Why close the waterways?

Published: Thursday, 24 September 2020

THERE was one difference in our recent cruise—we spoke to many more boaters.

The increase was of course brought about by the closure of the waterways by the pandemic in the early months, meaning that many only managed to cruise in September and all the hire boats had been taken up.

Why canals were closed

Meeting so many boaters at locks and when moored we took the opportunity to glean their feelings of the waterways, and the one thing we heard the most was "why were the waterways closed down?"

It became very clear that boaters just could not understand why the canals had been closed, with many pointing out that there was not a face mask in sight and cruising down the middle of a canal was as safe as you could possibly be in a pandemic as you were away from everybody.

Could not understand the danger

The only place you met someone was at locks and you could either wait and use them alone or easily keep over two metres apart, with many wearing gloves.  They just could not understand the danger, adding that mooring when no one was about meant no risk whatsoever.

Of the many we spoke to—usually over the locks!the huge majority brought up the closure and resulting lack of cruising. Many, ourselves included, were thankful that eventually the waterways were reopened.

Some thought it a knee-jerk reaction of the Trust, pointing out the same happened with Leicester as panic set in!

But the closure has caused problems, for it was obvious when locks had been left empty for months the bottom gates had dried out and shrunk so leaking profusely.