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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.

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Not often we have to reverse out of a lock

Lovely early morning start with glorious sunshine to aid us on our way. All to soon we came to Old ford lock which was in use with a C&RT pusher, pushing a very large barge. After this lock was the very sharp L hand turn into Hertford Canal. I had hoped to do it in one go but didn't anticipate the curtain of willow hanging down completely obscuring my vision. I managed to miss hitting the side by the skin of my teeth and after a bit of reverse manged to get into the junction.

The willow tree branches was overhanging the turning point. Junction on the left.

Heading for the wall!!!

 The locks on this arm was very slow to fill and all but one was empty and had to be filled. In the middle pound I watched the bottom getting rather near to the top as water rapidly disappeared to fill that lock. Keeping in the middle was the only option as trying to get on the lock landing was impossible.

View of the Gerkin from Hertford Canal. It is really 30 St Mary Axe, widely known as The Gerkin and situated on the former site of The Baltic Exchange. At 180 metres tall, it is the second tallest building in the City of London

Graffiti by Hertford bottom lock

This is why it was full
 All to soon we entered the river Lee and first thing to notice was the Olympic park. I must say the first section was full of new development and loads of moored boats along the route. There were spaces available and we have earmarked several for on the way back to go and explore the Olympic site.

Olympic Park

Loose boat only held on by the front rope.

  The first few locks on the river have either manual locks on one side and automated on the other. At the first lock, Tottenham lock, we paired up with Nb Sunflower and all went reasonably well. Buttons were pushed and the hydraulics responded. Not so on the next lock, Stonebridge lock. Sunflower went in first, roped up and waited for me to arrive. Ian got off to take the rope and that's when things went a bit pear shaped. The lady on nb Sunflower pressed the buttons to close the gates and then tried to open the paddles on the top gates. A lot of whirling noise but nothing happened. Ian went round to see if he could help and noticed the bottom gate paddle on the east side still up. So they tried to close it by pushing the button. Nothing! they then opened the gates, closed them again and tried again. Nothing. A phone call to C&RT to report the situation and all that was left for us do was reverse out and enter the west lock which was manual. Boy are these manual locks hard work. Ian and the lady struggled with the gates that have to be shut using the windlass. A lever then has to be pulled out so the paddles can be opened, again winding it with the windlass. Ian was utterly exhausted by the time he had got us up. Then Sunflower disappeared onto the facilities leaving Ian to wind down the paddles and then wind again to close the gate. By now he was on his last legs and we did no more then find a secluded spot so Ian could recover. We have decided to have a BBQ tonight as the weather is still good and the walks round her are excellent. Fishing's not bad either!

Stonebridge lock

Paddle not closed properly

The gentleman on Sunflower phoning C&RT

Now in the west side manual lock

Ian closing one gate and having to walk round to do the other. Poor lad should have had 3 Weetabix for breakfast!
I did feel so sorry for this Heron. Wonder how he damaged his wing.
Looks soooo dejected.

And finally:-



Jill, Matilda Rose said...

So how did you get them to stay still whilst you rubbed in all that baby oil?

Anonymous said...

Not sure if the new flash panel works the same way but with the old one you just took your key out and all paddles dropped


Ian and Irene Jameison said...

Hi Richard,
Apparently all the gates and mechanisms were replace 18months ago so removing the key didn't help.

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