Such is the reputation of our towpath ranger volunteer team the WoWBoys aka the Way out West London team, that we have been called upon to undertake a hazardous mission in foreign parts. Well Rickmansworth to be exact, which is outside of the CRT London region. Here be dragons, says the map. Today the WoWboys set up camp just north of Batchworth lock by erecting a gazebo over the towpath at a spot where there have been “incidents” involving cyclists and boaters of late.
I was a bit nervous because CRT appeared to have forgotten to order our kevlar suits and riot shields so we had to make do with our blue volunteer T shirts and black baseball caps comforted by the fact that I had some sticking plasters and antiseptic cream in my rucksack. Kick off was scheduled for 11am. The whistle blew and wishing each other good luck we went over the top to face our first adversaries, two old ladies out for a stroll, then a young cyclist couple who dismounted and showed polite interest in our work. Maybe it was just our charm offensive, but in the three hours we spent there, the approx 50 each of cyclists and pedestrians were virtually all friendly and well behaved. We didn’t know whether to feel pleased or disappointed.
We were led by Sarah from the Milton Keynes CRT office who had asked for our help and who brought along the South East region version of our little share the space maplets. These were interesting to me because I hadn’t realised that the S.E region extended right up to Hawkesbury near Coventry and also over to Foxton. Apparently the cyclist nuisance hot spot in the region right now is in Oxford where they come bowling down the towpath en route to the railway station, so if you are boating down there do look right and left before you step off your boat. Sarah said there had also been botheration in Oxford from house owners by the canal trying to stop boaters from running their engines in the permitted hours of 8am to 8pm. Boaters will be well aware of similar situations where people buy canalside properties and then complain about canal activity. A bit like building a house next to a pig farm then complaining about the pong.
I also saw something today I hadn’t seen before (I’ve led a sheltered life). We’ve often talked about getting a couple of mudweight anchors for Herbie. How about a couple of these:
Of course we’d need to employ a Geoff Capes to fling ‘em overboard, but I reckon they’d hold the boat still.