Firstly, here's Dad steering the boat from the back, I had a go and it's not easy as you have to steer left in order to go right and steer right in order to go left all the while missing other boats and trying not to bash into the bank!! It didn't take me long to decide that this was a job better left to Dad while we kept him supplied with tea and cake (as you can see!!), by the way, this cake was cake made by yours truly!!
Now...if a canal was a normal river you'd have things like waterfall and stuff like that. Except that of course you can't expect ANY boat to happily go sailing over a waterfall unless you intentionally set out to do whitewater rafting! And as the canals were originally built to carry stuff like coal from Newcastle to London (and other places of course, as there is a whole network of canals!) there had to be a way of getting up and downhill without shooting the rapids. So, a very ingenious engineer came up with locks that would hold the water back and still enable the narrowboats to go up and downhill.
Matt is either opening or closing the paddle on the left and Mum is doing the same on the right. I think that we are actually going up hill at this point because I am taking the photo from the front of the boat (I think), and on closer examination, it would appear that the boat is IN the lock and Mum and Matt are opening the paddles to let the water into the lock so that the boat rises to the level of the water on the other side of the lock. Once the water is at the same level, Mum and Matt can then open the gates and Dad can steer the boat through the lock. Of course, Mum and Matt then need to be able to jump back on the boat so that we can carry on!! Sometimes the locks wouldn't be all that far apart so it was quite nice to walk from one lock to the next getting a bit of exercise!
In the above photo you can see the windlass that I'd been using to open the paddle to let the water in or out - Mum's still going - some of them were very tough to open, while others were so easy it was a doddle! I mean, some of them needed us to put our full body weight onto the windlass in order to get it moving and other times it was like winding a window open - easy as pie!
And finally, I leave you with a very interested Poppy, I wonder what she thinks of those ducks!!? Or perhaps more to the point - what do the ducks think of her!?