I am always on the lookout for new websites and have been lucky enough to find eleven that were previously unknown to me. All the established hire boat companies already have their own web pages but smaller new companies are entering the market all the time. The Wiltshire Narrow Boat Company www.wiltshirenarrowboat.co.uk is an example of this with its single hire boat, the Belle of Devizes, a 67 foot narrow boat privately owned and built to the very highest specification. Another new hire boat company with an address at Wednesbury, West Midlands, is Tradcraft www.tradcraftboats.co.uk who have two brand new fully-fitted traditional tug-style narrowboats named Thomas and Brunel. They give a lot of information about the boats, engines and fit-outs but it is not easy to establish where the boats are based.
The Canal Cruising Society http://canalcruisingsociety.co.uk owns the 61 foot traditional style narrowboat Freedom that is a share boat based in Hawne Basin, otherwise known as Coombswood Basin, on the Dudley No.2 canal. This is a new site that at the time of writing was not fully developed although the design of the site allows for images, questions, competitions, Freedom's log, links and a guest book. Another share boat site is
Crosby Narrowboat Partnerships www.crosbynarrowboats.com with a site explaining its scheme and the allocation of weeks, etc.
The Narrowboating Guesthouse www.the-narrowboating-guesthouse.co.uk is not a hotel boat but the floating home of Val and Michael and a very affectionate Westie called Holly. They live on Thistle, a modern 70ft Residential Narrowboat and will take a couple as guests for two or three days cruising. Another unusual holiday boat site is Shadow Cruisers www.shadowcruisers.com with the boat Me and My is a 57 foot cruiser style narrow boat, towing Shadow, a 30 foot butty with two guest bedrooms aboard. Both boats were built for the 2003 season.
For boat owners, and would be owners, wanting something different Bowtop Window Workshop www.bowtop.co.uk specialises in one-off custom designed windows for boats. Anyone fitting-out may also like to see the site of Websters Insulation Ltd www.webstersinsulation.com a leading national installer of polyurethane sprayed foam insulation providing services for all types of canal boats, barges and yachts etc. Longboat Engineering www.longboat-engineering.co.uk carry out servicing and repairs to most types of engines but specialise in the maintenance and repair of Ruston & Hornsby and the Indian built Greaves versions. Ted's Boatyard www.tedsboatyard.co.uk at Market Drayton has full boatyard services plus chandlery, with large undercover facilities both in and out of water. To conclude this section Waterscape www.waterscape.com is a commercial site for visitors on and by UK inland waterways and although it is a British Waterways company it also covers the Broads, Environment Agency and other waterways. There are maps for each region and individual waterways as well as information on where to stay, places to visit and water based activities.
Site of the Month
It is always pleasing to find an excellent website and especially so when it is produced by a voluntary organisation promoting a good cause. The Grantham Canal Website www.granthamcanal.com comes into this category because this 33 mile canal running from the town of Grantham to the River Trent near Nottingham is a 'remainder' waterway. This largely rural canal passes through the heart of the Vale of Belvoir as it makes its way through three counties. The site is well designed with a consistent style to its attractive pages and is packed with information and pictures. For example the Recreation section covers angling, boating, cycling, circular walks and pubs. There is also an Environmental section which covers the case for restoration, a wildlife profile and SSSIs. It is a site that has a depth to its structure, allowing the user to dig down into areas of interest. A particularly impressive part of the site is the Interactive Maps which link to information on any lock or bridge on the canal. All the ones I tried had photographs of the structure selected and many showed photographs before and after restoration. I have not looked at the whole site, as even a virtual journey down the canal using the interactive maps would take some hours, but what I have seen indicates a regularly updated site reflecting an active restoration scheme that will one day add 33 more miles to the connected waterways system.
If you would like to suggest a favourite web site which you think WW
readers should know about please mail me at email@example.com.