Friday 22 April 2022


 Today's Canals - Shropshire Union, Llangollen

We had a fairly slack schedule for today as we are aiming towards Swanley Bridge Marina where we will leave the boat for a while whilst we return home. Hence a later start than usual.

We awoke to a grey and windy morning and it was still like that as we set off. We only had a few minutes, under one bridge, before we stopped at Calveley Services for a full service. 

There was an historic boat that had been to Ellesmere Port but they were in no hurry to return to their base. The skipper had restored, over 8 years, what had been all but wreck when he acquired it. By the time we left the weather had turned much brighter.

Barbridge Junction and no mad steerer charged out at us this time!

Yesterday we spotted a couple of vans with some equipment, working on the off site in undergrowth but we could not see what they were doing. As we passed through Barbridge Narrows what seemed to be the same two vans were parked up and again a couple of men were walking down to just below e canal. We a closer view we could see that they undertake CCTV Surveys so perhaps someone is checking up on all of the culverts, some still unknown, that have too frequently collapsed ithout warning and closing a canal for some weeks. Repairs are often extensive.

Some of the tress are now well advanced in growing this years fol'iage but others, as here, still stand stark against the bright sky.

We stopped at Hurleston Junction for a long lunch break. When we arrived we had the stretch all too ourselves - but by the time we left we were sharing it with one other.

When we set off again one boat had just come down but otherwise the flight of four locks was completely quiet. This photo shows the lovely bright weather but does not convey any impression of just how strong the wind was blowing. In a couple of the intermediate pounds, the boat almost sailed across the water whilst Mike closed up the gate. Fortunately he kept it on a long leash so he could pull it back again. Even so he still had to do a rather extreme manoeuvre to line up to the next lock.

We did not meet an oncoming boat until we emerged from the top lock.

We only went about a kilometre further until we found yet another completely empty Visitor Mooring. There were plenty of boats on unrestricted moorings where they can stay up to 15 days (the VM is only 48 hours) We opted for the ease of mooring rings as we will be moving on tomorrow - car shuffle day.

Later, Christine discovered that there was water in the bottom of our 'wine cellar' (a cooler space in the floor on top of the base plate). We forgot to report in the blog a few days ago that we discovered a water leak that showed itself firstly in the bathroom and then, on inspection, at the back of the under-bunk cupboards in he front cabin. At first we could see no possible source of this leak but eventually Christine, by accident as she was looking for something else, spotted that the water filter just before the main water pump, was dripping. Mike was able to tighten up the bowl and the drip ceased. We put a container underneath to check and for some days it has been completely dry. Of course, our concern is that we do not know how it came to leak. Will it return?

The wine cellar problem suggested that water was collecting in the bilges under the cabin. There is a bilge pump for that but usually needs to be operated manually. It is located rather inconveniently under the back door steps. With contortion it is just possible to get into the space. Mike emptied out all of thew 'tuff' that normally resides in this step and found at least 2 cm of water. The bilge pump removed quite a bit but not the final cm. Our only option was to mop it up, spongeful by spongeful. Eventually, with much grunting and using Christine as a weight top tilt the boat one way or the other, Mike reached a point where the space was almost dry. We will now have to wait a while to see if it stays that way or will more water find its way to the lowest point? Ah, the joys of being a boat owner!

4.4 Miles - 4 Locks

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