Balance the gates properly

Published: Monday, 20 November 2017

It seems that broken lock gates are now coming thick and fast with the one at Derwent Mouth the latest to be uprooted from its foundations, writes Jim Cracken.

Every one of them was on a lock where it was necessary for a single hander to open an opposing paddle as the gate swung open before you got to let water either in or out at the other end, so as most know the only way is to open a paddle so that the opposing gate stops shut when you walk back to work the paddles.

Rocks the foundations

On a broad lock like Derwent Mouth you have to open a paddle rather wide for it to have the effect of holding the gate closed, that happens both on the top and bottom gates, and so as you push the gate closed, the water from the open paddle then forces it over the last bit with a crash, and I gather rocks the foundations of both of them, hence of course the failures.

1z derwent topIt is alright Canal & River Trust telling us not to do this, but there is no way of a single person holding a gate closed that wants to swing open can get back to the other end of the lock to open a paddle, there just is not enough time.

Instead of uttering stupid unworkable diktats from its Ivory Tower, it wants to get down and balance the gates properly, or employ people who can balance the gates properly in the first place.

[This is not the first time the foundation of a top gate at Derwent Mouth has been broken, the picture shows how one gate has dropped dramatically as its foundations had been damaged—that time the gate that swings open. This time it is the other gate.]