Acrington boaters starved of electricity, heat and water after canal collapse


Boaters on a section of the Leeds and Liverpool canals were left without electricity, heat or water following a culvert collapse in the early hours of Monday 11 October.

The explosion occurred at Bridge 190 at location N53 45 27 W2 24 15 near the villages of Church and Rishton, near Acrington.

The section and its towpath are believed to have fallen to a point of weakness where Hyndburn Creek enters the culvert below the canal.

READ MORE: Update as Leeds and Liverpool Canals collapse in Lancashire, emptying waters overnight

The estimated 40 mile stretch of canal between the locks has drained its water into the creek and will now need to be fully drained until repairs are made.

Engineers installed two temporary dams on the nearest bridges on either side of the leak to allow the rest of the canal to resume normal use.

This filling, however, can take up to a week to ten days.

Now, resident boaters who live near Bridge 108a say they have been left in dire straits with their boats now tilted due to the draining waters.

Sheila and Gary Bevan’s Perfect Harmony boat in the Leeds and Liverpool Canal

Gary and Sheila Bevan’s boat, Perfect harmony, has been moored at the canal since December 2020. They are now deprived of electricity, heating and water and must sleep on the ground.

Their neighbor Glen, owner of Damn it, is also in the same position with others lower.

Sheila, 66, told LancsLive: “We can’t run the engine because we are at an angle so we are now in the sun which is a problem and especially today because the sky is overcast.

“The water tank has run out of water and we have to rely on coffees and take out food as we cannot cook. Once the power of the batteries reaches a certain low level, they have to be replaced, which costs about £ 2000 to £ 3000 to replace.

“This is a brand new boat and we are retirees with limited income so we desperately need help. Two of us put our two dogs in kennels which is a pain and s It’s also expensive. Glen has a Lurcher dog Penny who wouldn’t do well in kennels but she has slender legs so the angle of her boat is potentially dangerous for her. “

Sheila and Gary Bevan (left) and Glen with her dog (right)
Sheila and Gary Bevan (left) and Glen with her dog (right)

Boaters are also concerned about leaving their boats due to concerns about vandalism and break-ins. They also say their insurance company is unable to help them with the power supply and the couple have been told that if they left the boat and there was a break, they would not be Covered.

The boat builder has verified the integrity of Perfect harmony which is good, but the sooner the canal fills with water the better.

“I understand it will take time for the canal to fill up and it’s nobody’s fault,” said Sheila, “but at first we had no explanation from the Canal and River Trust. . They have improved a lot recently, however, and have brought us up to date.

“Because we don’t have a fixed address, it’s quite difficult to rent equipment, so if someone could help us by loaning us a generator, or anyway, we would be very grateful. surviving solely on solar power, we are literally stuck between a rock and a hard place. “

A spokesperson for the Canal and River Trust told LancsLive: “In the early hours of October 11, a section of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal and its towpath at Rishton between Bridges 109 (New Barn Bridge) and 110 (Aspen Bridge) have given way. Dams have been installed and we are investigating the cause and determining a method of repair.

The Leeds Liverpool Canal between Rishton and the church culvert reportedly collapsed causing water to drain overnight
The Leeds Liverpool Canal between Rishton and the church culvert reportedly collapsed causing water to drain overnight

“We are managing the remaining water levels along the canal and as they take a little longer to recover on the Blackburn side, we are delighted to see the levels towards Burnley slowly returning to normal.

“We are setting up a pumping system to keep the water flowing in the lower sections of the canal and hope to install it in the next few days. Once we stabilize the water supply, we can determine if we can open the lock on flights for limited passage. “

“We are sorry this has created a difficult situation for all boaters who have been affected by the breach. We continue to be present on the towpath and to help where we can, and to explain what we are doing to open the canal to navigation as quickly as possible.

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