Category Archives: News

Brian Curry Obituary


It was an emotional time as friends and family gathered at the north portal of Harecastle Tunnel to watch long-time Stoke on Trent Boat Club member, Brian Curry, embark on his last passage through the tunnel. Brian, for many years tunnel keeper at Harecastle, passed away on 2nd November, age 72. His final journey began on nb Patricia Jean which carried his woven willow casket through the tunnel towards Bradwell Crematorium in Newcastle under Lyme, where the service was taken by Father Brian Williams, a fellow boater.
Brian’s niece Jenny had recorded his wishes for this final journey, planned whilst he was in hospital. Jenny had spent many happy times with ‘the best uncle’ on his boat and said he was happier on water than on land! He was a skilled single handed boater. Fellow club member, Dave Rushton who had known Brian for many years called him a ‘smashing bloke’ with a good sense of humour, and the nicest person. Another life-long friend said of Brian that he would do anything for anyone, and was always up for a laugh.
A wicked sense of humour helped Brian deal with some of the more awkward boaters he encountered. One lady, demanding details of the part which Brian said he was waiting for, to repair a lock, went away quite happy to learn it was the ‘giggling pin’.
Brian had many boats but perhaps the most unusual was one built from two ex-army pontoons onto which he added a cabin created from the tops of two Bedford vans! When one of his boats was sold, the new owners were forced to change the boat name; Brian had been a very early riser, and people recognising the boat but not knowing it wasn’t his now, were most unpopular when they woke the new owners for a brew at first light!
Brian Curry was a legend of the waterways in Staffordshire, and he will be sorely missed by SoTBC and all who knew him.

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AWCC responds to FT article

In response to the recently announced plan by CRT to intensify enforcement action against license violation, the Financial Times published an article about those who live on the waterways, with particular reference to the London Area.  AWCC supports CRT in this enforcement plan and has written a response to the FT giving the Association’s view on the matter as follows:-

“Dear Sir,

I read with interest your article in the Feb 26 edition regarding people living on boats on the inland waterway system. As National Chairman of a large boating organisation – The Association of Waterways Cruising Clubs* – perhaps I might be allowed to comment.

Prior to 1995 a boat used on the waterways was required to have home mooring; a place where that boat could be safely and lawfully kept. It was recognised that another class of licence was needed for those boaters who, largely by retirement or sabbatical, wished to cruise the waterways without a permanent home mooring; the Continuous Cruiser license was added to provide this facility. This proved very successful and attracted a small but enthusiastic group of boaters who added, and continue to add, much to the waterway scene.

The world changes of course, in recent years, and probably fuelled by the lack of affordable housing, the Continuous Cruiser License has been employed by another group who wish to remain largely in one place for their own convenience. This has led to unacceptable overcrowding difficulties and congestion in certain areas, particularly in the conurbations, as well as making it difficult for other boaters to moor or visit as they enjoy the waterways. Many ordinary boaters feel this is an inappropriate use of this type of licence, and an evasion of the costs that they have to pay to moor their boats lawfully at a single location.

Many boaters who hold a Continuous Cruising Licence are happy to abide by the requirements of mooring and movement as understood by the Canal and River Trust; the Trust has stated they have nothing to fear from the enforcement process if they follow the appropriate protocols. The Trust has also stated that should a boater be unsure of what is considered an acceptable pattern of cruising, they should speak to the local Enforcement Officer or local Trust Office for guidance. It would appear that this is an information led initiative aimed at preventing boaters getting into difficulties whilst sending a warning to those who continue to ignore the requirements of the Continuous Cruiser Licence.

The Trust is not a housing authority but recognizes and supports those who wish to make their homes on the waterways. The Trust has recently appointed a Welfare Officer to help those boaters who feel vulnerable or find themselves in difficulty.

There is no doubt that genuine continuous cruisers are a very welcome addition to the waterway community and have wide support from the boating community.

* AWCC represents around one hundred boat clubs across the inland waterway system with a total of seven thousand boating members. AWCC fully supports genuine Continuous Cruisers.”

South Pennine Boat Club “Wild West Open Day”


South Pennine Boat Club, based in Mirfield, West Yorkshire is staging a ‘Wild West Open Day’ and Boat Rally where local people and visitors can enjoy an afternoon of family fun and entertainment.

The Rally takes place on Saturday, May 2 from 11am until 5pm and will include events aimed at both children and adults alike.

There is to be a children’s fancy dress parade and prizes for boys and girls with the best dressed wild west outfits plus lots of other exciting activities and competitions.

Everyone will have an opportunity to take photographs in the ‘wild west’ photo booth, whilst fully-fledged cowhands will have a chance to test their rodeo skills on an electric bucking-bronco bull.

‘Towns-folk’ can view the inside of a modern narrowboat which are based on the traditional designs of the working boats of the past and enjoy a canal cruise in the Calder Navigation Society’s trip boat ‘Savile’.

Rally Coordinator, Peter Davies explained, “We are inviting visiting boaters and the public alike to come along to enjoy and experience the local waterways at our Club open day.We are expecting a large turnout as past rallies have attracted crowds of over 800 visitors.”

There’ll be plenty of ‘vittles’ too including a sizzling barbecue, plenty of doughnuts, other refreshments, an all-day real ale ‘saloon’ bar plus live music and entertainment too!

And all of this won’t cost a nickel or a dime as admission, car parking and temporary moorings are all free.

For further details and temporary moorings please email or see

CRT Policy for Boaters without a Home Mooring

The Canal & River Trust have outlined its plans to provide greater clarity to those boaters who have stated that they will ‘continuously cruise’, but then don’t move their boat far enough or often enough to meet the Trust’s published ‘Guidance for Boaters without a Home Mooring’.


The AWCC welcomes and supports this initiative.