CANAL boating is meant to be enjoyable because of its relaxed pace which never exceeds 4mph.

But holidaymakers on the Huddersfield Narrow Canal have been forced to slow to 200 metres in two weeks.

That’s because silt, washed down by floodwaters, has trapped boaters between Slaithwaite and Linthwaite, since July 11.

The waterway has been shut to boaters since then.

And work to dredge the canal has been delayed until Monday.

Boaters are unlikely to be freed from the stretch until the end of next week, according to the Canal and River Trust (CRT) which manages Britain’s waterways.

Red tape is said to be responsible for the delay as an environmental licence is required to remove the silt.

The blockage has left some holidaymakers stranded and fuming.

Boater Martyn Sharpe’s vessel has been stuck for a week.

He said: “CRT have taken over and are investigating, but they and us are being blocked by red tape.

“In the old days two men would have got on a dredger with a digger and done the work in a couple of hours.

“Some of the stranded boaters are very angry and were talking about getting into the canal themselves with shovels and shifting the silt.

“This is the peak boating season and we are stuck for days. It is not cheap to keep a boat on the canal – and no-one wants to spend their entire holiday in Slaithwaite.

“I don’t blame the trust; it’s just red tape and health and safety gone mad.”

Another boater, Kevin Grinsted, from Cheshire, has also been stuck for a week.

He said: “It’s a nice spot and I’m not in a rush, though a few people have been jumping up and down.

“I expect CRT have had their work cut out, but two weeks is a long time to close a canal.”

A CRT spokesman said: “Contractors will be on site over the weekend and they will be removing the silt from Monday.

“Hopefully it will be finished by the end of the week.

“We will go as quickly as we can to get boaters on their way.”