Victor: Deathly silence

Published: Sunday, 22 March 2020

HAVING so much to relate of how it carried out the necessary inspections of the failed Toddbrook Reservoir I have been waiting to hear what Canal & River Trust have to tell us now, after it being blamed for its failure.

WhaleyBridgeWeedsDeathly silence as far as I can gather, for the report into the dam's catastrophic failure was blamed on 'poor design' and 'intermittent maintenance'.  CaRT can hardly be blamed for its design, though the other seven of the same design seem okay, but it has to take full responsibility for its 'intermittent maintenance'.

Looking at all the saplings and vegetation growing through the obvious cracks in the dam, it would seem as 'intermittent' was being most generous...

Allowing for the floods

Carrying on with the problem of securing a boat in river marinas to make them safe in floods, we had another one that had been sold moored next to us, and that too was fastened securely with a rope to the centre fastening on its roof to the ring at the top of the sliding upright.

This of course meant should the water rise the bow would be held under water as the one I pictured further down the jetty last week, and be swamped.  So of course it was a message to the office, that had someone there to untie it and  fasten with a bow rope instead.

CaughtUnderJettyBut alas and alack, unlike modern marinas that have jetties of varying lengths to accommodate varying sizes of narrowboats, ours are all the same length, and in this case far too short, which meant the rope was stretched out too far and unable hold the boat to the jetty so the bow went out and the stern came in—resulting in the gunwhale firmly stuck under the jetty.

So should the water rise as it did a few weeks back it would be the stern that would go down, and whoever purchased the boat not being at all a happy bunny.

Falls on deaf ears

As I have related, marinas on rivers should do more to emphasise the dangers of floods, which are very real as over 20 years moored in such a marina I have all too often witnessed.  And those churning out advice of what a boater should do to prepare a boat for winter never seem to include the dangers of haphazard mooring in river marinas.

BountyStringAnd it's simple reallynever tie the boat by its roof, never tie it too lose to allow the gunwhale to get fast under the jetty (as the picture) and very important have a 'string' (also pictured) holding the boat from its stern going back under the jetty.

So why aren't' these simple instructions emphasised?  Obviously they point out danger, which, oh dear no, we can't have that.  Let 'em sink!

The wrong impression

The Canal & River Trust stoppage notice concerning a blockage on the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal gave entirely the wrong impression.

Not only that it caused concern to people who had booked holidays on the waterway, such as Nico Ferrinoh who contacted us, asking for better information being so worried that he would have to cancel his booked holiday on the waterway.

The problem was that on the 13th March the Trust proclaimed—and of course I quote—'We are sorry to advise that sediment washed into the navigation as a result of Storm Dennis has caused a blockage in the navigation at Bridge 110 which we will be unable to remove'. [My underscore.]  So we of course passed this on to Nico that left him in a quandary.

But then, just four days later came another notice about that 'unable to remove' blockage—and I had better quote again—'This blockage has now been removed and navigation is now clear'.

So how was that blockage unable to be removed?  Another Cartism I reckon.

It is important

Such a mistake may not seem too important, but that hirer was more than likely one of many who reads our reports of stoppages, then seeing their holiday in jeopardy do not know that what to do.  Nico had the sense to look into it, but how many would just cancel?

So much misinformation is given out these days of stoppages, that as I have alas told many times, someone who really understands the working of the waterways should have overall charge.

One fella rather summed it up when he told me—'the left hand does not know the right one is doing'.

Good advice

'Keep calm and carry on boating' the boss lady of River Canal Rescue tells us in these days of coronavirus, and very good advice indeed.

Alas not much good advice from the rest of those organisations concerned with boating of which there are many. One gets the opinion they haven't a clue!

Victor Swift