We pushed off from last night’s mooring around 10:30 this morning, and we were soon at Gayton Junction Services, doing the necessary!
Pleased to report our water gauge has ‘miraculously’ starting working again. It stopped working around October/November last year; and we missed it. There’s probably a loose connection somewhere, but while it’s working, think it’s best to leave well alone. After the water tank was brimmed, and sanny/rubbish duties carried out, we were on our way!
Our plan was to descend down the 13 Rothersthorpe locks, and 3 others, stopping overnight at Northampton Junction.
John was on a mission to do all the locking, despite my offer to go ‘halves’ with him.
The locks turned out to be great, they weren’t deep, and they were within easy walking distance. The only problem was the lack of water in the pounds.
John tried his new idea (pinched from lockies at a lock on the Thames) to use the boat hook to open and close the ‘off-side’ gate. It worked quite well, and saved him the journey of walking round the lock, and over the top gate to swing the bottom gate. He couldn’t use his ‘new technique’ on all the gates, as we were lucky that four boats were climbing up the flight, and reciprocally we left gates open for each other.
On our ‘cruise’ below the locks, it was a real treat to see how clear, and clean the water was. We could see the bottom of the canal, and we hardly saw any rubbish in the water.
At our last lock of the day, thank goodness we managed to divert a disaster.
Our last lock was Hunsbury Lock no 16. While John was setting the lock, he noticed a log in the water by the lock’s top gate. As I was taking the boat in, and saw a log outside of the lock, by the gate, we thought that was the log he’d seen…. WRONG!
As John opened the paddles, letting the water drain out of the lock, the boat’s stern got stuck against the wall. My first thought that it was stuck on some sort of lip in the brickwork, and shouted to John to push us off the lip. The scary bit was that I didn’t notice how much of a dilema the boat was in (strangely), but John noticed the bow was alarmingly down, yet the stern was hung up. He quickly closed both paddles that was letting out water, and ran to the top gate to let in some water to ‘re-float’ Cyan. It was there he noticed our prop was out of the water by about 2ft!
When John let water in, the bow came up in the water, but he soon saw the stern wasn’t moving, in fact the water was going above the strike band at the back, and was quickly rising to the level of the exhaust hole. John quickly closed that paddle pronto. Obviously the stern was stuck somehow. At first he thought there was something under the boat, until he looked, and realised there was a log jammed between the boat and the lock wall, causing us to be stuck. All this happened within seconds!
Eventually after banging away at the log with the pole, and with me trying to rock the boat, the log gave way. The lock was filled with water and I backed the boat out of the lock while John cleared the lock of any dross. We noticed there were several of these logs floating about. Just before the lock we spotted that a tree had been cut down and there were several large lumps of timber on the towpath, the probable source of the offending timbers!
They were too heavy for us to haul out of the water, and I’m afraid they are still there – so please be warned. (CRT will be notified).
This could happen to anyone, in any lock, anywhere! What shocked me the most was that I didn’t realise just how much the boat had tipped, it was rather disorienting, perhaps I didn’t have a ‘register’ to the boat’s position?
Don’t think any damage, apart from scratches, was done to the boat or to the lock.
Today we’ve travelled 5.75 miles, and 16 locks