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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.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Raining Damsons, green carpets and another question.

 Left early to get up Hanwell flight before the rain set in again only to find the bottom gate padlocked!!! Cup of tea then before Ian walked up the flight only to meet a C&RT bod walking down to open up. More bad news though, as the pound between lock 93 and 94 was dry. Apparently s a leak somewhere in the canal bed meant the pound was empty every morning, hence the padlocked gates. So we proceeded up the first 3 locks and tied to the bollards by lock 94.

Hanwell flight bottom lock, time 7.40am

Tad low

Being filled by a side sluice rather then from the next pound. Apparently it saves water and we think it comes from above Norwood top lock
 Azolla weed. This is what is carpeting the locks and pounds at the lower end of the GU. A highly invasive specious which, if left unchecked, destroys the aquatic plant life by cutting out the sunlight and starves fish of oxygen. A Weevil was introduced to several waterways a few years back hoping it would eat its way through the stuff. So far it looks as if it hasn't worked. Our own canal the Erewash was covered in the stuff back in August 2012 and 2000 Weevils released. We still have problems to date.

Not duck weed as first thought

 Stenopelmus rufinasus. Weevil photo taken from C&RT website

Amazing what one sees at canal side gardens! Wheres Barbie Ken?
Having finally got the pound deep enough for us to proceed it was a lovely sight to see a volunteer lockie cycling up the towpath. All the locks had been against us and now we had high hopes for the last three locks to be ready.  Not so though, as he cycled straight past all the locks leaving us to fend for ourselves. Felt a bit peeved at first, after all isn't that why they volunteer at locks! It was as we reached the top lock he told me he had no key with him (I presume he meant a windlass) so now I understood why.

Hooray.... a volunteer.

No not collecting water but trying to gather Damsons.

And the volunteers at Norwood top lock
After using the facilities and noticing how dark the sky were getting we high tailed it to Bulls bridge  and was very relieved to see a space on the Tesco mooring. Got there just in time before the downpour started. Had a brief lull after about an hour so off for a Tesco Shop. Will sit it out and hope for a better day tomorrow.

Just a question that someone may be able to answer. We fancy doing the Slough Arm but have heard reports that it's to silted for boats to travel along now. Anyone know if this is correct??

On route today,

It's a rubbish nest!


Alan Montague said...

I went down the Slough Arm at the end of January this year and it was ok then (2'3" draft).

Adam said...

The Slough Arm was dredged early last year from the middle to the far end, so it should be ok. It was certainly fine when I did it last year (we left Briar Rose at Highline for a month, and I did the end and back just for completeness). The first bit is the most interesting, with Bridge 0, some little aqueducts, and the coal tax obelisk. My favourite quote about the terminus is that when you get there, there's no there there. The canal just kind of peters out. However, it's worth doing just to say you've done it.

Ian and Irene Jameison said...

Thank you to you both. Think we will be heading down the Arm and that will be another waterway ticked off our list.

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