Victor: Scottish waterways shock

Published: Sunday, 01 July 2018

IT IS shock news indeed that Scottish Canals is considering closing its waterways to boats.

But surely it will then be putting itself out of business, as only too soon the canals will all become stinking ditches as the water drains away.

Reading of some of the things that Scottish Canals spends its money on, there is little wonder there is not enough left for maintenance, it telling us it has a £70 millions repair backlog.

But is this all just a ploy to get the extra £9 millions a year it wants from the government, nearly double the £11 millions it already gets?

Yet with the government under such monetary pressure, I can't see it coughing up another £9 millions, especially as it well knows there will be another navigation authority quickly holding its hands out for around double its own cash...


There is no doubt with the many failures on the Scottish canals—only recently it was admitted the Forth & Clyde linking Edinburgh and Glasgow could not be kept open, there is little doubt its waterways are in a mess.

Mind you, so are ours!  Four at the moment impassible, as there is the news that the Marple Flight is in trouble yet again, so was my tongue in cheek remark some while back that the new boss man was brought in to close the canals down and make them into nature reserves all that far off the mark?

More crap

I did like the contents of that new notice about the wonder of the waterways that Cart is now spending money on erecting all over the place. So it has 330,000,000 yearly visits to its 2,000 miles of waterways does it?

green3Yet last year both it and the IWA told us it has 440,000,000 millions visitors a year to its waterways! So what has happened to the 110,000,000 now missing?

Anyway, it still equals 452 visits to every mile of waterway every day of the year.  Believe it? Only a complete idiot can believe that.

Not many use the towpath in the picture!

Cooling off

With such hot weather we spent a day last week moored on the Soar under trees, and kept nice and cool (this was the second week) but alas only saw two visitors all day, one who had walked from Louborough and another with a dog who returned some 20 minutes later.

Mind you, better than the previous week when we never saw a soul.

Redhill cabinThe new trend

What we did see moving on the Soar was a cabin, that seems to be the new trend.

Our own marina has one on it sales jetty, and here was another being towed up the Soar to its resting place at Redhill Marina.

I expect from a living point of view they are somewhat better than the normal six feet of a a narrowboat.

The one at Redhill was berthed in one of its exclusive small basins, with the river on one side and a field on the other, that I though a much better 'resting place' that in a marina surrounded by boats.

Oh dear

At the moment there is a programme on television about the building of the canals, with the first about the Leeds & Liverpool, and much made of the construction of Bingley Five Rise, but methinks it would not have had approval of those at Cart, for it clearly showed just about every lock leaking—then back in the real world came the news of the water shortage on the Leeds & Liverpool!

Then it told of the Liverpool Link and its 4,500 boats a year that use it. But it is only open in the summer and there was a limit both on days and number, which make that particular number somewhat exaggerated—as normal.

But now? With the breach closing the access, there are none!


A shortage of rain so of course a shortage of water, for all us boaters are aware of the waste through leaking gates and so to the overflows.

Now it's both the Macclesfield and the Peak forest canals that are in trouble with, we are told, two short stoppages on Monday 9th July 'to refurbish the head and tail gates including cills to improve water retention in the pounds between locks 1 to 2 and locks 2 to 3 on the Bosley Flight'.

This surely must be another of those well known stoppage 'Cartisms', as there is absolutely no way can such work be carried out with 'two short stoppages'. Surely the pound has to be emptied to get at the cills...

Kept in the dark

Having met no few problems over recent cruises, we too have met Cart workers who, like those that David also met, were fed up by the way they are now treated, being left in the dark.

So I wonder, as on the Weaver, will those in charge of the locks on the restricted flights on the Leeds & Liverpool have been made aware they are supposed to be chained-up at certain times?

Or those on the Glasson Flight on the Lancaster Canal that is also experiencing water problems, and will only be open in the mornings, from 8am to 1pm.

Will those in charge of the locks be told?

It could not happen now

In the dim and distant past, would you believe, a vote by the employees of various companies resulted in the Daily Telegraph awarding the then British Waterways as 'Employer of the year'.

It most certainly could not happen now!

No updates

No more updates until next week-end I'm afraid—our Thomas is once again off on another of his railway jaunts to Switzerland.

Victor Swift.