This latest edition of Boaters' Update gives you the answer to 'What shall I do over the late May Bank Holiday?', contains news of how you can help us keep our maps up to date and lots more besides.
Well, it appears that the weather is starting to resemble something other than winter. Good news if you’re out on the cut – as Trustee John Dodwell was last weekend – let’s hope it holds for another three and a bit weeks as that’s when the country’s biggest inland waterway festival, Crick Boat Show, gets underway.
If you’re undecided about going, take a look at this edition’s first article – there’s such a huge amount happening at the show that I’m sure you’ll find something for you.
Before you dive in to that, or the other, articles you might want to set an alarm for 7.55pm tonight as the third episode of Barging Round Britain is on ITV at 8pm. Tonight, John Sergeant is on the Lancaster Canal.
Elsewhere in this edition you’ll find:
If there’s something you’d like to share with the boating community via this update then please drop me a line.
Since the last edition you may have heard, or seen, that:
Before the next edition is published you might like to know that:
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.
Finding something to do on Bank Holiday weekends can end up as a battle of wills as each family member tries to convince the others that their choice is best. But at this year’s Crick Boat Show, 28-30 May at Crick Marina near Daventry, there’s a host of activities to suit the whole family:
Crick Boat Show will be open from 10am till 6pm every day except Monday 30 May, when it closes at 5pm. Evening entertainment runs from 7.30pm to 11.30pm.
We'd like to say thank you to everyone who donated to our appeal - over £140,000 was raised - which continues to support flood-hit communities. The appeal was launched to help communities along Calderdale’s flood-damaged waterways get back on their feet.
The money has bolstered the clean-up efforts and helped to repair almost all sections of towpath that were damaged and, in some places, washed away. As a result important links between communities have been reinstated and local residents can once again enjoy getting away from it all on their nearest towpath.
Many of the towpath works have been carried out by dedicated volunteers who have given over 3,500 hours to clear dumped silt, fill in holes, and resurface washed out sections of path. Volunteers from 8 to 80 have pitched in with people from the boating community, local businesses, community groups, canal societies and even a team of junior soldiers all getting involved.
Since the devastation of the Boxing Day floods over 10km of damaged towpath have been restored and sections of canal from Hebden Bridge to Salterhebble and Brighouse to Wakefield and beyond reopened to boats, with more due to follow in the coming months.
The appeal has had wide support including a special £25,000 award from the players of People’s Postcode Lottery. The Government has also provided match funding to support the efforts.
David Baldacchino, waterway manager, said: “We’re so grateful to everybody that has helped to get sections of canal and towpath reopened whether that be through donating to our fundraising appeal or pitching in with the clean-up and repair efforts.
“The area’s waterways and towpaths are incredibly important for local people, providing a traffic-free means of getting around as well as an attractive place to escape the stresses of daily life.
“Reopening them is an important step in helping to get Calderdale back on track and the tremendous generosity that we’ve seen from members of the public, the local community and players of People’s Postcode Lottery has been invaluable.”
Clara Govier, head of charities at People’s Postcode Lottery said: “The devastation of the Boxing Day floods on Calderdale’s waterways was shocking and has had a real impact on local communities. We’re delighted that players of People’s Postcode Lottery have helped to get these important community spaces reopened so that they can once more be enjoyed by local people."
If you cruised around London 10 years ago and have recently been back you’ll have noticed the increase in boats. This has led to pressure on moorings, facilities and infrastructure. It can be hard to find space at towpath moorings in the most popular areas while the supply of long-term moorings isn’t enough to meet demand.
With all of this in mind, we're setting out plans to develop a London Mooring Strategy (LMS) to address the unique challenges and opportunities of boating in the capital.
Over the past few years we have been working with boaters and other stakeholders to try improve the boating experience in London. Although a number of trials have been carried out and there have been some positive changes, for example the creation of new long-term moorings and bookable moorings, it is clear that a more formal plan of action, developed with all waterway users, is needed.
The LMS will allow us to take a look at how to manage these issues, as well as make the most of opportunities that will help us maintain the waterways for the benefit of boaters and other users. In broad terms, the aims are:
Matthew Symonds, boating strategy and engagement manager, said: “London’s waterways are some of the busiest in the country and we need to manage the finite space effectively. We need to face the challenges head on, as well as taking advantage of the opportunity to develop a really world-class waterspace that people will be able to visit and enjoy.
"We’ll be working closely with those who use the capital’s canals and rivers to make sure we hear everyone’s views and make well-informed decisions.”
We have already started to gather information from various groups, including our Navigation Advisory Group, the London Waterway Partnership, national boating organisations and other key stakeholders. Over the coming months there will be a programme of workshops for interested parties and it’s hoped that the LMS will be completed in 2017.
Thanks for your feedback on this relatively new section of Boaters’ Update – some of you have been in touch to say it’s useful. 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.
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.
While the section above talks of navigation closures, you’ll know that there’s more to planning a cruise than just knowing whether your route is open. Almost as important is knowing where you can pump out or top up your water tanks.
We do have these facilities displayed on our map but we want to make sure that the information is kept right up to date. So, who better to help us do this than those that are out there, day in, day out, using those very same facilities? You’ve guessed it, boaters!
We’ve developed a simple form that boaters can use to submit reports on a range of facilities that they think we need to update on our map. We’ve also developed a supporting process that will then update the maps with any corrections once a month. We would really appreciate it if, when you come across something that’s not quite right on our map, you could fill in the form and send it in. Of course, there are lots of facilities out there that are owned and operated by Third Parties, we’ve compiled a list of those we know about and will soon provide a form for you to tell us about any not on the list.
As part of this we’re also reviewing all of the information we hold on winding holes. The information gathering bit will take place over the summer, where we will update all the info we have. Then, over winter, we’ll use the newly gathered, and accurate, information to update the online map.
This process will also inform discussions around which winding holes we should be prioritising for dredging investment as well as looking at everything from its location to current usage (including those identified as an informal winding hole but is well used) to potential alternatives for those not used that often.
Again, there’s one obvious community out there which can help us make sure we have the best possible data set… We would really appreciate your help if, next time you’re on a cruise, you could spare a little time to tell us about any winding holes you’ve used. Please note that some have already been surveyed so it’d be great if you could check this list (a survey date indicates it’s been done), which will be updated regularly, and give us information on those not yet done by filling out this form.
If you’d like any more information on any of the above please just drop Debbie Lumb, who’s running the project, a line.