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Tuesday 24 April

Today's news from the web

  • Queen's Diamond Jubilee: 'President' narrow boat already on her way to pageant dailymail.co.uk

    In June, one thousand boats will gather on the Thames to celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. But for one boat, the pageant has already started. To reach London in time, she has already begun steaming her way along a canal in the Midlands, at walking pace, on the first leg of her 336-mile voyage on England's waterways to the capital....

  • The Ellesmere Canal - When engineering went pro eandt.theiet.org

    Civil engineering was formally recognised as a profession in the early 19th century. The building of Ellesmere Canal was a key project that helped it on its way. ...

  • Heathfield priest gets on boat in support of the Queen theargus.co.uk

    A priest is preparing to board his narrow boat in a show of support for the Queen. Many clergy have a “bolt-hole” to which they can escape and recharge their batteries. For Malcolm Jones, parish priest of St Richards in Heathfield, and his wife Frances, this is a narrow boat, Frances Anne, which lives on the Grand Union Canal at Harefield in Middlesex. The pair have been asked to take part in the flotilla for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Pageant....

  • Steam dredger SND4 set to return to Gloucester Waterways Museum after boiler repairs thisisgloucestershire.co.uk

    The oldest steam dredger in Europe is set to return to Gloucester Waterways Museum after undergoing extensive repair thanks to funding from Heritage Lottery. Dredger SND No 4, which used to dredge the Gloucester and Sharpness Docks, has been the star attraction at the Waterways Museum since it opened in 1987 because of its hissing steam action and clanking steel buckets. But earlier this year it was discovered that several boiler tubes needed replacing. Thanks to £43,300-worth of funding from Heritage Lottery the Dutch built dredger has been in dry dock for the past three months and is set to return to the Museum this weekend in a fanfare of glory....

  • Leeds to Liverpool horse-drawn canal cruise is first for 68 years yorkshireeveningpost.co.uk

    A journey from Leeds to Liverpool takes about 90 minutes by car or rail. Sue Day is taking three months. Not only is she travelling in meandering style along the Leeds-Liverpool canal by narrow-boat. ... She is promoting horse-drawn boating as part of Britain’s heritage and for educational purposes. She is one of only five operators of horse-drawn craft in Britain, and in 2001 helped set up the Horse Boating Society....

  • Five-year plan to transform Cromford Canal thisisderbyshire.co.uk

    Engineering consultant Atkins have said that the Cromford Canal could be turned into a nature reserve attraction within five years. And they have also outlined a long-term scheme to make the entire 17-mile waterway, from Langley Mill to Cromford and Pinxton, navigable again in a project that would cost about £44 million. That work would take between 30 and 50 years. ​ The pump house at High Peak Junction on the Cromford Canal. A report outlines options for the future of the canal, including creating a nature reserve and a full restoration. Engineering consultant Atkins has drawn up options for the canal's future after being commissioned by the Cromford Canal Partnership, a body including Derbyshire councils and the wildlife trust. The partnership was set up to make the canal more attractive to visitors. About 40% of the canal is currently in water, with 45% filled in but with the line of the waterway still visible. The remaining 15% is gone completely....

  • DUCK TRAGEDY AVERTED buckslocalnews.com

    There was a little excitement on South Main Street when the mother of more than a dozen baby ducks, discovered in the parking lot of Ye Old Yardley Florist on South Main Street, started making moves in the direction of heavily traveled South Main Street. “We were outside with a customer,” store owner Susan Gorka explained when someone said, “On the corner by the street -- look at all those ducks!” Gorka was immediately scared for her newfound feathery friends. ...

  • 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....

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