Thursday 3 November 2011

Driffield Navigation by kayak - Town Lock

Driffield Navigation (part 3)
Town (or Top) Lock
August 2011

No sooner are you afloat than you are climbing out again. The summit pound is maybe a quarter of a mile long and then you are faced with the inoperable town lock. It has been partially restored at some point, but for now it is only sound enough to maintiain a full pound of water above, but wouldn't cope with boater operation.

Town Lock leading to summit pound

The towpath is on the town side but this has been built on, and the lockside incorporated into a garden. We therefore portaged round the other side, walking over a field in search of somewhere to get back in. The lock tail is down a steep and overgrown bank and inaccessible to canoeists.

Town Lock top gates

The best option we could find is at a concrete sewage outfall point a couple of hundred yards downstream (yeh, I know - lovely!). There was a narrow path down a steep bank and then we launched the kayaks off a submerged concrete shelf which forms part of the outfall. Watch out - the steel edge stands proud of the concrete and will scratch your boat if that matters to you.

Downstream from Town Lock

From there the canal runs fairly straight in a shallow cutting between hedges, the watercourse varying in depth and speed which spells of floating weed which worsens as you approach Whinhill Lock. 

There is a family of swans on this reach who are not used to canoes. Mum and Dad let us past after a bit of posturing but the six cygnets were stupid in the extreme, paddling and paddling away from us until, one by one, they crashed away into the reedy margins exhausted and frightened. They wern't the only ones that were knackered - we had been paddling hard and steady for ages, all the time waiting for a flap, flap, flap from behind marking the return of a protective father.

No comments: