Monday, 8 December 2008

Happy birthday Dot.

Still moored at Hopwas.

As it was Dot's birthday today we decided to stay for a couple of days. To celebrate her birthday we went to the "Tame Otter" pub for lunch hoping that it was a better lunch than we had at "The Star" at Stone. Well we needn't have worried because everything was good, food, drinks and service. We guessed that it might be a good pub because the car park was always full.

We wouldn't have moved today even if we had planned it because we awoke to find ourselves all iced in AGAIN. This is becoming a bit of a worry as we have not struck so much ice previously which makes me wonder are we in for another winter of 63 when the canals iced over for about 6 weeks. Another frost is forecast for tonight so we will have to wait and see what tomorrow brings.

Now I have been browsing through the November issue of the "Towpath Telegraph" and a couple of things got me thinking. First of all an item about the Ellesmere Port Museum. The writer advocated leaving the boat at Christleton and catching the bus into Chester or the train to Ellesmere Port Museum rather than traversing the very deep locks at Chester. What is the point of owning a boat if you are not going to travel by water. We travelled all the way to Ellesmere and enjoyed it because if the waterways don't get used they are just going to finish up in the state they were back in the 1960's.

His other comment was about the lack of activities at the museum. Here I have to agree with the writer and like him I can see sense in utilising the stables and having a horse drawn boat as they do at Llangollen. The word that comes to mind is TOURISM, the biggest money maker the world over. Surely there must be somebody out there that would love to keep their "Neddy" in the stables and have him working for his keep. A pony club or riding club or even somebody that owns a suitable horse and would love to keep it in a warm, dry environment. It would attract kids who love nothing more than patting a horse or even a ride. As for the host of sinking vessel's around the site, there are volunteer groups that look after boats like "President" and others. How about "Adopt a Boat" groups who with help can choose a vessel they want to restore. They say kid's these days get into mischief because they are bored, there are plenty of things at Ellesmere for them to sink their teeth into and at the end of the day have something to show for their efforts.

The other topic was the ongoing saga of Continuous Cruisers versus Continuous Moorer's. What good is going to come out of BW charging Continuous Cruiser's an extra £150, I suspect nothing except to appease the boaters that pay thousand of pounds for having their boats in marina's. We choose to be CC's so that we can tour the country and see the sight's. We don't want to spend our time penned up in a marina which brings me to another point which is most marina's don't allow full time live aboard's to stay in their marina's.

It's the continuous moorer's that give genuine CC's a bad name and one way that I can see around it  is for genuine CC's to have a log book that they record all journeys and periodically get it signed by a BW staff member or for arguments sake the manager of a canal side pub as proof of their whereabouts' and being continually on the move. What some people overlook is that during the non season month's CC's are still on the move and can be the ears and eyes on the cut being able to report problems to BW that they might not know exist until something major happens like the 2 recent canal breaches bringing everything to a halt and costing million's to rectify. If BW want to charge anybody extra fee's it should be the continuous moorer's who inevitably hog the moorings for weeks on end.

BW/Govt need to come up with a firmer policy on what constitutes a CC which they are able to police and enforce but of course with all the cut backs in man power they probably are not in a position to do so unless they get more of the pen pushers out of the office and onto the towpath where they might get a better understanding of what the canals are all about.

Like it or lump it canal's are very much a part of Britain's heritage of the Industrial age. They spend millions on Stately homes etc; they should be doing the same for the canal's. Here endeth this gripe.


Dogsontour by Greygal said...

Birthday greetings, Dot! Hope you had a good one. Couldn't agree more with you about going to EP by canal - surely that's the whole point? Does the writer not do locks deeper than 6 feet then?

Derek and Dot said...

Thank you so much but I really don't feel any older. Yes makes one wonder why some boaties even bother. The locks are part of the attraction.