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Caen Hill lock flight reopens
The Caen hill flight of locks has reopened this afternoon, hours after it was shut.
All traffic on the Kennet and Avon Canal was stopped between locks 22 and 44 after a narrowboat became lodged in the coping stones along the bank at lock 41 of the famous flight at about 10.30am.
It happened just four days after the locks had reopened following a week of repair work when a narrowboat driven by holidaymaker damaged a lock gate on August 24.
Joe Coggins, a spokesman for the Canal and River Trust, said today: “You don’t think lightening can strike twice so it was quite unbelievable to hear that it had.
“Boating is a brilliant thing to do and we would encourage anyone to give it a try.
“Accidents are quite rare, despite how it seems at the moment.
“The locks are 200 years old and they just need to be treated with a bit of tender loving care.”
Cara Hodgson-Reed, manager at Caen Hill Marina, shared Mr Coggins’ sentiment.
“Last year this sort of thing happened a lot and it is frustrating,” she said.
“If people just give the locks a little bit more respect then they wouldn’t get damaged.”
On August 24, a narrowboat got stuck on a gate while it was manoeuvering through the top lock of the flight.
As the water rose, the boat lifted the gate off its hinges damaging the anchor plate underneath.
“It was really bad timing and very frustrating for us and everybody using the site,” said Mr Coggins.
“We worked as quickly as we could to get it reopened again but unfortunately it does take a bit of time.
“On Bank Holiday weekend in August you can usually expect dozens and dozens of boats to be going through but, unfortunately, for many that was put on hold, so people had to find alternative routes.
“We sympathise with those people that got stuck.
“This kind of incident does happen, maybe once or twice a year, and what we would say is that if you are going to go boating, which we recommend, then talk to the hire boat company about the dos and don’ts to get some guidance on good practices.”
The Trust had to carry out risk assessments to operate a 16-tonnes crane on the canal path, which is designed typically for pedestrians and cyclists.
Similarly, not long after reopening this week, the Trust had to negotiate to get machinery to the locks to rescue the narrowboat and assess the damage of the coping stones.
The locks reopened at about 4pm today.
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