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Philip

Has it been a busy summer?

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I had a trip down and back up the Shroppie in July, just before the holidays started and before setting off someone commented that the Shroppie had been very quiet. From my own experience too it seemed fairly quiet for the time of year. Early August I also had a weekend on the northern Trent and Mersey and on the top end of the Weaver and again, barring an expected rush going back up the locks at Middlewich (Monday afternoon so setting off time for the hire boats), it was fairly quiet.

What have been your experiences of the state of play this summer? There's also the 'school holiday' effect which comes into play in September; a lot of people avoid cruising in July and August and take to the water once the schools go back, hence September is usually a very busy month.

 

 

Edited by Philip

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Yup, very quiet everywhere, Weaver, Hardly anyone about had the moorings past the two locks to ourselves for the 48 hrs. only busy place was northwich, as expected. stopped at middlewich for 48 hrs we were the only boat on the whole stretch.will wait to see what the llangollen is like end sept,

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I'don't say it's about average here on the Lee. Going through London it also didnt seem that busy. Although the Wey was busier then I've previously seen it and the staff at the office there agreed.

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The Fossdyke and Witham seem to have been a bit busier then usual this year.

Nice to see though as it is usually very quiet.

Will be back to normal soon though when the summer cruisers go home.

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"Has it been a busy Summer?" .... Yes, yes I do think it has been busy, exactly where it has been busy I don't know.

Every time I've gone near the boatyard Summer's been very busy somewhere else.

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The central Grand Union has been busy all Summer (Stoke Bruerne to Braunston) - hire companies have had a cracking season. The Bank Holiday was not as busy as I expected going from Northants up to Anderton, but I did make sure I hit all the pinch points either very early or very late.

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Done a fair bit of cruising this year,including Huddersfield Narrow and Leeds and Liverpool Canals. Not busy at all,more a steady trickle .Never bother to pre book Stanedge,as we can always get a passage when we want it.(We dont cruise during school holidays). Wont be a problem for us,in future as we have sold the boat. Very sad,after nearly 16,000 lock/miles over nearly 45 years. Unfortunately, age catching up with us .

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It's been patchy.

We live on the Coventry, which is part of the Warwickshire Ring and it has been busier then any of the 3 previous years we have lived here.

Our recent trip out took us through Brauniton,  which was absolutely manic, but the Staffs and Worcester and Shroppie were quiet.

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2 hours ago, matty40s said:

The central Grand Union has been busy all Summer (Stoke Bruerne to Braunston) - hire companies have had a cracking season. The Bank Holiday was not as busy as I expected going from Northants up to Anderton, but I did make sure I hit all the pinch points either very early or very late.

I'd agree with that ^^, we've cruised a couple of times between Marsworth and Stoke Bruerne this summer and on our non-cruising days we've been passed by at least 20-30 boats a day, well except the rainy days. ;)

Wyvern must be laughing all the way to the bank with this summers proceeds; and only 3 of them have managed to "bump" into us so far this summer:rolleyes: (no real damage done by any of them, thankfully) and none of them seemed overly intoxicated! All were very pleasant and ever so apologetic

Noticed a fair few Napton hireboats down this way this year, definitely more than in the past couple of years.

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I came through Molesey Lock last weekend, the lowest lock on the non-tidal Thames. The keeper said that the average traffic for August was over 3,000. They had not even reached 2,000 as of last weekend!

 

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Been on the extremities in the South (Lee, Stort, Wey) = quiet. Sometimes only three boats per day MOVING  ;)

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In the last few weeks I went up the GU to Braunston - the northern end was busy, especially with hire boats. The South Oxford was quite busy too, quieter towards Oxford but busy at the Napton end. And the Thames seemed busy until I got closer to London.

Perhaps it is a London thing - now that the London waterways are more about cheap housing and less about boating.

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Its been quite a busy summer on this section of the Oxford. We have had more boats passing our garden canalside than the last couple of years. The hire fleet is still well booked during September and into late October but we will see a big reduction in total of passing boats starting next week. First week of November it will drop hugely hence we are going boating mid October onwards, you know it makes sense.

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Just seems 'normal' to me. Granted I've only been trading for 3 summers now, but they've all seemed about the same. Some days i notice it's absolutely manic and the next day a bit quieter, but i guess it evens itself out.

One thing i do seem to remember though is since I've been a regular on this forum (about 5 years i think) there has regularly been threads like this with people thinking it's quieter. Maybe it's just one of those things boaters do, like blaming the wind when there is none.

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1 minute ago, Chop! said:

Busier on the Nen (Nene)

Boaters taking a last chance to travel the Nene and Ouse before it is closed until further notice. As claimed by the IWA in the Waterways press that both rivers were in a poor state and were in high-risk of being closed for an indefinite time.

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18 minutes ago, nbfiresprite said:

Boaters taking a last chance to travel the Nene and Ouse before it is closed until further notice. As claimed by the IWA in the Waterways press that both rivers were in a poor state and were in high-risk of being closed for an indefinite time.

There are certainly many shoals on the Nene that could do with addressing. 

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17 minutes ago, junior said:

Just seems 'normal' to me. Granted I've only been trading for 3 summers now, but they've all seemed about the same. Some days i notice it's absolutely manic and the next day a bit quieter, but i guess it evens itself out.

One thing i do seem to remember though is since I've been a regular on this forum (about 5 years i think) there has regularly been threads like this with people thinking it's quieter. Maybe it's just one of those things boaters do, like blaming the wind when there is none.

I do wonder how it compares to say 20-25 years ago. Less marinas, probably less privately owned boats, similar numbers of hire boats. The Shroppie and Llangollen were probably 'the big two' back then for popularity.

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7 hours ago, matty40s said:

I saw a Clifton Cruisers coming South  towards Northwich,  definitely out of the usual area !!

They have a couple of boats 'outbased' at Etruria these days.

 

It enables them to offer regular customers variety with the Four Counties Ring/Caldon etc, similar to Napton Narrowboats having a secondary base at Autherley Junction and Shire Cruisers operating from Barnoldswick in the summer months.

 

Gives 'picky' hirers like me more choice!

 

MARK 

 

 

 

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3 minutes ago, Philip said:

I do wonder how it compares to say 20-25 years ago. Less marinas, probably less privately owned boats, similar numbers of hire boats. The Shroppie and Llangollen were probably 'the big two' back then for popularity.

25 years ago there were less hire boats and much of them shorter than the present ones. There were a hell of a lot less marinas and we met very very few full time liveaboards. At that time we lived on the western end of the K and A moored at various places including Bath and between Bath and B o a there were about twenty boats I suppose ( scratches head ) There were less boats on the system and we could go a couple of hours without seeing another boat moving on most of the system including nice spots such as the maccy. Still there is absolutely masses of room still in the system so long as you avoid crap areas such as London.

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1 minute ago, Mark Rawlinson said:

They have a couple of boats 'outbased' at Etruria these days

Ah, didn't know Clifton were so far flung!!

 

I was very happy to see 2 Chas Hardern boats pass me, my first hire boat company in 1980.

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11 hours ago, mrsmelly said:

25 years ago there were less hire boats and much of them shorter than the present ones. There were a hell of a lot less marinas and we met very very few full time liveaboards. At that time we lived on the western end of the K and A moored at various places including Bath and between Bath and B o a there were about twenty boats I suppose ( scratches head ) There were less boats on the system and we could go a couple of hours without seeing another boat moving on most of the system including nice spots such as the maccy. Still there is absolutely masses of room still in the system so long as you avoid crap areas such as London.

When we started (50 years ago) it was a realistic call to ask people to share a lock, even on narrow canals. Now that would be very rare indeed.

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5 minutes ago, Mike Todd said:

When we started (50 years ago) it was a realistic call to ask people to share a lock, even on narrow canals. Now that would be very rare indeed.

Yes funny isn't it. I suppose myself included we now all think bigger is better space wise. As recently as 2000 the hire fleet here consisted of mainly 50 footers and less wheras now half of it are full length.

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I can only compare to the last few years because that's all I have direct experience of. But I get the feeling that on the whole there's a bit more traffic about, and the hire fleets are doing well out of all the canal programs on TV. On my last trip the Friday/Saturday/Sunday were busier than I'd expected, no doubt the fine weather helped, but Bank Holiday Monday was strangely quieter even though we were on the Coventry, usually quite a busy canal. There was even nothing much moving as we went through the Alvecote show, as they'd finished the parading bit.

It makes sense to me that an increasing proportion of hire boats are full length, as it's efficient use of space given the constraint of lock sizes. More people but still only one boat, and being mob handed they have plenty of crew to pull a 70 foot boat into the bank when necessary. There does of course need to be someone aboard who knows how to steer, and someone strong enough to open and close lock gates, but that's a bit more likely with a bigger crew.

On the Thames I feel I've seen more small craft (canoes/kayaks, rowers, dinghies, little motor boats) than in previous years. Hordes of the little things zipping back and forth. But that might just be down to the dates I've been on the river, or the weather. Fortunately most of them are pretty good at getting out of the way, and the rest will soon move across when the horn sounds and they turn round and see a big lump of steel coming.

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