Colin makes next move towards restoring Northern Reaches

November 2017 - Despite unnecessary and groundless objections from North West waterways manager Chantelle Seaborn, Colin Ogden and his 1,000 strong band of Owd Lanky Boaters have taken a major step forward in their plans to restore the Northern Reaches of the Lancaster Canal, as Peter Underwood reports.

While Chantelle Seaborn wasted her and everyone else's time demanding meetings to discuss a perfectly accurate and innocuous press release, plucky Colin Ogden has not only gone ahead and set up a Community Interest Company to raise funding and support for re-opening the Lancaster Canal between Tewitfield and Kendal but has now acquired an office in an old church at the southern end of the abandoned section of the canal, which he sees being transformed into a skills and heritage centre.

He has carried on working towards his restoration dream whilst also dealing with the critical illness of his wife Linda, who has been in hospital.

Chantelle Seaborn, in contrast, is still insisting on discussing the press release that has caused her to ban Colin's volunteers from working on the Tewitfield locks until she has lectured them – presumably on how they shouldn't talk to the media without her censorship. Colin has now presented her with yet another example of how to get things done by offering to meet her at his new headquarters in January.

The Northern Reaches Restoration Community Interest Company is establishing its new HQ at Tewitfield Methodist Chapel, within walking distance of their Phase One operations at Tewitfield.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for us,” says company CEO Colin, “as it gives us a base in the area to work from, room to securely store equipment and the ability to arrange fundraising events.”

Future plans for the space include coffee mornings, educational and photographic exhibits and a skills centre for the entirely volunteer-led organization.

While Colin's team has worked effectively and well with C&RT people on the ground since formally adopting the Tewitfield locks under C&RT's adoption scheme, he has also looked to broaden support for restoration and the Tewitfield office’s proximity to the M6 motorway has enabled Northern Reaches Restoration to increase the scope of their plans to extend the volunteering opportunities on offer to any interested parties, including charitable organisations, colleges and universities.

“Northern Reaches Restoration is working with local, regional and national organisations to ensure the Northern Reaches are accessible once more. This will provide an untold boost to the local tourism economy from boating enthusiasts who are eager to explore all the inland waterways Britain has to offer,” Colin added.

He has already won support for the efforts of Northern Reaches Restoration CIC from local businesses include Greenlands Farm Village, the New England Tea Rooms and Lake District Estates all of whom want to see the current terminus at Tewitfield reopened and the Britain's waterways regain the 14 miles of glorious Cumbrian scenery which link Tewitfield with Kendal.

Photos: (1st) Colin Ogden - CEO of Northern Reaches Restoration and founder of Owd Lanky Boaters, (2nd) The old Methodist Church which is now the HQ of Northern Reaches Restoration, (3rd) Chantelle Seaborn, CRT's NW waterways manager.

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