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Friday 15 June

Today's news from the web

  • Lessons learned on the 2012 Grand Union Canal Race, from the winner. debsonrunning.blogspot.co.uk

    A hundred lessons learned by Debbie Martin-Consani on this year's Grand Union Canal Race, which she won outright on her first attempt. The 146 miles from Birmingham to London - not just first woman, but first overall, in 28 hours. ...

  • Flame gets special reception at The Falkirk Wheel falkirkherald.co.uk

    Almost 4000 people flocked to The Falkirk Wheel to welcome the Olympic Torch. A special reception and entertainment was hosted at the landmark by British Waterways, and the Torch was treated to a boat trip on the Wheel itself. The occasion was filmed for national TV, with coverage broadcast on the BBC. Alasdair Smart, Manager at The Falkirk Wheel said: “What a glorious day at The Falkirk Wheel. “The sun shone, the local choir sang, the schoolchildren cheered, the fireworks added to the occasion and the Wheel performed magnificently. “It was great to see thousands of people turn out to watch the Torch sail down the Wheel on the Maryhill puffer and enjoy everything the Wheel has to offer....


Thursday 14 June

Fifty-strong chorus is highlight of Russell Newbery Rally at Alvecote

A world-first was created at Alvecote Marina on the Coventry Canal last weekend when 50 Russell Newbery-powered canal boats started their engines in unison. 

The Synchronised Start Up, with all RN engines coming, to life on cue, was a highlight of the 15th annual Russell Newbery Register rally. It proved to be a hugely popular, and is set to be an essential feature of all future RNR rallies.

The RNR weekend followed the now well-established format of a series of practical workshops, this year based at the marina’s Samuel Barlow pub. The courses included ropework, cylinder heads, scumbling, rag rugs, chalkboard noticeboard, technical discussions and musical entertainment, which this year included a barbershop choir.



Former Russell Newbery apprentice Jamie Mason takes a cylinder head workshop at the 2012 Russell Newbery Rally at Alvecote Marina. Still only in his early 20s, Jamie lives on a RN-engined boat himself, and has run the workshops for at least three years. This year two sessions were needed to accommodate demand.

Andrew Denny  | 4.44pm | add a comment


Wednesday 13 June

British Waterways lifts drought restrictions

British Waterways is lifting its drought restrictions with immediate effect. The closures, restrictions and water-saving measures were introduced in March after some areas experienced the driest year on record in 2011. In the spring BW also announced £700,000 of additional maintenance expenditure to reduce water loss (for example in bringing forward lock gate replacement to fix leaky gates early). 

However April’s record rainfall dramatically improved reservoir holdings across the South East. Continued torrential rainfall through May and now into June has seen reservoir holdings return to average for this time of year. Indeed, in many cases reservoirs have refilled completely.

BW operations manager Vince Moran said this means that – from the perspective of navigation at least – the drought is effectively over. “Restricting opening times was a necessary measure given the particularly dry winter. But combined with the additional investment, and of course the heavy rainfall, our reservoirs are now largely back to normal”.

However he urged boaters still to conserve water. “The drought has sharpened our minds. Simple steps, such as sharing locks, ensuring paddles are closed after use, and opening both gates when entering or leaving locks to avoid damaging their watertight seal – all these can help in the longer term. The more water we have in our reservoirs at the end of the season the better equipped we will be to deal with the possibility of another dry winter ahead of next year’s boating season.”

He concluded with a gentle plea to the water gods: “Mind you, while I’m very grateful for the recent rainfall it would be nice to see it ease off over the coming weeks. “I’d like to see boaters get out there and really enjoy what promises to be a fantastic summer of cruising”.

The Northampton Arm of the Grand Union Canal has been closed for extra maintenance during the drought. It will finally reopen on 29th June and, apart from a three-day stoppage in July, will remain open throughout July and August.  Vince Moran says that overnight locking may be considered at selected locations on the Grand Union Canal where paddles are persistently left open.

More details of June’s reservoir holdings are about to be published in BW’s monthly Reservoir Watch:  www.waterscape.com/reservoirwatch


Wormleighton Reservoir, near Fenny Compton, after the dry summer of 2010.
Hopefully this scene will not be repeated this year.

Andrew Denny  | 5.41pm | add a comment


Today's news from the web

  • £60,000 public art project to 'brighten' the Grand Union canal at Milton Keynes miltonkeynes.co.uk

    You may not know art, but you know what you like – and Great Linford Parish Council want to know about it. The council has been granted £60,000 to spend on a unique art trail along the Grand Union Canal. Residents in Downhead Park, Willen, Pennylands and Bolbeck Park are being asked what they’d like to see the money spent on. Councillor David Stabler said: “It’s a great opportunity because, although this is a very picturesque part of Milton Keynes, we have never had any public art here before.”...


Tuesday 12 June

Director of National Historic Ships tears into BBC coverage of the Jubilee Pageant

Martyn Heighton, director of National HIstoric Ships UK, has torn into what he called the BBC's "shocking" coverage of the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant on 3rd June. 

"Clare Balding’s statement in today’s Daily Telegraph (8th June) that executives decided 'looking at boats for how ever many hours might be dull' exposes the bankruptcy of imagination, intelligence, and lack of appreciation of heritage, coupled with a  patronising attitude to the general public, which so palpably besets the BBC’s senior management. 

... "At the behest  of the BBC’s Pageant team, this organisation supplied the BBC with a full list of all the vessels on the National Registers in both the Pageant and Parade of sail; short, broadcast-friendly histories of vessels across the spectrum of types attending;  links to our website so that the BBC could delve further if it so wished, and a standing invitation to contact me or my staff with any further queries they might have. 

"Furthermore, and again at the request of the Trust, we acted as go-between bringing together the BBC with the  owner of Amazon, the remarkable screw schooner which attended the Spithead Review celebrating Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897, and which, after crossing the Atlantic and over-wintering in Ireland,  made passage to the Thames to take part of the Parade of Sail.

"We might just as well not have bothered."

Martyn Heighton concluded: 

"I am left wondering what the BBC holds to be 'interesting'. I am minded to take my recording of the broadcast and overlay it with the commentary which we believe should have been the one on the day, inviting  as part of this exercise the excellent Tom Cunliffe, who was utterly side-lined during the broadcast and prevented from sharing in his inimitably enthusiastic style, the extensive knowledge he holds on the subject. It would be instructive to see the difference. Perhaps I should send the resultant programme  to the Director General with my compliments as a training video."

Andrew Denny  | 1.42pm | 2 comments


Monday 11 June

Today's news from the web

  • Man is rescued as canal boat goes adrift at Worcester on Severn worcesternews.co.uk

    A man was rescued by emergency personnel from a canal narrowboat which became trapped in the River Severn yesterday. And the unmanned boat subsequently broke free and was recovered near Upton earlier today. ... Station commander Dan Quinn said: “Once the owner had been rescued, we looked at how to recover the boat but due to the flood warnings in place and the risk of increased water flows on the River Severn, it was decided to leave it where it was overnight.” The boat dislodged itself overnight, went over the weir and then drifted down the river towards Upton. With the fire service, the police and a team from SARA working together, the boat was located, and recaptured south of Upton, near the M50 bridge....

  • Doing 'legwork' in Foulridge canal tunnel lancashiretelegraph.co.uk

    A narrowboat crew, travelling from Leeds to Liverpool, literally ‘legged’ their way through the Foulridge Tunnel. The 150-year-old wrought-iron boat, called Elland, was pushed by the crew using the age-old method while travelling along the Leeds Liverpool Canal. It is believed to be the first horse-drawn boat to travel the 127-mile route for 68 years....


Saturday 9 June

Today's news from the web

  • Crowds come out for Stoke Bruerne’s gala weekend northamptonchron.co.uk

    Waterways enthusiasts descended on the picture postcard village of Stoke Bruerne for the annual gala weekend, celebrating life on the canal network. Dozens of historic narrowboats and barges were out in force as people enjoyed boat trips up and down the Grand Union Canal. A fancy dress pirate competition and live music were also on offer as the village came together to make the most of life on the waterways. One of the highlights of the festival is a classic reminder of a traditional rural craft being carried out by blacksmith Bob Nightingale....

  • Caledonian Canal trek girl built her own kayak scotsman.com

    Not many pupils come up with the idea of travelling 60 miles along a canal in their very own creation as part of a class project. But 14-year-old Kitty Vickers, a pupil at the Edinburgh Steiner School, did exactly that – then climbed Scotland’s highest peak afterwards for fun. The teenager built her own kayak and paddled from Fort William to Inverness along the Caledonian Canal as part of a five day journey – an achievement made even more impressive by the fact it was her first major kayaking trip. Following the 60-mile paddle, during which Kitty battled strong winds, she decided to climb Ben Nevis while still in the area....

  • Historic occasion as Northern Ireland's Strabane canal towpath officially reopened after half a century strabaneweekly.co.uk

    Strabane's historic 300-year-old canal route has been reopened for the first time in 50 years - in response to public demand for access to the site. On Thursday, local councillors gathered - alongside council representatives - to witness the grand opening of the 'tow path' section of the route. The section is now temporarily open to walkers, runners and cyclists to avail of during the summer. A considerable amount of redevelopment has taken place to restore this part of the canal, and it is envisaged that parking and toilet facilities will also be developed later this year. ...


Friday 8 June

Crick Boat Show Attracts Record Numbers

Over 24,000 people flocked to the 13th Crick Boat Show & Waterways Festival, which took place over the Diamond Jubilee Weekend (2 to 5 June 2012), at Crick Marina, near Daventry in Northamptonshire – up 12 per cent on last year’s attendance of 21,500.

A record 270 exhibitors attended the 2012 show and exhibitor boats were busy with thousands of people going on board to inspect them as part of their search for a new boat and ideas for boat layouts. 

Voting by visitors was particularly brisk in the ‘Best Boat in Show’ competition.  This year’s winner out of 40 boats on show was MGM Boats of Leicestershire with their inspiring boat Snail’s Pace.

The annual event, which is organised by Waterways World in partnership with British Waterways and Crick Marina, embraced the Diamond Jubilee with a live screening of the Jubilee ceremonies and miles of bunting and flags across the Show.
 
Visitors to the event also enjoyed free boat trips, boating seminars, live music, a free children’s fairground, food and drink stalls, food demonstrations and a heritage and wildlife activity area.

Peter Johns, Publisher of Waterways World and Show Director, says: “We had a fantastic long weekend here at Crick with really good crowds of visitors flocking to our waterside event – despite a very wet Sunday!  We are delighted that exhibitors have been reporting very healthy trading.

“We thank all our exhibitors, entertainers, caterers, security and traffic management teams plus the staff of Crick marina and our team of volunteers – and may more who worked phenomenally hard over the weekend to make it a terrific success. 

“Planning for 2013 has started already and we very much look forward to building on the success of this event next year.”

In 2013, Crick Boat Show will revert to a three-day event held of the Whitsun Weekend, 25-27 May.

For more information visit www.crickboatshow.com or call 01283 742972.

2012 Crick Boat Show Facts & Figures

·         13th Crick Boat Show – first held in 1999
·         Estimated 24,000 visitors attended
·         270 exhibitors
·         Over 20 food stalls and 2 bars
·         20 bands, including Cajun, jazz, pop, rock and folk
·         Over 50 boats exhibited, including heritage working boats
·         3 trip boats offering regular trips along the Grand Union Canal
·         118 trips were made carrying 1,204 passengers, including 11 dogs
·         60 boats moored on the canal towpath and there were 300 camping pitches, together providing on site accommodation for more than 1,000 people working at the show. 



Matt Ashmall (right-centre) presents (L-R) Rachel Howes, Mark Fenton and Martin Parsons of MGM Boats with the 'Best boat in Show' award for 'Snail's Pace' at Crick 2012.

Andrew Denny  | 10.10am | add a comment


Today's news from the web

  • Maidenhead waterways plans recommended for approval maidenhead-advertiser.co.uk

    Sweeping plans to revamp the town centre with a navigable waterway could be given the green light by Royal Borough councillors at a special meeting on Wednesday. Visionaries at the Maidenhead Waterways Restoration Group (MWRG) have spent six years working on a £5m scheme to create a 2km 'ring' of water around the town which can be used by small boats and canoeists. The scheme has been recommended for approval by council officers, subject to conditions. MWRG Chairman Richard Davenport said the councillors' decision will be 'hugely important' for the development of the town. "We believe having a waterway in the town centre will bring huge amounts of investment," he said. ...

  • Smart way to follow Cotswold canal trail thisisgloucestershire.co.uk

    An audio trail of the canals that are so far restored through Stroud has been recorded by volunteers. The description, which works on smart phones, is narrated by Rhiannon Adams, Matt Harwood and Aeryn Morgan. The group researched the route and were then trained to record oral history by expert producer Julia Letts. The first gateway panel is at Wallbridge and a series of waymarkers at the canalside will allow smart phone users to download the audio from the towpath....

  • Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant: BBC chief 'proud' of coverage telegraph.co.uk

    The BBC’s coverage of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations was “impressive”, Mark Thompson, the director general, has said despite, the corporation receiving almost 2500 complaints. The public broadcaster's chief dismissed the growing backlash against the corporation for its widely-ridiculed programming, insisting he was “proud” of the "outstanding journalism". ...

  • Thames Water could lift hosepipe ban sooner than expected unless weather 'takes Saharan twist' thisislondon.co.uk

    The UK's biggest water company has said it could lift its hosepipe ban sooner than expected after wet weather reduced the risk of drought. Thames Water, which serves 8.8 million customers in London and the Thames Valley area, said unless the weather takes "an unexpectedly Saharan twist", it no longer expected to keep the ban in place through to the autumn. Anglian Water and Southern Water are thought to be in a similar position after the heavy rain the UK received in April and May boosted river levels and reservoir stocks....


Friday 1 June

Today's news from the web

  • Sheffield volunteers dig in to clean up the canal thestar.co.uk

    Land alongside the Tinsley Canal in Sheffield is looking better than ever after a group of volunteers gave the area a tidy-up. More than a dozen staff from Yorkshire Water, the River Stewardship Company and British Waterways tidied overgrown vegetation, painted fences and removed graffiti. They also created a new towpath alongside the canal near Blackburn Meadows waste water treatment works....

  • Waitrose plans for Northwich Marina approved placenorthwest.co.uk

    Planning permission has been granted for housing, a restaurant and a Waitrose food store in Northwich Marina. The development will be delivered by H20, a joint venture between British Waterways and Bloc. H20 has agreed a deal with house builder McCarthy & Stone to develop 58 homes for the elderly for sale, and a restaurant. There will be a 18,000 sq ft food store operated by Waitrose and associated parking, along with improvements to the waterways, including a new marina providing up to 40 mooring berths, and access to the waterfront, with a new cafe....


Wednesday 30 May

Today's news from the web

  • Teenager & 'secret' girlfriend drowned after he tried to vault Smethwick canal lock to impress her dailymail.co.uk

    A teenager and his ‘secret’ girlfriend drowned after he tried to vault a canal lock to impress her, and she tried in vain to save him, an inquest heard today. Fayz Uddin, 18, and Sara Rylance, 17, were both found floating face down and just meters apart after a friend who was with them during the evening tryst raised the alarm. The court heard Miss Rylance shouted: ‘I love you’ to her boyfriend as he struggled to keep his head above water in the 20ft-deep lock. ...

  • Local views wanted on Dewsbury’s waterways dewsburyreporter.co.uk

    The Dewsbury Water Linked campaign is part of a three-year Big Lottery Fund scheme designed to help improve the town’s waterways, and a team of local people will advise on the improvement of local sites such as the Calder and Hebble Navigation and the River Calder running through the town....


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