Category Archives: EMagazine

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 for details.

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


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.

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 from the beginning of February.

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


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.


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,


EMagazine – 25th August 2015

Greetings All,

This is the LAST CALL for the return of all DUCK RACE TICKETS. Please send all you have, sold or unsold, to Fourteen Locks Canal Centre, Cwm Lane, Rogerstone, Newport, NP10 9GN. OR, bring them to the Llangynidr Show on Sunday
If you have not already bought a ticket they will be available at the LLANGYNIDR SHOW on Sunday or contact me up to Saturday. Prizes are as follows.

1st. A Weeks Self Catering Holiday for up to 4 people at Torbay.
2nd. A Day Boat Afternoon for 3 hours for up to 8 people. Donated by Dragonfly Day Boats Brecon.
3rd. A 2 Course Sunday Lunch for 2 at The White Swan, Llanfrynach.
4th. A Meal for 2 plus a bottle of Wine at the Coach and Horses, Llangynidr. Donated by Mr Parris.
5th. Sunday Lunch for 2 at The Red Lion, Llangynidr.
6th. A bottle of Pendeyrn Whisky. Donated by Wyn Mitchell.
Plus many smaller prizes, including one which allows you to “Paint a Duck” (?)
It all goes off at about 2pm on Monday 31st August at about 2 pm.

Anyone who would like to help sell Tickets at the LLANGYNIDR SHOW on Sunday will be most welcome, I will be there from 9am.

This is also a call for anyone who would like to help with the Canal-a-Thon on Sunday, September 6th, anywhere between Pontymoile and Brecon, please give me a call.

See you on the Cut.


EMagazine – 12th August 2015

Greetings All,

THE ANNUAL DUCK RACE. Monday 31st August 2.00pm at Llangynidr bottom Lock.
This is almost upon us and as the ONLY fund raising that goes to running MBACT it is most important to us. Could all members please sell as many tickets as you can and send them ALL, sold and unsold, back to Fourteen Locks in the envelope provided.

The last big push to sell tickets and a great day out in the country, volunteer ticket sellers will be most welcome.

TREDEGAR HOUSE Saturday, Sunday & Monday, 29, 30 &31 August.
Tony will be operating the Trip Boat on the Lake at Tredegar House on these two days. All volunteers and Trainee Boatmen please contact him direct on 07970 413803 (after 21st )
CANAL-A-THON. Sunday 6th September. From Pontymoile to Brecon.
Come and support your team or just watch the fun from Pontymoile, 8am, via Goytre Wharf, approx 10am, via Llangynidr, to Brecon. Entertainment and food available at Brecon Rugby Club, close to the Canal Basin.

THE A.G.M. Saturday 19th September, 11am at the Ty-Coch restoration site, Cwmbran.
Directions. Turn left off Hollybush Way 50m from the roundabout on the A4051 between Malpas and Cwmbran. There will be a site visit after the meeting.

See you on the Cut.


EMagazine – 22th March 2015

Greetings All,

Welcome to all our new members and those who have changed their e mail addresses in the last year.

On the subject of Membership comes the news from Wyn Mitchell that you can now join the MBAC Trust or renew your existing membership on line. Access to the system is via the MBACT Website

Boatman’s Licenses. To operate a Trip Boat carrying passengers one needs a Boatsman License. MBACT has several boatmen but we need more and to this end our chief boatman and Health and Safety officer, Tony Pugh, has recently started familiarisation days.

Most of the canals in South Wales are in the hands of Local Authorities, Associations or Trusts, each one of these will have to ensure that any operator on it’s waters are competent, but probably has little idea how to ensure this. We could land up with a different set of licensing rules/procedures for each stretch of water. This would impact on the operators who move their Trip Boats from place to place for local events. In the case of MBACT’s “Edith-Elizabeth” which has operated on water owned by C.R.T., Torfaen, Newport, Caerphilly, Cotswold Trust, Hereford and Neath, we could be looking at 7 licenses for each boatman! This was already a problem when we went to Resolven for the Neath Trail Boat Rally. A unified approach among the authorities would be the best way forward and so far, Torfaen, Newport and Caerphilly have expressed agreement. Watch this space.

Holiday Flat in Torquay for one week.
This was the First Prize for last years Duck Race, kindly donated by the Rev. John Collier, which has kindly been donated back to MBACT to help raise funds. The value ranges from £250/week in the winter to £600/week in the summer and it was agreed by the committee last night that it should be actioned in the E-Mag until 31st March 2015. The highest bid over £250 by that date is the winner and bids can be sent to this e mail address.

Entries for this years Canalathon started 5 minutes after entries were opened! If you wish to enter please do it on line via the MBACT web site and follow the links. Entries will only be accepted at Fourteen Locks if you do not have a computer ( in which case you won’t be seeing this!!)  If you don’t want to enter but would like to be involved on the day, we will be looking for volunteers closer to the day, Sunday 6th September.

Crumlin Arm
At the Working Group Meeting at Caerphilly in February, the Crumlin Arm Action Plan 2015 was tabled and well received by the group. The detail given to the obstructions and their possible resolution shows how technology has changed since the last survey was done. The engineer Kevin Kinsey is enthusiastic about completing the works at Pontywaun and clearing the silt at The Darren in good time for the event in July.
y Roberts Bridge
We all know Harry Roberts bridge is on the boundary between Newport and Caerphilly sections, but who was he? Any family history, anecdotes or other information will be welcomed.

The Cwmbran and Pontnewydd Water Festival takes place on Saturday and Sunday 20th and 21st June, don’t miss it. All events are shown on the website.

See you on the cut.


EMagazine – 12th January 2015

Greetings All and a Happy New Year.

To start with there are the Events for 2015.

May 21st and 22nd. Education Days at Goytre Wharf with our Trip Boat.

May 23rd, 24th, and 25th. Trip Boat operating on the lake at Tredegar House.

June 13th. The Cwmbran Big Event.

June 20th and 21st. Pontnewydd Waterway Festival at Five Locks, Boaters are encouraged to make the trip, weed cutting and dredging will have been carried out. The Trip Boat will be operating on, the as yet, isolated section below Five Locks and the centre of activity will be in the adjacent Glenside community hall.

July 25th. Pirates Day at Fourteen Locks.

July ???   Possible event on the Crumlin Arm. Limited dredging has been promised by June.

August 31st The (world famous) Duck Race preceded by the Llangynidr Show on Sunday 30th.
(Ducks are still being recovered from the A4042!)

September 6th. The Canalathon, from Pontymoile to Brecon.

The Community Boat is still at the Power Station, final welding needs to take place to make it weather proof, it will then be moved to Herons Rest where Richard Lewis has kindly made space for us. (On dry ground at present).

Masonic Lodge No 4562 (Crystal) presented our Chairman and Treasurer with a cheque for £500 at a function in Newport recently. Their kind donation will go towards our education program which is being run in conjunction with Fourteen Locks Canal Centre.

Bridge No 36, Wellington Bridge. Just before Christmas a ceremony was held on the Ty Coch site to thank all those who have put so much into the project this year. However, a surprise number on the agenda was a presentation by Lord German to Cllr. Bob Wellington, leader of Torfaen Council, of a Bridge sign naming it the “Bob Wellington Bridge”. Bob has long been a supporter of MBACT and the restoration of the canal, the naming of this, hitherto unnamed bridge in the middle of the Ty Coch flight, is a lasting tribute to everything he has done.

The Crumlin Arm has already seen activity this year with a survey of various obstacles by consultant Patrick Moss and Caerphilly member Christina Hadley accompanied by Roger Francis, Richard Dommett and myself. Patrick is currently surveying the canals economic potential for the partnership and Christina is into European Funding at Caerphilly (get the drift?). Christina has taken on a huge task and needs all the support she can get both inside and outside Caerphilly C.B.C.

“The Waterworks” project at Ty Coch has placed the order for the first pair of lower “modular gates”, the top one having already been installed with a minimum of fuss. The new workshop building has made a huge difference to working conditions and the access road has speeded up  supplies of materials.

Finally, the “Cross Party Workshop” at Cardiff Bay, originally scheduled for Monday 12th Jan (today) has been postponed and has yet to be rescheduled.

See you on the Cut.


EMagazine – 5th November 2014

Greetings All.

Lock Gate photo
The Waterworks, Ty Coch.
Regular readers will be aware of the great work being undertaken at Ty Cock south of Cwmbran. Funded by The Heritage Lottery, the Waterworks project is restoring up to eight disused locks and canal structures while providing training to volunteers in heritage and canal maintenance techniques. The project is now half way through it’s second year and restoration work is progressing well. It’s also attracted it’s fair share of publicity with national T.V. and press coverage.

To build on the success to date, additional volunteers are needed to help with a variety of tasks. These range from vegetation management, pointing with lime mortar, restoring stonework, carpentry and a host of other activities. Whatever your skill level the project would like to hear from you if you are interested in volunteering and able to commit a day or more during the week on a regular basis. Volunteering provides an opportunity to put existing skills into practice, learn new techniques, meet fellow canal enthusiasts and make a real contribution to the future of the waterway.

Why not come down for a look and a chat to see what the project has to offer. For more information contact Richard Dommett on 07974 005 483, or Heidi Carey on )1633 648072 or on email

The Duck Race 2015 !!!  You my think it is a little early to look at the next Duck Race but the ducks need sorting out and the Boat needs attention. Tony Pugh has therefore asked for as many volunteers as possible for a “Flash Mob Clean up” for Saturday or Sunday 15th-16th November.
He will supply the music. Please contact him at or our new
Volunteer Co-ordinator, Paula Cork  at Paula joined a couple of months ago and is very keen, so let’s keep her busy.

Composite Lock Gates. The first Top Gate has been installed at Ty Coch, no fuss, no long reach cranes, just the guys on site.  See photo attached with our Volunteer Co-Ordinator, Paula.

Rogerstone. A meeting was held at Fourteen Locks Centre with members of the local community over issues that they have with the canal in the area. The upshot is that a formal meeting will be held to organise a voluntary  group to look after grass cutting, litter picking and the canal generally up as far as Harry Roberts Bridge. This group will tie in with the MBACT and hopefully encourage the formation of other groups along the Crumlin Arm.

Fourteen Locks Canal Centre. Breaking News. Congratulations to all concerned on the award of £83K from HLF. This award secures the future of Fourteen Locks Centre for the next 2 years allowing the team there to continue their good work and to branch out into new areas of education and community support.

Bernard Illman

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