Hazel Sponsors Visit Heritage Boatyard

Sunday 30th October was the appointed day for the annual Hazel sponsors event. As rejuvenation work started on the 87 year old wooden narrow boat in July, the plan this time was to take the sponsors by boat up the 7 locks from Ashton to Stalybridge to inspect the work on Hazel.

In recent years, attendance at Hazel sponsors events has been fairly low. Though there was some expectation that, with restoration work in progress, more would show up, the assumption was that it would be possible to accommodate them on one boat. In the event it was necessary to take 3 boats. Steel boat Merlin’s Staff, belonging to WCBS member Ian France led the way carrying members of the Dewsbury Cruising and Social Club. This was followed by 1936 built motorised butty Southam  towing 109 year old Lilith with members of Marple and Romiley Lions Club, who are long standing supporters of the Hazel project.As usual on this waterway, problems were encountered with lock gates not opening fully, fluctuating water levels and shopping trolleys. At lock 6 in Armentierres Square in Stalybridge, Southam had to be dragged into the lock by a team of volunteers. After she had worked through, a couple of BW men arrived with  a grappling iron and lifted out several shopping trolleys and a bike.

The three boats tied up above lock 7 and, after enjoying a meal from Southam’s  kitchen, everyone walked round into Knowl St to have a look at progress with Hazel. She is currently at a skeletal stage of her rejuvenation. The new bottom and keelson are assembled, the stempost fitted, stern post shaped and moulds (for bending new planks round) fitted, but no sides. The new sideplanks are spread across the boatyard in the form of a flatpack boat, being cut and planed to shape ready for steaming.

Former Hazel owners Colin Scrivener and Peter Stone were present. They were each presented with a fragment of Hazel’s old bottom painted by Maxine Bailey, also a former Hazel resident.

Winding Southam ready for the return trip was difficult. The winding hole, never the most adequate, had suffered from rubble from a nearby building site. With the water level  low it was necessary to employ a chain block to pull the boat round. Winding complete, the boats set off back down the locks, arriving at Portland Basin at 7 PM.

Despite the difficulties, all concerned declared it to be a very enjoyable day.

Hazel Sponsors contribute a minimum of £28 each year to support Hazel for a particular day on the calendar. Without their help over the years Hazel’s restoration would never have begun. Information on how to become a Hazel sponsor is available elsewhere on this website or from WCBS, 33, Beauchamp St, Ashton under Lyne OL6 8LF or by ‘phoning 07931 952 037

Or a new alternative would be to use the following contact form

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On 30th October 2011 we ran the annual “Hazel” sponsors event. Have a look at the pictures at

Hazel Sponsors Trip Photos – Sponsors Trip Photos

One thought on “Hazel Sponsors Visit Heritage Boatyard

  1. Pingback: Hazel’s Sponsors’ trip to the Heritage Boatyard | The Wooden Canal Boat Society

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