A good season after breach repaired

Published: Wednesday, 04 November 2009

BOAT hire companies have recovered after the devastating loss of business caused by the breach in the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal.

The breach cut the  waterway in half two years ago, and being unconnected to the main system, devastated the hire companies along its route, but its repair in time for this year's season has restored their fortunes, reports Alan Tilbury.

It was on the 16th of October 2007 that the breach occurred, with 16 miles of the short canal sealed off owing to concerns over its stability after an estimated 35,000 tonnes of water and mud was lost.

Lack of cash meant it could not be repaired in time for the 2008 season, which resulted in hire companies being unable to operate, and British Waterways paying compensation. However, an extensive repair programme over last winter meant the waterway could be re-opened for this year's season.

Companies, such as Beacon Park Boats at Llanfoist Wharf, that was forced to close down following the breach, have now had a good season, with Sarah Kirkpatrick, who owns the business with Alasdair Kirkpatrick, explaining:

"The summer was a success with bookings from Canada and Europe, with bookings going extremely well for next season. We are now ahead of where we would have been last year and its fantastic."

However, whilst boat hire companies have quickly recovered, others have not, with such as Peter Young, who ran the Waterside Rest café at Goytre Wharf for the past six years, loosing so much business because of the breach, that he has decided not to renew his lease, owing to it not recovering when the waterway was re-opened.