Introduction to Beatrice

We've produced a brand new video to give potential users a brief introduction to the boat.  In the video one of our skippers, Clive Stagg was at the helm, the filming was kindly done by a professional drone pilot, Tim Vickerstaff, and another of our skippers, Mervyn Gamage, provided the voiceover and production.
You can view the video by clicking on it.  We hope you enjoy it and maybe we'll see you aboard soon.

Canal restrictions

Due to water shortages, caused by periods of dry weather, the Canal and River Trust, which manages the Caldon Canal, has taken the decision to close Hazelhurst locks.  This will help to conserve water to supply other parts of the network.  The closure is from Wednesday 22nd September until further notice.  Beatrice will be able to continue operating but all our trips will be in the direction of Froghall.  We will still be able to offer trips from 3 hours up to 7 hours.

New crew in training

During the time when Government regulations and guidance during the Covid pandemic made it impossible to run public trips, we have been able to train new crew members ready for our return.  Existing crew have also taken the opportunity to re-familiarise themselves with Beatrice and get used to new safety procedures as we resume cruising.
Beatrice always operates with a crew of two, a trained and qualified Skipper and a second crew member.  Both are volunteers.  If you would like to join our team no previous experience is necessary.  We can teach you all you need to know.  If you later decide you would like to be one of our Skippers we will send you on a one-day course, at our expense, to gain the Royal Yachting Association qualification needed.
If you would like to know more please email beatricecharity@talktalk.net

We're back

Great news.  In line with updated government guidelines we are pleased to announce our trips resume from Monday 19th July.

We have introduced some extra precautions to ensure the safety and reassurance of our passengers and crew.  You can find details here.

If you are not already booked you can do so by clicking here.

Bridge 37 replacement

The Canal and River Trust, who are responsible for the Caldon Canal, have updated us on plans to rebuild Bridge 37, below Hazelhurst Locks, that was damaged and had to be demolished last year.   There are still a lot of issues to resolve, and they are not yet able  to give definite timings or specifications on the work,  But they say:

  • Trial holes and clearance works, which were undertaken earlier this year, have enabled us to draw up detailed options for a bridge replacement
  • Specifications have been shared with the local authority and Historic England to agree the most appropriate option, considering heritage requirements, use, cost and speed of construction
  • Once we’ve had an option agreed and approved, we’ll programme the works and provide an update
  • Works could take up to 40 weeks from initial set up to having the bridge open to traffic, but our preferred design would be quicker than this
  • We’ll be looking to time the works to minimise the time the canal is closed, particularly during the peak summer season; but this consideration won’t be allowed to add substantial delay to the final completion date
  • Whilst we can’t give a specific date for completion, we’re still hoping to get the work started later this year, and aspiring to have it concluded and open for use by May 2022

Our squatter

A water bird took advantage of the pause in Beatrice’s operations to take up residence on board. While Beatrice was stationary on her winter mooring due to the Coronavirus pandemic, a Moorhen built her nest on the front deck of the boat, enjoying the peace and quiet and lack of interruption.  She laid and hatched an egg.  She was discovered as one of Beatrice’s skippers visited to carry out a check.  Our squatter and her brood have now flown the nest and departed, but we wonder if she will return this year.

Queen’s Award

Beatrice received the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service at a ceremony on 4 October 2019. The Lord Lieutenant of Staffordshire, Ian Dudson CBE KStJ, presented us with a domed crystal and a certificate signed by HM the Queen. This award recognises over 40 years of service to children with special needs, and to adults with disabilities.  It is a reward for the wonderful work of many volunteers who have given their services freely and cheerfully. The picture shows The Lord Lieutenant on the boat with a party from the Meadows School, Leek and two of our trustees.