In answer to David's article whilst we have a bevy of chains and hooks to use, and prefer to moor to metal piling there are some areas with no metal where you have to use pins, writes Ruth Cragg.
And we found pins to be inadequate given the speed of passing boats even thought we use four or more!
We then experimented with screw-in pins that leave a hook for the rope only on the surface. We first tried 24in ones but often after the first few inches they came up against the Shroppie type shelf under the towpath often extending right across the path and if the pins were not flush with the ground they bent making them unusable the next time so that was no good.
We tried shorter pins but such is the crud that British Waterways [now CART] dump to make the towpath that these got pulled out faster than normal pins.
On the first occasion this happened the first news that the pins were out came with some private moron ramming us in the side when we found ourselves right across the cut. Diving out on deck we were informed we were in his way and he was in a hurry!
After a number of trials on various canals we found the screw pins just did not work given towpath conditions—it's remarkable how many foam cups and foam packing rubbish is down in the not-compacted stuff they now use. Only in the odd old mud, stone and shells compacted and deep earth paths did screw pins match normal pins.
We are now on the look out for very long normal pins which may be the best of all.