Lived on-board Hadar

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Sunday, August 17, 2008

Anglesey Basin to the top of Ryders Green Locks

Saturday 16th August.

Anglesey Basin to Longwood Junction. 7.4 miles, 4 hours 20 minutes.
7.20am and we were off for a reasonably early start. Brian on N.B Kyle joined us as we set off. We headed back along the Anglesey Branch past the coal shoots and Ogley Junction.At Catshill Junction we turned onto the Daw End Branch and headed for Walsall Wood. At 8.40am Brian was the first one down the weed hatch, pulling out allsorts of rubbish, so this did not bode well. We now had a convoy amassing behind us. At 9.15am it was our turn. Hadar came to a sudden halt in Walsall Wood Bridge ‘Ole, her engine stopped dead, so we knew it was serious. I managed to get to the bow and haul the bow in whilst Keith coped with the stern. Steve from N.B Bluemoon came down and gave us a hand, to stern haul her out of the bridge ‘ole and into a safer place so the others who were behind us could pass. Keith then striped off and disappeared into the weed box. He reappeared saying “We are going to be sometime, we have what looks like a boat canopy around the prop, and I cannot even move the prop by hand, so wave everyone on” ,So everyone was waved on whilst Keith grappled with this mystery object. It then got revealed to me on the towpath, that there had been a banner on the bridge, advertising Fitness First. I looked up, no banner was there. So I put two and two together and made four. Yes it was around our prop arghhhhh. I then conveyed this message to Keith, who was hacking away at this thing with the Stanley knife.Some 50 minutes later he emerged from the weed box with the offending item, and yep as I guessed it was the Fitness first banner. Companies really should be careful where they hang their promotional banners and I will be sending them the photo and conveying my message. We only got half of it, so god only knows where the rest went. This one was taken down by the local kids and just thrown over the bridge. Despite that interruption to our day, we did have the most wonderful time and saw some fabulous countryside. The canal itself is weeded up and the water quality is poor, but the scenery makes up for that part. We arrived at Longwood Junction at 12.30pm and moor up against a BW hopper, with Brian’s boat alongside, giving enough room for the others to join in, because two groups will now become one as we all meet up at the same place for the rest of the cruise.
The evening was spent in the Longwood Boat Club eating ordered fish and chips, which were mmmm yummy and enjoying the company of like minded people. Brian gave a talk about the scandal of Russell Newbery over the history and we were treated to a monologue by Peter, which was all about a holiday they had on a hire boat. It was excellent. We needed our beds so did not stay till late.

Sunday 17th August.

Longwood to the top of Ryders Green Locks. 7.6 miles, 17 locks, 7 hours 40 minutes

We had agreed with Brian that we would leave at 5am, so we were in bed pretty early only to be woken up by rain lashing down and a howling wind. My thought was I only hope we are not going to be working locks in this weather at 5am. The alarm clock shattered our slumber at 4am and we crept out of bed.I opened the back cabin doors to a dark but glorious morning and no rain; the daylight was just putting in an appearance. Brian was up because I could see his back cabin light on. We had breakfast and a cup of tea, but Paddy did not get his walk until later in the morning. So come 5am we could hear the engine start up of N.B’s Clover, Alder, Temeraire and Tenacious, so they as always were off early. Come 5.10am Brian was ready to go, so we set the locks between us and off he went, we had problems with the gates at lock two as they would not stay open, but soon cured that problem and he was off into daybreak. Keith then fired up Hadar and worked his way slowly and as quietly as he could to lock one, where I was waiting. Daybreak revealed a misty morning, but it looked stunning. The weather for the day would be occasional showers, but mostly sunshine, which at times was really hot.I even got to hear the first bird sing at the break of dawn, it was beautiful. By this time Roy on N.B Gerald No 13 had also set off below the locks, so we had a 3 boat convoy down the locks at Rushall. Brian was in front followed by Roy, followed by us, so we helped each other do the Rushall seven.At Rushall Junction we turned onto the Tame Valley Canal, where we caught up with the boats that left at 5am and Brian who was having a breather, we then followed the M6 for away, with its roaring traffic and usual mayhem. The canal then goes over the M6 so we get to look down on the cars for a change. Some of the canal can be very weeded up so you have to keep to the channel, especially with deep drafted boats, but it is worth the visit. At the Tame Valley Junction turned onto the Walsall Canal and made our way to Ryders Green Locks, which were to prove our biggest challenge of the day.We arrived at the locks with Roy on N.B Gerald No 13 and set off up the flight of eight locks. At Lock 2 we noticed a boat coming down, they had set four locks in advance, so we thought we would wait and not steal their water, what we had not realised until we went through and got to Lock 5 was that they had used all the water from the pounds above and had left a paddle up grrrrr. So the pounds above lock 5 to 8 were all empty. Roy immediately rang Brenda on N.B Colehurst and Ian on N.B Temeraire to ask them to slow people down as it would be a while before we could get enough water down. He also ran British Waterways, to inform them of the situation and to tell them we had 30 + boats wanting to come up. So said “they would send someone out”, which they did but we had between us sorted the problem out and were soon on our way with a que of boats following us up. By 1.20pm along with Roy and his boat we had moored up, so we decided between us to work some of the locks to get people through, which worked really well, and as some people moored up they came and helped as well. We had all the boats up through the locks by 5.45pm.The Eight Locks pub, kept people in drinks ha ha. Roy on Gerald No13 had worked like us had worked like trojans getting everyone moored up. With everyone safely moored up we could enjoy and quiet evening onboard our boats. I think everyone was shattered after the day’s events. No one would be going down the locks until the morning anyway because the canal was blocked with all the boats.As I sit here typing my last posting for this week, it is once again raining, lets hope it runs out of rain before we set off in the morning at 6am.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Seems like this section of your trip was hard work, too! Bad luck about the people who left the pounds empty - I don't understand what that means exactly, but it sounds as if they were lazy, or perhaps unknowledgeable. Either way, it made work for you.

Lucky there was a pub handy, huh? LOL!