No. 206 Summer 2005
The attendance at our AGM was similar in numbers to last year's, but I suspect that the average age was exactly one year greater, because the faces all looked awfully familiar.
Not that we don't want to see the old faithfulls, but it would be nice if we could somehow persuade some of the newer members to attend. These people do exist, according to our Membership Secretary, but I do wish we could find a way of encouraging them to come to this event, which is really the only opportunity for the Committee to communicate directly with the membership.
It's awfully easy to assume that someone else is happy to run the Society and that they will carry on doing it indefinitely, but even if they are, they still need to feel that they have the support of the membership. In addition, it has to be remembered that it isn't only the members who are ageing, but also the Committee.
* * * *
With the various problems of canal funding, vandalism, dry dock restriction, etc, it is easy at times forthe Society to feel a bit beleaguered, so it is very nice to be reminded that we do have some good friends. One of these is Councillor Elizabeth Compton of Woking, who was instrumental recently in getting a grant of £3,000 forthe Society from the Woking Local Fund, which will be going towards finishing the St. John's back-pumping scheme. She also got us £2000 last year, so a very big thank-you to her!
* * * *
Elsewhere in this issue you will find Tony Beecher's note advising of the closure of the locks on 27th May due to shortage of water. I guess that such an early closure was inevitable after the dry winter that we have just had, but it comes as a bit of a shock all the same. It also has a nasty sting in the tail with the note that if the flow in the River Wey falls below a certain level, our back-pumping scheme gets switched off. I don't know how real a threat this is, but it seems a bit unreasonable, given that most of the water is going to go straight back into the Wey.
What we need is a 21st century Leonardo da Vinci to invent a new system for making boats go up and down hill. Ideally the system should require minimum modification to existing locks and be powered by the engine of the boat. 1 horsepower is the power needed to lift a weight of 33,000lb
1 foot in 1 minute, so by my reckoning you only need 2 hp to lift a 20 ton boat 6 feet in 4 minutes. No problem - all we need is a way of doing it. Get inventing!
* * * *
Putting on my Grumpy Old Man hat again, I recently received my council tax bill and the accompanying information leaflet and performance summary, and was a bit peeved to find that second on the list of things that Hart Council wish to achieve is "Protecting the Environment". Their declared ambition is "To protect and enhance the quality of the built and natural environments".
Quite how this squares with their continuing under-funding of the canal I don't know. Perhaps a mass campaign of letter writing might be in order, but it will certainly be raised when we entertain Hart councillors and officers on the Pinkerton next month.
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The Boat Company is looking for new crew members. This is one of the most pleasant ways of helping the Society and the canal. Why have all the hassle and expense of owning a boat when you can drive the John Pinkerton for free? Even manning the galley is fun, because it gives you a chance to chat to the passengers, many of whom know nothing about the canal or its history and are very interested to learn.
Give it a go! Club nights are on Tuesday evenings at Colt Hill starting at about 7.30pm and you can try steering the boat without the embarrassment of passengers.
* * * *
Despite the efforts of Peter Redway and David Millett, I still seem to end up writting rather more of the newsletter than is good for either the readership or me.
I do welcome all contributions, so please feel free to put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard on any topic that might interest people.
I think it might also be a good idea from time to time to get a different perspective on canal matters by having a guest editorial from someone.
Do you feel like sounding off about some burning issue, or commenting on something that is being neglected? If so, let me know and I will gladly pass over the Editor's quill pen.
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CHAIRMAN'S REPORT TO THE AGM
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The past year has been a very busy one for your Committee; a number of important issues required detailed examination with, in some cases, a limited time for responding.
The dry dock saga continues, with an uneasy truce at present. Surrey County Council, as owners, opted to negotiate with the complainant who proposed a much more restrictive regime than is currently in force. Users are limited in the times power tools can be used, and frequent breaks are part of the conditions for use, with only three days per week when noise is permitted. Hand tools, except hammering, are the norm for the remainder of the week.
The Society has obtained what noise measurement have been taken by Local Authority Officers. Unfortunately they differ in format to those taken by ourselves; we need to compare like for like and are waiting for a translation before comparing. We are concerned that any alleged noise emanating from the dock may not in fact originate from the dock. Our question of "How can you differentiate between noise sources?" remains unanswered.
Advice to implement a users' diary has been taken and users are requested to compile a record of their operations and times, thus providing a check in the event of a dispute.
Canal Management Plan
Our comments on the second draft of the Management Plan have been made. We proposed a policy for monitoring MOD land disposal schedules, followed by the purchase or lease of any land suitable for water supply enhancement use.
Dredging profiles need to be maintained to the restoration profiles for the canal, using the tugs as a good indicator on available depth.
Improved access and less supervision of lock usage are proposed as water supplies are improved. With back pumping around locks the need to run water down the canal is not so critical. The need to cure leaks and seepage then becomes a key management requirement.
During the winter the canal at Deepcut was drained for inspection, pound by pound. The fabric of the canal shows its 30 years wear and tear since restoration and a list of defects has been compiled by the BCA. County engineers are evaluating the findings and will be making recommendations for remedial works. These will be funded from capital reserves resourced by the County Council.
Canal Revenue Budgets
The BCA budgets have been cut by 11.4% for the year 2005/2006, a shortfall of some £57,400. This is a serious situation and the Society has lobbied against districts making cuts in their contributions.
The canal is in danger of sliding into a safety-only maintenance regime if these restrictions continue. The need fora review of canal funding has been raised by some districts, and the certainty is that a sustainable financial policy is essential for reversing the trend of year by year cuts in canal finance.
Campaign Rally 2006
Our bid to host a National Campaign Rally in 2006 was agreed by Inland Waterways Enterprises Ltd, which is the trading arm of the IWA and covers festivals and rallies. We are working with Woking Borough Council to hold the rally on the Brookwood Hospital site; with the canal fronting the south of the site, this would be an excellent choice.
We have proposed a partnership package of site improvements to Woking BC, and we are hopeful that councillors will agree the use of the site in the near future. Preliminary planning is already in progress and we will be able to "firm up" when the site is confirmed.
St. Johns Back Pumping
Finance of approximately £25K for the provision of the pump, controls and electricity supply is still required. We have been granted money from the Woking Local Fund and other grant applications are possible.
Pipeline construction is 98% complete subject to final overall test and towpath remedial work.
It is appropriate to thank all members who have contributed to the project for their support - those who have donated, helped and administered, yourcombined efforts made the difference. Thanks every one.
In closing I wish to thank the committee, the BCA, all the behind the scenes workers and my family for their support and help during the past year.
And, as usual, a very big vote of thanks to Pete for all his hard work.
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ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
The 28lh Annual General Meeting of the Society drew an attendance of about 45 people at the St. John's Church Hall in Woking. After apologies for absence were read out, the minutes of the 2004 AGM were accepted, with one typing error amendment.
We then turned to the accounts, which unfortunately the Treasurer, Jonathan Wade, was unable to present as the auditors had not completed Iheir work in time, for a variety of reasons. The basic problem was the short period of time available to collate the accounts of not only the main Society, but also of the Boat Company, the Sales Group, the Woking Group, the 200 Club and the Water Appeal. Jon Wade apologised for the situation and said that the accounts would be presented to an Extraordinary General Meeting later in the year. (5th July - please see the notice of the EGM on Page 9 for details).
It was suggested that this might not be necessary since the Board was empowered to sign off the accounts. However, Jon said that although he believed that this was true, he preferred to have membership acceptance of the accounts before sending them to the Charities Commissioners.
Although there were no formal accounts, Jon presented an outline of the main Society's financial position, which showed £42,061 carried forward from 2003, expenditure of £53,043 and income of £34,842. The major sources of income were the Boat Company (£20,725), subscriptions (£10,088) and donations (£2,200), and by far the major item of expenditure was the back-pumping scheme (£31,593). He invited questions.
Q.||The 2004 accounts mentioned a promised IWA grant of £20,000. Was there any news of this yet?|
|A.||This was still expected and the back-pumping
expenditure had gone ahead on this assumption. It
had been delayed for various reasons associated
with planning consents and abstraction licensing,
but these had now been cleared and the grant
should be available soon.|
|Q.||Had the expenditure on the pump and electrical supply to complete the back-pumping scheme been agreed?|
|A.||This was estimated to be approximately £25,000.
£3,000 had been granted from the Woking
Local Fund thanks to the efforts of Cllr Elizabeth
Campion and a further £10,000 in Section 106
money should be released once the Brewery Road
SCC HQ scheme went ahead. A further grant
application to Woking would be made, which was
hoped to provide the balance. The Chairman said
that the work would be completed.|
Hilton & Co were unanimously re-appointed as auditors.
The Secretary, Verna Smith, announced that as there had been only 11 nominations for the 12 seats on the Committee, the following were elected unopposed:- Peter Redway, Dieter Jebens, Verna Smith, Jonathan Wade, Roger Cansdale, Graham Hornsey, Roger llett. David Lloydlangston, Bob Malcolm, Philip Riley, Peter Wright.
She thanked David Venn for his efforts and welcomed Roger Ilett as a new Director and said that he would provide a link to the boating community.
Jon Wade stated that he would probably be stepping down as Treasurer some time next year.
This concluded the formal business of the AGM, so there was just time before the coffee break for the Robin Higgs Award, which this year went to Brian Smith, a stalwart of the Working Parties for many years (he was the man on the cover of the last winter edition of the Newsletter, helping to install the gate valve on the St.John's back-pumping system).
Above. Brian Smith receiving the trophy from Robin Higgs.
After the intermission (thanks again to the Coxheads for the catering), the meeting turned to the reports, starting with the Chairman. Peter Redway's report, which is to be found on Page 3 of this newsletter, was followed by questions.
These were mainly related to the dry dock issue. The first asked whether the charges for use of the dry dock were being reduced since work would inevitably take longer as a result of the noise-related restrictions. Peter said that they had not been reduced, but at least they had not been raised. A comment was made that the time limitations encouraged the use of as many power tools as possible for the short time allowed, which Peter agreed was the
case. It was also pointed out that the occupant of the lock cottage used a chain saw at any time, but that this was permitted as he had a wood burning stove!
It was noted that a local MP, who was understood to have intervened on behalf of the original noise complainant, had appeared briefly earlier in the evening but had left before the start of the AGM. It was suggested that in view of his apparent conflict of interests, he should be removed from the list of the Society's vice-presidents.
Peter Redway then followed on with the Work Party report, a summary of which is on page 6.
Peter Coxhead reported on the Woking activities. This year's Bridge Barn event had been a somewhat unexpected financial success, despite the fact that the Society had had to pay for both the marquee and the St.John's Ambulance attendance. The event had made a profit of £1659, compared to £1134 last year. The weather had been pretty good on both days, so Dragonfly took £522. Margaret Coles raised £202, Shirley Trott £403 and, most notably, Paul Garrett had persuaded the public to put £835 in his collecting bucket. Peter congratulated and thanked them and everyone else who had helped.
The Chobham social events were going well. The venue was pleasant and half the price of the previous venue. David Millett had kindly agreed to continue as speaker organiser next year.
Peter ended by saying that he hoped to be handing over a cheque to the Society for £1500 soon, bringing the total raised by the Woking Group over the years to £9800.
Peter Wright in his new post gave the Boat Company Chairman's report. He thanked his predecessor Ron McLaughlin for his 10 years in the job. John Abbott would also be stepping down as organiser of the winter maintenance.
Last year had seen the previous record profits beaten by £3, and this would have been a lot more but for the cost of the new windows that were installed in the boat. Bookings for 2005 were at about the same level as for 2004, so he looked forward to another good year.
Peter said that he would have to be less "hands-on" than Ron and would be delegating more or the jobs. The Boat Company was also looking for more crew.
After the raffle, which raised £55 towards the hire of the hall, the meeting went into an open forum chaired by Philip Riley.
Funding of the canal
Philip felt that the most crucial issue facing the canal was the deteriorating funding situation. Of 6 riparian local districts, 3 were seriously under-funding the canal; Hart was paying 32% of its share, Surrey Heath 46% and Runnymede 51%. The Society had discussed the matter with some of Hart's councillors but there seemed to be little likelihood of any improvement in the situation. An effort would be made to start a proper debate about how the canal should be funded. Some of the districts seemed to think that it should be funded completely by the counties.
In response to a suggestion that the canal should be taken over by British Waterways, Philip said that they appeared to be struggling at the moment and would be in even more trouble if the Tories won the election in view of their proposal to sell off BW's property portfolio. Philip said that the BCA had done a lot of useful work on quantifying the value of the canal to the local community and we needed to build a dialogue with the local authorities, based on this work.
David Millett commented that we should publicise the Society's contribution to the canal in the Press and that this might influence councillors. It was agreed that the Society needed someone to act as Press Officer, perhaps in collaboration with Dieter Jebens.
After several meetings, a company had been identified to do a feasibility study. They suggested that they could host a workshop to which all interested parties should be invited. The cost of the study would be between £15,000 and £20,000. Although some scepticism about the likelihood of success for the scheme was expressed, the meeting voted in favour of pursuing funding for the study.
In answer to a member who enquired what the police had been doing about the vandalism along the canal, the Chairman said "Not a lot!" Despite promises, no increased police presence had been evident. He was waiting to see what the Joint Action Group might come up with. The cost to the Society of damage to equipment over the 3 years of the St.John's scheme had been about £8000, and vandalism was said to be costing the BCA some £30,000 a year.
Any other business
Arthur Dungate was busy putting the early issues of the Society's Newsletter onto his canal website (www. basingstoke-canal.org.uk).
In conclusion, David Millett proposed a vote of thanks to Peter Redway and the rest of the Committee.
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Introducing this year's working party report gives me a great sense of ourachievements; the progress we have made on a number of projects is remarkable. Trials and tribulations were many - we knew the canal would try and flood our excavations, but we did not know where or how.
In retrospect, canal by-wash pipes and chambers design could have been a lot better, we learnt that deep excavations adjacent to and along side by-washes would leak, often requiring lowering of water levels to stem the flow. Nature will always choose the largest tree to blow down, usually in the most difficult situations. Now to detail.
ST JOHNS BACK PUMPING
Last April we had constructed and tested the pipeline to below lock 9, from the outlet structure above lock 11. The inlet structure at Langmans had also been constructed. In this last year we have extended the pipeline into the Valve chamber and connected the complex valve and drain down system.
Summer Work Camps assisted with a welcome start on the Pump well and valve chamber with our own volunteers completing the structures in December. Final reinstatement work followed in January. Overall testing of the pipe work and valves has to be completed, this is scheduled for later this month, a test pressure to three atmospheres is required to achieve a satisfactory result. Expenditure on the project is two-fold, direct and contribution in kind for the volunteer labour content.
Cash expenditure to March 2005£ 117,361
Volunteer contribution in kind£ 200,000
Total Value of work and materials£ 317,361
Estimated expenditure to complete£ 25,000
Since August the tempo of vandalism on the canal has been increasing, our work parties did not escape their attention. Machinery has always been a target, until recently broken widows on excavators had been the norm. During the summer it escalated to dumper trucks being started and attempts at joy riding. The most serious was when a dumper was left in gear with engine running, a log on the accelerator and pointed to a footbridge over Lockfield
Drive. The results of this could have been a fatal accident, luckily the engine stalled when the dumper veered into a clump of hazel and no damage occurred. The ignition keys were removed from all plant and taken away when we left site, the machinery was also covered where possible.
Following an arson attempt on the excavator the Police at last took an interest in the reports and agreed to increase patrol of the area. We did not see any activity by the Police when working weekdays or weekends. Woking Borough Council supported our case and invited the BCA and society to make a presentation to the Woking Joint Action Group. This group initiates actions on public safety with Inspector level representation on police matters, we have not been advised of any planned actions at this time.
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CAMPAIGN RALLY 2006
We have been appointed as Host Society for a national campaign rally in 2006. A partnership with IWA, BCA, Woking B.C and both local Boating Clubs shares the organisation and publicity work.
The area of open land, north of the canal from Hermitage Bridge to Bagshot Road is proposed for a Country Park. This would make an ideal site for the rally and we are in discussions with Woking B.C. for formal approval to use the site. A range of tasks to improve facilities has been identified and subject to Woking's support we will be working on these through the rest of the year. Some preliminary clearance work, agreed with Woking and the BCA has been started, and this opens the site to the canal bank.
I am sure you will agree that the volume and complexity of the work carried out during the last year is a credit to all the people involved, and that you endorse my very sincere thanks to all the volunteers and back room workers. We have again enjoyed the support of visiting groups and work camps during the past year; recognition for this support is due to:-
Waterway Recovery Group - for organising the summer camp
Newbury Working Party Group
Kent and East Sussex Canal Restoration Group
for many weekend digs.
Thanks also to the BCA, SHCS Committee and My Family for their support and assistance during the year.
Volunteer work on the St. Johns pipeline has now entered the final stages before handing the pipeline over to the pump installation contractors.
The working party in late April completed the testing of the pipeline; full test pressure to B.W Specification was applied and maintained for the period required. The pressure manifold and pipe connectors were adapted from available materials, some of which were donated by the BCA; others manufactured in Kevin's workshop. The test and water measurements were well within the specification.
The bund at the outlet above lock 11 has been removed with the material destined for piling back fill below lock 8 as part of the bank protection works.
Below: Piling at St.John's.
Protection works to prevent further erosion of the banks above and below the locks is in progress, tree roots are causing problems below lock 8 and work has been suspended pending the anticipated canal closure this summer. The pound below lock will need to be drained and the tree roots cut before piling can continue. Piling is a noisy operation and neighbours are advised when we plan to carry out the work; not all are supportive, although they benefit from a stabilised bank at the end of the process.
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The Environment Agency have at long last issued the abstraction licence for St. Johns. The advert was published in December 2004, with the licence being issued in May 2005. A requirement for Flow Meters to be installed has been included in the licence, and we are checking if this can be included with the pump installation contract; if not we have an unforeseen installation to carry out.
Visiting groups have made a start on fence removal between the canal and the Brookwood Hospital site; this will open the site to the canal, providing easier access. This preliminary work has been agreed with Woking B.C. and the BCA. Barges are being used to transport the old fencing and posts to Hermitage Bridge for transfer into skips. Towpath improvements on the north side of the canal are also scheduled for later this summer.
Above: Members of the Newbury Group unloading fencing removed from the Brookwood Hospital site.
FUTURE WORKING PARTY DATES
|11/12 June||R/DJ/DL/KR||St. Johns Bank Protection
or Lock 15 garage|
|25/26 June||PR/DJ/DL/KR||St Johns Bank Protection
or Lock 15 garage|
|9/10 July||PR/DJ/DL/KR||St. Johns Bank Protection
PR PETER REDWAY 01483 721710
DL DAVE LUNN 01483 771294
DJ DAVE JUNKISON 0208 941 0685
KR KEVIN REDWAY 01483 722206
PR PETER REDWAY
DL DAVE LUNN
DJ DAVE .JUNKISON
KR KEVIN REDWAY
Peter Redway May 2005
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Woking Canal Festival 2005
The Society held its 12th colourful annual event at the Bridge Barn on Easter Saturday and Sunday with good attendance from the public on both days. The whole weekend was dry with Saturday being a particularly good sunny day with the result that we had to turn away a few prospective punters from the adjoining school's large car parking space.
Above: Handsome newcomer "Navigator II"
28 boats were moored upon both sides of the Basingstoke Canal decorated with brightly coloured bunting and flower arrangements. The Mayor and Mayoress of Woking, Councillor Graham and Mrs Sarah Cundy toured the site andjudged the Best Decorated Boat competition. This was won by "Lady Grace" owned by Rick Heasman with Paul Garrett's "Vega" in second place. The Mayor presented an inscribed tankard from the Bridge Barn management to the winner with a plaque going to the runner up.
Below: The Mayor & Mayoress chatting to Jill Haworth about her archive display.
The land side of the event hosted a number of charity and craft stalls, one of the most popular being the boating pool with radio controlled boats operated by visiting children, all under the guidance of the Phoenix Boat Club. The Tombola stall prepared and run by Shirley Trott and Valerie Vine was continually in business on both days. Chobham Morris Men gave a much enjoyed show on Saturday with musical entertainment on Sunday provided by an Irish Group "Motley" on Sunday afternoon. As always, John Ross's beautiful hand-decorated boat "Elizabeth Rose" featuring Rosie and Jim was a show stopper with many children having their photograph taken sitting in the boat.
Above: "Elizabeth Rose" and her young admirers
Above: An illuminated "Grey Owl"
In the evening, 8 of the boats took part in the Illuminated Cavalcade from Woking Town Quay to the Bridge Barn. The Mayor and Mayoress were in the lead boat "Maggie G" which is run by Woking Recreational Boating for the Handicapped, a charity chaired by former Mayor, Margaret Gammon. The winner of the Best Illuminated Boat competition was "Grey Owl", owned by Dick Elder with runner up "Navigator 2" crewed and owned by the Critchell family. Prizes were subsequently presented by Margaret Gammon, the winner receiving engraved glass goblets with a plaque for the runner up.
The Best Dressed Family competition was won by the Critchell family, with the Best Dressed Male and Female Boater being Ron Taylor and Allison Snell respectfully . Both received plaques.
The organising committee, made up of Peter Harman, Roger Ilett, Valerie Vine and myself, chaired by Verna Smith, were very pleased with the event as a whole, with the excellent financial result being a welcome bonus. My accounts show an overall profit of £ 1659.49 which is a £ 525.29 increase on last year's result and that was despite having to find the additional expense of £726.15 for the marquee and St John Ambulance. This was achieved by the band of helpers on the stalls and elsewhere on the site. Now, I can't name everyone but I think you will agree that those that I now highlight deserve a big pat on the back.
Margaret Coles who for the past three years has sat down all by herself and quietly raffled one of her paintings from home. This time around she raised £202.11.
Shirley Trott and her tombolla stall donated £ 403.79. Those hundreds of well presented prizes that she has to offer, don't grow on trees and I know she puts in many, many hours of hard graft getting the show prepared.
The star of the financial element of the show is without doubt Paul Garrett who does the job most of us shy away from and I refer to the "begging bowl" approach to the customers. He has the rare knack of being able to extract money from the punters without upsetting them and the important thing is that he really enjoys doing it. He raised £835.14. Well done Paul.
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Fox & Hounds Rally
The annual boat rally at the Fox & Hounds pub in Fleet will this year be taking place on the Saturday and Sunday of the August Bank Holoday weekend, 27th and 28th August.
S&HCS Ltd Extraordinary General Meeting
As members are aware, the Society's accounts were not available for approval at the recent A.G.M. These will be presented to an E.G.M. of the Society, which will be held at 7.30pm on Tuesday 5th July 2005 on board the John Pinkerton at Colt Hill, Odiham. Members of the Society are invited to attend and there will be an opportunity for a short cruise on the boat following the meeting.
By order of the Board of Directors
Verna Smith, Honorary Secretary
21st May 2005
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Date: Sunday 17th.July 2005 Time: 7.30pm
Venue: The Canalside garden of the Fox and Hounds,
Crookham Road, Fleet.
Show: 'WHEEL OF FORTUNE....The Story of the Falkirk Wheel'
This brand new production for 2005 marks a return to a waterways theme for Mikron. It traces the dramatic story of the building of the waterways which link Edinburgh and Glasgow - the Forth and Clyde and the Union Canals. With humour, pathos and music, Mikron tells this story through the experiences of the men and women involved in these waterways, from the navvies (including Messrs Burke and Hare on their day job) to today's lift keepers who raise boats 80 feet in the air.
2005 will be the 34th year that the company have toured the waterways of England in their 69 year old narrow boat "Tyseley No. 183'. Come along by boat or car or on foot and enjoy the show. Bring a folding chair or rug or just sit on the grassy bank. Indoor back up in case of rain.
Admission free but there will be a collection after the performance. Contact David Millett on 01252 617364 for any further information.
Basingstoke Canal Boat Club Moving Rally
17th & 18th September, Frimley to Odiham Narrowboats, cruisers, steam boats and more will cruise together between Frimley and Odiham as part of a spectacular moving boat rally. Tel (01252) 663674 for more info.
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To let you and all other interested parties know that the Deepcut, Brookwood and St. Johns flights of locks will be closed to boaters from 27th May 2005 until further notice.
Rainfall this year, measured at Fleet has only produced 56% of the 30 year average, and coupled with low ground water conditions has caused us serious water control problems.
Water levels have been dropping in the Hampshire pound at a rate of 5mm/day for several weeks now, and today, Friday 13th May, 2005 we have reached a level 150mm below our normal working water level.
From today, Ash Lock will only be available for navigation between 0900hrs and 1700 hrs and the flow through the by-pass into Surrey will reduced to the minimum to maintain levels for the next 2 weeks after which it will be closed off.
With the feed to Surrey drastically reduced, I would estimate the rate of fall in the Hampshire pound to slow to about 3mm / day, but with the rapidly reducing feed from the Broad Oak Stream we will almost certainly have reached our conservation limit of 200mm below normal working water level within 14 days. The Frimley pump will provide enough water on a reducing scale to augment the reduced supply from the Hampshire pound and keep the Surrey locks in water for another 14 days, after which only the Woodham flight will be available for use, as this section can use pumped water.
With low ground water levels, flow rates on the Wey Navigation may be affected. If the flows at the EA gauging station at Weybridge fall below 187,000 cubic metres / day for 5 consecutive days, as a condition of our abstraction licence for the Woodham backpumping scheme, we will be informed in writing by the EA to cease abstracting water. This will close the Woodham backpumping system, and the Woodham flight of locks will then have to be closed.
Operations Manager, Basingstoke Canal
This must be one of the earliest closures due to low water levels since the canal re-opened. The only bright side to it is that with rangers not required to shepherd boats through locks, more effort should be available to do some of the maintenance work.
LOCK WATER USE
Perhaps you will allow just one more letter on this subject, as I should like to point out an error in Adrian Birtles' analysis in the Spring edition of the News. I shall assume that readers have that issue to hand so that I can use the same terminology as Adrian uses.
I agree that in Case 2, showing a boat of displacement volume V3 descending a lock, the volume of water discharged to the lower pound is V1. However, when the boat leaves the lock its displacement volume, V3, flows back into the lock from the lower pound. The total volume passed to the lower pound in one locking is therefore V1 - V3. When this boat arrived at the lock (assumed "empty") it first had to fill the lock with volume V1 but when it entered the lock from the upper pound it displaced volume V3. Thus a volume of V1 -V3 was taken from the upper pound, the same as that subsequently discharged into the lower pound.
It is simple to show that a boat ascending the lock, and arriving at the lock when it is full, will use a volume of V1 + V3. Therefore if the number of boats descending is about the same as the number ascending the boat displacement volume has no effect on the total volume of water used.
Perhaps one of the interesting results of the above is that if a large craft descends a lock, such as a stop-lock, with a very low rise - so that V1 is less than V3 - then the use of the lock will actually transfer water from the lower pound to the upper one!
Your turn Adrian!
I suspect that whatever the niceties of this are, the reality is that it makes no significant difference, as Tony says in the second to last paragraph.
Dear Membership Secretary,
Reading the last page of B.C. News I noticed the comments thereof so thought I'd better slightly straighten your records.
My dear wife died last January. I'm not sure of I informed you or not (I'm not really sure of anything these days!). I was paying by S.O. the sum of £7.00 for OAPx2.I wish to leave the payment as it is, although £5 appears to be the
norm. Leaving it as it is saves you changing your figures and I contribute a teeny bit more, and I've been involved with the canal for so long, since 1947, when I started with H.C.C. Roads and Bridges. It's nice to know I am still connected, if by a slightly tenuous hold!.
I read the magazine with great interest, especially when mention is made of earlier times. A little while back, an article written by someone I forget, commented on the iron lift bridge in place before the electronically worked one there now, commenting that it looked like years before it was lifted. Well one of my jobs was to visit the bridge about every 3 or 4 months, seal off the road, lift the manhole cover, lift out of the hole about 3 to 4 hundred gallons of water with a 1-1/2 gallon bucket, then laboriously pump up the bridge, clean everywhere that I could and then let it all back to normal. All this at least 3 a year; portable pumps were conspicuous by their absence!
Of course I also used to clean and test the wooden swing bridge before that, bearing in mind my firstjob on the County (first day) started, in '47 was to join two very elderly gents in the back of a Model T Ford, picking up snow in Hartley Wintney High Street. We lived in the dark ages then, and I was a vehicle fitter.
Dear Mrs Hornsey,
Many thanks for your sub reminder. Sadly I feel that I'm past my sell-by date and a useless member too! I have fond memories of the day when my husband (then Mayor of Surrey Heath) opened Lock 28 on 22.9.79, and treasure the little plate that you kindly gave us as a memento of the occasion. Also the fun times we had on the "John Pinkerton" both official and other.
I hope the trouble I read about in the recent BC News, with Lock 28 is not too serious.
As a farewell gift I enclose a donation to your funds and wish you continuing success with the wonderful work you all do to keep the canal in pristine condition.
Barbara J Farrell
I was interested in your editorial in the Winter issue which came yesterday.
It hadn't sunk into my head that water quality was an issue with English Nature as to your S.S.S.I. As an organisation they are certainly aware of the causes of cloudy water in lakes and slow moving waters such as those on the Broads and in canals.
I would recommend that you read:
"A guide to the restoration of nutrient-enriched shallow
Brian Moss, Jane Madgwick and Geoffrey Phillips. The
Broads Authority, 1996
English Nature are involved with us locally in the restoration of open habitats on the Esher Commons and Oxshott Heath, the south-west corner of which is only a couple of hundred yards from my house. There are several ponds some which have this problem and they have been putting forward ways of dealing with it.
I hope this will be of some help.
Derek S. Berry
I haven't managed to find to find this book, though I would like to because I suspect that Brian Moss is a friend from my days at Bristol University. However, I have found a number of websites devoted to the problem, which seems to be well understood and capable of solution. There seem to be several steps to this -
1. Prevent further run-off of the nitrates and phosphates that promote excessive algae and bacteria growth.
2. Dredge to remove nitrate and phosphate rich silt.
3. Remove species of fish that eat the water fleas that should be eating the algae and bacteria.
4. Reintroduce oxygenating plants.
I am not a biologist or water quality expert, so I cannot say whether this process that has been used on the Norfolk Broads would work on the Basingstoke, but I can't help feeling that it is more likely to do so than restricting the already small number of boat movements and chopping down trees.
I really hope that English Nature or someone will get on and do some scientific analysis of the water quality to find out what the origin of the problem is. Only then will it be possible to formulate a remedy.
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View from the Canal Centre
Here at the Canal Centre it is quite easy to get a feeling of depression creeping up on you.... Almost daily we have "issues" arise causing concern and problems. Gates crack, a lock cill comes off, trees go over, water disappears out of Woking, dry dock goes "ballistic" again, Health and Safety generates another shedful of work, vandalism, contractor doesn't turn up, essential new equipment isn't delivered. What's more, we don't have enough water and it's not even sunny!
So it is quite timely on occasion to get out on the canal and go over the positives! A stroll along the towpath on a May afternoon soon revives the spirits as hawthorn blossom fills the air, coots dabble about, a shoal of fish plunge below the surface and a visiting boat chugs past. Lovely!
Even lovelier when the walk is to assess improvements to the towpath and a landing jetty for Odiham Castle to be funded by the lottery! A call in at Chatter Alley provides a chance to look at the first stage of the bankside improvement work funded by SITA Landfill through the Waterways Trust. Hazel faggots retain an earth bank ready for planting up with reeds - all nourished by light provided care of the English Nature funded Tree project a few years ago.
Back past Eelmoor where Rushmoor Borough Council are providing funds to re-surface much of the towpath through the Borough, coming to us from TAG, the airfield managers. At Farnborough Road Weir the local fire brigade are out testing a "floating walkway", cyclists weave past and the scrubby areas around the car park, cleared by the regular work parties from the Probation Service, look tidy and well kept.
Through Ash Vale, newly restored sections of bank are looking good - the use of "nicospan" held up with round stakes through the inbuilt pockets proving an economic and efficient system. We have had some badly eroded areas re-built over the winter including the provision of new visitor moorings at the Canal Centre. These will be in addition to the mooring basin proposals which we hope will come to some fruition by the end of this year.
The tea room is doing well in BCA management, providing a year round site presence as well as a range of fabulous food and refreshments. ASDA Stores have also just pledged 10 volunteers a week from their staff to help us out with maintenance at the Centre!
On to Deepcut Cutting through the recently completed tree works where a variety of plants are re-growing and the tree stumps are showing signs of coppicing up. The towpath will be re-instated this year with the bank edge rebuilt using dredged material backfilled behind nicospan - thus doing two jobs in one!.
Down to Deepcut Flight, where Surrey County Council engineers are to carry out a full investigation and costing of works required on this priority area. This will form the basis for a capital bid for additional funds and hopefully solve some of the ongoing problems. Rangers are working on the worst sections of towpath and an ongoing programme of replacing worn paddles and pull rods is beginning to pay off.
Through Brookwood signs exist of the first site works in anticipation of the 2006 Campaign Rally on the old Hospital site. This will certainly raise the profile of the Canal and bring on a lot of visiting boats. It will also "kick start" the development of the Country Park on site providing a fabulous canalside facility. Woking Borough Council are providing significant funding towards the rally and developing the infrastructure onsite.
In the St Johns area the Backpumping Scheme is of course the most significant project, and is no doubt covered elsewhere in this magazine! The long awaited abstraction licence has now been received and the final sums of money from the IWA can be released to complete the project.
Woking Town Centre itself is to be the subject of much change in the coming years with the new County Council HQ and Woking Galleries development. We are currently working with Woking Borough Council on a number of exciting ideas to regenerate the canal through the Town Centre on the back of these developments - so exciting things are afoot!
And with 2 new sets of gates waiting to go in the Woodham Flight (lowers for Locks 2 and 6) at the first convenient opportunity I think it is fair to say that something exciting is happening all over the Canal - and I didn't even mention the Aldershot Urban Extension!
I think this quick jaunt along the Canal shows that a lot of people have a lot of faith in what it provides and are willing to continue to support and invest in the Canal to make it somewhere really special. OK, we have problems, but isn't it nice to celebrate what's good for a change rather than dwell in bad news?
You know, I feel much better now - and the sun is coming out...!
It's good to hear such a positive attitude from the BCA, because as Leigh says, the problems do seem to pile up. What they need is support, not only from the Society, but also from the Districts and Counties.
Come on Councillors, do as Leigh says and take a stroll down the canal and see if you don't think the area's greatest amenity is worth supporting!
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Andy Howard has started to produce an e-mail newsletter "Canal Life" from the Canal Centre and has kindly agreed to me pinching some bits from it:-
By popular demand an additional visitor mooring has been created at the Canal Visitor Centre, Mytchett. The mooring has been created by using a product called Nicospan. It is a heavy duty nylon mesh held in place by wooden posts then backfilled with dredgings from the Canal. It's what's referred to as soft bankside protection and is very durable and extremely cost effective. The same process has been used to resolve bankside erosion at a number of locations between Ash Lock and Frimley Lodge Park.
Not a week goes by without an enquiry from a boat owner looking for a mooring on the Canal. Therefore work has started on the feasibility of moorings at various new locations. Over the next six months these sites will be assessed for their suitability, discussed with the relevant authorities, access improvements made and offered to those on our mooring waiting list. This is an excellent way of encouraging boats to use the canal and generate some much needed funds for its protection.
In recent years we have tried to improve the accessibility of the Canal to visiting boaters and have decided it is a good time to see what they think. We believe progress has been made in some areas but recognise there is still room for improvement in others. This year all visiting boaters are being given a questionnaire to complete during their visit. It will help to identify those issues that visiting boaters think are most important. If you would like to let us know what you think simply get in touch and we'll send a questionnaire to you too.
Healthy discount for paddlers
Good news for those under 16yrs of age, OAPs and the disabled,.. paddling on the Canal is now half price! As part of our commitment to encourage healthy activity on the Canal we have decided to offer the half price concession for all unpowered boats owned by one of the above groups. As an example using a canoe on the Canal will now cost just £7.60 for the year. If you have a licence for your boat already and qualify for the concession it will come into affect when you come to renew your licence. If you can think of someone who might benefit from using an unpowered boat on the Canal make sure you tell them to get in touch with us!
2005 works programme
With the anticipated closure of the lock flights our attention now turns to the works programme for the summer (and beyond). As well as the usual responsibilities additional jobs for the list include:
§ Bankside protection at Chatter Alley, the area between
the Canal Visitor Centre and Greyswood Drive and
§ Towpath improvements throughout the Deepcut flight
§ Complete resurfacing of the towpath throughout the
§ Surrey County Council Engineers will undertake a
comprehensive structural inspection of the Deepcut
flight of locks.
New lower gates are being installed at lock 2 and 6. Both sets have been supplied by the canal workshops at Hebden Bridge on the Rochdale Canal.
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A thank-you to Ron and Dorothy|
At the Boat Company's Annual General Meeting, Peter Redway presented Ron McLaughlin with an engraved decanter to thank him for his work as Chairman of the Boat Company. Dorothy also received a large bouquet of flowers to thank her for her support.
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The death of Ernie Pull at the age of 81 was reported briefly in the last newsletter. I first met Ernie in 1990 and joined his working parties on the Wey & Arun Canal for ten years. Ernie was the third youngest of twelve children, born in Lewisham where he lived all his life. In 1943 he qualified in Electrical Engineering and from this date his work was the design and manufacture of undersea cables, repeaters and sonar equipment. He was eventually the Technical Director of a company later taken over by Plessey.
Above: Ernie at the opening of the Drungewick Aqueduct on the Wey & Arun Canal.
His first interest in canals resulted from canal holidays in the 1950's when he joined the IWA. As he never owned a car he came to working parties by public transport. He managed this due to his great stamina and determination. My memories of him include his sense of humour, his distinctive laugh and his range of knowledge. In 1961 he was in Tim Dodwell's team, which worked on the Basingstoke Canal to prepare for the 1962 Woking Rally, and he later spent years clearing the canal before it was purchased by the County councils. In this period he also worked on other canals including the Stourbridge and Montgomery canals. In 1977 he began work with the IWAgroup who restored Lock 1 on the Basingstoke Canal, which was completed in 1988.
When he was about 60, Ernie fell off a ladder, whilst picking apples. He sustained a serious ankle fracture which became infected with tetanus which was nearly fatal. He recovered with a permanently damaged ankle. During work on the Basingstoke Canal he met Jack Pocock who was about his age. Starting in 1984 they formed their own working party on the Wey & Arun Canal. To begin with they restored two bridges on their own. Then after recruiting other volunteers they went on to restore another bridge, repair six culverts, build two overflow weirs and manage the canal depot. He was awarded the Wey & Arun Canal Trust's Jack King Cup in 1993. For 49 years Ernie helped man the IWA stand at the London Boat Show. He was awarded the Richard Bird Medal in 2003; Ernie gave up working parties aged 78. The fact that he came to working parties, in all seasons, by public transport is remarkable, to say the least. His death is a very great loss.
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The following have given generously to the back pumping water appeal:-
David and Susan Martin of Pyrford
Peter Cumming-Lattey of Fleet
Camera for sale
Classic camera for sale - Practica B100 Electronic SLR. Black body. Pentacon F1.8 50mm lens. Manual focus and manual aperture selection with automatic exposure.
Very good condition, with sling and case.
Donated to the Society - make us an offer or it goes
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Millett's Musings - David Millett
# Good to hear that with the Heritage Lottery funds being approved for the work in the King John's Castle area of the canal at North Warnborough, preliminary ideas are being formulated by the Canal Authority for the stabilisation and bankside work required for a new landing stage. The present canal bank between the Whitewater aqueduct and the castle is now in a very bad state of repair and the work, when completed will enable the temporary scaffold pole landing stage to be removed.
# By the time this edition of BC News is circulated the new footbridge alongside the upstream end of Malthouse Bridge at Crookham Village will have been lowered into place by Hampshire County Council contractors. The steel footbridge has been fabricated away from the canal and brought in by low-loader. This will improve pedestrian safety at this location.
# The new up market trip boat for the recently opened Dogmersfield Park Hotel was delivered by low-loader and launched by crane into the canal at the old Coal Pen in Crookham Road. It will be moored on the Odiham side of the canal between Sandy Hill Bridge, Winchfield and Broad Oak, Odiham. A small cantilevered landing stage has been built at this location.
# The Dogmersfield Park Hotel, operated by the Four Seasons Hotel Group, opened in February (with B & B package rates starting at £255) and the hotel brochure feature cruises for hotel guests (with catering by the hotel kitchens). Advertisements in up market travel supplements also feature picnics in the park by the Basingstoke Canal. Unfortunately, the Telegraph travel supplement quoted the hotel as being 'near the unlovely town of Basingstoke' with 'electricity pylons looming nearby and dreary countryside round about'. However, the canal is the best feature as it meanders round the park.
# The Canal Director's Value for Money report to the March meeting of the Canal Joint management Committee was very timely. Whilst the summary emphasised the benefits to the community the downside was the serious under funding which will result in:
* Gradual deterioration leading to flooding and safety risks.
* Closure of locks and diminished navigation.
* Loss of 'Added Value'.
* Further deterioration of the SSSI.
* Loss of crucial volunteer support.
* Increased bankside erosion 'Further encroachment of trees and their associated safety issues.
# In spite of the new Canal Watch scheme along the Surrey section of the canal, vandalism continues with another broken window in a narrow boat moored at the Canal Centre, and incidents in Woking. Volunteers are urgently required to help distribute the new Canal Watch leaflets to canalside residents in the Brookwood, Woking and Sheerwater areas. Contact Andy Howard at the Canal Centre on 01252 370073 if you can help. If any members see anything suspicious such as a crime or antisocial behaviour then ring the Surrey Police on 0845 1252222 or the Canal Authority (telephone number above), or, if it is an emergency, dial 999. It is expected that new signs will be erected shortly along the canal detailing these telephone numbers.
# Hear that further problems have occurred at Lock 25 (the first to be restored by SHCS volunteers early in the restoration era). The bottom sill has blown out and the framing was distorted meaning the canal was closed for one week early in May for repairs. This is another example why adequate funding is required to cover the maintenance backlog let alone the need for canal improvements.
# Good to see that bankside improvement works and repairs are underway at Chatter Alley, Dogmersfield utilising funds from the Waste organisation SITA, the funds coming via the Waterways Trust. This work is using soft bank protection techniques using hazel faggots followed by backfilling. Contractors Blue Boar Farms are using similar methods for towpath work alongside Frimley Lodge park and on the offside at the Canal Centre where the John Pinkerton moors in the winter. This is being funded from the canal's limited maintenance budget.
# When are we going to get some significant rainfall to follow the dry winter and spring? By the time you read this the canal locks will probably be closed to navigation.
David and Rosemary have recently moved house to:
25 Frere Avenue, Fleet, Hampshire GU51 SAW.
The telephone number stays the same on 01252 617364.
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As many members will be aware, the Society has an excellent website, www.basingstoke-canal.org.uk. run by Arthur Dungate. He has been putting the early issues of the 'Newsletter' on the website. At the last count, the first 120 issues were online. Only another 85 to go!
Well worth a look as a reminder of how it all started and the trials and tribulations, as well as the exhilaration, of the early days.
Society members, Steve and Michelle Muggleton are looking for a mooring on the canal for their 54 foot narrow boat, which is currently up on the Shropshire Union. Although they live in Deepcut, the closure of the locks due to shortage of water means that they will not be able to get much further up than Woking. Is there a member in Woking with a garden backing onto the offside bank of the canal who could offer them a haven? If so please give them a ring on 01252837877.
Date for next copy 31st July 2005
Published by the Surrey and Hampshire Canal Society Ltd., a non-profit distributing company limited by guarantee, registered as a Charity. The views expressed are not necessarily those of the Society. Executive members of the Committee are shown in bold type and Directors of the Society have a
asterisk (*) after their name.
Editorial Team: Editor: Roger Cansdale*
79 Gally Hill Road, Church Crookham, Hants GU52 6RU 01252-616964
President: The Earl of Onslow
Chairman: Peter Redway* 1 Redway Cottages, St John's Lye, Woking, Surrey GU21 1SL 01483-721710
Vice-Chairman: Dieter Jebens* 60 Middle Bourne Lane, Farnham, Surrey GU10 3NJ 01252-715230
Hon. Secretary: Verna Smith* 63 Avondale, Ash Vale, Aldershot, Hants GU12 5NE 01252-517622
Hon. Treasurer: Jonathan Wade* 30 Hanover Gardens, Cove, Farnborough, Hants GU14 9DT 01252-524690
Membership Secretary: Doreen Hornsey 'Mallards', 94a Aldershot Road, Fleet, Hants GU51 3FT 01252-623591
Working Party Information: Peter Redway* 1 Redway Cottages, St John's Lye, Woking, Surrey GU21 1SL 01483-721710
Trip Boat Manager: Peter Wright Holly Lodge, 39 The Avenue, Crowthorne, Berks RG45 6PB 01344-772461
Trip Boat Bookings: Marion Gough St Catherines, Hurdle Way, Compton Down, Winchester, Hants SO21 2AN 01962-713564
Sales Manager & Mail Order Sales: Verna Smith* 63 Avondale, Ash Vale, Aldershot, Hants GU12 5NE 01252-517622
Exhibitions Manager: Position vacant
Website Manager: Arthur Dungate 39 Sian Close, Church Crookham, Fleet, Hants GU52 6BT 01252-622101
Talks Organiser: Position vacant
Press Officer: Dieter Jebens* 60 Middle Bourne Lane, Farnham, Surrey GU10 3NJ 01252-715230
Gift Aid manager & Lengthman Organiser: Graham Hornsey* 'Mallards', 94a Aldershot Road, Fleet, Hants GU51 3FT 01252-623591
200 Club organiser: Jim Johnstone 20 Hawkins Grove, Fleet, Hants GU51 5TX 01252-626749
Archivist: Jill Haworth Sheerwood, 501 Woodham Lane, Woking, Surrey GU21 5SR 01932-342081
Woking Organiser: Peter Coxhead 17 Abbey Close, Pyrford, Woking, Surrey GU22 8RY 01932-344564
Director: Roger Ilett* 30 Waterend Park, Old Basing, Basingstoke, Hants RG24 7BB 01256-764211
Director: Philip Riley* Wincombe Cottage, Broad Oak, Hook, Hants RG29 1AH 01256-702109
Director: David Lloydlangston* 7 Fernhill Close, Upper Hale, Farnham, Surrey GU9 OJL 01252-723309
Director: Bob Malcolm* Little Willow, College Road, Ash, Aldershot, Hants GU12 5DA 01252-659876
Director: Peter Wright* Holly Lodge, 39 The Avenue, Crowthorne, Berks RG45 6PB 01344-772461
Basingstoke Canal Authority Canal Centre, Mytchett Place Road, Mytchett, Surrey GU16 6DD
Canal Society Internet Website: www.basingstoke-canal.org.uk
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