Sorry folks, we snuck out on Herbie without telling you. Well the phone/internet signal was too poor to post pictures and anyway we were busy having fun. Now we're back on line I can reveal all.
We went down to Warwick and back with our son Peter and here are some of the things we learned.
One good turn deserves a lot of others:
Many of you will know the big Grand Union locks north of Wigrams turn with their imposing looking paddle gear. You might also have counted how many turns of the windlass it takes to open them up. Most times it's about 21. However there's one set that takes 50 turns. At Bascote staircase lock. Here's Herbie in the bottom half while I stand up by the paddle that lets the water from the top half into the bottom.
I was busy winding up the paddle thinking "Hang on, I'm sure this has gone more than 21 turns", and it kept on going, and going! So when it came time to close the paddle again, I counted, and sure enough it was 50 or 51 turns.
Here you see the view from the bottom lock looking up.
Well there's deep water behind those gates and the paddles in these locks let the water in from underneath, so they're pretty deep and hold back a lot of water pressure. I'm guessing that's why those middle paddles are so low geared. The paddle itself doesn't rise any more than others, so that can't be the reason for all those turns.
HS2 rumbles on:
Down near Wood Lock the work on HS2 is all too plain to see. They've built a conveyor belt bridge over the canal which appears to be shifting soil or ballast of something from one side to the other.