Every month more inland waterways businesses set up websites. This time the first of these is Eddie Freeman www.boatsafetyexamination.co.uk a BSS Examiner approved by British Waterways and The Environment Agency based in Northamptonshire. Within a 45 mile radius of Northampton he charges a fixed fee depending on type of boat and equipment. Boat Hoods Direct www.boathoodsdirect.co.uk manufacture, supply and fit tailor made boat hoods, covers and canopies for narrowboats and cruisers. They are based at Redhill Marina, Ratcliffe-on-Soar.
The www.boatshare.co.uk website offers a service to all shared ownership boaters allowing users to buy and sell shares through the site. We are assured that this site is not affiliated to any shared ownership company and is totally independent. Wychcraft www.wychcraft.co.uk is one site for three traditional crafts businesses, all based at Hanbury Wharf on the Worcestershire & Birmingham Canal. The businesses concerned are Diana Francocci's traditional Roses and Castles canal painting, signwriting by Will Jones, and Rob Peden's interior boat design and fit.
Canal Marine www.canalmarine.com joins the growing number of waterways online shopping outlets. They offer Books, Videos, Gifts, Maps and Chandlery all with secure online payment. Another site selling online is the Old Canal Smithy Ltd www.oldcanalsmithy.com offering a wide range of items and services including; safety equipment, paint, fixtures and fittings, ornaments, presents and navigation aids etc. FerryMaster www.hometown.aol.co.uk/mw0wnd/myhomepage/business.html is the site of John Wilkes, who has over 40 years boat handling experience. Four years ago he started "FERRYMASTER" and has since moved over 200 craft by sea and inland waterway. This is a site that consists of just one page but even so it still serves to make this service visible to web users.
River Wey Trips www.riverweytrips.co.uk can offer a wide variety of trip options to suit everyone starting from Guildford Boat House and Farncombe Boat House. Traditional trip boats, restaurant boats, day boats and rowing boats are all available. The Pride of Bath www.prideofbath.com provides cruises and parties on the River Avon at Bath aboard their two boats, Pride of Bath and The Antoinette, for corporate and private functions.
The final four commercial sites are all marinas. Willowtree Marina www.willowtree-marina.co.uk is located on the Paddington Arm of the Grand Union Canal in West London. This is a site with lots of pages to explore. Val Wyatt Marine www.valwyattmarine.co.uk is at Wargrave-on-Thames and offers all the usual marina services. Springwood Haven www.springwoodhaven.co.uk marina provides landscaped boat moorings and services for boat owners as well as providing a base for the Valley Cruises narrowboat hire fleet. The last of the marinas is Barton Turns Marina www.bartonturnsmarina.co.uk which is situated at Barton Under Needwood near Burton on Trent on the Trent & Mersey Canal.
We have only two non-commercial websites this month. The Boating Association www.theboatingassociation.co.uk which concentrates its efforts on making boating on rivers and canals safer and more pleasant for all its members. Most of its members seem to be based on rivers. The Rickmansworth Waterways Trust www.rwt.org.uk was formed in 1991 and is a registered charity. The main purpose of the Trust is to promote interest in the Grand Union Canal and its environs in Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire, amongst the local community. They also run the Rickmansworth Canal Festival which attracts thousands of visitors each year.
Site of the Month
The Black & White www.yobunny.org.uk/canalcaholic/ website is also entitled "A short history of the Lancaster Canal 1772-1997", which succinctly describes the contents. In just thirteen pages we go from the first idea for the canal in 1772, the start of construction twenty years later, the opening in 1797, the problems with the Ribble crossing, the extension to Kendal from 1812 to 1819, the Glasson Branch opening in 1826, the transfer of the canal to railway companies and its use in modern times. As the title implies the site does not seem to have been updated since 1997 and although there is a link to the Ribble Link Trust website there is no information on the opening of the new link or its effect on the canal. One great advantage of a history site is that it rarely needs to be updated. The story of the Black & White from 1772 to 1997 remains unchanged. If you don't know why the Lancaster Canal was called the Black & White you will not find out until you get nearly to the end of this history.
This is a site that has a unique purpose being the only site to cover the history of the canal in this level of detail. Clear text, good graphics and photographs, together with simple and logical site navigation make this an ideal starting point for anyone wanting to know the story of the Lancaster Canal. If you want to know more the site has a list of books and links to other sites.
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