Victor: Could have been stuck

Published: Sunday, 01 October 2017

YES, my friends, another cruise under our belt, but with all the stoppages I have to worry if we will be having many more, as should we have been just a few days later on the Leicester Section our boat would have been stuck there until only God knows when, as it is now 'closed indefinitely'.

On redWith our permanent mooring just off the Soar, we know how easy it can flood, but even we were not prepared for what just a couple of hours heavy rain in the night did when we were moored in the nice serene atmosphere below Thurmaston Lock waking up to a raging torrent.  And being in an overflow with logs, branches and all kinds of debris rushing past we had no option but to get a safer place, shooting down river like a bat out of hell! And there was no way we could stop until we reached the haven of the next lock—and we stayed put.


The level indicator shows it all. The Soar is notorious for its quick flooding, for not only is there the rain, but the 'liquid' from every sewage works in and around Leicester that pours into the river, and after all it was early morning... Which is why there is so much 'froth' on the river, and perhaps why the pennywort flourishes so well!

Yet, would you believe, with all the many bollards on this part of the Soar and the long lengths of piling, there was a boat moored on two pins.  Something you never do on the Soar when it rains.


Soar InterestVisits

Of course I have to tell you of all the vistors we saw, to back up Cart's claims of its hundreds of millions. I have of course already mentioned the single visitor with the newspaper on the summit pound, but I am very much afraid that there were not very many more, even in Leicester.

Yes, there were plenty of people in the city, but definitely not on the towpath.

From King's Lock to Foxton it was virtually deserted, with no available cycle tracks and of course not connecting places, with just a few dog walkers, both on our way out and back. The section near Foxton was one of those areas of scientific interest, pictured, or whatever they call 'em, comprising of mile after mile of weeds on both sides for insects, as can be seen in the picture..  But alas, no one was showing the least bit of interest. I expect eventually the weeds will meet in the middle and that will be that.

On the Sunday we moored at Thurmaston, and for once there were lots of people, and there had been quite a few at Birstall the day before, but alas they were just crossing the bridges to get to the two parks, completely ignoring the towpath. We had nowhere near an 'official' day's worth of visits over the whole 16 days.

MarpleLock15The Peak Forest again

The new trend seems for navigations is ' indefinitely closed', as the same day the Leicester Section was so treated, so was the Peak Forest Canal, owing to a 'shrunken' lock on the Marple Flight. 

You may have read that it was intended to fit a a gauge measuring 6ft 10ins so that boats would know if they could definitely pass through, but that was a really daft idea. It was lock 15 on the flight, so anyone coming up 14 locks and finding their boat oversize would have to stop there 'indefinitely' or somehow or another get back down the 14 locks.  Luckily this scheme was dropped, not I understand as someone realised, but on health and safety grounds.

But. And 'but' indeed, for the bottom lock of Hurleston Flight on the start of the Llangollen Canal was limited to no more than 6ft 10ins boats for years—I well remember us attempting it with our fenders down, and having to struggle to get them up before we could proceed.  But of course, the Llangollen is the favourite canal for hirers, so we can't stop that can we?

It makes you wonder...

I was pleased to read that Pam Pickett had told us again about the plight of Geoff Myers, whose boat was taken off him on the Trent, and for some outrageous reason transported as far away as possible to the far end of the Gloucester & Sharpness Canal, costing well over £100,000 due to the many costs of the action.

Yes, here we have a couple of boats moored on Sawley Cut for most of the year on 48 hours moorings, and they are not dragged away to Sharpness...


At what Cart now calls its Annual Public Meeting, Chairman Allan Leighton told of various people who had been 'working tirelessly to make this exciting national waterways charity a success. We absolutely wouldn’t have made the giant leaps forward without their direction and input'.

I must ask, what 'giant leaps forward'?  With two waterways now indefinitely closed and stoppage after stoppage every week.  'Cloud cuckoo land' is a phrase that springs to mind.

All four gone

We are told that all four paddles of Broad Cut Low Lock on the Calder & Hebble are 'out of order', which takes the Cart philosophy of 'wait until it breaks then mend it' to a new level.

So it's now let's wait until all the paddles are broken before we fix any of them!

No way José

The annual waterway awards have just been published, and though in its early days we published these, they have become little more than rewards for helping Cart, with of course the statutory ones for Scotland and Wales.  But giving an award to its chief propagandist John Dodwell is really beyond the pale.

Of course all will be claiming to be 'award winners' now—which really shows why Thomas refuses to publish them anymore.

Victor Swift