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Friday 13 May

Today's news from the web

  • Can you help upkeep of canal at Market Harborough? harboroughmail.co.uk

    A new group dedicated to the upkeep of a section of the Grand Union Canal is carrying out its first work day on Monday. The group, which has called itself the Harborough Towpathers in association with British Waterways and Paws 4 Walking, is meeting at the canal basin at Union Wharf, Harborough at 11am. They are planning to paint five water points, totems, faded signs, and bollards and to edge the area of the moorings on the basin approach....

  • London 2012 Olympics: Floating walkway plan for Thames bbc.co.uk

    A kilometre-long floating river walk is planned for the River Thames in time for the Olympics. The scheme, backed by £60m of private investment, would provide a 12m (39ft) wide floating pontoon in the City of London from Blackfriars Bridge. Eight themed pavilions are proposed which would showcase London. The award-winning London River Park design is now being submitted to the City of London Corporation for consideration....

Thursday 12 May

Today's news from the web

  • In praise of… LTC Rolt guardian.co.uk

    A journey [this Saturday] marks the 60th anniversary of Dolgoch pulling the first passenger train on the newly reopened Talyllyn railway in 1951. ... This weekend's event, however, is also a celebration of those who made such enchanting journeys possible in an era of austerity when the preservation of an obscure and archaic railway in north Wales was, at best, an eccentric diversion from the need to build a modern postwar Britain. The driving force behind both the Talyllyn revival and the railway preservation movement was the engineer and writer Lionel Thomas Caswall Rolt. ...

  • BW increases volunteering by two-thirds civilsociety.co.uk

    British Waterways has increased volunteering by 67 per cent since last year. Members of the public spent 24,234 days working with British Waterways to keep canals and rivers clean and tidy compared to fewer than 15,000 last year....

Wednesday 11 May

Today's news from the web

  • 'Help preserve canal history' lep.co.uk

    Photographers who use Lancashire’s canal network are being asked to keep a record of the historic waterways. British Waterways wants volunteers to take photos 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. British Waterways is looking for volunteers interested in treading the towpath to map four to five miles in a day with the use of a smartphone. ...

  • Ellesmere set for tourism boost with BW development bordercountiesadvertizer.co.uk

    Ellesmere could be set for a tourism boom if British Waterways plans to develop a working heritage centre in the town come to fruition. Visitors and residents could soon be treated to the sight and sounds of traditional blacksmiths, glass blowers, and potters, amidst a range of other arts and crafts which would be permanent fixtures in buildings at the town's wharf....

  • Boaters campaign to stay afloat hackneycitizen.co.uk

    A community of local boaters came together on Saturday 30 April to draw attention to the impending threat to their way of life. They arranged their boats to form the word ‘home’ in Regent’s Canal in protest at plans by British Waterways to change the charges that some boaters in the Lea Valley area pay....

  • London Canal Boats Beat Supertankers as Glut Sinks Oil Freight businessweek.com

    Hiring canal boats in London costs more than supertankers earn from shipping Saudi Arabian crude to Japan as a glut of the oil transporters cuts freight rates on the industry’s most important trade route. Returns from the 1,000-foot long tankers plunged 99 percent to $585 a day over the past year for single-trip charters to deliver 2 million barrel cargoes, according to the London-based Baltic Exchange. Hiring a 57-foot pleasure craft on the Grand Union Canal that links London to Birmingham costs 395 pounds ($646) a day, the holidayuk.co.uk website shows....

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

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