Victor: Don't go viewing boats

Published: Sunday, 10 May 2020

IF YOU are interested in buying a boat, and think about viewing, don't bother—you could get clobbered.

Not by the sale, but by the police for making a non-essential journey, with reports of two occasions of the police fining people for making journeys to view boats for sale.

Police stopping carsThe worse case was when four people drove from Dorset to Milford Haven to view a boat.  Police pulled them over on the A477 near Llanteg, Pembrokeshire, as part of routine checks.

The occupants admitted they had travelled around 200 miles to look at a boat they were interested in buying.  All four were issued with penalty notices for breaching coronavirus.

Another case was a couple checked on the A45 at Willoughby who told police they were looking to buy a narrowboat at a marina at Napton and had come from Lichfield.  Both received penalty notices for their effort.

The silly sods obviously had not thought it through. as the marinas were of course closed anyway!

Bring in the law

The boaters who took to the law in an attempt to cut down on so many people passing their moored boats by informing the police that people were making journeys and parking at a closed pub car park certainly had results, our being told even on the hot day yesterday the masses did not materialise.

As another instance we were told that people were parking their cars by Three Locks on the Grand Union and walking up and down the flight, so the boater rang the police telling they had obviously come from a distance to exercise, and before long the police arrived and stopped the drivers pulling away until they had interviewed them.

In a pickle

Both the Telegraph and Sun  have pointed out that drivers making non-essential journeys could void their insurances.  So should they get caught and issued a penalty notice and have an accident they would have no cover.

But worse, if the police really wanted to get the message home they could then seize the vehicles as being uninsured leaving the drivers in somewhat of a pickle.

Don't bother

More than usual these days we are getting 'open letters' where readers want us to publish their letters—usually addressed to Canal & River Trust's Chief Executive, pointing out some imagined or otherwise provocation.

I can tell these people not to bother, as publishing such, what are called 'open letters', is regarded as the lowest form of journalism, so there is no chance—get it?

And neither do we allow any personal attacks of any kind, warranted or not.

It's impossible

Anyway back to towpaths and the 'memorandum' or whatever it was between Canal & River Trust and Sustrans—the bike people.

family cycling2Should you care to know the exact specifications of combined pedestrian and cycle tracks, as are the upgraded towpaths, the Department of Transport is quite clear:

The minimum cycle/pedestrian width is three metres.  Yes, my friends, the towpaths that are now all used by both should be a minimum of three metres—or if you prefer—just under 10 feet! 

But worse—for CaRT and Sustrans—if flows are such that cyclists frequently have to pass each other then a minimum width should be five metres.  Again if you prefer—16 feet!  And there should be some segregation, such as a white line, between cyclists and pedestrians.

Hang on, it gets still worse, for in addition there should be a 0.5 metre 'verge' between the edge of the path and the fence.  And even worse still if a ditch or water there should be greater separation.

So one thing is for sure, the towpaths just cannot accommodate such widths, meaning anyone having an accident can take both Sustrans and CaRT to the cleaners!

Victor Swift