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In 1977 we hired our first narrowboat from Anglo Welsh at Market Harborough.From that moment our destiny was set. In 2006 we finally purchased our own brand new 57' narrowboat which we named 'Free Spirit'. Our aim is to travel the length and breadth of all the navigable rivers and canals of the UK. This will be our story as it unfolds.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Opps! What could have happened to the height gauge at the M5 culvert!

The rain had been relentless last night doing nothing to dispel my worries about getting back under the culvert to Hanbury Junction. We only just scrapped through yesterday so what would be in store for us today if the river was up. Looking at the Barge lock first thing this morning, the gauge showed the river only just out of the red.We still decided to risk it, so after our final shop in Morrisons and also Pet Super Store for Jades goodies, we got underway after lunch. The Viking boat had already left and as they hadn't returned, led me to believe  we would be okay. The mud was still a problem at the locklanding making it difficult to alight without losing your footing but the good news was the river was not flowing as fast as we first thought. Ian made good headway upstream on tick over and once through the first of the single locks, the gauge showed the river well into the green. Then the culvert came into view. Our boat sailed under the height gauge with more inches to spare then when we arrived yesterday. To us it appeared the water had dropped. Ian took the helm to take us through this time and it appeared we had more headroom because this time I didnt need to leave the camera on the roof, but held it instead. It was while I was taking pictures that I noticed something amiss at the culvert exit.




There are several possibilities as to what may have happened. I assumed a boater must have thought they could clear the gauge, realised to late as it went under the sign, reversed out catching the sign and taking it back with it thereby causing the damage. Ian, on the other hand, seems to think that someone had climbed down from the bridge and tried to stand on it. Whichever one it was, this had now become a hazard. We managed to miss it by taking the boat hard over to the right. It would only take a moment for a boater to loose concentration to severely  damage the boat or even themselves. A phone call to BW was on the agenda once we had moored up at Hanbury Junction again.
Now that we had successfully got back through the culvert, our next task was to put the two top boxes, horn, TV Arial, tiller pin and plant pots back on the roof. We completed this task at the same lock where we had removed them all yesterday. 3o minutes later we were once again on our way and who should we meet at the staircase locks, but a volunteer lock keeper. Ian told him of the damaged sign and he said to leave it with him. He then helped us the rest of the way,  using the side pounds to half fill the lock before fully lifting the ground paddle thereby saving water. He also placed the pieces of wood on the bottom gates of the top lock helping to keep them open. No need to bring our pole out today to keep them open..

Water coming in from the back,  filling the lock from the side pound.

So that's what the wood is for!!


At the top lock, several contractors and BW folk ( or should I say CRT folk)  were erecting a hut. Asking what it was for, we were informed it was for the volunteer lock keepers. I was surprised that his flight needed lock keepers, but as they pointed out some ( especially hirers ) don't know how to use the side pound to fill and empty the locks so felt it needed someone to show them how. Personally I felt an informative sign would have probably sufficed!!

I'll leave you with a few more photos of Vines Park.

Moorings last night

Great White Shark painted on the far wall



1 comment:

Jo (Boatwoman) said...

Love the Great White Shark, that brightens up that wall.
I am not surprised they put a lock keeper on the locks with the side pounds, but was surprised they are using them, because when we came down the locks on its opening the BW man at the time, said that they would probably not be using them after the opening, because of boaters who would not know how to use them properly, which could cause issues. I am however glad they are using them, because they make such a difference. Obviously BW had a change of mind.
Happy cruising xx

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