I dread to think

Published: Friday, 29 December 2017

LOOKING back over the past year at the way the waterways have deteriorated, I dread to think what 2018 will bring, writes Tom Crossley.

I don't have to list the now uncountable number of failures that we boaters had to suffer over the year, not only as shown in narrowboatworld but other web sites too, to realise that the waterways are in a shocking state, and there is to be even less money spent in the coming year, so I dread to think of the rconsequences.

Could plan a cruise anywhere

When I first started boating I could plan a good cruise anywhere on the system and know it would be accomplished and would be able to return 'unscathed' and so on time, but those days have long gone under the administration of Canal & River Trust, sorry, I will correct that, un-administration of Canal & River Trust.

Any planned cruise had proven to be a misadventure, held-up by the never-ending stoppages, and even having in one instance having to get extra crew come out to get the boat back later, and even cruises having to be completely re-arranged owing to stoppages.

In the Cart

The Canal & River Trust, or 'Cart' (that we are certainly in) as Victor Swift calls it, of course produces mind-blowing statistics of what it is achieving, when in reality it is achieving very little indeed, the opposite being the norm as its waterways deteriorate even further.

I just cannot understand how British Waterways whose interest was the waterways, became an organisation so taken up by other matters, leaving the waterways way down its list of importance, with poetry, walkers, cyclists, canoeists, caterpillars and a myriad of other creatures being of such importance—all appropriating money that should have been spent on maintenance.

To impress the government

I should imagine most boaters realise it is all to impress the government of how varied are the achievements of 'the charity' (as it prefers to call itself) and that the waterways are in good hands, backed of course by its unbelievable statistics. Those in government no doubt being most impressed.

The failures of waterway after waterway with now so many complete closures—all the result of lack of maintenance, paints a very different picture indeed, and as to the coming year, with we learn less money to be spent, I dread to think...

Which will be open

We dare not even attempt to plan our usual May two weeks cruise—not knowing which waterway will be open and which will be closed. We shall have to wait until the very last moment then take our chance.  What a mess.

Or perhaps as Victor would tell—what a bloody mess!