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Issue 339 - March 2000

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WHY RESTORE CANALS? BUILD NEW!

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Over the years there have been many suggestions for restoring derelict waterways. However, in the last year have been one or two ideas for building new canals such as the following:

At its recent Annual General Meeting, Macclesfield Canal Society agreed to pursue investigations into the construction of a navigable link between the Macclesfield and Caldon Canals as one of its future objectives. The Caldon Canal Society is understood to support the idea and has even suggested restoration of the Uttoxeter Canal and a new link from Uttoxeter to Burton-on-Trent!
 

Leek Tunnel

Leek Tunnel on the Caldon Canal
 

The possibility of a link from Bosley to Leek has been raised a number of times before, mostly recently by Ian Selby, of BW's North West Region Office, at IWA's National Conference for Waterway Societies in November. The first suggestion for such a link is almost 200 years old, with a route being planned in 1811. More recently, the route was re-considered in the 1970s when the closure of Harecastle Tunnel was considered as an alternative to the expensive repairs that eventually took place.

Within the last few years, the route was again under review as a possible solution to long running water shortages on the Caldon Canal. Clearance of the feeder streams to Rudyard Lake appear to have solved the immediate water problems on the Caldon Canal, but the new link could provide an additional source of water for the future.

The Macclesfield Canal at the top of Bosley Locks, at 518 foot above sea level, is 34 feet higher than the Leek Branch of the Caldon Canal, at 484 foot above sea level. 4 or 5 new locks would probably be required over the likely 11-mile route of a new canal, using existing feeder streams of which 9 miles are already under BW management for existing water supply purposes.

The likely route of such a new canal, would be along the line of the feeder from the top of Bosley Locks to Bosley village, then along Shell Brook feeder, across the River Dane on a new aqueduct, along the Dane feeder to Rudyard Lake and then along the existing supply line to Leek.

IWA Head Office Bulletin Feb 2000


Ribble Link

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Talking of new waterways, we must not forget the Ribble Link which will join the Lancaster Canal to the main system. Almost everything is in place - the land, Environmental Agency consent, planning permission and the contractor - all that is now required, is clarification of who is responsible for carrying the risk, should any problems be encountered, and then it's all systems go. The main contractor, Gleesons, are ready to sign a contract and are planning on starting all the main works from April and carry on throughout the summer. All the main items are to be completed by the end of September 2000 with landscaping etc. running on to the end of the year and possibly into Spring 2001. British Waterways will operate the link, once completed and open to boats in mid-2001.


February Meeting

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Our February meeting was in contrast to the subjects generally presented at SCS, we deserted narrow canals for voyages on wide oceans with the Jubilee Sailing Trust.

The Trust was established in 1978 and enables physically handicapped persons to go to sea as members of the crew of a sailing ship.

Our speaker, Pam Taylor, showed slides of the conditions on the steel, three-masted barque 'Lord Nelson'. The crew of around fifty sailors is made up of ten professional sailors, twenty able-bodied and twenty handicapped, eight of whom can be in wheelchairs.

Drawing of STS Lord Nelson

All are expected to help as much as they are able to do and all take turns with most of the tasks. The ship can be steered by foot, hand or even by mouth and the blind can also take part since the compass talks.

Pam also showed slides of the building of 'Tenacious' the new wooden ship that has, to a great extent, been constructed using volunteer labour. It is the largest wooden ship to be constructed in the century (1900s) and, by coincidence, was, on the day of our February meeting, brought out of its shed on a barge, to be floated off the barge on the next morning's tide in Southampton Docks.

In June, 'Tenacious' will join 'Lord Nelson' on the high seas, doubling the number of berths available to the handicapped and their accompanying adventure sailors.

After tea, Pam showed some examples of the materials used in the construction of 'Tenacious' and answered many questions from Society members.

Anyone wishing to know more about the Jubilee Sailing Trust, either as a sailor or supporter, should telephone 023 8044 9138 or visit the web site at www.jst.org.uk

Brian Evans


Members' Slides and Prints Evening

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The April meeting will be our annual Members' Slides Evening. For the first time ever, as mentioned in last month's newsletter, members will now be able to bring along photographic prints and have those projected onto the screen as well.

This evening will give everyone the opportunity to show some pictures even those who feel they might not have enough of interest to make up a whole evening's show. If you can put together about 10 to 15 pictures that you feel will entertain / educate / amuse your fellow members, look them out this evening.

By April, we will have the facility to project prints (up to 7" x 5") onto the screen as well as transparencies. So if you don't take slides, you too will be able to show something of waterways interest as well.

Not only will the innovation of showing prints be available but the evening will also incorporate a photographic competition. To be held towards the end of the evening, this competition will open to all members - you don't have to be showing slides / prints earlier in the evening. What we're looking for is one picture which can be anything to do (even loosely) with the waterways. It might be scenic, humorous, anything. The competition will be judged by all those present at the meeting.

And as an incentive to enter, there will be a book given to the winner as a prize. The book is "Victorian and Edwardian Canals from old photographs" by D D Gladwin. This book contains some 168 photographs dating from before the First World War and is, we think, out of print. We are grateful to Mike Pomeroy for donating this book to the Society.

So don't be shy, this is YOUR opportunity to show others your interest in waterways or where you went and what you saw on holiday. The world (or rather the Society) is your oyster.


WATERWAYS QUIZ

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A few more questions to test your knowledge. Again, there's no prizes but the answers will be published next month.

  1. What is the name of the lock on the Thames immediately upstream of Henley?
  2. Punts in Cambridge were pulled upstream by horses. What was unusual about the towpath?
  3. How many locks are there at Foxton?
  4. When was the Anderton Lift opened?
  5. What did GUCCC stand for?
  6. In which city are Northgate staircase locks?
  7. Who was the French Transport Minister who set standards for French canals?
  8. What was unusual about the method of pumping water to the summit of the Wey & Arun Canal?
  9. How many locks in the Audlem flight on the Shropshire Union Canal?
  10. Where is the world's widest, deepest canal?

Last month's Quiz answers

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  1. High tide at Teddington is 1 hour 5 minutes after high tide at London Bridge
  2. The River Wey Navigation was opened to Guildford in 1653
  3. The book 'Narrow Boat' was written by LTC Rolt.
  4. A car park occupies Newbury's former wharves.
  5. The Hay inclined plane is in Shropshire.
  6. The first 'Bradshaws' guide to the waterways was written by Henry Rodolph de Salis.
  7. The shallowest lock on the Oxford Canal is at Hawkesbury with a fall of 6 inches.
  8. The step in a traditional back cabin also serves as a coal box.
  9. Saltaire is on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal.
  10. The Gota Canal was engineered by Thomas Telford.

REVIEW - WATERWAYS WORLD ANNUAL 2000

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The Society has received a review copy of The Waterways World Annual 2000. This is a 112-page reference work in magazine form aimed at all those interested in our inland waterways. Some of the features are little more than lists but they do include full and up-to-date contact details on

There is a competition to win a week's free holiday afloat. Also included free with the Annual is a fold-out route planner map of the waterways with all the hire bases marked, and a completely up-dated version (the fifth edition) of Canalmanac, the essential contact list for the inland waterways, listing names, addresses, e-mail and web site details for BW and other navigation authorities, IWA (including regions and branches), canal societies, museums, visitor centres, theatre groups and other waterways organisations.

Although 42 out of the 112 pages are adverts, the annual does bring together a mass of information in an easily accessible form. Personally, I find the Canalmanac an essential item. At £3.50 the package offers good value especially when you consider the effort required to bring together the information. The annual is available from newsagents and boatyards (probably not in this area), or can be obtained by post (add £1.50 p&p) from Waterways World, The Well House, High Street, Burton-on-Trent DE14 1JQ (Tel: 01283 742970; Fax 01283 742957; e-mail: ww@wellhouse.easynet.co.uk).

Peter Oates


INLAND WATERWAYS FESTIVAL 2000

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Some of the biggest names in the UK's inland waterways industry are to take part in this new festival run by the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham, promising a successful launch to the country's only dedicated exhibition for the sector.

Scheduled for July 28 - 30 at Birmingham's prestigious National Indoor Arena, the Festival is sponsored by leading boating magazine Waterways World and supported by British Waterways and Centre Exhibitions, part of the NEC Group.

Eddie Milton, Exhibition Manager, added: "The emphasis is on an exhibition with a festival atmosphere. We have a superb location at the NIA, which lies at the heart of the country's 2,000-mile canal network, to back our aim of bringing together the best in commercial and leisure activities on the waterways in an event that will give active encouragement to the development of the waterways in the future."

There will also be a whole range of events and displays representing the leisure side of the industry, including workshops and seminars on boat handling, maintenance, advice clinics and boat handling competitions plus help on how to get started in boating and the chance for first-timers to try out a boat for themselves.

The National Indoor Arena lies at the junction of the Birmingham Canal Network's Main Line and the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal, close to the historic Gas Street Basin and the Worcester and Birmingham Canal. There will be space on the water for visitor boats as well as floating exhibits.

There is also parking for almost 4,000 cars and the arena is only a few minutes' walk from Birmingham New Street Station to complete the easy access routes, whether by boat, car or train.


Bits and Pieces

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Many thanks from the Society to those members who have recently donated raffle prizes.

Following the talk in November on the Chesterfield Canal, members may like to know that the first boat recently passed through the rebuilt Haggonsfield Bridge in January. Removing this blockage extends navigation 1½ miles to Cinderhill Lock. When local stoppages finish early in March, boats can cruise to Shireoaks Marina and through the brand-new, shallow-rise Boundary Lock.

Don't forget to sort out some pictures to bring to the Members' Slides and Prints Evening next month. See page 2 for more details.

Restoration of the Huddersfield Narrow Canal is moving on at tremendous rate. Some of the pictures on the website http://penninewaterways.co.uk/ring.htm give a good impression of all the varied work in hand


Send your comments to the Web Site manager (Peter Oates)

© Southampton Canal Society 2000 - 2003. Except where otherwise indicated, information on these pages may be reproduced provided permission is obtained from the Web Site manager beforehand and due acknowledgement made to the Society.

Page created 19 May 2003 - layout changes 2 December 2003

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