- Lock 1 &4, the top of the staircase lock are vicious fillers. Beware if you are coming up the flight.
- Lock 1 & 2, the bottom gates don't stay open.
- Don't try to get your crew off anywhere other then the lock landing. Its the only place not full of silt.
- Make sure you check your air draft. The culvert is very low!!
- As you approach barge lock be careful when you alight because the landing is very slippery, especially now that there has been numerous landslides.
- Make sure you take your BW key with you, as the swing bridge in this lock needs to be opened before you go in.
- And lastly. If a boat is exiting the lock and going downstream, and you are coming upstream, Please let the down stream boat go through the bridge 'ole first. Its very difficult to stop a boat and wait when you are having to go with the flow!
I had to wait while Ian filled the first lock. ( see point 1 ) Thats when he told me about the violence of the water rushing in causing a huge 3ft wave to career along the lock chamber.( Note to myself. Open paddles slowly! ) Only problem coming down was the bottom gates not doing as they were told.
( see point 2 ). Apparently there are two pieces of wood lying near the lock gates with a note asking for them not to be removed. These are probably for keeping the gates open although Ian reckoned they didn't look long enough. Anyway Ian had to walk back to me to get our pole.
|Gates refusing to stay open.|
The next lock also had the same problem.but at least Ian kept the pole with him. Heading for the next lock we had a boaters eye view of the narrow channel caused by all the reeds, and of the thousands of wildflowers planted all over this site.
The top lock of the staircase lock had to be filled for me to enter and Ian said that this lock was by far the most vicious filler he has ever seen. When we were at the festival last year, BW was manning this lock and had put limiters on the paddles so it could only be opened a quarter of a turn. At the time we wondered why they would do this. Now we know why! This lock is also very deep and going into the next lock I noticed loads of slugs along the wall. Its funny that only this morning BBC Breakfast TV had been talking about the Spanish killer slug and how it can become cannibalistic. I witnessed this actually happening. Quite bizzare really after all the news coverage.
|Very deep lock|
|Wall was covered in slugs. These are only a few but there must have been a hundred or more.|
We only had one more lock to go through before the M5 culvert. Both of us walked on down after leaving the boat in the lock, to see if the river gauge had changed from yesterday. It hadn't, so next thing for us to do was remove the top boxes, plants, TV, horn and tiller pin. We were not going to risk entering the culvert with them on as we knew that it was slightly lower in the middle then the height gauge showed.
|Top boxes in well deck|
|Had to get a wrench to twist the tiller pin.|
|That Ian used a pin punch to take it off completely. You may wonder why we have 2 tiller pins. We hang our stern rope on this one.|
|Look a clutter free roof!!|
|More eggs to be had by the lockside.|
Now that the roof line was as low as we could get it, we dropped down the lock and with some trpidation slowly made our way to the culvert. I left my camera on the roof so I could record the event. Only trouble was the camera focus was on the rope instead of where I wanted it, but you can still see that we had only inches to spare as we went through.
|A bit tight.|
|Look at our hatch cover. That shows how close we were to the roof. This is when inches do matter!|
|On our way out.|
|Lock landing is around the corner, not where the Bw boat is. I took this, and the next photo, last year in July at the opening ceremony of the canal. It shows very nicely what I mean about the weir.|
Again as we left another boat arrived and Ian told me he would help this boat through. Usually no proplrem for me to hang around in the middle but today the unthinkable happened, the engine stalled. Ian still had the key so I yelled to him to bring it, but in the meantime I was now nearly broadside across the basin. I grabbed the center rope, attempted to throw it at him, only for it to end up in the water not on the bank. By now I was near enough for Ian to throw me the key. I shoved it in the ignition, turned it on and sure enough the boat started, but I had forgotten that I had left it in gear!!!! So rope in water, prop turning and the possibility of the rope around the screw! It was only my quick thinking to bang it into neutral that saved the day. I then had to walk down the gunwale to retreave the rope while still drifting toward the far bank. Few!!! Im quite glad today is over. It's certainly been an interesting day!!!
We are now listening to the rain beating down on the roof and wondering what sort of damage a Viking Afloat hire boat has done to our port side when the crashed their bow directly into us.We looked on in horror as they used us as a bow thruster and then the end of the potoon as a brake!
|Ian and Vivien|
|On there way back to Hanbury Junction|