Many of the sites I have discovered this month are aimed at providing the boat owner with goods and services. Leisurecraft & Marine Services www.leisurecraftmarineservices.co.uk is a surveying, consultancy and marine engineering service for private boat owners and the marine industry. Based at Middlewich they cover Cheshire, Lancashire, Yorkshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Derbyshire and North Wales. Euro Marine Consultants Limited www.euro-marine.com are independent marine consultants based in the Northwest and West Midlands. They offer various types of survey and complete design and project management services from concept to completed vessel.
S A B Signs www.sabsigns.com is the site of Sheila Smith who provides traditional hand painted signwriting, ink drawings, narrowboat decoration and graining services. An alternative approach to sign writing is to be found on Cut Signs www.cutsigns.co.uk a supplier of vinyl lettering and stencil signs for boats, allowing do-it-yourself lettering to be applied by those without sign writing skills.
Ship to Shore www.shiptoshore.co.uk is a mail forwarding service for inland as well as sea going boaters at home or abroad. The Locker Maintenance & Supply Company Ltd www.thelocker.co.uk are based on the River Wey and sell fittings and diesel will continue to rise". Power Master Systems Ltd www.powermastersystems.com is a recently established company promoting the latest products from Power Master Technology Co. Ltd of Taiwan. These include DC to AC Inverters and Battery Chargers.
The Boat Owners Marine Store www.boatownersmarinestore.co.uk is based at Castleford, Yorkshire, and offers a range of chandlery, canalware and dinghies for inland and coastal waters.
At Beeston Iron Lock recently I met the hotel boat Willow. On asking if they had a website I was told they had - Charter Hotel Narrowboat Willow www.smscharter.co.uk - which gives details of this 70ft 'Stowe Hill' narrowboat. It is a fully licensed hotel boat and provides a private charter service cruising the English canal system.
Hayhurst Bridge Refurbishment www.hayhurstbridge.co.uk is a site about the historic Hayhurst Bridge over the River Weaver in Northwich, which is to receive a £3.5m facelift as part of plans to transform the town. Hireboats2go www.hireboats2go.co.uk offer hundreds of late booking canal holidays, selected from over forty top quality family canal holiday firms across England, Wales and Scotland. Byfleet Boat Club www.byfleetboatclub.co.uk is situated at West Byfleet on the River Wey and has joined the ever growing list of boat clubs with their own website.
Narrowboat Zinfandel www.littlepinkcloud.com/zinfandel/index.html is a 46-foot Sea Otter aluminium narrowboat, launched in 2003. Her home mooring is in Chesterton on the River Cam. She is available for hire by experienced boaters who will promise to treat her nicely.
We end this section with two personal sites. Tam Lin www.tam-lin.com is a narrowboat I saw at Middlewich and as it has its web address painted on the side it has found its way onto this page. Granny Buttons www.grannybuttons.com is the site of Andrew Denny who gives us his reflections on inland waterways and the canals of England and the log of his narrowboat Granny Buttons.
Site of the Month
Derek Pratt - Waterways Photo Library www.waterwaysphotolibrary.com is the site of a waterways photographer who needs no introduction as his work has appeared in print for over thirty years and is of outstanding quality. The site is a small sample from Derek's library of over fifty thousand photographs but it gives a flavour of the variety of waterway subjects that he has photographed over the years. For anyone who likes looking at waterway pictures this is a delightful way to take a virtual tour around the waterways.
It is something of a mystery tour as the site is not arranged geographically but in subject categories (such as boats, bridges, locks, countryside, seasons, abstracts, etc.) but is no less of a joy for this. All the photos have brief but informative captions and larger versions can be displayed by clicking on the selected image.
For the aspiring waterways photographer these pictures are an object lesson in the art of photography. Compare Derek Pratt's photos with those you may have taken of the same scene. If you have found a better viewpoint from which to take the shot, have framed the scene more perfectly and selected a better moment to take the exposure you are a true artist.
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