Thursday, 10 September 2009

Big rivers mean big locks

The first time you're shut inside an Aire & Calder lock you feel like a plastic duck in a giant's bath-tub. They're long, wide and, sometimes, deep too. After the initial shock wears off you realise that this is a gentle giant who empties and fills his bath-tubs with care and doesn't try to wash you down the plug hole.
The locks work electrically - push buttons to fill and empty; open and shut gates. Cleverly, however, they've been designed with utterly invisible warning lights to tell you when the lock is suitably full or empty. No matter; you just keep your finger on the button until something happens! After a day of standing around pressing buttons you do long for some windlass action, however strenuous.
After another long, hot day we're now sitting in the centre of Leeds just one lock short of leaving the Aire & Calder and joining the Leeds & Liverpool Canal.

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