This year's IWA Festival of Water over the August Bank Holiday on Pelsall North Common brought life to the underused north east corner of the BCN network, with many of the boats arriving as part of an Explorer Cruise organised by Birmingham Canal Navigations Society, and other boats arriving using various routes from across the country. The festival also raised awareness of Lichfield & Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust’s plans to restore to navigation the two canals which would connect this little used section of the BCN to the rest of the waterways system.
Over 100 boats, many decorated with bunting, lined the Wyrley & Essington Canal, contributing to a truly festive feel. Historic boats were open to visitors on the junction with the Cannock Extension Canal and floating traders selling jams and cheeses were kept busy and visitors lined up to get an experience of the local waterways on free boat trips offered by Truman Enterprise Narrowboat Trust. On Sunday night a procession of illuminated boats lit up the canal.
IWA’s WRG was busy training the navvies of the future, giving enthusiastic youngsters a taste of digger driving. Visitors admired the selection of classic cars and shopped for crafts, while children were entertained by a selection of birds of prey, reptiles and mammals as well as waterway-themed craft activities.
IWA Events Chairman John Butler said “Feedback from boaters and visitors has been incredible. This event reflects a huge amount of voluntary effort, leading up to, during and following the event. I’d like to thank everyone who was involved in making this Festival an outstanding success, including the people of Pelsall, Walsall and surrounding areas who came along and gave the event such a wonderful atmosphere.”
There is a short video of this event which can be viewed here.
Photo by Tim Lewis: An aerial view of the Festival of Water at Pelsall. Further images available on request.
In 2017, IWA’s Festival of Water will be held in Ilkeston on the Erewash Canal. Details are available on the Festival 2017 web page. To make your booking, click here.
IWA and CRT are hosting a series of free planning workshops across the country in October. The places are open to all those with an interest in planning matters from IWA branches and canal groups.
For further details and to book, click here to go to the Planning Workshop webpage.
IWA's popular photography competition is now open. As well as appearing on IWA's calendar and cards, the best entries will be used to promote the waterways of the country in posters, flyers, leaflets and websites.
For details on how to submit photographs go to the competition webpage.
Photo by Mark Glisson: Last year's competition winner - Grand Western Canal
A last reminder that IWA's Annual General Meeting will take place on Saturday 24th September 2016 at 10:30am at South Wolverhampton and Bilston Academy, Prosser Street, Bilston, Wolverhampton WV14 0LN.
In line with recent years we are extending the formal Annual General Meeting to make a day that will give members an insight into IWA activities plus subjects of general waterways interest.
Click here to book your lunch and afternoon tours. Booking is not required for the formal meeting.
In the morning we shall hold IWA's awards ceremony and formal Annual General Meeting followed by short presentations on progress with our marketing of the Association and an update on our practical hands-on restoration activities from the WRG team.
A hot lunch will be provided at no charge (only if booked in advance) but we hope that as last year, there will be generous donations towards WRG's van appeal. There will be plenty of time to discuss issues with trustees and to network with your fellow volunteers and members.
The afternoon session will give the option of visits to the nearby CRT Bradley lock gates construction workshops to view the fascinating traditional skills being used, plus a walk down the line of the Bradley Locks, a recent restoration initiative supported by IWA.
IWA members who are unable to attend the AGM in person are encouraged to complete and return the Proxy form by 22nd September which can be found here.
Visit our AGM page to see full details of the day.
On the same day as the Great North Run, CRT was holding its own half marathon event. Over 500 runners set off from Aylesbury to take part in Two Arms on Two Legs. The run offered the option of completing 10km by covering the Aylesbury Arm to Marsworth or continuing on to Wendover to reach the 13 miles finishing line.
Our Fundraising Officer ran 10km to raise money for the WRG Van Appeal, for new vans to transport volunteers and equipment across England and Wales to carry out waterway restoration projects. You can support Sarah and donate to the appeal through Virgin Money Giving.
Photo: Sarah Frayne still smiling.
There is still time to submit your entries to get this year’s golden ticket to the London Marathon. As you may have read in the last Bulletin, IWA have been lucky enough to once again secure a place in the Virgin Money London Marathon. The London Marathon, happening on Sunday 23rd April 2017, is one of Britain’s biggest and most prestigious community sporting events and places are increasingly competitive; IWA are offering one lucky person the chance to secure a guaranteed place, whilst raising money for a great cause.
IWA is looking for this year’s participant to raise at least £2,000, but they would be supported by the charity during the whole process. IWA Fundraising Officer, Sarah Frayne, said ‘’The London Marathon is an iconic event and we are excited to support somebody in taking on the challenge of completing it and helping them raise money for a great cause.’’
If you are interested in running for IWA in the 2017 London Marathon please write a brief paragraph on why you would like the place and how you might raise the sponsorship money, and email this to Sarah Frayne or telephone 01494 783 453 ext.611.
As part of the Heritage Open Days from 8th to 11th September, Shrewsbury, District and North Wales branch opened Rednal Warehouse on the Montgomery Canal. This was the first time the Branch had taken part in the Open Days, and the first time, so far as they could recall, that the warehouse has been opened to the public. In 1852-3 Rednal warehouse was the 'terminal' for passenger boat services to Newtown when the railways had not penetrated the Upper Severn valley. Passengers would walk to the canal from the nearby station on the Shrewsbury-Chester railway for a five-hour journey to Newtown, and up to 700 passengers a month did so.
The warehouse was also a delivery point for the Shropshire Union flyboat service from Ellesmere Port and is equipped with a STOP signal for this service. The branch was joined by flyboat Saturn and her team, and by Countess from Maesbury running trips to Queens Head drawn by Cracker. The story of the Montgomery Canal was brought right up-to-date with the rolls of waterproof liner stored in the warehouse, awaiting use on the dry section at Crickheath.
Unplanned by the organisers was the convoy of twenty or more 1960s bubble cars – presumably from “The National MicroCar Rally - Britain's biggest Microcar event” at Wem – which passed twice, with much tooting and waving. There were over eighty visitors on the day, some coming from far outside the Oswestry area. The opening was one of over thirty local Heritage Open Day events, and many of the visitors were on their way to or from other sites.
Photo: Susan Wilding and Alan Platt welcoming nb Saturn from the upper loading doorway of Rednal Warehouse.
Wear and tear at Fenny Lock was dealt with at work parties on 7th and 8th August. The lock, bollards, and towpath fence north of the Pump House were repainted or touched up as necessary by Milton Keynes Branch volunteers.
The second morning was a blitz on the Pump House garden and weeds on the forecourt. Pat Titmas was at full speed clearing away dead planting, and putting in a very colourful new display of plants generously donated by Lionhearts Cruising Club. Alan Edmonds of nb WOL has kindly offered to water them regularly for the next few days and then continue to water the garden as necessary.
Photo by Rodney Evans.: Pat Titmas waters the new planting donated by Lionhearts Cruising Club.
A successful day at Rode Heath near Sandbach on 22nd August resulted in the installation of 30 mooring rings and cleared overgrowth around existing rings. This now gives a 150 metre length of mooring on this stretch of the Cheshire Ring with rings at 5 metre intervals. As part of this Ringing the Ring initiative over 100 rings have been installed, as well as clearing around existing rings at Anderton, Middlewich, Wheelock, Rode Heath & Bosley.
Photo: Drilling for rings
Early September around City Road Lock in Islington saw the Angel Canal Festival celebrating its 31st year with large crowds and moderate weather. The local branch members were serenaded at their stand by Phil Underwood playing canal songs on his concertina.
Photo: North East London Branch stand at Angel Festival which was manned by Roger Squires and Liz Rayner accompanied by Phil Underwood in the foreground.
We are saddened to report the death, at the end of July, of June Humphries, prominent waterways campaigner, at the age of 87. Although often seen in the shadow of her husband, John Humphries - former IWA National Chairman (1970-2), June was a key figure in the Association's political lobbying in her own right, since much of the Association's parliamentary and political campaign at the time was directed from their Wimbledon home where John still lives. June, John and their four daughters travelled the inland waterways of the UK and Europe extensively, presenting a modern, glamorous and forward-looking image for the canals which did much to boost the Association's influence in this critical campaigning period.
Local people were for the first time given the opportunity to venture underground and view a 240 year old canal tunnel which has been abandoned since it collapsed over a century ago. Engineers from CRT, carried out a ten yearly inspection at Norwood Tunnel near Kiveton on 23rd and 24th August and, for the first time, invited a limited number of people into the tunnel to see it for themselves.
At 2.6km long Norwood Tunnel was the longest canal tunnel in Britain when it was officially opened in May 1775. However subsidence from nearby mining works led to sections of the tunnel sinking and, despite efforts to raise the roof, it finally collapsed completely after heavy rain in October 1907. The collapse effectively cut the Chesterfield Canal into two sections and trade on the western section of the canal ceased between 1914 and 1918, but continued between Kiveton Park and West Stockwith until 1955.
Today the eastern portal of the tunnel is bricked up for safety reasons and so, before the inspection could take place, the engineers had to break through the brick wall. Once through they used a small dinghy to inspect the 475m stretch between the eastern portal and the collapsed section. The engineers were looking for signs of cracks and leaks and also assessed the overall condition of the tunnel.
As part of the project the Trust took the opportunity to give a small number of guests, including volunteers from the Chesterfield Canal Trust, the chance to venture into the tunnel to see for themselves.
One of the nation’s most celebrated engineers James Brindley was working on the tunnel at the time of his death in 1772. The project then passed to John Varley and latterly Hugh Henshall.
Robin Stonebridge, chair of Chesterfield Canal Trust said; “The Norwood was without doubt one of Brindley’s gems, and we would like to see it used as part of the canal restoration. The tunnel has been considered for many years as the one obstacle to further restoration of the Chesterfield Canal. We saw this inspection as a great chance to see what state this part of the tunnel is in, and work with CRT to see how we can get the canal up into Kiveton Waters.”
To find out more about restoration on the Chesterfield Canal go to the Trust's website.
Photo:Viewing the Norwood Tunnel August 2016
Photo: Inspecting the Norwood Tunnel
The Manchester and Salford Junction Canal opened at the end of the canal era in 1839, giving a direct route from the Rochdale Canal to the River Irwell, linking to the Manchester, Bolton and Bury Canal so avoiding transhipment and the cartage of goods across Manchester. The hoped for through trade never lived up to expectations and the waterway was quickly sold to the Mersey and Irwell Navigation Company. The entire waterway was formally abandoned under a Manchester Ship Canal Act of 1936 although this was not the end of activity as, during the Second World War, the canal was drained and the canal tunnels converted to air raid shelters. In the late 1950's the land was used for the development of Granada Studios. As the studios have now relocated to Media City in Salford there are proposals to redevelop the site within the strategic regeneration plan for Manchester City Centre.
The Friends of Manchester's Underground Canal aims to preserve this canal and restore it to navigation and have commissioned study to explore the feasibility of, and options for, the future development of the Manchester and Salford Junction Canal. For further details of this initiative go to IWA Manchester Branch's web page where there is a link to this scoping study.
Photo: Tunnel on the Manchester & Salford Junction Canal
More canal and river books, canal acts and ephemera will be up for sale in a further auction from the private collection of Mark Baldwin, one of the UK's most prolific collectors, on Wednesday 21st September.
Items being bid for will include:
For a full list of available lots visit the Chiswick Auctions website.
Items will be available to view from 18th to 21st September with the sale starting at 10am on 21st. Chiswick Auction salerooms are located at 1 Colville Road, London W3 8BL. Bidding can also take place online or by telephone. For further details telephone 0208 992 4442 or email the auction house.
CRT has published the list of vital maintenance work that it will be carrying out over the winter and is urging boaters to take a look to see how it may affect their cruising plans over the season. Because the work may require the closure of the waterways and the towpath, the Trust involved boaters and other towpath users in the planning process. The finalised list takes into account two rounds of feedback.
The final winter stoppage programme can be found here.
The Wooden Canal Boat Society has been nominated for a funding award through the Good Neighbour Community Programme for projects in central England. The society would use the funds to buy a new van. Voting for this cause can be done through the Good Neighbour Community Programme website before 25th September.
To find out more about the Wooden Boat Society go to the society's web site.
The following IWA region and branch magazines have been added to the website since the last edition of the Bulletin:
Milton Keynes - Towpath Telegraph
South Yorks & Dukeries - Keels & Cuckoos
East Yorkshire Branch - Wolds Waters
South East Region - Cargoes
South London and North & East London Branches - Meridian Cuttings
Major IWA events in 2016/2017
26th - 28th August 2017 - IWA Festival of Water, Ilkeston
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.
14th September Work Party - Birmingham (IWA Birmingham branch)
14th September Work Party - River Gipping (Supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
15th September Work Party - Manchester (IWA Manchester Branch)
15th September Work Party - Trent & Mersey Canal (North Staffs & South Cheshire branch)
20th September Work Party - Banbury (Supported by IWA Oxfordshire branch)
20th September Work Party - Northampton (IWA Northampton Branch)
21st September Work Party - River Gipping (Supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
24th September Work Party - Chester & Merseyside (IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch)
27th September Work Party - Banbury (Supported by IWA Oxfordshire branch)
28th September Work Party - River Gipping (Supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
9th October Vegetation Clearance at Hatton (IWA Warwickshire Branch)
23rd October Canal Clean-up in Warwick (IWA Warwickshire Branch)
23rd October Canal Clean Up - Nottingham (IWA Notts & Derbyshire Branch)
To advertise your restoration/cleanup events in the bulletin please add details to IWA's events calendar
18th September Waterside Walk - Grand Junction & Regent's Canals (IWA Towpath Walks Society)
2nd October Waterside Walk - Regent's Canal (IWA Towpath Walks Society)
16th October Waterside 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:
ABC Boat Hire - 15% discount on holidays (Direct Bookings Only)
Airedale Cruising, Skipton, Yorkshire Dales - 10% discount off skippered day cruises
Blackwater Boats, Essex CO4 5HF - 10% discount off boat trips
CanalCruising.co.uk - 10% discount
Canal Boat Magazine - 12 issues for £21.99 + Gourmet Society Plus
City Centre Cruises - 10% discount for Sunday lunch cruises
Frangipani SUP Ltd - 10% discount
Jenny Wren, London NW1 8QS - 10% discount off cruises
Middlewich Narrowboats - 25% discount off hire price of Willow
Wyvern Shipping Co. Ltd- 10% discount on published prices
Bounty Pub, Bourne End SL8 5RG - 10% discount off food
Clifford Arms, Staffordshire ST18 0SR - 10% discount off food
Fingerpost Pub & Restaurant, Pelsall WS3 5AU - 10% discount off food
Kings Lock Tearooms, Leicester LE2 8LT - 10% discount off food
Ring 'O Bells Pub, Marple SK6 7AY - 10% discount off food
Three Locks Pub, Stoke Hammond MK17 9DD - 10% discount off food
Wharf Pub, Bugbrooke NN7 3QB - 10% discount
Boatshed Grand Union - 10% discount on brokerage
Boat Windows Ltd - 5% discount
Calcutt Boats - 5% online discount
Channel Glaze - 10% discount on double glazing
Cotswold Outdoor - 10% discount
IceGripper - Special offer on ladies walking boots
Kings Lock Chandlery – 5% discount on purchases excluding all fuels (diesel, gas, coal, wood, etc)
Marine Mega Store Ltd - 15% discount
Midland Chandlers - 5% discount
RoadPro- 5% discount
Solar Technology International- 10% discount on PV Logic Narrow Boat Kits & Foldup Panels
Willowbridge Marina - 10% discount on chandlery purchases and services in the yard
Zead - Free Postage & Accessories
Europcar - Special hire rates to IWA members
Forge Studio - 10% discount
I Love Meet and Greet Ltd - 15% discount
Lee Sanitation - 10% on orders over £100
Paper Wizard - 15% discount
River Canal Rescue - up to 15% discount
Wavetrain Marine - 5% discount on selected training
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
IWA Head Office, Island House, Moor Road, Chesham, HP5 1WA
01494 783 453