A variety of new sites this month headed by Frank's Web Site www.frankshackleton.supanet.com concentrating on the Manchester Ship Canal and associated docks. The Scruffy Fox Owners Club www.boatshare.org.uk is a private shared ownership scheme that operates the narrowboat Scruffy Fox on behalf of its owners. Canal Tours http://members.aol.com/canaltours promote canal cruises in England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland and France. The Shrewsbury & Newport Canals Trust www.sncanal.org.uk was formed to save these canals as very little of the line has been built on and no insuperable engineering problems lie in the way of their restoration.
Wynchnor Boat Festival www.willchapman.dial.pipex.com/Wychnor.shtml is a site devoted to this annual boating event held on the Trent & Mersey Canal. Another new British Waterways site is Scotland's Waterways www.scottishcanals.co.uk covering all the Scottish navigable canals. For many years Chris Coburn has undertaken some amazing journeys on his narrowboat Progress in support of canal restoration and development projects. Now he is restoring his Narrowboat Progress www.nb-progress.com web site, which I had not seen before. If you would like to see Progress on video then the new Laurence Hogg Productions www.laurencehoggproductions.co.uk site has these and many other waterway videos.
Surfing the GU
Taking a virtual cruise down the Grand Union Canal from Birmingham we pass many web sites on the way the first being Copt Heath Wharf www.coptheathwharf.co.uk at Barston Lane near Catherine de Barnes. As we approach Knowle we find boatbuilder Stephen Goldsbrough Boats www.sgboats.co.uk followed by the Black Buoy Cruising Club www.blackbuoy.org.uk below Knowle locks. Away 4 awhile http://away4awhile.com at Warwick offer 3 or 4 day hotel boat breaks to Stratford upon Avon. Alternatively, Kate Boats www.kateboats.co.uk provide narrowboats for hire and boatbuilding services. The Stockton Dry Dock Company http://sddpearce.supanet.com is just a few miles further on and before arriving at Napton Junction we come to Calcutt Boats www.calcuttboats.com providing boat hire and marina facilities.
Braunston is as busy on the internet as it is in the real world of boating. Braunston Marina Ltd www.braunstonmarina.co.uk offers boat brokerage and marina services and Braunston - Welcome www.braunston.org has lots of information about the Braunston area. Also at Braunston are DB Boat Fitting www.dbboatfitting.co.uk and Union Canal Carriers Ltd. www.city2000.com/tl/union.html with their Adventure hire fleet.
The boat brokerage and marina facilities at Whilton Marina www.whiltonmarina.co.uk are soon reached as the long tunnel and 13 locks do not feature on this virtual trip. Canalboat Holidays Ltd www.canalboat-holidays.co.uk narrowboat hire appear next, at Weedon, followed by Stowe Hill Marine www.stowehill.co.uk boat builders. Blisworth Tunnel Boats http://users.netmatters.co.uk/tpickford/btb/ narrowboat hire is just before the tunnel and Stoke Bruerne Boat Co www.stokebruerneboats.co.uk day boat hire, boat trips, holiday cottage and contracting business is just after. The famous Canal Museum at Stoke Bruerne www.canaljunction.com/mussbcm.htm is packed with interest, inside and out, and occupies a superb position at the top of the locks.
We cannot pass Milton Keynes without visiting the Bedford & Milton Keynes Waterway Trust www.b-mkwaterway.org.uk which is promoting the development of this important canal which will open up the waterways of East Anglia to so many people. Also at Milton Keynes is Canaltime www.canaltime.com the timeshare narrowboat operator. Wyvern Shipping Co Ltd www.canalholidays.co.uk has its narrowboat hire base at Leighton Buzzard. At the end of the canal summit is Cowroast Marina www.cowroastmarinas.co.uk marina services and boat sales based above Cowroast lock. Down through several locks is Bridgewater Boats www.bridgewater-boats.co.uk narrowboat hire and services, based at Berkhamsted.
As our journey approaches its end we pass Harefield Marina www.harefieldmarina.co.uk boat sales and marina services, and Denham Marina www.denham-marina.co.uk chandlery & services. Adelaide Marine www.holidayuk.co.uk/canals/adelaidemarine/index.html is the last hire boat base on the canal and is well placed for those wishing to explore London. Brentford at the end of the canal is represented by Chris & Jill Newport's Web Pages www.andante.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/brentford containing a photo-essay about Brentford Dock.
Site of the month
The Louth Navigation Trust was formed in 1986 by a small number of local people and now has over 250 members. It is run entirely by volunteers and has produced an attractive and informative web site www.louthcanal.org.uk that helps to raise the profile of a waterway that has not been in the forefront of public awareness. This is not a large site but it is packed with information and has some well chosen photographs and graphics. The directory page is particularly effective with links to the main pages arranged around a compass design, each named and illustrated by an appropriate graphic.
The restoration of the eighteenth century navigation warehouse at Louth is featured and a map of the canal provides links to pictures and information about the locks which are in varying states of dilapidation. With so many restoration projects vying for attention it is difficult for those promoting the lesser known detached waterways to grab the headlines. The Louth Navigation Trust has shown that even the smaller players can make a splash on the web.
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