Published: Saturday, 30 May 2020

When will boaters get the blame?

BrianJune2These two photos show the sad state of the Hack Green locks 1 & 2 on the Shropshire Union Canal, writes Brian Jarrett.

As can be seen [photo below] the cill bumper on the top gate on No 1 is broken (as is the one on lock No 2.)
The top gate is also growing weeds and retaining water in the wood !

The top gate on No 2 is leaking excessive water but because the bottom cill is damaged it still looses its water.

 When will we see a stoppage for boat damage to these gates!


Normal at Hatton

HattonEmptyBoaters attempting to go down the Hatton Flight these days are advised not to do it early in the morning, as the water will have all drained from the top pound, advises T. Lang.

One from Victor

deepestwaterThere is one picture that shows the difference to my mind between that of British Waterways in the past and Canal & River Trust at present more than any—the quick replacement of a cill on the Atherstone flight way back in 1999,

The cill was reported broken late one afternoon, with BW people inspecting that same day, the 'green men' attending the next day and by the afternoon all fixed and the flight re-opened.  What a difference today.

The picture showing one of the workers pointing out why the middle of a waterway is not the deepest—as the magazines, books and now internet sites tell us, but near the towpath the offside being slowly washed away over the years.

This particular incident showed the lack of appreciation for the workers, for as the queue went down the flight, not one of the crews in the boats showed any appreciation for the fella helping with the bottom lock, until we gave him a much appreciated cup of tea,

Daft notices

FDucksPlayUnder the Canal & River Trust money seems no object to producing daft notices, with many of you sending in a sample including the 'Ducks at Play' notice as shown.

Then of course there is the dog notice for the dogs to read. 

Though they are obviously an attempt at humour, that may be appreciated, what is so annoying to boaters is that money is being spent on such things whilst the waterways are surely now in the worst state that they have ever been with stoppage after stoppage stopping many from cruising.

duck away

Then of course there was the painting of duck lanes on the towpaths, but alas this time there was no information for the ducks to read, just the 'duck' that rather baffled them with one straying into danger!

Normal service will be resumed...

FStaffWorcsHowever the normal service of all paddles working was not resumed on this particular lock on the Staffs & Worcs during 2019, Jim Cracken tells us, as it was out of action all the boating season.

Under CaRT this is now a common sight and was during that year with the paddle at Wood End Lock on the Trent & Mersey wrapped-up, again all the season, with just one top paddle working.

All too often we have stoppages as a paddle 'has been damaged'—the now usual excuse when one gives up the ghostand the stoppage obviously caused as the remaining paddle is also out of action.

Everything stops

Keith7Though the recent winters have been rather mild, as Keith Gudgin's picture shows they can be bad.

A very handy notice

RogerFoxSignThis is a notice from the past, actually spotted in the Ellesmere Port museum by Roger Fox who remarks it represents all that this picture is beginning to illustrate.

Indeed is does as waterway after waterway is closed for one reason or another, usually for lack of maintenance that is now millions of pounds in arrears, and with seemingly little chance of it ever catching up.

Plus of course the 'lack of water' so often used, but how this can close the flights on a 127 miles long waterway served by many reservoirs is difficult to understand.

Must have a paddle

FStensonPaddle0618There is one thing missing from your CaRT memories that is just about the most significant 'memory' of its lack of maintenance and that is broken paddles, writes T. Lang.

So this has to be my contribution to your collection, showing the broken one at Stenson [Trent & Mersey Canal] on the lock that boasts four paddles on the top gates and as can be seen only one on the bottom gates.

[We welcome any of your pictures of either the waterways as they were under British Waterways (BC) or as they are now under Canal & River Trust.  Please give plenty of text with pictures that do not take the full width, so we don't have to use this 'padding' to accommodate them!]

Leaking gates

F4Counties2No picture page would be complete, showing the lack of interest in the waterways at the moment by CaRT, than the the leaking gates on the canals, writes James Henry.

Here's one I took on our somewhat fraught cruise of the Four Counties Ring last year, but there were so many that I am unable to place it, though I believe this one was the lock with a damaged cill that eventually had to be closed, though we managed to get through okay.

Spending our cash

BusyAI believe your gallery must include a picture of how the Canal & River Trust ignored the government advice of maintaining a two metre distance at all times to help prevent the spread of coronavirus, and this shows just how it responded, writes Jim Cracken.

No water shortage

FWinterMooringsI HAVE read Ralph Freeman's take on the supposed water shortage that has closed the canals writes Adrian Archer.

All I can say that I took this picture in March of part of the winter moorings that I had booked, and where I only managed to escape when we were allowed to move, and it certainly shows no water shortage that Canal & River Trust would have us believe.

Ralph got it right, for there was deluge after deluge in February, and must have had all the reservoirs up and overflowing, so I add my same question—where indeed has all the water gone?

Well, to us boaters it's gone where it always goes, over the bywashes as it leaks from locks and pounds, and will always go until it is all maintained as it once was BC.

Waterways at their best

RalphFreemean1stSo CaRT wants good pictures/memories of the waterways?
I assume then they mean from the British Waterways days around 2005 BC when I think the waterways were at their best?  (BC of course stands for Before CaRT).

I wonder what these photos are for?  Is CaRT compiling an obituary for the canals?  A sort of 'Look at the way we used to cruise back in the good ol' days'?

This photo was taken back in the days when dredging was a common sight, even during the summer months.  (Taken in 2007 BC, Trent & Mersey Canal, Clay Mills.)

The missing towpath

Another below from Ralph of 'today'—to quote the lyrics from a Joni Mitchell song (Big Yellow Taxi)

'They paved paradise ....Don't it always seem to go; that you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone?'

Seems appropriate somehow.  (Near Willington, Trent & Mersey Canal.)


Many years cruising

WITH all his many years cruising the waterways, our Keith Gudgin has many memories and here are some of them.

Below shows the Trent in flood at Gunthorpe Lock and definitely no boating



Below shows underwater weed cut by CaRT and allowed to drift through Leicester.



Below shows the problems with locks when vegetation is not cleared on the Calder & Hebble.



Below shows a boat trap laid by illegal moorers to catch passing boats that came out of Soulbury Three Looks on the Grand Union.

Keith4Boat trap