Victor: Do YOU believe it?

Published: Sunday, 20 October 2019

IT'S propaganda time again about the state of the waterways from Canal & River Trust.

And needless to say, the usual glowing report issued yesterday polishing over the cracks, and of course, as usual, blaming others for its failings.

The report blatantly tells us that of the 'incidents affecting waterways heritage stood at 635 in 2018/19', and wait for it—'The most common cause of damage was vandalism.  Less frequent, but significant, are incidents of damage caused by impact from vehicles or boats'.

CaRT reckons that we boaters caused 19% of all such incidents!  But at least it was down from the stupid 40% of the preceding year after so many complaints pointing out the real reasons.  We will all remember that CaRT blamed boaters for the Middlewich Branch breach, caused, it maintained, be leaving paddles open!

When did you last see a vandal on the waterways?  We haven't for many a year, as their interest in texting and games keeps them well occupied, so CaRT really should conjure up something else to blame.

Alas for CaRT, we all know the causes of failures, it's neither boater nor vandals but very simply the continuing lack of maintenance, now proven by its now well established 'wait until it breaks then mend it policy'.

Thought better of it

The Leeds & Liverpool now has Maghull Swing Bridge out of action and CaRT jumping on the excuse  as 'vandalism', taking the pressure of it being seen to have broken down.

But later in its stoppage notice it realised that this time it had a good reason for its failure—it had been clouted by a vehicle.

It should have had the sense to then edit the 'vandalism' into 'vehicle strike'.

Whose to blame this time?

Adding to the woes of boaters on the Leeds & Liverpool, in addition to the swing bridge out of action there is now the failure of a culvert closing the waterway.

This is below Adlington between bridges 64 and 65.  And being a culvert, alas, neither vandals nor boaters can be blamed!

Past their sell-by date

With one failure and another on the way, are those 200 odd year old reservoirs similar to the one at Whaley Bridge, past their sell-by date?

There is great concern from the people living in the 'path' of the one supplying the Stratford Canal, with the dam seen to be crumbling.

As was stated the builders in those days had only the most basic equipment at their disposal, so it is hoped they are being inspected professionally, by people who understand.

Swing bridges

Back to swing bridges and particularly those on the Leeds & Liverpool, boaters, I can tell you, have had enough of their constant failures and being held up far too often owing to interminable stoppages.

One particular one, Crabtree Swing Bridge, locally now known as Crap-tree Swing Bridge is a standing joke so often does it break down, as one, Jeff Warne told us way back in March.  It was also in March that another reader told that the winter maintenance had again 'missed' the swing bridges of the Leeds & Liverpool, with them already breaking down one after the other.

Which surely would show that instead of a new logo and all it entails at many millions—twiceit would have been more sensible spending all that waste on the ever failing waterway infrastructure.

Alas, when did sense come into it?

Take your pick

You would think a named bridge would prove easy to place, but alas the opposite seems to be the case, especially with one on the Peak Forest that is due for closure, with our Keith Gudgin pointing out:

Canalplan gives it as 'Romiley Road Bridge 14' and bridge 15 as 'Rosehill Field Bridge' (no number) and then
'Hyde Bank Tunnel (Northwest end) No 15'.

Memory Map gives it as 'Holehouse Fold Bridge 14' and 'Romiley Bridge 15'.

Nicholson's gives it as 'Holehouse Fold Bridge 14' and doesn't name bridge 15.

CaRT boaters guides gives 'Romiley Road Bridge 14', but as expected then contradicts itself by its map giving 'Hole House Fold bridge 14' and 'Romily Bridge 15'

At this point Keith gave up!

Victor Swift