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Welcome to the last August edition of Boaters' Update. There's a lot to get through before you head off into the long weekend - I hope you enjoy it. Oh, and if you can, please spare a minute to give us your thoughts and advice where indicated... Thanks!
As you’d expect, with this weekend’s summer Bank Holiday, there’s a whole host of fun, relaxation and celebration to be had on and by the water over the next few days. Do check out the summary below to find the one for you.
Aside from what’s happening this weekend, this edition also covers how to view canals on Google, the best canalside pubs in the East Midlands, awards for lock keepers, and I ask you for your top five rules for boaters.
There’s also the usual news round-up, this weekend’s stoppages, and 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 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.
Earlier this week we released news of a dredging project in Sharpness Docks. This made me think about the subject and thought it worth sharing what exactly goes in to each project.
We use several different techniques to dredge and choosing the most appropriate and cost efficient method in each case is key. Each project goes through a four-stage process to make sure we pick the right one:
For me, dredging always conjures up images of a boat dragging a big scoop along the canal or river bed and hoiking out a mass of muck. As the title to this article suggests, this isn’t always the case. There are two categories:
Conventional dredging is the most common we do. We use excavators either on the bank or mounted on boats to dig out the silts and transport them elsewhere for either; recycling, re-use or disposal. These come in all shapes and sizes to be able to operate on the full range of our waterways, from narrow canals to the biggest rivers.
Hydro dynamic dredging
Hydro dynamic dredging can be used in rivers and tidal waters and involves agitating the silts to re-suspend them, allowing the flow or tide to disperse them downstream. There are a number of ways of re-suspending the silts:
The project at Sharpness, mentioned in the introduction, is a modified version of the final type of dredging. We are sucking up the silt but rather than leave it suspended in the dock (where it’ll only eventually settle back down on the bed), it is pumped back into the Severn estuary from where it originally came. So, you see, it’s not always a drag!
While some of you may have spent the last couple of weeks enjoying some well-earned R and R, the first half August involved a lot of graft and muck for the Chesterfield Canal Trust (CCT).
In November last year I mentioned that the CCT had bid for funds from the Aviva Community Fund for an archaeological dig on the site of the old Bellhouse Basin in Staveley. Well, the bid was successful and there’s a great report, with lots of pictures, on the CCT website showing that the investment and effort was well worth it.
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, I thought you’d like to know about other ways you can get involved:
I know not all readers are seasoned boaters but, even if you are, there’s always something new to learn, for example about an unfamiliar stretch of waterway or a new-fangled gadget.
In this article, I’m asking you to share your expertise to help other boaters, new and old, on two different topics. The first is quite specific:
“How do you, without bow thrusters, steer your boat through the Audlem, Adderley and Tyrley Locks on the Shroppie Canal when the side channels are forcing you off course so fiercely as you approach the lock? If you get the front on target the back is then swung round so you still hit your boat and the lock walls!”
The second is more general:
“What are the top five to ten ‘rules’ that you want all boaters to follow?” For example:
Please click this link to send in your thoughts on navigating the tricky Shroppie locks. This is the link to send in your top rules that you’d like all boaters to follow.
Once I have your thoughts I’ll collate them and publish in the next edition of Boaters’ Update. Thanks!
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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