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Issue 412 - April 2007

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Chairman's Column

 
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April Meeting

I am delighted to welcome to our April meeting, Peter Boyce, who is already well known to many of our members. Peter will be talking to us about 'The Moving Meadow' (transporting a small part of Britain's countryside via the inland waterways) and renovation work on his narrow tug 'James Loader'.

Itchen Navigation

I mentioned in the last Newsletter that I had received the latest issue of the Itchen Navigation News. Further details of that publication are on page 2 of this Newsletter.

Skittles Evening

A very successful Society Skittles Evening was held on 9 March. Further details are given below.

Spring Boat Trip

I am pleased to report that the Society's boat trip on the Wey & Arun Canal on Saturday 21 April is now sold out. Sorry if you wanted to come but left it too late to book, but the "Zachariah Keppel" can only accommodate 30 passengers. However, it might be worth your while to give your names to Maureen Greenham in the event of last minute cancellations, which do sometimes occur. A report on this outing will be published in the May Newsletter.

If you haven't yet paid for your trip or booked your lunch at 'The Onslow Arms', please contact Maureen immediately. She can be contacted by telephone on 02380 406951 or by email on maureen.greenham@dsl.pipex.com.

Dennis Bright - A Page Three Guy!

I never thought we would see renowned local photographer, Dennis Bright, on page three of a national newspaper but........ As members are aware, Dennis makes regular visits to the Society with his superb photographic presentations on the local countryside and its wildlife. Those who attended his last talk in October will well remember his photograph of his 'pet' robin, Cheeky, balancing on Dennis's chin whilst taking a live mealworm from his mouth (ugh!!!). Well, Dennis has made it to the big time - that photograph appeared on page three of the 'Daily Mail' on 22 February and, apparently, was also published in the 'Daily Express'. That same photograph later appeared in the "Hampshire Chronicle". Congratulations Dennis!

Paul Herbert


Society Skittles Evening

 
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Eric Lewis and Alan Howarth get their prizes

On Friday 9 March a near capacity group of twenty seven Society members and guests participated in a really enjoyable evening of skittles at 'The Kings Head' in Hursley.

Organisers Rogan and Lynn Olding did a great job in arranging the event. The skittles proved to be very competitive and yet were played in a friendly and humorous atmosphere, with plenty of laughs. We were organised into teams of just two - ladies versus the men. Winners of the men's event with the highest overall score were Alan Howarth and Eric Lewis whilst the ladies' team of Angela Rose and Jan Potter came top in that event and also were the overall runners-up. The two teams were awarded with their (liquid) prizes.

Jan Potter and Angela Rose get their prizes

The food provided by 'The Kings Head' was excellent and plentiful with many people going back for second helpings.

This was an excellent evening, enjoyed by all. Many thanks to Rogan and Lynn for organising the event and I am hopeful they can be persuaded to repeat the venture sometime in the future.

Paul Herbert



March Meeting

Ron and Myra Glover continue their exploits on the rivers of Southern Germany

 
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Society members, Ron and Myra Glover, have been cruising the continent on their 42' Dutch steel cruiser, 'Elsa' for many years and it is always interesting to hear of their exploits. The current talk was their 6th to the Society.

On the previous occasion that Ron and Myra talked to us they showed us the top end of the River Rhine and the River Neckar. This time they recounted their subsequent visit to the River Main as far as the Main-Danube Canal and the River Lahn during 2004.

Having returned to the Rhine from the Neckar they continued downstream to the Main at Mainz. Here they ventured upstream to Frankfurt and Aschaffenburg via Wurzburg to the end of the river navigation at Bamburg, in the process passing through vast locks that take 3300 ton barges, some coming all the way from the Black Sea via the Main/Danube Canal.

On returning to the River Rhine they continued downstream, passing through the spectacular Rhine Gorge before turning into the much smaller and no longer commercial River Lahn.

The Lahn, although no longer used by large barges, is well frequented by leisure cruisers, trip boats and many canoes that are hired from Bad Ems, a popular spa town. Ron and Myra appreciated the smaller scale of this river and explored the rustic towns and villages on route.

The Glovers left us with 'Elsa' safely moored for the winter in a friendly marina at Bad Ems, recounting that the river basin was heated by a hot spring and therefore would not freeze over during the winter months.

They concluded by showing us a map that covered the following year's cruise area which included visits to Berlin, the Mecklenburg Lakes and the Polish Border. We can look forward to that presentation sometime next year.

For those of us more used to cruising the small canals of the UK, Ron and Myra's travels on the broad waterways of mainland Europe are always eye-openers. Whether it is the large scale of those rivers and canals, many of which are main commercial routes, the size of the other craft, the spectacular scenery and the charming towns and villages through which they pass, Ron and Myra give us the real flavour of their cruises. Many thanks to you both (and particularly for your valuable assistance with this write-up!).

Paul Herbert


Itchen Navigation Project - Update

 
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As members will be aware from previous articles in our Newsletter, this project is being led by the Hampshire and the Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust (the Trust) on behalf of the Environment Agency, Winchester City Council, Eastleigh Borough Council, Southampton City Council, Hampshire Country Council, English Nature and the Inland Waterways Association. The purpose of the project is to conserve and protect the navigation and its environs after many years of neglect and create a Heritage Trail along the Itchen Navigation to celebrate its wildlife, history and value to local people. The project publishes a regular newsletter, 'Itchen Navigation News' and the contents of this article are based upon its most recent issue published in January.

An application to the Heritage Lottery Fund for £1.6million successfully passed Stage 1 of the process. That money, which has been allocated by the HLF to the project, will be released upon successful completion of development work to draw up a detailed design of the river bank works that will be carried out on the navigation. A decision on whether the project can move on towards Stage 2 will be made in December, with implementation hopefully beginning in 2008.

The key areas of work will be:

Wildlife surveys have been completed. Species surveys, carried out on the Itchen Navigation by volunteers over last summer, have been written up and have all shown exciting data on rare species and their distribution. The surveys will be used by the engineers who will be carrying out the improvement works, to show where habitats can be improved and mitigation needs to be considered. Of particular note - water voles were present on 41% of the navigation, mainly between Shawford and Allbrook. Other promising news from the survey was the presence of otters and the apparent absence of American mink.

As part of the programme of improvements along the navigation, the Trust has commissioned the engineering company, Atkins, and the bio-engineering company, Saliz, to undertake detailed design works for bank protection along the navigation. The project will be detailing designs to address the issues of bank erosion using innovative bank engineering techniques which will have additional benefits for river habitats and improve the scenic beauty of the navigation.

Due to the number of protected species which live in, or around, the navigation, such as otters, water voles, bats, breeding birds and important in-channel plants, many time constraints are imposed on when work can be carried out. Because of this it is anticipated that the improvements will be undertaken over a number of years.

Itchen Navigation News also carried an interesting article about the last known owner of the navigation, William Whitear Bulpett. The information for the article was researched and written by Joanna Bulpett, William's great great great niece. The article deals with how William became owner of the navigation. He was 92 when he died in 1899 and he was thought to have left the mortgage of the Itchen Navigation to his nephew, Charles William Lloyd Bulpett. Charles died in 1939 in Kenya. As far as can be ascertained, Charles was the sole recipient of William Bulpett's estate. Charles's will has never been found. He does not appear to have submitted a will in the UK and so far the Kenyan authorities have not managed to track a copy of a will in that country. At this time the mortgage to the Itchen Navigation is still missing - so it is still uncertain who does own the navigation.

Paul Herbert

(If you would like to learn more about the Itchen Navigation Project, or be kept up to date, visit the Trust's website at: www.hwt.org.uk/itchen where you can also be added to the mailing list for future issues of its Newsletter).


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