Victor: Hiding the facts

Published: Sunday, 20 January 2019

THERE is very little doubt that CaRT is hiding the facts about its many stoppages.

In addition to the three emergency stoppages I pointed out without any sign of a stoppage notice, the one closed on the Stratford Canal for many months also without a stoppage notice being published, is a prime example of what can be no more than a 'cover-up' in an attempt to hide the real number of stoppages affecting the waterways.

The result is that many boaters are curtailing their cruises, not knowing where they can be sure of not being stuck by a stoppage, us included, as for the first time in over 20 years of boating we are forsaking out normal two weeks May cruise, taking to the railways of Switzerland instead. Where, from past experience, we can be sure of no stoppages and getting safely back.

The reasons

It was Jessica Williams who wrote about the closure of a Stratford Canal lock, and tells us she can think of two possible reasons why CaRT might not be sending out all stoppage notices.

First reason is the reorganisation which has been going on for over a year now. Some 240 staff jobs were put at risk just before Christmas and CaRT are recruiting Regional Operations Managers for five of the six new regions.

I think this sends a clear message to CaRT staff that they are not valued or worthy of promotion. Why bother if you are not appreciated and promotion from within does not take place?

The second reason, Jessica believes might be that CaRT is failing miserably to keep its waterways open. They were exposed some time back in great detail in The Floater:

However, if CaRT are no longer publishing all stoppage information, then it is difficult to hold them to account—which of course could be the reason...

What was that phrase of CaRT's? Ah, yes—Openness and accountability...

Not surprised

Hearing the comments from volunteer lock keepers at Stenson, Fradley and other locks during last year, I am not at all surprised to learn that that the 'Waterways and wellbeing charity' that it now calls itself, wants more charity in the form of volunteer lock keepers.

As, alas the 'over 1,000 people who volunteered' last year have mostly forsaken the rigours of working under the CaRT regime and given it up as a bad job, many I spoke to were not at all happy.

Happy enough

At least the volunteer lock keepers at Sawley Locks seem to be happy enough, with all facilities laid on and just the turning of a key and the press of a button the sum of their endeavours.

And should it rain, they only have to step out of their cabin to perform, so little wonder there are always plenty on duty.

Mind you, I prefer it when they are not there, as usually they are not ex boaters and cannot accept anyone who has worked the locks literally hundreds of times knowing exactly where to put the boat when rising where it moves ner an inch, without the encumbrance of two ropes that they always seem to insist upon.


Though our marina at Sawley has now been flogged-off, there is no difference to be seen, though I was told that there is plenty that wants sorting out—whatever that means.

But we can but wait and see, with the hope that it does not result in an increase in mooring charges.


One thing that has altered over the months since Mason & Mason took over the café at the marina—it has improved a great deal, both in service and the quality of its meals.

So much so, that we are fairly regular visitors, it being a vast improvement on the Plank & Leggit over the way, so shall be having lunch at the café on Tuesday.

Victor Swift