Photo: Three Mills
Photo: In the shadow of the City of London
IWA, St Pancras Cruising Club, London Legacy Development Corporation and Canal & River Trust, are planning a cruise to celebrate plans for re-opening public access to the Olympic Waterways on the 9th July 2016. The hope is that many boats and crews will join the activities on that day.
Moorings at Bow are limited. CRT has identified moorings from Three Mills southwards, including the Waterbus pontoon, as far down as Bow Locks, these are to be available from noon on Thursday 7th July until noon on Monday 11th July.
CRT and LLDC, who are sponsoring the day, have it billed as a ‘mass participation' event . For planning purposes, please try to be moored at the Three Mills moorings by 12:00 on Saturday 9th July in order to be ready for a safety briefing at 13:00.
Detailed planning continues, in the interim:
The Cruise Master on the day will be Andrew Phasey, his contact number is 07850 753 633 supported by Olympic Waterways Project Manager Steven Wilding, his contact number is 020 3288 2780.
Photo: Olympic Stadium and Arcelormittal Orbit
Photo: Waterway in Olympic Park
A small team of volunteers recently spent a weekend clearing the massive pile of rubble that WRG volunteers dug out of the lock chamber (by hand!) last summer in preparation for six weeks of Canal Camps in the summer. Other enabling works were also carried out to improve site access and a large tree stump was removed from the spill weir.
This summer WRG volunteers will clear the remaining silt and start repointing the lower chamber walls. Once this work has been completed, scaffolding will be installed and the demolition work can start, with volunteers removing damaged brickwork, vegetation and some very large tree roots. Inglesham Lock is the gateway to the Cotswold Canals restoration and an iconic structure so, hopefully, lots of progress will be made this summer.
Photo: Earth moving at Inglesham Lock
Photo: Work in progress at Inglesham Lock
Dates for summer Canal Camps
25th June-2nd July
27th August – 3rd September
More details on volunteering on any of the above Canal Camps are available here.
Once an annual event, the WRG Barn Dance made a triumphant return on Saturday 12th March to raise money for the 120k Van Appeal. For one night only the Rowington Hall was transformed into a Wild West saloon, complete with hay bales and gingham galore. A great night was had by all who attended, led by the fantastic ‘Rogue Music and Friends’ who ensured nobody got away with not dancing! All attendees were also treated to a fantastic cowboy supper provided by WRG cook Eli Mathieson to ensure they kept their strength up for the whole night.
Photo: Entering into the spirit of the Barn Dance
The Barn Dance raised £1000 which is another fantastic contribution to the Van Appeal total which has now reached £95,500 so getting ever closer to the target! Many thanks to all who attended and donated and a special thanks to those who helped by setting up and throughout the event, pouring pints and selling raffle tickets.
The 5p bag levy scheme has now been running for 6 months, with funds going to a number of different charitable causes. The Tesco ‘Bags of Help’ has proven to be the most accessible and relevant fund for Waterways organisations, as it is being managed by Groundwork and is dedicated to improving ‘green spaces’; this seems to be reflected in the activity amongst branches and local trusts.
West Country Branch successfully involved local Tesco employees in their ‘Clean for the Queen’ litter-picking in Taunton’s French Weir area and Bridgwater & Taunton Canal on the 5th March. The branch is keen to build up this relationship and this was the second time they have met with the local Tesco team. This is a really good way to get a store to recognise the its work prior to putting in an application (and just to get some extra volunteer support!). Each store has a dedicated Community Champion, click here for a full list.
The Stover Canal Trust, local to IWA West Country Branch and a corporate member of the association, has just been successful in applying for £10,000 from Tesco for their Graving Dock Lock project. They credit a lot of their success to the support of the local community. West Country Branch will be visiting the site in September and supporting the project with volunteers where they can.
A bid for £8,000 was put in by the Chelmsford branch for towpath repair on the Chelmer and Blackwater Navigation. Unfortunately in this case they were unsuccessful, with feedback stating that the budget and/or costs did not meet the programme criteria. It is important to demonstrate the project meets the conditions of any funder – however, these schemes have attracted a lot of attention since October and many more applications will be entered than can be successful, so do not be disheartened! Tesco’s first round of funding has now closed but will be open for applications again in April.
Sainsbury’s, Morrison’s and Waitrose are all inviting charities to approach their local stores for information. The Co-operative is still yet to announce where their funding will be directed. Their Scottish scheme again focuses on causes local to particular branches, so something similar may be launched in England.
In terms of bag usage, initial figures have been very positive. In December last year, the Telegraph reported that retailers had seen a 78% drop in the number of single – use carrier bags since the charge had been introduced – so hopefully there will be a lot fewer bags on branch litter picks over the coming year.
On Sunday 20th March IWA Warwickshire Branch held a clean-up of the canal and the adjoining towpath on the Oxford Canal in Brownsover, Rugby. A diverse group of 36 volunteers used grappling hooks to haul a variety of items from the canal bed. These included over 30 shopping trolleys, bicycles, 2 motorbikes, a patio gas lamp and a sundry mixture of metal and plastic. In addition a litter pick produced over 20 black sacks of rubbish.
Photo: Enthusiastic volunteers on the Oxford Canal
Photo: What a load of rubbish! The haul from the Oxford Canal
The volunteers came from IWA, Warwick University students, U3A and local residents. CRT provided their support through their South East Waterways Volunteer Development Co-ordinator, Miriam Linforth and Rose Narrowboats of Brinklow supplied a work boat. The work boat was filled a number of times and the accumulated rubbish transported away by CRT. IWA are grateful to the support given by local residents and hope this activity has raised awareness of this green corridor running through their town.
IWA run a number of waterway activities and events in Warwickshire throughout the year. If you are interested in participating in future events details are available on the IWA website or please email the branch.
Warwickshire Branch has contributed to IWA's restoration aims by donating £500 to Wendover Arm Trust who are working to bring this canal arm back to navigation.
Liz McIvor, the presenter of BBC’s popular programme “Canals: The Making of a Nation” spoke at IWA Manchester Branch's meeting on March 14th 2016 about the social history of canals in Manchester. The talk was a part of the Branch’s Winter Talks series that run each year from October to April and take place on trip boat Emmeline Pankhurst moored in Castlefield, Manchester, covering subjects from canal history, architecture, and engineering, to nature.
Liz McIvor is a curator at Bradford Industrial Museum and a social historian with particular interest in technology and industrial history. She spoke to the Branch about her interest in the social history of canals, about making the BBC programme as well as the book she wrote to accompany the series, "Canals: the Making of a Nation" (2015) showing how instrumental canals were in actually shaping our modern world. She was invited to make the canal programme after the producer had seen her giving a short interview on the topic of historic vehicles and the BBC was looking for an expert in the subject area. The programme turned out to be immensely popular as on average 3.8 million viewers tuned in to watch each episode – it is great to know that the topic attracted so much attention for the public. The series also attracted a huge amount of positive feedback as, after the show had aired, many people were writing to Liz in order to share their stories as well as photos and even video footage from as far back as the 1950s. She expressed her thanks for these contributions and stressed the importance of receiving all those stories: as an historian she is always looking for another angle and the information given by the viewers filled some gaps, sometimes giving her knowledge that she did not have before. As the viewers of the programme we learned many new things about the history of canals but so did Liz when making it: for example she learned to sign-write a boat. She also talked about the positive surprise that there are so many people interested in bringing carrying cargo back to the canals that now are mostly used for leisure purposes – this is definitely potential for the waterways that could be developed further in the future.
As it turned out, she will start filming a new series very soon, not a canal programme though, as the new one will focus on railways. As to new possible programmes on canals, she of course could not say much, but we did learn that she is bombarding the BBC with ideas now on various topics such as restoration of the canals as well as the boats. She was asked why the series did not cover much on the canals in Manchester and Cheshire (except for the Ship Canal). She replied that maybe the programme makers wanted to save those canals for future projects. Let us all hope so!
Photo: Liz McIvor with Steve Connolly, Vice Chairman IWA Manchester Branch
Middlesex Branch is looking for an energetic and committed person to be their new chairman. They are an active group who have a real passion for the canal system and need someone to chair their committee.
Please apply to: Michael Phillips (Acting Chair) by email
Banbury Canal Partnership, supported by IWA Oxfordshire Branch and CRT, held their first work party of the year on Tuesday 15th March on the Oxford Canal. Despite the freezing easterly wind, ten hardy volunteers turned out to do some offside vegetation clearance near Twyford Wharf to improve boat visibility on the bends. CRT provided a work boat and tools. Overhanging trees and brambles were cleared and a vandalised fence from a weir further upstream recovered from the water. At the next work party at the beginning of April a stretch of 120m of hedge will be planted and requires many willing hands to help.
Photo: Hedge clearing on the Oxford Canal
The first ever IWA Peterborough branch volunteer work party, in partnership with the Middle Level Commissioners (MLC) have now completed four full work party days clearing in excess of 110 meters of the Forty Foot river bank in Cambridgeshire.
“It was a grand first effort,” said David Venn, chairman of the branch. He added, “We were pretty lucky with the mild weather we experienced throughout January and February and we had a very good constant turnout from all of our members who all worked extremely hard manually clearing dense undergrowth and brush”.
“The joint IWA/Middle Level Watermens Club, Easter cruise is about to take place and we’re taking a convoy of boats up to Horseways lock to moor along the banks we have just cleared. Although brush clearance has stopped now that the bird nesting season is in full swing, we might have the opportunity to hopefully clear the river bed of any obstructions under a couple of the nearby bridges, all in all a successful first effort,” he said.
The winner of the 2015 Mayor of Chelmsford's Award for Outstanding Voluntary Service was Roy E Chandler after being nominated by Molly Beard, chairman of IWA Chelmsford Branch. Roy Chandler is chairman of Essex Waterways Ltd and has led IWA’s management of the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation over the past ten years. Before this, Roy was actively involved with IWA Chelmsford Branch for many years, and his earlier interventions with local authorities in Essex had helped keep the waterway alive when it might otherwise have failed. IWA’s successful management of the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation is well recognised both locally and nationally, and this latest award, from the Mayor of Chelmsford, is rightful recognition of the very considerable community benefits that have resulted from the work led by Roy over the years.
Photo: Roy E Chandler, chairman of Essex Waterways Ltd receiving his award from the Mayor of Chelmsford
IWA Chester Branch undertook its first litter pick on Friday March 4th which attracted four volunteers who walked from Christleton to Chester City centre collecting five bags of litter. They were welcomed at the Waitrose Cafe who supplied coffee and cakes. The second litter pick on Sunday March 6th attracted 14 volunteers altogether, including local Scouts, Cubs and Beavers. It was bitterly cold but, nevertheless, they collected 12 bags of litter. The total volunteering resource over two days was 45hrs.
Photo: IWA Chester Branch and CRT cleaning for the Queen on 4th March
Her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal, visted Dudley Canal and Tunnel Trust's new visitor centre, the Portal, on Monday 14th March and met key individuals who were involved in the development of the project. The multi-million pound Portal features a restaurant, function room, learning suite, exhibition gallery, viewing gallery, offices, souvenir shop and car park. The Trust aims to use the new centre to encourage new visitors, improve the visitor experience and develop educational facilities for schools. Her Royal Highness spent time questioning and listening to members of the Trust as they related the history and background of the Dudley Canal and Tunnel. All those that spoke to the Princess were impressed by her knowledge and interest in their work. She also spoke to pupils from Wrens Nest Primary School who were also present.
Her Royal Highness then took a 30 minute journey on one of the Trust's electric tunnel trip boats to the Singing Cavern, one of the open spaces inside this remarkable feature saved by the Trust. On her return she heard from Jeff Luesley, chairman of Dudley Canal Trust (Trips) Ltd as he described the pioneeering days, overcoming obstacles and having the persistence to achieve the realisation of the new building. The Princess responded by paying tribute to the untiring work that had gone into the project, stressing the importance of the educational aspect and recollecting the history and heritage of the industries that had existed in the area. She thanked all the volunteers and workers involved in the building project and unveiled a plaque to mark the official opening of the Portal.
Photo: HRH The Princess Royal on the Dudley Tunnel trip boat 14th March 2016
British Transport Commission officially closed and sealed the Dudley Canal Tunnel in 1962 but, faced with the loss of a unique nationally important site, local people re-opened the tunnel and fought to restore it to working order. The Dudley Tunnel Preservation Society was formed in 1963 and changed its name to Dudley Canal Trust in 1970. One early explorer, Cliff Sherwood, set a challenge for restoration by leaving a message in a bottle in the tunnel. Some early campaigners and their families had the opportunity to share their memories with The Princess Royal during her visit. IWA was represented at this event by national Chairman, Les Etheridge and Chairman of IWA Birmingham, Black Country and Worcestershire Branch, David Struckett.
The Falkirk Wheel is set for a make-over as a £1million programme to revamp and develop new visitor experiences at the world’s only rotating boat lift gets underway.
The project will see the 13-year-old Wheel, which links the Forth & Clyde Canal to the Union Canal 35m (115ft) above, refurbished inside and out, with the existing visitor centre, trip boats, conference rooms and activity hub refreshed with new branding, signage and interpretation celebrating the engineering behind the iconic structure.
The Falkirk Wheel will remain open throughout the works, which are due to be completed this summer. The project forms part of a phased investment plan which will see further improvements and exciting new visitor experiences developed over the coming years to keep the attraction fresh and encourage people to come back time and again.
The revitalisation of the Wheel, the construction of which formed a key part of the £84.5 million Millennium Link project, comes on the back of its busiest year ever, with more than 600,000 people enjoying a visit to the working sculpture in 2015. It’s hoped the project will encourage even more people to take a turn on The Falkirk Wheel in the years to come, with the profits generated by the attraction reinvested in safeguarding the heritage of Scotland’s 250-year-old canals.
Photo: Falkirk Wheel
Work will soon begin to stabilise Stainton Aqueduct on the “Northern Reaches” of the Lancaster Canal in Cumbria, after flooding over the Christmas period left the structure close to collapse. Contractors working with CRT will begin to secure the aqueduct’s damaged wall that has caused its arch to crack. A more permanent dam to protect the canal pound will also be installed.
Costing over £250,000 works will take approximately 6 weeks to complete, and are part of a multi-million programme of emergency works needed as a result of the flooding. CRT will issue an update when works commence on site.
Further to its announcement on 13 February 2015, the Canal & River Trust has updated its process for licensing boats without a home mooring. From 1 May 2016, as originally planned, the Trust will no longer offer three month restricted licences to boaters who have not been meeting the terms of their ‘continuous cruiser’ licence.
In May 2015 the Trust launched an information drive to provide greater clarity to boaters without a home mooring. This has included: getting in touch early to let boaters know when they haven’t been moving enough to meet the terms of their licence; sending out information packs when people take up a ‘continuous cruising’ licence; and sending text messages to overstaying boats to see if they need any help.
Over 5,000 boats without a home mooring have had their movement patterns reviewed prior to licence renewal and, where there were concerns, licences for shorter durations (three or six months) were offered to enable the customer to establish a more acceptable range of movement.
A chart of the process and the latest statistics will be available here.
A 150-year-old swing foot bridge over Vale Royal Locks on the River Weaver in Cheshire is to get a new lease of life – thanks to a major renovation project. CRT has removed the bridge and transported it on a low loader to Yorkshire for major repair and restoration works. In place of the Grade 2- listed, metal swing bridge will be a temporary footbridge, allowing walkers to continue to cross the locks as part of a popular river walk, just south of the landmark A556 Blue Bridge, near Northwich.
The project has been funded jointly by CRT and the National Lottery’s Heritage Lottery Fund through The Saltscape Landscape Partnership.
Photo: Loading Vale Royal Swing Bridge
After the success of many previous cruises, it is the intention of the Birmingham Canal Navigations Society to hold an additional Explorer Cruise in August 2016 to coincide with the IWA Festival of Water to be held at Pelsall Common on the weekend of 27th to 29th August 2016. This cruise is only intended for those boaters who will attend the festival.
As with all cruises the Society wishes to continue to encourage the use of the less travelled parts and to discover the pleasures of the little used canals of the northern BCN. We have found that many like the additional security of cruising in company with other boaters and particularly enjoy the social side of informal gatherings and organised activities at the designated mooring locations.
Boaters will meet with the organisers on the Friday at Titford, and after an informal gathering to receive the itinerary and discuss the cruise, after a social evening at the Titford pumphouse, headquarters of the BCN society
The Bradley workshops will be visited along with other guided walks, talks and social evenings.
The planned route is as follows:
Stops for the night:-
Friday 19th August Titford (6 locks) Saturday 20th August Tipton Green (6 locks), Sunday 21st August Wednesfield Junction (Bentley Arm) (0 locks), Monday 22nd August Walsall Basin (9 locks) , Tuesday 23rd August Morcroft Junction (0 locks), Wednesday 24th August Longwood Junction (9 locks), Thursday 25th August Anglesey Basin (0 locks), Friday 26th August Pelsall Common (0 locks)
Applications forms for the cruise can be obtained by emailing Stuart & Marie Sherratt or phone: Marie 07709165073; Stuart 07510167288.
Elland Bridge and Crowther Bridge need to be completely rebuilt after the Boxing Day floods as both have been badly damaged. In each case CRT engineers are planning the rebuild so that the canal can be reopened to boats once the new bridge foundations and a concrete arch are in place – expected to be at the end of June. This will mean that boaters can then use the canal while the remaining works to rebuild the bridge take place, reinstating an important link from Hebden Bridge to Wakefield and beyond and to the Huddersfield Broad Canal.
The Canal & River Trust is starting work this month to dredge around 7,500 tonnes of debris from the Rochdale Canal. The £350k operation, scheduled to last 6 weeks, will allow the flood damaged waterway to reopen to boats between Hebden Bridge and Sowerby Bridge by Easter. The work will focus on a 3½ mile stretch of the canal between Moderna Bridge in Mytholmroyd to Bridge 22 in Todmorden where tonnes of debris, stone and sand were washed into the 200-year old canal during the Boxing Day floods.
A floating dredger will be used to dig the material from the bed of the canal to reopen the blocked sections to navigation. The dredging is part of the on-going works to repair the canal. Volunteers and staff from the Trust have being working tirelessly to repair badly damaged towpaths between Sowerby Bridge and Todmorden. There is also considerable work to do on the canal between lock 16 and 17 where the flooded River Calder washed away an entire stretch of canal bank.
In the last few weeks CRT has been able to publish their outline programme for the reopening of sections of the waterways affected by flooding. On the Rochdale Canal CRT's plan has been to open the canal from Sowerby Bridge to Hebden Bridge by Easter, and as far as the landslide that is blocking the canal by the end of May. They are on programme to achieve this, with most of the focus at the moment being on the repairs between Sowerby Bridge and Hebden Bridge. By Thursday night (24th March) CRT expect to have finished the wash wall repairs currently underway and other repairs necessary to make the canal operational in this section. The canal will reopen to Lock 11 – please note that the turning point is below Lock 9.
Dredging will carry on in the area after Easter but the channel is navigable. The Trust is having to remove even more material than the surveys suggested and this is taking longer than planned to complete. CRT is requesting that people to be cautious while the dredging is being finished.
The next planned progress update for the Rochdale Canal will be on 1st April.
The following IWA region and branch magazines have been added to the website since the last edition of the Bulletin:
Shrewsbury & North Wales Branch - Shroppie Fly Paper
Have you got a waterway event or activity to promote? - Anyone can add details of a waterways event or activity to this area on the website. You don’t even need to register with the website or provide any sort of password. Simply use the upload event form.
25th March Work Party - Congleton (IWA North Staffs & South Cheshire Branch)
26th March Work Party - Chester (IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch)
29th March Work Party - Northampton (IWA Northampton Branch)
30th March Work Party - River Gipping (Supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
2nd April Canal Clean Up - Slough Arm (Supported by IWA Middlesex Branch)
2nd April Work Party - Avon Lock Paint (IWA Warwickshire Branch)
2nd April Work Party - Burslem Arm (IWA North Staffs & South Cheshire Branch)
3rd April Work Party - Tinsley Marina (South Yorks & Dukeries Branch)
6th April Work Party - River Gipping (Supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
10th April Work Party - Northampton (IWA Northampton Branch)
13th April Work Party - River Gipping (Supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
13th April Work Party - Staffs & Worcester (IWA Birmingham Branch)
14th April Work Party - Uttoxeter (IWA North Staffs & South Cheshire Branch)
20th April Work Party - River Gipping (Supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
27th April Work Party - River Gipping (Supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
To advertise your restoration/cleanup events in the bulletin please add details to IWA's events calendar
27th March Waterside Walk - Regent's Canal (IWA Towpath Walks Society)
3rd April London Towpath Walk - Regent's Canal (IWA Towpath Walks Society)
17th April Waterside Walk - Lapal Canal (IWA Warwickshire Branch)
17th April London Towpath Walk - Regent's Canal (IWA Towpath Walks Society)
To advertise your towpath walks in the Bulletin, please add details to IWA's events calendar
The following special offers are now available exclusively for IWA members:
Please note: All discounts and offers are entirely at the organisers' discretion.
To see details of how to take advantage of these offers, please go to the IWA Members discount page.
For IWA members who receive a printed copy of this bulletin in the post, please contact the membership team on 01494 783453 for the details of the offers.
Members can also support IWA with a Narrow Boat magazine subscription
IWA has an arrangement with insurers Navigators & General and River Canal Rescue that provides top quality boat insurance and access to the basic waterway rescue service for boat owners, with the added benefit that every policy taken out and subsequently renewed helps IWA, and thus furthers our charitable work for the waterways.
See more information about the IWA insurance scheme for boaters
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