Divers called in for crucial repairs after damage to canal lock

SAVING THE DAY -- a diver preparing to repair the damage at Torksey Lock.

SAVING THE DAY -- a diver preparing to repair the damage at Torksey Lock.

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A team of divers has braved the cold to repair damage to the canal lock at Torksey, which could have ground Lincolnshire’s waterways to a halt.

Torksey Lock marks the junction of the River Trent and the historic Fossdyke Navigation and forms the gateway to all the county’s rivers and canals.

But when it was inspected, officials spotted a damaged ‘spear rod’, which connects its operating mechanism to a sluice door. Known as a paddle, this sluice door is used to fill the lock with water, but because it is underwater, divers had to be called in.

The divers investigated the full extent of the problem, and found damage to a bolt linking the rod to the paddle that had to be put right.

“The problem may only have been as simple as a damaged bolt, but the repair was far from straightforward,” said Sean McGinley, waterway manager for the Canal And River Trust, the charity that cares for 2,000 miles of waterways in England and Wales.

“Imagine trying to carry out repairs to your car when you’re in full diving gear, surrounded by cold water. It’s no mean feat.

“Although the water was really clear, visibility was far from perfect, so the divers did a great job. It’s brilliant that the lock is now back to its best and working as it should.”

The lock is the first on the historic Fossdyke and enables boaters to make their way from the Trent to Lincoln, Boston and beyond on what is a popular route. Mr McGinley added: “It may seem unusual to get divers in but, with more boats on our waterways than at the height of the Industrial Revolution, it’s an example of the work we do to keep things running smoothly.”