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This article Clicking on Canals No 6 is the copyright of Jim Shead - The sixth of a regular series of articles on waterways on the internet. First published in Waterways World June 2001.


 

clicking.on.canals

by Jim Shead


Book Browser

If you are looking for a waterways book it's often difficult to know where to start. We can go to the Inland Waterways Association http://waterways.org.uk who have an unrivalled list of currently available new books, or to one of the ubiquitous on-line booksellers with huge lists, in which they hide some waterways books. There are a few web sites selling canal and river books usually as part of a wider offering of books but some are more specialist and none more focussed than Britain's Waterways www.britains-waterways.com. This site is devoted to just one book, Britain's Waterways written by Brian Roberts, and has illustrations of the layout of the book and sample pages. Don't think that a web site devoted to one book is unique, it isn't. We also have Walking On Water www.catalystcc.co.uk/walkingonwater.htm a book which describes a journey down the spine of the inland waterways system by a 'canal-innocent'. Doubling the number of books on offer is Athene www.geocities.com/queenfans/athene1.html which promotes the books "ATHENE": Anatomy of a Dream and "ATHENE": The Odyssey Continues by Anthony H Lewis. This enterprising author not only writes and publishes his own books but also has his own web site through which he sells them.

A wider range of books is offered by Transport Diversions Emporium www.transportdiversions.com which have a range of transport books and videos including some on the waterways. Sutton Publishing www.suttonpublishing.co.uk, the publisher of many history titles including canal and railway books also has a site where you can buy books. If you are looking for guidebooks you will find J M Pearson & Son Ltd www.jmpearson.co.uk the publisher of canal and railway books, including their well known Canal Companion guides, and First Mate Guides www.canalmate.co.uk which give details of facilities, shops and services along several routes. Another site that is well worth a visit is Greg Chapman's Waterways Guides www.waterwaysguides.co.uk that provides updates for all seven of Nicholson's Guides, the three Imray's guidebooks and some local guides. This is a really valuable service as even the best printed guidebook cannot hope to be fully up to date.

Finding second-hand books is more of a problem and until recently the only web site I had found was Joseph Mason Bookseller http://members.aol.com/jcwm/canal.html who lists books about canals, rivers, craft and inland waterways as a separate category. Now I have found Abebooks.com www.abebooks.com a network of independent booksellers worldwide that includes specialist book sellers selling new and second-hand waterways books. It seems to have very good search facilities and produced a good sized hit list for the titles and authors I tried.

What's New?

Again there are too many new sites for all to be mentioned so I have picked out just three. First the Millennium Link www.millenniumlink.org.uk a project that will restore the Forth & Clyde and Union Canals, linking the West and East coasts of Scotland with navigable waterways again. This includes web cams showing the construction of the Falkirk wheel. Another web cam can be found on the Huddersfield Narrow Canal www.tameside.gov.uk/corpgen/webcam6.htm and shows a view from Stalybridge Regeneration Office looking East over Armentieres Square. Thanks to everyone who told me about these sites. The Bedford & Milton Keynes Waterway Trust www.b-mkwaterway.org.uk which promotes the development of the important link between the Grand Union and the Fenland waterways is another site that deserves a mention. As usual you can find all the sites in this article on my Links page at www.jim-shead.co.uk.

Site of the month

With so many new sites appearing all the time it is easy to overlook some of the older established sites that have a lot to offer. One such site is Canal Roots and Routes, www.canals.btinternet.co.uk Peter Hardcastle's site, which offers an in depth chronology of each waterway's history followed by a full description of the waterway's route, usually on one page but in some cases the Root and Route are separate. These have been written with walkers and cyclists in mind as well as boaters and there are frequent grid references quoted so the places mentioned can be found on the map. For those visiting canals by road various access points are described, again with map references. It continues to develop, like all good sites, and a canal chronology that covers worldwide as well as British inland navigations is under construction. Currently the first two parts run from 4000 BC to 1789. The history of the canal engineers is the next enhancement planned and the links to this are already in place, although at the time of writing the page was empty. The strength of these pages is the quantity of information that has been built up over the years and regularly updated by contributions from many waterways enthusiasts. If you are looking for pictures this is not the site for you but for quality text that is easy to access this is a site that is difficult to beat.

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.

Please note: the above links were correct when this article was published in the June 2001 issue of Waterways World but for up to date links please see my links page.

  

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Jim Shead Waterways Photographer & Writer
Text and photographs copyright of Jim Shead.
Home Introduction Waterways List Waterways Map Links Books DVD Articles Photo Gallery
Features Contact me Glossary Boats Events List History Local Waterways Help Photo List