I thought it was a bit of a strange reference, even though I don't have your resources or knowledge (but I saw this).
According to the Rev'd Dr. "In 1991 the House of Lords was asked to decide whether the Rights of Way Act 1932 applied to rivers. They decided that it did not because:
1. The words of the Act did not imply that the Act applied to rivers. This reason
is binding on all other courts.
2. The law relating to highways, rights of way over land, is different from the
law relating to navigation, rights of way over water. This reason was
expressed so clearly, and at such length, that it seems that all other courts will
reject any argument based on the equivalence of the two laws. This has the
effect of nullifying previous cases based on the equivalence of the two sets of
laws, eg. Bourke v Davis.
This decision of the House of Lords denies the validity of the commentaries on theLaw relating to the public right of navigation along rivers."
Therefore, the CLA seem to be quoting irrelevant law.
In response to their comment that "Whether or not there has been mis-interpretation of ancient authorities that is where the law currently stands on the matter" Rev'd Dr. Caffyn also notes that "Lord Denman when Lord Chancellor said ‘When, in pursuit of truth, we are obliged to investigate the grounds of law, it is plain, and has often been proved by recent experience, that the mere statement and re-statement of a doctrine, - the mere repetition of the cantilena of lawyers, cannot make it law, unless it can be traced to some competent authority.’ The authors of the commentaries do not make the law."
However, without knowing what additional commentary has been provided to CLA members, the simple fact that the CLA is promulgating this position demonstrates that they may be, at best, disambiguous in their statements. And as we know, sticks!
P.S. Paddle up my way this week?