If you like to hire boats from some of the smaller companies then our first two new sites may be of interest to you. Mayfield Boats www.mayfieldboats.co.uk are located at Beeston Marina on the River Trent and have a four-berth cruiser style narrowboat called Alacrity. The second company is Sunnybank Boats www.sunnybankboats.co.uk based at Aldridge Marina on the outskirts of Walsall on the Daw End Branch of the BCN. They have a four to six berth cruiser style narrowboat for hire and demonstrate that even the smallest company can produce an attractive and informative website.
Another site providing hire boats is Holiday Narrowboats at Barton Turns www.canalbarge.co.uk a site that has been set up to offer unused weeks of timeshare narrowboat holidays at Barton Turns Marina. Four to eight berth boats are available all year round. TripBoats www.tripboats.com is a new website that aims to list canal, river and coastal, trip and charter boats operating in and around the UK.
We have a few new personal sites this month, the first being Keeping Up with the Jones Family www.keeping-up.co.uk which records the Travels of the Jones Family on their 67 foot narrowboat Keeping Up. The Building and Journeys of Narrowboat Harnser www.harnser.info tells the story from 1997 to the present day, including the building of the boat and journeys since she was launched. Myk Askin's Pictures http://shoestring.zapto.org/pics/index.html include photographs, webcam and cruising logs.
The Association of Nene River Clubs www.anrc.org.uk is an umbrella organisation for the nine boat clubs on the River Nene and the Old River Nene that is now part of the Middle Level Navigations. It provides liaison between the clubs and other bodies such as the Environment Agency and the R.Y.A and is also open to individual members.
If you are looking for waterways books on-line I have found two more sites that are worth considering. Tee Publishing www.teepublishing.co.uk/LISTS/cwbs.htm have in stock thousands of second hand books of interest to the hobbyist with a separate section covering canals and waterways. Direct Textbook www.directtextbook.com compare textbook and book prices on the internet to help you find the lowest prices on new & used books.
Under the heading of boat services and supplies we have three new entries. Boat Painter - Stuart Atkinson www.boat-painter.co.uk who is a boat sprayer and painter based in Yorkshire.
Graham Cutmore (Engineering) www.grahamcutmoreengineering.co.uk who specialises in the service, repair, installation and upgrade of all models of Alde heating and hot water systems. The last of this trio is Stick On Signs www.stickonsigns.co.uk suppliers of high quality graphics in pre-spaced self-adhesive vinyl which provides an economical alternative to painted signs.
We end with four Inland Waterways Association websites. Last year when IWA Peterborough Branch featured on this page it was only the third IWA branch to have a separate website. Since then four more IWA sites have appeared. IWA Avon and Wilts Branch www.waterways.org.uk/branch_new/avon/web/Index.html cover waterways in Avon and Wiltshire on a series of pages that reflect the rather staid and understated look of the main IWA site. IWA London Region www.waterways.org.uk/london.htm have adopted a more colourful style with photos and graphics that enliven the pages dealing with all the London Region branches. IWA Milton Keynes Branch http://mkiwa.users.btopenworld.com uses a number of different styles and page backgrounds within its site whereas IWA Chiltern Branch http://homepage.ntlworld.com/keithpat has a more simple and consistent style that I think works better. However, all these sites are providing valuable information about their activities which is the main point of the exercise.
Site of the Month
The Saul Canal Festival www.junctionevents.org.uk is a well known and long established event that combines a Boat Gathering & Folk Music Festival at one venue. I have never attended the event but to judge from their website it must be the biggest thing to happen in Gloucestershire since the Wars of the Roses. Not that I am suggesting that the county is a rural backwater, although on the How to Find Us page one of the options is "Stagecoach - Gloucester".
A lot of events have their own website these days but sometimes even those produced by large organisations fail to offer all the information the visitor might require. This site has everything from entry fees to where to stay and from support staff to a festival shop, even the rotas for volunteers manning the event are on the website. The page design, navigation, photographs and content are all excellent and seem to give a real flavour of the festival. The festival is on from the 1st to the 3rd of July so if you are thinking of going have a look at the website and see what is planned and if you are not considering attending have a look and see what you are missing.
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