Victors finds Stenson a bit of a mess

Published: Wednesday, 04 September 2019

IT WAS way back in 'the good old days' of 1997 when we first ventured up the Trent & Mersey into Stenson Lock.

It was a joy indeed with paddles easy to turn and gates easy to move, and with two boats firmly on the bottom gates, and obviously safe, we opened all six paddles on the top gates and were up quite quickly.

InletStensonWith a well stocked tea room offering delights, we celebrated our passing through the six broad locks with tasty treats. This particular tea room proved a must to many, with our former columnist Pam Pickett often calling to spend a day talking to the boaters and enjoying its cream cakes.

What a difference now

And what a difference with the working of the lock. it taking an unbelievable 16 minutes to get through, for pandering to the many wimps. two top gate paddles had been removed, and with the outlets of the remaining two both block with debris (one pictured) the filling was slow indeed.

Made slower by the mass of water pouring out of the bottom badly leaking gates, (also pictured) meaning when the lock was nearly full the amount of water flowing in was being nearly equalled by that leaking out—hence it taking 16 minutes.

StensonLeakingBottomBut of course there is more, for after many many years, the offside bottom gate still will not swing fully open, though being used to this we of course ignored it using the nearside, that thankfully had been repaired and now swings fully open. 

Taking the boat to Stenson boat yard to be blacked we moored just past the lock moorings and were entertained by the various methods of locking, both up and down.

The best of all

The best of all was a woman very slowly, bit by bit opening the gate paddles to fillan empty lock! I could not help but point out that there was no reason why she could not fully open the paddles to get the lock filled as there were no boats in it, to which she replied that her husband insists that the paddles be wound very slowly whatever the circumstances. I gave up!

StensonSunday3pmStill more I'm afraid, for even though a Sunday, and with the sun brightly shining the busiest day of the weeknot a single one of those much vaunted (by CaRT) volunteers. We were there from 11am for the whole day and ner a one appeared.

No tea and biscuits

Arriving at Stenson the tea room was open, with one woman sat on the steps drinking and two men at a table, but that was all.

Then strolling down at exactly 3pm, here's a picture of the tea room, on a Sundayclosed! So what was once a very busy and attractive repose for the many visitors is certainly not any more. Mind you my own Cappuccino from that establishment last year, I had described as the worst I had every had, could be the reason.

StensonClosedBut here again, worse was to come, for clearly posted on the door was the notice that it was closed on Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday, that really makes a mockery of having a tea room there at all.

But I understand the previous owners had a lease that had still to run, and were simply not interested in the tea room any more. They were having difficulty in selling the short lease with no guarantee of an extension so were stuck with it.

It all leaves the 'attraction' of Stenson on a bright and warm Sunday afternoon with no boats, no volunteers, no tea room and no visitors.

Victor Swift