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.
Many Council members were otherwise engaged and so the March meeting was cancelled, giving Fly on the Wall the day off, but there’s been a lot happening at CRT over the last few weeks ‒ all reported in this issue: the boat licensing review is underway; there are updates on progress to transfer EA’s waterways and the impact of HS2; price increases on CRT-owned moorings; a new interim head of boating, following Mike Grimes’ departure at Easter; and developments at Paddington Basin. Plus a government consultation on red diesel that no-one seems to have heard about. Mike Rodd reports on the National Inland Navigation Forum AGM in February and there is a list of floating markets that you might want to visit this year.
In the boating section, Helen Hutt has an expensive clean-out of her diesel tank, diesel tanks being something I guess many of us simply forget about, and David Fletcher experiences a fascinating world of boating through 100+ feet-wide locks on the Panama Canal, aboard a 90,000 tonne vessel. I have also included an article on galvanic isolators for those readers, who like me, previously thought that hull corrosion due to galvanic currents was simply some manifestation of the dark arts.
Several readers have contributed their views in this issue, both in ‘Talking Points’ and in the letters pages: Jim Batty has some fresh perspectives on low-impact, online moorings for residential boaters; there are differing views on Scottish Canals’ proposal to turn one of the caissons on the Falkirk Wheel into a pedestrian viewing platform, thus reducing the opportunities for hire and private boats to pass between the Union and Forth and Clyde Canals; and Mark Tizard has some thoughts on the activities of volunteer lock-keepers. Mark Holdsworth describes the charity ‘The Narrowboat Sessions’, which raises money for Cancer Research, while promoting unsigned musicians. There is also a look at problems with boats hanging up in locks on the L&L Bank Newton flight ‒ and now we know where many of the new boats in London have come from. Enjoy this issue and the warmer weather to come.