Victor finds it easier going

Published: Friday, 25 May 2018

THE Grand Union Canal after Knowle Flight, as I mentioned, was easier going, yet after Warwick it was better still.

WhyWelcomeWarwickEven with the piling showing the level around a foot down, we were still making decent progress, so dredging here had obviously been done.

Over the top

I believe that Cart is going well over the top with its 'Welcome' notices, with those to its waterways bad enough and little more than a waste of money, but surely it is Warwick that welcomes you to its town not Cart, as is obvious by its notice welcoming you at the footpath to the town.

It is the wrong way round—if Cart has to have such wasteful notices it should stick to welcoming to its waterways, not away from them.

But then there was the Tesco with its own 24hr moorings, so that was definitely it for the day.

Rough out of WarwickSurprise

Not taking too much notice of the guide, and certainly not remembering, we were surprised that after Warwick the Stockton Flight was  ascending, but still the Hatton type of paddle.

On our own this time we used the well tried method of just fully opening one paddle to keep the boat firmly into the same side and made decent progress. Both paddles and gates seemed easier to operate than those on the Hatton Flight, perhaps getting more use from the many moored boats below that flight that tend to cruise in the opposite direction.

One thing for sure though, the locks are sadly neglected, except for those painted near the Cart offices of course.

And again!

Managed a few locks and then—here we go again—guess what? Another completely drained pound. But this time no discussion on calling Cart, not only was it far too early in the day but we hadn't much confidence in its response, so proceeded with getting water down from the top pound to fill the empty one between locks 6 and 7.

Stockton 6 7Eventually it was completed after a little scurrying between locks, and it was then we found out that this was a regular occurrence yet nothing was being done about it.

From the horses' mouth

As luck would have it it was the old lengthsman of the flight who was walking a dog who stopped and told us all. Stockton Flight was part of his patrol, telling us that when he first started all he had was a pair of wellies and it wasn't until 1974 that he was given a pair of overalls.

He told how he and others of the same ilk did everything—making sure paddles and gates were well maintained, undertaking the painting and mowing the grass, and of course, what is so lacking now, keeping his eye on anything that could cause a problem.

StocktonTopPaintedNot necessary

But the then British Waterways decided they were not necessary and so they were made redundant, and that was the start of the decline of the maintenance of our waterways.

And he explained the regular draining of the pound between locks 6 and 7. It was a sluice that went out of the pound that was blocked-up by contractors, whom he thought had no idea what they were doing, as over time it had failed, hence the regularly drained pound. He told that he had reported it time and time again, but nothing had been done. 

So every morning the pound between locks 6 and 7 is empty—so best to make sure you are not the first up!

Not painted since 2001

The old lengthsman also explained the shocking neglect of the flight, saying he retired 17 years ago and since then the only painting was of the top lock, pictured above, which well explains the condition of the flight.

StocktonAboveIf only those lengthsmen were still here, what a difference it would make. But no, money goes on more and more executive directors. Much most important, don't you know.

We are moored well in the sticks, and except for that fella I've seen no one on the towpath and Jan says she's waved to none, so only one of those famous hundreds of visitors that are supposed to abound around here I'm afraid, and the towpath path certainly  doesn't look very worn.

 Slight exaggeration

Met a loner coming down a lock who would have us believe he was undertaking a 1,300 miles cruise, so asking what he had already done he told he had come from Cambridge via the Middle Level, the Nene and Grand Union and had done 900 miles! 

Definitely pull the other one at 900 miles from Cambridge—calculated on the guide and it's exactly 158 miles to where we met.

VentnerMarinaThen rather upset him by telling he cannot get across the Middlewich Branch from the Shroppie to get to the North, and further told he had better be careful going by the Macclesfield instead, as Marple Flight had been out of action since last September, though lots of promises of it being reopened.

People won't do it

And so, as they say, 'for something completely different'. We passed the massive Ventnor Marina, and so looked up its web page, to be told to register, name, address and telephone number before being allowed in—'get lost' thought I, don't want still more unwelcome spam.

Daft idea really, as registering puts off many people these days, yet not only such as marinas but even boating web news sites ask for such information, and of course in the process lose out.  But don't they realise that after today (25th) the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) come into force, so no longer can anyone use other peoples' data that they gather as they want, otherwise it's a massive fine.

Should stop the spam

Under GDPR businesses either need to have peoples' consent or a legitimate reason to email them. Companies who ignore the rules could be fined up to 4% of their turnover. So hopefully that should put a stop to all the spam we all receive.

Companies, Cart included, are now busy asking for permission that must be given before any emails are sent, so if you don't want anything from any particular business, then don't give consent. Doesn't apply to narrowboatworld as we ask for no information whatsoever and never send unsolicited emails.

Victor Swift