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« Centenary Square, Birmingham | Main | Wall of canal water unnerves Glasgow motorists »

Wednesday, 02 August 2006

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Martin Clark

While not in any way attempting to excuse the behaviour of these yobs, I wonder whether this particular boater may have left himself more vulnerable their attentions that was necessary.

According to the news item he spent "a week navigating between Rochdale and Manchester". If this is true then it may have resulted in him staying overnight at inadvisable locations. Most boaters could cover this stretch in under two days and the only really satisfactory places to moor are at the top of the Slattocks locks or at Irk Aqueduct/Rose of Lancaster pub. The Boat and Horses in Chadderton is another place to moor but suffers from traffic noise. Certainly, boaters should be able to take as long as they want to travel along a canal, but sometimes common sense must take priority.

Locks 65 to 83 have to be done in one go and overnight mooring along that section is not allowed. That includes Lock 68, where groups of youths are reported to hang around, although the news item does not say that any of the alleged incidents occurred there. BW staff usually accompany boats through this area.

Of course, the news item may not be correct - after all, it claims incorrectly that the Rochdale is the country's highest canal. However, this kind of report does nothing to encourage boaters to use this underused waterway. It has to be said that most boaters do not have problems passing through this area so it would seem that this boater's experience of being "under attack on several occasions" and having to "repel boarders twice" is either very unlucky or a little exaggerated. Still, newspapers are not known for letting facts get in the way of a good story!

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