It has been nearly a year since I last posted. Did not really expect to be posting at all. Thought my canal days were over! (We sold Shangri La in 2018). Well maybe not!
Given the situation in SA, Karen and I are relocating back to UK.
One of the first things my wife said – “I would love to live on a boat again!!”
Which of course delights me as I too love being on a boat. But all things in good time. We need to do all sorts of things first, but no harm in planning ahead.
I have also been following the blog “London Boaters” and there has been quite a lot of negative comments covering all sorts of things from crime to maintenance issues to the issue of continuous cruisers etc etc.
Which is why I spent a couple of days wandering along the Regent’s Canal in central London, as well as around Little Venice and the Paddington Arm of the Grand Union – to see for myself.
What is quite clear is that there are a lot of boats moored in the area. There is hardly any visitor mooring available. And the state of a lot of the boats is quite appalling. (Admittedly it was middle of winter).
It is quite plain that the continuous cruising concept is being abused and there are boats moored there that haven’t moved in ages.
I also bought the Feb issue of Waterways World. There was a letter from a current boater who had recently done a trip through that area and apparently found it difficult to find moorings.
His conclusion was that whatever the CRT is doing, it is not working.
During my wanders along the canal I did not see many current licences displayed. At the time I was AirBnBing on a boat in the area. I mentioned this to the boat owner and he said that it was not required to display a current licence anymore. Apparently, as long as the registration number is visible that’s ok. If this is indeed the case, I think it is ridiculous! It should definitely be mandatory to display a current licence (you have to do it in France, Belgium and the Netherlands). Then the duckers and divers can easily be spotted by the CRT (if they bother to actually check), and everybody else can see who they are as well.
Not sure how enforceable it is but there should be some sort of standard for the condition of boats. There was one boat near Kings Cross with loads of dirty empty champagne bottles on the coachtop. Really unsightly. And plenty of other grim sights including a partially sunken boat.
Behind the sunken boat in the pic is one of those converted lifeboats – the side hatches were open when I walked past – It looked like a tip inside!
Such a shame. The potential of the waterways is great, but huge improvement in facilities and control is needed.
On the good side I did see CRT volunteers doing wonderful work cleaning up the areas and tow paths etc.
So yes. I would love to have a boat again. I am not going to rush to the London area just yet!
But – once our move back is done I could well consider joining the CRT volunteers.