A sense of entitlement, much?

See that peace and quiet? It would be nice if we could keep it that way. Cheers.

From the Lichfield Mercury, Friday, 19th April 2012. Click for a larger version.

After the miasma of all the official ‘Dam works are complete, it’s good news week’ press releases, I was wryly amused to spot this letter in the Lichfield Mercury this week. the dust has barely settled on the Chasewater dam works, the contractor’s teapot barely gone cold, and motorists are already whinging about not being able to drive along the dam and access the southern car park. Well, I’ve got news for them: I sincerely hope they never will, as they have been prevented from so doing for many years.

For most of the period Chasewater has been ascribed a ‘Country Park’, the dam road was effectively a dead-end. The track at the north end to Paviors Road was barely passable and not much would risk coming further than the access to the Sailing Club. Unfortunately. that situation changed with the opening of the new Burntwood Bypass in 2005, which improved road connections to the sailing club and the dam road. Cars began to use the route, and created such nuisance that the way was eventually blocked with a sturdy metal gate, exactly as it is now – a good couple of years before the dam work commenced, to prevent this.

The road in question has just reopened to foot, cycle and residential traffic. During the day, and especially at weekend, it’s crowded with people taking the air with family and children free to wander, the last thing we need is motorists in the mix. It takes barely five minutes to drive round and use the Pool Road/Watling Street entrance, so what’s the problem?

Alternatively, peeved motorists like Mr. Thompson could consider parking in Church road by the Football Club, and actually walking over the dam. Here, they could no doubt take in the fresh air, fascinating wildlife and engaging company of fellow park users. Of course, the flaw in this is that it may inadvertently lead to the taking of unnecessary exercise, but I’m informed it’s not deadly.

There are a few technical points with this peevish, petty missive I’d like to take issue with. The road surface – relaid for only a short section over the new bridge and Nine-Foot heath access – is the minimum necessary. It’s not generally heavy duty, as can be seen by the lack of edge-sealing and general texture. Secondly, the rest of the road surface has only been patched and is still quite poor.

Further, I’d tenure we’d contributed to this ‘tremendous cost’ to preserve the park and it’s environs, not to enable the unthinking and careless to destroy the peace and ecology with their vehicles. I realise having to visit Brownhills from the lofty ambience of Chase Terrace must be awfully unpleasant, but we promise not to steal Mr. Thompson’s wheels while he’s waiting at the A5 traffic lights. Keeping his arms inside the vehicle will also prevent the theft of his watch. Hand signals are therefore not advised.

We’ve just got Chasewater back, I hope sense continues and we don’t lose it again to those who begrudge the small inconvenience of having to take a slightly longer journey to get there.

Motorway quality? Sir, you jest, surely. In short, bugger off, you're not welcome on this road.

This entry was posted in Brownhills stuff, Chasewater, cycling, Environment, Fun stuff to see and do, Interesting photos, It makes me mad!, Just plain daft, Local Blogs, Local media, Local politics, News, planning, Shared media, Spotted whilst browsing the web, Wildlife. Bookmark the permalink.

50 Responses to A sense of entitlement, much?

  1. Andy Dennis says:

    With you all the way there, Bob. Might have to take off your shoes to avoid serious damage.

    I’m sure I heard or read, but can’t remember where, the road was going to be permanently closed. I’ve not noticed any order to that effect, but wonder if it is a private road with no public right of way (in legal terms, even though it may be owned by a public authority), in which case the owner can close it at will. Anyone know?

    Of course, if an order is necessary Mr Thompson can object, but his won’t be the only voice …

    • It’s been closed by a locked gate since at least 2008 (maybe earlier), long before the dam works started. I remember the same grumbling then, too. As far as I’m ware the road is considered private with permissive access. I certainly didn’t see any stopping up orders when the dam works removed access.
      Should there be a challenge, I know myself and the Chasewater Wildlife Group would fight it solidly.

      Cheers

      Bob

  2. stymaster says:

    Couldn’t agree more. The roadway over the dam is busy enough with walkers, cyclists, and the odd car, and it’s fuck all effort to drive round in a car.

  3. Rob says:

    The way you feel about motorists using Chasewater (nuisance etc) is exactly the same as canal anglers feel about cyclists using towpaths.

    • Hi Rob

      Nice to see your cheery spirit here again.

      I find the vast majority of anglers happy to share, and to be polite, considerate people to whom a bit of manners works wonders.

      I find a tiny minority to be miserable, begrudging and rude. The best way to deal with those is to ask if they have a license. Soon shuts them up.

      The ones that want the canal to themselves are generally the same inconsiderate whingers that abuse herons, boaters and anyone who dares to suggest that territorialism may not be the best policy. They’re also usually the ones that leave the bank like a garbage heap after partaking in their hobby.

      The minority of inconsiderate cyclists also deserve nothing but contempt, and often get a mouthful from me.

      I’m not sure what, exactly, entitles you to speak for all fishermen and it’s certainly not my experience.

      Have a nice day ;-)

      Bob

  4. Rob says:

    I’m not speaking for all fishermen, just the dozens that I know who no longer fish canals because of the hassle. The boats aren’t a problem, without them there’d be no canals.

    It seems pointless paying twice to have your enjoyment spoilt by someone getting theirs for free.

    Anyhow, what gives you the authority to query their possesion of a licence?

    That’s unless you’re an EA official or a bailiff on behalf of the thousands of different angling associations that rent the fishing rights from BW.

    I’m sure you’ll inform me.

    • Hi Rob

      You said ‘… is exactly the same as canal anglers feel about cyclists.’ which appears to be speaking for the majority of them to me.

      Ask any boater about the abuse directed to them by the minority of attitude-challenged anglers. Tales of maggots thrown into the boats by catapult abound.

      Getting their enjoyment for free? Heavens. Money’s always an undercurrent with you, isn’t it?

      I have absolutely no authority to ask for a license, but the uncertainty in those questioned works wonders. Anyone would think they had something to hide.

      If folk can’t share the canals, they’re better off fishing somewhere where they can be antisocial in peace. And best of luck to them. It leaves the rest of us to enjoy what is and excellent resource untroubled by the miseries.

      Best wishes, and do stay happy

      Bob

  5. Rob says:

    As an angler I never had a problem “sharing” the canals with boaters. We both contribute towards the cost of the amenity and our activities are water dependent.

    Cyclists contribute nothing besides erosion of the towpath and thus increased maintenance. They’re free to cycle just about anywhere so why they have to make a nuisance of themselves and spoil someone else’s day is beyond me.

    As you have no authority to ask to see a strangers license maybe you should desist.

    And it’s not a matter of being antisocial.

    If I want to see cyclists I’ll stand by the road, where they’re supposed to be.

    • Hi Rob

      Erosion of the towpath? At least we don’t dig great holes in it like the fisherman who’ve dug a peg out at Chasewater basin.

      I take it you’re not aware that one of the largest contributors to the improvement and resurfacing of canal towpaths in the area is Sustrans, and that large parts of the local network are designated national cycling routes?

      In short, you’d still be sitting in mud without contributions for cycling charities. The work, particularly in central Birmingham has taken canals from this:

      http://www.panoramio.com/photo/68534360

      To beautifully surfaced and well-loved city greenways, as shown here

      And yes, that’s route 535 if I recall correctly, restored by Sustrans, BW and other partner agencies.

      There’s no reason we can’t share. And the vast majority do, quite happily. It all comes down to being polite, cheery and accommodating.

      You should try it sometime.

      Best wishes

      Bob

  6. Rob says:

    A lot of us choose to spend a day fishing for a bit of peaceful solitude. Your picture of the peace and quiet of Chasewater Dam and wanting to keep it that way is exactly how I view a nice quiet towpath, until the lycramen come bombing along it.

    Why anywhere needs “designating” a cycle route I dont get, can’t cyclists think for themselves and sort out their own routes?

    As for sitting in mud, I hope this isn’t too much of a shock but anglers quite often come into contact with mud, it’s normally right by the water and we just about cope.

    I agree there’s no reason we can’t share, there’s also no reason we should have to.

    You can cycle where you like (within the law) we have a bit of a problem in that we can only expect to catch fish from water. See the difference?

    I don’t have to be polite cheery and accomodating, I just want to enjoy my fishing in peace after I’ve paid for the privilege.

    The sense of entitlement seems to come from those that think that their mere presence is brightening up someone’s day when the effect is the absolute opposite.

    • Hi Rob

      I don’t imagine my mere presence is brightening your day – although I suspect your venting here is probably quite therapeutic.

      To be honest, were I to be offered the opportunity of attempting to brighten your day or moving the entirety of Brownhills six inches to the north, I’d be getting out my tape measure.

      Thankfully, you don’t own the sole access to the canal, and the majority of us get along fine down there as we are. I can only offer my sympathy at the cycling induced hell you surely personally endure. We all have our crosses, etc.

      I’ve never worn lycra cycling gear in my life, but seeing the effect it has on your temperament, iI’m sorely tempted to give it a go…

      My point, however, stands. But thanks for you input – it’s been illustrative.

      Cheers

      Bob

  7. Rob says:

    I didn’t say my day, I said someone’s.

    Though if I’m honest I must confess that I used to sit on the towpath wishing with all my heart that a complete stranger would come cycling up, engage me in conversation that I didn’t want (though he thought it was wonderful) and if my luck was really in he might impersonate an official of some sort and quiz me about the legallity of my activity.

    I imagine the “majority” of you get along fine as there are significantly fewer anglers on canals these days. I prefer to fish the rivers where the banks are nice and uneven, even muddy occasionally, but I manage.

    A lot of other ex-canal anglers now visit the numerous “commercial” fisheries that have sprung up.

    It’s quite clear that the number of anglers fishing canals has dwindled to next to nothing while the number of cyclists using them has increased dramatically.

    Obviously a coincidence.

  8. Pedro says:

    I was most displeased when I used to fish the canals. Bloody big hosses kept coming along!

  9. Out of interest Rob, how do you feel about walkers and dog walkers using the tow paths? They don’t directly contribute in the way you appear to think gives you the right of use over others, (if I read you correctly) and the dogs in particular cause a lot of problems and damage. At least cyclists don’t pee up your equipment……

  10. Rob says:

    I don’t have a problem with walkers and dogs. They approach at, obviously, walking pace, so you have time to make sure your gear is out of the way. i may have been lucky but I’ve never seen a dog cause problems or damage anything.

    I’ve seen cyclists pedal through expensive carbon pole sections which the owner would rather have been peed on.

  11. Well perhaps you shouldn’t leave expensive carbon pole sections crossing the tow path. I don’t condone such actions far from it but it strikes me that you do have a particular purist type of axe to grind from perhaps what have been sad experiences and this clouds your judgement and argument.
    I personally don’t enjoy being forced of the tow path by enthusiastic young male cyclists who it would appear don’t give a damn about any other user be they angler, other cyclist, walker but I don’t tar them all with the same brush. Neither do I tar all dog walkers with the same brush as those who seem to think that it is perfectly reasonable to keep their dog off lead and allow it to harass me in a dangerous manner.
    Most people who use the canal system of whatever persuasion are reasonable people. I slow down to walking pace, 3mph, when approaching any other user because that’s what makes me feel comfortable and safe. What makes me feel very uncomfortable and unsafe though is the thought that when I say a cheery morning to another user such as yourself when passing by, I maybe prompting unwarranted and unnecessary feelings of anger!

    • Mike Hawes says:

      Hi Linda , running the harden /brownhills /aldridge loop (like I cycled today) I have come across all sorts , bikers , quad bikes, packs of dogs , packs of kids, stray horses, stray cows. Just got to press on regardless!!

  12. pedro says:

    I must be unlucky as I also used to cycle from the City to Spaghetti along the route shown above. Half way along a bloody great alsatian dog chased me to within 200 yards of the junction. I don’t think he liked the traffic noise.

    It was the one and only time I was glad that the biggest interchange of motorways in Europe had been placed in my back yard

  13. Rob says:

    We don’t “leave” them across the towpath. The only time they are across the towpath is for less than a minute when a fish is unhooked or different bait is put on the hook. We’re not so stupidly careless that we don’t know the dangers.

    The problem with cyclists is that they are the one towpath users that travel at speed. Everyone else just plods along so there’s no issues.

    If you feel uncomfortable and unsafe when saying morning, surely the answer is to keep quiet.

    • Hi Rob

      You know, if I’d blogged that a minority of fishermen were surly, antisocial, impolite and unable to share the canal towpath, I’d have been thoroughly pilloried.
      Thank you, therefore, for making that point for me in such a lucid, illustrative fashion.
      I’m still laughing at the assertion that anglers don’t leave poles across the towpath.
      I will continue to cycle the canal, and probably enjoy it all he more knowing the fact that the majority of users greeting each other and passing the time of day in a warm fug of politeness must be really pissing you off as you sit on your lonely riverbank, cursing humanity.
      It must be really, really bleak passing through life with such a barren, cold attitude to others.

      Bob

      • Rob says:

        Thank goodness none of the cyclists are like that eh?

        Oh, and sorry to burst your bubble, the riverbank isn’t lonely, plenty of anglers, walkers, dogs, bird-watchers, all sorts except cyclists really.

        Strange that you’ll derive some sort of weird pleasure by imagining what I may or may not be doing.

        And I’m the one with “issues” apparently!

        • Hi Rob

          Your very existence fills me with weird pleasure – ever since I moderated your first posts here I knew this would be a marriage made in heaven.

          Without exception, they’ve all had the same dour, depressing tone. From the finders of the Staffordshire Hoard (I couldn’t approve that one because it was potentially legally questionable) to the Public Sector, you’ never cease to come at any subject from a less than thoroughly disapproving angle.

          I love that. Must take a whole lot of work to be so pissed off continually.

          Best wist wishes

          Bob

          • Rob says:

            My mistake, everything’s obviously just rosey.

            It’s not my fault that I know first hand what an idle layabout (name deleted for legal reasons- Bob) is, I’ve told him to his face more than once.

            And of course, the public sector’s great too, so cheap.

            Hard work? No, effortless.

            Best wist wishes to you too (whatever they are).

    • stymaster says:

      I have to disagree. Some anglers do leave poles accross- I’ve lost count of the number I’ve had to step over, and I do not walk particularly fast. Just like some cyclists ride into them, seemingly, though I can assure you I don’t. I’ve walked and cycled hundreds of miles on the BCN, and you meet all sorts. Miserable shits of anglers, rude, pushy obnoxious cyclists, idiots on motorcycles, ignorant walkers, kids hanging around under bridges. Guess what? They all have the right to use the towpath, with the exception of the motorcyclists, and we all contribute to the costs. Live with it. It’s called people, and like everywhere we all have to behave like adults and share. If any one group tried to claim sole use, they’d rightfully be shot down in flames.

      • Rob says:

        if they do leave poles across the towpath then they deserve to have them broken. I’m amazed anyone would be that stupid. A decent pole costs about £2000 and I make sure I look after mine.

        I’m not trying to claim sole use. Whilst agreeing that we all contribute to the costs I was paying twice on top of that and having it ruined by a group who weren’t.

        Anyhow I’m not living with it. I’ve given up on canals, the cyclists have won, they can have them.

    • Mike Hawes says:

      I have run round walsall and birmingham canals for years and I have to say this frankly bizarre idea that anglers using roach poles block the towpath for a moment is just daft and way outside any experience I have. Huge fishing matches with 20 + anglers , one every 10 ft it I have come across – roach poles complete with stand block the towpath completely. Occasionally grumble when they have to move the massive poles – I will jump them when starting out on a run OK.

      BUT returning down the canal , or coming across them after running 20 miles I cannot jump them and I want the bloody things shifted. I don’t say anything I can’t chat after running so far so I run up and they see me and move the stuff. More than once I’ve had bods grumble – only to shut right up when they’ve turned to look right at a mud spattered runner with crazed zoned out eyes after running for three and a half hours. I’m not a man who suffers fools gladly.

      And all this after I had the same when cycling safely with my children when they were little, or are you still of the mindset that only you can use the canals?

      • Rob says:

        “I’m not a man who suffers fools gladly” eh, is that to frighten us?

        I never have been, of the mindset that only I can use the canals, in fact I don’t use them at all now.

        Out of interest, and given the problems you’ve encountered (one every 10ft is utter garbage by the way) why run along the canals at all? You could run along the street or around the park yet you choose the canals.

  14. Not one for common civility then Rob? I’m one of those people that was taught manners by my elders in a time gone by and I find it disturbing that a civil greeting induces such anger in another. You clearly have what are commonly called ‘issues’. As I said your arguments are clouded. Under those circumstances it isn’t worth the effort of attempting a rational exchange of views with you.

  15. Rob says:

    I am one for common civility as it happens, eg cyclists slowing down on the towpath, and I’m especially keen on respecting people’s privacy.

    A civil greeting doesn’t induce anger in me. I’ve never said that it did.

    You said you were uncomfortable that you may be causing unnecessary anger by greeting people, not much I can do about that.

  16. pedro says:

    “The only way you’ll get me off the canal is to fill it in!”

  17. pedro says:

    At this location, could be 50 years ago, I caught a big roach, getting on towards 2lbs, at the far side around sunset, with a bit of cheese!

    http://www.panoramio.com/photo/19181214?tag=Canal%20Tame%20Valley

    No big hosses, no cyclists, no walkers, no dogs, no motorbikes, in fact no anybody would go there! In those days the incinerator was there and the giant rats used to come out at night; at their break the workmen used to shoot them with air guns, and so we did not hang about too long.

    The only ones that lingered were the small wild cats that used to chase the rats!

    Unfortunately the incinerator is gone but I am sure that some rats remain, and anyone fishing today would not be disturbed too much.

  18. degvilles says:

    Wow, what an incredible argument against canal anglers Rob! They’ve pissed me off for years, with their bloody great big poles, the need for silence so as they can hook another poor fish in the mouth (probably the same one as last week), keep it in a net, manhandle it and then leave shite everywhere afterwards…still my lovely old pooch did get revenge years ago at Anglesey bridge when she bounded along at about ooh 20 miles an hour, eat the anglers bait and then his sandwiches! Go Buster!

    • Rob says:

      I’m sure they’d have ceased angling immediately had they known how much distress they were causing you.

      Noble of you to let your dog off the lead in a public place, you’ll get us responsible owners a bad name.

  19. Andy Dennis says:

    A public place? Now there’s an idea!

  20. degvilles says:

    Why would they cease beacuse they were causing me distress? They didn’t when they were causing enormous distress to the fish.
    I know, oh hang on – now you’re saying a tow path IS a public place, which means it’s OK to cycle there. I’m confused.

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