Victor: No mooring there

Published: Sunday, 22 April 2018

PLANNING our May cruise we thought we would 'do' the Hatton Flight once again, well remembering our stay on the Saltisford Arm at Warwick, where there was plenty of space to moor.

It was a pleasant place and just a short walk to Sainsbury's, so would suit us fine. But this was way back in 2001—17 years ago, and looking on Google, alas there will be no mooring now, the arm is crammed with boats as can be seen, not only breasted-up but there's one in the winding hole.

Saltisforn Arm 2018Those bygone days were way before the advent of the continuous moorer and the like, when there was always handy places to moor in popular shopping places, but alas, not so often now.

Here's hoping

Here's hoping indeed, that we don't get a stoppage this time, as we met two on our last cruise on the Leicester Section and only just escaped the 'indefinite stoppage' between Leicester and Foxton, and it took us three attempts to get to Bugsworth Basin previous to that.

We have completed two cruises every year since 1997, and no few as hirers before then with only a single stoppage during the whole time, but what  a difference now under the regime of Cart.

The one stoppage we met was when a cill had come adrift on one of the Atherstone locks (and no 'blame game' as now that it had been 'knocked off'). It had been reported late one afternoon and the workers had arrived the following morning and by the afternoon the pound had been drained, a new cill fitted, re-watered and the waiting boats were away.

How different now—but then of course they were actual British Waterways workers who knew exactly what they were doing, not contractors that I doubt who do.

deepestwaterNot the middle

Many of you will have read the various publications that tell you to cruise in the middle of canal as it is the deepest, but it was at this particular event that we learnt that it certainly is not.

The worker in the picture clearly showing us that over the 200 years of their existence the canals have widened on the off-side, leaving the deepest part way towards the towpath. 

Another thing I well remember about that incident that there was a BW fella at the bottom locks of the flight helping boaters, and do you know not one of them had offered him a cup of tea!  So he appreciated our offer.

A name change?

I have a suspicion that this 're-branding' that Cart is going to cost so much money as it could include a name change to signify it many non-boating activities, that would well account for the million or so it will cost.

Something like Waterways Activities Trust I reckon, then its Articles of Association could be rewritten to include absolutely anything allowing it to delve into all kinds of weird and wonderful activities, and so not be so concerned with those pesky boaters.

We shall see. Based on its already extra activities over its short existence, it is well possible.

But then the initials would be WAT! What indeed.  Or as Keith quickly tells me The Waterways Activities Trust—work it out for yourselves...

Why not in winter?

If you are at present cruising the Trent & Mersey and heading towards the Harecastle Tunnel, try not to make it on Tuesday—it will be closed.

Just a couple of weeks into the season and It will be closed for navigation as Cart has decided to examine it.

What is difficult to understand is that the tunnel was actually closed for a couple of days mid-week in winter, so why could not the inspection have been carried out then causing no disruption whatsoever?

Asking too much I expect for it to consider the disruption to boaters.  Walkers however will be pleased to learn that it tells us the tunnel towpath will be open...

Excuse No 1

There will be some delay in repairing the breach on the Middlewich Branch—badgers have been seen nearby...

I maintain it will be closed all season, and with it of course the Four Counties Ring.

Victor Swift