Victor: It won't work mates

Published: Sunday, 03 May 2020

LAST week we received two rather glowing articles that seemed too good to be true.

And just a little investigation proved there were!  Both were from supposed continuous cruisers and both told that Canal & River Trust were doing the correct thing in not closing the towpaths, with one going into realms of fantasy as to the reasons why they were left open and continuous cruisers were wrong in complaining.

One, not so clever, had an email address of one name, but by the time the writer had reached the end of his missive he/she had obviously forgotten it and signed it similar but different!

Needless to say of the two, one had just a short life and the other none at all.  It is all too easy to check these days, and only in very exceptional circumstances do we omit a surname, and even then make sure the person exists.  So don't try it mates, if you want 'Concerned of Watford', stick with the magazines.

Pull the other one

I well remember at the time of the Toddbrook failure at Whaley Bridge it was told that there were three other reservoirs serving the Peak Forest and Macclesfield, so how come—with no boats allowed to movethey are closed through lack of water?

The rainfall excuse certainly doesn't wash after a month of the stuff.  And that goes for all the flights now also closed on the Leeds & Liverpool using the same excuse.

It was never like this under the management of British Waterways.

Oh dear, Oh dear, Oh dear!

Nick Evans, Cheshire Fire Service Head of Prevention, I would gather is most definitely not popular at CaRT.

He's the one, who after drownings, told where possible to stay away from open water as you can easily slip, trip or fall while on narrow towpaths or riverside walkways.

This was all part of the National Fire Chiefs Be Water Aware week that took place at the end of April, pointing out the dangers of exercising near water, making a point of the narrow [my italics] towpaths.  Quite sensible really.

No concern

Now most of us know of CaRT's adherence to Health & Safety, it has told us often enough.  Yet the biggest danger is surely drowning in its waterways, for we have certainly recorded plenty over the past 20 years.

Yet try as I might, I could find no reference whatsoever of the Trust being involved in that Be Water Aware weekI wonder why...

At last

Here at last a missive from the Inland Waterways Association concerning this age of Coronavirus.

A message from one Ivor Caplan who 'wishes to engage your help to safeguard waterways businesses in these difficult times'.

He tells of contacting MPs and asks that its members write to their own MP about giving support for waterway businesses during the current restrictions. 

But alas, seemingly not believing the members are capable of composing their own letters tells them what to write, that I have always thought a bad move as it should be obvious that an MP receiving letter after letter exactly the same will see it for what it—an organised crusade.

Hold on.  As commendable as this is, shouldn't the IWA be more concerned about its paying customersthe boaters?

Common sense did not prevail

Right back when we hired boats, I reckon 23 years ago, we have always had a couple of weeks cruising the waterways in May, but alas, as you are all aware we are not now allowed.

Yet cruising the waterways with a well stocked boat must surely be safer than the towpaths with people unable to keep the required two metre distancing.  Common sense.

The only problem would be operating locks, but if common sense was put into practice there would only be boaters at the locks and distancing would be no problem as instead of boaters helping, as some do, it would just be a matter of waiting until clear, then taking sensible precautions in handling.

But alas it was decided to close the waterways in deference to the towpaths, but to my mind common sense did not prevail

Victor Swift