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Thursday 11 August

Today's news from the web

  • Horseboat Vixen on journey to Rochdale Canal Festival halifaxcourier.co.uk

    A HORSE-DRAWN boat was making its way along Calderdale’s waterways yesterday in the run-up to the Rochdale Canal festival. Members of the Horseboating Society flanked Bilbo the horse as he pulled the passenger vessel Vixen from Brighouse to Sowerby Bridge, where the event kicks off on Saturday. Towpath users were delighted at the rare sight, which is one of only five horse-drawn passenger boats in the country. Sue Day, of the Horseboating Society, said: “There have been lots of photos. Everyone has been smiling and happy to see us.”...

  • Polluted drinking water forces closure of Crofton pumping station thisiswiltshire.co.uk

    Crofton Pumping Station, the Wiltshire tourist attraction on the Kennet & Avon Canal, has had to close as the water supply at the station has been condemned as unfit to drink. Committee members of the Kennet and Avon Canal Trust, which runs the centre, fear that the pollutants in the borehole that supplies the pumping station and its neighbouring cottages might come from fields in the area. Mike Rodd, chairman of the trust’s council, said: “At first we thought it was seepage from the canal but tests have shown that the pollutants might come from animals, which leads us to think it is coming from the fields....

Wednesday 10 August

Oxford Canal water problems getting worse

Water supply problems on the summit of the Oxford Canal are being compounded by a leak in a culvert near  Braunston, says British Waterways. And a 24 hour stoppage to investigate the culvert leak is causing problems for boats racing to get to the Cropredy Folk Festival, which starts tomorrow, Thursday 11th August.

Drought has mean t the Claydon and Napton lock hours have been limited to 10am-2pm each day, to ensure that locks are used as efficiently as possible. 

Meanwhile, the apparently leaking culvert under the canal, between Bridges 101 and 102 near Braunston, led to a temporary closure today on the Napton Junction-Braunston section, so that BW could investigate the problem. 

The appropriately named Lee King, maintenance manager for BW's South East, said that they were pulling out all the stops to help the large numbers of boats now trying to cross the summit for the Cropredy Festival.

Andrew Denny  | 4.43pm

Paddington Arm closed after fire on footbridge

An arson attack last night on a wooden footbridge at Northolt has caused a stoppage of the Grand Union Canal's Paddington Arm.

Smith's Farm footbridge, Bridge 17a, links Smiths Farm Meadows with Marnham Fields over the canal, and was built in the 1990s by Ealing Borough Council. 

Although the damage was not serious enough for demolition to be considered, British Waterways says it is concerned for the safety of boats passing underneath.  The council is responsible for the bridge's repair, and initial reports say it will be erecting scaffolding to allow reopening of the navigation. 

Thankfully, this appears to be the only report of damage from the recent riots to affect the waterways.

Andrew Denny  | 12.17pm

Today's news from the web

  • Air ambulance called after man, 94, broke leg on narrowboat watfordobserver.co.uk

    An air ambulance was called to Kings Langley yesterday evening, after a 94-year-old man fell and broke one of his legs. The helicopter landed in the Primrose Hill recreation ground shortly after 8pm, after the pensioner was injured on a narrow boat on the Grand Union Canal, which runs through the back of the park....

  • Man shot on Leeds & Liverpool canal towpath at Aintree liverpoolecho.co.uk

    A Merseyside community spoke of its shock after a man was gunned down on a secluded canal path in Aintree. The 24-year-old victim was described as being in a critical condition after being shot in the buttock and stomach during the early hours of yesterday. He was found along a stretch of the Leeds Liverpool canal near Wango Lane, Aintree....

Tuesday 9 August

Today's news from the web

  • Four people rescued on Dutch barge off north Norfolk coast fakenhamtimes.co.uk

    Four people aboard a 17m Dutch barge were rescued after the boat suffered engine failure and encountered difficulties in strong winds this afternoon. Wells-Next-the-Sea’s all-weather lifeboat was called to rescue the barge in rough seas off Blakeney Point on the North Norfolk coast. The 17 metre boat, Angell Hardy 2, had four people on board and was on passage from Grimsby. She was left wallowing in heavy swell and two-metre waves and was unable to anchor because of the conditions....

  • Boat-loving cat found elmbridgeguardian.co.uk

    A cat-loving family have expressed their thanks to everyone who helped find their boat-loving pussy cat when it went missing on a narrow boat holiday. Silver tabby Flossie went missing on July 23 and her desperate owners distributed missing posters and called the local papers in a bid to find her. “It is just a stupid cat, but it’s our stupid cat and we love her and feel so happy that we have her back.”...

Monday 8 August

Today's news from the web

  • New friends group for Grand Western Canal? thisisthewestcountry.co.uk

    The active Canal Awareness Group is exploring the creation of the Friends of the Grand Western Canal Country Park, which would apply for grants and bring additional resources to the popular canal. The friends would also promote the attractions of the canal to an even wider audience and hope to make closer links between the country park’s management team and the communities along the 11-mile stretch....

  • A narrowboat tour of London's canals: the boat that rocks - Travel Guardian guardian.co.uk

    Of course this would happen. It was inevitable. It happened to camping, and to caravanning, holiday camps, real ale and beach huts … Canal boating, the holiday preference of bearded retirees, eventually had to succumb to the cool treatment and, yes, it seems the first signs are there....

  • The great escape: stars go wild in the countryside | Culture | The Observer guardian.co.uk

    Niomi McLean-Daley, better known as the double Brit award- and three-time Mobo award-winning artist Ms Dynamite, may have grown up in north west London, but she takes the helm of a narrowboat in the gentle Oxford countryside like a natural....

  • British Waterways objects to Wincham Urban Village plans northwichguardian.co.uk

    British Waterways has objected to plans for an urban village in Wincham. In June, a planning application was submitted by Emery Planning Partnership, on behalf of Gladedale Estates Ltd and Russell Homes Ltd, for a mixed residential, commercial and recreational site....

Saturday 6 August

Today's news from the web

  • Rickmansworth boat thief spared jail watfordobserver.co.uk

    A homeless man who stole a canal boat and caused £4,000 damage has been spared prison. Steven Swadling 26, was caught when a boat lover spotted him painting the narrow boat after a plea from its desperate owner was posted on the internet. Swadling had made off with the recently renovated blue boat when it was moored at Springwell Lock, Rickmansworth. He had been sleeping rough nearby between the end of March and beginning of April....

Friday 5 August

Today's news from the web

  • British lakes and canals hit by toxic algae scum guardian.co.uk

    British canals and lakes have been blighted this summer by green porridge-like toxic scum that has been caused by an unusually high number of algae blooms. A combination of the mild weather and high levels of phosphate nutrients from agriculture and homes are to blame, says the Environment Agency. This year there have been 83 algal incidents so far, just a month into the three month-long algae season - a higher than usual amount, according to the agency. In 2010, the number of incidents reached 225, while the peak year was recorded in 2005 with 226 reports....

Wednesday 3 August

Today's news from the web

  • Fire outbreak at Marlow Rowing Club motorboatsmonthly.co.uk

    Marlow Rowing Club, the home club of five times Olympic champion Sir Steve Redgrave, was damaged by an "extremely fierce fire" early this morning. At least 50 firefighters from both Buckinghamshire and Berkshire Fire and Rescue Services attended the club, located by Marlow Bridge, and were still damping down the flames at 10am today. No-one was injured and the blaze is not being treated as suspicious according to a spokesperson from Berkshire Fire Service but an investigation is ongoing....

  • Top paid civil servants and quango chiefs: See who gets the most guardian.co.uk

    The government has published the salaries of all public servants, including quango chiefs, who earn £150,000 or more. The list shows that the highest paid person is the Nuclear Decommissioning Authorities chief executive, Tony Fountain, who is on a maximum salary of £379,999. He's followed by Dennis Hone, the chief executive of the Olympic Delivery Authority, who earns between £310,000 and £314,999. In all, ten members of the ODA are paid £2.1m between them....

Tuesday 2 August

Leicester Line is latest to get lock restrictions

The Grand Union's 'Leicester Line' is the latest to be subject to overnight lock closures due to water shortages.  From today (2nd August), locks are being padlocked between Kibworth Top Lock No. 18 (Market Harborough level) and King's Lock, Aylestone Meadows, where the canal joins the River Soar. 

"It is essential that boats double up when using locks in this location", says BW.  "We ask that boaters be patient and wait for other boats in order that we can conserve the little water we have available."

Andrew Denny  | 1.07pm

Oxford Canal reservoir and canal water levels cause concern

Low reservoir levels are finally beginning to tell on canal navigation, after optimistic noises from British Waterways about maintaining water supplies during an extremely dry spring and a less-than-wet summer.

The latest warning, issued today by BW, tells of critical lows on the Oxford Canal summit, fed mainly by the Boddington reservoir, which is 'close to the minimum at which it can operate'. The authority says that the summit locks, at Marston Doles and Claydon, will be locked from 4pm-9am each night, and that, during the daytime, boaters should not 'turn' empty locks, but should wait for other boats to come through first.

It was immediately followed by a report that at Hillmorton Locks, one of each 'pair' will be padlocked shut for the rest of the summer, to encourage people to wait for other boats.

Andrew Denny  | 12.21pm

Today's news from the web

  • Narrow boat converted to German U-boat enters Liverpool’s Salthouse Dock liverpoolecho.co.uk

    A maritime enthusiast has transformed his barge into a replica German U-boat and moored at Salthouse Dock. Richard Williams from Chorley said he originally planned to turn the floating museum into a tribute to The Beatles’ Yellow Submarine, but because the specialist paint cost £4,000 he chose black paint instead....

  • Life on 'book barge' is a whole new chapter express.co.uk

    When Sarah Henshaw gave up her job as a showbiz journalist to pursue a career as a bookseller she didn’t plan on contending with 3am wake-up calls and drunken customers relieving themselves over her shop. Then again when your books emporium is a 57ft cruiser stern narrowboat moored along canal paths, it is more vulnerable to passers-by than your average branch of Waterstones....

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