Cycleway killed off angling

Published: Tuesday, 30 October 2018

AS BOTH a boater and angler I cannot but agree with the sentiments of Graham Booth, writes Geoff Hutchins.

There are definitely fewer anglers fishing the canals, and his reference to the increase in cyclists has a direct influence as far as I am concerned, but allow me to explain.

Very active club

I am a member of a what was once a very active angling club having licence to fish the Erewash Canal that was on the 'doorstep' of many of our members, with the canal giving some good sport, but then it was decided to promote the original stone towpath into a cycleway, and there is the rub.

With most members using long poles to reach the opposite side of the water it meant that all too often the pole was across the path, but this caused little problem with the old stone and grass, as cyclists were all too rare and walkers simply stepped over with an apology from us anglers, but then came the cyclists, that were certainly not the meandering families of old but with heads down and bottoms up speeders.

Solely their domain

But what was so worse was their attitudes. Gone were the smiles of no concern about our poles across the path and the pleasant chats, but real nasty remarks prompted, I firmly believe, by the cyclists thinking that the cycle track was solely their domain and that we, the anglers had no place using it.

It is with deep regret that I have to announce that the cyclists have won, as the Erewash Canal is bereft of anglers, especially those who made a day of it with some form of shelter, that for some reason really annoyed the cyclists.

More considerate

I can understand the building of the cycleway, as it links towns and villages and keeps the cyclists off the roads and thus safer, but there is no reason why they cannot be more considerate to the other users and occasionally slow down.

If I may have your indulgence a little further, there is also the matter of the track being promoted for walkers and cyclists, but it is a danger to walkers, particularly those with either children or dogs, as both tend to meander across the track, and with speeding cyclists silently approaching from behind, I leave your readers to ascertain the possible consequences.

Complained to Canal & River Trust

Others of our now diminished club and I have complained to the Canal & River Trust, but all we receive in return is the information that it is a shared path for anglers, walkers and cyclists to use considerately, but of course the latter do not.

Finally, with my apologies for going on for so long, I have to point out  the track is not of the regulation width for an official shared path, something to which the trust gives no response.