It was in the January 2001 issue of WW that this page first appeared, at a time when I knew of just 230 waterways websites, seventy of which I had discovered in the previous nine months. Since then the total number of sites that I have added to my links pages has risen to 1,125 and currently I have 934 active sites listed - a net increase of 704 in the last five years.
Of the four sites that were featured in the first article three survive to this day. The one casualty was the original UK Waterways Network Web Ring which ran on software produced specifically for that purpose and the maintenance of which proved too burdensome for its creator. Two main waterways web rings have appeared to fill this gap - the UK Waterways and the UK Canals web rings.
Trying to keep up with the arrivals and departures of all these websites is a constant and un-winnable battle complicated by the sites that seem to disappear but have really just changed their web addresses (Unique Resource Locators -URLs). This problem applies to the many waterways websites that include lists of links to other sites. There seems to be no easy answer: it is extremely rare for a departing site to notify their departure to those who run such lists..
This sixtieth instalment is the last in the regular series of Clicking on Canals - though WW will, of course, continue to cover developments on the waterways web. Fittingly this month we revisit our very first Site of the Month, as well as a selection of the latest additions to the web.
Canal Explorer www.boat-trips.info is a very small site giving details of narrowboat trips on the Trent and Mersey Canal starting near the Anderton boat lift. Ely Boat Chandlers www.elyboatchandlers.co.uk stock an extensive range of chandlery in their shop close to the Great Ouse in the centre of Ely. They will order items that are not in stock for you and offer advice on any aspect of boat chandlery.
Fender Maker Ltd www.fendermakerltd.co.uk is a one-man cottage business supplying rope and narrowboat fenders. It is run by Eric Johns and situated in the valleys of South West Wales.
Worcester Vista www.worcestervista.com is a blog about Worcester and its history that contains some interesting pages on the local canals. Driffield Navigation Gallery www.drifnav.co.uk is a picture gallery and virtual cruise site that is intended to work with the Driffield Navigation Trust's own web site and to support its aims. Our final new site is Mainline Solutions www.theoldmainline.co.uk a small company providing Boat Safety Scheme examination, Mainline fire protection and Eco products.
Site of the Month
To concude the series Clicking on Canals, our final site of the month spot goes to a site that has already held the title. Pennine Waterways www.penninewaterways.co.uk was our first site of the month and is one that has developed and expanded over the last five years.
In 2001 it covered Huddersfield Narrow and Rochdale canals prior to their re-opening plus the Huddersfield Broad, Ashton and Peak Forrest canals; now it covers thirteen canals, the Barnsley and the Dearne & Dove canals being the latest additions, as well as some canal branches. For each canal covered there is a history page, a map and a selection of photographs as well as a virtual trip, which covers the route section by section in captioned photographs.
The site followed and reported on the restoration of both the Huddersfield and Rochdale canals and now has pages devoted to these projects with many excellent photographs of the reconstruction. This is a large site and takes a long time to explore completely. Besides the mass of information and photographs relating to individual canals there are pages of books, guides and maps covering the area and a page where you can choose a Pennine waterway photo as a wallpaper image for your PC desktop.
Five years on Pennine Waterways is still at the top of its game.
If you would like to suggest a favourite web site which you think WW
readers should know about please mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.