Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Stratford to Napton

We decided that 9 30 am would be a good time to start today, as it would allow all the boats waiting below the next lock to get away. The first boat we  heard leave this morning was at 7 am. but I sure that some of them must have left much earlier. When we set off all the other boats that were moored around us last night had left except the two behind us and one of them pushed off ten minutes earlier. Our timing was spot on and we arrived at the next lock just as the last one waiting was about to enter the lock and the boat that left after us arrived a few minutes later, this was the chap I fished out yesterday. When it was our turn to enter the lock I started to move forward and just had the bows in the lock mouth when there was a clatter and I lost all drive, forward and reverse. Something had jammed the propeller.  I pulled Harnser back onto the lock moorings and let the boat following have our lock, opened the weed hatch and found a piece of hard, waterlogged timber wedged between the tip of the propeller and the base plate with the blade almost vertical. It took several minutes with the mooring hammer to to drive the propeller backwards to release it, I hate to think how much I have burred the leading edge bashing it with a steel lump hammer.

Once it was clear we entered the lock and inspected the good work that BW had carried out the day before as we locked up. We arrived at Preston Bagot lock to find a short queue ahead of us and I had trouble explaining to the hire boat that came up a little later that he needed to pull in behind me. From here we would catch up with the boat ahead at every lock. The weather so far had been very variable with sun and showers but from here on they started to get heavier. Our plan was to stop just before Lowsonford and fill up with water, but we found out from the boat ahead that 3 others also planned to do the same thing,  in which case we would take on water at Kingswood junction.  Just as we were approaching the water point we could see that the third boat in the queue for the locks was packing his hose away and we tucked in behind him as he drew forward in the queue.  At this point the sky's opened, with thunder and lightning and for several minutes we were in torrential rain. The boat that pulled up behind us tied to a moored boat and went below, by the time the rain eased and the 2 boats at the front of the queue had gone through the lock our water tank was full. The boat behind were still below and we still had our place in the queue. The power cables leading to the Fleur De Lys looked like a large welding set where they ran by the trees with some really loud noises being produced, as we passed the pub looked to be in darkness so I am guessing that the breaker for the supply line had tripped, it should have done. Several of the boats that were ahead of us stopped at the pub, two in particular, who were travelling together so helped each other through every lock and consequently took twice as long as a single boat. We carried on to Kingswood Junction where we turned right onto the Grand Union canal, we then reversed about 300 yards up the canal to moor for the night and visit The Navigation pub to eat. We are moored behind NB Waterway Routes who produce the canal DVDs.

You will find our latest position at
http://tinyurl.com/Harnser-s-route

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