Victor: The battered bridge

Published: Sunday, 21 May 2017

BOATERS who have travelled the section of the Trent & Mersey Canal between Stenson and Swarkestone locks must be fully aware of the battering that Deep Dale Bridge (17) gets over the years from vehicles that miss the sharp bend on to the bridge and demolish part of the parapet.

Deep Dale BrTime and time again over the years we have seen where the bridge has been struck, with not only the parapet suffering, but as can be seen from the picture, the whole bridge.

The only time a culprit was held responsible was way back when the driver of the car had to be taken to hospital and so was not able to either drive or be towed away before anyone noticed. All the others have either fled the scene when their vehicle was drivable or had it quickly removed, therefore being unable to be traced.

The point I am making is that it is Canal & River Trust that is left to undertake the repair—as the local council will not accept responsibility.  Perhaps CCTV is the answer, as it does happen rather often, and that would ensure a claim could be made from the culprit.

Small aerialNot much good

There was one boater I met during our Bugsworth cruise who left me in no doubt of his opinion of one of the new miniature aerials he had purchased for his boat, his less voluble opinion was that it was not much good.

I discovered this was one from One for All, that he had bought being persuaded by the glowing reports of the manufacturers, and as a continuous cruiser would be much handier that the large normal aerial that was becoming somewhat battered.

Forking out £50 with the promise that it would cover 15 miles, and knowing that where he travelled this would be well within reach, however for most of the time—nothing!

There was also another model at 75 quid, that promised reception at 30 miles, but when asked if he fancied forking-out that much, he left me in no doubt there there was no chance.  Anyone out there who has this particular £75 model?

Rubbish at flood lockWho clears it?

Nowadays after a bit of wind it is usual to see rubbish by lock gates, particularly if by a river.  In the now distant past it was the lock keeper or the lengthman for the area who cleared it out, but as both have long since been done away with, who clears it now?

In this particular case, I can tell you that no one cleared it, for as we opened the gate it went into the lock to be very handy at stopping the gates opening properly.  I managed to pull a larger piece out, but there is little doubt that most of it will disperse down the canal to provide further problems, or get around the prop shafts of a boat or two.

But not only the question of who clears it—but who cares?

1y prescott2Don't forget Three Mills Lock

I thought that was a good article by Dick Jeffries on the waste of money to restore a mile long loop on Bow Back Rivers in the East of London, that will even then take 10 years to accomplish.

He totted-up the cost so far, already going on for a couple of million, but he forgot the real white elephant of Three Mills Lock, that was built at the colossal cost of £21.5 millions to be used by barges to supply materials and equipment to the then being built Olympic Park.

But alas only two shipments were recorded! The whole of the materials being brought in by lorry!

Oh yes, nearly forgot, then another £435,000 to spruce up Blue Bridge for—and here I quote—'the huge increase in boat traffic, that needless to say, never happened.

This was when CaRT took over from British Waterways, and I stated at the time that it did not augur too good for the future.  And I was certainly right—eh?

Victor Swift