Photo: Some of IWA's Head Office Staff wearing their seasonal best!
Welcome to the Christmas edition of Bulletin, our final IWA newsletter of 2015. Thank you for opening and reading Bulletin twice per month across the year and we look forward to seeing you again in 2016.
For this last issue of the year we have included our top news as always but we have added a few fun activities for you to do in those quieter moments between now and the end of the year.
Spend a few minutes on our Festive Waterways Quiz and if you get all the questions right you could be in with a chance of winning one of 15 Dairy Diaries. The Mystery Photo is always very popular and so we have included a special seasonal shot for you to rack your brains to try and identify and finally if you are in the mood for a read then why not take a look at our most popular blog of the year Getting to Grips with Single Handed Boating.
Photo: 2015 Canal Camp in the Cotswolds
WRG has launched its schedule of canal restoring working holidays for 2016. The week long working holidays, called Canal Camps, offer a unique opportunity to volunteer and learn new skills, whilst exploring amazing parts of Britain’s industrial heritage.
WRG volunteers have been restoring canals for over 45 years. Canal Camps often act as a catalyst to a canal restoration project making significant progress in just one week. In the summer of 2015 WRG volunteers spent 2,400 days restoring the canals of England and Wales and WRG hopes to do even more in 2016! That’s where YOU get involved!
In 2016 there are 35 Canal Camps planned on 16 different canal restoration sites, offering volunteers the chance to uncover and repair a canal basin on the Stover Canal, restore a lock on the Grantham Canal, or build a brand new bridge on the Wey & Arun Canal.
WRG attracts a wide range of volunteers, from young volunteers taking part in the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme; to waterway enthusiasts who wish to make a contribution to restoring and preserving the system; to teachers, doctors and office workers … basically anyone who wants to make a difference, spend time outdoors or simply have fun.
Two first time volunteers from the 2015 series of camps, Stuart and Judi Young said "The camaraderie amongst the group was brilliant, everyone mucking in together and working hard. The sense of achievement at the end of the week was amazing. We enjoyed our first camp so much that two months later, we returned for our second camp!"
A full list of Canal Camp Dates and locations is now available online or have a look at the 2016 Canal Camps Brochure which details all of the camp information.
In our last issue of Bulletin IWA called on members and supporters to back our campaign to have the Environment Agency’s 500 or so miles of inland navigations across England and Wales transferred to Canal & River Trust.
And support the campaign you have. Members from all over the country have been writing to their MPs to ask them to raise the matter with the Waterway Minister. So far over 50 letters have been written to 44 different MPs (and those are just the ones we know about).
If you do plan on writing to your MP about this, there is lots of useful information to be found on the website and don’t forget to copy your letter to us (email firstname.lastname@example.org) so that we know how many MPs have been contacted.
We hear the message is getting through. Your support is working and the campaign can only benefit from more letters being written.
IWA’s Waterways Restoration Raffle is creeping ever closer to £12,000 with just under 2 weeks left to go. Entries are coming in thick and fast but there is still time to buy more tickets before the closing date of 31st December. IWA is donating the profits from the raffle to waterways restoration causes across the country and this year each restoration society must receive at least 25 nominations to be eligible to receive a portion of the pot of money. Raffle ticket purchasers choose which project or society to support and the more nominations the project or society receives, the more money they will get.
Currently 21 societies are set to benefit from the profits of the charity along with the WRG Van Appeal which is currently in the lead as the main beneficiary. The current leading society is the Friends of the Cromford Canal with the Shropshire Union Canal Society and Shrewsbury & Newport Canals Trust coming in second and third. Behind them are several close rivals so it can all change over the next week or so.
There are 10 great prizes to be won:
First prize, donated by The Wyvern Shipping Company, is a one week boating holiday on a six berth narrowboat during June, September or October 2016 worth up to £1,500.
Second prize, donated by Andersen Boats, is a three night (Friday-Monday) or four night (Monday-Friday) boating holiday on a four berth boat worth up to £700.
Third prize, donated by Canal Cruising Company, is a weekend boating holiday for four people worth £590.
Other prizes to be won include: a two-night boating break donated by Cambrian Cruisers, a weekend boating holiday donated by Calcutt Boats, a day boat hire holiday donated by ABC Leisure, a pair of Crick Festival Weekend Tickets donated by Waterways World Magazine, £100 of vouchers for Midland Chandlers, a 12-month Canal Boat Magazine subscription and a copy of each of their books, a hand painted, and a decorative jug donated by The Stone Boat Building Company.
The raffle will be drawn on 31st December so you only have a couple of weeks left to buy your tickets and be in with a chance of winning whilst also supporting your choice of waterways causes.
Tickets are available now and cost £2 each, in books of 5 tickets. If you wish to buy a bookyou can do so online at www.waterways.org.uk/raffle or by calling 01494 783453 ext. 610
The raffle will be drawn on 31st December 2015 at IWA’s Head Office in Chesham so we will need to receive your ticket stubs by this date.
For more information on raffle prizes, restoration projects and the terms and conditions see www.waterways.org.uk/raffle or email raffle organiser Emma Matthars at email@example.com or call her on 01494 783453 ext. 610
IWA and WRG are planning to run some residential family volunteering holidays in 2016. The current plan is to run three trial weekends using a variety of accommodation and on different waterways. We’ll be looking to find out what volunteers want to achieve from involving their family, what activities and work would suit children’s age ranges and how the accommodation will work best for all.
In order to help us plan and organise the perfect family volunteering holiday we are asking IWA members and WRG volunteers to fill out a short questionnaire.
Your feedback is very important to us so please take 5 minutes to complete the survey.
If you would like to find out more or discuss family volunteering please contact Emma Matthars or Alex Melson on 01494-783453 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
IWA Festival of Water is to be held in Pelsall, near Walsall, over the Bank Holiday weekend in August 2016. Pelsall is where the Wyrley & Essington Canal is joined by the Cannock Extension Canal. The Festival site is lucky to have a pub and small shops nearby for all your essential items
so once you are there, you will have everything you need on hand.
The Spring issue of Waterways magazine (IWA's magazine for members) will include a focus on the northern BCN to help you out with moorings choices and other important information as you travel to the Festival site. So why not get your Summer boating or holiday plans underway by booking your campsite pitch or boat mooring now.
Why not have a go at our Festive Quiz and be in with a chance of winning one of 15 Dairy Diaries 2016. They are beautiful A5 diaries containing lots of useful diary style content plus several of the famous Dairy Diary recipes and an article about the waterways too. Sharpen your wits and give our Festive Quiz a whirl.
The Cotswold Canals Trust has applied to the Heritage Lottery Fund to raise the necessary finance to connect the Cotswold Canal system to the national navigable waterways system via the Gloucester & Sharpness Canal using the Stroudwater Navigation. As a result of this, Stonehouse and Stroud will be canal towns once more. This ambitious project will also include conserving and digitising the archives of the Stroud Navigation. As well as returning this historical waterway back to navigation, the landscape and biodiversity of the area will be greatly enhanced for local communities.
The Cotswold Canals Trust has the support of nearly 8,000 members and will be working in partnership with seven partners, The Inland Waterways Association, the Stroud Valleys Canal Company, Canal & River Trust, Gloucestershire County Council, Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust, Stroud District Council and Stroudwater Navigation Archives Charity.
The Stroudwater Navigation is an early example of a canal built by local businessmen, mostly in the wool trade, who worked together to raise the capital to build the canal. The waterway opened in 1779, providing coal to the Stroud Valleys mills as they converted from water to steam power. It was built for trows, sailing barges whose stepped masts can pass under low bridges. The Stroud navigation is the western end of the Cotswold Canals, linking the Rivers Thames and Severn. The 4 miles of this project will join 6 miles of canal recently restored so it will connect the whole length to the national waterways network for the first time since 1954.
A new bridge has been erected over the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal. One of the largest cranes in the country has been on site at Falling Sands, just south of Kidderminster, to lift several shallow, curved sections, with pathways each side, into place. The bridge spans the canal and the River Stour with the towpath in the middle.
The crane is capable of lifting 350 tons, its hook weighs 11 tons by itself. Twenty lorries were required to bring all of the crane and its equipment to the site. The bridge will enable the new link road to pass from Worcester Road to Stourport Road.
Photo: Gas Street Mooring
The Lapal Canal Trust (LCT) was very pleased to receive a request from Nick Cleaver, Canal & River Trust Community Engagement Coordinator for Birmingham for help in getting local people more involved with the canals. Lapal Canal Trust members have canal boats based around Birmingham so the Trust was only too pleased to arrange a boat trip. Both organisations are keen to encourage interest in canals and so a trip was arranged from Gas Street to Edgbaston and then around the Icknield Port Loop. The weather was far from perfect, but a nice cosy fire and cups of tea kept everyone warm.
The group was arranged by Legacy WM, a Birmingham charity which works to, amongst other things, engage and improve the health and well-being of local communities. The women were from Birmingham’s Bangladeshi and Pakistani community and had never been on a canal boat.
Musurut Dar, one of the organisers from Legacy WM commented “This is our very first experience of a trip on Birmingham canals. Whilst minority communities live in the inner-city, we are often not aware that behind our inner-city streets lies some beautiful canals, rich in history and wildlife. Making the canals accessible to all is so vital in creating a sense of joint heritage, ownership and responsibility. Despite the weather, there was something quite majestic, serene and inspiring about the experience we have had today, which we wish to share with others. We welcome further activities which seek to engage and involve inner city communities in the canals and are grateful to LCT and CRT for supporting community involvement”.
Once on board Nick gave a brief history of Birmingham Canals and explained how groups could get involved in volunteering with Canal & River Trust and a little about CRT’s Canal adoption scheme. Hugh gave a presentation on the Lapal Canal restoration. Some of the ladies tried their hand at steering a narrowboat for the very first time. As a thank you the ladies had a collection and the gift will be a contribution to the Lapal Canal Post and Rail fund for the work currently being done in Harborne Wharf in Selly Oak.
Following a large consultation event with interested parties, the Wendover Arm Trust has submitted a Stage One application to the Heritage Lottery Fund to enable it to complete Phase Two of its restoration project. Phase One from the Grand Union Canal to Little Tring was completed in 2004 which allows boats to navigate the first 1.5 miles of the waterway.
While many canal projects may not have a supply of water, this is not the case with the Wendover Arm. A plentiful source rises from Wellhead Springs in Wendover and is currently fed to the summit of the Grand Union Canal using a pipe under the canal bed. It wasn’t possible to use the canal to transport the water as it leaked so badly so it was closed in 1904. The Arm winds its way along the 390ft contour around the Chiltern Hills before joining the Grand Union Canal at Bulbourne Junction.
If the Heritage Lottery Bid is successful it will improve the towpath for walkers, cyclists and anglers along the whole 6.75 miles of the Arm and restore another 1.75 miles of navigation. The full length of the canal will then be in water although the final stretch to Wendover is currently too shallow for boating.
Members of the Association of Pleasure Craft Operators (APCO) agreed to change its name to British Marine Inland Boating (BMIB) at their recent Annual General Meeting, held in York beside the River Ouse on 27 November 2015.
The trade organisation remains independently governed whilst also a Group Association within British Marine (BM). In fact, many of the members are also IWA Corporate members. As part of the name change the members agreed to adopt their own version of the new BM branding, reflecting Britain’s flagship reputation for quality and innovation.
BMIB Chair Ann Davies said:
“Our association has represented and served its member companies in the inland waterway marine and tourism industries – and their customers - under the name of APCO for 62 years.
The change of name not only means that we will continue to do this but is a major step forward in promoting our work and members on a wider basis, to the benefit of all inland waterway users.
We will continue to set professional standards, enable passenger navigation and safeguard the waterways, whilst working closely with other organisations within the British Marine family to take advantage of its services and the influence that an international organisation can bring to bear.”
Canal & River Trust is looking for up to four new trustees to join its non-executive Board. The Board of Trustees is the key body responsible for the governance of the Trust and is responsible for setting the charity’s strategic direction.
CRT is looking for applicants with experience in operations and infrastructure management, charitable trusts, the heritage sector, people management, community and government relations.
Once appointed, the new Trustees will serve a term of up to three years with the potential of being re-appointed to serve a second term. Successful candidates will need to devote two to three days a month to this voluntary role. Travel and other expenses will be fully reimbursed.
For further details please contact Saxton Bampfylde Ltd on 0207 227 0890 during office hours. The deadline for applications is noon on Wednesday 6 January 2016.
Twenty six canoeists braved atrocious weather to take part in the first Santa Splash family canoe paddle along the Leeds & Liverpool Canal on Saturday 12th December – marking the end of the first year of the new Desmond Family Coast to Coast Canoe Trail project.
The project is a five year programme to create a coast to coast canoe trail across the Pennines. The trail follows a 150 mile route starting in Liverpool, along 127 miles of Britain’s longest canal, the Leeds & Liverpool, linking into the Aire & Calder Navigation in Yorkshire and finally reaching the east coast at Goole.
Coast to Coast project manager Greg Brookes said: “Sadly the weather conditions today have been very challenging. However I want to say a big thank you to everyone who donned Santa hats and attached reindeers and Christmas trees to their canoes in a tremendous effort to bring some festive cheer to the waterway.”
The first Santa Splash took place over a two mile course between the start of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal in the heart of the Eldonian Village, Liverpool, and the project’s hub at the SAFE Regeneration centre in Bootle.
For more details of the Desmond Family Coast to Coast Canoe Trail and how to get involved click here.
This section contains volunteer reports from IWA branches and IWA's Waterway Recovery Group. 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.
Despite it being a very gloomy, wet and cold day on 28th November, volunteers in Chester carried out a litter pick from Northgate locks to Cow Lane Bridge – well done everyone! There was also some great work carried out on 1st December in the Liverpool area where weeds and litter were cleared from the towpath which links Eldonian Village to Stanley Locks. The next work party at Eldonian Village will be on Tuesday 12th January.
The first Nottingham Canal Festival took place on Saturday 10th October with the aim of raising the profile of Nottingham’s waterways across the local population. It was organised by the Canal and River Trust in the East Midlands and supported by IWA’s Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire branch.
With an attendance of 3500 people, a trip boat donated for the day by Gunthorpe Leisure Boats and a sales/exhibition stand £530 was raised. As well as raising money the event reached many in the community who knew little about waterways and the work of IWA.
The Camp Leader was local Bob Crow and accommodation was at the Haybay barge at Heybridge Basin, a favourite with volunteers. The work was at Springfield Basin in Chelmsford to clear an overgrown towpath in an area for future redevelopment. Work included cutting vegetation, removing shrubs and levelling the towpath to allow improved access for future maintenance. At the end of the week access was provided for contractors to fell mature willows for cricket bat manufacture. The EWL DREDGER, wood chipper and Avant dozer were used to assist the work. Local boaters stepped in to assist with the removal of logs.
Lichfield Canal restoration volunteers were given a few helping hands in November as they were joined by a group of workers from Walton Homes. As part of its Granting 30 Wishes campaign, which marks the Lichfield based company’s 30th birthday by supporting local causes, Walton Homes director Amy Summerton presented a cheque for £500 to Lichfield & Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust. As an extra bonus, five employees from the company joined the Trust’s regular midweek workforce on site for a day’s work extending the section’s concrete base. The plan is to restore a 7 mile stretch of abandoned canal and it is hoped to have a large section at the Tamworth Road site in water within a few months.
A midweek work party was held on 9th December on the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal in the southern part of Kidderminster. A variety of large objects were pulled out of the canal including bikes, tyres, trolleys and scaffolding. Several members of the public stopped to compliment the group's work and two offered to assist at future work parties.
IWA's Northampton Branch ran another successful work party on the 15th of December. Work took place on the Rothersthorpe flight located on the Northampton Arm of the Grand Union Canal. Tasks included clearing vegetation alongside the by-wash channels of locks 4 and 5 to ensure that debris doesn't hinder the flow of water, litter picking along the towpath and brush cutting.
This was the Essex WRG Christmas party weekend which was celebrated with a ‘Christmas dinner’ on the Haybay barge.
The morning before the party volunteers were met at Boreham Bridge by EWL with a RAIDER workboat. Overgrown vegetation was tackled along the towpath and overhanging trees removed from the Navigation using the workboat. The windy day did not deter a very hungry bonfire which devoured everything that was cut and offered.
On Sunday the group moved downstream towards Paper Mill Lock and cleared and burnt a large area of scrub that had established itself between the towpath and water edge.
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 following IWA region and branch magazines have been added to the website since the last edition of the Bulletin:
Chelmsford Branch - News from the Mill
West Riding Branch – Mile Post
Warwickshire Branch – Bear Essentials
South West Region – Sou’wester
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.
19th December Work Party - Uttoxeter Canal (Supported by IWA North Staffs & South Cheshire Branch)
23rd December Work Party - River Gipping (Supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
6th January Work Party - River Gipping (Supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
6th January Work Party - Peterborough (IWA Peterborough Branch)
9th January Work Party - River Gipping (Supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
10th January Work Party - Sleaford Navigation (Supported by IWA Lincolnshire Branch)
10th January Work Party - Northampton (IWA Northampton Branch)
12th January Work Party - Liverpool (IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch)
13th January Work Party - River Gipping (IWA Ipswich Branch)
13th January Work Party - Staffs & Worcester (IWA Birmingham Branch)
14th January Work Party - Uttoxeter (IWA North Staffs & South Cheshire Branch)
16th January Work Party - Greater Manchester (IWA Manchester Branch)
20th January Work Party - River Gipping (IWA Ipswich Branch)
21st January Work Party - Trent & Mersey Canal, Cheshire Locks (IWA North Staffs & South Cheshire Branch)
22nd January Work Party - Congleton (IWA North Staffs & South Cheshire Branch)
26th January Work Party - Northampton (IWA Northampton Branch)
27th January Work Party - River Gipping (IWA Ipswich Branch)
To advertise your restoration/cleanup events in the bulletin please add details to IWA's events calendar
20th December Waterside Walk - Regent’s Canal (IWA Towpath Walks Society)
27th December Waterside Walk - Regent’s Canal (IWA Towpath Walks Society)
1st January Waterside Walk - Alrewas, Wychnor & River Trent (IWA Lichfield Branch)
1st January Waterside Walk - Bridgwater & Taunton Canal (IWA West Country Branch)
1st January Waterside Walk - Regent's Canal (IWA Towpath Walks Society)
2nd January Waterside Walk - Wardle Canal (IWA Shrewsbury & North Wales Branch)
3rd January Waterside Walk - Regent's Canal (IWA Towpath Walks Society)
17th January 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:
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
Read Bulletin in an alternative newsletter format:
Take part in our Festive Quiz for a chance to win a 2016 Dairy Diary.