Victor: I told you so!

Published: Saturday, 20 July 2019

IT WAS a fortnight ago that I told you the Wheaton Aston Lock bottom gate cill was buggered, and so it has proved.

A notice from CART now tells us that 'Due to damage sustained to the bottom gates lock gate cill these works are required to ease the operation of the lock'.

2WheatonAstomThough CaRT has tried to maintain it knew nothing about the condition of the cill, not only did I publicise it but the editor actually rang the office a fortnight ago to inform that the cill was likely to give way at any moment!

And did you notice it is shifting the blame to 'damage', when it certainly is not, it is pure and simple lack of maintenance, as the cill has been badly leaking for many months, but was obviously not worthy of 'winter maintenance' attention, so now the boaters are paying the price.

When we passed through, the bottom gates cill was leaking so badly, as can be seen in the picture, that it made it impossible to fill the lock to be able to open the top gate, and needed two of us to eventually achieve it with quite some effort.

But it has obviously become worse, hence 'works are required to ease the operation', and in case, like me, you don't understand what that means, I can only imagine it to be CaRT speak for 'staff have to be on hand to help boaters open the top gate'. Let's hope they are on the tough side!

The problem is that CaRT are in a real mess with this, as there are two festivals taking place on the waterway with the partaking boats having to pass through the lock, and so are fervently hoping that the cill will not fail completely before the end of the month, when the lock will of course have to be closed for repair. And, as normal it will take at least a week to do so.

So once again the Four Counties will again be closed. Luckily we managed it, but as the condition of the cill is worse, I certainly wouldn't risk it now.

To see my original warning: Victor wonders how long it will last

It was obvious

A word, or two, from She Who Must Be Obeyed—'It was obvious to anyone that the cill had gone and the lock would have emptied without a paddle being lifted so why didn't the person inspecting notice, or was he too busy ticking his boxes on his tablet?

The Albion Lock near Middlewich will be the next one to go'.

VolunteersStensonNer a one for 16 days then three come at once

Yes my friends, just like buses, we had cruised 16 days with ner a single volunteer lockie to help then on our last day three appeared at once—at Stenson!

We had encounted no few flights, including the 16 lock Audlem, and some very difficult locks, but not one of those much vaunted volunteer lockies in sight, not counting of course those two sat gossiping at Stone.

Those at Stenson were falling over themselves to be of assistance, but why three? Had my former complaint struck lucky?

Take care

Continuing with our cruise we noticed a cruiser turning in Shardlow Basin, then later caught up with it at Derwent Mouth Lock to learn that the fella on the boat had a similar experience to us opening a paddle on that lock, with not enough space to fully turn owing to it hitting the slope of the beam.

Like in our case, the only way it would work is by having the windless at the very end of the spindle, and also as in our case, the windless spun off flying through the air.

But he was not as lucky as we were, for the windless cracked his skull, he finishing up in hospital!

I noticed a big variation in the distances between the spindle and the beam these days, and as so many paddles are so difficult to wind, they need a longer windlass to shift them. So there will be more such accidents, that could be prevented by the people fitting the paddles not clamping the slides too tight, as seems to be the common practice...

It was a worker at Aston Broad Lock who told me the tighter the paddles slides are clamped, the longer they last without maintenance.

In hospital the Derwent Mouth fella had 'had words' with someone who represented a 'no win no fee' solicitor, being told he could have a case of negligence...

That would certainly stir things up a bit!

Victor Swift