Friday, 24 July 2015

Lucky 13!

I have a question for you to muse over. 

I call the question, lucky 13.

What does the Canal and River Trust have in common with the thirteen largest countries in Europe by size of their population?

While you mull over that question, Let me fill you in on population numbers to the nearest million. It could help with giving you a clue to the answer. In first place is France with a population of 66 million people. In second place comes the United Kingdom with 65 million. In third place is Italy with 60 million. Then comes Spain with 46 million. Closely followed by the Ukraine with 42 million people.

I wonder, can you see the answer yet?

Following the Ukraine comes Poland with a population of 38 million. Next up is Romania with a population of 19 million. Closer to home comes the Netherlands with 16 million people. Even little Belgium has a population of 11 million. Three European countries tie on a population of 10 million people each, Greece, the Czech republic and Portugal. Not forgetting Hungary with a population of 9 million. 

The running total is 400,000,000 people.

That by the way is almost half the total population of Europe. This staggering amount already easily exceeds the total population of the United States including Alaska and Canada put together. 

Still not got it? 

OK, I will give you the answer.

This is the same number of people that the Canal and River Trust claim are visiting their waterways each year. This number is stunning and the trust has to be congratulated on such an 'unbelievable' performance. In three years, the numbers have grown from a low point of a paltry 10 million visits. To a staggering 400,000,000 and the number is still increasing. By the end of this year the number should be approaching half a billion visitors.

There is some confusion over the 'Billion' so for clarity I am using the American one. Because it is now generally accepted across the internet. A billion is a difficult number to comprehend. One way of putting that figure into perspective. A billion seconds ago it was 1984. A billion minutes ago Jesus was alive. A billion hours ago our ancestors were living in the Stone Age.
I love contrasting and comparing numbers. (There is an old anecdote that says the best form of contraception is to marry a mathematician) But I digress. 

Because often its difficult to imagine such vast numbers of people. That's equal to a 1,095,890 visits a day. The Canal and River Trust manages 2200 miles of the inland waterways. So that's a mind boggling 498 visitors for each mile of canal. But, as we all know the canals are pretty much deserted at night. After all its not a safe place to be after dark and with the increase in high speed time trial cyclist, its not much safer in the day time either.  But I digress, so if we take a 12 hour day as being typical. A time when the vast majority of people are going to be around, that's  996 people per mile.

There are a number of other authorities that also manage their own waterways. Such as the Broads Authority and the Cam Conservators for the River Cam. There are also Peel holdings for the Manchester ship canal and the Bridgewater Canal. The River Avon is managed by the Avon Navigation trust. The National Trust manages the Wey Navigations, We must not forget the Environment Agency which has three regions Anglian Region, Southern Region and the Thames. There is also the Basingstoke Canal Authority, as well as councils including Bristol, York, Chester, Devon and Exeter. Plus Essex waterways Ltd and the Middle Level Commissioners. I may however have missed a few so I apologise for any omission.

I wonder if the other Inland Waterway are seeing such an increase from stratospheric to ionospheric levels.

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