Saturday, 14 February 2015

Worrying about water

Leaving the Coventry and heading round onto the Trent & Mersey at Fradley
We headed west out of the Coventry Canal onto the Trent & Mersey this morning, through a still-quiet Fradley Junction, despite it being first day of school half terms.
We locked up through Middle and Shade House locks and cruised the half mile up to the idyllically set Woodend Lock where a C&RT volunteer was waiting for us. Quite a surprise, given how the quiet the canal is.
But then it turned out that the quieter the better, as far as he was concerned. He wasn't there to help boats through, rather to measure water leakage through the lock. He measured the drop in level over an hour with the lock full and the increase over an hour with it empty. Fortunately, we didn't come along after 59 minutes. In fact he had just finished his measurements.
The data he collects gets sent up to C&RT who use it to help assess whether a lock is showing too much leakage. And, more importantly, whether it can be sorted in a short stoppage. For leakages are starting to get a bit more significant. Because the winter has been so lacking in rainfall C&RT is already starting to get worried about water supply shortages in the summer. Hence an increase in the amount of data being collected.
The isolated, rural charm of Woodend lock and cottage was due to be destroyed by an HS2 route that was going to cleave straight across the canal here. However the route has been revised after protests and the unique lock setting has been saved. Or has it? It seems that, though the line will be further away, a massive marshalling yard is still planned to be within sight of the spot. Argh!

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