Movement on the canals during lockdown.
As we remain for the time being under lock down, not much has changed since November. Still just essential boat movements. The only activity is generated by the visitors, who con tinue to come out, even in bad weather, as there are so few options for people who want to es cape their four walls.
More movement in April hopefully.
Christmas and New Year were busy, and More movement in April hopefully.with children still off school and a lot of workers furloughed, any fine day brought a lot of folks out and about. The latest government announcements give some hope that things are improving. Hopefully boating can get going again in April, with the pubs finally open again later. Foxton Locks is a subdued place without boats on the move.
More rain, more mud.
The excessive rainfall of the last few months meant the canal became very high, and a nasty putty colour with all the sediment being swept down the watercourses. Flood paddles were all raised, and there were serious breaches elsewhere on the system. The towpath is now frequently a sea of mud and quite dangerous in places, as are many of the connecting foot paths.
Canal & River Trust have done a bit of timber clearance in the hedges, but they are still well above the traditional height of 4ft. When the last of the leaves have fallen and rotted, the usual array of rubbish was fully exposed. Village volunteers Richard and Debbie Billington and their family have been doing sterling work collecting bag after bag. The per ennial problem of dog poo never lessens, and especially since the pandemic some people seem to think its ok just to leave it, as if it doesn’t matter anymore.
CRT have done some weed cutting in the top side ponds and some electrofishing on the bottom level. This involves a weird-looking craft with extending arms which put out a current that temporally stuns the fish, so that the qualified crew can collect up the Zander (a predatory non-native species that need culling) and dispose of them.
Large new signs have been put up at the top and bottom of the locks explaining how to work the staircase – apparently a safety requirement, despite there always being staff on duty to help boaters. These join the proliferation of signs around the site, some temporary for Covid, others more permanent, which (in my opinion) detract from the historic structures and spoil peoples’ photographs.
A few winters ago, a white squirrel was in residence in the trees behind the top lock, and this year one is around again – we don’t know whether it’s the same one, although they can live for up to 10 years. He/she joins the rabbits, badgers, foxes, otters and copious miscella neous bird life that is always vibrant around the locks. The recent heavy snowfalls showed up the tracks well.