Since the Basingstoke re-opened in the Spring, there has been a steady stream of visiting boats from over the network with, at the time of writing, around 100 having come to savour the delights of the Canal (including C&RT’s John Dodwell, right). This is of course very satisfying for those who have been campaigning and working to get full navigation reinstated after a long period of closure of the Deepcut flight resulting from a backlog of maintenance issues*.
Some of these boaters have taken the time to write of their experiences on the Basingstoke. In addition, writers for some national publications have come to see the re-opened navigation for themselves. We are very encouraged to say that, almost without exception, their reports have been positive. It is great that good news is being spread on our behalf, and is vindication for the bad reputation that the Canal has perhaps a little unfairly acquired over previous years. We urge you to read these articles, which are listed below.
We are grateful to the Canal Boat and Waterways World magazines and the respective authors for giving us permission to reproduce their articles on our website.
Derek Pratt – Cruise Guide Basingstoke Canal – Canal Boat – September 2013 (pp63-69)
This article was written by well-known waterways photographer Derek Pratt for the September 2013 issue of Canal Boat magazine. It is reproduced on this website by courtesy of Canal Boat and the author, who retains the copyright on the photographs.
Andrew Denny – A Day on the Deepcut – Waterways World – September 2013 (pp48-51)
First published in Waterways World, and reproduced on this website with permission
Waterways Magazine – Autumn 2013 (p32)
Waterways Magazine – Summer 2013 (p34)
nb Densie – CanalWorld Forum – July 2013
David Hymers – NarrowboatWorld – July 2013
Nipper – CanalWorld Forum – June 2013
Ted Sedman – NarrowboatWorld – April 2013
Waterways Magazine – Spring 2013 (Cover and pp 24-25)
IWA Bulletin – Mid February 2013
But we accept it hasn’t all been plain sailing. We are only too aware of the perennial issue of water supply, and we know that Deepcut is hard work to navigate because levels can be low. However, it should be borne in mind that this year is we believe only the second since the Canal was restored over 20 years ago where it has been possible to keep the Deepcut flight open this far through the Summer (attributable to the unusually heavy Spring rainfall). There is a still a lot of remedial work still to do on the Canal structures, it badly needs dredging and clearing of weed in places, and more moorings are urgently needed. We ask that boaters bear with us while the Canal Authority and the Society work to address these issues. Further, the scheme that has been implemented this year limiting access to the Canal to 4 days per week has not found universal favour – however there are very good reasons why this was done.
Note* Hampshire and Surrey County Councils have between them spent £1.7m over the last couple of years on repairs at Deepcut and elsewhere. They have also each committed £2m to be spent in 2013 and the next 3 financial years on further essential works, which includes the reinforcement of the Mytchett embankment, which has been going on during the last few weeks. The landslip at Dogmersfield also needs repair.