Victor: What a bloody mess!

Published: Sunday, 02 July 2017

LET'S start with the Anderton Boat Lift—it's out of action—as it often is during the cruising season.

aw anderton liftEngineers have told us that it really needs a great deal of work, that it obviously is not getting, for take last year for instance, it conked out on the 4th May, a short closure in June, then a longer one on the 14th July  and yet another closure on the 22nd August.

If you are stuck at the wrong side of the lift, it's hard cheese, as it is stated there is not an 'estimated fix time' Keith Gudgin tells us.

The K&A

Of course a couple a weeks without rain so the Crofton Locks on the Kennet & Avon are again under restriction until further notice, allowing passage just a few hours during the day, but this time at last Cart is admitting the dry weather is combined with the deterioration of the lock gates and performance of pumping stations.

Admitted at last—the lock gates are leaking! I should imagine that due to the ever decreasing maintenance most of its lock gates are now leaking. And as to the pumps, with so many past failures surely it is about time to sling the current ones out and install pumps that are up to the job, as the present ones, breaking down, certainly are not.

But I am most pleased to be able to tell you that plans are in place to reduce lock leakage and 'improve' reliability of the pumping station.  We await with bated breath.  Sorry, but no information when.

The Grand Union

More problems I'm afraid for you boaters, this time at Itchington Bottom Lock (13) on the Grand Union, with both paddles giving up the ghost having sheared their gearing.

Surely this is not something that can happen overnight, not such hefty gearing, so again obviously a case of 'wait until it breaks'.  We are clearly told that this prevents the operation of the lock, but Cart in its wisdom also tells us that the 'navigation is open'.  Work that one out.

The Lancaster

On the Lancaster now where boater have been telling of loose coping stones on Claughton Lane Bridge (49) that the vandals have finally discovered and tipped them into the canal, so many of them that the navigation is now closed until they are fished out.

Surely is would have been easier securing the coping stones, rather than now having to drag them out of the canal then secure them.  Alas, that is not how things are done these days.

One more

All the above happened on Friday or Saturday, with just one more closure to report from Keith—but this time Cart is blameless, as it is yet another bridge strike, with a vehicle crashing into Bridge 7 next to Puttenham Lock, on the Aylesbury Arm of the Grand Union Canal, with the navigation now closed.

It's week-end so it will be during the week when the bridge can be assessed by engineers.

Foulridge canoes3They've arrived

As will be seen from the front page picture the canoeists have arrived and travelling through Foulridge Tunnel on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal, but not just a couple as expected but lots of 'em.

But alas the rules are quickly broken, as many can be seen without the required light, but it is assumed all boat traffic would have been stopped to let them through, though what happens in future now they have a taste for tunnels and the odd one 'creeps' through with just the LED head band light and a boat with its tunnel light on—it could well be a broad one on this waterway—coming the other way, is in the lap of the Gods.

Victor Swift