Monday, 29 July 2013

Harecastle, a couple of drips, and itchy legs

We arrived at the Harecastle Tunnel moorings just as a lone boat exited.  There were two boats already waiting to go and the Tunnel Keeper kindly let us be the third boat telling us “You’ve got excellent timing!”  Once Waiouru had entered the tunnel the door was shut behind us and the 747 engine extractor fans were turned on.  There was quite a draft and the noise was incredible.  Both of us donned coats realising from our previous transits that it would be wet.  The first boat must have struggled with the dark as it was the slowest of our four journeys!  Most of it was done at tick-over.  To hold boredom at bay we loudly sang our way through.  Heaven knows what the boater ahead thought!
The northern portal looked exactly as we last saw it in 2005. Smile
The orange colour in the water is caused by leeching inside the tunnel
At Kidsgrove we briefly stopped to restock all the cupboards at the nearby Tesco before moving to the Red Bull CRT facilities where we topped up the water point.  Dropping down through the remaining three locks in the Red Bull flight we moored on some rings just beyond the Liverpool Road bridge.
On a number of occasions Jan has mentioned she gets dripped on from the saloon Houdini hatch.  I’ve always said it’s condensation but recently I’ve been sitting under the hatch and noticed there is a drip(or two) from this hatch but not the other two.  On closer examination it appears we may have a very small leak.
This oak joint looks like it might be starting to swell
All the solid oak joinery used to make the internal Houdini trim was given three coats of Impreg before being installed and varnished.  I did it so I know that’s what happened.  The oak is unlikely to discolour or rot in the immediate future but I want to rectify the situation now.  The plan is to remove the metal hatch and liberally smear the area with silicone sealer before reinstalling the hatch.  The first task was to buy some silicone.  A quick internet search showed a B&Q hardware store approximately six kilometres away across the fields and though an urban area.  The walk across the fields proved to be very pleasant.
From the top of the fields there were good views north towards the canal and Cheshire plains.  Looking east there is some high ground with what looked to be some type of ruin at the top.
If my memory is sound the Macclesfield Canal skirts around the base of this hill.  Some digital cutting and zooming gave more detail.
Looking at the map I believe this is ‘Mow Cop’?
Thinking the vegetation part of the walk was over I was surprised to discover the footpath through the urban area was heavily overgrown.  An error on my part was to decide to walk in shorts and a T-shirt.  After forcing my way through the brambles and stinging nettles for some way it was time to pause and take stock of the situation.  I hadn’t reached the halfway point and the stinging nettles appeared to be getting thicker and higher.  Did I need to use this route or was there an alternative?  In the end I backtracked and used a road to reach B&Q.  The sky started to look ominous walking back to Waiouru and any idea of removing the hatch later in the afternoon was deferred until fine weatherThe experience with the stinging nettles came back to haunt me as I now have rather itchy legs.
Now moored somewhere on Heartbreak Hill with more locks in front than behind! Sad smile


Davidss said...

I suspect your 'Mop Cop' is actually Mow Cop Castle, around the OS NGR SJ 858 574. It doesn't appear to be named on the 1:50,000 scale, but is on the 1:25,000 scale.
In Google Maps this shows the Castle (and the essential Car Park!).

Regards, David.

Halfie said...

Not "Mop Cop". Try "Mow Cop", Tom.

Tom and Jan said...

I think my name is better :-) But what a strange name!