Papering over the cracks

Published: Thursday, 15 April 2010

IT WAS good to see Ralph Freeman highlighting the lock next to the Dog & Doublet on the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal as an example of how a gate can be made to fit, writes Allan Richards.

Perhaps the powers that be would like to compare his photo with one taken more or less at random in one of the Wilmcote locks on the lower Stratford on Avon Canal.


Over this winter BW's contractor, May Gurney, undertook a half a million pounds refurbishment on the Stratford on Avon's Wilmcote  Flight and here is the finished result.

As can be seen from the photo, gates are still leaking but at least the waterspouts are smaller for the time being as May Gurney have pointed over them!

Is this the BW equivalent of papering over the cracks?

On the level

To add insult to injury, locks and gates on the Wilmcote Flight seem just as difficult to operate as ever, and one had a build up of silt behind a gate that had to be shifted to allow our boat to pass through.

A passing remark to a BW operative that the contractors might have used a spirit level when putting back the sign for the bottom lock received the jaundiced comment:

"They dropped that in when trying to check that the water in the lock was level!"

Full marks, however, to the local BW team who swiftly dealt with yet another lock failure on the Southern Stratford this Easter, keeping the emergency stoppage to a minimum. They say practice makes perfect and one suspects they will continue to get plenty of that!