Victor: Cart has the wrong pound!

Published: Sunday, 24 September 2017

I DON'T expect any of you will be in the least surprised that the low pound that Cart is telling us about causing the stoppages on the Leicester Section is the wrong one!

We were approaching Dunn's lock on a very low pound when a Cart man told us the main problem pound was between  Gees and Blue Bank locks and that we would have to let water through Gees Lock before we could proceed—so it was not the Whetstone to Gees lock that was the trouble as the stoppage notice tells, this had no problem with shortage whatsoever.

Well grounded

Alas, getting to Whetstone we made the mistake of pulling in at the lock moorings and immediately getting well grounded, so there was the struggle to get free, and no, we had not opened any paddles of the lock.  And the Cart man was not letting any water down as his interest was only in clearing the bywashes. All in all it took three quarters of an hour to get through, but then the full 'problem' pound was a doddle, but the next certainly wasn't.

Low waterSo to get water through as the Cart man advised, we opened all the paddles for 20 minutes to get water down to the nearly empty pound (the picture taken after we had done this) with the boat of course safely in the closed gates of the lock, our eventually creeping down the deepest part of the channel and not making the mistake of pulling into the lock moorings but right up to the gates, to then go down to full pounds on to the river below King's where we felt safe at last.

Was safe with the Cart app

We told the people on the six boats going up the following day of the problem, for as only one boat had managed to get down they taking the water from those two very low pounds would make the problem infinitely worse, and with a couple obviously deep draughted would not get through.  One though was quite cocksure, telling us he was alright as he had the Cart app!  Some good that would do him—whatever it is!

I expect that Cart will blame lack of water in the reservoirs as usual, but I have seen the water in a pound below where we moored go right down over a few hours yet there were no boats moving. It is leakage of one sort or another.

Frog IslandIn a lighter vein I thought the mural at Frog Island in Leicester by the waterway is a gem and such a relief from the mindless daubings that ruin the waterways.

That woman

I only wish that the woman we met at Foxton telling Jan of the much better condition the canals were now in after taking over from British Waterways had been with us—this lot would have made her change her tune.  But perhaps not, she had been so indoctrinated that no doubt it would have been 'boaters fault'.

What makes it all so ridiculous is that there is a Cart man on hand, yet even knowing of the low pounds was walking the opposite way to clear bywashes. Surely the powers-that-be should have him attempting to maintain water levels.  But wait, it was a Saturday...

Soar canoistsCanoes revenge

Coming out of Freeman's Lock and all the way down the 'mile' were rowers and rowing fours going like the clappers, causing a bit of a problem, but a greater hazard was to come.

It was canoes revenge! For safely on the Soar  after leaving the centre of Leicester, what should we meet but nearly 200 canoeists! No, I did not count them and it is not a Cart statistic but our being told by one of the women with the many young canoeists, so it was very, very slow indeed for us. We were told it was the Annual Get Together, with all manner of activities at the river side activity centre, seeing fencing, aerial flights, a massive climbing 'frame' and lots of marquees.  Trust us to land in the middle of it.

Birstall logShould be okay

Back on the Soar, everything should now be okay thought I, but alas no. Coming up to Birstall Lock we discovered two boats in the lock who had attempted to lock up to find the bottom gates would not close—we had had trouble with one of those gate on the way up—and had been stuck there they told for two hours, but had managed to contact Cart.

Even though a Sunday, praise to Cart for getting two men out, who eventually dislodged and brought out a wooden stake, so the gates would then close and everyone was once again on their merry way.

Though I hope Labyrinth and its fellow boat manage to get to Kilby Bridge before it is all closed or they could find themselves in very dire straits.

Victor Swift