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Wednesday 2 November

BW Scotland recruiting non-executive directors

Following the decision to make British Waterways Scotland independent, the Scottish Executive is looking for non-executive directors to join their chair-designate, Dr Jon Hargreaves. 

The new Scottish board will be responsible for the strategic management and development of Scotland’s five canals – the Forth & Clyde, Union, Crinan, Caledonian and Monkland. 

It will also oversee the transition of British Waterways Scotland to being a self-standing Scottish public body when the new Canal and River Trust is launched in England and Wales on 1st April 2012. No name or logo redesign has yet been announced for the Scottish board.

No salaries or pensions are payable, but directors will earn a daily fee and expenses for up to 20 days a year. Closing date for applications is 28th November 2011. 

Further information can be found at www.appointed-for-scotland.org . 

Andrew Denny  | 12.38pm

NEC Boat & Caravan Show cancelled for 2012

The 2012 Boat & Caravan Show, scheduled to run at the Birmingham NEC from 21st February, has been cancelled.  The 50-year-old show, which has been running at the NEC since 1976, was remarkable because it covered not only the caravan and boat markets, but also leisure, outdoors and camping - the widest of any show. 

Organisers Ocean Media were said to be 'bitterly disappointed' after a large number of caravan manufacturers and dealers deserted it for a new rival show – the Motorhome, Caravan and Camping Show – in London’s Excel Centre, which opens just the week before the Boat & Caravan Show was due to open. 

Although the NEC Show included a strong boating and outdoor leisure element, caravans have always been the major part of the show, which attracted over 87,000 paying visitors at the last show in 2011. 

The new London show was announced earlier this year by the National Caravan Council. 

“Loyal exhibitors, including a number of caravan dealers, and the shows many visitors will feel sorry that due to a lack of support from one element of the industry, the 2012 show has had to be cancelled after more than 50 years,” said Trevor Barratt, chairman of Ocean Media. 

No announcement was made about if they would try to put the show back on for 2013. 

Andrew Denny  | 2.43pm

£43,300 Heritage Lottery Fund grant for Europe's oldest working steam dredger

The Friends of Gloucester Waterways Museum has secured a grant of £43,300 from the Heritage Lottery Fund for repair to dredger SND No 4. She is the oldest working steam dredger in Europe and was still in steam until earlier this year when it was discovered that several boiler tubes needed replacing.

Built in Holland in 1925, SND No 4 regularly dredged the docks at Gloucester until 1981 when a new diesel-electric dredger replaced her. From the opening of the Gloucester Waterways Museum in 1987 SND No 4 has been the star attraction, the hissing of steam and clanking of steel buckets helping to draw visitors to the museum.

As well as repairs to the dredger, the HLF money will enable the Friends to develop and promote SND No 4 as a key educational resource at the museum. It will enable new learning materials to be produced and allow visitors with visual impairment or mobility difficulties an opportunity to enter the unfamiliar world of this unique vessel whilst remaining onshore.

It was hoped that work would be completed by April, but it may be delayed as the company awarded the contract for re-tubing the boiler is currently moving premises, and Tommi Nielsen’s historic shipyard where the work will take place – just across the dock from the museum – has to finish other work before it can accommodate the dredger.

Meanwhile SND No 4 will remain on static display in Gloucester Docks along with the museum’s other, smaller, vessels. The museum is open daily through the winter 11am–4pm. Details from 01452 318200 or www.gloucesterwaterwaysmuseum.org.uk.

The ‘Wednesday Gang’, including Ken Dunn (vice chair) and Chris Witts (chairman) of the Friends of the Gloucester Waterways Museum, aboard dredger SND No 4.

Dredger SND No 4 at work in Gloucester Docks. Picture: Hugh Conway Jones

Andrew Denny  | 10.24am | add a comment

Today's news from the web

  • RYA-online.net to be withdrawn rya.org.uk

    The Royal Yachting Association says it is withdrawing its RYA-online.net domain from January 5th 2012. Associations, marinas and individuals still relying on it for email addresses or websites will need to switch to an alternative address before then. ...

  • Birkdale mum lost 20 stones...after being jammed in a narrowboat door liverpoolecho.co.uk

    It was meant to be a relaxing holiday on a narrowboat but for Carole Wright it was anything but. Tipping the scales at almost 30 stones the mum of one from Birkdale struggled even to get through the door of the craft. “I just couldn’t squeeze through; in the end I was pushed in and ripped my skirt in the process. I never moved off the boat after that for the whole week. I was terrified of getting stuck again.” ...

Tuesday 1 November

Marina is first to get Bellamy Conservation Gold Award

The large Mercia Marina in South Derbyshire has been awarded a Gold David Bellamy Conservation Award for its focus on encouraging wildlife, the first canal marina to receive the award. The scheme’s assessors said the 650-berth marina had achieved a lot in the way of conservation since it opened in late 2008.

Professor Bellamy said that the marina “deserves a big pat on the back for what they've achieved in such a short time. The park is a wildlife wonderland which is bursting with biodiversity, and I take my hat off to them. The marina is becoming a real haven for many rare species of flora such as the Bee Orchid, as well as having an abundance of wildlife, from kingfishers and swans to butterflies and shrews.” 

Mercia Marina says it has spent over £100,000 on landscaping and conservation projects, and its moorers have formed an active wildlife committee. The 74 acres of marina includes sections of land set aside as a nature reserve in the shadow of the old Willington power station, closed 20 years ago. (pictured)  

The David Bellamy Conservation Awards scheme was founded by the naturalist and broadcaster in 1996 in conjunction with the British Holiday & Home Parks Association.  It tries to encourage tourist and travel sites to protect or enhance their natural environment and wildlife.

Robert Neff, general manager of the marina, said: “Conservation has always been a key focus. Our aim has been to provide a beautiful and tranquil environment for all our visitors, and perhaps create something of a rarity among leisure destinations of this kind."

Andrew Denny  | 12.00pm

Sunday 30 October

Cotswold Canals project lose Dudbridge hydro scheme funding

The Cotswold Canals Trust learned on Friday 28th October that they have lost the bid to get £100,000 funding for installing a mini-hydroelectric scheme at Dudbridge Locks on the newly restored Stroudwater Canal.  

The money would have come from the British Gas Energyshare scheme for renewable local energy projects, and would have been for preparatory work on Dudbridge Locks, before their final restoration next year. 

Despite attracting 1,028 supporters, the second-highest number in its group, the project won't be one of ten selected for Energyshare funding. 

"The Members involved with the management of the application are, quite
frankly, gutted, especially after all the hard work that has gone on
behind the scenes in the last few weeks", said David Padgett, editor of Cotswold Canals News. 

The £300,000 hydro scheme has already received planning permission and it could still go ahead if the funding for initial works can be found from somewhere else before restoration starts next year.  Not having the project would not impede restoration of that section of the canal, although it is a golden opportunity to create something extra of value to the canal at comparatively little cost. vv

The scheme would provide a steady flow of electricity (and income) for the canal operators in the long-term. However, it is thought too expensive to 'retro-install' once the restoration is underway. 

Andrew Denny  | 11.36am

Today's news from the web

  • Porpoise discovered dead in Thames chiswickw4.com

    Lifeboat crew members at Chiswick RNLI lifeboat station made an unusual discovery on Thursday (October 27th) when they found a dead porpoise floating in the River Thames. It is highly unusual for a porpoise, which is a sea mammal, to come so far up the river. The crew had just been stood down after rescuing a capsized canoeist upriver from Hammersmith Bridge, and were back on patrol when they spotted the mammal....

  • Boaters go nuts for rare albino squirrel at Foxton Locks harboroughmail.co.uk

    A rare albino squirrel has been turning heads at Foxton Locks. The unusual critter – which has been given the name Snowy – was spotted at the popular tourist attraction last week. Jo Lodge, who lives and works on the narrowboat Hadar with her husband Keith, sent several snaps to the Mail. She said: “We think it’s been here a long time, as it’s fully grown. But it was only spotted on Wednesday last week. “Gary at the Top Lock cafe was the first person to get a photograph of it....

Thursday 27 October

Today's news from the web

  • Teenagers die after falling into canal at Smethwick locks bbc.co.uk

    Two teenagers, a man aged 18 and a 17-year-old girl, have died after falling into a West Midlands canal. Police said it was thought to be a "tragic accident". The pair were found near Brasshouse Lane in Smethwick. West Midlands Ambulance Service was called to a towpath at about 19:20 BST on Wednesday after a report that two people had fallen into the water....

Tuesday 25 October

Today's news from the web

  • Mapledurham Thames turbine switched on bbc.co.uk

    The owners of an Oxfordshire watermill have unveiled a water turbine which could provide power for homes. The £500,000 Archimedes screw project is funded by the Mapledurham Estate, owned by the Blount family since 1492....

  • Dublin's Grand Canal Theatre to change name as part of Bord Gáis deal irishtimes.com

    Energy Supplier Bord Gáis has agreed a deal with Live Nation to sponsor the Grand Canal Theatre in Dublin for the next 6½ years. As part of the deal, Bord Gáis will become the preferred supplier of electricity and gas to the theatre and the nearby O2 concert venue, which is also run by Live Nation. The sponsorship deal, first revealed by The Irish Times in August, will result in the venue changing its name to the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre....

Monday 24 October

Today's news from the web

  • River Soar weir safety barriers "a waste of money" thisisleicestershire.co.uk

    Tens of thousands of pounds have been spent on large booms to stop narrowboats plunging over weirs on the River Soar – even though no accidents have ever been reported. British Waterways has installed three barriers on the river, near the King Power Stadium, in Leicester, at Sileby Mill and at Pillings Lock, near Quorn, because it fears boaters might slip over the small waterfalls in those locations. ...

  • Volunteers work to restore canal stretch expressandstar.com

    The aim is to restore the seven-mile Lichfield Canal to a fully navigable through route. Over the past month partial foundations have been laid for the new canal diversion beside the A38 highway in Lichfield which obliterated the original route some 40 years ago. The diversion will be via a tunnel underneath the A38. ...

Sunday 23 October

Today's news from the web

  • Reservoir dog owners foul Whaley Bridge beauty spot buxtonadvertiser.co.uk

    Council chiefs are appealing for Whaley Bridge dog walkers to show ‘common sense’ after a row over a dog waste bin left a local beauty spot a mess. Residents have been kicking up a stink in recent weeks over the unemptied bin at Toddbrook Reservoir, just off Reservoir Road, which had been left to overflow with bags of dog faeces, which were subsequently being deposited on nearby grass. … “It is British Waterways’ responsibility to keep their land clear and tidy,” a council spokesperson said. ...

  • Chippenham River Festival success revives proposals for Wilts & Berks Canal link gazetteandherald.co.uk

    Plans to bring boats to Monkton Park along a stretch of the Wilts and Berks Canal are underway, with a proposal showing planners hope to follow the course of the disused Calne railway line. The proposed route would link from the restored mainline of the canal to the River Avon near Monkton Park, and then go south-east to the Stanley Locks, roughly following the old Calne railway tracks. The mile-and-a-half long stretch would connect the Avon to the canal, and then link it to the Melksham and Semington stretch and so on to Swindon and Abingdon. Ken Oliver, canal officer for Wiltshire Council, said: “These are not new plans, but we are at the beginning of the process for this proposal. “We are blowing the dust off these plans as a result of the Chippenham River Festival, which seems to be growing in popularity with each passing year. ...

  • Life-saving Pewsey liveaboard boater in line for St John Ambulance award gazetteandherald.co.uk

    Dust cart loader Nicola Young, who lives aboard a narrowboat plunged into the Kennet and Avon Canal during darkness to save a man from drowning. Ms Young, 44, lives on her boat in the Pewsey Vale and works for Wiltshire Council as a refuse loader. On November 30 she will find out if she has won a new national award at the St John Ambulance First Aid awards in London for her bravery....

  • Work on canal at Langley Mill ilkestonadvertiser.co.uk

    A group of volunteers have been renovating the only working bridge left on the Nottingham Canal at Langley Mill. The Erewash Canal Preservation and Development Association now works on behalf of British Waterways, which owns the canal network, including where the important canal bridge is sited at the confluence of the Erewash, Nottingham and Cromford Canals....

Saturday 22 October

Today's news from the web

  • Stourport Basin awarded red plaque worcesternews.co.uk

    Stourport Basin has been awarded a “red wheel” plaque, recognising the historical interest of the waterway landmark. The plaque was unveiled on Wednesday last week at Barge Lock House, Mart Lane....

Friday 21 October

Today's news from the web

  • New Canal & River Trust seeks social media expert jobs.guardian.co.uk

    Fixed term to end November 2012: The Canal & River Trust will be launched in April 2012, taking over the assets and responsibilities of British Waterways (BW) and the Waterways Trust in England and Wales. A key challenge for the Canal & River Trust will be to grow public awareness and support for its brand and cause. In preparation for this, we are creating a new role of Social Media Executive within the national campaign & communications team....

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