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Silver Propeller - How Many Have You Done?


cheshire~rose

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41 minutes ago, ditchcrawler said:

I don't  know, I have not been checking. There were two girls who were well on the way to getting an award but they suddenly disappeared, they were in one of the canal magazines

I seem to remember that they got to their destination and sold the boat and went back to land living. I think it was their aim to only boat for a specific length of time rather than that they gave up boating. They found out about the Silver Propeller and they made it their aim to visit as any locations as they could. 

 

That is my recollection of their time  on the water but I may be wrong. I often am ? 

 

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Among all this discussion regarding adding potential additional placed to the award I am more concerned that The IWA may have to make an adjustment to one of those head's of navigation!

 

I have been very aware for a long time that CRT were up against a big problem without sufficient budget for a long time. The 23 locks leading up to the current head of Navigation at the top of The Chesterfield Canal were all restored at the same time. That means that 23 locks worth of gates  were always going to reach their best before date at around the same time.  (some are doubles and trebles so there are fewere gates than if they were individual locks)

 

Over recent years several of the locks have had gates replaced and we were under the impression that, with a shortage of money, each year the worst of them would get replaced and by staggering replacing them now, it will help in years to come when they won't all be needed at the same time next time.

 

Then came Covid-19 on the back of a prolonged period of grossly ineffective preventative maintenance on the flight. The older gates actually faired better because they are so leaky and in a shaded area they tended to stay wet but without anyone having thought to put ash down the leaky gates so they help water with no boats moving some of the newer gates are now warped. Cinderhill is so bad that the lower gate gives the appearance of a blown cill and can only be operated by nosing the gate open with the boat going upstream and strapping the gate open with the boat coming downstream.

 

We had the pleasure of making a trip to the head of navigation our first post lockdown trip a couple of weeks back. Seeing just how derelict the top end of the canal has been allowed to become made me very concerned for its future. With Chesterfield Canal Trust focused on getting the canal joined up for 2027 (and doing a great job of seemingly ensuring that is possible) it does worry me that they have lost focus on the fact that the section that is managed by CRT is seemingly lacking in proper management with money being wasted on putting sticking plasters on problems only for us to discover the sticking plaster wasn't even a waterproof one at a later date. It could be very embarrassing if they get Chesterfield linked throygh to Kiveton Park in 2027 only for there to be a previously restored section that has been allowed to fall into dereliction below that preventing navigation of the entire canal again.

 

With the release of the draft winter stoppages this week the works listed for The Chesterfield number just three. Only one gate being replaced: Turnerwood Top. I sincerely hope I am incorrect about this but the way this stacks up in my eyes is that CRT will create a new head of navigation at Turnerwood Basin citing lack of money to maintain the upper reaches. They simply need to work out how to divert the Brancliffe feeder 20 yards upstrem into the basin and they no longer have to worry about the ailing Harthill Reservoir that is affected in a similar way to Toddbrook.

 

With the warning sent out to Chesterfield Boaters several weeks ago requesting us to "limit" movements to the top and employ a one-up one-down sytem to save water it highlighted how out of touch that message was. we spent a gentle 11 days slowly heading up from Clayworth and back again. A trip that could have been easily completed in 6 days. We passed three boats on our way upstream and another 3 on our way downstream. We would still be waiting at one of those 23 locks for another boat to cross with! Thankfully we have had some rain this week which may have topped up the reservoir a tiny bit but the writing is on the wall and they will close the flight to navigation as soon as the water runs to low to supply the canal.

 

If you have already set off with a plan to get to The Norwood Tunnel - enjoy! I sincerely hope you enjoy this jewel in the crown of The Chesterfield Canal as much as we have always done. Take photos and make the most of it because you may find you are one of the last boats that makes that journey  until the flight can be restored again.

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3 hours ago, cheshire~rose said:

Among all this discussion regarding adding potential additional placed to the award I am more concerned that The IWA may have to make an adjustment to one of those head's of navigation!

 

I have been very aware for a long time that CRT were up against a big problem without sufficient budget for a long time. The 23 locks leading up to the current head of Navigation at the top of The Chesterfield Canal were all restored at the same time. That means that 23 locks worth of gates  were always going to reach their best before date at around the same time.  (some are doubles and trebles so there are fewere gates than if they were individual locks)

 

Over recent years several of the locks have had gates replaced and we were under the impression that, with a shortage of money, each year the worst of them would get replaced and by staggering replacing them now, it will help in years to come when they won't all be needed at the same time next time.

 

Then came Covid-19 on the back of a prolonged period of grossly ineffective preventative maintenance on the flight. The older gates actually faired better because they are so leaky and in a shaded area they tended to stay wet but without anyone having thought to put ash down the leaky gates so they help water with no boats moving some of the newer gates are now warped. Cinderhill is so bad that the lower gate gives the appearance of a blown cill and can only be operated by nosing the gate open with the boat going upstream and strapping the gate open with the boat coming downstream.

 

We had the pleasure of making a trip to the head of navigation our first post lockdown trip a couple of weeks back. Seeing just how derelict the top end of the canal has been allowed to become made me very concerned for its future. With Chesterfield Canal Trust focused on getting the canal joined up for 2027 (and doing a great job of seemingly ensuring that is possible) it does worry me that they have lost focus on the fact that the section that is managed by CRT is seemingly lacking in proper management with money being wasted on putting sticking plasters on problems only for us to discover the sticking plaster wasn't even a waterproof one at a later date. It could be very embarrassing if they get Chesterfield linked throygh to Kiveton Park in 2027 only for there to be a previously restored section that has been allowed to fall into dereliction below that preventing navigation of the entire canal again.

 

With the release of the draft winter stoppages this week the works listed for The Chesterfield number just three. Only one gate being replaced: Turnerwood Top. I sincerely hope I am incorrect about this but the way this stacks up in my eyes is that CRT will create a new head of navigation at Turnerwood Basin citing lack of money to maintain the upper reaches. They simply need to work out how to divert the Brancliffe feeder 20 yards upstrem into the basin and they no longer have to worry about the ailing Harthill Reservoir that is affected in a similar way to Toddbrook.

 

With the warning sent out to Chesterfield Boaters several weeks ago requesting us to "limit" movements to the top and employ a one-up one-down sytem to save water it highlighted how out of touch that message was. we spent a gentle 11 days slowly heading up from Clayworth and back again. A trip that could have been easily completed in 6 days. We passed three boats on our way upstream and another 3 on our way downstream. We would still be waiting at one of those 23 locks for another boat to cross with! Thankfully we have had some rain this week which may have topped up the reservoir a tiny bit but the writing is on the wall and they will close the flight to navigation as soon as the water runs to low to supply the canal.

 

If you have already set off with a plan to get to The Norwood Tunnel - enjoy! I sincerely hope you enjoy this jewel in the crown of The Chesterfield Canal as much as we have always done. Take photos and make the most of it because you may find you are one of the last boats that makes that journey  until the flight can be restored again.

See the thread on  'Improving Mooring . .  .' where frangar indicates that he is able to make contact with East Midlands CaRT management. Try raising your concerns and he may be able to put the matter on a formal consultation agenda which could lead to the 'real' strategy - or the lack of one - to be open to wider debate. Given the lack of adequate resources it is always going to be hard to get places like Chesterfield properly maintained, especially if there are only two or three boats a day or even fewer. That is where Silver Prop can help.

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1 hour ago, Mike Todd said:

See the thread on  'Improving Mooring . .  .' where frangar indicates that he is able to make contact with East Midlands CaRT management. Try raising your concerns and he may be able to put the matter on a formal consultation agenda which could lead to the 'real' strategy - or the lack of one - to be open to wider debate. Given the lack of adequate resources it is always going to be hard to get places like Chesterfield properly maintained, especially if there are only two or three boats a day or even fewer. That is where Silver Prop can help.

Mike,

 

I am in contact with the area manager and have made m dismay very clear to him. The Chesterfield Canal is managed under the Yorkshire & North East CRT region.  It moved from the East Midlands region with the shake up a couple of years back. I have to say that in my opinion that is when the the situation started to go from poor to dire. The Chesterfield is the only canal of it's type in that region and so many of the staff lack the experience in how to manage the water levels etc. This combined with the Regional Manager (Who I will say has served The Chessie really well in my opinion over the years) was seconded to oversee the Toddbrook situation and then the Covid Recovery programme so has precious little time to even be aware what his staff at ground level are or are not doing and whether they are doing it well or not.

 

There has been some dire waste of budget elsewhere on the canal as they throw money at totally inadequate methods of trying to upgrade and repair things that anyone with an ounce of experience could tell them would fail (I could detail but won't side-track)

 

Yes The Silver Propeller could assist but how many of those boats that set off with the intention of getting to The Norwood Tunnel last year had to turn back when the top end of the canal was closed to navigation due to lack of water? The By-washes and weirs had been running well for months with no water held back for when lockdown eased. The Brancliffe Feeder had not been cleared for around 4 years and was choked with weed bringing precious little water to the canal below Turnerwood. When it finally rained heavily the feeder caused local farmers fields to flood giving a rush of activity to put things right and, of course a bill for the compensation for loss of crop in those fields.

How many boats are enroute this year to try and do it and will find that it is closed to navigation before the get there? If heading north on the system to get there they have a few days of river work and a tidal section to achieve before they even reach the canal. It's all great boating and I would still recommend it to anyone wanting to visit but those in the know will have been already because the weed is already growing and how many times is a boater going to make that trip only to find they cant reach the head of navigation?

It is  a catch 22. fewer boats = more weed, more weed = fewer boats = fewer boats = less budget available.

 

Tell the contractors that they need to keep the blades of the weedcutters down on the base of the canal to clear the weed properly and they will tell you they don't do that because they know that if the weed grows back they get to cut it again a few weeks laster = more money. Who is overseeing this contract? - nobody! There is no budget to spend but the budget they have is not being spent wisely

Edited by cheshire~rose
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14 hours ago, cheshire~rose said:

Mike,

 

I am in contact with the area manager and have made m dismay very clear to him. The Chesterfield Canal is managed under the Yorkshire & North East CRT region.  It moved from the East Midlands region with the shake up a couple of years back. I have to say that in my opinion that is when the the situation started to go from poor to dire. The Chesterfield is the only canal of it's type in that region and so many of the staff lack the experience in how to manage the water levels etc. This combined with the Regional Manager (Who I will say has served The Chessie really well in my opinion over the years) was seconded to oversee the Toddbrook situation and then the Covid Recovery programme so has precious little time to even be aware what his staff at ground level are or are not doing and whether they are doing it well or not.

 

There has been some dire waste of budget elsewhere on the canal as they throw money at totally inadequate methods of trying to upgrade and repair things that anyone with an ounce of experience could tell them would fail (I could detail but won't side-track)

 

Yes The Silver Propeller could assist but how many of those boats that set off with the intention of getting to The Norwood Tunnel last year had to turn back when the top end of the canal was closed to navigation due to lack of water? The By-washes and weirs had been running well for months with no water held back for when lockdown eased. The Brancliffe Feeder had not been cleared for around 4 years and was choked with weed bringing precious little water to the canal below Turnerwood. When it finally rained heavily the feeder caused local farmers fields to flood giving a rush of activity to put things right and, of course a bill for the compensation for loss of crop in those fields.

How many boats are enroute this year to try and do it and will find that it is closed to navigation before the get there? If heading north on the system to get there they have a few days of river work and a tidal section to achieve before they even reach the canal. It's all great boating and I would still recommend it to anyone wanting to visit but those in the know will have been already because the weed is already growing and how many times is a boater going to make that trip only to find they cant reach the head of navigation?

It is  a catch 22. fewer boats = more weed, more weed = fewer boats = fewer boats = less budget available.

 

Tell the contractors that they need to keep the blades of the weedcutters down on the base of the canal to clear the weed properly and they will tell you they don't do that because they know that if the weed grows back they get to cut it again a few weeks laster = more money. Who is overseeing this contract? - nobody! There is no budget to spend but the budget they have is not being spent wisely

I sort of agree about the use of the weed boat, I was sitting inside a mass of weed as the weed boat passed, skimming the top of the centre of the canal where there is little weed I managed to indicate he should remove my weed, which he did, and I could see that doubled the weed he was carrying.

The loose floating dead weed eventually coalesces in to mass mats, I am sure that the weed boat covers more miles per day just skimming, but the need is to remove as much as possible, not to cover more miles per day.

Edited by LadyG
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6 hours ago, LadyG said:

I sort of agree about the use of the weed boat, I was sitting inside a mass of weed as the weed boat passed, skimming the top of the centre of the canal where there is little weed I managed to indicate he should remove my weed, which he did, and I could see that doubled the weed he was carrying.

The loose floating dead weed eventually coalesces in to mass mats, I am sure that the weed boat covers more miles per day just skimming, but the need is to remove as much as possible, not to cover more miles per day.

I think you are on the Chesterfield canal, if so its a SSSI so they are probably very restricted to what extent they can clear the channel https://www.bassetlaw.gov.uk/community-and-living/biodiversity-and-nature-conservation/sites-of-special-scientific-interest-sssi/

 

https://designatedsites.naturalengland.org.uk/PDFsForWeb/Citation/1005589.pdf

 

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1 hour ago, ditchcrawler said:

I think you are on the Chesterfield canal, if so its a SSSI so they are probably very restricted to what extent they can clear the channel https://www.bassetlaw.gov.uk/community-and-living/biodiversity-and-nature-conservation/sites-of-special-scientific-interest-sssi/

 

https://designatedsites.naturalengland.org.uk/PDFsForWeb/Citation/1005589.pdf

 

Yes, part of the Chesterfield Canal is an SSSI - from West Stockwith up to Whitsundaypie Lock. For that reason clearance of reeds has to be done carefully at the correct time of year (winter) but this is the blanket weed that causes a problem during the summer and will choke the canal for all the natural biodiversity it is a habitat for just as much as it does for boating. SSSI status does not apply above Whitsunday Pie Lock and yet the method of only removing the top few inches of blanket weed is employed along any part of the canal where you might find a weed cutter working 

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On 04/05/2021 at 17:02, john6767 said:

They only count from 1 Jan 2018 on, anything before does not count!  As Preston basin has only just been added I don't know if it would count in 2020, I would assume not as it was not a location when you visited it, and the point is to make you visit those locations now.  I have got a number on the BCN that were before 2018 and therefore don't count, so I lost a bit of interest to be honest.

According to the IWA Silver Propeller web page, any visit after 1/1/2018 counts, so provided you've got the evidence (photo) it should count. The new additions caused us to jump from 15 to 16 - it would have been 17 but we didn't have a suitable photo of Coventry Basin from when we were there in 2018.

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1 hour ago, Mike55 said:

According to the IWA Silver Propeller web page, any visit after 1/1/2018 counts, so provided you've got the evidence (photo) it should count. The new additions caused us to jump from 15 to 16 - it would have been 17 but we didn't have a suitable photo of Coventry Basin from when we were there in 2018.

I can’t see how the new one visited before they were announced could count, but if they specifically say that then I guess they do, but it just makes they whole thing more of a nonsense like as you say you may have visited the place, but with no evidence because it was not a location when you visited it.  I guess I need to nip across the Ribble link again to get a photo of Preston.

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On 08/05/2021 at 18:42, john6767 said:

I guess I need to nip across the Ribble link again to get a photo of Preston.

 

Just Photoshop your boat into this photo.  If it's good enough for the photography competition it should do for the silver propeller!

 

IMG_20210411_132119.jpg.24382d0a19ad8e6a2102dd704cc189c1.jpg

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Apparently we can now claim to have one! Just been to Coventry Basin today and it only cost me one trip down the weedhatch, which amazed me with the amount of rubbish floating about.

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