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astalweeks

Basingstoke Canal

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Today the wife and I cycled from Greywell tunnel to Woking along the canal. I would say the Basingstoke Canal has to be the prettiest canal on the system, especially at this time of year. Towpath in excellent condition, castles, pubs and no strings of linear boat moorings. Saw one boat on the move. 

Tomorrow we are going to finish it off and then head down to Godalming.

It's supposed to be november, feels like May!

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Yes, the Basingstoke canal is a lovely canal, being spoiled by the speed of cycles using the towpaths!

Try undoing or tying your wharps at around 8-9 am in the morning and about 4-5 pmin the afternoon. It's bloody dangerous!

One day a boater is gonna loose it and someones gonna get hurt!

Nipper

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1 hour ago, astalweeks said:

Towpath in excellent condition, castles, pubs and no strings of linear boat moorings

Don't worry, it will all change when C&RT takeover.

The council are trying to get C&RT take over responsibility for the canal to save the 'public purse' having to pay for its maintenance.

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The Basingstoke is a first class example of a canal thriving without any significant population of boats. 

CRT intend to copy this model in the long term, in my opinion. Those here who consider themselves an essential part of the attraction of the canals are kidding themselves. Canals are better for the walkers/cyclists/fishermen/birdwatchers/naturalists/canooists without all the bloody narrowboats.

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11 hours ago, Mike the Boilerman said:

 

The Basingstoke is a first class example of a canal thriving without any significant population of boats. 

CRT intend to copy this model in the long term, in my opinion. Those here who consider themselves an essential part of the attraction of the canals are kidding themselves. Canals are better for the walkers/cyclists/fishermen/birdwatchers/naturalists/canooists without all the bloody narrowboats.

I hope you are wrong.

The Basingstoke has, in my opinion, suffered greatly by being jointly owned by Surrey and Hampshire County Councils, who have minimised spend on the navigation elements (how long was the canal closed at Deepcut because of the need to spend money on new lock gates).

I think it would have fared better hnder BW/CRT ownership.

Edited by cuthound
  • Greenie 1

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It is is a nice canal to look at - but not nice to take a boat on. It is shallow, has a poor water supply and the lock gates leak so much that you must be accompanied by a Ranger through the locks. CaRT ownership could only improve things. 

 

 

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2 minutes ago, WJM said:

It is is a nice canal to look at - but not nice to take a boat on. It is shallow, has a poor water supply and the lock gates leak so much that you must be accompanied by a Ranger through the locks. CaRT ownership could only improve things. 

 

 

That actually almost fits many of the C&RT controlled canals

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42 minutes ago, Alan de Enfield said:

That actually almost fits many of the C&RT controlled canals

This is sadly the case in many areas i'm familiar with. 

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41 minutes ago, Alan de Enfield said:

That actually almost fits many of the C&RT controlled canals

I would totally disagree with that comment. The Basingstoke is the only canal where I have run completely aground mid-channel (and not on a short pound). It is also the only canal that I have had to moor overnight in mid-channel. I rammed the bow into the mud at the sides leaving the boat in the middle where there was water. I have never experienced that anywhere else.

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25 minutes ago, WJM said:

I would totally disagree with that comment. The Basingstoke is the only canal where I have run completely aground mid-channel (and not on a short pound). It is also the only canal that I have had to moor overnight in mid-channel. I rammed the bow into the mud at the sides leaving the boat in the middle where there was water. I have never experienced that anywhere else.

You have not been on the Grand Union recently

 

1 hour ago, WJM said:

It is is a nice canal to look at - but not nice to take a boat on. It is shallow, has a poor water supply and the lock gates leak so much that you must be accompanied by a Ranger through the locks. CaRT ownership could only improve things. 

 

 

Replace Ranger with Vlockie and you have CRT

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4 minutes ago, Tonka said:

You have not been on the Grand Union recently

 

 

My permanent mooring is on the Grand Union. And this summer I travelled the entire length of the GU. It seems to me you have never been on the Basingstoke. It is a totally different experience from any of the many canals I have navigated.

 

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11 minutes ago, Tonka said:

 

 

11 minutes ago, Tonka said:

Replace Ranger with Vlockie and you have CRT

A team of people travelling alongside you in a Landrover laboriously sealing up each lock with ash and juggling then the water levels - that is nothing like meeting a Vol Lockie.

Edited by WJM

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12 minutes ago, WJM said:

My permanent mooring is on the Grand Union. And this summer I travelled the entire length of the GU. It seems to me you have never been on the Basingstoke. It is a totally different experience from any of the many canals I have navigated.

 

Clearly you do not know the Basingstoke Canal

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Just now, Tonka said:

Clearly you do not know the Basingstoke Canal

Well I have travelled the entire length of it. My overwhelming impression was that it was very different from any canal I have ever been on before or since. I will be on it again in two weeks so I will look out for any changes.

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4 minutes ago, WJM said:

Well I have travelled the entire length of it. My overwhelming impression was that it was very different from any canal I have ever been on before or since. I will be on it again in two weeks so I will look out for any changes.

 

Same here.

And like you, having to make appointments to transit the locks makes it nothing like CRT canals!

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20 minutes ago, Mike the Boilerman said:

 

How might BW/CRT have created the water supply the canal needs?

That is a tricky one, which has been present from the day the Basingstoke was opened. It is exacerbated by recent development that has further lowered the water table. 

Reducing leaks and dredging the canal properly again (it has not been dredged from end to current end of navigation since it was reopened by volunteer labour in the 60's and 70's would improve the current situation.

I too have navigated the Basingstoke, twice but never in my own boat. Both times I hired from Galleon Marine at Odiham, once in a GRP cruiser and once in one of their narrowboats.

I have also walked the length of the navigable part and explored sections from Greywell to Basingstoke on foot.

Edited by cuthound
To add the last sentance.

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HNBC and Basingstoke Canal Society had their joint 50th anniversaries on the Basingstoke in August-16 - August when you would expect the water levels to be low. A number of former working boats made it to the end of the Navigation - just past King John’s (Odiham) Castle without too much trouble.  It has had water supply issues since it was built in about 1794 so it’s not a new issue.  Agree a beautiful canal - I used to live between the top of the Brookwood three and the bottom of Deepcut.  

It is top of the risk registers for both county councils and, in my opinion, they do not possess the long-term required expertise to continue to maintain the canal - it provides drainage for a huge amount of Surrey and Hampshire (and at one time provided cooling water for the National Jet Turbine establishment at Pyestock (RAE Farnborough)) so it had, and maintains, an important role in the infrastructure of both counties. Who remembers the Ash embankment failure of 1968?

My belief is that if an agreement is possible to transfer the Basingstoke to Canal & River Trust that will secure the future of the canal (and I am quite sure there’s lots of negotiation still to be completed). My question would then be what is the future for the River Wey and Godalming Navigations (National Trust since 1966) - not a ‘standard’ property for the National Trust but, in my opinion, yet another beautiful Waterway and well maintained - and it does have an excellent water supply which at times supplies the lower Basingstoke through a backpumping scheme at Woodham which pumps into the Woking pound.  There’s also backpumping from the bottom of the St John’s flight up into the Brookwood area but no backpumping for the Brookwood three and Deepcut but there is pumping at Mytchett (top of Deepcut) from the excess water from the railway close by.

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8 minutes ago, Leo No2 said:

My belief is that if an agreement is possible to transfer the Basingstoke to Canal & River Trust that will secure the future of the canal

 

Subject of course to the the doubts about the long term viability of CRT, due to gov't funding ceasing in a few years. 

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16 hours ago, Alan de Enfield said:

Don't worry, it will all change when C&RT takeover.

The council are trying to get C&RT take over responsibility for the canal to save the 'public purse' having to pay for its maintenance.

Excellent news, we will no longer have the ridiculous situation where you require four different licenses to get to the Basingstoke from CRT waters

Tim

1 hour ago, Mike the Boilerman said:

 

Subject of course to the the doubts about the long term viability of CRT, due to gov't funding ceasing in a few years. 

And how is that any different to the savage government cuts to the present owners budgets?

Tim

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1 hour ago, Tim Lewis said:

And how is that any different to the savage government cuts to the present owners budgets?

 

It isn't, which is the point I was making. 

Leo No2 said it would secure the future of the Basingstoke. I don't think it will. 

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1 hour ago, Mike the Boilerman said:

 

It isn't, which is the point I was making. 

Leo No2 said it would secure the future of the Basingstoke. I don't think it will. 

I was (perhaps am) working on the assumption that Canal & River Trust future is secure (well certainly more so than the ability of both Surrey and Hampshire County Councils to continue to invest in the essential Basingstoke maintenance).  I think with the 'ownership' transferred to Canal & River Trust there remains a very positive future for the Basingstoke on the assumption there is a future for Canal & River Trust; I don't think the same applies if 'ownership' remains 'as is'.

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I am with MtB on this.

I agree the future under present ownership is bleak.   However, even working on the assumption that the future of CRT is secure (one  I share, though without any conviction that the future of the waterways is secure with CRT) I cannot see how CRT taking on another under resourced maintenance and water supply headache will be a good thing for the canal  on the terms Surrey and Hampshire are likely to be seeking. 

The councils  have expressed a wish " to save the 'public purse' having to pay for its maintenance"  (meaning the councils want it out of their public purse and into CRT's part public purse). That indicates to me that they don't want to cough up any long-term ongoing fees to pay for the management and upkeep even though there are amenity and drainage  benefits of the canal.   I doubt the Councils have enough spare reserves to bung in a sufficient endowment to avoid CRT having to find money from their existing income.  I also believe the prospects of CRT getting an extra grant from the Guvmint  (us taxpayers) to take on a canal that has never been nationally owned is vanishingly small.

CRT will also have an eye on the probability  of being shafted having to spend a load more money on the EA waterways if they are transferred.

So, unless there is a sudden and dramatic increase in the charitable or property income to CRT, neither of which seems likely, I think the Basingstoke is in the Elsan.

There will probably be a fudge whereby the councils cough up a little money, but not enough, CRT will smile and (thinking of a gong or two) say they can do it even though they know that is not the case.   The IWA will ignore realities and praise another step on the route to a single waterway management and the canal will be  ceremonially transferred.   CRT will then  hunt frantically for savings, regardless of consequence,  so bye-bye Rangers, water control and upkeep. 

Inevitably, like the  rest of the system, it will then all steadily slide down hill. 

N

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