Monday, 20 May 2013

Disused Arm

This morning all the mushroom vent tops were removed and the top edge of the interior stainless steel liners were masked with some tape we purchased from Tesco.  We even removed the extractor fan from the vent in the shower.  All of this was done because I’d become paranoid concerned that condensation might be forming up in the lid of the mushroom vent and then running down the outside of the liner into the ceiling cavity.  An earlier trip to the local Homebase store had resulted in the purchase of a tube of construction adhesive which I intended to use to seal the join between the mushroom vent and the liner.

After removing the tops of the vents it was possible to see down into the join between the base of the mushroom vent and the liner.  All the seals looked rather good so I’d obviously been panicking concerned about nothing having done the work properly the first time!  However just to make sure another beading of construction adhesive was applied and then smeared with my index finger.  My pre-planning skills must be improving because I remembered to lay paper on the floor below each vent just in case some of the adhesive dripped during the operation (it didn’t).

Why use construction adhesive?  When we were fitting out Waiouru the engineers at the boatyard told me never to use a silicon sealer as it eventually breaks down and the seal will fail.  Construction adhesive has different properties and  therefore any seal is less likely to fail.  I guess time will tell if this is accurate.

In the afternoon I decided to go exploring.  there is a timber footbridge across the canal and I wondered where it would lead.  To my surprise I discovered it led to a disused canal towpath.

The timber pedestrian bridge and entrance to the canal (red arrow).

I had incorrectly erroneously assumed this was a small winding hole.  It wasn’t until I reached the first bridge that I realised it was a canal and not a stream.

Notice the bridge number (56)

One of the bridges had a horse tunnel.

Boat arch to the left and horse arch to the right

The lower end of the canal is choked with weed and scum whilst the upper end is actually quite clear.  However the canal is very shallow with less than a foot of water in it.

Lower section

There is what looks to be a winding hole and sluice at the far end

Walkers crossing the top of the sluice

There is still water in the channel beyond the sluice.

I’ve assumed this is a sluice because the terrain is flat negating the requirement for a lock. The path of the canal and my route can be seen in the following Google Earth screen dump.

The canal route is shown in green and my return route in red.  The route back took me under the canal which provided a scene most boater wouldn’t see.

The Old Leicester Road (now a bicycle & pedestrian way) goes under the canal.  Can you see the stern of the narrowboat passing over the aqueduct?

The aqueduct has obviously been reconditioned.

Back at Waiouru it was time to do some “Googling” to see what could be found about the history of the canal.  One website stated it was part of the original canal built by Brindley.  He followed the contours of the land minimizing the need for embankments, locks, cuttings, tunnels and aqueducts.  That makes sense because there is a sizable embankment , aqueduct and a tunnel beyond this point which must have been constructed at a later date when shortening the route.  Another website mentioned the canal was actually profitable until the early 1950’s which tends to confirm the earlier information that the route had been shortened.  I also discovered during my searching that Les (nb Valerie) had previously walked the disused arm back in January 2011. 

Last night on our current mooring. 

It’s been a month since we last emptied the blackwater tank and today the gauge registered half full so tomorrow we’re planning to head to Clifton Cruisers for a pump-out and a replacement bottle of Calor gas.


Adam said...

There are numerous old loops off that part of the North Oxford, a consequence of the shortening of the route. The Willow Wren/Viking Afloat arm is one, there's another very obvious one the other side of the Newbold tunnel (and there's the previous Newbold tunnel in the churchyard), and the entrance to what is now Brinklow Marina is another.

Tom and Jan said...

Hi Adam,
I've already walked the Willow Wren Arm and previously passed the arm at Clifton Cruisers. It's a shame this part of the canal is disused as it would make great moorings.