Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Gone for a Cruise

We’ve taken stock of our concerns and decided to go for a short cruise on KL heading up the Llangollen to Ellesmere.  The weather on the first day was a mixture of sunshine and cold breezes off the canal.  It was actually a good day to be on the water.  Not freezing and wet or hot and sweaty.

We stopped for lunch at Wrenbury having successfully negotiated the route through the electrically operated lift bridge.  We were one of four boats which did create a slight queue of cars whose drivers waited patiently.  It was a reasonably tight turn made more difficult by the moored bows of the hire boats from the Alvechurch boatyard protruding into “my” manoeuvre space.

Moored at Wrenbury for a late lunch

After five previous trips on hire boats it is such a pleasure to be able to cruise without a timetable. The locks at Grindley Brook proved interesting.  not because they were particularly complicated but rather watching the boaters jockeying to get up or down the flight of six.  The first lock going up is on a blind bend with a bridge.  At first Jan couldn’t work out if it was a lock, bridge or tunnel.  Meanwhile I’m on the back of the boat with a running engine under my feet.  This resulted in a period of failed communication with Jan talking to me from a distance of 50 metres whilst waving her arms.  I was unable to interpret the information and responded in my best parade ground voice “I CAN’T HEAR YOU!”.   The arms waved more furiously and I thought she was going to take off at one point.  In the end I decided to take the boat forward and we successfully entered the first lock.  A boat was just exiting the second lock however we were unable to enter because the crew of the boat following down immediately closed the gates and refilled the lock.  It wasn’t a problem for us as we weren’t in a hurry and the crew did apologise for “stealing our lock”!

I then remembered Peter had mentioned there were a pair of “walkie talkies” on KL so I asked Jan to retrieve them.  Whilst this certainly improved our communication we need to discuss the formality of the voice protocol and simplify the range of words used.  “Yes – No – Move forward – Stay”.  Entering into long conversations only results in confusion.  Particularly when the steerer is slightly deaf!

The last three locks are a staircase and we were assisted by the BW lock keeper who was ex RAF and had served in the Falklands War during the early 80’s. 

Whitchurch appears to have turned its back on the canal.  Walking up the arm to the town it appeared that the upper two thirds of the arm had been filled in making the walk into the town longer than necessary. 

Tomorrow we head for Ellesmere


Amy said...

Two words: sign language

Much more effective than shouting or walkie talkies. Establish a basic set you both understand and see what a difference it makes!

Enjoy your cruise

Tom and Jan said...

Yes..... That will work provided we can see each other!

Peter and Margaret said...

The route back through the Wrenbury lift bridge is even more challenging if there are still hire boats in the basin. It is all about taking it very slowly, using reverse if necessary to bring the bow round and away from the hire boats. Good helmsmen don't need bow thrusters!

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