Paddles not working

Published: Thursday, 20 August 2020

MY HUSBAND and I have just completed a three weeks cruise from our base at Mercia Marina, writes Janet Forbes.

To give a quick resume it took on the Trent & Mersey, Staffs & Worcs, Severn and back up the Droitwich, Worcester & Birmingham, Birmingham & Fazeley, Coventry to Mercia. The whole idea was to investigate the Droitwich Canal not having had the opportunity in the past.

Held up with stoppages

The cruise was not planned to take three weeks but we were held up twice with stoppages, though I have since been informed that twice in three weeks is not too bad these days!

It is your article about stoppages owing to many lock gates only having one paddle working instead of two, that prompted me to write, for keeping a log we entered details of our cruise, and looking back through the pages discovered that there were no less that seven sets of gates with only one paddle in operation.

Cruise cannot be guaranteed

This situation is difficult to understand as we pay a hefty licence to cruise but such is the standard of maintenance a cruise cannot be guaranteed, as it just needs the other of any of these gate paddles to fail then you are stopped, as there have been two such that you recently reported.

A fellow boater we met who had been using the canals for 30 years told me in the old days the locks were inspected by regular employees (he gave them a name but I have forgotten) and should such as a paddle fail the employee would report it and it would immediately be attended to, but these days Canal & River Trust have to depend on boaters reporting them, but he then told he had reported the one at Tatenhill Lock with a broken paddle but it had been left all one season, so he doesn't bother any more.

Walkers and cyclists have priority

From this it would seem that all the money being spent on towpaths for the 'Linear Park' would be better spend in getting those people back, or is it as you say, walkers and cyclists who seem to have the priority these days?