THE Grantham Canal—33 miles of rural landscape and with a 20 miles pound to boot, writes Pam Pickett.
How many of us I ask could appreciate the lockless aspect of such distance, particularly so given it lies in the beautiful Vale of Belvoir. There is little wonder that the Grantham Canal Society is constantly battling to re-open this canal.
With the concrete bridge that once facilitated the Cotgrave pit now gone, and the new Brown's Bridge erected over the canal, the Grantham now moves one step further to becoming navigable.
At the opposite end of the canal and despite British Waterways creating a 24 hour delay, new top gates were finally fitted at lock 18 by 8pm on Friday night. This, the Top Lock at Woolsthorpe is the lock that came very close to being ‘landscaped' (the new word for buried!) by British Waterways following a collapse of the lock wall in 2007.
On the ‘down' side for the Grantham, given the need to raise funds, the weather has not been at all helpful. People have been put off from using the society's trip boat The Three Shires by the seemingly never ending rain, even though the area covered by the trip boat is beautiful regardless of the weather, and with the cuisine at the Rutland Arms, locally referred to as the ‘Mucky Duck' at Woolsthorpe to retire to following a trip, I have to point out that it isn't only the Grantham Canal Society losing out!
On the ‘up' side however, the dredger Mudlark that appeared to have been virtually abandoned by British Waterways on the Cotgrave length of the canal has been purchased by the Grantham Canal Society. Mudlark is I'm told, subject to a little TLC, in working order and is to be used to its full capacity by the society. Happily it is now safely moored at the depot at Woolsthorpe.
In addition, flora and fauna at the very attractive venue of Hickling Wharf on the Grantham have been restored by the society's team of volunteers, with financial assistance received from the Booth family. Always worth a visit, Hickling Wharf is now the more so.
Finally, and with fingers and toes crossed for an improvement in the weather a fundraising barbecue is to be held at Harlaxton Wharf on Saturday 8th July between 11am and 3pm. Boat trips will also be available, and it is hoped the event will be well attended. [Latest: Barbecue has been cancelled due to the bad weather affecting the site.]