Christine (Chair of LCA) and Neil Cameron.
We are Neil and Christine Kitchener, we bought the Duckling in 2014 with no experience of boats or canals. The Duckling is a 57-foot ex Nollie Barge which had been previously owned by a charity and used for educational trips for children. She is moored in Auchinstarry Basin and when we bought her she had fallen into a poor state of repair. We were told that she had been named the Duckling by a primary school in Possilpark. Her engine had been flooded and needed replacing, the wooden floor was rotten and needed replacing (mushrooms were growing on the boards) and the windows were leaking. She had been stripped of all assets, cooker, stove lightfittings and the electrics were shot, She was a barge in need of a lot of TLC and mountains of cash. However, the jewels in the crown were 3 beautiful stained glass windows and pictures revealed that she had been a real beauty in her day. For the last 5 years we have been working on her and are slowly returning her to her previous glory. We do not live on the boat, but she has made her maiden voyage up the Falkirk wheel and participated in this year’s Flotilla.
We are both retired after long careers in civil engineering and social work respectively and we met on the Inca trail in Peru many years ago. We have family in Australia, Canada and England so travel a lot. Christine is a Highland woman from the Glens and Bens of Fort William and Neil has roots in Bedford and Cardiff. We still enjoy rambling and are keen walkers with Kirkintilloch Ramblers. We became involved in the Lowland Canals Association from the beginning and continue to be enthusiastic about the new challenges that we are presented with. We enjoy cycling the canal, observing the swans, cygnets, ducklings, wildlife, flowers and all the varied life along the canal bank. Our future plans are to navigate the whole of the Forth and Clyde canal and visit Edinburgh for the Fringe with a warm log burning fire and a warm malt whiskey.
Fellow members, my name is Don Williams and I joined the LCA committee as an ordinary member last year at the AGM. I started life as an apprentice Electrical and Mechanical Engineer, having left school at 15 years of age. I then joined the Royal Engineers (Army) where I completed 4 years of service. I completed my trade training for Electrical and Mechanical Engineering and also trade training as a Heating and Ventilation Engineer at the Royal Military School of Engineering at Chatham in Kent. During my time in the Army I also completed 2 tours of active service. I have also built permanent bridges over one canal in Germany and at Farnborough in Hampshire.
On leaving the Army, I joined BP at Grangemouth and trained at Forth Valley college as a Chemical Process Technician. I spent 38 years with BP and INEOS in the Oil and Gas industry as a Process and then a Project Engineer working on projects from £15million up to £150million. In between my BP and INEOS service I worked for British Waterways Scotland and then Scottish Canals for a period of 6 years. 3 years on the F&C East and 3 years at Edinburgh Quay on the Union canal as a staff member. So, you may remember me from my time on both canals. I have a great interest in seeing the canals in the Scottish Lowlands continue to flourish, and be maintained and adequately resourced. Inadequate resourcing is one of my pet hates.
I have an interest in the infrastructure of the canals and the history of how they were built. I also have an interest in maintaining and fighting for boaters’ rights on these canals. And ensuring that the boater’s safety and the navigation of the canals is maintained. I joined the LCA to enable me to carry out these interests and I hope that you will all benefit from the different types of expertise and experience within the LCA members committee in making your lives on these Lowland Canals a lot easier and enjoyable experience.