As we left Peterborough Marina, we were unlucky enough to have to be behind a houseboat, as well as another trawler, in the locks. Our second one was the famous Peterborough Lift Lock, which raises us into the air 65 feet for us to continue on our way. It is hard to believe that this structure is made of unreinforced concrete (meaning NO rebar) and its lasted for well over 100 years. Also hard to believe that each of these chambers weighs 1300 TONS. An additional foot of water is added to the upper chamber making it heavier by 130 TONS. Then a valve is opened to connect the hydraulic rams together and the heavier upper level descends as the lower one goes up! Check out pictures on Instagram @alliecan1010.
The houseboat in front of us could not make much headway, (there no such thing as “passing” in such a narrow canal) so we inched along to the next lock and the next and the next at a blistering 3.5 knots. We decided that we wanted to try to get past the houseboat, which had planned to stop at Lakefield, so we wanted to continue to the next lock and stay the night. The good news was that they would keep the next lock open for us, because there was a tour boat behind us and they had to keep the lock open for him, but the bad news was that we couldn’t stay at the lock that night because that same tour boat would be docked there. So, we had to continue 7 more miles through Katchewanooka Lake, Clear Lake and Stony Lake, until we got to the foot of Burleigh Falls. Although it made for a VERY long day, including going through a very tricky little “S” curve nicknamed “Hell’s Gate”, it was worth it in the end, as the foot of the lock wall was deeply shaded and very quiet. We were joined by a cruiser who had just bought their boat the previous week and were taking it home on the St. Lawrence River, and another trawler, 2 live-aboards who had decided to abandon Toronto for a secluded island in Georgian Bay. Stoney Lake was some of the most beautiful scenery we’ve seen – outcroppings of granite permeated by lovely cottages and even a small church (see photos on Instagram). There was no internet on the lock wall, so no post last night.
The length of our trips each day are a bit hampered by how long the locks are open. We are bit early in the season, so until June 23, the locks are only open from 10-3:30 during the week. You have to figure at least 30 minutes for each lock, and there is about a mile (sometimes more) in between during which time is speed is restricted to about 6 knots. We’ve been able to do about 6 locks comfortably during this time, but that doesn’t cover much ground. So, we’ve been in the Trent Severn now 6 days and today we are halfway through. We only had 3 locks this morning, so we arrived in Buckhorn, where we will have our permanent repairs done, around noon. And good thing too, as it began to rain about the time that we finished docking. As I think I’ve mentioned before, they has some class A rain here . . . a nice soothing rain that seems to last all day. Never torrential, just good and steady. We are set to see the town!
Buckhorn was settled by an Irish immigrant named John Hall, who chose the falls here in 1830 as the site of his new grist mill. Hall stripped his land of timber (a huge industry here at one time) and decided to give away the land. He surveyed his property into village lots and distributed them among the eldest girls in every family in the town.
Hall was a keen hunter and he would mount the prize antlers of his bucks on the side of his mill, thus earning the settlement the name Buckhorn. Its year round population is less than 500 but its close proximity to Toronto (90 miles) and Ottawa (120 miles), and positioned along the southern tip of the beautiful Canadian Shield, Buckhorn is a perfect summer get-away.
We will stay here until our engine is fully repaired which unfortunately could be the middle of next week. We are hoping sooner, but one never knows.