Our look at the ever expanding web starts with some new boat building sites. Vardy Barge www.vardybarge.com is the site of Mark Vardy builder of bespoke Dutch barges and narrowboats designed by Sid Jacomb. S.W. Durham Steelcraft Ltd www.swdsteelcraft.com is a well known steel boat builder established in 1989 that now has a website. NOMAD Boats www.nomadboats.co.uk are based in North Wales at Beaumaris on the Isle of Anglesey. They specialise in building narrowboats using high quality hulls which they fit out in a modern style. MPS Narrowboats http://mpsnarrowboats.mysite.wanadoo-members.co.uk is another narrowboat builder based in Uttoxetter.
If you are looking for a smaller craft Thanetcraft www.thanetcraft.com are based at Twickenham, Middlesex, and for over fifty years have built small aluminium boats such as Row Punts & Row Boats, Fishing Punts & Work Boats, Catamarans and Floating Platforms.
If you are buying or selling a Boat Finder Brokerage Services www.boatfinderbrokerage.co.uk based in Northwich, Cheshire have a new site. Middx and Herts Boat Services www.mhboatservices.co.uk offer boatyard services based at Winkwell Dock, Bourne End on the Grand Union Canal. This site is just one page but gives all the basic information and contact details and does mean they are visible to web users. The Goods-Hire Boat Company www.goods-hire.co.uk is a boat hire and charter company based somewhere in the north of England. I can't tell you very much about it as I felt this site missed out some of the basic information relating to who they are and what services they are offering.
For hotel boats with a difference the Exclusively Gay Cruising Company www.gayboats.co.uk offer 3-night short breaks and 6-night holiday cruises. Fingal of Caledonia www.fingal-cruising.co.uk is a large crewed barge that cruises Loch Ness and the Caledonian Canal.
Royal Docks Management Authority Limited www.rodma.co.uk holds a 225 year lease of the entire water areas of the Royal Docks in London and provides its long term water management on behalf of the owners of the land surrounding the water. The Rochdale Canal www.derekparsons.com/index.htm is Derek Parsons' site devoted to the canal and the surrounding area.
Nb Fenders http://mysite.wanadoo-members.co.uk/nbfenders make traditional sisal fenders for use on narrowboats. None of the fenders contain rubber cores or polypropylene rope. Pontcysyllte Aqueduct Restoration www.pontcysyllte.co.uk is a site promoting a book giving an account of the companies and men who toiled through the harsh winter conditions of 2003 to deliver the restored aqueduct in time for National Boating Day on 12th March 2004. The site also tells us how to pronounce the name of this wonder of the waterways.
Site of the Month
We have all heard of the massive obstacles that were overcome to achieve the restoration of the Huddersfield Narrow Canal but it is often difficult to visualise exactly what the problems were and the work involved in overcoming them. Our site of the month records and illuminates the restoration process. John Widdall Photography www.widdall.dsl.pipex.com/canals has some excellent black and white photographs with captions that illustrate some of the work done in the early 1980s and an ingenious method used for transporting new lock gates. There is also a series of colour photographs taken between 1999 and 2001 when the canal reopened. These show tons of earth being removed to reveal the old line of the canal and some of the major engineering works needed to complete the route. The latest photographs show the first boats using the restored canal.
If you have seen the Huddersfield Narrow Canal since it has been reopened, and perhaps even navigated this route across the Pennines, you will find it fascinating to see these pictures of its transformation. In addition you will find some very good photos forming a virtual trip through Standedge Tunnel. John Widdall is obviously a canal enthusiast but he is equally enthusiastic about photography and his site includes some non-waterway shots including panoramas. If you are interested in taking panorama photographs the site contains information on how this can be done. Finally there is a very useful chart for adjusting your computer monitor so you can see photographs on the web at their best.
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