Victor: Will CaRT ever act on cill sinkings?

Published: Sunday, 04 October 2020

SO SEPTEMBER saw yet two more boats caught on lock cills and sinking.

death droitwich lockWill Canal & River Trust ever act on reducing what to the people involved are terrifying circumstances?

I am of course referring to boats held at the 'back' of the lock when going down and being caught on the cill and sinking. 

All too often they are new hirers who do not realise the danger, like the person in the boat in the photograph that sunk in a Droitwich Canal lock and who paid the ultimate price.

Or back in time, the disabled person in a boat that caught on the cill in a Leeds & Liverpool Canal lock, unable to escape from a wheelchair and who also paid the untimate price.

That notice on the ground and the picture on the lock beam signifies nothing to the beginner, as time after time I have asked those who obviously are beginners, if they realise their significance, to which I usually get a blank stare.

SunkBathSept20This really is not good enough, but CaRT are so concerned about not giving the impression that it is dangerous that it allows boaters to get their boats caught and sunk by not realistically pointing out the danger.

Time and time again narrowboatworld has told that the slogan on the ground means nothing to hire people and so time and time again they have their holidays ruined by their boat being caught and sinking, then more often than not are so shocked they pack in and return home.

As happened in one of those sunk in September at Bath on the Kennet & Avon Canal, pictured, that were so distressed they were unable to even accept a replacement boat—they had had enough.

An organisation that is so fond of signs should create one telling exactly how dangerous is that cill and get rid of 'keep forward of the cill' and replace it with a sensible description of its danger, so not only save holidays being ruined but people being killed.

BurtonSignAnd still they come

I see the brand new rather large 'Enjoy your local canal' signs I saw scattered everywhere on the Staffs & Worcs have now reached the Trent & Mersey, and the many thousands that are being produced will soon no doubt litter the whole system.

At what cost is obviously not known, as we are certainly not told.

But in addition to these there are the local signs, depicting various locations along the waterways, the one at Burton, above, an example.

These obviously replace the 'Welcome to....' banners, another expensive blunder, as they have failed to stand the elements and shredded and so been discarded.  A waste of money indeed.

cart signIn case you don't remember them, here was the one at Fradley facing the little used towpath from Rugeley that lasted until the rains came.

I can only assume CaRT was conned as these somewhat poor quality signs were surely not made to stand our English weather.  Unless of course who ever ordered then hadn't a clue what they were doing.  Take your pick.  I know which one I choose!

That just leaves me to remark that all these really pointless signs are costing the hell of a lot of money, whilst the the spend on the actual waterways gets less and less...

vL plank lane lift bridgeToo much of a risk?

There was quite an extensive piece in the newspapers recently from a major hire company that has many hire bases around the waterways, giving the usual flannel to tempt more customers, but there was something lacking.

Though there was an extensive list of waterways throughout England, Scotland and Wales, the Leeds & Liverpool, Rochdale and Huddersfield canals were absent.

Yes, my friends, not a single hire base along any of these waterways listed.  It just seemed as though they had been obliterated.

But why?  We all know of the numerous stoppages on these three waterways and last year all three were closed for weeks through lack of water, so it seems as far as the big hire companies are concerned they are too much of a risk.  If so, who can blame them?  The picture shows a crane brought in to release all the boats stuck at the broken Plank Lane Bridge on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal.

But where will it end...?


I was amazed indeed at all the tackle on the 'island' between the two Sawley Locks needed to replace the gates of one.  With power on the locks I just could not understand the great generator needed to keep it all lit up at night and the tower with its CCTV.

What on earth was there there to pinch?  A massive container obviously held the tools (the white box on the left of the picture) and everything else was obviously too big to move without a crane.  And what about the mobile crane?  (shown behind the box) Have you every seen anything like it?  How ridiculous is that—what happened to the old simple method?

A bunch of amateurs I reckon. And of course, money no object.

Victor Swift