Swans enjoying the winter sunshine at Stoke Bruerne
When we arrived, shortly after midday, around 450 had already been down into the lock chamber. Yesterday the miserable weather had meant that only 380 had braved the elements. That is not to say that today was warm. There was a brisk wind and the temperature didn't go above 5 deg so the volunteers on the towpath encouraging others to join them we feeling decidedly chilly. In fact, probably the best place to get out of the breeze was in the lock.
In the lock chamber
It is rare that you get to see the more than a glimpse of the lower workings of a lock. Perhaps the top of the circular culvert that carries water from the ground paddle into to the chamber. But here were were able to walk on the floor of a wide lock and see how it had an invert like a tunnel and how at Stoke Bruerne it was made of numerous small bricks, similar to those for constructing Blisworth Tunnel.
Gate, cill and ground-paddle culvert
Rarely seen - the ground-paddle culvert
(and some freshwater muscles)
Evidence of a culvert that may have been used to connect the two Top Locks
Original brickwork at the base of the lock - in great condition
CRT Volunteers explaining it all
We managed to have our first outdoor meal of the year, a baguette and a ginger beer, sitting on a bench by the winding hole near Blisworth Tunnel - it was out of the wind. We also visited the Museum cafe which was open for the occasion.
Drained pound by the Navigation Inn
Low sun with a clear (right) and a faint (left) sun dog
Sun dogs are halo phenomena caused by ice crystals in the atmosphere and occur around 22 deg either side of the sun. They are mostly seen when the sun is low. I have posted about them before - I am keen on such atmospheric effects.
Close-up of sun dog