- The Basingstoke Canal, Brookwood, Christmas Eve 2005 - 

I live in Brookwood - a small village, generally sandwiched between the Basingstoke Canal (for the Basingstoke Canal Authority please click here and for the Surrey and Hampshire Canal Society please click here) and the mainline railway the runs between London (Waterloo) and the south coast of England - going as far west as Exeter. Brookwood has a huge (and interesting) Cemetry which was built as an overspill for Victorian London. For a map of Brookwood click here. This link uses Google Maps which I like.

Waterways Qualifications
I have managed to pass a number of Waterways related qualifcations in the past 12 months. I have held and MCA (Maritime and Coastguard Agency) licence to operate the Surrey and Hampshire Canal Society's Trip boat John Pinkerton for some years but have recently added to that with a VHF Radio licence, an RYA, water related, First Aid Certificate, an RYA ICC (International Certificate of Competency) Licence, a PP Licence (Peneiche de Plaisance) European licence (a French exam set by the Commissions de Surveillence and taken in French) which allows me to be in charge of a non-commercial barge anywhere in Europe up to 39 meters in length. Any finally I have passed an RYA Inland Waterways Intructor's licence in order that we can train the crews on the John Pinkerton in a professional manner.

The canal was drained by someone on 17-December-2005 and again on 4-February-2006 - the gut feel is that this was to steal the many carp which frequent the canal in Brookwood. The Village Association, the Canal Society and the Canal Authority have come together to arrange to put in float switches at two different levels to ring 'bells' should the canal drop quickly again. We might not stop it happening but we will stand a good chance of getting hold of the Police and catching the perpetrators of these heartbreaking events. The Canal Authority, on both occasions, has done an excellent job of restoring the water levels as soon as they could which is all the more amazing considering the lack of rain in recent months.


11-December-2005 'Reflecting on Christmas' Sheets Heath Bridge and nice reflections as the fog (or the Hemel Hempstead oil fire smoke ?) comes down The canal after some vandalisim - two teenagers were bored and 'pulled the plug' so-to-speak. My friend Peter's Misty Blue looks a bit unloved. Taken with my new Nikon D50 Digital SLR - what a camera! And the water has returned only a week after the Canal was drained.
Basingstoke Canal, Brookwood, December 2005
Narrow Boat Merlin moored below Pirbright Bridge in the winter sunshine - click the image for a larger picture. It can get very cold alongside the canal - 27-December-2005. And at times very wintry looking (and feeling) - 07-January-2006. One of the Surrey and Hampshire Canal Society's Bantam tugs which moves the work barge moored alongside.
Pablo Howarth 'sounding' the depths of the Basingstoke Canal prior to the May 2006 event. A nice clear, quiet and very cold Sunday morning in Brookwood. Volunteers from the HSBC Bank helping prepare Brookwood for the May event. Building the Wharf for the May Brookwood event.
Kevin Redway with Zac the dog bring the work barge up to Brookwood for the repairs to Sheets Heath Bridge on 22-January-2006. The work barge is deposited alongside Peter's Misty Blue ready to be used for the repairs to the bridge in the background.

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