In this latest edition you'll find news of award winning lock keepers, a review of Crick Boat Show and an update on the Macclesfield Canal, among others.
Welcome to the latest edition. It was great to see so many of you last weekend, at Crick Boat Show. The weather was good and those of you who did stop by our marquee made our time there very enjoyable. If you did visit us, check out the time-lapse video below to see if you can spot yourself!
Of course, the buzz of activity around the network continues apace as we fly towards summer. I’ve tried to condense as much of the latest news and views into this edition but, if there’s something you like to see in a future edition, or a regular feature you think will be useful, then please drop me a line.
- Last week, this week - what’s happening on or by the cut?
- Crick Boat Show success
- Lock keepers honoured by hotel boats
- Macclesfield Canal closure
- Maintenance, repair or restoration work affecting cruising this weekend
- Bits and bobs
Since the last edition you may have heard, or seen, that:
- 19 May – The Hotel Boat section of British Marine Inland Boating has awarded its prestigious Lock Keeper of the Year award for 2015 – read more below to find out who won.
- 24 May – We offered to reunite the owner of a bag of bondage gear with their kinky kit after it was scooped from the Regent’s Canal in London.
- 26 May – If you’re planning on a trip to the flicks you might catch Gloucester Docks on the big screen as Alice in Wonderland hits cinemas
- 27 May – We announced that three new trustees have been put forward to our governing Council for appointment.
Before the next edition is published you might like to know that:
- 3 to 5 Jun – If you didn’t manage to get to Crick and are still hankering for a boating fix you might want to get along to the Beale Park Boat & Outdoor Show. We’ll have a small team there among everything from amphibious vehicles to bushcraft lessons! So, if you can’t make Crick, do come and find us at Beale Park.
- 3 to 5 Jun – The International Mersey River Festival is a free festival celebrating Liverpool's fantastic, historic waterfront. Spread over three days, you can enjoy music, entertainment and much more along the River Mersey.
- 4 & 5 Jun – The Etruria Canals Festival is back for another year. Free to attend and for all the family including a historic boat gathering!
- 5 Jun – Art works and creative writing entries for our local schools project will be on display, as well as work from other organisations, at Leeds & Liverpool Bicentenary launch event.
- 10 to 12 Jun – You will find a range of wax goods, doggie gifts, wooden sculptures & art, hats, costumes and wool products on sale at the Great Haywood Floating Market.
Of course, there are plenty of other activities around the network so please visit the events section of the website to find the perfect one for you.
Well, that’s it now for another 360 days – Britain’s biggest inland waterway boat show is done and dusted for another year (dates for your diary though 27 – 29 May 2017). But, what a whirlwind three days it was! We had around 6,500 visitors to our marquee, signed up 55 Friends and helped 17 boaters renew, or buy their first, licence.
As you can see in the time-lapse video below, it was a hive of activity with a good mix of new and old boaters. If you did come and see us (thanks!) maybe you could spare a few minutes to let us know what you thought of our marquee. Any suggestions for what you’d like to see next year?
To put it mildly, working locks is not everyone’s favourite part of cruise. While some treat it as a workout, others breathe a sigh of relief as the friendly face of a lockie comes in to view. So, we’re rather proud that the Hotel Boat section of British Marine Inland Boating (BMIB) has awarded its prestigious Lock Keeper of the Year award for 2015 to John Lobley, Richard Moor and Nick Stead, our lock keeping team at Bingley Five Rise, on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal.
The award was presented when the luxury 5 star Hotel Boat Lady Teal passed through the spectacular Bingley Five Rise staircase of locks – one of the seven “Wonders of the Waterways”.
Recipients are nominated and voted for by all BMIB Hotel Boat operators so that they can recognise the support they receive from the people working ‘on the ground’.
Hanna Rees-Jones, Chair of the Hotel Boat section of BMIB, described why they received the award: “As professional boaters we like to recognise the professionalism of navigation authority staff, especially when they give exceptional service to boaters. What makes Britain’s canals unique is their living heritage of boating, distinguished from being a giant linear park by the boats navigating amazing structures such as the Bingley staircase of locks.
“Hotel Boats are some of the most widely travelled craft on the inland waterways, cruising up to 1,500 miles each summer season, and between them visiting almost the entire network of canals and rivers. The award is open not only to lock keepers, but to all bank side waterway staff who are judged by BMIB Hotel Boat members to have given outstanding assistance to waterways users. Every nominee for this award should feel justly proud of this recognition. We are grateful for their fantastic support with maintaining our schedules as hotel boat holidaymakers enjoy the relaxed pace of the waterways and spectacular experiences of aqueducts, tunnels and flights of locks.”
Gina Mead of Lady Teal added “All the lock keepers are great; very helpful, professional and safe, and our guests love them. Richard is always ready with a smile. Living on a boat himself he understands the waterway life and he has endless patience in answering the questions asked of him. Nick always shows an interest in the herbs we grow on our boat; a keen gardener and artist, he is passionate about the flora and fauna around the locks and passes his great knowledge on to all the visitors.”
Keep up the good work guys!
Some of you may know that we’ve come across a few issues with the Macclesfield Canal. David Baldacchino, waterway manager for the Manchester and Pennine area, thought you’d appreciate an update:
“We have had issues at Bollington which have resulted in temporary closure of the canal navigations. Our teams have been investigating and fixing a leak to the canal outside Clarence Mill. The original canal structure here is clay laid on rock. Being more than 200 years old, leaks of this type do occur from time to time.
“Our contractors worked through last weekend to construct a road into the bottom of the drained canal so that we can get excavators and other equipment into the canal bed. There is a lot of silt here which is very soft and a special road has had to be built using ‘bog mats’ which has taken some time. This allowed us to inspect the obvious problem areas on Sunday and start repairs on Monday.
“During this we have found other parts of the canal bed that will need repairs too. Over the next week or so we expect to continue a process of investigation and repairs, extending the road in the canal bed as we go along.
“It’s a slow process with difficult access in a relatively confined location. The track to the site is very narrow with limited space at the end – we’re only able to use a dumper to bring material into the site from the road. It’s very unlikely that the work will be finished this week and we’ll need to work through next weekend and into the week of 6 June to finish the repairs.”
While we work hard to protect the 200+ year old network of canals and rivers and keep them in tip-top condition, it’s not always possible – as shown by David’s update above. The list below is what we already know will affect cruising over the coming weekend. This list highlights those instances where, for one reason or another, cruising won’t be possible.
- Birmingham & Fazeley Canal – Lock 2, Aston.
- Engine Arm Canal (Smethwick) – Engine Arm Aqueduct.
- Manchester, Bolton & Bury Canal - Junction with the River Irwell and Middlewood Deep Lock.
- Macclesfield Canal – Between Bridges 26 & 27.
- Welford Arm (Leicester Line) – Fallen Tree Near Lock 1 by the winding hole.
- Calder & Hebble Navigation – Crowther Bridge to Salterhebble Guillotine gate.
- Rochdale Canal – Lock 36 to lock 45, Lock 15 to Lock 17.
- Shropshire Union Canal – Lower Basin Washwall to Wide Lock Approach, Ellesmere Port.
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.
- Can you help us keep our maps up to date? In the last edition I mentioned that we’ve developed a simple online form for boaters to report any differences they spot between our maps and what they come across out on the cut. I blogged about it last week too – read now for more info! Your help is greatly appreciated…
- As mentioned in the intro, we’re now in June and heading towards summer so, obviously, I’m going to talk about winter! Well, to be precise, our winter stoppage plans. Thanks to all those that have already given their feedback and a gentle reminder to those that plan to, there’s only two weeks left to get your thoughts over to us.
Last date edited: 3 June 2016
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