'Clang!' reckons Victor

Published: Sunday, 03 July 2022

WITH much ado from Canal & River Trust comes another celebration of the restoration of a canal.

This time it celebrates the 20 years of the reopening of the newly restored Rochdale Canal on the 1st of July 2002 in Manchester.

About a year too early I'm afraid, as it was not then completed so it was officially opened by the Environment Minister, Michael Meacher together with British Waterways Chairman George Greener just under a year later on the 28th March 2003!

meacherCanalThis took place by the side of the canal with the attending party hoping to cruise under the newly constructed A627(M) terminus on the narrowboat Edwin Clarke to arrive next to Sandbrook Retail Park for the unveiling ceremony.

Alas it did not go according to plan, for the farmer who had lost his access through a bridge that had been used to take the waterway through, was swimming in the canal. objecting and so preventing access!

Our Thomas noticed something was amiss, so whilst all the photographers and reporters were gathered on the towpath side waiting, he smartly went over the other side and took the 'unfortunate' photograph of dear Michael and George walking on the narrow side of the canal then clambering up the steps to cross the motorway to get to the opening!  The farmers' head can been seen in the water, who of course is being ignored.

The 'dark days'

The 'celebration' included the telling:

'Sections of the canal in Manchester city centre and Yorkshire have recently been awarded prestigious Green Flags—illustrating their importance as quality green spaces for local people and home to much loved and support of wildlife, and major Green Recovery and art projects earlier this year have resulted in bright new rainbow planters in Manchester’s Gay Village, floating reed beds, more trees, flowers, wildlife and engaging art installations'.

And continuing:

'And we want to keep it that way by protecting and preserving these special places and ensuring canals don’t fall back into the dark days of dereliction and decline'.

MikuniWith nine 'Navigation: Closed' notices concerning the Rochdale Canal since the season started at Easter, I reckon those 'dark days' are well on their way...  And did you notice—ner a word about boating.

What a carry-on!

With our old Mikuni giving up the ghost (pictured) they no longer being produced and being told there was a dearth of spares, it was time to replace.

It had given us 20 years with only two services and the occasional glow plug replacement, and as our former Eberspacher, had only given four years, was not working more often as it was not, plus costing us many hundreds of pounds in repairs, we decided the replacement would be the new version of the Mikuni, though in kit form.

But ordering it was a pain. The firm simply ignored our email asking which of the two similar was best for our purpose, as obviously too much effort to reply.

So eventually after going into it further we attempted to order the one we thought best over the internet on the PC but failed—twice. Then dear Jan had a go on her phone—and also failed!  Every time receiving the peculiar message '3D-Authicitation failed', though what was being authenticated wasn't told.

Eventually it was fourth time lucky when Jan managed to order by 'phone on Monday, with the promise she would get it 'Thursday or Friday', but alas are still waiting for delivery, but no doubt I shall keep you informed...

You have to move

Though we always include the Press Releases from the Bargees, I certainly don't have to agree with them.

One of its statements from Marcus Trower, NBTA London Branch Secretary rather gives the game away:

'Those of us that have moored in Hackney consider spending time here to be an essential part of London’s boating culture and one of the joys of making our lives on water; we’re looking forward to welcoming as many people as possible to Walthamstow Marshes to celebrate that fact with good food, music, conversation and continued solidarity for our fight against CRT’s boat cull'.

However many of these people have a continuous cruiser licence, which means they must cruise a distance—and not quickly return—every 14 days.  But of course want to remain moored in Hackney, but certainly not pay for the privilege.

Sorry mates, but be fair—either move from place to place or pay for moorings, as you should and as most of us do.

The boat count

After missing a boat count for a number of years owing to Coronavirus, the trust have now completed one telling  there is a licence compliance rate of 94.1%.


Victor Swift