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Kennet and Avon canal reopens after boat blocked lock at Bath

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: March 21, 2014

The canal boat in the lock at Widcombe, near Bath, has been raised and the Kennet and Avon canal reopens today

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A stretch of the Kennet and Avon Canal near Bath reopens today after the removal of a boat blocking Widcombe lock since it was sunk by a stag party on Saturday.

The lock will re-open at 10am today after the Canal & Rivers Trust teams undertook the mammoth task. Meanwhile canal bosses have appealed for more volunteers to act as lock-keepers to help novices negotiate the locks. The recruitment drive for 20 volunteers to operate nine locks around Crofton in Wiltshire was fronted by TV presenter and canal enthusiast Penny Smith,

The saga of the boat that capsized on the Bath flight has highlighted the need to help some boaters negotiate the locks. The hired narrow boat was too close to the underwater sill next to the lock at Widcombe, and as the water level dropped, the boat was tipped up and turned over. The members of a Welsh stag party had to jump clear, and the boat has been stuck at the bottom of the lock since Saturday.

The team had thought it would have to drain a section of the Kennet and Avon Canal and use cranes to lift the 49-foot boat but this idea was rejected because the tow path was not strong enough to bear the weight.

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Spokesman Joe Coggins outlined trust plans to clear the lock. He said: "What we are going to try and do, rather than crane it out, we are going to attach a really long cable to the boat. We will use that to move the boat into the right position. From there we will pump water out then try to float it by filling up the lock."

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  • johndavies  |  March 21 2014, 4:33PM

    Booze & boats don't mix, lucky no one drowned