Thursday, 11 September 2014

Mending paddle gear on the Atherstone flight

Another day of not many hours. After half of one of them we stopped at Polesworth for a look round the town (village?). Spotting the church at the end of an inviting footpath we went to visit. The church is on the site of Polesworth Abbey, not much of which remains now. Or is the church, St. Editha's, the abbey? I don't know. There is a garden, enclosed on three sides, which was warm in the sun and very peaceful. Two artists were sketching there.

Interestingly we saw no charity shops in Polesworth.

We stopped again below the Atherstone locks for lunch. When we got going we found that the noise we'd been hearing during lunch was a dredging operation at the side pond of the bottom lock.

Oh good, I thought. A side pond being restored. But no. It won't be operational, according to the workers. What they were doing was to "improve the flow", apparently.

So it's just the side pond at Lock 6 which works as built, then. (Except that it seems to leak back into the tail of the lock.) As we were following a boat up the flight I had to drain the lock so we could enter. First, I raised the paddle to let water flow from the lock into the side pond.

When the levels had equalised - or near enough - I closed the paddle and went to raise the bottom gate paddles. One worked fine; on the other, winding the spindle failed to raise the paddle. The whole shaft, with the end made into the tapered square-ended spindle, had moved out such that the key was not engaging with the gear which lifts the rack.

As a temporary measure I used a hammer to persuade the shaft back into position, after which it worked. I took the photos after I'd done this; you can see where the shaft has been rotating where it shouldn't have been.

The key, visible in the centre of the upper photo, needs properly knocking in - I'll e-mail CRT.

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