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.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Basingstoke Success

A welcome sign as Orion's Wey
and Zavala rise in Lock 1 whilst Hazell
and Leo No2 wait their turn
Having had time to sit quietly and contemplate the trip to Blacksmith's Bridge and winding hole on the Hampshire pound of the Basingstoke I think we can deem it and unqualified success.  We managed to get 22 boats up the four flights of locks (Woodham, St Johns, Brookwood and Deepcut) without any issues (well one boat had a bit of an issue getting into Lock 12 but I think that was more to do with the boat than the lock).

I am in no doubt that the two county councils (Hampshire and Surrey) pulled out all the stops to produce a canal that was eminently workable.  The Basingstoke Canal Authority (BCA) rose to the challenge and delivered everything we asked of them whilst at the same time dealing with the landslip in Dogmersfield - even though passage past the landslip was prohibited (quite rightly when I saw photos of it) we achieved the aim of using Deepcut which has been the challenge over the past four years.
Byfleet Boat Club at
Blacksmith's Bridge

We have raised a high level snagging list which I believe is no different to that which might be raised if any other navigation authority asked us to do the same thing.  The list contains issues such as dredging, adjusting the way the gates fit now they are wet and adjusting the paddle gear on some locks - nothing more than you'd raise elsewhere.

As I am moving to Stoke Bruerne shortly my only plea is for someone to take up the role of keeping the boating going on the Basingstoke - it really is a case of use it or lose it - if the Counties are prepared to invest in the canal I feel the boaters have a moral responsibility to use it.

The boats in the lower picture are (Back to front and left to right) Stronghold, Hazell Nut, ThatWey, Orion's Wey, Leo No2, Aqua Vitae, Zavala, Whisper, Barley Twist, Nexus No2 and Wattoo Wattoo

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