Bingley Five Rise Locks


Bingley Five Rise Locks

Bingley Five Rise Locks is a staircase lock on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal at Bingley (gbmapping|SE107399). As the name implies, a boat going up the lock is lifted in five stages.

Description

In effect the 5-rise consists of five locks connected together with (as always with a staircase) no intermediate "pounds": the lower gate of each chamber forms the upper gate of the chamber below. There are therefore five chambers, and six gates (the top and bottom gates and four intermediate gates). As the Leeds Liverpool canal is a wide canal, the chambers are convert|14|ft|m wide, and each "gate" consists of two half-gates, "hinged" from opposite sides of the canal. Each half gate is slightly more than convert|7|ft|m wide, so that the two halves close in a "V" shape (pointing "upstream"). Water pressure on the "uphill" side of the gate thus keeps it tightly closed until the water levels on either side are equal, when the gate can be opened and the boat moved to the next chamber (see canal locks for more information on how a lock is constructed and operated).

The 5-rise is the steepest flight of locks in the UK, with a gradient of about 1:5 (a rise of convert|59|ft|2|in|m|abbr=on over a distance of 320ft). The intermediate and bottom gates are the tallest in the country. Because of the complications of working a staircase lock, and because so many boaters (both first-time hirers and new owners) are inexperienced, a full-time lock keeper is employed, and the locks are padlocked "out of hours". Barry Whitelock, the lock keeper, after twenty years based here is now almost infamous on the local canals. Barry was awarded an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) in the 2006 New Year Honours List for "Services to Inland Waterways in the North" [cite web|url=http://www.accessmylibrary.com/coms2/summary_0286-29078458_ITM|title=Europe Intelligence Wire]

History

It opened on March 21 1774 and was a major feat of engineering at the time. When the locks and therefore the canal from Gargrave to Leeds was opened in 1774 a crowd of 30,000 people turned out to celebrate. The first boat to use the locks took just 28 minutes and the whole first trip is described [http://www.bingley.org.uk/around/locks.htm here] as it was in a newspaper of the time - the Leeds Intelligencer. The smaller Three Rise opened at the same time just a few hundred meters further down.

During 2000-2004, famous Leeds Chartered Surveyor, Gerwyn Bryan, lived in the cottage looking down on the locks, which appears in many pictures of the locks.

Tourism

The "flight" (it is a moot point whether a staircase is strictly a "flight", used strictly the term means a group of locks separated by intermediate pounds, so each lock has its own top and bottom gates) is a major tourist attraction in the area. Most boats that pass through attract a lot of attention especially at weekends where there may be a crowd of thirty people or more watching a boat go up or down.

Maintenance

The staircase underwent extensive restorative maintenance in 2004,and again in 2006 when the lock gates and paddles were replaced. As is expected with such a feat of engineering it requires a lot of maintenance and is often on British Waterway's list of winter stoppages for maintenance.

See also

*Bingley Three Rise Locks in West Yorkshire
*Foxton Locks near Market Harborough, Leicestershire
*Watford Locks in Northamptonshire
*Caen Hill Locks near Devizes, Wiltshire
*Fourteen Locks near Newport, South Wales
*Tardebigge Locks near Bromsgrove, Worcestershire

References

External links

* [http://www.skiptonweb.co.uk/tourist/cragface_chron/18_fiverise/ Skipton Web: Five Rise Locks]
* [http://www.penninewaterways.co.uk/ll/bingleyfiverise.htm Pennine Waterways]

Also next to the lock is a local Cattle Shelter known as "The Cow Shed". It has widley been used by groups of youths to seek shelter whilst using the drug canabis. A local bucket bong filled with the canal water is maintained here. With the unwritten rules of Bong culture, no group shall damage nor sabortarge the bong. This is to ensure the next smoker can enjoy a good session.


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