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Wednesday 18 April

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....

  • Huddersfield Narrow Canal indefinite lock stoppage at Uppermill waterwaynews.blogspot.co.uk

    Further problems have been found at Halls Lock, 20w, on the Huddersfield Narrow Canal at Frenches, Greenfield. ... Update 17th April: British Waterways says that contractors are having severe difficulty in removing the water from the lock floor due to the amount of leakage through the lock and the recent wet weather. Works to repair the lock floor cannot be stared until the lock is dewatered. BW warns that the work could take from 14 days up to a month to complete....

Sunday 15 April

Today's news from the web

  • Volunteers praised as refreshed Foxton Locks Museum reopens harboroughmail.co.uk

    The Foxton Canal Museum has been re-opened following a renovation project. The museum at the popular tourist spot has been transformed during the last two years, with improved access and new space created to house temporary exhibitions....

Saturday 14 April

Today's news from the web

  • Some Birmingham canals to close as drought concerns spread across UK birminghampost.net

    Birmingham canal users have backed a decision to restrict use of some of the network because of drought concerns. The move came as it emerged that Severn Trent is in talks to sell water to parched eastern parts of the country. British Waterways, which runs the network, has announced that some canals will only open at restricted times, while others will be closed. Ivor Caplan, secretary of The Birmingham Canal Navigations Society said: “We support the action taken by British Waterways. By imposing these restrictions early in the cruising season it is to be hoped that the majority of the waterways system can be kept open for canal travellers throughout the year." ...

Friday 13 April

Today's news from the web

  • Decorating the Thames Diamond Jubilee river pageant barge bbc.co.uk

    Bbc Video: Preparations for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee river pageant in London this summer are continuing apace. Gilded decorations are being prepared for the Spirit of Chartwell, a converted barge upon which the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh will travel up the Thames during the showpiece celebration. Royal barge production designer Joseph Bennett takes the BBC behind-the-scenes to meet the team tasked with decoration....

Thursday 12 April

Today's news from the web

  • Boy injuried after becoming tangled in narrowboat propeller near Devizes thisiswiltshire.co.uk

    A nine-year-old boy was left with serious leg injuries after he fell from a narrowboat in Devizes and got tangled up in the propeller. It is understood he suffered the injuries after his family reversed the boat to try to rescue him. It happened at midday on Easter Monday on the Kennet and Avon Canal near Laywood Bridge, a secluded spot between Devizes Marina and the Bridge Inn at Horton....

  • Huddersfield Narrow Canal closed after boat hangs on cill at Ashton-under-Lyne menmedia.co.uk

    A key canal route has been shut after a barge was left stranded and flooded in a lock. The boat is thought to have become lodged on a canal gate after a mattress tangled in its rudder and caught on the lock on the Huddersfield Narrow Canal in Ashton. Its owners were safely rescued from the wrecked boat but it has caused a backlog of other barges waiting to get through. ...

  • Canal death tragedy of Hyde man weighed down by cider cans menmedia.co.uk

    A man drowned after being weighed down by a backpack full of cans of cider when he plunged into a canal, an inquest heard. ...

  • London’s lost rivers: the hidden history of the city’s buried waterways telegraph.co.uk

    London’s lost rivers: the hidden history of the city’s buried waterways Tom Bolton reveals the surprising stories behind the little-known rivers that still surge beneath the streets of London....

Tuesday 10 April

Hosing down boats still permissible in drought 'for health & safety reasons'wash down boats during drought

The British Marine Federation (BMF) says that after discussions with Water UK - the body representing water companies throughout the UK - it has been determined that boaters can use hosepipes to wash down boats 'for health and safety reasons'. 
Seven companies – Anglian Water, South East Water, Southern Water, Sutton and East Surrey Water, Thames Water, Veolia Central and Veolia South East – have now announced hosepipe bans, under the Water Use (Temporary Bans) Order 2010.
'Health and safety' in this context includes removing or minimising any risk to human or animal health or safety, as well as preventing or controlling the spread of causative agents of disease.  

"The government recognises the importance of washing down boats to minimise the spread of invasive non native species", said a BMF spokesman. 

Andrew Denny  | 11.45am | add a comment

Today's news from the web

  • BW launches Lune Aqueduct history project lctrust.co.uk

    Bw has announced a volunteer-led oral history project about the Lune Aqueduct and Lancaster Canal. The project aims to discover and record the memories of people who have worked and lived alongside the canal. The project hopes to interview people who have lived beside the canal, worked on or beside the canal, have used the canal for leisure, or have any information about the working life of the canal. They are looking for anyone who has any types of memories of the canal or who have been told stories about it by their parents and grand parents. The project will be launched in Lancaster Maritime Museum with a Memories Day on Saturday 5th May, 11:30am – 4pm. Inheritage, the company running the project for BW, is looking for people to volunteer to conduct oral history interviews, transcribe interviews, scan old photographs, help with events, etc. They will provide recording equipment and run a training day in oral history. Dr Bill Bevan of Inheritage says that the ability to listen and ask questions is more important than qualifications in heritage, history or the waterways. For more enquiries contact him at bill@inheritage.co.uk or call 0114 2345411....

  • Work to begin on new bridge over Basingstoke Canal in Woking bbc.co.uk

    Building work is due to begin on a new pedestrian bridge over the Basingstoke Canal in Surrey. The existing bridge in Woking town centre and a section of the canal towpath will be closed from 23 April to allow construction to start. The new bridge is to be called Bedser Bridge in recognition of Surrey and England cricketing heroes Eric and Sir Alec Bedser from Horsell, in Woking....

  • Historic boats help bring Droitwich canals to life droitwichadvertiser.co.uk

    Many historic narrow boats helped bring the town’s canals to life over the Easter weekend. More than 40 boats belonging to members of the Historic Narrow Boat Owners Club (HNBOC) were moored in Vines Park and Droitwich Marina as part of the group’s annual gathering....

  • Four Olympic athletes fail to complete Devizes to London canoe race bbc.co.uk

    Olympic rowing legend Sir Steve Redgrave has pulled out of the annual Devizes to Westminster canoe race due to "tiredness". A race spokesman said the Olympian and his partner Roger Hatfield had "retired" from the race at 02:20 BST. The pair had travelled about 87 miles (140km) along the 125-mile (200km) route, reaching Old Windsor Lock in Berkshire. Sir Steve was one of four Olympians taking part in the race, including Ben Hunt-Davis, Sarah Winckless and Kate MacKenzie, all of whom failed to finish. The event was won by Richard Hendron and James King for the third year in a row. ...

  • Calls for cycle speeding curb on Forth & Clyde canal towpath kirkintilloch-herald.co.uk

    Dog walkers are calling for action to stop cyclists speeding on a popular canal pathway. Pet owners say riders can hit speeds of 15-20mph on the path along the Forth and Clyde Canal between Townhead and the Stables. Walkers say the problem means it is not safe for them to use the path in the evenings. They are now asking British Waterways to erect signs warning cyclists to slow down on the route....

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