Autumn Around the Locks 1.¬†Eileen moored using just the centre rope, waiting as the lock ahead is set…

Autumn Around the Locks 2.¬†With the lock emptied and the lower gates swung open Eileen is steered into the narrow section beneath Bridge 174 (or is that 148?) and into the mouth of the lock…


Autumn Around the Locks 3. The inherent drama of the steep, dark walls of a relatively deep lock such as Grant’s Lock framing the sky and shutting out the rest of the world. I find I always momentarily think of the vast tonnage of water held back beyond the top gate. It’s not altogether the most reassuring of thoughts as you float there and face it!


Autumn Around the Locks 4. With the lower gates hauled to, the paddles on the top gates are gradually ratcheted up. The water level slowly rises revealing more and more of the lockside above…


Autumn Around the Locks 5. With the left-hand paddle fully raised Claire and Joe negotiate the greasy and narrow ‘footbridge’ attached to the top gate to raise the right-hand paddle and release more water. We have to be careful in locks as Eileen’s large wooden rudder is vulnerable to being crushed if the boat were to be pushed back by too rapid an onrush of water. We do things very slowly…


Autumn Around the Locks 6. Joe waits patiently at the top gate beam for the last centimetre of water to balance the gate and allow him to help push it open and let Eileen into the next pound. It’s a truly Autumnal afternoon.


Autumn Around the Locks 7. Joe finishes opening the gate whilst Claire walks towards the still raise right-hand ratchet. She’ll lower it to close the paddle. She and Joe will then join us on the boat. There’s no need to close the top gate as a boat can just be seen approaching at the top of the picture, so they’ve left the lock ‘set’ for them.

(ps. did you spot our Eileen in the December issue of Waterways World? The photo must have been taken around 2007-08 before the hold conversion…)


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