Friday, 23 August 2013

The boat mystery.

About seven years ago there was a dispute between a boater and British Waterways. The boater had been granted a free mooring in turn for which he kept an eye on things within the canal basin in Sheffield. One day BW wanted to end the relationship between the boater and themselves. There was a dispute as to what the agreed terms and conditions were. The upshot was that BW issued a 28 day notice to remove the boat from the canal basin. Or so the story goes...

The story circulating suggests that before the boat could be removed and some time before the 28 day notice had expired. BW in its wisdom seized and impounded the boat. It was then towed away from the canal basin and moored in a local marina. Caldbeck is still an eye catching boat, although she has laid in the marina berth for the last seven years or so. Neglected, filling with water and not maintained. Yet the boat is still attractive to look at. Caldbeck must have been an amazing craft in her time.

Caldbeck (dutch barge style) belongs to a family that owned a business that specialised in shop fitting. I understand that she was built with no expense spared. A number of people have viewed the boat and then tried to buy her. However they have always been rebuffed. Now Caldbeck has been broken into by thieves and items of her equipment have been stolen. Water has made its way into the boat and flooded the interior to the point where Caldbeck would be a major restoration project. 

Enquiries about the boat made with BW have been met with silence. Her owners are known to have been in extended litigation with BW/CaRT. At some point, the costs of this will be totaled up. But Caldbeck has been laid up for some 7 years on a BW mooring worth at least £3000 a year, so that must count for something. In her heyday Caldbeck must have been worth £150,000. Now she might be worth £15,000 scrap metal because of her deteriorated condition. Add to this the cost of m'learned friends and the settlement is not going to cost peanuts.

I would not be surprised if this turns into another one of those £350,000 plus settlement figures. Where m'learned friends are the only ones to prosper. Caldbeck continues to languish on her mooring, unloved and unmaintained. How could this situation have been allowed to develop and to fester on for so long. The story of Caldbeck has now reached almost mythical status along the canal. 


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