Victor: CaRT take credit for Grantham Canal restoration

Published: Sunday, 19 January 2020

WOULD you credit that Canal & River Trust would have Nottinghamshire Live believe that it was responsible for the restoration of the Grantham Canal?

Piling on the deception it told 'Canal and River Trust officially opened a lock which has been completely restored by volunteers'.

It went on to state that 'since the late 1960s there’s been a strong effort to restore the canal and, to date, six locks have been fully restored with the restoration in full swing and just a few months ago Lock 15 was reopened which has been rebuilt brick-by-brick by volunteers with supervision from the Trust and funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund'.

Phil Mulligan, Regional Director for the Canal & River Trust, then told:

“This is such an exciting time for the Grantham Canal and we’re delighted to welcome the first boat to Lock 15 in 90 years.

“The volunteers’ dedication and enthusiasm for this project has been astounding and it’s been a real Herculean effort from all involved.

“Together they’ve not only helped to restore the historic fabric of the canal but they’ve gained new skills that they can apply elsewhere on the canal, as well as pass to other people through events and workshops."

So it was CaRT that was responsible for all that restoration eh?  I don't think so...

Telling it like it is

I don't expect we can really blame CaRT and Co for telling the brighter side of boating, but it really was about time the dangers were highlighted, as River Canal Rescue did with its down to earth article concerning the many dangers that newbies can easily overlook.

The company, having to refloat so many boats that have been inadvertently sunk by inexperienced boaters, are in a good position to point out the many reasons such as inefficient or broken bilge pumps causing flooding and of course boaters oblivious to the dangers of their boats being caught on the cill, not realising what to do, and thus sinking.

hire boat sunk at bath top lockNot good enough

Time and time again I have attempted to get the authorities to to inform boaters of the dangers of drifting back on to the cill when emptying the lock, but all we get is the word 'cill' painted on the ground, that in the days of Canaltime I was asked many times what it meant.

All it requires is a simple notice on the lock beam telling to always take the boat forward well away from the cill—pointing out there is a protrusion that can hold up your stern—so tipping your boat and it sinking.  Or something similar.

It really is not right to allow the newbies to so easily sink their boats without at least giving proper information on how to avoid it.

But alas, it seems that that CaRT, the Environmental Agency and others would prefer to risk all those hundredsand by now there must besinkings, rather than admit to any danger.

It certainly is not good enough.

Only two

We are now told that in 2019 there werewait for it1,130 volunteer lock keepers assisting boaters through locks. Believe that if you will, I don't.  As in our 16 days trip around the Leicester Ring in September we only met two!

VolunteerBlueBankThe reason, that alas does not substantiate the claim, given by the lone volunteer at Blue Bank Lock (pictured) on the Leicester Section when we asked where were all the volunteers, was his comment that he only attended on Monday and Friday as there were only half the number of boats as the year before...

Oh yes?

We too had noticed the lack of boats, cruising the whole Leicester Section of broad locks without sharing a single one.

During the year many boaters had commented on the lack of moving boats, which leaves me to wonder if there really are 'more boats than ever' on the waterways as we are told?

Victor Swift