With many boaters safely self-isolating, there is little movement on the canals. It was reported that there were scores of dead fish spotted in the Kennet & Avon in Devizes. The EA said the coronavirus lockdown has resulted in a drop in traffic and activity on the canal, and this has created a series of stagnant pools between locks – resulting in the fish suffocating through a lack of oxygen. However, a local fish expert (also a medical professional) commented that there had probably been a toxic leak as the distribution is quite localised. Also, the fish involved are stillwater animals and could cope. A local boater said there had been a large diesel spillage in the area, which may have led to the deaths.

There have been reports that, on the K&A, there have been some unfortunate conflicts where liveaboard boaters, who are understandably very unhappy with the folks cycling or running along the towpaths, have taken matters into their own hands. However, there are a significant number of people who have almost no alternative but to use the towpath to get to work - including some working in Bath hospitals and care homes – perhaps a case of a small minority of thoughtless people spoiling things for the majority?

Mike Rodd

A very positive meeting at the Crofton Pumping Station was held with Mark Evans, recently appointed as the Waterways Director. I emphasised how pleased NABO was, and indeed most boaters were, that Mark was now in this position, especially as he would be building on his previous excellent work running the K&A & B&T. Mark was very positive about the future, although noting that there were many staffing changes that needed to bed in. He also acknowledged that CRT's management of its contractors often needed attention. I could only agree with this, especially noting the dreadful mess their vegetation cutters had left the Mon & Brec towpath in – over long sections (and for over three months now) it was a mud-path, so bad that many of its regular users had to avoid it.

I did though take the opportunity to also congratulate Mark on CRT's (and indeed its contractors!) work at Crofton, where major engineering is taking place, largely related to improving the water feed for the K&A. Here the collaboration between CRT and the K&A Canal Trust, responsible for restoring and now running the accompanying historic pumping station, was excellent. Part of this work included relocating underground the historically-unsightly CRT pipeline - presently located right across the front of the station. It is responsible for moving water from the Wilton Water reservoir up to the feeder leat, which then provides water for the canal from its highest point.

Mike Rodd