The old system was best

Published: Thursday, 28 January 2021

TO BE quite honest, try as I might I am unable to calculate the number of stoppages we had to suffer last year, writes James Henry.

It has been a good 'lockdown' venture trolling back through page after page of stoppages listed on your site, then I discovered there were some stoppages not included, so after 100 I gave it up as too much like hard work, but at least it proved something, and that is the 'wait until it breaks then mend it' policy is a bad one as far as both keeping the waterways in good condition and for boating.

Virtually closed down

The old British Waterways method, and I'm referring to the time before Robin Evans took over as chief executive, when the whole system was virtually closed down during the winter months to make good the wear and tear of the busy summer boating and any likely forthcoming failure was attended to to make sure there were no future stoppages.

Many of you old 'uns will remember when you could plan a cruise anywhere on the entire system without any worry whatsoever of it not being completed. 

Hit and miss

Surely that was better than as it is today, with the waterways being in such a state it is all very much hit and miss as to whether or not your cruise will be completed, clearly proving that the 'wait until it breaks' policy is not working.

How many of you dare venture on the northern waterways these days?  I daren't that's for sure.

[We too would like to 'venture' up onto the Rochdale and Leeds & Liverpool canals again only ever having cruised them once, but it means a rather tight schedule, even with someone taking the boat so far, but there is no way we will risk it with stoppage after stoppage as is now normal on these two waterways—Editor.]