Thursday, 3 September 2015

Yet another change of plan

The recent rain has resulted in another change to our cruising plans.  We realised if we cruised down onto the River Nene (and beyond) there was a possibility autumn rain might cut us off from the canal network until next spring.  Then we received an email from Paul suggesting the same.  Consequentially we have turned around and have headed back to the Grand Union Canal. 

There is a 65ft winding hole at the end of the Northampton Arm immediately above Cotton Lock and the River Nene.  Well it would be 65ft if this boat wasn’t moored across the base of the triangular winding hole.

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Waiouru is 58’6”and winding proved rather complicated.  We did nudge the boat once and whilst I felt bad about that, the feeling passed rather quickly!  All these short backwards and forwards movements to wind (turn) in a very confined space resulted in the propeller accumulating a large amount of unwanted rubbish around the propeller.  The engine was working hard but the boat wasn’t going anywhere.  Eventually we managed to get back onto the same mooring we had started from, albeit facing the opposite direction.  A trip down the weed hatch revealed we had a ball of fine weed and old clothing all carefully bound together with nylon fishing line.  This was eventually cleared with the aid of the bread knife.

There is a considerable amount of weed currently floating loose in the canal.  It tends to accumulate above the top lock gates.  Rather than exit the lock through the weed we attempted to remove much of it with the boat pole.  It appears we aren’t the only boaters to have done this.

P1010765It was a slow trip up to the base of the flight of 12 locks leading to Gayton Junction.  However we developed a routine which enabled steady progress.  Jan would go forward and set the next lock whilst I worked Waiouru though the lock below.  I’d shut the gate after leaving and raise one paddle for the following boat, before motoring to the lock Jan had set with the lower gates open.

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We made steady progress arriving at the top lock around 1.30pm.  By then both of us were looking forward to a rest.

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Top lock

There was a 20 minute stop on the CRT services at Gayton Junction to dispose of the rubbish and fill the water tank.  Also a good time for a late lunch!

The remainder of the cruise involved heading back north to Weedon.  A couple of interesting boats.

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Love the name of this small trailer boat

We could hear the sound of a vintage engine and then NB William rounded the bend.  The children looked like they were having a great time.

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The bows on these old working boats stand high out of the water when unladen. 

Buckby Locks close on Friday for repairs to damaged lock No12.  Our plan is to get through the flight tomorrow.

2 comments :

Adam said...

Until a few weeks ago, the Owl and the Pussy Cat was called Sprout -- which I thought suited it much better!

Narrowboat QISMA said...

Wise move. The timing is wrong to make the most of the Fens but please don't abandon the trip completely. You need to be there in May and take as long as it takes, a fantastic Spring/Summer cruise.