Mendip travels 137 miles to Crick Boat Show
The National Waterways Museum's historic boat Mendip is currently halfway through a 137-mile journey to the Crick Boat Show.
The trip will take her eight days and includes 147 locks and nine tunnels. She set off on 16 May.
Mendip was built during 1947 and was used for transporting chocolate crumb between the Cadbury factories at Knighton and Bournville. She was restored at the National Waterways Museum's Heritage Boatyard two years ago.
The Crick Boat Show & Waterways Festival takes place over 25-27 May at Crick Marina near Rugby in Northamptonshire. The show will open from 10am till 6pm every day except Monday 27 May, when it closes at 5pm.For more information visit www.crickboatshow.com or call 01283 742962.
Canal and River Trust appoints Chief Executive
The Canal and River Trust has appointed Richard Parry as its new Chief Executive.
Currently at FirstGroup, Mr Parry headed up First's bid in 2012 for the InterCity West Coast line and more recently has been leading First's Hull Trains company, as well as other wider development programmes across First's rail businesses. He has previously worked for London Underground and Transport for London.
He is also a trustee of People 1st - the sector skills council for hospitality, passenger transport, travel and tourism - which works to transform skills in the sector, particularly in the areas of management and leadership, customer service and craft/technical skills.
Richard Parry will commence work for C&RT this summer.
Trent & Mersey reopens
The section of the Trent & Mersey that was closed following a collapse last September was reopened yesterday.
Eagled-eyed readers may have seen the opening featured on BBC TV's One Show.
The repairs cost £2m and include a new drainage system that it is hoped will prevent breaches in the future.
Originally the Canal & River Trust had hoped for an Easter opening. However once the engineers had got to work on reinstating the length of high embankment which had been washed away into the Weaver Valley, they realised that the poor quality of the sandy soil meant that much larger quantities of stone would need to be brought in to rebuild it. This would take time, and the reopening was therefore put back to late May.
But thanks to good progress in late winter and early spring, this was brought forwards and the canal has now reopened in time for the Bank Holiday weekend.
Keep an eye out in Canal Boat for Martin Ludgate's report of the event.
Slough Arm closes
The Grand Union Canal's Slough Arm and towpath is currently closed at Reeds Bridge (bridge 2A) due to concerns over the amount of movement of one of the brick built sections which supports this bridge.
Peter Walker, engineering manager for the Canal & River Trust, said: "On Friday evening we noticed that one of the brick sides that supports Reeds Bridge had significantly moved so for safety reason we have had to temporarily close the canal and towpath around the bridge. We're not sure yet what has caused this problem and over the next few weeks we will be carrying a full and thorough investigation and we hope to have the canal and towpath back open as quickly and possible."
A ceremony is being held on Thursday 30 May to unveil a commemorative plaque to recognise the work of boating people during the two world wars.
The plaque is being erected in Birmingham beside the toll office at the top of Farmer's Bridge locks and the ceremony will take place at 11am. All are welcome.
Pirates of the Calder & Hebble16/04/2013
Pirates will be invading the Calder & Hebble Canal at a special family fun day.
South Pennine Boat Club, based in Mirfield, is staging a 'Pirate Rally & Open Day' where local people and visitors can enjoy an afternoon of family fun and entertainment.
There is a children's competition for the best dressed pirate and the opportunity to have a photo taken with a Jack Sparrow look-alike.
The show will also include Colonel Custard - a firm kiddies' favourite - a pirate ship bouncy castle, duck race, treasure hunt and a children's play tent.
Landlubbers will have the chance to view the inside of a narrowboat and there's even a chance to get afloat as the Calder Navigation Society will be offering boat trips along the canal during the event.
A programme of impromptu performances will include, Lime Scurvy, Yorkshire's favourite sea-shanty singers, renowned folk singers, Mic & Susie Darling and some surprise performers. Whilst a special all-male dance team, made up of Club 'scallywags' will perform a one-off sword-dance using Calder and Hebble spikes - the tool unique, to this area, used to operate local lock paddles.
Pirate 'grub' will be available from a sizzling barbecue, refreshment stalls and a tea room. A real-ale bar, supported by CAMRA, will provide a plentiful supply of 'grog'.
And all this for not one 'doubloon', the whole afternoon of old fashioned entertainment is FREE.
The Rally takes place on Saturday May 4 from 11am until 5pm.
River Avon reopens
A section of the River Avon between Bristol and Bath has been reopened following dredging.
Hanham Lock had been closed since October due to high water levels caused by a large quantity of silt jamming the gates shut.
In addition to removing the silt, the Canal and River Trust has cleared trees, branches and detritus from the cutting and lock gates, which acts as a natural collection point for floating debris.
Lock collapse closes Aylesbury Arm
The Aylesbury Arm of the Grand Union Canal has been closed until further notice by a major lock wall collapse at Lock 12.
The entire 70ft of the towpath-side lock chamber wall, from just below the top gate to just above the bottom gates, has cracked into several large sections and collapsed inwards, narrowing the lock to about half its normal width. This has closed the six-mile arm at around its mid-point, trapping several dozen boats on the Aylesbury side - mostly at the Aylesbury Canal Society moorings in the town. These craft include a hotel boat which will need to be transported around the closure by crane in time to pick up its first guests.
The canal remains shut until further notice, but the towpath is currently still open.
Getting out on the water
The On The Water Weekend on 27-28 April, launched by the British Marine Federation (BMF), will aim to get people of all ages and abilities from across the UK to try their hand at boating and watersports - including narrowboating. A varied programme will be available across England, Scotland and Wales, with events being added daily.
In the North there will be an array of widely different boating related activities to take part in; Anderton Marina and Wrenbury Mill Marina, Cheshire, are opening their doors to the public to offer boat trips and other activities - guaranteed to provide a fun day out for the family. For the more experienced boater, Whitehaven Marina in Cumbria will be having a boat jumble, a great chance to pick up some boating essentials at a reasonable price. There will also be an opportunity to indulge your artistic capabilities with Wandering Duck, Derbyshire, who will be hosting photography classes aboard their barges, providing the perfect opportunity to learn how to take some picturesque river photographs.
In the opposite end of the country Bray Marine, Berkshire, will be welcoming the public into their marina where they will be entertaining visitors with a boat show, as well as canoe and motor boat taster sessions. Hilperton Marina, Wiltshire, will be hosting relaxing boat trips to the quaint towns located nearby. Meanwhile, if you would like to have a go at something different visit Rockley Watersports in Poole; they are offering two for one hire on watersports equipment, half price taster sessions and some free half hour sessions. And Gayton Marina, Northamptonshire, will be providing cruising trips along the famous Grand Union Canal.
In Cardiff, BMF member Zego Marine is offering self-drive boats available for three scenic routes, giving you the chance to visit Cardiff Bay and the spectacular towering Millennium Stadium amongst other places. You will also have the opportunity to see the sights of Worcestershire, including Worcester Cathedral and the premiership league Worcester Rugby Club at Sixways, from the river with boats trips courtesy of Worcester Marina. Droitwich Spa Marina, also in Worcestershire, will be having a marina open day and their friendly staff will be happy to answer any questions.
Norfolk based companies, Norfolk Broads Direct and Herbert Woods will be providing boat trips and family entertainment. Additionally, Herbert Woods will be offering tours of their facility and you will be able to go canoeing and boating during the weekend. East Coast Boating in neighbouring Suffolk will be displaying new boats and equipment, hosting family activities and boating taster sessions.
Mike Enser, BMF Head of Marketing, said: "We are extremely excited with everything the On The Water Weekend has in store. BMF members are putting on a wide range of activities, so there is at least one that will appeal to everybody, to encourage more people across the UK to get out on the water. Take advantage of this great opportunity to try something new this Spring!"
Make sure to keep an eye out on the On The Water Weekend website which is constantly updated with new events.
To find out where the nearest event to you is taking place and for further details visit - onthewater.co.uk/weekend
£100k project to protect water voles
The Canal and River Trust is hoping to create 1.5km of habitat for water voles across the country.
The mammals are one of Britain's most endangered species, and their population has fallen by over 90% since the 1970s - mainly due to habitat loss and predation by mink.
The project will focus on ‘greening' the canal banks in order to provide voles with places to bury into. In London ‘vole ladders' have been installed to give existing colonies the means to access new floating islands, which are ideal for them to nest and feed on.
Work has been funded by £100,000 of donations and will also benefit a number of other species, including water shrews, birds, dragonflies and damselflies.
Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal reopens at Llangattock
A section of the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal at Llangattock was refilled yesterday following essential maintenance work.
The £1.2m Canal and River Trust project relined 470 metres of the canal above the village of Llangattock. Combined with 180 metres of relining carried out in 2008 above the village of Dardy, this equates to two thirds of the area of the Millennium Stadium pitch. The area holds 5,000m³ of water, which is equal to two Olympic-sized swimming pools.
In a story published on the C&RT's website, Dr Mark Lang, chair of Glandŵr Cymru, said: "The relining of this stretch of the beautiful Mon & Brec canal is part of the essential maintenance needed by the local canal network which is used by boaters, cyclists, anglers and walkers supporting local businesses. It is so exciting to be able to finally have it reopened for everyone to enjoy."
Children to take part in canal-themed activities at Stoke Bruerne
Schoolchildren are set to celebrate National Science & Engineering Week at Stoke Bruerne Museum in Northamptonshire during 18 to 22 March.
Pupils from five local schools will take part in a series of activities – lead by volunteers from the Canal and River Trust - themed around canals and water.
The children, aged 4 to 11, will explore the industrial industry of the waterways and visit Bob Nightingale, the blacksmith based in the canal side buildings at the entrance to Blisworth tunnel. They will also go on a boat trip into the haunted Blisworth tunnel and learn how to be safe when out and about on the waterways.
C&RT introduces new 'surgeries' in South Wales
The Canal and River Trust is running a series of surgeries in South Wales to encourage people to have a greater role in how their local waterway is run.
They will consist of fifteen-minute slots in which the public can work through ideas with staff from the charity, covering topics including boating, cycling, angling, ecology and heritage.
The surgeries replace the existing group meetings, known as ‘User Forums', on a trial basis. If successful they could be adopted in other regions.
Provisional times and locations are as follows:
- Thursday 4 April: 3-7pm Govilon Office
- Thursday 2 May: 3-7pm Gloucester Office
- Thursday 6 June: 3-7pm Diglis Basin Office
- Thursday 1 August: 3-7pm Govilon Office
- Thursday 5 September 3-7pm Gloucester Office
- Thursday 3 October : 3-7pm Diglis Basin Office
Puppet barge brings tales to life
Well-known fables are brought to life in The Hare and the Tortoise and other tales from Aesop at The Puppet Barge, moored at Blomfield Road, Little Venice, London W9.
It's on Sat 23, Sun 24 and Sat 30 March, plus daily from 1 to 14 April. To book call 020 7249 6876 or online at www.puppetbarge.com
Proposed HS2 route will affect waterways
The Government has published the proposed route of the second phase of the HS2 high speed railway line - and it's going to have an impact on the waterways.
As far as navigable waterways are concerned, there will be new rail bridges over the Trent & Mersey, Middlewich Branch, Bridgewater, Coventry, Soar, Trent, Erewash, Sheffield & South Yorks, and Aire & Calder Navigation. But it's the schemes to restore derelict canals that have the most to fear.
Worst affected by far is the Chesterfield Canal, where the new line will slice through the canal repeatedly over four miles from Staveley to Renishaw, a section mid-way between two already restored five-mile lengths, where it had been hoped that a £2m Lottery grant would have seen great progress in forthcoming years. Instead, unless the railway plans can be changed during this year's public consultation, the canal will only be restorable by building an expensive diversion.
Not nearly so badly damaged but still affected by the new line are the proposals to restore the Barnsley and Dearne & Dove Canals in Yorkshire, and the northern reaches of the Ashby Canal in Leicestershire - where at least there would be enough headroom available for a canal bridge to be inserted in the railway embankment.
C&RT announces results of financial year
As it nears the end of its first financial year, the Canal & River Trust's charitable fundraising team has raised £618,000 for the waterways from new sources which were not available to the former nationalised British Waterways - and has already secured £1m more for the future.
The Friends of the Canal & River Trust supporters' organisation had signed up 2,500 members when recruiting stopped for the winter, and was looking to bring in some new membership benefits to encourage more Friends to join next year.
The 50 Appeals launched at the same time as the charity in July have had mixed fortunes - 42 have now reached their targets, but four were dropped because they received no support at all.
Commercial sponsorship of the Trust has included £100,000 from the People's Postcode Lottery, a substantial donation from River Canal Rescue, and reduced price Hoseasons holidays for Friends.
Although charity fundraising is turning into a useful new form of income for the Trust, it's still small compared to the major sources of Government grant, boat licence and mooring income, utilities and property income. In particular commercial property, which brings in some £30-40m per year in rental.
The final strand of funding for waterways is what CRT calls ‘enterprise' - including grants from local authorities, the Lottery, the EU and other funds. It also covers use of schemes such as Community Payback whereby probationers provide unpaid labour for canals - this amounts to 5,000 days per year, and could, CRT believes, provide the equivalent of £2m of funding if extended across the country.
May opening for Dutton?
Repairs to the major embankment burst at Dutton in Cheshire are taking longer than originally hoped, and the canal is now likely to take until May to reopen.
Originally it had been hoped to reopen the Trent & Mersey Canal to through traffic for Easter; however the Canal & River Trust points out that this was always an aspiration rather than a firm plan.
In the event, engineers have found that the material that was used originally to build the embankment wasn't free-draining enough to be suitable for re-use, so more stone has had to be brought in to create a ‘drainage layer' to drain water from the embankment and reduce the likelihood of future problems - and this takes time.
C&RT proposes tighter limits on visitor mooring sites
Boaters stopping at 22 designated visitor mooring sites on the Grand Union and Oxford canals will be subject to tighter limits on how long they can stay there - and face a £25 daily charge if they exceed them.
Concerned at what it sees as a shortage of space at designated visitor mooring sites on the Grand Union and Oxford canals, the Canal & River Trust is consulting on proposals that it believes will improve the chances of boaters "finding space to tie up" when they arrive at the most popular locations.
Three sites, at Thrupp on the Oxford Canal, Stoke Bruerne on the GU Main Line and Foxton on the Leicester Line, are proposed for early implementation soon after Easter 2013 - with a review after six months to look at modifications as the scheme is rolled out to the remaining 19 sites.
A consultation into the plans was launched in late January; and the CRT is asking for volunteers to help with processing the responses.
Volunteers are also being sought for a workshop meeting to be held on 19 March in the Milton Keynes area to discuss the feedback. If you can help, email firstname.lastname@example.org with ‘SEVM volunteering' as the subject of your message.
NWM puts a new twist on The Tempest
One of Shakespeare's final plays - The Tempest - is set to be staged at the the National Waterways Museum at Ellesmere Port.
Thanks to a generous benefactor the performance has been helped along by a workshop from the Royal Shakespeare Company.
Director Laura Harris said: "After speaking to the Youth Theatre members about this everyone seemed very excited, especially after we'd decided upon a new framework for our version of the play; Steampunk!
"In its most simple form, Steampunk is a sub-genre of science fiction that typically features steam-powered machinery in a modern-day or even futuristic context. This seemed to work perfectly, melding the strange fantasy island on which the action of Shakespeare's fantastic tragi-comedy takes place with the heavily steam-powered and industrialised look of the site-specific surroundings where the adapted script would be performed."
The Boaty Youth Theatre's performances of The Tempest will be taking place at the Museum on February 20 and 21.
Tickets cost £3 for adults, £2.50 concessions and £2 children and are available from the museum reception or on 0151 355 5017. Booking in advance is essential and doors open at 7pm for a 7.30pm performance on Wednesday February 20 and Thursday February 21.
RYA celebrates book release with competition
The RYA is celebrating the release of the second edition of European Waterways Regulations by offering one lucky person the chance to win an Inland Waterways Helmsman's course.
To be entered into the prize draw you need to purchase a copy of the RYA European Waterways Regulations book direct from the RYA shop.
The helmsman's course is being offered at Willow Wren Training, which is based in Rugby.
If you've already got this qualification - which is an essential prerequisite for anyone wanting to explore the European waterways - there is also an option to take one of three other RYA one-day courses; Diesel Engine Maintenance, First Aid or Marine Radio VHF/SRC.
All back orders will also be included in the prize draw which closes on 28 February.
For more information visit www.rya.org.uk/shop
Gloucester river cruises announced
Gloucester Waterways Museum has released its 2013 schedule of canal and river cruises.
Both adults and children can enjoy trips along the Gloucester-Sharpness canal and River Severn in the museum's pleasure boat, King Arthur, and former Dunkirk ‘little ship' Queen Boadicea II.
This year's events include an Easter tea cruise, afternoon jazz cruise and Father's Day lunch.
Details can be found at www.canalrivertrust.org.uk/gloucester-waterways-museum
Charity seeks protection for waterways
The Canal & River Trust is seeking planning protection for its 2,000 mile network of historic waterways.
The charity has written to the government to request an amendment to the Growth & Infrastructure Bill, which it fears may undermine planning protections.
It has requested that its canals and rivers be given the same protection as land owned by the National Trust.
£4.6m pledged to rejuvinate Scottish Canals18/01/2013
The Scottish government has pledged to spend an additional £4.6m on revitalising the country's canal network.
Projects receiving funds include the creation of residential moorings at Firhill, Glasgow and Grangemouth, and a paddlesports centre at
Pinkston Basin on the Forth & Clyde canal.
The two-year programme of investment is in addition to £10m of funding announced for 2012-13.
Consultation on Grand Union towpath
The Canal & River Trust is holding a public consultation on improvements to a towpath on one stretch of the Grand Union Canal.
Local people are being invited to have their say about the Kensal Town stretch of the Grand Union Canal between Great Western Road and Gasworks Dock can be made a safer and more pleasant place.
The consultation will run until 8 February. Details can be found here.
A drop-in session to further discuss the plans will be held at Meanwhile Gardens Playhut, Elkstone Road, W10, on 28 January from 6pm to 8.30pm. Residents, people who work nearby, visitors travelling through the area and interested community groups are being invited to attend.
Slippage along Grand Union
A section of embankment along on the Grand Union Canal Leicester Line slipped into the water during the Christmas Period.
As a result 60m of canal near the village of Foxton became blocked.
Maintenance staff from the Canal and River Trust will be on site from today. The charity plans to begin dredging a channel through the centre of the canal as soon as possible in order to reopen the waterway.
The Canal and River Trust says that its initial findings suggest that the canal may have become unstable as a result of the recent prolonged rain. This saturated the ground, causing a section opposite the towpath to slip downhill and into the waterway.
Grand Western Canal to be restocked with fish
Thousands of fish are to be released into the Grand Western Canal at Halberton following last month’s breach.
Pike, eels, perch, bream, tench and roach were swept into a flooded field after the incident on 22 November.
Around 400 have since been rescued by the Environment Agency and Tiverton Angling Club, but hundreds more remain in the field.
Fish from the Environment Agency’s hatchery in Calverton, Northamptonshire, will be used to restock the canal, and two temporary dams have been installed to prevent further water loss.
Wake up to the silent killer
Carbon monoxide poisoning has claimed the lives of more than one boater per year on average over the last two decades – and in an effort to reduce these figures, the Boat Safety Scheme has published a new booklet warning of the dangers and advising boaters on how to guard against the ‘silent killer’.
Colourless, tasteless and odourless, the gas replaces oxygen in the bloodstream when breathed in, stopping the oxygen from reaching the body’s vital organs. Even at low levels it can cause loss of concentration, memory problems and dizziness. At high concentrations it can kill in minutes.
On boats, carbon monoxide (CO) is likely to be produced by engine exhausts and stove flues, especially on solid fuel stoves. If they are properly maintained it will normally be safely vented outside the boat, but cracks, warped doors, poor seals, sooted-up exhausts and inadequate ventilation can lead to a dangerous build-up inside the cabin.
The BSS’s Graham Watts says “We are concerned that still too many boaters do not yet know enough about what causes CO poisoning or how best to protect their crew and families”.
The new booklet explains how to recognise the symptoms of CO poisoning, what to do in an emergency, how to spot danger signs on your boat, preventing risks, and fitting a CO alarm. Produced jointly by the BSS and the Council for Gas Detection and Environmental Monitoring, it is available to download from boatsafetyscheme.org, while printed copies will be distributed to boat clubs and marinas.
Set foot on the bottom of Foxton Locks
Foxton Locks is giving members of the public the opportunity to walk around the bottom of the drained locks.
Weather permitting the event will take place on 15 and 16 December.
Visitors can also take advantage of free entry to the Museum, as well as site tours and a book signing.
At 2pm on 16 December there will also be a concert of seasonal songs performed by the Foxton Museum Folk Club in the Museum.
Section of Trent & Mersey is re-opened following breach
A twelve-mile section of the Trent & Mersey Canal has been re-opened five weeks ahead of schedule after a breach during September.
Temporary dams were put in place at Croxton following the breach at Dutton Hollow, near Preston Brook.
Contractors have now completed repair works ahead of schedule, allowing the stretch between Middlewich and Dutton to be re-opened. The Canal and River Trust invested nearly £400,000 to fix the damaged embankment.
Engineers are currently completing the designs for the reconstruction works at the Dutton breach.
Digging the dirt
The need for more dredging of silted-up canals is a subject dear to the heart of many boaters - especially those with deeper-draught boats. And it's one that the Canal & River Trust is aiming to put more effort into.
Over the past decade British Waterways spent an average of around £4m per year on dredging - but over the years, that money has paid for less and less work, as the costs of getting rid of spoil (especially contaminated material) have spiralled.
Now, with £10m of extra government funding due to kick in from 2015 onwards, CRT is looking to increase spending on dredging to £10m per year over the next decade.
A new strategy (replacing the traditional approach of dredging every canal in turn) has seen every length of canal analysed to gauge how much it needs dredging.
The canals targeted for 2013-14 include the Monmouthshire & Brecon, Shropshire Union, Ashton, Erewash and BCN Main Line, while more localised ‘spot dredging' is planned for the Macclesfield, Trent & Mersey, Huddersfield and other parts of the BCN.
Altogether CRT aims to get around the entire system on an eight-year cycle; however Operations Director Vince Moran cautions that this is one area that can suffer if there is an unexpected call on funding - for example the recent Trent & Mersey breach.
Update on the EU boat ‘driving licences' threat
Canal Boat and boating organisations have been fighting a proposed amendment to a Euro directive that could have resulted in compulsory ‘driving licences' for boaters in all EU countries including the UK.
The directive was originally aimed at harmonising boat design standards between builders in different EU countries - but an amendment tabled by a Dutch MEP would have made it much more wide-ranging and contentious. He had proposed that the European Commission should consider making proposals "to harmonise water craft licences at Union level".
He also proposed to "discourage the use of agricultural diesel" - which could have spelled the end for red diesel in canal craft, pushing up costs for those who use diesel for heating and other non-propulsion uses.
At present, certain EU countries also require licences for inland boaters and such a requirement could have had a very serious effect on the UK's waterways - and particularly the hireboat industry.
The Royal Yachting Association raised the matter with European ministers, while the Inland Waterways Association and Canal Boat have been encouraging boaters to write to their MEPs letting them know of their concerns ahead of a vote scheduled for December.
A number of people have already received encouraging responses: in particular the Conservative members indicated that they would be working to "ensure that this text is removed" as "addressing these issues does not fall within the EU's responsibilities".
UKIP joins boat licence battle
UKIP has said that its MEPs will fight the proposed new ruling on watercaft licences, which could mean all UK boaters having to get 'driving' licences.
In a letter to a concerned boater constituent who raised the issue, UKIP MEP Roger Helmer said:
'We do indeed agree with you that this proposed new legislation is onerous and unnecessary, and that professional and amateur watercraft owners are generally very responsible and not deserving of extra regulation, checking, or bureaucracy, which always unfairly impacts small and medium size businesses. The issue of red/agricultural diesel is also unreasonably intrusive, onerous, and probably unworkable in real life.
'UKIP MEPs will oppose this amendment being voted through on the grounds already given, and also on the grounds that the EU is not a legitimately constituted body fit to govern a sovereign nation such as the UK.'
Canal project makes progress
A hundred delegates attended the third annual partnership conference of the Bedford and Milton Keynes (B&MK) Waterway Trust.
The B&MK project aims to create a 26km waterway link between the Grand Union Canal at Milton Keynes and the River Great Ouse at Bedford.
In the Milton Keynes area options are being put under scrutiny and discussions with landowners and developers are taking place.
Meanwhile, an order is to be placed for the building of a sixty plus seat trip boat, which the B&MK Trust will operate initially on the River Great Ouse in Bedford.
The Mayor of Milton Keynes, Cllr Catriona Morris, said: “I congratulate the B&MK Trust, the Canal & River Trust and the project partners for persevering with the project. Although I don’t see a hole in the ground yet, I see momentum building big time. I have no doubt that we shall see that waterway and we will all enjoy the pleasure it will bring.”
Fight against boating ‘driving licences'
Boaters could have to get ‘driving-style' licences unless they fight off a Directive currently going through the European Parliament.
Under an innocuous piece of legislation to harmonise standards between boat designers and over red diesel usage, a Dutch MEP has requested an amendment to the Directive that includes the sentence ‘The Commission should consider submitting proposals to harmonise water craft licences at Union level, to encourage regular technical checks and to prevent tax evasion by discouraging the use of agricultural diesel.
This amendment, if unchallenged, would introduce the idea of compulsory driving-type licences for boaters, the potential for more and wide ranging compulsory checks on boats as well as threatening the supply of red diesel which could lead to problems maintaining waterside fuel supplies in extreme cases.
The danger is that if the amendment is ignored it will fall into the bureaucratic process of the EU and end up as a draft Directive by which time it will be too late to do anything about it.
Canal Boat believes we must fight this amendment which would be disastrous for UK boating. Quite apart from the personal angle for all boaters, the idea of boating ‘licences' could potentially devastate the hire industry which is many people's way in to boating.
We want all waterways supporters to lend their weight to the campaign to fight the Directive and write to their MEP to let them know of their concerns about it. Time is short, the committee meets in early December.
You can find out who your MEP is here and write directly to them.
The IWA is also fighting the case and arranging high level contact with both the Rapporteur (the committee liaison officer) and also the UK Government to see if they can stop the matter proceeding any further.
It has also helpfully come up with a form of words in the form of a letter that you can use to write to your MEP - you'll find it here.
Canal and River Trust approves mooring rules
The Canal & River Trust has reached an agreement on its interpretation of the law relating to continuous cruising.
It also gave backing to a number of initiatives aimed at addressing the misuse of licensing and mooring rules.
Simon Salem, marketing director of the Canal & River Trust, said: "The number of people opting to license their boats without a mooring on the basis that they will continuously cruise has increased by 37 per cent since 2007 to 4,400. Most enjoy the waterways and use their boat ‘bona fide' for navigation in the spirit of the legislation. However, our regular boat sightings give us reason to believe that up to half of people opting to continuously cruise are not currently doing so within the terms of their licence."
The briefing and policy paper, agreed by the C&RT during meetings that took place in September, is available to view here .
Relining project to take place on Mon & Brec
A £1.2million relining project of the 200 year-old Mon & Brec Canal is due to start next week.
The project includes replacing the aged clay canal bed with a new PVC and concrete alternative.
Work will begin on the 5 November and is scheduled to be complete by mid-March, 2013.
As a result the canal will be temporarily closed between bridges 116 and 118.
Wey & Arun launches children's quiz
Looking for something to do over half-term? The Wey & Arun Canal Canal Trust will be launching a free children’s quiz.
The quiz has been designed to entertain children during a boat trip or walk alongside the canal. There are two versions - one for younger and another for older children.
You can pick up the quiz sheets from the Canal Centre next to the Onslow Arms at Loxwood, West Sussex, RH14 0RD (off the B2133), between 12 and 4pm on Wednesday 31 October and Friday 2 November, or between 11am and 4pm on Sunday 28 October, Saturday 3 November and Sunday 4 November.
Trips along the canal on one of the Canal Trust’s narrowboats are also available on Sunday 28 October.
Go to the Wey & Arun website for more information.
Canal restoration campaigner wins award
A man who lobbied for the restoration of his local canal has won an award from English Heritage.
Max Sinclair was presented with the English Heritage Angel Award for the Best Rescue of a Historic Industrial Building or Site during an awards ceremony at the Palace Theatre in London.
During the late 1960s he fought for the restoration of the Droitwich Canals by writing letters and lobbying locally. His actions resulted in the creation of the Droitwich Canals Trust in 1973.
Since then many volunteers have helped to raise funds and carry out much of the tasks needed to bring the canals back to their former glory. In summer 2011, 38 years after the Trust's formation, the Droitwich Canals were re-opened.
For more information on the restoration, click here.
Open weekend marks anniversary of the Battle of Stourbridge
An open weekend at Stourbridge will mark the fiftieth anniversary of a standoff that saved British canals.
The so-called ‘Battle of Stourbridge’ – a confrontation between members of the Staffs and Worcester Canal Society and the British Transport Commission – took place when boaters cleared a section of the waterway to allow a rally of 100 boats.
The publicity persuaded the authorities to accept the right of navigation, and prevented the closure of much of the network.
Attractions at the open weekend will include a craft fair, classic vehicles, children’s rides, and – of course – boat trips.
It will take place from 10am on 20 and 21 October, at The Bonded Warehouse, Canal Street, Stourbridge. Admission will be free. Click here for more information.
Trent & Mersey breach appeal raises £10,000
An appeal made by the Canal and River Trust following the major breach of the Trent & Mersey has already raised around £10,000.
The breach occurred at Dutton Hollow, near Preston Brook, after an unusually heavy downpour of rain and swept a section of the canal into a farmer’s field.
The C&RT has estimated that repairs will cost in the region of £1.5 million. It has had to close a 12 mile strech of the waterway until repairs are finished.
Anyone wishing to support the emergency appeal can visit http://canalrivertrust.org.uk/get-involved/appeals/help-repair-the-trent-and-mersey-canal-breach or text BREACH to 70800.
Parents-to-be wanted for new TV show
Sky TV is on the hunt for parents-to-be for a new documentary that follows couples taking their first steps on the journey of parenthood.
They’re looking for first time parents-to-be whose children are due anytime between now and December.
If you’re interested in taking part and gaining a unique filmed record of your new family then contact Millie Cortizo, producer/director at Spun Gold Television on Millie.Cortizo@spungoldtv.com.
Boats recreate Jam 'Ole Run for company's 50th anniversary
A small group of boats is set to re-enact the ‘Jam ‘Ole Run’ trip to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Blue Line Cruisers.
The Braunston-based company was formed in 1962 using four pairs of boats bought from the Samuel Barlow Coal Company.
The company ran the remaining Barlow contracts until the end of long-distance carrying with the finishing of the Kearley & Tonge contract in October 1970 – the famous ‘Jam ’Ole Run’.
Led by the Nutfield, now restored to its 1968 Blue Line livery, the boats will depart from Braunston at 8am on Saturday 13 October. They’ll stop overnight at Cosgrove, Marsworth and Hunton Bridge, they will arrive at Bulls Bridge on Tuesday 16 and return the following day, making the same stops on the return journey.
River Trent warning
Boaters travelling on the River Trent on the 7 October are being asked to proceed with caution due to a dragon boat race.
The event is taking place between Wilford Suspension Bridge (RT-007-003) and Lady Bay Bridge (RT-008-005). It will start at 10.00am and finish at 4.00pm.
The river will remain open, but boaters are asked to be careful and follow the advice of the safety boats and event stewards.
Click here for more information.