Saturday, 22 March 2008


The restoration of Bottom Lock was an early major achievement of the Sleaford Navigation Society and opened up the waterway from Chapel Hill to Cobblers Lock. Sadly, over the years time has taken its toll on the bottom lock gates and, in spite of some valiant patching they are looking very much the worse for wear and are in need of replacement. Thanks to Lincolnshire Waterways Partnership we shall have a wonderful new set of gates made out of Ekki from sustainable sources. All those who have used Bottom Lock will remember the mechanism to raise the top guillotine gate! 350 turns are needed to raise the gate to allow a boat to enter or leave the lock and a further 350 turns to lower it again when you have passed through! It can be possible to persuade young children that turning the handle is great fun but it has to be said that this ruse is quickly discovered to be a con! New gearing will now mean that far fewer turns will be needed to operate the gate to the delight of all users! Plans are also in place to install floating moorings above and below the lock which will make access both easier and safer. The current landing stage below the lock, shown on the photograph, is somewhat limited and awkward to use. At present there is no landing stage above the lock and this makes alighting from the boat there quite an athletic process! The new landing stages will also aid the portage of canoes around the lock. We are delighted that these improvements will make boating on the Slea a safer and more pleasurable experience. Bottom Lock is held in affection by many people who travel there by boat or on foot and it’s hoped that new seating there will make visiting even better.

Chris Hayes