Crowded towpaths potentially spreading coronavirus

Published: Saturday, 28 March 2020

AFTER CaRT closes all it's canal-side offices and tells boaters to use the online shop for pump-out cards and keys etc. it is apparent it has not been reading or comprehending the government's advice and rulings, writes John Coxon.

What we, as continuous cruisers need to know is, how do we get them delivered when all the post offices have been shut?  Remember, continuous cruisers don't have postcodes or letter-boxes!

Seems a lot of thought went into that little gem by CaRT's jobsworths did it not?

Advice beggars believe

It's about time there were some people at CaRT who had some idea and common sense and could think these things through before publication.  The stupidity of some of the advice that comes out of that organisation beggars belief at times.

Also it has been telling, via many many email notices (my inbox was full of them today):  'Customers are asked to only move if essential to reach services and to follow government guidance at all times'.

Potentially infecting everybody

So, it's okay to ask boaters, the customers, not to travel on the networks but they still let all and sundry, apparently not their customers who are not following government guidance, walk the towpaths potentially infecting everybody as they are not able to keep the required six feet (two metres) away from others and especially the boaters, remember—the customerswho are moored on the towpath and being asked to stay put.

Well I'm not staying where I am.  I'm following government guidance and moving to a place where I can implement social distancing as per government guidance.  I was in the centre of a city at the weekend and it was like Piccadilly Circus with cyclists, runners, ramblers, dog walkers and parents taking bored kids for a walk.  It started at 06.45 with a woman standing right next to my boat shouting at her dog (and Misty still didn't come!). It seemed there were more people on the towpaths than before the government implemented lockdown!

Flocking to the towpaths

They are flocking to the towpaths because all the local and national parks are closed to them. A bit of sunshine and it's a free for all on the towpaths.  I've moved to a quieter place, though the towpath is still busy even though I'm at least a mile and a half from the nearest built up area.

Cruised past many cyclists, runners and parents sitting having a picnic with, or home teaching, their kids as if it were a sunny bank holiday!  There was even a group of at least ten people that looked like a ramblers meeting following in pairs behind one another.  The most ridiculous site was an elderly couple, both wearing masks, walking in the opposite direction through this group!  Following government guidance?  Yeah?  Right!

Where's the protection or concern for the boaters?  Who's looking after them?  It most certainly isn't CaRT or the government!

Sitting on lock beams touching everything

It's not just the close physical presence of all these people but the fact they are touching everything, sitting on the benches and lock beams, dropping litter etc. letting their dogs foul the ground and lick people.  All potential contact points that can allow this coronavirus infection to be transferred to boaters.

CaRT needs to follow it's own advice and 'follow government guidance' and close the towpaths as councils, National Trust and National Parks etc. have done to their parks and leisure areas.  Even the beaches have been closed! 

What's so special about towpaths that they need to be kept open for the locals?  Let them exercise on roads and pavements, walk their dogs in fields or foul their own gardens, just keep these people away from us!

Should only be used by boaters

CaRT need to state that towpaths can only be used by boaters who have a boat moored in the vicinity and are walking to or from their boat.  All other users must be banned!  Then they need to have them patrolled, like the empty parks etc are patrolled.

Oh...sorry...I forgot...boaters are only there for CaRT to impose draconian rules upon and extract massive licence fees from.  They are not there to be considered as human beings, that only applies to walkers, cyclists, anglers, canoeists, runners, dog walkers and anyone else who wants to use the network for free or at the most a token payment of a few pounds.

Boaters can get ill or even die

So it appears as far as CaRT is concerned if a few boaters get ill or even die that's okay then.  More boats off the canals.

Well this time it might just be CaRT that dies off.  I see in the news that charities are losing funds at an astronomical rate and the government has yet to announce any rescue packages for them...but that's another story...!