Victor: The latest CaRT spend

Published: Sunday, 25 August 2019

IT'S SPENDING time again folks, but alas again, not on us boaters.

Canal & River Trust has decided to splash out on another of its preferred activities—canoeing, at the same time giving away the secret of why it was so intent upon opening up Foulridge Tunnel for canoeists against those who worried about its dangers of them meeting  powered boats in the tunnel.

It has now opened up a coast to coast canoe trail from Liverpool to Goole, utilising of course the Leeds & Liverpool Canal and the navigations to Goole, that was officially opened this weekend, and to really spread the cash it is to be a weekend of celebration with live music and activities along the route.

Work has been underway to improve access for canoeists, particularly around locks that has been going on since 2015.

It is dangerous

When Foulridge Tunnel was opened to canoeists, great concern was raised about how vulnerable a canoeist would be against a narrowboat in the unlit tunnel, to which it was told that the tunnel is operated on a one-way system with red and green lights so boats and canoes cannot meet, and that canoeist would carry lights,

Yet narrowboatworld has received reports of boaters meeting canoeists in the tunnel. Mark Felcome told us a canoeist must have entered the tunnel against the red light as he entering on the green telling::

"I heard someone yelling about halfway though, and stopped to find a young lad in a canoe just at the front of me, and having my light playing on the roof and having no sight of the water from the stern deck I neither expected or saw him, as he had obviously entered against the red.

"The lad was badly shaken, and told he had been shouting for a while but I could not hear him over the sound of the engine until he was quite near, and for once I did not get yelled at, he realising it was his own fault and could easily have been killed."

So as with cyclists, we now wait until someone does get killed.

As to cyclists

I totally agree with the many contributers who point out that the continuing rush for turning more and more towpaths into cycle tracks is discouraging visitors.

I rather liked the 'it's like the dodgems' description from one, and only too true. With the accounts of so many boaters reporting of being hit by the speedsters making very sad reading.

At one time, now alas in the dim and distant past, we walked our dogs along the towpaths, and both being trained and with good tempraments, without leads, and there were never any problems.

But now, when out cruising we attempt to moor by either a footpath, bridleway or 'open' wood, away from the canal—as towpaths are no longer safe places.

But what a legacy CaRT is building for itselftowpaths that people are afraid to walk. I just wonder how many real visitors it gets to its towpaths these days? I notice both CaRT and the IWA have stopped promoting that 450,000,000 figure, which was stupid even when the towpaths were safe.

That's why

I noticed that there were complaints about my heading 'The cat is really out of the bag', concerning the lack of maintenance at Toddbrook Reservoir's spillway, with comments that with the continuing lack of maintenance over many years, it was hardly 'letting the cat out of the bag'.

Ahh. But did these people not realise that by Private Eye stating those dreaded words—'deteriorating canal infrastructure' together with 'missing its number of days by which canals were unnavigable by more than 40%' and the hard-hitting 'has a poor record on transparency', was now known to those in high places—those who mattered and paid?

For Private Eye is the one publication most dreaded by politicians as it all too often 'lets cats out of the bag', often to their distress, and so is an essential read for allhence my heading...

Not forgetting

Not forgetting of course every national newspaper in the country carried the story of the dam's failure and the evacuation of the people from Whaley Bridge..

And very soon latched on to the fact that trees and the like growing through the concrete had obviously caused the failure, with CaRT's pathetic 'it was inspected in November' receiving the ridicule it deserved.

Yes my friends the cat really is where it ought to be!

Victor Swift