NABO News Editorial

Lock failures, too much vegetation or too little water?

Editor Peter Fellows offers some choices for NABO to focus on

There has been plenty happening on the waterways since the last issue, as reported in the news section: the bicentenary celebrations on the Leeds and Liverpool will culminate in October with a flotilla of boats following short boat Kennet to re-create the first trans-Pennine journey – with details of how you can take part; Oxford City Council is proposing a public space protection order to restrict moorings on the city’s waterways; and the Waterways Ombudsman has issued his annual report for 2015/16. …. Oh yes, and we have a new waterways minister. CRT has also been busy: doing away with its Central Shires waterway, advertising new posts and giving details of winter stoppages and its sale of winter moorings. It has also published its annual report, reviewed and dissected by Stella Ridgway.

Members who have been out and about on the waterways over the summer have found time to write a bumper crop of letters, ranging from complaints about too much vegetation (especially, but not only, on the South Oxford canal – again!), too many boats moored along towpaths, the build-up of rubbish at collection points, and rebranding of CRT enforcement officers. There is also news from NABO’s regional reps, this time Mike Rodd in Wales and Stella Ridgway in the North West.

In his Chairman’s column, Mike takes issue with a recent proposal to allow continuous cruisers with schoolchildren restricted movement during term-time, so that they can remain close to the school. Helen Hutt outlines where your subscription money goes, and as the AGM is fast approaching, Mark Tizard takes the opportunity to seek your views on what NABO should focus on in the coming year: the seeming increase in the number of broken paddles and gates, inoperable pumpouts and failed backpumps, with consequent unplanned stoppages, may be top of your list. Or perhaps it is the lack of towpath vegetation cutting, and overgrown trees that narrow the channel and obscure bends that are your bugbear. Or is lack of depth/need for more dredging high on your list? There’s plenty to choose from.

David Fletcher explores London’s East End waterways on foot and, although my only experience of fishing is retrieving windlasses with a magnet, I delve into what’s needed to fish from your boat. The roving trader this time is Helen Francis, who makes hand-embroidered cushions, sold from her boat Betty.

Mentioning the AGM, NABO really does need some new members on its Council to bring new enthusiasm and ideas, so please consider standing for election – I have included a nomination form to make it easier to do. I look forward to seeing you at Wolverhampton Boat club on 12th November.