Whats Happening ?

Ground paddle winding gear sorted!

Finally the winding mechanism for lifting one of the ground paddle gates has been assembled.  It still has to be bolted to the ground and have its safety pawl (the pecker) fitted but otherwise it works perfectly.  After much bolting together and then disassembling because bits were jamming or not aligning and a fair measure of metal cutting and welding, John, Trevor and Adrian manage to connect lifting rods, gates, reduction gears and up-stands so that everything does what is supposed to do.  John drills hoes in the ground to locate fixing bolts but before these can be inserted a heavy down-pour of rain stops play for the day.

The winding gear for the other gate should now be quite a simple and straight forward task.

Stubborn lifting rods

John arrives to help Trevor and Adrian to release and remove the bent lifting rod.  Trying unsuccessfully to undo the holding bolt John cuts it off with an angle grinder.  Taking the rod to an anvil, John hits it very hard with a large sledge hammer and straightens the rod considerably.  Unfortunately the rod is made of  wrought iron and a crack appears in the shaft.  John gives the rod one last hit which proves to be ‘the last straw’ and the rod breaks.  A replacement rod has to be manufactured from a length of galvanized pipe.

Leaking cills and rusty rods

Trevor and Adrian work down in the lock chamber.  First they clear out the large amount of silt that has accumulated behind the gate stop (again) and then caulk the gaps beneath  the stop boards with lengths of hemp rope wedged in with slithers of Oak.  Time is spent inside the ground paddle entrance  trying to remove the pin securing the lifting rod to the paddle gate so that the rod can be removed, straightened and made longer.  The pins is well rusted in and resists all attempts to move it.  It is given a healthy dose of penetrating oiland left for another day.

Historic boat acquired.

Following up on a telephone conversation with Alistair Ogden, Adrian has just acquired a very interesting piece of machinery to add to the site of Sea Lock.  This machine is a 1930’s weed-cutting narrow boat.  Her previous owner has spent much time in the past restoring her  but with more pressing commitments has not been able to keep her in pristine condition.  She had become something of a liability and he wanted to dispose of her to a good home otherwise  he would have been forced to sell her for scrap.

This vessel has several very unusual features.  She is powered by a side-valve petrol engine which drives a pair of paddles at the stern end.   The cutting mechanism at the front consists of two hinged, serrated blades mounted on a bow-sprit which can be lowered to a depth of 7 feet. (Shades of Queen Boadicea’s chariot).  The boat is 20 feet long but only 4 feet wide and is apparently quite unstable especially when trying to turn her around.


Sadly she requires quite a lot of work to return her to good condition but to allow such an unusual and rare boat to be cut up for scrap would be a crime.

Winding gear and platforms.

Trevor continues working on assembling the ground paddle lifting gear while Adrian sets about rebuilding the scaffold platform.  Barry arrives and having not been very well recently is unable to do much physically but tells Trevor and Adrian what the next stage of tub boat construction will be.  Michael Pryer arrives and moves the RB crane further along the wharf wall where Adrian intends to use it to lower  the scaffold platform against the damaged outer wing wall.

Later in the day, having attached strops to the platform, Adrian starts the crane.  Trevor and John, who had just arrived,  attach ropes to it and use them to guide the platform while Adrian lifts and lowers it into the lock chamber.  The platform sits a little lop-sided on the mud but is steady enough to be usable.

Adrian then lifts the platform back up onto the side and they pack up for the day.