Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Braving wind and tide

Saturday 23rd and I'm up at 6 am in bright sunlight to recce the area, including the lock, the sandbank and the sharp turn through Salters Lock. The wind is blustery, the sand bank large and right in front of the lock. This is going to be fun! 
Important note 1: you have to book 24 hours ahead for passage through the lock. This will also verify the time of your passage, which depends on the tide. Phone 01366 382 340 for Denver, or if approaching from the Middle Levels use 01366 382 292 for Salters Lode Lock.
Important note 2: narrow boats should clear their roofs including aerials and chimneys as bridges are very low after here. Access Middle level maps including low bridge heights.

First, the recce. Taken from the bridge over the sluice and looking north at low tide, in this picture the lock is on the right and the sandbank dead ahead, between lock and river channel. Another channel is coming in from the left.
Walking a few hundred yards up the west bank you can see  the entrance to Salters Lock. It is at an acute angle so boaters heading east have a very sharp left turn to make into quite a narrow entrance (hence the many tyres). Another reason for booking your passage is to coordinate boats coming through Salters and Denver locks.

 A more straight-on view of Salters Lock. Any further north of this and you'll be heading for The Wash!
 Returning to Denver lock, so facing south to the lock on the left, sluice to the right and the sandbank in front.
 Now the action. Moving up to the landing stage in good time we are first into the lock, out ...

... and negotiate the now hidden sandbank by turning sharp left to the middle of the stream then sharp right to avoid a hidden mudbank, 200 yards downstream then very sharp left down the narrow alley to Salters, under a series of very low arched bridges and into the lock.
In Salters Lock facing west

In Salters Lock, facing east
We buy a £3 key giving access to middle level lock padlocks and off we go!

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