Wednesday, 1 September 2010
Monday 30th August
The whole point of today was to get to the bottom of Crofton Locks and visit the Crofton Pumping Station. There are six locks going from the top to the bottom and each time a lock is used 20,000 gallons of water move down the canal so a pump is needed to replenish the water level in the summit pound. Originally the pump was run on steam though it is now done by electricity. The original pumping station is open six days a week but is only “in steam” a few times a year – one of which was today. I have to admit, as someone who doesn’t know one end of an engine to another, I was fascinated and came away knowing more or less how it all worked! The pumping station was built in 1807 and now has two wonderful, but differently designed, pumps. For those steam buffs amongst my readers, one is a Harvey of Hayle built in 1846 and the other is a Boulton and Watt built in 1812. The Boulton and Watt is the oldest working beam engine in the world still in its original engine house and capable of actually doing the job for which it was installed. Only one engine is run at a time and we were fortunate enough to see the change over from one to the other. On the weekends when the pumping station is in steam, British Waterways switch off their pumps and the old steam pumps take over. Apparently it takes 20 minutes for the pumps to take the water from one lock use back up to the summit pound. As it was a special “in steam” weekend there were a few added attractions including some goats – I couldn’t resist these ones! The one of the left is the mother of the baby on the right who is only four weeks old. After our visit we had a relaxing afternoon ready for an excursion to a pub for dinner. We had seen the sign for the pub the last time we were at Crofton so we set off only to find that they weren’t serving meals as it was Bank Holiday Monday and we had no dinner on board! We made our way back to Mary H where Richard managed to make scrambled eggs, bacon, beans and sweetcorn all served on toast – a veritable feast!!