Aug 282013

Swans & sheep CROPPEDHello to one and all.

August has been a most enjoyable month for me due in no small way to your combined efforts.

We started with a very successful Water levels management workshop which a magnificent 21 of you managed to attend. Everyone seemed to enjoy the event, learned something and came away with a greater understanding of the canal and its problems.  I think we could do a couple of similar events next year and I’m already doing some planning. Got any pet subjects you would like as a topic?

I spent a great day moving a BCA work boat upstream to Coxheath Bridge with two Lengthsmen, Val and Ron, doing a great job as ‘crew’. The weather was kind to us and we enjoyed the rare chance to see the tow path from the water. I also found the local knowledge imparted by both crew invaluable. Rumour has it that there may be another boat movement trip coming up in the first week of September, probably from Lock 27 to the canal centre.  Does anyone want to get their name down as crew early?

I met a new Lengthsman, Robert, at the weekend. This means there are now only six of you who I have yet to meet. So to those six, and you know who you are, resistance is futile. It’s only a matter of time!

The quality of your reports has stepped up a notch recently for which I thank you. Nothing too serious to report but the summer has seen a variety of topics. Apart from the usual leaning and falling trees we have had a gamut of observations from Hydrocotyl down the Woodham end through to very low water levels at Deepcut, to thick weed congestion in the Ash Vale area, the serious decline in the condition of Malthouse Bridge, and beyond to Terrapins being sighted!

Every report you submit is important and is acted upon. It may seem at times that your observations are ignored but be assured this if far from the truth. The much awaited work at Mytchett Lake, now well under way, took over two years to plan, prepare, obtain all necessary permissions and secure funding.

As you may know I also crew the Society’s trip boat John Pinkerton, a job I love.  As my first year as Senior Lengthsman comes to a close, I would like to combine my two canal interests and invite you all on a cruise. I have provisionally booked the J.P. for an afternoon trip on Saturday 19th October. We depart from Odiham Wharf, Colt Hill at 14.30 and will cruise up to King John’s Castle at the navigational limit of the canal. While the boat turns you will have the options of exploring the castle ruins, admiring  the crystal clear River Whitewater running under the canal, seeking out evidence of source springs and walking to the entrance of the Greywell Tunnel.  We return to Colt Hill at about 17.00. As I write it is expected that the new J.P.2. will be undergoing alterations, so our trip will be one of the very last on the original boat.  A nostalgic farewell to the J.P.1.

As a Lengthsman the trip is entirely free to you and you are welcome to bring along a guest or two at the cost of just £5 per guest. Naturally I think it is going to be a wonderful trip in the glorious colours of autumn, augmented by the licensed bar on board and perhaps a meal in the Waterwitch afterwards, but it would not be the same without you.

Please, please may I have a response from you a.s.a.p.  I have to confirm the booking by Friday August 30th

No advance payment required. Guests will pay on arrival. What I do need now is an indication of interest, followed later by a firm booking as numbers are limited.

I really hope that you like the idea and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

And Finally. My next meeting with the Rangers is on Tuesday 10th September. Got any burning topic you would like me to raise? Let me know.

All the very best to you all.

 Mike Gordon, Senior Lengthsman