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Tuesday 19 July

Waterways Festival joins Glastonbury in skipping a year

What has Glastonbury got in common with the IWA Waterways Festival?   

The answer is that neither will be running next year.  Both 2012 events have been sacrificed at the alter of the Olympic Games. 

In the case of the Glastonbury it's been said that it can't compete with the expected demand from the Olympics for site facilities such as portable lavatories.  

And it was announced this week that the annual Waterways Festival will skip a year too - although in that case it's more likely that there's just too much attention required on London's waterways, rather than any shortage of portaloos.  The Festival just cannot compete with the Olympic juggernaut. 

Instead, British Waterways has asked the Inland Waterways Association to help administer the London-area visitor moorings, expected to be in heavy demand even with high prices being asked for the main Olympic fortnight.   

And there'll be a lot of managing, spread out over dozens of miles, from the Lee and Stort Navigations, through North and West London and as far out as Watford. 

All normally-free visitor moorings in the central London area are being suspended, with London's canals being promoted as one long 'linear boat rally' and the towpath waterspace being sold for high prices.  

One of the most popular visitor areas is around Hackney's Victoria Park, where moorings at Old Ford Lock are being quoted at over £700 for Olympic fortnight for a typical 58ft narrowboat - that's on a 'breasted up' (shared) mooring without any extra facilities.  

Even higher prices are being asked for certain tonier urban areas, such as Paddington and Limehouse Basins.

Andrew Denny  | 12.59am


Today's news from the web

  • Peterborough slipway closes to counter jet ski yobs peterboroughtoday.co.uk

    The Environment Agency (EA) has decided to close the slipway in Potters Way, Peterborough, in the fight to stop nuisance jet ski riders and speedboats plaguing the city river. ...

  • Offenders to clean up Dudley's canal network dudleynews.co.uk

    The Community Payback team will be working on a range of tasks over the next 12 months to improve canals in Dudley, Sandwell, Birmingham, Walsall, Wolverhampton and Stafford, including painting locks, cutting back vegetation and removing litter. Mary Coxall of Staffordshire and West Midlands Probation, said; “Community Payback is a tough punishment..."...


Monday 18 July

Today's news from the web

  • RYA meets HMRC 'to talk red diesel' rya.org.uk

    Following the notification by the EU that it intends to open infringement proceedings against the UK over its continued use of red diesel the RYA (Royal Yachting Association), together with the BMF (British Marine Federation) met with HMRC (Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs) this week to discuss the situation. Following the meeting Gus Lewis, Head of Government Affairs said “We are encouraging Government to defend vigorously the UK’s position on the use of red diesel for recreational craft. "Although the EU’s actions are cause for concern nothing is going to change immediately. This is a legal process which can take years to complete"....

  • Photographic competition for restored Droitwich canals droitwichadvertiser.co.uk

    The Droitwich Canals Trust is running a competition open to all amateur photographers following the opening of the town’s Junction and Barge Canals. Photographs should be on the theme of opening the Droitwich Canals and what it means to the photographer and their friends and families....

  • BBC to survey UK mobile coverage bbc.co.uk

    The BBC is conducting a major survey into the state of mobile phone coverage in the UK. Over the course of the next month, the project will attempt to chart the availability of 3G and 2G services up and down the country. Mobile operators offer their own coverage maps but no independent survey has yet been carried out....


Sunday 17 July

Today's news from the web

  • Chiswick Pier Trust withdraws new moorings plans chiswickw4.com

    Plans by the Chiswick Pier Trust (CPT) to extend the pontoon on the River Thames have been withdrawn. The scheme ran into opposition from some residents concerned that it would amount to the creation a 'new marina' at the site of the existing pier....

  • Stay the night overlooking 'Norfolk's canal network' independent.co.uk

    There appear to be canal boats motoring along the top of the field. My four-year-old alerts me to this weirdness, so I prepare an indulgent smile, but on inspection the marshy land stretching out towards the horizon is so very flat that it's difficult to tell the broads from the fields. The boats that ply these waters, heading inland from Oulton Broad towards Norfolk's canal network, really do look like grass-top craft. ...

  • Father drowns after leaping into River Thames to save his daughter, 13, who then scrambled to the riverbank | Mail Onlin dailymail.co.uk

    A disabled man who jumped into a swirling river to save his 13-year-old daughter disappeared and drowned as the girl clambered out to safety last night. Michael Payne was so worried that young Zoe was in trouble as she and sister Marie swam with friends in the River Thames, that he ignored his frail health and leapt in to try to save her....


Saturday 16 July

Today's news from the web

  • Canal-boat Living [in Dublin] irishtimes.com

    Living on water gives you a new perspective on the city. Catherine Cleary meets some people who have made their homes on or near the canals of Dublin, and have been transforming the waterworks with grass roots community efforts...


Thursday 14 July

Largest-ever ship in Docklands set to give Germany an Olympics base

Forty years after commercial traffic effectively ceased in London’s Isle of Dogs, a new record was set on 14th July 2011 when the luxury cruise liner MS Deutschland berthed at South Quay, in the shadow of Canary Wharf. 



The 22,400-ton MS Deutschland is said to be the largest ship ever to pass through West India Ship Lock, and was on a trial 36-hour visit to the capital.   With a length of 575 ft and a width of over 75 ft, the boat barely squeaked through, the lock being only about 10 ft longer and less than 5 ft on the beam.  In a brave and impressive display of pilotage, the ship arrived on the tide just after midnight, and presented an impressive sight as it was towed backwards through the lock by the tug Svitzer Anglia.  

Billy Smith, BW’s dockmaster & tidal locks supervisor, has worked and lived on the Isle of Dogs since 1962.  He said: “This is the largest ship that I have ever seen navigate through the lock. To fit her in we used a high tide and insisted she was brought in stern first.” 

For all his experience, he then added a sentiment surely understood by every narrowboater who has tried to lock through under the gaze of gongoozlers: “I’m quite pleased the tides meant this was a night time operation. The addition of a crowd would have been extra pressure during such a technical manoeuvre.”



Following this trial, British Waterways has signed a lucrative deal to allow the liner to berth in London Docklands during summer 2012, when it will play host to the German Olympic Committee and its national guests.  It is expected to be joined by many of the world’s most exclusive super yachts and tall ships during the games, and BW is determined to take every advantage of the once-in-a-lifetime revenue stream as it moves to becoming a charity next year.

Gareth Stephens, British Waterways’ harbour and waterspace manager, “Every year we welcome a number of visiting vessels to London Docklands, and I’m hoping that the Olympics will help put our location and facilities on the international radar of ships agents and operators. The 2012 Games has been a real catalyst and enabled us to introduce our berths to a wide range of interested businesses.” 

Andrew Denny  | 4.57pm


Come Dine Aboard With Me

"Do you love dinner parties? Are you a great cook?", asks Reality TV Show Come Dine With Me.  Also, do you want to be reality TV fodder, to be shouted at from the sofa, to be gossiped about by the tabloids, to be tweeted and facebooked with scorn, to have your fifteen minutes of fame?   

The show's producers on ITV are looking for "someone on a boat in the North West of London" to play host to an episode.  Researcher Jonathan Hancock contacted us to ask: 

"We especially would like to hear from boat owners who are willing and able to host a party for four on their boat. I was wondering if you would be able to help us with our mission by circulating the attached information? Our casting process is ending soon and filming begins on the 8th of August so anyone interested should call me on 0207 157 4828 as soon as possible.

I'm not quite sure why they specify the north west of London, where the choice of navigable waterways is rather limited - primarily just the short stretch of Grand Union Canal, from around Rickmansworth to Watford. Perhaps the other people chosen are in the area as well, and they need to be just a short taxi-ride home after each dinner. 



Andrew Denny  | 11.17am


Today's news from the web

  • Boatbuilder Fairline bought out by Better Capital Ltd and RBS motorboatsmonthly.co.uk

    Motor boat builder Fairline has been purchased in a joint venture between an investment company and the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS). The acquisition follows 18 months of speculation over who would buy the British boat brand after it was announced in November 2010 that its previous owner, 3i, were looking at "strategic options" for the business....


Wednesday 13 July

Today's news from the web

  • Olympics waterbus services launched on east London canals thisislondon.co.uk

    The East End's first "waterbus" is being hailed as a solution for sports fans going to the Olympic Park keen to avoid traffic jams and public transport delays. Nearly four miles of waterways linking the old East End with the Olympics Park in Stratford are to be opened to the public with the first boats to be tested this month....

  • Puppy rescued unhurt after falling into Dearne & Dove canal thestar.co.uk

    A puppy dog had to be rescued from a canal after falling into the water on a walk with its owner. The Yorkshire Terrier-Jack Russell cross ended up stranded on a reed bed on the Dearne and Dove Canal near Wath Road at Elsecar. The nine-month-old pooch was unable to get out until firefighters arrived with a ladder and climbed across to carry her to dry land, where she was reunited with her owner. Firefighters said the dog, which had been off her lead when she fell in, was unharmed. Crew members issued a warning about the dangers of open water following the rescue operation....

  • RAF personnel finish 28-mile swim oxfordmail.co.uk

    Raf Benson personnel swapped the dry deserts of Afghanistan for the cold, wet surroundings of the River Thames to complete a marathon swim. The 28-mile swim from Eynsham Lock to Benson Marina was organised by Sergeant Alex Hicks in aid of the Royal British Legion....

  • The Book Barge - A bookshop going places guardian.co.uk

    So, last week I stepped aboard the Book Barge on the Regent's Canal by The Narrow Boat pub for a planned reading and book signing event. At 7.30pm on a balmy evening, we set off along the canal, through Wenlock Basin and towards Islington Tunnel. The thing is I didn't get to read, as we were all enjoying ourselves so much it didn't seem right to spoil the fun, besides it has always been a geeky ambition of mine to travel through the Islington Tunnel (I have never seen so many spiders' webs in my life). It was the best (non)reading I have ever taken part in....

  • Volunteers prove key to new lock for Chesterfield Canal yorkshirepost.co.uk

    Construction work has now begun on creating a new lock on the Chesterfield Canal at Staveley. Volunteers have taken part in two week-long work camps, during which they have laid bricks and blocks to create the front walls of the new lock. The remainder of the work will be carried out by volunteers from the Chesterfield Canal Trust. A spokesman for the Chesterfield Canal Trust said: “The new lock – to be called Staveley Town Lock, number 5A – will enable the canal to get under a railway line a few hundred metres further on. “There will be a twin lock - Railway Lock, number 5B – on the other side of the railway line to raise the canal again."...

  • Work starts on Thames cable car bbc.co.uk

    Work has begun on a £50m cable car project to link two Olympic venues on opposite sides of the River Thames. Digging for the foundations of the two new stations in the Royal Victoria Dock and on the Greenwich Peninsula began on Thursday. Once finished, the cable cars will run 50m (164ft) above the river carrying up to 2,500 people an hour....

  • Ownership of Chasewater Reservoir transferred from Lichfield to Staffordshire council lichfielddc.gov.uk

    The ownership of Chasewater Country Park and reservoir has transferred to Staffordshire County Council in a strategic move set to secure and strengthen the long-term future of this key regional resource. ... To date Chasewater Country Parkand reservoir have been owned and managed by Lichfield District Council, which inherited the park in 1994 following a local authority boundary change. Since then, millions of pounds have been pumped into the park's transformation, thanks to the work of the district and county council, together with external grant funding. The reservoir provides British Waterways with essential water to maintain levels in the Birmingham Canal Network, and beyond. The reservoir is currently empty, as essential multi-million pound improvement works to the dam take place. ...


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