I mentioned earlier that Waterways Ireland intends to promote the collection, archiving and use of waterways oral history. Across the water, I gather that the Canal & River Trust is setting up a Canal Research Network:
Canal & River Trust is the charity entrusted with the care of 2,000 miles of waterways in England and Wales. Our canals are home to over 2,700 listed structures, 50 scheduled ancient monuments and five UNESCO world heritage sites. The National Waterways Museum in Ellesmere Port is home to the Waterways Archive, an internationally significant collection of historic records relating to Britain’s waterways and the people who built, used, and lived on and near them both within Britain and as connections to the sea and the world beyond.
We are keen to establish a scholarly research network for academics and researchers in other organisations to connect with the Canal & River Trust and with each other, sharing their research and finding opportunities for collaboration. The reach of our organisation and the quality of resources available means that there is real scope to develop meaningful, impactful projects together.
We would very much like to invite you to the inaugural meeting of the Canal Research Network at the Rolt Conference Centre at the National Waterways Museum on Wednesday 22nd July from 11am – 2pm. There will be an opportunity to hear about future plans for the museum and archive — including a proposed collaborative doctoral award between Canal & River Trust and the University of Huddersfield. We are unable to cover travel
costs, but lunch will be provided.
RSVP email@example.com by Monday 13 July. Full details of the programme will be sent in due course.
Please feel free to pass this invitation on to colleagues in your organisation or elsewhere who may be interested in coming — please ask them to RSVP to the email above. And if you would like to be part of the network but cannot make that date, let us know and we will add you to the mailing list for future events.
With all best wishes
The Waterways Archive
National Waterways Museum
South Pier Road
Tel: 0151 373 4378 […]
That reached me on the same day as the Railway & Canal Historical Society’s Journal Number 223, July 2015, which contains an article by Joseph Boughey “Waterways history research: progress, prospects, problems and limits”, in which he says
What is now needed, I submit, is a Waterways Study Centre (WSC), or rather two, one in physical form, one provided and accessed by electronic means. […] I would envisage that [the WSC] would need to be located in, or close to, an established archive of documents and other artefacts. (Given this, only one or two current locations seem appropriate, but ideally existing facilities could be expanded!)
Posted in Canals, Foreign parts, Historical matters, Modern matters, Sources, waterways, Waterways management
Tagged archives, Canal and River Trust, Joseph Boughey, Railway & Canal Historical Society, research, UK
I am grateful to Waterways Ireland for letting me have the Shannon traffic figures for the first five months of 2015. All the usual caveats apply:
- the underlying figures do not record total waterways usage (even for the Shannon) as, for instance, sailing, fishing or waterskiing on lakes or river stretches, which did not involve a passage through a lock or Portumna Bridge, would not be recorded
- the passage records would not show, for instance, a change in the balance of types of activities from those in larger cruising boats to those in smaller (sailing, fishing, waterskiing) boats
- figures like these will not necessarily be representative of those for the year as a whole. The winter months, January to March, see little traffic in any year; for April, May and June, the weather can have a large influence on the amount of activity especially, I suspect, in private boats.
On the other hand, the figures do include the Shannon’s most significant tourism activity, the cruiser hire business. And they are our only consistent long-term indicator of usage of the inland waterways.
The big news is that there is an increase in the amount of hire-boat traffic and a decrease in the amount of private traffic. [Personal observation suggests very little activity on Lough Derg, apart from the sailing bods.]
All boats. Note the slight increase in total traffic — or is it a dead-cat bounce?
The increase comes from hire-boat traffic …
… as private-boat traffic is down on last year
Nonetheless, hire-boat traffic is still close to 40% of what it was in 2003, with no sign of a major recovery
But, at least for April and May, hire boats are the major users of the Shannon
In January, 18 boat passages were recorded, 9 of them at Portumna Bridge. There were 20 passages in February and 362 in March. Is there any point in keeping the Shannon open throughout the winter?
In the first five months, 11 boats used Sarsfield Lock, the sea-lock in Limerick. There were 88 passages through Pollboy Lock on the River Suck. On the Lough Allen Canal, 96 boats went through Battlebridge Lock, 95 through Drumleague and only 38 through Drumshanbo. These branches can’t be paying their way.
Posted in Canals, Economic activities, Engineering and construction, Extant waterways, Ireland, Irish inland waterways vessels, Modern matters, Operations, Restoration and rebuilding, Shannon, shannon estuary, Sources, Tourism, Water sports activities, waterways, Waterways management
Tagged Ballinasloe, Battlebridge, bridge, Drumleague, Drumshanbo, hire boats, Limerick, lock, Pollboy, Portumna, private boats, Sarsfield Lock, Shannon, traffic
A minister speaks [or at least reads out a script prepared by other people].
I see that
The independent Standing Scientific Committee on Eels sets targets of quantities to be transported annually.
Which would be nice, if transporting eels were an end in itself. But the object is surely to increase the eel population, and I note that the minister had nothing to say on that subject. Nor did he tell John McGuinness what the stock of eels was. So we have no idea whether all this activity is achieving anything, and responsibility is diffused amongst the members of an Standing Scientific Committee on Eels, none of whom seem to have any stake in the matter.
This is a clear case for privatisation: sell the eels and the fishing rights to people [cooperatives, as on Lough Neagh?] who will have an interest in managing the populations of eels, rather than in managing the numbers trapped and transported.
The minister also introduced a red herring about compensation, which he wasn’t asked about. By my reckoning he answered only half the question, and even that credits him with answering the ritual invocation “if he will make a statement on the matter”.
Posted in Economic activities, Engineering and construction, Extant waterways, Ireland, Modern matters, Natural heritage, Non-waterway, Operations, People, Politics, Sea, Shannon, shannon estuary, The fishing trade, waterways, Waterways management
Tagged eels, ESB, Lough Neagh, red herrings, trap and transport
Saturday. Leave London 0730; on the Eurotunnel shuttle at 0950. In Calais, roll round to Majestic Wine, who pay for your Eurotunnel ticket if you have ordered £300 worth of wines.
Then east on the E40 towards Dunkirk, then south on the E42 towards Steenvoorde. On to the minor roads east and north-east. Surrounded by hop fields, you can see what Jacques Brel meant about “Mijn platte land, mijn Vlaanderland” [“My flat country, my Flanders“] in Marieke and “Mijn vlakke land/Le Plat Pays“. Good country for these things, though, and for more conventional pedal-powered vehicles.
On to the lovely little town of Poperinge for a splendid lunch at the outdoor tables of the Hotel Amfora. Hops with several of the dishes, including the eel, and a chance to try the grey shrimps, perhaps caught by mounted shrimp fishermen. An excellent range of beers for lunch, including the very refreshing Poperings Hommel Bier.
A short distance to the north is the Trappist Abbey of Saint Sixtus, home of the Westvleteren Brewery. If you’ve been lucky enough to be allowed to order some of their beer, you turn up at the appointed time and get your two crates, while looking disapprovingly at those who have not booked and are begging to be allowed to buy. They are turned away empty-handed but they — and you — can enjoy a glass of the beer at the café across the road.
Then back through Poperinge and, en route to the E42, a stop at Noel Cuvelier’s beer shop, which is just as it is described here. A phenomenal range, amazing value and lots of glasses. Fill any remaining space in your car, then head for Calais; back in London in less than twelve hours.
Waterways? The road crosses some ….
Posted in Ashore, Foreign parts
Tagged beer, Belgium, Calais, Dunkirk, eurotunnel, Hotel Amfora, Jacques Brel, Majestic, Noel Cuvelier, Poperinge, Westvleteren, wine
The action of paddling keeps you warm above the waist and the canoe and spray cover keep you warm below the waist, so that heavy clothing is rarely necessary when canoeing, whatever the time of year. For normal purposes all that is necessary is a shirt and shorts and a pair of light rubber or string-soled shoes or sandals.
Carry warmer clothing in a waterproof bag to put on when you go ashore.
For windy weather a hooded ‘Anorak’ is useful (Fig 41).
For wet weather wear a sou’wester and an oilskin or plastic jacket (and trousers for going ashore). If you wear gum boots when you are ashore TAKE THEM OFF before getting into your canoe.
That’s from Know the Game: Boating: rowing, canoeing, punting published by Educational Productions Limited of East Ardsley, Wakefield, Yorkshire in 1960.
Its cover has a drawing of three chaps: one is canoeing, clad as recommended in shorts and shirt; one is punting; the third is sculling, and he has a passenger, a young lady wearing a (below the knee) frock who is steering the boat using the rudder lines. Apart from the cover, none of the book’s 86 illustrations shows a female.
O tempora, O mores! Buoyancy aids, helmets and fluorescent clothing are now required, as shown in the pics on the Shannon Blueways site. [Incidentally, if there’s a link to that site from the Waterways Ireland site, I was unable to find it.] I’m all in favour of safety, but I wonder whether the amount of extraneous kit and clobber needed to go boating nowadays is a deterrent to potential newcomers.
Posted in Economic activities, Extant waterways, Ireland, Irish inland waterways vessels, Safety, Shannon, Water sports activities, waterways, Waterways management
Tagged Blueways, Ireland, Shannon, Waterways Ireland