Victor asks—did they tell?

Published: Sunday, 22 August 2021

THERE it was, the image of lots of happy volunteer lock keepers at Tuel Lane Lock.

But were the boaters they locked through on to the Rochdale Canal as happy when they came up against the myriad of stoppages over the past few months?

Or more to the point, did these volunteer lock keepers tell that there was little chance of reaching the other end of the canal?

That raises yet another point—did anyone at CaRT tell the lockies of the stoppages? After all, as not regular boaters they would hardly be aware of stoppage notices.

My reckoning of the answers is no, no and no.


Do these lock keepers actually tell the boaters, particularly the hirers, that since July that can only travel for just eight miles before they hit the stoppage at Callis Lock at Todmorden? 

That means the poor boaters when getting to Callis Lock will have to reverse back to Rawden Mill Lock to wind, for I should not imagine there would be any warning  notices beforehand.

Then there was the long stoppage on the 'Rochdale Nine', preventing access to or from Castlefield and the Bridgewater... 

Cheaper to stop the leaking

It's yet another stoppage on the Rochdale, this time caused by the leaking towpath side head paddle at Lock 16 which has resulted in the pound to Lock 17 no longer being navigable.

Instead of repairing the paddle, Canal & River Trust decided to install a pump to increase the low water level.

AireLast2Yet I should imagine that to anyone, the cheaper and more sensible way would be to simply repair the paddle and stop it leaking, then a pump surely would not be necessary.

Did it really need it?

In these days of CaRT's complaints of lack of finances, I just cannot understand that extensive work to the breach on the Aire & Calder that resulted in it taking eight months to repair.

The picture of the work shows just how extensive the work was that was so different from the simple—and fairly quickrepairs to other breaches.

AireCalderBreach400And the fact that it caused the complete stoppage of the freight that used both the Aire & Calder Navigation and the New Junction Canal as well as lowering the water in the docks at Goole for the eight months, seems to be of little consequence.

Canal & River Trust stated it cost a staggering £3 millions to repair.

Looking at the original small breach I too find it staggering that such a great deal of effort and money should have been needed for the repair, and can only wonder at the decision taking and where all the £3 millions went.

Many more to follow

I was most sorry to learn that our friends Jackie and Terry had finally given up boating, like so many more of the long standing boaters who can no longer tolerate the slap-happy way our waterways are now maintained.

Stoppage after stoppage, some sensibly quick to repair whilst others take 'forever' has taken its toll, and who can blame them?  There will be many more to follow.

Luckily, we will still meet them and continue our friendship, and no doubt tell of our own troubles and tribulations at the hands of Canal & River Trust!

Victor Swift