Back in business and looking over the past week

Published: Saturday, 09 July 2022

SO IT'S back in business and looking over the happenings of the past week, that are certainly not good.

Our Keith Gudgin has certainly been busy reporting a total of 12 'Navigation: Closed' reports that are certainly affecting boaters and possibly worse for the poor hirers on a strict time scale.

The stoppages

Staffs & Worcs started the stoppages with paddle failures at Hyde Locks, followed by the Grand Union—twice—paddle failures again this time at Camp Hill, then Hanwell Closed, alas for both paddle failure and repairsthat were cancelled as winter works, now stopping everything in summer!

The Caen Hill Flight on the Kennet & Avon was next to be closed, with not enough water. Then it was the turn of the North Stratford when Shirley Drawbridge needed repairs.


The Rochdale was closed with a lock inoperable owing to a paddle stuck in the open position. Then in was the turn of the Trent & Mersey to be closed when Barton Lock top gate refused to rest in its cup.

The poor Leeds & Liverpool then had two failures; Lock 10 needing an emergency repair to its cill, though this time instead of it taking a month we are promised it will be repaired in two working weeksfrom the 11th to the 22nd of this month.  The other stoppage on the Leeds & Liverpool is of course a swing bridge, this time Riley's Swing Bridge (10) that we are told is due to 'improvements'.

Now it's the Trent, with Hazleford Lock requiring its power pack replacing. Another swing bridge, this time on the Bridgwater & Taunton is suffering deterioration we are told so is out of order. Finally, for the present, it's the Chesterfield that is closed with Lime House Lock out of action, another that had its winter works cancelled so they could be done in the middle of summer!

Cancelled 'winter works'

The previously cancelled 'winter works' are now coming fast and furious that must rate amongst the most stupid of the many such decisions from Canal & River Trust—cancelling work that could be done with little interruption then undertaking it in the middle of summer when the navigations are at their most active.

However it is now the 10th of the month, and already 12 stoppages that is certainly not looking good for boating this summer.

More closures than listed

When we first started to list the monthly stoppages, it was Allan Richards who pointed out from Canal & River Trust's own figures that it was not the 29 listed stoppages for April but actually 37. More April stoppages than listed.

Last month, June, saw 27 navigation closures, the trust sending out 27 'Navigation: Closed' notices, but from what Allan gleaned in the past, the actual number of closures is of course not known, as we only have those publicly listed.

What has also been observed is that more stoppage notices are being sent out later in the day, even though applying to the whole day...