Friday, March 13, 2015

Waiting for the rain to stop.

I got wet out on my morning run, rain turning to sleet turning to snow, then back to rain. Then Meg and I got wet on her walk. So I was buggered if I was going to make it a hat-trick by cruising to Rode Heath in the rain!
It had cleared by noon, but we waited till 1 o’clock to be sure there would be no lingering showers. A bonus was that the wind had dropped by then, too. It had swung to the north overnight which had brought the colder weather.

First locks today were the Pierpoint pair. Strangely there’s no evidence on the ground that these two were ever duplicated like the rest of the Cheshire locks. Anyone know why?

Pierpoint Bottom LockIMG_3782
See what I mean?

We crossed paths with another boat in the short pound between them, which meant that we had a “good road” to Rode Heath.

Having said there’s no evidence on the ground to indicate another parallel lock, there’s this flat area alongside the top lock chamber…

...and a convoluted bywash weir arrangement above.IMG_3785
But no sign of a low level exit into the short pound.

No doubt about Lock 54 at Thurlwood, both chambers are still in use.IMG_3787

Thurlwood Lock, No 53 was also duplicated but it didn’t end there. Subsidence following brine extraction for a local salt-works badly affected the old lock chamber, so an ingenious if somewhat unsuccessful solution was tried. A pre-fabricated steel lock with guillotine gates at either end was assembled in situ. It was set on jacks so it could be levelled and raised to accommodate further settlement. It remained in use until 1981, and was finally dismantled in 1988.

Thurlwood Steel Lock No 53, Trent and Mersey Canal601242_d8613357
One of the pair of Thurlwood Locks was selected as the subject of this experiment in modern lock construction, but it was not successful; the prototype remained the sole example, and by 1981 the steel lock was not in use and the parallel conventional lock had to be used. The steel lock was removed and cut up for scrap in 1988. There is an excellent and very rare photograph by David Stowell showing the steel lock actually in use SJ8057 : Thurlwood Steel Lock
Creative Commons Licence [Some Rights Reserved]   © Copyright Dr Neil Clifton and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

There’s nothing left of the lock now, even the buildings on the left have been recently demolished.

From below the entrance to the structure is still obvious.IMG_3788

The lock gear at the top of the conventional chamber is a bit mongrel, one ground paddle and another on the gate.

We pulled in around the corner near the winding hole. We’ll be here for the weekend now, we’ve visitors on Sunday.
My sister, Sue, is over from New Zealand where she lives with husband Trev. Although she has the use of Dad’s superannuated Peugeot 205 while she’s here, there’s some doubt whether “Flossie”, as she’s affectionately known, would appreciate travelling any distance from home.
So brother Andy is bringing her to find us. If the weather’s half decent he’s got a new motorcycle he’s dying to show off as well…
Looking forward to it.

Locks 4, miles 2

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