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Dav and Pen

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    Ex Peke , Thor, Crane, Tadworth
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    Now boatless after 50 years

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  1. I believe that the last carriers on regular traffic were three fellows on the lime juice for ACT. ACT also organised the last of the Croxley traffic using various private carriers. not sure when the cement traffic from the long ichington works to Sampson road finished, no doubt somebody has the details
  2. I agree the boating families still love the canals and to see their old boats still going. I hope they continue to do so for many years to come. I am in no way criticising the owners of these old boats I’m only pleased that there are so many willing to devote their time to them.
  3. I have not got involved in this topic as my experience of running our narrow boats is nearly 30 years old when we sold them and had a 50footer built on an old station boat hull at WFBC. When we first started in the early 70,s there were still a lot of boatmen around especially at Braunston and I had no intention of upsetting them by trying to dress up or by showing off. I admired the Brays, Whitlock,Collins etc and they gave advice and help willingly. Some were working for bwb and lock keepers like Henry Grantham at Buckby would soon put you right but also encourage. There were nowhere near as many boats on the cut and certainly not endless moorer’s on the main line so we were able to make our mistakes out of site (usually) except trying to get round Sutton stop loaded when there would invariably be an audience of experts and Joe and Rose. They of course never did it in a motor. Rose Whitlock then told me there was a pin in the bridge that they used to use to strap round! Not much use single handed though. I’m sure we upset people who thought we were speeding or forcing them out of the channel but unfortunately the physics of moving loaded boats on very shallow canals caused difficulties for all parties. We were told that we were to big, sometimes to slow, or just shouldn’t be on the canal at all but usually other boaters then were happy to see us. we were certainly not rich indeed quite the opposite and the boats had to pay for themselves which we tried to do by humping coal and carrying Scouts etc in the summer. We were still hopeful that some long distance carrying could be brought back following the demise of the Crowley traffic but apart from odd loads and short distance it never happened. Now I see the majority of old boats in pristine condition and owned by enthusiastic people who are quite a long way removed from the working boats without the pleasure of seeing the Brays working through the Braunston flight or Mrs Whitlock gently admonishing you for the lack of shine on the chimney brass. We were lucky to know them and I hope we never upset them by pretending to be them which I personally never did. there has always been a perceived pecking order amongst boat owners whether it be whose hull you have, what engine, how shiny your boat is etc. With the thousands of boats now on the waterways some people will always be in a bad fit for some reason or other so if possible it’s best to let them get on with it and get on with your own lives.
  4. I seem to think that it had something to do with mini bus rules at the time, they were not subject to the same rules as public service vehicles and somehow the ruling w ent across to passenger carrying in general. When camping with a pair there did always seem to be a lot more than 24 as they often favored one boat .
  5. The nene stream in the village is now flowing well, the ground must be saturated at last. Still raining and I would think tomorrow and over the weekend raised levels Northampton.
  6. One of the reasons to carry 12 passengers was to avoid having to comply with passenger ship rules of the then board of trade. These were far more onerous including frequent out of water surveys and lots of life saving equipment.
  7. Sorry to say we often strapped in and used mast strings where there were proper shaped hand rails.
  8. This is very true and all the building in Northampton will make a difference but here in the hills where the Nene and the Leam spring from there’s no flow as of today.
  9. Although we have had nearly 3 days of rain,heavy at times, the brook in our village which is one of the feeders to the headwaters of the Nene is still hardly flowing think the ground must be soaking it up as is been so dry. ,
  10. How long is your boat as there are restrictions to navigating the Rhine. have a look at eurocanals.com there is a guide to the German Rhine on their site
  11. Sounds like the old county arms. Will dig out my copy of the book and have a look.
  12. You are right about the moorings on the main line. I was in the arm which has a lock at the end which lead down into the Loire but is now used as a dry dock for shallow draughted vessels. There was a narrow boat in it last time there. My barge at 22m could just turn if there was space in the mooring but otherwise backing out no fun so usually stopped at Menentrol.
  13. There was a canal that went to Orleans which is now abandoned. It left the Briare canal near Montargis. The river is very shallow most of the year with wiers in many places. A few years ago we were in St Satur when some Boy Scouts from uk came to the barge asking if I had some tools to fix their rudder. They were trying to go down the whole length of the Loire in their rowing boat they had brought over. Photo is of junction with canal Orleans.
  14. Must have been a very wet day. The question is who had the extra! Tadworth was Ashby Canal carriers and the purchase and sale of the coal was officially Ashby Canal transport as they were the approved coal merchant, all the boats nominally were agents of ACT from whom they brought the coal.
  15. There are of course now many more live aboard boats now than in the 70s and we did not think about supplying diesel fuel. The bulk of our solid fuel sales were to canal side houses, pubs, farms and on the Thames and Weaver lock houses. The story of starting retail coal sales has been told but it was not an easy process to get the approval of the then retail coal federation and the national coal board to become approved coal merchants but we did it in the end. Pre packed coal is obviously a lot easier than having 20 tones tipped in and then bagging it up but the extra margin made it more profitable and we were young.
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