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Black Sluice Lock,South Forty Foot Drain.


Quaffer
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Have any forum members navigated through Black Sluice Lock in Boston recently ?

 

I am planning visiting this navigation in late June and am getting concerned about not being able to book a passage through this lock via The Environment Agency. The EA have a lock booking phone number 01552 785041 which should be available Mon-Fri 9am -5pm but this number is permanetly engaged ,and I have tried it on many occasions.I have contacted the EA help desk to report this but was told  to contact the Port of Boston who then correctly batted that back  said that EA operate The Black Sluice Lock.

 

.I have booked my passages through Boston Grand Sluice with CRT and spoken to the lock keeper there .He told me that the previous EA lock keeper at Black Sluice called Sam has left the EA and EA have not told CRT who is replacing him or any operational information such as new contact numbers.I was given a landline and mobile number that in the past were used to contact Sam ,but nether number was answered.

 

I have tried to contact the EA River Inspector on 07781 390128 (a number which also appears in the Nicholson navigation notes),but again this number is seemingly permanently engaged.

 

Can anyone give some guidance ?

 

Many thanks in advance.

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Pilots might be good people to ask about state of play with the locks even if not using their services. As might people who actually operate the Wisbech or Denver Sluice end (Denver lockies were pretty helpful last time I spoke to them, though i was making the much shorter journey from Salters Lode)

 

In my experience, the EA lockies with direct contact are very good, the  people manning the helplines don't necessarily know the river system never mind the details.

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2 hours ago, The Bearwood Boster said:

Just in case you're interested,we're booked with a pilot to cross the Wash from Boston towards the end of July.At the moment we are 'Billy No Mates'.😄

We are hoping to go next year. Don't think we could get the boat ready for the crossing in time otherwise we would love to buddy up.

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13 hours ago, The Bearwood Boster said:

Just in case you're interested,we're booked with a pilot to cross the Wash from Boston towards the end of July.At the moment we are 'Billy No Mates'.😄

Thanks for the invite but I'm already booked with Daryl on a tide window that starts on July 12th .At this stage I dont know if anyone else will be joining,so I could also be in the same position ! Enjoy your passage .

12 hours ago, enigmatic said:

Pilots might be good people to ask about state of play with the locks even if not using their services. As might people who actually operate the Wisbech or Denver Sluice end (Denver lockies were pretty helpful last time I spoke to them, though i was making the much shorter journey from Salters Lode)

 

In my experience, the EA lockies with direct contact are very good, the  people manning the helplines don't necessarily know the river system never mind the details.

Thanks for the suggestions.You are quite right,the EA helpline was not helpful at all.They just wanted to sell me a licence for a navigation for which I can't book a passage !

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I did see a boat moored on the pontoon  a week or two ago (on the non-tidal section). I was driving back from a holiday near Skegness.  Sorry not very helpful, I hope they are not still waiting to do the lock.

There are also local staff who operate the sluice gates at Grand Sluice, not sure if they would also operate the lock or not?

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4 hours ago, Scholar Gypsy said:

I did see a boat moored on the pontoon  a week or two ago (on the non-tidal section). I was driving back from a holiday near Skegness.  Sorry not very helpful, I hope they are not still waiting to do the lock.

There are also local staff who operate the sluice gates at Grand Sluice, not sure if they would also operate the lock or not?

Thanks,that's both helpful and hopful ,so I will keep trying to book the EA lock keeper. I spoke to the CRT lock keeper at Grand Sluice who told me EA operate Black Sluice Lock and CRT don't now have any up to date contact details which got me worried.

 

I'm not going to give in !!

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8 hours ago, Scholar Gypsy said:

I did see a boat moored on the pontoon  a week or two ago (on the non-tidal section). I was driving back from a holiday near Skegness.  Sorry not very helpful, I hope they are not still waiting to do the lock.

There are also local staff who operate the sluice gates at Grand Sluice, not sure if they would also operate the lock or not?

We saw a boat in what I expect is the same place last week. 

 

The CRT staff can not operate Black Sluice.

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1 minute ago, Naughty Cal said:

We saw a boat in what I expect is the same place last week. 

 

The CRT staff can not operate Black Sluice.

Sorry I didn't make it clear, the local staff who operate the sluice gates at Grand Sluice work for EA. They also showed me around the pumphouse at Black sluice.  The lock is operated by CRT, of course.

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, Loddon said:

I have been reliably informed that Black sluice is operated by John Line from Northampton Marina as part of his EA duties.

@Neil TNC will have the relevant details🤭

 

That's been a terrific help,many thanks.I've spoken to John and he is indeed operating Black Sluice Lock temporarily. He told me the problem EA have is that the local River Inspector has retired and there is recruitment taking place for a replacement.That seems the reason for the inoperative phone numbers  and why CRT  lockkeepers in Boston are not aware of what's going on.

 

However he also told me Black Sluice Lock has a problem right now with one of the walls and he is awaiting news on when it will be operable again.Hopefully later in the month when I want to make the passage ,and thanks to you I now know who to contact.

Edited by Quaffer
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21 hours ago, Naughty Cal said:

I hope you get to make the trip.

 

Despite being off the Tidal Witham which we cruised a lot we never made it onto the Black Sluice.

 

You will have to let us know how you get on :)

After all the phone calls and chasing around,if we finally make it along this navigation I will certainly posts up some photos.

 

There is a Vlog from Perseverance on You Tube from last year which shows what is possible,and this is another Silver Propeller tick so needs to be done or the IWA will get upset ! 

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Talking to John Line this morning ,the problem at Black Sluice Lock is worse than expected .Divers are looking at the damaged wall below the waterline,and repairs will begin shortly.The lock will be out of use for the rest of the "season" and beyond September .

 

Sad news ,I suppose EA will be making a formal announcement at some stage.

 

That's a Silver Propeller location that will escape my attention.😒

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4 hours ago, Quaffer said:

Talking to John Line this morning ,the problem at Black Sluice Lock is worse than expected .Divers are looking at the damaged wall below the waterline,and repairs will begin shortly.The lock will be out of use for the rest of the "season" and beyond September .

 

Sad news ,I suppose EA will be making a formal announcement at some stage.

 

That's a Silver Propeller location that will escape my attention.😒

I was also hoping to get a Silver Propeller 'tick' there, looks as though that has gone down the pan then:(. I guess that just leaves me with the Maud Foster Windmill and Sleaford Navigation whilst in the area at the start of July to complete my '20' (although we have actually been to all of them, just not within the required time frame)

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Wanderer Vagabond said:

I was also hoping to get a Silver Propeller 'tick' there, looks as though that has gone down the pan then:(. I guess that just leaves me with the Maud Foster Windmill and Sleaford Navigation whilst in the area at the start of July to complete my '20' (although we have actually been to all of them, just not within the required time frame)

I hope that goes well for you. I'm doing much the same next week.

 

I've already ticked 20 ,although nobody has ever commented on my Silver Propeller plaque on the side of my boat.  🙄

By the end of next week ,hopefully up to 24.

3 hours ago, David Mack said:

Having promoted this as part of the East Anglian Waterways Link some years ago, EA now look to be back peddling on their commitment to the project.

I hope Black Sluice Lock doesn't go the same way as Welches Dam Lock and Harlam Hill Lock (on the Ancholme). I'm also never sure if Fulney Lock is working ,maybe no one is using it ?

Edited by Quaffer
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7 minutes ago, Quaffer said:

I hope that goes well for you. I'm doing much the same next week.

 

I've already ticked 20 ,although nobody has ever commented on my Silver Propeller plaque on the side of my boat.  🙄

By the end of next week ,hopefully up to 24.

I hope Black Sluice Lock doesn't go the same way as Welches Dam Lock and Harlam Hill Lock (on the Ancholme). I'm also never sure if Fulney Lock is working ,maybe no one is using it ?

Sleaford looks OK but I'm not sure, until I get to Boston, how you get through Maud Foster Sluice? Who operates it?

 

I wasn't strictly accurate when I said I'd done them all, I have never been down to Boston before so obviously have done none of them. We also didn't get to Carpenters Lock on Lee and Stort Bow back rivers as they were shut when we were last in London, and we couldn't get onto the Dee Branch of the Shropshire Union for much the same reason. I am  only talking about the connected system though.

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We did the Sleaford Navigation (Kyme Eau) recently. It was a lovely run but extremely shallow and weedy so very slow going. Winding at the extremity (Cobblers Lock) was also very tight in our 58' NB. Glad we did it though. 

 

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5 minutes ago, MrsM said:

We did the Sleaford Navigation (Kyme Eau) recently. It was a lovely run but extremely shallow and weedy so very slow going. Winding at the extremity (Cobblers Lock) was also very tight in our 58' NB. Glad we did it though. 

 

How 'tight' was tight? We are in a 60 footer but then we have managed to wind at the winding hole on the Dewsbury Arm on the Calder and Hebble and that was only supposed to be 58':unsure:

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10 minutes ago, Wanderer Vagabond said:

Sleaford looks OK but I'm not sure, until I get to Boston, how you get through Maud Foster Sluice? Who operates it?

 

 

I believe that Cowbridge Lock which gives access to the Maud Foster Drain is self operated,with chains to open the upper mitre gates (boat hook to close) and an upper guillotine  gate . All locking mechanisms use a Watermate key.

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Just now, Wanderer Vagabond said:

How 'tight' was tight? We are in a 60 footer but then we have managed to wind at the winding hole on the Dewsbury Arm on the Calder and Hebble and that was only supposed to be 58':unsure:

Very tight - in that both the bow and stern were sitting on the silt and we had to use the pole to lever ourselves around. We didn't try to get ashore as bit concerned about the depth of the silt and the ditch edges are so shallow that our gangplank (scaffold board) wouldn't reach. However, a rope from the bank would definitely have helped. We winded anti-clockwise and used the gentle flow to help bring the bow round. You will probably be fine but don't expect it to be easy! Enjoy the trip. Nice and very friendly pub at South Kyme with proper moorings in the village.

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And there is the lowest bridge we've ever been under - top of our cratch board brushed it - so make sure you have nothing tall on your roof. 

Edited by MrsM
Speeling
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21 hours ago, Quaffer said:

I believe that Cowbridge Lock which gives access to the Maud Foster Drain is self operated,with chains to open the upper mitre gates (boat hook to close) and an upper guillotine  gate . All locking mechanisms use a Watermate key.

Correct - the lower gates are opened by pulling on a chain and shut using a boathook.  Here's a photo of the lock, and of my sons warming up with their boathooks (on their adjacent golf course)

dscf6021.jpg

dscf6047.jpg

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