Those winter works

Published: Thursday, 06 April 2023

THE so called 'winter works' should be just about over now, writes John Coxon.

One has to ask what winter works? So many of them cancelled and others not attempted at all?

Further closures

Just as the season starts so much of the system is already failing because of lack of maintenance! Even when Canal & river Trust do get their contractors to do the work it invariably fails again within a few weeks so needs doing again resulting in further closures.

Now we have them closing long sections of popular towpath for the whole summer season so they can turn it into what a coal boat skipper once called a 'velodrome for cyclists'! Do they care about boaters? It seems not! They only appear to consider us boaters a priority when they want money off us?

With there trying to price boaters off the system who do they think is going to pay these increased fees when we've all gone? More boats paying slightly less will generate more income overall. Simple economics if all you are trying to do is generate funds. But when it comes to their treatment of boaters I have my doubts about that.

Charge a mooring fee

Why don't they just charge the continuous moorers a mooring fee. With all the boats in London not moving more than a handful of miles per year CaRT could make quite a lot from them if they charged them the going rate for mooring in the capital! Then there's all the other towns and cities with their collection of continuous moorers? A veritable gold-mine just waiting to be tapped?

With locks and bridges failing days before the season starts it seems as if all CaRT can do is remind some of us we have not filled in their sham licence fee consultation? I understood it was supposed to be annonymous so how do they know who has not filled it in? They'll know what you've said as individuals so be careful, you have been warned!

We had the reminder a few days ago, I just deleted it, it's a waste of time filling it in as it's definitely a forgone conclusion as far as I'm concerned. Another example of CaRT treating us boaters as if we're two year olds! If they really think they can fool us into believing that what we say will make any difference to the already determined outcome then they must think we're all liviing in cuckoo land.

Let them prove me wrong by making public all, and I mean all the unedited and unredacted answers that were submitted.


It appears that everything CaRT do is designed to inconveniece boaters as much as possible. It seems as if we can't even move now without having to book something days in advance! Tunnels, Anderton Lift, river locks, lock flights etc. This must make it very difficult for hire boaters who have no idea how long it will take to get there?

It's not just hirers that will suffer as it could also prove inconvenient to those boat owners on time restricted holidays or share boats because if they should arrive at one of these booking required places without pre-booking it or even arrive too late for their booking, it'll mean they'll lose two days off their holiday. Sitting there waiting these two days means the loss of a big chunk off their holiday! You could never make that time up in a two week cruise. More boats needing to go flat out 12 hours a day just to get back to base on time causing even more unnecessary wear and tear to the banks of the waterways!

Whilst they're waiting they'll clog up the moorings for the tunnel or lock or whatever, making it harder for the staff to work around them!

Anderton Lift

Also remember, always book the next available session on the Anderton Lift or you'll be charged a booking fee! Wait until you get there, then book your session. Why pay a booking fee when you don't have to? CaRT are not allowed to charge you to use the lift it's a condition of the help they received to restore it that it's free for boaters to use. They can only charge you an advanced booking fee.

At least we've had a wet March and the reservoirs are full—for now. I bet it won't be long before CaRT are bleating about a water shortage though. It's inevitable when the reservoirs are so shallow because they are silted up due to lack of dredging and the state of the unmaintained system leaking water away by the lock-full!