Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Great Ash Debate

Maffi and Sue No Problem pose a question for us boaters - what do we do with the ash from narrowboat stoves? Squirrel it away! Unusually for me, I am going to enter the debate with a few points.

A brand new Morso Squirrel stove (not ours!)

We rarely use wood as it produces so much smoke that it is not good for me to breathe in, when on the tiller, or when the fire is opened too quickly! Perhaps too we are too lazy to source, cut and store wood! So we use coal/smokeless fuel on our Squirrel stove.

This is ours - in full glow, plus a baked potato!

We have a bucket on the bow deck for the hot ash - which is emptied when full. Generally the ash is cool enough to bag up, but we don't do that either. We have had one or two disasters when we did try and the ash was still hot enough to melt the bag. Not a recommended action in the bows and it also makes rather a mess of the canal bank.

So we are some of the culprits that Maffi describes (he has probably seen our "piles"!) - emptying our ash under hedges, where incidentally the pile is not so obvious or "disfiguring". Yes, it may not be the best environmentally, but it is never hot enought to catch fire. Landfill sites for ash can be few and far between in some of the places we cruise - so that is not always practical either. Incidentally, isn't it amazing that grass can still force its way up through the ash, come the spring?

Where it is permisssible (and it is not in all rubbish) it is perfectly possible to dispose of it in rubbish bins. However we have been to BW sites that explicitly say "no ash" or "no hot ash". Where there are likely to be lots of boaters, surely it would be sensible for BW/rubbish site owners to have an "ash only" bin. Stuck at Cambrian Wharf last winter - we were grateful for the BW rubbish cupboard, despite the "No hot ash" sign. Ours was definitely cold!

No longer BW Midlands office at Cambrian Wharf, but rubbish and water to the left!


  1. I never thought about that,but I understand that certain races scatter the cremated remains of their loved ones in the river or canal in the Leicester area, its not legal but goes on all the time and of course there is a lot of debate about it in local papers, ash from stoves or furnace is about the same texture, would it do any harm to the system??I hope that does not open the flood gates!!!!!!!!

    but wait, there's more,they even have their own boat for the scattering of the ashes.

  2. Tim you wont need to open a flood gate if everyone empties their ash in the cut it wont take long to fill it up


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