Welcome to the latest edition where you'll find information on how you can celebrate the Leeds & Liverpool bicentenary, use 21st Century tech to help plan cruises and a shout out to boaters in London...
Welcome to the latest edition. So, what do you know, most of us had wall-to-wall sunshine and temperatures in the high teens on the day that winter moorings went on sale (Monday 3 Oct).
Despite making some of us cast longing glances over our shoulders at the summer past (or was that just me?), a fair few of you had your gaze firmly fixed on the coming winter. In fact, interest has been strong and since going on sale five days ago more winter mooring permits have already been sold than in the whole of last winter. If you’re contemplating a winter mooring it might be an idea to have a browse of what’s still on offer and snap it up now to avoid disappointment later.
In any case, do read on for the latest boating news and views. As always, if there’s a particular topic you’d like to see in a future edition, or a regular feature you think will be useful, then please get in touch. In the meantime, click on the links below to jump to the article of your choice:
- News round-up and the fortnight ahead
- A celebration of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal
- Who's on London's boats?
- 21st Century tech for centuries old network
- Maintenance, repair and restoration work affecting cruising this weekend
- Bits and bobs
Since the last edition you may have heard, or seen, that:
- 22 Sep – We called on young people aged 13–25 to volunteer with us as World Heritage Site youth ambassadors to promote the amazing Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Llangollen Canal.
- 26 Sep – We urged visitors to towpaths across the nation to be considerate to others as a new poll shows the nation could do with brushing up on its outdoor manners.
- 28 Sep – As part of our £43 million winter maintenance programme, more details were given of the £1.8 million being spent on canals and rivers in the West Midlands.
- 29 Sep – A £500,000 project to transform the Grade II Listed Tame Aqueduct, which carries the Peak Forest Canal over the River Tame in Ashton-under-Lyne, got underway.
And if you’re wondering what you can enjoy on or by a canal in the next couple of weekends then you might be interested in:
- 9 Oct – A day of family entertainment at the Grantham Canal Discovery Day with everything from a working World War 1 field kitchen to the unique ‘Dirty Duck Race’.
- 10 & 17 Oct – If you’re interested in the history of Ellesmere Port and are free on Monday afternoons then why not go along to hear an expert presentation from our Waterways Archive?
- 13 & 20 Oct – Feeling energetic? Then why not join the Redway Runners beside the canal at Campbell Park in Milton Keynes for a lunchtime run?
- 14–19 Oct – After a year of activities, several events mark the height of the Leeds & Liverpool bicentenary celebrations – more on this below.
Of course, there are plenty of other activities and volunteering opportunities around the network so please visit the events section of the website to find the perfect one for you.
Many of you will have cruised some, or all, of the 127 miles of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal (L&L). If you’ve done it over the past 12 months then you may have noticed a certain ‘buzz’ – the result of colleagues, volunteers and communities celebrating 200 years of the L&L.
The L&L turned the grand old age of 200 this year and the passing of this milestone has been celebrated in a variety of ways including, erm, installing milestones!
If you’ve missed out on these events there’s still time to join the party as the culmination of the celebrations are marked with a series of events. Starting a week today, on Friday 14 Oct, and to celebrate the 'Kennet' re-enacting the maiden voyage of the completed Leeds-Liverpool on 15 October 1816, we’re hosting a launch event from Leeds Dock including a talk by Mike Clarke, the Chair of the L&L Canal Society.
On Saturday 15 Oct you’ll be able to watch the historic Kennet and a decorated flotilla of boats set off as they journey along the full length of the L&L. There will also be a steel band and a gun salute from the local sea cadets.
As Kennet passes along the canal through the World Heritage site of Saltaire on Sunday 16 Oct the Lord Mayor of Bradford will lead the crowd in cheering as it cruises on its way to Hirst Lock. There will also be a peal of bells in the Grade One Listed United Reformed Church, local school children will sing a specially written song and a brass band will play.
Later that day a new choral piece, in homage to the canal, produced by composer Ian Stephens with a libretto poem by Ian McMillan will debut at King George's Hall in Blackburn. Hundreds of Blackburn’s choral voices, including Blackburn People’s Choir, will be joined by the Brighouse & Rastrick Brass Band and soloists soprano Amanda Roocroft and cellist Jonathan Aasgaard as well as Ian McMillan himself, to tell the story of the country’s longest waterway that took almost half a century to build, its tragedies, its triumphs and the personal stories along the way, past and present.
And finally, on Wednesday 19 Oct the metaphorical icing is applied to the cake at the Bicentenary Gala Dinner at the Dunkenhalgh Hotel in Blackburn, hosted by popular poet, the ‘Bard of Barnsley’, Ian McMillan. Eight awards will be given to those who have helped to conserve, promote and improve the L&L.
So, you can see, there’s still time to be part of these historic celebrations and we’d love to see you at one, or all, of them!
Are you a Big Smoke Boater? If so, we want to hear from you – we want to get a better understanding of the people living and boating on canals and rivers in the region, what they want out of boating life and how their needs can be met.
We’re carrying out a survey to help establish, for example, what sort of moorings are wanted and where these might be located. The findings will be used to help inform proposals that will benefit boaters in London and will help shape the development of the London mooring strategy, which aims to address the unique challenges and opportunities of boating in the capital. The results will also be shared with partners, such as local authorities, so boaters’ needs can be built into their plans.
Matthew Symonds, boating strategy & engagement manager, said: "London’s waterways are populated by all sorts of boaters who are drawn to life afloat for a wide range of reasons. While we’ve got a lot of information about the boats themselves we know far less about the people who choose to call the water ‘home’. By knowing more about the community and what’s important to them, we can make sure our plans take account of their needs. I’d like to encourage London’s boaters to get involved."
The survey is aimed at people living and boating on boats in our London waterway area. Invitations have already been sent by email and letter to boaters who have a registered mooring or have been sighted cruising in the London region. We’ll also leave postcards about the survey on boats across the capital and stick up posters in prominent places.
If you’ve had an invite, you have until Friday 21 October to give us your views. If you’d like to complete a paper copy please contact the London Customer Service team. Please only complete one survey per boat and please note that all information provided is anonymous and responses cannot be traced to individuals.
We’ve all seen or heard tales of SatNav mishaps. And, apparently, the 79% of us who use them when driving actually have conversations with them. Well, we may hear more of that chatter on the waterways soon as River Canal Rescue (RCR) has taken over Eureauweb’s inland waterway navigation products and rebranded them as WaterNav.
You can use the system with pretty much any phone, tablet or computer and it covers most of the inland network (not just the ones we take care of). The WaterNav PC product covers the whole of Great Britain in one application and includes a route planning function.
What’s particularly useful for boaters is that, once downloaded, you don’t need an internet connection to access the maps – you’ll know that in some places it’s near-impossible to get any sort of signal when you’re out cruising! If you enable GPS on a device that’s loaded with the maps then you’ll be able to plan and track routes and pinpoint your exact location and distance from over 60,000 points of interest.
These include: mooring locations, navigation points, potential hazards (e.g. weirs), bridges and locks, pump-outs, diesel and gas supplies, boatyards, Internet access points, pubs, restaurants, places to eat and drink, doctors, dentists, vets, shops, launderettes, bus stops and train stations, B&Bs, hotels, campsites and tourist attractions.
Another useful feature is that the app has a trip-tracking function which allows you to record distance and travel times and then a log-book facility automatically enters the date, time and location. If you’d like to chronicle your cruising in more depth you can also add your own narrative and photos.
Managing director, Stephanie Horton, has bigger aspirations for the tech: “The software and apps have the largest waterway-focused database in the UK, but this is only the start – we are planning to modify the existing notification functions so people can feedback any changes, report their own boat problems and notify RCR and the Canal & River Trust of any damage such as canal breaches or accidents.”
For more information visit River Canal Rescue’s website.
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. 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.
- Manchester, Bolton & Bury Canal - Junction with the River Irwell and Middlewood Deep Lock.
- Rochdale Canal – Lock 15 to Lock 17.
- Lancaster Canal – Stainton Aqueduct.
- Wakefield Branch (Aire & Calder Nav) – Lock 6, Woodnook Lock.
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.
- There’s plenty of talk of winter in this edition and it seems that preparations out on the cut are also underway. Some boaters have started to winterise their boats – can you help us out though? If you’re fitting tarpaulins or sturdier covers for the colder months can you please ensure that your boat’s index number is still visible? If you need to, you can print a paper version of your index plates, slip it inside an all-weather (and transparent!) cover and stick it top of your winter covers. Doing this will help save the team on the bank the extra time it takes to root around to find the index number so that they can check that the boat is licensed. Thanks!
- Many of you will have seen that over the last few months I’ve included an invitation in this section to anyone who wanted to help us keep our online maps up to date (which I blogged about). Thanks to those of you that have! Your help is still needed though – just have a read of the blog linked above and there’s a link to the sites that we’d like boaters to cast their eye over.
- Members of the Trust, led by the West Midlands waterway partnership Chair, Peter Mathews CMG, attended the conservative party conference in Birmingham this week and had great success in raising our profile and telling the attendees about the work we do and the vital role canals play in their communities and constituencies. The team, made up of local partnership members and Trust staff were based on a boat alongside the International Convention Centre and had a continual stream of visitors, including Iain Duncan-Smith (see photo below), who were really keen to engage with us and discuss many ideas on how we can work together so we can hopefully fully engrain us into people’s lives.
Last date edited: 7 October 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