Monday, 9 July 2012

BW get Royle Family Award

I have seen a few things happen along the canal that I thought were pretty weird. But then as a nation we are pretty strange bunch. First there is the British "Stiff Upper Lip" that we are supposed to be famous for. We are supposed to be unflappable, stoical and calm when things go wrong. Well that's until you get a queue forming at a lock and a hire boater comes past. World War Three!

But we are not alone, take for instance the British Waterways Planning group. Here is a lift bridge above the Lapworth flight. Can you spot the British Waterways cock-up inadvertent mistake?

Not much different to most of the other swing bridges on the system. The boat mooring points are located on the towpath side above and below the bridge. 

However the bridge operating point is on the non towpath side. So when you are single handed and you moor up your boat. Then cross the bridge to open it. Now you have to find some other point where you can cross the canal to move your boat through the now open lift bridge. After mooring up on the other side. Then you have to retrace your steps to make your way back over the canal to close the bridge once again.

This level of competence in engineering solutions and planning should not go unrewarded. I am awarding the designer the Jim Royle - my ARSE award - For Smart Engineering! (Award for Really Stupid Engineering)



  1. Its NOT a BW cock up, but sound practice, as when these bridges were built, horses towed the boats, therefore the bridge opening on the non towpath side allowed the towing rope to pass unimpeded. Its only since engines were invented that they become a little more awkward, learn to cope !

  2. Alf, thanks for your comments.

    1) It may have been a while since you last looked - but there are not all that many horse drawn boats on the canals.

    2) The lift bridge had been totally replaced (according to the date plate) and had updated mechanical equipment fitted since the horses left the canals.

    3) It would be the same problem for a horse drawn boat if single handed.

    4) Until I learn the art of levitation - it would be difficult to cope.

    5) If BW engineers got it correct no one would as you put it "Have to learn to cope"


    M n M

  3. You are missing the point, the bridges although renewed, are probably protected structures, so cannot be altered significantly. I still state I have no problem with them on my own, just work around it !

  4. Hello again Alf.

    Even if the lift bridge is a protected structure which I doubt due to its lack of any significant age, architectural value or viable amenity.

    Then the mooring points each side of the bridge could have been placed on the off side.

    This simplistic and easy to rectify problem clearly demonstrate a complete lack of forethought and understanding on behalf of BW engineers.



Please put your name to your comment. Comments without a name may automatically be treated as spam and might not be included.

If you do not wish your comment to be published say so in your comment. If you have a tip or sensitive information you’d prefer to share anonymously, you may do so. I will delete the comment after reading.