No 24 Summer 2003

Culdrose Visit
Summer Walks
Treasurer's Report
"Reed" this
Bude Canal Day
Virworthy View
Peter Herbert becomes a shipowner


We were delighted to be able to co-opt David Phillips to the committee of Trustees of the Society. He has already done sterling work but we would still welcome some more volunteers on to the committee. We still lack a chairman for instance. We are taking it in turns to chair committee meetings which works well on the whole but the successful members ae either reluctant to vacate their present posts or are unwilling to accept the responsibility.
We have had some interesting outings already and have more events to come during the summer as you will see below. Our financial position is sound and we are committed to donating £1000 to NCDC when required to implement the plans for restoring the canal.
Walkers are beginning to visit the Barge Workshop on Sunday afternoons
so we feel that our three hour stints are worthwhile.
Lawrence Wheatley

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Visit to RNAS Culdrose

On a day for flying kites and gliders (we did see one glider!) at ll am on Saturday 12 April twenty members of the BC&HS gathered in the car park outside the security gates of RNAS Culdrose. I did wonder if leaving Ashwater at 0840 hours was really going to be worth the long journey. I wasn't disappointed and neither was anyone else I'm sure.

Lt Cmdr Wendy Wheatley, the Senior Met Officer, had kindly arranged this visit with her mother-in-law and Betty Moore.
We followed Wendy (and her husband and two children) in convoy on to the station after she had explained that Lt Cmdr Craig Miller would give us a short talk about 771 Squadron, Search and Rescue, and then we would see one of the helicopters used in these rescue missions.
The talk, illustrated with slides and a short video, taken from a Sea King helicopter, of a large trawler wallowing helplessly broadside on to heavy seas, proved to be very in teresting with facts and figures about incidents concerning ships in difficulties at sea, people who had fallen off cliffs, or stranded by incoming tides.
He then took us across to a hangar housing several Mk 4 & 5 Sea King helicopters. Adults and children alike enjoyed climbing inside one while another was pushed in to park alongside. .
After this 'extra' we all jumped into our cars for the short trip to the Control Tower where the Meteorology staff have their offices. We all crowded in and were shown various computer screens displaying weather patterns, cloud cover, weather front predictions and much other information most of which comes from Bracknell, the main weather station.
Weather is a fascinating and very British subject and I'm sure some of us wished we had such information available at the touch of a button at home. Amongst all this technical equipment Wendy did not fail to point out the windows facing south west whence comes most of our weather and is their first point of consultation.
Finally, we climbed stairs to the aircraft control centre with its rows of panels. We were given a short talk by Lt Cmdr Phil Wheatley RN (retd) on the various points of interest to be seen all round Culdrose and the surrounding area.
Many qustions were asked and we were so interested that we were almost late for a very good lunch at the Harbour Inn, Porthleven.
Many thanks to Betty for organising this enjoyable outing.
Jill White.

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Early Summer Walks
The Society played host to the Cornwall Federation of Women's Institutes during two evening visits to Bude on the 14th & 15th May.
After gathering on the Crescent Car Park the visitors were split into three groups; one went on a canal walk led by our Treasurer, Chris Jewell; the second for a town walk led by our Secretary, Bryan Stamp, and the third for a nature walk round the Marsh canal Nature Reserve led by Tim Dingle of the North Cornwall District Council..
After the walks the parties met at the Falcon Hotel for refreshments before returning home. Warm letters of thanks have subsequently been received from the W I Secretary. so the event can be accounted a success - even our changeable weather was kind to us.
Bryan Dudley Stamp
Interest in our canal from outside the area continues to be shown by the requests for information and/or short tours received by Trustees.
One such request from a Mr Peter Chapman, a free-lance journalist, began with my meeting him on 29 May in glorious weather at the sea-lock
where I gave a brief explanation of the reason for, and function of lock, breakwater, and canal generally.
The I drove Mr Chapman up to Helebridge where he saw the whole former transhipment area there, basin, canal bridge and start of the Marhamchurch inclined plane. Having furnished him with leaflets and a walking guide, I then pointed him in the direction of the towpath back to Bude and left him to explore the canal in his own time.
Audrey Wheatley.

Our summer programme of manning the Barge Workshop on Sunday afternoons from 2 - 5pm throughout June, July, August, and September
and leading a walk once a month has started well. We have had between twelve and fifteen visitors on each of the first three Sundays and three enjoyed the first walk. This is not bad so early in the season.

When Quando arrived here last summer she had great dfficulty getting over the cill at the top gates into the basin. This was eventally traced as due to silt dropped into the side ot the temporary dam to fill a leak during the installing of the new gates..
Your committee wrote to the Council pointing this out and asking for the canal to be dredged at that point. The Council replied that they could not afford this but a second letter resulted in a consultation at the canalside and the eventual agreement of the council that it was necessary.
Within two days the work was done.

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Visit to Maritime Museum, Falmouth Saturday 17 May 2003
Twenty three membes and friends boarded a coach in the Crescent car park Bude in steady rain and set off or Truro. On arrival we queued for tickets at a kiosk whose occupant had no change; I gave him the contents of my purse which amounted to about fifteen pence short of the eight pounds required for two tickets. When we had all been satisfied a frantic head appeared begging us to return our tickets since he had given us all return tickets instead of singles....We continued to wait - in continuing rain- until a bus appeared to transport us to Malpas the highest point up the river which the Enterprise could reach at the state of the tide.
We continued to wait - in the bus this time as it was still raining until evlentually the boat arrived and we trudged down a hill and waited for the passengers to disembark before we could descend the narrow gangway to the landing stage and the boat. We huddled inside until after about five minutes sailing down the winding river Fal we turned back to unload a small boy and his parents since the lad had been taken ill. Once more we set off and shortly the rain abated and we were able to use the open decks and admire the scenery and the King Harry ferry and several merchant ships of varying size which had been moored in the to await a purchaseer or the trip to the breaker's yard.
As we reached the Carrick Roads the wind was strong but glimpses of blue sky appeared and we eventually disembarked at a jetty in the centre of Falmouth.
Four of us set off on the long trek to the Museum where we managed to persuade a charming attendant to let us in without waiting for Chris Jewell to arrive and pay the admission charges for the party.as we were dying of hunger. She kindly directed us to the cafe where we had an excellent meal in pleasant durroundings.
When Chris arrived we were able to enter the museum with clear consciences and enjoy the many exhibits with their moving pictures and accompanying explanatory spiels The museum is splendidly set out with real boats suspended from the ceiling or on the lower floors. There is workshop in which students from the Falmouth College engage in repairing various odd gigs and whalers. Shrinkle and Little Mary were two there at the time.
There is a tower with a lift which goes down to the bed of the river with a glass panel in which one can observe the state of the tide. On our first visit the water level was about two feet above the sea bed. Audrey returned some hours later to find the level way above her head.
My delight was an artifical pond containing six model yachts and for fifty pence Audrey obtained a token which enabled me to operate one of the yachts by means of two knobs one of which caused the sails to open or close and the other to steer the boat, presumably by radio waves. An artificial wind blew across the lake and it was necessary to close haul the sails to go into the wind and open them for a following wind. There was nobody there when I started but soon all six boats were careering about the pond - except mine, of course which maintained a decorous course avoiding the other wildly manoeuvring yachts. Soon there was a queue waiting for a vacant boat after the six minutes allowed.
At five o'clock, tired out, we made our way to the Moors where we boarded the coach to return. Audrey and I commented on the fact that we appeared to follow a different route out of Falmouth until I suddenly remembered that, of course, we had entered Falmouth by boat!
We returned to the Crescent just over ten hours from leaving. A most enjoyable experience which I thoroughly recommend though the two octogenarians in our party found the standing and walking very tiring and my ankles and back were stiff next day (Sunday)
Lawrence Wheatley

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Treasurer's Report
The balances for the accounts as at 30 June 03 are as follows:
Account 1 £1250.80
Accouint 2 793.19
Account 3 1315.49
Total £3359.48

The Account 1 balance includes the Gift Aid refund of £225.20 from Inland Revenue for the year 6 April 2002 to 5 April 2003 and will be transferred to Account 3
The increase in Account 2 is due solely to the very generous donation by two life members and Trustees: Mrs Anne Longley and Mr David Phillips. This money will be used to effect a revision and reprint of a tourist leaflet about the Bude Canal. This will be done in partnership with Bude Stratton Town Council and Bude Area Tourist Board and the costs shared between them.
Mr Phillips was recently co-opted as a Trustee.
The Account 3 balance of £1315.49 includes the £1000 pledged to North Cornwall District Council for the Canal Project in due course.
The Trustees have agreed to comply with the best practice for charities to set up a separate account to administer the income and expenditure relating to Bude Canal Day. This matter is in hand. At the end of each year any surplus to a working balance will be transferred to Account 3 - Project Fund.
If you pay your subscription by standing order mandate, please read the following:
At the AGM in February 2003 it was agreed that subscription rates would be raised to meet the increased costs of administration. Many of you that pay by standing order have kindly completed the mandate form sent out in April with issue No. 23 of The Tub Boat to authorise your bank to pay the increased subscription as from 1 September 2003. If you have not done this would you please complete the mandate form and return it to the Membership Secretary, 17 Cricket Park, Marhamchurch, BUDE, EX23 OEL by 15 August 2003.
Replacement forms can be obtained from the Membership Secretary as above or from the Hon Treasurer, 4A The Crescent, BUDE, EX123 8LE. Please try to do this before 15 August 2003
Chris Jewell Hon Treasurer.

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"Reed" This.
An interesting exhibit was seen at the RNLI model boat days on 4th & 5th May 2003. Not a model but a restored full size reed boat. The boat, owned by Mr Len Benson of Bude, was acquired in June 2002 from a dealer, following a casual offer earlier that year. The accompanying photographs show the poor state of the boat at the time of purchase. Mr Benson, who has a keen interest in restoring all manner of machines and vehicles, set to and up to May 2003 had restored the vessel as far as he could. The other photos show the work done so far.
He hopes to replace the wooden paddle blades with the proper metal blades that the vessel had when it was in operation.
For the technically minded: as far as can be determined the boat was built by Howard and Dennis Ltd, Engineers of Bedford England, circa 1939. It is a reed cutting barge, 21'6" long, 4' wide with 1'3" draught and 9" freeboard and is powered by a 1939 Ford 4 cylinder side valve 10hp petrol engine.
Mr Benson is currently pursuing information, obtained at the model boat event, that a company in Bedford was still making these vessels in 1975. He hopes to gain more information and possibly a source of spare parts and/or engineering drawings of the vessel.
He has learned through his research that there is good evidence that such craft were used for reed clearance in the Neath Canal and the Norfolk Broads to great and effective benefit.
The Reed Boat will be on display on Bude Canal Day, 27 July, on the Barkhouse Green. There is a chance that Mr Benson may take the boat on the canal and that would be something to see.
Chris Jewell

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Bude Canal Day 27th July 2003
Following the successful first Canal Day on 20th July 2002, it has been agreed to hold the event again this year on 27th July 2003, with the consent and support of North Cornwall District Council.
There are two main changes this year:
1. The event is to be held on a Sunday from 2pm to 6pm. The purpose is to accommodate the general preference for such a change and to have the best tidal conditions for anticipated use of the sea lock.
2. The event will incorporate a celebration of the work and times of Goldsworthy Gurney, Bude's forgotten genius. This is in agreement and partnership with Bude Stratton Town Council, who wished to have a ‘Gurney Celebration’, but not in October, to highlight the continuing efforts to achieve the aims of ‘Project Limelight’.
The Society were pleased to be able to incorporate the Gurney Celebration into their Canal Day. Goldsworthy Gurney built his castle beside the Bude Canal when the canal was a mere 7 years old. Later, Gurney lived at Hornacott, Boyton and was a riparian owner adjacent to the Launceston Branch of the canal.
The Town Council will organise their event based in the Castle grounds in conjunction with the other activities of Canal Day.
The event will be officially opened by Capt. G. A. Hogg. R.N, a Trustee of the National Maritime Museum in Cornwall, at 2 p.m. in the Castle Grounds.
The following shows the activities taking place during the day:
Bude Canal
7 – 12 noon Bude Canal Angling Association – Club Competition for the‘Falcon Cup’.
2 – 5pm Heats and final for the ‘B.C.H.S Shield’ for canal polo.
4.30pm – 5pm Operation of Sea Lock to lock in local and visiting vessels.
Subject to tide and weather conditions.
During the afternoon Minuet yachts will operate on the canal basin.

Barkhouse Green Lower Wharf
2 – 6pm Stalls and displays by local groups and authorities. ‘Splatt the Rat’, face painting, traditional music and dancing
5.30pm Prize presentation.

Castle Grounds
2 – 6pm Displays by steam enthusiasts, including replica of Trevithick's engine.
Display of vintage vehicles by Bude Motor Club
The fair organ of Mr Mike Dean, Beaworthy, Bude Town Band and Bude Metric Band will provide the contrasting musical interludes.

Parkhouse Centre Ivor Potter Hall
2 – 6pm Gurney Display

On display over the Weekend 26th/27th
Entries for the painting Competition for local Junior and Infant Schools, organised by the society – including the winning entries for the 2 classes.

The Brendon Arms Adjacent to the canal
2 – 6pm A promotion by Sharpes Brewery

The Acland Room Falcon Hotel Adjacent to the canal
8pm A concert of traditional music, featuring Phil Williams and Sarah Deere-Jones, supported by Bude RNLI’s very own ‘Friggin Riggin’ Admission at door - £2.50 U.16 Free
Phil and Sarah are professional musicians who now live at Whitstone. They specialise on the harp and Northumbrian pipes, as well as other instruments. They are not to be missed!
The Bude Canal and Harbour Society and Bude-Stratton Town Council hope you will come and support the events and have an enjoyable afternoon.
If you would like more information about Canal Day or the Bude Canal, please contact, Mr Chris Jewell 01288 352298. If you would like further information about ‘Project Limelight’, please contact Mrs C Kett, Town Clerk, Bude-Stratton Town Council 10288 353576.

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Virworthy View

I think I told you in the last issue that I had not seen any frogspawn. Well. shortly after that I noticed large black patches at the bottom of the canal. On close examination these turned out to be literally thousands of tadpoles. So I do expect to see many frogs this year. The weather has been conducive to good growth of everything from the grass upwards. We have managed to keep the aqueduct section of the towpath cut but I’m afraid the rest of the paths have not had the attention this year because of manpower shortages due to illness – any volunteers?.
There seems to be more walkers this way than last year. A few days ago I encountered a couple of artist painters sitting at one of the tables in the wharf area merrily painting. I didn’t see them go and they didn’t leave any pictures!
After letting out the five peafowl at seven thirty the other morning they promptly disappeared. Some hours later we found them at Virworthy Mill and made them walk home, the long way round. Turkey Hen is sitting again perhaps she will raise some more peafowl. Without a Stag Turkey her eggs are for the table only – eggcups are a problem though.
Our trip to The Royal Cornwall Show was not too successful – we didn’t get a place with either of the two ponies. We did count that there were 97 Shetland ponies and 47 of them were miniatures – a lot of competition. We have put Maddy to a stallion now hoping for a foal next year.
Has anyone got a suggestion for the treatment of a duck with vertigo? Antibiotics haven’t helped, just given me a large vets bill!
I have recently repossessed the summerhouse from the geese and have had to replace the rotten floor. The geese have a nice new house but the swallows have now taken up residence in the summerhouse and I still haven’t heard a cuckoo this year!

Geoff Lowe

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Peter Herbert becomes a Shipowner
In 1835 the newly established shipyard of Robert Stapleton in the Bude Canal basin launched the 'Lady Acland', a 53 ton smack, for local trade. Over seventy years later she was hauled out of the canal again to be rebuilt by his grandson, another Robert Stapleton.
Having hauled the ship out on to the canalside yard (a major undertaking in itself) she was partially stripped of her planking and cut in half (no chain saws then). Winches were set up and the forward section was dragged away by thirteen feet. A new longer keel was installed, partially English and partially American elm, new frames put into the gap and she was replanked to emerge some months later as the 67 tons 'Agnes'. The mainmast came from the Padstow ketch 'Wild Pigeon', wrecked under Summerlease cliff, Bude in February1904 and the mizzen made from one of the yards of the Austrian barque 'Capricorno' one of the more spectacular wrecks on the Bude breakwater in December 1900. She carried cargoes of grain and coal between South Wales and the Cornish coast, and flour from the mills at Bristol to North Devon with Captain William Mitchell.
Peter Herbert had known her at the end of her ownership in Bude when he was very young. and when Captain Mitchell died in 1954 he bought her for £1000 from Mrs Mitchell. He plied around the Bristol Channel and down to Cornwall hauling anything and everything; grain and animal feeds, from Swansea and Bristol to Barnstaple and Appledore with return cargoes of scrap from Hayle to South Wales. Peter's son, Richard,was christened aboard her alongside Appledore Quay in November 1955. A few trips were made to Lundy in 1956, a cargo of agricultural machinery being taken early in that year and a family and their possessions taken from Swansea to settle on the island. Loading was easy with dockyard cranes but the discharging was not, requiring numerous trips in small boats.
Late in 1956 she was bought by a man, Alistair Barr, who intended to take nine men and nine women to Australia. They eventually reached the Bahamas with the intention of going through the Panama Canal to the Pacific but the money ran out and the passengers were put ashore. Barr attempted to make some money by cargo work around the Caribbean but without success and finally the poor old 'Agnes' was wrecked off Barbados in a hurricane.
Peter returned to working on other people's vessels, one of which was the Kathleen & May but returned to captaining his own boats in 1960.

Sadly Peter died on 26 June 2003 after a long illness bravely borne. He tried hard to encourage the use of Bude Harbour by more ships. The above may stand as a tribute to him.

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Forthcoming Events:
Saturday 27 July Bude Canal Day/Gurney Day
" 16 August Bude Carnival Day
Sat/Sun 23/24 " RNLI Weekend
Sunday 28 Dec. Sherry & Mincepie Walk
Copy for the next edition of The Tub Boat should be addressed to
The Editor, Tregea, Lower Upton, BUDE, EX23 0LS
to reach him by 17 September 2003
Chairman (vacant)
Vice-Chairman Audrey Wheatley
Secretary Bryan Dudley Stamp
Treasurer Chris Jewell
Events Secretary Betty Moore
The Tub Boat Editor Lawrence Wheatley
Other members Jill White
Anne Longley
David Phillips

Membership Secretary Mike Moore
The views expressed by the contributors to this newsletter are not necessarily those of the Bude Canal & Harbour Society which does not accept responsibility for them.

Published by BUDE CANAL & HARBOUR SOCIETY Enquiries to th Hon Secretary, Tel 01288 352 808
Ebbingford Manor, Bude, Cornwall EX23 8LN
Contact the Society

Registered Charity Number 1086646

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