Vol­un­teers en­forc­ing leisure

Canal Boat - - Letters - JAN & CHRIS DIXON,

BACK IN 2012, we took our new nar­row­boat home. We were both newly re­tired and fu­elled with en­thu­si­asm for the beau­ti­ful, peace­ful, easy­go­ing, par­al­lel uni­verse that we loved.

At that time, we could not have con­ceived a time when our easy­go­ing wa­ter­ways would be so fun­da­men­tally changed. When they would be pa­trolled by “Vol­un­teer En­forcers”, who watched and con­tin­u­ously scru­ti­nised our ev­ery move­ment, en­sur­ing we move on to their timetable and not to ours. That we would re­ceive let­ters de­mand­ing move­ment, even when we were trapped be­hind yet an­other breach in the sys­tem.

We now spend our time on con­stant alert on the tow­path, as cy­clists whizz by, of­fer­ing scant con­sid­er­a­tion for any other tow­path users.

We, like many oth­ers, have only a lim­ited bud­get to spend on leisure. Our boat this year has cost us over £3,500. One must ask, is this the best use of our money? Per­haps we should look fur­ther afield or have a for­eign hol­i­day.

Just imag­ine what would hap­pen if all the boat own­ers sit­ting at home, nod­ding in agree­ment, de­cided to do like­wise. The Canal & River Trust might find it con­sid­er­ably more dif­fi­cult to mar­ket its lin­ear park (even with Sus­trans fund­ing) with­out the pretty nar­row­boats to watch and in­spire oth­ers.

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