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Tuesday 24 April

Today's news from the web

  • Drought will impact Rickmansworth canal boat festival watfordobserver.co.uk

    Canal boat enthusiasts hoping to attend one of the biggest waterways festivals in the country may be forced to stay at home due to drought. Rickmansworth Festival takes place on May 19 and 20, and attracts hundreds of barges and narrow boats to a weekend of music and entertainment. David Montague, festival director, said that despite recent heavy rainfall, restrictions put in place to conserve water may prevent some boats from coming....

Friday 20 April

Maureen Shaw’s last boat trip

Canal traffic was halted for a couple of hours on the morning of Friday 30th March in Middlewich for a memorable event. British Waterways closed Big Lock, Kings Lock and Wardle lock to ensure a ‘clear road’ for Maureen Shaw’s last boat trip.


The coffin was loaded aboard the Thomas Clayton boat ‘Tay’, one of the gas tar carriers operated by the extended Jinks family who adopted Maureen as a baby. She was living on ‘Spey’ when she got married and moved to Fellows Morton and Clayton. The boat set off from outside Maureen’s old cottage beside Wardle Lock, and made its way to the town wharf accompanied by a large crowd of canal folk. Her good friend Joan Baker accompanied the coffin on the boat which was steered by John Watson and Jim Taylor.

The service in the parish church of St Michael & all Angels was packed with 245 mourners, with standing room only for the latecomers. A very fitting send-off for a well-loved canal boat woman, and a memorable event for all who attended.

Rupert Smedley

Andrew Denny  | 4.03pm | add a comment

Today's news from the web

  • World's last steam-powered narrowboat sets off to join the Queen's Jubilee Thames Pageant itv.com

    The world's last remaining steam-powered narrowboat, built in Staffordshire, is setting off to join the Queen's Jubilee Thames Pageant. "The President" will be leaving its mooring in Stoke-on-Trent today to make the 300 mile journey to London through the canal network. The 71ft boat has been restored in time to join the one thousand boat flotilla to celebrate the Queen's 60 year reign and will be laden with coal, a mini JCB Digger, a tyre from Michelin and gifts from Wedgewood and St Modwen's....

Thursday 19 April

Today's news from the web

  • Gloriana, the gilded Jubilee rowboat, caught in a tide of traffic thisislondon.co.uk

    It cost £1 million to build and will have a starring role in the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations, but this gilded rowboat certainly didn’t have a graceful maiden voyage. A lorry carrying 88ft Gloriana came within a whisker of getting stuck in traffic on its journey from a factory in Brentford to the river at Isleworth today. At one stage, there was barely two inches between the lorry and parked cars in Park Road, Isleworth, although project manager Damian Byrne insisted that the 30-minute transfer, which began at 5am, went smoothly. Gloriana finally completed the trip unscathed and was set to be lowered into the Thames at about 2pm....

  • Call to tighten Thames safety rules google.com

    Marine accident investigators have urged authorities to tighten River Thames safety regulations in the light of the many activities on the river this summer. The recommendation came in a report into a collision when both crew members of an inflatable, Morfil, were pitched into the water when it collided with the passenger ferry, Sun Clipper, by Blackfriars Road Bridge on June 1 last year but were rescued by an inshore lifeboat. In a report into the incident, the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) said: Morfil's coxswain (the person steering the boat) was "under the influence of alcohol and did not take action to avoid Sun Clipper until between one and two seconds before the collision" The MAIB said there had been at least 45 fatalities resulting from accidents to pleasure vessels over the last six years in which alcohol had been a contributory factor. ...

  • Jubilee boat sets sail herefordtimes.com

    The Herefordshire ship set to sail on the River Thames for the Diamond Jubilee has taken to the water for the first time. ...

Wednesday 18 April

Chesterfield Waterside gets £2.4m starter funding

The Chesterfield Waterside project – the massive development proposed at the terminus of the Chesterfield Canal restoration – has been awarded £2.4 million in funding for essential starter works from the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership Board. 

The money will allow the small ‘starter’ canal basin in the site – excavated in 2009 – to connect to the main canal restoration and the River Rother with a new lock. 

It will not make the stretch immediately navigable, but is essential to prepare the 62-acre site for future development, including access roads and sewer works. 

Chesterfield Waterside is a vision to give the Chesterfield Canal a fitting terminus, and increase pressure to complete restoration of the remaining nine miles through to Kiveton Park.  

The canal will be the centrepiece of the full £300 million project, said to be one of the 50 biggest urban developments in the country. The scheme will incorporate restaurants, offices, shops, hotels, bars, apartments and houses. The site runs from north to south either side of the River Rother and Chesterfield Canal, and alongside the A61.

 Along with the canal basin, plans for the site will eventually include public parkland and a waterside residential neighbourhood of 1,200 homes, along with shops, bars, cafes, galleries and hotels. 

Andrew Denny  | 11.05am | add a comment

Today's news from the web

  • The canal charity that has barged (sic) its way into the Big Society telegraph.co.uk

    This [The Hereford & Gloucester] is a canal trust like no other. Meet David Penny, the HGCT’s commercial director. He may be wrapped up in the romance of this vanished form of transport but he also gets things done. He and his colleagues have worked out how charities like theirs can take over some of the functions of local government, save money and make everyone feel better about themselves in the process....

Tuesday 17 April

Costs and bureaucracy deter Reed Boats

Worries have been expressed about the future of the hotel boat industry after hotel narrowboat business Reed Boats announced it will close at the end of this year.

Martin Reed, who operates the narrowboat pair Oak and Ash, says he will be ceasing operations once this year's cruising season is over. As an ordained Church of England minister, he says he is interested in returning to church work, and encroaching age has made him aware that hotel boating is not something he can continue with indefinitely.

However, sharper business concerns have made him unable to continue into next year, even if he wanted. 

“We are finding the constantly rising prices are making it very difficult to balance our books. Already the current increase in our charges this year is being eaten up by further price rises”, he said.

He also criticised the increasing bureaucracy of working on the waterways. “It seems like new regulations we have to comply with are appearing every week. This adds considerably to administration and to costs.”

With other hotel boats pairs also up for sale this year, Martin Reed says he is unlikely to find buyers for his business as a going concern at the right price. He is likely to register them at the end of the season as private boats unless he gets a realistic offer.

Unlike most hotelboat pairs, which are mostly converted working boats, Oak and Ash were built specifically for the hotelboat business. The pair were launched in 2004 by Braunston builder Dave Thomas.  

Martin Reed told the story of how he came to build and operate Oak and Ash in an article in Waterways World in July 2005. 

Andrew Denny  | 12.51pm | 3 comments

Today's news from the web

  • Strabane - Derry canal may open derryjournal.com

    A four mile stretch of the Derry to Strabane canal could open for the first time in half a century this summer. Speaking in the Assembly Sinn Fein MLA Michaela Boyle says the canal could open in June, which would be a tourist boost for the town. “The canal has been restored, not quite to its former glory, but as close to that as the funding would permit. Hopefully it will be opened once again to the public so that it can be used for enjoyable activities, such as walking, cycling, boating, gaming and angling.” The £1.3 m regeneration of the canal - originally opened in 1796 and closed in 1962 - was completed five years ago but the opening has been delayed due to health and safety concerns....

  • Reading council to fine stores for abandoned trolleys bbc.co.uk

    A Berkshire council is to start fining supermarkets at least £15 for every dumped shopping trolley it recovers. Proposals to charge businesses for trolleys found abandoned were approved at a Reading Borough Council cabinet meeting on Monday. Councillor Paul Gittings said the council was meeting the cost of recovering an average of 300 dumped trolleys every year....

  • Rowers to welcome Olympic torch to River Thames getwokingham.co.uk

    The towpath on Wokingham’s side of the River Thames is expected to draw large crowds when the Olympic Torch makes its brief visit to the borough. More details of the torch’s route in the borough have been revealed by the Leander Club, which will welcome the torch at its base in Wargrave Road, Twyford, on July 10. The torch, torchbearer and security official will be rowed to the club by athletes from Leander, Henley Rowing Club and Upper Thames Rowing Club....

  • Engineers put the finishing touches to Olympic cross-Thames cable car thisislondon.co.uk

    The Thames cable car could be used to ferry Olympic athletes to events in the O2 arena during the Games. Engineers are battling to finish the project in time for the opening ceremony on July 27 after a series of delays left transport bosses concerned that it would not be opened until well after the Games. Senior sources told the Standard that they were “extremely hopeful” that the cable car could be used in “some capacity” during the Olympics. It will link the O2 arena in Greenwich with the Excel exhibition centre at the Royal Docks....

  • Huddersfield Narrow Canal indefinite lock stoppage at Uppermill waterwaynews.blogspot.co.uk

    Further problems have been found at Halls Lock, 20w, on the Huddersfield Narrow Canal at Frenches, Greenfield. ... Update 17th April: British Waterways says that contractors are having severe difficulty in removing the water from the lock floor due to the amount of leakage through the lock and the recent wet weather. Works to repair the lock floor cannot be stared until the lock is dewatered. BW warns that the work could take from 14 days up to a month to complete....

Sunday 15 April

Today's news from the web

  • Volunteers praised as refreshed Foxton Locks Museum reopens harboroughmail.co.uk

    The Foxton Canal Museum has been re-opened following a renovation project. The museum at the popular tourist spot has been transformed during the last two years, with improved access and new space created to house temporary exhibitions....

Saturday 14 April

Today's news from the web

  • Some Birmingham canals to close as drought concerns spread across UK birminghampost.net

    Birmingham canal users have backed a decision to restrict use of some of the network because of drought concerns. The move came as it emerged that Severn Trent is in talks to sell water to parched eastern parts of the country. British Waterways, which runs the network, has announced that some canals will only open at restricted times, while others will be closed. Ivor Caplan, secretary of The Birmingham Canal Navigations Society said: “We support the action taken by British Waterways. By imposing these restrictions early in the cruising season it is to be hoped that the majority of the waterways system can be kept open for canal travellers throughout the year." ...

Friday 13 April

Today's news from the web

  • Decorating the Thames Diamond Jubilee river pageant barge bbc.co.uk

    Bbc Video: Preparations for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee river pageant in London this summer are continuing apace. Gilded decorations are being prepared for the Spirit of Chartwell, a converted barge upon which the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh will travel up the Thames during the showpiece celebration. Royal barge production designer Joseph Bennett takes the BBC behind-the-scenes to meet the team tasked with decoration....

Thursday 12 April

Today's news from the web

  • Boy injuried after becoming tangled in narrowboat propeller near Devizes thisiswiltshire.co.uk

    A nine-year-old boy was left with serious leg injuries after he fell from a narrowboat in Devizes and got tangled up in the propeller. It is understood he suffered the injuries after his family reversed the boat to try to rescue him. It happened at midday on Easter Monday on the Kennet and Avon Canal near Laywood Bridge, a secluded spot between Devizes Marina and the Bridge Inn at Horton....

  • Huddersfield Narrow Canal closed after boat hangs on cill at Ashton-under-Lyne menmedia.co.uk

    A key canal route has been shut after a barge was left stranded and flooded in a lock. The boat is thought to have become lodged on a canal gate after a mattress tangled in its rudder and caught on the lock on the Huddersfield Narrow Canal in Ashton. Its owners were safely rescued from the wrecked boat but it has caused a backlog of other barges waiting to get through. ...

  • Canal death tragedy of Hyde man weighed down by cider cans menmedia.co.uk

    A man drowned after being weighed down by a backpack full of cans of cider when he plunged into a canal, an inquest heard. ...

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