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Wednesday 29 June

Today's news from the web

  • 'Go somewhere else' says Maidenhead council to illegal moorers on Thames maidenhead-advertiser.co.uk

    'Go somewhere else' was the message to boat owners illegally mooring their vessels on the River Thames at a Royal Borough council meeting last night. Cabinet members of the Windsor and Maidenhead council agreed to a crackdown on unlicensed and illegal craft on a stretch of the river in Maidenhead during a cabinet meeting at Windsor's Guildhall....

  • Maffi's blog: Braunston and the Milly M narrowboater.blogspot.com

    It would seem that Braunston was a runaway sucess this year with around 120 historical boats taking part. I am led to believe this is a record. I was thinking I might enter Milly M next year, she is after all a historical boat. ...

  • The Droitwich - a historic waterway unlocked independent.co.uk

    The Worcester & Birmingham Canal forms the backbone of a new triangular itinerary that allows the unconverted to test the appeal of a narrowboat holiday on the waterways that helped build our nation. The key is the revival of the eastern stretch of the Droitwich Canal, which had, like so much of the inland waterways network, long been abandoned. "Unnavigable," warns one chart, while on the latest Ordnance Survey map, drawn five years ago, a stretch of it has simply vanished – dried up and filled up in the name of progress. Yet such is the imagination and dedication of enthusiasts, not to mention the power of £12m, that on Friday the full length of the Droitwich Canal officially re-opens – 240 years to the day after its original opening....

Monday 27 June

Droitwich Junction Canal officially open today

British Waterways has announced that as from today, 27th June, the Droitwich Junction Canal, from Hanbury on the Worcester and Birmingham Canal to Vines Park at Droitwich Town, is now open.  

'Delighted' is a much-overused word in PR-speak, but BW can be justifiably delighted today.

The opening of the Junction canal completes the through route to the River Severn and opens the 21-mile Mid-Worcestershire Ring. 

BW says that initially operation of the new locks will be slow, due to 'nesting birds'.  They have also issued a notice that in places these locks are indeed narrow, with a maximum beam of 7ft (many historic working narrowboats are wider than this)  and that the maximum draft is presently only 2'6".  

Please note that there is a festival in Droitwich from Friday 1st July until Sunday 3rd July and boats will only be able to moor in Droitwich if they have booked with the Droitwich Canal Trust.  http://www.worcs.com/dct/

There are also 
currently no water points or sanitation facilities on the Junction and Barge Canals - boaters will need to fill up before entering the Droitwich canals. 

Finally, BW warns that the canalised section of the River Salwarpe between Vines Park and Lock 7 on the Junction Canal is subject to rapid rises in level and flow following periods of rain; therefore no overnight mooring on this section is allowed.

Happy boating! 

Andrew Denny  | 4.48pm

Waterways projects in People’s Millions finalist awards

As we went to press, the People’s Millions Grants Programme was close to deciding on the recipients of a series of £60,000 grants to worthy causes in various ITV regions. Four waterways projects were in line for awards, three on them on the same day:

Mon 27th June:
The Grand Union Iron Trunk Aqueduct at Cosgrove, near Milton Keynes 
200 years old this year, the Iron Trunk Aqueduct needs funding to give it a well-deserved ‘makeover’. This will involve draining the aqueduct, cleaning and repainting it, and removing vegetation. Other initiatives to be funded include a community recording project as an educational resource and the use of the recording project as an educational resource for school activities. 

Get Creative, Get Afloat – Peterborough Multimedia Barge
A floating multimedia barge for young people to learn new skills, to help them change their lives. Members of the local community will be involved converting and fitting out the barge, while volunteers will be trained in boat handling and maintenance. 

Electrically powered community boat for the Chesterfield Canal Trust
The Chesterfield Canal Trust seeks funding for a new electrically powered boat to be based at Kiveton. It will be fully accessible for the disabled, with an electro-hydraulic system to enable any user to steer the boat from anywhere within it.

Wed 29th June:
Stroud Canals Connections
This project will create a canal-side footpath connecting the town and the surrounding national and regional paths. The route will be signposted by traditional mile markers and podcast recordings made by the community that capture the spirit of the district through stories about its past and their vision for its future.

Andrew Denny  | 3.59pm

Today's news from the web

  • Minorca site battle ends in victory for UK Coal burtonmail.co.uk

    Coal mining will return to a former pit village in the heart of the National Forest — after campaigners lost their three-year battle to block a controversial opencast scheme. Phil Owen, from the Minorca Opencast Protest Group (MOPG), said he was ‘disappointed’ by the decision, but said the group’s efforts had not been in vain as they had led to a more satisfactory settlement from UK Coal than would otherwise have been offered, including £1.28 million for the restoration of the Ashby Canal. ...

  • The magician who can walk on water dailymail.co.uk

    Most magicians are capable of unbelievable feats, after all it's their stock in trade, but how many have unbelievable feet? Dynamo, whose real name is Steve Frayne, has showed some rather nifty feet as he walked on water for his latest jaw-dropping stunt. The Bradford-born illusionist, 28, made it half way across the stretch of the river in front of the Houses of Parliament in London before he was picked up by a River Police boat. ...

Friday 24 June

Official: The Waterways Trust joins new waterways charity

The Waterways Trust is to merge with the planned new waterways charity (NWC) in England & Wales when it is set up next year, it was announced today.

The Trust says this will ensure that the NWC can draw on its ‘enormous pool of experience and expertise, in disciplines ranging from engineering and conservation to marketing, fundraising, volunteering and education’. 

In Scotland, where the waterways will stay in public ownership, The Waterways Trust’s Scottish component will stay independent.

The Waterways Trust brings into the NWC its three key English waterways museums, in Gloucester, Ellesmere Port and Stoke Bruerne, along with their collections, and the National Waterways Archive, also under its custodianship. 

Incidentally, this news gives an interesting clue as to the likely name of the new body. It has already been said that the existing name of ‘British Waterways’ would have to disappear, or at least change. It now seems likely that the words 'waterways' and 'trust' could be included without confusion, when the NWC is launched next year.   

It is also likely to see Scottish nationalist pressure to rename the Scottish elements of both BW and the WT, to remove any 'English' influence. 

Tony Hales, who was last month appointed chairman designate of the NWC, said: “This is tremendous news and will ensure that a very large part of the country’s precious waterway heritage will be held in trust for the nation.  The joining together of NWC and The Waterways Trust will give the new waterways charity an enormous boost, not just by combining the physical structures and artefacts that make the waterways so unique, but through the collective knowledge and passion that each organisation’s staff and volunteers bring with them.” 

The current chairman of the Waterways Trust, Frances Done, added: “We are delighted to be able support the new waterways charity in this way.  Over the last 12 years we have learnt many lessons which will be important for the new charity.  We have also seen success in a number of key areas including fundraising, building partnerships and attracting and working with volunteers, and look forward to building on these as part of the new waterways charity.

“We are delighted also that the work of the Trust will continue in Scotland building on our considerable achievements and focussing on the needs of Scotland’s waterways.”

The exact nature of the merger will be worked out over the coming months.  The NWC is expected to launch in April 2012, or soon afterwards, and The Waterways Trust's existing fundraising and delivery work, and its role in building partnerships in England and Wales, will continue within the new charity.

Andrew Denny  | 1.57pm

Thursday 23 June

Today's news from the web

  • Maidenhead Waterways Restoration Group 'delighted' with public response maidenhead-advertiser.co.uk

    Waterways pioneers have held their final public consultation on proposals to create a network of canals through Maidenhead. Local Maidenhead MP Theresa May dropped in to view the exhibitions at the Nicholsons Centre on Saturday and gave her support to the improvement scheme....

  • Authorities in ‘Olympic Boaters’ warning pla.co.uk

    Visiting recreational boaters could be barred from using their vessels as a base in London during the 2012 Olympics if they fail to book moorings in advance. Officials on the tidal Thames are concerned that large numbers of private craft could arrive for next year’s event with nowhere to go....

  • Dutch man builds modern-day replica of Noah's Ark catholic.org

    Wealthy Dutch builder Johan Huibers is almost done with his recreation of Noah's Ark. The ark sits in a shipyard and is identical in size to the one in the Book of Genesis, 300 cubits in length, and 30 cubits high, and 50 cubits wide. Huibers says he want to float the ark down the River Thames in advance of the 2012 Olympics....

Wednesday 22 June

Today's news from the web

  • Caen Hill Locks receives Transport Trust award bbc.co.uk

    The historic Caen Hill Locks in Devizes have been given an award by the Transport Trust. The popular Wiltshire tourist attraction received a Red Wheel plaque, which recognises transport sites of historical interest....

  • Water Fest lives up to its name getreading.co.uk

    A bit too much water and some technical difficulties failed to dampen spirits at an annual celebration of Reading's waterways. Heavy showers did not stop thousands of people attending Water Fest by the River Kennet on Saturday....

  • Discovery of head and arm in town waterway thisisgrimsby.co.uk

    Following the discovery of a head and arm in the River Ancholme, near Swaby Brook, Brigg, police say they do not "anticipate any further human remains being found", but will continue looking in the area....

  • Led Zeppelin-linked Thames boathouse for sale newburytoday.co.uk

    A River Thames boathouse with connections to legendary rock band Led Zeppelin has been put up for sale, for £1.1 million. Guitarist Jimmy Page paid £6,000 for the property in 1967, which had been a boathouse with wet dock and offices belonging to Hopps of Henley from the 19th century until its 1959 conversion into a residential dwelling. ...The basement, where the wet dock once existed, now hosts a fully heated indoor swimming pool....

  • Exhibition explores the history of Droitwich's canal network droitwichadvertiser.co.uk

    An exhibition on the history of Droitwich’s canal network and its restoration is being held at the town’s Heritage and Information Centre. The exhibition at St Richard’s House, Victoria Square, is running until July 9 and is being held to help celebrate the reopening of the barge and junction canals....

Monday 20 June

Droitwich Barge canal officially opens today

Here's something you don't see every year, let alone every day: A complete waterway reopening for business. 

Today The Droitwich Barge Canal opens officially for boats.  It's the first full, historic waterway to reopen in almost nine years, since the Rochdale in 2002. 

Contractors are now racing to complete dredging of the short stretch remaining, to link it to the 1 1/2 miles of the narrow Droitwich Junction Canal in time for the official reopening ceremony on Friday 1st July. 

So by next weekend you'll have a whole new cruising 'ring' - the Mid-Worcestershire Ring - the first full ring since the 1970s. 

We've done our homework, and the July edition of Waterways World - on sale now - has a brand new pull-out 8-page cruising guide to the new ring, written by our editor Richard Fairhurst.

Andrew Denny  | 11.54am

Today's news from the web

  • Russell Newbery engine company sold russellnewbery.co.uk

    Many people dream of owning a Russell Newbery engine. However, RN enthusiasts, boatyard owners and hire fleet operators David and Deborah Bixter have gone one better - they've bought the company that makes them!

    It was announced at the annual Russell Newbery Register rally in Stourbridge this weekend that the Bixters - owners of Grantham Bridge Services at Hillmorton and the Willow Wren hire fleet in Rugby - had bought the engine manufacturer.

    "We are delighted to have been able to acquire the last truly British vintage-style marine engine manufacturer", said David Bixter.

    "We can now complete all aspects of installation, from initial engine selection through modifying existing installations to all maintenance, servicing and repairs. We also provide bespoke boatbuilding, and this is now available with RN power."

    [David and Deborah Bixter, pictured above, with Brian Jarrett's DM2-powered tug Kyle]

    As a flagship demonstration of his confidence in the Russell Newbery name, David Bixter says that one of his first acts will be to build a new DM2-equipped hire boat for his Willow Wren fleet, aimed at enthusiasts.

    Bixter said that one of his priorities was to find ways of bringing down the cost of the new engines. The price of a new DM2 has been reduced by more than £3,000 and he is exploring more ways of making it more competitive without compromising quality.

    All new Russell Newbery engines will now come with a five-year warranty, along with his own range of RN-designed accessories.

    While the Russell Newbery Register get stronger and more active each year (57 boats attended last weekend's Stourbridge rally), the engine company has been having a lean time recently, with few new DM engines sold - and none at all so far this year.

    At Hillmorton the Bixters will be setting up a showroom and demonstration facility, something that the brand lacked until now.

    The decision to sell was taken by a closed meeting of the Russell Newbery Register Property Company, jointly owned by 60 members of the Russell Newbery Register. The meeting was chaired by directors Clive Henderson, Steve Burt and Rob Davies (pictured L-R below).

    Rob Davies said that David Bixter, a former Rolls Royce apprentice, could continue in the spirit of the founders, who themselves were early Rolls Royce employees.



  • How to make a roof garden on a narrowboat permaculture.co.uk

    After down-shifting to live on a boat, Alice Griffin then had to decide how to grow her vegetable garden in such a small space. With a bit of cunning, she managed to make raised beds light enough to grow vegetables on ...

  • How BW can start a new funding stream thirdsector.co.uk

    Individual fundraising will be the main focus initially, says Ruderham. British Waterways will attempt to build a strong supporter base, either through membership or by asking people to give by direct debit. It also hopes to have corporate partnerships in place in time for next year's launch....

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