Friday, 27 June 2014

Hillmorton Locks

We're still travelling with David on Wye Knot 2 and yesterday we carried on our journey passing Thomas The Tank Engine hiding in a garden.

It was another nice day, although you can tell the weather's changing as it was quite a bit cooler. It was the perfect temperature for working down Hillmorton Locks and both boats moored up for lunch at the bottom at 12.30. We had an easy passage with just a short hold-up as one of the pair of middle locks was having a rotted beam changed. The whole flight is very well maintained and the locks are easy to work which is why we were a bit surprised by this post on

Hillmorton Locks failing
thursday, 26 june 2014 11:55
WE HAVE just travelled through Hillmorton Locks on the Oxford Canal. On each of the bottom and middle pair of locks, one of the pair is out of order—one with a balance beam missing and all taped off! Emma Payne tells us.
We are on our way to Liverpool, so have been paying careful attention to CaRT's stoppage page, but there is no mention of these locks being out of order.

No warning

We were so stunned to find the flight in that condition with no warning. Luckily we came through at 7pm on a Wednesday, and it was quiet!
How can we rely on a system, ie the website, when such fundamental restrictions are missing?  It could be a long way to Liverpool.

It's this sort of sensationalism that is giving C&RT a bad name. A couple of miles above the locks we were passed by a very fast boat and the woman steering screeched at us that there were HUGE delays at Hillmorton as ALL of the locks were down to singles not pairs. Talking to the volunteer Lockie at the middle lock she told us that traffic had been steady all morning but with no real delays. What is wrong with these people? Mind you, judging by the speed that boat had passed us, they must ALWAYS be in a rush, either that or they have no patience whatsoever. They'll probably be the ones who don't/won't slow down for moored boats and yet have "TICK OVER" signs on their boats.

The only thing about Hillmorton Locks that I really do not like is the so-called "poetry" that has been carved into the lock beams. In my opinion it's just a total waste of money that would have been better spent on veg-cutting or other maintenance. But that's just my opinion and I'm quite sure someone will disagree. 

We recently reported problems with Somerton Deep Lock to C&RT as it's almost impossible for one person to open/close the top gate, but we were told that they are aware of the problem and want to install bricks in the floor along the arc of the beam to push against but have to get the approval from the Heritage people first. Did the Heritage people approve the "poetry" as I'm sure if you or I carved words into a lock beam it would be classed as vandalism.

This morning it's raining, the first real rain we've had for three weeks. I think we'll just sit here catching up with emails etc. and drinking coffee for a few hours as the forecast is better later. 

Several of the huge old working boats have been past this morning. The steam boat Adamant was moored just a few boats in front of us and was quite a sight as it let off a load of steam just before it set off. If it hadn't been pouring down at the time I'd have gone out to take a pic.  They're all heading for Braunston Historic Boat Show which is on this weekend.

1 comment:

Adam said...

Only Narrowboat World could be outraged at some work to replace a balance beam. It's why I make a point of not looking at it. What's more, when one of a duplicated pair is out of action, there's no stoppage because the other lock can be used.

On the Locklines poetry, the money came from the Arts Council, so there was never any chance it could be used for dredging, mowing, or anything else. However, getting the Arts Council to pay for a series of new lock gates which will last 25 years is actually rather clever -- and even frees up CRT money to do those other things.