I dont get it! It's a lift bridge, how hard can it be? The up direction and the down direction are clearly marked, in white, with arrows and ↑'UP' & ↓'DN'. Yet people can still get two or three rotations of the windlass before they realise they are turning the the windlass the wrong f*****g way! Even though its a real struggle. When they have wound the bridge 'UP' rarely do they realise that if the winding gets stiffer the bridge is 'UP'. The fact that the beam is sitting on the floor doesn't permeate their thick skulls.
People came through last year when it was very stiff saying, "It never used to be that stiff" and this year they are saying, "I was told it was very stiff." One can only assume that they have never fixed anything in their lives.
The working mechanism is not on the towpath side. If you are a single hander, providing you are less than 58 feet and are skillful you can moor on the working side. There is one bollard, roughly midships to tie your handling line around. There really is no need to moor on the other side and walk down to the lock to cross over to get back to your boat.
If you are longer than 58ft you can get your bow on to the working side bollard, then take your bow rope on to the bollard while working the bridge. You can either traverse down the gunnel or walk through the boat.
If you are a single hander then be a single hander. Dont ask me to help you because I wont. I have been a single hander for nigh on 15 years I accept help sometimes when offered but never ask for help. You chose to be a single hander so be a single hander. Don't keep expecting others to 'help' you because you cant sit back for a few mins and solve the problem in front of you.
There are some boats I will help through, an elderly couple and a chap who had a stroke and lost the use of his right arm come to mind immediately
There is always a dummy who says, "Why are the beams are on the "wrong side?" To which I have to respond, "Donkeys, mules, and cart horses don't jump beams. In fact it would be a folly if they did, the risk of injury is greater.
"But we don't have donkeys, mules, and carthorses anymore". That's true, but CRT are tasked with keeping the history and heritage as intact as best they can. If you dont like it buy a caravan! Your ignorance and lack of thinking ability is dangerous and damaging to the equipment we all rely on.
Two boats this last few months have, through their own bloody mindedness, crashed into the bridge. One, BLUEPRINT, wasn't too bad although the bridge did shake, but the second, WARRIOR, was under power. More than a crawl! and lifted it up off it hinges. Fortunately it dropped back in the right place.
Earlier this year I was moored on the outside of the wharf with the historic KILSBY on the inside. This leaves a good 15 feet for the passage of two boats. A chap comes past and bounced of the MILLY M. I asked if he had enough room and highlighted the fact that Tooley's do give handling lessons to which he blurted out, "Well you shouldn't be moored there".
There was only one reply I could muster. "I wondered how long it would be before your lack of boating skills was my fault". It seems that people want to change things instead of honing their boating skills.
A few week later I was moored on the inside and KILSBY an 111 year old FMC boat was on the outside. Now I dont know about you but even though I am 5'8" I stand on a 14" high milk crate when steering. This way I can see forward to just about 60' in front of the boat. The Skipper of MAISIBERT, seeming somewhat shorter than me, stands on the stern deck and cant see the 200 yards in front at all. He was 3/4 of the way across KILSBY when he hit it. I thought KILSBY was going through the bridge! "Sorry", he said "I didn't see it". Well of course he wouldn't see it his narrow boat was in the way.
I know negotiating past Tooley's is not easy, but that's a good reason for taking care. People are more likely to come on through the bridge when there is a boat waiting, than to wait until it has a free passage. The other side of the bridge has space for six boats at push and still leaves passage from the lock, but do they wait, NO!
On the other side I have seen boats who wouldn't go through to the lock waiting area because the was one boat ready to come through despite mooring spaces for six boats.