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Issue 460 - May 2011

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Chairman's Column

 
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May Meeting: 28th April 2011

As Angela and I are away at the moment, our Vice Chairman, Paul Herbert, is looking after you all tonight. Thank you, Paul.

We welcome back Roger Squires with his presentation of "The Suez Canal - Past and Present". Roger recently cruised through the Suez Canal on a northbound convoy. He will share his experience's with us and we look forward to an evening of superb photography and detail.

Society Burgees

These are available at £12.50 each or £13.50 posted. For further details contact Angela, Club Secretary (contact details on the back page).

June 2nd Meeting.

Our June meeting will take the form of a Social Evening to include Bring & Buy, a Silent Auction and a Quiz running through the evening. Drinks and nibbles will be provided.

Is there anything else you, as members, would like to include? If so please see any Committee member.

July 7th Meeting

This will be a talk by Pablo Haworth about the History and Design of the "Bailey Bridge."

 

All for now, enjoy this lovely Boating and Outdoor weather.

Alan Rose


£110 million to improve water and wildlife

 
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The government is to make £110 million available to improve the environmental condition of 'lakes, streams and other water bodies', the Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman has announced.

Floating Pennywort

Invasive species Floating Pennywort on the River Soar near Leicester

£23 million per year will be provided over four years to fight non-native invasive species, clear up pollution, and remove redundant dams, weirs, landings and other man-made structures so that wildlife can thrive in 'water catchments across' England.

An additional £18 million this year will help farmers to protect water courses and prevent agricultural pollution. The funding will be shared between the Environment Agency, Natural England and civil society associations such as the Association of Rivers Trust.

Some canal and waterway observers have been quick to note that no mention was made of navigation authorities such as British Waterways. However, the money appears to have been granted under the EU Water Framework Directive for improving general environmental water quality, and early reports in the press that it was just for 'waterways' (i.e. canal and river navigations) and 'otters and salmon' may have been misleading.

www.waterwaysworld.com - 13 April 2011


Review of "Britannia Rules the Cut"

 
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This small 60 page book details the Naval Fleet used for recruiting during the 1970's. Details show how the vessels came to be built and their limited success in convincing young people of 1970's Britain to join the Navy.

They were not, as most people thought, ex commercial hulls, but were built new by John Pinder & Sons who had premises in Horninglow Basin where they were completed to "sailaway" hull and engines. The power plants being by Thorneycroft. These bare hulls were delivered to British Waterways' Bulls Bridge Yard for fitting out as model Naval Vessels.

The Naval Fleet

Above: The Royal Navy's in town! The canal fleet at Little Venice, London.

The first year only two "ships" were completed as H.M.S. RENOWN, a submarine, and H.M.S. LONDON, a guided missile destroyer.

The idea was that the Royal Navy could recruit from other than its traditional coastal cities like Southampton, Portsmouth, Plymouth and Chatham, using the "Fleet" as publicity to go aboard and learn about the modern Royal Navy when miles from salt water.

In the second year RENOWN and LONDON were joined by a Type 42 Destroyer H.M.S. SHEFFIELD and H.M.S. CLEOPATRA a Frigate.

The vessels operated as pairs although all had engines and travelled separately. They must have completed long hours to keep to a schedule that included Little Venice to Bulls Bridge via (amongst others) Birmingham, Leicester, Lincoln, Foxton, Abingdon and Nottingham. This was "pair A", "pair B" operated a similar timetable, their calls included Rickmansworth, Gloucester, Chester, Leeds and Coventry finishing also at Bulls Bridge. They attended as many canalside events as possible and were very popular with Dads and Grandsons in particular.

From 1973 to 1977 the "ships" were visited by over 200,000 visitors each year, but it was realised that they were attracting the "wrong" type of visitors and the fleet was sold off.

The Author, when writing of their fate became a detective and managed to find 3 of the 4 boats and is still looking for the fourth.

Altogether an interesting read. Hampshire County Library has at least one copy. The publisher is Appin Press and the ISBN Number is 9781906205263 and the price is £5.

John Silman

Thank you John for providing this review of a book about an intriguing part of waterway history.


April Meeting

 
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Annual Inter-Society Waterways Quiz

The winning team

Myra Glover presenting the trophy to the victorious IWA Guildford & Reading team.

Nick Grundy

Quiz Master Nick Grundy.

The annual Inter-Society Waterways Quiz is usually held at the December meeting. However, the snow was too bad to make contestants (and audience) drive to Chilworth and the meeting was cancelled that morning.

The Quiz was re-arranged for the meeting held on 7th April and it was well supported.

Nick Grundy was Quiz Master for last year's winners: IWA Salisbury Group. He and Myra Glover ran a very enjoyable evening.

Top marks were scored by the IWA Guildford & Reading Branch team, followed by IWA Solent & Arun Branch joined with SCS, closely followed by the Salisbury team.

Angela Rose


Local Partnership Boards search for members

 
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After appointing chairmen last week, the two latest trial Local Waterway Partnership Boards - North West and West Midlands - are now on the hunt for suitable members to help influence and advise the management of the canals and rivers in their local area.

These trial Partnerships will work with local waterway managers until the new waterways charity becomes fully operational in 2012. The Waterways Trust is looking recruit at least seven members to each of these Partnerships. Members of the Partnership will have a range of knowledge, skills and experience relevant to the development of waterways for the widest public benefit. Relevant interests and expertise will include:

Candidates should be locally based, approachable, team players, credible, knowledgeable and willing to take a lead in one or more of the relevant areas of expertise. They must also be able to commit adequate time to ensure the success of the Trial Partnership.

The duty of all members of the Partnership will be to act in the best interests of the waterway rather than to represent any particular interests or causes.

www.waterscape.com - 7 April 2011


Long Awaited Canal To Open Paris Freight To The Sea

 
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Seine-Nord Waterway Map

Sarkozy Finally Gives the Go Ahead to Seine-Nord Waterway

FRANCE - Battle lines are being drawn up by those in the rail freight sector after this week's announcement that the much mooted plan for a canal linking Paris to the North Sea ports via the Belgian system of waterways is to proceed. With an estimated cost of €4.5 billion (£3.9 billion) the canal is being touted as a major carbon saver aiming to take half a million trucks off the roads of France, in truth the 4,000 tonne barges are likely to affect the track borne logistics of the country to a far greater degree.

Originally proposed in the 1990's, construction of the canal was due to commence last year with completion by 2016 after suffering the usual wrangles such grandiose schemes seem to inevitably engender (think Channel Tunnel), realistically traffic should start to use the system around 2020 if no more obstacles are met. Politically the plans are important to several vested interests, not least President Sarkozy who is keen to woo voters in the North East of the country where he faces stiff opposition from left and right alike.

The canal will stretch just over 100 kilometres joining the rivers of Seine and Scheldt and increasing the sizes of lighters using the current available waterways by more than six fold making the use of freight by water a more realistic economic proposition. The canal will open Paris traffic to all the major ports in the region including Dunkerque, Antwerp and Rotterdam and acting as an avenue into the Rhine system and beyond.

The project will require the construction of seven locks and two major aqueducts and will be funded using cash from the EU, French local and state government funds and private capital with bids now being taken for sections of the works. The proposed route passes through areas revered for memories of the First World War, particularly the two Battles of Cambrai. By 1918 there had been more than a million casualties in the area and this has led to assurances that no war graves will be disturbed by the development.

www.handyshippingguide.com - 8 April 2011


Hungry fish are given their marching orders

 
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Half a tonne of fish have been removed from the Caen Hill flight of locks on the Kennet and Avon Canal.

The fish, which included large carp and pike, were netted and relocated along the canal while a proportion were taken to Toddbrook Reservoir in the Peak District.

The fish were removed because British Waterways was concerned at the amount of younger fish and wildlife being eaten.

Ecologist Oda Dijksterhuis said: "In 2009 we removed the first batch of big fish from the ponds and installed silt screen curtains.

"The results of this habitat management work have been fantastic with aquatic plants, such as the rare potamogetons and hornworts, returning to the ponds that we haven't had in the waterway for years.

"In addition to these plants we have seen an increase in dragon and damselfly populations."

www.gazetteandherald.co.uk - 6 April 2011


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