Newport U3As Cycling Group visit

Newport U3As Cycling Group had a delightful September ride along the towpath of the Mon Brecon Canal. It was sunny but breezy as they started from Bettws Lane. The first stop was at the Ty Coch flight of locks between Newport and Cwmbran. These locks have been recently restored as part of a scheme drawn up and managed by the Mon Brecon and Abergavenny Canal Trust. Over 200 volunteers have worked on the project over the last 4 years, many gaining skills that have helped them in their search for permanent employment.

The group had a pre-arranged tour of the site guided by Richard Dommett and Wyn Mitchell. Richard had managed the restoration scheme for the Trust. They walked around pound where barges had queued to enter the lock system. The area around it has now been laid out as a picnic area. We saw a kingfisher perched at the water’s edge. Elsewhere archaeologists have excavated an underground saw pit and the foundations of a workshop and cottage and it is hoped these will be incorporated in the next stage of development. The standard of the restoration work is impressive. Stonework has been renewed and new lock gates installed. In the interests of ease of installation and longevity, the gates were made of prefabricated metal parts which were assembled on site. Richard pioneered the design and it is hoped that it will be used by other canal restoration trusts. He showed us plans for a future phase of the development of the site. Maintaining the momentum of the current scheme is of course dependent on funding, which is sought from a range of sources. Timothy West and Prunella Scales were filmed at the site for the next series of Great Canal Journeys for Channel 4. It is hoped that this will help in maintaining interest in the potential for future development of this section of the Mon Brecon Canal.

There were a few spots of rain as the Group rode on up the canal and several inclines to overcome but the sun reappeared as they reached the Open Hearth PH. Here they enjoyed lunch on the canal side picnic tables. The effort made in reaching the Open Hearth was rewarded with a succession of downhill stretches on the return journey.

Fourteen Locks Centre Monthly Walk – Sat July 2nd

14_Locks_-Walking_Group_2015

Our next monthly walk is next Saturday July 2nd starting at Fourteen Locks Centre at 10 am.

Why not join us for a leisurely 5.5 mile walk through fields, woodlands and canal towpaths to Caerleon from where we return by service bus via Newport back to the Fourteen Locks Centre for well earned cup of tea in our café.

More information at http://fourteenlocks.mbact.org.uk/index.php/monthly/monthly-walks/48-fourteen-locks-to-caerleon-2?date=2016-07-02-10-00

Final Preparations for Ty Coch Locks Press and Dignitaries Day

Lower Brake Lock Sluices being checked Tredegar Lock Gates

Final preparations have been in progress this week at Ty Coch Locks, including fitting of gates to Tredegar Lock and testing the paddle gear on Lower Blake Lock.  The trust is welcoming members of Torfaen County Borough Council, Canal and River Trust and other local organisations along with local and national press to see the first boat to pass through since 1927.

Monmouthshire and Brecon Canalathon – Sept 10th 2016

This years team challenge takes place on Saturday September 10th – Are you up to the challenge!

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Teams of 4 (and a team manager) are invited to complete the challenge in under 12 hours which includes 6 miles canoeing, 18 miles cycling and 11 miles running/walking/hiking.

More information at http://www.mbact.org.uk/canalathon.php

To whet your appetite why not visit the dedicated facebook page https://www.facebook.com/canalathon

 

Annual Duck Race 2016

Tickets at £1 each are now on sale at Fourteen Locks Centre for the annual duck race on Monday 29th August 2016.

1st Prize is a weeks self catering holiday for 4 people in Torbay

2nd Prize is an afternoon self drive hire boat for 8 people from Dragonfly Dayboats at Brecon

3rd Prize is Sunday lunch for 2 people at The White Swan, Llanfrynach

Plus loads of other prizes.

EMagazine – 14th March 2016

Greetings all,

MBACT’S planning for the year is well under way and more details will be forth coming in the months ahead, however here are a few dates for your diary.

Saturday 12th March (this Saturday), The I.W.A. Wales, will be holding it’s AGM at The Fourteen Locks Centre starting at 11.00am. Food and Drink will be available afterwards in the Cafe’ and The Edith-Elizabeth trip boat will be operating on the pond.

Tuesday 22nd March MBACT committee meeting at The Fourteen Locks Centre for those involved, at 5.00pm.

Wednesday 23rd Meeting of the Canal-a-thon organizing team takes place at The Red Lion, Llangynidr, also at 5.00pm. Open to anyone who would like to help.

May (2 days) We hope to repeat our Education Days at Goytre Wharf. (Details still being formulated)

This year MBACT will be promoting membership and The Duck Race at three events in Torfaen during June.

Saturday 11th June “Cwmbran big Event”

Saturday 26th June “Blaenavon world Heritage Day”

Saturday 9th July “Pontypool Summer Festival”

On all three of these days we hope to have a Team on site selling Duck Race Tickets, and with a photo display of Restoration and Events, promote membership.

Saturday 23rd July Open Day at Fourteen locks Canal Centre where the Edith -Elizabeth trip boat will be operating, plus entertainment and stalls.

Monday 31st August The annual Duck Race will be held on the Canal outside The Coach & Horses, Llangynidr. Tickets will be available from after Easter until the day before when there will be a final push at The Llangynidr Show, Sunday 30th August. Thanks must go to Oakdale Printers for supplying these at no cost to MBACT.

Saturday 10th September. This is the big day for the Canal-a-thon, starting from Pontymoile at 8am and the Boat Gathering at Brecon Basin, all day. Entry details on our web site and follow the link.

Saturday 30th September– Sunday 1st October. There will be a 2 day event at the Ty-Coch Waterworks site with the Edith-Elizabeth trip boat operating up and down the newly restored locks. More details at a later date.

December. MBACT A.G.M. the AGM will be held in the Winter in future as the committee feel the Summer is already too busy. Date yet to be decided.

In other news, there has been no more from C.R.T. on the future arrangements at Goytre Wharf, even though MBACT have been invited to participate. Good news is the Cafe is worth a visit.

The culprits for last years break in at Ty-Coch restoration site have been apprehended and sentenced.

We would like to thank Hemple Paints and also Rontec (Esso Garage) for their kind donations in recognition for what MBACT is doing within the community.

Further dates for the Trip Boat will be advised once they have been finalised.

Thanks to all those who have renewed their membership, welcome to all the new members, and to all those who would like to join please see our web page www.mbact.org.uk for details.

Thanks also to those who support us just by being friends.

Bernard.

EMagazine – 10th January 2016

Greetings and a Happy New Year to all.
This will be the first e magazine that last years new members will have received, if anyone does not want to receive it, please reply.

Chairman Roger Francis’ report, at the last meeting, dwelt on restoration and funding. HLF have given MBACT a time extension to complete the last two locks at Ty-Coch, delayed due to the weather. However, it is a worrying fact that none of the partnership councils have a budget for maintenance of the completed structures in the future. Further more, Torfaen C.B.C. have set out plans to spend money on Pontymoile Basin,( a C.R.T. owned stretch of canal), whereas, MBACT would prefer to see the money spent further down the canal where there is certainly no chance of C.R.T. investing in a reciprocative manner. MBACT will be sending their objection to Torfaen.

CWMBRAN
Looking further ahead, plans are afoot to make a model of the structure required to navigate over the road near B & Q. This will incorporate a lift mechanism in the shape of two Forge Hammers which will hopefully create a Tourist Attraction as well as a practical solution.

The Modular Lock Gate programme will be launched with a day event at the restoration site on 11th May 2016 and will be devoted to Dignitaries and Media coverage.

The Ty-Coch site will be officially opened on 30th September and 1st October and will be opened to the public. Both days will see the trip boat,” Edith- Elizabeth”, taking passengers through the locks. Due to heavy rain, those on site recently had a preview of what the basin and locks look like when full of water!

Five Locks Basin, Pontnewydd.  Torfaen have expressed an interest in having “The Lord Raglan” moored at Five locks as a floating classroom and Trip boat, so MBACT is looking at the possibility of building a Boat House on the basin there. In the same area, The Cross Keys Pub has been sold and the new owners want to change it into a private dwelling, this is being objected to by Torfaen, the Glenside/Pontnewydd residents and MBACT, as a public facility and space will be lost.

Plans are also afoot to start restoring Locks 3,4 and 5 at Pontnewydd once the Stone Masons have finished at Ty-Coch in September, subject to sufficient funding.

Canalathon and Boat Rally. This years Canalathon is planned for Saturday 10th September and boat owners are invited to come up to Brecon Basin to welcome the finishing teams and join in the general festivities. As usual there will music with live bands and food available to all. Entries for the Canalathon can be downloaded from canalathon.mbact.org.uk from the beginning of February.

Pentre Lane. Purchase of the land required for the position of a new bridge is on going.

CRUMLIN ARM

The Manor Road Feeder. Constructive talks between Caerphilly C.B.C. and Welsh Water, with MBACT observing, have taken place with an aim to repair the Penstocks at Manor Road, thus enabling the underground feeder to be directed back into the Canal. Not only will this help to maintain water levels in time of drought (!!!!), but hopefully help MBACT to operate the Trip Boat “Edith-Elizabeth” at Fourteen Locks. Further dredging is also required this year to enable the “Islwyn Lilly” to operate from “Whysom’s Wharf”.

Fourteen Locks. Work continues to seal the area above Lock 20, at the top pound, to allow the trip boat access to Locks 17,18.19 &20, for schools and the public to experience the use of a flight of locks.

VOLUNTEERING

Volunteers have always run MBACT and in recent years have been responsible for restoration at Ty-Coch and the running of the shop in Newport. Volunteers are now taking a major hand in running Fourteen Locks and operating the Trip Boat but with a greater demand made on them, more are needed. If you would like to help operate the trip boat, man a display table or sell Duck Race tickets at an event, please contact any member, Fourteen Locks or me, we would love to have you along!

See you on the Cut,

Bernard