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Issue 471 - April 2012

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Chairman's Column

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April Meeting

This evening we welcome Tony Shadick. Tony often accompanied us on our Society outings, taking photographs and joining in with our activities. Tonight we will see footage of SCS boat trips including our trip to the Thames by bus. Also railways, classic cars, air shows and the rebuild of the old Coast Guard boat.

Brian Evans will be on hand with more details as required.

Rob Unsworth is celebrating a birthday and is spoiling us by treating you all to nibbles, etc.

Tim Symington

I briefly announced at the March meeting that sadly Tim died at the end of February. He and his wife Jenny were also members of Salisbury IWA and we last saw Tim on the Salisbury quiz team in December.

Tim had a few health problems during the last year. He emailed some friends, including Paul Herbert, on the 31st January with a positive update on his health. Complications set in which led to his unexpected passing away aged just 61.

Such a shame, they had both retired and planned to go cruising in their new boat.

A number of our members attended his woodland funeral.

Our thoughts go to Jenny and family at this very sad time.

Chairman & Secretary AWOL

I must apologise for Angie's and for my absence at this meeting as we are taking our boat Purton to Droitwich, for the Easter HNBOC boat gathering. We hope by the time you read this we will be there.

Last weekend we worked the 29 locks up to the top of the Hatton flight. We were paired up with Peter Oates and Laura Sturrock on their boat Stanton, another Big Northwich.

May Meeting

A reminder that there is NO May meeting as the hall is commandeered for any possible elections.

Have a good evening tonight.

Alan Rose

Reservoir Watch in March

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Very limited rainfall was observed in February across much of southern and central England, with only 38% of long term average for the month experienced in Southern England.

The continued low rainfall has meant that river flows in many of the drought-affected areas are below those normally expected in the late summer and in some rivers late-winter flows were below the corresponding flows during the extreme drought of 1975/76. According to the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, groundwater recharge over the winter has been meagre across many of the major aquifer outcrop areas and February groundwater levels were close to the lowest on record over wide areas.

Reservoir holdings

In terms of reservoir holdings, most groups showed an increase (albeit very modest in some locations) during the month, but a small number of reservoir groups are still a cause for concern, being at levels well below normal for this time of year. The drought schemes being implemented by British Waterways in the affected areas, in an attempt to augment reservoir refill and reduce canal demands for water during the main 2012 boating season have progressed reasonably well to date. A number of reservoir refill schemes are well underway in the South East and Midlands, and reservoir holdings are increasing at an increased rate as a result of these measures.

Restrictions on lock use

British Waterways has made the decision to introduce restrictions to lock use at a number of locations. These include a series of overnight lock closures, restricted opening hours and an obligation on boaters to share locks where possible, to help eke out critical reservoir levels.

Currently, six areas have a 'critical' water situation:

The Northampton arm of the Grand Union (down to the River Nene) will also close from mid-April, opening only briefly on specific dates for boat festivals. This will protect the water supply on the more critical route from Buckby locks down as far as Milton Keynes. The Hillmorton and Calcutt locks drawing their water from the 'Braunston pound' will also see restrictions.

BW staff will consider other special openings at certain peak times, such as bank holidays, the Crick Boat Show or boaters attending the Olympics or the Diamond Jubilee Pageant.

Vince Moran, operations director, is urging boaters to go to other areas of the country: "Only a small proportion of the network will be affected so if boaters don't need to be in the South East then what better opportunity to explore another hidden corner of the nationwide canal system?"

The purpose of these restrictions is to ensure efficient use of water and conserve precious reservoir storage for later in the main boating season. and

Links to further information can be found at:

March Meeting

"Ellesmere Port and Liverpool 2011" with Peter Oates and Laura Sturrock

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The recently painted <i>Gifford</i>

Above: The newly painted Gifford paired with Thos Clayton motor boat Spey

Below: About eighteen historic boats moored in Salthouse Dock close to the centre of Liverpool

Photos copyright © Laura Sturrock

Peter began with the Easter 2011 historic boat gathering at Ellesmere Port which he and Laura attended in their Large Northwich Stanton. He showed pictures of some of the boats attending the event.

Peter described the traditional boatman's games, such as the tug of war featuring the tug Worcester with its 30hp 11 litre single cylinder Bolinder engine.

There were also excellent photographs of the butty Gifford just recently painted by Phil Speight and Mendip, Chocolate Charlie's boat, back in the water after a major rebuild in the Heritage Boatyard. There were also photos of the opepe timber being loaded aboard Lamprey to be taken to Brinklow to re-bottom Sculptor, the boat usually on display at the Stoke Bruerne Canal Museum.

The weather looked warm and sunny which added to the hustle and bustle around the Dock area.

The time moored here gave Peter and Laura time to prepare for their trip along the Manchester Ship Canal to Eastham en route to Liverpool across the tidal River Mersey.

Working boats in Salthouse Dock, Liverpool

With a start at around 5.30am some of the pictures were a bit blurry, but eight boats assembled ready to go to Eastham. Here the "big" lock, the largest canal lock in the country, dropped them around 20ft to the Mersey for the 4½mile trip across to Liverpool.

There were shots of the passage through Brunswick Lock into the Docks. Then we moved on through interesting views of various docks and finally into Salthouse Dock with the Liver Building as the backdrop for the "Spring on the Waterfront" festival. By 9.00am they were moored up after an exhilarating cruise. They were later joined by more boats.

The leaving of Liverpool involved cruising along the recently opened Liverpool Link. A 8.00am start led initially through the famous Albert Dock. Built in 1846 it is surrounded by brick and cast iron grade 1 listed warehouses, a world heritage site. Further along the Link we saw the 1902 Tobacco Warehouse, when built it was the largest brick building in the world with 27 million bricks. It has lain derelict for 30 years but recently a £30million grant towards restoration has been announced.

Peter and Laura's evening was very relaxed and enabled us to take in the atmosphere, in pictures, of their trip. Thank you both.

Angela Rose

Pulborough to Pallingham Cruise

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Wey & Arun Canal Trust logo

The aim of this cruise is to demonstrate each year that there is a right of navigation.

High water at Littlehampton on that day will be around 11.55am (5.7m) so HW at Pulborough will be approximately 15.30. A late morning launch at Pulborough (12.00 - 12.45) is planned. Boats will be launched from the Pulborough slipway with a view to getting up to Pallingham Quay, or canoes can travel from Stopham Bridge.

No fee, but donations towards costs on the day would be welcome. Any cheques to be payable to "The Wey & Arun Canal Trust".

The aim is to reach the point where the Wey & Arun reached the junction with the River Arun and then on to Pallingham Quay, the highest navigable point for boats on the Arun. If time permits, we will stop for a drink at the White Hart, Stopham Bridge but this depends on the amount of water flowing down the river.

The slipway is located on the A29 about 100 metres south of two small roundabouts in Pulborough. Travelling south it is on the left hand side of the road adjacent to a cafe (please keep this area clear for their customers). Trailers can be left adjacent to the slipway and cars may be parked either on the other side of the river or in the pay-and-display car park adjacent to Pulborough station. The slipway is very steep but boats up to around 14 feet long can be launched as everyone mucks in to help. The channel is quite variable in width so some of us will take bow saw and tree loppers. It is recommended that people wear wellingtons for launching and to disembark at Pallingham. The few hundred metres before Pallingham can be a challenge if there hasn't been much rain - the wellingtons often come in useful!

• Take your litter home

• Respect the countryside

Further information at

Please send this form to the address below to enter

Name ............................................................. Type of boat_______________________

Address .......................................................... Length of boat______________________

..................................................................... Name of boat (if any)_________________

..................................................................... Number on board____________________

Send form to the organiser: John F. H. Taylor-Cram, 7 Hart Plain Avenue, Cowplain, Waterlooville, Hants, PO8 8RP. Tel: 02392-250463 Email:

The History of the Canal and Associated Families

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Wilts & Berks Canal Trust logo

As part of the Canal Open Day at Dauntsey Lock on 15th April 2012 (see Waterways Diary), Jan Flanagan will be giving an illustrated talk on the above subject. Jan has undertaken a lot of research on the Wilts & Berks Canal and the genealogy of the families who worked and lived on it.

She will give 2 talks during the Day inside the Peterborough Arms at 11.30am and 3.00pm.

As seating will be limited, these will be ticket only events. Please book your tickets by e-mail: or by post to: Cuckoo Pen, Avonweir Lane, Christian Malford, Chippenham, SN15 4AY (an SAE would be welcome).

There is no charge for this event. Donations towards the cost of local canal restoration will be welcomed.

We are running a Raffle for restoration funds and the top prize is a trip on Dragonfly on the Swindon canal stretch for up to 12 people to be taken during 2012. Also many other prizes will be available.

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

© Southampton Canal Society 1999 - 2012. 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 15 April 2012 - archived 4 May 2012.

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