HEREWARD SPRING 2019 Boating the Cambridge Backs AGM Report 2019 Events Diary Camping with WRG
www.waterways.org.uk/peterborough The IWA charity registered number 212342 The views expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the Inland Waterways Association or of the Peterborough Branch. They are, however, published as being of interest to our members and readers
Boats have been using the Old Bedford River since it opened in 1637 and the Inland Waterways Associa on is campaigning to fully restore this ancient naviga on. Those reaching Welney are sure of a warm welcome from the excellent Lamb and Flag. Have a look next me you are visi ng the Lamb and Flag by car or boat.
The top photo by Mike Daines at Welney bridge shows Gina Webb and Dennis Birch holding the pub sign, while thirsty boaters drink and Olive Emily approaches with David Venn and John Revell onboard. The other photos show earlier successful a/empts at reaching Welney.
WELCHES DAM UPDATE Presenta on at the Lamb and Flag on 14 March 2019
he campaign continues to restore Welches Dam lock, Horseway Channel and the Old Bedford River to full navigation. This ancient and attractive route, first opened in 1637, provides a link to the Middle Level and then to the rest of the connected waterways system. When this route is restored it will provide another cruising ring for boats. In 2006 the Environment Agency blocked off the entrance to Welches Dam Lock with interlocked steel piles. This means that the only way into the Old Bedford River is via the Old Bedford sluice and the tricky and muddy tidal channel at Salters Lode. Any boats navigating to Welney or Welches Dam Lock will have reached one of the most difficult destinations listed in IWA's Silver Propeller Challenge. However, despite the difficulties, boats have reached Welney and Welches Dam lock five times in the past two years and so it is definitely possible. Each time we have received a warm welcome at the Lamb & Flag Inn at Welney.
On 14 March 2019 a group of IWA members and supporters gathered at the Lamb & Flag and John Revell gave Gina Webb, the licensee, and Dennis Birch a framed collage of photographs to display. Gina and Dennis were delighted and the framed set of prints has been put up in a prominent position in the pub.
John Revell 1
BRANCH AGM REPORT
he Bra nch AGM was held on Tuesday 5th March at the Peterborough Indoor Bowls Club and Chairman Chris Howes, the only current officer retirin g on the three yea r rule was duly elected to the committee for a further term of office. Chris p resented a detailed report of the Bra nch’s activities and general IWA ma tters over the past yea r a nd extracts from his report are given below. The a ccounts were approved and continued to show a healthy fina ncial situa tion for the Branch.
Work Parties: The Bra nch ran a series of work parties clearin g brush on the Horsewa y Arm of the Forty Foot during the end of 2018. We resumed work pa rties in 2019, but with a fa ll off in attendees, a nd a s we had nearly rea ched the Western end of the Arm, we suspended work pa rties during Ja nuary. The Commissioners are keen for us to paint the gates to Horsewa y lock and we will convene a further work party later in the year for this. Easter Campaign Cruise: Our tha nks again to Ala stair Chambers who organised our 2018 Ea ster Cruise. Sadly the weather didn’t smile on us and we suffered ra infall a nd risin g water levels. Seven boats formed a convey in March and travelled down the Twenty Foot and into Whittlesey. Jeff Walters’ and John Clarke’s boats ‘Happy Ever After’ and ‘It’s later than you think’ had pla nned to join us, but never quite ma de it. The Sixteen foot wa s closed to navigation because of the rebuildin g of Cotton’s Corner Bridge , a nd the cruise wound up at The George on the Forty Foot where , a s ever, we were made welcome. Old Bedford River: A Campaign Cruise up the Old Bedford River for as many boats a s we could ma na ge was planned in the run up to the 2018 IWA Fest iva l of Water in St Neots. On 7/8th July 2018 we ha d a tria l run with Olive Emily and Lily Ma y both making it onto the Old Bedford a t Sa lter’s Lode. Olive Emily reached the Lamb & Fla g a t Welney, despite low water levels a nd high a mounts of weed. Lily May fell foul of the weed, a nd after my tenth visit into the weed hatch, I gave up and turned round. John Revell was unable to bring Olive Emily for the 19/20th August Campaign Cruise beca use she wa s being repa inted, though Fox’s generously loa ned him a hire boa t, from which John master-minded opera tions, moored at Salter’s Lode. Three na rrowboats and Richard Fa irman’s sailing boa t (Richard had crossed the Wa sh to ta ke pa rt) a ttempted to get onto the Old Bedford River, but only Lily Ma y succeeded. On the inside of the tidal doors Pat Fox joined Lily May, a nd three small boa ts were la unched, a rowing dinghy (Alison a nd Rupert Smedley) a canoe (Peter Smedley) a nd a two ma n kaya k (va riously crewed by Mike Daines & Nik Daines, and John Revell & Chris Abbott). Wa ter levels were higher than in July, a nd the flotilla made it through to Welches Dam where it was greeted by a band of supporters and Anglia News. Gratitude must be expressed to both Middle Level & EA staff for their help in facilitating both attempts. This was the fifth time in 2 years tha t narrowboats ha ve succeeded in entering the Old Bedford River v ia the tida l sluice which is d ifficult but not impossible. (Access from Welches Da m remains impossible as it continues to be illega lly blocked). Any boat (powered or non powered) that naviga tes to either Welney or Welches Da m lock will have rea ched one of the more challenging dest inations in the Silver Propeller Award scheme. IWA provided their unreserved support with the Ca mpa ign Cruise a nd specia l tha nks must go to Alison Smedley. I believe tha t the ca mpaign to restore this navigation should remain at the heart of this Bra nch’s a ctivities. 2
Festivals: Du rin g 2018 branch members attended the 40th Bedford River Festival as part of a Middle Level Waterman’s contingent. The IWA Festival of Water was held at St Neots. Over 80 boats passed through the Middle Level to attend. The Branch posted online cruising gu ides to the Rivers Nene & Great Ouse and the Middle Level. We also had a stand at the Festival, and produced the promotional posters you can see here. I produced boaters’ cruising guides to the Nene (upper and lower), Middle Level, and Great Ouse (to St Neots) which were available to download from the IWA web site. Two out of three of the current Imray guides are written by an historian, and perhaps reflect history better than boaters’ needs and facilities. Imray have approached Roger Green to update the Nene guide, and me the Middle Level guide. Both will include IWA branding on the cover. Middle Level Bill: Is no longer a ‘Bill’ but an ‘Act’. It received Royal Assent and became law in November 2018. I’m confident that we can look forward to a new era of working together with the Middle level Commissioners to tackle abandoned and sunken boats, to see mooring time limits adhered to, and the provision of more moorings and facilities. The House of Lords was very determined that boaters should be given significant powers to influence matters through a new Navigation Committee. Lorna McShane is here from the MLC to talk about their plans, so I don’t need to say too much more. In her talk Lorna said that the proposed MLC Boat Licensing System would probably be managed by the EA and could well take the form of an ‘add-on’ to a boater’s existing licence. She did stress however that nothing is yet decided and this would be an early task to be addressed by the Navigation Committee to be set up under the Act. Boston to Peterborough Wetland Corridor: Th is was launched at the St Neots Festival of Water as a joint initiative between IWA, EA and Lincs County Council. It seeks to build on the achievements of the Fens Waterways Link, concentrating on Boston to Peterborough as the first, most achievable link. It is in part driven by Water Resources East which seeks to move significant quantities of water about the Region and is attracting significant funding (£100 million). We are lobbying to ensure that this time any water connections constructed are navigable (unlike the Cut-Off Channel). As the name suggests, the current climate highlights benefits to well being and wildlife, as well as boating. IWA is represented by the Chairman of the East Midlands Region (Dave Pullen), the Chairman of Lincoln Branch (Dave Carnell) and myself, wearing the twin hats of Peterborough Branch and Eastern Region Chairman. Volunteering: The CRT has embraced volunteering. In less than 7 years it has just recruited its 1000th volunteer lock-keeper and organises Work Parties across its regions, often in association with local IWA Branches. Literally hundreds of thousands of volunteer hours are donated. Many Branches have recruited corporate sponsors, providing labour and financial donations. In our region Milton Keynes branch has built a successful relationship with several businesses, including Santander, and are just in the process of recruiting Suzuki as a new partner. That Branch raises further money through ‘lock ransoms’ and are in a strong enough financial position to give away over £1000 to local canal restorations each year! The EA have more recently recruited a small but gro win g number of volunteers, starting last year at Northampton Marina and Denver Complex, the Agency has extended this to volunteer lock keepers at a small number of the busiest Great Ouse locks. Our own Ro ger Green has become an enthusiastic volunteer lock keeper with the Agency. 3
INLAND WATERWAYS ASSOCIATION Peterborough Branch
COMMITTEE MEMBERS CHAIRMAN: Chris Howes e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org SECRETARY: Roger Green, 70 Windmill Close, Ellington, Huntingdon, Cambs PE28 0AJ Tel: 01480 890215 Mobile: 07799 066001 e-mail: email@example.com TREASURER: Roger Mungham Tel: 01945 773002 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org EDITOR: Philip Halstead, 20 Cane Avenue, Peterborough PE2 9QT Tel: 01733 348500 e-mail: email@example.com ENTERTAINMENTS OFFICER: Richard Fairman Tel: 01406 380575 Roger Sexton
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The Middle Level Commissioners have a dvised us that they too would like to look a t volunteering, as a means of increasing public participation and generating a feeling of ownership in the system. Presuma bly this will an early task for the new naviga tion committee. Transfer and working with the Agency: Until Brita in’s future in Europe is decided, it appears that there is absolutely no interest in Parliament in pursuing the subject of transfer any further! It appears stuck on a ‘Brexit backburner’. I’ve been work ing closely with the Agency over the last year. I believe that there is a renewed desire within the region to work with local partners for the good of our rivers and boating in the area. I’ve received (justifiable) complaints from branch members about the current progra mme of closures. The last two Nene lock closures, Irthlin gborough & Lo wer R ingstead aren’t scheduled to finish until 5th April. The EA have maintained a full pro gramme of repairs and maintenance over the winter. If they were to stop earlier in the season, fewer locks would be maintained and repaired. In a sense they are “damned if they do, and damned if they don’t”. We shouldn’t forget that last year the Nene was subject to Strong Stream Advice until nearly the third week of April, so we know from experience that we can’t confidentially rely on setting off on April 1st. I believe that our best interests lie in workin g with, not against, the Agency. That doesn’t mean that we don’t ‘hold them to account’, but that we don’t always pick the most confrontational route. Regional Committee: I’m pleased to report that that a new Eastern Regional Committee comprising representatives from the four active branches within our Region formed last year. It met twice in 2018 and meets again next week. It provides the opportunity to compare experiences and bounce ideas between branches. The year ahead: Easter Cruise: By the time you are reading this Easter will have proba bly passed by. Alastair Chambers is once again kindly planning a Branch cruise. And it appears tha t after 4 months the closure to navigation under Boots Bridge will f inish on the day before Good Friday, just in time to restore the Golden Lion to its rightful place - as a Branch ‘Watering Hole’ ! When I wrote these notes the itinerary is unconfirmed and it may yet transpire to be a ‘mystery cruise’ ! Old Bedford River: At the moment there are no plans to boat the Old Bedford River in 2019 that I’m currently aware of. However plans are under consideration to take those pioneering skills learned from the recent Old Bedford a ttempts and try them on Soham Lode on the Great Ouse. Thank-you’s: In 2018 the Branch was honoured when Roger Mungham received well deserved recognit ion for his contribution to boating in the region, over ma ny years. Roger was awarded IWA’s prest igious R ichard Bird Medal. There are a host of further candidates from this Branch who similarly deserve recogn ition. As IWA generally only awards a maximum of one medal per region per year, we should be ‘featured in dispatches’ for many years to come. I’d like to thank all the Committee for their support during the year. 3 x Rogers, Ph il, Andrew, Richard & Mike. Several members stepped ‘into the breach’ a decade ago, when the branch’s future looked darkest. I know that a couple of members feel the call of retirement, and would like to stand down at next year’s AGM. So once again I’d like to appeal to anyone, with a tiny bit of spare time, to consider joining us. If you’re interested, please have a chat with me or any of the Committee members. 6
EDITORIAL VACANCY The Branch is on the look-out for a new editor for our Hereward newsletter. Having fulfilled this role and served on the Branch committee since 2012 I have decided not to seek a further term of office at the next AGM due in March 2020. Having given up active boating around five years ago I am finding myself out of touch with the waterways scene and interests have moved in other directions. The job of editor involves collating for publication the four issues of Hereward produced each year. With the wonders of modern computer technology the job can be done completely from the comfort of your own home by the click of a mouse. All the printing, packing into envelopes and sticking on of stamps is done by IWA Headquarters staff. The job requires someone who is computer literate and preferably with a knowledge of basic desktop publication software. The Branch has a software package which will be provided. If anyone is interested in finding out more of the job’s involvements please give me a call or drop me a line. I am more than happy to provide any training and guidance to provide a smooth handover.
DIARY DATES FOR 2019 The following events have been iden ﬁed for 2019 which may be of interest to Branch members. They are all centred around waterways in our region and cover a wide range of topics. An internet search will doubtless provide more details. 19 - 22 April 4 - 6 May 24 - 27 May 25 - May 1- 2 June 15 - 16 June 29 -30 June 7th July 20 -21 July 10 -11 August 17 - 18 August 24 - 26 August 7- 8 September 14 -16 September
Peterborough Branch Cruise IWA Canalway Cavalcade, Li/le Venice, London ANRC Rally ‘Wild West’ - Northampton Boat Club Outwell & Upwell Village Ra> Race IWA Na onal Trailboats Fes val - Cheshire Foxton Locks Fes val Historic Narrow Boats Rally, Braunston Marina Ely Aquafest Cosgrove Canal Fes val & Cra> Fair Blisworth Fes val Ramsey 1940’s Weekend IWA Fes val of Water, Waltham Abbey Stoke Bruerne Village at War Nene Valley Fes val 7
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BOATING THE CAMBRIDGE BACKS by Chris Howes
ore than half a century a go, one of the founding fathers of the IWA, Robert Aickman wrote about the “Seven Wonders of the Waterwa ys”. I’ve boated ea ch of these Wonders and ticked them off my ‘to visit’ list. Although such structures a s the Pontycysyllte Aqueduct obviously deserve every accola de available, while I marveled at Standedge Tunnel, half way through I did ‘wonder’ just how much I wa s enjoying it. When we started up Ca en Hill in tandem with another narrowboa t, (who decided without warning to turn back after the lower 7 locks!), I ‘wondered’ how much I was enjoying the experience when halfway up the rema ining 22 locks a descending hire boat decided to fully open the sluices of the empty lock I wa s in, without either a sking, or warning, me ! I have a nother, persona l, list - the “Seven Most Wonderful Places to Boat”. There a re some occa sions on which I have had to pinch myself because I ca n’t believe tha t I’m lucky enough to be boa ting in such a breathtakingly wonderful place. Clearly, crossing the Pontycysyllte comes high up on the list. But a dd to that list, mooring in the historic Royal Albert Dock in Liverpool- oozing history from every piece of stone and iron column, or visitin g Bristol floa ting ha rbour a nd steaming past the S.S. Grea t Brita in to visit the Ha rbour Master. Mooring in the heart of Bath with the gorgeous Georgia n terra ces rolling down the hill in front of you. The brea thtaking beauty of crossing the Pennines on the Leeds & Liverpool, or mooring on the Thames in front of Hampton Court Palace with the evening sunlight ba thing Jea n Tijou’s magnificent wrought iron gates in its golden glow. Tra vellin g up the truly bea utiful River Nene in spring when the may blossom fills the va lley of the clear flowing river, popula ted with historic watermills and beautiful stone villages ea ch crowned by a picturesque church. These are just some of my favourite things ! And on a roasting, shirtsleeved February da y (the warmest since records bega n) in bright sunshine we experienced a new ‘dropdead gorgeous’, not to be missed, special boating location - the Cambridge Backs.
St John’s Bridge
This is probably the most beautiful a rea of the River Cam, above Jesus Green Lock. It flows past some of Cambridge’s finest buildin gs (includin g King’s College Chapel) and provides that world -famous view of Cambridge. Na viga tion is prohibited to powered cra ft during the summer. This is p robably just as well beca use in high season this pa rt of the river becomes a confused mass of hundreds of punts, bobbing haphazardly a cross the river like a confused giant children’s game of ‘Pick -Up Sticks’. But between 1st October and 31 March access is permitted, so long as you give the river mana ger 48 hours notice. 9
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The idea of taking up this seasonal opportunity to boa t this famous stretch of water was put into our minds by Simon Judge, doyen of St Pancra s Cruising Club, in a Fa cebook entry inviting interested parties to join him on a cruise on the last Saturday of February. We jumped at the opportunity to accompany Simon in our 45 na rrowboat ‘Lily May’, bought the necessa ry Cam Licence (an a ddition to the EA licence required to get as far up the Cam a s Bottisham Lock). We boa ted up to Cambridge on the Friday, easily findin g space on the visitor moorings below Jesus Green Lock. Being permitted to take your home (sna il like ) and moor it in the middle of one of our great cities is to me one of the true ma rvels on boating the Inland Wa terways. We over-nighted in Cambridge (where the cost of an hotel is eye watering) for a bsolutely nothing ! As the sun struggled to burn through the morning mist we assembled at the lock, where Simon joined us in ‘Scholar Gypsy’ (t itle of a poem by Matthew Arnold, son of that other great University City, Oxford). Jesus Green Lock is one of those logic defying locks with the only mea ns of crossing from one side of the lock to the other, by swin g bridge wh ich spa ns the lock and has to be removed before you can fill the lock, a seeming impossibility for the singlehanded boater. Fortunately between the two boats we were well c rewed. The short journey requires passing under 10 bridges. By the time we ha d reached the first, Ma gda len, the sun had conquered its battle with the morning mist, and we were bathed in glo rious sunshine ! There a re two considerations tha t the intrepid boater of Cambridge Backs ignores a t their peril. Brid ges a nd punts ! The height of the bridges requires careful a ttention. The third one you pass under, St. John’s Kitchen Brid ge is the lo west, with a published a ir clea ra nce of six foot nine inches. However one is well advised to remember that:a) like any river the water levels in the Cam rise after rain, and clearances quickly reduce, b) the published height is to the centre of an a rc, and will be lower where the corners of your boat pass under, c) the computation of air clearance assumes tha t your boat is passing under at right a ngles to the line of the bridge, and on a na rrow and bendy river the effects of wind and other boaters can combine to ma ke it harder to ‘shoot the bridge‘ in a perpendicula r line. A punt is a flat-bottomed boat with a square-cut bow a nd stern, about 24 feet long and 3 feet wide, designed for use in small rivers a nd shallow water. The punter propels the punt by pushing against the river bed with a 12 - 16 foot long pole. Pleasure punting developed on the river Thames in the 1860s a nd a rrived in Cambridge about 1902. The bows of a punt features a fla t raised deck known as the ‘trill’ and the stern called the ‘huff’, wh ich features cross plans (a.k.a. trea ds). The punter (propellin g the boat) stands a t one Narrowboats and Punts on the River Cam of the ends and pushes the boa t away from him (or her). In Oxford the punter stands with a secure foot hold in the stern and proceeds bow first. However in Cambridge the punter stands on the flat ra ised bow or deck (with little secure foot grip) a nd propels the boat stern first. This less sta ble practice is said to have arisen in the Edwardian era when the la dy undergraduates of Girton College felt it better showed off their a nkles. 11
WARNING CONTAMINATED DIESEL CAN COST YOU UNFORSEEN EXPENCE
There is no towpath along this section of the Cam. In the 18th a nd 19th Centuries when deliveries were ma de to the Colleges it was by horse dra wn ba rge. The Cam isn’t deep, and old prints show the horses wading chest -deep through the water, pulling ba rges and lighters. To facilita te this a cobbled causeway was la id down the centre of the river. There are two kinds of punts in Cambridge, single width boa ts hired by the hour, generally to absolute novices, who la ugh and spla sh a nd pose for selfies as they career ha phaza rdly along the river, often cra shing from side to side, sometimes assisted by the occasional a lcoholic liba tion. There a re a lso double width boa ts with ‘professional’ cha uffeurs, propelling the boa t, seemingly effortlessly, in a straight line (wh ile dodging the beginners) straight up the middle of the river. These seasoned punters a re following the hidden causeway along the centre of the river because it is far easier to propel their hea vily laden boat by pushing off a ga inst solid cobbles tha n to a llow the pole to sink into the clinging mud either side of this ca usewa y. The ‘middle of the river’ punt chauffeurs certa inly a ren’t prepa red to surrender the precious centre of the bridges to narrowboats, pinball punting novices, or even other chauffeur punts. There is a famous a nnual 420 rowing boats race on the Thames in London where every cox has been told to ‘a im for the second lamp post on the right’ on Hammersmith Bridge, and the onlooker can revel in the chaos as a ll the boats steer for the same point, seemingly regardless of other boa ts. Similarly on the Cam, everyone heads for the centre of the bridges, with little or no considera tion for other boats eyeing up the same destination ! The universa l rule ‘stea m gives way to sail’ clea rly still a pplies, even if it has been transcribed to ‘beta 43 ma rine engine gives way to madly waving pole’ ! Of course it hasn’t crossed the punters’ minds that our boat ma y weigh 15 tons and doesn’t ha ve brakes. Picking your wa y through, often on no more than tick-over, ca n feel like you are dancing around delicate china in hob nailed boots ! The custodians of the river, the Cam Conservators recommend positioning a look out in the bows, just to watch for wayward punts. By the first bridge punts were coming, from seemingly every direction, thick a nd fast. After the ra ther stodgy cast iron Victoria n Magdalen Bridge, the next one is the Gra de 1 listed Brid ge of Sighs. There are a number of simila rly named bridges a round the The Bridge of Sighs world, but the inspirationa l original was constructed in 1600 in Venice and given the nick-name (which stuck) by Lord Byron. Cambridge’s wa s built in 1831, a nd bathed in the strong spring sunlight wa s breathtaking ! The next bridge, St John’s Kitchen Brid ge, is a pleasant stone bridge. The Conservators ‘guide to na viga ting the ... ba cks’ advises caution: “this is the lowest and most challenging of all the bridges. Headroom at the apex of the largest middle a rch is 2.08m / 6’9”. the curvature of the a rch constra ins the width a vailable. You must ensure that your vessel is a ligned dea dcentre before proceeding. On the return passa ge, the entra nce to the bridge is b lind. Take especial care.” 13
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Trin ity Brid ge, next, is another stone built bridge a nd is the second lowest bridge tha t we passed under. However, as we’d just squeezed under St John’s Kitchen Bridge, it wa sn’t a problem. After a nondescript modern pedestrian bridge (Ga rret Hostel bridge) we a rrived at Cambridge’s o ldest, Clare Bridge. Th is is the only bridge to surv ive the English C ivil War. Its considerable antiquity ca n be seen in its higgledy piggledy appearance. After a nother stone bridge (King’s) we came to probably Cambridge’s most famous, the Mathematical Bridge. There is a popular myth that this brid ge was designed a nd built by Sir Isaac Newton without the use of nuts or bolts, and tha t in the past students dismantled it, but couldn’t work out how to reassemble it again without using bolts. In fact mechanical fixings were always part of the design, it’s just that originally it employed spikes driven through the joints from outside (where they could not be seen from the inside of the parapets), whereas when it was rebuilt, big hand cut square bolts were used which are still h igh ly visible . The bridge was originally constructed in 1749. Newton had already died in 1727 so his direct involvement in the bridge’s construction appea rs unlikely. The last bridge is Silver Street. It’s a single span bridge, cla d in Portland Stone, designed by Sir Edward Lutyens, a nd built in the late 1950s. In the middle it has a generous 8’7” a ir draft, but immedia tely upstream (to the left a s we were travelling) is M ill Lane punting station with rafts of Mathematical Bridge surrounded by myth and legend regarding the involv ement or moored punts. We otherwise of Sir Isaac Newton in its construction had to turn 90 degrees right immediately as we emerged from under the bridge, a ma noeuvre made harder by extremely slow speed a nd punts absolutely everywhere. We had reached Head of Naviga tion. There is a sma ll weir, and the only boats that could a ccess the river above the weir (here ca lled Granta, despite remaining the Cam) were either boats that could be lifted by hand, or punts which are dragged across rolle rs. Travelling up the Cam from Jesus Green Lock had taken about an hour. It took a t least another hour to retrace our route ba ck to Jesus Green Lock. If possible, pro gress was even slo wer on the return journey, as the unseasonably stunning weather had attracted even more punts to the wa ter. I often observe “if I wa s in a hurry I wouldn’t ha ve bought a boa t”. Nowhere does this more a pply tha n to the Ca mbridge Backs. However the most leisure ly cru ising speed I can ever remember a dopting, gives you more time to enjoy the uniquely specia l views of Cambridge from the water. The Backs have become a firm entry into my “Seven Most Wonderful Pla ces to Boat” list of uniquely special locations, but I doubt, however many times we might boat the Ba cks a gain in the future, that the weather will ever be so kind to us as on this trip ! 15
CARRY ON CAMPING
he IWA’s Waterway Recovery Group (WRG) has released it’s p rogramme of weeklong residential working holidays for 2019. This year WRG are running 23 Canal Camps across 13 different waterways that all need the support of up to 20 volunteers each week. In 2018, over 390 volunteers to joined WRG up and down the country, to undertake 2262 volunteer days (18096 hours) restoring canals. If time had a value, that’s over £260,000 of labour costs! But of course the time and effort of all IWA and WRG volunteers is priceless. The aim of the Canal Camp programme is to support the admirable work of local canal restoration societies. The Grantham Canal Camp runs every week from July through to the end of August, with one week in October 2019. These camps will support the Grantham Canal Society’s successful Heritage Lottery bid to restore Locks 14 and 15 of the Grantham Canal. With Lock 15 successfully restored already, volunteers on the camps this year will start to rebuild the chamber of Lock 14. Across all the Canal Camps in the UK, volunteers will have the chance to learn new skills, meet new people and get stuck into tasks such as restoring locks, re-lining canals, creating towpaths, removing vegetation and uncovering archaeological artefacts. Leading the way! Volunteers are the life blood that keeps WRG alive and each year over 90 volunteer leaders, assistants and cooks are needed. The leadership teams bring invaluable experience, passing down their knowledge and skills to the next generation of Canal Restoration volunteers. WRG’s leadership teams are responsible for making sure each canal camp is a fun-filled, enjoyable experience – they run the canal restoration site, organising social activities in the evenings, and ensure that everyone is still smiling by the end of the week! With support from IWA’s Technical Support Officer, M ikk Bradley, the leadership teams ensure each week is a well-planned, working closely with the host canal restoration society. Mike Palmer, Chair, Waterway Recovery Group, says, “We are looking for volunteers from all walks of life to help us with our canal restoration projects. In return for helping to preserve our industrial heritage and restoring our beloved canals, we can offer volunteers a fantastic chance to learn new skills such as bricklaying, restoring a flight of locks, buildin g a new section of canal, or even rebuild ing a bridge. It’s also a great opportunity to have fun and mix with different people who all share a common goal – to bring our waterways back to life.” Family Canal Camps 2019 The IWA recognises families would like to get involved with canal restoration and aims to provide an opportunity to introduce children to restoration work. By offering family volunteering the charity hopes to engage children from a young age and enable them to find out about canal restoration and heritage, workin g outdoors and learn new skills. The aim of family residential weekends are to introduce a new generation to the world of waterway restoration and maintenance. After three successful weekends and fantastic feedback in 2018, WRG has extended the programme for 2019 to cover three residential weekends for families. If you would like to book up a Camp in this area or further afield, please visit WRG’s website www.wrg.org.uk. Alternatively, you can call WRG head office on 01494 783453 ext 610, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. A list of the Canal Camps planned for 2019 is included opposite 16
Spring 30th -31st March 19th - 27th April 18th May 19th - 25th May
BCN Cleanup Lancaster Canals Cotswold Canals Leaders Training Day River Waveney
Summer 21st - 23rd June
Lichfield Training Weekend
21st - 23rd June
Uttoxeter Family Camp Wey & Arun Canal Lichfield Canal Grantham Canal Wey & Arun Canal Lichfield Canal Grantham Canal Wey and Arun Canal
6th - 13th July
13th - 20th July
20th - 27th July
Derby & Sandiacre Canal Grantham Canal 3rd - 10th August Shrewsbury & Newport Canal 10th - 17th August Grantham Canal 16th - 18th August
Grantham Family Camp
17th - 24th August
24th - 31st August
Swansea Canal Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation Grantham Canal
31st August - 7th September 7th - 14th September 19th - 26th October 25th - 27th October 2nd - 3rd November 26th December1st January 2020
Monmouthshire Canal Monmouthshire Canal Grantham Canal Wendover Family Camp Reunion Weekend Christmas Camp
The magazine of the Peterborough Branch of the Inland Waterways Association