Jun 102016

In addition to having recently received the complimentary email below, this additional email was received by the BCA from Martine and Malcolm Johnson who took the time to write about how much they enjoyed their recent trip on the Basingstoke. Other prospective boaters please note – Ed.


nb Penny Less at Mytchett Lake

May we take this opportunity to thank all involved in making our visit to the stunningly beautiful Basingstoke Canal nothing short of sensational! The ever helpful Matt and Andy x 2 (larger and not so large), deserved of special mention, being exemplary accolades to your organisation!

Visiting any Canal for the first time is always a leap into the unknown, the Basingstoke being no exception (particularly so with what has proven to be totally false hearsay and ‘cut’ rumour)!

Yes it does suffer from water starvation issues (it is not alone in this respect), however the management of by the Lock Keepers was fascinating in its own right, the first time we had ever witnessed caulking! It is shallow in places (again not alone in that respect). There are some low bridges, (don’t all boaters know their air draft), they should! However does add to the ‘adventure’!

The 28 lock climb gives a hint or aperitif of things to come, namely deciduous stunning beauty at every meandering twist and turn! Oh those flashes, just teeming with wildlife, it leaves you speechless. The history, Odiham in particular, unspoiled villages, fantastic Canal side pubs (The Fox and Hounds on a Friday night complete with a brilliant live band must not be missed)! Big brash Fleet is ideal for victualling, the ever close military connection, and even a mooring at the end of an airport [Farnborough] all add interest!

We extended our originally scheduled two week stay for a further week, we just loved so it much – what did Arni say? “We’ll be back”! You have the most beautiful Canal in the UK, a hidden gem with a totally false reputation and would urge fellow boater’s to give the Basingstoke a go, you will not be disappointed!!  [Editor highlighted text]

Martine and I thank all of your teams, volunteers (and the foresightful restoration teams that made it all possible), for an unforgettable three weeks!

With kindest regards and keep up the great work – it was much appreciated by this couple!

Martine and Malcolm Johnson

nb Penny Less


It was good to receive the following email from Hazel and John Sarkanen about their recent trip on the Basingstoke on their boat nb North Star. It was sent to Society Chairman Philip Riley, but clearly the Canal Authority are also rightful recipients.  Hazel and John evidently much enjoyed their visit – Ed

Dear Mr Riley,

We travelled on your canal earlier this month and we enjoyed the experience so much that we thought to write and let you know. Prior to arrival we were aware of the problems you face (predominantly lack of water supply and depth problems in various locations) and indeed depth was a problem on occasion but water was not, as May is early in the year.

The things that struck us were the sheer beauty of the waterway and the feeling that this is what travelling on inland waterways should be about, with few boats on the move, a relaxed pace of travel and something of a sense of adventure when seeking a mooring.

We met you at Odiham when we were taking on water and you were curious about our experiences (we’ve never been asked that before!) for which we thank you. We would also thank your lock-keeper, Matt Philips, who was tireless in preserving your water resources and demonstrated tremendous enthusiasm. We even had a good experience at Galleon Marine who fixed a minor problem on our boat quickly and efficiently.

On top of all that, the weather was perfect. Who fixed that?

Once again, thank you for one of our top narrowboating experiences in 20 years of boating.

Yours sincerely,

Hazel and John Sarkanen

nb North Star

Such comments are very encouraging, and echo the responses of many other boaters (including a couple of writers of national magazines) who wrote positively about the canal when it was reopened in 2013. (It should be noted that since the latter article was written several of the issues mentioned have been resolved). Ed