Canal & River Trust? More like Canal & River Bust tells Victor!

Published: Sunday, 22 May 2022

I HAVE just learned from our Keith Gudgin that the waterways suffered five 'Navigation: Closed' in a single day, surely now well earning the title of Canal & River Bust!

Not only five closed on Tuesday but a total of 17 'Navigation: Closed' already this month, spoiling peoples holidays! Not forgetting 29 closures in April, showing it's well deserved.

StrabgeDevelopmentMassive development 

There is a massive development by the Coventry Canal near Fradley Village with a vast number of houses built, others in the process, with space being cleared and foundations in for other buildings stretching many hundreds of yards along the navigation.

Very much in fact like the massive development at Branston that now includes four very large warehouses on the towpath side of the waterway.

Also just away from the canal is another development needing a number of cranes (pictured) that must be of a large scale, but didn't need much realising it was groundwork for the high speed rail line HS2.

One thing I will add—at the risk of upsetting no few—that I am in favour, having tasted the real thing on the Continent.

SunkSecondSunk boat still there

Though now over a week since the boat sunk by moorings near Polesworth, I see it is still there with the compulsory length of whatever it is to prevent spillage, but strangely not all the way around the boat and not at the end towards where the water flows!

So a complete waste of effort. Either whoever was in charge did not know how long a piece was needed or had no idea that it should surround the boat to completely contain any spill.  

The first to help

Back at Fradley and the first volunteer to heip, and he certainly knowing what he was doing and telling there was another on the lock below, though we moored for the night by the wood, much preferred by Rusty, so did not see him or her.

Jan telling that at least ours did help, unlike the two we espied at Atherstone Flight who were more interested in chatting together, and certainly not helping any boaters.

CollarBrokenBagnallBut not much work for the Fradley volunteers as we moored-up at just before noon with a total of just four boats coming up the lock for the rest of the day on the Friday!

Ready for going?

Seeing the condition of the collar on the top gate of Bagnall Lock, it is certainly ready for going, with it resulting in the gate being most difficult to move.

As the picture shows the condition of the cill, that too is ready for biting the dust. But who cares?  Just wait until it breaks then get the contractors in!

A most unusual occurrence at Bagnall Lock, with a single hander having 'lost' his boat he letting go of the rope and it drifting off-side where he could not get to it.  But Jan gave him a lift—a 'first' for us!

HightHedgeWorking well

CaRT's system of allowing canal-side hedges to grow without mowing is working well on the the navigations, as the picture taken on the Trent & Mersey above Tatenhill Lock clearly shows. It certainly prevents mooring and gives—as CaRT gave as its reason—plenty of habitat for the insects.

Mind you, I would not think they are too short of habitat in the middle of the countryside surrounded by the great mass of vegetation!

But we all know the real reason, eh?  To save cash.  And never mind if some child escaping from some speeding cyclist by backing into that undergrowth falls into the canal and drowns. As one did on the Sheffield & South Yorkshire Navigation at Rotherham a while back, the child that time seeing the undergrowth as somewhere to hide. Bad idea indeed.


There's a notice alert from those silly bods who produce the notice alerts at Cart, this time concerning the Audlem Boat Festival. Telling that there will be moorings restrictions on the Shropshire Union starting at Beeston Iron Lock (11) and Bunbury Upper Lock (15)some 11 miles away!

But Lock 11 is on the Audlem Flight and lock 15 is the flight's bottom lock!

Sort that one out if you can!

A bit late

Another stoppage notice, this one concerning the tree that was blocking the Ashby near Hinckley, that was cleared the following afternoon yet the notice not appearing until mid afternoon—a day later!

Causing nine boats that were held up going past our Keith where he was moored from 5.30am to 7am in the early morning at speed, obviously having lost so much time, he telling he just wished they'd slow down when passing moored boats as some people are trying to get some sleep at that time in the morning!

A pity CaRT is not more on the ball with its stoppage notices.

WonkyPilingNearly forgot

I very nearly forgot.  The contractors installing the piling on the Coventry were still there, but now only three instead of the original six.

But perhaps one of those missing is the one who makes sure the piling is nice and straight, as it certainly is not as the picture shows.

So once again they are not people who understand, but are now the infamous contractors doing the work, who obviously know no better...

Weekend retreat

There is no doubt that Branston Water Park moorings are a weekend retreat for many boaters as with just three moored boats when we passed on the Tuesday there were 14 moored on the Sunday.

But must admit it is one of our favourite stopping places as the walk with Rusty over the bridge and down by the off-side of the canal  down to the lakes then across to Tatenhill Lock then back along the rabbit infested towpath makes a nice 50 minutes walk with the rabbits of particular interest!


The moorings at Shopnall Fields were also well used, unlike those days when they were first installed when they and the nearby bridge were favoured by vandals, our well remembering a gang of girls pelting us with objects from the bridge and never a boat risking the official moorings by the fields.

In those far off days narrowboatworld even had a 'Vandals' page that was well needed with one German visitor put in hospital with a brick from the derelict railway bridge over the Caldon, boaters making sure they went early over Trent Aqueduct at Rugeley for fear of being stoned and all wary of youngsters behind the hedges ready to hurl stones and the like.

How different now, with the benefit of computers, tablets and mobile phones to keep them interested—and away from us boaters.

That's it folks

That's it from me this time folks, I'm packing up before we get to the broad locks, as I will only moan!

But finally, our Keith tells me there are more 'Navigation: Closed' notices. bringing the total this month so far to 21. Well deserving of Canal & River Bust, eh? 

Victor Swift