Victor wonders where they are

Published: Saturday, 22 June 2024

THERE was a fairly long queue of boats held-up when Canal & River Trust decided to show the Press that it was dredging-out silted locks.

It holding the demonstration in Dallow Lock on the Trent & Mersey and telling it was dredging locks right up to Kings Bromley, but alas with no stoppage notices.

This created a complaint from boater George Grant, stuck waiting, with him telling of other boaters understanding that all the locks were to be dredged.

So being at Mercia Marina we decided to take a drive around these locks, starting with the two at Alrewas, but no sign of any dredging, and a boater who had come up the locks told he saw nothing.

But we carried on, calling in at Wychnor Lock to see, but no dredging. Then it was to Barton Turn and finally to Tatenhill Lock—but nowt!

By now I was getting suspicious that this was  all a con for CaRT to make out it was busy clearing-out the silt from locks.

And I reckon it was confirmed when our Keith Gudgin told us:

"I travelled from Handsacre to Fradley on Monday and stayed overnight until Tuesday morning. I moored on the 48 hour moorings just past the water points on the Coventry and didn't see hide nor hair of any workers at all. It seems strange them just disappearing like that!"

FarmShop"It's still on its website as an ongoing works, see here."

Yet we never saw any dredging, Keith didn't and none of the many boaters we spoke to at the locks had seen any either...So perhaps that is why no stoppage notices—there were no stoppages!

A call at Barton Turn Marina

To access Barton Turn Lock we had to use the marina car park, so took a walk around to see what was on offer.

There were coffee shops and restaurants galore, a pub and a real farm shop including a butchers (pictured) that was something of a surprise as very well stocked and the staff inviting, so we came away somewhat poorer!

BreezeHutsBreeze Huts

It was only just after it was opened that we last ventured into the marina having a relation moored there, and there was little to show, but it has certainly expanded, and seems to cater for visitors with so many coffee shops and restaurants, but alas we did not partake of any.

Something new to use however were the Breeze Huts, with chairs and a table included.

Obviously for those wanting either privacy or getting away from the racket that goes for music these days that seems to blast out in restaurants everywhere.

Seems a good idea. but wonder how the service works...

I don't believe it

So we get the results from CaRT's Boaters' Survey. That, as our well Allan Richards clearly shows, is no independent survey at all, but one conjured-up by CaRT itself!

It telling that overall boater satisfaction had fallen by 8% over a year and that there are less boaters on the cut.  It must hurt having to tell this, but with CaRT's propensity for exaggeration we can be assured that it is much worse that it admits.

It of course gives its reasons why—funding, climate and the number of stoppages due to the impact of the flooding!

Flooding be damned

There was certainly no flooding this month yet there were still 26 stoppages up to Saturday!

And only the 22nd day of the month, so it's now over one stoppage a day.  Though some luckily are given the 'quick-fix' treatment.

But it certainly is as John Coxon related—A stoppage a day keeps the boaters away!

For we have noticed and others tell us, there are a lot less boats on the cut these days. But with so many hold-ups, can you wonder?  And how the hire companies fare...?

Where are those cameras?

So Barrow Bridge on the Trent & Mersey has been bashed by vehicles 16 times in the past 20 years, and most of those times the vehicles concerned have simply left the scene, except of course that carrot carrying lorry that was somewhat stuck.

So what about those cameras that CaRT promised?

Many canal bridges are situated on corners and so are susceptible to being hit, so CaRT told it was considering CCTV cameras that seemingly have not been introduced.

It would not need them on all bridges but those that get battered so often. And so with details recorded compensation would be a certainty and save the trust thousands.

LodgeLakeIt is about time they were installed—with Barrow Bridge a must...

Still discovering

Whilst not chasing that elusive dredger, we took a walk around the rather grand lodges at Mercia Marina and found a lake.

This provided some lodges with an excellent setting, having walkways to the lake together with a place for such as a picnic over the water. Whatever next will we find, I have to ask?

Victor Swifttelling tales for 24 years