Monday, 24 July 2017

Summer Trip

Today's Canals - Stainforth and Keadby, New Junction Cut

We drove up from home yesterday. We could not leave until 1 pm but we made good progress. Although it was the weekend start to the school holidays, the traffic level going north was not exceptional and, apart from road works, there were no delays. We arrived at Blue Water just before seven o'clock. We had not had a lot of 'stuff'to bring up this time so it did not take too long to unload. We did not bring the usual quantity of fresh food as our plan was to user the car to go the Sainsbury the next morning to do a good re-stick of the cupboards.

We had brought a prepared bacon and tomato sauce which only needed heating through and combining with some pasta twirls for a meal around 8. Although neither of us was on the best of form - a cold which took us by surprise ten days ago left us still under the weather, Christine the more so. As a result we felt quite pleased by the time the day came to an end that we had achieved what we aimed to do today.

This morning the plan was to call at Thorne Marine Services to pay the bill for the engine service that we had booked them to do after Phil had finished his snagging visit a couple of weeks ago. However . . .  as with all canal plans there is always a 'however'! However, they had not managed to get around to doing the service (the boss had been on holiday so . . . ) but they offered to do it straight away if we could bring the boat up from the marina right now. \so it was back in the car to Blue Water where we tried to make sure we checked that we had done all that we needed to do before casting off. One of the other moorers - they are very friendly in this marina -gave us a hand.

It was a rather grey day, chilly at times, but at least it remained dry.

But first we had to negotiate that swing footbridge. Christine must be getting quite an expert now as she managed to make it work first time - now that is an achievement. The boatyard is immediately after the bridge. We tied up and left the boat and walked into town. This meant that we had to lug all the bags back to the boat!

The service was not complete and, as there were one or two items that we omitted to buy on the first trip, Mike walked back again. Not finding what he wanted in the nearer shop he finally headed back towards Sainsbury but was diverted into the adjacent Lidl where he ended up with a heavier bag than planned!

By now the service was complete - we had already filled up with water whilst that was happening - but we now needed diesel. The boatyard cannot sell too much as they had to move a cruiser out of the way so that we reach the fuel point!

At last, just about lunch time, we were ready to go. Another boat was winding at the service point - they had called at the boatyard with an inverter problem which was in the end not something they could do - it will have to go back to a specialist.

They arrived at Thorne Lock ahead of us and went to prepare the lock. Although it is mostly mechanised (the swing bridge at the top of the lock needs to be done by hand) it has a history of failure. Indeed, the boat we were with had had to call out CaRT earlier this morning as it failed on the way down. This time the control panel completely failed to light up at all. At least they knew the number to call! Time for a lunch break.

Eventually a CaRT man arrived an operated the lock from inside the control cabin where he could override the interlocks that are supposed to prevent boaters from getting it wrong.

On then towards Bramwith Swing Bridge and the lock just before the junction. On the way we had yet another example of how often we spot something that, despite having been this way twice a month ago, we had missed. A former windmill tower is actually in thew small village of Fishlake, the other side of the River Don. High flood banks meant that we could only just catch a photo of it.

At the junction the other boat changed its plans, yet again, and turned southwards as they had found a specialist to whom they could take their inverter for a repair, leaving us to turn right onto New Junction Cut on our own.

This canal was one of the last to be built and is five miles dead straight. This means that you can see all the swing and lift bridges stretching out ahead! They are all mechanised so we made good progress.

Shortly after the junction we passed along a short aqueduct over the River Don. When this river floods it occasionally rises higher than the canal so the Don Doors can be closed to protect the canal - but closes it to navigation until the river subsides. As the canal is level with the edges of the aqueduct trough we were quite glad of the hand rail even if it would not take much force!

There is just one lock which has an added complication that there is a swing bridge across the middle of the lock. The controls are interlocked so that everything has to be done in the correct order or it refuses to budge. Once we read the instructions - rather than guessing - it went smoothly.

We had planned to go beyond the next junction and moor at Pollington but as we were later than expected we were relieved to find a good mooring just after Sykehouse Lift Bridge - which looks like the largest on this canal.

Setting up the satellite dish Mike found that the connector problem which had started to emerge last night now refused to take the signal from the dish into the cabin. An attempt at repair was not successful but fortunately we had a couple of spare cables that together made a replacement for now until we can track down a more permanent replacement.

10.4 Miles - 3 Locks.

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