Monday, December 21, 2015

Locks- Awards for the best and the worst

I know I am not alone in my identification of the worst lock, on the Grand Union at least.  By the worst, I mean the one which although just about passable is most nearly impassable.  Some frustrated boater had scrawled on one of the lock beams "THIS LOCK IS A DISGRACE"  . We were heading downhill and arrived at the lock in its empty state.  Nothing unusual about that in locks in the general area of the Chilterns because so many of them have signs requiring you to leave them empty because the lock walls leak into the surrounding land.

So we closed the paddle which had been left up to drain the lock and proceeded to fill at the other end while Herbie waited patiently to be let in. During this time we sometimes put the kettle on to make a cuppa.  This time we had time to cook a Christmas turkey if we had wanted to.  The bottom gates leaked faster than the top gates could fill.  It took ages and some brute force from both of us to eventually shift the top gate.  In a way it would have been better if this lock was totally impossible to operate because then CRT would have had to come out and fix it.  So where is this Award winning lock?  On the run down towards Winkwell.

The Herbie Award for 2015's Worst Canal Lock
goes to the charmingly named

Sewer Lock

Maybe it was the contrast with Sewer lock which only a couple of days later made me recognise the  smoothness and ease of operation of our winner for Best Lock.  I mentioned it at the time and pre-empting the proper award ceremony here's what I wrote.

You don't get down to this lovely neck of the woods without paying the price in terms of hard graft lock wheeling. I suppose it might be doing me good, but sometimes it feels more like it's finishing me off. The prize though for Best Lock (maybe I should save this for the Herbie awards but what the heck) goes to Lady Capels. It was such a nice change to find gates that don't swing open after you have shut them, and paddles that wind smoothly and lightly and balance beams that don't require full on brute force. And as a treat, you get to cruise through the elegant Grove Park afterwards with it's lovely turnover bridge.

So that's it.  

Best Lock Award 2015 goes to 

Lady Capel's Lock

Strange ain't it how the worst one had an unattractive name and the best one had a pretty name.  Pure coincidence I assure you,  I don't have photos of either of these locks, but here's that lovely turnover bridge I mentioned just round the bend from Lady Capel's.  What a cracker.

Well Christmas is drawing ever nearer I need to get on and draw us towards this year's special award which will honour someone for something or other.  Not much of a clue is it? Suffice it to say that the recipient is totally unaware and that in accordance the The Rules, it is someone who hasn't won it before.  If things go according to plan I'll make that announcement on Christmas Eve.  In the meantime I'll try to keep us amused with some tales from our ten years on Herbie.

1 comment:

Marilyn McDonald said...


We went through both your best and the worst this year too. I am delighted (sort of, in a weird way) that you mentioned the lock gates that swing open after being closed - I had thought it was only me they did that to!

Cheers, Marilyn