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Speirs Wharf


Mibosa
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Can anyone please provide feedback regarding overnight moorings at Speirs Wharf. I am of the understanding that there is water and power available which I thought would be an attraction to at least some boaters. The limited research I have done on the internet, which includes YouTube, gives me the impression that it isn't well used. Am I wrong in this belief? Can anyone advise what is keeping boats away from the area. Is it road noise, too close to the multi-storey units, anti social behaviour or crime?

 

If I am wrong in my thoughts, can anyone please advise the cost per night and the maximum amounts of nights?

 

Thank you.

Edited by Mibosa
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Or better still, contact Scottish Canals who manage the waterway. https://www.scottishcanals.co.uk/

 

To get to Speirs wharf which is to all intents and purposes the end of that bit of canal as the next lock is never used, I understand, a bascule bridge has to be opened by SC staff. I gather that they are sometimes reluctant to do this as they would just have to reopen it the next morning to let the boat back through. There is supposed to be a Living on Water site there (this is where SC put up huts and charge boaters extortionate rents to moor there long term) but I don't think it got much support. Parking there is a nightmare as the spaces are allocated to the residents of the flats. It is a handy mooring for walking to Glasgow city centre but a lot of boats moor before the bascule bridge which is outside the SC office which is not much further to walk.

Sorry, don't know what facilties are there as I haven't been there for years.

As I said, Scottish canals should be able to answer all your questions.

 

 

haggis

Edited by haggis
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This thread has reminded me of the last time we boated in that area. To celebrate 10 years since the Forth and Clyde canal was reopened many boats congregated in Speirs Wharf and there was much celebrating and eating and drinking :-). A few of the wee steam boats and a replica puffer (the Wee Spark) were going though Speakers lock and down into Port Dundas for a photo shoot and there was just room in the lock for Gamebird so we went down too. It was good to cruise around a new area of canal . When we were coming back up through Speakers lock the pumps failed and we were all stuck in the bottom of the lock. However, there was much merriement and exchange of cups of coffee until British Waterways Scotland sent us down a bottle of whisky to share while we waited for big pumps to arrive to fill the lock. I think those watching from the top of the lock were quite jealous :-). It was a super occasion and the lock failure helped to make it more memorable than it might have been.

Ah, memories!

haggis

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Stayed there 2 nights in mid July before heading down to Bowling. There were a lot of empty berths all with power & water outlets available. We had been advised to stop at the Applecross St basin (SC office), however it is small and with a couple of boats already there, there was no room for us. Luckily 2 other hire boats had booked through to Spiers wharf so were able to get through the bridge with them.

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To Woodsy, IanW, Jonathan and and all the others who have provided very informative feedback I express my appreciation. Unfortunately my trip will not be occurring thanks to the lack of integrity and misinformation provided by ABC Boat Hire. In February this year I enquired with them about solo boat hire and I explained my relevant boating experience in various countries around the world. The girl who handled my request stated that she discussed it with a manager and they agreed to solo hire me a 45' narrowboat and suggested three routes which I could do, one being the F&C. The booking was made and I commenced monthly installments, until recently to just over 900 pounds.

 

It was only recently when I asked a question of ABC that they put me onto the actual boat company, Capercaillie Cruisers, who in turn advised me that I couldn't do solo hire. I then raised this with ABC, having ben told by them that I could and in a written response the Admin Office Supervisor Lynda Ballard responded, and I quote, "....... I have read through all of the communications between yourself and the booking office team of which there are plenty and I am very satisfied that they offered the best advice and customer service. It is unfortunate that you feel this was not so. Although other companies may permit solo cruisers, we prefer not to as we feel it can present certain safety issues. "

 

Offered the best advice and customer service???????? Unfortunate that you feel this was not so??????

 

I am just a little curious as to which part she didn't understand that one of her staff members and a manager okayed me to have solo hire and were happy to take my booking and my money. Had I not made my enquiry at this time I would have turned up to the marina to collect the boat, or at least believe I was collecting the boat, only to be told that it wasn't to be. I have ascertained that that Capercaillie Cruisers were never advised of my request for solo hire, otherwise this would have been discovered prior to the contract being entered. I have also lost money in cancelling an airfare to Edinburgh, thanks to the incompetence of ABC.

 

I find it ironic that solo boat hiring is permitted in various parts of England, including on the River Thames and various other canals, which requires the negotiation of far more locks than on the F&C and also in the Republic of Ireland, yet boats worth tens or hundreds of thousands of pounds can be hired to absolute novices. In Scotland there is clearly a grey area around the repeated use of 'health & safety reasons' or 'insurance purposes'.

 

Not to worry, whilst this exists in Scotland the tourist dollars (pounds) will be spent elsewhere.

 

Thank you all.

Edited by Mibosa
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Oh that's very annoying for you. I'll just say though, that as I understand it, the norm is to disallow solo boat hire in the whole UK canal system not just Scotland. There are exceptions of course. Anyway I'm sure that is no consolation so sorry that your plans have been so severely disrupted.

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(snip)

It was only recently when I asked a question of ABC that they put me onto the actual boat company, Capercaillie Cruisers, who in turn advised me that I couldn't do solo hire.

(snip)

I find it ironic that solo boat hiring is permitted in various parts of England, including on the River Thames and various other canals, which requires the negotiation of far more locks than on the F&C and also in the Republic of Ireland, yet boats worth tens or hundreds of thousands of pounds can be hired to absolute novices. In Scotland there is clearly a grey area around the repeated use of 'health & safety reasons' or 'insurance purposes'.

 

Not to worry, whilst this exists in Scotland the tourist dollars (pounds) will be spent elsewhere.

 

Thank you all.

 

There is a problem with Scottish Canals, who require a minimum of two crew on a boat while locking, despite the crew not doing the actual lock operation. A fellow Sea Otter owner met this problem a few years ago when he arrived with his 31' centre cockpit Otter on a solo trip. After some "rather heated" discussion, he was allowed to continue, with one of the Scottish Canals locking crew holding his bow rope while he was passing through locks. (This only lasted for a few locks, after which it was recognised that the boat was better controlled with bow and stern ropes going back to the centre cockpit, rather than the bow rope being worked from the bank.!)

 

The locks are now worked by volunteers, apart from the sea locks and the ones in the Falkirk Wheel complex. (The Wheel itself, one lock below, and a two staircase above)

 

If you ever re-plan this trip, there would certainly be a volunteer available to crew on the locks on the East side (Falkirk and Bonnybridge flights), and for the Wheel passage. I can't speak for the West side (Maryhill to Bowling), but I wouldn't anticipate a problem. That leaves Capercaillie as the sticking point. I'll get back to you on that one!

 

Very sorry to hear of the problem you had, and feel for your disappointment and annoyance! sad.pngmad.gifsad.pngfrusty.gif

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This is me getting back! biggrin.png

 

I sent a link to this thread to the manager of the charity that supplies the lock volunteers, ( ReUnion, who also have a Facebook page ). I also sent it to a senior manager in Scottish Canals.

 

The reply from Scottish Canals highlighted concerns re safety, mainly when locking, and made the point that they could not provide extra resources for a single handed boater.

 

I got a very full reply from Capercailie Cruisers, as below :

 

 

 

Following on from this email (from the OP to Capercaillie Cruisers) I contacted ABC to view my concern as to why this had not been high lighted to us before now and to get some background history.

 

I then replied explaining my concerns but certainly did not say ", who in turn advised me that I couldn't do solo hire."

 

 

 

Falkirk Hire Base <fhb@capercailliecruisers.co.uk>
22 Nov (7 days ago)


to Info, Mibosa

Good afternoon,


Thank you for your email about your narrow boat holiday here in Falkirk next year.

Just to clear up any confusion.......


Your booking has been made with ABC Boat Hire and all booking correspondence/paperwork/payment is directly with them. However we are a franchise company and look after all their boats here at Falkirk including Little Weaver, so please don't worry about that. You were advised by the booking office to contact myself directly here at Falkirk as I can help to answer any of your specific questions about these canals.

I see that you mentioned that you maybe a solo hire and I have since spoken to ABC booking office. I believe that you originally spoke about your wife coming with you on your trip, and therefore the solo hire was not flagged up.


As you maybe aware all our locks, bridges and also the actual Falkirk Wheel are manned by Scottish Canal staff, solo hiring cannot be done as they require 2 people on board. Our locks are very different to other locks down South, in the fact that they are double locks and require the boat to be secured bow and stern at every lock.

We have on the very odd occasion allowed solo hirers as we can arrange to assist them up through the 3 locks and the Falkirk Wheel, however this does require arranging and also extra man power and again we have to prearrange a time to escort the customer back down the wheel on their return to base. For that reason it is only feasible to holiday on the Union Canal.

I realise that you are out for 2 weeks and will most likely wish to cruise along the Forth & Clyde canal either West to Glasgow or East to the Kelpies and this is where the operating solo will be a problem, as all these locks are some distance from the base. So I guess the easiest option would be to persuade your wife to come with you. Failing this I could look into arranging for a second crew member to assist you through the locks, however this could incur a cost and maybe subject to delays.

I hope this helps with your plans.


Kind regards

 


As you can see it was never a no go, just required a bit of organising. I purposely did not mention the manning of the locks by volunteers as at the moment this is not foregone conclusion as it will be up for tender again for 2017 season. And I didn't want to presume until I had the hard facts.

Therefore, now that you have the facts you can see that Capercaillie is not the sticking point!!


Kind regards

 

I replied

 

 

Sorry about that! I wasn't aware of your solo hirer policy, and presumed it was a no no because of Scottish Canals attitude to solo boaters, as you have to work within their rules
and got the response

 

It really isn't our policy however we have to conform to Scottish Canals policy as per skippers guide. Therefore us allowing solo hirers would only cause us problems once the customer arrives unless we have pre- organised before their arrival. (snip)

I have to try to ensure that everyone's holiday is as trouble free as possible within the constraints of SC.

(My bold)

 

So, the bottom line is that, for solo hire on the Scottish lowland canals, preorganisation is the key.

 

For the Falkirk flight and for Lock 17 to the summit pound, one of the volunteer lockies can act as crew. (Normally, there is a team of four, and either an extra one can be added, or the setting ahead can be done with one, rather than two)

 

As I said before, I can't speak for Maryhill to Bowling, as I don't know what the current arrangements are. The Maryhill flight is worked by volunteers, but I'm not sure what happens below that. I'm pretty sure Scottish Canals won't let volunteers work Dalmuir drop lock, and the only ones below that are Locks 37 and 38 and the Bowling Sea Lock. However, it's only necessary to descend the west side if going to Bowling. The best Glasgow moorings are Speirs' Wharf or Applecross Street, which are on the summit level.

 

There probably won't be volunteer lockies available for going through the Falkirk wheel basin and locks, unless that's planned for the same day as either 17 to 20 or the Falkirk flight. However, if done at the start of the holiday or at the end, the Falkirk hire base could probably supply a crew person. (They quite often do, even when one of their boats has crew)

 

So, while not ideal, solo hire is possible. The key is preparation and communication (and I mean communication between all the parties involved, not just between the boater and the hire base and Scottish Canals!)

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