It is said a past lockeeper many years back painted the extra ground paddles Red with the standard paddles left White. The Red paddles are linked to side ponds so water can be taken from or given to the lock in use and not lost down the flight to the lower canal.
So important is it to operate the paddles correctly a little verse will help you;
"Red afore white and you'll be alright, white afore red and you'll wish you were dead!"
The locks are in the control of a lockeeper and you must register your boat with him and not just operate the locks on your own. The staircase 4 is not the place to meet another boat coming in the opposite direction.
During winter a few years back I remember operating the locks with friends Andy and Tina as a notice declared the locks un-supervised and to check no boats were using the flight before you moved off.
|Jaq has done the Banbury and Aylesbury arm staircases but this is her first staircase of four within a flight that uses side ponds. Next time I will let her do the paddles.|
|This panorama shows the side ponds alongside the locks. Until I raise the Red paddle the side pond remains calm.|
|With the Red paddle raised the water enters the side pond and is stored for when needed to fill the lock.|
|A Google satellite view of the side ponds. Originally this section was to be a deep cutting and a short tunnel but the purchase of some rather expensive land made life easier.|
A piece of old 1950`s film HERE of commercial carrying. Just found it while doing this post. It is 39 minutes long so a link is best if you have limited internet.