Wales & South West
A very busy few months for CRT on both the K&A and the Mon & Brec, with some planned winter work having to be re-scheduled when a massive breach in the K&A occurred at the eastern end. This required an extensive operation to re-establish the bank, and also to create an access track to get equipment to the breach! Well done to CRT for sorting this out. Significant winter work has been taking place on both these canal systems. Near my own boat on the Mon & Brec, important canal relining took place in the very steep, sloping area between Cambrian Marina and the Usk aqueduct. This required the canal in that section to be drained. Strangely, when this happened a few years ago, CRT managed to pump water out of the river to ensure that the canal beyond the stoppage was full, but this time it was decided not to do this and simply allow the canal level to slowly drop – to the point when all our boats were sitting on the bottom! The most serious issue, though, was that the hire boat company could not undertake its usual winter work as it couldn’t move its boats. Another example of CRT not putting boats at the top of its agenda? I also have to say that the contractors doing the work left the very well-used towpath in the most shocking condition.
On the K&A there are still extensive areas where no vegetation cutting has taken place for at least a couple of years. We are having to do our own tree cutting to wind our trip-boat at Hungerford! We also have to squeeze the boat around the extensive reed growth, praying that no boats are approaching from the other side. We have had to extend our timing of trips as the seeming policy of not repairing a single paddle until both fail means it take us up to 30 minutes longer to do our trips! It’s been like this for three years now.