Text and photographs copyright of Jim Shead.
Top 100 Sites
This article More than a Mooring - Crick Marina is the copyright of Jim Shead - The twenty-eighth of a regular series of articles on marinas and boatyards. First published in Waterways World February 2006.
Crick is a quiet private marina that is normally closed to everyone except moorers and those with business at the marina so it is paradoxical that it is best known as the host for thousands of people during the Crick Boat Show in May each year. Situated on the beautiful twenty mile summit of the Grand Union Canal Leicester Section it provides boaters based there with excellent local cruising and access to a number of routes within a day's cruising time.
The marina is run by Tim Langer, whose first involvement with the waterways was with Canal Craft narrowboat brokerage, which he founded in 1991. Initially this was at North Kilworth, also on the Leicester Section, then the business temporarily moved to Crick Wharf and finally to Budbrooke Marina on the Grand Union Main Line. In 1997 he sold Canal Craft to its present owner, David Dawson. In 1995 he started work on Crick Marina and it was opened on 1st April 1996, with 120 berths in what is now the north end of the marina. Unfortunately the spoil from digging out this first phase of the marina was deposited on the south end of the site so that three years later when an extension was built there all the soil had to be moved again. When they had some cruisers and shorter craft the marina held up to 195 boats but now with mostly longer boats, including some 70-footers, it holds about 185 boats.
The Crick Boat Show has been a big factor in putting the marina on the map with a wider audience, although the moorings have been over subscribed from virtually day one. The marina on its own does not have the ground area to accommodate the whole show so it is fortunate that the landowner of the site also owns a lot of surrounding land, including the adjoining large flat fields, which provide the site for show exhibitors, car parks and camp sites. This combination of the marina and adjoining land makes the staging of the show possible.
The show moved from Braunston to Crick at short notice in 2000 when it was held there as a one year only event. After that it was extended for the years 2001 - 2005 under a 5 year arrangement. The contract for Crick Marina to provide facilities to British Waterways for the next five years (2006 - 2011) to run the boat show is currently under discussion. British Waterways have plans to expand the content and raise the profile of the show. BW run the whole of the Crick Boat Show except for the clearing of 44 berths for the exhibitors, which is done by Gary and Sue Hall the marina harbourmasters. Boats are moved to temporarily spare jetties and to the spaces between the long jetties that are normally used for access.
At the time the idea for the marina started Tim was running his brokerage business at Crick Wharf and was put in touch with the farmer who owns the site. No significant problems were encountered when he approached the local planning authority about the first phase of the project although there were some problems concerning the spoil disposal regulations for stage two. Now he is looking at the possibility of a further extension to the moorings next year, partly as an extension to the mooring business and partly to provide more space for exhibits at the Crick Boat Show.
The marina has the basic waterside services. The moorings have automatic lighting, mains power and water. There is a building with laundry, toilet, lending library and notice board to serve the boaters based in the marina but no chandlery or shop is provided as it is designed to be a private marina. There is no heavy work done on the site although there is a covered dry dock which is operated by a third party and is available for surveying, hull blacking and minor works. Tim has continued his interest in the boat brokerage business in the marina, with a separate website www.canalboatsales.com, which is run by John and Jane Pugh.
Return to the main Articles Listing page