I never knew this

Boat owners have seen their vessels sink or become stranded on a canal bed in Bath after a sluice gate fault led to a dramatic drop in water levels.

I didn’t know there was a lock gate in Twerton. On the river, which keeps the water level up further upstream to where the river meets the canal. OK, so, lock gate gets jammed open and water level drops. Boats tied to the bank fall over etc. OK.

Like all Bathonians I have actively avoided knowing what goes on in Twerton so the existence of that lock was unknown to me.

This though does seem rather wrong:

The Environment Agency has apologised for the “disruption and anxiety” caused after the fault led to water levels plummeting by about 1.8m (6ft) on the rivers Avon and Kennet and the Avon canal.

The Kennet is 80 miles away in Reading. The other side of Salisbury Plain and however many lock gates (80 or summat?) in between. I seriously doubt that the gate failing in Twerton has river levels falling in Reading….

17 thoughts on “I never knew this”

  1. Journo rewording press release to make it seem like he does journalism – shoulda stuck to lazy. Other news outlets correctly refer to levels on the river Avon and the Kennet and Avon canal.

  2. More likely that the press release said ‘apologise for water levels dropping in the Kennet and Avon Canal and the Avon’ And the usual standard of journalist intelligence got them muddled up…….

  3. But why did boats _sink_ ?? Especially if there’s actually no water. That’s really quite an achievement

  4. I have had a response from my secret mole within the bunker. Along the lines of “fing fks” with extra letters.

  5. Because you tie them up to the side. And only on one side. So, water disappears, one side is tied nice and tight and high to the bank, the other side no longer supported by the now gone water and it falls over….

  6. Hardly a canal…

    It’s a rather dismal, overgrown backwater with what looks like a collection of abandoned boats and the air of a dilapidated caravan park. The only navigation most of the boats would be capable of is drifting when their ropes rotted through.

    The throbbin heart of Twerton – not.

    the Weston Cut

    the weir being bypassed

  7. . . . looks like a collection of abandoned boats and the air of a dilapidated caravan park. The only navigation most of the boats would be capable of is drifting when their ropes rotted through.

    The Environment Agency has apologised and acknowledged fault. These boats will clearly be shiny, near-new examples of the best-in-class.

  8. It’s the lock down at Weston Island where the bus garage is – the river, not the canal. That lock failed and left the section of river up to the next sluice at the weir to drain

  9. So this is what? Seventeenth century technology? Interesting to see that the geniuses at Environment England can’t get it to work

  10. Bloke in North Dorset

    “Because you tie them up to the side. And only on one side. So, water disappears, one side is tied nice and tight and high to the bank, the other side no longer supported by the now gone water and it falls over….”

    Sinking when applied to boats implies they’ve got a hole and are filling up with water. That might happen when the water returns if something got broken but they haven’t “sunk” in the attached picture. [/pendant]

  11. @RichardT… Depends on how watertight the topsides and coachroofs are.. 🙂

    They don’t always fall over, I wouldn’t expect a narrowboat to do so as they have flat bottoms, but a more standard “river cruiser” might topple, depends on the hull shape I suppose. In the past I’ve seen much more “entertaining” things happen to tied-up boats when the water has gone away – I remember seeing a 30-foot sailing yacht left hanging on the harbour wall at Dartmouth when the tide went out (I suspect that the people who moored it were more used to “The Med” rather than somewhere with 30-foot tides). It was attended by a crowd, all listening to the creaking from the warps and cleats, eagerly awaiting to see what happened next. 🙂

  12. Does seem improbable to me. All the riverboats I’ve seen have pretty flat bottoms. Or they wouldn’t get far up a river. How deep are these waterways, normally. I fished a lot of canals & most of them come only half ways up the ducks. Why dig a canal deeper than you need to float a barge? Camden Lock’s about 7ft, as you’ll find if you’re drunk enough on a hot August Bank holiday weekend. And very niffy.

  13. That was eerie. The other drunkard went off the bridge messaged me from half way round the planet at the instant I posted that. Haven’t heard from him for 2 years. Powerful thought waves. Must be from drinking all that Abbot for years

  14. Bloke in North Dorset

    Looking at the picture those boats will just float as the water rises, unless they’re stuck to the bottom in some way. If the water level rises slowly owners should be able to free any problems. It doesn’t look deep enough to go a over their topsides anyway.

  15. Narrowboats do have flat bottoms. They also tend to have very little freeboard.

    My old boat (I was a liveaboard for 4 years) had an engine bay vent about 3″ above the waterline. I nearly sank her after getting hung up on an underwater lump of concrete in the pound between two locks on the Marple flight whilst the water level in the pound was changing rapidly.

    I could easily believe that at least some boats have ended up with bilges half full of water having been moored tight (perfectly legit if you are somewhere which should have a stable water level) and then have had the tide go out.

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