Wednesday, 2 July 2014

What a 71' 6" boat with wooden 'ellum has to do in a lock

Kew: Tardebigge to Hanbury Junction, Thursday 26th June 2014

Before attacking the Tardebigge flight Kew moved across to the other side of the canal to access the elsan point.

As Kew is a full-length boat with a large wooden 'ellum (or rudder) the tiller has to be removed and the 'ellum swung round before the top gate can be closed. While descending the boat has to be kept as far forward as possible so that the 'ellum doesn't become dislodged by the cill. David uses the shaft for that purpose, pushing against the gate and then the cill itself.

Tardebigge Top Lock is the deepest on the Worcester and Birmingham Canal, having originally been planned as a boat lift.

From top lock to bottom (30 locks) took 3 hours 45 minutes. Not the speediest descent, on account of following a slowish boat down. Yes, every single lock was against us, and I set every one. I must have cycled about three times the actual distance between top and bottom - but I'm not complaining. I love doing locks!

I thought it would be good to get a team photo at the bottom of the flight, so I rested my camera on a handy post ... and here is the result. David, me, Richard and Kevin.

Of course, this wasn't the last lock of the day as Stoke Locks follow Tardebigge with hardly a pause. When we tied up at Hanbury Junction for the night we'd done 42 lovely locks.

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