Jump to content

I like locks, do you

magpie patrick


103 members have voted

  1. 1. what is your ideal lock count

    • 0-10 a day
    • 11-20 a day
    • 20-30 a day
    • I'm a masochist, more than thirty every day
    • I like a mix
  2. 2. What is the most locks you have done in one day

    • 0
    • 1-5
    • 6-10
    • 10-20
    • 20-30
    • 30-35
    • 36-40
    • 41-45
    • 45-50
    • 51-55
    • 56-60
    • over 60
  3. 3. Do you like

    • Deep Locks (11 foot plus)
    • Shallow Lock (under 4 feet
    • Middle range (between above)
    • Stop Locks
    • Couldn't care so long as I can get back on
    • Mix
    • Staircases/Risers
    • Unusual locks
    • Manned Locks
    • Large River Locks
    • Never go through locks

Featured Posts

I think there should be separate consideration given to those who have racked up a high lock count on wide locks, as opposed to narrow locks, and especially in the middle of winter when there's no one to share the locks with ... and even more especially when every single lock is set against the direction of travel (I'm still looking for my diary to do a count up)

Me too.


The 70 I did were mostly wide (and included Hatton Flight single handed) immediately after getting the sunken boat refloated. the engine stripped and cleaned of canal water and a chain link fence removed from round the prop..

Edited by carlt
Link to comment
Share on other sites

If anyone answers "over 60" or "0" in the most locks comments I'd love you to post.


So 'almost' doesn't count?


We did 45 locks in the Challenge and another eleven that morning to get into position for the start. So that's 56.




I was there, :lol:


But it didn't quite match my personal record of 58 locks from the Severn at Worcester to Tardebigge. I've also matched the figure on the day we worked a pair of boats from Stourton Jct to Lapworth top.


Also with a pair I've done Farmers Bridge top to Cape locks. (24 narrow, twice and 26 broad)


On another crazy trip we worked 13 hand wound Thames locks overnight whilst the keepers were off duty, Hambledon to Chertsey.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I make mine 42 (Cape of Good Hope pub?) Warwick - top of Lapworth, including a lengthy delay up Lapworth when some students in a 70' hirer managed to get themselves and another boat wedged between lock and bank on one of those tricky curved pounds.


Probably going to bust that record this year with the Stourport ring trip.


I had that down for 37 but happy to think 42. We did that this year. Shame the Bluebell let us down on the food though.

Edited by Smelly
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I like my locks, and tend to get a bit bored on days when we don't get many in, (which is why we tend to bypass things like the Ashby, however cute it it is supposed to be).


I would probably have voted in the 20 to 30 per day range, but in deference to my other main crew member, we agreed on 10 to 20, (even she agrees 20 is better than 10 though! :lol: ).


Whilst the big locks are interesting, I don't like being worked through by others very much, nor ones where you just insert "Watermate" keys and press buttons.


We don't go mad on it, and have so far not done more than 42 in a day, which included Stoke through Tardebigge, and it's "lovely" plastic paddles.


My favourite is probably something like Aylesbury Arm, (16 locks in about 6 miles).


The worst lock, (by miles), was hand-cranking the "manual" lock at Stonebridge on the Lee, (when the electric one was "bu88ered") , where all the hydraulics slipped, and we were counting "several hundred" slipping turns of the windlass, only to see the paddles just go down again on their own.


A real blast was ascending Foxton on our own as fast as we could sweep the gongoozlers out of the way with the balance beams, or get past them on the bridges.


Wettest locks we ever did was last summer up Knowle - boy did it rain!




I like locks!



Edited by alan_fincher
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The most I've done in one day was from the top of Tardebigge to Worcester - 58 locks, but they are narrow locks which are really only worth 1/2 a point at best.


On the Jam Ole we did 54 wide locks in a day from Grove to Ricky.


I've done nearly the bottom of Stockton to top of Lapworth in one day, racking up 55 locks in a day, but 19 of them are narrow. I was single handed, but thankfully paired up with a well organised hire boat from Fosse Top Lock through to the top of Hatton.


I've done 28 locks single handed narrow locks from top of the Wolverhampton 21 to Market Drayton.


It would be rather amusing to just run up and down a lock flight all day just to say you've done hundreds in one day! :-)


I would much rather have locks in short flights with a fair run between rather than spread out singularly as on the southern GU.






...Lock miles aren't worth a damn...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I reckom it's possible but crazy to start at Diglis basin at daybreak on June 22nd, go to Tardebigge Top, turn and get down tom Astwood Bottom: 100 locks in one day


Not sure I want to try it though, not unless RWLP wants to raise a big crew

I'm up for that. I might know a few other people who are, too...


Provided we have enough beer on board, it's do-able.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I like locks, though I have to say I'm not a glutton for hard work so don't like doing too many per day! It is nice to have the occasional lock free run as well.


I still haven't mustered up the courage to steer yet, so, by default, I'm on locking duties (and how many times have I heard "oh, he lets you do all the hard work then"!) I enjoy the excercise - it's great for getting rid of a few excess pounds. I also enjoy the social side of it - I've met some really interesting people and had great conversations while pairing up with another boat. Saying that I've met a few people I'd be happy not to come across again. Dave's had similar experiences at the tiller sharing locks - sometimes he and the other steerer are so deep in animated conversation that they don't notice the gates are open, other times you can see him willing the water to rise as he's given up trying to make conversation.


I absolutely love it when we pair up with another boat and the lock operators get a good system going between you and suddenly you're saying "oh - we're at top lock already" - it's a great feeling. Equally frustrating when you pair up with people who don't pull their weight or faff around and you end up doing twice the work instead of halving it.


I definitely think points should be awarded to locks - narrow locks are way easier than broad locks, and I'd rate the broad locks on the L&L higher than those on the GU because there's no footway over the bottom gates, meaning you have to do a lot of walking if you open both sets of paddles. I gave up about half way up the Wigan Flight and decided we were going to have a leisurely journey with paddles only opened on one side (that was before we ran out of water - but that's another story!)


That's just my experiences so far - still fairly new to this :lol:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm up for that. I might know a few other people who are, too...


Provided we have enough beer on board, it's do-able.


P.S. I think your maths is out. Have just checked on Canal Plan AC and it reckons Diglis Basin to Astwood Bottom Lock via Tardebigge Top is 95 locks - need to get through Tibberton Bottom Lock for the full ton! I haven't got my Nicholsons to check it with, though.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

All this talk of people slacking brings back the anecdote of a friend...


A pair of friends I know who no-one would have any worries CC, seeing most of the country as they do, are oft up and down Hatton with the lady of the boat doing the locks, the gent concerned having been stricken by serious illness a few years back (take note Davel :lol:)


They were on their way up Hatton with another boat and said Lady found herself doing all the work and asked of the person steering where the chap who'd been wheeling had gone. "OH he got hot so he's nipped in for a shower" came the reply. Inside the boat were two associates of the crew enjoying the ride; never having been seen lockside.


My friends stopped for lunch.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I still haven't mustered up the courage to steer yet, so, by default, I'm on locking duties

Shame on you, Ange ! :lol:


Seriously though, once upon a time OH always tended to express a preference to do locks, and I ended up steering a lot, (particularly at so called "tricky" times! :lol: ).


We decided to break the habit, and now regularly change duties - maybe doing half a flight, and then swapping over, but on stretches with locks every mile or so, litteral;ly changing over for each one.


It's actually a God-send if both of you are equally confident and happy doing either.


When OH had her "falling down stairs" incident just before our last long break, she was told by the hospital she could only still go boating if she didn't try and walk around, and climb on and off the boat - she would be fine to steer.


I was happy to do 100% lock wheeling for several days, before we could restart changing over - boy did I cover some miles on the bike!


Had she not been fully confident to handle all the steering for a few days, I think we would have ended up with no holiday. :lol:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

P.S. I think your maths is out. Have just checked on Canal Plan AC and it reckons Diglis Basin to Astwood Bottom Lock via Tardebigge Top is 95 locks - need to get through Tibberton Bottom Lock for the full ton! I haven't got my Nicholsons to check it with, though.



My maths is out but I'd need to start on the River


58 up

then 30 (Tardebigge) 6 Stoke, and 6 Astwood, 42 down. 58 plus 42 =100


Trouble with canal plan is if you tell it to turn at Tardebigge top lock, rather than going through it twice it doesn't go theorugh it at all!


Point taken on wide locks, but it wasn't supposed to be scientific, which is why I hoped for comments along the lines of "but mine were broad locks"...


For the record my big hits


55 in one day, all narrow, on the BCN Challenge last year, inclduing Oldbury up and down

47 in one day, all narrow, from Camp Hill top To Gas Street via Ashted, Aston, Garrison, Ashted Again and Farmers Bridge

46 in one day, Hatton Top to Calcutt top, not only are these all wide but it's the highest total I've had without repeating any.


Keep em coming!




Is this a record?


Ooooh, from where to where? over what time period? :lol:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Our best (?) was way back when we second timed the GU north. Starting at below Calcutt we reached the bottom of Hatton and, seeing a boat about to enter (or unmoor as we approached) we decided to join them. Another small boat then moved off and joined us - the two of them fitting on the far side.


It rapidly became apparent that the two women on the first boat had no intention of doing anything apart from driving their private boat and cuddling a baby. The lot on the other boat were (Scandinavian?) english speaking with mum dad and two kids but it rapidly became clear the dad was there for the ride and expected his wife to steer and work the locks while he sat at the front and (successfully) persuaded our mum that she was too old and should go and rest.


This left me trying to control our boat and teach the wife of the foreign lot how to steer and to help hold their boat back from ramming the one in front whose ladies seemed to have a death wish for the kid, waving it about over the lock as it filled. The foreign boaters son was willing but struggled to open the gates (for the ladies who also seemed to expect him to take their ropes as if he was a Thames lock keeper. His sister was only 5 so no help there though she did try to help mum.


At this stage our saviour appeared in the shape of a canal addict who had recently done an article on the Limejuice run. He pleaded for a windlass and from here on he and the wife took it in turns to work ahead while I kept the lady next to me sane as her husband moaned on and on - even demanding that she leave the steering to cook dinner. (Their boat was a weird shaped hire one that kept getting stuck under bits of lock.)


Finally we reached the top to find two blokes standing there who turned out to be the womans husbands fresh from the pub. From their conversation it was clear that they had left for the pub with the agreement of their wives - knowing the women would find some clowns to work them up the locks - this was not the first time they had used others as work horses. Meanwhile the husband on the foreign boat drove off ignoring us all - including his wife and son who were chatting to us - he yelling that they should get on with it - they ran off trying to keep up. Meanwhile we and the limejuice man had a cuppa leaving them all to bugger off and stop annoying us.



As for locks the wife loves them - once we did the W&B, turned and came back up - but took 4 days to savour the experience.


About one lock per mile is about right with no more than 5 in a flight and, given the plonkers you sometimes get to share with, we prefer single locks. In wides we prefer sharing with hire boats as some of the antics privates and especially shares get up to is terrifying.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Met someone last year at Wootton Rivers and they told me that the'd been living on their boat for for over 3 years and this was the first lock that the'd done.


I know that the pound is 15 miles long but I felt this should a little lack of adventure :lol:




When broken down below Middlewich big lock we had a number of boats from the Bridgewater came by. Many seemed totally confused by the lock being there and we ended up explaining how it worked - once they had found a windlass. We told them a safe method for first timers not knowing what a particular wide locks tricks were.


At one point we found a crew from a private boat waiting to come down in stitches about our method as they had been through this lock a number of times and never did it like that. When pressed it turned out they had never ventured to the locks further north...


It is amazing how little in distance the majority of boaters travel - few in our marina have gone more than a few days travel from base in the years they have been there. Talking about places more than a week away to them one gets the impression that their going that far is less lightly than their going to Fiji on holiday.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My vote in Sections 1 & 2 would depend whether I'm single handing or not, and it wouldn't let me vote only in section 3.


My only lock feat was to do the Northampton flight single-handed before breakfast one morning last year!




Wow. Late breakfast?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Indeed. Then a long rest in Northampton and stopped at Cogenhoe.


We managed down, into the town for a burger and beer, and then back again, leaving at 7am and getting back around 6pm. Done for a bit of a challenge. Tiring but great day!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

To clarify, number of locks one boat has gone through, so same lock twice for one boat counts, same lock two boats doesn't


I am a little upset that I can't add up my Devizes flight 3 times in one day with 3 boats to get 87.


None of them would go up together, 2 ex-working boats and a Dawncraft.


And although I don't remember it as well it must have been down as well, although not the same day as going up.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

None of them would go up together, 2 ex-working boats and a Dawncraft.


I can confirm that. Ex GUCCC boats are too long to pass two motors through a lock, but a GU motor and butty combination will just go. Going downhill the butty must exit the locks first to allow the motor to push over and exit the open gate. No breasted pairs down there..... :lol:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mrs T and I "did" the Tardebigge Flight in 3 and 3/4 hours a couple of years ago - me working the locks, Mrs T driving the boat as she jumped off the boat at the top of the flight and twisted her ankle!


Hunting through some old videos the other day and on one, there's an interview with a chap called Tom Mayo, worked for the Severn Carrying.

He said he did Tardebigge in a Hour and a quarter. That's a lock every two and a half mins.....did they empty quick in those days?



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.