Whilst all attempts to get our waterways repaired and back into action should be applauded, the length of time taken to repair the paddle at Woodend Lock pales into insignificance compared to a similar problem at Lock 3 at Lapworth on the Stratford Canal, writes Mike Spick.
When we first passed this way in February of 2013, the towpath-side top ground paddle was gift-wrapped in yellow and black tape and a note stated that BWB ‘were aware'.
Aware for some time
From the state of the notice, it was apparent that they had been aware for some time already. Since then we have been through the lock on numerous occasions and nothing further, in the way of repair, has been attempted.
The tape has been re-inforced with a couple of bin-bags and the notice has been updated to reflect the change of ownership of the canal, and new ones added when old became illegible.
Nobody to work
I have it on good authority that there is a blockage in the culvert. This has been checked using CCTV, but it isn't known if the problem is simply debris that has been washed into the culvert or if the culvert itself has collapsed. Allegedly CART have nobody who is trained/certified to work in confined spaces such as paddle tunnels. So, does this get left until it becomes a major problem—maybe a blow-out of the lockside?
Sadly we may never get to see the repair as we are shortly moving our boat to more northern waters (although not so far north as to need to use the Leigh Branch of the Bridgewater, thank goodness)