David: Abandoned canal?

Published: Thursday, 09 May 2019

BRIAN Jarrett should be thankful that he only attempted the Wyrley and Essington.

A week ago I cruised it from Wolverhampton to Walsall; the level was down by about three inches, but I did manage to complete the cruise to Walsall Basin, albeit with a series of visits to the weedhatch.

Worst of any canal

After a few pleasant days in Walsall Basin I continued via the Walsall Canal to Ryder's Green and by comparison the W&E is in perfect condition. I have cruised the Walsall before and it is never a picnic, but its present state is the worst of any canal I have known in 50 odd years of cruising.

The canal is shallow in many places to the point where you run aground in mid channel; it is infested with weed and the amount of rubbish beggars belief—I lost count of the number of times I had to clear the prop, but it was well into double figures.To add insult to injury, we had large stones thrown at us from a bridge in the Moxley area, the first time this has happened for many years.

Walsall Canal is unnavigable

There can be no excuse of low water levels on this stretch; the canal was up to weir level. For practical purposes the Walsall Canal is unnavigable and should be declared as such until CaRT can sort it. The towpath, incidentally, was in excellent condition, much of it recently resurfaced with tarmac.

I exempt from criticism the locks at Walsall and Ryder's Green, they were well maintained and easy to use, at only one was there a problem with rubbish behind the gate. The bottom pound on Ryder's Green, which is a long one, was very low and I had to call CaRT to run some water down to fill it. They attended promptly and sorted the problem efficiently.

If CaRT can keep the locks in good condition, why have they allowed the canal itself to deteriorate so badly?

David Hymers