Report: BCNS and National Citizen Service weekends

BCNS hosted an induction and a work party for eleven 16 year olds from the National Citizen Service over the last 2 weekends. They were all from the Smethwick area but had little or no knowledge of the canals around them.

The induction takes place at the Pump House and is an introduction for the teenagers about the canals and the Society. We use slides to introduce topics such as restoration, work boats, heritage and well being and this then leads into a question and answer session. The teenagers usually have some project they are working on and thus their questions tend to reflect whatever task they have been set. This year there was a particular emphasis on pollution and the impact upon wildlife.

The work party then takes place on the following weekend where we use our work boat Phoenix to take the teenagers out onto the canal to assist with a clean up using grappling hooks and litter pickers. Steve Lambert from CRT attends and gives the teenagers a quick safety talk and demonstration and supplies all the necessary equipment and personal protection (gloves). We had a very successful foray onto the Titford canal recovering about 8 trolleys and an old stacker trolley probably related to the Langley Maltings further along the canal. After lunch we took them down several locks giving them experience of steering and locking. It seems strange to us (as we live and breathe the canals) but the teenagers really have no idea how a lock works and their reaction when they understand what is happening is always a pleasure to see.

It was a very worthwhile event and we’re going to be doing it all again at the end of the month with another group from NCS. (Work Party 3rd August).

Work Party December 2nd

Talk about ‘up with thee lark’ off down ‘Jimmy Crow; flight by 07.05am, into the dark grey raining morning, tunnel light picking out strange characters staring out of the shadows of trees and bushes, as they peruse use down the flight. Well not really, just my imagination after getting 5 hours sleep on and off attending the BCNS Christmas do the night before, its sound like a good proposition to sleep on board Phoenix, if not somewhat on chilled side.

Our mission for today was simply annual re-fuelling of  Phoenix, replenish our coal supply as our local supplier had ceased trading, and collect supplies for members from Hawne Basin while there, and while we where going through Gosty Tunnel, collect few logs that are in the undergrowth nicely drying out over the last two years for the stove in Phoenix.

Grey, turned to less grey, as vehicles passed above us in the cling mist come rain of the day, us smug with the Epping glowing, kettle  steaming away, as we passed Valencia Wharf, with a half look through their curtains, as we crushed ice and brought the shards of life into their awaking.

Brades arrived quickly, “Argh – bottom pound’s empty”, 30 min’s latter saw us suitable refreshed with tea while we dealt with the slight hold up, Gower Branch , “blimey its  ¾ inches of ice, may have to abandon thoughts of the trip to Hawne if the Main Line the same, we will be here all day & night.” 20 min’s latter saw us planning down the main line, Epping stove we load, frying pans sizzling, ovens looking after bacon, proper Yorkshire tea was in the pot as we plunged in to Netherton tunnel.

Netherton dispatched, bring on Gosty ‘I fear no one’ not even the Dracula’s painting!”

Coombeswood made us welcome, to see old friends as it turned out to be their Xmas luncheon, so nice to say hello to those you only occasional see and acknowledge on the system in passing bye.

Returning via our now out ice worn path, coming into the Crow saw our road ahead was set for us to be welcomed by Charlie (the dog and Phil), (not sure the physiotherapist would be happy), we let Phil take over at the helm whilst we ploughed up to the Pump House, and  distributed of our cargo for the day,

House keeping suitable sorted boat was left ready for the next adventure at its safe mooring.

So…..there was I on my own to undertake our work party de-brief at a suitable establishment.

Whilst enjoying dinner and a convivial pint, know member of staff enquired ‘Aye it, yum alright mate’ me. Quick quip ‘sound, just looking for a door way to see out the night’…. But then while spoil the illusion, when you have a large jumbo bag, with a sleep bag, blanket roll on top, rucksack by your side, two jacket’s draped over the chair, unshaven, smell of wood smoke, and are total mental and physical knackered……I’m bloody happy, just want me bath, and 12 hours sleep will resolve the problems of the world, and as I dream …..Let’s bring on the next adventure.

BCN Society Spring Cruise 2018

on Saturday 7th April 2018 at 10am

from TIPTON to BUMBLE HOLE via locks & Netherton tunnel

We welcome boaters to join our cruise & to allow some passengers to join them.

This year we are taking our Spring Cruise from Tipton to Windmill End and back.

We will take either the Factory Locks or Brades to take us from the Old Main Line at Tipton to the New Main Line then through Netherton Tunnel to moor around Windmill End & Bumble Hole.

There we will have a bring your own lunch stop and take a short walk and visit the Bumble Hole Visitor Centre.

Then we shall return to Tipton via the tunnel & either Brades or Factory (take the other set of locks that you took on your way out).

Many of our passengers will leave us at Tipton, though those that wish may join us for the evening meal will be welcome.

We will start at Tipton at around 10am, returning to Tipton around 5pm.  There is no charge for this cruise but the whole point is to encourage non boaters to join us so please state how many passengers you are willing to take with you on your boat.

An evening meal will be arranged – details later.

If you need further details email email Brenda Ward at boundarypost@gmail.com.

Fast work by C&RT

C&RT team taking a well deserved lunch break after a very slick repair job.

I was heading down the Farmers Bridge flight with Brian and Brenda Ward on Colehurst, and we heard that the collar on the bottom of the Aston flight had failed.  C&RT had been informed, and were “on the case”

The new collar

By the time we got to Aston bottom lock, there was the C&RT team having a well deserved lunch break, and a new collar on the gate hinge.  Total closure time from collar failure to replacement being fitted was less than the time it took us to get down the Aston flight.  Pretty impressive – thank you!

Work party re-secures Titford Pump House moorings

There had been some thoroughly unpleasant incidents with vandals coming under Tat Bank bridge, crossing the canal on the bridging pontoon and vandalising

The first navigation of the Tat Bank feeder in many years! Photo Wayne Attwood.

some of the boats moored there.

It became apparent that the end of the fence blocking the access under the bridge had been removed.

A work party moved the pontoon that provided the access to the moorings, and found the missing piece of fence in the canal.

A subsequent work party re-attached the fence, (using the bolts from the bridging pontoon, and bending the bolts so they could not be removed again.)

With a bit of luck, the moorings should be secure again.  Certainly there have been no more incidents.

With the bridging pontoon moved, there is no definite end to the Tat Bank feeder, so Phoenix navigated down the cut for a hundred yards or so – the first navigation in many years.  Definitely not for the faint hearted – Phoenix unloaded draws very little water, and she was definitely pushing through the silt.

 

The Young and Old Mavericks at the Pump House

As a pre-empt to the Boonyeds Tour later in the year Billy Spake Mon and Bren Hawthorne will return to the Titford Pump House, Langley on Saturday April 22 to host the first evening of the year in collaboration with BCN Society.

They will showcase young and more mature performers from the Maverick acoustic night including James Broadfoot and John Langford. The audience will be entertained by the Boonyeds very special slant of life and a wonderful array of local talent.
Tickets are limited at this very special venue.

They can be reserved with Billy by e mailing either mail@feloniousmongoose.com or b.dakin@aston.ac.uk or just text name and number of tickets to 07514 824845.

The show starts at half seven, but the doors open at seven, with some of Pardoe’s real ale available.

Book tickets now and pay at the door – £5.

Work party success

On a stunningly successful work party in November, 12 volunteers filled Crowe and Phoenix from only three bridge holes.

Hooked from the bottom of three bridge holes on the Tame Valley Canal

The job was far from finished – so they had another go.

(Due to a communications glitch – this was originally posted as a workparty on Jan 19th – there is not one then)

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Progress restoring the Dudley No 2

In 2016 Lapal Canal Trust made some big strides towards restoring the Dudley No 2 canal.

There was substantial excavation of Harborne Wharf by Careys, a WRG work camp to restore the canal wall.  (There is another WRG camp starting on 29 July – see the Diary or the WRG website.)

 

The ground was laser scanned, so that they can take sections to help estimate the material to moved to restore canal as far as California.  (Near Barnes Hill Asda rather than Mexico, for those who don’t know the area)

 

 

 

 

This was done by Ken Pearson  of Laser Scans Ltd.

In addition they got a further £30000 funding for further work from the Headley fund.

Well Done Lapal Canal Trust!

Oil under Dudley

A little while ago I was asked about oil under Dudley, following an item in the Daily Mail.

The item bears a striking resemblance to an item by Cap’n Ahab

I contacted Charles Legge, who recognised that he had been had – and said that he would publish a correction.  Has anyone seen it?