News and information for our Members, Moorers and Friends
We won the Living Waterways Award for Education and Learning for the Duke of Edinburgh residentials in 2016.
Coombeswood Canal Trust is an accredited provider of the Residential section of the Duke of Edinburgh's Gold Award.
If you are a DofE participant -
Approved Activity Provider information
This is a great opportunity to meet new people, develop confidence, build new relationships, work as part of a team, develop communication skills, show initiative and enjoy exciting new challenges overseen by our experienced skippers.
For more information or bookings, please contact our Youth Worker, Mick Cowles, on:
To view photos and comments re previous Residentials on Atlas and Malus please visit our Facebook page by clicking here
The boats are manned by volunteers as well as youth workers and the following is the experience of our Chairman's wife, Belle Woodward, who volunteered to help.
Out on a Duke of Edinburgh Gold Residential
I have been involved with D of E expeditions before, but this Gold Residential was a new experience. And how delightful it was.
There were twelve young people taking up the challenge on Atlas and Malus during the last full week in July, none of them local. Indeed, we had two young men from Holland, two from Wales and a young lady from Jersey. Truly International.
Loading the boats was a good ice-breaker, as they all had to help each other; finding their way around didn’t take long as their accommodation consisted of a camp bed in the nether regions of the hold and a “kitchen” area! A gas stove, bowl, kitchen utensils and water bottles. Sparse but serviceable.
The young people are expected to join in with all aspects of boating over the five days they are on board. Menus are devised from a stock of staple ingredients, which they prepare and cook. They are encouraged to take their turn on the tiller on both the butty and motor; their "horsepower" is needed to bow-haul Malus through the locks, something the crew I was with enjoyed immensely.
Mooring up inside the Black Country Living Museum for two nights was a highlight for me; we were regarded as an exhibit and were much photographed! Volunteering here has become an integral part of the programme. This time we were put to work on the gardens in the park and clearing paths of brambles and overhanging bushes. This was great fun and very much appreciated by the museum.
The run up the Crow and an overnight stay courtesy of the BCNS at the pump house took care of Thursday. Diverting down Spon Lane (Locks) on Friday because of a closure on Smethwick Locks, for an afternoon stop in Brum. Again the boats drew a great deal of interest from the passing public, with many stopping to ask what we were up to. Icknield Port was the Friday night destination and then a sprint down the main line back to Hawne on Saturday.
Our crew thoroughly enjoyed the experience; they all got on and were fantastic company. This has been a brilliant success story; it gives purpose to the boats, it publicises Coombeswood Canal Trust and, without a doubt, having the boats ploughing up and down the Dudley No2 helps to keep the channel open for everyone.
A massive “thank you” also has to go to the skippers. This team give up their time without pay or expenses and, quite honestly, the excursions would not run without them. Their skill is impressive and their generosity in imparting their knowledge admirable.
I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed those five days and became very fond of Malus’s cosy cabin. Delightful.
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