Lockdown blues

Editor, Peter Fellows, has spotted inconsistencies in the way that boaters are being treated.

Despite it being midwinter with a national lockdown in place – or on reflection, perhaps because of this – I’ve received a bountiful crop of contributions for this issue. Clearly, people are thinking about boating even though they are unable to do so. Which raises the question of why has boating been suspended, when being on a moving boat is one of the safest places to be in a pandemic? And if navigation authorities consider fishing to be a legitimate form of exercise, why do they think that boating isn’t? If any of the senior managers who make such decisions had tried to ascend flights of locks on the Rochdale or Huddersfield Narrow – or, for that matter, battled stiff paddles and unyielding gates across the system – they would know that boating certainly is exercise. Instead, liveaboards are forced to moor up, alongside crowded towpaths in some areas, as visitors respond to CRT’s exhortations to exercise by the waterways.

Staying with liveaboards, there’s some advice in the news section on how to get a Covid jab and how to prepare for the upcoming census. NABO’s response to the CRT consultation on terms and conditions is included in full, together with Councillors’ comments on the readability of CRT’s documentation. These are detailed and technical, but worth reading in full to see how CRT is again attempting to seek powers to which it is not entitled under the Waterways Acts. 

To balance things up a little, Paul Monahan consults the Old Bore’s Almanac to see what’s in store for us this coming year. David Fletcher lifts the lid on BSS finances and Anne Husar describes the changes that she saw to the River Nene after five years away. Waterway organisations continue to meet by Zoom and Helen Hutt reports on meeting of CRT Council and the All Party Parliamentary Group for the Waterways. New Council member, Peter Braley, introduces himself and has also sent us his first regional report. There are also regional reports from Howard Anguish and Mike Rodd, and Peter Braybrook describes the sterling work of the Waterways Chaplaincy. Hopefully, by the next issue in April, there may be better news to report about lifted restrictions, so that we can all enjoy some Spring boating.