Sunday, October 16, 2016

The devil in the detail – planning a CRT travelling event.

Next week sees a week of CRT led drop in events in West London

Here is what their official announcement says.

London towpaths are more popular and being enjoyed more than ever before. We are transforming over 16 miles of towpath between Paddington and West Drayton with work beginning at the end of 2016.

Supported by Transport for London’s Quietways programme, and building on previous improvements between Paddington and West Drayton, we will be providing:

  • - better quality surfaces
  • - wider paths
  • - improved access points
  • - new signs

bringing huge benefits to everyone visiting and enjoying West London canals.

Join us for drop-in events on the towpath!

Our widebeam, Jena, will be travelling along the canal this October half-term – come along to learn more about the proposed improvements, give us your feedback and find out how to get involved!

Please see our website for more information:

I can already hear the groans of boaters will complaining about the cost of it all – well most of the cash for the improvements is not from CRT, so that’s not such a big issue.  Others will of course sigh and complain that there is enough towpath traffic already without encouraging any more.  That is probably a bigger issue, which is part of the reason for the events, which will focus on responsible and considerate use of the towpath.  I’m saying nothing, except that I’m doing my bit in joining in with public education.

Anyhow, I’m involved in it in a couple of ways, first in helping out with the talking to the public, and also with moving Jena from place to place.  This latter job has caused a quite bit of head scratching and the guys at CRT probably groan as my next email pops into their in tray, cos I’ve been a bit of a thorn in their flesh .(splendid people all and good friends of mine, but they are sometimes unaware of some of the issues in moving big boats about).

It all seems easy enough, start here, move along a bit each day to the next busy spot, get to Paddington, then pop back to a popular spot for a second session towards the end and return to  Little Venice for a finale.  Simples.

In the way of these things, a few matters got overlooked. For instance when I thought to check on sunset times it showed us that some of the planned moves would be in the dark,( do you fancy steering a 65ft widebeam past lines of moored boats in the dark?)  or be so early next morning that I’d have to be up at 5am to do them. Next time I think I’ll suggest moving the boat each midday, which would still give the team a morning and an evening slot at each place.  Now I’ve just spotted that on the penultimate day Jena will be facing the wrong way and will need quite a trip to find somewhere to turn, but insufficient time has been planned to allow for this.  Does anyone know if a 65 footer can turn on the bend at Kensal Green? Or perhaps by Car Giant? I’d be glad of any advice. That might be our only hope, otherwise we’ll have to trudge out to Acton winding hole and back.

Never mind, we shall overcome, and it’s all being handled perfectly amicably.  Let’s just call it a learning experience for us all.  I wont be involved every day, but it looks like I’ll be involved for the first few moves.  If you’re in the West London area, look out for us, or better still come on board at one of our stops.

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