All ready for the boating season?

Published: Friday, 07 April 2023

TODAY, Good Friday, is the start of the boating season, when many of you will be ready for boating on Canal & River Trust's waterways, writes Tom Crossley.

But alas, the waterways themselves are certainly not ready, with two more closures adding to those waterways closed during this past week alone—making a total of eight!

Eight closures in one week

The failure of the Huddersfield Narrow Canal at Lock 10W and another failure on the Aire & Calder at King's Road Lock brings the total of closures this past week to that number.

Yet this week is the end of winter maintenance when in the past all would be well and in good working condition, as in fact it was in those bygone days of British Waterways.

The days when the condition of the the waterways was so crucial are gone, with in its place the all so essential hundreds of blue signs, upgrading towpaths into cycle tracks and the wildlife, all being part of that costly 'wellbeing' that is now so all-important, more than the actual waterways themselves.

More directors, mangers and suchlike

As in fact is the urge of Canal & River Trust for more and more directors, manager and suchlike with improbable titles, swelling the need for more and more cash, not forgetting the demand—and cost—of six lawyers that must raise something of a quandary.

Yet 31 vacancies are still advertised including such as Operations Framework Contract Manager, and even two Senior Hydrologist Modellers and loads of managers, supervisors and technicians—at what cost is not disclosed, but no doubt taking up a fair chunk of our ever increasing licence fees.

So little wonder so little money was left forwhat is so importantwinter maintenance, that prompted the announcement of such millions of spending 'to keep our waterway is top condition', only to have much of it cancelled or not even undertaken. 

Good description

So here we are today at the start of the 'boating season', with the waterways surely  'in a bloody mess'—I believe is a good description.

[Tom Crossley is the Editor of narrowboatworld.]