Victor is most pleased

Published: Monday, 24 September 2018

YES, my friends, very pleased indeed that there has been a result from my Hazelhurst Locks complaint.

A couple of days after my complaint that Hazelhurst Locks are still shut though water is available we have been given a telephone number for anyone to use who wants to navigate those locks. So if you now want to carry on along the Caldon Canal to Froghall this is now possible as it also is for any boat trapped to come up the locks.

HazelhurstTopLockAll you need do is telephone Cart's West Midlands Regional Office on 03030 404040, but try to give 24 hours notice.

Alas this will not be much good for the Australian couple who wanted to cruise the Caldon to Froghall again to celebrate their silver wedding anniversary after first cruising there 25 years back on their honeymoon.

We noticed the boat they hired back at its base in Stone, so they are long gone and obviously very disappointed.

Piling on the agony

You really have to feel for boaters cut-off from their bases by Cart's now such long-winded repairs, and bad news for those cut off by the Macclesfield, as we learn it will be months before it is repaired and most likely another possible Christmas re-opening.

What makes it so worse is that boaters have no alternative route, as the Marple Flight is very dicey indeed, as we cannot get any confirmation if it is open or not.  But most likely, not.


A big surprise indeed the morning after the flood pictured in my last offering. They had gone!  Not a sign of any water, with the cows contently back in their fields.

CowShitGateSo the thought is, with not so much rain forecast would the crossing of the Trent at Alrewas be open? 

An admission

It is with some trepidation that we have to admit to exiting a lock and leaving one of its bottom gates open, and alas, not a boat coming the other way either, something  never having done before as far as can be remembered.

It was Colwick Lock on the Trent & Mersey. Jan, who works with horses and so is no weakling, just could not get it to close, so Thomas tied-up the boat and attempted to help her, but alas, being somewhat long in the tooth was of little help, with absolutely no alternative but to leave it, hoping that whoever came next was stronger, as it definitely needs someone with plenty of  muscle.

CowShitGateThe picture, with the brickwork on the right showing the perpendicular, well illustrates how the left-hand lock is so leaning inwards it is virtually (in our case it was) impossible to move. 

Yet it was not so long ago when it was recently repaired, Obviously by contractors that hadn't a clue and Cart who obviously just don't care, as we have been told by boaters they have reported its unworkable condition, with nothing done.


I well remember some years ago when there was an health and safety purge and wooden fencing appeared all over the place, especially near locks and culverts.

PoorFencingIt was at Stone when it was really brought home as going up the locks out of the town the place was littered with fencing and steps with rails being constructed by a gang of workers that then became the norm over the entire network.

As there had obviously been no fencing whatsoever at any of these places for the past 200 years it was obvious that some health and safety dictat had been issued, but from whom is not known, only that it was not very well done.

So alas, time as proved that it was indeed not very good fencing and really not made to last, for it was not even protected and certainly the wood used was not treated.

At Stone the fencing is now very neglected with a deal of it broken and even missing, and by no means serving the purpose for what it was installed.

RealFencingCruising from Rugeley to Fradley we saw many examples of the poor state of the fencing and rails down steps to culverts, with that protecting drops from the towpath particularly poor, the picture above giving a prime example.

The difference

Just notice the difference at one of our regular mooring places near Stoke, where fencing across a walkway has been professionally constructed by others, but more importantly made to last, not just a few years as in the case of that on the waterways, but for generations, as we see they are starting to treat it with preservative.

Before very long all the many miles of fencing around the waterways will have broken or rotted away and so have to be rebuilt.  Surely it would have been better to do it properly in the first place rather that the make-do that just will not last, and so in the long run cost more.

BinsAtOakmoorWrong again

Like us, I expect many of you have taken advantage of the refuge facilities at Oakamoor Café but have you given thought to the notice shown?

Looking at our guide that '100 yards' before Barton Marina is exactly a mile!

Normal Cart statistics are resumed!

Not enjoying the countryside

I have very often remarked on the lack of interest by boaters in the wonderful countryside that the waterways offer, noticing that boaters moor-up then the only time they leave their boats in for the nearest pub, and though many must be from towns and cities, we never meet any on our daily walks.  Even those with dogs aboard just seem to manged a short stroll then back to the boat.

ProceedWithCautionIt was a local dog walker who introduced us to the walk on the offside of the top lock at Fradley, across fields, into woods and even the space of a disused airfield. Another one to add to our ever growing list.

All was well

Notwithstanding the contradictory notices concerning the state of the Trent as it crosses the Trent & Mersey at Alrewas, all was well and we navigated it with ease.

The notice at Fradley, as shown, told us to proceed with caution and that the crossing was open as normal. But I soon discovered the reason for this rather contradictory statement, when a local told me it was rarely changed and by leaving it like that they covered most eventualities!

Who is Florence?

We were passing through Alrewas, with Thomas (for once) at the tiller, when the boater on Florence said 'Good Morning Tom', which left the poor lad in a quandary, as he had obviously completely forgotten what it was all about.

Then when Florence passed whilst we were moored at Branston he 'pipped', but alas Thomas was away with the dog, so did not get the opportunity to meet him. So please get in touch.

That's it for this trip—hope I have kept you entertained.

Victor Swift