Thursday, 27 August 2009

Stafford Boat Club to the IWA National

Thursday

Our moorings last night were very peaceful however the industrial site on the offside started work at 6 am this morning. We pushed off at 8 30 in sunshine. The barometer started rising late yesterday evening and has continued on an upward trend until lunch time today. We found all the locks against us for the first part of the day until we met the Narrowboat Kew, we later found out they got stuck winding above the top lock.  After another couple of locks we met another pair coming down. At Barkers Lock a BW chap was painting the gates, although he didn't have a windlass he helped us through and even phoned his 2 mates painting Stensons Lock to have that ready for us. I thought this was typical BW planning, IWA festival encouraging people to use the Erewash so they paint the gates on probably one of the two busiest weeks of the year, the other being next week after the festival. We carried on until Eastwood Lock where two boats were sitting above the lock, they had been unable to fill the lock as the bottom paddle had dropped. They had rung BW and it was not long before a chap was on the scene looking at the problem, within ten minutes he had a mate with him and they set to work. Harnser was brought into the lock to act as a work platform. The problem was due to a new type of paddle they are trialing. It is 10 mm steel sheet and as the plastic one it replaced was 25 mm thick plastic it was somewhat sloppy in the runners and jumped out. Not only that but it weighed about 90 Kg and had to be dragged up, The rod and rack fed back into the pinion. The paddle then had to be supported while the rod was disconnected, the steel paddle lifted out of the lock and replaced with the standard plastic unit. While they were at it the cut off the protruding bolt that were fouling the paddles movement with my angle grinder. Once this was all done we locked up and continued on our way through Langley Lock to wind and fill with water. I walked round and visited the dry dock to buy a commemorative plaque for reaching the head of navigation and Diana bought some bits at Lidl.
2-30 pm saw us on our way down the canal, now all the locks were against us as the two boats that were trapped above Eastwood had gone down in front of us. Our luck changed after about 3 locks when we met a Sea Otter coming up the cut.This gave us quite a good run before hitting locks set against us again. We finally moored for the night a little after 7 pm at the visitor moorings in Sandiacre. Its a town centre mooring so a bit noisy at the moment but hopefully things will improve later. We have seen lots of Kingfishers today and also some very large dragon flies, I also spotted a Little Grebe and in the water a white Koi about 10 inches long.

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

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