12th September 2011
I mentioned a surprise at Hazelhurst Locks in yesterdays post.
The surprise was a working side pound at lock number three - the bottom lock.
Working paddle gear at Hazelhurst No3 side pound
You can find the remains of side pounds all over the system but in spite of water shortages this simple way of halving water use at locks can be found in very few locations today. I don't really understand why this is so - maybe they are deemed too complicated for boaters to use or maybe they were seen as unnecessary in a time of few boat movements. Today things seem to be different and I detect a subtle change in the turbid waters of the canals.
First drain the side pound...
I am sure that the side pound wasn't working last autumn but as I approached it it paddle gear was well greased and the chamber was nearly full so I flushed the water into the lock lifting Wand'ring Bark halfway up the lock. I then closed the sluice and continued to fill from the pound above. Of course, these side pounds are only as good as the integrity of the sluice and a veritable fountain of water was spraying back as the water made a level.
... then close the paddle and top up the lock from the upper pound.
All this effort was quite futile because the next two side pounds are not operating, the chambers are there but there is no paddle gear to release the water.
My question is: How many operating side pounds exist today? Hazelhurst No3 is one and the top three of the Droitwich Junction all work as well. Where else can we find these endangered species?