Shar­ing the tow­path

Canal Boat - - Letters - MAR­ION & JOHN PEARSE, via email

In the April and June edi­tions, cy­clists asked if it was too much to ex­pect a me­tre-wide level gravel strip, an is­sue that tests the char­i­ta­ble na­ture of other tow­path users. May we make four po­lite points: 1 In the pre­vi­ous cen­tury, boaters read­ily shared tow­paths with horses, lock-wheel­ers, and oth­ers; the tow­paths could get muddy in wet weather. 2 Since 1946, boat­ing groups have seen the peren­nial lack of of­fi­cial funds to main­tain our won­der­ful water­ways to even the ba­sic statu­tory stan­dard. In­stead of wait­ing for a fairy god­mother, vol­un­teers navvied in mud, raised count­less mil­lions of pounds and faced up to the au­thor­i­ties, thus by their own phys­i­cal ef­forts res­cu­ing the net­work from de­cay and restor­ing hun­dreds of miles of lost canal and river navigations; a cit­i­zen­led process still con­tin­u­ing across Eng­land and Wales. 3 By con­trast, Sus­trans re­ceived a multi-mil­lion pound wind­fall from White­hall in the 1990s, but when the old BWB asked cy­cling groups for a pal­try sum per head (with in­sur­ance thrown in), it was flatly re­fused. 4 Boaters can well un­der­stand that cy­clists want to es­cape from the aw­ful in­tim­i­dat­ing traf­fic on our roads, so cy­clists should re­alise that other tra­di­tional tow­path users also have the right not to be in­tim­i­dated. Faster cy­cling sur­faces are judged in this light. We have said enough.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.