Charity walking on the Cromford Canal

Friends of the Cromford Canal - 6th October 2013

On the 3rd October, the Cromford Canal welcomed a man undertaking a unique challenge: Doug Hamilton-Cox has set out to walk all of the canals of Britain in aid of Help the Heroes. He's steadily been ticking off different sections of the network over the past year or so, and believes that when he has finished he will have walked over 4000 miles. Read more on his website here.

(L to R) FCC Trustee Eric Singleton, Doug Hamilton-Cox, FCC member Howard Smith and FCC Chairman Matthew Rogers at Langley Mill prior to setting out on the day's walk.

Beeston Big Band night

Friends of the Cromford Canal - 6th October 2013

On the 28th September, the Ironville Church Hall saw something a little different. Whereas the FCC monthly social meetings are normally quiet, civilised affairs, this special evening was something altogether different. Instead the hall sang out with a broad mix of music courtesy of the Beeston Big Band. Over 120 people danced there way around the floor to the varied tunes of Glenn Miller, Frank Sinatra, Count Bassie and Dean Martin (well, some may have just watched!).

On behalf of the Friends, a huge thank you to Gordon Harwood, who organised this special event and helped us to raise over £500. If anyone else out there would like to organise a fundraiser, please get in touch via the contacts page.

The Band managed to squeeze onto the stage...

...and allow everyone the floor to dance on. And they did, in style!

Our thanks to Gordon and his wife for their efforts in organising this fabulous event.

Birdswood purchase & move

Friends of the Cromford Canal - 8th April 2013

The FCC is delighted to be able to announce that we have now purchased our new trip boat, 'Birdswood'. More details on the boat and the operation we intend to run will follow over the next few months, on the new 'trip boat' section of the website which will launch shortly. In the meantime, there is some fascinating material in the current edition of the Portal - some of which will be online also.

Now that we have bought the boat, we need to do a few modifications (including changing the drive!) and get our volunteers trained up to run the boat. This will be keeping us busy for the next couple of months but we hope to get the boat running over the summer (though don't hold me to a date!). In order to carry out the work, the boat has now been moved to Langley Mill, and there will be photos and a report of this move online shortly.


Friends of the Cromford Canal - 8th April 2013

Dredging is underway at Cromford! Central to the operation of the trip boat, the dredging between Cromford Wharf and the widehole opposite the Leawood Pump House is finally underway. This is being funded by Derbyshire County Council.

More information on the dredging, including pictures and information about the equipment being used, will follow shortly.

Tunnel Listing

Friends of the Cromford Canal - 8th April 2013

The FCC are very pleased with the recent announcement of the listing of a 210m stretch of the Butterley Tunnel, which has been given Scheduled Ancient Monument status. This is something that we have been asking for for some time, so it is great to see this historical feature finally get the recognition and protection it deserves.

The listing concerns the length of tunnel from the Eastern Portal, including the unique loading wharf inside the tunnel.

For more information on the listing, see here

For more information on the tunnel, pictures and comments, see here

Trip Boat Funding success

Friends of the Cromford Canal - 8th April 2013

The FCC are very pleased to announce that our recent application for a grant towards the cost of returning a trip boat to the Cromford Canal has been successful. We have been awarded a grant of £27,966.40 towards the purchase and refurbishment of a traditional narrow boat - and more announcements on this are shortly to follow.

The grant comes from the Rural Development Programme for England, for which the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is the managing authority.

Read the full press release below (click to download):

Blue plaque for the Cromford Canal

Friends of the Cromford Canal - 8th April 2013

The Cromford Canal has become the first place (as opposed to a person) in Derbyshire to have its importance recognised by a Blue Plaque. The plaque was unveiled at High Peak Junction on the 12th March. Both the leader of the council, Cllr Andrew Lewer, and the FCC Chairman, Patrick Morriss, gave speeches at the unveiling, and these can be read in Portal 45.

FCC chairman, Pat Morriss (L), and leader of the council,
Cllr. Andrew Lewer (R), unveil the blue plaque.
Photo courtesy of Derbyshire County Council

Members of the FCC and the Cllr. Andrew Lewer pose with the new plaque!
Photo courtesy of Derbyshire County Council

Councillor Purdy contributes to the Boat Fund

Friends of the Cromford Canal - 8th April 2013

The FCC has received a welcome boost to the boat fund from Councillor Garry Purdy (Derbyshire County Councillor for Wirksworth and Derbyshire Dales District Councillor for Masson). Cllr. Purdy is seen below handing over a cheque for £1000 to the FCC's chairman, Pat Morriss.

Cllr Purdy hands over a cheque for £1000 to the FCC Chairman, Pat Morriss

The money comes from Cllr. Purdy's Derbyshire County Council Community Leadership Scheme, which gives every DCC councillor an annual fund of £4,000 to distribute to worthy projects within their ward. Cllr. Purdy is a big supporter of the FCC and our plans to see a trip boat running on the canal once again.

Thank you!

Sawmills Tree Felling - A Report on the WRG NW weekend, 5/6 January 2013

Friends of the Cromford Canal - 13th January 2013

Below is reproduced the report on the WRG NW weekend written for Portal 44. Photos can be seen on the gallery (uploaded 12th January 2013).

The first weekend of the year is not traditionally the time to celebrate Christmas. But for the North West regional group of the Waterway Recovery Group, aka WRG NW, tradition is not always the way forward. Thus, on Friday 4th January 2013, the Waingroves Community Centre welcomed 12 WRG NW volunteers - there ostensibly to continue the tree felling at Sawmills, but perhaps more accurately for their Christmas/New Year meal (the kitchen, and in particular the large oven, lending itself to the production of a feast).

Saturday morning dawned, and after all were supplied with a hearty breakfast it was off to site for the majority. Once there, we met up with a couple more volunteers and it was on to site for a (brief) health and safety briefing - basically, please don't stand under trees that are being felled, and it would be helpful if you didn't chop the wrong trees down! With the formalities out of the way, the chainsaw operators got busy, the "I-much-prefer-to-use-hand-tools" volunteers were scything (well technically they were using a bill hook, but I'm not sure about "bill hooking") their way through the undergrowth, and the fire starters were, well, starting fires. Before long, smoke was drifting over the site and trees were starting to fall.

And thus the day went. After lunch, having been fortified by fresh soup thanks to Matthew Rogers, and having been strengthened with the addition of a second chainsaw operator, work started on some of the trickier trees close to the telephone cable. Anyone walking the stretch between the Brick Yard Bridge (26) and Bullbridge may have noticed this cable passing over the canal into Lockwood's Yard. Whilst a cable is no problem if the trees are naturally falling away, we would prefer not to bring it down with a tree falling into it. The solution: a winch attached part way up the tree to pull it the correct way. All this meant each tree took longer than normal, and so progress slowed somewhat - although at least it gave the fires a chance to catch up.

By the end of the Saturday, considerable progress had been made, and so the volunteers retired to Waingroves for a well deserved Christmas feast thanks to the catering team led by Liz Chase - complete with crackers, party hats and "jokes". More amusing to many was the fact that I had lost my voice thanks to a combination of a cold and shouting too much, which was a blessing to some and entertainment to others!

Sunday dawned, and on site we welcomed our final volunteer for the weekend. The order of the day was much as before, although with the addition of a second fire. By the end of the working day, many trees had been removed, although there are still plenty remaining for a future weekend.

A huge thank you to the usual culprits of these weekends - the WRG NW volunteers, Rob Lockwood for allowing us to work on his land, Gill & David Hirst (without whose help the Sawmills work parties would never run so smoothly), the local people who kept the site clear of logs for us and to Matthew for the soup. A personal, humungous thankyou to Liz Chase for the dinner. I have eaten or cooked 5 Christmas dinners this season, and yours was definitely the best (albeit possibly tied with my own...).

Before we started (taken as part of WRG NW's visit in 2012). Photo: George Rogers

Having finished (not from quite the same spot, but you get the idea!). Photo: Hugh Potter

FCC Publicity, 2013

Friends of the Cromford Canal - 1st January 2013

See below for links to various news items from the outside press relating to the Cromford Canal and the FCC (and if you spot anything not listed, please let us know):

'Narrow boats set for return to Cromford Canal as £300k dredging project gets underway', 27th February 2013

'Narrow boats to cruise Cromford Canal again', 27th February 2013

'Dredging to Bring Benefits to Cromford Canal (UK)', 27th February 2013

'High hopes for the future of Cromford Canal as workers get ready to clean up route', 28th February 2013

'UK: Cromford Canal to benefit from dredging'

'Dredging News Online',, 28th February 2013

'Heritage chiefs protect stretch of canal tunnel', 2nd March 2013

'Friends 'very happy' as underground wharf is granted monument status', 6th March 2013

'Friends 'very happy' as underground wharf is granted monument status'
Derby Telegraph , 6th March 2013

'Cromford Canal clean up begins', 6th March 2013

'Cromford Canal to be awarded a blue plaque', 7th March 2013

'Blue plaque to mark canal's role in industrial revolution'
Derby Telegraph, 8th March 2013

'Cromford Canal gets blue plaque honour', 8th March 2013

''Friends' joy after narrow boat grant', 8th March 2013

'Blue Plaque for Cromford Canal', 10th March 2013

'Look to the future – with a trip back in time!'
Reflections Magazine, March 2013 (pg 46)

'Scheduled Status for Derbyshire's Butterley Tunnel'
Old Glory Magazine, April 2013 (pg 16)

'Butterley Tunnel Protected' & 'Cromford Dredging'
Waterways World Magazine, April 2013

'Cromford Canal being dredged ready for boat trips'
Towpath Talk, April 2013

'Double Celebration for the Friends of Cromford Canal'
Towpath Talk, April 2013

'Unique canal tunnel listed as ancient monument'
Towpath Talk, April 2013

Radio Derby Interview
Radio Derby, 16th April 2013
Our former Chairman, Pat Morriss, gave his last Radio Derby interview talking about the new trip boat 'Birdswood' to run at Cromford this year.

BBC East Midlands TV news item

BBC East Midlands, 15th August 2013
A BBC crew came to view the boat training and witness WRG in action at High Peak Junction. The video clip is available here

Radio Derby Interview

Radio Derby, 29th August 2013
Ah, not quite his last interview - Pat was back again talking about the boat

Amber Sound Interview

Amber Sound Radio Station, 29th August 2013
Mike Kelley, boat manager, again talking about the boat

'Middle Ground'

Article in October 2013 edition of 'Canal Boat' about the Cromford Canal restoration

'Cromford Canal conservation receives £76,000 grant'

BBC News Online, 2nd October 2013. Concerns a grant to DCC, not the Friends.

'Cash for canal restoration'

Derbyshire Times, 4th October 2013. Concerns a grant to DCC, not the Friends.

Untitled Derbyshire Telegraph item

Derbyshure Telegraph, 4th November 2013, photo of launching of Birdswood

Untitled Derbyshire Telegraph item

Derbyshure Telegraph, 19th December 2013, about Cromford School trip on Birdswood