In the last month I have added about 20 new waterway websites to my list. Over half of these are commercial sites offering goods and services aimed at the waterways market from boat fitting and boat hire to oil stoves and insurance. Here are some of the commercial sites that deserve a mention starting with Humber Barges Ltd www.humber-barges.co.uk a new company that is trying to increase the commercial traffic on the waterways. Boats on Show www.boatsonshow.co.uk gives details of the boat show at Beale Park, near Pangbourne on the Thames, held on 10th to 13th May and Narrowboatworld www.narrowboatworld.com is a site that covers the whole range of waterways, boats, news, boat sales, etc. Another general waterways site is the World Wide Waterweb www.thewaterweb.net which carries some interesting news items and pictures and offers a free boat for sale page. It has a lot of other pages relating to boatbuilders, engines, dry-docking, fittting out, chandlery and much more. At the time of writing many of these pages have few or no entries, however it is obviously a site with ambitions so it may have filled out by the time you read this. The non-commercial sites, although fewer, are certainly of great interest. The Foxton Canal Museum and Inclined Plane Trust www.foxcanal.fsnet.co.uk has a site giving details of this award winning museum, the locks, inclined plane and the canal system. The Wessex Waterways Network www.wessex-waterways.co.uk covers ten waterways including the rivers Thames and Severn and the canals connecting them (both navigable and un-navigable) plus the Herefordshire & Gloucestershire Canal. Lock 92 www.lock92.co.uk is a site produced to the best professional standards by just one man, Mike Fletcher, who developed it as part of his MA Multimedia degree; doing everything from writing the text, taking the photographs and researching the subject to designing the site and writing the programs. It covers the Rochdale, Huddersfield Narrow and Ashton Canals, already covered by the excellent http://penninewaterways.co.uk featured in the January edition, but Lock 92 has some very good virtual tours of these waterways and is a valuable addition for surfers on Pennine waters.
These cameras let you see what's happening all over the world, giving you a real-time video image if you are connected to the net by a fast line or a series of still pictures if you are using a slow modem or mobile phone. Unfortunately there are very few that show views of our inland waterways, I know of just three, all on the Thames. Going upstream we start with www.livesights.com/cgi-bin/nph-VideoPages.plx?title=livewww.livesights.com/cgi-bin/nph-VideoPages.plx?title=live on the HMS Belfast in the Pool of London. A little way upstream the Financial Times offers two cameras showing views by the Millennium Bridge www.mbridge.ft.com, this site allows you to select a camera and take control. Its easy to pan the camera around, tilt it up or down and zoom. Finally Maidenhead Rowing Club www.maidenhead.rowing.org.uk/webcam/javacam.htm provides a view of the River Thames at Maidenhead looking downstream towards Brunel's Railway Bridge. If you find some of these addresses a bit long to key in you can find the links under the Individual Waterways category on my Links page at www.jim.shead.btinternet.co.uk and if you have found any other waterways web cams please let me know.
Site of the month
Another new site is Nick's Canal Route Planner www.mihalis.net/canal/cgi-bin/index.cgi which allows visitors to calculate a voyage by entering the start and end points and, if required, up to eight intermediate points to be visited. All you have to do then is press the calculate route button and almost instantly the calculated route is displayed, listing various places along the route with details of the total of locks, miles and the cruising time to each point. You can also get a waterways map displayed showing your route in different colours for rivers, narrow canals and broad canals etc. If you enter a place that is not specific the program prompts you with choices, for example if Wigan is entered a choice of Wigan Top Lock or Wigan Junction is offered. If the place name entered is not recognised you are switched into the place finder routine, which can also be entered at anytime by the user, to see all the places on a waterway. The user can also alter the options, for example to vary the time taken per mile or lock on different types of waterway, to set the number of hours cruised in a day or to exclude certain waterways e.g. The Manchester Ship Canal or those being restored. Beside some places on the listed route are little icons indicating a gazetteer entry for the place. As this is a new site there are plans to increase the data and add new features although as it is today it can provide hours of interest trying different routes and changing the basis for the calculations. A uniquely interactive site.
If you would like to suggest a favourite web site which you think WW
readers should know about please mail me at Jim.Shead@btinternet.com.