Friday, 12 December 2008


Last week saw further progress on Barnet. Stuart of Barnowl Narrowboats, and his friend Damien came to the yard to start work on Barnet’s Back Cabin. You will have seen in previous posts the extent of work which needs doing in the Cabin, all of this will be repaired by Stuart and Damien. Well done lads.

Today Bob and Keith started work on the false floor in the hold. The previous floor was properly designed for the hold of Barnet and made at Bradley. The ply was rotten but the hardwood bearers were salvaged and we are able to use them for our new false floor.

Unfortunately access to Barnet isn't easy at the moment due to the weather but I will upload photographs as soon as I gain access.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008


I’ve been doing a bit of work on Barnet over the last couple of days. Barnet was craned out onto the dock last week so that we can get the hull checked out and black it. Here’s a fetching picture of me pressure washing the hull off.

As well as blacking we've decided to get rid of the Challenger Livery, the first step taken to remove it was sanding down the bands on the counter, I managed to get a coat of undercoat on today. As you can see the Livery will be based on British Waterways Livery, but will carry the name of Canalscape-BCN with the three diamonds of Yates Brothers on the bows.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Barnet Cabin Repairs - Can You Help?

As some of you may know the ex Grand Union motor boat "Barnet" has been aquired by the Canalscape-BCN Society (no affiliation with the BCNS). This is an operating group which is going to put the boat outonto the Northern waters of the BCN in a loaded condition, this will help prove our system is still capable of traffic. A considerable amount of time, money and effort has gone into the restoration but currently we are looking for some help with finishing the boat off. We need some repair work to the boatmans cabin interior, also the boat needs re wiring. Are there any members out there who could help with these two items? All materials can be provided and travel costs met, the boat is at Norton Canes Docks.
The boat will carry the group name and its activites will be advertised through the Canalscape website and a online blog. the first proposed cargo involves movement of sandstone held for sale by the Lichfield and Hatherton Canals trust, for this the boat needs to be fully operational by early 2009. For more details contact either Laurence Hogg 01902 602180 or Bob Williams 01543 671427.

More photographs of work required can be found here:

Monday, 10 November 2008

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Valencia Wharf - Update

I have been down to Oldbury at lunchtime to have a look at what has gone on. It appears that only half (roughly one boat length) now remains of the wharf, the covered section has gone. Infill is visible at the end, but Holloway's have parked trailers on it to disguise it. The whole scene looks very intimidating to anyone mooring there with lorrys parked as near as possible to the boats. A sad sight indeed.

There did seem some discolouration in the water which probably is the deposit from the arm. Some boats showing a white line at the waterline which could well be disturbed phosphorus waste from the bottom. In view of this I called the enviroment agency and logged the issue, at least three other people have done the same. There is a real danger of pollution here as this stretch of canal was heavily polluted for years coutesy of Albright and Wilson and a few others. BW also informed at senior level.

Environment Agency Emergency Hotline 0800 80 70 60

Friday, 7 November 2008

Valencia Wharf Filled In - Today

It is with regret that I have been informed that Valencia wharf has been filled with approx 1000 tons of rubble today, it appears the Hollway's did this themselves with one driving a JCB all day.

They are almost certainly in breach of council planning rules. Worse there is a high probability that Phosphorous deposits unmoved for years may now enter the canal, for those old enough to remember the canal here was highly polluted by Albright and Wilson with waste. I urge you to pressure Sandwell council on this matter.

Sandwell MBC.
Sandwell Council House, Oldbury,
West Midlands
B69 3DE
Telephone: 0845 358 2200

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Canalscape-BCN Society Formed

In 2007, Challenger Syndicateships acquired a lease on the ex Grand Union motor boat "Barnet". The intention was to restore the boat foruse on the Northern BCN and adjoining waterways.

Challenger went into administration in December 2007 and in the intervening months, negotiations by persons with an input into the boats' restoration have taken place with British Waterways. Formation of CanalScape-BCN Society has now led to the acquisition of the craft on a new lease with its purposes mirroring those intended previously.

A considerable amount of capital has already been spent on the project with grants and donations actively being sought to finish the boat to a good standard to sustain the operation in the coming years. Inherent in this new venture will be an opportunity for wider operational participation through a membership scheme. Agreed with British Waterways is an intention to use the boat to demonstrate that the Northern BCN is not only navigable but also could be used in a wider fashion. The boat will carry the name of the Society which is affiliated to the CanalScape-BCN online community and will be promoted at forthcoming events.

Further details of the society will be announced shortly.Contact 01902 602180 for further information.

For the boat enthusiast here is some background information.

· Built for the Grand Union Canal Carrying Co by Harland and Wolff at the Woolwich yard.
· GU type "D" "Town" class boat, commonly known as a "Large Woolwich".
· Launched September 1936, fleet No 109, registered for public health at Rickmansworth No181. · Length 71ft 6 ins, beam 7ft ½ inch, draught 3 ft.
· Max load tonnage 27 tons
· Transferred to British Transport Waterways on nationalisation working as a single motor until transfer to maintenance fleet.Restored in 1998 at Bradley for private use, returned to BW in 2003.