Victor looks at the state of the waterways

Published: Monday, 12 July 2021

WE ARE now well into the season, so perhaps a look at the state of the waterways.

As can be expected, it is not good, with Friday's four closures rather keeping up the pace, and a few more added:

The Kennet & Avon is closed—yes againthis time we are told by a 'boat collision' that has closed Lock 24 at the bottom of Caen Hill Flight.

Don't ask how!  Boats collide all the time, but how this could put a lock out of action we are not told. CaRT is leaving it to your imagination!

There is a 'Navigation Restriction' at Lock 5 on the Rufford Branch onto the Ribble, but we are also told the 'navigation is currently closed at Lock 5 owing to a paddle defect'.

Surely it can't be both. It is either a restriction, meaning boats can pass or it's closed and they cannot.

Still another stoppage on the Huddersfield Narrow with water too low between locks 12E and 13E, closing the waterway.

The poor Pocklington Swing Bridge is still closed.  But worse those boaters are still stuck at Ripon Marina until the 17th July, and have been since the 19th May!  Surely warrants a two months refund on boat licences.

And of course the 'Rochdale Nine' is still closed, as the powers that be make up their minds how to replace a gate under a low structure.

NoCuttingCome Sunday

Come Sunday and our Keith has still more bad news for us—two more closures.  The Oxford is closed yet again, this time the remaining paddle on a gate has given up the ghost, so Claydon Flight is closed. And again the Kennet & Avon, and in addition to Lock 24 that is out of action, Ufton Swing Bridge is dead!

And we have today, Monday, to look forward to.  Happy boating!

In the meantime Keith's photograph of the towpath opposite Barton Turns Marina showing the state of grass cutting!


This weekend was Boat Safety Scheme examination time, that for us has always presented no difficulty, but alas not this time, a blanking cap on the gas failed us. Though this cap, situated at the gas testing point has caused no problems in its last four tests, someone, somewhere has decided that is is not safe any more, though obviously it is as the many years have proved.

GasFittingInstead it needs a special fitting to come up to BSS standards.  But my complaint is why wasn't this publicised?  Don't forget, we get Press notices from the BSS people, but nothing. With all the literature that comes from CaRT one way or another, nothing.

Here's a picture of the fitting showing the cap—it's the large one on the right—if yours is the same, then your examination will fail, so change it!


I have made no mention of our marina, Sawley, for a while, it now on its fourth owner since we arrived over 20 years ago, so I thought I would report.

One thing we have is automatic entrance gates, that are a blessing, especially when throwing it down, but the large sign outside the marina proclaiming its chandlery is a right misnomer.

For our BSS examination we required a carbon monoxide alarm—that the BSS did tell us about—so called at the chandlery, but no they do not stock them, that I found rather alarming.  Neither did they stock a 'diesel' sign for the filler.  So it was off to Midland Chandlers.

When told we needed that important gas connection, off again to the chandlery, but no, being calmly informed that they stock no gas equipment whatsoever.

In fact the only chandlery seems to be 'leftovers' contained on two short sets of shelves...

What a difference

And would you believe in the 'good old days' when this chandlery was in the hands of the then British Waterways we fitted-out our entire current 'sail-a-way' narrowboat from equipment purchased from there—everything.

What a difference indeed.

Poor decision

Not sure who edits 'Bridge', the Grantham Canal Society's news sheet, but it's a poor decision showing the picture of 'Freddy', the delightful fox cub yet another on its front page of an image of over 50 foxhounds.

All ready, 'by accident' of course to tear the poor thing to pieces.


I'm wondering just how those taking the Chesterfield Canal Trust's walk in September from Chesterfield to Worksop will actually make it?

After what it calls the Giant’s Staircase of 23 locks in just over a mile between Kiveton and Shireoaks walkers will have to cross over a road, as the tunnel below is certainly not passable.  Perhaps a couple of volunteers holding up the traffic or even a temporary pedestrian crossing?  The road?  the M1!

[Easy Victor.  They take the Popular Farm underpass!—Editor.]

Victor Swift