Victor: The reaon why the lock gate has broken

Published: Sunday, 19 November 2017

AS SOME of you will have read, the repair of the brickwork and coping on Derwent Mouth Lock has turned into something much worse.

The engineers found that after they had drained the lock the towpath side top gate had 'come out of its anchorage' our esteemed editor was told, which means stop planks, further pumping out and the gate lifted, its anchorage repaired and then lowered back into place and secured.  

Derwent Mounth gateAnd those of you who have had the misfortune to use this lock, as we have many, many times over the past 20 years, will know that the off-side top gate swings open. So entering a full lock and closing the top gates, before you get to let the water out, the gate has swung open.

What we always do when using the lock on our own is for the steerer to pull over to the off-side, get off and close the off-side gate whilst the one working the paddle then opens the bottom gate paddle to hold it. The problem of course the steerer has to be quick, as you don't really want the hassle of tying the boat up, and so there is the chance of it drifting away.

Many of us know the obvious solution, and not only on this lock, but alas on no few of the 'dreaded six' from Derwent Mouth to Stenson, many gates swing open—so you have to open a far gate paddle then go back and close the gate, with the rush of water then holding it firmly closed. 

And there is the rub. Depending how far you wind up the paddle depends how much the gate crashes shut. And off course shakes its foundations...

dragonfly nymphOh dear

Our Thomas should never have told the ignorant at Cart that the dragonfly exists for years as nymphs in the silt and reeds in the canals—now that at last they know they are not saving their sacred dragonflies, but killing them (idiots!) it has a bloody good excuse for not doing any more dredging....

But can you think of any organisation  less worthy of looking after wildlife than CaRT—whose 'experts' don't even know that dragonflies actually exist in the canals for years as nymphs (pictured) until eventually they metamorphosis as winged dragonflies?  And so scrape them up with the silt (and reeds they are also removing) and dump them on a farmer's field?

It really should stick to what it was created for and leave the wildlife to the many professional organisations that understand it.

 How much is really being spent?

THE excellent article by John Coxon revealed that Cart had cancelled many of its promised winter maintenance  repairs, but begs the question, were all those now cancelled jobs put in to boost the figure of £38 millions that Cart boasted it was going to spend on its winter maintenance? 

For obviously all those cancellations, and I reckon there will still be more to come, will certainly bring that amount tumbling down.

How much is actually being spent? Certainly not the flaunted £38, that was already £7 million less than last year, so can we reckon that £30 millions will be nearer the truth?

Charge 'em

The last time Atherstone Flight was closed for maintenance there were so many continuous 'moorers' still there that any boater trying to get a mooring on the way through for the days after the locks had opened would be very hard put to find a vacant space near the town.

And the same at Meaford Locks last year, where Cart could have made a small fortune charging 'stoppage stayers' both above and below the locks waiting for the flight to open. One boater told me he just managed to get in and spent a week there but it was obvious most had been there since the start of the stoppage. There was even a van bringing in water for those that could not move or turn around above the locks!


Our old contributor, T. Lang, pointed out that there was no complaint whatsoever from the IWA about the two 'indefinite' waterway closures, though it was complaining bitterly about a short tunnel having its towpath widened, mentioning one of my quotes of it 'being in bed' with Cart.

And it is exactly that, dear Mr Lang, as the pair are so close it mustn't now rock any boats, and no pun intended.

At one time the IWA boasted of its membership, even giving us the figures, but since its collaboration with Cart, I shall use another of my favourite quotes—ner a word.  But I know of many who have objected to the closeness by cancelling their subs.

Victor Swift