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Desmond Family Canoe Trail
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We love and care for your canals and rivers, because everyone deserves a place to escape.
Welcome to the latest edition. There's lots of news, views and events to read about before heading out for a weekend of boating. This includes information about accessible boating, an update on the boat licence consultation and a look back at the things we had to unexpectedly fix in July (among others!)
Welcome to the latest edition. For most of us it seems that the summer weather has taken a holiday just when we want to as well! That said, it’s not as though you need the sun to be shining to enjoy time out on the cut.
Of course, we want everyone to be able to enjoy our canals and rivers and the unique experiences they offer so below you’ll find an inspirational video, and further information, on how people using wheelchairs, or those who find moving around difficult, can still get out on the water.
There’s also the usual mix of news, an update on the licensing consultation, and this weekend’s stoppages as well as ways in which you can get involved. If there is something else you’d like to see in a future edition, then do get in touch.
In this edition:
Over the last couple of weeks you may have heard, or seen, that:
Below I’ve picked out some highlights of stuff to see and do over the next fortnight. Of course, there are plenty of other activities and volunteering opportunities around the network: visit the events section of the website to find the perfect one for you.
As mentioned in the introduction, our summer may be falling short of expectations in terms of weather but, as most readers will appreciate, it doesn’t need to be gloriously sunny to have an enjoyable cruise.
However, what does give some pause for thought is whether boating is accessible for you if you use a wheelchair or have problems with mobility. Take a look at the inspirational video below and read on to find out more about the growing number of options for mobility impaired boaters.
We run a trip boat which is accessible for manual wheelchairs from the National Waterways Museum in Gloucester and we also have an accessible trip boat at the Anderton Boat Lift.
Other organisations have told us that they offer accessible boat trips, but please contact them for confirmation and up-to-date information. Please also be aware that this list is not exhaustive:
Accessible boat hire
You don’t need to be restricted to just day trips either. The following have boats available for self-skippered hire for holidays from a weekend break to as many weeks as desired. Again, please contact them directly for up-to-date details and confirmation.
There’s quite a bit of information about accessible boat hire operators on other websites such as www.waterwaysholidays.com and www.narrow-boating.com so it’s worth taking a look if you’re after more details.
Of course, if you’re a hire boat operator with (or without) accessible boats and haven’t yet registered your details in our directory then you can easily do this by creating a ‘My Trust’ account and creating your own listing.
Please note that we offer this information in good faith but cannot take responsibility for content on third party sites.
Regular readers will remember that a month ago I reported on the boat licensing consultation. Following the completion of the opening stages we and Involve, the independent charity commissioned to carry out the consultation, are reflecting on the rich discussions we’ve had so far with boaters. Once complete, the third and final stage of the process will get underway in which all boaters are encouraged to take part.
Ian Rogers, customer service and operations director, explains why the last stage is starting a little later than planned: “The first two stages of consultation have been really informative. We spoke initially with boating organisations and followed this with a series of workshops across the country attended by nearly 100 boaters, randomly selected, covering the range of boaters using our waterways. The groups discussed outcomes of the first stage and contributed further to shaping the final stage of consultation.
“Our initial timetable was to report back on the topics and views that came up in the workshops in late July before widening out the consultation to all boaters and boating groups. However due to the fantastic feedback we’ve had, it will take a little more time before publishing the report and subsequently opening the third stage of the consultation.
“I’d like to thank everyone who has taken part to date. Boating groups have been very engaged with the process and we’re confident that the boater workshop sessions reflected the geography and different types of boaters on our network. We’re aiming to start stage three of the consultation in late August and we’ll be getting in touch with all licence holders to encourage them, as well as members of the general public, to take part. It is important that we have a full view of boaters’ thoughts and feelings to help shape the future of licensing.”
Just so you’re aware, the final stage of the consultation will be communicated to all of our current licence holders and boating organisations. Ideally by email, if we have yours, and by post if not. If you haven’t registered an email address, which can be done via the online licensing system, please log on and let us have it. This way, you won’t have to hang around for snail mail and you’ll save yourself (and us) the price of a stamp!
Also, let us know if you’re part of a boating organisation, and who you represent, if you don’t think anyone from your organisation spoke to the independent agency, Involve, in the first stage of the consultation.
More information about the boat licensing consultation can be found on our website.
In this regular feature we look back at the things that we had to unexpectedly fix to keep the canals and rivers open for you to enjoy. I really hope I’m not tempting fate here but in July it was more a case of pressing on with our planned proactive maintenance regime as not a lot suddenly needed emergency repairs.
In fact, across the entire 2,000 miles of rivers and canals that we look after, there was only one ongoing unplanned repair job that kept a navigation closed for more than 48 hours – the replacement of gates at Standard’s Lock on the Bridgwater & Taunton Canal.
If you’ve signed up to receive stoppages you’ll notice that we categorise them in to general reasons, such as repair, inspection or vegetation.
Of course, when we’re dealing with such old structures, it’s not always as straightforward as ‘repair’ so we offer more detail in the body of the stoppage notice. But, in case you were wondering, here’s a handy guide to what we classify as a repair, maintenance, inspection and so on.
Many boaters go the extra mile in helping to keep canals and rivers in good condition by volunteering or donating. As you’re such an integral part of what makes waterways so wonderful, there’re always other ways you can get involved:
Keeping your canals and rivers ready for you to enjoy is a year-round job. From time-to-time this includes some major engineering that we need to temporarily close the navigation for. Below you’ll find a list, by region, of anything that’s happen that may affect your cruising.
Just click on the one where you’ll be and a webpage will open listing any stoppages for that region (if your region isn’t listed then, yay, there aren’t any navigation closures there!). If you’re not quite sure which region your planned cruise falls in to please take a look at this map.
When any restrictions to navigation happen, we get them up on to our website as soon as we can – always best to have a scan before you set off for a cruise. If you have any questions about a specific closure then you’ll find the email addresses for our regional offices on our contacts page.
Think of this blog as your one-stop shop for up-to-date boating news. It's packed full of useful information about boating on canals and rivers as well important safety announcements and upcoming events.
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