Jump to content

Scholar Gypsy

  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


Posts posted by Scholar Gypsy

  1. 30 minutes ago, Keeping Up said:

    We've been trapped by reversed locks on the Nene and Ouse several times but the only 2 relevant things I can think of from my own experiences on the Nene were (1) going upstream when it was in flood so far over the top gates that getting into the lock was quite a challenge, and there was no need for top paddles because the lock had filled before I had finished winding down the lower guillotine and (2) going downstream through Ditchford lock which has a radial bottom gate when an EA rep opened all the top paddles fully behind us and said "Just open the lower gate all the way up and you'll still be able to get under it ok"; he was right but we really shot out of the lock when I untied the rope (we had to use the rope to hold usback while we opened the gate).


    On most rivers, of course, including those from a canal to a river, the rule is to leave gates open behind you. On the GU, for years after the introduction of the rule to close all gates behind you, there was an exception that it was normal to leave the top gates open behind you between London and Berkhamstead - ie the section which was designated as a broad canal, unlike from there northwards which is still officially a narrow canal.

    The last time I saw a Nene lock reversed the headroom under the fully raised guillotine was about 2 feet, so (even with strong ropes!) this would have been a very dangerous manuever!   I had a similar experience as you at Ditchford, that was when the weir alongside was being repaired (after a narrowboat sank) and so most of the flow had to go through the lock.

  2. 14 minutes ago, Wanderer Vagabond said:

    Yes, I also never really understand why they don't look where they are going, and that is speaking as someone who has rowed dinghies (not competitively, just to get to shore). It is everyone's responsibility to avoid collisions so if a rower collides with another boat without taking any evasive action they carry at least 50% (if not more) of the blame. There is no reason not to look around once you've pulled the oars, the boat isn't going to suddenly do anything unexpected until the next time you pull on the oars and since one of the reasons for rowing is exercise, turning around a bit more often gives you a little bit more exercise.


    I have had similar experiences to the OP on The Cam where a rowing boat was coming up fast behind me and sounding the horn (at the front of the boat, obviously) would have achieved very little, all I could really do was stage a coughing bout as the boat approached and fortunately the bow oarsman heard me, but if they aren't going to look where they are going, they will take the consequences.

    I regularly call out (on the Cam) "Ahead scull", or "Take a look" which are recognized signals and one that rowers often use to each other. I also have a horn that I blow into, which is useful for alerting boats behind you (sounding the horn at the bows is a waste of time, as noted). It's a while since I did any sculling, I found it rather difficult. Turning round to look is not good for the balance.

    Here's a photo I use sometimes when talking about the Thames tideway. The boat with the hole in the transom belongs to the coach !!

    5 hours ago, The Happy Nomad said:


    Given that the cox faces the direction of travel that must take some doing.

    Not really. Usually the cox is much smaller than the hulks in front of them, and leaning out to have a look disrupts the balance when racing. Hence there's quite a blind spot dead ahead...

  3. On 11/05/2022 at 19:19, enigmatic said:

    River Nene locks have all been completely rebuilt and I suspect in many cases relocated since 1930. Weston Favell is part of a 1970s flood defence scheme so I doubt it bears any resemblance to the original river navigation design. Dog in a doublet was brand new to extend the non-tidal section just outside your suggested timeslot in 1937 - think more for flood defence than commercial traffic.

    The main works on the Nene date from the 1930s. But since then

     * Abington lock is new (part of the flood defence scheme on the Northampton washes, with flood gates just downstream of Abington and upstream of Weston Favell

    * Lower Wellingborough looks relatively new (also rather badly designed). I would suspect also the other locks that have two sets of V doors, ie Upper Wellingborough, and Higham.

    And Bottisham lock on the Cam has been rebuilt or relocated - my copy of Bradshaws is on the boat so I can't check. It may even (like Brandon) be part of the 1960s work when the relief and cutoff channels were built.

  4. Dear Nick


    Nice to hear from you!  We had our engine installed at Braunston in 1994. Had it rebuilt a few years ago, the compression was getting a bit wheezy.


    My main issue is over the water hoses, which I am gradually replacing as you can see here.  I have replaced the return hose into the water pump, and the exit hose from the heat exchanger.  The one I can’t find is one that connects the thermostat to the Bowman heat exchanger. The sizes seem a bit odd.


    Best wishes


  5. I wouldn't pay too much attention to most TV channels or youtube blogs, to be  honest.

    Just to second the votes for Heyford, and for Bridge boats in Ely (a very good train service from London, and a well kept fleet).  The Fens are very isolated & quiet, and lots of wildlife, and some pubs if you plan ahead.  If you go there you can moor in one of the oldest nature reserves in England (Wicken Fen).  (You can just see my boat in this early morning photo from January).



  6. 17 hours ago, zimzim said:

    I've always been surprised that hire boats do not have some very basic safety (and possibly etiquette) guidance on some sort of wall poster inside the boat. It wouldn't need to be too overbearing, but would help the inexperienced to avoid the simplest and some of the most dangerous mistakes.


    Reminds me of an incident last Summer when I unexpectedly found myself in a surreal and increasingly disturbing game of chicken with one of those small open-sided day-boats coming in the opposite direction. As we approached one another, I moved over to the right in the usual way, only to find to my alarm that he repeatedly matched my manoeuvre and seemed intent on a head-on collision. I finally decided to blink first and took what felt like a last-second opportunity to put my 65ft boat onto the 'wrong' side and pass starboard-to-starboard. To my relief, he didn't mirror that final change of direction and we very narrowly avoiding what (especially for him and his family) would have been quite a memorable impact! Having gathered my thoughts, I politely enquired as we passed what he was thinking. He was most apologetic - he had literally only just left the hire base and 'didn't know what side to drive on' (and had assumed it was the same as his car). All ended in smiles and apologies. I don't know what instruction he can have been given, but it can't have been much!


    When you hire a boat on the Skegness canal you are told to drive on the left....

    I remember a memorable day in about 1975, when we (in our yogurt pot) followed Jaguar down the Oxford canal from Kings Sutton to Thrupp. They were a bit slow. We overtook them, then set the next lock, let them through, locked through and overtook them again in the next pound. Repeat several times... Great fun,


  7. 2 minutes ago, Grassman said:



    We (two narrowboats) plan to do Teddington to Limehouse in June and then return upriver and back again a few weeks later. 


    I presume passage under Hammersmith Bridge is still allowed?

    Is there still the booking system in place as per the links in this thread?

    What is their interpretation of essential? In other words might they insist we go via Brentford and the GU/Regents etc instead?

    This NTM is now current.  The bridge is basically open as normal, until and unless it is closed! 


    Please note that at the moment downstream passage to Limehouse is very difficult, due to a limited operating window at Limehouse (roughly HW-2 to HW+2). The situation may improve between now and June.  


    • Greenie 1
  8. On 09/04/2022 at 18:21, Philip said:


    Thanks for your help - great pictures and trip report of the Erewash! With it being quite early on in the trip and before the Soar passage I wonder whether it'd be better to leave the full Erewash for another trip and just do a little bit of the southern end...but then again it looks like I'll be missing out by not going all the way!

    It get's a lot better as you go further north. Long Eaton is a bit suburban. 

  9. 2 hours ago, Grassman said:


    We are featured on the Foxes Afloat 'Swept Away on the Ribble Link' video.  We were following them out of Savick Brook when they misjudged the strength of the incoming tide.


    It's a wonderful experience and nothing like all those sensationalistic Vloggers make out. I've had far more scary times on the Tidal Trent. Enjoy the Lancaster Canal, it's wonderful and we wish we'd have stayed on it longer than the 3 weeks we did. And don't miss out on popping down to Glasson Basin, it's well worth doing the 6 locks each way.

     An opportunity to plug a new group - Trentlink - that is offering advice and trying to organise some boat buddying on the tidal Trent. 


    Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/666937220961360  (private group, but joining is easy)

    Website:   http://trentlink.org.uk/ 

  10. 7 hours ago, narrowboatmike said:

    Many thanks for everyone's information and suggestions. After we left castlefeild at about 12. 30 pm 

    we just trundled on until we reached a place that was just right especially as it was 6 pm.

    This happened to be a lovely place just before Plank lane swing bridge. We're on our way to Lancaster

    but have some time before our crossing at the end of the month. I just booked the Ribble crossing 

    the same way as the Bridgewater but not sure how it's 'policed'.

    I hope CRT sent you this.


  11. 22 minutes ago, Philip said:

    Is the Erewash reasonably ok to do single handed- any good places to moor for the night or places to avoid? Also are there safe overnight moorings at Birstall and Thurmaston?

    Yes, I would say so. I did it in 2019. Day 1 was Kegworth to Langley Mill which was a bit much, Day 2 Langley Mill to Ilkeston, stopping well before the M1 crossing which is noisy. Nice moorings also at Sandiacre (beneath the church). Day 3 Ilkeston to Nottingham, I can send map links if you like.


    As I remember, the Birstall moorings were rather full, but there were some nice spots either side of Thurmaston. I arrived in Leicester at 2000 and left at 0500 so did not get a very close view of it at all!

  12. On the Thames, heading upstream, I've used
    * Teddington lock cut
    * Kingston above the bridge

    * Hampton Court (get lost in the maze)

    * Sunbury - on left a mile above the lock

    * Laleham , on right before Penton Hook lock. 

    * Half a mile above Bell Weir lock, on the left. 

    * Runnymede, good walks.

    * Windsor (posh but expensive)

    * Cliveden (NT moorings on right, very fine, you can pretend you are John Profumo if you wish). Good island moorings too (but NT still charge you!)

    * Cookham above the road bridge on left

    * Bourne End, on right after the village

    * Marlow

    * Hurley in the backwaters (ask the lock keeper).

    * Henley, lots of locations

    * Sonning below the lock.

    That should be enough...

    • Greenie 1
  13. 15 hours ago, Alan de Enfield said:

    The transfer documents explain in detail what DEFRA will do if C&RT fail to meet their obligations -


    It'll be interesting to see what the DEFRA review against targets that was undertaken last Summer will report - particularly when results of the KPIs was amended three times between the annual report being signed off by the Directors, being filed at Companies house, and being issued to DEFRA.


    CRT 'amended' its Annual Report AFTER -

    • approval by its board of trustees, for the chair, Allan Leighton to sign it on their behalf
    • board instructions given to the legal and governance director (and company secretary), Tom Deards to file at Companies House and Charity Commission
    • chief executive, Richard Parry telling the board that he would arrange to publish on CRT's website
    • Richard Parry quoting a KPI at CRT's APM (later falsified)
    • a formal vote by CRT's Council of Members to 'receive' the approved report
    • publication of the approved report on CRT's website
    • filing of the approved report at Companies House


    Surely no one could write to their MP / DEFRA saying that C&RT have done a wonderful job.


    C&RT have already admitted that their income is insufficient and have requested an addition £200 million.


    In early June 2020 CaRT Chairman, Allan Leighton, and Chief Executive, Richard Parry, wrote to the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Steve Barclay MP, with a funding proposal (called a ‘pitch letter’ by the Trust). The objective was to gain treasury agreement to significant extra funding (£200m) over a five year period. This would be in addition to its annual Defra grant (currently £52m per year but set to decrease).






    On the 24th August, Allan Leighton wrote again expanding on the proposals and increasing the amount requested.  The initial pitch of £200m was revised upwards to £255m with CaRT saying that it would contribute £35m to that amount.

    The letter told that CaRT were already in discussion with Department of Transport regarding £45m for (yes, you have already guessed!) towpath improvements.


    However, the main thrust of the second letter was to expand on funding required for a substantial £160m ‘critical waterways infrastructure resilience programme’.  The suggestion was that the Treasury contribute £125m over the five year timescale with CaRT providing a further £35m


    CaRT has kept everyone in the dark regarding the pitch to the Treasury.  It does not appear to have thought it necessary to tell its council either.  Furthermore, it has not told Defra about the ‘critical waterways infrastructure resilience programme’.

    Under its grant agreement with Defra, CaRT has to provide figures showing what percentage of principal assets fall within the two worst condition classes (D—poor and E—bad). In eight years, CaRT has produced figures showing that it has reduced the percentage of principal assets in poor or bad condition by 25% . Over the same time frame it figures show it has halved the number of high-risk culverts and embankments in poor or bad condition.

    Perhaps, its Trustees are concerned about the fallout should Defra start wondering why CaRT’s figures show the condition of critical assets are improving but at the same time is asking for additional grant to make them more resilient to failure.

    Perhaps it is because CaRT do not want to appear as having failed dismally.  It is an agreed objective under the grant agreement that government funding for CaRT will reduce or cease by 2027.


    A review to determine post 2027 funding is currently underway with Defra shopping for consultants to investigate the Trust.


    Much of the information from @Allan(nb Albert)

    Unless things have changed a lot since I used to work there, I would expect HMT to just pass this letter back to CRT's sponsor department, ie Defra. 

  14. 7 hours ago, Onewheeler said:

    That looks like the old Duckhams Oil depot. I had a holiday job there in the seventies. The first few weeks I went round the plant collecting empty drums for loading onto a truck, then spent most of the day looking at boats. The management then noticed that I was underemployed and found a warehouse full of out of spec one pint tins of oil that had to be emptied into 200 L drums.

    Yes, that looks like it. There are several oil distribution depots along this stretch.  Interesting that the structures in the river do not appear in the OS map (?1950 or so, on the left).


  15. 1 hour ago, Onewheeler said:

    I was dragged up within 100 m of Fulham FC. In those days the site of the luxury flats immediately upstream was used by lighters which tied up on a well-dredged wharf. (The warehouses burned down in around 1972, always wondered what started the fire).  Indeed, the whole stretch upstream almost to Hammersmith Bridge was used as wharves.


    Some of the Dophins are still there. This is a bit further upstream, with Hammersmith Bridge in the distance.


  16. There was a lot of lively and vociferous discussion about this at the PLA Upper River open meeting in Putney on Tuesday. (You can see the back of my head in one of the PLA's tweets).  Will be available on youtube shortly.  https://www.youtube.com/user/portoflondon/videos


    I think the issue is the obstruction, at low water the clippers would take up pretty much all the water when turning around.  The PLA made it clear that, if and when there was a formal application, they would consider all the issues carefully.


    There's a petition going round, and unusually for me I have signed it.



  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.