Having taken a holiday on your Trent & Mersey Canal and gone through those locks stated, I can confirm that they made the holiday my wife and myself took very difficult indeed and really no pleasure.
Being beyond retirement age, perhaps canal holidays are not for older people, for some of the gates on those locks just could not be moved by one person, and necessitated me climbing up a ladder, that I found very daunting as the boat moved about making it to my mind a dangerous procedure.
Not remain closed
We started at the first lock on the canal, and though I found the steering quite easy and no trouble to get into the lock with the boat, as your correspondent pointed out, one of the gates would not remain closed, but swung open time and time again so we got nowhere until a boat came down and the crewman wound up a paddle on the gate at the top end, the water holding the other gate shut. This was not pointed out to us, though it was necessary time after time, and should have been in the instruction.
At the next lock in Shardlow it was very awkward to get across to the other side as the paddle gear stuck out, and we wondered if anyone had actually fallen in trying to get across. One of us managed to operate these gates with the help of someone who came with a drink from the nearby pub, but when we left a gate would not remain closed, so eventually we left it open, and when a boat eventually passed us I shouted about it, but the lady said the same had happened at the next lock that was Aston.
Not for older people
It was at this lock that I realised the boat would go in with just one gate open, something else that we should have been told, but again I had to get off the boat as my wife could not move the gate on her own, and it really took it out of us getting it to close, but then having learnt, my wife went up and opened the paddle whilst I held the gate closed. The gate was really heavy to move, and proved to us this is not a holiday for older people.
Though we closed the gates after leaving (we only opened one but the other opened on its own accord) one swung open, so we had to leave it.
Life very easy
I see I am getting bogged down with this tale, so will cut it short by referring to the paddles at the next lock, that was Weston, that were so stiff I had to help wind them on the first gate. The next lock was no easier for us, but stopping above it we were joined by another boat and went to the last big lock with this boat who had a fairly young crew, that made life very easy for us as the members insisted upon doing the work.
Then it was a marvellous surprise as the locks changed shape and were much smaller with smaller gates, and so we managed quite well, but did not look forward to the return trip, but that of course, as they say, is another story.
Patricia and Edward Price
[Thank you for you kind words about narrowboatworld, but we do not publish self congratulations.]