ALTOGETHER 33 boaters responded to my request to count the number of visitors/visits passing their boat during a day to see if the total came up to the number of 684 as stated by Cart for every day of every mile of its waterways.
Alas, only one gave a full 24 hours reading whilst moored at the visitor moorings on the Digbeth Branch between the Grand Union and Birmingham & Fazeley Canal in Birmingham with the boater's wife telling me that 'he' was 'something of an electronics bod'—her description—who set up a recording counter that registered every person passing, even to positioning the device at an angle so it would count more than one person abreast.
During the 24 hours of Tuesday 22nd November from midnight to midnight it registered just 28 people—in the middle of Birmingham—though she admitted it was 'throwing it down' some of the time.
But perhaps it was made up elsewhere.
Alas not. All the other 32 boaters who responded gave numbers of passing visitors at varying times, some taking it seriously so they would not miss any whilst others just 'noticed' those passing. Some gave their mooring positions, with six counting visitors on the towpath as they cruised, but most told that they had tried to count all the people they saw on the towpath during the daylight hours.
Those boaters counting were at recognised moorings in both cities, towns and out in the sticks, but alas for Cart is was winter and dividing the total number of towpath walkers given by 33 boaters, the average number seen on the towpaths in the day was a measly 18!
So 18 multiplied by the number of days in the year multiplied by the number of miles of waterways equals the total of 13,176,000 visitors/visits a year. A bit different from the latest 460,000,000 purveyed by Cart!
Really the only people on the towpaths are those walking dogs or taking short-cuts with the occasional runner—after all it is winter.
The water point at Lower Heyford on the Oxford Canal is out of action as the pipe supplying it has sprung a leak over the towpath, and should the water freeze over it will be dangerous.
But no matter, you can get water at the nearby Oxfordshire Narrow Boats Monday to Friday between 8am and 4pm, but it will cost you—£3.50!
A rip-off indeed to my mind.
A good idea indeed from boater Arthur Morris—he reckons that as the government allowed Cart to look after the canals in what he believes is a trust. Surely a report should be made to the government showing the state to which Cart has allowed the canals to deteriorate.
He remarks that it is not doing what it should, but still being rewarded by large salaries.
Good idea indeed, anyone out there willing to take it on?
What's the problem?
Digesting my exposure of all those massive salaries given to Cart executives and the like, Ralph Freeman suggests that getting rid of 25% of these 'hangers on' would yield approx £17 million in savings.
He suggests this would equate to approximately 500 lengthsmen's salaries—one for every four miles of canal or thereabouts'.
So he asks—'Mr Parry what's the problem?'