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Issue 379 - February 2004

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Chairman's Column

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E-mail Contact

Further to the item in last month's Newsletter, I am pleased to advise that my computer is up and running again and I am now able to use my e-mail facilities. It appears that I have lost all incoming e-mails between 7 and 27 December so, if you sent me an e-mail during that period, would you please mind re-sending it. Thanks.

Skittles Evening

Following the success of the two Society Skittles Evenings held during 2003 I am delighted that Angela Faull has organised a further event on Friday 12 March. Full details are included in this Newsletter. The previous two evenings were sell-outs so to avoid missing out, please contact Angela without delay to book your place.

IWA Salisbury Group

As we heard from Myra Glover at our last meeting, after many years happy association with Salisbury Rugby Club, the Salisbury Group of the IWA Avon & Wilts Branch has had to move to a new venue for its bi-monthly meetings. The Group now meets at 'The Three Crowns' at Whaddon, near Alderbury, just off the A36 to Salisbury (see map inside). All meetings start at 7.30pm and each person attending is asked to pay 50p (which is passed to the Landlord). Attendees should also take along a raffle prize. Details of the Group's very interesting programme are included in the Waterways Diary in this Newsletter. For further information please contact Jon Van de Geer (01722 412841) or Ron and Myra Glover (01722 710322 - e-mail: ronmyra.glover@virgin.net).

National Association of Boat Owners

In my May 2002 Chairman's Column I advised members that I had been appointed to the position of Southern Regional Secretary, and therefore a Council Member, with NABO (National Association of Boat Owners). From the outset I had let it be known within NABO Council that I would undertake those duties for a year or so and then review the situation.. This I did last summer and because the various duties of the post were taking far more of my time and involving more travelling than I originally envisaged, and potentially impacting on our future cruising plans, I retired from Council at November's AGM. My decision in no way reflects a change of view of the importance of NABO and the valuable work it undertakes on behalf of individual boat owners and I will be remaining in membership and assisting the organisation where possible.

Paul Herbert


Water Supplies

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The majority of British Waterways' reservoirs started full in 2003 and, despite the long hot dry summer, there were no restrictions owing to water supplies on the majority of BW's waterways throughout the year. The favourable situation, compared with the previous recent similar drought period in 1995, was due to BW's improvements in water management, particularly better information and back-pumping arrangements.

Rainfall in December and early January has been slightly above average, and most reservoirs are now filing up well and are likely to be full by Easter. The main exceptions to this are:

As well as from Rudyard Reservoir, water for the Trent & Mersey summit (via the Caldon Canal) also feeds down the Macclesfield Canal with water from the two Macclesfield reservoirs, Sutton and Bosley, and also from the upper Peak Forest Canal reservoirs, Combs and Toddbrook, though some of that goes down the Marple flight towards Manchester. During previous water shortages when Rudyard Lake got too low to be much use, supplies from the Macclesfield Canal played an important role in keeping the Trent & Mersey Canal open. In mid-January, Toddbrook, Coombs and Sutton reservoirs were at 100%, 77% and 90% capacity, and Bosley was at 66% capacity. Knypersley and Stanley reservoirs, which also feed into the Caldon Canal, were both near full in mid-January.

Many WRG volunteers and others local to the area will remember the substantial weekend voluntary operation in October 1996, which dug out the river Dane feeder supply to Rudyard at Rushton Spencer. That work was to complement British Waterways' work on clearing the feeder elsewhere in response to the dry spell in the mid 1990s. The feeder is again silting up, and would benefit from being cleared once more.

Rudyard Lake relies on the winter filling by floodwater from the river Dane, as input from the side-streams is only modest. The arrangement for this to happen is, however, not straightforward as it relies upon water being diverted that would otherwise flow down the river Dane, and this is subject to an agreement with the Environment Agency.

IWA Head Office Bulletin - February 2004


January Meeting

Members' Slides, Prints and Photo Competition Evening

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As usual, our annual Members' Photographic Evening was a very successful event, attracting a large attendance. We were entertained with a wide variety of topics with photographs or slides exhibited by members: Frank Stokes, Laurie Pearce, Michael Pomeroy, Eric Lewis, Sue Lewis and Andy Berncastle.

Subjects covered included Bugsworth Basin; the Shackerstone Rally on the Ashby Canal; the Falkirk Wheel (shown by two members); the former Cowes Railway Station; the Canal Society Stand doing the rounds of events; Brentford Lock; the Kennet & Avon Canal; Braunston in the 'LadyLine' days; the Huddersfield Narrow Canal (also shown by two members) and Standedge Tunnel; the Anderton Lift; Scottish views including the Fort Augustus Locks and a remarkable railway viaduct; 'Last of the Summer Wine' country and Nora Batty's cottage in Holmfirth; the Titchfield Canal; more shots of the Anderton Lift and of the River Weaver; Chester's Northgate staircase locks and Ellesmere Port Basins.

In addition, founder member Laurie Pearce included a number of humorous shots and reminded us that many years ago there was a special competition category for such.

We then came to the annual competition, which this year attracted seven entries. The clear winner was Laurie Pearce with an evocative shot of Burghfield Bridge on the Kennet & Avon Canal. Laurie will be awarded his prize at the February meeting.

Many thanks to all those members who took part in another very entertaining evening. Thanks also to Eric Lewis for operating the projectors throughout the evening.

Paul Herbert


IWA Salisbury Group Meetings

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A map of the new location for the IWA Salisbury Group meetings is given below. For information about their meetings see Waterways Diary.

Map showing the Three Crowns in relation to old venue

Skittles Evening

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SKITTLES EVENING

THE KINGS HEAD, HURSLEY.

FRIDAY MARCH 12TH. 7.30PM.

Clipart of skittles

£7.50 PER HEAD INCLUSIVE OF BUFFET

Commence playing at approx 7.45pm

Food at 8.45 - 9.15pm

Finish at 10pm approx.


Somersetshire Coal Canal

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Avon Industrial Buildings Trust, Bath & North East Somerset Council and the Somersetshire Coal Canal Society have jointly produced a consultation Conservation and Access Strategy to cover the future management and conservation of the Somersetshire Coal Canal. Following public consultation, the Strategy is due to be used to raise funds for a range of projects, including access improvements, the restoration of selected structures and interpretation of the canal's history and features.

The Somersetshire Coal Canal was constructed between 1795 and 1801 to link the North Somerset coalfields with the Kennet and Avon Canal. The main branch followed the Cam valley from north of Paulton to the Dundas Aqueduct and served the coalfields around Paulton, Timsbury, Camerton and Dunkerton. This continued in use until 1898 and was formally abandoned in 1904. A second branch, which was never completed, was planned to run from the main branch at Midford to Radstock. A tramway was built instead and in 1872 replaced by the Somerset and Dorset Railway, which ran until 1966.

The main branch of the canal was replaced by a railway, which ran from Limpley Stoke to Camerton until 1951. However, many waterway structures still remain. In its heyday, the canal was one of the most successful canals in the country, carrying coal from the Somerset coalfield to Bath, Bristol and further afield.

The canal has become an important linear feature for wildlife and recreation within the beautiful Cam and Wellow Brook valleys, linking community spaces, wooded gorges and rural canal side habitats. The draft Strategy sets out a co-ordinated approach to the conservation and management of the remains of the Coal Canal. Many ideas contained in the Strategy have come from a photographic project, funded by the Local Heritage Initiative.

The photographic project provided the opportunity for local people to record the remains of the Somersetshire Coal Canal and highlight its importance and value. The project demonstrated that local people want the remains of the canal and its surrounding environment to be protected and conserved for future generations. Issues and ideas raised during the photographic project have informed the Strategy for the canal.

The draft Somersetshire Coal Canal Conservation and Access Strategy is available for consultation until 19th March 2004. Copies can be viewed locally and online from 1st February 2004 at: www.bathnes.gov.uk/planningservices/environmentgroup

IWA Head Office Bulletin - February 2004


Simple Stowage

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Here's another piece from one of our trusty members at Napton, Warwickshire. In fact, I must apologise to Ken Froud for the late inclusion. He sent me the article at the New Year (twelve months ago)! Bet you thought I'd forgotten it didn't you, Ken? You were right.

Diagram of tiller bar and pin

Simple Stowage for tiller bar and pin

A block of wood drilled to fit a dowel of hardwood and screwed to a convenient place on the floor will provide a safe haven for the bar. Drill the wooden handle and the pin will push inside safely. I must admit that my stowage is welded steel with a rubber washer to prevent damage to the brass bar.

Ken Froud 30-12-02



Wey & Arun Canal

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The Wey & Arun Canal Trust has opened a permissive footpath beside the restored section of canal from Drungewick Lane Canal Bridge, 1.75 miles east of Loxwood, to Drungewick Lock and the adjacent Long Meadow Winding Hole. The Trust occupies this land under a 99-year lease.

IWA Head Office Bulletin - February 2004


Local Honour

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The New Year's Honours List brought welcome recognition for a number of people with inland waterway connections. Of local note, one of the longest-serving waterway society chairmen, who recently retired, was recognised with an MBE: John Cooper of Chichester Ship Canal Trust (formerly Chichester Canal Society). John saw the transformation of the Chichester Canal restoration from a small band of volunteers to one of the leading organisations in Chichester with over 1,000 members, a substantial programme of activity on the water and major works being undertaken on the canal.

IWA Head Office Bulletin - February 2004


Obituary

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We are very saddened to report that former IWA Council member Mike West died in hospital on 23rd January, following a short illness.

At its January meeting, IWA's Council had conferred honorary life membership of the Association on Mike and Marian West. Mike retired from the Associa-tion's Council at the AGM held in September 2003, having been a member of it for 26 years. On hearing of his honorary life membership, Mike commented on the honour and how much pleasure it brought him.

He first joined in 1977, when he was elevated from secretary to chairman of (the then very much larger than it is today) South East Region. During his long term of office, Mike has held a variety of senior positions, including being a national vice-chairman and national treasurer.

In its proposal to confer honorary life membership on Mike and Marian, which was made before the extent of his recent illness was clear, Council was aware that Marian had provided tremendous support for Mike throughout his period on Council, taking on considerable workloads herself, especially for IWA Sales, including handling IWA's Christmas card mail order operation from their home for two years.

IWA Head Office Bulletin - February 2004


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