Greasing the way; fees and restrictions; historic maintenance; what a glorious day!
WE RECENTLY TOOK our boat out for a couple of days, a first for quite a few years, and sadly we were not impressed with the conditions on our canal system (Shroppie, Staffs & Worcs and Trent & Mersey).
There was little evidence of maintenance; there were large sections where reeds had reduced the canal to a single boat width, fallen trees and trees overhanging, litter (bottles and other careless throw-away items floating on the water... though this is the fault of the users and not the Canal & River Trust), but worst of all was the lack of greasing of the paddle gear.
We heard en route that they are no longer greased but oiled. If this is the case then it has to be false economy. Oil will only last a few days before becoming non-existent and ineffective; it not only results in their seizing and erosion, but also makes life very difficult for boaters trying to operate them.
Eventually, it will no longer be a pleasurable experience using the canals and people will vote with their feet and this rich resource could well fall into decay once more, please don’t allow this to happen!
TERRY DAVIES, via email
Ian Rogers, CRT Head of Customer Services, replies: “I’m sorry to hear about Mr Davies’ disappointing recent cruise. “Keeping the waterways running is an endless task and, unfortunately, we have to prioritise work and just aren’t able to do it all. We are, however, planning on doing some dredging on the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal soon and that should address the issue of weeds.
“In terms of paddle gear, different waterways take different approaches. On the Trent & Mersey, in particular, some boaters have complained about grease attracting dirt which ends up clogging the gears so we’re trialling using oil – we would welcome feedback from boaters on this so do please tell us about your experiences.”
Typical paddle gear on the Trent & Mersey