Page 1

East Yorkshire Branch

WOLDS WATERS The newsletter of the East Yorkshire Branch


Walking the Leven Canal, 21st June 2013

From your Branch Chairman |I hope you all have enjoyed this excellent summer and the boaters amongst you have had a lovely time on ‘the cut’. Our canal walk in June was along the Leven Canal. Our committee member Iain Campbell prepared a leaflet for us with pictures and details of the history of the canal. In July a small party of members visited the Fishing Heritage Museum in Grimsby and had a most enjoyable day. We were shown around the trawler Ross Tiger and after a look around the museum we enjoyed a meal in the Barge Restaurant moored nearby. Our planned outing to the Tees Barrage has been cancelled due to lack of support. If any members have suggestions for any visits next year, please let me know. If our outings are not supported we will have to consider whether it is worth planning them. th

Indoor meetings start again on September 20 . This year we start with an excellent topic and presenter, Chris Sherburn. See elsewhere in this newsletter for details.


Litter Pick, Beverley Beck 28th April Each Year the Beverley Beck Boating Association (BBBA) holds a litter pick along the length of Beverley Beck from the Lock to the terminus of the Beck near the Forrester’s Arms Hotel, a distance of around three quarters of a mile. This year four volunteers from IWA East Yorkshire Branch Maureen Bromley, Ian Campbell and Hilary & Howard Anguish, helped in the annual effort to keep this attractive waterway clean and tidy; the area is used by dog walkers, fishermen and boaters alike and is an important artery on the outskirts of this beautiful town with paths on the full length of both sides of the waterway. The Beck has an active boating association with a club house and moorings for around 30 or so boats, and in particular the Beck is home to the renovated barge Syntan which does community trips along the River Hull and into the Humber Estuary. Later this year the Council will be installing a number of visitors’ moorings and hopes to attract more visitors to this less well-known part of our inland waterway network. Despite the blustery weather, the IWA volunteers were able to collect 4 bin bags of rubbish from the East side of the Beck while members of the BBBA tackled the pathways on the West side. We were refreshed by a very welcome cup of tea and biscuits served by BBBA members in their clubhouse which was much appreciated and rounded off a very pleasant afternoon.


Annual Evening Outing (Friday 21st June 2013) The Leven Canal After an enjoyable meal at The New Inn at Leven our party of 9 set off on our walk led by Iain Campbell from the Beverley Beck Boating Association with his trusty dog Max. After a short walk we came to the canal to find wild irises and other wild flowers growing on the bank and by the tow path. It seems very peaceful.

As we walked on we came across a caravan park (handy for the fishermen), and also in the canal was a weed cutting machine. Apart from those we passed owners with their dogs out for a stroll. It seems a popular place for walking. The fields on the side of the tow path had, in the long grass, bee-hives which you really had to look hard to see, and in the distance the giant wind turbines towered above. We stopped at intervals to enjoy the view. Half of us only walked three quarters of the tow path, the rest walked on to the end. You had to see the canal for yourself to appreciate it, the wildlife and wildflowers, and the peace and quiet. 3

Lets hope that some day this pretty canal will be opened fully for everyone to enjoy. Our thanks to Iain for arranging the visit, most enjoyable. Chris Stones – Secretary – East Yorkshire Branch

Please see below the history of the canal put together by Iain. 1760 Holderness Drain made by Smeaton and Grundy. 1786 William Jessop reported on drainage with a canal to Monk Bridge south of Leven including 2 locks on a 4ft draught to cost £5136. 1792 John Hudson of Louth appointed as assistant to Jessop. 1799 Mrs Bethell of Rise employed Jessop as surveyor, reported 1800. The Drainage Commissioners asked for second opinion, James Gerry agreed proposals. Estimated cost £4041. Specification agreed between Jessop and Drainage Board surveyor. Rennie to be arbitrator if disagreement. Mrs Bethell indemnified Drainage Board. 1801-2 Alternative schemes. 1. Hull Bridge to Skirlaugh with a branch to Monks Bridge. 2. Mrs Bethell of Rise proposal from just below Aike Beck to Leven (as built). 1801 Mrs Bethell obtains Act of Parliament. 4

1802-4 Canal opened, 3 and a quarter miles long to take barges of 64ft x 14ft 10. Three sets of gates at Leven Lock later supplemented with fourth set. 1805 Second Act approved to provide wharfage at 7 shillings per boat and charges for mooring in excess of 24 hours. 1847 York and North Midland Railway sought powers to buy canal but not followed through. 1855 Driffield Navigation Bill would have given greater access and depth with the building of a lock below Leven Lock. Warehouses and basin had been built at Leven. 1864 Hull and Hornsea Railway had some effect on canal trade. 1888 Canal carried 4242tons- leased to James Iveson for £110p.a. Relinquished in 1891. Annual tonnage around 3000 per year rising to 4,500 tons in 1905. Leven lock-keeper collected tolls for Hull Bridge on Driffield Navigation up to 1932. 1935 Still owned by Bethell Family when closed. 1963 Sold to Frank Hopkinson of Conisborough for £1950 who owned it to his death in 1969. 1971 Plans for restoration and a possible marina come to nothing. Present. Owned by caravan site, now classed as SSSI and schemes for restoration and usage severely restricted. Limited dredging to ensure free channels considered.


Visit to Hull Trinity House While editing this newsletter I was ‘channel flipping’ and found an edition of Flog It which included a time in Trinity House discussing scrimshaw. This reminded me of the visit by some Branch members early this summer which was so interesting and one of our guides turned out to be an IWA member! Thank you to those who arranged this visit and acted as guides. 5


It started out as a simple plan; first cross the Pennines from our moorings on the River Aire below Leeds, and into Liverpool. Everyone had told us what a great experience it is, so how could we resist. Next, I wanted to go back to Chester, as it's several years since we'd been there. Of course, there's the normal route back to Wigan on the Leeds Liverpool, down the Bridgewater and Trent & Mersey, across the Middlewich arm, and up the Shroppie. About three weeks cruising for us, but then I thought how close Chester is from Liverpool, just the River Mersey and Manchester Ship Canal in the way. What if? I started out doing Internet searches, and picked the brains of the IWAs North West Region. I also talked to some friends who'd done the trip the other way round, from west to east, but soon realised that different challenges apply in that case. It was essential for me not to make the transit as a single boat, and here fortunately we found that some very good boating friends Bob and Jan on nb The Barocha were also keen on the idea, and their timing was just about the same as ours. Second was the tidal conditions to consider – the Mersey has a big tidal range, and a strong flood, so I was keen not to travel on spring tides. That meant picking a day where we could travel in daylight, with some contingency in case the weather delayed us. Then its was down to the serious planning, and that took me about ten times the amount of effort than the actual crossing itself! I'll break down the preparation down into its various components, which are: Cruising into Liverpool - Transiting the Liverpool Link is now commonplace – the application form for this is obtained by ringing the Canal and River Trust at their Wigan office. We booked both inbound and outbound passages, just in case the weather beat us and we had to return via the Leeds Liverpool, but we did plan several days in Liverpool extra in case the weather caused a short delay. The passage and moorings are free, allowing up to 14 days’ stay. 6

Locking down onto the Mersey through Brunswick Lock – This lock is the responsibility of Liverpool Marina. They required a fee of £33.60 per boat, and wanted to see our insurance policy. The fee is more if lock operation is outside normal operating hours.

Crossing the River Mersey – strangely, there are no restrictions, qualifications or authorisations needed for the leg which clearly carries the most risk. I did check that my boat insurance (through Towergate), covered the crossing, which it did at no extra premium. I also registered our boat with the Coastguard Agency (using the electronic form CG66), so that if we needed to call them they would be aware of us. We are qualified and authorised VHF users, and I would not have made the passage without it. Once we were in Liverpool and looked at the river, we decided to engage a pilot, who was available with about a week's notice, for a fee of £100. We obtained his contact details from the Liverpool Harbour Master Seaworthiness Certificate - Every vessel transiting the Ship Canal must have a Certificate of Seaworthiness, only obtainable from surveyors previously approved by MSC Co. Although this list includes surveyors who look after large seagoing vessels, there are also a number who will undertake the survey for inland craft. Although this sounded quite daunting, it was very easy to comply with. We chose to have ours done by Quest Marine Surveys, whilst passing close to their base in Lancashire. The cost was £35, took about 20 minutes, and covered things like working bilge 7

pump and horn, lifejackets, anchor and cable, fire extinguishers, and long warps for the lock at Eastham. Also required is an Admiralty Chart of the Mersey Estuary, obtainable on order from the Chandlers at Liverpool marina.

Locking up onto the Ship Canal at Eastham lock, and travelling down to Ellesmere Port – I needed to get an application pack to travel on the Manchester Ship Canal, which I ordered and received by email, and spent hours reading it all through. Included in here is a copy of the MSC Company Navigation Bylaws, which must be printed and carried with you on the crossing. Also included are Pleasure Craft Transit Notes, and a list of approved surveyors. There is also a useful document called Safety Guidance for Small Boat Passage of the River Mersey, produced jointly by BW (as was) and Peel Ports, owners of the Ship Canal. The cost of all this is £55 per boat (more for a longer run on the Ship Canal), and you must also provide a copy of your insurance certificate. Entering the Ellesmere Port Boat Museum – You'd think this was the easy part, but it turns out that this was possibly the most difficult to organise. As there is nowhere to moor on the Ship Canal itself, we had to 8

pass through a single broad lock to get into the Upper Basin of the Ellesmere Port Boat Museum, which also has a swing bridge over it. Both of these need to be unlocked. The lock is the responsibility of C&RT Northwich Office, and the swing bridge is owned by Chester and Cheshire West Council, so I had to phone both of these to arrange access. I gave several weeks’ notice just to be sure, and fortunately there is no charge for either. So, with everything in place, we could enjoy our week in Liverpool's Salthouse Dock (except, of course, we spent every day looking at the weather forecast and scanning the river to see relevant navigation buoys etc). The day we'd selected to go was an 8 metre tide, rising to 8.9 metres over the next few days. All parties had agreed that if the weather was unsuitable on the day we planned to cross, we could make lots of phone calls and defer the crossing day by day. After a fairly windy week in Liverpool, the wind dropped the previous day, and was forecast to be force 2 in the morning, rising to force 3 by lunchtime. Transit above force 3 is absolutely not recommended for narrowboats. Equally important is the direction of the wind – coming from the south-east on a rising tide would make the crossing much harder, and this was the direction forecast. We prepared our boats by making sure anchors were easily deployable, we taped up scuppers in the cratch, and Bob also covered his engine air intakes which are closer to the waterline. We also made sure the prop was clear, and crossed our fingers! I also rang C&RT Northwich and Chester Council to remind them to unlock the Ellesmere Port lock and bridge. Despite that, I received a call from C&RT to say that they were at Marsh Lock at the end of the River Weaver, and what time were we coming through! Our pilot, Stuart Wood, is a retired Senior Mersey Pilot, so has almost limitless knowledge of the river and its passage. He arrived before 8am, gave the two steerers a briefing, and we agreed to go. (Incidentally the weather in subsequent days deteriorated significantly, and we crossed on the only possible day). The target is normally to reach Eastham Lock at the end of the Ship Canal at high water, which was 10.30am, 13 minutes after high water at Albert Dock. However, Stuart had analysed the vessel movements for the day, and spotted that three large ships were due to enter 9

the Ship Canal at high water, so decided that we should leave 45 minutes earlier and try to beat them to it. If not, we would have to hold station outside Eastham Lock, on a turning tide, for possibly several hours (not a good idea). It’s a pleasant 15 minute cruise through Wapping and Kings Docks from the visitor moorings to Brunswick Lock, but we were all a bit nervous of the trip ahead. Stuart had radioed ahead to Brunswick Lock, and it was ready for us to enter. Unusually a square lock, with floating pontoons on both sides and radial gates at both ends. The strategy for lowering the lock is to open the gates about a foot and just let the water flow out, and it was odd to see the river outside about 4 feet lower than inside the lock. Surprisingly though, no turbulence at all, and it only took 10 minutes. Stuart advised us to wait until the water levels had settled for a few minutes before we cast off. Then out onto the river, a slight breeze and only a small swell at first. The flood tide took us sideways initially, but it was easy to adjust steering to compensate. We headed straight across the river, to the point where the navigation channel splits between the Mersey Channel to the east and the Eastham Channel to the west. We also steered clear of the cardinal buoys which mark hazards to navigation. Then it was simply a case of following the channel buoys, keeping the red ones on our port side. We continued to listen in to Mersey VTS on channel 12 (as is advised), but there was no other traffic close by. Stuart radioed that we should increase speed to get into the lock as soon as possible, and my GPS told me we were travelling at 9.5mph. The Mersey is two miles wide at this point, and we seemed to be very small and fragile in this large and powerful expanse of water. Just as we approached Eastham, a large vessel was leaving, which had to wait while two little narrowboats got out of the way. Fortunately, Stuart knew the pilot, and we entered the open lock, the largest of the three, with room for a hundred narrowboats. It was a simple matter to pass lines from the lead boat up the lockside, and we pulled alongside them. There was a small rise up the lock, no turbulence, and we were onto the Ship Canal after another ten minutes. The river passage had only taken 45 minutes.


Sadly we didn't pass any moving vessels on the Ship Canal, but several were moored up at wharves along the three miles to Ellesmere Port. At the lighthouse marking the entrance to the Boat Museum we turned right then left, but had to wait 45 minutes for the man from the Council to unlock the swing bridge (as we'd told him we would be later arriving). Moorings for visiting boats are plentiful in the Upper Basin and secure, as they are within the Museum complex. We paid our entrance fee, which included one night’s mooring, and cancelled our outbound Liverpool Link passage with C&RT. And so we'd done it. A sit down, a cup of tea, and we realised that the short passage had tired us out. A fantastic experience, made safe by good planning and lots of luck with the weather. Our decision to employ a pilot was totally vindicated, because although we could have negotiated the actual route without him, his knowledge of vessel transits, lock and dock procedures and a host of other things made the whole trip really enjoyable. Of course, it wasn't cheap at around £175, but it did save us about three weeks cruising and £75 worth of diesel. Please note that this report has been written for interest only, and is not intended to contain official advice. The views expressed above are solely my opinion, and I am not responsible for the actions of others who may make the same passage. We are grateful to Nick Waddington for this informative article, ed.


PROGRAMME Autumn 2013 Venue (unless stated otherwise) Cottingham Methodist Church Hall, Hallgate, Cottingham HU16 4BD 8.00-10.00 pm. Use entrance down side of church.

2013 Friday Talk by Chris Sherburn about the 2012 Jubilee Parade of Boats 20th September ‘When Weldrake went t’London’ Friday 17th October

David Hamilton – The Driffield Canal

Friday Rowena and Adrian Lovett ‘Tall Ship Sailing’ 15th November Sunday 1st December

Christmas Meal. Venue and menu from Chris Stones on 01482 875894. Chris will also take your booking!

2014 Friday 17th January

Andrew Brett

‘Boston or bust’

Friday 21st February

TBA See the January Wolds Waters

Friday 21st March

Branch AGM which will be kept as short as reasonably possible followed by a waterway- related talk

For more information about the Inland Waterways Association use the website or contact Barry Robins on 01482 658254 or 07885941983. For more information on the above meetings contact Roger Bromley on 01482 845099. The Branch email address is This newsletter is edited and produced by Barry Robins, 90 Carr Lane, Willerby, Hull HU10 6JU, tel. 01482 658254

Note: The views expressed in this newsletter are not necessarily those of the Association and should not be construed as such unless so stated.


Wolds Waters – September 2013  

September 2013 Issue of Wolds Waters, IWA East Yorkshire Branch Newsletter