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.

 

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED

3 old ladies at Portland Basin

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED FOR OUR MONTHLY RECYCLING TRIPS

On the first Sunday, Monday and Tuesday of each month we collect donations for sale in our shop or for recycling.

WE NEED MORE HELP TO DO THIS.

You will get a free boat trip from Portlad Basin to Droylsden and return, learn about our Society, meet other volunteers and get a chance to steer the boat.   In Droylsden we collect from the local houses.

Sunday trips are from 9.30am to around 4pm dependant on how much is collected.

****** Bring your own lunch ******

Trips on Mondays and Tuesdays are from 6.30pm to around 9pm

DATES FOR 2016

APR     SUN 3rd      MON 4th      TUES 5th

MAY     SUN 8th      MON 9th      TUES 3rd

JUN      SUN 5TH   MON 6th      TUES 7th

JUL       SUN 3rd    MON 4th       TUES 5th

AUG     SUN 7th      MON 1st      TUES 2nd      

 Ring Chris Leah on 07931 952037 for more info.

Boat Maintenance help needed

In November 2015 "Forget me Not" went on dock at Ashton Packet Boat Co to have her skeg re-fitted, bottom caulked, shoeing and ice plating renewed and propeller rfurbished ready for lots more Hazel Rejuvenated towing and recycling trips in coming years.

In November 2015 “Forget me Not” went on dock at Ashton Packet Boat Co to have her skeg re-fitted, bottom caulked, shoeing and ice plating renewed and propeller rfurbished ready for lots more Hazel Rejuvenated towing and recycling trips in coming years.

Boat fans in the Northwest, here’s a rare opportunity to practise wooden boat maintenance skills on a genuine 1930s narrowboat!

Chris Leah of the Wooden Canal Boat Society is busy doing repairs to Forget-me-not while she’s out of the water at Guide bridge (near Ashton-u-Lyne). He could do with hands to help with caulking and putting the skeg back on over the next few days, and weather permitting, tarring the sides and replacing shoeing and ice-plating next week.

All of these jobs are fairly simple to pick up, amply assisted with cuppas, and I can personally reccomend the therapeutic effects of smacking things with hammers and glooping liquid tar around. Chris requires only that you let him know in advance if you intend to come and volunteer, by calling him on 07931 952 037 at least the day before.

Any old iron ??

The Wooden Canal Boat Society and the Canal and River Trust (CaRT) are organising several combined environmental events. The first took place in Stalybridge on Wednesday 23rd September. Anne-Louise Black, the Hazel Project Development Manager says this… ”Thank you so much everyone who came along today to the canal clean up in Stalybridge, it was fantastic!  For those of you that were not with us today, we got about two and a half CRT truck-loads of stuff including about 20 bikes, a lot of trollies, lots of kids scooters and a very heavy metal bollard thing”

Canal clean up Staly Sp 2015This is what our boat Forgetmenot looked like after the clean up !! How impressive is that for a few hours work?

She added ”Thank you Chris Leah for providing the boat, the crew and the teas!

Hopefully we will arrange another one soon, given that we only did such a short stretch of canal, there is much more treasure down there to be found.”

Thanks, Anne-Louise

Hazel leaves the boatyard !!

Hazel is at last where she belongs, on the canal !!

The photos show our long-time volunteer, Maxine, repainting Hazel’s old name and adding her new.

Maxine painting Hazel's name

Then Hazel sets off to the Peak Forest canal towed by ForgetMeNot for a little filming. This trip’s a great opportunity for the new skipper and volunteer crew trainees to practise their new-found skills. Do comment on this post if you’d like to get involved in any way.

Hazel off to Marple with FMN

If you want to see Hazel in all her glory do come along to Stalybridge Boat Gathering at the Carnival weekend 27th and 28th June where she’ll be on show after her trip out on the canal.

 

 

Volunteers update and urgent call-out

Every year at this time we have to produce an annual report in time for the upcoming A.G.M.
Hazel Mayow, our Volunteer Co-ordinator, has written this –
The main priorities for volunteering in the last year have been progressing the rebuild of Hazel and keeping Forget-me-Not and Southam in suitable condition to be used for training and support to the Hazel project. It is for these purposes that money has been available from the Big Lottery Fund.
The three things Hazel (the person) has been recruiting new volunteers for have been Boat-sitting – lighting the ranges in FMN and Southam to drive out the damp, and doing general cleaning and small maintenance jobs – the Recycling trips, and Skipper and crew members’ training for the planned well-being trips.
The Shop has been kept going through difficult times – caused by a change in management – by a sterling effort on the part of volunteers – they all deserve medals. We could still do with more capable, self-motivating helpers though, and  interested applicants should talk to Christine, our new shop manager.
Skipper and crew volunteers – urgent call out!
Crew training needs to be happening in March and April in order to give a suitable run up to the summer. A press release is being sent out to local press, and also various waterways publications in an effort to attract suitably boaty volunteers who would be able to commit the necessary time.
Woodland Wednesday. Chris and Hazel have started a liason with Tameside Countryside service with the aim of using one of their sites to sustainably harvest firewood for the boats. We are negotiating the paperwork for a longer term arrangement, but Hazel will hopefully be running a coppicing training day on Wednesday 25th March to gauge how it would work. All welcome!