BBC Canals Web Page

I was looking at the stats on the website use – and in the last month, we have had quite a number from the BBC News website, tied in to a series by Liz McIvor “Canals – The Making of a Nation”  (Given the way iPlayer works, this link may not last long)

I have yet to look at any of them, but an initial glance gives the impression that they should be worth watching.  Meanwhile we can return the favour, by directing people to their site.

Atlas and Malus Diary – Kingswood Junction to Minworth

With thanks to Jeff Carter, whose notes these are

Kingswood Junction to Saltisford Arm, Warwick.  Saturday 21st June

We left Kingswood junction in glorious sunshine at 10.30 and had a gentle run to Hatton allowing some of the new members of crew a chance to steer.

Arriving at Hatton locks at around 12.30 we had a clear run down the flight encountering only a handful of boats coming up, and plenty of interest from the many gongoozlers.

After finishing the flight in a little over 2 1/2 hours we moored up in the Saltisford arm at around 3.30.

Crew: Adrian smith, Paul Smith, Michael Payne, Mike Rolfe, Allan Richards and Steve King.

Saltisford Arm, Warwick to Kingswood junction. Saturday 28th June

We set off from the Saltisford arm at 10.15 and immediately set to work on the Hatton flight, closely followed by steam boat Laplander.

We worked our way steadily up the flight encountering several boats heading down.

At the workshops we passed the CRT heritage boat Swift moored.

Arriving at the top of the flight at 13.30 we moored up for a break. Suitably refuelled we carried on to Kingswood getting caught in a few showers. At 16.45 we moored up at Kingswood junction and on cue the sun came out.

Crew- Adrian Smith, Paul Smith, Michael Payne and Paul Cardy

We have also discovered that the bilge pump in the hold of Atlas has stopped working, fuses OK needs a circuit tester to check continuity.

Kingswood junction Grand Union to Sampson road. Saturday 5th July

The Journey went smoothly, with Paul Smith on the tiller of Atlas and John Worrell handling Malus, left me (Jeff)the opportunity to do some housekeeping, try and find the fault of no supply to the bilge pump, and of course make the tea.

Knowle flight was soon dispatched, now the lines for strapping the two boats together had been explained, practice over the past weekends on Hatton flight, were starting to prove the usefulness of training.

The contrast between rural Warkshire and the industrial area on approach through Birmingham are most striking on this section of the GU, complete with a burnt-out and sunk narrow boat.

Paul Smith slept on board Saturday evening.

Crew; Paul Smith, Adrian Smith (to the top of Knowle Flight),  John Worrall and Jeff Carter

Sampson road to Cuckoo Wharf.  Sunday 6th July

Jeff arrived early walked up Camp Hill flight around 7:30am to find the paddle had be forced open with a piece of rough timber, Kids !   Long pond complete empty.

Set off with Paul to send water down from the top lock, once we had sorted out a brew.

As the by weirs unable cope the flood wave, decide to sit and wait on the balance beam for the levels to drop within the long sweeping pound, before the towpath disappeared under own self generating tidal wave.

Mind my own business, watching the world go by, when “Hi, what you doing opening them paddles !! ”, just when you thought you need CRT, the bugger sticks his head over the railings, talk about right place right time and not even a phone call ?

Once explained the lower pound was empty, Martin and his crew set about sorting the flight out (made the faulty mistake of calling him Barry, ie ‘Barry the Grab’ from the workparties – how to impress friends! Oops Martin)

By the time we had A&M singled out ready to descend, we managed to just get in front of the lass from Newcastle and a hire boat, once we had descended the flight, we pulled over to let them past, that’s the least we could do for she made tea for us.

Our decent down Garrison was becoming a problem, with 4 boats all going down leaving Atlas touching the sills, just squeezing free of the locks.   At this point a flush of water was sent from the top for good measure.

We approached lock 4 in the distance, to spot rather large gentleman, bare chested, clutching the mandatory Carling/Super Tenants can of ale, what I took to be a windlass in hand, and 3 of his chums.

Thinking that the last narrow boat down (hire boat) had kindly left the paddle up to set the lock for us, and I for one was not loosing that lock set in our favour to no body , now that I was convinced they were off a hire boat coming up !

I then realised this group were in fact fisherman complaining about ‘them two barges upsetting our fishing match, don’t know what them doing, flooding me bait away…’

I left it with John to talk with the closed minds of the natives, while we locked the pair through.

I just raised a hat as we slipped past on Malus ‘afternoon’, to the replying comments ‘yu broken down then mister….’ ‘arrah’ I replied and thought “leave it at that” as we passed the remains of a burnt out house …welcome to Brum.

The long pound down from Start City, gave me the opportunity to try different ropes on Malus, ie cross straps, long line, snubber and running the line off the Lubey, the latter defiantly is not for sharp bends, now I know why the sign says “Please don’t hit our wall” only a slight touch, honest Governor.

Cuckoo Wharf had plenty of space available, but we tucked the pair behind CRT workboat, so that we didn’t cause anybody a problem leavening the pair for a week.  The only problem was we needed to wind the pair for the next leg.  I recalled from the last work party that there was small disused arm 100 mtrs above Cuckoo Wharf, so into the undergrowth we went poling the pair round.  Only just had enough water, but that concluded another fun filled day , just on cue the heavens opened , with a horrendous thunder storm, just in time for home.

(Paul Smith has looked up the arm – its name “Carter’s Arm”. Now there’s quality for you !)

Crew; Paul Smith, John Carrington and Jeff Carter

Cuckoo Wharf to Minworth Saturday 12th July 2014

Day started off with azure blue skies. kettle on, every body now seams to know what’s required to get us under way without much having too said.

Shot through to Minworth with very little effort, 3 locks dispatched no problem, and we only ground once. Spent time clearing by-weirs on our way down the flight, didn’t look as if CRT hade been down here for some time.

Mel Carter and John Worrall swapped around steering Malus.

Crew; Paul Smith, Mel Carter, John Worrall, Adrian Smith and Jeff Carter


Marathon Challenge results!

Here they are! – the results, listed in order.

1     Clover                                  Micheal Pinnock       454.14

2    Tawny Owl                          Richard Powell         421  (Last year’s winners)

3    Indigo Dream                     Sue Cook                    409.14

4    Diesel And Dust                 Tom Murkin              409

5    Hampstead                          Barnaby Ball             400

6    Dove                                     Andrew Hoyle           383.47

7    Firefly                                   John Mosley              371.14

8    Albion                                   Martin Catterall       354.84

9    Panatha                                Ann Bell                     347.14

10  Peckham Poppy                  Nicky Harvey            345.26

11   Bogwoppit                           Lewys Morgan          340.43 (I think Lewys is the youngest skipper)

12   Chalis                                  Alan Fincher              330

13   Beau                                     Dave Payne               321.71

14   Telematchus                       Nick Norman           319.27

15   Felonious Mongoose        Charley Johnston    316.43

16   Goosander                          Steve Green              304.63

17   Red Wharf                           Stuart Makemson  296.56

18   Denry                                   Paul Callender        296.5

19   Joanna & dayboat  37        Mick Anson            285.14   (The only pair entered)

20   Golden Boyz                       Sandra Willis         280.31

21   Our Little Nightmare        Paul Roe                 253.86

22   More-Jam                           Ian Hartley            251.26

23   Stronghold                         Ray Oakhill             241.29

24  Notos                                    John Kelly              225

25   Nun                                      Benedict Todd        222.14

26   Iona                                     David Laws              220.5

27   Moments                            Doug Swain             220.43

28   Ryland                                 Richard Lacey         215.03

29   Alchemy                              Jill Reynolds           214.64

30  Mvcl                                     Piotr Kukfk              212.57

31   Crane                                   Jeff Bailey                208.47

32  The Cat Who Walks          Ian Hindle               189.09
By Himself

33  Carpe Vinum                       Darren Matthews   177.29

34  Balabor                                  Chris Clegg             163.71

35  Reginald                                Mike Bryant           144.25

36  Muskrat                                John Hammond     112

37 Noga Louise                          Lynne Robinson    106.25

38  Cobbitt                                  Jill Shepherd           67.77

39  Clarie                                     Laurie Booth            45

Congratulations to everyone who took part despite the dreadful weather!!

Thanks to Roy and John for organising the event, and for working out the results.

Also thanks to the  team at Hawne Basin for a great welcome at the finish line.



Historic guillotine lock on the Stratford canal re-opened.

The recently restored historic Guillotine Lock on the North Stratford canal (Lock 1) at Kings Norton junction was re-opened by actor and boater Timothy West and the historic BW boat Scorpio on Tuesday 30th April

(For the pedants amongst you – I know lock 1 on the Stratford isn’t on the BCN – but it is on one of the main routes in)