Take a Look Inside Our Beautiful 2014 Adlard Coles Nautical Catalogue

Welcome to the Adlard Coles Nautical catalogue for 2014. We are delighted to present our wide range of books from across the Adlard Coles Nautical range. Whatever you need, from knot books to Almanacs, cruising guides to stunning photographic books, you can find them all at Adlard Coles Nautical.

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For a hard copy of our catalogue email adlardcoles@bloomsbury.com

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Exploring Britain from her waterways

Stuart Fisher, editor of Canoeist magazine, contributes this guest blog about the kinds of escapades he has had writing his books, Canals of Britain and Rivers of Britain. We are proud to publish the third book in the series, BRITISH RIVER NAVIGATIONS, on 24th October. With this book, Stuart completes the most comprehensive survey of Britain’s inland waterways ever attempted, which he has carried out mainly via kayak. (Both photos in this blog are taken from the new book.)

It was the end of four days of research, by kayak as usual, this time using the heavier sea kayak. The takeout was not ideal, up a high silty bank, but it was close to the car and the other options were a considerable distance away or involved ship sized locks.

Holding the kayak by the stern toggle, I edged up a step at a time, struggling to pull it a similar distance after each step won. Finally making the reeds at the top and gasping with the effort, I gave a last pull and fell over backwards as the toggle came off in my hand.

The launch was perfect, only lacking the champagne, as the kayak shot down the bank and out into the coffee coloured water swirling past at maximum velocity, this being just below mid ebb on springs. The kayak’s speed out into the river did not die away as quickly as it accelerated downstream towards the Humber.

I don’t normally swear but then I don’t normally assess problems so quickly, either. The only two pieces of kit I considered were the kayak and the camera. All other kit which might need replacing, like the kayak, declines in value from the day it is bought. The camera, however, increases in value from the start of a trip until the point where the pictures are downloaded. To the expense of a replacement camera must be added the cost of retaking four days of pictures. Some cannot be retaken, of course, such as the ones earlier in the day of a kingfisher sitting watching me from a branch 5m away.

Fortunately I had taken the precaution of tucking the waterproof camera behind the seat before exit, not foolproof but better than leaving it loose. This takeout should have been easy compared with, say, my ascent of a vertical ladder onto a fish jetty at North Shields or down another at Bow Locks on the River Lea on previous occasions with the other, admittedly lighter, kayak.

My impressively quick response was to slither hastily down the bank. My wife thought my dive had unexpected style although she was concerned that it could be followed by just two legs sticking out of the mud. Thinking about it, the last time that I had dived into any water might have been in the days when swimming pools still had diving boards rather than notices banning diving, running and petting.

In due course I caught up with the errant boat and the other toggle held as I struggled up the mud cliff with it for a second time.

The next launch was to be very different, onto clear peaty water running into a sea loch on the west coast of Scotland, not a grain of mud in sight, just sparkling sand.

I have the tremendous good fortune to be able to appreciate our varied waters, from the industrial canals of the Midlands to the wildlife of the fens, from obscure ditches to large commercial fairways, from popular cruising rivers to waters which few boaters discover, and to enjoy the contrasts. The new British River Navigations links Canals of Britain with the tidal Rivers of Britain, a trio of books which describe our waterways in unprecedented detail, both for those on the water and for those using towpaths or footpaths alongside. Remember, though, our wonderful waterways, rivers and canals are always capable of springing surprises.

BRITISH RIVER NAVIGATIONS: Inland Cuts, Fens, Dikes, Channels and Non-tidal Rivers by Stuart Fisher is published by Adlard Coles Nautical on Thursday 24th October. It is available through all good bookshops at an RRP of £25. Alternatively you can order it direct from us here to take advantage of a 10% discount: http://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/british-river-navigations-9781472900845.

Reeds Almanac Editors – a jolly jamboree

The sun was shining on Friday as three generations of Reeds Almanac Editors gathered together to bid a fond farewell to Rob Buttress, editor of the Almanac for five years. Andy du Port, retired editor, Rob Buttress, retiring editor, Perrin Towler, current editor, and Mark Fishwick, incoming editor, were joined by Chris Stevens, the Almanac Manager, and Janet Murphy, the Almanac’s Publisher.

It’s a rare sight to see so many Reeds Editors together in one place. Normally occurring only annually to celebrate the publication of a new edition of the Almanac, the yachtsman’s bible, Rob’s retirement after five years of sterling service proved the perfect opportunity for another jolly jamboree. The group gathered at the appropriately named Jolly Sailor pub at the Hamble to bid Rob farewell and to welcome Mark into the Reeds family.

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Reeds Editors: like London buses – four come along at once. L-R: Chris, Perrin, Rob, Janet, Mark and Andy.

Henley Royal Regatta: a spectator’s view

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Henley-on-Thames

For the morning commuter, London Paddington station’s platform 14 might have seemed a rather peculiar place this week. Across the station, whiffs of an imminent occasion were evident: a hatted lady ordering a flat white at Delice de France; a dapper chap queuing to buy Bombay Sapphire in M&S. But it was on platform 14 that they convened, in a startling blaze of red chinos.

For me, Henley Royal Regatta is something of a family tradition. My stepsisters’ grandfather rowed in it for over 30 years and, ever since, the family has taken it upon themselves to attend. Not that there’s anything arduous about it. Pimm’s and picnics, promenades and Prosecco – this is undoubtedly a most civilised way to spend a day. Just so long, that is, as you can navigate the strict dress code – dresses below the knee, please, ladies (this is the Stewards’ Enclosure, darling!) and not too revealing; wedges to prevent grassy foundering – it’s all something of a minefield. If you’re me, that is.

That aside, let’s not forget the point of the whole thing. Rowing. The regatta has been held annually ever since 1839, barring the two world wars. Henley is the perfect location, being the Thames’ only straight stretch of water this long (a mile and a half, or thereabouts). Races set off every five minutes, so it’s hard to miss the crews sculling their way upriver, accompanied by a smattering of applause from deck-chair spectators on the banks.

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The competitors work somewhat harder than the spectators

The particulars of the sport may likewise pass me by (for shame), but it’s difficult not to be seduced by the occasion. The glittering River Thames and its immaculate, verdant banks; the sunshine, so maddeningly bashful; the inevitable spots of rain, subject of wry, good-natured smiles between strangers.

Stripes and cravats, flannel and old boys’ caps; flowery flocks and wide brimmed hats – we spectators form a fellowship of sorts, like that between football fans on match day or fancy-dress party guests. We may be cold, unfriendly Londoners on any other day of the year, but today, lubricated by familial chatter and gin, we might just offer the neighbouring car a Waitrose sausage roll or two. Might.

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Not a lady-knee in sight, thankfully

The regatta continues for four more days of hard-fought rowing. Me, I’m back in my scruffy jeans in central London, with my no-longer-banned mobile phone by my side – back to reality with a bump. But a day spent on England’s riverbanks, with family and (to quote Mr McEwan) the comfort of strangers – well, it’s a bit of a magical thing, somehow. And, as it turns out, we don’t scrub up too badly after all.

Read Adlard Coles Nautical’s books on the glorious River Thames – click the cover to buy.

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What shall we do today? Exploring the Thames Wilderness.

Guest post from Richard Mayon-White, co-author of Exploring the Thames Wilderness (with Wendy Yorke).

I wake up on a sunny morning and I want to be in the sunshine and by the river. My thoughts go straight to Exploring the Thames Wilderness, our new book detailing 150 nature reserves within one mile of the River Thames, all the way from its source to the sea. Where do I want to visit today? I am lucky to have several nature reserves within walking distance of my home in Oxford.

It has been fine and dry for a week, so there is no need for boots. Just sling my binoculars around my neck, put an apple in my pocket, pick up my camera and off I go. First place is an easy choice – the Trap Grounds Town Green (site 29, page 59 in the Thames Wilderness book) is within 200 yards of my house and is on my way to the Thames. The Trap Grounds site has been transformed in the last few years thanks to volunteers. Formerly a waste land, now it is a pretty mixture of woodland, reedbed, meadow and ponds making habitats for a variety of birds, bugs and plants.

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The way into Trap Grounds Town Green

On to Port Meadow (site 27, page 56) where the open space makes my spirits soar to join the larks singing overhead. I follow the Thames upstream to Godstow, for a chat with Sarah, the lock-keeper, to catch up with river news. Then to Kings Lock for a short break at the Visitor Centre. Should I cross the weir to look at Pixey Mead? (Site 23, page 54). I decide to continue to Eynsham Lock, so that I can do my River Warden duties, checking on the state of the river and Thames Path. All is well with very little litter to collect on my way. At Swinford Bridge and Meadows (site 19, pages 50 and 51) I am spoilt for choice: do I go for lunch at the Talbot Inn at Eynsham, or walk through Wytham Woods to the White Hart, or continue along the river to Pinkhill Lock? It is too early for lunch and I have not been to Pinkhill for several months, so let’s go there.

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Swinford Bridge near Eynsham

Pinkhill Meadow (site 18, page 49) has a bird hide overlooking a small lake. A few tufted ducks and coots are quarrelling amongst themselves, while a mallard dozes in the sunshine on the gravel island. Most active is a little egret fishing around the shallows, stirring the mud with its foot before striking down with its beak. I am reminded of food. After eating my apple, I walk around Farmoor Reservoir into the village for lunch and catch a bus back to Oxford.

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Pinkhill Meadow Lake

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Exploring the Thames Wilderness: A guide to the natural Thames is out now! Order your copy and start to discover the natural beauty of the River Thames.

Sample a few pages from Richard and Wendy’s new book.