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Tim Lewis

Forth and Clyde Closure

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51 minutes ago, haggis said:

Yes, it is very sad that SC have allowed the canals to deteriorate as much as they have by spending money on property development rather than canal maintenance.  I think if the bridges etc had had money spent maintaining them, it would have cost far less that it will now cost to get them functioning again and as you say, the Scottish Government has other priorities. 

I heard on the grape vine (so it may not be true) that the number of incidents relating to lock operation is a fraction now of what it was before the volunteers took on the job. I know  we have had some hairy moments having locks operated by seasonal casuals but haven't had any with the volunteers but of course we are not up and down the locks often enough to really judge. 

The word on the towpath about the hire boat hitting the lock gate is that there had been a problem with the linkage a bit earlier and the skipper decided to repair it himself rather than call out an engineer. His "repair" only lasted a few minutes before he lost all reverse  and the boat belted the lock gate. On the bright side, the hire boats insurance is paying for the repair so every cloud has a silver lining.

 

haggis

Must have been the volunteers grapevine you heard that rumour on Anne. I have been monitoring numerous lockings since volunteers came on board. I had to stop my car one day as they were trying to move a yacht with a good draft through 3 feet of water and blaming the skipper for his prop keeping getting fouled with weed. You can teach repetitiveness, you can't teach experience. It had taken 6 hours from lock 3 to lock 12. I don't like anyone knocking the casual seasonals, but then your hubby is one of the volunteers which might cloud your judgement. I have never hidden my thoughts on volunteers. The guys themselves are keen and it gives them confidence for the future. They get paid nothing but the parent company gets paid by SC. I am glad to hear though that the hire boat insurance is paying for the repair.

Edited by WJD

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yes, I am sure you are right when you say that you can't teach experience but Iain does his best to help the volunteers he is on with understand how and why they should work locks safely and efficiently.  The stats of the number of reported problems came from SC, I understand. 

It was suggested when we heard that the boat insurance was paying for the lock repair that some boats should belt Twecker and Bonnybridge then we might get them repaired too :-) 

 

All the best, Haggis

  • Haha 1

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I am sending an FOI request to SC to ask for these incident statistics. I believe that if there were any they would be in the West as they are difficult locks to operate. Do you also know that a hire boat can pass under Twechar without the bridge being opened. I saw it when a hire boat would not wait for us and just kept close to the ram side of the bridge. He passed through without hitting boat or bridge. Very slowly of course, but proved it can be done. Would also depend on level of water in canal. And what happened with Capercaillie due to move to England last year. I notice their boats still on the canals up here. 

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21 hours ago, WJD said:

Not CRT trained my friend. SC trained volunteers. Obviously this was a boat skipper issue, but IMHO the volunteers are not trained to deal with this kind of accident. Bring back the returning seasonal staff. They had a wealth of knowledge of the canal and of the problems encountered with hire boats. Not the first time I have cut ropes for a boat hanging up while being lowered in the lock. Or having to refill lock to get hire boat off the cill.  All done in a hurry but with constant monitoring of the boat in the lock. (snip)

 

At least with the Lock 6 damage, the volunteers aren't getting the blame!  (Unlike when the bottom cill blew out of lock 9 :huh: )

 

Some of the seasonal staff that used to work the locks had less expertise than some of the newest volunteers. I have not seen volunteers closing gates by opening paddles at the other end of the lock, and the volunteers do not have a vehicle to open gates.

What training did S.C. staff get to deal with a broken gear cable, and what action would they have taken in this incident?

 

Surely having to cut a rope is the result of slow reaction and not keeping a watch on the descending boat?  The only time I have thought about cutting a rope was when we were being locked down the west side and the top gates were closed and bottom paddles opened without any communication to the skipper (me) who was down the engine hole. We were actually moored in the lock, and had been for an hour and a half. That wasn't volunteer or a seasonal ! :lol:

 

19 hours ago, WJD said:

Must have been the volunteers grapevine you heard that rumour on Anne. I have been monitoring numerous lockings since volunteers came on board. I had to stop my car one day as they were trying to move a yacht with a good draft through 3 feet of water and blaming the skipper for his prop keeping getting fouled with weed. You can teach repetitiveness, you can't teach experience. It had taken 6 hours from lock 3 to lock 12. I don't like anyone knocking the casual seasonals, but then your hubby is one of the volunteers which might cloud your judgement. I have never hidden my thoughts on volunteers. The guys themselves are keen and it gives them confidence for the future. They get paid nothing but the parent company gets paid by SC. I am glad to hear though that the hire boat insurance is paying for the repair.

But it's OK to knock the volunteers?

6 hours ago, WJD said:

I am sending an FOI request to SC to ask for these incident statistics. I believe that if there were any they would be in the West as they are difficult locks to operate. Do you also know that a hire boat can pass under Twechar without the bridge being opened. I saw it when a hire boat would not wait for us and just kept close to the ram side of the bridge. He passed through without hitting boat or bridge. Very slowly of course, but proved it can be done. Would also depend on level of water in canal. And what happened with Capercaillie due to move to England last year. I notice their boats still on the canals up here. 

I believe that the reason the locks on the west side are more difficult to operate is due to the top gates of Lock 21 being an inch or two lower than the top gates on Lock 20, leading to even more water pouring over the gates than is the norm on the east side. 

 

Scottish Canals took over the running of the hire boat operation (IMHO by unethical business practice, and misuse of a monopoly position, but that's a whole other subject! )

Edited by Iain_S
replace "casual" with "seasonal", as being more accurate

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Quite a few accusations in your long reply Ian. Not to be unexpected when you are wearing your rose tinted spectacles. I never blamed the volunteers for the lock 6 incident. You really should read the post again. I mentioned the training aspect only. There are other ways to stop a boat quickly in a lock using the boats ropes. Obviously you have not had to do this. Secondly having to cut the ropes was due to the individual on the boat not listening after being told to hold the rope slack. She tied it tight. We stopped lowering the boat and showed her again how to do it, but after a couple of minutes, she tied it tight again. If we had not been monitoring the boat we would not have been able to save it. All of your accusations are based on your close ties to the company who employ the volunteers. You are one of the volunteers and you were also a skipper for the company involved. So I fully understand your bias. I was trained by the best for lock keeping and bridge duties, so I take it as a personal insult from you about the expertise side. As I have already said, I don't hide my dislike of using volunteers. It has put people out of work who needed the money. Not me by the way. I walk and drive the canals often, and take photographs where I see faults. You will never change Ian. As for the hire boat fiasco, Capercaillie played poker and lost out. No answer to why they are still on the canal after threatening to leave at end of 2017 season.  At least with Anne I can have a kind of reasoned debate.

Edited by WJD

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23 minutes ago, WJD said:

Quite a few accusations in your long reply Ian. Not to be unexpected when you are wearing your rose tinted spectacles. I never blamed the volunteers for the lock 6 incident. You really should read the post again.

I never said you, or anyone else did. Perhaps you should read my post again? :D

 

I mentioned the training aspect only. There are other ways to stop a boat quickly in a lock using the boats ropes. Obviously you have not had to do this.

I have stopped a boat using ropes( Do it fairly often!) What I cannot do is stop a boat using ropes when I am on the bank and the ropes are on the boat!

 

Secondly having to cut the ropes was due to the individual on the boat not listening after being told to hold the rope slack. She tied it tight. We stopped lowering the boat and showed her again how to do it, but after a couple of minutes, she tied it tight again. If we had not been monitoring the boat we would not have been able to save it.

OK, I guess there ain't no cure for stupidity! 

 

All of your accusations are based on your close ties to the company who employ the volunteers.

If you are referring to closing gates by opening paddles, opening gates with a Transit and starting emptying a lock while Gamebird was secured to the lockside, these were witnessed by me personally, and are not based on any ties to anyone. If you'd been there, I'm certain these these things would never have happened! When you were there, things went efficiently and safely. 

 

You are one of the volunteers and you were also a skipper for the company involved. So I fully understand your bias. I was trained by the best for lock keeping and bridge duties, so I take it as a personal insult from you about the expertise side.

Sorry you feel that way. I did say "some of the seasonal staff", thinking in particular of the team who employed paddles and the vehicle as gate operating tools. I do not think they were trained by you! :cheers:

 

As I have already said, I don't hide my dislike of using volunteers. It has put people out of work who needed the money.

I agree, but the cutting of seasonal staff pre-dated the use of volunteers to operate locks. I also think that cutting seasonal staff has contributed to the deterioration of the Lowland canals under the current management. (I'm talking higher management, here, not the people who actually know something about canals!) It would have been far better from the canals' point of view to retain seasonals, mainly for maintenance work, as well as utilising volunteers for locking operations, litter picking, etc.

 

(snip) You will never change Ian. Always the victim.

?????????

 

As for the hire boat fiasco, Capercaillie played poker and lost out. No answer to why they are still on the canal after threatening to leave at end of 2017 season. 

They did.  Any Capercaillie boats are either operated by Scottish Canals, or are vessels which have been sold into private ownership.

 

 

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Ian

 

guess we will just have to agree on some things and disagree on others.  Although I do think what we have in common is a desire for the canals to continue to operate and flourish. But without real investment I personally think it may not be long before they are closed again. Sad really.

I don't make myself out to be an expert but I was bloody good at my job as were my fellow lock keepers at the time. 

As for Capercaillie, they are still registered at company house, so it's my belief they are still an independent company. They are still advertising their boats for hire, but through SC at Falkirk Wheel. I follow them and Re Union with great interest and I am sent regular updates from company house. A hobby of mine.

pass my best regards to Anne.

 

 

best wishes to you both.

 

Does not take much to wind you up does it.?

 

 

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Thank you for your good wishes and you are right, we all share a wish to see the canals flourish again but sadly under the last Chief Executives control they may have slipped too far for that to happen any time soon. Keep Canals Alive are doing a good job but it is an uphill battle.

I was always happy to you when you were one of our lockies as I knew the chat would be good and we would have a good passage. 

Enjoy your retirement. If it is anything like ours you will be busier now that you were when you were working

 

All the best, Ann

 

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2 hours ago, AllanD said:

 Saw this on BBC news at thought it may be of interest. 

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-edinburgh-east-fife-46906369

It's not clear at this stage who will be developing the marina but I intend to pursue the question and maybe the newly established charity (set up as an alternative to the SC moorings monopoly) – Community Moorings Scotland – might get a look in. Their inaugural AGM is being held at the Union Inn, beside Lock 16 (Forth & Clyde Canal, Falkirk) on 27th January, starting at 17.00hrs. Everyone is welcome, whatever their waterway interest and this is a chance to join up and become a member.

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From the plan, the marina is on the offside of the canal. At Ratho, Cala has a major influence on the marina. 

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After a pretty torrid 2018 on Scotland’s Lowland canals Catherine Topley, the organisation’s new CEO, is breathing new life into the waterways and is behind a remarkably rapid turn around in their fortunes. This event acknowledges the hard work that has taken place over the past year, on all sides and looks forward to a sustained renaissance.

 

LOWLAND CANALS CARNIVAL

 

 

To celebrate the re-opening of the Forth & Clyde Canal this year, bringing the waterway back to life as a coast to coast route Scottish Canals, in conjunction with various canal-focused voluntary bodies, are holding a flotilla-cum-carnival over the Bank Holiday weekend 24th– 26thMay.

 

The event, emulating the award-winning Forth & Clyde 10 and Falkirk Wheel 10, is in recognition of the Joint effort in getting funding from Scottish Government and to say thank you to the Government, together with Local Authorities, MSPs and all those who supported the extended campaign to see the navigation re-opened. 

 

In demonstrating that the Lowland Canals are once again alive and vibrant destinations, this occasion will set the tone for coming events celebrating 2020 – The Year of Coasts and Waterways in Scotland – and 200 years since the opening of the Edinburgh and Glasgow Union Canal in 2022.

 

The format is for a gathering at The Falkirk Wheel on the evening of Fri 24th May, travel to Auchinstarry on Saturday 25th May for another gathering that evening and then on to Kirkintilloch (Canal Capital of Scotland) for a buffet lunch on Sunday 26thMay, hosted by East Dunbartonshire Council. If previous celebratory happenings on the Lowland Canals are anything to go by, the chance to sample the legendary Scottish hospitality is an opportunity not to be missed, making the journey – in whatever form it may take – well worth while!

 

Previous flotillas saw participation from a wide array of boaters ranging from steam boats to the Wilderness Boat Owners Club – everyone is welcome (including non-powered craft) and should contact [email protected]for further details.

 

For boaters arriving by sea, at the east end of the canal on Friday 24thMay, transport to the Falkirk Wheel for the evening’s festivities will be provided, with assisted passage through to the top pound and Auchinstarry laid on for the following day.

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The Twechar and Bonnybridge bridges will finally be repaired by mid April. 

I got caught on the wrong side of the bonnybridge one tonight.

Road closures in place this week 20.00 to 06.00 with more to follow.

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1 minute ago, colinjw said:

The Twechar and Bonnybridge bridges will finally be repaired by mid April. 

I got caught on the wrong side of the bonnybridge one tonight.

Road closures in place this week 20.00 to 06.00 with more to follow.

Worth it though, innit!

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