News article created on 24 October 2018

Hillmorton welcomes 10,000th boat in record year for boating

Volunteer lock keepers are celebrating a record year on the Oxford Canal after they helped their 10,000th boater through Hillmorton Locks.

Hillmorton Locks Hillmorton Locks

Our volunteers recently celebrated the milestone at Hillmorton, the busiest flight of locks on the nation’s canal network.

The 10,000th boat, NB Faithful, is owned by John & Gill Speight who have spent recent months visiting Market Harborough and Watford and who were on their way to pick up some friends. They were presented with a special certificate recognising the landmark by volunteer lock keepers Maurice Farndon and Vince Laramy.

Volunteer lock keepers act as the ‘face of the waterway’, not only helping boaters through the locks but also giving people local information about the area and lending a hand to the Canal & River Trust staff who look after the canal. The team of volunteers at Hillmorton were recently awarded a Rugby in Bloom Gold Award for their efforts to improve the canalside and create gardens for visiting boaters and local people to enjoy.

Maurice Farndon, volunteer lock keeper at Hillmorton, said: "It's good to know that we have helped so many boaters, many of whom were first time boaters who, having learned how locks work and how to get the most out of their canal experience, have then gone on and enjoyed their holiday even more. The more confident you are the more enjoyment and relaxation you will get out of being on the canal and so it’s really rewarding to be part of that.

"The big secret is that we as volunteer lock keepers get as much enjoyment as our customers. It's also good to be engaging with more and more people on the towpath, and what a difference it makes working with such a good team as the Hillmorton lockies."

Adnan Saif, regional director said: "It’s fantastic that Hillmorton has seen such a bumper year. There’s something very relaxing and therapeutic about watching boats go up and down the locks so local people are really lucky to have such a boating hotspot on their doorsteps.

"It’s also a great achievement for our amazing volunteer lock keepers and I would like to thank them for their hard work over the course of the year. They play such an important role locally, welcoming visitors, pointing out the nearest shops and pubs and helping to make the canalside a really attractive place for people living nearby to escape to."

Photo: Gill and John Speight are presented with their certificate by volunteer lock keepers Maurice Farndon (left) and Vince Laramy (right)