The Monmouthshire, Brecon & Abergavenny Canals Trust is a registered charity limited by guarantee. No 515879

Thursday, 10 May 2012

We've Got The Power - Thanks to EnerSys, Newport

Two hundred years ago pulling power provided by horses enabled the canal system to function. On the Mon and Brec one horse, two men and a boat replaced around two hundred horses - it was an amazing development in transportation at the time. Previously horses and carts and packhorses provided the main form of transport across country. The Industrial Revolution changed everything. Today it's all about engine power and our Community Boat will be electrically operated. However - we needed new batteries and they do not come cheap!

A solution to the problem was required - a Power/Full Solution - that we are delighted to announce has been provided by EnerSys Newport. EnerSys have very generously donated all the batteries that will be needed to operate the boat so now we've literally got the power to move forward - and it's environmentally friendly too! Our heartfelt thanks go to EnerSys Newport for their generous support of our project. 

It's all smiles from everyone at EnerSysNewportA big thank you to
Huw Leonard (Plant manager), Mark Laskey (Cell 3 Manager),
Sue Price (Reception), Wayne Coldrick (Applications Manager)
and, on the Fork Lift Truck Jason Price.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Starboard Hull Repairs Well Underway

Now that work has been completed on the hull's port side attention has turned to re-plating the starboard side and it's a big job.

The whole length of the boat will need to be re-plated - We cannot thank SSE enough for this superb work!

Photos by Wyn Mitchell

Rusted Rudders - What a Nightmare!

Restoration work is great when it goes well - but when the going gets tough it can be very difficult indeed! This proved to be the case when our trusty team of volunteers at the SSE Uskmouth Power Station had to 'coax' the rudders free from their housings.

But they were not to be defeated as the photo below of the empty rudder pin housing shows!

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Thank You Tŷ-Mawr Lime

The list of companies who are supporting the 'Community Boat Project is growing. Many thanks to Tŷ-Mawr Lime who are providing the insulation material for the boat. It is another very generous donation for which the Canal Trust is very grateful.

Britain's First Photo Album

John Sergeant's Series 'Britain's First Photo Album' is now being screened on BBC 2. See his visit to the Community Boat and Fourteen Locks on Monday 19th March at 6.30 pm.

Scottish and Southern Energy Press Release

Volunteers from SSE’s Uskmouth Power Station are putting their power behind an ambitious plan to bring a 55 foot barge back to its former glory and help to raise the profile of local waterways.

The team of enterprising employees from the power station, including fitters, electricians, operatives and office staff working with the Monmouth, Brecon & Abergavenny Canals Trust to transform the barge into an educational tool for the community.

Once completed the 23 year old Enfys of Neath will be used by volunteers from the Trust to provide trips on the barge along the local canal network for local residents and visitors to the area. 

The double ended barge weighs a staggering 20 tonnes and can travel in either direction, reducing the need to turn around. It is electrically powered to reduce the carbon footprint of voyages and make it more environmentally friendly.

The aim is to encourage the local community to take part in a journey along the waterways to learn more about the history and wildlife of the area, whilst promoting the work of The Monmouth, Brecon & Abergavenny Canal Trust

Work on the barge will take place over several months and includes replacing corroded plating, complete rewiring, refurbishing the motors, replacing controls and batteries, cleaning and descaling, repositioning rudder steering and finally repainting the vessel. All activity will take place after a thorough on site health and safety assessment.

The barge restoration project is able to take place thanks to SWALEC’s ‘Community at Heart’ scheme, which is designed to get thousands of power workers across the country rolling up their sleeves and putting real energy into the communities they live and work in. 

Malcolm White, who works in the maintenance department at the power station, is one of the volunteers who has lent a helping hand to the project. He said, “Volunteers across all operational areas of the power station from administration to power generation, and our local suppliers, have already spent more than 80 man days in total working on the barge so far. We have made a lot of progress, but the job is only half completed and we still have a long way to go.”

Wyn Mitchell, Vice-President of Monmouthshire, Brecon & Abergavenny Canals' Trust and Community Boat Project Manager, said: “The Trust is extremely grateful to SSE's enthusiastic and skilled volunteers at Uskmouth Power Station for making the dream of a Community Boat a reality. Without their commitment to transform a sadly-neglected boat into a much-needed community resource the Trust could not have undertaken the project.”

“At present, other than our 12-seater craft and a commercial operation at Brecon, no boat is available for our community to experience the Monmouthshire and Brecon canal by water. This new, much larger, boat will be wheelchair-friendly, and also accommodate a whole school class - in effect a floating classroom. Our hope is that everyone will be able to enjoy travelling along this beautiful waterway to learn about its history and wildlife.”

We are also very grateful to other locally based companies such as Hempel (UK), Ty-Mawr Lime, Enersys and Noel Fitzpatrick Ltd., for supporting us and SSE's volunteers with donated materials.”

Monday, 6 February 2012

Many Thanks Hempel (UK) LTD

Hempel (UK) LTD is a global supplier of specialist paints and has come on board to provide the paint for the Community Boat. This is another incredible donation and one for which the Canal Trust is again very grateful.

Keith Davies of Hempel (UK) inspects the hull of the boat
to assess what specialist coatings will be required to
ensure that the metal work is fully protected.

The staff of Hempel (Uk) Ltd, Cwmbran are all smiles
as they show their support for the project.
Thank you one and all!

Photographs: Wyn Mitchell and Tom Maloney

Restoration Update

A good deal has been done since the last post. It's definitely a stage by stage process and the volunteers at Scottish and Southern Energy really know how to pay attention to detail - nothing escapes their notice.

The photograph opposite shows the boat completely stripped back to the 'bare steel' ready for welding and repairs. The photograph below shows the worn steel plates on the starboard side cut out - but not for long!

Although restoration can be frustrating at times, it is also incredibly satisfying to see something come back into use once again. When the first of the new steel plates was attached to the hull it was a moment to savour.

The bars that can be seen were placed carefully to enable correct positioning of the plate and were removed when welding was completed - as can be seen the photograph below.

The Canal Trust is very grateful to everyone at Scottish and Southern Energy. Restoring the boat back to full working order requires a range of skills and a dedicated team effort, all of which is being provided on a voluntary basis.

Bev Friend and Dave Binding from Scottish and Southern Energy Uskmouth Power Station view progress on the boat with a welder. Keep up the great work!

Photographs: Wyn Mictchell