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Monday 9 May

First pound of new Lichfield Canal begins to fill

Last weekend I visited the Tamworth Road locks in Lichfield, where the Lichfield Canal restoration commences its long climb to the Wyrley & Essington canal summit.  The stretch  has been newly renamed the Borrowcop Canal Park, and for the first time in over 50 years, one short pound is just starting to fill with water to justify the name. 

It's a heartening sight for canal lovers,and especially for the tireless restorers of the Lichfield & Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust:


It will take a while to fill - and may need to wait for more rainfall. The pipe you see to the side replaces the storm drain, which for 50 years ploughed right through the locks and pounds and had to be rechannelled to allow the restoration to proceed.

 

I was happy to see that for all its shallowness the pound already has its first wildlife - a pair of mallards have taken up residence and hatched a clutch of FOURTEEN chicks. It's hard to see how the little ducklings will find enough to feed them, and the shallowness of the water might not leave them safe from predators, but we can only wish them luck. 



Boaters will require a little more patience before they can occupy this pound. No one is even guessing when the canal will be ready for them. 

"Hopefully in my lifetime", is a popular aspiration, as the indefatigable restorers continue their work and contemplate the pound (below) adjacent to the newly restored one:


Andrew Denny  | 11.48pm


Today's news from the web

  • Don't waste time on canal plan, says Leamington Observer letter leamingtonobserver.co.uk

    From the letters page of the Leamington Observer: "I note with concern that the proposal for extending the Avon navigation has once again reared its unwelcome head. The matter was thoroughly discussed and debated by the Warwickshire County Council in 2004 who rejected it out of hand. ... Warwick town centre is [already] but a short and very pleasant walk or bus ride from the Grand Union for canal users who wish to visit the town. So please don't let us waste any more time and public money debating this doomed proposal....

  • Expansion plans for Reedley Marina recommended for refusal burnleycitizen.co.uk

    Ambitious expansion plans for Reedley Marina could be on the rocks after they were recommended for refusal by Pendle Council. Bosses at the Barden Lane attraction, which is situated on the Leeds-Liverpool canal, have applied for permission to build a 76 berth marina, new facilities and utility buildings and 46 more car parking spaces. But the scheme could be thrown out after a report from planning officers said the application should be rejected because of the impact on green belt land....

  • K&A continuous cruiser to rent kanda.boatingcommunity.org.uk

    [K&A continuous cruising] Boat to rent 70ft narrowboat to rent from June – on the K and A canal. Lovely liveaboard with solar panels, large woodburner, gas CH, reliable engine etc. Furniture if wanted. No mooring, but very happy to help you move her until you’re comfortable to do so; or to help you find a mooring. £500 / month including license. ...


Sunday 8 May

Today's news from the web

  • Canal bridge gets £450,000 restoration bbc.co.uk

    A Victorian canal aquaduct in Derbyshire is to be restored in a £450,000 project. The aquaduct is 163 years old and takes the Cromford Canal over the Derby to Matlock railway line. The canal has recently been drained due to corrosion problems in the bridge's cast iron structure. Repairs to the aquaduct and the construction of a new permanent steel towpath are due to take place between June and November....


Friday 6 May

BW publishes draft stoppages for next winter

BW has published a first draft of the proposed waterway maintenance stoppages for next winter.  The information is now available on Waterscape at http://www.waterscape.com/things-to-do/boating/proposed-stoppage.

You can comment on it until June 3rd, via Waterscape. Version 2 will be released shortly afterward, for further comments, before the plan is 'locked down' and the final version published in September. 

You can select individual waterways to search for stoppages, and view them on an interactive map, although hardened map/data  enthusiasts may prefer to just download the single CSV file containing all the data in spreadsheet format. 

In addition, there is now a ‘Waterway Stoppage Rationale’ document outlining the general plans for each region and waterway.  Canal enthusiasts may prefer to read this before exploring the more specific stoppage dates. 

Andrew Denny  | 1.23pm


Today's news from the web

  • Rampant rain delays Erie Canal opening mpnnow.com

    Record rains in April — and a wet, dismal kick-off to the month of May — meant a delay in the opening of the Erie Canal east of Rochester [New York]. The Canal Corp. said high water levels create an increased force of water flow, and that means it can't install the dam uprights and gates that are required for boaters. So the decision was made to not open the East Guard Lock just east of the Genesee River where the river crosses the canal....

  • Ailsa Craig: One very wealthy twitcher wanted to buy this £2.5m island ruled by birds | Mail Online dailymail.co.uk

    For sale: one Scottish island. Sitting tenants: several seal families, 40,000 gannets and thousands more kittiwakes, puffins, razorbills, herring gulls and guillemots. And the price? £2.5-2.75 million....

  • Britain’s historic waterways ‘access’ the digital age waterscape.com

    British Waterways is launching a national project to keep a real-time virtual picture of the condition of its towpaths and any obstructions to access. This will provide valuable information for people with restricted mobility, as well as families with buggies, cyclists and other towpath users. The thousands of visitors who enjoy the canals are being called upon to play their part in the project....


Thursday 5 May

Sharpness docks overnight manning ends after 50 years

British Waterway has ended its round-the-clock manning of Sharpness Port, over 50 years after it was introduced in the wake of the Severn Bridge disaster of 1960. In future, staff will not be on duty between 9pm and 9am unless a ship passage is booked.  

The round-the-clock manning was introduced after five men died when the fuel barges Arkendale H and Wastdale H became lost in fog and collided with the old Severn Railway Bridge near midnight on 25th October 1960. 

Waterway Manager Nick Worthington says the 24-hr coverage has not been needed for several years, after the decline in carrying and the advances in technology. He expects it to make a 'significant saving' in staffing costs.

Andrew Denny  | 9.49am


Today's news from the web

  • Fight is back on to preserve London’s oldest canal eastlondonadvertiser.co.uk

    Conservationists are back in the fight to preserve London’s oldest canal—after losing the opening skirmish in the High Court. Public consultations are under way for a conservation area around the Limehouse Cut that links the River Lea to East London’s Limehouse Basin by the Thames. An earlier conservation scheme along the canal aimed at protecting building of historic interest on the quayside from developers was overturned in February. ...


Wednesday 4 May

Student dies while trying to swim Thames at Kingston

A student died when trying to swim the Thames at Kingston on 28th April. Niall Pawsey, aged 20, disappeared after jumping into the river near the Kingston Mill pub. London Coastguard said he was believed to have been drunk and unclothed when he went into the river.  His body was recovered three days later. Fellow students later organised a 'memorial' for him at the bar on Kingston University Campus. 

Boat operator Richard Turk, owner of Turks Launches nearby, said: “People think because of the weather it is nice and warm but it is freezing. Hypothermia probably got him. It has happened quite a bit and it is mainly students after a few drinks.” 

Andrew Denny  | 11.00am


Today's news from the web

  • Plans for hydropower on the River Thames visitthames.co.uk

    The search is on for community groups and/or developers to construct and operate sustainable hydropower schemes on River Thames weirs in the Windsor and Maidenhead area. The Environment Agency has joined forces with the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead (RBWM) to promote the opportunity to develop small scale hydropower schemes at Marlow, Boveney and Boulters weirs....


Monday 2 May

Today's news from the web

  • Revived part of Wilts and Berks Canal officially opened bbc.co.uk

    A restored section of the Wilts and Berks Canal, which fell into disrepair nearly a century ago, has been officially reopened. Volunteers have spent the past few years clearing a two-mile stretch of the waterway from Pewsham to Reybridge. Guests at the ceremony boarded a boat to become the first to travel on the canal since it was abandoned in 1914....


Monday 25 April

Today's news from the web

  • New Stroud canal bridge due to open in June bbc.co.uk

    The £1.8m canal bridge in Stroud is expected to open by mid-June, engineers have said.The new A46 Merrywalks Bridge, which will allow boats to pass underneath, was due to be finished by November....

  • Rescue services called out en masse to canal over men 'messing about' in dinghy menmedia.co.uk

    A helicopter, inshore rescue boat and a fire crew were called to three men paddling a dinghy along a canal. The trio had been floating along the Manchester Ship Canal, at Trafford Park, on Sunday when a passer-by mistakenly thought they were in trouble. Following a call to emergency services the fire service's water incident unit, a police helicopter and firefighters from Stretford station were sent to the scene. But they arrived to see the three men, all in their 20s, reach Barton Swing Bridge in Salford, then gently glide to the shore and get out....

  • Youngsters condemned for 30ft plunge into Liverpool’s Stanley Dock liverpoolecho.co.uk

    Youngsters were condemned for risking their lives after diving headfirst from a 30ft high wall into Liverpool docks. The youths, accompanied by some adults, were leaping from a wall at Stanley Dock, off Great Howard Street, into the 40ft deep Stanley Dock. ...

  • Complicated auction of Chesapeake & Ohio Canal towpath property times-news.com

    The property owned by Brian and Tammie Grosh at 1 Elizabeth St. along the C&O Canal Towpath is being sold at an absolute auction by the Century Auction Group on May 18 at noon. ...  “The property is perfectly desirable and very unique. It is hard to set a price on this property. So, we are going to allow the public to set the price,” said Tom Gimer, auction associate. “There is truly no comparable property in the area,” says the Century Auction Group’s website.    


    [Now, read on...] 
    ...


Thursday 21 April

Today's news from the web

  • BW gets free rebrand waterscape.com

    British Waterways reports that the international design agency Pentagram has agreed to help redesign its corporate identity for free, as it moves to become a charity. 


    The pro bono redesign is being led by Pentagram partner John Rushworth, who was also responsible for designing the existing corporate identity, over 20 years ago. This identity is all over the waterways, from the striking and famous 'bridge and bulrush' logo to the numerous signs that tell users what to do at every mooring and sanitary station and the documentation and company reports.   

    This time round Pentagram will offer free 'design consultancy' on the new waterways charity’s name, logo and imagery, when that is decided later this year. Simon Salem, BW's marketing director, is clearly pleased, since a world-class design agency’s work is normally very expensive. 

    “The government’s public consultation document ‘A New Era For The Waterways’ recognised that ‘keeping the British Waterways name’ is not an option,” he said.

    “The look and feel of the new organisation will be an integral part of its future success. It’s vital we get it right. Having [Pentagram] offer its services free of charge is a huge endorsement and a massive step forward for the charity.”  

    John Rushworth said: “We are pleased to be able to offer the new charity consultancy and design services which we hope will help it get off to the best possible start.”   

    Nevertheless, creating the new identity is only the start. Once the design is done, rebranding or replacing thousands of signs – perhaps with simple vinyl stickers - will be hugely labour intensive, and BW clearly hopes volunteers can help.   

    Jo Gilbertson, of the IWA said:“People need to feel part of the new charity and the best way to do that is by voluntarily taking part. One suggestion has been for volunteers, boaters and BW staff to be given easy-to-use kits to enable them to help rebrand signs across the network.”

    Simon Salem added:“I am excited about help from volunteers but we still hope to cover other costs, such as the kits.I have had preliminary discussions with a number of companies [about] securing funding and other services towards the rebrand.”

    The name of the new waterways charity is the subject of a three-month public consultation which runs until the end of June. Final decisions about the new charity’s name and brand will be made this summer following the appointment of the organisation’s first trustees. 

    The BW 'bridge and bulrush' logo has been a memorable success, seizing on two of the waterways' most enduring images - the permanent 18th and 19th century bridges of the early industrial revolution, and the seasonally changing natural world. 


    ...

  • British Waterways' 2010 National Wildlife Survey waterscape.com

    We need your help. Between now and September, we'd like you to tell us about the wildlife you've seen on your local canal, river, dock or reservoir. We want to know how many creatures you have seen and where you have seen them. Each sighting recorded helps British Waterways' ecologists to monitor, protect and preserve the amazing biodiversity found on our waterways....


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