An excerpt from Wind in the Willows

Nice? It's the ONLY thing, said the Water Rat solemnly, as he leant forward for his stroke. Believe me, my young friend, there is NOTHING - absolute nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats. Simply messing, he went on dreamily: messing - about - in - boats; messing----'
From 'Wind in the Willows' by Kenneth Grahame.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Off up the Basingstoke

Queueing at Lock 1 on the Basingstoke
last time we ventured into the unknown
We are off up the Basingstoke on Friday just as far as Brookwood Country Park - still closed above Brookwood (Deepcut) due to lack of water - the Basingstoke has always been short of water which is somewhat exaggerated this year with the water issues which we all know about only too well.

We have eight boats from Woodham Junction and will be nine from above the Woodham flight of locks with the following boats booked to go - Leo No2, Aqua Vitae, Indigo Blue, That Wey, Orion's Wey, Zavala, Stronghold, Nancy Bell with Winter Lilly joining us in Woking.

We will be testing the Woodham flight under 'Open Access' conditions - Open Access is best described as using the Basingstoke in the way you would use any other waterway - turn up with a licence and go. Since the reopening in May-1991 the Basingstoke Canal Authority have insisted on assisting boat passage through locks which has had a huge financial implication for them and tended to irritate experienced boaters.  There was a reorganisation recently which leaves the 32 mile canal with five rangers who cannot possibly support assisted passage hence the work done by the Surrey and Hampshire Canal Society, the IWA, the Basingstoke Canal Boating Club, representatives of the houseboat residents at Scotland bridge with assistance from Byfleet Boat Club in having an 'Open Access' process agreed by the Joint Management Committee of the Canal (that's the two County Council owners - Surrey and Hampshire - and the riparian local councils).

We have arranged for the National Trust to be able to sell licences at Thames Lock (junction of the Wey and Thames) and at their property at Dapdune Wharf in Guildford.  Additionally TLC (The Locker Co) will be authorised to sell Basingstoke Licences from their premises at Parvis Bridge.

In my view it is high time that anyone can use the Basingstoke as they would any other waterway. 

1 comment:

  1. I could not agree more about open access to this beautiful canal. It has been an injustice to all those voluteers in the '70's who gave up so much time and effort quite freely to restore it. Having just begun my first visit, I can only say that you have to use it, or lose it yet again.