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Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Water, water, almost everywhere.

Whilst poking about on the C&RT website I happened across the reservoir levels for January. I was surprised to see that they aren't all completely topped up as we have had the wettest December for at least 50 years in most areas leading to flooding of rivers in many areas and even self regulating canals!

Grand Union Canal breaks banks and floods towpath over long section south of Stoke Bruerne
The Grand Union overflows near Stoke Bruerne. November 2012.

It seems that whilst most canal reservoirs are at almost full capacity there are some anomalies. The first is that the Keenet and Avon group of reservoirs are down 16% on Decembers levels. This is explained by them having to let water out of their Crofton Reservoir to prevent flooding in the locality.

The Caldon Canal reservoirs are only at 86% capacity and I can't see any majors works going on there. They appear to be healthy levels still though.

Grand Union south reservoirs are at 92% after a 35% increase in January. This is quite unusual as normally it is late on in the winter that the reservoirs start to fill up as this occurs only when the water table has become fully saturated, which they obviously are now.

The worrying one for those of us on this side of the Pennines is the fact that the Huddersfield Narrow Canal reservoirs are only at 21% full, despite a 9% increase in January and this is the lowest level for the month since 1998! It looks like there has been major work on the Slaithwaite reservoir and it is only now starting to fill again. I wouldn't wish more wet weather on the people of Slaithwaite but if it doesn't get a good few more inches there it could mean restrictions on the Huddersfield later in the year, and we don't want it to end up looking like this do we? Mind you some of the pounds on the Narrow look like that anyway occasionally!

The Trent and Mersey following a land slip draining the canal. September 2012
Photo Andrew Davis

If you are heading that way best to keep your eye on the sate of the reservoirs that can be checked at this address.


  1. Good afternoon, Tony, I have concentratedly been reading your blog (from the beginning) over the last couple of weeks while I've been ill in bed. I wanted to tell you how much I have enjoyed it, i.e. hugely!! It has been great to read about your travels, esp as David and I have just bought a secondhand narrowboat after many years of hiring when over from NZ on holiday. The information you include has whetted my appetite for our own proposed time on board (4-6 months each year). I have especially appreciated how positive you have been - even when things have obviously been a bit trying you have put such a positive spin on them and there has hardly been a word of complaint. This has reinforced our desire to get on to our boat and get started both boating and exploring the countryside, towns and villages. Some of the other blogs I'd been looking at seemed to focus more on the problems and I was starting to think we'd made a mistake. Your blog has restored my optimism. So thank you, Tony. The other lovely aspect to your blog is how much you revel in Helen's company - it is a pleasure to read of such closeness, fun and warmth! I hope we see you on the cut when we are over from late May to early October this year. Warm regards to you both, Marilyn

  2. Hi Marilyn and David, Very nice to hear from you. I had seen that I was getting a lot of viewings of the blog from New Zealand, so that must be you! I am pleased to hear that it has helped you pass the forced rest you have had, and hope that it has done the trick and you are recovering well.I'm sure having a boat ready and waiting for you over here will give you every incentive to get well and over here to explore. I think folk who know me will be surprised at anybody thinking of me as anything other than a Grumpy Old Man, but after almost 40 years at sea it is great to be at home, and I must have an affinity with water as I really love to be on the cut and would be full time if I could, and hopefully will be some day. Helen and I have been married 28 years +, but all that time I have been away at sea for at least 6 months of a year so she has had to do everything. I am loving having her to myself full time these days, but you would have to ask her if she feels the same. And I hope that when you get over here you will be able to do just that. You will have to drop me an email and give me all the information about your boat etc. My daughter was in NZ for 6 months last year and loved Wellington. Get well soon and stay safe and hopefully see you in May somewhere. Cheers Tony and Helen.