When a canal crew got to work in advance of this weekend’s Apsley Locks event on the Grand Union Canal , there was one question that had to be answered: What about the fish?
Locks 65 and 66 at Apsley on the Grand Union Canal in Hemel Hempstead are being drained for repair work, but also to allow visitors to go down inside the chambers where Canal and River Trust volunteers will be on hand to give tours on Sunday.
There will also be children’s activities, fishing, boat trips and guided tours of the historic Frogmore Mill between 10am and 4pm.
The event is part of the trust’s winter schedule of works to repair and restore hundreds of waterway structures.
Year 6 pupils from Nash Mills Primary School went along in advance of Sunday ‘s session to watch the rescue of fish stranded in between the two locks under renovation.
There were around 15 different species of fish expected to be found in this one stretch of the canal, and workers were determined to make sure they were removed safely.
Using an electrical charge of around 240 volts, the fish were gently stunned to allow easy capture and moved downstream – which will also help populate the canal for the free fishing taster sessions on offer during the lock open day.
The lock repair work is taking place during this week and over the weekend so visitors can see the renovation process as part of the open day.
Canal locks usually last around 25 years and the repair to both gates of Lock 65 and complete replacement of Lock 66 is set to total £60 thousand.
It is part of a £45 million programme stretching over 2,000 miles of canals and rivers, which is being sponsored by Kier.
You can get to the Apsley on foot from Ebberns Road. There is parking available at Sainsbury’s in London Road, where the usual waiting restrictions won’t apply for canal visitors.
Senior waterways manager Jeff Whyatt said: “Most people will have walked past a lock but very few will have walked along the bottom of one.”
The event is free and the last lock entry time is 3pm.