Locks are a bit like Marmite, something you love or hate. For me, they punctuate a journey, and create periods of animation and action. They’re excuses for sharing, or making a brew; or moments to stop and stare as the lock chamber fills or empties. Travelling at just above walking pace the 10-15 minutes at a lock can be factored into the journey as ‘lock miles’ ie. they take roughly the same amount of time to complete as travelling a mile along a lock-free pound. That’s the theory at least. On Eileen we seem to travel at just under walking pace and take that little bit longer over every lock as there’s always something to see or say. And, well there’s no need to rush, that’s not what inlanding is about, rushing about on the water road misses the point entirely.
We try and get the kids involved in working through a lock as much as possible. It’s nerve-racking; you need focus and eyes-in-the-back-of-your-head but respect for the massive potentially destructive power of a lock is something the kids need to learn and learn early. They’re slowly getting to grips with the fact that locksides are not playgrounds, but neither are they to be shied away from, with care and attention kids soon get to grips with lock etiquette and as they grow they’ll take greater responsibility for the workload involved in moving our boat around the inland waterways.