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Richard Fairhurst

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Everything posted by Richard Fairhurst

  1. Out on the W&B today and the wild-looking locks were delightful. Such an improvement over the Veg Pledge-era manicured lawns.
  2. I really like Tewkesbury to Gloucester - the cliffs and woods give it a fair amount of variety and it's interesting wildlife-wise (we saw an otter there once). Upton to Tewkesbury is a bit monotonous though, I'll give you that. Good news about the Haw Bridge.
  3. Coincidentally we were in the Lock on Thursday. Excellent steak, though it's a shame they don't do a proper cider any more. I don't think I've ever known the Wolverley visitor moorings so quiet. In fact pretty much everywhere was quiet – we were doing the Stourport Ring, and most days we only saw a single-figure number of boats on the move. I wonder whether everyone's taking their foreign holidays this year now that the Covid restrictions have lifted.
  4. ...and for other navigation authorities' moorings: https://www.district-enforcement.co.uk/moorings-enforcement
  5. I wouldn't say CRT have turned a blind eye. BW/CRT have been trying to do something about "continuous cruising" being interpreted as "permanent mooring" since at least the early '00s: I remember writing news stories about it when I was at Canal Boat. But ultimately everything they do founders on the rocks of protest and of the ambiguity in the 1995 Waterways Act. The only way it's going to get resolved is with legislation to clarify the Act. The Government is unlikely to want to do that because legislation is expensive; rehousing people is expensive; and dealing with headlines about "ethnic cleansing" is not what they want to be doing. If a new Waterways Act ever gets drafted for some other reason then I could possibly see this being tagged onto it, but until then, CRT is limited to chipping away at the edges through tougher enforcement and little things like the £25/day mooring charge.
  6. IIRC Jim Macdonald got Elizabeth (61ft 9in) through Salterhebble... just. I know someone who had a 60-footer moored in Huddersfield and who took it through the Broad locks, but I don't think he ever particularly enjoyed it!
  7. Across the system as a whole I don't actually think the amount of moving traffic is that different to 20 years ago, but that conceals a lot of local variation. Sometimes you get a cluster of marina development all at the same time which increases traffic locally - e.g. Braunston (/Napton/Norton) in the late 90s/early 00s, or the eastern T&M a few years after that. The late 90s to c. 2010 saw a boom in new-build private boats, but generally these weren't cruised for that many weeks a year, and meanwhile the previous generation of boaters were getting older and cruising less. So although it meant more boats on the move, the overall effect was perhaps less than you might expect. Hire boat bases can make a big difference. Canaltime used to be a massive thing on the eastern T&M – it felt like half the traffic, though clearly it wasn't that much. Now (I think?) there isn't any hire operation at Sawley at all. Similarly the Llangollen seems significantly quieter to me than 20 years ago, which I suspect is due to changes in the hire boat market. Some waterways just go in or out of favour. The K&A has slowly got busier over the years. The Thames used to be an unusual thing for narrowboaters to do but that started to change in the late 90s, just as the plastic cruiser market was declining. I suspect some of the other rivers might actually be quieter now than 20 years ago. On the canals, there are without doubt fewer GRP cruisers than in the 90s/00s. Cities seem busier. In the 90s, going through Birmingham or Manchester (particularly the Ashton) was viewed as a bit of a brave thing to do, whereas now it's pretty unremarkable. And obviously there's been a massive growth in the number of residential boats with comparatively limited cruising ranges.
  8. It works if you copy and paste from TextEdit on a Mac.
  9. Going upstream under the Worcester bypass bridge when the river's at the cusp of amber/red would certainly be an exciting experience in an electric boat. Hours of fun as you watch the meter quickly dropping while you slog upstream at 1mph or less. The anticipation of whether you'll actually make it to Diglis or whether your batteries will give out and you'll need to anchor in midchannel in flood conditions. Frankly I can't see why people aren't queuing up to do it.
  10. Yes, that's my understanding too. Often from Pontrilas in the Welsh borders, I believe.
  11. £1.36m from the Leeds City Region Growth Deal and £500k from Bradford Council's Getting Building Fund.
  12. Same with the "Worcester Birmingham" – that’s in fairly common parlance and even appears on CRT signs. (But then BW/CRT have often been a bit erratic with names on signage: I remember cringing at a BW sign saying “Welcome to Wendover Arm”.)
  13. Quite often - I've been through it a handful of times in the last few years, either when the small lock's been out of action, or when the lockie is just efficiently speeding people through! I presume the Edward Elgar uses it too.
  14. I've said this one before, but the lock on the River Wansbeck in Northumberland.
  15. Heh! I wrote/coded the Boaters' Guides for BW's Waterscape website back in 2005. About five years ago CRT kindly commissioned me to update them for the modern age; I rewrote the whole thing with clearer maps, towpaths, judicious use of colour, all of that. CRT have all the code (and paid me for it!) but haven't brought it into use, so the 2005 version is still soldiering on. I'd love the new ones to go online one day. (For anyone who's curious, here's some test output from the new code.)
  16. Very sad to hear that. Mike was one of our regular Carrying & Freight correspondents at Waterways World - I only spoke to him a handful of times (generally he'd go straight to Chris as the news editor), but he always had updates and timely photos on what was currently happening with carrying on the A&C and the Ouse. A real enthusiast of the old school.
  17. I haven't seen any evidence that this is specifically a cycling project (and to be honest it wouldn't make a vast amount of sense as one IMO).
  18. This post cannot be displayed because it is in a forum which requires at least 10 posts to view.
  19. The main issue is that the roads aren't safe. People don't cycle on canal towpaths because they like looking at ducks, people cycle on canal towpaths because they want to avoid getting run over.
  20. This post cannot be displayed because it is in a forum which requires at least 10 posts to view.
  21. The Sheffield & Tinsley was upgraded to cruiseway in 1996.
  22. Could be a big list if you end up including little CRT-administered stubs like the W&E/Lichfield at Huddlesford, the Fairies Hill branch, the MB&B Middlewood Locks, and so on! But discounting Scotland for now, you could in theory work it out by taking the CRT-owned network (i.e. everything with a SAP functional location) and subtracting https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1968/73/schedule/12 and Schedule 2 of https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukla/1983/2/pdfs/ukla_19830002_en.pdf. Obviously much of the BCN and the HNC have always been in there, but there are a few other curios: the Bugsworth branch, the restored top of the Ripon, the L&L from Aintree to Eldonian Basin. I guess the Rochdale, Ribble Link, Droitwich, and Liverpool Link qualify as remainder under Section 104 too ("any inland waterway for the time being comprised in the undertaking of the Board [or Canal & River Trust] which is not for the time being a commercial waterway or a cruising waterway"). The Mont is almost certainly remainder but the legislation looks slightly ambiguous to me: it says "The Shropshire Union Canal from its junction with the Manchester Ship Canal at Ellesmere Port to its junction with the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal at Autherley, including the branches to the River Dee at Chester, to Llantisilio [i.e. the Llangollen] and to Middlewich." But it doesn't actually say "but not including any other branches". I guess it's implied that only the named branches, in both this case and others, are cruiseways... but it doesn't explicitly state that, either in the Schedule or in Section 104.
  23. And very nice they are too - we went through on Friday, and it seemed a minute or two faster than previously. The move to contractors happened with BW - it's not particularly a CRT thing. The biggest change was when BW introduced "omnibus contracts" c. 2001. The scope and contractual arrangements have evolved over the years (I think they're now called "Civil Engineering Construction Framework Contracts") but effectively CRT is doing what BW had done for many years.
  24. Did that end up at Ron Lloyd's Boatyard at the bottom of the 21 (now Oxley Marine)? They certainly had a Victoria - we hired it once to do the BCN Challenge. It made it about 500 yards into the Wyrley & Essington and gave up. The eponymous Ron said "if I'd known you were going that way I wouldn't have let you hire the boat", which struck me as an interesting attitude for a hire base in that location.
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