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Neil@CanalVoyagers

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About Neil@CanalVoyagers

  • Birthday 14/12/82

Profile Information

  • Location
    Newbury

Previous Fields

  • Occupation
    Hotel Boat Owner/Operator
  • Boat Name
    Snipe & Taurus

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  • Website URL
    http://www.canalvoyagers.com/
  1. Google 'Voltage Sensitive Relay'. You can use one of these between the two banks instead of a manual switch. Then, when Bank A is fully charged the relay will open, charging Bank B and maximising your panel output. These relays will close again if one bank begins to discharge the other too much.
  2. The drains from the main road run off into the canal by the road bridge below Limekiln lock and I think this contributes to the build up of muck. I was fortunate enough to have enough momentum to coast through with our pair. Counted 4 wheelie bins in the pound between Limekiln and Belgrave... it makes for quite an interesting slalom run and I imagine it is a massive shock to those heading upstream as it is the first canal section for a while and hence the change in depth (and revs you can apply) suddenly alters.
  3. Flood lock was closed at Pillings yesterday but green on traffic lights so could work through it. Reasonable flow through Barrow bridge but current was dropping off rapidly yesterday so would expect no issues today. We've just popped down from Loughborough onto the Trent and the Soar is very quiet now at this end.
  4. There was only one other boat in the basin with us when we moored there two weekends ago. The swing bridge is open so there is enough bank side mooring for 3 70ft boats in the left arm and 4 in the right. CCTV in the basin should give you some peace of mind. The lady who owns the comic book store is friendly to boaters and may keep an eye on them of you pop in and introduce yourself.
  5. Planning on taking our hotel boat pair downstream from on the Soar this week (Mkt Harboro' to Burton). Can't decide whether the river levels are on a downward trend or if they're going to stay high for the next few days. Don't want to risk anything other than green indicator boards when towing downstream. Is there anyone that can advise?
  6. Hilmorton is to be restricted. However, my thinking would be: 1) To encourage more boats down onto the long pound below Hilmorton (a reservoir in itself due to its size), rather than down (and then back up) the locks leading to Leamington from Calcutt. 2) I may be wrong on this, but is there more likely to be a water volume saving on 2 x Hilmorton locks vs 1 x Calcutt lock full? Perhaps reading more in that than BW though! 3) There are more berths on the North Oxford/Braunston pounds versus the GU North/Braunston pounds?
  7. I don't have any reservoir data for the L&L at the start of 2010 to contradict what you say, but I should point out that BW did some excellent maintenance work on the canal when they closed it that summer. Gates were ordered early, others were relined and generally the track was left in a much much better state for the beginning of the 2011 season. It might be possible that you've had similar (or less) rainfall this winter compared to 2010, but the state of the structures mean less is lost? As I am sure you are actually aware, my summary on rainfall was a national one. National rainfall averages are much lower now.
  8. I think Sovereign Narrowboats in Banbury and Walkers at Aynho have pump out machines. I think the BW services below Banbury lock still have a functioning pump out too.
  9. I agree, that communication hasn't been great, but at least information was offered at the user meetings - this is an improvement on things previously. I believe that Lapworth, Hatton, Bascote, Braunston, Northampton Arm, Stoke Bruerne, Cosgrove aqueduct and Soulbury have all only had their winter maintenance stoppages removed at various times in the last two weeks, so at least any 'losses' would have only been since then. I see the red/amber/green map more as a publicity piece than a deterrent to boaters. Also, the weather is very unpredictable in March/April compared to May/June, so waterways that are amber/red now might not be next week! Unfortunately in my experience, people tend to ignore advice in these situations and of they want to cruise a waterway a map covered in red or orange isn't going to stop them... they'll go the way they want to go and won't be told what to do. There were still people turning up at the top of Foxton locks last year two weeks after it had been restricted to essential traffic - "They'll bloody well let me down, I'm different." seems to be the assumption. The only way to reduce boat passages is to restrict the time available.
  10. For those that haven't looked at the Waterscape Reservoir Watch it's here. Alan, I think that the details about restrictions were due to be finalised and 'signed off' by BW management this week - there were meetings in other SE locations with users/stakeholders last week. Please remember folks that this is a unique situation. Things haven't been this dry since the mid-1970s and the canals have such high numbers of boat movements now that we must all (private boaters/trade/fishermen/etc) expect to make compromises for the benefit of all, not just to help things this year, but also to stabilise them for next. Also, in a critical year for canal PR, to run around with our arms in the air shouting "canals are closed" (when they are not) does nothing to help the cause in the eyes of the general public. Regional TV networks and newspapers love to sensationalise when they have a quiet news day and what we really want to see this year is lots of positive news stories about canals and boating... Positive Coverage = Awareness = Support = Funding = Better canals for all! The comments below are my own assumptions based upon data presented to me over the last few months by British Waterways. As things stand: Expect everything north of Birmingham to have great reservoir stocks. Peak & Pennines (incl. Caldon) now nearly full and BCN filling extremely fast now boreholes are being tapped. K&A - Aquifer supplying extra water K&A (east) being tapped now, but probably won't be any extra water to take after Easter. Expect restrictions soon but nothing that should hinder casual boating (i.e. 9am-5pm opening hours perhaps). Summit is a much bigger issue, I have no information on water control and potential availability. K&A (west) should have good stocks if back pumps working from Avon to Devizes maintain levels vs usage. Leicester Summit and through Kings Lock - I suspect this area will again struggle to increase and then maintain it stocks. I would expect to see heavy restrictions from the start, perhaps even essential traffic only (i.e. returning to your home mooring) in mid-summer, as it was last year. GU North, Oxford, Cov, etc - I think some new pumps have been installed on GU North which should be more efficient and reliable and help the situation from Calcutt down to Leamington. Some feeders have been cleared in this area to make them more efficient and new SCADA measuring equipment installed in some locations to track and minimise losses link. However, we are starting the year with South Eastern reservoirs at 50-75% of the stocks they had in Feb 2011 (see link at top of post). Therefore the simple projection is that if the weather continues to be dryer than average, for the restrictions to be minimal there would need to be a 50% reduction in boat movements. I would expect to see restrictions throughout this area very soon, along the lines of a daily opening slot at Napton/Claydon (4hrs, like last year?) and Hillmorton (7), Calcutt (7). GU South - Braunston looks like it might get back pumps finally. I would expect to see restrictions of 5-6 hour openings on Braunston, Buckby and Tring summit. Some weir boards have been raised either side of Tring summit and I would be keen to hear if any forum members have noted an improvement. I suspect Aylesbury and Northampton will be restricted to essential traffic (i.e. returning to a home mooring). The restrictions will put a few people off, perhaps weekend trips will be shortened and people will be a bit less ambitious with their cruising routes. After all that is the main aim, to try to encourage people to use less water, which can only be achieved with fewer lock movements overall. However, if you are tackling a cruising ring or boating at a leisurely pace over a longer distance, surely a 9am-5pm or even a 10am-4pm restriction (as most were last year) is unlikely to disrupt your boating day too greatly.
  11. All those dredgers in London are either 'Land & Water' or 'Wood, Hall and Heward' owned. All this kind of work has been contracted out for years - the equipment is readily available and has been for many winters, its the funds to sub it out that are not forthcoming.
  12. Surely if they are going to be carrying paying passengers they must have a suitably qualified skipper and/or crew? Not many MCA Boatmasters out there qualified to carry passengers on vessels with more than 12 passengers.
  13. Just to report back, there were no problems at all. The slip is about 18' wide and plenty deep enough to push the bows almost to the end. Thanks for all your advice, and another correction for my useless Imray guide book.
  14. Can anyone say with confidence that I can wind a pair of narrow boats at Judes Ferry? I've searched the forum and heard mixed reports from boaters leaving me a bit confused - if I need to use the mouth of the slipway to wind, is it wide enough to wind breasted up? Don't want to go up the wiggly bit and have to reverse back to Isleham lock!
  15. I've heard that a certain contractor didn't remove the coffer dam from the middle of the tunnel correctly before it was opened. Hence the problems deep boats are experiencing in there is lessening with each one that passes through and erodes some of it away!