Victor: Here we go again!

Published: Sunday, 05 May 2019

 THAT can only mean the poor Leeds & Liverpool is starting its annual lock restrictions.

Yes my friends, the boating season season has just started but lock restrictions will come into force at the end of next week, with the usual locks again affected.

1w garave top lockAnd once more it is down to water shortages, and though CaRT of course blames the lack of rainfall, many of you have told us of the still many leaking locks, where water is simply being wasted.

This means that none of the flight will be available until 10am and then the last entry being either 3pm or 4pm, depending on its length. So how long before the whole waterway is again closed completely as last year?

I really have to agree with our Keith Gudgin, who reports the stoppages when he remarks:

"It's only two weeks into the season and it's falling apart already, this lot even make politicians look efficient!" Very well put Keith.

There's more

Don't let us forget that you can't get through Burnley anyway, as that repair has overrun so will not be completed until the end of the month.

Oh yes, there is the Sandholme Aqueduct that also, as expected, had its stoppage extended. And let's not forget those dreaded breaking down swing bridges, with one already kaput.

One thing for sure, if we do eventually risk taking the boat out on a cruise, it will certainly not be the Leeds & Liverpool—could be there forever!

Behind the times?

Readers will be aware that we are rather good to River Canal Rescue, including its many activities, but alas there is one that our Thomas would not include!

The company had gone to great pains to tell all that you should be installing, not one, but two bilge pumps, going into great detail, with illustrations, on how it should be done.

But I don't think they were too pleased at our Thomas telling them it was all a bit archaic, he pointing out that the 'Volvo' type stern gear as installed by the better boat builders does not leak and drip like the cheap common or garden grease stuffing type.

He even getting a missive from the head engineering honcho, who was not at all pleased. And no answer about where all those tins full of grease pumped into the stern eventually end up...

Another CaRT masterplan

Making it even more difficult for boaters there is a new system for using services being introduced, as one boater found out at Loughborough on the Leicester Section.

Arriving at the service with his 'watermate' key, he discovered to his consternation that there was a new digital lock affixed, with a notice stating that to get entry he had to telephone a number then give details to show he was a bona fide boater.

Not carrying a phone with him meant he had to tramp back to his boat to get one, then return and ring the number. But alas, no answer—so no services.

Pulling in around the corner he spoke to the moored boaters to be told: "They don't answer at weekends!"

2. keadby lock control towerDangerous situation

Getting rid of most of its lock keepers has left CaRT in a right mess, as it now doesn't have enough trained lock keepers to man the dangerous lock at Keadby off the tidal Trent!

(The picture shows the very expensive lock tower—but no money for lockies!)

So if you arrive at the lock in the afternoon during this month, you will be stuck on the river until the following morning, and God help you if there is a Aegirthe tidal bore whilst you are moored. that is of course providing you can find mooring, as CaRT calmly tell that there isn't much.

There certainly isn't, as once we were slammed against a gravel barge that was the only place to moor. So there you are stuck outside the lock in the afternoon attempting to discover a mooring, so what to do?

Struggle back to West Stockwith or carry on down to the Humber. Neither very inviting prospects, depending so much on how the tide is running, and especially if in the dark! Dangerous is hardly the word. But who cares?

Another one

'Cartism's' come fast and furious these days, and here's another concerning Keadby Lock, with the stoppage notice telling any boater stuck outside the lock wanting to moor 'should contact the lock keeper'—who isn't there'to arrange this'.

Who is responsible for this rubbish? Certainly no one who has any idea about boating safety or who has even  thought it through.

Nearly forgot!

Piling on the agony concerning the poor Leeds & Liverpool—Wigan Flight will only be open for one hour in the mornings between 8.30 and 9.30, and a limited time to get through the flight. But at least it is open!