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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 5 June 2013

Wedged solid in Stenson lock

Who would have thought when we got underway this morning that things were about to go horribly wrong!  Firstly, more boats were around today, but none going our way so although we waited for a while at Weston lock, no boats appeared. This lock is a pig of a lock. Even with one ground paddle lifted to half way, the force of the water flings you forward and even in full reverse, I couldn't stop the momentum. Thankfully Ian dropped the paddle quick before I crashed into the gates ahead.

At Stenson lock we noticed a Nb Kingfisher waiting at the lock landing so putting on a bit of a spurt, made it before they had time to close the gate. (Neither Mr nor Mrs had noticed us behind them)  Having dropped Ian off first I was beckoned in by the other boat owner. Wondering why they hadn't opened the right-hand gate properly I attempted to sidle in. It all happened after that! Unbeknown to me the right-hand gate refused to open any more, and the other boat owner, instead of moving forward to give me more room, just sat in the middle.The inevitable happened. I came to a grinding halt, half in and half out of the lock. Okay, so I thought I would just reverse out. Wrong 'cos reverse didn't make a blind bit of difference. I gave it some more power, still nothing. The chap in the other boat then went to move his boat forward, still nothing. We both then tried, me in reverse and him in forward and all we managed was to produce a load of smoke. After a lot of head shaking and consultation from other boat owners waiting to descend, we decided to phone C&RT emergency number.  Ian was still topside and trying to shout instructions, meanwhile more boats started arriving at the top. C&RT wasn't that helpful but did say that someone would be sent from Loughborough to assess the situation. I had visions of being stuck down there for hours. The lady in the other boat suggested bacon butties which I thought a brilliant idea. How our crew topside would have got them would probably mean rigging up some sort of basket system.Thankfully it didn't come to that. Ian was still trying to shout instructions and all the while more and more boats were still arriving at the top. Suddenly Ian had a brainwave. With a number of bodies watching and discussing our predicament, if they all heaved on the right hand gate together and my contribution of putting the boat hard in reverse, it might just give me enough room to squeeze out. Guess what! It worked. Nb Kingfisher edged forward at the same time and because they were now far enough forward, I could bring FS back in, . Phew...... what a relief. Next was a quick phone call to C&RT telling them we were okay but also a bit of a moan about the state of the gates. We were reassured that someone would still be down to have a look.

Stuck at this angle

Wedged against Nb Kingfisher

Wedged on the bottom gate

View looking from the front to the back and you can clearly see that both gates wont fully open.

This is as far as both gates would open!
After all this excitement the rest of the trip to Branson water park went without hitch. I took loads of photos again so here is my selection. I may have to start another blog just for my wildlife photos.

Waiting for lunch at Stenson lock

Branston water park

Plenty of rabbits on the towpath.

Being well and truly told off!

Jade enjoying a swim

and a good shake. Thanks for that Jade!

1 comment:

Bruce in Sanity said...


That gate's been a problem for a couple of years now.

Glad you got out OK…



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