“Stolen” mud hopper found

Jeff relaxing before bow hauling up Farmers BridgeHereford and Gloucester canal society’s hopper “Tow” – an ex River class butty converted in to a mud skip, had rested for a few years on Icknield Port Loop.  They had an offer to lift it out of the water at Alvechurch – but when they went to collect it, it wasn’t there!

Jeff Carter ducks while Paul Smith looks on.It was found at the top of Camp Hill locks – it had probably been assumed by CRT contractors that it was one of their hoppers.  The problem was to get it down to Alvechurch.  A team from H&G, supplemented by BCN society stalwarts bow hauled it down Camp Hill, and up Digbeth and Farmers Bridge flight, with the assistance of Muskrat.  (Muskrat is well known to Marathon Challenge afficionados – owned by John Hammond of H&G)




Brought to Farmers Bridge, then towed down to Alvechurch.  Mudhopper Tow about to be craned out

Well done all for retrieving Tow.


Tipton Festival


Billy Spake Mon

As with every year, the Tipton Festival was great fun.  When a vibrant community festival meets the canal, there is a good time to be had – especially when the sun shines all weekend.

Music, glamour and boats – Phoenix as band and trip boat.  Atlas and Malus, Scorpio and many other working boats.


Bernard and his Glamorous Assistant - with the badge to prove it

Bernard and his Glamorous Assistant – with the badge to prove it!



Blackwell Concert Band on Phoenix

Blackwell Concert Band on Phoenix





Particularly good to see Caggy and her new owners.

Caggy and new owners from Atlas

Caggy and new owners from Atlas


Booking for BCNS End of Season rally at Titford opens

Booking for our end of season rally has now opened.  (We are having an end of season rally at Titford Pumphouse, rather than a bonfire rally.)

Titford Pump Housex

Titford Pump House

Real ale, live music and food – a good weekend out.

The Society AGM will be on the Friday evening.

If you are coming by boat, you will need an entry form, that you can download on this link..  If you are coming by any other means, just turn up.

If you need more information, contact Dave Dent by email from this link or by phoning him on 07774 605336.

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Birmingham Heritage Week – canal walks

Discover Birmingham’s
Waterway Wonders

Meet outside the Round House, canal side, by the Fiddle and Bone public house,  Sheepcote Street B16 8EB, at 11:00 on 13, 15 and 17 September.
Visitors to the canal side will be offered guided walking tours from the Round House.

Expert volunteers (from the BCNS) will help people to enjoy the historic fabric and features spanning the two hundred year history of Birmingham’s Canal Network.

Find out how important the canals were to the growth of Birmingham, learn about the Old Turn Island, the Worcester Bar, the Horseley Bridges, the Brindley Loops and much more during our easy one hour walk.

Part of Birmingham Heritage Week

Bookings now open for Christmas Social.

Holly2Our 2016 Christmas Social will be at the Birmingham Marriott Hotel at Five Ways, in the centre of Birmingham on 2 December.

19:00 for 19:30

Meal choices from £18:50 for two courses and £22.50 for three (same prices as last year).

Transport is dead easy – you can use the hotel car park (free), come by train (Fiveways station is five minutes walk away) or by any number of buses, going down the Hagley Road, Ladywood Middleway or via Harborne.

If you want to come by boat, it is under fifteen minutes walk from the moorings on the main line by the NIA – even less you moor on Oozells Street Loop.

Download the menu and booking form here.  (It is an Excel spreadsheet – if you have an old version, and can only download xls files, download an xls file here.)

The Marriott is at 12 Hagley Road, Five Ways, Birmingham, B16 8SJ.

Contact Dave Dent by email from this link or by phoning him on 07774 605336.

The hotel has asked diners not to wear jeans or trainers.

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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2015 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 22,000 times in 2015. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 8 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Voting opens for Canal & River Trust Council elections

The current CRT Council

The current CRT Council

Boaters and boating businesses are being called on to cast their votes for their six representatives on the Canal & River Trust’s Council as voting opens today (13 November 2015). Volunteers and employees of the Trust will also be voting for one candidate to fill each of the volunteer and employee places. A further place will be held by a Friend of the Trust, who this time round will be co-opted by the Trust’s Appointments Committee.

The Council is made up of 40 nominated, co-opted or elected members as well as the Chairs of 11 regional waterway partnerships. Together they reflect the wide appeal of the waterways – from boating and angling through to walking and conservation. The Council is responsible for the appointment of Trustees, helps to shape policies and provides guidance and perspective to Trustees.

Electoral Reform Services (ERS), which is managing the process independently of the Trust, will email a unique login to everyone eligible to vote (and send a login code by post to people without email). Voters have four weeks until midnight on Friday 11 December to login to cast their vote online at www.votebyinternet.com/CRTelections2015.

The results will be announced on Monday 14 December and the elected candidates will take up their voluntary posts on the Council for four years starting in March 2016.

People can read the candidates’ manifestos at www.votebyinternet.com/CRTelections2015.

More information about the Council and the elections can be found at www.canalrivertrust.org.uk/councilelections2015

(The above is a press release from C&RT.  Conspicuously friends are not being included in the voting, as no candidate received sufficient nominations to be included – perhaps we as a society should chase this more actively for the next election)

Those that I know standing that I would call friends of the society include Andrew Phasey and Vaughan Welch (in the Private Boaters section, and Andy Tidy (in the business section)

Bradley flight to be restored

Not only do we have a start made on the restoration of the Dudley No 2, but also the decision to re-instate the Bradley flight, from Bradley workshops down to the Walsall canal.

BCNS Explorer Cruise walk from the Walsall Canal to Bradley Workshops

Bradley locks today

C&RT announced that they were adopting the Bradley Locks Final Report.  Other than dealing with a road bridge at the top, there are no major obstacles to restoration.

The restoration will not just be a navigation route, but also (and more importantly for users other than boaters) be a wildlife corridor and part of the regeneration of the area.



Not quite today's health and safety!

Replacing gates on the Bradley flight, 1933


The lower locks will be particularly easy to restore – they were refurbished before being filled in to protect the chambers.  All that is needed is to dig them out, and fit gates.

(Here is the work being done in 1933 – photo from the Bob May collection)

Hopefully we will be able to produce a colour version of this photo before two long.