Victor sees strange sights

Published: Sunday, 30 October 2022

WALKING along the jetty to our boat in Sawley Marina we saw strange sights.

These were CaRT envelopes attached to boats, and lo and behold one fastened to ours too, it containing a very official notice stating that our boat was unlicenced—though two up-to-date licences dated to August 2023 could be clearly seen!

The fella in the office was good enough to ring through to CaRT's licencing department to learn that it had made yet another blunder—it had supplied the fella issuing the notices with a tablet that had not been updated!

I later discovered that ours was not the only marina to be so crudely treated.

Am I surprised? No way José!

Buggered it up

The 'team' attempting to shift the obstruction from the gate on the flood lock at Sawley managed to remove it, and the boats that were stuck passed though the lock on Tuesday.

But in doing so they closed the navigation again—they had dislodged one of the gate collars! Or as CaRT tells, the lock is 'currently out of action due to an unexpected maintenance fault with one of the lock gates collars'.

But worse still!  Yesterday, Saturday, our Keith reported it was told 'the fault is more complicated than expected' and the navigation closed.  So have really buggered it up!

Mind you, seeing how they were carrying on with attempting to remove the obstruction, once again, am not one little bit surprised!

Killing-off the Weaver

Passage through many locks these days can only be achieved by prior bookings, with those on the Weaver now having to be booked, following those of the Severn.

There is no passage through Dutton, Saltersford, Hunts or Vale Royal Locks on the Weaver only by 'prior arrangement only'.

Not a 24 hours booking either but 48 hours notice having to be given before passage can be arranged through any of these locks.

And adding to the difficulty the locks are only available during weekdays—no week-end passages allowed.  And should you manage to get a booking it will have to be between the hours of 8am to 4pm only, with the 'kill-all' proviso of 'subject to availability'.

Which just about stops any navigation on the river, as it is obvious to all that that can only be the purpose of such demanding restrictions.

What I just cannot understand is that when we cruised the Weaver those locks were self-operated, therefore no need whatsoever for such restrictions, so why now? Ah, I remember—those were the days of British Waterways Board...

Oh no it isn't!

Our poor editor dropped one when he told that the Peak Forest was fully open, with a reader telling him it wasn't, as Marple Flight was still closed!

So he had to make it right, only to find out that now it is open as the Marple Flight problem as been sorted!

However, I see he has not amended again, no doubt thinking that before long something along the waterway will no doubt be closing it! So right, eh?

Can't get there anyway

Mind you, with the Anderton Boat Lift now closed until the end of March you can see the thinking behind all the Weaver restrictions, as boaters will not be complaining so much about the lift being closed if the river is so difficult to navigate.

Open by the end of March?  You'll be lucky, with this lot!

Keeping up?

Are you managing to keep up with the 'winter works'? I certainly am not, so left it to Allan Richards to relate as he is more on the pulse than me, as I just cannot keep up with all the swapping about,

Last year 'they' tended to let the original number stand for a while then deviously cancelled a few at a time. This winter however they are already juggling the stoppages right left and centre leaving those boaters who take to the waterways in winter, and particularly continuous cruisers that have to cruise every 14 days, wondering where it is safe to go without being marooned away from any services whatsoever.

I don't expect however that 'they' are too bothered...

Victor Swift