Victor: Chickens home to roost?

Published: Sunday, 09 December 2018

THE continuing failures of lock and approach walls are certainly bringing the 'chickens home to roost'.

It must surely be obvious to most that the many wall failures are due to the their drying-out caused by lack of water. It is not only the brick and stone work that is failing, but allowing the foundations—many of woodto dry out is causing dramatic problems.

The long dry summer is of cause being blamed, but the continuous leaking of lock gates has meant that many locks and pounds too have dried out leaving the foundation open to the elements and subsequent collapse.

The problem is of course compounded by contractors, who only see the present problem they are tackling and not the others they are causing by ignoring the plight of other locks drying out, the the former real waterways people being fully aware that locks and pounds have to be kept in water to safeguard their structures.

Marple Flight

It is obvious that taking many months to repair such as the collapsing lock wall on the Marple Flight on the Peak Forest Canal left other locks devoid of water, and as the one was repaired another, notwithstanding attempts to push the wall back, eventually failed and had to also be repaired.

Only last week we learn of another wall, this time a lock approach wall, needs urgent attention, with subsequently the Kennet & Avon Canal closed 'until further notice'.

But how many more collapsed walls and foundation will occur, especially if we have yet another dry summer when the water from locks and pounds is allowed to drain away?

Use by date?

Or perhaps as has been suggested, the whole system, after 200 years has reached its 'use by date'.

So slowly but surely it is all collapsing, helped it must be stated by lack of maintenance and the obvious policy of 'wait until it breaks' before anything is done.

Too many cats

Before you get too confused at the heading I am referring to the now departed The Floater, it certainly letting too many Cart cats out of the bag with its many revelations of Cart's 'misdoings', mostly obtained by Allan Richards and his use of Freedom of Information Act requests.

Those at Cart were extremely put out by its many uses of misinformation and doctored statistics being brought to light in The Floater, so it managed to persuade the authorities that they were 'vexatious', though all that Allan's reports did was tell the facts—the last thing it seems  that dear Cart wants!

Mind you, Cart cannot complain about narrowboatworld being vexatious about using the Freedom of Information Act, never having used it. But I'm sure our esteemed Thomas would be only too pleased to—with perhaps a little help...

Victor Swift