Victor: So now its ferns

Published: Sunday, 06 August 2017

I BELIEVE that every boater—providing his/her boat is not too long—should try the Huddersfield Narrow Canal.

It cost £32 million to restore from being completely derelict, is hard work having quite a few locks and not too well maintained or dredged, but its scenery and its remarkable Standedge Tunnel makes it well worth while. We have cruised it both ways, the first time our boat being dragged through the tunnel, but last time being able to steer ourselves with the help of the remarkable guide. Fred.

Hud polesBut the great pity is that, in common with its other canals, Canal & River Trust has allowed it to deteriorate, and now has decided to use it once again to set aside part of it for plants—this time ferns, meaning part of it will be fenced off.

The picture shows another part that was also fenced off for some plant or other, and with it being rather shallow causes problems to boats attempting to pass.  The fencing was held by  posts along around 100 yards of the waterway in a rather narrow section. but of course the fence rotted away and the posts are left as a hazard for boats, as can be seen.  This particular one had obviously caught a boat, as had others in the line. No doubt the new fencing will eventually end up the same.

This narrow canal is not really suitable as a garden to appease the plant lovers of Cart, who perhaps would be better using its much wider rivers or reservoirs for such activities.

Keep clear of Market Drayton

If you have planned a cruise on the Shroppie during August, make sure you are nowhere near Market Drayton on Saturday 19th August as 500 anglers will be descending on the waterway for a colossal angling match.

It is the National Championships, and already 490 anglers have registered to attend, with the match being spread along 15 miles of the waterway each side of Market Drayton.

Not only will anglers be taking over the canal on the Saturday but there will also be a number of advance practice matches beforehand, though it is not stated of how many days duration.

Best to give it a miss.

Trent LockThe best of the two

For many years we have had meals at the two pubs at Trent Lock on the junction of the Trent with the Erewash—the Steamboat by the side of the lock and the Trent Lock just over the waterway, with the latest at the Trent Lock last week.

I can tell you the best meal by far is provided by the Trent Lock. The ones at the Steamboat leave no impression, but those at the Trent Lock certainly do, are exceptionally well cooked and delicious.

Does it know?

My regular readers will be aware that there is a butterfly count on at the moment, with Cart wanting to know how many of the Comma variety of butterfly are resident on its waterways.

I have been emailed by a butterfly organisation telling me it is important that it knows how may of the species exist so it can ascertain if the numbers are growing or reducing.

All well and good, it finds someone something to do, but I asked how it ascertains such information if the same butterfly has been reported by numerous people?  This was over a week ago, but alas I am unable to pass on the information, as the organisation had not deemed to reply...

trent lock2Sunk boats

The other day I happened to look through the photographs we have on file of boats hung up on cills, and was amazed at the number, though of course we only have a small fraction.  I counted 242!

Which brings me again to Trent Lock, where last week I was asked by a Canaltimer who had obviously just brought a boat down from Sawley, what was the meaning of the 'cill' mark on the ground.

So in no uncertain terms I told him that when he came back down the waterway he keep the boat to the front of the lock, for if he kept it at the back it would sink!

So fond of notices Cart just will not point out the danger of the cill even though hundreds of boats have been caught on them and sunk.  We all know why, it is because it obviously does not want to show that locks are dangerous and can sink a boat—that of course they are and can.

It is obviously unconcerned that boats are regularly sunk by being caught on cills, preferring not to advertise their dangers, but really it should—even the simple statement to keep boats forward in the lock when descending would alleviate many sinkings. But do the people at Cart have that much sense?

Victor Swift