IWA Bulletin - 14th June 2017

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IWA News

IWA Gains Support of MPs

IWA’s Waterway Manifesto attracted over 360 pledges of support from parliamentary candidates during the lead up to the recent general election.   Among the MPs subsequently elected were many who had pledged or otherwise contacted IWA with supportive comments, including a number of newly appointed MPs.

You can see the full list of the 364 candidates who pledged their support on IWA’s website through this link.  If your MP isn’t listed, why not make contact with them to encourage them to get involved with local waterway restoration or regeneration projects in your area, and to ask them to join the All Party Parliamentary Waterways Group.  As you will see from our list, several high profile MP's like Andrew Bridgen – North West Leicestershire, John McDonnell - Shadow Chancellor and Graham Brady – Chairman of the 1922 Committee have pledged to support our waterways so your MP would be in good company.

The pledges, messages of support and our long term relationships with existing MPs and Lords gives IWA a solid base for ongoing parliamentary work to ensure that the true value of our inland waterways is understood and appreciated at Westminster.

Time to Plan for IWA's Festival of Water

With the late May Bank Holiday weekend now out of the way, thoughts can now turn to the August Bank Holiday.  The obvious thing to do, of course, is to gather on the Erewash Canal at Ilkeston in Derbyshire for one of IWA's great festivals. 

The Erewash Canal, 11.5 miles long with 14 locks, runs from the River Trent and the Soar Navigation at Trent Lock to Langley Mill where it joins the now derelict Nottingham Canal and Cromford Canal which is under restoration.  The Canal was opened in 1779 to bring coal out of the Erewash valley pits down to the River Trent for onward trade to Nottingham and Leicester.  The fact that the Erewash Canal was a water supply for local ironworks, and that the Erewash Canal Preservation & Development Association was formed in the late 1960s, meant that it was saved from the fate of some of the other waterways. 

The Erewash Canal has been chosen as the location of IWA's 2017 Festival of Water to encourage boaters to explore this green, peaceful but isolated waterway.  Ilkeston is a market town and the festival will be taking place around the Gallows Inn area near the pub (real ales, children & dogs welcome) and lock.  To find out more about this event, or to book boat space or a camping site follow this linkerewashcanalPhoto:  Erewash Canal near Gallows Inn

River Canal Rescue is calling for boaters to update their boating logs and enter this year’s Cruising Challenge Award. The winner will be announced at the IWA Festival of Water in Ilkeston.  The RCR-sponsored Award recognises the most enterprising non-continuous journey undertaken from August 2016 to the opening of the 2017 event and as well as a trophy, the winner receives free RCR membership.

While there are no maximum/minimum cruising requirements and/or cruising breaks, no section of canal or river can be counted more than once in the same direction in the same calendar month and entrants are required to provide a full log of their cruise showing miles and locks which must be supported with evidence of reaching key destinations during the cruise.  Entrants are judged on the overall cruise content – rather than the longest – and extra points are given to boaters travelling lesser-used waterways, reaching distant end navigations and using inland tidal sections. Overall log presentation is also taken into account.

IWA has invited its members to enter this and seven other awards - Most Meritorious Trip, Longest Journey, Boat Club Challenge, Best Bloomin’ Boat, Lights in the Dark, Best Oldie and Locking Windlass – by Friday 11 August. This can be extended to Friday 25 August providing prior notice is given.

RCR managing director, Stephanie Horton, comments: “We’re delighted to be supporting IWA again this year and hope many people will enter. This award category fits well with our ethos which is to support people whatever their journey.”  To find out more about the awards visit IWA's Festival Awards web page.

Group Outings on Chelmer & Blackwater Open for Booking

One of Essex’s favourite tourist attractions, the passenger trip-boat Victoria, is operating again from her base at Paper Mill Lock, at Little Baddow near Chelmsford, and will host groups and parties of up to 48 people wanting to explore the delights of the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation.

Essex Waterways Ltd, IWA's subsidiary company that manages the 13.8 mile long waterway, has bought the boat from its previous owners and is now ready to take charter bookings for trips along the scenic and pretty waterway.  The purchase of the vessel has been supported by a grant to Essex Waterways of just over £30,000 from European LEADER Funds via The Rural Community Council of Essex. 

Sue Clift, Essex Waterways booking officer explained: “Victoria is a lovely boat that has been introducing visitors to the Chelmer & Blackwater for over 40 years. She can carry up to 46 guests, is wheelchair and pushchair-friendly, and we can provide food and drinks on board as well.  Groups can book the boat for anything from two hours up to a full day’s hire, which would be enough to cruise from Paper Mill Lock to Heybridge or Chelmsford and back. We can even bring Victoria to a different boarding point if that’s more convenient for our guests, although obviously the time for doing that would take up cruising time.”

Anyone interested in finding out more about a group booking for Victoria can look at the Chelmer Cruises pages, call Sue on 07507 055021 or email Victoria@waterways.org.uk

victoriaessexPhoto: Roy Chandler - Victoria trip boat at Paper Mill

IWA National Trailboat Festival at Moira

IWA's National Trailboat Festival was held this year in combination with the annual Moira Canal Festival on the restored but isolated section of the Ashby Canal at Moira.  This is the 17th Canal Festival held here in the grounds of the historic Moira Furnace and this well organised and popular local event with 3,500 visitors was boosted by a large attendance of trailboats from all round the country.  There were 29 trailboats present with probably the highest number of trail boats seen on the Northern Reaches of the canal at any one time this century.    There was a good mix too, with 16 Wilderness and a wide variety of types among the 13 other boats.

As well as processions of boats along the canal there were canoes and paddleboards, with training sessions for children, boat trips on the 'Joseph Wilkes', and a duck race to enliven this usually tranquil section of canal.  Land based transport included a steam roller and miniature steam railway, historic stationary engines and classic cars, whilst in the air there were model aircraft and a 'Battle of Britain' flypast of a Hurricane and Spitfire.  Other warlike activities were the explosive cannon shots from the Coldstream Guards 1815 re-enactors, whilst more melodic sounds came from the various bands performing around the site.  Money raised will be used to further the development of the proposals for the new Gilwiskaw Brook Aqueduct, which will cross the brook north of the currently restored length at Snarestone.

IWA Lichfield Branch members manned IWA's stand with a good selection of sales items, display boards and recruitment material, and fielded a steady succesion of questions from people wanting to learn more about the canals in general, the Ashby Canal restoration in particular, or opportunities for getting afloat. 
trailboatmoira1Photo:  Trailboats and canoes at Moira on the Late May Bank holiday

trailboatmoira2Photo: Duck race at IWA's Trailboat Festival at Moira - not an easy event to organise on still waters!

Work and Play at Inglesham Lock

Over the Late May Bank Holiday 54 volunteers from Kent and East Sussex Canal Restoration Group (KESCRG) got together to celebrate the 40th anniversary of KESCRG whilst making significant progress on the restoration of Inglesham Lock on the Cotswold Canals.

KESCRG was born out of IWA’s Kent and East Sussex Branch in 1977 by branch members and volunteers who wanted to carry out practical restoration work. In the early years the initial focus was on the Basingstoke Canal and later their attention moved to the Droitwich Canals, Wilts and Berks Canal and Herefordshire and Gloucestershire Canal. For KESCRG’s 40th anniversary year they have decided to focus much of their energy helping IWA's WRG restore Inglesham Lock.  Significant progress was made over the weekend with brickwork repairs reaching coping stone levels in some areas as well as completing repairs to one of the paddle arches. Volunteers also got the site ready for the summer Canal Camps moving over 7000 bricks, 30 tonnes of sand, and 10 pallets of blocks in the site compound.

This summer WRG will be running 6 week-long working holidays at Inglesham Lock with plenty more bricklaying to be done – for more details visit the Canal Camps section on the website

wrgingleshammay2017Photo: Repairing a paddle arch at Inglesham Lock on the Cotswold Canal

Essex Waterways Bags £2,000 for Towpath Repair

After two months of waiting, the votes are in and Essex Waterways has been successful in receiving the second highest grant award available from their local Tesco to fund vital towpath repair work on the Chelmer and Blackwater Navigation. Essex Waterways got through to the in-store vote in April with their project to create a more accessible walking route along the waterway and were eligible to receive £ 1,000, £2,000 or £5,000 depending how many votes they got from shoppers. The project was particularly popular with Tesco customers in Maldon as the stretch of towpath proposed for improvement runs directly outside the store so this local support helped Essex Waterways secure the £2,000 grant.

Work will begin in the next few months, with some help from a visiting WRG canal camp team later in the year.

essextowpathPhoto:  Towpath at Essex Waterways that will benefit from Tesco funding

Cavalcade 2018 is Looking for a Theme

Boaters at IWA's Canalway Cavalcade in Little Venice are a creative lot and eagerly await the announcement of the chosen theme for the festival so they can begin the planning for the decorated and illuminated boat competitions.  This year's theme was Waterway Tales which produced Ratty, Mole and Mr Toad, a mermaid, an ugly duckling and a narrow dog to Carcassone.  Previous years' have included Canals Alive, Canals in Bloom, A Capital Event and Waterways of London.

Cavalcade organisers are keen to give the entrants for 2018 Cavalcade plenty of time to develop their creativity so are now looking for inspiration.  Ideas to transform a boat for the Saturday afternoon floating pageant and the Sunday evening illuminated parade are now being sought so please send any thoughts to Canalway Cavalcade by email

Boat bookings are now open for the 2018 festival which takes place around Brownings Pool and the Paddington Basin in the heart of London from Saturday 5th to Monday 7th May, the early May Day Bank holiday weekend.  Go to our Canalway Cavalcade page to book your place now.  

cav2017uglyPhoto: Canalway Cavalcade 2017 winner of decorated boat competition - Little Gem with an ugly duckling

cav2016sharkPhoto:  Is it safe to go back in the water?  Highlander's shark at Cavalcade 2016cav2015bloomPhoto:  Canals in Bloom (complete with garden gnomes) Cavalcade 2015

Old Bedford Navigation Campaign Update

A focus group meeting on the Old Bedford Navigation was held on Tuesday 23rd May with the purpose of assisting EA staff in their understanding of the issues surrounding the Old Bedford River and how it is managed.  Relevant representatives were invited to give an opportunity for a Question and Answer session to enable river users to ask questions about the situation on this EA waterway.
The Old Bedford Navigation involves a number of different functions within EA and to complicate things further a number of organisations are involved in gaining boating access onto this water course so that the navigation right can be exercised.  This meeting was an opportunity for EA and the different organisations involved to meet so that navigating the Old Bedford River could be looked at in closer detail to see if additional measures  could be put in place to enable easier navigation and what barriers there were.
The meeting was attended by representatives from IWA Peterborough and Great Ouse branches, Great Ouse Boating Association, East Anglian Waterways Association, North Walsham & Dilham Canal Trust and a local historian, along with a number of EA personnel.

The EA stated there was a right of navigation 24/7, but tides and water levels would not always make this possible. The EA were putting procedures in place via the website and possibly a twitter account to give an indication to boaters when access would probably be successful. The EA representative present on the day would be able to issue visitor licences to those who require them.

The various departments (flood risk, land drainage, etc) informed the attendees of the meeting of their operating protocols. The EA finally agreed the default position for the Welney gate is in the up position but could not guarantee this would always be so.

The question of volunteers was raised and EA stated that there is a working group looking into this. When asked if volunteers would be allowed to install a slipway at Welney there was a non committal response.

Long Walk for WRG

Following Matthew Rogers' recent success, another marathon fundraising effort has been completed by two WRG volunteers in the form of the Halifax Long March. The Long March is an overnight walk of 26.2 miles in Calderdale, taking in Halifax and other local towns and villages; the route even includes, appropriately, stretches along both the Rochdale Canal and Calder and Hebble Navigation.

Brian Lomas and David McCarthy completed the route in just over 7 hours and were amongst 100 other finishers. The pair raised a fantastic £350 for Waterway Recovery Group which will go towards funding this season’s packed schedule of canal camps.

Scottish Canals Reconsiders its Decision on the Falkirk Wheel

Following campaigning by IWA and others - see IWA Bulletin 25th April,  IWA welcomes the news that Scottish Canals is to defer its “Rotate” project proposed for the Falkirk Wheel.

This statement has been issued by Scottish Canals:
Last year’s operational capital spend focused on our Top 20 Assets as well as a short, medium and long-term review of all our assets, including The Falkirk Wheel, which this year marks its 15th anniversary.
During this work it became clear that significant investment is required to ensure the ongoing maintenance of The Falkirk Wheel over the next few years. Safe, continued operation of the Wheel is our main priority and as this will require additional time and money, we have decided to delay Rotate for the next few years.
Rotate remains part of our plans to refresh the customer experience and we will continue to develop the concept for this unique addition to The Falkirk Wheel as part of our commitment to ensuring it remains one of Scotland’s top visitor attractions. However, we are also committed to ensuring that our customers are involved in the development of this project once we are in a position to progress.


John Humphries OBE

IWA is saddened to report the death of John Humphries OBE, chairman of IWA from 1970 to 1972 and a previous chairman of the then Narrow Boat Owners Club, now Historic Narrow Boat Club.  John was a City solicitor who, with his wife June, cultivated his connections with politicians and other influential people to raise the profile of the inland waterways.  He owned a 1915 Birmingham tug named Clevanda (after three of his daughters - Claire, Evelyn and Amanda) which he used to cruise the waterways, often with MP's or peers of the realm on board.  These journeys gave John and June the opportunity to take cine films which were edited and music added - one well known clip was of a trip down a very overgrown Caldon Canal to the tune of Onward Christian Soldiers. 

When the government of the time proposed splitting the country into 11 regional water companies John was asked to become a government waterways advisor, a role he held in 1972 after standing down as IWA's chairman.  With the 1973 Water Act the idea of multiple water companies was dropped and the Waterspace Amenity Commission was formed.  

humphriesPhoto by Hugh McKnight:  John Humphries, when Chairman of Waterspace Amenity Commission and his wife June on Clevanda Easter 1974

IWA Branch News

IWA Lee & Stort Branch

The Ware Boat Festival 2017 takes place from Friday 30th June to Sunday 2nd July.  This event is well known for its inspirational themes and this year will be no exception.  Make sure you have booked yourself in to experience some Flower Power by completing a booking form or going to the event web page for more details.  But hurry, time and spaces are limited.

warefestPhoto:  Footbridge over the River Lee, Ware Boat Festival 2010

IWA Lichfield Branch

On Friday 5th May IWA Lichfield Branch volunteers held a work party at Brindley Bank in Rugeley with the very welcome addition of three new people. The main task was to cut back the grass and vegetation which was encroaching over the towpath.  After checking that no birds would be harmed in the process, a lot of overhanging branches from the top path were lopped which generally made the path easier to walk along.  Pete did his usual litter pick but was disappointed not to find much litter!
batsPhoto: After lunch it was time to go ‘batty’ as the Branch had purchased three heavy duty bat boxes on the advice of Staffordshire Bat Group and installed them in appropriate trees.

After some rain a few days later, a trial wildflower seed scattering was carried out.  The results will determine whether more will be sown next year.  If any local members are splitting any wildflower plants or can gather seeds for future planting please contact the Branch.
IWA Lichfield Branch members took part in an interesting walk around Pelsall and Little Wyrley on Tuesday 9th May 2017 encountering many waterway and industrial landmarks.   Fourteen walkers set off from the Finger Post pub at Yorks Bridge on the Wyrley & Essington Canal and crossed over the distinctive Horseley Iron Works bridge at Pelsall Junction to join the Cannock Extension Canal.  At the gauging stop by Friar Bridge the two BCN cottages (nos.211 & 212) and the modernised stables opposite formed an interesting group of canal buildings on the edge of Pelsall Common which was once the site of a huge ironworks.  The route passed northwards along the regimented Extension Canal, which was opened in 1863 to tap the Cannock coalfields.  Leaving the wide towpath at Pelsall road bridge they entered the site of the former Wyrley Grove colliery.  An information board gave a potted history of the coalfield, a map showing a network of railways and two narrow boats being loaded in the colliery basin.  A winding and narrow path, the Forest of Mercia Timberland Trail, led to the estate of Little Wyrley and its Hall where engineers have made attempts to correct subsidence at Hall Farm and its outbuildings. 

On the next stage a brook flows down the pathway and walkers had to cross two small fords to divert to a neighbouring field before rejoining the green lane before stumbling across Fishley “church”.  This is nothing more than a broken stone in the undergrowth from which John Wesley gave a sermon, having been banned from preaching from a proper pulpit.  A plaque tells that this occurred on Aldersgate Sunday, which is on 24th May or the nearest Sunday before that.  Passing through gorse and a small wood, the walkers rejoined the canal at Pelsall Works Bridge.  They then turned left past the site of the 2016 Festival of Water and back to Pelsall Junction Bridge, where repairs are being planned to replace stolen coping stones. 

lichfieldwalk2Photo: Branch walkers at Pelsall

IWA Warwickshire Branch

IWA Warwickshire and Northampton branches will be manning an IWA stand at the Braunston Historic Boat Show on Saturday 24th & Sunday 25th June.

warksbraunstonPhoto: Historic Boats at Braunston

On Saturday 1st and Sunday 2nd July, there will be an IWA Warwickshire Branch presence at the Stratford River Festival. stratfordwaterfestPhoto: Jeanne Smith - Water Festival at Stratford-upon-Avon

More details on both events are available by emailing the Branch

IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire with the Trent & Mersey Canal Society

As part of the long term project to maintain and improve the area around Cheshire Locks, Thursday 18th May saw seven volunteers painting the metalwork on and around Lock 41 at Kidsgrove.  In addition, two members of the group completed the painting of all eight mileposts between the north portal of Harecastle Tunnel and Wheelock during the month.  

cheshirelocksmilepostPhoto:  John Lawson & Dave Sproson pictured alongside the last of the eight mileposts between the North portal of the Harecastle Tunnel and Wheelock to be repainted. This work was carried out by John Lawson, Dave Sproson, Roger Evans and Margaret English working as a sub-group from the Cheshire Locks Working Party.

IWA West Country Branch

A great community effort led by West Country Branch member Pat Robinson culminated in the return of a restored former buoy to Bridgwater Docks in May.  Over a two-year period Pat enrolled the help of local firms and Bridgwater College to transport and rebuild the buoy using European Oak; she then obtained planning permission and cajoled local builders to build a new plinth for the buoy to stand on.  On Friday 5th May Kier Construction joined the Mayor of Bridgwater and Pat for a ribbon cutting ceremony. The refurbished buoy is now once again standing tall at the Docks and is a great tribute to the efforts made by the local community.

westcountrybuoyPhoto:  Oh Buoy! The Mayor of Bridgwater with Pat Robinson and representatives from Keir Construction at the blessing ceremony.

IWA West Country Branch's Mike Slade was a finalist in Towpath Talk's Volunteer of the Year Award 2016.  The well deserved winner was Paul Mills for his many years of volunteering on the Shropshire Union Canal.  The awards were presented at a special event at Alvechurch Marina.

slademawardPhoto:  Mike Slade from IWA West Country Branch receiving his award from Harry Arnold

One Stop Shop presented our West Country branch with a cheque for £957, to fund tools and training for the regular work parties that Mike Slade and his team leaders co-ordinate in Bridgwater and Taunton. The local shop have also agreed to provide tea and coffee for the volunteers.

This grant is funded from carrier bag charges made in the One Stop Shops and there is up to £1,000 available to give good causes within a two mile radius of any of their stores.

onestopwestPhoto: One Stop Shop's Area Manager Brendan Howlett  presenting a cheque to Mike Slade IWA West Country Branch Somerset Volunteers Co-ordinator at Sedgemoor District Council's Volunteering Event in Bridgwater on Tuesday June 6th.

IWA Branch and Region Network

IWA is organised through a network of eight Regions and 33 Branches across the country.  To find a Branch near you click on this link which will take you to information about the Branches, their newsletters, contacts and the local waterways in their area.

Other Waterway News

CRT Announces Regulation for Boat Rental

CRT is introducing a new letting licence to ensure the safety of the increasing number of people living on rented boats.  The Trust is responding to the numbers of boats for rent in London and further afield as people try to find alternatives to rising housing costs.  A second market has sprung up with the advent of website letting sites which regularly feature listings of boats for rent, while anecdotal evidence from boaters shows that it’s becoming more common.

Matthew Symonds, boating strategy and engagement manager at CRT, explains: “Living afloat can be a great lifestyle choice but too often there are frightening accidents, from carbon monoxide poisoning to fires and boats sinking.  Boat owners may not be aware that they have greater responsibilities to tenants than they would if they were using the boat themselves, and it’s vital that those renting boats are protected by more rigorous standards to ensure they are safe.”

From 12th June 2017 boat owners will be able to apply for a Static Letting Licence for static boats which will cover all types of boat rental, including long-term renting, Airbnb-style short breaks, and overnight stays.  The boat owner will need to have a permanent mooring and should talk to their local planning authority to see if planning permission is needed.  The price will be the same as for the current Self-Drive Holiday Hire licence.  The Static Letting Licence has more rigorous requirements to make sure that both the boat is safe and that potential renters are fully briefed before spending a night on board.  Boat owners will be required to have: proof of adequate insurance; a Non-Private Boat Safety Scheme Certificate; a detailed handover document including emergency procedures and contact numbers; a Landlord Gas Safety Certificate; and written permission from their mooring provider.

Alongside this the charity will be introducing a new process for dealing with boat owners who may be breaching the terms of their licence by renting out their boat.  If a boat is suspected of being rented out illicitly the Trust will contact the registered licence holder, as well as hand posting letters onto the boat itself to alert tenants.  The licence holder will be given 28 days to clarify the situation, cease trading if appropriate, or apply for a Static Letting Licence.  After this period their licence will be revoked if they continue to rent out their boat.

IWA's London region welcomes the clarification of the rules on renting a boat in London by CRT and the introduction of the new letting licence. It believes that this will go a long way towards making it possible for people to experience London's canals without  being put at risk or being a risk to others.  It is pleased to see  that the Trust intends to take a strong stand against any renting of boats without a home mooring.  The region  will continue to work with CRT  to identify  boats being rented out without the new type of licence so they can deal with boat owners who may be breaching the terms of their licence by renting out their boat.
You can find out more about renting boats on CRT's website from Monday 12 June.  IWA's statement on the renting of boats can be found by following this link

Chesterfield Canal Trust Receives Queen's Award for Voluntary Service

The Chesterfield Canal Trust has been selected as a recipient for The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service 2017. This is the highest award given to volunteer groups across the UK.  The work the Trust does for the community was very much admired by the independent Assessment Committee, chaired by Sir Martyn Lewis CBE.  The award was created by The Queen in 2002 to mark the occasion of her Golden Jubilee, recognising excellence in voluntary activities carried out by groups in the community. It is the MBE for volunteer groups.

Trust Chair Robin Stonebridge said: “Receiving The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service 2017 represents a tremendous achievement for all of the Chesterfield Canal Trust volunteers, past and present, who have dedicated countless hours to promoting the canal and campaigning for its full restoration. We hope that everyone involved, and especially all our volunteers, feel immensely proud of the recognition that this Award represents.  The 4th June 2017 marks the 240th anniversary of the opening of the completed Chesterfield Canal and 2017 also marks the 40th anniversary year of the founding of the Chesterfield Canal Society which laid the foundations for the Trust. What better year could there be for the phenomenal work of the Trust’s volunteers to receive national recognition - and what better recognition than the Queens Award for Voluntary Service?  We have just nine miles to complete, and once a decision has been made about the route of HS2, we want to press ahead and get the job done - something that will definitely support community wellbeing and economic growth in our region and the wider economy.”

chesterfieldvolsPhoto:  Chesterfield Canal Trust recognising the contribution of a retiring volunteer

Shrewsbury & Newport Canals Trust Receive Royal Recognition

The Shrewsbury & Newport Canals Trust is delighted to announce that it has been awarded The Queens Award for Voluntary Service.

Bernie Jones, chairman of Shrewsbury & Newport Canals Trust, said “This award was a fantastic surprise and we are delighted to have been nominated.  It is testimony to the hard work and dedication of all our volunteers who give so much to help the Trust in its restoration work on these wonderful canals, whether contributing to our social media, helping out at our stalls at local events, baking cakes and other fundraising, helping with administration and, of course, actually digging at our workparties”

The group will now look forward to an official presentation of the award by the Lord Lieutenant of Shropshire at a ceremony in the Autumn.

Unfortunately, Shrewsbury & Newport Canals Trust has also received some bad news.  The Heritage Lottery Fund has decided, at this stage, not to grant the £1.3 million which the Trust had applied for to restore Wappenshall Wharf.  A meeting has now been arranged with the Heritage Lottery Fund to explore the future of this project.

Dawn Rose on the Pull

A group of canal volunteers arrived back at Shireoaks in the pouring rain having completed an epic journey. They had just completed their second Sponsored Boat Pull.  The Friends of Dawn Rose had set out from Shireoaks Marina on the Chesterfield Canal over three weeks earlier. During this time, Dawn Rose had been pulled by 15 different groups of people to West Stockwith on the River Trent and back. That’s 56 miles and 48 locks.

The first group were the Friends of Woodlands and Coachwood Green, from Shireoaks, and the last were a group of undertakers from Harold Lilleker & Sons from Chesterfield. In between there had been a huge variety of pullers including Scouts, Canal Societies and even Ladies on the Pull from the Retford & Worksop Boat Club.

The journey was split up into 21 legs which varied from less than one mile to four miles and no locks to eight locks. Groups chose which section suited them best - on which day and at what time of day.  Every group paid a fee to the Friends of Dawn Rose and everything else that they raised was for their chosen good cause. The total amount has run to several thousand pounds. For most of the time there had been good weather, but the heavens opened on the final day.  For the entire journey, Dawn Rose was accompanied by Python, the Trust’s 88 year old ex-working boat.

Dawn Rose is the only Chesterfield Canal boat in existence. They were built to a unique design dating back to the 1770s. This design scarcely changed in 150 years. All the old boats had rotted away, so a group of volunteers from the Chesterfield Canal Trust built Dawn Rose from scratch. It is 70’ long with no engine. This herculean task took four years because they stuck to the traditional design and only used hand tools, even making their own 9” nails!  They then set up the Friends of Dawn Rose as a way to support the maintenance, mooring and other costs to keep it afloat. A horse, Knight, is currently in training and it is hoped that it will do some towing demonstrations later this year.

To find out more about the Friends of Dawn Rose, go to the Chesterfield Canal Trust website.
dawnrosepull2017Photo: Manoeuvring Dawn Rose around a moored boat on the Chesterfield Canal

Birmingham's Roundhouse to be Restored

One of Birmingham’s most interesting historic buildings is set to be brought back to life after being awarded a £2.5m Lottery grant.  The funding will enable a partnership of CRT and the National Trust to revitalise the Grade II* listed Roundhouse into a city base from which to explore Birmingham’s famous canals by foot, bike or boat.  Situated on Sheepcote Street, next door to the former Fiddle & Bone pub which recently relaunched as The Distillery, the Roundhouse was built in 1874 by the Birmingham Corporation and was originally used as stables and stores. Designed by local architect W.H. Ward, the horse-shoe shaped building has become a real landmark within the city but over the last ten years the majority of it has been steadily falling into disrepair.

The investment from Heritage Lottery Fund, together with the combined expertise of two major heritage organisations, will see the building restored and rejuvenated as a focal point on the city’s canals.  As well as offering a base from which to explore the canal network, plans for the Roundhouse include a café, a cycle hire and repair workshop, volunteering opportunities and a shared working space.  A fundraising appeal will also be launched to raise the additional funding needed to bring the project to life.

Local people will soon have the chance to explore the Roundhouse for themselves with events celebrating the history of the building, and encouraging people to explore the city’s canals, set to kick off in the summer. The building has already been used as a venue for this year’s Flatpack Film Festival and the Birmingham Literary Festival.

The £3.3m scheme was awarded an initial development grant of £225,000 by Heritage Lottery Fund in December 2015 and has now been given a full £2.5m award to enable the scheme to go ahead. Additional funding has been provided by the two partners.  The grant has been awarded through Heritage Lottery Fund’s Heritage Enterprise programme.  It is designed to help when the cost of repairing an historic building is so high that restoration simply is not commercially viable. Grants of £100k to £5 million bridge the financial gap, funding the vital repairs and conservation work needed to convert derelict, vacant and under-used buildings like the Roundhouse, into new, usable commercial spaces that can have a positive impact on local economies.
roundhousePhoto: Staff from CRT and the National Trust are joined by heritage working boat volunteers and canoeists from B-Row to celebrate the £2.5 National Lottery Grant

Canoeing to be Safer on Llangollen Canal

Canoeing on the Llangollen Canal is set to become easier and safer thanks to a new canoe guide and three new slipways created by Gland┼Ár Cymru, CRT in Wales.   Canoeists are increasingly joining the thousands of people who each year enjoy visiting the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Llangollen Canal World Heritage Site.   This stunning 11 mile stretch of  waterway is one of the busiest and most popular canals in the country.   In a project funded by Natural Resources Wales and public donations to the Trust, two new canoe slipways have been constructed at the top end of the canal close to the Horseshoe Falls at Llantysilio. These provide free access to canoeists to enter and exit the Llangollen Canal and also link into the fast-flowing and more challenging River Dee.

canoeslipway1Photo:  New canoe slipway into River Dee

canoeslipway2Photo: Canoe Access to Llangollen Pavilion for organised groups
Further down on a canal bank opposite the Llangollen Pavilion near the town centre, a third canoe access point has been created for organised groups only, by advance agreement. Email the local CRT office for further details.
Nicola Lewis-Smith, Enterprise Manager with the Trust, explained: “Canoeing is growing in popularity on the Llangollen Canal and it’s great to see more people out enjoying the beautiful waterway. The 11 mile World Heritage Site takes you across two countries, along two aqueducts and through two tunnels – it would be hard to find a more interesting and spectacular journey.
A free canoe guide “Paddle the right way” is available from the CRT website.  Leaflets are also available from the Trevor Basin visitor centre.

Cheers for Dudley Canal & Tunnel Trust

Dudley Canal & Tunnel Trust will be holding its 4th Real Ale & Cider Festival at its unique canal-side setting on
28th June – 1st July 2017.  There will be 40+ real ales plus ciders and perries at 501 Birmingham New Road, Dudley, DY1 4SB,  just around the corner from the Black Country Living Museum and 15 minutes walk from Tipton Station.  The opening times are:   Wednesday 28th June - 18:00 to 23:00; Thursday 29th June - 12:00 to 23:00;    Friday 30th June - 12:00 to 23:00;  Saturday 1st July - 11:00 to 23:00.  A range of hot & cold food, both snacks and meals, will be available in canal-side restaurant ‘The Gongoozler’.

There will be a wide range of both familiar and unusual beers, including a selection of very interesting ales from several small breweries in East Anglia, not usually found in the Black Country, plus a good range of traditional ciders and perries.   More details are available on the Trust's website or contact Dudley Canal & Tunnel Trust by phone or email.

dudleybeerPhoto:  A pint at a canalside setting - the Dudley Canal & Tunnel Trust Beer Festival

Boaters on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal Asked to Save Water

Rainfall has been lower than usual this year and so reservoir holdings on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal are less than they should be.  

CRT's water team has been monitoring the situation closely and feels that now is the time to remind boaters to conserve water to help us ensure there is enough to supply the Leeds & Liverpool Canal throughout the main boating season. The recent rainfall has helped top the reservoirs up a little but not to normal levels.

CRT are continuing their works on leakage reduction and repairs to lock paddles and gates as part of the ongoing maintenance programme of the 200 year-old canal system.  Also, on the Wigan Flight, to prevent unnecessary loss of water through vandalism the locks on the flight will be locked between 8pm and 8am.

As a boater there are some simple steps that can be taken to help conserve water: 

  • Two in a lock? - share locks where possible;
  • Help keep it in – make sure gates and paddles are shut;
  • If you see inexperienced boaters who need help closing paddles or gates please provide assistance or let our lock keepers know;
  • If you see any leaks – please tell us about them;
  • Invite oncoming boats through – don’t empty or fill locks if someone else can make use of the water.

Restoration Plans for the Derby & Sandiacre Canal Trust

A campaign has been launched by the Derby & Sandiacre Canal Trust to raise £100,000 towards the eventual cost of £352,000 to restore a three-quarter mile stretch of the Derby and Erewash canal in Draycott between Hopwell Road and Derby Road - known locally as the "golden mile".  A giant sign and visitor information point have been unveiled by the charitable trust, which needs to demonstrate public support and is appealing for pledges totalling £100,000 before applying for grant funding to complete the project.  Once completed, the "golden mile" will have a slipway to allow canoes and boats access to the water with mooring points at each end.

Chris Madge, chairman of the trust's restoration committee, said: "A great deal of hard work has gone into getting us to this stage but now we have the stretch surveyed and priced, we're raring to go.  We've focused on this section as our first project to reinstate a stretch of canal as it is the most cost effective to deliver and we have very positive support from the local community.  We are confident that the canal will become a real attraction locally and hopefully encourage more collaboration in future restorations.

The original Derby Canal was completed in 1796 but was abandoned in the 1960s and filled in during the 1970s.  The Canal Trust was founded in 1993 with the aim of creating a new 25 mile cruising ring between Derby and Sandiacre, which would be connected to more than 2,000 miles of navigable waterways across the UK.  As well as restoring the canal, the ambitious programme includes creating a short canal stretch through Pride Park with an "arm" lift to take boats down to the river level so that they can then travel up the Derwent to the Silk Mill in the city centre.  Trust volunteers have so far restored bridges at Swarkestone and Borrowash to the demanding heritage standards and undertaken hedge planting along the route so that it can be enjoyed by walkers and cyclists.

The trust is looking for public donations in the form of pledges. It will take details from any supporter and only call for the money when the balance has been raised.  Pledge forms are available through this link

Want to be in the Movies?

This summer The Arts Excite C.I.C is looking to recruit a team of up to 15 bright and creative young people aged 15-19 to take part in a film making project called iFilm MK Canal. The project, which is a youth social action project, is about promoting the restoration of the Old Stratford and Buckingham arms of the Grand Union Canal and the local benefits the restoration will bring to the Milton Keynes area. Traditionally the canal attracts local people who are aged 50 and over, but there are so many benefits for people of other age groups to visit the canal particularly young people so Art Excite wants to support and empower younger people to tell these benefits through film,  such as: health and leisure opportunities; unlocking local history; increased local tourism; protected nature reserves.

The organisation wants to create a video for young people by young people that will positively promote the benefits of the canal. They will provide a series of training workshops with professional film-makers to give the skills, experience and confidence to create a video with the opportunity to gain an Arts Award. It is free to take part so to enquire about taking part in the project please visit the Arts Excite web site and download an expression of interest form. Once completed please send the expression of interest form to: info@thearts-excite.org with 'Young Person EOI –MK' in the subject header.

Slowly Does It!

slowsignCRT sign spotted on London towpath

Upcoming Volunteer/Cleanup Events

To find out what branch activities and working parties are going on in your area have a look at IWA's events calendar.  By volunteering for these clean up events you can make a big difference to your local waterway.  You can also search by event type or find out what's going in on your area with the map search.

To advertise your restoration/cleanup events in the bulletin please add details to IWA's events calendar

IWA Shop - Buy this book

The Trouble With Canals by John Liley

The Trouble with Canals is the story of the waterways told in a very readable way by the experienced boater, John Liley.  He became acquainted with canals as a child and in later years he explored the waterways of France, Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium.  The wide ranging narrative is enhanced by the interesting photographs and together they tell a great story of the history of the waterways from a particpant's perspective.  Go through this shop link for details on how to obtain this personal, lively account of the renaissance of the canals in this country. shopbooktroubleImage:  The Trouble With Canals by John Liley - a good read available through the IWA shop

IWA Member Discounts and Special Offers

The following special offers are now available exclusively for IWA members:

Enjoy the Waterways Through Hire Boats and Leisure

ABC Boat Hire - 15% discount on holidays (Direct Bookings Only)
Blackwater Boats, Essex CO4 5HF - 10% discount off boat trips
CanalCruising.co.uk - 10% discount
Canal Boat Magazine - 5 issues for £5.00
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

Eating Out

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
Waterside Inn Leamington Spa, CV31 3JZ - 15% discount on food from main menu
Ring 'O Bells Pub, Marple SK6 7AY - 10% discount off food
Three Locks Pub, Soulbury, Stoke Hammond MK17 9DD - 10% discount off food
Wharf Pub, Bugbrooke NN7 3QB - 10% discount

Better Value on Boats and Equipment

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
Harbour Clean - 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

Boat Insurance

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

Free Donations to IWA Every Time you Shop Online

It is so easy to do your shopping via easyfundraising.  Every time you do, a percentage will be donated to IWA and it will cost you absolutely nothing extra.

There are over 3,100 shops and sites for you to browse and buy through on the easyfundraising site.  Usually the thing that stops people raising money in this way for their favourite charity is that they simply forget.  Since we launched IWA onto easyfundraising we have raised over £1000 so it is a brilliant way to support IWA.  Find out more about easyfundraising.

How to remind yourself to raise money for IWA via easyfundraising:

By using the app, the reminder toolbar or shopping through the easyfundraising site, you can help IWA raise hundreds and hopefully thousands of pounds.

Contact Us

IWA Head Office, Island House, Moor Road, Chesham, HP5 1WA
01494 783 453

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