This is the second time we have visited the Tardebigge Locks. The last time was before we had our own boat. We still weren’t on our boat, though. We had come by car again to fulfill a speaking engagement.
Last time, I took a photograph from the exact same location. It was pouring down with rain, which you could see bouncing off the canal! I am actually standing under a bridge.
The Tardebigge Flight has more than one claim to fame. At two and three quarter miles and 30 locks, it is the longest flight of narrow locks in the country.
The Top Lock (pictured in the distance) was originally constructed as a boat lift as an experiment to save water. A caisson, counterbalanced by weights in a chamber adjacent to the lock cottage. Built in June 1808, it was operated by windlasses, and appears to have been reasonably successful. However, by 1815, it had been replaced by a standard lock, albeit deeper than the rest of the Tardebigge locks. Only part of the counterbalance chamber remains.
Above the Top Lock, a certain Tom (LTC) Rolt spent some considerable time moored in his boat Cressy, with his then wife, Angela. Here, he met with a Robert Aickman in 1945. The two men shared a common interest in maintaining the canal network, although from very different viewpoints. As a result, the Inland Waterways Association (IWA) was formed. The organisation is still going strong today.
At the top of the Tardebigge locks is a memorial plaque to this event. Famously, the original plaque had the wrong date on it! It states the meeting took place in 1946. In 2005, Tom’s second wife, Sonia, unveiled a second plaque correcting the error.
- Taken: 14 Mar 2017
- Camera: Canon 5D MkIII
- Lens: Canon EF 24-70mm 1:2.8 L II USM
- Focal Length 50mm
- 1/320 Sec
- ISO 100