Wales and South West

Both the K&A and the Mon & Brec have seen very welcome and extensive winter work, and on the K&A we were delighted to see that CRT is at last introducing so-called ‘composite’ lock gates – basically steel but with sacrificial wooden components. Both Canal Trusts have been working on these for some five years and have installed sets on the non-CRT part of the Mon & Brec. With costs similar to wooden gates, but having lives of up to 100 years there is no argument! Do they look odd? When showing them to some senior CRT folk, they asked where they were – all they could see was normal gates. They were then told they were sitting on them!

Extensive cutting back of vegetation has generally been well done, although the towpaths have often been left in very dubious states. On the K&A, there continues to be a lack of boating facilities, made worse this year by those at Hortons Bridge being removed by the pub owner because of local abuse – mainly by non-boaters. While restoration of the water point is promised, CRT has just announced that the bins will not be restored – resulting in a 3½ mile trip to the nearest ones. But, from the start of the year, we have the excellent and well-liked (by boaters) Mark Evans back as the Regional Director.

Mike Rodd