Last weekend we took a trip down a long flight of metal steps, and descended into the bowels of a lock on our local canal. It was Lock 72 of the Trent and Mersey canal, to be precise, where it passes through Middlewich. The Canal and River Trust have closed off a section of canal and drained the water out, so that they can replace the worn, wooden lock gates. We were invited to step inside the lock chamber, where we learned a bit about the 200-year history of the canal system, and could view the chamber from the ground up. It was awesome, to say the least.
You can see a slide-show of Catherine's photos of the lock open day
I didn’t get to hear what our guide was saying, because I was distracted with our children, who had great fun splashing in a puddle along the length of the canal basin. But I did appreciate the beauty of the rough stone walls, and how it looked from below. There is a certain atmosphere around the canal that is both spooky and exciting. I felt a deep connection with the spirits of those who had passed through this lock during the past two centuries, and it was a warm feeling despite the cold weather.
A view from the depths of the lock, showing the pedestrian bridge above. Photo: Catherine Green
Although I am not native to Middlewich, and have only lived here for almost ten years, I feel a sense of home in this town. It was partly the canal and the river that confirmed my place when our estate agent suggested properties to view back when my husband (then fiancé) and I decided to move from Manchester. I want to raise our children with an understanding of the town’s heritage, because it is now their heritage, and when an opportunity arises to explore a place that is normally inaccessible, we jump at the chance. Lock 72 was a wonderful exploration, and one that will remain a fond memory for our daughters as they grow up.