Disgusted by state of Oxford Canal

Published: Friday, 29 December 2017
I HAVE just come across your *site and I see that you allow boaters to write their own views, and would appreciate it if you would include mine, writes David Thorley.
For the first time in a long time I was going down the Oxford Canal to the city and so on to the Thames, it being nine years since I last cruised this part of the system but was most disgusted by its state.

Mooring was a problem

My boat only has a 2ft 2in draught, but time and time again I was churning up silt, and as we cruise in short bursts mooring was a problem, as I have two dogs so like to moor in the country but it was the devil mooring as the silt had piled up into the side and it was impossible to get in, but my 'crew' going out with the pole and testing the depth, we eventually managed to get within a foot so in went the pins.
There is of course an advantage however, that with being on the bottom passing boats have no effect whatsoever, but perhaps I should not mention this as Canal & River Trust reading it could then latch on with the statement that the silt is left to prevent moored boats being rocked by speeding boaters!  And another advantage is that being moored on the bottom, you cannot sink!



 As I got further and further towards Oxford the depth got shallower still, and it was only by keeping to the deepest part that progress could be made, and I know that the deepest part in not in the centre as the 'experts' tell, but more to the towpath, the cut having got wider over the years, and knowing this I was able to finally get to Oxford.
These days you meet lots of stretches that dredging is needed, but there still are stretches that are not too bad, but things are getting worse so it makes me think that eventually really deep draughted boats will be very limited to where they can go.

Motley unwashed lot

 Another difference to last time we came though Oxford is the number of moored boats, the cut is packed with them and I have not seen such a motley unwashed lot in my life, but the most stupid thing of all is that I passed an arch facing the cut that I could not understand so managed to leap off the boat to take a gander, to find that Canal & River Trust had erected this arch with the words 'a hidden world awaiting'.  The hidden world being the silted canal and the scruffy boats.
Don't know how much it cost but the money could have been better spent on dredging.  Sorry I did not take a picture, but perhaps one of your readers has a photo as it is worth showing.
[*Thank you for your kind words about narrowboatworld, but we have not included as it is not our policy—Editor.]