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Ernie

Watford staircase locks

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I will be descending the Watford staircase next week. This will be my first experience with staircase locks.

 

Any advice on the best approach appreciated.

 

Many thanks

Ernie

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I will be descending the Watford staircase next week. This will be my first experience with staircase locks.

 

Any advice on the best approach appreciated.

 

Many thanks

Ernie

 

Hi I`ve been up and down them a few times,just take your time and read the instructions,be carefull of the middle pound,if you try to cross it too quickly after opening the lock the under current will try and take you across to the other side of the pound,away from the lock,good practice for Foxton locks,just remember red before white and you will be alright when using the paddles..Roy

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There is usually a queue for Watford locks, so you will have time to observe others, before attempting them yourself. There is usually also a lock keeper present to assist and advise, but if not the notices are self explanatory. Red paddles first and then white ones (or is it the other way round?) One good thing is that they are extreemly well maintained so they are easy to operate. have fun.

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Just make sure you see the lock keeper before entering the top lock as he gets upset otherwise he will guide you through the staircase operation if you haven't done it before, and if you are coming down them next week look out for us as we will be going up them next Thursday. :)

 

Not sure of the closing times at this time of year but they won't let you down if you are within approx half an hour of them closing, mooring at the top is very noisy due to the motorway so if you are late stop approx 1 mile back near Watford Park in some nice countryside and go down in the morning.

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I will be descending the Watford staircase next week. This will be my first experience with staircase locks.

 

Any advice on the best approach appreciated.

 

Many thanks

Ernie

 

We shall be going up, probably next Sunday. Keep a look out for us.

 

Simon

nb Bulrush

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To remember which paddles to do first, as has been said here they are in pairs (one on either side of the lock gate) with one painted red and one painted white. The rhyme is "Red before white and you're doing it right, white before red and you'll end up dead!" (not actually true, they aren't really lethal but it's an easy rhyme to remember). The lock keeper will ALWAYS make sure that you are 100% happy with what you're doing, he doesn't want his water drained away any more than you do.

 

It is absolutely essential to seek out the lock keeper before entering the first lock (even the first ordinary lock, let alone the staircase) unless there is no lock-keeper (as happens midwinter) in which case there would be a notice to tell you so. I have seen boats reach the last-but-one lock without speaking to the lock-keeper, being made to reverse all the way back and wait their turn. And don't expect the lock-keeper to come and find you, you could wait all day; go and find him/her. I once arrived there and there were 5 boats all waiting. none of them had been to see the keeper, he knew they were there but wasn't going to do a thing until they came to find him. We walked up and found him and he told us to go straight past the other 5 and come on up. They weren't happy about it but he made them wait their turn behind us.

 

Allan

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Over the winter, the lock keeper is not, usually, around. I'm not sure when he/she becomes a "permanent" fixture again so if there's nobody around here's what to do:

 

Tie up above the top lock (which is not part of the staircase).

 

Send somebody off to find the lock keeper.

 

If the lock keeper is not around - check the staircase. If there is somebody coming up you can drop down the first lock and tie up in the passing place to wait for them to come through. If the staircase is empty you can go on down.

 

To fill the first lock in the staircase, make sure the white and red paddles close to the bottom end are closed then open the top ground paddles. When you are in, with top gate and paddles closed, open the red paddle first (this starts filling the next lock) and then the white paddle (to start emptying the lock you are in). When the levels are the same, open the bottom gates, close both paddles and move on. Repeat this process down the staircase. Remember, red before white - you'll be all right; white before red - you're dead!" When you get into the bottom lock in the staircase, it empties using normal gate paddles.

 

The last 2 locks in the flight are normal narrow locks.

 

Have a good trip.

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Thanks khaffra,

 

I will be going down early to mid morning and will keep an eye out for you.

 

Cheers

Ernie

 

Many thanks to everyone for the advice.

 

Cheers

Ernie

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