VICTOR certainly had a point about the number of boats moored on the Trent & Mersey. Coming through Fradley Junction on the way South last week it took us an hour and a half to find somewhere to moor for lunch.
There doesn't seem to be a length of piled bank in the area which doesn't have boats tied to it. Some were obviously people out cruising but far too many appeared to be moored for the duration, probably, as Victor suggested, because they can't afford the marina fees. It does seem to be particularly acute in this area though.
I also thought that Sally Ash was supposed to be looking at reducing online mooring at farm sites etc. All I can say is that she is failing miserably on the Shroppie. 15 years ago it took an hour less to cruise from Market Drayton to Autherley Junction than it does now. There are mile after mile of online moorings and they are still being built. Why is this being allowed to happen?
Changeover box ticking
This afternoon, cruising in the Cropredy area, It was interesting to see that the waterway signage has been changed from 'British Waterways' to 'Canal and River Trust' by using adhesive plastic labels with the new name and logo.
I was amused to see that they had even done this on a totem which had lost all of its other tiles, presumably about the mooring limits. Never mind replacing the missing tiles with their information, someone has ticked the correct box for relabelling!
H&S gone mad
Do you remember either last year or the year before someone in Ivory Towers decreed that all bridges should display two numbers, with immediate effect. As it was too difficult to get them cast at short notice the bridges were numbered using temporary cards on wooden sticks.
There are still bridges numbered in this way, but what remains of the numbers is far from legible even where the temporary signs still exist. Another box ticking knee-jerk project that wasn't thought through to the maintenance stage.
Work is still in progress to fix the RSJ supported handrails on the lock bridges of the Staffs & Worcs. We were greeted by the party of steel erectors at Rodbaston Lock who said they were fed up with people asking why the rails were necessary after 200 years without.
At least on this lock the steel beam is within the contour of the bridge arch, so poses no hazard to boaters passing underneath.
The last couple of times that I have left the Shroppie at Autherley Junction a boat wishing to enter the Shroppie has pulled into the bridge hole. Yes, there is room for two boats under the bridge but if you are leaving the stop lock to turn North it is impossible to get round the stern of the other boat to go in that direction without having to reverse back into the bridge hole once the other boat has entered the lock.
Why are people so impatient (old age?) that they can't wait outside until the bridge is clear? They evidently just think that they are being clever to fit two boats under the bridge without much thought for anyone else.