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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. ...

  • London folly a project of art and fun reuters.com

    The setting does not sound promising: the underbelly of a major highway bridge over a polluted canal which meanders through some of the most deprived areas of east London. However, the collective of artists and designers who have built a rickety house here with railway sleepers cut into wooden bricks are already running a full program of cultural activities for locals, just steps from the nearly completed London 2012 Olympic site....

  • Canal infill to level Stroud school's football pitch bbc.co.uk

    Plans have been unveiled to use material from the restoration of the Cotswold Canal to level off a sloping school sports field in Gloucestershire. A football pitch at Marling School in Stroud is uneven and slopes down towards the waterway. The restoration includes plans to excavate infill from the canal's route. Dave Marshall, from Stroud District Council, said the alternative would be "to tip it in a hole in the ground somewhere else"....

  • Historical photographs go on display at National Waterways Museum, Ellesmere Port ellesmereportpioneer.co.uk

    A photographic exhibition charting the changing face of Ellesmere Port docks is on display at the National Waterways Museum. A group of adult learners at Wolverham Community Centre is behind the project that sheds a fascinating light on the town’s industrial heritage. Tutor Ella Popper, Ellesmere Port Family and Local History Society secretary, said: "They took their own photos and have compared them to old photos from the 1900s."...

Tuesday 12 July

UK Treasury defends use of 'red diesel'

The UK government has acted to quell fears that UK boaters may be forbidden from using red diesel in their engines. 

Last week the EU Commission had written to the government saying it considered the use of  red diesel 'to propel private pleasure craft' was illegal under EU Law. However, a spokesman for the Treasure has now told Waterways World: 

"The UK considers that the procedures it introduced in November 2008 are in accordance with EC legislation. The UK will respond to Commission in due course."

The Treasury believes it is following the 'letter' of the law, although it is clear the EU Commission thinks the compromise solution (allowing boaters to declare the percentage of fuel they are using for propulsion) is not within the law's 'spirit'.

Andrew Denny  | 11.53am

Today's news from the web

  • Tycoons fight over Games yacht spot dailystar.co.uk

    Billionaires are battling over the top yacht parking spots at next summer’s Olympics. And British Waterways is hoping to cash in on the race for the prime spaces by launching a glossy promotional brochure. Berths are expected to bring in mooring fees running into several thousands per week, making them the most expensive on the planet....

  • Warning sign on Blackburn canal is itself ‘dangerous’ thisislancashire.co.uk

    A ‘dangerous’ warning sign on a canal towpath could lead to a fatal accident, according to a pub landlord. David Wilson, who runs an eatery in Eanam Wharf, Blackburn, claims that walkers and cyclists are having to swerve to miss a ‘hazardous’ sign on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal path....

  • Parliament report - The proposed waterways charity boatingbusiness.com

    The event went well, until the speaker took the spotlight. This was Labour’s Gavin Shuker, the new shadow minister for waterways. He set the tone by starting with the admission he hadn’t met many have yachts and have nots before. My, how we all laughed at that one… He then he went into a routine that seemed more a party political broadcast than the gentle nudging and dropping of hints around which these things usually revolve....

  • Narrowboat dining cruises along Potteries canals thisisstaffordshire.co.uk

    Narrowboat dining cruises will soon be available on the Trent and Mersey canal. Family business Flower Cruises will launch its first trips on Friday, carrying people from Westport Lake to Etruria Industrial Museum on converted narrowboat Buddleia Davidii. Alternatively, people can take a shorter, hour-long journey to the Harecastle Tunnel, near Kidsgrove. Michael Vaughan, his wife Kerry and his sister Susan have together invested £30,000 to launch the business. ... They plan to have families cruising in the day, and will sell sandwiches, cakes and drinks. Adult tickets would cost £6. At night, the boat will offer two experiences. The first would be a tea-time early bird special. Then, at 8pm, diners would board for a four-course meal while enjoying Stoke-on-Trent from the waterways. ...

  • Derby to Sandiacre Canal restoration plan approved bbc.co.uk

    Part of a £45m plan to restore a Derbyshire canal has been approved. Campaigners have wanted to reopen a 12.5 mile (20km) stretch of the Derby to Sandiacre Canal for more than 10 years, saying it will boost the area. Derby City Council has now given outline planning permission for work on a seven-mile (11.3km) section from Swarkestone to Borrowash....

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