Today's locks were all manual, but frankly I could have done with motorized assistance at some of them. The gates were almost immovable. And there was no safe way to cross the gates, no way to get from one side of the lock to the other save from a footbridge at the downstream end. This made locking rather tedious.
Picture the bad-case scenario. Which was not uncommon. I empty the lock and open one gate for Grace to drive in at the bottom. I close the gate, but the one opposite drifts open. So I cross the nearby footbridge to close it. I go to the top gates, open the paddles and fill the lock. I open one gate and Grace drives out. I close the gate, but the one opposite drifts open. At this point, Grace could back the boat up to the lock exit and close the gate for me. But this is often not as simple as it sounds, and then it's easier and quicker for me to do it. But the footbridge is at the other end of the lock. Sigh.
And it the other one swings open again? It happens sometimes, And sometimes, when "closed" gates swing open again, you just have to leave them.
|One boat, apparently made out of three!|
|Old wooden barge|
|This isn't him. I didn't have the heart to photo him in his embarrassing plight.|
Fielde's Weir Lock is the last on the Lee before the Stort Junction. We filled with water below the lock, then ascended it, and turned right into the River Stort.