Boaters' Update 25 Jan 2019
This latest edition will tell you about a 200th birthday bash on the Sheffield & Tinsley Canal, what the Crick Boat Shows of 2002 & 2003 were like, how to set up your smartphone to notify you if a notice is issued for a canal or river that you’re interested in along with the Great Big Boating Bog Survey, the latest news, events and stoppages.
With the festivities of Christmas now a distant memory, the first article in this edition gives you something else to celebrate – the Sheffield & Tinsley Canal bicentenary in February.
Elsewhere we continue with our review of Crick Boat Show’s past, there’s important information on how to keep yourself safe from Weil’s Disease and find out about the ‘The Great Big Boating Bog Survey’!
The regular round-up of other boating news, stoppages (including how to set up your smartphone to notify you if a stoppage happens on a canal or river you’re interested in) and events are, as ever, here for you too. If there’s an article you’d like to read in a future event then do please drop me a line.
In this edition:
- News round-up and the fortnight ahead
- From coal route to community space: Sheffield & Tinsley Canal turns 200
- Crick Boat Show’s 2002 & 2003
- Leptospirosis – what you need to know
- The Great Big Boating Bog Survey
- Maintenance, repair and restoration work affecting cruising this weekend
Over the last few weeks you may have heard, or seen, that:
- 11 Jan – Boosts to tourism, sustainable transport and local people’s wellbeing were among the benefits celebrated as a result of the recent Stoke-on-Trent canal developments.
- 11 Jan – Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street launched a year of celebrations marking the 250th anniversary of the birth of Birmingham’s famous canals.
- 15 Jan – We announced that we’re carrying out more than £157,000 worth of vital maintenance and repair work to the Caldon Canal in Staffordshire this winter.
- 15 Jan – ‘Join the Daves’, our new campaign to recruit more volunteers to take on the iconic role of lock keeper, was launched.
Below I’ve picked out some highlights to see and do over the next few weeks. Of course there are plenty of other activities and volunteering opportunities if none of the below take your fancy. Just visit the events section of the website to find the perfect one for you.
- All day, every day – There’s no need to wait for a specific event, just head on down to your local canal and river for a wellbeing boost because life’s better by water!
- 3 Feb – Enjoy the peace and tranquillity of the Pocklington Canal on a free organised walk run by our volunteer walk leaders as part of the Heritage Lottery supported ‘A Gem in the Landscape’ project.
- 9 Feb – Come and visit Dukes Lock in Manchester as part of our winter open days programme and take the rare opportunity to walk in the drained lock chamber.
On 22 February 1819 a whopping 60,000 people watched the first coal barges travel along the brand-new Sheffield Canal; two centuries later, on Friday 22 February 2019, we are recreating the spectacle for all to enjoy.
One of our workboats will be renamed The Industry for the day, after the first boat that travelled along the new canal. It will depart from Don Valley Bowl moorings in Tinsley at 12.30pm, with Worsbrough Brass on board to provide music en route. A parade of vessels will join at Attercliffe, arriving into Victoria Quays at around 1.30pm.
Entertainment and activities start from 11am at Victoria Quays and go on to late in the evening:
- Crafts and games in the cosy igloo
- A giant storybook with live actors
- Silent disco
- Fire dancing
Tom Wright, development and engagement manager at the Trust, said: “Sheffield & Tinsley Canal is a wonderful place for residents and visitors to enjoy, whether on the water or the towpath, but many people do not know its history.
“The birthday bash is the perfect start to the celebrations, recreating the spectacular flotilla and telling some of the stories from the heyday of the canal, and demonstrating how the canal remains as important to the local community today, albeit in different ways.
“Throughout the bicentenary year there will be a host of events and activities so everyone can find out how this important waterway came into being and how we are caring for it so that generations to come can continue to benefit from spending time on or by the water.”
Find out more about the Sheffield & Tinsley Canal’s history and for details on the upcoming bicentenary – we’d love you to join in the celebrations!
The year got off to a good start with the foot and mouth crisis officially declared over. It was also the year in which bunting was strewn from lampost to lampost to celebrate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee – those who left it up in anticipation of the England football team’s success at the World Cup in South Korea may have been seen sheepishly taking it down after the team were knocked out in the quarter finals. Escape from the disappointment may have come in the form of watching the year’s most popular film - The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.
While the world away from the waterways was a heady mixture of national celebration offset by footballing flop, on it there was plenty to be happy about. The Falkirk Wheel, along with the Union Canal, opened the week before Crick Boat Show and was followed, a couple of months later, by the Ribble Link.
The show itself was held over the Queen’s Jubilee weekend with the site most likely being set up to the beat of Eminem’s chart topping ‘Without You’. 22,000 people flocked to the show, perhaps after reading about it on the newly launched www.crickboatshow.com website (for the first time, over 50% of households had internet access: by 2017 this was 90%). Those attending would have been greeted by a ’50 years on the waterways, past, present and future’ theme. Sadly, no reports of demonstrations of robot-controlled hover narrowboats can be found but there was a reunion of Royalty Class boats.
In the year when DVDs, for the first time, took a bigger market share than VHS tapes in the home movie market, the national news was of the launch of congestion charging in London, the opening of the M6 Toll, and Concorde’s last commercial flight.
Unlike the previous year nothing ‘big’ was opened up to boaters on the waterways but there was progress in the renovation of Stourport-on-Severn – where the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal meets the River Severn. There was also cautious optimism that work may soon start on the restoration of the Droitwich Barge and Junction Canals following the first stage of funding approval from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Advantage West Midlands.
The fourth Crick Boat Show – as captured in this BBC gallery – centred around a theme of ‘How they used to live’ with a strong contingent of historic boats in support. Reports of the day reinforced the view that inland waterways were going from strength to strength: “Traders’ takings were generally higher, builders took more orders and prospective boat owners had a dazzling array of boats and equipment to inspect.”
In the next edition we’ll take a look back at the 2004 and 2005 shows. If you have memories of these, or any other past show, then I’d love to hear them – please just drop me a line.
In the meantime, did you know that advance tickets are now on sale for this year’s show? You’ll save up to 15 per cent on the entry price for the event, which takes place at Crick Marina, near Daventry in Northamptonshire, during 25-27 May, with an extra Trade & Preview Day to be held on Friday 24 May in association with LeeSan.
Thanks go to Waterways World for its help in providing archive material for research.
While it may still feel like we’re in the dark grip of winter it won’t be too long before spring is upon us and many will be returning to the cut to renew their love affair with boating. As with any pastime, or lifestyle for that matter, it’s always worth refreshing your memory of any associated risks or hazards.
Leptospirosis, also known as Weil’s Disease, is one of those. It’s also easy to avoid if some common sense principles are used. It’s not particularly common – recorded cases are in the region of 50 to 100 per year – but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t plan for it.
By keeping it in mind, and preparing for it, you’ll be able to avoid the torrid experience of a kayaker last November. After feeling a bit achey, the kayaker’s symptoms worsened over the course of a few days and ultimately ended up on dialysis and in intensive care.
When anyone joins the Trust we’re given a card to carry (above right) on us with advice on preventative measures, it’s easy to follow and also applies to boaters:
- As infection may enter through breaks in the skin ensure that any cut, scratch or abrasion is thoroughly cleansed and covered with a waterproof plaster.
- Avoid rubbing your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Clean protective clothing, footwear and equipment etc. after use.
- After work and particularly before taking food or drink, wash hands thoroughly.
- Report all accidents and/or injuries however slight.
A simple rule is if, at any time, you get your hands wet then play it safe and wash them as soon as you can or have a nearby bottle of hand santiser at the ready. The same principle goes if you have an unexpected dunking – get out of your wet clothes and shower as soon as you can.
By following the above you will drastically reduce your chances of catching Weil’s Disease. However if you do start to feel unwell – the full list of symptoms can be found here but it usually starts with flu-like symptoms – make sure you get seen by a medical professional and tell them that you have been boating and around canal water.
Sometimes I’ll sit and ponder a warm introduction to an article but on this occasion I think the title already says enough! The survey was launched last week by boater Kate Saffin, who has a background in public health research. Sheexplains why she’d love you take part:
“The Great Big Boating Bog Survey is the most comprehensive survey of loos on boats ever! It’s an entirely personal, self-funded project, independent of the Trust, the EA, any boating organisation and any manufacturer or supplier of any kind of boating toilet. It has taken four months to develop and been through three rounds of testing by a volunteer panel of 65 boaters. They helped at each stage to challenge bits that weren't clear, spot errors and add further options; it's a much better survey for their kind efforts and I am very grateful to them
“It started with my interest in composting and wanting to find out more about how that's going but then I realised it would a great opportunity to get an overview of all matters boating toilets, including other recent innovations like incinerating loos. It’s also an opportunity to comment on disposal facilities and nominate places that you feel need more.
“It won’t magically create more facilities but a good response will provide useful evidence to help campaigners and planners alike. By good I mean around 4,000 – that will represent roughly 10% of the 35,000 boats on the inland waterways + around 500 people who are thinking about boating in the future.
“It’s open to all boaters (UK Inland Waterways) and anyone planning to buy/build a boat in the future. And I want to hear from every kind of boater – you might cruise extensively, you might not leave your mooring; you might live on your boat or only spend a few weekends aboard; you might have a narrowboat, a Dutch barge, a widebeam, a converted lifeboat, or something you built yourself! It doesn’t matter, as long as you need to pee sometimes your contribution is important.
“It is designed so that you only get questions relevant to your loo. If you have a cassette or pump out it will take around 15 min, if you have a compost loo a little longer because I wanted to explore how that is all working in more detail, so perhaps 25+ min. And if you’re just at the thinking about a boat stage, it will only take 5-10 minutes.
“I do hope you would like to join in – the bigger the response the more interesting and useful the results will be. The final report will be available in the summer.”
As someone who’s out on, or by, the water more often than most you’ll know that there are times when we need to fix things that unexpectedly break. So, below, you’ll find a list of anything that’s happening that may affect you if you’re planning on a cruise this weekend.
Of course, now we’re into our winter stoppage programme there’s a hive of activity repairing and restoring a variety of things. Below you’ll find, by canal or river, those that may affect your plans this weekend:
- Ashby Canal
- Birmingham Canal Navigations
- Caldon Canal
- Chesterfield Canal
- Grand Union Canal
- Kennet & Avon Canal
- Lancaster Canal
- Lee Navigation
- Leeds & Liverpool Canal
- Llangollen Canal
- Manchester, Bolton & Bury Canal
- Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal
- Peak Forest Canal
- River Severn
- River Witham
- Rochdale Canal
- Sheffield & South Yorkshire Canal
- Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal
- South Stratford Canal
- Trent & Mersey Canal
- Weaver Navigation
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. The tech savvy among you may already know that you can set up your smartphone to notify you if a notice is issued for a canal or river that you’re interested in. For those that didn’t know, check out this guide to setting it up.
If you have any questions about a specific closure then you’ll find the email addresses for our regional offices on our contacts page.
Last date edited: 25 January 2019
About this blog
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 as important safety announcements and upcoming events.See more blogs from this author