will now renovate the bridge for use on the Melksham Link Project. The bridge in Frome had spanned the river since it was built in 1986 but was closed to traffic 20 years later due to safety concerns. It will be replaced by a new bridge costing £200,000 to be named after Formula 1 star Jenson Button who is from Frome. Work is due to be completed on the new Button Bridge shortly. Bailey bridges are named after Sir Donald Coleman Bailey who was responsible for the design, development and manufacture of a range of military bridging equipment. The bridges were designed in 1940 to meet the need for a military bridge that could be built quickly and provide temporary spans capable of taking heavy loading WBCT Chairman, John Laverick said, “We’re honoured to have such an historic structure as part of our waterway. The Melksham Link project is a key part of our restoration plans and the bridge will be put to good use. Many people who use the canal enjoy the connections with our great industrial heritage so we will include interpretative signs on the towpath to highlight the historic significance of this type of bridge.”
| IWA waterways - Spring 2011
29th April - 8th May 2011
The Inland Waterways Association, the Historic Narrow Boat Owners Club, The National Waterways Museum, and the Steam Boat Association are joining forces to create an interactive celebration of inland waterways during the Liverpool Boat Show. Two separate ﬂotillas of some of the UK’s ﬁnest examples of historic narrow boats and steamboats will grace the Salthouse Dock, and there will be grand daily parades, with live expert commentary, where the entire ﬂeet will wind its way through the docks.
SPECIAL TICKET RATE FOR IWA MEMBERS: 20% discount when you quote IWA20 on booking
www.liverpoolboatshow.com OR CALL 0844 809 4620
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Recession Hits Charity Sector Hard The last few years have been tough for many people, and as a result also for the charities that they support. The onset of the recession and the current financial climate has made it hard for organisations totally reliant on public subscriptions and goodwill to maintain income, and thus maintain services and standards. According to Cass Business School Charity Market Monitor June 2010, income from investments for the UK’s major fundraising charities fell by £23 million during the recession, while investment asset values fell by £1.5 billion (10.2%). Collective investment fund values of the UK’s 500 largest fundraising charities fell by 21.4%, and income from investments dropped by 8.4%. Charities which saw a fall in the value of their investments included: n Cancer Research UK (down from £230 million to £154 million); n Royal National Lifeboat Institution (down from £281 million to £221 million); n NSPCC (down from £73 million to £49 million); n The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association (down from £145 million to £127 million).
IWA Has Been Similarly Affected By The Economic Downturn IWA has been no different. It has always sought to punch above its weight, in terms of being a national campaigning charity, seeking to keep an active branch and region structure and to campaign locally and nationally for the nation’s waterways. Never more so than in recent years where we have put extra efforts into campaigning for better waterway funding, and towards support of restoration, following the cuts in Government grant in aid for the waterways, and the withdrawal of BW from being able to support restoration of the network. This has entailed a deliberate focus by IWA in utilising its reserves to support these activities, over previous levels of expenditure.
However, in this current climate this level of activity and campaigning has become increasingly difficult. Considering the current economic outlook, IWA needs to become more pro-active in fundraising as part of its core activities if it is to retain its capabilities to continue to campaign for the waterways, and to support restoration activities to the level expected by its members. This is necessary to protect the waterways at a critical time with regard to the proposals to move the management of our waterways into the third sector. More than ever, IWA needs to ensure that the waterway user is protected and not disregarded within governments plans, and to ensure that funding, and governance arrangements for the new organisation, are suitable and sustainable, and that our aim of inclusion of the Environment Agency navigations is fully considered and achieved. Putting it simply, because of the economic downturn, and the subsequent drain on our reserves as a result of the extra efforts we have made on campaigning and restoration, we are currently in a position where we are not generating enough income to continue to support our activities. This situation has been masked by years of good stock market performance, particularly in 2009 and 2010. Our reserves are relatively small and are not there to support overspend over a long period of time. So we need to either increase income or reduce expenditure. The following summarises the current basic income and expenditure position of IWA.
The Cotswold Canals restoration project is one of many such sche mes to benefit from IWA funding.
We are spending considerably more than we are generating as income by around £150,000
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ss. Source: Latest IWA SORP Accounts
So Where Does The Money Currently Go? As you would expect, IWA as a small charity with a large volunteer input and supporter base, is able to put most of its resources towards delivery of its charitable aims: campaigning for the waterways; ensuring rights for users are maintained; and supporting and funding restoration, through grants and by funding our Waterway Recovery Group’s activities. We are, however, also constrained by masses of red tape as we are a charity, a business and a financial organisation (we arrange affordable insurance for over 175 waterways societies and trusts), and have to maintain detailed financial records; and in addition, as a membership organisation, we have unavoidable costs for maintaining membership services and recruitment activities.
To remain viable, IWA’s income and expenditure needs to be in balance - we can’t continually spend more than we receive. If we don’t raise more money, IWA’s campaign activity will be harmed.
The trustees have been looking closely at areas where expenditure can be cut and have ensured that all areas and budgets have been pared down to the bare minimum they deem necessary to maintain the charity whilst still maintaining the main charitable services of campaigning and support for restoration. Meanwhile, IWA staff have had their pay frozen to reduce head office expenditure. Given the current difficult economic position we can’t rely on stock market performance to contribute significantly in the coming years.
In the past IWA has benefitted enormously from gate receipts at the national festival, but again times change and the last three years have seen a severe reduction in the profit contribution from this event. But if every member attended the festival and we had a resultant huge gate, we would increase the income from our trading arm. Likewise, if all members took time to consider and make purchases from IWAshop. com, we could improve our income stream.
For 2011 And Onwards IWA Needs To Raise More Funds To Keep Going... All IWA supporters need to help to maximise opportunities to support IWA financially, YOU can help: n Seriously look at how you can support IWA more by making regular monthly donations - can you afford to donate £5, £10 or £20 per month? Contact Membership at head office 01494 783 453 or go online at www.waterways. org.uk/support_us/ways_to_support_us/make_ a_donation. n Make IWA a beneficiary in your will - please leave us a legacy. Contact Helen Elliott-Adams, IWA finance manager, on 01494 783 453. n Recruit new members. Anyone you see out there walking towpaths or boating especially hire boaters. What about taking out joint membership instead of single (don't go out and find a partner just to do this - a donation will work out cheaper in the long run!), get your children/parents/grandparents to join. Get your neighbours and friends to join. Contact membership at head office on 01494 783 453 for information and membership forms. n Actively support our fundraising activities: Use the easy fundraising online shopping scheme, www.easyfundraising.org.uk/; IWAshop www.waterways.org.uk/shop/; support IWA sales at shows; go to our National Festival etc. n Help us raise more money, by holding regular local fundraising activities or helping your local branch raise money. Contact your local branch or HO membership on 01494 783 453. n Help IWA be more efficient and reduce unnecessary administration. Have you made a Gift Aid declaration? Do you pay by direct debit? Contact HO membership on 01494 783 453 for a gift aid declaration or for a direct debit mandate. n Are there things that IWA does, or which happen in your branch that could be done differently to reduce costs or free up time to use more productively? Please let us know at email@example.com.
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Inglesham Lock Update A progress report from the Thames & Severn Canal
y the end of December some £24,276 had been pledged to IWA’s Inglesham Lock appeal (see Autumn 2010 Waterways). IWA wants to restore and recommission Inglesham Lock at the junction of the Thames & Severn Canal with the River Thames, which is a crucial part of the Cotswold Canals scheme. Inglesham is the gateway to the Cotswold canals restoration, and an iconic structure. IWA is keen to see the lock reopened providing a usable link to the network. This new restoration front will complement the work in the Stroud valley and hopefully force further movement on the full realisation of the Cotswold Water Park where it links to the Wilts & Berks Canal. This is the shortest and simplest route to reconnect Swindon with the national waterways network. IWA hopes, therefore, to encourage and capture the imagination and support of the population in and around Swindon in relation to the regeneration of Swindon town centre as part of the Wilts & Berks master plan. The Inglesham project also builds on the recent gift of the lock at Inglesham to the Cotswold Canals Trust by British Waterways. The aim is to create a new project on the Cotswolds Canals that IWA’s volunteer restoration arm ,Waterway Recovery Group, can participate in from start to finish; and to help develop and facilitate new forms of volunteering, from those who may be interested in just giving a day or half a day’s time through to fully committed weekenders and week-long ‘canal campers’. The end product will be more participation by locals and waterway supporters.
Works Identified Following a recent meeting on site with WRG and CCT team members, the following works have been identified as being possible this year, should the necessary funds be generated and regulatory approvals be granted in time, after paying off the land purchase costs:
WRG scrub-bashing at Inglesham in late December.
n Initial site clearance – eg tree removal (cost £250) has to be done before spring nesting; n Provision of access to the site (£2,000); n Establishment of site welfare and materials storage facilities (£5,000); n Excavation and creation of earthbund at canal mouth with Thames (£1,000); n Excavation and dredging of canal bed for new lock landing (£500); n Construction of boat landing stage and works to the junction where the canal joins the Thames (£2500); n Provision and refurbishment/repair of stop planks and stop grooves to lock, to facilitate working access to lock chamber (£2,000); n Carrying out listed bridge deck repair to prevent water penetration, the listed bridge being fairly sound but having a porosity issue requiring a membrane to protect the supporting structure (£500). Between Christmas and New Year WRG Forestry carefully removed a number of trees close to the lock and entrance to the canal, only after the completion of thorough wildlife surveys.
Support the project Donations to the fund are still required. What can a donation buy? £1 buys tea for the volunteers; £5 supports a volunteer bricklayer for one hour; £25 buys a day’s worth of mortar for a bricklayer; £50 buys 1 metre of wall lining and a mention in dispatches; £100 buys a coping stone and a certificate of donation; £1,000 will help excavate 20 metres of canal pound and gains a commemorative plaque on the lock side; £10,000 can help purchase a lock-gate and brings an invitation to a celebration dinner at the opening and a commemorative plaque on the gate; specific high donations can be matched to a key component and marked with a donors plaque as per lock-gates. In order to keep administration costs down, receipts will not be issued unless specifically
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requested. IWA is, however, pleased to acknowledge the generosity of all donors and accordingly will post a list of all donors names on a monthly basis on the IWA website. National chairman Clive Henderson urged IWA members to support the project. “If everyone
who supports our cause raised and donated just £10 we would easily meet our target. Just go to www.inglesham.org.uk to make a donation, or send your donations marked ‘Inglesham’ to IWA Head Office, Island House, Moor Road, Chesham HP5 1WA.
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A boat of n w o r u o y
1 1 0 2 n i t a Getting afl o
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A boat of your own
here is a long tradition of pleasure boating on Britain’s canals, but the major upsurge in private boat ownership really took off during the 1980s and ‘90s. The current economic climate notwithstanding, the trend continues today, albeit at a much slower pace. For many new waterway enthusiasts, the ultimate dream remains the acquisition of their own boat. Over the following pages we outline what is involved in buying and running an inland waterway craft.
Types of boat A modern steel narrowboat – descended from the working boats that carried cargo around the system for almost 200 years – is the choice of most prospective boat buyers. Its design has been honed over the years to produce a boat that fits the infrastructure of the canals, is convenient to handle and is capable of absorbing the knocks and bumps of regular use. Narrowboats vary in length from around 30 to 70 feet, but the typical two-plus-two berth boat currently stands at 57 feet. The main differences in external design occur at the rear. Traditional sterns have small rear decks and upswept cabins modelled closely on working boats, with the engine usually located just inside the rear doors; at the other end of the spectrum the cruiser stern has a much larger rear deck with the engine installed beneath it. A ‘halfway house’ is the semi-trad, which has a cruiser deck but with the cabin sides extended on each side to give some shelter to the steerer and a more traditional appearance to the boat. Reasonably young narrowboats will normally be equipped with a saloon, galley incorporating oven, hob, fridge and sink, bathroom containing bath/shower, washbasin and toilet, and a bedroom with a fixed double berth. The boat is propelled by an inboard diesel engine which also generates electricity that is stored in the battery bank and heats the domestic hot water. Additional items on board may include oil or gas-fired central heating, an inverter or generator to provide 230-volt power for household appliances and a bow thruster to assist with mooring. Former working boats are the preserve of the committed enthusiast, and are not really suitable for the relatively inexperienced buyer. Many working boats are being acquired by traditionalists who are proficient at carrying out maintenance tasks, and they often remove cabin conversions and restore the craft back to its original condition. Most such vessels are fitted with engines of similar vintage, which tend to be large, slow-revving and virtually indestructible.
The term canal cruiser is generally applied to any craft that can cruise the narrow canals but is not a narrowboat. Most are built of glass-fibre with wheel steering from aft, centre or forward cockpits. The 1960s and ‘70s represented the heyday of such craft, after which their popularity declined. Narrow-beam cruisers are typically 18 to 20 feet in length with two berths or 25 feet long with four berths. Newer versions often come with hob, oven, fridge, sink with hot and cold water, toilet, shower and some form of heating. Most are powered by four-stroke outboard motors. Brand new Shetland, Dolphin and Viking cruisers are still available, and remain highly visible on a number of canals, notably the Brecon & Abergavenny Canal in South Wales and the Lancaster Canal.
Below: Traditional narrowboats have small rear decks. Bottom: Semi-trad craft have their cabin sides extended to give shelter to the steerer.
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Wide-beam narrowboats offer additional internal space but restricted cruising grounds.
Wide-beam cruisers are basically similar to their narrow-beam cousins, but with one great advantage: width. Even an extra couple of feet can make all the difference between a restricted layout and one that allows the owner to spread out. These vessels are seen throughout the Norfolk Broads – where the variety of craft is limited by low bridges - and on the Thames. The royal river is home to almost every type of craft imaginable, with flybridge cruisers boasting aggressive lines and powerful twin engines frequently seen as far upstream as Oxford. The name is paradoxical, but widebeam narrowboats offer the virtues of the conventional canal narrowboat – such as ease of handling and the ability to negotiate low bridges – with greatly increased internal space. The downside is, of course, greatly restricted cruising grounds, the craft being unable to pass through narrow locks. Traditional Dutch barges were built in several styles. The round-cheeked tjalk is not as spacious as the luxemotor, the style most often imported into Britain. The average luxemotor is a superb craft with a powerful straight stem, elegant re-entrant counter, curving deckline and ship’s wheelhouse. A variation on the theme is the narrow-beam Dutch barge, offering unrestricted cruising at the cost of reduced internal space. Whilst the size of the average narrowboat has increased over the years, many boaters appreciate the advantages of owning a small, trailable boat. One major bonus is that you can spend your whole holiday cruising on canals and rivers that would normally take all your precious time just to reach – and you can explore waterways or lakes that are inaccessible from the main system. The big names in trailboating are Wilderness Trailboats, Sea Otter Boats and Shetland Boats.
The price of a dream
Dutch barges are stylish and practical.
Brand new narrowboats can cost you anything from £35,000 to £250,000, according to the size of craft – and degree of luxury – that you are seeking. There is no shortage of boat-builders ready and willing to accept your hard-earned cash to build the boat of your dreams for you, as a trawl through the advertisement pages of Waterways World and other canal magazines will testify. But buying second-hand is the favoured option for many – and there are narrowboat brokers aplenty to help you find the right craft at the right price. As a rough guide, here is what your money could get you in today’s market: £5,000 – Thirty year old Shetland Family Four (17ft 6in) with a fairly new 10hp 4-stroke outboard.
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£10,000 – Twenty-five year old 30 to 35ft steel narrowboat (former hire craft). £20,000 – Twenty year old 40 to 45ft middlemarket narrowboat with inboard diesel engine, in sound condition. £30,000 – Eighteen year old, 50ft middlemarket traditional narrowboat (or new Viking 26 centre cockpit, glass-fibre canal cruiser with 20hp 4-stroke outboard). £50,000 – Five year old 50ft narrowboat bought as a sailaway and well finished by the owner (or ten year old 70ft cruiser style from budget to middle-market builder). £70,000 – Three year old, up-market narrowboat, well equipped with boatman’s cabin and vintage engine (or eight year old wide-beam narrowboat from middle-market builder). £95,000 plus – Almost any nearly new top-of-therange narrowboat with almost any specification (or seventy year old, 60ft x 13ft converted Dutch barge (luxemotor) in sound condition.
Glass-fibre cruisers offer an inexpensive way to get afloat.
Trailable boats allow access to otherwise inaccessible waterways.
Shared ownership and timeshare
Shared ownership schemes provide a halfway-house to full-blown boat ownership. Operators of the scheme build or commission boats and sell a number of shares – generally twelve – which the sharers keep in perpetuity. Sharers may leave the scheme at anytime and retain the proceeds from the sale of their share. Different schemes have different ways of allocating the weeks when sharers may use the boat. The main disadvantage is, clearly, that use of the boat is restricted – ie you can’t just cruise off up the cut when the feeling takes you. With timeshare, participants purchase the right to use any boat in the scheme for a certain number of weeks in a year, rather than an actual share in one particular boat. Those wishing to leave the timeshare scheme can recoup some of their initial purchase price by selling their entitlement. A feature of timeshare is the exchange system which allows members to trade their week’s entitlement aboard a boat for a week in a hotel or villa – either in the UK or abroad. This high quality narrowboat is owned by twelve people.
Thames cruisers come in all shapes and sizes.
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Running costs Forget any thoughts about the best things in life being free – running a narrowboat is certainly not cheap. For a start you will need a licence. Most waterways are managed by British Waterways and the main factors determining how much you will pay for a BW licence are the length of your boat and whether you want to cruise on canals and rivers, or just on rivers. The licence for a 50ft narrowboat used on the canals and rivers currently costs £684, whilst a rivers only licence will set you back £410. The Environment Agency manages the Thames, Medway and the waterways of East Anglia, with licence fees of around £474 for a 50ft narrowboat on the Thames. Gold licences are available enabling you to use both authorities’ waterways in the same year: a fifty footer would in this case cost £865. Mooring fees represent another major expense. BW customers pay in the region of £60 to £90 per metre annually for an on-line mooring , whilst a berth a BW marina in the Midlands will cost from £100 to £120 per metre per year. Prices in London and the South East are usually much higher. Membership of a private boat club often brings the benefit of a mooring in the club’s own basin. Maintenance costs vary according to the age of the craft – but certain routine tasks are important, such as changing the engine oil and filter, and dry docking the boat so that the hull can be cleaned off and repainted. Regular running costs include pump-out charges, fuel for propulsion and Calor gas for cooking/heating. Add in depreciation, insurance and finance costs if you needed a loan to purchase the boat, and the result is a pretty hefty sum. But most boat-owners reckon it’s worth it!
Paddle your own canoe Community Boats
For many people living in deprived areas, community boats offer an introduction to the pleasures of inland waterways. Community boating organisations provide access to and services on UK waterways for the benefit of their local community. They often work with youth and other groups in addition to individuals and may provide specific services for disabled, disadvantaged or otherwise excluded people in society, such as those on low incomes or minority groups. The aim of these organisations extends beyond just providing access to a leisure facility. It could be social inclusion, education, rehabilitation (health or offending), as well as issues of wider community cohesion. They are predominantly registered charities, relying on donations, fund-raising and sponsorship from within their own operating area. (You can read more about the role of community boating organisations in Viewpoint in this issue – see pages 30-31).
But you don’t need to be wealthy to enjoy the waterways at your own pace and at your own chosen time. A canoe or kayak will cost you a tiny fraction of the price of a narrowboat and basic membership of the British Canoe Union will entitle you to use many waterways throughout Britain, a number of them isolated from the main network and inaccessible to motor boats. Furthermore, canoeing is a ‘silent and green’ activity enabling you to see far more wildlife (especially kingfishers, herons and woodpeckers) than you would from a diesel or petrol powered vessel. Anyone wishing to have a go at canoeing should, in the first instance, join a local group or club – it is the safest way to acquire the basic skills required to explore the waterway
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A boat of your own
network. For a full list of canoeing clubs contact the relevant national organisation: www.canoe-england.org.uk; www.welshcanoeing.org.uk; www.canoescotland.com. Alternatively, contact the British Canoe Union by visiting www.bcu.org.uk. (In this issue we publish an account of a kayaking trip along Scotland’s Forth & Clyde and Union canals – see pages 26-28).
First steps But if you’re not ready for boat ownership quite yet – not even a humble canoe or kayak – but can’t wait to get afloat this spring, then there are a whole host of trip boats operating throughout Britain; we published a guide to these services in the Summer 2008 issue of Waterways. Contact the Passenger Boat
Association for up-to-date information (www. passengerboats.co.uk) or visit Jim Shead’s website (www.jim-shead.com) where you will also find details of public trip operators. Hiring is of course the natural first step into boat ownership for so many new enthusiasts and we dealt with this topic in the last issue of Waterways. A week or fortnight aboard a hire craft so often leads to a lifetime as a boatowner – and to IWA membership too!
MAIN PICTURE: This Midlands marina offers secure pleasant moorings – at a price. INSET: Paddle your own canoe – and you can explore many distant corners of the network.
Acknowledgement Grateful thanks to Graham Booth for much original research. He is the author of The Inland Boat Owner’s Book (4th edition), published by Waterways World Ltd, which is the most comprehensive guide to owning a boat on Britain’s inland waterways.
Photos by Graham Booth, Mark Langley, Robin Smithett, Andrew Denny and Keith Goss.
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THE NEXT GENERATION In the first of a regular new series, we look at attempts to attract young people to the world of the waterways
IWA targets young partnerships
he waterways are a great magnet for young people and IWA is always looking to promote projects that will enthuse and inspire them. In particular we are currently working on ideas for partnership projects with older pupils and we are pleased to support the Young Working Boaters Society and British Canoe Union. We still need to catch kids at an early age though so as well as the usual activity programmes at our waterway festivals in 2010 the IWA WOW team led two activity days at the Henley River & Rowing Museum which were successful. Hundreds of visitors of all ages took part in the varied activities and this enabled IWA members to talk to families about the waterways and their value to us all. We also supplied resources to Newbury Museum for the summer season. In 2011 we will be visiting the Bass Museum in Burton upon Trent, again taking our message out into the community. If members have ideas for any other appropriate venues that would appreciate a visit or value a resource pack please contact us. Alternatively if branches or canal societies would like to run WOW activities at their events, the kit now comes with five ready made fun things to do along with all the promotional material needed. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Canoeing... something for young people
ith something for everyone in the huge diversity of disciplines and canoeing environments, canoeing provides a fun packed sport full of adventure, challenge, competition and variety and an activity which all the family can undertake together. Canoeing provides superb opportunities for all. Participants may go on to be an international athlete or have a career working in watersports, or may purely use the sport for low level competition or for recreational purposes developing a healthy lifestyle with their friends and families. Canoeing also provides the opportunity for able bodied and disabled to share all aspects of the sport together.
The IWA WOW team at work at the Henley River & Rowing Museum last summer.
Young Working Boaters Society
he aims of the Young Working Boaters Society are: to promote the UK canals to target the younger generation; to encourage the use of historic narrowboats; to create a social network of young working boat enthusiasts; to teach members traditional boating techniques. One of the aims of YWBS is to provide a network for young people interested in boating, particularly the traditional methods of maintaining working boats and boating around the canal system via traditional methods such as long-lining etc. The society provides an opportunity for those who donâ€™t necessarily own a boat for themselves to be able to go boating regularly and on different working boats. In the past the society held informal get-togethers, at Christmas and at various boating rallies throughout the year, these are always great fun and itâ€™s lovely getting to know other young people with similar interests to share stories and learn more about the canals. The society has been going for just over a year, so is still in its early stages. Visit the website www.ywbs.co.uk for details of how to become a member of YWBS.Â
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The Next Generation Canoe England has an extensive programme of activities for young people ably assisted by affiliated clubs and coaches all over the country. Part of this programme is the Paddlepower Scheme. Paddlepower has been designed to meet the needs of young people. Its colourful and youth centred approach aims to: encourage more young people to come into and stay in the sport; provide progression and reward achievement in a wide range of disciplines; show them all aspects of the sport – both competitive and adventurous; provide signposts into clubs where their skills and development can be nurtured; provide a flexible structure for delivery according to venue/situation. The scheme has recently been revised and now comprises five awards to support a young paddler’s introduction and progress in paddlesport. For more information visit www.canoe-england.org.uk.
WOW Volunteers needed
Go Wild Over Waterways
n 2010 the British Waterways’ education coordinators learnt many things – including that both silly putty and M&M’s were invented during World War II, that the Lancaster Canal was called the “Black & White Canal” and that a teddy bear can be used to teach geography. These facts were discovered whilst creating WOW resources for children, teachers, group leaders and volunteers. They are designed to be delivered at a variety of locations, both canalside and in the classroom, and to cater for a range of learning styles – all meeting the objective of introducing a new generation of children to waterways and hopefully inspiring the enthusiasts of tomorrow. We have many requests for a basis introduction to canals and have developed the short presentation “All About Canals”, which can be downloaded from the WOW website with leader’s notes to guide you through such questions as: what are the differences between canals and rivers, who built canals, how does a lock work and how are boats powered? Linking the “All About Canals” presentation and one of the new hands-on Resource Boxes creates a fantastic indoor classroom or group session. The Resource Boxes are all linked to the curriculum or uniform group badges and come with leader’s notes to guide you through such activities as Build a Canal, Boating Families and Float a Boat. We were also lucky enough to attract funding from the MLA’s Learning Links programme, to produce the latest Topic Pack entitled “Waterways at War”, working with staff at The Waterways Archive, children from Holmes Chapel County Primary School and many other volunteers. Changes in the way teachers are delivering the curriculum within schools has led us to theming our resources around topics such as war, building canals and even exploring family history. All of these resources are available to download free from the WOW website along with specific Fact Files for canals and locations, such as Hatton Locks, the Lowland Canals and Anderton Boat Lift. Children from Holmes Chapel County Primary School re-enacting “Waterways at War.”
one of the WOW activity programmes would be possible without the many volunteers who deliver them. The IWA teams and, of course, BW are always looking for more people to help out! The opportunities are varied and include taking part in IWA run waterway events where WOW is being offered as part of the attractions. We also need help with identifying other venues which can be used to promote WOW and where resources could also be offered. BW also need help with school visits, Cub Scouts and Brownies groups, and other projects. If you enjoy sharing your enthusiasm of waterways with children and their families please get in touch by e-mailing email@example.com to help out at IWA’s events or firstname.lastname@example.org to assist with British Waterways led activities.
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d n a l t o Sc
Anthea Bircham and Karen Welch describe the kayaking trip of a lifetime
fter 40,000 paddle strokes, 74 bridges, 50 meandering miles, 18 swans, 17 footballs, 12 Snickers bars, eight aqueducts, five drop locks, four injuries, three comfort breaks, two tunnels, one swimming rat, but no shopping trolleys, two mad middleaged mums reached Spiers Wharf and their objective of paddling from Edinburgh to Glasgow over two days. Having got the kids ready for school we set off for the Ratho Canal Centre. Arriving at 9.45am it was not an auspicious start when we dropped one kayak off the car roof whilst unloading and then the effective but still open “dry bag” slipped off the kayak into the canal. It took us a minute or two to find somewhere low enough to enter our kayaks in a reasonably dignified fashion. The chaps at the Seagull
Trust base “helpfully” reminded us of the 25-mile distance to Falkirk but it was useful that they pointed us in the right direction. Fortunately the cleaning lady in the Ratho Inn let us use the toilets, since the wetsuits and the reminder of the distance were playing havoc with our bladders! I’d like to say we set off on a beautiful autumn day with the sun splitting the sky but it’s Scotland and the drizzle was pleasantly cooling. The first section felt cosy but leafy, with lots of quaint little stone bridges along the way. These quaint little bridges soon became essential shelters as the rain set in for the morning. There was plenty of traffic along this first section of the Union Canal – it was rather sociable shouting our good mornings to the passing boaters. Strangely enough we had to slow our pace when we got stuck behind a canal boat. It was
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Paddling through Scotland
LEFT: Leaving Linlithgow. ABOVE: Anthea (left) and Karen enjoying every moment of the trip. RIGHT: The Falkirk Wheel. BELOW: Getting organised at Ratho. travelling at around four miles an hour while we needed to be paddling a little faster. As the trees became more sporadic and the banks looked less like a riverside, we began to feel a little frustrated and we had to hang back to avoid a faceful of diesel fumes. Fortunately we were able to pass when the boat pulled in at one of the moorings that are to be found along the Edinburgh to Linlithgow stretch of the canal. The Almond Aqueduct was a lovely experience but it felt a little strange to be looking down on the traffic from the waterway above and the sides are low so even craft like ours can see over. However, Philipstoun Aqueduct is even bigger and also an impressive structure, but sadly neither we, nor our kayaks, were tall enough to see the road below.
Warm welcome at Linlithgow As we neared our first day’s halfway mark at the Linlithgow Canal Centre it needed real willpower to pass a bistro with its inviting mooring points, jetty and neon sign for home baking. We steeled ourselves to paddle the last mile or so into Linlithgow. And this determination paid off when the lovely volunteers pulled our boats up the slipway,
pointed out the toilets and nipped off to put the kettle on. In a lovely little canalside tearoom we ate our packed lunches, supped tea, sent texts and sampled homemade fudge. Re-invigorated by lunch and the warm welcome we set off in slightly drier conditions for the second quarter of our expedition. We appreciated the many leafy sections as Scotland’s only surviving contour canal continued to gently meander its way across Central Scotland. We managed a cracking 4.5 to 4.7 miles an hour along this section and the flow did seem to be with us. We quickly made up the ground we’d lost earlier in the morning while hanging around in the wake of the canal boat. By far the most exciting part of the day was the spooky 631m long Falkirk tunnel, originally built to save the residents of Callendar House from having to see the common industrial traffic on the canal. The narrow waterway meant that there would be nowhere to go if we met another vessel coming the other way. We had difficulty working out if flashing the redgreen light meant we could go or not, but just decided to go for it. The tunnel leads out into another treelined section with the rather swish boathouse belonging to the Seagull Trust who take disabled folk on trips along the canal. Plenty of cheery greetings were exchanged with those manning the boats there – even their dog looked benevolent! The trees cleared and again we were aware of a feeling of height and how near to our evening stop off point we were. Finally we reached the Falkirk Wheel top locks. We found a slightly shallower but rather small area next to the bank and crawled out of our kayaks like penguins which look graceful in the water but struggle to look other than comical once on land. Boy, did our kayaks feel heavy as we carried them down the steep path that leads to the wheel itself! The helpful night watchman helped us reattach my broken footplate and find a suitable out of sight place for our kayaks. He had some interesting tales to tell about the busloads of foreign visitors that can turn up at odd times late into the evening. We then set off to walk a small section of the Forth & Clyde Canal in order to find our rather luxurious lodgings in Denny provided by a generous friend from schooldays. Providing lodgings and a meal to rather smelly, damp kayakers is no mean feat!
Along the Forth & Clyde Next day we arrived at around 9.30am at the wheel, unlocked our boats and assessed our entry points. We waved goodbye to our kind host and set off along the Forth & Clyde (after checking we were heading in the Glasgow
IWA waterways - Spring 2011 | Paddling.indd 27
Paddling through Scotland direction). The current felt a little against us and our speeds weren’t as good as the previous day, averaging around 4.3 miles an hour. The Forth & Clyde Canal seems straighter than the Union and with fewer mooring points. We had four locks to negotiate early on in our day. Negotiating these four locks, exiting and entering in a variety of rather unflattering styles, took us a little over an hour. Exits involved wedging ourselves under jetties for stability, falling on to banks, sliding bottom first out of our boats and dragging our heavy kayaks up steep embankments. Meanwhile entering involved tipping forwards in half hearted seal launches, steadying with paddles and standing briefly in stagnant waters where the occasional ripples played havoc with our fears of what was down there. After the Castlecary Locks the canal widens out as it flows towards Auchinstarry Basin in Kilsyth. Auchinstarry Basin is a modern marina with a wide variety of boats. A left hand hairpin bend swings round from Auchinstarry as we again had to pick up the pace and make for Kirkintilloch. We weren’t sure just how far we were away from Kirkie but looked out for one of the swing-bridges which are a feature of the Forth & Clyde. At last the Townhead Bridge was reached and we paddled past the concrete
banks of the road bridge built on top of the original old bridge and past the swans which were becoming more ‘butch’ as we traversed the central belt. We locked up the boats and went in search of toilets and a cup of tea. Eventually we found an Indian restaurant which served us promptly and made us the best ever bacon roll. Painfully we fell into our kayaks and set off along the home straight. As we made our way through Bishopbriggs and towards the Metropolis the numbers of bottles and MacDonald’s boxes increased. We couldn’t fault the walkers of Glasgow for friendliness as the enquiries increased: “Where have you come from? “Are you on your own?” Kayaks were certainly an object of interest and a child in a buggy was in danger of joining us in the murky waters. Fortunately, the Stockingfield junction had a nice clear signpost for Spiers Wharf where the British Waterways office was our pick up point. As we passed the high-rise concrete blocks of Possil we were surprised by two deer leaping among the scrubby canal undergrowth. And as our journey reached its end, the deer among the flats served to highlight the overriding memory of our east-west canal trip: namely nature living alongside the man-made in a wonderful symbiotic relationship.
ABOVE: In Falkirk Tunnel.
ABOVE: Ratho Canal Centre. LEFT: Setting off from the slipway at Linlithgow.
| IWA waterways - Spring 2011
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IWA waterways - Spring 2011 |
29 19/1/11 16:38:17
t n i o p w e Vi
he vision of the NCBA is of a network of well-resourced, well-managed community boating organisations promoting access to the waterways. These should promote the safe use of community boats as a resource available for the benefit of disadvantaged and excluded groups in ways that promote social cohesion, protect the environment and support economic regeneration.
What is a community boat project? One NCBA member has six boats, no paid staff, 80 volunteers and carries 14,000 passengers per annum; another member has one boat, one paid member of staff and works with five trainees per academic term; another does not have a boat, two paid staff, but facilitates over 750 passenger days per annum; on a personal level I run a boat project but I am often told that it is more than just a boat - it is a catalyst for change in individuals, generations and communities. I use this information to demonstrate the diversity of our members. We are currently calculating our figures but at the beginning of 2008 we had over 70 members who operated with 166 boats. They had over 2,000 volunteers but only 180 paid employees. The vast majority of our £155,000 income came from donations or grants but over 50% of members operated within an annual income of between £5,000 and £50,000. A recent IWAC report estimated that NCBA members contributed over £6 million value to the inland waterways. (These figures are believed to be broadly accurate but cannot be guaranteed, as there is no requirement to provide or collate statistical information, except to the specific funder.) A brief history of the NCBA shows it was formed in the early 1980s as an informal network of groups using the waterways to discuss relevant issues and practice. In the ‘90s it set out to support projects through the provision of accredited training. In 2001 it appointed four members of staff to provide a more comprehensive training structure, significantly supported by a 3 year Community Fund grant and in 2005 registered as a charity and incorporated as a Company. The latter part of its history has been a turbulent ride to build up our business ethos, maintain a positive financial balance, raise our profile with major
The National Community Boats Association plays an important role in supporting the use of the waterways to combat the effects of social exclusion. The Association’s chairman Trevor Roberts explains further. stakeholders to secure the many positive benefits that community boating organisations bring.
Widespread benefits These can be demonstrated through a series of case studies. How many people does it take to drive a boat - one. How many to navigate it along the waterway network - that is harder to define. Someone has to open the locks, someone has to make the tea, someone has to maintain a lookout, someone has to throw the rope, and someone has to catch it. This takes teamwork and communication, which leads to personal and social development of individuals. Peter came to a project at 14 yrs of age as a last resort before exclusion from school for anger issues and truancy. The project was involved in an EU-funded initiative examining ways of dealing with school truancy and child exploitation. Peter spoke at the final conference in Naples to an auditorium of 150 delegates ranging from Eurocrats to community reps from five countries. I am a relatively confident person but I was nervous at facing what appeared to be a United Nations conference with the tiers of delegates and interpreters. Peter received a standing ovation. Later I said to Peter how I found it difficult to appreciate “how far he had travelled”. He replied ‘You do – what about me! Six months ago I dare not speak up in class.’ Two years later he returned to his school to speak at a multi-agency panel to support another of our trainees who was facing the same future. As a result of his intervention he was appointed as a ‘mentor’ to support the trainee at our project. After our intervention there was no offending behaviour, no further victimisation and they have now re-integrated back into mainstream provision. Peter spent 18 months in Finland with an environmental project, his mentee is an apprentice at a local foundry. They did not progress into waterway-related employment but they will vocalise the effect of the waterways in their progression. The project did not receive any funding for one of the trainees and received £2,000 for one year’s full time work with the other. The saving to the criminal justice and education systems is immense.
Above: Taking responsibility – a youth group preparing to enter a lock.
| IWA waterways - Spring 2011
Viewpoint Access for all?
Below: The Sobriety project, based at the Yorkshire Waterways Museum, uses the heritage, arts and environment of the waterways as a resource for learning and regeneration.
Despite the Disability Discrimination Act, I understand that there is only one commercial company which provides disabled access on one boat of its hire fleet. The majority of water borne disabled access is provided through the membership of the NCBA. A statutory view of Access to All is reflected through the use of money at a recent waterside development. It was decided to alter a set of steps from the canal to a riverside walk and provide a disabled ramp for wheelchair users. Within 10 metres of the steps there was an A frame on the towpath which prevented easy wheelchair access. A mile the other way was a similar obstruction. The riverside walk was a mile long and ended in either an industrial park or a set of steps to the main road. The cost of installing the ramp was initially quoted as £250,000. For 50% of that quote a project could have built a brand new boat with full disabled access and operating costs for a year. This would have provided quality access to the waterways for a vastly greater number than have used that mile of waterways paths. A group of survivors of brain injury, their carers and families were taken on a four mile evening boat trip with a wildlife expert. We moored the boat and they identified four different species of bats with electronic bat detectors. It was too far to walk and not accessible by vehicle. Consider the effect on the quality of life for those people.
The health dividend The inland waterway system is sometimes promoted as a ‘green gym’. You can walk or cycle on the towpaths, and you can use the mileposts to register your efforts. A group of older people were taken for a boat trip. At the first lock an 80-year-old lady alighted from the boat to walk to the lock in order that she could see how it operated. It was a distance of 30 metres but her carer stated it was the furthest she had walked. If she had waited for the return journey she could have walked on the level, which may have left her with sufficient energy to help open the lock-gate. Think of the boost to her confidence and self esteem if she told her grand children that she had operated the lock. A common comment through project users is the calming effect of the tranquil journey. This is particularly reflected in some of the younger clients who display anger and behaviour traits. Think of the saving for health in the mental health and preventative health strategies.
What price regeneration?
For further information about community boats visit www.national-cba.co.uk.
The inland waterways system was at the centre of the industrial infrastructure – with economic decline many canals are now at the heart of some our most disadvantaged communities. The conversion to residential use increases property values by 20%, and you still have to be relatively rich to boat on the canals – the consequence is a ribbon of affluence through an economically deprived community
leading to social tensions. On a recent trip a 90-year-old lady thanked the community project boat crew for helping her fulfil a lifetime’s ambition. She had lived within sight of the Bingley 5 Rise locks but had never been able to go through the canal on a boat. Exclusion breeds resentment and tensions. A community boat project provides an opportunity to include those communities through true canal experiences providing social regeneration alongside the physical developments. Community cohesion can only come through inclusion.
Securing the future Community boat projects are operating without strategic support at either a local or national level. They are supporting national and regional agendas in relation to criminal justice, education, health and engaging communities. Development is often individual led, sporadic and adhoc. It is often the case that each project has to justify the value of community boating to individuals within the statutory sector. The more difficult client groups require more contact time to support their progression but funding uncertainty often makes this problematic. We are keen to work with the new waterways charity. A partnership with community boats would provide a vehicle for the community engagement that will be required to support the new charity. In previous discussions with British Waterways we have been advised that it is our role to deliver the corporate social responsibilities and it was theirs to maintain the physical infrastructure to enable us to do so. In the recent licence review it was disclosed that British Waterways have 147 boats which are classified as community/education use. This classification enables the users to claim a discount but they were unable to state how many were actually receiving the discount as it is down to local discretion. A study of the list also disclosed that less than 50% of the boats were NCBA members. A true and meaningful partnership would provide the vehicle for hitting targets but our infrastructure is permanently under threat, due to financial instability - and yet 0.1% of the value of British Waterways’ grant from Defra (prior to the cuts) would secure it. We are currently developing a pilot project to identify and develop leadership qualities of young people through community boating. It is hoped that this will result in a more active role being played by a younger generation in the management and development of the NCBA and its members. Furthermore we are keen to engage the public and private sector to support our development, either as trustees or advisors for specific elements. With a secure future we would be able to concentrate on the four pillars of our business plan, namely: National Voice; Quality Standards; Training; and Sharing of Good Practice. These would in turn help our members to deliver a quality service to the community - at extremely good value.
IWA waterways - Spring 2011 | Viewpoint.indd 31
Canal Camps 2011 Enjoy a holiday with a difference with the Waterway Recovery Group
RG has launched its new programme of unique, weeklong residential volunteering opportunities, known as ‘Canal Camps’, designed to restore the derelict canals of England and Wales. Canal Camps offer the chance to do your bit for the environment whilst having a fun holiday. Mike Palmer, WRG Chairman, explains: “This year we have a great selection of locations for our Canal Camps, including the re-appearance of some old favourites, such as the Monmouthshire Canal and the Cotswolds Canals.” There are 22 Canal Camps this year, during which volunteers are invited to get their hands dirty and try something completely different. Some of the tasks lined include restoring a length of the Montgomery Canal in Shropshire,
the continuing excavation, restoration and rebuilding of Eisey Lock on the Cotswold Canals, and a new addition: constructing a slipway on the River Avon, in Warwickshire. It’s a unique volunteering opportunity and participants can learn new skills to impress future employers, as well as the chance to be part of the team that really make a huge difference to the waterways. And the holiday only costs £8 per day for each volunteer! That’s only £56 for a week, as a contribution towards the cost of all meals and accommodation. WRG invites anyone interested in contributing to the restoration projects to come and join them for a week and celebrate in their success. Volunteers need no previous experience; all they require is a willingness to get involved and a good sense of fun.
| IWA waterways - Spring 2011
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Canal Camps 2011 How do canal camps work? In groups of up to 20 volunteers, you can help with essential restoration work on the waterways of England and Wales. Volunteers will be able to take part in various tasks from vegetation clearance to learning how to build a lock wall. Whether you are a complete beginner or have tried your hand at restoration before, you will be guided through every task by the canal camp leader and their assistant.
The working day Our week-long working holidays usually start around 4pm on the first Saturday and finish at lunch time on the following Saturday. The working day usually runs from 9am-5pm (depending on the weather) with plenty of tea-breaks and lunch on site. A cooked breakfast and a substantial, home-cooked evening meal will be provided.
The 2011 Programme Inglesham Lock (Cotswold Canals) Be part of the first Canal Camps at Inglesham Lock! Inglesham Lock is seen as the gateway to the Cotswold Canals restoration. The Inland Waterways Association is in the process of raising £125,000 to enable volunteers to restore and re-commission this iconic structure just off the river Thames at Lechlade. Work will include construction of a site compound, landing stage and dam. Volunteers will also start rebuilding the upper wing walls of the lock. These camps give volunteers the opportunity to participate right at the start of an exciting project. Dates: 13th-20th August, 20th-27th August, 27th August–3rd September.
River Avon (Warwickshire)
Our standard accommodation is best described as basic – usually in village halls, scout huts or community centres unless otherwise stated. There will always be a hot
The navigable River Avon runs through some of the finest landscapes in central England, from Tewkesbury on the Severn to Stratford upon Avon. It is hoped that
shower on offer after a muddy day on site.
one day a navigable link can be created between Stratford and the Grand Union Canal, creating a linear water park that can become a valuable public amenity. WRG will be working in conjunction with the local trust on an exciting project to create a slipway at Barford, providing access for boats onto the Higher Avon. Work will include excavation, sheet piling, concreting and landscaping. This is sure to be a fun and technical camp so why not spend a week full of new experiences? Dates: 2nd-9th July
Who goes on a WRG Canal Camp? WRG attracts a wide range of people, from young volunteers taking part in the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme to waterway enthusiasts who wish to make a contribution to restoring and preserving the system. And then there’s people who just want to get outdoors and dirty, have fun and learn new skills. Volunteers attending our working holidays must be aged between 18-70, but apart from that, age doesn’t matter, nor does previous experience.
Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation (Essex) The Chelmer & Blackwater runs through a largely unspoilt part of rural Essex and connects Chelmsford with the tidal estuary of the River Blackwater at Heybridge Basin. To help maintain this beautiful waterway WRG is running three camps this year. So why not join the Essex Waterways team this summer as they have an array of tasks waiting for you. Get stuck into various improvement works including bank protection, painting, towpath clearance, and repairs. Accommodation for the week is on a barge moored in the tidal estuary, converted for residential use. These three camps are different from our normal restoration projects but if you fancy helping us keep this active and vibrant waterway alive then this is the camp for you. Dates: 19th-26th February, 25th June–2nd July, 22nd-29th October.
IWA waterways - Spring 2011 | WRG 40th.indd 33
Canal Camps 2011 Montgomery Canal (Shropshire)
Basingstoke Canal (Surrey)
Escape with us to the stunning countryside of the Welsh Borders. In 2011 volunteers will be trialling several innovative and sympathetic approaches to restoring a length of the Montgomery Canal using bentonite matting, clay and geotextiles. WRG will also undertake bank piling and rebuilding of the towpath where it has been damaged due to subsidence. In addition to, volunteers will have the chance to get involved in constructing a stone wall using heritage techniques and lime mortar. These will be great camps for first-timers and experienced WRGies alike because of the varied tasks. Dates: 6th-13th August,13th-20th August, 20th27th August, 27th August-3rd September.
This is one of the few canals we work on that is navigable. In the early 1970s restoration work began and although 32 miles of the canal have now been fully restored there is an ongoing need for maintenance and improvement works to sustain it. This year we will be involved in a multitude of tasks including water conservation works. This camp will offer volunteers the chance to operate excavators and dumpers. Dates: 25th June–2nd July.
Monmouthshire Canal (South Wales)
The Cromford Canal is a waterway being reborn in the heart of the Peak District. The canal originally ran for 14 miles from Cromford to the Erewash Canal carrying coal, lead and iron ore, but in 1944 most of the canal was abandoned and it slowly fell into a state of disrepair. Volunteers will be working on a site nestled in the Derwent Valley Mills world heritage site and will spend the week enlarging an overflow weir. Volunteers will also help
Generally referred to as the ‘Mon & Brec’, the Monmouthshire, Brecon and Abergavenny Canals form a 50 mile link between the Brecon Beacons National Park and the South Wales Valleys. There will be plenty of activities on this camp to keep you busy during the week, from scrub bashing, to the repair and repointing of lock walls, and the removal of silt from Ty Coch and Lower Brake locks. Volunteers will be given the chance to attend a one-day training course at Ty-Mawr Lime Mortar Centre. This hands on course gives volunteers the opportunity to learn the art of using lime mortar in construction. Dates: 9th–16th July, 16th-23rd July.
repair stone walls and construct silt traps. Dates: 16th-23rd July.
Festival Camp – Burton upon Trent
Cromford Canal (Derbyshire)
Eisey Lock (Cotswold Canals) Eisey Lock is a Thames & Severn Canal Lock designed to take Thames western barges. Following on from three successful summer camps, WRG is returning for a final push to restore the lock. The Easter and first summer camp will focus on demolition and rebuilding of the lower gate recesses and walls, with the August camp concentrating on clearing the lock chamber of mud, removing the scaffolding, together with final landscaping of the site. If you have bricklaying experience or want to learn how to bricklay, then these could be the camps for you. Dates: 16th-25th April, 25th June-2nd July, 6th-13th August.
Now for something completely different… Why not come along and help us set up the largest waterways event of its kind in Europe. Every year we help set up The Inland Waterways Association’s National Festival by building the site, putting up market stalls, fencing, trackways and then dismantling it all at the end. Also, whilst the festival is running we provide site services and help entertain and educate the public. The festival is being held at Burton upon Trent this year (near the Marston’s brewery) so it’s sure to be ten days of fun. Dates: 25th July-3rd August. As stated in the introduction, all week-long camps cost £56 including food and accommodation.
Weekend Volunteering with WRG Chesterfield Canal (Derbyshire) The Chesterfield Canal is one of the most beautiful and varied waterways in England. Officially opened in 1777, its most famous cargo was stone which was used to rebuild the Houses of Parliament. Restoration is now well advanced with sections of the canal reopened. In 2011, WRG will be helping construct the New Staveley Town Lock. Over the two weeks volunteers will start to lay the first bricks and blocks to build this new lock. There will be plenty of work to keep both skilled volunteers and newcomers busy. Dates: 2nd-9th July, 9th-16th July.
A lot of voluntary work has to be done at the weekend, and between them WRG’s regional groups ensure that almost every weekend there will be volunteers at work somewhere in the country restoring the waterways. Despite being ‘regional’ groups, most attract volunteers from various parts of the country. Costs range between £8 & £15 (including food and accommodation). Accommodation is basic and you will need to bring a sleeping bag and karrimat. Regarding transport, WRG can pick you up from the nearest rail/bus station or try and find you a lift. Go to the WRG website www.wrg.org.uk to find your regional group.
Be a part of it No matter how long or short your volunteer time is, you can be sure you’ve made a difference. Throughout the year our volunteers work on restoration projects, so even if you start something you don’t have time to finish, you can be sure that someone else will continue your good work. For more information on WRG’s Working Holidays and other weekend volunteering opportunities please contact Jenny Black by email email@example.com. uk or by phone on 01494 783 453 ext 604. Or book online at www.wrg.org.uk.
| IWA waterways - Spring 2011
WRG 40th.indd 34
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IWA waterways - Spring 2011 |
35 20/1/11 15:24:32
Down memory lane Waterways are as much in the news as ever, in spite of austerity measures and associated cuts doing their best to hog the headlines. No sooner do I file a quarter’s crop of cuttings with the editor than my letterbox breakfasts on yet more doings watery. There are of course no shortages of copy from the waterways to fill up the odd corner of a newspaper. The [Reading] Chronicle for instance regularly informs its readers of such matters, even to the extent of going down Memory Lane in recalling a gallant rescue fifty years before at Sonning Lock, when the then keeper, Mr Vic Dyer, rescued no less than “five people from almost certain death when their sailing dinghy drifted into a weir…and threw them into the icy Thames.” Country
Images is one of those glossy magazines that persuades rural businesses to advertise in them and then ends up in pub lounges and the waiting rooms of the posher sort of dentist or doctor’s practice; it too deals in waterway matters. The particular edition to which my attention was drawn circulates in parts of Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, and to my surprise it contained a wellput-together illustrated article about the Erewash Canal. I have seen numerous similar articles in similar glossies from elsewhere which have the same effect on one as an emetic, but this was much better. Some very evocative coloured pictures were accompanied by a text showing that the author, one Jackie Thompson, had done her homework. This
The entrance to the Erewash Canal – featured in Country Images magazine. extended to modern history, for instead of the usual paeans of praise to British Waterways for saving the waterway, Ms Thompson writes “in 1952 … commercial traffic ceased. This could easily have been the end for the Erewash, but luckily local people and conservationists were keen to preserve the canal, both for leisure purposes and for its historical significance. The Erewash Canal Preservation and Development Association was formed.” She then goes
on to describe the work of the Association. Not content with that the magazine mentioned the local canals several times elsewhere in this particular issue. As I have always maintained concerning publicity, it is the steady drip, drip of information that wins the battle over the waterways. And of course, local people always read their local papers from cover to cover (and also believe implicitly in the stories contained!).
Corpses, weeds and lock gates in Yorkshire Need I mention that probably the most assiduous paper in trawling through waterway happenings is the Yorkshire Post? For the record I have received no less than 20 cuttings from that journal since early September, and they are a most eclectic bunch, ranging from Central America: “Panama Canal used for millionth time. A Chinese bulk carrier (what else? DB) became the millionth vessel to use the Panama Canal since it was built nearly 96 years ago”, to the Netherlands: “Dutch ferry skipper killed in collision” which took place “on a busy waterway near Amsterdam”. Nearer home three cuttings dealt with a suspected murder of a young woman whose body was found in the Sheffield & South Yorkshire Navigation at Rotherham in October and another one dealt with a body found at Rotherham Lock in November. Canal maintenance was well covered: In September the tale of BW’s attempts to use weevils to combat Azolla fern caused editorial merriment when the bugs were brought in to clear duckweed on the Dearne & Dove Canal at Swinton “which is not edible to the weevils so [BW] had to quickly transport them to an affected canal in Huddersfield instead”. A few days later the paper reported BW returning to the attack on the duckweed; their local environmental manager told the Post “We are determined to make a real difference and ensure a more effective approach to
the management of these plants…This is becoming a big issue for the waterways and one we can’t afford to be complacent with.” The same issue reported the re-opening of drought-hit sections of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal. The Post returned to the matter of water weeds in October, reporting that “The latest stage of a campaign to stop weeds taking over waterways in West and South Yorkshire has been launched…Efforts to control the problem of floating pennywort in the River Calder in West Yorkshire and the River Don in South Yorkshire are being led by the Environment Agency”. Navigations involved were said to be the Calder & Hebble Navigation at Horbury and the Aire & Calder Navigation at Castleford. Yet another article in September dealt with the clearing of rivers of “trees and debris” in Sheffield to alleviate flooding. The final words on maintenance came in November with news of BW Open Days. “The public is also being given the opportunity to visit British Waterways’ specialist workshops at Stanley Ferry, near Wakefield, and Bradley, West Midlands, where more than 100 bespoke lock gates have been hand made for this winter’s restoration programme”. The paper published a good picture of the inside of the workshop at Stanley Ferry and then a few days later another showing a new bottom gate being installed at Linton Lock.
People power sinks marina On the other side of the Pennines, where waterside development does not seem to go down quite so big. “People Power Sinks Marina” roared
the Maghull Star in mega black type last autumn, a theme taken up by its co-resident the Maghull Champion. The matter concerned a proposed 135 boat
development on the west side of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal just to the north of Liverpool. Whatever the rights and wrongs of the matter, the local press
were decidedly of the opinion that the locals had scored a mighty victory in persuading the local council to refuse a planning application. One local
| IWA waterways - Spring 2011
Send all your waterway cuttings to David Blagrove at IWA Head Office, Island House, Moor Road, Chesham HP5 1WA
Strife on the Ashton Canal Sadly it is not always local papers that pick up on local issues. Among the bag this time was a cutting from Metro ,the free paper that circulates on commuter transport in the London area and which penetrates as far north as Birmingham and Peterborough, if not further. It had evidently picked up the story from the Manchester Evening News. This reported a disturbing incident on the Ashton Canal last September, when “A pair of friends on a boating holiday were stranded … when 20 yobs confronted them and demanded a ‘mooring fee’. When they refused, the thugs spat at them…before opening the canal locks and leaving the narrowboat…stuck overnight in Clayton.. British Waterways said it was working with the police to reduce anti-social behaviour” This is hardly the sort of publicity that the canal system requires, and what seems to make it worse is the apparent insouciance of BW, who have been trotting out this same excuse for at least fifteen years. What has happened to the supposed mandatory escort service through the Ashton Canal? I have to say that on every transit that I have made I have never seen any escort, but to be fair I have not experienced any trouble either. Perhaps I am too ugly.
DAVID BLAGROVE TAKES A LIGHTHEARTED LOOK AT WHAT THE PAPERS HAVE HAD TO SAY
Barge traffic in the news
Elsewhere the Derby Telegraph reported the ending of the saga of the bridge over the Trent & Mersey at Stenson that “was ruined when an 18-tonne tractor and trailer tried to cross it in October 2008” The bridge is a Grade two listed structure and “workers had to use 6,000 hand-made bricks and traditional lime mortar to make it look like it did when first built in 1777” A later paragraph told us that the deck had now been reinforced to enable it to carry heavier loads. The Boston Standard told us of a project costing the Environment Agency some £70,000 “to better protect homes and businesses in Boston from flooding”. Wonder of wonders, the job entails using a barge to “transport the stone to the River Haven’s banks to minimise the effect on the local environment during the project”. It is good to see the EA furthering the cause of environmentally-friendly transport. The Guardian published a full-page interview with Annie Myers, a lock-keeper at Bow, East London. Not only does Annie clear weed and rubbish from her waterways, but also she is enthusiastic about traffic, of all types. Speaking of the Olympic project: “Each barge weighing 300 tonnes or more will keep nine construction lorries off the road” she marvels. “Isn’t that great” It sure is Annie!
g adverse publicity.
The Ashton Canal – still receivin lady was quoted by the Star as being “like most of the objectors, not against the idea of a marina somewhere in the area, but felt that Bells Lane, with its narrow canal swing bridge and already suffering chronic
traffic congestion both at peak periods and when the bridge is opened for canal traffic, is simply the wrong place for it”. I have a nasty feeling that this will not be the last marina proposal to generate
And finally: back to the Yorkshire Post again. “A Chinese mitten crab has been found in the Stainforth & Keadby Canal in South Yorkshire – further north than ever recorded by British Waterways”. This has brought problems for BW’s Environment Manager “It is an offence to put the crab back in the water so we will have to find a means of dispatching it humanely”. With the forthcoming involvement of volunteers in the management of the Waterways a new form of IWA activity might be envisaged, the catching and sale of BW crabs could be a potential fundraiser. Or are they not edible? considerable local heat. It is certainly not the first to do so, nor the first that I have mentioned in these columns. With the forthcoming change in waterway administration and also proposed changes
in planning legislation, it is a matter that we will all need to keep our eyes on. Off-line moorings are going to be increasingly important in future, but their positioning needs careful analysis.
IWA waterways - Spring 2011 | Cutings.indd 37
IWA at Work
E-mail your news and photos to firstname.lastname@example.org
News from around the branches compiled by Jim Shead
Beale Park Festival boosts the Sussex Ouse Restoration
asands at flickr.com CC-BY-SA
IWA South East Region has given a grant of £2,000 to the Sussex Ouse Restoration Trust thanks to IWA’s National Festival at Beale Park. Every year a grant for local waterway projects is given to the Region hosting the National Festival and this time the money will go towards the purchase of a replacement 2-tonne dumper, which will be used in the restoration of Isfield Lock, north of Lewes in Sussex. Paul Roper, IWA SE Region Chairman and a member of IWA’s Restoration Committee, handed the cheque to Bob Draper he said “I visited Isfield lock three years ago and I am aware of the good work going on there. Hopefully this grant will help keep the momentum going on this challenging project”. This is just one example of how the various parts of IWA – local, national and festivals – are working together to support local restoration throughout the country. The Sussex Ouse at Lewes.
The Caldon Canal in the heart of
On a more strategic level the partnership will be involved in local planning policies that identify development sites that can lead to high quality waterside environments. This will help ensure private sector development promotes a distinctive and positive identity for visitors to the city. They will also review the boundary of the Trent & Mersey Canal conservation area in consultation with local groups and residents and support regeneration work in the area, such as the volunteer-led Burslem Port Project which aims to reopen the Burslem Branch Canal which closed almost 50 years ago. Speaking about the landmark partnership to improve Stokeon-Trent waterways, Councillor Peter Kent-Baguley, the council’s heritage and design champion, said “The canal network is a key heritage asset for our city and has an important impact on the quality of life for residents. The canalways are a relaxing escape from the urban city landscape, and we should cherish them. The partnership will bring together the expertise of a wide range of organisations and the initiatives already being looked at will help ensure our waterways are key attractions of the city for the future.”
Working Together in Stoke-on-Trent
IWA Stoke-on-Trent Branch has joined with Stoke-onTrent City Council, British Waterways, Caldon & Uttoxeter Canals Trust, English Heritage, RENEW North Staffordshire, Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, Stoke-on-Trent Boat Club and the Trent & Mersey Canal Society in a joint plan to ensure canals are an important part of regeneration work in the city, and to strengthen their appeal to residents and tourists. The partnership will work to install welcome signs at the three gateways into the city by water, incorporating an information box with information, literature and maps outlining the heritage and tourism opportunities available for boat visitors to the city. These works are be be completed by March this year. There will also be interpretation plaques at heritage and tourism destinations to ensure boaters can easily find their way to selected points of interest.
For a second time, Northampton Branch have won the Association’s Branch Achievement Award. Branch Chairman Bernard Morton received the award from Regional Chairman John Pomfret. The official citation for the 2010 accolade stated that “As well as the annual boat gathering, with a strong campaigning element (next year will be the 40th year it has organised it), the branch maintains a very successful programme of year-round activities, a very good newsletter and a website presence.
Home and Away The Chiltern Branch’s excellent newsletter Chiltern Grapevine recently featured an article about local canal restoration. A significant proportion of the funds raised by the Chiltern Branch is donated to the Wendover Arm Trust as it is the local restoration project and many branch members are active volunteers on the project. At the branch Christmas party, a cheque for a further £1,000 was presented to Roger Leishman, the Restoration Director of the Wendover Arm Trust.In the Grapevine Jenny Brice provides an update about progress on the Wendover Arm as Stage 1 of the project has been completed and a 321 metre length has been filled with water. Stage 2 is now under way as a dry section, with the British Waterways pipe, which carries water through this section, capped with concrete.
| IWA waterways - Spring 2011
The Summer 2011 issue of Waterways will be published in April 2011. Editorial copy closing date is 28th March 2011.
Do you have something to say about IWA or Waterways? It’s your magazine so please write and tell us your views. We will aim to publish responses to letters that ask questions about any aspect of IWA policy or decision-making. Please write to The Editor, Waterways, c/o IWA, Island House, Moor Road, Chesham HP5 1WA or e-mail email@example.com.
M Star Letter M More on Holiday Hiring Your article ‘Holiday Hiring’ (Winter 2010 Waterways) brought back so many memories of our first trip on the canals. In 1968 we hired a 2-berth cruiser from Willow Wren at Rugby. It was certainly very primitive by today’s standards: sea toilet, no heating, the ‘kitchen’ just a small calor gas ring. We kept losing teaspoons, thrown overboard with the washing-up water. More worrying was the very unreliable engine which kept smoking badly and suddenly fading out, especially in tunnels. However, the holiday was amazingly cheap, only £15 per week in September. We still have the Willow Wren and Blue Line brochures from that time; the most expensive craft listed – a 70 foot narrowboat – was £93 per week in high summer! Some of the canals were in a very poor state then, especially on the outskirts of Birmingham and other conurbations – full of driftwood, garden rubbish, dead cats, old bikes. Even keeping a sharp lookout we had to stop many times to disentangle stuff from the propeller. The locks too were poorly maintained, the paddles often so stiff that it took two to shift them, and the gates very leaky so the locks took ages to fill. Being novices we were very naïve and planned far too ambitious a route: Braunston, Warwick, Birmingham, Worcester, Stourport, Wolverhampton, Tamworth, Coventry – 188 miles and 235 locks in two weeks. I’m afraid
we repeatedly broke the ‘Hire craft shall not travel after dark’ rule to make sure of returning the boat to Rugby on time. But despite the difficulties we were absolutely hooked! Some years later we bought our own narrowboat and continue to enjoy the present much improved canal network to this day.
Teddington, Gloucestershire I enjoyed reading the article on hire boating, not least the section on overseas boating. I agree with your comments about Lake Tinaroo in Far North Queensland being a stunningly beautiful area – we visited that part of Australia in 2005. I’m sorry to inform you, however, that the hire boat operation on the lake ceased during the latter part of last year, so you will have to find somewhere else to do your boating in Oz. The Murray River sounds good to me!
James Cartwright, Worthing
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Still a boater’s group? In the Winter issue of Waterways Clive Henderson mentions that IWA is still seen as a ‘boaters group’ by many people who should know better. Well I’m one of those ‘who should know better’. I’ve been part of the system for many years as a branch treasurer, a local Trust director and a WRG member and try as I might I can’t find anyone in our area that might be considered as anything other than a member of the ‘boaters group’. By its very name WRG is about restoring waterways and I don’t remember meeting anyone in that organisation who told me they were hoping to make things better for walkers, cyclists or fishermen. The IWA and Trust members in our area might not own a boat or have regular boating holidays (just like me), but without exception they are involved in our branch and/or Trust with the aim of making things better for boaters. If that has the coincidental effect of improving things for all the other users of the waterways, all well and good but that isn’t their primary aim. I’ve been in touch with local fishing, wildlife, and rambling groups to suggest that they might like to become corporate members of our branch. The one or two who bothered to reply asked the same question - what’s in it for me? I trotted out all the usual arguments but to no avail. I read through the entire editorial content of the current issue and as far as I could see only David Blagrove’s Cuttings had anything outside the normal run of boating and canals.
Details of all other rates are available from IWA Head Office – see the Directory on page 44.
Finally, I had a very close look at the column inches of advertising in the latest magazine to calculate the percentage allocated to boating themes compared to the rest. I needn’t have bothered because it was 100% boating and nil for anything else. Even the adverts by those companies not buying or selling boats and boat related stuff directly are offering such things as polo shirts with your boat name embroidered on it. If our own magazine is being paid for entirely by boating interests why should I consider myself anything other than a member of a ‘boaters group’?
Spencer Greystrong, Treasurer, IWA Ipswich Branch
Your observations regarding the Winter issue of Waterways are well made and accepted. Indeed, the major feature of that edition dealt with holiday hiring – the natural route into IWA membership for so many. However, in the last few years we have endeavoured to cover a wider range of topics within our pages – recent examples being items on walking and cycling beside the canals, angling and canoeing. We shall continue to broaden the appeal of the magazine as far as possible, in tandem with IWA’s attempts to involve other interested parties in campaigning for adequate funding for the waterway network. Ed.
IWA waterways - Spring 2011 | Letters.indd 39
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Island House, Moor Road, Chesham HP5 1WA. Tel: 01494 783453 e-mail: email@example.com Website: www.waterways.org.uk Vice Presidents: Harry Arnold MBE, David Blagrove, Chris Coburn MBE, David Court OBE, Brian Dice OBE, David Fletcher CBE, Illtyd Harrington JP, David Hilling MBE, Tony Hirst OBE, John Humphries OBE, The Viscountess Knollys DL OBE, The Earl of Shannon, Sonia Rolt OBE, Audrey Smith OBE, David Suchet CBE, Sheila Suchet, Paul Wagstaffe MBE, David Wain OBE All Trustees and National Committees can be contacted via Head Office. Board of Trustees: Clive Henderson (Chairman), Doug Beard, Chris Birks, Ivor Caplan, Ray Carter, Alastair Chambers, Les Etheridge (Deputy Chairman),Alasdair Lawrance, Alan Platt, John Pomfret (Deputy Chairman), Paul Roper, Jerry Sanders, Peter Scott, Jim Shead, Vaughan Welch (Deputy Chairman), Ian West Finance Committee: Les Etheridge (Chairman). Contact via Head Office. David Carrington, Mike Dyer, Gordon Harrower, Nick Parker, Gillian Smith, Ian West, Alan Wiffen, Kerry White Navigation Committee: Paul Roper (Chairman). Tel: 0118 981 3381 firstname.lastname@example.org John Baylis (Deputy Chairman), Alastair Chambers, Steve Connolly, Ian Fletcher, Peter Kelly, John Pomfret, Peter Scott, Roger Squires, Vaughan Welch Restoration Committee: Vaughan Welch (Chairman). Tel: 0121 477 9782. email@example.com Chris Birks, Ray Buss, Geraint Coles, Edward Gittins, Tony Harrison, Tony Hinsley, Martin Ludgate, Keith Noble (Deputy Chairman), Paul Roper, Martin Smith, Mike Valiant, Luke Walker (Deputy Chairman) Promotions and Communications Committee: Jerry Sanders (Chairman). Tel: 01283 716 158. firstname.lastname@example.org Julie Arnold, Helen Bedingfield, John Bedingfield, Ivor Caplan, Ray Carter, Madeline Dean, Elizabeth Payne, Jim Shead, Vaughan Welch, Helen Whitehouse Waterway Recovery Group: Mike Palmer (Chairman). Tel: 01564 785293. email@example.com Inland Waterways Enterprises Limited Board of Directors: Les Etheridge (Chairman). Contact via Head Office. Neil Edwards, Clive Henderson, Ian West IWA Festivals Division: Ian West (Chairman). Tel: 01564 230104. firstname.lastname@example.org Inland Waterways Freight Group: John Pomfret (Chairman). Tel: 01788 891027. email@example.com Hon. Consultant Engineers: Roy Sutton, BA Hons MICE, Tony Harrison, BSc (Hons), DHE, MICE. Tel: 01491 872380 Hon. Consultant Planners: Bob Dewey BA (Hons), MBA, MRTPI, Martin Jiggens IWA Committee for Wales: General secretary, Gerallt Hughes. Tel: 01341 250631 Essex Waterways Limited Board of Directors: Roy Chandler (Chairman), Colin Davis, Neil Edwards, Jim Jenkins, John Pomfret. Navigation Manager: Colin Edmond
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| IWA waterways - Spring 2011
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Index to Advertisers AB Tuckey ..............................................................2 ABC Leisure ............................................................4 ABNB .....................................................................3 Axiom Propellers ....................................................6 BC Boat Management ............................................3 Beta Marine ........................................................IBC Blisworth Tunnel Narrowboats ............................. 48 Boatshed Grand Union ...........................................6 Braunston Marina ................................................ 41 Caldwells ...............................................................2 Canal Boat Cruises of Riley Green ........................ 35 Canal Cruising Co ................................................ 48 Canal Junction .......................................................4 Canvas Man ........................................................ 48 Castle Marinas ..................................................... 29
Colecraft Boats ......................................................6 Debdale Wharf Marina ...........................................2 Delta Marine Services .......................................... 29 Fox’s Boats .......................................................... 48 JL Pinders ...............................................................4 Lee Sanitation ........................................................6 Limekiln Ltd ........................................................ 35 M & R Controls .......................................................4 Maestermyn Group ................................................6 Mel Davis ...............................................................6 Midland Chandlers ............................................ OBC Morris Lubricants ....................................................7 Powercell Batteries .................................................3 PRM Marine Ltd ................................................... 43 Riversdale Barge Holidays .......................................4
Rose Narrowboats ..................................................2 Roydon Marina Village ......................................... 43 Saul Junction Marina ........................................... 35 Shobnall Boat Services ........................................ 41 Swanley Bridge Marina ........................................ 41 The Liverpool Boat Show ..................................... 13 The New & Used Boat Co .......................................5 TR Boat Handling ................................................ 48 Video Active ..........................................................4 Waterway Routes ................................................ 29 Websters Insulation ............................................. 29 Wharf House Narrowboats .....................................2 Whilton Marina ................................................... IFC Wilderness Trailboats .......................................... 35 Worcester Marine Windows ...................................2
- Spring 2011
10 - 50hp Marine Propulsion Engines
• Robust Reliability from our world beating engines!
• Smooth low speed running as standard with our heavy flywheel
• 2 alternators are standard - high output when cruising
• 230V option for your washing machine, microwave, etc
‘Super Silent’ Engines • Acoustic Housing - noise level rating only 60dB(A)
• Excellent technical support, service & warranty gives you peace of mind
www.betamarine.co.uk Tel: 01452 723492 Fax: 01452 883742 Email: email@example.com
Green Line 20/1/11 10:18:56