‘Bring Out Another Thousand’
NABO Chair Stella Ridgway gets ready for some springtime maintenance
Spring has finally sprung here in the Peak District: the birds are busy building nests; the wild garlic is sprouting; lambs are being born and the ducks and geese are mating loudly. My daffodils opened this week, the sun shone, and for the first time this year we didn’t need to put the engine on to charge the batteries as the solar panels had enough sunlight to charge them. We have noticed an increase in boats passing as folks take their boats out for a weekend cruise or start a spring journey. This is the time of year that the boat gets a good spring clean, although I am still waiting for the mud to dissipate before clearing the floor and scrubbing it. Muddy towpaths and dogs equal a constantly muddy floor and I have been pushing the mud around the floor all winter. We have two Labradors who love swimming, so towels to dry them off are constantly drying, no matter what the weather.
The National Inland Navigation Forum (NINF) met at the St. Pancras Cruising Club on 25th February, with eight of its eleven member organisations represented. This forum continues to be a useful meeting point, bringing together navigation bodies involved in the waterways.
The General Secretary, Michael Stimpson, reported that the forum’s finances were sound and he was unanimously re-appointed to his position.
CRT has begun the first phase of its three-stage consultation on how boats are licensed on its waterways, using the independent charity specialising in public engagement, Involve. In stage one; representatives of the main boating organisations are being interviewed to find their views on how the consultation should work and what it should cover. In the second stage, from April, a series of in-depth workshops will be held with boaters who reflect the diversity in the boating community. The final stage will consult all boat owners to find their views on the options developed during the first two stages. The aim is to find the fairest and simplest boat licensing system to address the financial contribution made by different types of boats. Ian Rogers, customer service and operations director at CRT, said: “The current licensing system has been in place for over 20 years. Boating has changed a lot in that time and the Trust wants to ensure the licensing structure is fit for purpose. Feedback from boaters suggests that many feel the current licensing is overly complex and can be perceived as unfair, and this consultation seeks to discuss these areas of concern.” See https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/national-consultations for how to get involved.
From dark arts, via 100 feet-wide locks, to volunteer lock-keepers
Editor Peter Fellows introduces a packed issue
We emerged from hibernation in March and a group took our shared narrowboat out for the first time this year, to introduce a new shareholding family to the joys of the cut. Although it was a fine, warm(ish) day, there were very few moving boats - possibly just as well while the new family got to grips with the tiller! I was surprised at the amount of floating debris in the Coventry Canal, presumably from storm Doris a few weeks before, and we had several stops to clear the prop. CRT contractors had also been out on the job, removing large trees that had fallen across the canal. In her column, Chair Stella is also emerging from the winter, with a myriad jobs that need doing come spring.