Who wants a sneak peak - direct from the colleagues involved - of the exciting developments and highlights you can look forward to this year?
We asked colleagues from around the Canal & River Trust what projects and activities they were particularly looking forward to in 2017. Here's just taster of what we have planned:
Damian Kemp, boating consultations and communications manager says: "The highlight of the year ahead for me will be the inland waterways’ biggest, and most vibrant, boat show at Crick Marina. Crick Boat Show's the 27 – 29 May by the way. Did I mention tickets are already on sale?"
Jason Leach, Midlands enterprise and restoration team manager commented: "Am I allowed to share three exciting developments for me this year? From March onwards we have a packed programme of activities in and around the Montgomery Canal restoration. Look out in April for some great news about funding. I’m definitely looking forward to our volunteers installing the top and bottom gates at the Grantham Canal Lock in July – it’s all their own handy work that one. And something else new this year is the Worcestershire Arts Ring programme from April. Something for everyone across our waterways in 2017."
Meanwhile, Graham Boxer, head of museums, says: "2017 is a very exciting year for us at the National Waterways Museum. Thanks to the Arts Council England, we will be able to provide attention to a significant number of our vessels. The boats will be removed from the water, dried out and stored in conditions that preserve them for the enjoyment and understanding of museum visitors. These boats have given service to generations over decades and I am delighted that at last we are able to secure a future for them. They will then be able to help the next generations to understand their stories and the roles they played in the working life of our country."
Joe Sammon, sports participation manager, adds: "Another exciting year anticipated! Key events are the second edition of our 'Two Arms on Two Legs Running Festival' half marathon, 10k and family fun run – featuring the Grand Union and Aylesbury/Wendover arms in September. Also look our for the MK50 celebration 'Canal and Park Activity Day' in July."
Leading the way from our ever growing team of volunteers, Paul Roache, Lead Volunteer Lock Keeper, told us: "I'm looking forward to my sixth year of volunteering with the Canal & River Trust. During this time it has been satisfying to see, and be part of, a very discernible shift towards the prioritisation of voluntary activities on the waterways whether by lock keepers, towpath maintenance task forces or boat movement teams. Much of the enjoyment is the ability to engage with and make a difference to the people who use the canals; walkers, cyclists, boat owners, families on holiday and the people who live on or next to the canals."
David and Brian are both lead volunteers for West Midlands. David told us: "I am looking forward to recruiting many more volunteer lock keepers in 2017 to enable my team of volunteers to be able to provide an even better experience to all who use the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal through Curdworth, both boaters and towpath users."
Brian added: "I am looking forward to increasing last year’s 1550 volunteer hours of the West Midlands volunteer boat moving team in 2017 and exploring even more of the remote corners of the regions canals. Hopefully more managers will use the VBM team so their own staff can concentrate on their routine tasks and improve the experience for all canal users."
"Hi, I'm Ralph, and 2017 is promising to be an amazing year in my new role as ‘volunteer team leader’. Lots of new places to see and lots of new people to meet and inspire, plus working on the Million Hands project. Volunteering doesn't get much better than this." adds Ralph, another of our valuable Volunteer Team Leaders.
John W Ellis, national fisheries and angling manager, has a packed diary: "What am I looking forward too? Where to start? Can’t wait to investigate the fish tanks at our winter open days – they’re always fascinating.
Then I’m going to be growing our Go Fish campaign – look out for more ‘how to’ videos for that. If you’re competitive get involved with our ever growing canal pairs championships and our successful Division 1 and Division 2 national championships. I’m also really keen to learn more about the progress being made towards the River Severn fish passage."
Finally, Jon Guest, London waterway manager is looking forward to: "...the completion of the jigsaw piece on the Bow Back waters that form part of the ‘Olympic Waterways’ restoration of Carpenters Road lock. With the help of Heritage Lottery funding and a donation from the IWA, we’ll be restoring the disused lock, which will open a new door for navigation of the waterways around the Queen Elizabeth Park."
And there's loads more exciting events, projects and activities coming up. Why not share what you’re looking forward to on our waterways this year on our Facebook page?
Last date edited: 16 January 2017