Victor is not taken in by the Bargees

Published: Sunday, 27 March 2022

YESTERDAY, (Saturday) the National Bargees Travellers Association organised a march to the Canal & River Trust London Offices to complain.

Its complaint being basically about its members not being able to moor where the hell they like for as long as they like on continuous cruiser licences.

BoatsAreHomeYou may remember the couple of its members complaining that Canal & River Trust had put up 'no mooring' signs where they moor for six months in the year, swapping from one place to another twice a year—on a continuous cruiser licence of course.

At yesterday's march they poured out their grievances to the hungry Press telling of people unable to visit such as their doctors and their favourite weaponof children being unable to go to school if they have to move their boats every 14 days.

They never tell that with a continuous cruiser licence they are only allowed to stay in one place for 14 days, then undertake a genuine cruise and not return.  That's the big secret!

I have to admit, they are a clever lot, having managed to get a few corbynite labour councillors on their side. The cost of their council services is running into thousands, and if they don't get services, start to cause trouble. Yet these towpath squatters don't pay a penny in council tax, unlike the live-aboards with paid-for moorings in basins and the non towpath side on the Regents Canal who are legal and do pay council tax.

One of the council people, a Waste Officer for Tower Hamlet, told about the large increase in fly tipping in public waste bins next to the canal and some of the stuff found. Some was just chucked over the fence or wall. Since these boats have arrived on the towpath, there has been a big increase in the number of rats since 2000.

A few people living next to the canal, reported about the noise and smoke problem and the many generators buzzing away, but nothing was done.  People dare not complain to the 'squatters' due to the abuse they receive.

CaRT should surely take it in hand, but it seems to prefer to turn a blind eye—or are perhaps afraid.

FennyStrtfordThe price of non maintenance

There is certainly a price to pay for so little maintenance on our canals these days, with yet another cill packing up yesterday our Keith Gudgin reported—that was obviously in very poor condition shown by the water leakage—with the Grand Union closed once more, this time at Fenny Stratford Lock (22) at Milton Keynes.

So based on the time for past repairs by contractors, this will be another three weeks job to get it fixed.

But if it isn't cills it's broken collars, with one just over a week ago closing the Rochdale, and surely, like a damaged cill, a gate collar in bad condition and ready to break can be clearly seen.

Or isn't CaRT bothered?

bosley locksBosley open three days a week

Though the season hasn't yet officially started, here comes warning of lock flight restrictions! Lack of water, would you believe? Of course you would!

So there is already a demand to save water on both the Macclesfield and Peak Forest canals, backed-up by very restricted opening times, coming into force on Monday 4th April.

And real restrictions, with Bosley Flight on the Macclesfield only open in the mornings and only on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays!

Marple Lock Flight on the Peak Forest again only open in the mornings and open on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays only.

It gets worse

Then comes the start of the season at Easter in April and it gets worsewith two days openings!

Bosley Fight will only be open on Sundays and Thursdays, and again only in the morning.

With Marple flight only open on Tuesdays and Saturdays, and again only in the mornings.

Which is certainly going to bugger-up a lot of holidays and make it a nightmare for the hire companies to arrange the cruises for their customers.

Of course the failure of Toddbrook Reservoir is still being blamed—with contractors still dragging out its repairs some three years after lack of maintenance caused it collapse. 

What a start to the seasonand as we all know, it can only get worse...

Victor Swift