Crick Boat Show

We’ve just finished a busy day setting up our stand at the Crick Boat Show.

IMG_1645
Our stand at the Crick Boat Show

We’ve moved location, a little, to get a bigger stand this year to celebrate our anniversaries, but we are still on the back row of the Boating Marquee.  We’re now in the centre of the back row, between the fire doors.

It’s 10 years since we started producing DVDs and we’ve produced more than 50 DVDs.

The May issue is the 50th monthly update for our maps and we’ve produced more than 60 different maps.

Our stand at the Crick Boat Show
Our stand at the Crick Boat Show

Everything is in stock and we’ll be very pleased to see you.  Please come and say hello if your are visiting the show – but please try to avoid the very busy middle part of Saturday if you would like a long chat.

If you would like to update your maps to the latest version then we can do it at a discounted price if you bring proof of your earlier purchase.  If you email me in advance (paul@waterwayroutes.co.uk) then I can check my records and calculate the discount ready for you.

Grand Union Canal – Leicester Section DVDs

I am pleased to say our Grand Union Canal – Leicester Section DVDs have just been released.

Grand Union Canal - Leicester Section Cover (Combined Version)
Grand Union Canal – Leicester Section Cover (Combined Version)

The Grand Union Canal – Leicester Section DVDs are available in our usual three formats:-

  • Popular – like a television programme showing the highlights of the canal
  • Bowcam – a forward facing camera, speeded up for a little fun, showing the whole canal
  • Combined – both Popular and Bowcam in one box for the best of both worlds, saving money and postage.
Grand Union Canal - Leicester Section DVDs. Popular, Bowcam and Combined (left to right).
Grand Union Canal – Leicester Section DVDs.
Popular, Bowcam and Combined (left to right).

The DVDs follow the Leicester Section of the Grand Union Canal from Norton Junction to Trent Junction, including the Welford, Market Harborough and Loughborough Arms.  We complete our journey along the Erewash Canal from Trent Junction to Langley Mill.

Route covered by the Grand Union Canal - Leicester Section DVDs
Route covered by the Grand Union Canal – Leicester Section DVDs

The Popular and Combined DVDs each include an information booklet and a fold-out map.

Contents of the Grand Union Canal - Leicester Section Combined DVD. Both Popular and Bowcam discs, a fold-out map and an information booklet
Contents of the Grand Union Canal – Leicester Section Combined DVD.
Both Popular and Bowcam discs, a fold-out map and an information booklet

Enjoy this canal from the comfort of your armchair as you watch our Grand Union Canal – Leicester Section DVDs.

We also have the Grand Union Canal – Leicester Section Maps which are available to download in both Acrobat (pdf) and Memory-Map (qct) formats..

Extract from the Grand Union Canal - Leicester Section Map
Extract from the Grand Union Canal – Leicester Section Map

 

Standedge Tunnel

In 2013 we passed through Standedge Tunnel as we were filming for our South Pennine Ring DVDs.  I was steering the boat and didn’t have much chance to appreciate the inside of the tunnel.

Waiting outside the Marsden (North East) Portal of Standedge Tunnel.
Waiting outside the Marsden (North East) Portal of Standedge Tunnel.

Here we are queuing in the early morning before the trip boats start operating.

When I saw Tom & Jan, on Waiouru, were approaching Standedge Tunnel I asked if I could join them and I was delighted to be allowed to sit in the bows all the way through.  You get a much better view that way.  I did offer to steer part way so Tom could admire the tunnel but he preferred to steer all the way.

Looking up the Huddersfield Narrow Canal towards summit.
Looking up the Huddersfield Narrow Canal towards summit.

I caught the train to Greenfield Station and walked the final two and a half miles to join Tom & Jan at the Diggle (South West) Portal to Standedge Tunnel.

Standedge Tunnel, South West Portal.
Standedge Tunnel, South West Portal.

We were soon heading into the Diggle Portal of Standedge Tunnel, with Tom steering and Trevor, the volunteer chaperone, providing advice.

Many different profiles inside Standedge Tunnel.
Many different profiles inside Standedge Tunnel.

The tunnel is difficult to steer as there are many changes of profile inside and the view from the stern, over the roof of the boat is very restricted.

Many sections are exposed rock.
Many sections are exposed rock.

Many parts of Standedge Tunnel are just exposed rock with pointy bits sticking out in all directions, ready to mark the paintwork if the steerer isn’t concentrating all the time.

Wider sections inside Standedge Tunnel.
Wider sections inside Standedge Tunnel.

There are several wider sections inside Standedge Tunnel where steering doesn’t require extra concentration, although it can be difficult to identify which side to keep to at the far end when it narrows again.

Variety of arches
Variety of arches

Arched sections of roof provide interesting reflections, unseen by the steerer, while retaining the sticking our bits of rock to catch the cabin sides.

Standedge Tunnel Trip Boat
Standedge Tunnel Trip Boat

Trip boats operate a short distance into the tunnel from the Marsden (North East) portal and we had to wait at the last check point while one entered the tunnel, then we followed it out.

Standedge Tunnel Trip Boats
Standedge Tunnel Trip Boats

The trip boat moors just outside the Marsden Portal of Standedge Tunnel and the guests watch for us emerging from the tunnel after seeing our approaching headlight when they were inside.

Tom and Chaperone
Tom and Trevor, the Chaperone.

Tom (who has just removed his hard hat) and Trevor, the volunteer chaperone, emerge from the Marsden Portal of Standedge Tunnel.

The Pennines over Standedge Tunnel.
The Pennines over Standedge Tunnel.

The Tunnel Keeper’s Office is on the right, where all boat movements are controlled from.  The Pennines behind, that we’ve just passed through, make an impressive sight.

A big thank you to Tom & Jan for allowing me to join them for this passage.  There are lots more photos on Waiouru’s blog, including much better photos by their son, Daniel.

Map Updates – May 2016 – Issue 50

I’m pleased to announce the May 2016 updates to my cruising maps are now available.

Extract from Warwickshire Ring Cruising Map.
Extract from Warwickshire Ring Cruising Map.

All of the maps have been updated this month, to include the latest Ordnance Survey (OS) background maps. Most have updates to the waterway features too.

I started making monthly updates available shortly after releasing the first maps and I’m pleased to say we’ve reached our 50th monthly issue.

Remember, you can update your map to the latest version – free during the first year (initial map plus 11 monthly updates) and a small charge after that.  You can also upgrade to a larger map.  Just email paul@waterwayroutes.co.uk with details of your existing map(s) for a no obligation quote.

Map Updates – April 2016 – Issue 49

I’m pleased to announce the April 2016 updates to my cruising maps are now available.

Extract from Cotswold Canals Map
Extract from Cotswold Canals Map

You can see a full list of the latest issue of the maps, but those with significant changes this month are:-

Remember, you can update your map to the latest version – free during the first year and a small charge after that.  You can also upgrade to a larger map.  Just email paul@waterwayroutes.co.uk with details of your existing maps for a no obligation quote.

Dudley Canal & Tunnel Trust

We’ve just returned from our first cruise of the season over the past two days, from our home mooring at Sherborne Wharf to Wolverhampton and back.  It’s always nice to be cruising again, and we identified a few items that need fixing after the winter before we start cruising again.

New Swing Bridge across the Dudley No 1 Canal
New Swing Bridge across the Dudley No 1 Canal

On the way we stopped to see the Dudley Canal & Tunnel Trust’s new visitor centre which was opened on 14th March 2016 by HRH The Princess Royal.

Dudley Canal & Tunnel Trust Visitor Centre
Dudley Canal & Tunnel Trust Visitor Centre

There’s a new swing bridge across the canal which provides a level link to the Black Country Living Museum and the boarding point for the trip boats into Dudley Tunnel.  The tunnel portal is just visible in the background.

Dudley Tunnel Trip Boats
Dudley Tunnel Trip Boats

The trip boats are electric and have a low height so they fit into Dudley Tunnel which has such a low profile that most narrowboats will not fit inside.

Helping Seyella

It was early yesterday morning when I arrived in Wigan by train.  I was on the way to help Geoff and Mags on Seyella come down the Wigan Flight.

Waiouru in Wigan
Waiouru in Wigan

I paused to say hello to Jan on Waiouru as I walked past on the way to the top of the Wigan Flight.

Seyella at Wigan Top Lock
Seyella at Wigan Top Lock

Meg spotted my arrival at the top of the flight as she waited patiently outside Seyella.

Wigan Top Lock
Wigan Top Lock

It was a lovely day once the sun had come out and Wigan Top Lock looked very welcoming.

Mags steering Seyella
Mags steering Seyella

There were no boats within the flight so I lifted one top paddle on the locks near the top of the flight so they would be full by the time we came down.  Geoff went ahead to open the gate and see the boat in safely as Mags steered Seyella and I shut the paddles and gates behind.

Geoff winding paddles down the Wigan Flight
Geoff winding paddles down the Wigan Flight

Geoff and Mags are used to working together and there was no need to hold the boat on the centre rope as the locks are gentle when emptying.

Jan arrives from Waiouru
Jan arrives from Waiouru

Jan walked up from Waiouru and met us part way down the flight, providing another pair of hands.

Jan winding the gate shut
Jan winding the gate shut

Some of the locks have winding hear to help close the gates.

Jan having fun on the Wigan Flight
Jan having fun on the Wigan Flight

Jan seems to be having fun – it’s not often that happens on the heavy locks of the Wigan Flight.

Meg, Geoff and Mags at Poolstock Bottom Lock
Meg, Geoff and Mags at Poolstock Bottom Lock

Jan left us at the bottom lock of the main flight and I stayed on board to help with the two Poolstock Locks.

I left Meg, Geoff and Mags looking very happy at Poolstock Bottom Lock.  It took four and a half hours from top to bottom, including a stop for a brew half way down with four of us working well together – it would have taken Geoff and Mags much longer on their own.  The 21 locks in the main Wigan Flight, plus two at Poolstock, are hard work, with some of them being very hard work.

I paused to help Jan with a minor problem as I walked back to the station and caught the train home.

10th Anniversary

Ten years ago today I sold the first Waterway Routes DVD.

Leeds & Liverpool Canal DVD Cover
Leeds & Liverpool Canal DVD Cover

After many hours of careful editing, I added the Leeds & Liverpool Canal DVD to my website and crossed my fingers to see how it would sell. The answer was very well and it led to the whole series of Waterway Routes DVDs.

Thank you to S who was my first customer, and to his wife L.  They became regular customers and now help with proof watching DVDs and, more recently, with crewing the boat and filming too.

A very big thank you to all my customers who have purchased DVDs (and Maps) and it’s nice to see many of your names appear regularly as you return each year to purchase more.

Bridgewater Canal Stop Gates – 2

I recently blogged about the new stop gates being installed on the Leigh Arm of the Bridgewater Canal.

Tom & Jan on Waiouru have cruised through the re-opened canal today and been kind enough let me have photos of the finished work, with permission to publish them.

New Stop Gates - © Tom Jones (Waiouru)
New Stop Gates – © Tom Jones (Waiouru)

I wonder what the mooring bollards are for.  Perhaps they will be handy for workboats when maintenance is being carried out.

The new stop gates have overlapping beams at different heights, although there is very little clearance between them.  It will take very little warping with age before they start touching each other and I wonder how long it will be before adjustments are required.

New Stop Gates - © Tom Jones (Waiouru)
New Stop Gates – © Tom Jones (Waiouru)

There are grooves for stop planks to be inserted so work can be carried out on the gates.  Hopefully that won’t be needed too often.

Map Updates – March 2016 – Issue 48

I’m pleased to announce the March 2016 updates to my cruising maps are now available.

Extract from Trent & Mersey Canal Map
Extract from Trent & Mersey Canal Map

You can see a full list of the latest issue of the maps, but those with significant changes this month are:-

Remember, you can update your map to the latest version – free during the first year and a small charge after that.  You can also upgrade to a larger map.  Just email paul@waterwayroutes.co.uk with details of your existing maps for a no obligation quote.