Not the most successful of days, for a couple of weeks I have had a squeal from the domestic alternator when I first load it. I could avoid it by speeding the engine very gradually but decided I really should sort it, so this morning I changed the belt, not a big job but a bit of crawling about. Ran it up for a test and seemed fine, Diana went and did a bit of shopping in the market and we set off at 11 am. All seemed fine as we slowly made our way along the rows of moored boats and passed Spiceball Park. Once clear of the boats I came up to cruising speed and the squeal was worse than ever. I pulled over just above Hardwick lock and slackened the belt off, Squeak gone but the alternator is not turning, so I tensioned it slightly, not easy as its quite hot now, but it seemed better. We let the following boat pass as although they were behind us at the lock they had now exited, for some reason the day hire boat that was between us and the lock moorings decided to untie their stern rope and drift across the cut, retrieving it just as nb. Gabriel got close to them.
We followed Gabriel to Burton Lock and helped them up, as they left on a low pound a boat approached from upstream, so I left Diana with it and disconnected the Adverc alternator controller to reduce the amount of work the alternator was doing and all seemed fine again. Looking out I could see Diana opening the gate but no boat coming out, they had decided to moor just above the lock in a low pound, when the lock gates were ready open for them and we would have gone up when they came down, Effort required by them almost zero. As we passed them they were trying to get off the bottom but with the two of them pushing couldn’t it so I gave them a tow off and they headed for the lock.
We found out later that a boat had gone up last night and left all the top gates open, unfortunately Bourton bottom gates leak like a sieve where as Slat Mill seal so the pound below fell by a couple of foot overnight. As we approached Cropredy CaRT are carrying out piling just before we got to Mill Bridge, I must admit its not the straightest run of piling I have ever seen, but if it stops the bank going well so be it. We could see as we came along the low pound how what normally looks to be a good edge is actually just a series of bridges made by the cement/sand bags holding the towing path up. Below the water level there are just large chasms waiting to collapse.
I had reconnected the Adverc while waiting for Slat Mill Lock to fill, but we had only been cruising for a couple of hours and half that time was at a lower charge rate so I have had to sit with the engine running for an hour. There was no point in us continuing to cruise as Ekingtons lock is closed for maintenance today.