Epiphany's Guide to using the Handspike on the Calder and Hebble
"Most locks on the Calder and Hebble Navigation require a 'spike'."
We searched for information about this "spike". There was not a lot and no real "guide to obtaining and using said "spike". So here goes -
First obtain a "spike". It can be bought from local boatyards on the Navigation or from British Waterways at Castleford. Alternatively, a 3 foot long piece of 3"x2" hardwood is just as effective. Thanks to a fellow NABO boater we had such a piece of wood ready and waiting!
Travelling towards Sowerby Bridge, the first lock that requires this simple piece of kit for gate paddles is Thornes Lock (27), the operation of which is best shown by photos!
Rotate the barrel using the spike until it is horizontal as below
Here is John demonstrating the technique!
Repeat until open
As with all locks these should be opened first, slowly, before the gate paddles. So be patient and take it slowly otherwise your boat will bounce around, or worse.
Rotated to open ground paddle
Just a comment on our experience so far - the ground paddles at Thornes, and the two Broad Cut Locks were quite adequate and John's demonstration was just a "try out" for the photos. The boat ahead of us at Mill Bank Lock did not use the handspike; this made the lock fill more slowly since he had to be more careful because of the gate paddle flow.
We will probably need to use the handspike at some other locks, so it is best to be prepared!
You can find the whole series of photos here