Monday, 22 July 2013

Five Locks

It was yet another relatively early start to the day but on turning a bend we found a couple of young fishermen with a problem.  One of then had managed to catch something rather large. A tree on the opposite bank.  They looked even more worried about their predicament as Waiouru rounded the bend and headed towards them.  Much frantic waving on their part but we’d already noticed the problem. We nosed Waiouru’s bow into the bank on their side and called out for one of them to jump onto the bow.  Then we manoeuvred the bow to the opposite bank enabling him to free the line.  Finally we moved the bow back to the towpath side enabling him to alight.  Apparently we made his day as his mate told us he’d always wanted a ride on a narrowboat! 
Good deed done for the day we moved on and almost immediately we came to Stocktom Brook Locks.  A flight of five separate locks in a reasonable short distance.  The scenery was rather pretty and until you reached the third lock you might have thought the area was rural.  But the busy Leek New Road crosses the canal and you suddenly realise you’re surrounded by buildings behind the trees lining the canal.
This time I remembered to take a photo of the split footbridge across the lock.  We had read about this design but hadn’t particularly noted one until today.  Actually I assumed they were only found on the Stratford & Avon Canal!
You should be able to see the gap in the walkway in the above photo.  The design allowed the tow rope between the horse and the boat to drop through the gap avoiding the need to unhitch the hose and boat.  My assumption is the handrails are a later health and safety addition.
Waiouru had been manoeuvred into the top lock and Jan was closing the gates when I noticed the symbols carved into the stone on the lock walls.
A star
Inverted triangle
The stonemasons would have been illiterate sub-contractors paid by the piece.  Each mason had their own symbol which they would use to identify their finished work and would be paid accordingly.
The canal from Stockton Brook Locks onwards is new territory for us and we had read it started to get quite attractive from this point.  Jan noticed a canalside property she decided would suit her.
But subsequently changed her mind when she saw this one!
Room for a pony! Smile
Steering got a little tricky as we approached Endon Basin.  There was an obstacle in the middle of the canal and the gap to port didn’t look very wide.  However many other boats have been this way so there must be room to pass.
Looking back
We managed to get the end mooring on the 24 hour moorings located between Endon and Stanley.  That will do us for the day. 

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