Bollington Historic Boat Gathering 14th – 20th Sept. An Epic Journey

Our Hazel crew member, Tony Hewitson writes about this trip………….

I have been wrangling the crew for a few months now, but this was logistically the most difficult by far and I thank everyone who helped over the 7 days.

We started early on Wednesday, preparing Forget-Me-Not and Hazel, the first job was to shaft Hazel to Portland Marina to pump out the black water tank. So on top of Hazel with the shaft in hand I started moving her over toward the aqueduct, not realising that Aaron was pulling me round with the line. The shaft got trapped under the boat and I had 2 choices, hold on and end up like a dyke jumper or let it go and fish it out of the cut. I quickly retrieved the shaft much to the amusement of the guys from Still Waters.

Chris had tried to sell space on Hazel for the trip but without success, so at the last minute 2 guys from Greystones called Grant and Chris joined us staying until Friday,

Once we had finished at the Marina we joined up with Forget-Me-Not and we started to head up the Peak Forest Canal, The crew for that day were Chris, Joan Wainwright, Aaron Booth, Phil Hanscomb, Andy Smith and myself. We moored up at Marple Aqueduct. Andy, Joan, Chris and myself stayed on the boats, whilst Aaron cycled home.

The second day was through The Marple Flight and we had a lot of help, thankfully as this is never an easy exercise. We were joined by Aaron cycling from Ashton. George Hewitt a CC who was moored near Hyde Bank Tunnel, Mick Owen with Gary and Kath Bailey, Hazel Mayow who brought Neil Morley who stayed with us until Monday. And not forgetting Tom Blackburn who worked lock side and by his own admission was completely shattered by the end of the day. His sterling work helped Joan and I get Forget-Me-Not through with only one small stem up. He did work really hard. We moored the boats just past the start of the Macclesfield Canal for the night. At this point I had to leave the boats and cycled back home as I had an appointment on Friday. Aaron also cycled back and returned on the Friday

After checking the boats at Portland Basin I cycled up the canal rejoining them at Bollington, Just had time to say hello to Chris when he headed back to Ashton and said goodbye to our guests from Greystones, Aaron set off again back home, that boy is fit! Leaving Joan, Neil and myself on the boats. We had a really lovely evening and I recruited Neil to the Hazel crew.

Next day, Chris arrived with the van and Aaron arrived, as always, by bike, we set up some tables and put out the leaflets, signs and Anne Riley’s artwork. I again donned the Victorian boaters garb, I also ran a slide show of the pictures of the Hazel restoration on my laptop. There were lot of people walking dogs and Aaron had the brilliant idea of putting some water out for the many dogs that were being walked. Chris and Joan showed people around the boat I mostly sat outside and enjoyed the beautiful weather and sold some most of Anne’s artwork with 2 of the items heading to Madeira. We even showed a lady who was visiting from The Falklands around the boat. Barry came with his brother to show him the boats.

The new pictures of the restoration on the side of the boat brought over a lot of people, when steering the butty you can see people stop and look at them as you go by.

Later in the evening we were joined by Maxine Bailey who stayed for the rest of the trip. We said goodbye to Aaron who again cycled back to Ashton.

We were surprised on the Sunday morning when all the other historic boats began to leave, We had believed it was a 2 day event but I was only the Saturday. We didn’t care I dressed up and we set up our stalls and again we showed people around the boat.

In the afternoon we were joined by Christine Roberts and Lesley Smith

At the end of the day Chris took Joan  home and Neil, Maxine and I enjoyed a chilled evening on the boat. Over the weekend we took around £90.00 selling almost all of Anne’s work and hopefully made some good connections.

On the Monday we headed a little way along the Macclesfield Canal to wind in a very silted winding hole, with the engine cooling intermittently working. and headed back to Marple with Chris, Neil, Maxine and myself crewing, I had to head back home in the evening having a rather scary ride home down the towpath in the dark. We also said goodbye to Neil. I caught them up the next afternoon just after Forget-Me-Not had got down the Marple flight, There was a lady from Towpath Talk taking photos for an article she had been interviewing Chris for, we were joined by Hazel and George to help through the locks.

With Chris, Maxine and myself on board we moored once again at Marple Viaduct and prepared for a wellbeing trip with Macclesfield Mind the following day, but that’s another story.

I would like to thank everyone who in anyway helped make this trip an unforgettable experience and if I have forgot anyone I do apologise.  And of course there are volunteers that work mostly at either The Heritage Boat Yard and Portland Basin such as Clare and Barry.

 

Can you help us?

Saturday 10th September 
                   The Wooden Canal Boat Society will be at Portland Basin Museum                for a Tameside Heritage Open Day.

Can you please help the Wooden Canal Boat Society at this event ?

  • Talk to the public about the work we do and the history of our boats.
  • Tell the public how they can support our efforts ………………..

                     > by volunteering to do some work on the boats or background admin work                                     or becoming a Council of Management member
> by donating their money (membership, sponsorship, donations or using our                                  fundraising methods)
Thank you; if you’ve any queries email general@wcbs.org.uk.

WCBS is taking part in The National Trust’s Heritage Open Days events.

If you live near to Ashton under Lyne please can you volunteer to help us

man an information stall and show our boats off to the public.

Contact : Tony Hewitson – hewitson.tony@gmail.com

Thank you.

OUR EVENT – Wooden Canal Boat Society Heritage Boats

The Wooden Canal Boat Society boats, Portland Basin Boatyard, Portland Street South, Ashton-under-Lyne, Greater Manchester, OL6 7SX

The Wooden Canal Boat Society have 6 heritage wooden canal boats based at Portland Basin. All of them are over 100 years old and were used in various places around the country during the canal system’s industrial heyday. Normally, due to volunteers working on the boats, we cannot allow public access.
We have rescued these and restored them, to differing degrees, for use in the community.
Our pride of the fleet is Hazel who has been completely restored and is now working as Tameside’s well-being boat for those suffering poor mental health. You will be able to see her in her modern state.
You will be able to see the back cabin on Forgetmenot as it would have been with a family living on her while she worked the canals.
You will be able to talk with our volunteers about the boats, their industrial past and their current work in the community.
Suitable for all ages as long as children are accompanied. Disabled access available on Hazel.

Opening Times

  • Saturday 10 September: 1100-1600
  • Sunday 11 September: 1100-160

Directions

Brown road signs are all around the area directing traffic to Portland Basin Museum. The canal is behind the museum and can be accessed separately. By bus, the 330 bus, Stockport to Ashton, stops opposite Asda and there is a small footpath leading down to the canal (not signposted but the only footpath) From Ashton town centre on foot, go along to Lidl, cross the road and follow the sign posts or find the footpath as above.

Organised by

Anne Louise Black

Anne Louise Black

https://www.heritageopendays.org.uk/visiting/event/wooden-canal-boat-society-heritage-boats

New Craft classes

Hazel Mayow, the Wooden Canal Boat Society’s Volunteer Co-ordinator is organising some craft classes. These may be classes to learn traditional, boat-related skills or just-for-fun crafts.
The first one is an introduction to canal art (or Roses and Castles) and will be led by the very talented Maxine who has recently been working on Hazel the boat.
Her workshop is going ahead this Sunday 29th November, 10am-3.30pm, at the WCBS shop 173 Stamford Street, Ashton-under-Lyne.

Please RSVP to Hazel Mayow at hazelmwcbs@gmail.com to reserve a place, as we can take 12 people maximum, but feel free to pass this on to anyone else you know who may be interested.

We’re not charging for this one as such, but a donation towards materials would be greatly appreciated! Maxine also says that if you have anything suitable to decorate feel free to bring it. Painted wood, metal or enamel things like camping mugs are ideal, or have a look in the shop for inspiration! otherwise we’ll be practising on card, so could be ideal for making personalised chistmas messages, signs etc. with a bit of practise.

RSVP! First come first served, and if you then can’t come for whatever reason please let Hazel know so she can offer the place to someone else.

Summer events – can you help Hazel?

We’ve got a couple of great events lined up this summer and really need the help of as many volunteers as possible. The events will help the society but they’ll be a great opportunity for volunteers to learn more about handling Hazel and about the canals in general.

Sat 27th and Sun 28th is Stalybridge Carnival weekend and on the Saturday there’ll be a boat gathering in Stalybridge town centre. Hazel needs help to get her there from her current home in our nearby boatyard so she’ll need some fit volunteers to help ‘bowhaul’ her down that stretch of the canal. When in the town she’ll then need volunteers to tell people about her history and her future and the Wooden Canal Boat Society in general. We may also be having stalls on the Sunday in a nearby park which is the finish venue for the carnival procession.

Marple Locks festival will be held on Sunday 5th July. This is a bigger challenge as we’ll need volunteer crew members to get Hazel to Marple over a few days during the week 29th June to 4th July. On the Festival day we’ll again be telling the public about her and the Society and probably having a fund-raising stall.

CAN YOU HELP? Please do get in touch if you have any time to spare at all during these periods for any kind of work – it’s not all strenuous !!. The events are great fun and being part of a team makes them even better. Please comment on this post, ”contact us” via this website or email the Hazel Project Manager, Anne-Louise Black at a.black@wcbs.org.uk THANK YOU !!