Between A Lock And A Hard Place

Bearing in mind we have a leaky stern gland, and praying the automatic bilge pump doesn’t develop a problem, imagine how our hearts sank when we woke to find Cyan leaning rather badly to port! I discovered the list first when I went to the bathroom, tottering out of bed felt a little more precarious than it should be.

Think all boaters are paranoid about their boat sinking! We ‘assumed’, though didn’t know for sure, that Cyan had grounded on rocks due to the water level going down several inches over night. Both of us didn’t feel like breakfast, and could only face a cup of tea, we were concerned and wanted to continue our journey as soon as possible for reassurance that Cyan’s list was definitely because she’s settled on stones or rocks, and  was nothing sinister! As soon as we untied Cyan’s very tight mooring ropes, she slid off her ‘rock’, and righted herself.

Our plan was to go down 10 locks today, mooring up at Slaithwaite (pronounced Slawit), I was to do the first five locks, and John locking the rest. As it turned out, I had the best deal!

All went well, until Shuttle Lock #24E.  The lock’s a guillotine lock, and one we hadn’t done before.  John opened the sluice gate to let the water out, before lifting the ‘guillotine’ door.  As soon as it was safe, I attempted to pootle out of the lock. Realisation soon dawned that Cyan’s stainless steel chimney wouldn’t fit under a concrete beam under the bridge. There was nothing left for it, but to reverse back into the lock and raise the water level again to a level where John could reach out, and remove the chimney.

This meant we used two full locks of water to lower Cyan, which caused problems for a couple of moored boats at the top of the guillotine lock, causing them to ‘suffer’ a lower level of water. “Sorry!”

At the next lock, a lovely man came out of his house by the side of the lock, offering us advice, and a leaflet published by the boy scouts showing a map of Slaithwaite, and it’s businesses.  Apparently there’s 4 fish ‘n’ chip shops in the town! The man warned us that the bridge at the bottom of the lock, is very low, and we should take great care.

The canal runs under the bridge, then through a narrow channel, until reaches the next lock (Pickle Lock #22E), where we had planned to moor.

Cyan attempted to sail under the bridge, but with a shock, she was about 6 inches too tall, and it wasn’t easy to make her ‘less’ tall – there was no way she’d fit under the bridge. No way to turn around, no way to go forwards. Indeed she/we were between a ‘Lock an’ a hard Place!’ I threw John the centre line, and he secured Cyan to a post, while we had a ‘think’. It was impossible to lower the height of the boat, so the only way to lower the water….. Cutting a long story short, John legged it to the lock in front (Pickle Lock #22E), and on advice from the C&RT via a phone call, John filled the lock twice, and emptied it twice.  This lowered the water level in the pound, to the point where Cyan became ‘low’ enough to sail under the bridge. Once again thanks to C&RT for their advice, and offer of assistance, the ‘C&RT Crew’ are very obliging – TOP MARKS!

Basically, we had used too much water getting through the guillotine lock, temporarily raising the water level in the pound. At the time of getting marooned, I envisaged the fire brigade cutting Cyan’s roof off! (I know, should be writing pulp fiction).

We moored for the night at the bottom of Pickle Lock #22E,

Today we did 10 locks, cruised almost 2 miles, 20 Mg of WiFi, excellent TV.  For dinner we had tasty ‘old style’ fish ‘n’ chips from ‘The Captain’s Table’ cooked in beef dripping. Thoroughly enjoyed by all 3 of us!

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