Canoeists tied together in tunnel

Published: Wednesday, 06 December 2017

I was most interested to read Julie Phelps report of her managing to avoid a collision with a canoeist at the entrance to Edgbaston Tunnel, as I have problems with them, this time inside a tunnel, writes Sid Haworth.

This was inside Braunston Tunnel as I was heading towards Braunston, when there were two lights being waved from side to side coming towards me, so I slowed right down, wondering what was happening.

Tied together

Eventually two canoeists appeared, side by side, shouting at me, but with the noise of the engine and their yelling being distorted I just could not understand what was the matter as I was by then virtually touching the side, and they had plenty of room to pass, but realised they were tied together with each of the men paddling with one paddle each.

Even then, as many of your readers will know, Braunston is a broad tunnel, so there was plenty of space, but all I got from them was that I should have stopped to allow them to pass!  I pointed out that if I had stopped I would most likely be drifting all over the place, and would be a hazard, but whilst just crawling along I had way, but I realised that they did not understand.

'Mind your own business'

I asked why they were tied together, suggesting they would have less problems if in line, but I was brusquely told to 'mind your own business' by the older of the two.  There was another boat following, so when meeting up at the locks asked if they had had problems with the canoeists, to which they said they too had been shouted at, but called them 'a couple of bloody idiots', to which I agree.

I expect this is one of Canal & River Trust's many blunders, but this is going to be a fatal one.