Saturday, May 18, 2013

Tortoise in the Harecastle!!

We left our overnight mooring very early this morning (10.30am) as we wanted to clock up a few ks today!

Under the ever busy M6 ...

As I mentioned in yesterday's blog The Romping Donkey has seen better days ... shame, it's such a great name !

Through the Heinz lock ...

Some dirty, lazy bastard left a porta potti on the tow path!

We had 18 locks to do today, all up hill.  As they were all single (and up hill) I always jump off the boat to give Elaine a hand. Once in the lock I put the boat in forward gear and climb up the ladder as Elaine is closing the gates behind the boat. I then open the ground paddles and up she goes.

Once the main button fender has gone over the cill the lower fender then cushions the boat against the cill.

As the boat carries on rising it moves forward again once over the cill and once again the main button fender cushions the boat.  While all this fascinating stuff is happening Elaine has gone ahead with her assistant lockie, Bombo, to prepare the next lock.  Once out of the lock I stop the boat and shut the gate, simples. Not sure if it is the 'correct' way but it helps Elaine a lot, it gives me some much needed exercise and it is dead easy and safe.

Swannies of the day ...

Nice blossoms ...

Elaine and her assistant waiting for me to enter the lock. The assistant is to the right of the pic.

He really does shut the gate, good doggie.

Nice garden shed ...

Out of the 18 locks we went through today, all but the last one was against us, where are all the boats?

So when we arrived at the Harecastle tunnel, the chap from C&RT said we were actually too late to go through, but as we grovelled and he was a nice guy he let us go through!  He said there was one boat in front so asked us not to hang around as there were three boats waiting the other end to pass through the tunnel. I could see the stern light of the boat in front, he was a long way in front.   You can't really go fast in tunnels, I was doing the normal 1500 RPM but in 5 mins I was right behind the boat in front. My god was he slow.  I was forced to do idle speed the whole way and still had to keep taking it out of gear otherwise I would have run up his arse!  I would have blasted the horn and shouted for him to get a move on but blasting the horn is the distress signal in the tunnel!

A normal 30 min trip took over an hour and consequently, as it took so long, the group heading north had to moor up for the night and go through in the morning.

The boat in front was NB Solstice who moored up as soon as he got through the tunnel.  As I drew level I said to him that that was the most godawful trip through the tunnel ever, and asked if his throttle cable had broken?  I got no answer, his missus just smiled.

So onwards we went finally mooring at Festival Park Stoke.

Elaine reckoned this tree stump looked like a owl ...

We had a good 'feed' at the Toby carvery ... and am now back on the boat watching and listening to Eurovision Song Contest, the Romanian singer has just been on .... oh dear !!!!!  Go Bonnie !!

1 comment:

  1. Dont need to stop the boat going uphill to shut the gates, come out of the lock at normal speed, get off just after putting boat into reverse, close gate & if you have judged it correctly the boat will be coming back to you as you get on & go forward !!