Not that I ever was much of a poacher - not when it came to visitor moorings. With Starcross I usually went out of my way to comply with the mooring restrictions, be they 14 day, 5 day or even 24 hours. I can't claim a completely clean sheet (who can?) but I think I can honestly say that on the few occasions I did overstay it was in a place and at a time when I felt I wouldn't inconvenience anyone else.
But now the boot is about to be on the other foot. I've responded to an article in our local newspaper seeking volunteer moorings wardens for the CRT on the Lancaster Canal. I've been accepted too. (The qualifications seem to be "did you apply"). So far, I've had to fill in numerous forms and I've been down to the local office at Galgate Marina to meet the team and receive my health and safety training, which consisted of watching a number of videos and signing a Risk Assessment. I've also been issued with a life jacket, although surprisingly wearing it is not compulsory as my task doesn't involve leaving the towpath.
I've been set up on the computer system that the Trust uses to monitor boat movements, although I was surprised to find that I'll actually be recording index numbers manually and inputting them to the system from my own PC at home. I've bought myself a "Policeman's Notebook" (yes, they are actually called that!) from Ryman's that came complete with a (policeman's?) pencil!
I'll be covering the stretch from Lancaster up to the end of the canal at Tewitfield, and to begin with at least I'll be the only warden on that stretch. The Trust has made a number of changes to mooring restrictions this year in response to complaints from visiting boaters from over the Ribble about the lack of short-term moorings. The central Lancaster moorings, for example, are now to be 48 hours in summer rather than 7 days, which will upset some local (ahem) "boaters without a home mooring" no doubt. Actually, I was asked at an early stage in the selection process whether I would be happy dealing with awkward customers. My reply that I had spent my working life in public transport seemed to satisfy them!
The next stage in the process is a visit to the sites I'll be responsible for so that I know what to look out for and then I'll be on my way. Apparently, part of the job is to welcome visiting boaters to the Lancaster and advise them on local facilities and places to see, so if any readers or fellow bloggers are heading for the northern end of the system this year, I hope to see you.