The Canal Town: Beneath By-Pass A Canal

Look. See marks left by horse lines scarred into iron guards and rollers fixed to locks and bridges to protect
stonework agin decay

Aye, that lad were a smacking whip
Loud as gunshot He were a short handle with very long lash plaited up like old piece of cotton towline.

Down there where by pass is now
recall our sensible boathorse lean steadily into collar kept cotton towline taut continuous pull sped boat.

Good regular Blacksmiths are gold
boat horse wear out set of shoes in four to six weeks.

Posh had ostlers to change horses care for sick horses,  keep stable mucked out ready for use for their valued boating customers.

No cold field for knackered boat horse, every regular stopping place, warehouse, wharf or canalside pub warm stable haven for hoof.

Hard worked canal horse fed well  regularly with corn, crushed oats.
Chopped hay had to be prepared available at provender stores all over.

Some horses work without driver, would ‘backer’
risky business as someone had to be ready
leap ashore if horse boat
plod other way

Often after one horse crossed other’s towline it was driven on smartly  both boats at full pelt

Drum-tight line to outside boat flicked up over
cratch, mast along top-planks caught

lifted over watercan,
chimney, helm by
inside boat’s steerer

very hard work skilled judgement experience  long hours plod drudgery  horses get tired, you walk behind them all day, every day

horses and mules pulled the new long thin canal boats, reliably regularly, sometimes even to strict advertised timetable

Will I wait days for fair wind get paid sometime, or hire gang of men or man and horse drag me barge upriver get paid delivery tomorrow

Then canal was artificial new water still, without current either way Bridges low numerous each with towing path under it

Then it was too much wind, too little, or floods or drought. Better than pack horses or road, almost

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