Needs better instruction

Published: Monday, 03 September 2018

WE HAD the bad fortune to be in a queue behind a hire boat on the Trent & Mersey Canal, writes Peter Holmes.

This more than anything proved that new hirers from some companies do not have either enough instruction or seemingly in this case the wrong instruction, as these hirers, and there were four on the boat yet only one working the paddles, insisted upon raising first one paddle notch after notch then the other notch after notch, but when emptying each lock. And narrow locks at that!

Remonstrated with him

Three boats were behind this hirer and though two of us had remonstrated with him that when going down the boat would hardly move in a narrow lock even when paddles were straight away fully opened, he told us he was only obeying instructions. The process was also slowed with the steerer also first making sure the boat was secured double roped until the gates were opened before going in the lock then again using ropes when in the lock before the operator then wound the paddles notch by notch. The whole operation was so slow that though the third boat in the queue we had arrived at the next lock before that one had gone.

None of us were in a particular hurry, but such hold-up at every lock was ridiculous, and the one behind that hirer told that they were only moving on tickover so of course caught them up by the next lock, all then having a long wait. We gave up in Burton  and had an hour in a pub for lunch, by which time all was clear to Stenson. How they got on with the volunteers there is any one's guess.

Usually in such cases, new boaters take notice when told that there is little danger opening the paddles fully when going down, providing the boat is at the front of the lock, and quickly cotton-on, but not those people.

[The writer apologises for originally giving the wrong destinations as he had read the wrong entry in his log—now corrected.]