The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Sunday, 31 January 2010

A Diversion

Last Monday, just after we set out along the Trent & Mersey Canal, we passed a chap sporting a large camera around his neck.

We said “Hello!”, as we do to everyone we pass, and in return he told us about how there was a problem with the upper gate of the next lock and how British Waterways were meant to be arriving at 8.30am to sort it out, but how they were never on time and thus he had given up expecting them to arrive.

As we continued past the lock, a British Waterways barge passed us, plus four fluorescent-jacketed personnel carrying various implements. It seems that the chap-with-the-camera would only have had to wait another ten minutes to photograph whatever it was he wanted to photograph.

It was a few days later when, in a moment of idleness, my mind returned to this incident and it occurred to me that this chap probably wasn’t just using psychic powers to deduce when British Waterways were going to be working at a location, and thus there must be a published list somewhere.

So, I Googled, and having found where the relevant webpage, and with nothing more interesting to occupy the next ten minutes, I looked at what work was ongoing or upcoming on our local canals. Then, I searched on the canals that we will be walking on our K2CW walk.

And so, I came to find out, purely due to a chance encounter with a man with a large camera and an unnatural interest in British Waterways work, that one of the tow-paths that we are due to be using at the beginning of April will be closed for the entire month.

I’m glad that I found that out now. A suitable annotation has been made to the map so that we can effect a sensible and least-extra-distance diversion.

The last (and justified) towpath closure we found, during our LEJOG. We ignored the closure notices and related extended diversion, expecting the ‘fallen wall’ to be rather less significant (we did manage to clamber over, mind):


Having started looking at the maps this morning, so as to mark this diversion, I then spent most of the day reviewing the rest of our K2CW route and trying to decide where it would be beneficial to have 1:25k map sections. That process also saw me re-plotting a few sections and finding out that they were longer than we thought…


  1. Not really a comment on your post as such, more a general post :)

    I dont think I've ever sat down and virtually read a blog from start to finish, I did with yours. Superb. Thank you.

  2. I blithely tramp straight past every 'footpath closed' notice and have never ever found a path that wasn't walkable when I came to the 'obstruction'. It's usually some idiot in a high-viz jacket, safety helmet, safety-specs and a clip board's wild imaginations of things that could go wrong with 'elf'n'safety that prompt the closure.

  3. Wow, Maverickapollo - I think that you deserve some sort of a prize for that achievement. That must have been one very dull nightshift!!

    Seriously though, I'm glad that you've enjoyed my nearly-three-years-worth of witterings.

  4. Alan,

    I generally share your disregard for closure notices.

    The closure notice on the Macclesfield Canal (the one related to the photo I posted) cited a wall collapse, which made me think that there were probably a couple of red bricks on the ground and no safety problem. It's the one occasion that, upon finding the problem, I completely concurred that a closure was necessary. Later in the walk we disregarded another notice on another towpath, and although the path was in the course of construction none of the workforce objected to us passing by.

    But, for the Oxford Canal in April, as the works relate to the towpath, and as I don't want to disrupt a work party unnecessarily, we will take the diversion.