Thursday, December 13, 2007

England’s waterways may be in decline

The government is reducing financial support. Vital repair and maintenance is being reduced and allowing the system to collapse. Many old brick built bridges are cracked and damaged like this one at Ansty.

Already the Monmouth and Brecon Canal in Wales has suffered a catastrophic collapse. It was ‘cut in half’ when the bank gave way at Gilwern. That canal may remain closed next year. Many hire boat companies and businesses will suffer. British Waterways are wanting to increase the boat licence above inflation in an attempt to gain extra income from boaters. But we are not the only users of the waterways. Walkers, fishermen and even cyclists can come and enjoy the natural world of the waterways. It is a haven for wild life.

But the Oxford Canal Walk, 48 miles between Coventry and Oxford, has become impossible to walk as in many places it is overgrown or has collapsed into the canal as at All Oak Wood for example.

Half a mile of repair work has been carried out near Ansty which is a start and shows what the path could be like.

Icy days of winter
Ice formed on the cut over night as the temperature dropped below freezing for a couple of nights.

During breakfast a few swans were breaking the ice by trying to walk up on to it. We threw out some bread to encourage them. Then later a couple of boats came crunching by. We set off following the path of broken ice. Eventually the warm sunshine dispersed the majority of the ice sheets. Managed to get to our intended destination before the short day became cold again as the sun went down by mid afternoon. It is very important in these uncertain conditions to keep the water tank topped up. Had to pour warm water over the tap to un freeze the pipes. On our way under similar conditions next day we stopped to fill up with diesel. T. F. Yates was charging 63 p a litre which is less than Rose Narrowboats but more than the supply boat Gosty Hill. Seems that if you can get it for less than 60 p you are lucky these days. Mr Yates was thinking about packing up next year when diesel is set to jump up to ‘road prices’. Claiming that many boaters will get their fuel from the likes of Tesco in containers and pour it into their tanks. I do not want to think about the environmental damage that could occur when it spills into the waterways.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

BW Service Standard, Survey

British Waterways have issued a 'Customer Service Standard' document. A surprisingly high standard to achieve in a couple of years. NABO have setup a survey on their web site. Your chance to put your view to BW through the National Association of Boat Owners. Have a look by clicking on our link.