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Monday, January 18, 2016

The Five Mile Prison

With Jaq`s upcoming knee replacement surgery we put in a request to the Canal River Trust to overstay the usual 14 days mooring allowed in the area of the hospital.
There has, as boaters will be aware, been many discussions on canal forums and in any place boaters congregate with the British Waterways act of 1995 being the talking point. Section 17 is the part that causes a lot of rows and in particular the words I have underlined below.

(ii)the applicant for the relevant consent satisfies the Board that the vessel to which the application relates will be used bona fide for navigation throughout the period for which the consent is valid without remaining continuously in any one place for more than 14 days or such longer period as is reasonable in the circumstances

CRT have issued the following guidelines as to reasonable but none of the reasons are in the act and this is the centre of nearly all discussions with some boaters declaring they(crt) have no legal right to stop people mooring for over 14 days.

 “14 days or such longer period as is reasonable in the circumstances”
Circumstances where it is reasonable to stay in one neighbourhood or locality for longer than 14 days
are where further movement is prevented by causes outside the reasonable control of the boater.
Examples include temporary mechanical breakdown preventing cruising until repairs are complete,
emergency navigation stoppage, impassable ice or serious illness (for which medical evidence may
be required).
Such reasons should be made known immediately to local Trust enforcement staff with a request to
authorise a longer stay at the mooring site or nearby.

Now our way of looking at all this is that our normal lifestyle is to cruise all over the canal/river system but medically this has been a problem for two years now. 
So rather than get involved in legal squabbles with CRT we follow their guidelines and inform them of our need to stay longer than 14 days. Attaching the admission letter to the e mail request just makes their decision both easier and quicker. In the past on one occasion we offered no paperwork and still got overstay permission.

We have in the past had nothing but help from CRT and once again permission has been granted to overstay. 
The three places we have been allowed to overstay are spread over 110 miles- in case anyone thinks we are always in the same area for the overstays. Also our cruising has extended further during the healthy periods.

Our cruising area for the next eight weeks is a five mile stretch between the Saltisford arm at Warwick and Radford Semele,  about two miles east of Leamington Spa. On the map I have marked Red lines along the canal so as not to get confused with the rivers Avon and Leam that run nearby.

 At both ends of our 5 miles the canal is closed for maintenance of locks. Yes that`s right we couldn`t go anywhere so why bother to tell CRT. I suppose we could have stayed two weeks at Radford then two at Leamington etc. you get the picture. 
Problem with that is we need to get water that is only available at one end of the 5 mile prison. Shopping and fuel will have to be purchased from the centre part of our prison and the best moorings amongst fields is at Radford the other end of the prison complex.
So much easier to tell CRT we will be seen within the prison walls on a regular basis.

As enforced confinements go this one is not going to be too bad as we have everything we need in most cases canal side. We have a choice of four food supermarkets canal side and one (Asda) within half a mile of the Radford mooring.

The town centre of Leamington Spa is within half a mile of the canal.

 Two stations Leamington Spa and Warwick for trains to London if I need hospital appointments. 

The GP Jaq has attached herself to is a half mile from the canal and best of all the Hospital for Jaq`s surgery is canal side.

All sounds good so what`s the downside I hear you thinking. The only downer is that there are no diesel supplies. Two yards Kate Boats and Delta Marine do not sell diesel during winter and with the lock maintenance no fuel boat can get through. 

All is not lost though as we have two 20 litre Jerry cans and a 25 litre drum. Everything including the tank was filled about two weeks ago. We have a petrol generator that we can use to eke out our diesel stocks. Three of the supermarkets sell fuel with the closest being Tesco. Our plan is to fill a Jerry can and add it to the main tank each week or so as we pass by to get water or food supplies.

This will keep us with good stocks in case the canal freezes. We have a decent stock of logs having found some in the last few days and our coal stocks on the roof are good. The Saltisford Arm Trust in the canal arm at the extreme end of our 5 miles sells coal and Propane but not diesel. The trust also offers winter moorings with electricity and services but they were fully booked when we tried before Christmas. It seems boaters book a year in advance and I can understand why with it being not part of the main towpath, decent walkways and a lack of mud underfoot.

Let me show you around our prison.

Radford Semele is the rural and preferred part of our five mile stretch. Just two miles east of Leamington Spa. No boats in either direction.
Across the canal is a farmers house and St. Nicholas church. The field is usually the feeding ground for a lot of Pheasant.

Just a quarter mile from the Radford moorings and the same distance through a housing estate/sub division this bridge gives access to our nearest food supermarket Asda. That`s Walmart to our U.S. readers.
Across the towpath just fields leading down to the River Leam.

This is bridge 40 leading up to the old high street and within half a mile of the town centre, with all the usual high street names, of Leamington Spa. We are 1.5 miles from our start at Radford Semele
No sooner having left Leamington central we come to our first canal side food supermarket Morrissons. Adjacent is a Costa coffee handy if that`s your daily fix. A hundred yards to the right is Leamington Spa station.
Not sure who these campers are but they seem settled in and not just passing through. I guess these might be homeless folk who find themselves in luxury accommodation, just above cardboard box level.
Just across from the camp site is the Leamington Shires retail park. In addition to the usual retail outlets we have our second food supermarket, Sainsbury`s. Immediately adjacent to the shops we have an industrial area that has amongst others a Screwfix and Toolstation plus our third food supermarket Aldi. We are 2 miles from Radford Semele.

Within half a mile yet more food in the shape of our fourth supermarket Lidl.

Tesco is our fifth supermarket with 24 hour moorings outside, out of picture to the left, but you will find the same few boats seem to be shopping 24/7. Nice to see those fuel prices for those of you still in the grind of getting to work and school runs. We have now traveled three miles from Radford Semele.

This is the hospital where Jaq will have the surgery. We have seen a boat moored here but with the road so close we prefer further along on the towpath side. There is a footbridge leading over to the hospital and Jaq`s GP is just a half mile from the canal. We have stayed here for a few nights and it has been very quiet. Being close to a children's playground so I guess noise might be higher in the summer months. Warwick rail station is very close to here.

This is the first of the two Cape locks and just out of picture on the right the only water point in our five miles. To be 100% accurate there is another just above the second lock some 400 yards away. The end of our five miles is just a half mile past the locks at the junction of the Saltisford arm. Now venturing this half mile entails four locks -two each way- so not a lot of point. Jaq and I decided after much deliberation that given a calm day we might try to turn the boat below the locks and save ourselves a lot of work. The canal is wider than is normal at the locks along here because of the old single locks (extreme left of picture) that are still in place although not working.
So having pushed the bow out I left things in the capable hands of Jaq to walk the stern along the bank. Very little effort is needed. Two things to remember here. You need a boat no longer than 58 feet and you need a calm day with any wind blowing from the direction of the lock. Using the engine is likely to get you in a lot of trouble so best to walk it. If the bow should ground the boat is moving so slowly it won`t be serious and the maneuver can be easily reversed. This point is four an a quarter miles from Radford and just a quarter mile past the hospital.

So as you can see we have food, retail shopping, DIY, train stations, hospital, fuel and doctors. The only thing we haven`t got is our freedom to cruise more than five miles.


MikeW said...

Looks like you've got it sorted-but remember if things go wrong there's always the Cowroast Musketeers. As far as I'm concerned a prison with the Cape of Good Hope pub would do me. Be lucky
Mike Wall

Carol said...

You seem to be sorted then, hope all goes well for you both. Stay safe and warm. xx

Marilyn, nb Waka Huia said...

Looks like a luxurious prison with extensive freedom and wonderful views - plus the Cape of Good Hope pub for its NZ crew and fabulous coffee! All that and medical services too!
Big hugs, Mxox

Les Biggs said...

Hi Mike
Will never forget the Tring musketeers, what a great bunch.

Les Biggs said...

Hi Carol/ Marilyn
All seems pretty good. The sentence will soon pass.

Mike Muir said...

There must be worse places to be "trapped". Enjoy your stay, and good luck with the knee job, Jaq.
Saw your romantic bit in the paper today, good stuff.

Unknown said...

Loved this post Les, bringing back memories, and you explain it so well how us boaters have to be somewhat self sufficient and great organisers, which of course we are lol.
Soon you will have paid your dues, and freedom shall be before you once again and you can be on your merry way.
At least you have some prison perks equal to yard exercise - 5 miles of freedom of movement, unlike me in my solitary confinement of a cell ( marina), and straight jacket ( job ). See life ain't so bad.

miss ya's like crazy - 1 day soon you'll get my way.
Take care

Jacquie nb Like Ducks 2 Water. X

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs