That’s not a lock! This is a lock!

Standard narrow beam lock on the British canal system:

7ft (2.1m) wide

70ft (21m) long

Depth varies, though say around 8ft (2.5m) deep.

Overall, a nice snug fit for Felucca.  You’d need 25 of these locks to fill an Olympic swimming pool.

IMAG0856 (2)

Nice normal lock


The next size up is the same length but fit for wide-beam craft of around 14ft wide, or two narrowboats.  Ten of them would fit into an Olympic size swimming pool.


Felucca and Tilly May sharing a lock on the Trent & Mersey back in April. 

(We met Tilly May again on the Llangollen, and they too have a blog! )

Last week, we were on the River Weaver.  They’ve had some big ships through there, and locks to match.  You need a pair of binoculars to see to the other end.  Dimensions 13m x 69m x 2.5m; getting on for a whole Olympic swimming pool.


Saltisford Lock on the Weaver. Three narrow boats over in one corner clinging to each other for dear life!

(Incidentally, one of these is another blogging narrowboat – Charles & Sally on )

Then, on Monday, we strolled down to Latchford Locks on the Manchester Ship Canal.  Your narrowboat will need some pretty hard-to-come-by seaworthiness certificates if you’re to be allowed on this one:  it really is for ships, and the locks are 20m long, 180m wide, and not far off 5m deep.  You’d need the pools from London, Beijing, Athens, Sydney, Atlanta and Barcelona to fill this one up.


That little red dot standing on the middle of the far gates is me

You thought that was a big lock?  It’s not even close.  The world’s biggest is at the Port Of Antwerp, the Berendrecht Lock.

500m long.  68m wide.  13.5 metres deep.  Half a billion litres of water.  And there haven’t been 183 Olympics to use their pools.  So you’re going to have to use half an Olympic rowing lake instead.

This is a lock!


(With apologies to )

Posted in Cruising log, History and traditions, Statistics, Wonders of the waterways
One comment on “That’s not a lock! This is a lock!
  1. nsoulsby says:

    Good comparisons!! Like it.
    In time-honoured tabloid fashion could you sneak in some reference to something stretching to the moon and back or going umpteen times round the planet?

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