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News article created on 26 January 2018

Boaters' Update 26 January 2018

Welcome to the latest edition where you'll find out what topics you said you most wanted to read about this year, a chance to win a free year’s licence for your boat, news of the country’s biggest inland waterway festival and the usual news, events and stoppages roundup.

Moored boats Leicester Line Grand Union Moored boats Leicester Line Grand Union

Welcome to the latest edition of Boaters’ Update and thanks to all of you who’ve been in touch. You may remember that, in the last edition, I asked what you’d most like to read about in 2018. There was a healthily broad range of suggestions but I won’t spoil the surprise – see the first article for more detail and how you might be the person that other boaters want to read about!

Elsewhere in this edition you can find out about the chance to win a free year’s licence for your boat, news of the country’s biggest inland waterway festival, and the usual news, events and stoppages roundup.

Damian

In this edition:

News round-up and the fortnight ahead               

Over the last couple of weeks you may have heard, or seen, that:

  • 12 Jan – The Llwydiarth & Darlach Angling Association, which can trace its history more than a century back to 1904, has become the latest angling club to move onto the nation’s man-made canal network in search of good fishing.
  • 16 Jan – People in the East Midlands are being invited to put forward ideas for small projects that will make a big difference on their local waterways.
  • 16 Jan – We're joining forces with Salford University on a ground-breaking project to test the quality of wildlife habitats and biodiversity of the Huddersfield Narrow Canal.
  • 23 Jan – We're on the lookout for people interested in becoming volunteer lock keepers at sites including along the Grand Union Canal, Regent’s Canal and River Lee.

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. Or you may just want to escape out on your boat, in which case these cruising ring guides might be handy!

  • 28 Jan – This Sunday come and visit us at our special visitor open day, at Johnson's Hillock on the Leeds & Liverpool, where you’ll be able to explore the bottom of the damp and eerie drained lock and get up close to the original Georgian brickwork.
  • Now to 15 Jul – Visit the National Waterways Museum Ellesmere Port for an exhibition of Clifford Morris' photography from the turn of the millennium to reflect on the many changes to the landscape that have taken place during the intervening years.
  • 3 & 4 Feb – If you’re further south head along to Meaford Lock 31 Open Weekend, on the Trent & Mersey Canal and meet our experts, where you will find out more about this busy four-lock flight, and enjoy a range of activities.
  • 10 & 11 Feb – Plenty of time to prepare for a trip to see Foxton Locks as you've never seen them before, including the remains of the historic Inclined Plane, at the Foxton Locks Open Weekend.

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What you want to read in 2018 – your choices

Thanks to everyone who took the time to write in with suggestions in response to the last edition. With nearly twice as many people suggesting it as any other topic, boat maintenance and upkeep was a very popular subject.

The full list of suggestions is below (in order of popularity) but, as you can imagine, the topics and discussions that come under each main heading are wide and varied. So, with that in mind, I’m on the look-out for contributors: please do get in touch if you fit any of the bills mentioned below:

Boat maintenance & upkeep

A lady carrying out maintenance on a boat engineThis subject area, for me, was summed up perfectly by one correspondent: “There are a thousand and one jobs that need doing to keep my boat in good condition and, like many others, I’m probably only doing half of them because I’m not even aware of the other half!”

When it’s put like that, I think a good starting point would be to have an article focussing on what actually needs doing. Ideally we can kick about a rough list in the next edition of what should be done on a weekly, monthly, yearly, and even five-yearly basis. After we’ve agreed the necessities I’ll seek out some technical experts to explain some of the more complex tasks on the to-do list.

Please do share your boat maintenance and upkeep schedules so that we have a good list drawn up for the next edition.

Boating tech

This was another subject high on many boaters’ lists. As with maintenance it’s a huge subject area. For this one I thought it’d be good to have a Top Ten list of the must-have boating gadgets. They can be as lo-fi or hi-fi as you want but please do let me know what is the one bit of boating tech you’d be lost without (and why!).

After we’ve done that, we can run another article focussing on the boating community’s most wanted, but not available, boating tech.

Inland waterway history

Archive of working Stoke BruerneThe third, and final, subject that was suggested by more than just a handful of readers was history. Entire libraries can be filled by all the books that have been written about the history of canals so what I thought would be nice is some topical history. For example, this year is the Pocklington Canal’s 200th birthday so we’ll at least have an article on its back story along with any events and activities that you can get involved with. No doubt there’ll be other, some big, some small, anniversaries throughout the year which we can focus on but, if there’s a particular waterway, person or aspect that you’d like to see covered from an historical perspective then do let me know.

Other suggestions

While most suggestions aligned with the subjects listed in the last edition’s article, here are some others which I think would make great articles:

  • Canal and river profiles from a boater’s perspective, including nearby attractions
  • Hotel boating
  • People and their boating lives
  • Boating abroad
  • Profiles of boaters who’ve modified their boat to suit their lives

It’d be great to hear from you if you think you can help with the above, for example;

  • You’ve a cruise planned and are willing to note down your experiences
  • You would like to be the subject of a boating profile (no personally identifying details need to be included) – the more diverse the better!
  • You’ve been boating abroad and would like to share your hints and tips
  • You’ve modified your boat so it’s more suited to you

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Tickets now on sale for Crick Boat Show

If you were one of the many that I bumped in to at last year’s Crick Boat Show then I expect you’ll already know just how big, fun and thoroughly fulfilling it is.

With plans already well underway for this year’s show you might be interested to know that tickets are now on sale for what will be Britain’s biggest inland waterways event of 2018. The show’s spread over the late May Bank Holiday weekend (26-28 May) at Crick Marina, near Daventry in Northamptonshire, and buying your tickets in advance will save you 15 per cent on the entry price. If you’re yet to go, make 2018 the year you find out what all the fuss is about!

Organised by Waterways World in partnership with the Canal & River Trust and Crick Marina, the 2017 event attracted a record 27,167 visitors. As well as being the canal world’s biggest marketplace, showcasing the inland waterways industry with 300 exhibitors, the show offers a fantastic day out for all the family with dozens of boats to look round, free boat trips, live music, children’s activities, a real ale marquee, and a large variety of food and drink stalls.

Peter Johns, publisher of Waterways World and show director, says: “We are looking forward to welcoming people to our 2018 Crick Boat Show, the UK’s largest inland waterways festival.

“Whether people are boating enthusiasts wanting to buy boating products and services, or just looking for a great family day out by the water, there’s lots to see and do at Crick Boat Show.

“Inspired by Frank Henry Mason’s vintage railway posters and designed by artist Nicky Thompson, this year we are introducing some colourful new branding for Crick, which aims to capture the vibrancy of the show. Unframed prints of the new artwork will available in A2 and A3 sizes from the Waterways World shop, making ideal gifts for Crick Boat Show enthusiasts.”

Adult tickets are £16 on the gate, £13.60 if purchased in advance.  Entry for children aged 16 and under is free.  Senior citizens and concessions are £14.50 on the gate, £12.30 in advance. Three-day adult tickets are £32 on the gate, £27.50 in advance. Three-day senior citizen or concession tickets are £29 on the gate, £24.70 in advance. Just think, if you skip that weekly latte until the end of March you’ll have saved enough to buy an adult ticket (in advance) for the whole weekend!

Camping pitch prices start at £35 for one night for a 6m x 6m pitch for a tent and car. Mooring costs start at £1.14 per foot. For more information and to book tickets, camping pitches and moorings, visit www.crickboatshow.com or call 01283 742970.

We look forward to welcoming you to the Trust’s marquee!

CRT marquee Crick 2017

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More ways for you to get involved

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:

  • If you’re a regular visitor to other parts of our website then you’ll likely have come across our online map. Since its first introduction we’ve continually updated and added new information. There’s now another map, the Towpath Access Map, which displays towpath access points as well as the towpath surface and gradient. This will help you plan the best spots to moor up to enable easier access to surrounding amenities and attractions – especially important if you have mobility challenges. We haven’t made a big song and dance about it just yet as, before we do, we’d like your help to refine the information. Please check out the areas you know well by zooming into the map. If you think that anything is amiss, please fill in our online feedback form which you’ll find a link to after you’ve clicked on the particular stretch of towpath, or access point, you want to comment on.

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Maintenance, repair and restoration work affecting cruising this weekend

We’re now into the second half of our £38million winter restoration programme – where we get out our big toys and restore things while you’re less likely to be out on the cut. Of course, there are other times when we need to fix things that unexpectedly break. So, below, you’ll find a list, by region, of anything that’s happening that may affect you if you’re planning on wrapping up for a winter cruise.

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.

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Bits and Bobs

  • From March 2018 those with a boating business will be able to manage their licence requirements using our online licensing system. Existing business licence holders will be able to renew online as well as update their details and make any amendments to their licence requirements. Please note that if we have your email address then we’ll be in touch that way so keep an eye on your inbox! And, as mentioned in the last edition, we’ll also offer the option for licences to be auto-renewed - if you pay by direct debit or debit/credit card your licence may automatically renew. We’ll let you know if this is going to happen when we send email you your renewal notice. New boating business customers will also be able to submit their operating proposal online within the next few months but in the meantime still need to complete the form available to download from our website.
  • If you’ve got this far then you deserve a reward! While all I can offer is a ‘thank you’ for reading. Those lovely people at Insure4Boats can give you the chance to win a year’s free boat licence! Simply follow this link, enter you name and email and you’re done. Good luck! Of course, as an independent charity, we’d like to point out that other boat insurance companies are available…
  • We are disappointed to report that Defra has indicated that it is not minded to proceed with the transfer of the river navigations currently managed by the Environment Agency to the Canal & River Trust. Having worked positively and collaboratively with the EA over the past 18 months or so to put forward a proposal, we remain convinced that the transfer would be in the wider public interest. It would deliver the real essence of value for taxpayers, and benefits for the users of these waterways whilst securing the long term future of the navigations themselves. We will of course continue to cooperate actively with the EA in the running of our respective navigations to ensure the best possible experience for all river and canal users.

Happy boating,

Damian

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The boaters' update

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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