Author Archives: David Bayliss

EMagazine – 8th August 2014

Greetings All.

THE DUCK RACE Monday 25th August. (Bank Holiday).
The Duck Race is almost upon us, there are still many tickets outstanding, PLEASE send all tickets back to Fourteen Locks as soon as possible, preferably SOLD! I will be at the Llangynidr Show on Sunday 24th, the day before the race, selling tickets and looking for new members, all volunteers to help will be welcomed with open arms! Remember, the Trip Boat will also be running on the Monday so bring along the extended family for a day out. But before that is the :-

FIVE LOCKS EVENT. Saturday 16th August.
The Trip Boat will be operating from below Five Locks to the top of the Cascaded Locks at Mount Pleasant Road. The centre of activities will be at The Glenside Community Hall off Commercial/Mount Pleasant Road.

THE CANAL A THON, Saturday 13th September.
Takes place from Pontymoile to Breacon with interest all along the Canal. More next time.
NATIONWIDE BUILDING SOCIETY have given us £100 in their Community Match Scheme, anyone who is a member of Nationwide is asked to look out for our name in the agencies and vote for us, this could bring us another £500 all of which will go towards finishing our community boat ” The Lord Raglan”. Speaking of which:-

THE LORD RAGLAN is once again receiving attention at SSE Power Station. The new window positions have been cut out and the super structure is being strengthened. The Power Station is closed and will be demolished so we have to move the boat elsewhere. SSE are pushing hard to finish what they agreed to do before it moves. We are still looking for a retired joiner who would be willing to help with the fitting out.

ITV, COAST &COUNTRY, Friday 8th August.
Phil was interviewed by ITV on the MB&AC and the clip will be shown on the above program.
THE SHOP. As you all know we lost the shop premisses in Newport when the empty buildings were demolished for the new development, and being as the Torfaen “Vibrant and Viable Places” is now the most important regeneration project in Cwmbran and Pontypool, we would like to move the shop to Cwmbran. Cwmbran Centre is privately owned and efforts to obtain premisses in the Centre have had no results, however if anyone could help in this area we would very much like to hear from you. A Canal Information Centre in Cwmbran would be beneficial to Torfaen, the MBACT and the public as a whole.

Thanks one and all for your continued interest and support for the restoration of the Canal, membership forms can be downloaded from our web site should you need one.

See you at Llangynidr,

EMagazine – 18th July 2014

Greetings All,

Those of you who get the Western Mail or one of the other south coast papers would have seen yesterday of the visit to Ty Coch of a team of millionaires who were invited to do some volunteer work on a Heritage Lottery site. This was filmed by ITV and will be shown later in the year. However, if you missed it, go to workmen-wales-theyre-7419784

Much has been going on in the background but could not be talked about, such as the above, but now there is a flood of information coming through.

FIVE LOCKS EVENT, Sat 16th August.
The Trip Boat will be operating from below Five Locks to the top of the cascade at Mount Pleasant road. Displays and items of interest will be taking place at the Glenside Community Hall below the five locks, accessible from Commercial/Mountpleasant Rd.

THE DUCK RACE, Monday 25th August.
The annual Duck Race takes place on the Canal outside the “Coach and Horses”, Llangynidr from about 3.30pm. Tickets will be on sale all day on site and also on the day before at the “Llangynidr Show” which is an event not to be missed in itself. Prizes include, “A weeks self catering holiday for 4 in Torbay”, “A Day Boat for 3 hours from Dragonfly Boats, Brecon” ” Lunch for 2 at the Coach and Horses, Llangynidr” and many others. Would all those who have tickets please sell them and send all counterfoils + unsold tickets back to Fourteen Locks. We rely on this money to run the MBACT.

THE CANAL-A-THON, Saturday 13th September.
This is a Canoeing, Cycling and Running event from Pontymoil to Brecon with canal side events along the Canal and entertainment at Brecon Basin from mid-afternoon. Come and cheer your team on. Entry has closed with over 50 teams of 4 including one team from Canal du Midi, France.

Luke, one of the trainees on site is now fully employed by MBACT Restoration Ltd, (funded by WAG through Training and Employment), and hopefully marks the first step in creating a full time Restoration and Maintenance Team for the non CRT length of the Canal. Still on Ty Coch, the access road is now in and the foundations for the new workshop have been cast. WRG have also just completed a very successful week long camp on site. Thanks to all the volunteers involved.
Consultations and workshops, (the other kind), are progressing on Torfaen’s “Vibrant and Viable Places” , which has to be moving by March 2015. A workshop that I attended recently included
live links from Washington, Idaho and Merthyr Tydfill showing what can be done when the community pull together.

Finaly, FOURTEEN LOCKS PIRATE DAY, this Sunday 20th July, starting at 11.00am with the Trip Boat operating all day.

See you on the Cut.

EMagazine – 17th April 2014

Greetings All,

“Vibrant and Viable Places”. Workshops are now taking place to discuss the best ways to use the money available from the grant, which unfortunately was not for the full amount. The Canal Quarter in Cwmbran and the regeneration of Pontypool Town Centre are the priorities, with Five Locks and its connection to Cwmbran having to look elsewhere, but a start has been made.

CRT MBACT Chairman Roger Francis had a constructive meeting with Nick Worthington at Gloucester from which it emerged that CRT would like the “Lord Raglan”, MBACT’s Community Boat project, to be based at Goytre Wharf.The use of a meeting room has also been offered. A room has also been offered by Nigel Curtis of Road House Boats at Gilwern.

Ty Coch “Waterworks” project was recently visited by members of the CRT Board who were impressed by the progress and saw the recently installed modular Lock Gate. This had been assembled in the lock and installed without any heavy lifting gear, a saving that did not go unnoticed.

Helmsman Training. Tony Pugh, under the banner of the I.W.A., has offered to train any volunteer as a Helmsman for craft on non CRT waters. This will be free on condition that they are willing to help out with trip boats on these waters. Specifically, the Neath, the Crumlin Arm and the lower reaches of the Mon and Brec. Contact Fourteen Locks or for more details.

Canlathon 2014 will be held on the 14th September. Teams of 4 will paddle canoes from Pontymoile to Goytre, cycle from Goytre to Llangynidr and walk or run from Llangynidr to Brecon. 2 man canoes will be supplied but you must bring your own bike or hire one. Entry costs £30 per person and medals will be given to finishers. THIS IS NOT A RACE.

“The Five Locks Festival” will be held on 16th & 17th August. This will take place at the basin and an adjacent field accessible from the Community Centre, which will also accommodate the parking. The “Edith-Elizabeth” trip boat will operate on the stretch of water BELOW Five Locks towards the “cascades” and back.

Initial Calendar for the remainder of 2014.
May 24th & 25th Tredegar Park, (National Trust) Trip Boat rides.
July 1st & 2nd. Education Days at Goytre Wharf.
July 20th. Pirate Day at Fourteen Locks Centre.
August 16th & 17th. Five Locks Festival.(as above).
August 25th Duck Race at Llangynidr Locks opposite” The Coach and Horses”.
September 13th – 17th. Visit and Study Tour by members of “Canal du Midi”, France.
September 14th. Canalathon.(as above)
AND FINALLY,from April 1st “The Islwyn Lilly” trip boat will be operating from “Wysome’s Wharf, The Darren, on the Crumlin Arm.

See you on the Cut.
Bernard Illman

Chairman’s EMag – 5th March 2014

Greetings All,

The installation of the Rev. John Collier, conducted by the Bishop of Monmouth, the Rt. Rev. Richard Pain, took place at St Illtuds, Mamhilad, on Sat 22nd Feb. There was a good crowd of about 50 people there most of whom retired to” The Star” afterwards for snacks and a drink. Photos were taken at High Bridge and can be seen on the MBACT web site, www.churchinwales or the next edition of Waterways World.

Crumlin Arm
The Principal Engineer reports that CCBC are currently working to repair a long standing leak on the Pontywaun section. This consists of a new section of retaining wall and 70m of synthetic liner which will be extended further, subject to available funds. Partial infilling of the canal bed has been required to provide access and will be removed on completion of the works.
A short length of tow path behind Brynhyfryd Terrace is to be raised to prevent over topping.
Measures are being investigated to prevent silt blocking the canal, enabling the Islwyn Canal Associations trip boat to operate from Whysome’s Wharf.
Grass cutting and sapling treatment will start on 24th March and weed cutting in the channel will start in July.
A perceived conflict between cyclists and walkers is to be addressed by the introduction of a Cycleway Code of Conduct. Signs will be erected and information leaflets made available shortly, their effectiveness will be monitored over the next 12 months.

MBACT Regeneration Ltd.
The new company has managed to secure £64,000 which is match funding for the HLF Waterworks partnership with Torfaen. Now that the 10 year licences with TCBC has been signed for the land, a temporary road access can be constructed from Holly Bush way and the workshop can be erected, (in May). This money will also fund the new modular Top Lock Gate and the purchase of land at Pentre Lane required for further restoration of the canal.
TCBC and WG Vibrant and Viable Places project.
Torfaen C.B.C. have secured £8.5m from the WG for the above project which includes a “Canal Quarter” in Cwmbran centre. A “workshop” will be held after the next Cross Party Group meeting at the Senedd on 19th March to discuss priorities.

Fourteen Locks
In partnership with Newport City Council, work is due to start shortly to improve water flow into Lock 20 to enable access by trip boat, and to continue the education program at the Centre for Communities and Schools.

Canalathon, 14th Sept 2014
This event will be open to 50 x 4 man (or woman, or mixed, to be totally PC) teams, paddling from Pontymoile to Goytre, Cycling from Goytre to Llangynidr and walking or running from Llangynidr to Brecon. It is not a race as such, but an event for anyone to compete in, including families. Entertainment and refreshment will be available at Brecon Basin during the afternoon. Click HERE for more details and enter online or download forms.

World Conference on Canals, Milan, Sept. 2014
Following on from Richard’s attendance at the WCC in Toulouse in 2013, a group from there will be visiting us later in the year to see what Wales has to offer and see our projects. Interaction of this kind broadens our scope for funding particularly when we are looking at European money and has been prepared through a partnership between Adventa, LAG, Monmouthshire C.C. and MBACT Regeneration Ltd.

And finally,
For those who like to do their boating from an arm chair, Timothy West and Prunella Scales will be back on their Narrowboat on “More4”, Monday nights at 9pm.


Chairman’s EMag – 3rd February 2014

Greetings All,
Looking out at the rain and the soggy garden it seems inconceivable that we have a full and vibrant year ahead of us, let us hope that all this precipitation will run out!

Chairman Roger Francis has passed on to me his strategy for the coming year which I will endeavour to pass on to you in précis form.
Future committee meetings will be held at 3 monthly intervals with more filling the gaps, this will cut down travelling expenses which can be high for some members. Alternative venues for these meetings are being considered on the length of the canal and any member will be welcome to attend as an observer. This may also encourage more members to help out on the committee as it is still short of officer holders.
Roger and others have also had a meeting with Costains, contractors for the new A465 (Heads of the Valleys Road), with a view to remodelling of Bridge 103, which was left as a potential hazard during road works many years ago.
His report from the Regeneration Steering Committee, (made up of all the partners and councils covered by the full length of the canal) shows increasing interest in the regeneration of Cwmbran Town Centre, The Crindau Marina at Newport and the imminent re watering of the Crumlin Arm.

In other news;
The Rev. John Collier is to become the Chaplin for the MBACT at a ceremony to be held at St Illtud’s Church, Mamhilad at 12.00 on Saturday 22nd February, conducted by the Bishop of Monmouth the Rt. Rev. Richard Pain. The church holds 100 and it would be great to fill it! Refreshments will be served afterwards so numbers, to this e mail or Fourteen Locks, would be a help.

Five Locks Rally planning is in progress and if you would like to help on the organising committee you will be most welcome.

The Shop has moved to the old Vision Express building in Newport and still has vacancies for mornings and afternoons.

The two Trading Companies, one for Fourteen Locks and the other for Ty Coch, have been formed.

Ty Coch Flight restoration continues but hampered by the weather and lack of access road.

Members are asked to please check their membership renewal dates and forward their subscriptions, if lapsed, asap, notices have not been sent out for the past 4 months due to a temporary hitch.

On the subject of membership, many people who receive this E Mag are not members but interested parties and supporters. Would you not like to give us also a little financial support AND receive the magazine four times a year? Membership ranges from £5 to £10 p.a. and forms can be filled in on line at our web site, at Fourteen Locks or I can facilitate it from here.

I have just heard that Torfaen has been successful in it’s “Vibrant and Viable Places” bid which makes money available to start the regeneration from Five Locks to the “Canal Quarter” in Cwmbran Town Centre. Well done to all concerned.

Chairman’s EMag – 10th December 2013

It has been a long time since the last E Mag and with so much happening I could not keep up, however, here is a brief catch up.

Long time volunteer and friend, Chris Annetts, died after a long illness bravely borne and was laid to rest yesterday. All our sympathies go out to Jenny.

The first composite Lock gate is now on site at Ty Coch.

The trading arm for Fourteen Locks is being set up as we speak.

The Newport Shop has moved into new premises in the pedestrian area in the centre of town. The old “Vision Express” premises.

Finally, after 4 years as chairman I retired in November for a rest, I ask everyone to give Roger Francis the same kind of support that I been privileged to receive.

Please take time to read the attached document that sets some of his plans out for the future.


Bernard Illman

Chairman’s EMag – 23rd September 2013

Greetings All,

The Shop and Canal Information Centre at 33 Upper Dock Street has now closed. We knew that we had to be out by 20th September, but we had two other shops lined up. However, after waiting for 2 weeks for the agent to make contact with the owner, 24 hours before we were due to move, the owner declined and so all stock is now in storage and we start again. Thanks to Bob Coldwell, Darren, Jason, Jodie and Ursula for a smooth move on Friday.

Country File and Julia Bradbury were at Ty Coch, also on Friday, filming the volunteers in action and hearing their comments on what they are learning. Steve Price has been nominated for an Emmy award! The clip will be shown on a Sunday night within the next 6 weeks.

Heritage Day, Fourteen Locks, was a great success so full marks to Phil for postponing from the week before due to the weather! Our boat and the Newport Steam railway ran all day; there was a Choir and all the other activities expected on such a day out. Thanks to all the MBACT volunteers and all the clubs, associations and staff at the Centre, far to numerous to mention individually, who made the day a success.

Gilwern Boat Gathering, Saturday and Sunday. Nine boats arrived for the revival of what used to be an annual event which was a good turn out considering the short notice. Tea, Coffee and biscuits were supplied by Nigel and Sally of Road House Boats who were ably supported by Nick and Sharon from Castle Narrowboats. A musical quiz was held on the towpath on Saturday evening with the aid of someone’s hi tech gizmo (!) and boats started to depart after Sunday lunch. Remember this one for next year!


Chairman’s EMag – 10th September 2013

Greetings all,

Sunday, 15th September, Fourteen Locks.
This Sunday, the annual Heritage Day takes place. The trip boat will be operating on the pond, there will also be a steam train and many other side stands. Phil and Tom always put on a good show so come and support them.
Volunteers are needed to help with the boat from about 10am, it is always a good day out and we look forward to seeing new faces and old, please see Captains Roger Francis and Tony Pugh when you arrive.

Saturday & Sunday, 21st & 22nd September, Gilwern.
Nigel and Sally from Road House Boats invite all boaters to a revival of the Gilwern Boat Gala. This was big in the past and they are trying to gauge interest for a big one next year. The Bridgend Inn will do pub refreshments on Saturday evening and it is hoped that the Hope Church will be able to offer canalside refreshments from the Old School building on Sunday.

This is a chance for all those critics who say there is nothing happening on the canal to show their colours!

Stop Press!
The Monmouthshire, Brecon and Abergavenny Canals Trust is pleased to announce that it has just been successful in a bid for £64,000 from the Social Community Economic Fund for further restoration and development projects in the Torfaen area.

See you on the Cut,

Duck race news!

We could not have asked for better weather over the Bank Holiday weekend, ticket sales for the Duck Race at the Llangynidr Show were an all time record and those that came to watch the race on Sunday enjoyed a good day out. Thanks to all those volunteers who came along to help and welcome to the new members who joined us.
The following are the prize winners and if Roger has not been able to contact you yet, please phone him on 01761 462703.

1/ Ticket No 1906 Mrs Edmonds.
2/ 4075 Cath Kelleches?
3/ 1121 K Wilbud.
4/ 1078 ? Lovell.
5/ 4625 Gauler.
6/ 0144 Robbie.
7/ 1733 Ian Cockrill.
8/ 1922 Paul Lees.
9/ 4198 V.Williams.
10/ 3153 ? Williams.
11/ 2796 M.A.Phillips.
12/ 3276 Mrs.S.Walton.
13/ 0630 F Meredith.
14/ 3796 Julie Skyrme.

Thanks to all those who bought tickets and donated prizes, without you we could not keep going.
Closing date for copy for the Reed Warbler is 1st Sept. so anyone who would like to have their say, contact the Editor at

Chairman’s EMag – 17th July 2013

Fourteen Locks

This Sunday, 21st July, is Pirates Day at Fourteen Locks, the Trip Boat will be operating on the Pond and among other activities, there will be a competition for the best dressed Pirate. All volunteers are welcome to help with the Trip Boat, selling Duck Race Tickets, Membership and to help Ursula with the Sales Table. Good weather has been arranged!

Ty Coch

The “Waterworks” project at Ty Coch continues apace and there are now 20 volunteers on the scheme. The stone work on lock 41 has been completed and the scaffold is being moved to lock 42. The Archaeological Dig next to lock 42 “Shop Lock” last month, revealed a perfectly preserved Saw Pit and it is hoped to include this feature in a future Visitor Centre.

Crumlin Arm

The quest for water on the Crumlin Arm, after the initial survey by volunteer Lindsay, is being supported by Caerphilly and Welsh Water, the later have been checking for “miss connections” and testing water quality with a view to reconnecting the underground water at manor Road to the Canal. However, water is urgently needed at “Wysomes Wharf”, further up, to be able to run Iswyln Canal Association’s Trip Boat.Plenty of water goes under the Canal at Pontywaun but an innovative way of delivering it into the Canal, like a Water Wheel, is required. This would be an interesting project for a volunteer with time and know-how in conjunction with Caerphilly C.B.C.

You may think this is a long way off but a Five Locks Rally is being planed for the weekend before the August Bank Holiday, and a Canalathon. for September 14th.

Don’t forget the Llangynidr Show on Sunday 25th and the DUCK RACE on Monday 26th August (this year!).