Victor: Still they come

Published: Sunday, 16 June 2019

STILL they come indeed—the urge for fancy boat lifts to replace locks.

First it was the strange one to get the proposed Bedford to Milton Keynes waterway up Brogborough Hilland we all know what happened to that, in fact the whole waterway, that is now little more than a linear park, somewhat waterless.

Boat LiftThen there was yet a further strange one to swing boats over the Derwent in Derby to solve the restoration of the Derby Canal, that of course came to nought.

And now we have what I thought was the rather sensible Chesterfield Canal Trust embarking on a boat lift to get the boats up through Killamarsh, with many designs indeed, each to my mind more fanciful than the last.

Here's a drawing of one. But damned if I can sort it out. And why two channels?

Mind you, they were the results of a design competition by students at Nottingham University, where design obviously took  precedence over practicability and cost is of no importance, so none will come to pass.

Any road up

as we say in Derbyshire—there is no money for any such schemes as there was in the days of the Anderton Boat Lift or the Falkirk Wheel, and both are on active waterways, whereas the Chesterfield is a dead end and worse still, entry is off a tidal river, that many will not face.

So not really a sensible idea of spending what will surely amount to millions, on a venture that will have little use, and really be too expensive as a 'visitor attraction', as no doubt will be put forward as a justification.

But what about the even longer flight of locks up to the tunnel? What crazy idea for those?

No rush after all

Here I was believing that the Llangollen would be quickly opened as it supplies water to Hurleston Reservoir, but no such luck, as except for a tarpaulin slung over the affected section of the bank that had washed away, nothing has yet been accomplished.

And an obvious reason for no hurry—the water is still flowing as no stop planks have been inserted to drain the affected area, for the plan is to drive in pilings instead, so the water will keep flowing, but not alas for boaters, far too dangerous, health and safety, don't you know.

So the most popular canal on the system remains closed with the only information being it will take two to three weeks to repair.

I wonder if CaRT—so fond of statisticswill tell us how many people had their holiday spoilt by the closure, though one of the boaters already stuck there, tells us that the bank seems safe enough, especially as only a tarpaulin was needed to secure it.

What about the Leeds & Liverpool?

We all know it has been slinging it down all last week, being told how many months rain had fallen in so many days, so surely there is no water shortage now on the Leeds & Liverpool, but no notice of the lock restrictions being removed.

We have had a couple of emails from boaters up there who are convinced there is a plan to discourage boaters from using the waterway, with the obvious reason given, that I shall not repeat.

And what about the 'everlasting' repair closing the canal at Burnley, has it been completed yet?

Jetties coveredWhat about ours...

We are hoping that we will be able to get to our boat at Sawley tomorrow, but with both the Trent and Derwent in flood surely the water must now be well above the jetties, which means the health and safety rules say there is no access.

And worse, the many residents have to vacate under the new regulations that certainly did not apply a few years back when the photograph was taken with the jetties well submerged.

All it needed then was a pair of wellies, that  certainly solved the problem.

We will find out tomorrow.

Victor Swift