Canals and Locks

Water and boats are an integral part of my life. Brought up around sailing boats, often in canoes, there seems a magnetic attraction to things nautical. We’ve taken two trips in narrowboats (yet to be documented here!) across Wales and Scotland. I’m not a big fan of motorized boats but it’s an easy and comfortable way to travel. The canals we’ve experienced have been nestled within nature so closely that we often felt quite separated from the hurly burly that was, in reality, just beyond the hedge row. We visited Lock 21 over the long weekend here in Canada, which is the tallest hydraulic lock in the world and is part of the Trent – Severn canal system. It was remarkable to see it in action.

The lock is a national historic site and is surrounded by some lovely grounds and has a visitor centre, in case you’re bringing children. Ours liked watching the boats going onto or off the lock mechanism, partly because they’ve been through a good two dozen locks themselves. It’s not quite as sci-fi looking as the Falkirk Wheel, which we used while going from Edinburgh to Glasgow, but it’s still amazing to see in action, partly because it goes so quickly!

There is a set of stairs to the left of the single-lane road tunnel that goes through the lock, that will take you to the top of the lock. It was quite windy and exposed up there but a great view as the lock was in motion.

We had actually tacked the Lock on to a visit to the Canadian Canoe Museum (which is a remarkable place, not only for nationalistic Canadians, but anyone who wants a better understanding of the remarkable craftsmanship by aboriginal people and later canoe builders using wood and hide) and weren’t sure what we’d see. It’s worth going out of your way to see in action, and I’m going to have to find a way to take a trip up the canal to see it from the boat’s perspective!

I took a very low res video with my phone of the lock in action.

David Whelan

I improve information access and lead information teams. My books on finding information and managing it and practicing law using cloud computing reflect my interest in information management, technology, law practice, and legal research. I've been a library director in Canada and the US, as well as directing the American Bar Association's Legal Technology Resource Center. I speak and write frequently on information, technology, law library, and law practice issues.