The Big BCN Cleanup

This years BCN clean up will see us return to an area not visited for many years, based at Ocker Hill on the Walsall Canal the teams of Volunteers will clean the lower Walsall, Tame Valley Canals and Ryders Green Locks.

Day Volunteers can sign on at Ocker Hill Depot from 10am, or at the Malthouse Stables in Tipton at 9am, where you will be transported to Ocker Hill.

Safety foot wear should be worn as well as water proof clothing. Bring your lunch if you do not with to purchase the lunch provided by Waterway Recovery Group.

For further details please email or call Chris Morgan.

The big annual BCN Cleanup, with the BCN Society working alongside Coombeswood Canal TrustDudley Canal Trust, the Canal & River Trust and the IWA (Birmingham, Black Country and Worcester branch Waterways Recovery Group.)

Come along under the auspices of any of the groups.

If you want accommodation and food provided, book through the Waterways Recovery Group website.

If you are staying with them, accommodation is available from the night of 15th, at the malt house stables, Tipton.

You are welcome to come and join us – wear stout footwear and old clothes.  Waterproofs could be a good move.

Tea and coffee are provided for everyone but bring your own pack lunch, unless buying it through the WRG.  (If you are doing this, check with Chris for details first)

Chris Morgan will be leading the group, and can be contacted by email on the link.

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BCNS Marathon Challenge 2015

Great Marathon Challenge – Thanks to Roy Kenn and John Carrington for organising it.

Water levels a bit low, which made it more of a challenge! C&RT are looking at why, and will try to avoid the same happening next year.

I’ll put in photographs as I get them, and publish the results as soon as John, Roy and

A message from John Carrington
I have just had a meeting with Roy and initially we would like to sincerely thank all of you and your respective crews for entering the event and your support and understanding

The turnout was amazing with 36 boats finishing at Bradley workshops. Unfortunately so many arriving at 3.59pm did result in congestion but again your understanding and flexibility resulted in this becoming manageable albeit a little frustrating for some of you.

Secondly a really big thank you to the CRT staff at Bradley Workshops, in particular Dave Constable, who could not have been more helpful and accommodating. I understand he even arranged a tour of the workshops on Monday morning for those entrants who arrived too late for the scheduled Sunday tour. Similarly, a big thank you to the workshop manager, Janet Tynan, who traveled down from Wakefield specifically to welcome us all so warmly.

One aspect that many entrants commented on was rubbish in the canal. One entrant had to visit the weed hatch 17 times and another ‘recovered’ 6 shopping trolleys and assorted metal debris. You will recall from an earlier e mail that the local CRT management asked for photographs to be sent to them so they can assess the scale of the problem and focus their resources. Please send photographs to Ian Lane at canalrivertrust.org.uk .   (Please copy your email to John Carrington – if you were on the challenge you know his email address.)

Last year we asked for feedback concerning the arrangements for the Challenge and many entrants sent comments, all of which were useful and a number of which were incorporated into this year’s event. We would really welcome any comments and feedback and you can be assured Roy and I will review them and if appropriate incorporate them into next year’s event (there’s a clue to the future)

Similarly CRT Management is conducting a review about their oversight of the network during the Challenge and their response(s) to the problems at Titford and Factory Locks. Any feedback you make that has relevance to this CRT review will be forwarded to them.

Roy and I have already started to mark the cruise logs and this year we will be piloting a new database which has been written for us by a member of the BCNS. Because this is the first time we have used ‘technology’ we will be marking cruise logs both manually and technically so please bear with us if the results are not declared as quick as last year. We are confident the database will make the scoring more efficient both for this and future events but please bear with us.

A big thank you to Sue for her endeavors in devising this database and her calm understanding towards Roy and me who are truly IT technophobes.

Just a quick reminder, although a number of you have already submitted your photographs or had then checked at the finish, if you are yet to submit them please send them to me as soon as practicable. All submissions will be acknowledged and those checked at the finish will be confirmed.

Finally Roy and I would like to thank the other members of the BCNS for all their help with the arrangements; particularly the complimentary hot food which we know was most welcome.

Watch this space re 2016 Challenge”

If you want to send your comments to John and Roy from this page, please use the form below.


 

Gas Street Basin stoppage (continued)

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Isn’t the water lovely!

Midnight last night (19/20 Feb), it was clear that the pump was not coping with the leakage in through the emergency stop gates.  I was told that the plan was to stanch off  the section from Worcester Bar almost to Salvage Turn.

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Assembling the staunch.

 

This morning, the work started on the coffer dam.

Though those guys are in decent dry suits, rather them than me.  

 

The stop gate that caused the problem - finally wedged shut.

The stop gate that caused the problem – finally wedged shut.

 

In addition to the pump in the workboat just behind the stop gate, there are now two larger pumps beside the footbridge, ready to start go.

To clarify exactly where the aqueduct / tunnels are, I have taken a photo of the 1899 10 foot to the mile ordnance survey map, and marked out the two rail tunnels (the one to Midland Railway’s Worcester Wharf  goods yard, the MR Birmingham and West Suburban line (the current main line to the West Country) and Holliday Street tunnel.

Salvage Turn Tunnels

 

Isn’t the detail on maps of this scale amazing!  Click on the image to see it in more detail.

 

 

 

Exploring the part completed coffer dam!  (or you see why CRT put up barricades when the work was finished!)

Exploring the part completed coffer dam!
(or you see why CRT put up barricades when the work was finished!)

 

The frames were left in, to be completed on Saturday.

 

The tunnel that the aqueduct runs over - five ways end.

The tunnel that the aqueduct runs over – five ways end.

 

 

 

 

 

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Inside the tunnel – you could hear but not see the water flowing from the leak.

 

Water flowing from the tunnel

Water flowing from the tunnel

Atlas & Malus at Alvecote Working Boats Gathering

Atlas and Malus are at the working boats gathering  at Alvecote Marina, along with a beer festival and, craft stalls and music this bank holiday weekend.

Come along and join in the fun.

They are heading back to Hawne Basin next weekend.  If you belong to either the BCN Society or Coombeswood Canal Trust, and would like to crew them, contact Paul Smith using the link on the page.

BCN Explorer Cruise

Walsall Town Basin

The second of this year’s BCN Explorer Cruises – at Walsall Town Basin

This year’s second BCN Explorer Cruise started in Wolverhampton, and finished at the BCN Society clubhouse at Titford Pumphouse, taking a relaxed and leisurely trip via Pelsall Common, Anglesey Basin, Longwood Boat Club (at the top of the Rushall locks), Ocker Hill junction, Walsall Town Arm, and Tipton Green.

Aside from a great time being had by all, there were a series of highlights.

At Ocker Hill,  Andy Tidy  took us for a walk around the now defunct Ridgeacre Branch,showing us the remains of the dead canal.  Fascinating meeting someone else fascinated by this aspect of the history of the BCN – especially someone who knows so much more about it than I do.  (I think Felonious Mongoose must have been one of the last boats down the Ridgeacre – and the difficulty and pollution were such that I think that British Waterways (as was) request that boats do not attempt to navigate it is entirely reasonable.)  To dredge it would be a toxic waste nightmare.

Thence on to Walsall Town Arm, with its outstanding New Art Gallery from where this photo was taken.

From Walsall most of us went up the Walsall locks to Tipton Green. There most, if not all of us did a quality control check of the beer and pies at Tipton’s historic Pie Factory. The link takes you to see the historic place this renowned factory has in British military history !! (??)

The cruise finished at Titford Pump House, where the Old Swan brewery / pub provided yet more beer to provide quality control on.  Passed with flying colours.

Thanks to Stuart and Marie Sherrat for organising an outstanding event.

Ray Shill’s book “West Midlands Canals through time”

West Midlands Canals through time

BCNS Member Ray Shill’s latest book

West Midland Canals through time – Severn Avon & Birmingham

This little gem of a book from Ray Shill in every way lives up to what we have come to expect from him.  His ability to produce the right illustration is never better shown than here.

Available from local bookshops or from the publisher Amberley Books

ISBN 9781445610733