We love and care for your canals and rivers, because everyone deserves a place to escape.

News article created on 19 October 2015

Autherley to Swindon

In this update John Dodwell cruises with Trust staff down the Staffs & Worcs Canal

Ian Lane steering HELEN Ian Lane steering HELEN


I was joined today by Ian Lane and Bashir Ahmed. Ian is the Trust's West Midlands waterway manager; his area covers all the Staffs & Worcs; all the BCN, including the Birmingham and Fazeley; Stratford-on-Avon Canal; Grand Union from Birmingham to Radford Lock; and the Worcester/Birmingham from Birmingham to Kings Norton.

Bashir (aka Bash) is one of the Trust's new Development and Engagement staff; he's only been with the Trust for six months and this was his first boating trip. He is already getting the inhabitants of Walsall to respect better their local canal. 

We went from Autherley to Swindon with Ian showing his competency by doing most of the steering.  Ian had brought his notebook with him and Circular overflow weir on Staffs & Worcs Canalwas soon writing down things to action when back in his office. He says he likes getting out and so seeing the various problems users experience.

We were helped down The Bratch by Mark, one of the staff keepers. Mark and I were able to explain to Bash how the locks worked and when we got to Botterham I was able to show him a real staircase. I was also able to show Bash some of the distinctive features of the Staffs & Worcs, such as the circular spill weirs and the slopping bridge at Bumblehole.

After Ian and Bash left me, I went in through Hinksford Lock and tied to go and eat at The Hinksford Arms.

About this blog

John Dodwell

John Dodwell was formerly one of our 10 trustees. He owns Helen, a 51ft old BCN tug/icebreaker which draws 3ft and is based near Stourbridge, West Midlands. His waterways interest goes back to the early 1960s.

John’s been involved in the waterways since the early 1960s and he enjoys all aspects of the waterways. To pick out one oddity, he was pleased and surprised to see about a dozen herons this June around the BCN Main Line, including two under the M6 motorway!

See more blogs from this author