Thursday, March 24, 2005

Canal tunnels

Of all the RSS feeds that I watch daily, the one I look forward to the most is from the blog Retirement with No Problem. Sue and her hubby are retired and live aboard a narrow boat on the English canal system.

It seems like Sue doesn't much like going through tunnels, especially if they are inhabited by bats. But today she met her worse fears head on ( Blisworth Tunnel and on to Northampton) and made it through to the other side. I like bats, and even encourage them to live near us to help keep mosquitoes under control, but I think the decision to make Greywell Tunnel a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) is a bit extreme. Blisworth tunnel would seem to prove that bats and boats can co-exist. But of all the tunnels I have been through, I don't recall an encounter with a bat. About the worst thing that happens in a tunnel is the downpour of water as you pass under a ventilation shaft.

The first major canal tunnel I went through was Harecastle on the Trent and Mersey Canal. It was a school trip and my first introduction to boating on canals, though I had by that time worked on a few canal restoration projects. It may have been in Harecastle that we kept the boogie man at bay by singing "Underground, overgound, Wombling free".

A few years later I was part of an expedition that walked into the eastern end of Sapperton Tunnel. At that time the canal was drained, but we still needed waders to get into the tunnel and we took a small inflatable with us just in case. I'm glad to see that the Canal trust now run boat trips into this section of the tunnel when there is sufficient water.

1 comment:

Sheyne Bauermeister said...

You can't get through Greywell tunnel. I live within walking distance and it is shut. I guess you know that as you put the link up. I've been to the entrance on both the active side and the inactive side. Let me know if you want to know more....