Victor: Quick change of mind

Published: Sunday, 19 July 2020

A VERY quick change of mind indeed at closing the Trent & Mersey to upgrade a towpath.

Out came a Navigation Closed, Towpath Closed, stoppage notice that the Trent & Mersey Canal was to be closed for four days at Trentham Lock (35) for surface dressing, following the recent resurfacing works on the towpath.

Then in went the complaints so out came another notice stating that the navigation was to remain open!

It must have been another Cartism—and a good one at thatas surely as daft as these notices are getting there is not someone at Cart Towers who would believe a navigation has to be closed down for four days just for work on the towpath.  Or is there?

What about the others?

You will most likely will have read the article (Boat hire companies recovering well) concerning how the hire companies are picking up after the worst of the pandemic, our altogether reporting on four separate hire companies over the past few days.

Yet a Press Release by Canal & River Trust on the same subject only mentions one—Drifters.  And even includes its website

Ner a word about any of the others who are not part of drifters who have also managed to pull through the worst of the pandemic.  Could that be as there is a connection between the two?  Not what you would rate as fair journalism, eh?

On the ball

I have to admit I really enjoyed Ralph Freeman's take of those days under Dr. Fletcher—I well remember them too, when the only interest was keeping the waterways up and running and seeing that all the required maintenance was completed in time for the new season.

No, no, I'm not going to state the obvious, only that in those days they believed that the 140,000 miles of paths in England were enough for the walkers and cyclists without having to spend millions on upgrading ours.

Something different

Anyway, something different from Canal & River Trust—Nine reasons for taking a boating holiday this year:

1. It’s the fastest way to slow down

With speed limits of 4mph and 2,000 miles of tranquil, calming canals to cruise along, your stress levels are reduced and a whole new, much steadier pace of life takes over.

2. Get a taste of freedom

The majority of Canal & River Trust waterways offer boating holiday-makers free moorings, so there's plenty of choice of where to stop for the night.

3. Use your muscles

Working locks, exploring local footpaths, cycling along the towpaths and standing at the tiller enjoying the fresh air are great ways to get your body moving and shake off your normal routine.

4. It’s a greener way

A boating holiday is estimated to be some 20 times better for the planet than spending two hours flying for a holiday overseas. As soon as you swap your car for a boat, you’ll be using a third of the fuel and emitting a sixth of the pollution.

5. Quality time together

Working as a team to crew your boat will bring you closer to the family or friends you're travelling with. Everyone can help, regardless of their age or ability, from acting as a look-out during mooring to making sure the skipper has a cup of tea.

6. A journey through history

Thousands of historic structures are spread throughout the canal and river system. The soaring majesty of Pontcysyllte Aqueduct has been recognised with World Heritage Site status, and the awe-inspiring three-mile long Standedge Tunnel cuts through the Pennines.

7. Surrounded by nature

Waterways provide homes for large numbers of birds, plants and animals, including many protected species, so there’s always something special to spot

8. Lap up the luxury

Modern canal boats are fully equipped with all the essential mod cons: central heating, hot water, TVs, DVD players, showers and flushing toilets. Many boats now offer wifi too.

9. Try something new

It’s easy to learn how to drive a boat and navigate the waterways. Your hire boat company will explain everything you need to know when you arrive, and they'll make sure you feel confident controlling the boat before you set off on your own.

So now you know.

Victor Swift