One thing that was very noticeable on our Caldon Canal expedition and parts of the Trent & Mersey, was how prevalent Himalayan Balsam is becoming. It’s bad enough that R. Ponticum is taking over the Scottish Highlands and making large chunks look like Himalayan Rainforest; now they’re taking over the English canals and rivers too.
The Balsam might look quite pretty with its pink flowers, and you can maybe even make jam or wine from it, but for the waterways it’s seriously bad news. Desperately invasive, it takes over everything, then during the winter dies right back leaving the banks bare and open to weather and erosion. The Inland Waterways Association organise regular Balsam Bashing sessions, but clearly they’re not enough!
And what about the similarly pink coloured Himalayan Sea Salt that’s taking over trendy restaurant and dinner tables and supermarket shelves, with its supposed health benefits? Not to mention the large blocks of it turned into bookends and table lamps…
Where is this Himalayan Sea? And why have they got it in for us?
On the T&M near Kings Bromley we did spot a large Terrapin sitting on a dead branch over the water looking threatening: perhaps this is the start of the fight back. Or will the IWA soon be organising Terrapin Trapping sessions as well?
With the de facto invasion of the American Signal crayfish chappies, there already seems to be considerable debate about whether Crayfish Catching is a “good thing” or not – interfering with nature seldom has predictable results. Mind you, the easily caught river ones are rumoured to be excellent lightly boiled and slathered in mayo. Not sure we fancy one that’s been filtering dirty muddy canal water all its life, though.