Thursday, June 11, 2009

What a difference….

......a day makes.
After yesterday’s heavy showers, which continued into the early hours of this morning, today dawned bright and sunny.
We decided to not do so much today, and I’d spotted a likely looking spot on my morning walk with Meg, so it was off at 10:30, and moored up again by 12:00.

It was a pleasant cruise, through, through Iron Bridge Lock and the 2 at Cassiobury Park.

Cassiobury Park Bottom Lock
There’s a sharp double bend with The Grove Mill on the corner, then we pulled in just before The Grove Bridge.

The Grove Mill, just visible through the trees.
The Grove Bridge.

This is another of those ornamental bridges, built to appease a local landowner (in this case the Earl of Essex) for the inconvenience of having the canal cut through his land.

We met a family from Singapore at the bottom of Park Locks. They were interested in the operation of the locks, and stayed with us through the pair of locks. Mags even had a couple of extra crew members for the short run between the locks.
They’ve a daughter studying music at Purcell School in Watford, and are over visiting.

I’m quite taken by this canal so far. It’s wide and fairly deep, runs through attractive countryside and has lots of canalside interest. The locks are a bit of a pain though, being heavy and often slow to fill. I’m sure they gave rise to more than one argument over rights of way during the height of the canal’s commercial activity.
It was built as the Grand Junction Canal and completed in 1805. As a direct competitor to the original circuitous route via Oxford between Brentford and Braunston it was an instant success. It shaved 60 miles off the old route, and was built to broad beam standards throughout.
Lots more info here.

I see BW have put the cat among the pigeons with it’s latest Health and Safety related project. Following on from the lock side bollards fiasco, they’ve now OK’d a fence along the Grade II listed wall that separates Canal Street in Manchester from the murky waters of the Rochdale Canal. This follows the latest tragic incident in which a chap drowned after falling off a lock gate he was crossing. He was NOT a boater, and it was the early hours of the morning.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not opposed to safety fencing where appropriate. In fact the first thing you learn in H&S training is that the best solution is to keep the risk and the “riskee” apart.
The problem seems to be that the proposal doesn’t seem to do that. Or at least, it does, but at the expense of the safety of boaters, who have a legitimate reason to be there.
There’s a comprehensive article on Pennine Waterways website here.

Manchester Evening News ran a story on this in May. Read it here. And read the attached comments. Some of them are “interesting”…..

Locks 3, miles 1½

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