Diabolical state of Hatton paddle gear

Published: Thursday, 17 August 2017

I am most pleased someone has at last told of the diabolical state of the paddle gear on the Hatton Flight of locks, writes Julie Woodvine.

Together with a friend we moor our boat on the Grand Union not far from the flight, and our cruises mean that we have to use it to get 'up country', and the last time we were completely stuck in the locks as there were paddles that we just were unable to move even with a very long handle one that we have to keep taking off and putting back on the spindle as it hits the lock beam.

Could not budge

We were taking our boat up the locks and I just could not budge the paddle, so my friend climbed out from our boat to help, but even then it would not budge, but with a great deal of effort we managed to get the one on the other side to open.

Then further up the flight the same happened again, but this time we could not get any of the paddles to move, and it was not until a man came and helped us that we were able to get our boat up the lock, with the man telling us that he walks his dog there daily and often has to help people wind the paddles they are so difficult.

Not done properly

It was only about three years ago that work was done on some of the lock gates, but it was not done properly as they became more difficult to use and the paddles too tight, but what is so annoying is that they have now included notices as the person writing stated, that we were not to let the paddles drop, whoever thinking this one up not knowing that the type of paddle used on the flight cannot be dropped as the gearing will no allow it, and anyway many are too stiff not only to drop but to wind.

It is a great pity that the old regular staff were all sacked and contractors employed, as the former knew how to adjust things, but the new lot do not. I expect they are strong men who set the paddles so they can use them, not realising that us women are not as strong, so cannot.