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Friday 12 August

Vandals drain Fens Pool

Vandals have damaged to the water control paddles of the Fens Pool Reservoir feeding the Stourbridge Canal at Brierley Hill in Dudley, nearly emptying the reservoir and flooding the Fens Branch, as well as causing localised flood damage to local businesses. 

Local BW manager Dean Davies said that aside from flooding and damage to local businesses, the damage will cause water shortages in the area in what has been a very dry summer. 

“I am extremely disappointed that the actions of a few have caused such a major problem”, he said.  “Losing such a huge amount of water only adds to our water shortage problems and I would urge anyone who does have any information on this to contact Customer Services on 01827 252 000 or the local Police on 0845 113 5000.”

While it comes on the tail of a ghastly week of countrywide rioting, it is not known if this latest vandalism is related.  The waterways have been mercifully free of the disorder plaguing the cities last weekend, with only the attempted arson of a wooden footbridge on the Paddington Arm near London on Tuesday causing any problems for British Waterways.  

Andrew Denny  | 2.53pm


Today's news from the web

  • Hargreaves Lock Gates at Sowerby Bridge throw open doors for visitors yorkshirepost.co.uk

    The firm of Hargreaves Lock Gates, in the Calder valley town near Halifax, will open its doors to the public for the first time for Saturday’s start of the Rochdale Canal Festival. Expert lock makers Nigel Lord and Dick Booth were responsible for restoring the lock gates for re-opening the Rochdale Canal. They also made and installed enormous new gates for the combined Tuel Lane Deep Lock, the deepest lock on an inland waterway in the UK. The pair ran the Rochdale Canal Workshop at Callis Mill from 1982 until the formation of Hargreaves Lock Gates in 2008...


Thursday 11 August

Today's news from the web

  • Derby Canal plan gets green light ilkestonadvertiser.co.uk

    Derbshire voted unanimously for a plan to restore the Derby to Sandiacre Canal, to a navigable waterway at a meeting last week. Paul Turner, founder of the canal’s trust, said the restoration work would create jobs ‘in the short and long term’ and help to improve the natural environment. Cllr Howard Griffiths said at the Erewash Borough Council planning meeting on Wednesday: “It’s a massive project and will take some tremendous fundraising to be able to complete, but it does have some brilliant benefits for the environment in the long term....

  • Blisworth village hosts biggest canal festival northamptonchron.co.uk

    Around 10,000 people attended Northamptonshire’s biggest canal event in Blisworth. The Blisworth Canal Festival, which took place throughout the village over the weekend, saw 1,400ft of trade boats lined up on the water....

  • 'Queen of the Clyde' is up for sale eveningtimes.co.uk

    A former Clyde steamer left rusting in London for two years could get a new lease of life. The 78-year-old Queen Mary was abandoned in a dock on the River Thames after ferrying families ‘doon the watter’ for more than 40 years. But now one of the grand old ladies of the Clyde could be re-born as she goes to auction later this month....

  • Water colours: Art in an alternative setting independent.co.uk

    Environmental artist Steve Messam has erected seven four-metre high red spires in order to explore the journey of water through Northamptonshire’s rivers, canals, water towers and reservoirs. They are set in the Oxford Canal, near the historic narrow boating village of Braunston, which is the heart of the UK canal system. The installation is set against the backdrop of All Saints Church, ‘the cathedral of the canals’ within rural Northamptonshire. It has been set up to look at both the county’s relationship to its canal network and its longstanding reputation for being ‘the county of spires and squires.’...

  • Manchester City's Jumbo Jet and Manchester United's Barge manchesterconfidential.co.uk

    ... A week later, I hopped on the inaugral Manchester Utd barge tour, which set sail from Castlefield and took us to Old Trafford via the Bridgewater and Manchester ship canals. It's a good route if you want to see the differing rates of progress between Manchester, Salford and Trafford and as well as shiny new apartments, the tour passes some of the city's more unloved buildings, replete with grafitti and smashed in windows - broken teeth among the shiny new veneers of the recent property boom....

  • 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....


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