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10 reasons to take up canoeing
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Desmond Family Canoe Trail
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After a glorious Bank Holiday with the promise of more sun to come, we’re looking forward to late summer canal festivals and leisurely days on the towpath. Come and see us at our new Old Ford Lock welcome station on the Lee, at festivals on our floating welcome station Jena, and at various boater events to hear about our draft London Mooring Strategy. The sun may be out, but it’s time to start thinking about winter moorings too!
Were you one of the thousands of people that visited the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park on Bank Holiday Monday for the East London Waterways Festival? This landmark event celebrated the 10-year transformation that has turned the derelict Bow Back Rivers into a new cruising route running through the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
The day’s celebrations saw music and poetry performances by local groups; water-borne activities including dragon boat racing, canoeing taster sessions, boat trips; and guided walks, live music and dance, and children’s activities – all for free! See all of the action from yesterday - Carpenters Road Lock
The official opening ceremony saw Olympic Champion Joe Clarke (K1 Kayak) and triple Olympian and silver medallist Jess Eddie cut the ribbon, with around 50 boats taking part in a cruise through the Lock and around the Stadium Island loop, made possible through the Heritage Lottery funded Carpenter’s Road Lock restoration project. An online booking system will be launched in the coming weeks which will allow customers to book passage through the Lock. There will be no charge involved, and passage will be available 9am to 5pm seven days a week. For those without internet access, bookings can be made via the Enquiries London team on 0303 040 4040 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Keep an eye on our website for details.
There’s still lots to do on the Canal & River Trust’s London waterways this summer. Here are some dates for your diaries for forthcoming festivals:
Sunday, 3 September – Angel Festival – see Angel Canal Festival for further details
Saturday, 9 and Sunday, 10 September – Slough Canal Festival – see Slough Canal Festival for further details
Sunday, 24 September – Hayes Canal Festival – see Hayes Canal Festival for further details
We’ll be there aboard Jena, our very own widebeam canal boat and floating welcome station. Come along and say hello, find out more about what we do and ways to get involved.
For the third year in succession, we are opening some of our treasured heritage buildings to the public. This event is free to visit and is an ideal opportunity to look around three of our wonderful buildings:
Brentford Toll House Museum
The Impounding Station, Docklands
Three Mills, River Lea Navigation
All three buildings will be open from 10am – 5pm both days and staffed by both full-time employees and volunteers with a wealth of knowledge. Why not come along and meet the teams that look after the canals and rivers, as well as seeing just how interesting the waterways are?
It’s not long now until we release the winter moorings list so please do start to have a think, if you haven’t already done so, about the places you’d want to be if winter stoppages or bad weather make cruising a challenge! We offer temporary moorings at selected locations around the country, including a number of sites in west and north London, the Slough Arm, and the River Lee Navigation north of Enfield. Prices vary based on location and facilities, and permits are available from 1 month upwards. Remember, its first come first served when we do release the dates and locations! Keep an eye out for announcements on our winter moorings page Winter Moorings.
After many months of work gathering views and information to help us develop a comprehensive London regional mooring strategy, we’ll soon be publishing a draft document for your feedback. The draft strategy aims to find a way to better address and manage the challenging issues associated with the increase in boat numbers in London, so that we can help improve boaters’ experience of boating in London. It will ensure that we balance the needs of the many different types of boater that cruise the capital’s canals and rivers, as well as preserving the waterways so they can remain open and accessible for both boaters and non-boaters to enjoy.
The draft strategy has been developed following a comprehensive engagement exercise, including an open workshop in May 2016, a series of stakeholder meetings, site visits, survey cruises and four stakeholder workshops in Spring 2017 to inform the draft proposals.
Throughout September and into October, we’ll be out and about at the London canal festivals sharing our detailed proposals and hearing your views. Come and see us at Angel Canal Festival (3 Sept.), Slough Canal Festival (Saturday 9 Sept. only), and the Hayes Canal Festival (24 Sept.). We’ll also be popping up at different locations on board our widebeam Jena for people to drop in and discuss the proposals, so watch this space and the London Mooring Strategy pages on our website London Mooring Strategy for details.
If you’ve cruised the Regent’s Canal through King’s Cross you’ll have seen the new Camley Street bridge is now open, providing a link from St.Pancras station to the ever-changing area around Granary Square. This provides a scenic route past the regenerated Fish and Coal buildings, with a view of the exciting work going on at the Coal Drops Yard.
The new route means the temporary pontoon below St.Pancras Lock can now be removed, although it will still be a few months until the towpath moorings are re-instated following the completion of towpath improvement works and installation of new mooring rings. Watch this space for announcements.
The London Waterways’ Customer Services team (otherwise known as Enquiries London!) is based in the Docklands office, and is the first point of call for all customer enquiries and the central hub for the management of our customer service facilities.
Susan Clark is the newbie of the team, only joining the Trust at the start of July from Highways England which looks after the motorway network. She says joining the charity and team is like "moving from life at 70+mph to a far more comfortable and relaxed 4mph". Susan enjoys life on the water, having sailed in the Greek Ionian and the Solent, boated on the Norfolk Broads and enjoyed narrowboats on the Mon & Brec, the Llangollen, and a small part of the Grand Union. She is currently planning her 2018 break on the Kennet & Avon Canal. Susan heads up the team as Customer Support Supervisor following David Ireland’s departure for pastures new.
Sian Cantellow, Kayleigh Burke and Sam Barham make up the Customer Support team and deal with all your written and telephone enquiries about the London Waterways. You can buy pump out cards and boater keys (‘CRT keys’) from us at Docklands or from our colleagues at Little Venice and Brentford Lock.
Your Customer Support team is currently working hard to revamp and update our welcome centres and public reception areas with information you will find handy so next time you are visiting one, do get in touch with us at email@example.com and let us know what you think.
Come and join us at this month’s Towpath Taskforce. These are event drop in events, open to all. After a short welcome briefing, you’ll be issued with all the necessary kit to get started helping our teams spruce up the waterways.
Saturday, 2 September 10:00 – 15:30, Grand Union, Denham Deep Lock. - Vegetation cutback and lock painting. Meet at 10am at The Swan and Bottle Pub, Oxford Road, Uxbridge UB8 1LZ for a boat trip/walk to Denham Lock.
Wednesday, 6 September 10:00 – 15:30, Lee Navigation, Cheshunt Lock (nearest access from Windmill Lane approximate postcode EN8 9TY) - Lock painting, vegetation cutback.
Saturday, 9 September 10:00 – 15:30, Lee Navigation, Bow Locks (access from Three Mills Lane, E3 3JY) - Graffiti removal, vegetation cutback, towpath tidy.
Saturday, 16 September 10:00 – 15:30, Lee Navigation, Enfield Lock, South Ordnance Road EN3 6JQ - Lock painting.
Wednesday, 20 September 10:00 – 15:30, Grand Union, Station Road bridge off Western View, Hayes UB3 4BG - Preparation for the Hayes Canal Festival including repairing fencing, litter collection and vegetation cutback.
Wednesday, 27 September 10:00 – 15:00, Lee Navigation, Old Ford Lock (Lee), Dace Road, E3 2NN - Towpath tidy, graffiti removal, litter collection.
You may face some minor delays from 11th September 2017 (from 08:00) until 30th October 2017 (18:00) inclusive, due to bridge strengthening works. The navigation under the bridge will be restricted between 8.00am- 5.00pm, allowing only one boat 4m wide passage at any time. During these times the walkway over the bridge will also be closed and a diversion route will be through Packet Boat Marina.
It’s a constant job keeping the waterways safe and the infrastructure in good condition. We’re finding a number of boaters still choosing to tie their ropes around a rail or to hammer their mooring pins between slabs in the towpath. The best (worst?) examples being the big slabs by the Sweetwater Trade Moorings in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, and the handrail by the National Grid Sub-Station west of Rosemary Branch on the Regent’s. Safe to say this is going to cause some serious damage, and result in the Trust diverting much-needed resources into unnecessary repairs. Another common error is tying to escape ladders. Please leave them free to use, as yhey are not provided for someone to moor their boat to, but to save lives and help people out of the water. So even if mooring is limited in the area you’re in, please look around for somewhere more suitable.
The high temperatures being enjoyed in the capital this summer are having an interesting side effect, with London’s canals being invaded by a green carpet of weed. We’re working hard on the painstaking task of removing millions of pieces of floating duck weed from the water, which multiplies rapidly in the heat.
While an individual piece of duck weed is no bigger than a ladybird, congregated together they can resemble a thick carpet across the canal. This accumulates litter, which can be problematic for the hundreds of boats and leisure craft on the water. The weed is not harmful to people, but dogs and other animals have been known to mistake it for grass, and have ended up in the water. Significantly, if left to thrive, it can cause problems for other aquatic wildlife by starving it of oxygen and sunlight.
We’ve collected almost 1,200 cubic metres of duck weed so far this month across London’s waterways. Tom Oliver, our operations supervisor, says: "Duck weed is really noticeable on some sections of London’s canals and rivers at the moment. It’s not harmful to people, but if left it can become really thick, causing problems for wildlife, boaters and other people using the waterways. It is really frustrating to remove, as the weed is so small and the disturbance to the water made by our boats makes it a bit of a moving target."
Sorwar Ahmed is Waterway Boating Manager for the Canal & River Trust in London. He’s engaging communities and developing social enterprises to improve the waterways for everyone! Every month he gives a round-up of news and views, essential reading for boaters and anyone with an interest in London’s canals