Electric cruisers available to hire on the Norfolk Broads

We are proud to announce the arrival of another super quiet, environmentally-friendly motor cruiser on the Norfolk Broads, located at Horning.

Electric Cruiser Silent Emblem

Electric Cruiser Silent Emblem

‘Silent Emblem’ is fitted with an electric motor, providing around 5 hours of quiet cruising or running time. There is no need to plug in to recharge the batteries, the efficient generator cuts in automatically so you can carry on quietly cruising, stress-free. Solar panels feature on all of our electric boats and all are fitted with shore power hook-up, to assist with charging the battery, although this is not necessary.

Electric Cruiser Whisper Emblem

Electric Cruiser Whisper Emblem

‘Silent Emblem’ is the second eco-friendly electric cruiser available from Horning, the first ‘Whisper Emblem’, was introduced in 2016 and has become increasingly popular with holiday hirers who appreciate the quiet cruising and extremely spacious design. Both have one double cabin, sleeping two very comfortably but with the possibility of making up a bed in the saloon area for an extra person or two. Whisper and Silent feature modern interiors and both have bow thrusters on board for easier manoeuvring.

Electric-Hybrid Cruiser Rhapsody

Electric-Hybrid Cruiser Rhapsody

For larger parties, our prestige cruiser ‘Rhapsody’ is available to hire from our base at Wroxham, sleeping up to 8. Rhapsody also features an electric, hybrid engine with shore power hook-up. Ideal for a luxury break away, the upper deck is fitted with sun loungers and a complimentary bottle of bubbly and mini toiletries are on board for your arrival.

To check live availability for our Norfolk Broads cruisers, visit our website: www.waterwaysholidays.com/norfolkbroads.htm or give our friendly boating team a call on 01252 796400.

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Classic Thames cruiser available to hire from Marlow

We are very happy to announce the arrival of a beautifully hand crafted wooden heritage boat, located on the River Thames at Marlow. Built in 1952, ‘Bernadette II’ is 30ft of classic Bates Star Craft and offers a rare opportunity to explore the Thames in style in a classic motor cruiser.

Bernadette II moored up

Bernadette II moored up

Although classic on the outside, some modern features have been introduced to make Bernadette II more comfortable, including memory foam toppers, new mattresses, central heating and a TV/DVD player. For convenience and ease of manoeuvrability, a bow thruster has been added, along with shore power, 240v and USB connectivity.

‘Bernadette II’ is ideal for a couple or a family with two younger children, who have been on the canals or the River Thames previously. Many wonderful destinations are within easy reach on a week’s holiday, head downstream towards Windsor to visit the castle, or carry on to Hampton Court Palace. Upstream you’ll find pretty riverside towns and villages such as Henley-on-Thames, Abingdon and onto the city of Oxford.

Visit Hampton Court Palace by boat

Visit Hampton Court Palace by boat

For more information, or to check availability, feel free to call us on 01252 796400 or visit our website www.waterwaysholidays.com/river-thames.htm

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Take a look at our new boats available to hire

We have recently added some new boats to our fleet, all of which are now available to hire for your 2017 boating holiday. The addition of the new boats means there is now an even better choice of starting locations for your narrowboating holiday, with a variety of routes available suited to novices and experienced boaters alike.

 

‘Midland Mallard‘ is a 63ft narrowboat suited to families or a group of friends. Located at Market Bosworth, ‘Midland Mallard’ is in the perfect location for exploring the picturesque, lock-free Ashby Canal. Fitted with a few home comforts, Midland Mallard features WiFi connectivity, digital TV and DAB radio with bluetooth connectivity.

Midland Mallard from Market Bosworth

Midland Mallard from Market Bosworth

‘Tasselweed’ is a 70ft narrowboat located on the beautiful Grand Union Canal at Weedon. Sleeping up to 6 with a flexible bed layout, Tasselweed features all mod-cons, including a dishwasher, air-conditioning and a hydraulic bow thruster.

Tasselweed from Weedon

Tasselweed from Weedon

Another new addition to our Weedon base is ‘Hawkweed’, the perfect boat for two at just 45ft. Hawkweed has a fixed double cabin with sprung mattress and a spacious saloon area which also features a flatscreen TV/DVD player.

Hawkeed from Weedon

‘Dawn Mist’,  is an extremely flexible 62ft narrowboat, sleeping up to 8 people with a spacious aft deck. Located in Tamworth with a good variety of route options, ‘Dawn Mist’ is ideal for families or groups of friends.

Dawn Mist from Tamworth

No previous experience is necessary to hire any of our narrowboats, full training will be given on arrival. For more information on any of our new boats or new locations, visit our website: www.waterwaysholidays.com or call us on 01252 796400 for friendly boating advice.

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Easter Holidays on the UK waterways

The Easter holidays are the perfect time for a break away with the family. With so many events and activities within reach of the UK canals it’s an interesting and active break for children of all ages. The Norfolk Broads also offer families lock-free cruising, with plenty of pubs and villages to explore there’s plenty for the whole family to enjoy. We’ve had a look at some of the top attractions and events close to the UK waterways this Easter:

Norfolk Broads

Norfolk Broads

Bewilderwood
Located near Horning on the Norfolk Broads, Bewilderwood is a family adventure park featuring tree houses and zip wires set in a forest. Take a boat ride over the lake and spend an afternoon on the ‘treacherous trail’. This Easter join in the fun and bring the kids along to meet the Easter Bunny, have their faces painted and go on an Easter egg hunt! Bewilderwood is a 15 minute walk from the moorings at Horning Staithe.

Black Country Living Museum
The 26-acre open air museum features rebuilt historic buildings, including a full 20th Century village, a traditional 1930s fish & chip shop and a Victorian School. Catch the vintage bus or tram to the canalside village, take a trip down the 19th century mine and visit the 1930s fairground. Over the Easter holidays the museum is hosting a range of events including an egg-rolling competition, an Easter egg hunt with clues to solve all across the museum and some egg-craft activities. Look for holidays departing from Alvechurch or Tardebigge to reach the Black Country Museum.

Black Country Living Museum

Black Country Living Museum

Warwick Castle
For a great family day out take a trip to the medieval Warwick Castle, easily accessible from the Grand Union Canal. The castle is located in a rather lock-heavy area of the canal system as it is close to the Hatton Flight, perfect for families looking for an active break. The castle features a Horrible Histories Maze and the castle dungeons, extra special Easter activities include the ‘Wicked Warwick Live Stage Show’ and ‘Flight of the Eagles’- a spectacular birds of prey display. Look for holidays departing from Stockton or Warwick to reach Warwick Castle.

Bath
As if you needed more reasons to visit the beautiful city of Bath! During the Easter Holidays the Theatre Royal’s award-winning theatre ‘The Egg’ (specifically built for young people) is putting on a production of Eloise and the Curse of the Golden Whisk (18-23 April). There are plenty of activities to keep the kids busy, including egg decorating at the Holbourne Museum, and making 3D sugar models at the Bath Cake Company. For boating holidays to Bath, depart from our bases at Hilperton, Bradford on Avon, Monkton Combe & Bath.

Bath Abbey

Bath Abbey

Cadbury World
The ideal destination for a day out with the family, with something for all ages. Visit the 4D chocolate cinema and grab an edible souvenir from the world’s largest Cadbury Shop. There are lots of events happening over the Easter holidays including live magic shows, ventriloquists, daily bonnet competitions and an Easter egg hunt around the whole of Cadbury World. Easily accessible from the Birmingham and Worcester Canal, look for holidays departing from Alvechurch & Tardebigge for short breaks, or for week long holidays depart from Stoke Prior, Warwick or Stockton.

No previous experience is needed to hire a narrowboat or motor cruiser as full tuition is given on arrival. If you’d like any more information on hiring a boat in the Easter holidays please visit our website www.waterwaysholidays.com or call us on 01252 796400.

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Our boating weekend: Bradford-on-Avon to Bath

Last weekend the team here at Waterways holidays were lucky enough to have a weekend away boating on the Kennet & Avon. Our partners at Bradford-on-Avon provided us with a lovely 69ft narrowboat – the ‘Duchess 6’ which was so comfortable, clean and spacious and was the perfect floating home for our weekend break.

The Duchess 6

The Duchess 6

On arrival we were greeted by the boatyard manager and after putting all of our belongings and supplies onto the boat we were ready for our show-through. This included a complete walkthrough of the boat, beginning at the bow we were shown how to use the mooring pins and how to tie up the boat properly. Inside we were shown how all the electrics work, how to turn on the engine and heating (v.important in Feb!) and a couple of very simple engine checks. Next came the steering, which may seem daunting to a first-timer, but once you’ve got the hang of it it’s actually really fun.

Stone bridge on the Kennet & Avon

Stone bridge on the Kennet & Avon

We started our journey heading west from Bradford-on-Avon towards Bath. Cruising past the impressive 14th Century Tithe Barn, this is worth a visit if you have time. After around 30-45 minutes cruising we reached the Avoncliffe Aqueduct, the first of the two aqueducts along the Kennet & Avon. The approach to the aqueduct is at a 90 ̊angle, which you approach slowly and beep your horn to notify other boats on the other side of the aqueduct. On the first afternoon we cruised for around 1.5 hours, our first mooring for the night was at a little village called Limpley Stoke. From here it was a short 5-10 minute walk to the Hop Pole Inn, where we had an evening meal.

The Avoncliffe Aqueduct

The Avoncliffe Aqueduct

After an early night and a good breakfast the next morning we set off towards the Dundas Aqueduct. The scenery along the Kennet & Avon is a nice mixture of farmland and woodland set amongst rolling hills, with small villages in between.  The approach to the second aqueduct is also at a 90 ̊angle, cruising across the Dundas Aqueduct offers some stunning views of the River Avon and surrounding countryside. Once off the aqueduct you will enter Brassknocker Basin, where there is a water pump and recycling facilities. We continued on towards Bath, encountering a couple of swing bridges on our journey, easy enough to operate, using the windlass provided on the boat to undo the bolt and then pushing the bridge to the side of the canal.

Pulteney Weir

Pulteney Weir

On the approach to Bath, we cruised under some stone bridges and through a small tunnel near Sydney Gardens, where there are moorings if you wish to walk through the gardens into Bath city centre. We decided to moor just after the gardens and walk across the bridge overlooking Pulteney Weir, into Bath. We spent the afternoon visiting attractions such as Bath Abbey and the renowned tea house – Sally Lunn’s, the oldest house in Bath built in 1842, and known for its famous buns. After a quick coffee we made our way back to our boat ‘Ginny Marie’ and took a look at the two locks that we needed to operate to turn around at the winding hole just after.

Bath Abbey

Bath Abbey

Two of us made our way back to the boat to begin cruising towards Bath Top Lock whilst the other two began preparing the lock by opening the paddles with the windlass; this enabled the lock to fill with water. Once the lock had filled with water and the water levels were the same, the lock gates could be pushed open, allowing the boat to cruise into the lock.Once the boat was in the lock and secured with ropes, the paddles at the opposite end of the lock were opened to allow the water to drain out. When going ‘down’ in a lock you must always be aware of the cill (the concrete part of the lock) as the boat could get caught on it if you don’t stay forward. Once the water levels were the same inside and outside the lock, the gates could be opened, allowing the boat to cruise out. Luckily for us, some ‘gongoozlers’ also gave us a hand with the gates.

Bath Top Lock

Bath Top Lock

We decided to head to Bathampton for our second night, and by chance we managed to secure ourselves a mooring right outside The George Inn. Once again we had a very enjoyable meal along with a glass of wine or two. Tired from all of the fresh air and full stomachs we decided on an early night again, so we’d be ready for a prompt start for our journey back to Bradford-on-Avon. We’d moored up in a ‘quiet zone’, which means that engines must be switched off until you start cruising, keen to get the heating on we set off just before 9am and had breakfast on the move.

The George Inn at Bathampton

The George Inn at Bathampton

We cruised back past the farmer’s fields and through the swing bridges, looking at all the narrowboats moored up along the towpath. Many of these boats were live-aboards and out of courtesy it is important to go as slowly as possible past them, so as not to disturb the people or their belongings on the boats. We stopped off at Brassknocker Basin to top up with water on the way back; this is very easy to do and takes around 15-20 minutes. We journeyed across the aqueducts again, making the most of the surrounding views and taking lots of photographs.

Pretty scenery on the Kennet & Avon

Pretty scenery on the Kennet & Avon

We arrived back at Bradford-on-Avon on the Sunday afternoon, to begin packing our belongings and give the boat a clean, leaving us enough time to take a closer look at Tithe Barn, which is well worth a visit. We loaded all of our bags into the car and said our goodbyes and thanks to the boatyard owner for such a fantastic holiday. One that I think we all thoroughly enjoyed and would all highly recommend.

Tithe Barn

Tithe Barn

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Boating holiday routes: The River Wey

The peaceful and beautifully scenic River Wey travels through the heart of some of Surrey’s best countryside, providing boaters with the chance to explore some of the County’s attractive towns and villages.

Narrowboats on the River Wey

Narrowboats on the River Wey

This picturesque canalised river travels all the way from Godalming in Surrey, to the Thames Lock at Weybridge. Since 1653 it was used as the main link from Surrey to London, transporting goods to the capital. Commercial carrying on the River continued all the way up until the 1960s, since then it has been used by a variety of pleasure boat users and holiday makers. The River Wey was passed to the National Trust in 1964, from its last private owner, and has remained in their care ever since.

The River Wey passes through the market town of Guildford, which offers a fantastic range of restaurants making it an ideal place to stop for lunch or dinner. Guildford is home to many places of interest including Guildford Castle and Guildford Cathedral and with its wide variety of high street and designer shops it’s not a bad place to indulge in an afternoon of shopping either! Past Guildford the scenery becomes more rural, meandering through meadows, woodland and pretty riverside villages such as Send and Pyrford.

The River Wey passes through the Surrey Hills, named as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in 1953. The river is home to a diverse range of wildlife including dragonflies, butterflies and bats. Over 55 species of birds can be spotted on the river, including kingfishers, herons and warblers. Sites of Specific Scientific Interest (SSSI) are common along the length of The River Wey, nature reserves have also been established, offering protection to the habitats of the animal’s who have made the river their home.

Guildford Castle

Guildford Castle

The length of the River Wey can be cruised in a short break over a weekend or midweek break. A midweek break will allow more time for exploration along the river, including the National Trust’s Exhibition Centre at Dapdune Wharf, not to mention trying some of the many riverside pubs along the way! In a week’s holiday a licence can be bought to allow travel onto the River Thames, meaning towns and attractions such as Windsor Castle or Hampton Court can be visited.

To experience all that the River Wey has to offer, visit our website- http://www.waterwaysholidays.com/southern_england.htm or call us on 01252 796400

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Boat hire for Valentine’s Day

Struggling for some romantic inspiration for Valentine’s day? We’ve found a selection of cosy boating breaks for two in some of the most idyllic locations in the UK. No previous boating experience is necessary, as full training is given on arrival.

Beautiful scenery on the UK canals

Beautiful scenery on the UK canals

 

Our marina at Rugby are offering boating breaks over the Valentine’s period. Perfect for a couple to get away together and enjoy the rural scenery and rolling hills in the Warwickshire countryside. There are many route options available from Rugby making it an ideal choice for your Valentine’s break away. For a relaxing cruise, travel to the beautifully peaceful and lock-free Ashby Canal and stop off in Coventry for dinner and drinks in one of the many bars and restaurants. For a more active route, head to Crick and travel through two tunnels and two flights of locks!  Cosy 2-berth narrowboat ‘Heron’ is available from Rugby for a midweek break over Valentine’s Day for £618, and even comes with a solid fuel stove for a romantic evening on-board.

Cosy ‘Heron’ from Rugby

 

If a city break is more your thing, then how about a trip to Bath? Travel along the beautiful Kennet & Avon Canal, passing through picturesque towns and villages dotted along the banks. From our base at Bradford-on-Avon, there are very few locks on the journey to Bath, meaning you can relax and enjoy the scenery. Once you’ve reached the beautiful city of Bath you can visit some of the many attractions, including the Roman Baths and Bath Abbey or spend the afternoon shopping before visiting one of the numerous restaurants for a nice evening meal. Narrowboat ‘Bath’, is ideal for couples, at less than a year old ‘Bath’ has a modern interior and offers a comfortable cruising experience.

Bradford-on-Avon

Bradford-on-Avon

To find out more about these romantic boating breaks for two, visit our website www.waterwaysholidays.com/canal_boat_holidays.htm or call us on 01252 796400 for friendly advice.

 

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Hire a boat and cruise the Norfolk Broads in style in one of our new additions

We are delighted to announce the arrival of two new cruisers to our fleet, available for hire in 2017. These two cruisers are rather different from one another, with one being brand new and the other being a lovingly restored  Norfolk Broads 1920s classic cruiser.

‘Spark of Light’ offers experienced boaters a holiday of nostalgic cruising on the Norfolk Broads. This Elite-Class cruiser was built in 1927 by Herbert Woods and played an important role in World War II, defending the Hickling Broad from German flying boats, preventing them from landing.  In the past 50 years ‘Spark of Light’ has changed hands many times, but has now been returned to her home, where she underwent a  five year restoration project to make her suitable for hire once again. The restoration project included adding in a few home comforts, including warm-air heating, 240v electricity, a shower and two toilets, as well as a TV/DVD player.

'Spark of Light' on the Norfolk Broads

‘Spark of Light’ on the Norfolk Broads

Our second newcomer to the fleet, ‘Serenade’, is a brand new luxurious cruiser. This cruiser has been fitted with a high-quality, stylish interior and sleeps four comfortably in two en-suite cabins, but can accommodate up to six by converting the sofa bed in the saloon. ‘Serenade’ features all mod-cons including a bow-thruster for easier manoeuvrability, an LCD TV/DVD player and warm air heating, making her the perfect choice for those wanting to explore the Broads with their family or friends in comfort. ‘Serenade’ is available for hire regardless of previous experience as full training will be given on arrival.

Brand new cruiser 'Seranade'.

Brand new cruiser ‘Serenade’.

 

‘Spark of Light’ is available to hire from the end of May 2017, proof of experience, along with a refundable security deposit will be required. ‘Serenade’ is available to hire from early March 2017. For more information on either of these boats, or to book for your 2017 Broads holiday, visit www.waterwaysholidays.com/norfolkbroads.htm or call us on 01252 796400.

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Boating holiday routes: The Basingstoke Canal

The Basingstoke Canal has undergone a remarkable restoration project, meaning narrowboats are once again able to travel almost the whole length of the canal, from the base at Odiham in Hampshire, all the way to West Byfleet in Surrey. The Basingstoke Canal has an interesting history, it was used in WW1 to transport military cargoes from Woolwich to Aldershot and it was where soldiers received training in boat handling so that they were able to make use of the French and Belgian waterways. This canal is a good option for novice boaters, as the first lock is a full 12 miles from the base, giving you plenty of time to get used to the tiller!

Cruising along the peaceful Basingstoke Canal

The Basingstoke Canal winds its way through beautiful Surrey and Hampshire countryside, at only an hour’s journey from London it’s perfect for those wanting to escape the city. It is also a good choice for those of you wanting to bring along your four-legged friends, as there are lots of walks and dog-friendly pubs along the canal, or within easy reach. The Basingstoke Canal Centre in Mytchett is a great place to moor up for a spot of lunch, here there is a canal cafe serving hot and cold foods. There is also a visitor’s centre, which offers you the chance to learn about the canal’s history and purchase a souvenir from the gift shop!

The canal has been named as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) due to the different species of dragonflies and damselflies that are found in the area. A total of 25 species out of 39 inhabit the canal and may be seen during the course of your narrowboat holiday. A diverse range of other wildlife can be spotted along the canal; it’s great for keen bird-watchers as you may get to spot herons, kingfishers and different varieties of grebes. Deer, badgers and foxes also have habitats along the towpath. The Basingstoke Canal also hosts the largest congregation of hibernating natterer bats in the UK (over 12,500!) in the Greywell tunnel. The tunnel is situated on the Basingstoke Canal, north of our base; it is not navigable due to a roof collapse in 1932.

‘Madam Butterfly’- a wheelchair accessible boat on the Basingstoke Canal

Notable features along the Basingstoke Canal include Odiham Castle (King John’s Castle) which is north of the base. The castle runs adjacent to the canal; it is believed to host the ruins of the only octagonal keep in England. Other features include concrete pillboxes- small defensive structures for soldiers used to keep an approaching army at bay. Canal defences along the canal are not limited to pillboxes- in the Crookham area there is a set of 14 dragons teeth, these concrete square-pyramidal structures were used as anti- tank defence in WWII. The Basingstoke Canal is home to the Deepcut lock-flight, 14 evenly spaced locks appear one after the other giving boaters a fun challenge! Passage through the flight does have to be pre-booked and can only be completed in weekly breaks or longer.

To enjoy all that the tranquil Basingstoke Canal has to offer, choose ‘Basingstoke’ from our waterway drop-down list: www.waterwaysholidays.com/southern_england.htm#basingstoke_canal We are also able to offer accessible boating holidays from Odiham, give us a call on 01252 796400 to discuss your options.

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Boating holiday routes: The River Avon

river-avon-facts

The picturesque River Avon meanders its way through attractive Warwickshire and Gloucestershire countryside, providing boaters with plenty of opportunities to alight and explore some of the most historic towns and villages in the UK.

tewkesbury

Tewkesbury

Tewkesbury, the characterful town with its medieval streets hosts beautiful Tudor, black and white half-timber buildings. The popular town is home to one of the top tourist attractions in Gloucestershire, Tewkesbury Abbey is almost 900 years old and features a Norman tower, stained glass windows and an ornate 12th Century ceiling. Other attractions include the Heritage centre, town museum and a traditional high street, full of independent shops. Moor up at Tewkesbury Marina for a short walk into the village centre. A good place for a spot of lunch is the Royal Hop Pole, with its historic architecture, and riverside pub garden.

The beautiful Vale of Evesham (11 hours cruise from Tewkesbury) also has some interesting attractions worth visiting along the way. The Bell Tower of Evesham Abbey is one of the only parts of the Abbey to survive the revolutionary Dissolution of the Monasteries in the 16th Century, where King Henry VIII disbanded the Catholic Monasteries, often demolishing the Abbeys and Cathedrals. Close by is the Almonry Museum and Heritage Centre, built in the 14th Century, where you can take a trip back in time viewing historic artefacts including Anglo-Saxon grave goods and Georgian clothing. Evesham is easily accessible from the River Avon, just moor up along the towpath for a nice walk into the town.

evesham-small

Evesham

Last, but certainly not least is the medieval market town of Stratford-upon-Avon, a 7-hour cruise from Evesham. Home to William Shakespeare, the town’s attractions, as expected, are mostly focused on the famous poet and playwright’s life. Such attractions include Shakespeare’s birthplace on Henley Street and Anne Hathaway’s cottage, the beautiful thatched farmhouse with its stunning gardens is located a 1 mile walk from the centre of Stratford-upon-Avon, in nearby Shottery. Of course a trip to Stratford-upon-Avon wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, where you can moor up directly opposite!

To enjoy all that the River Avon has to offer, start your holiday from our bases at either Stratford-upon-Avon, Wootton Wawen, Worcester, or Pershore. Please note that if you start from Stratford-upon-Avon, Wootton Wawen or Worcester you will be required to purchase a licence to cruise on the River Avon. If you start from Pershore the licence fee is already included. To continue on and extend your holiday past the River Avon, if time permits, why not carry on past Tewkesbury onto the River Severn. Alternatively, if you have two weeks to spare and you are an experienced boater, why not try the Avon Ring at 109 miles and with 131 locks it’s not for the faint-hearted!

pershore-moorings

Moorings at Pershore

To search for boating holidays on the River Avon, search: www.waterwaysholidays.com/canal_boat_holidays.htm and select ‘River Avon’ from the drop down menu. Alternatively give our team a call on 01252 796400 for friendly boating advice.

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