2nd-May-2015, 06:41 PM
Great Ouse Lazy Otter EA funded fishing platforms
Just thought I'd mention being 'challenged' by a bailiff today when we got off the Great Ouse at the Lazy Otter, a bit south of Streatham on the A10. There are about ten or so 'fishing platforms' there beside the towpath, all with 'funded by the EA' on them, which are handy to get one past the reeds and into the water. As we got out after our paddle the gentleman concerned wandered over waving a piece of identity and drew our attention to the Fishing Association signage saying something along the lines of 'no launching here'. (I should have photographed it and maybe his ID card too, but felt that might have been construed as a bit 'aggressive'.) I suppose he was trying to sound reasonable with his claims that lifting canoes out at the platforms might damage them, that it was dangerous to get in and out of boats because the banks there are 'soft' and edged with deceptive reeds (which would seem to make a strong case for allowing people to use the platforms when no one is fishing from them), and they haven't got any insurance. (I asked whether he feared I was going to sue the EA, but I presume he actually would be something to do with the fishing association rather than the EA.)
There was no one fishing there, and no one to disturb, and it seemed like a rather pointless occupation on the part of the 'bailiff' (who sat in his car waiting for us to leave). We went on our way, with my friend reminding me that we'd been challenged when we got off the water there last time we paddled there, about 4 years ago, something I'd completely forgotten.
A pleasant enough paddle apart from that. I've added the Lazy Otter to paddle points along with a note about the bailiff. (Tell me if I shouldn't.) Is there any point mentioning any of this to the EA, who apparently paid for the platforms that are now being so vigorously defended from the imminent prospect of paddler-related collapse?
Last edited by KeithD; 2nd-May-2015 at 09:00 PM.
Reason: mixed up Cam and Great Ouse
2nd-May-2015, 07:16 PM
Thanks for the info. I'd definitely pop a quick e-mail to the EA.
Originally Posted by idc
Suggest you also add it to the River Access Map; http://www.riveraccessforall.co.uk/access_map.php
At least you had a good day before that!
2nd-May-2015, 08:11 PM
Thanks, Mal, and thanks for including the link. I'd forgotten about the River Access Map. (In fact I think I'd rather confused it in my head with Paddle Points.) Incident now recorded.
Any thoughts about who at the EA would be the best person to contact about this? There was some fishing association signage, which I admit I didn't pay much attention to. The platforms themselves carried little bronze plaques stating they'd been paid for by the EA, but whether that means they were owned by them or by the Angling association, I don't know. It wasn't clear to me whether the man was exceeding his responsibilities and I wasn't looking for a fight. I've very rarely encountered any problems in this part of the country between paddlers and anglers. I didn't think there was a problem here.
It would be interesting to know more about what he thought his rights and responsibilities were there.
Anyway, I'd better get on with some work.
2nd-May-2015, 08:22 PM
Sorry, no idea on the best contact, maybe someone else will know. You might be right that they paid for the platforms.
Nicely done in being reasonable and just quietly carrying on with what your were doing without letting it become confrontational.
4th-May-2015, 11:11 PM
Hi could you clarify ( please ) the right to portage around something is different to the PRN and isn't really disputed.
Therefore no one is under any obligation to allow you access in the manner the OP described above ?
Last edited by BennyGesserit; 4th-May-2015 at 11:25 PM.
5th-May-2015, 12:02 PM
Thanks for your thoughts, Benny. I've encountered very little conflict between fishermen and canoeists in this part of the country--and don't really see that there needs to be any. This is not a busy bit of river for fishing or canoeing. And given that there were no fishermen there on Saturday, I thought the whole encounter was a little unnecessary.
I suppose what would help me, would be to know whether the platforms are owned by the fishing association or the EA, who certainly paid for them according to the attached plaques. Neither the 'bailiff' nor the signage made that clear to me (which perhaps suggests that they belong to the EA who paid for them), and I found his expressions of concern that I might hurt myself (or the platform) and sue somebody rather unconvincing. I've always found the EA personnel I encounter very positive about canoeing. And clearly the platform, which was capable of taking the weight of a fisherman and his equipment was equally capable of accepting my 10 stone as I climbed out of the kayak, without being damaged in any way. (The kayak was pulled out at the bank not on the platform, but couldn't possibly have hurt the platform if it had been lifted out there in any case.) The land there is public footpath, I believe. (I think the bailiff knew that, as otherwise it is hard to see why he was so keen to discourage us from launching from the bank as well as the platforms.) I don't doubt that the fishing association own the fishing rights, but I wasn't fishing. To be honest I'd have thought the sensible thing would be for the EA to have put a canoe launching platform alongside the fishing platforms, if it is really impossible for a platform to serve both purposes--which I doubt. They do this elsewhere.
But actually I'm just disappointed that this guy thought there was a problem. I can't imagine why there should need to be any conflict at all. A bit of mutual respect goes a long way.
As someone who is part of the fishing community, perhaps, you're able to help me understand why, in the absence of anyone present and fishing, fishermen (or this particular bailiff) should be upset at the thought of EA funded platforms being an aid to a father and son and their friend launching a pair of canoes from EA-funded platforms. It all just seems a bit 'dog in a manger'.
5th-May-2015, 03:54 PM
It's been a while since I've seen anyone official at that point, but the last time I did, spent a good few minutes talking about canoes in general and what I'd seen on the river. Maybe a change of staff, or perhaps I met with an EA man