Friday, 13 September 2013

Google to Map UK Canals for Street View

Initiated by the UK Canal and Rivers Trust, Google have offered up one of their rare Trekker Street View backpacks to the Trust's members. 
Weighing 40lbs, the four-foot tall backpack houses a 360-degree camera and lets a person carry out on foot what Google's Street View vans do on roads, allowing for otherwise-inaccessible areas to be mapped. It's the first time one has been used in the UK, having previously been used to map locations like the Grand Canyon. 
Genuine pic, from 
"We're delighted to be the first people in the UK to get the Trekker on our backs - it's fantastic that our 200-year old network is being given a different lease of life thanks to cutting edge, 21st-century technology," said Wendy Hawk, corporate partnerships manager of the Canal & River Trust. 
"The footage we get will allow millions of people from all over the world to see our canals, rivers and towpaths, and will hopefully encourage some people to make a trip to see them." 

Google's Pascale Milite added: "We hope to help boost the discovery of and make these historical canals accessible to more people in the UK and across the world through Street View technology." Google and the Trust are hoping to map 100 miles of canals and waterways, kicking off at London's Regents Canal later this week. - See more here and more including a pic here.

What I find amusing is that a few years ago there was a spoof photo of a narrow boat in the cut with a Google camera on the roof. And now (truth is stranger than fiction etc) the spoof has come to pass!
(spoof pic!)
But I suppose the serious question is - presuming the Trekker pack will be carried by a walker rather than a boater (could they hitch a ride?) - whether the view from the river is better or worse, more or less useful, than the view from the towpath. And hands up if you'd like Google to pay you for visiting your favourite canals with a camera on the roof of your boat! Count me in: I'd even quit my present job to be a Google employee afloat. Google, can you hear me?

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Oundle to Wadenhoe And Back

With warm weather expected followed by a cool change, we took Patience up river to Wadenhoe on Wednesday and back on Thursday. This gave her a breath of fresh air, a bit of leisurely exercise on a sparkling and clear river and a change of scene.
Wadenhoe is a charming and attractive village, preserved by a Trust, and our interest is focused on The King's Head and its garden which rolls down to the river, near the lock. So popular is it that we had to moor alongside another boat for a while, with river edges at a premium.

On arrival at Wadenhoe and tying ourselves to another narrow boat, we headed up the slope to the bar for our choice of beers.
In the afternoon, torn between going for an improving walk or relaxing in the shade down by the riverside, we opted for the latter, while swimmers and canoeists floated energetically to and fro.
In the evening we indulged in some great food at The King's Head.

Thursday dawned misty on the river ...

... but we headed off for our walk (a modified version of the walk at Walking World id=5874 bypassing Sudborough but including Wadenhoe) of 7 - 8 miles roughly following the Lyveden Way to Lyveden New Bield (National Trust) where we found more of interest than we had expected...

... including a very pleasant coffee shop, useful information centre, replanted orchard, moat, lake and entry to the never-completed Elizabethan house built for Sir Thomas Tresham.
Our walk in bright sunshine took us across fields and through woodland, with no traffic, hardly any other people, and a sense of surprise that we were so far from the non-stop frenzy of the A14.
With deteriorating weather expected on Friday we headed home to Oundle reinforced by a substantial lunch at The Kings Head, very satisfied with our little trip.