Read the story of how the Canal & River Trust came to be
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We have vacancies across all of our waterways and in the offices, museums and attractions that support them. We're one of the UK's biggest charities and we take pride in everything we do
If you're thinking of getting in touch then please take a moment to look through these pages as we probably have the answer on our website
Planning & design
All you need to know about planning and design on our canals and rivers
Find a winter mooring
Find a cosy section of canal to hunker down in this winter
10 reasons to take up canoeing
It's a great way to get fit and explore our waterways at the same time
Share the Space
Take a look at our common sense guide to sharing the towpath
Find a place to fish
From reservoirs to club-managed canals and river stretches - find your nearest place to fish
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Download your free guides
You've nine free days out guides to choose from - where will you go first?
Find a walk near you
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Take a look at our upcoming events here.
Find your favourite waterway
With over 95 canals, rivers, reservoirs, docks and navigations, find out more about your favourite waterway
Something for everyone
Help us make a difference and have fun along the way. Find your perfect volunteer role today
Join our team
Could you join your local Towpath Taskforce team and help us to keep our canals looking lovely?
Desmond Family Canoe Trail
If you're aged 16-25 and would like to get involved with this exciting project, please get in touch
Could you be a volunteer lock keeper?
Find out what's involved with this popular volunteering opportunity
We love and care for your canals and rivers, because everyone deserves a place to escape.
One of Ian’s earliest memories is fishing with his father at the age of five. Between them they caught small canal roach on bread punch. His dad of course was top Stockport angler, Jim Heaps.
Ian soon progressed to become a top rod in the North but made his name with the Abbey Hey team of Ian Alcock, Tony Bielderman and Tony Knight as they dominated the River Trent in the 1960’s. He was part of the winning Stoke team in the 1969 Trent National Angling Championship.
Picked to fish for England by Stan Smith in September 1975, Ian won the World title on his England debut. Held on the Poland’s Bydgoszcz Canal, Ian’s brilliant individual performance on the slider float carried a disappointed England team to second spot. Though results were calculated on both points and weight Ian set a record weight for the three hour match of 22 ½ lbs, taking eight bream, two carp and four roach. At the end of the match Ian raised his hand aloft to tumultuous cheers from the 30,000 crowd.
His fame quickly spread. This cheerful 32-year-old sheet-metal worker fully deserved the title of World Champion and became a great ambassador for angling. Still with the World Championships Ian won his section in 1977 on the long pole to qualify for the Sunday final but could only finish sixteenth.
Following his 1975 World title win, Ian’s match angling career took off. The following year he won the £1,000 Greenhall Whitley championship on the Bridgwater Canal, taking the first prize of £725. A year later he took the world record heaviest match weight on the River Erne at Enniskillen, Northern Ireland with 166 lb 11 ½ ounces of roach, winning a cheque for £1,000 and the overall championship. The Northern Ireland Tourist Board installed a special Plaque on the peg to mark this historic record.
Ian became the face of the Irish Tourist board promoting fishing in Northern Ireland throughout the UK before branching out into his own national tour road shows and angling forums up and down the country.
He was in the 1977 Benson & Hedges Polynet team with Kevin Ashurst, B Reade and Tom Pickering with an amazing final winning team total of 879 lbs. That year he finished in fourth place amongst the top money winners with total winnings for the season of £2,200. Leicester’s Ivan Marks topped the list with £7,000. That year, Ian had 13 match wins and numerous placings. Success after success followed, including another big win to become the 1985 European Champion. Who knows how many matches he has won over the decades he has been at the top?
Likeable Ian was in demand by tackle sponsors such as DAM and the national angling press for whom he wrote a prolific number of articles. The book ‘Ian Heaps on Fishing’ (1982) and a bountiful supply of VHS videos on the Waggler, the Slider etc followed.
Now retired, Ian runs the Holgan Farm fishery and coaching school in West Wales.
Last date edited: 13 July 2015