Victor—It won't wash John

SO THE revered (by Cart) John Dodwell has been attempting to qualify that ludicrous figure of 400,000,000—sorry, now 440,000,000—visitors to the 2,000 odd miles of our waterways again.

He goes into great, and needless to say, totally unbelievable reasons for that total, but of course once again he miserably fails, for of course no one can prove that what does not exist.

He even brings in dog walkers, who of course just use the towpath for the sole purpose of, wait for it—walking the dog! So it is really stretching it stating that the person is a visitor to the canal, for more than likely has no interest in it whatsoever.  But John does better, he would have us believe the dogs are walked 730 'visits' a year—every single day in the year!  So the poor person has no holidays, takes his poor dog out on the towpath in the pelting rain, and does exactly the same walk every day of the year!  Get real John, you are making yourself look silly.

Of course he includes the 35,000 boat owners—obviously hasn't checked the number recently— who visit every day, even though they are already there! Conveniently forgetting the many that never leave their marinas.

He wants us to believe that last year, and here I quote: 'the Trust reckons about 4.4 million people said they had visited the waterways when asked about the last two weeks'. For God's sake man, no one is going to accept that the Trust actually asked 4.4 millions people if they had visited the waterways. That is completely barmy.

Then he mentions 'the crowds in the cities'.  Well John, we have cruised through the two biggest, Birmingham and Manchester many times, and have never seen any crowds. In Manchester you even erected a fence on the wall by the popular Canal Street pubs and clubs to stop people getting to the waterway.  Travelling along the Rochdale Nine, you are lucky to see a score of people all the way. Okay, there are more using the towpath in the cities going and coming from work but using it simply as a thoroughfare, and can no way be counted as visitors.

For all your baloney John, your figure relates at 630 visits to every mile of waterway every day of the year...  I remember one day on the Oxford Canal (rated as the second most popular) we saw just two all day!  You are in Fairytale land.

Shoots it all down in flames

Yes indeed Mr Dodwell, but what shoots your 440,000,000 figure down in flames was that in 2012, when boating was at its height, British Waterways Chief Executive stated that there were 3.600,000 millions visits to the waterways...

Now that could be believable—just.

Appreciated

The ladies undertaking that very long 'Idle Women' recreation cruise I reckon will well appreciate that Canal River Rescue is providing free breakdown and emergency assistance for them all the way.

Good on 'y—as our Aussie friends would say.

Cheap option

For once I can side with the 'Bargees' about it members complaining of the lack of mooring in London, and stating that Cart is taking them over to rent out.

Living on a boat in the capital is a cheap option to property no matter how expensive it seems to boaters, so Cart will be only too pleased to rent out those moorings at excessive rates.  I can see more and more going the same way.

A lot of them

There seems to be a lot of stoppages recently, and this at the start of the season when the maintenance has supposedly been done.

Sorry, I'm way in the past—it's no longer done anymore for the start of the season.

Third time lucky?

Which brings me to Bugsworth Basin.  In a couple of weeks time we shall be heading for Bugsworth Basin for our May cruise—the third attempt!

We did make it back in 2007, but fancied it again, but alas were stopped by that breach on the Macclesfield and then by a lift bridge well and truly in the closed position on the Peak Forest.  Let's hope third time lucky.

Victor Swift