Victor: Gone boating—we hope!

Published: Sunday, 10 September 2017

IT IS once again time for our September cruise, so no updates for a couple of weeks or so.

We should be back by the Wednesday of the 27th September, but as we already have one stoppage holding us up on the way up the Leicester Section, with Canal & River Trust in charge, alas the return means that that date may not come to pass.

Our 'Stoppages' fella, Keith Gudgin, sums it all up rather well, giving us the frighteners by telling:

'Don't count on the locks/stoppages being opened on time, for very often they aren't.

Too many 'emergency' stoppages now. If I plan anything important I always have a very large timespan beforehand to ensure I get there on time.

I'm going up the Ashby this Autumn while they close Atherstone AND Glascote locks AGAIN. Seems that they close both these flights every year now. It's getting monotonous, we don't ask if they are closing these two flights now, we ask WHEN!'

Tells its own story

With Cart needing four lock 'emergency stoppages' along the Leicester Section, I feel it doesn't bode too well for the rest of the locks up to Norton Junction and back. All we can do is hope.

It was way back in 1998 when we first did the Leicester Section on our way back from the Thames, and the log confirms we encountered no difficulties.  Since then we have cruised that waterway many times, never encountering a stoppage, but on our last cruise two years ago we noticed a vast difference, with many leaking and ill-fitting gates and paddles extremely stiff or not working—and now the 'emergency' stoppages.

It all rather tells its own story, would you agree?

Not that one

Over the years we have cruised many waterways numerous times, including the northern canals—the Leeds & Liverpool twice, the Huddersfield Narrow three times, but the Rochdale just the once.

rochRailingAnd I should imagine you all realise why. Though we were luckily enough in the days of British Waterways to have two staff members riding 'shotgun' down through Failsworth, with the bent railings on one of the locks giving a good idea of the problem.

I should not imagine there are many boaters willing to risk it anymore, with all those yobs, it's downright dangerous.

Important to learn

When speaking to other boaters I bring the conversation around to sound signals, and am amazed at the number who just haven't a clue.

Escaping quite often from our marina berth to moor on Sawley Cut, most steerers of boats turning the sharp corner either out of or into the marina, that incidentally is well hidden by a resident moorer on one side and Derby Motor Boat Club boats on the other, fail to signal their intentions, very often either just missing, or in one well remembered instance, clouting, another boat coming in the opposite direction.

But what is worse is when they just give a blast, not realising that this denotes 'I am turning right' and then immediately turn left, asking for a collision with someone who does know his/her signals making the appropriate response then just missing a collision.

Do you know the sound signals?

Will let you know

That's enough of that, so will no doubt be letting you know how our Leicester Section trip is going over the next couple of weeks.

Victor Swift