Living With Our Rapido 963f Le Randonneur Motor Home.

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Considerate boating

We came back up the Monty on Saturday morning, once again passing Ali and John on nb-triskaideka in the Frankton top pound on their way down. After a short trip, once again in sunshine, we had another overnighter at Ellesmere before a leisurely trip back towards Wrenbury where we hope to pick up friends for a day's cruise after a lunch in The Cotton Arms on Thursday. We are now moored up above Grindley Brook top lock, and may now spend our 48hrs entitlement there, before watering up and setting off again on Tuesday morning. On today's cruise we witnessed an aerial battle going on above us between two rooks and a sole wood pigeon. The pigeon was loosing as it swooped low over the boat, when Margaret shouted out 'it's landed in the canal'. Sure enough it had in its frantic attempts to get clear of the rooks. I was ordered to pull over, when Mags leapt off the boat, ran towards the stricken pigeon, and in one swoop of cupped hands, it was gratefully out of the water and being brought back to KL, sodden, but safe and happy in Mags' arms. The bird was quite happy to sit quietly there until we reached Whitchurch lift bridge, where it was released, and flapped it's wings a little before flying off. That's one pigeon that owes its life to us and is the positive aspect of this post!

On the subject of lift bridges and on to the negative aspect. At this time of year the canals are full of inexperienced narrowboaters, and one has to make allowances for this, no more so than us here on the Llangollen, said to be one of the busiest. However, one aspect of this inexperience has left us both wondering what happened to common sense. There are a number of lift bridges in close proximity through Whitchurch towards Ellesmere. As the canal is busy, we tended to arrive at these bridges with other boats, and without fail, the crew of the preceding boat not only left the bridge open for us to pass, but also boarded their boat as it went through the bridge hole, creating a small but unnecessary danger for both crews, when we then had to drop off under the open bridge in order to close it as we passed. Personally, I would have waited by the bridge and waived others past, before closing it myself and re-joining KL after she too had passed. I believe that to be the etiquette, but it makes more sense to me in any case, although I know single handers have to operate bridges in the first way, and we would be the first to offer them the opportunity to rejoin their boat for us to continue the procedure. We even arrived at the road lift bridge that takes traffic to the scrapyard near to the Prees Branch, to find the bridge open with no other boats in sight. There was however an angry motorist waiting on the 'wrong side' of the open bridge not able to go anywhere. We obliged with closure, and apologised on behalf of whoever it was that left it open and then left.

Other incidents witnessed have been a near head on collision as one boat approached a 'blind' bridge too fast, and couldn't stop when they saw a boat approaching in the opposite direction. At least half a dozen lock paddles left open, no boats in sight, and I have lost count of the number of times we have been thrown about by boats passing us too fast whilst we have been moored. Those reading this who might find some of the above familiar, please click on the 'Considerate Boater' link at the top right of the home page!


  1. What a great site - my daughter found it. We have just returned home from a week on the canal from Acton Bridge, and were, as you know unable to get back to base. We have canalled with Black Prince for 26 years now, and fully empathise with your comments re Considerate Boater. Over the years we have encountered many instances of INconsiderate boaters. At the 3 lift bridges, if other boats are there, we worked a system whereby the first opened a bridge and allowed all boats to pass through, then boarded our own boat having lowered the bridge. This was then repeated by the now first boat and so on. It works so well and is how life should be lived - helping others. We hope to enjoy many more years on the canals.
    This years stoppage is just another part of canal life. In fact, way back in 1987, we had intended doing the Cheshire Ring from Acton Bridge, but there was a breach and we were unable to do the ring. This year, we just went up to Chester and back - a VERY liesurely cruise for us.

    Enjoy your boating and thank you for trying to address the problem of the INconsiderate boater.

    Helen 'Canaldancer'

    1. Hi Helen and thanks for your comment. We have witnessed many incidents of inconsiderate boating over the years, and there is no need for it at all. Although some of the instances I mention above may have been due to not being aware of the etiquette, rather than a deliberate act of 'I'm all right Jack'. Either way, it would be far better for everybody if there was a greater awareness of the polite way to conduct oneself on the canals. The way you describe for several boats passing through lift bridges is the exact way we believe it should be done, ground lost at one bridge will be made up as you sail through the next, and so on.


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