21st Mar 2012
The Easter Boat Gathering 2012 at the National Waterways Museum, Ellesmere Port, is set to be a spectacular celebration of narrowboat culture.
Around fifty boats from across the canal network are expected at the four day event, which runs from 6 April.
And for 2012, the traditional fun and games will be joined by a Sea Shanty festival and three days of musical entertainment (April 6-8) and evening concerts. During the first three days of the gathering, shanty singers from across Europe will be performing their atmospheric songs among the museum’s historic dock buildings and renowned boat collection.
Family fun is guaranteed with children’s crafts and music workshops, plus costumed characters bringing Porters Row to life. Shanty singers will be showing youngsters how to perform traditional songs and highlighting some of the more gruesome aspects of life at sea. Add with old fashioned games around the museum, and there is plenty for all the family.
“Showcase the heritage and tradition of the canals”
Museum marketing manager Oliver Briscoe said: “We’re excited by the plans for the Easter Boat Gathering this year with a real emphasis on music and family fun. It’s a great chance to showcase the heritage and tradition of the canals to the general public in a great setting.”
Other events across the festival include demonstrations of traditional crafts, lectures, book stalls, lock demonstrations, battle of the tugs, and a tour of the museum’s Heritage Boatyard. The full programme will be available on the museum website at http://www.nwm.org.uk nearer the time.
16th Mar 2012
Following continued dry weather in some parts of the country British Waterways (BW) has published details of overnight lock closures at targeted locations in the Midlands and South that will help make the most of available water resources throughout the main boating season.
Some parts of southern and central England experienced the driest year on record in 2011 and the Environment Agency recently confirmed official drought conditions in the South East.
In January BW announced an additional £700,000 investment in around 24 schemes to improve water resources for the main boating season and, whilst the vast majority of the network will not be significantly affected, BW will also be locking selected lock gates overnight as a further measure to help conserve water throughout the summer.
The restrictions, which will come into effect on parts of the Grand Union and Oxford Canals before the end of March, will see boat movements controlled in some key locations with gates being locked at the end of each day to minimise wastage through vandalism or paddles being left open. Similar measures will be in place on the Kennet & Avon Canal as groundwater levels fall. These restrictions will be reviewed throughout the season and adjusted where appropriate and special openings will be considered at peak times such as Bank Holiday weekends.
“This is an unusual year”
Vince Moran, operations director explains; “We don’t want to restrict opening times, particularly so early in the season, but I’m sure most boaters would recognise that this is an unusual year. That’s why we’re investing a significant amount of money on a package of schemes which are focussed solely on maintaining navigation on the vast majority of the network throughout the main boating season.
“However it would be foolish of us to make this investment if we weren’t then careful with the water that it yields and that’s why we’re implementing these restrictions at selected locations in order to ensure we use water sensibly and responsibly to see us through the summer”.
The restrictions have been planned following discussions with boating organisations, canal societies and waterway businesses. As a direct result of these discussions BW has produced special maps showing the restrictions and the varying potential drought risk across the network as a tool to help boaters to plan their journeys.
“Only a small proportion of the network will be affected”
Vince continues; “Boating should be a pleasurable experience so we’ll ensure that boaters have access to a range of clear, accurate and up-to-date information to help them plan an enjoyable journey. And, of course, only a small proportion of the network will be affected so if boaters don’t need to be in the South East then what better opportunity to explore another hidden corner of the nationwide canal system?”
An example of the navigational map for April 2012 can be found alongside other drought information on our Reservoir Watch page.
01 April 2012
Gloucester Waterways Museum Llanthony Warehouse Gloucester
Gloucester & Sharpness Canal River Severn
Buy new and used products for boating, watersports and the outdoors at bargain prices. Plus, live music, craft demonstrations and free entry to the museum.
£3.50. Accompanied under-14s go free.
This mighty river, famous for its tidal bore, is Britain’s greatest natural waterway.