Big delays from water restrictions
You published details of the restricted hours of the top and bottom lock of the Wigan flight, because of water shortages.
The hours quoted are simply impracticable. We recently went up the Wigan flight, starting at 9am and only completing our exit from the top lock at 6pm. This means that the times given by CRT ( 2pm to 3pm) just do not work, and boats would be trapped in the flight. There are no suitable overnight moorings.
We had a long way to go and so were attempting to do the flight as quickly as possible, but could not possibly have completed by 3pm for the following reasons:
a) There were boats coming in the opposite direction, which meant extra time waiting for them to pass. There were also quite a few going up, so we had some long waits. If times are restricted, this will be exacerbated because there will be a lot more boats in both directions concentrated into the time window.
b) Although CRT says there are numerous volunteers to assist with easy passage, there were none to be seen when we came through, even though the weather was good.
c) Our passage was slowed down considerably because of the extremely poor condition of many of the gate paddles and related equipment. Indeed, some of them were locked and unusable. Some of the gates leaked quite badly, even when all the paddles were closed. This meant the locks filled and emptied much slower than would be expected.
d) We were also delayed by the large number of vagrants drinking on the locks who took a great deal of effort to persuade to move, and only the threat of police action speeded up our progress.
Our frustrations were added to when we found that the water fittings at the water point at the top lock were imperial and did not fit any standard modern equipment. CRT says it is aware of this and might get round to changing the fitting one day.
It seems the hours of opening have been designed to suit the convenience of CRT and that they have not borne in mind the actual needs of boaters. PETER BROWN, via email