YouTube Fame

The Inland Waterways Association has identified a series of destinations on lesser known waterways and issued a list in their Silver Propeller Challenge. Boaters who travel to these locations, and take photographs as proof, score points towards an award. Partly motivated by this. two celebrity boating vloggers Minimal List have posted over 380 YouTube videos of their river and canal journeys.
Recently they have been in Lincolnshire on their narrowboat Perseverance and have boated along the River Witham and diverted up the Sleaford Navigation on their way to Boston. We were delighted that they enjoyed their time on the Slea and reached the Silver Propeller Challenge destination of the winding hole in South Kyme. They had some difficulty in pronouncing Kyme Eau but that didn’t prevent them from recommending the trip to others. They didn’t make it under the very low bridge in South Kyme beyond the winding hole but were appreciative of the information on the website and at the lock regarding bridge height and acknowledged it had always been an over-optimistic attempt.
To see their video of boating on the Slea go to
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Bottom Lock gates update

Following some sterling work by a small party of volunteers on Sunday, 9th May, the lock is operable again and boats have gone up to South Kyme. Thanks to all concerned.

New problems at Bottom Lock

Boaters please be aware that the problem with silt in Bottom Lock has meant that the bottom gates will not currently close. This means the lock cannot be operated. It is extremely important that people do not attempt to force the bottom gates to close by using the guillotine gate. This could lead to expensive damage to the gates and a longer closure.

When the situation changes, we will issue an update.

Bottom Lock open for business

I’m pleased to report that the problem with debris behind the cill at Bottom Lock that was stopping the gates closing properly now seem to have been resolved. In fact two boats have gone up to South Kyme in the last few days.

River Slea upgrade projects spawn partnership

As is usual with waterway restoration projects, not much appears to happen for a while but, in reality, trusts and societies are a bit like swans, serene on the surface but paddling like crazy below.  Until all details are in place it is often not possible to disclose them to the general public.  

The Trust have been working for some time now on a potential partnership to develop the waterway and explore its potential in terms of tourism and environmental enhancement. The project has just been announced by North Kesteven District Council at a meeting reported in the local paper.  Follow this link to see the full article in the paper.

The scheme has yet to have full council approval before it can go any further. Unfortunately, there is one error, in that we had not considered using Canal and River Trust volunteers as the article suggests. 

When the rebuilding of Haverholme Lock starts in earnest, there will be plenty of scope for volunteers with a wide variety of skills or, indeed, volunteers wanting to learn new skills.  Anyone with bricklaying and civil engineering experience will be particularly welcome. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch at sleaford.navigation@ntlworld.com.

Chainsaw training and a trip to the woods

In the past, if the Trust had a problem with any fallen trees that needed some chainsaw work before the branches could be moved, we could call on the services of one of our members, Andy Martin, a qualified tree surgeon, to help us out.  Unfortunately, from the point of view of the Trust, Andy retired a couple of years ago and let his certification lapse so we were no longer able to rely on him.

Thanks to a grant from WRG, two work party members, Mel Sowerby and Steve Hayes, were able to go on a chainsaw maintenance and cross-cutting course which has given them the skills and certification to carry out the work. The course took place on March 11th and 12th but was slightly problematic as the first practical session had to be delayed because the very high winds made it unsafe to work in the woods. The second day was more favourable so they were able to complete the tasks successfully and achieve the required standard. There was comment that those high winds would probably have given them opportunity to practise their new skills in the near future.

Trust AGM May 2021

The Trust has traditionally held its AGM in early May but the restrictions relating to Covid-19 mean that it is very unlikely that will happen this year. At the February Committee Meeting via Zoom, it was agreed that the AGM be held over until later in the year in the hope that it can be an actual rather than virtual meeting. If lockdown restrictions persist into Autumn, then it may be necessary to meet by Zoom in order to satisfy legal requirements but that decision is being deferred at the moment. More information will follow later.

Boat Gathering South Kyme May 2021

Covid-19 restrictions and the uncertainty regarding their continuation make forward planning very difficult if not impossible. In the light of this, the Trust Committee have come to the decision that, at this time, no arrangements can be made for the Annual Boat Gathering in South Kyme.

If the situation changes before then, it may be possible to hold a much simpler, informal event at short notice. If you would like to be part of such a gathering by bringing your boat, please email Sue Sowerby on gathering@sleafordnavigation.co.uk so that you can be contacted should the restrictions be lifted sufficiently for it to go ahead.

Sleaford Community Power Grant

Glennmont Partners (the owners of the Sleaford Renewable Energy Plant) in partnership with North Kesteven District Council make funding available via the Community Power Fund to support community projects within a five-mile radius of the plant.

Applications are considered on a quarterly basis by the Sleaford REP Community Power Fund Panel. Representatives of the Sleaford Renewable Energy Plant, the local community and NKDC councillors are members of that Community Power Fund Panel.

We are delighted to report that, in January, we heard that the funding application to the Panel made by the Trust in December was successful. We have been awarded funding for new equipment to manage vegetation along the waterway in the shape of two petrol powered brush-cutters and a polesaw. The grant also allows us to purchase appropriate PPE for volunteers using the equipment together with a specific training course relevant to the use and maintenance of the polesaw.

We hope that this award will enable us to work more efficiently in conjunction with our volunteer work party members and encourage more people to become involved. At present, Covid-19 restrictions prevent us from holding work parties but we hope that, before too long, these will be able to resume. If you would like to find out more and join us, please contact Mel Sowerby at workparty@sleafordnavigation.co.uk for details.

Photos of the equipment in use will follow as soon as is practical.

High water on the Slea

When boating on the Slea during the summer there have been times there have been times when it was felt that you could do with a little more water under the boat.  However, the recent heavy rains have put a little more water into the river.  The lack of headroom at Halfpenny Hatch Bridge can be a problem for some boaters but, as can be seen, on Saturday 30th there was virtually none.  But the village moorings were nearly submerged completely.

Thanks to Jo Shields and Dave Pullen for the photos.