Sunday, 23 September 2012

Making The Most of Moorings, Again

Last month, in Making The Most of Moorings,  I railed against the waste of riverside frontage where perfectly good visitor moorings could be provided for minimum effort and maximum gain by both local businesses (pubs and shops) and boaters.
Today, I feel just as strongly, having come back from a pleasant trip upstream on the Nene from Oundle to Irthlingborough.
Along the way we've spotted several places near Titchmarsh, Stanwick, Denford and especially Woodford, where moorings could easily be provided but nothing, it seems, has been done.
I'm not asking for a mooring at every pretty little place, (though maybe .... )

Naturally I appreciate that not everyone is positive to boaters and not everyone who owns a river frontage wants other folks' boats moored up on their patch. However,  I'm convinced there is a need and there is space for more visitor moorings on the Nene, where currently you can motor on for a couple of hours without finding anywhere to stop, and where there are pubs and shops within easy walking distance if only there was a mooring and a simple path. I'm not asking for water or pump outs!
Take Denford for example. A mooring near the lock is marked on my 2007 map but is there no longer. This could provide a really convenient stopping place to visit The Cock and have a meal. But I could find nowhere legitimate to stop, so we passed it by, £20 or so burning in my pocket.
At Woodford there is a huge length of river side, much of it once good moorings, but half of it proclaims Private (though no boats are moored there currently) and the other half is rough edged and with horses in the field. With grass rising up to the local church it has so much in common with Fotheringhay ...

... but instead of advertising it as £4 per night, or patrons only, or engaging the Environment Agency in some deal to make it a great mooring, we boaters have to pass by, a loss to The White Horse, The Duke's arms and the local supermarket.

I'm flummoxed! I know that at Isleham a rogue liveaboard made life difficult by over staying in a 48 hour GOBA mooring. I know that there could be maintenance issues, insurance questions, negotiations with private landowners and all sorts of potential obstacles. But really, is it so hard to have a local man with a spade or a farmer with a digger spending a day digging out a bed of reeds, smoothing the edges and banging in a few short posts, then creating a track from the river to the village?
At Elton, boaters flock to The Crown even though the riverside mooring is rough and we have to fight through the nettles to put down a gang plank. At Reach and Burwell much the same. In each case the attraction of the nearest pub wins out very time, with a crew of 2 or 4 or more likely to spend £20 per head per night.
It surely can't be for a lack of boaters. And there must be local rules, and therefore enforcement, about staying more than 48 hours. So why don't landowners and Parish Councils invest in a bit of riverside clearing - and why don't pubs pitch in with advertising? What am I missing? Surely it's win win?


  1. Hi. I understand where you are coming from but there is always another perspective. A few weeks ago we passed by a riverside pub. There were mooring rings available but the bank side was quite overgrown. When we moored up half a mile away. We went to the pub for a sunday carvery. It was very good and the pub had lots of punters. I had a word with the pub landlord about the state of the moorings.

    1) Boaters would stop and empty cassettes down the pubs toilet then be on their way again. Sometimes leaving a residue on the floor!
    2) Boaters would stop to leave their rubbish in the landing dustbin provided for patrons and then be on their way again.
    3) One boater tied his boat up on the landing and was gone for over a week. They got up one morning and the boat had moved on in the night. No please or thanks.
    4) Half the people who did stop would have a meal they had ready on the boat and would be off again.
    5) The other half would stop just before dark for the night. Call in at about 9pm for a quick half by way of payment and then would be on their way the next morning.

    He said, look in my car park - it's full. Look in the restaurant its full. Look in the bar area its full. I used to have mooring lines on the rings, until one day they all disappeared just after a boat that had stopped for a quick family visit to the toilet. Had left! He added, I can't afford to have boaters as customers!

    Makes you think.

  2. Thanks for this other perspective - though it's rather depressing to think of such irresponsible boaters. Of course if the facilities are reduced in number then that increases the need for folks to empty their cassettes and rubbish bags in the few remaining places. And I appreciate that while my boating partner and I usually eat out in local pubs that's not something we could sustain for longer trips (wallets and stomachs begin to groan after a while!). But there are always two sides to this situation.