Victor on the battle of the Lee moorings

Published: Sunday, 23 April 2023

IT IS VERY obvious that the Canal & River Trust moorings claim being contradicted by the National Bargee Travellers Association is something of a battle between the two.

The battle being on the association's part to keep as many moorings as it can for its members on the Lee and the trust to get rid of them—both the moorings and the moorers! With the many rowers on the river thrown into the mix.

MooringCutOffThe Canal & River Trust conjuring-up 'Water Safety Zones' in an attempt to give the impression of danger, even though the width of the river makes a complete mockery of it—is surely going over the top and means it is out to 'get-em'. But sawing off mooring bollards (pictured)—that have been there for many a year really is a step too far.

It tried to get us to believe there has been an increase in accidents due to the moorings, but a simple delve into the statistics by the association, quickly disproved the claim..

But of course it is not only the association's members that are affected by closing the moorings but all boaters attempting to stay a-while by the Lee will find find it difficult.

Of course we know the problem—some rowers want the river to themselves, and taking up so much space when moving want the boats out of their wayso off with their moorings.

Mind you, some boaters overstaying on the river moorings over the allowed 14 days doesn't help matters.

But CaRT, using its 'safety' card on such a wide river as an excuse to take out established moorings, is doing what is usually doesover reacting.

The thin end?

Mind you, could this be the thin end of the wedge for other navigations where rowers want boats out of their way.

I well remember the furore in Gloucester where boaters suffer two fronts with both rowing and canoe clubs wanting the Gloucester & Sharpness Canal to themselves.  So will they be 'prompting' CaRT for Safety Zones too?

ConioesLeicesterThen there was John Coxon on the menace of the speeding rowers of the Leicester Rowing Club on the Grand Union Canal (pictured).  Will they too see a Safety Zone or two to its advantage?

Another thin end?

So CaRT tells that if you want to moor in the Llangollen Basin—that was free—it will now cost £12 a night. [There were occasions when varrying charges were made in the past with electricity involved—Editor]

So is this another 'thin end of the wedge'?

Are we to see other popular mooring places slapped with a nightly charge?  Then perhaps, in its urge for more cash, a charge wherever you moor for the night?

After that silly 'canalathon' to raise funds from people walking its towpaths, anything I reckon, is possible!

Backed down

So Calor Gas has backed down by the onslaught of the Boat Safety Scheme people, and are—for the present—not discontinuing the size of gas bottles used by boaters as it warned.

It now tells that the 3.9kg propane and 4.5kg butane will still be available, for a while at least giving the boaters time to make alternative arrangements.

And if they have any sense, to go for an alternative supply that could be more reliable.

It was in January this year that Calor announced it was stopping the supply of the small cylinders, leaving boaters. particularly cruisers, in a quandary, but the Boat Safety Scheme came to their rescue, giving them time to find another source.

He was in the wrong

The Press was quick to jump on the story of a boater being evicted from his home by Canal & River Trust

The fella, George Ward, would not move his two boats Celtic and March Hare from moorings at Bradford-on-Avon on the Kennet & Avon Canal, so came the 'evicted from his home' story.

But for a long period of time he had moored his two unlicensed boats, without moving, so on Wednesday the trust removed one of them informing him that unless he finds a secure home mooring for the other boat that will also be removed, under its powers that had first been independently scrutinised by a judge.

His licence was  terminated by the trust in December 2020 in response to an incident in November 2020 when it alleges he had been verbally abusive and threatened one of its employees.

Then in January this year George was served a restraining order in the courts after being accused of threatening and abusive behaviour.

Then In March after the eviction notice he threatened to barricade himself on board one of the boats armed with a garden fork and told he would set fire to it if he was forced to leave.

So he is not doing himself a lot of favours—eh?

But if you refuse to move your boat as required and have no licence that is also required—well?

Victor Swift—telling tales for 23 years