The People

The crews came primarily from three sources: The Salford University Inland Waterways Society, the Newcastle University Town Planning course and, later,  North Manchester branch of the Campaign for Real Ale (Camra). The contact between all three groups was Duncan Roberts, who was at Salford, had been to school with Richard Atkinson of the Newcastle planners and was later a Camra member in Manchester. Not all participants were members of one of these groups but they all had a contact with somebody who was.

The first trip was mainly a Salford affair, but from the winter trip of  1973-4, through the contact between Duncan and Richard there was sufficient interest from Newcastle for them to arrange a their own boat and a “Salford” and a “Newcastle” boat became standard features of  all the new year trips after that, except  1974-5 when they went their separate ways.

By the early ‘eighties interest from the original participants was waning and was predominantly Salford-based. In order to attract enough people to make it viable efforts were made, again through Duncan, to attract interested parties from Camra. The proportion of Camra participants gradually increased and there was at least one spring trip after 1984 that attracted solely Camra people and is not recorded here. (It could be if information were available).

Here are brief notes on the crews,  who they were, their connections with the boats, the trips they came on and, where known, where they are now. They are far from comprehensive but will be added to as information becomes available.

Linda Atkinson  –  Richard’s wife. Only came on one or two trips. Now living  in Gnosall near the Shropshire Union Canal.

Richard Atkinson – Newcastle planner. School friend of Duncan Roberts and thus part of the connection between the Salford and Newcastle elements.  Now living in Gnosall.

Steve Bacon –  Salford University. Boyfriend and later husband of Heather Conway. Was on  “Seal” and the New Year trips in 1972/3 and 1973/4.  Now living in Arborfield, Berkshire and retired. Has a share in shared-ownership boat “Twelfth of Never” based at Gailey.

Margaret Balham (nee Cash) – Camra member. Bob’s wife and Pete Cash’s sister

Christine Bailey – was on Newcastle boat

Keith Bailey  – (no relation)

Keith Bailey 1974

Friend of Jim Davies at Salford.  Was on Seal in 1972 and also came for New Year’s Eve at Tipton in 1975/6. Blamed feeling ill the next day on “That hot-dog I ate at Oldbury bus station”. Now living on the Isle of Lewis.




Linda Barr. Newcastle planner. Came in 1974/5,  1975/6 and one night in 1979

Susie van Bergen – Newcastle planner

Ken Birch – Camra member. Owned his owned boat for a while in the 1990s(?). Living in Manchester

Martin Bird  – Newcastle planner.  Last heard of in Exeter

Ian Brown  – Newcastle planner. Boyfriend and later husband of Suzanne.  Living in Hull

Suzanne Brown (nee Wood) – Girlfriend and later wife of Ian. Schoolfriend of Hilary Smith. Living in Hull.

John Bore – Came on 1979 trip for one week.

John Boyce – Founder member of revived Salford University Inland Waterways Soc. Only recorded on 1971-2 trip.

Jem Callaghan – Camra member. Husband of Sue.  Came in 1976/7

Sue Callaghan –  Camra member. Jem’s wife. Came in 1976/7. Now living, as “Sue Richardson”, in Radcliffe.

Pete Cash – Camra member. Sister of Margaret Balham. Living in Salford.

Pete Challis: Salford Inland Waterways Soc. Sally’s husband.

Sally Challis (nee Bird):  Salford University.  Pete’s wife.

Penny Clover: John Boyce’s girlfriend. Believed to be involved with “Friends of President” (steam narrowboat). 

Heather Conway:  Was on the 1973/4 trip. Girlfriend and later wife of Steve Bacon. Now living in Arborfield, Berkshire.

Clive Coole – Friend of Mike Piet. Was on Newcastle boat from 1975/6 and all subsequent trips.

Jim Davies –

Jim Davies 1973


Founder member of revived Salford Inland Waterways Soc. in 1970.  Schoolfriend of Duncan Roberts. On all winter trips and usually on at least part of Spring trips (except 1979).  Had own boat “Starcross” from 2004 to 2014 and also boats on Kris and Bernard’s “Sunshine” occasionally. Now living in Lancaster with Hilary Smith. Author of this blog.



Mark Doran –

Mark Doran 1975

Salford University Inland Waterways Soc. On most trips.  Now living in Oxford.





Gas Engineers –  At least two members of the Gas Engineering course at Salford came on the Easter 1972 and possibly other trips. Names now forgotten.

David Evans Known as “Dai Evz”  Friend of Duncan Roberts. Came on most trips from 1976 onwards. Now a liveaboard and continuously cruising.

Angie Ford – was on the “Newcastle” boat in 1974/5 and 1976/6

Steve Greenfield – On Newcastle boat – but was he a planner?. Was on all trips from 1973/4 to 1976/7. Died 2012.

Ken Harrop


Ken Harrop 1983


– Newcastle planner. Was on most trips from 1973/4 onwards. Now living in Wolverhampton.




“Doc” Holliday – Salford Inland Waterways Society. Only on one or two early trips. Turned up at Tardebigge to see the 1972 Easter trip off. Catch phrase: “I get all my jokes from the back of a match box”.

Nick Holt. was on the Newcastle boat in 1973/4

John Hopkins – Lily’s brother. Came for a few days on the 1980 trip.


Lily Hopkins


Lily Hopkins 1983


Newcastle planner. John’s sister. Came on most trips until at least 1980. Retired and living in Brampton, Cumberland.




Angela Jones – friend of David Evans. Only on the 1984 trip.

Bernard Jordan – Boyfriend and now husband of Kris Brook who was at Salford University. Shared a house with Kris and Gwen Trippett in Patricroft. Friend of Jim Davies. Came on most of the early trips. Now has own boat (with Kris) “Sunshine” based at Pilling’s Lock, Leicester Section.   Living near Leicester.

Kris Jordan (nee Brook) 

Kris Brook 1972

Friend of Jim Davies at Salford. Boyfriend and later husband of Bernard. Came on most of the early trips. Now has own boat (with Bernard) “Sunshine” based at Pilling’s Lock, Leicester Section.  Living near Leicester.




Colin Kennington: Friend of Duncan Roberts. Came in 1983 believed to be living near Lancaster.

Hugh Mowat –

Hugh Mowat 1975

Founder member of revived Salford University Inland Waterways Society in 1970. Came on most trips certainly up to about 1981. Husband of Jeanette. Now living in Knaresborough.

Jeanette Mowat – Hugh’s wife. Only recorded on the 1981 Oxford trip. Now living in Knaresborough.

Phil Pearson  – Friend (work colleague?) of Duncan Roberts. Came in at least 1982 and 1984. Now working in Warrington.

Mike Piet – Newcastle planner. Came on most if not all trips until at least 1980. Last heard of in Blackpool.

Harold Pugh – Friend of Bernard Jordan. Came on a couple of trips. Died unexpectedly immediately after the 1976-7 trip.

John Radcliffe – was on the Newcastle boat in 1976/6

Duncan Roberts

Duncan Roberts 1974

Duncan Roberts 1974

Salford University Inland Waterways Society. Was at school with Jim Davies and, separately, Richard Atkinson.

Duncan was the connection between Salford and Newcastle and also with Camra and despite having been at Salford was often on the “Newcastle” boat. Regularly boating other people’s boats as member of  his local Boat Club and occasionally Kris and Bernard’s”Sunshine” Now living in Mossley, Lancs.


Charlie Ross – was on the Newcastle boat in 1974/5 and 1977/8

Hilary Smith  – On Newcastle boat. Schoolfriend of Suzanne Wood.  Provided many photos and crew lists for 1973/4 to 1980. Now living with Jim Davies in Lancaster.

Phil Swann – Newcastle planner. Was on the 1979 trip and perhaps others? Now living in London.

John Tidy –  Pat Tidy’s brother. Only came in 1979

Pat Tidy –  A planner with links, presumably, to the “Newcastle” plannersCame in 1979 and 1981. Last heard of in Trowbridge.

Gwen Tordoff (nee Trippett). Shared a house with Kris Brook and Bernard Jordan in Patricroft.  Came on all the early trips.  Husband of Martin Tordoff. Now living in Kendal

Martin Tordoff – Salford University. Husband of Gwen. Came on several trips in the early to mid-seventies. Extracts from his diary for two trips are included on the relevant pages. Now living in Kendal.

Grahame Yard – Newcastle planner

and a few for which I only have first names.

Andy – On Elm in 1972

Alan ? – On Newcastle boat in 1974/5

Dave – 1980

Mary ? – On Newcastle boat in 1974/5

Mike – on Elm in 1972

Nigel – On Elm in 1972

Jill ? – Martin Bird’s girlfriend

Jill – On Elm in 1972

There was also someone on the first trip who went home after a few days because “When you’ve seen one field you’ve seen them all!”


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