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Silly question re use of towpaths

ianc1200

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Just an odd and random thought; could you insist on a right to use a towpath, to tow a boat, under some former but still existing legislation? Something like hand towing a skiff as in Three Men in a Boat, or a narrowboat towed by a horse.
 

penberth3

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Just an odd and random thought; could you insist on a right to use a towpath, to tow a boat, under some former but still existing legislation? Something like hand towing a skiff as in Three Men in a Boat, or a narrowboat towed by a horse.
I'm a few years out of date (pre-CRT) but I'm sure horses weren't allowed by BW. There were exceptions for museums and heritage demonstrations. The relevant authority should have the rules on-line.
 

TrueBlue

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From the practical point of view - towpaths are no longert for towing as such and there are / will be many minor obstructions (moored boats TREES and the like) which defeat you - whatever the rules are - even if thr right still is.
Some years ago I asked if I could tow my NB with my horse and BW said no. The reason given was that (he said) "the canals were not BUILT for horse towing".
No attempt was made to say it was an impractical suggestion....
 

halcyon

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From the practical point of view - towpaths are no longert for towing as such and there are / will be many minor obstructions (moored boats TREES and the like) which defeat you - whatever the rules are - even if thr right still is.
Some years ago I asked if I could tow my NB with my horse and BW said no. The reason given was that (he said) "the canals were not BUILT for horse towing".
No attempt was made to say it was an impractical suggestion....
Used to still be common in the 1950's , sure there was a program the other year about a chap using a horse to tow his barge.

Brian
 

Outinthedinghy

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From the practical point of view - towpaths are no longert for towing as such and there are / will be many minor obstructions (moored boats TREES and the like) which defeat you - whatever the rules are - even if thr right still is.
Some years ago I asked if I could tow my NB with my horse and BW said no. The reason given was that (he said) "the canals were not BUILT for horse towing".
No attempt was made to say it was an impractical suggestion....

Canals were made for fishing.

I assume that Ian was referring to the River in his post rather than the ditches.

It's an interesting point. Obviously the vast majority of towing paths and barge walks have waterside vegetation which would cause problems.

I suspect at some stage the right to tow a vessel with a hanimal or other humans was removed at some point but I could be entirely wrong about that.

There was a person on canalworld and thunderboat forums called Nigel Moore who would have been able to answer the question but sadly he died a couple of days ago. What he didn't know about waterways law you could write down on a grain of sand.
 

Outinthedinghy

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There was one at the top end of the river Wey as well.

That's very sad if idiot cyclists end up stopping this sort of thing. Really quite depressing to hear that if it's true.


They shouldn't give in to them. Just block them with the horse. I suppose if the horse doesn't have the experience to deal with things then it can get awkward. I assume they use blinkers and experienced horses but maybe not.

Or is it just the human/human interaction which is a problem? It's upsetting.
 

AuntyRinum

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It's the fact that they won't reduce their speed when approaching and passing which spooks the horse, especially when they come from behind.
 

ianc1200

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Sorry, I should of made it clear I was asking about the Thames only, and whether, by some odd reason, there was a regulation, long forgotten, you could still insist on. I'm assuming freight was still moved on the Thames up to about 1900 by towing with horses, and clearly skiffs were towed also if Three Men in a Boat is to believed.
 

Bru

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Used to still be common in the 1950's , sure there was a program the other year about a chap using a horse to tow his barge.
Not at all common by the 1950s

Certainly on the canals South of Birmingham the only horse drawn boat still working by then was, to the best of my fairly extensive knowledge, the well known 'Friendship" run by Number One (the canal term for an owner boatman) Joe Skinner

I'm pretty sure the programme you refer to was about Joe
 

Bru

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Specifically on the Thames, there wasn't , for the most part, a towpath as such. There was a "haling way", usually over private land, and frequently obstructed by mills, side streams, buildings etc

Towage was both by horse and by manpower, the latter especially on the tricky bits. Gangs of men known as hufflers were available for hire where their services were needed
 

halcyon

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Not at all common by the 1950s

Certainly on the canals South of Birmingham the only horse drawn boat still working by then was, to the best of my fairly extensive knowledge, the well known 'Friendship" run by Number One (the canal term for an owner boatman) Joe Skinner

I'm pretty sure the programme you refer to was about Joe
Was on our bit of cut in Walsall.

Brian
 

Bru

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Was on our bit of cut in Walsall.

Brian
Ah yes, fair point. I was referring to the (relatively) long haul trade and forgot the short haul stuff!

There was indeed still a fair bit of horse haulage of of the Joey boats (day boats) around Birmingham and the Black Country right into the 1960s. It still, just about, made economic sense and nobody was particularly keen to invest in new boats anyway
 

Rappey

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I would have thought it's down to what classification the towpath has.
A horse is not allowed on a footpath (highway code) but is allowed on a bridleway.
 

Old Crusty

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Just an odd and random thought; could you insist on a right to use a towpath, to tow a boat, under some former but still existing legislation? Something like hand towing a skiff as in Three Men in a Boat, or a narrowboat towed by a horse.
Under section 62 of the General Byelaws 1993, 'No person other than Officers of the Authority in the course of their duties or police fire and ambulance services or others acting in an emergency shall ride drive place or leave any motorcar motor cycle cart carriage wagon cycle or any other vehicle of any description or any horse over or upon any towpath of the Thames (not being a towpath over which there is a public right of way for vehicles). Provided that:

(a) this byelaw shall not apply to any person riding or driving a horse used for the purpose of towing a vessel

And riparian owners may not obstruct the towpath to prevent such towing.
 

Old Crusty

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... and for the record, in similar vein, the BW/CRT byelaws say this:

32. No person using the towing path on any canal shall obstruct, interfere with or hinder the towing or navigation of any vessel on the canal and such person shall permit any person engaged in towing or navigating any vessel and any horse or vehicle used for such purpose to pass on the side of the towing path nearer to the canal.

33. No person shall permit any horse or any vehicle used for towing vessels to be used upon the towing path unless such horse or vehicle is accompanied by and under the control of a competent driver.
 

Old Crusty

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... and that means that driverless vehicles will not be permitted on the towpath - I bet that Musk bloke didn't consider that before he invented the Tesla thing ;)
 

Bru

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The BW bylaws are decades behind the times!

I did, towards the end of my canal boating days, feel a strong temptation to ditch the diesel engine and buy an old nag cos i would have quite enjoyed sweeping all the tat and (especially) flowers* off the tops of the seemingly endless lines of moored boats! Canal boating, for those of us who were old school and had been taught by the old folks to slow to tickover past moored boats, had become a bit of a Slow, Slow, Quick, Quick, Slowwwwwww exercise!**

* Flowers were never seen on a working narrowboat except on funereal occasions

** When i started there were still some of the old 'uns about and if you went past them at anything other than tickover a load of verbals would come your way potentially followed by several well aimed lumps of coal! Mind you, they didn't always practice what they preached it has to be said!
 
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