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Monday, 11 February 2019

Over-running stoppage messing with 2019 already....

Sorry I've not been back here recently... to be honest, I'm trying not to blog too much about the current feelings... I'm in some weird kind of limbo that isn't the me I recognize.

To add insult to current emotional injuries, last week I tweeted CRT to ask for an update on the works taking place on Lock 11 on the Marple flight...

For those not in the know, the Marple flight of locks was closed for MONTHS whilst work was done to repair/replace/rebuild them.  DURING this LONG closure, somewhere along the line a defect in lock number 11 was missed... it's alleged that movement occurred in the chamber walls after the initial closure which created a pinch point and "wedged" boats over a certain length during operation of the the lock...

A temporary 'manned period of passage was trialed - along with attempts to jack the walls back a bit... LONG Story short, it didn't work and it closed the flight in July 18 I think it was (don't quote me on the dates)...

FAST forward a mere 6-7 months and work was supposedly due to be completed by 15th March... KNOWING how things "are" - I asked crt for an update and confirmation the lock flight WOULD be opening as planned - BECAUSE we had 3 bookings (Carried over from LAST year as a result of said problem) that depended on us travelling that way in Early April...

The reply I received was along the lines of "check the stoppage notices as an update is due shortly"... NEXT day, notices were sent out saying the repairs are taking longer than expected - blaming English Heritage for their interference due to it being grade 2 listed ffs.   Now SOMEWHERE, SOMEONE along the line MUST have already known 15th March was never going to happen... presumably 2 months ago given that's the length of the extension (so far)...  I don't blame crt per-say, but I do take issue with the fact we - licence payers (and in our case inflated cost licence payers due to having to have a business license) were not told sooner... if we had been, we would have been able to contact our booked and paid for guests to try and work around it.  AS it stands, our first set of guests have prior commitments which mean they are unable to come with us 3 weeks earlier than planned (now we have to go a longer route to get into position for cruise 2 onwards.

Here's a route map showing 8 hour days "chugging" showing where we SHOULD be going verses where we now have to...


And don't forget, this is in March with the potential for "river problems" - to say we're brassed off about it is an understatement.

NOW OK - we enjoy boating... but it does take the pleasure out of things when it becomes endurance boating.

Financially, it would have made more sense to honour the first cruise for 2 people - 7 days and mess up cruises 2-3 which jointly don't add up to as much money... HOWEVER, morally, that didn't feel the right thing to do... messing up 6 folk... LUCKILY the guests booked to come with us (for this second attempt at the Huddersfield Narrow) are prepared to switch to another cruise later in the summer and will join us coming down the Rochdale into Manchester and then back out on to the Huddersfield Narrow instead.

We're very grateful for their understanding and flexibility... many "non boaty" folk would have been demanding their money back  - quite understandably.

SO as things stand, we're currently on our way to Manchester Slowly... and I say slowly because for the last 4-5 days we've been stuck behind the Closed flood gates on the Calder and Hebble Navigation...  They have however today opened (about 1500 hrs) so in theory we can move again shortly.

We were on route to Slaithwaite to trial how long it would take before we came up "for real" with guests in April - NOW we've decided to take it slower and have moved our booking for Standedge Tunnel to when it first opens this season to the 18th March.    We've also tried a positive spin on things by creating a little 4 night trip fro Castlefield Basin down to Sandbach ... on route to Marple junction (below the lock flight ) so we can pick up trip 2 in mid April as planned.

Hey ho.

Until next time...


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