Photo: Canalway Cavalcade 2013 (photo by Roger Squires)
This May Day Bank Holiday IWA has two boat gatherings, one at Braunston and one in London. From 2nd – 5th May, IWA Northampton Branch is to hold its annual boat gathering at the historic Nurser’s canal dock at Braunston Marina on the Grand Union Canal. Whilst in London from 3rd – 5th May, IWA’s annual Canalway Cavalcade is to be held at the junction of the Paddington Arm of the Grand Union Canal and the Regent’s Canal at Little Venice.
IWA’s Canalway Cavalcade, 3rd – 5th May, will have plenty of activities for the public to enjoy. There will be trade stalls, food stalls, a real ale bar, children’s activities and much more. The event should prove fun for all the family and admission is free. This is a great event if you are looking for something to do this Bank Holiday. Find out more and download a full event programme at the Cavalcade webpages.
At Braunston, boaters plan to make the most of this Bank Holiday with a full weekend of activities arranged for those attending the event. The programme includes a walk over the top of Braunston Tunnel, live music and a raffle. Visiting boats will be moored in an old Arm of the canal, which once formed part of the original line of the Oxford Canal before it was straightened in the 1820s. More information is available at the IWA Northampton Branch webpages.
Photo: Rothersthorpe flight, Northampton Arm (photo by Helen Dobbie)
At the recent Canal & River Trust (CRT) Spring South East Waterways Forum, attended by representatives of IWA Northampton Branch, the following points were put forward about the condition of the Northampton Arm of the Grand Union Canal:
CRT’s replies were:
These were not the answers the branch had hoped for as it believes the dredging issue needs to be addressed. The branch would therefore like to gather information on problems, if any, experienced by boaters negotiating the Arm.
If you have recently recently navigated the Northampton Arm and would like to comment on the issues raised by the branch, please send details to either:
Include the date you travelled along the Arm, the boat name, any problems encountered and the location at which they were encountered.
In this way the branch hopes to gather evidence to present to CRT and demonstrate the need for action.
Photo: Olympic Park and waterways (photo by Roger Squires)
The waterways of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park are planned to open on 10th May 2014, for the first time since the rivers were restored.
The six kilometres of rivers in the Park were once a key transport network for the industries that lined the river. After the Second World War use dropped, silt built up and the rivers were eventually closed.
However, as part of preparations for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the Olympic Delivery Authority and Canal & River Trust worked together to improve the condition of the Park’s rivers with a view to them once again becoming navigable. New river walls and towpaths were created, deeper channels dredged, wildlife habitats improved and disused locks refurbished. The rivers were then handed over to the London Legacy Development Corporation in 2012.
On 10th May, public boats are to navigate the rivers to preview the completed work. It is hoped the event will be marked by a flotilla led by St. Pancras Cruising Club and IWA as it enters the park. The event is part of a series of preview days this summer.
This is the first of several steps to re-open the rivers at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. While construction work continues on the transformation phase of the Park, boats will need to register their interest in cruising. To register interest in future cruises, email email@example.com.
Photo: Freight on the Aire & Calder Navigation and South Yorkshire Navigation
CRT has published a report from its Freight Advisory Group into the current and potential future role of its commercial inland waterways to carry freight. The Group recommended an initial focus on waterways it has defined as ‘Priority Freight Routes’ (the designation of certain navigations in the North East that link to the Humber Estuary) where it believes that serious marketing and investigative effort by CRT working with Associated British Ports (ABP) is called for to test the proposition that there is freight to be won to the commercial waterways with the right approach.
CRT welcomed its Advisory Group’s recommendations and has established a director-led steering group to investigate the viability of the designated Priority Freight Routes, including exploring market potential with the major port operators. This work will also involve reviewing what infrastructure work might be necessary to remove obstacles to larger barges. The steering group will also look at what wharf and supporting facilities may be required and what support or grants could be available.
IWA welcomes CRT’s acceptance of the recommendations that it should actively promote its freight waterways and is pleased to see its commitment shown by appointment of the steering group led by its Commercial Director, Stuart Mills, to progress the initiative.
IWA supports the idea of defining the Aire & Calder Navigation, Sheffield & South Yorkshire Navigation and the Ouse to Selby as Priority Freight Routes, on which attention will be focussed initially, to demonstrate that potential traffic can be turned into reality. IWA is also pleased to hear that Associated British Ports is keen to work with CRT on developing these opportunities. IWA, through its Inland Waterways Freight Group, will work with the Commercial Boat Operators Association to assist CRT in any way it can in realising the potential of these Humber-based waterways both for containerised traffic and bulk materials.
Whilst the plan is for the steering group to concentrate on the Yorkshire waterways, IWA is pleased to see that other commercial waterways with demonstrated potential for freight, such as the Trent, Weaver, Severn and lower Lee have not been forgotten. These have been classed category A and worthy of further review of their potential at a later date, taking account of lessons from the priority freight routes approach. In the meantime, the Advisory Group recommended that CRT should, nevertheless, consider any serious opportunities for freight use of these waterways and facilitate this, including spot dredging where necessary. IWA supports this approach.
A conference in late spring to launch the report and seek a range of views will be organised in Yorkshire in partnership with the Freight Transport Association, to which the Local Enterprise Partnership, West Yorkshire Combined Authority, shippers, developers, operators, customers and logistics professionals will be invited.
The full Freight Advisory Group report is available to download from CRT's website.
IWA supports the use of waterways for freight; more information is available on the freight webpages.
Photo: Footbridge lowered into place on the Chesterfield Canal (photo by Chesterfield Canal Trust)
IWA’s Waterway Recovery Group helped a Chesterfield Canal Trust Work Party to build bridge abutments for Constitution Hill Bridge on the Chesterfield Canal at Staveley in 2012. Since then work has progressed and Chesterfield Canal Trust saw the deck of the bridge fitted on 11th April.
Once the handrails and other finishings are in the place the bridge will be ready to open with a formal opening ceremony due to take place on 28th June.
IWA's website developers recently became aware of a vulnerability known as "Heartbleed" which affects a software library called OpenSSL. You may have seen information about this in the national news.
The developers immediately updated their servers so that the vulnerability no longer exists; however there was a slight possibility that the SSL certificates may have already been compromised.
With this in mind, the developers have updated the website so that users will immediately be requested to reset their passwords when they login.
Photo: Slough Arm, Grand Union Canal (photo by Lucy Smith)
CRT has outlined its investment plans for the next three years. Expenditure is to rise to £85.4 million in 2014/15 and continue to rise to £93 million in 2016/17.
CRT’s planned major works expenditure for the year includes:
CRT has said much of the expenditure will be on the canals in the north of England where the percentage of assets in poor condition is highest. This includes major works to fix the leaking Horbury Culvert on the Calder & Hebble Navigation; repairs to the Bosley and Elton reservoirs in its Manchester & Pennines region; and works to the Barlow Wood and Calverly embankments on the Peak Forest and Leeds & Liverpool canals respectively.
Across the rest of the country, planned works include a programme of grouting on various lock walls; stabilising and repairing bridges on the Oxford and Grand Union; works to Dog Head Stakes Weir on the Kennet & Avon Canal; and gate repairs at the West India Dock in London's Docklands.
The dredging works are the next stage in CRT’s enhanced programme of £80m over ten years and will include work at fifteen locations, three of which are the Slough Arm, Grand Union Canal and the Birmigham Canal.
In addition, the general waterway expenditure budget will include:
Photo: Capsized boat that got stuck on cill in Bath flight lock (photo by CRT)
CRT has released the following safety alert after the recent incident at Bath on the Kennet & Avon Canal, where a hire boat was caught on a lock cill and sunk in the lock.
Many hire operators and private boaters are aware of the risks but cill-related sinkings continue to happen. There have been twenty-five such incidents in the past ten years. The latest incident occurred recently when a hired narrowboat sunk in a lock on the Bath Flight. The incident happened when the boat became caught on the cill whilst travelling downhill through the lock chamber.
When negotiating locks, it is essential that proper control is maintained over the boat and that it is kept forward of the top lock gate cill. The extent of the cill is marked by white lines and the wor ‘cill’ on the copings and a warning sign is placed on the gate. Failure to keep forward of the cill marker can result in the boat being raised out of the water at the stern, which causes the front of the boat to sink. This can happen quickly with the boat sinking or capsizing in seconds.
Hireboat handovers should emphasis the proper navigation through locks and the potential risks if the boat is not properly controlled. Private boaters should ensure they remain vigilant to the risk of cills.
CRT's Boater’s Handbook carries advice to avoid and recover from lock hang-up incidents:
More information on cill safety can be found at the IWA website.
Over 70 miles of waterways have had the offside vegetation cut back before the nesting season started this year.
CRT has said it has spent more than £1 million on this recent offside vegetation programme to date. The programme was halted sooner than expected due to an earlier than normal nesting season, so the remaining £500,000 dedicated to the work has been ring-fenced for use in offside vegetation clearance in the autumn.
Stretches of canal that have so far benefitted from this programme of works include:
The Brecon and Abergavenny Canal has been reopened after Canal & River Trust (CRT) completed repairs to the collapsed section of the navigation.
The stretch of the canal between Govilon and Llanfoist was shut in February after the embankment collapsed following torrential rain. It reopened on 25th April after CRT completed the £1 million repairs that included using 500 10-metre pins to nail the collapsed embankment to the bedrock.
A diversion remians in place along the towpath, which is due reopen at the end of May.
Walkers are invited to explore some new paths through Surrey and help raise funds to restore the Wey & Arun Canal with the 42nd annual “Poddle” sponsored walk on Sunday, 8th June. One of the highlights of the walk will be the new riverside path created by the Wey & Arun Canal Trust along the banks of the Cranleigh Waters in Shalford.
The walk starts from the National Trust’s 18th century waterwheel, Shalford Mill, situated in the village of Shalford near Guildford. The circular walk will cover twelve miles and includes refreshment points and a lunch stop before finishing at Shalford church. There is also an option for a shorter walk, starting from Shalford Church, which is four miles long.
Anyone wanting to join the longer walk, which will be signposted and with a map provided, should arrive between 9 and 10.30am. Walkers opting for the shorter route should arrive at the church between 1-2pm. Walkers are asked to raise a minimum of £20.
For more details email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Kelpies, Scotland's largest art installation, were officially opened to the public on Monday 21st April. This followed a pyrotechnic display around the sculptures on Friday 17th, which opened the John Muir Festival.
The £5 million, 300 tonne, 30m horse head sculptures were created by Glasgow artist Andy Scott and sit in Helix Park, Falkirk. It was from the canal and its history of horse drawn barges that Andy Scott took his inspiration for the sculptures.
Work to erect the sculptures began last year and the public will now be allowed around and inside the Kelpies on guided tours led by the Falkirk Community Trust.
The Kelpies sit in Helix Park, a development of under-used land between Falkirk and Grangemouth, which now provides a substantial outdoor recreational area. As part of the development an extension of the Forth & Clyde Canal to a new sea lock on the River Carron has been constructed, with a new basin alongside the Kelpies. 350,000 visitors per year are expected to visit the area, bringing in £1.5m of extra tourism revenue.
The Runcorn Locks Restoration Society has launched its Unlock Runcorn campaign for the restoration of the Runcorn Old Line locks.
The restoration of these locks would reinstate the link between the end of the Bridgewater Canal in Runcorn and the Manchester Ship Canal, and create a second Cheshire Ring with the River Weaver and Anderton Boat Lift as part of the route. The society believes that the restoration of the locks would benefit the local environment and economy.
The campaign comes as the Mersey Gateway project moves forward. This project intends to create a new crossing of the Mersey between Runcorn and Widnes to relieve the congested and old Silver Jubilee Bridge. Plans for the development of the new bridge include the dismantlement of the Silver Jubilee Bridge feeder roads, which blocked the top of the lock flight in Runcorn when built in the 1960s. This would create potential for access to the whole flight of locks if they were restored, as is the aim of the Unlock Runcorn campaign.
As part of the campaing the society has created a petition to Unlock Runcorn's potential by first re-opening the flight of Canal locks in the Old Town, which can be signed via the society's website.
The start of the next phase of restoration on the Ashby Canal was marked at a special event at Snarestone on 17th April.
The event, organised by the Ashby Canal Association, sent two traditional working boats, Aquarius and Ilford, on a tour of the waterways to promote the restoration of the Ashby Canal. Each boat has been loaded with eighteen tons of coal supplied by UK Coal, which is contributing £1,280,000 towards the canal restoration project. This will enable another 400 metres of the canal to be restored.
Photo: Laura Elliott, Dave Berry and Kath Auton - Trust Membership Secretary (photo by Chesterfield Canal Trust)
1960s pop star, Dave Berry, cycled the forty-six miles of the Chesterfield Canal on 15th April to raise money for the Chesterfield Canal Trust.
Dave was accompanied by two friends, Jeff Troops and Ian Stott for the full forty-six miles as well as George Bunting and Rod Auton, Trust members, for the first eighteen miles to Shireoaks. Dave was inspired to raise money for the Trust after he took his daughter on one of the Trust’s Santa Cruises and saw the work the volunteers did along the canal.
You can sponsor Dave at the Trust's website.
This section contains volunteer reports from IWA branches and IWA's Waterway Recovery Group (WRG). IWA branch reports contain information from their latest work parties where volunteers have worked to help maintain their local canals. WRG reports on its Canal Camps and weekend digs to keep readers up to date with the restoration work the group has been undertaking.
Photo: CRT dredger removes scooter from Grand Union Canal on IWA Milton Keynes Branch clean-up (photo by David King)
IWA Milton Keynes Branch’s latest spring clean-up on the Grand Union Canal proved a huge success. Once again the event was sponsored by The Wyvern Shipping Company and supported by CRT.
The Clean Up started at 10am on Friday 11th April and concluded at 3.30pm on Saturday 12th April 2014. Volunteers met at Fenny Lock and worked north to Bridge 78 at Giffard Park on the Friday and then on to Bridge 68 at Old Wolverton on the Saturday.
A total of forty-seven IWA volunteers and fourteen Scouts were involved over the course of the two days contributing 561 volunteer hours of time. The group also had help from CRT. John Highmore and Miriam Tedder (CRT Staff) attended on the Friday and CRT Lead Volunteer Graham Newman was there on the Saturday. Paul Swaby and Ian Tyler from CRT operated a dredger in support of the volunteer effort on the Friday. Unfortunately, the dredger broke down and was unable to support the clean up on the Saturday.
The dredger was used several times on the Friday and without it there were items that would not have recovered, namely a motorbike adjacent to Bridge 90B at Woughton, a metal drum near Campbell Park and a very large motor scooter near Lionhearts Cruising Club.
Other interesting items found over the two days included three motorbikes, a circular saw, an overhead projector, a rubber duck and a security cash box, which was handed to the police. It later came to light that the security cash box had been stolen in 2009. The security company that owned the box has given the branch a £100 reward for safe return of the box.
IWA South Yorkshire & Dukeries Branch, along with members of the Abbeydale Rotary Club, held its annual spring clean up on Sunday 13th April at Tinsley Marina on the Sheffield & Tinsley Canal.
This year the event had come to the attention of BBC Radio Sheffield who asked to feature the clean-up on their Sunday morning Treasure Hunt programme, where listeners are given clues to guess the featured destination.
The event itself was a success. Approximately thirty people turned out on the beautiful Sunday morning to clear away litter, which volunteers said was less prevalent than in previous years. About fifty bags of rubbish were collected before pie and peas were enjoyed at Tinsley Boat Club after the event.
Photo: Lock painting at Wardle Lock (photo by Alison Smedley)
Despite weather forecast to the contrary, Wednesday 30th April dawned bright, warm and sunny for the first of three planned work parties at Wardle Lock on the short stretch of the Wardle Canal at Middlewich with IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch and IWA Shrewsbury & North Wales.
Many people will recognise this location as being the former home of the late Maureen Shaw who for many years lived in the adjoining lock cottage. Over the past few years the lock has become somewhat untidy and so a joint working party was set up between IWA North Staffs & South Cheshire, IWA Shrewsbury and North Wales, The Trent & Mersey Canal Society and CRT to bring the lock back to some of its former glory.
Twenty willing volunteers of various ages, turned up on the day to lend a hand. Some travelled from quite a distance but there were also a number of local residents who had come along out of respect for Maureen and were keen to see the locks back in good shape. The team worked hard scraping down the old paintwork on both the gates and railings as well as clearing the steps on the offside below the lock of vegetation. A fresh coat of paint was put on to the locks and at the end of the day the improvement was great to see.
In two weeks, on Wednesday 14th May, the team return to the lock to continue the restoration work to hopefully include clearing offside vegetation below the lock which has become quite dense over time. A third work party is planned for two weeks after that, Wednesday 28th May, to finish off the work and hopefully create a set of locks that everyone passing by will be able to enjoy.
IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch volunteers started work on the Dee Branch of the Shropshire Union Canal in September 2013 and have now amassed over 200 volunteer hours. These hours that volunteers have donated to work on the canal have helped the group paint a combination of railings and lock gates at Dee Lock, Graving Lock and Bridge Lock; clear vegetation from Old Station Yard, the hard edge by Bridge 126 and Tower Wharf; complete seven litter picks; plant spring bulbs at Bridge Lock and prepare the Old Service Block for plastering and painting.
The work has not gone un-noticed by those who visit the area and now enjoy the much improved environment.
Have a look at the list of volunteer opportunities within local IWA committees. There is a full list of volunteer opportunities within IWA branches.
The Summer 2014 issue of IWA's Waterways Magazine is now available to download or read online.
The following IWA region and branch magazines have been added to the website since the last edition of the Bulletin:
Manchester Branch - Manchester Packet- March 2014
East Yorkshire Branch - Wolds Waters - April 2014
Lee & Stort Branch - Lee & Stort Recorder - April 2014
Warwickshire Branch - Bear Essentials - April 2014
Chiltern Branch - Grapevine - May 2014
Milton Keynes Branch - Towpath Telegraph - May 2014
South Yorkshire & Dukeries Branch - Keels & Cuckoos - May 2014
North Riding Branch - The Northern Navigation News - Spring 2014
The following IWA region and branch magazines have been added in recent weeks:
North & East and South London Branches - Meridian Cuttings - April 2014
Major IWA events in 2014
3rd - 5th May 2014 - IWA Canalway Cavalcade, London
24th - 26th May 2014 - IWA Trailboat Festival, Devon
6th - 8th June 2014 - IWA Campaign Festival, Chester
23rd - 25th August 2014 - Saul Waterways Pageant
Branch Boating Events in 2014
2nd - 5th May 2014 - Braunston Boat Gathering (IWA Northampton Branch)
27th - 29th June 2014 - Thwaite Mills Boat Gathering (IWA West Riding Branch)
4th - 6th July 2014 - Ware Boat Festival (IWA Lee & Stort Branch)
6th July 2014 - Rochdale Canal Boat Gathering (IWA West Riding Branch)
6th - 7th September 2014 - Maesbury Canal Festival (supported by IWA Shrewsbury, District & North Wales Branch)
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.
3rd May Work Party - Bridgwater & Taunton Canal (IWA West Country Branch)
4th May Work Party - Hatton Locks (IWA Warwickshire Branch)
5th May Work Party - Hatton Locks (supported by IWA Warwickshire Branch)
7th May Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
7th May Work Party - Hatton Locks (supported by IWA Warwickshire Branch)
8th May Work Party - Caldon Canal (by IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch)
10th May Work Party - Dee Branch, Chester (IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch)
10th-11th May Work Party Weekend - Tardebigge Lime Kilns (supported by IWA Birmingham, Black Country & Worcestershire Branch)
11th May Work Party - Garston Lock, Kennet & Avon Canal (supported by IWA Guildford & Reading Branch)
13th May Work Party - Northampton Arm (IWA Northampton Branch)
14th May Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
14th May Work Party - Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal (IWA Birmingham, Black Country and Worcestershire Branch)
14th May Work Party - Wardle Lock (IWA Shrewsbury & North Wales Branch and IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch)
15th May Work Party - Lapworth (supported by IWA Warwickshire Branch)
16th May Work Party - Brindley Bank Rugeley (IWA Lichfield Branch)
17th May Work Party - Lapworth (supported by IWA Warwickshire Branch)
17th May Work Party - Trent & Mersey Canal (IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch)
17th May Work Party - Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal (supported by IWA Manchester Branch)
21st May Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
28th May Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
28th May Work Party - Wardle Lock (IWA Shrewsbury & North Wales Branch and IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch)
1st June Work Party - Northampton Arm (IWA Northampton Branch)
2nd June Work Party - Hatton Locks (supported by IWA Warwickshire Branch)
4th June Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
4th June Work Party - Hatton Locks (supported by IWA Warwickshire Branch)
7th June Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
7th June Work Party - Dee Branch, Chester (IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch)
7th-8th June Work Party Weekend - Tardebigge Lime Kilns (supported by IWA Birmingham, Black Country & Worcestershire Branch)
11th June Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
11th June Work Party - Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal (supported by IWA Birmingham, Black Country & Worcestershire Branch)
12th June Work Party - Caldon Canal, Cheddleton (IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch)
17th June Work Party - Trent & Mersey Canal (IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch)
18th June Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
19th June Work Party - Lapworth (supported by IWA Warwickshire Branch)
21st June Work Party - River Lee at Ware (IWA Lee & Stort Branch)
21st June Work Party - Lapworth (supported by IWA Warwickshire Branch)
21st June Work Party - Greater Manchester (supported by IWA Manchester Branch)
25th June 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
4th May Waterside Walk - London (IWA Towpath Walks Society)
18th May Walk - Alvecote (IWa Warwickshire Branch)
18th May Waterside Walk - London (IWA Towpath Walk Society)
22nd May Waterside Walk - Bunbury (IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch)
29th May Waterside Walk - Wey & Arun Canal (Wey & Arun Canal Trust)
1st June Waterside Walk - Mile End to Islington (IWA Towpath Walks Society)
3rd June Waterside Walk - Basingstoke Canal (Railway & Canal Historical Society)
8th June Waterside Walk - Ashby Canal (IWA Lichfield Branch)
15th June Waterside Walk - Little Venice to Camden (IWA Towpath Walks Society)
19th June Waterside Walk - Wey & Arun Canal (Wey & Arun Canal Trust)
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 www.waterways.org.uk/support_us/members_area/member_discounts_special_offers_public
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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