Having had virtually unbroken sunshine since the last issue, the waterways have been at their busiest so far this year. But the increased lock usage, coupled with lack of rainfall and reservoir issues, means that it is only a matter of time before we’ll start to see restrictions appearing on some of the more vulnerable canals (like the Chesterfield, L&L, Macclesfield, Peak Forest and Huddersfield Narrow). This is in addition to closures caused by lack of maintenance, as highlighted on the K&A by Mike Rodd in his Chair’s column.
As we await the outcome of the DEFRA review of CRT, expected sometime around July, Mike also assesses what is driving the move by both CRT and the EA away from boating towards towpath walkers, paddlers, fishermen and the like – all part of DEFRA’s interpretation of the Government’s ‘levelling-up’ policy perhaps? Andy Soper reports on the recent meeting of the Thames Navigation User Forum in which the EA managers ignored earlier representations from boater organisations on its proposals to reorganise the management of its waterway. Helen Hutt recounts her experiences of travelling for a month from Evesham to Little Venice to take part in the London Cavalcade. Finally, ex-NABO Chair, Stuart Sampson, has written an excellent ‘Skipper’s guide to the Yorkshire and Trent commercial navigations’ to help people boat safely with the big boys, and I’ve included it as a pull-out with this issue.