Horseboating Society Update

HBS had a quiet horseboating year in 2015, due to Sue Day having to attend to family matters as a priority. Sue spent much of last summer 2015 and nearly all this winter 2015/2016 with her mother at her home in Suffolk. Sue writes:
“I have been far away from canals in Norfolk and Suffolk physically, and as a result, even mentally. There are no canals with towpaths for horse use in the area. I last visited home near Manchester in early May and have only just returned home 3 months later in time to prepare for appearance at the National Waterways Museum on Sunday August 14th.
“I am currently committed to helping my mother who has lost much of her eyesight due to age related macular degeneration. She is 94 and lives alone unless I join her.”
In 2015, we fulfilled various requests:
• horseboat Maria attended on the Lower Peak Forest Canal at the 150th anniversary celebrations of the opening of the railway in Marple, Cheshire. CRT chief executive Richard Parry steered Maria over the Marple Aqueduct and up some of the lock flight.
• horseboat Vixen took part in the annual Rochdale Canal Festival giving passenger rides.
• Horses at Work event day at the National Waterways Museum – harnessing demos and horseboating demos with horseboat Gifford
• various boathorse harnessing demos at waterway events
However the major project of horseboat Elland going around the South Pennine Ring had to be cancelled as it would have been very time consuming.
In 2016, HBS has been limited with our activities once again. However there have been several horseboating activities by others – like the Saturn Group and our Midlands HBS rep.
We still hope HBS will be able to be involved with horseboat Elland in some of the 2016 celebrations of the bi-centenary of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal.
The major activity will be in October, when motorboat Kennet will recreate the inaugural journey on the canal of 200 years earlier. Other boats are invited to join her on stretches, so let us hope Elland can do that, eg near Leeds – Bingley. Watch the HBS website and HBS emails for dates for any activities.

Filming for television on the Peak Forest Canal

March 16th saw an outing for horseboat Maria to Portland Basin and the Lower Peak Forest Canal to take part in filming for a television programme.

Filming on the Peak Forest Canal

Filming on the Peak Forest Canal with Ruth Goodman. Photo: Gary Taylor

The filming aboard Maria featured television historian Ruth Goodman. This will be shown in a series called ‘Full Steam Ahead’ to be broadcast in the late summer.

After filming while the boat travelled along the Lower Peak Forest Canal between Portland Basin and Stanley Lift Bridge, it was necessary to tow the boat backwards to the junction as there was nowhere wide enough to turn the boat.

To get to and from the filming location, boathorse Bilbo got to try out the new surface of the Ashton Canal towing path between Guide Bridge and Portland Basin.

Towing backwards after filming on the Peak Forest Canal

Towing backwards after filming on the Peak Forest Canal. Photo: Gary Taylor

Crew needed for filming!

In the Winter slumber, the phone suddenly rang, necessitating that we rise from hibernation. Crew are needed for filming work on Wednesday March 16th. Can you help as crew?

It is important that you are able to arrive fairly early to help get horse and boat ready. Also to wear period clothing for the filming, set approximately in the 1850s. We will use horseboat Maria, built in 1854, courtesy of her owners The Ashton Packet Boat Co. Bilbo will pull Maria on the Ashton Canal, and maybe a little of the Lower Peak Forest Canal. We will not travel far as the filming will be to get the shots they need, not to make a journey.

Arrangements for crew:

9am Meet at the horsebox near Hanover Street North, Audenshaw to help get gear to the boat at the boatyard of the Ashton Packet Boat Co. Guidebridge Railway Station is about 10 minutes walk away. The boatyard is about 2 miles from Ashton under Lyne on the Ashton Canal.
• 9 – 10.15 am Prepare horse and boat
• 10.15/10.30 am Set off, horsedrawn, to Portland Basin, Ashton under Lyne
• 11.00 am Meet film crew at Portland Basin
• 11.00 am onwards – Filming on Lower Peak Forest Canal and Ashton Canal
Return boat to boatyard. Help put boat and horse away.
Unknown finish time. Maybe return to yard at 1.00 pm. All away by 2.00 pm??

If you can help as crew, or photographer, please get in touch with me as soon as you can. I look forward to seeing some of you on Wednesday March 16th.

Please send a Crew Form 2016 to me if you can come. Crew Forms can be downloaded here.

HBS’s quiet year in 2015

HBS had a quiet horseboating year in 2015, due to me (Sue Day) having to attend to family matters as a priority. I spent much of last summer and nearly all this winter with my mother in Suffolk.

In 2015, we fulfilled various requests:
• horseboat Maria attended on the Lower Peak Forest Canal at the 150th anniversary celebrations of the opening of the railway in Marple, Cheshire. CRT chief executive Richard Parry steered Maria over the Marple Aqueduct and up some of the lock flight.
• horseboat Vixen took part in the annual Rochdale Canal Festival giving passenger rides.
• Horses at Work event day at the National Waterways Museum – harnessing demos and horseboating demos with horseboat Gifford
• various boathorse harnessing demos at waterway events
However the major project of horseboat Elland going around the South Pennine Ring had to be cancelled as it would have been very time consuming.

In 2016, I suspect HBS will be limited with our activities again. I am committed to helping my mother who has lost much of her eyesight due to age related macular degeneration. She is 94 in April and lives alone unless I join her. However there will be a few horseboating activities by others – like the Saturn Group and our Midlands HBS rep.

I hope HBS will be able to be involved with horseboat Elland in some of the 2016 celebrations of the bi-centenary of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal. Watch the HBS website and HBS emails for dates for any activities.

Maria on the Cheshire Ring

Horseboat Maria is making a journey around the Cheshire Ring, starting in May 2014, to commemorate the 40th Anniversary of re-opening of Ashton and Peak Forest Canals after restoration. On the way Maria has passed through Marple, where she was built 160 years ago. One of the highlights of the journey has been a visit to the boathorse stables at Wheelock.

Horse tunnel in Marple. Photo: John Lupton

Horse tunnel in Marple. Photo: John Lupton

Wheelock Stables. Photo: Warwick Burton

Wheelock Stables. Photo: Warwick Burton

Light at the end of the Tunnel

New Horseboating Society member Paul Francis helped to leg Maria through Standedge Tunnel in April and has written the following:

“I recently became a member of the Horseboating Society to join in The Celebration of Legging at Standedge Tunnel. This is the longest and highest canal tunnel in the UK with no towpath, burrowing through the Pennine Hills between Marsden and Diggle.

Legging gave me a fabulous history lesson and a real appreciation for what life was like in Britain’s industrial revolution. Not to mention an appreciation of what a stunning achievement the building of the canal tunnel was.

I saw cross sections of the drill holes where the Victorian workers inserted the dynamite to blast their way through the hills, and it was a geologists dream to see all the different layers of rock that make up the Pennines.

Apart from all that, words can’t do justice to the moment I first sighted the faintest pin prick of light at the far end of the tunnel, much smaller than the smallest imaginable solitary star in the night sky.

I now know the true meaning of the well-used phrase ‘The light at the end of the tunnel.’

Many Thanks,”

Filming for CeeBeebies

On May 22nd, horseboat Ilkeston was filmed near the National Waterways Museum at Ellesmere Port. This was for a programme called ‘Your Story’ for the children’s channel CeeBeebies.

Ilkeston at Ellesmere Port

Filming Ilkeston at Meadow Lane, Ellesmere Port. Photo: Ken Catford

Ilkeston at Ellesmere Port

Ilkeston approaching Meadow Lane, Ellesmere Port. Photo: Ken Catford

Ilkeston at Ellesmere Port

A moment of rest for the stars. Photo: Ken Catford