Vlog 219: Shady Business

After almost drowning in the sea of rain falling onto Fradley, a new menace threatened my journey as the furious weather switched tack, turning instead to attack me with blazing rays of sun at a million degrees. Parched, weak and craving to escape the furnace I hauled myself to the back of the boat and just about had enough energy to propel the boat in search of shade, even as my last drops of water were exhausted. This is that traumatic tale.

Start point: https://goo.gl/maps/ZpufWGgQC4kwVLwRA
End point: https://goo.gl/maps/QzP2WPtgexUNCGTt5

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  1. A technical question for you David.
    Why do some locks only have 1 gate at one end, but 2 gates at the other?
    It seems to be fairly common, so there must be some logic to it I would think

    • Yes, most do have this arrangement, it’s uncommon to have either a single gate at either end (Stratford canal) or double gates at both ends (Macclesfield canal) – I’m talking about the narrow canals of course, as the wide canals all have double gates since the locks are double width.

      As for why – I can’t really say. I did search on this once and no-one seemed to have many good reasons. The most convincing one was that at the bottom, the gates open inwards into the lock chamber but of course need to have enough space for the gates swinging open plus the length of a narrowboat in the lock – thus two half-width gates requires a shorter chamber than one full-width gate (once you take into account its width being part of the length of the chamber as it’s swung open, if that makes sense). As lock chambers are complicated and expensive to build, using bricks etc, it may be it was cheaper to make it that fraction shorter by having two half-gates.

      • Thanks David.
        You’re probably right there. You would save about 6 or 7 feet in the overall length of a lock by using double gates, and bearing in mind that all the bricks, mortar Etc. would have to come by horse and cart, not forgetting less earth to be moved manually, it would make sense to keep the lock as short as possible.

        It would be interesting to see the economics of 18th century lock construction. No hydraulic construction equipment in those days either! !

        • Given how terrible the roads were back then, just dirt tracks, it amazes me that the canals were ever built at all!

  2. I have always wondered why, given the number of offspring the ducks, geese and swans produce each season why we are not overrun with them.
    One pair seems to produce at least 6. Presumably the survival rates are low.

    • Certainly the number of baby ducklings goes down quite dramatically within a few weeks of them being born, I know the pike like to eat them and I suppose others die off from various things.

  3. If you get a really hot day there, what kind of temperature would that be?

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