How Quick A Disaster Can Happen

For some reason we both didn’t sleep too well last night. On the bright-side it gave us a chance to watch a very peaceful day break with a cup of coffee. The weather was drizzly and fresh. Some would say it’s the best part of the day, waking up with the birds, when all the world appears to be still.

We had a leisurely breakfast of toast; which was made ‘magical’ by the antics of what looks like a red squirrel (Google told us there are red squirrels in the area). I never knew squirrels could hang upside-down by their tails. Our squirrel did, while he stripped the seeds from a sycamore tree. No doubt to store for the winter – or is too soon for that?

We had intended to climb 3 locks before mooring. The last of the three locks being Stegneck Lock (#35). Reading one of our books “Canals of Great Britain, A Comprehensive Guide” the book said, quote:

“The top lock of the flight is Stegneck, where a mentally handicapped trip boat got caught on the cill in 1998, and then dropped free, drowning four of the party. This was the first inland accident investigated by the marine accident people, and resulted in the Chief Inspector of Marine Accidents, Rear Admirable John Lang, having to do some hasty reading on canals.”

We met a lovely couple, Sue and Dave (hope I’ve correctly remembered their names?) who were going up the locks, so we paired up, sharing the locks and the work!

When we reached Skegneck lock, I was a little mindful of the people who lost their lives at this lock. Dave and I opened the side sluices to raise both boats, as soon the boat’s bows were out of danger of being flooded by the gate paddles, we started cranking the mechanism… until a loud shout from John “STOP”… Cyan had managed to hook her gunnel under a ‘lip’ in the lock wall and she was tilting over as the water level was rising. Luckily by the time Dave and I had gathered our senses to stop water entering the lock, making the situation worse… Cyan managed to break free of the ‘lip,’ not before the tilt had reached an alarming angle!

It really is scary how quickly disaster can happen. We escaped without any damage, except for a bent staple or loop on the top of the gunnel. The left of the picture shows the bent staple, and the right shows how it should look. We’re really pleased the staple ‘gave way’.

Our maps had shown there were moorings after the 3 locks. When we got to the area, the moorings were ‘long term’. There was nothing left for it, but for us to continue to climb (with Sue and Dave) the Bank Newton Locks, a flight of seven.

Quite a few boats were coming up and down the locks, and we were organised by a lockie on a bike! His main aim was to try and save water.

We’re not quite at the top of the Pennines yet, we’ve got 3 locks (Greenberfield) to rise yet – even so, the views over the Pennines are breathtaking. We’ve found a lovely secluded mooring.


Today we’ve travelled just over 3 miles, 10 locks, and we’re moored where we can get Sky News, and WiFi is 45 Mg.

4 thoughts on “How Quick A Disaster Can Happen

  1. Hi. The same thing happened to us so we had our loops cut off. They were originally fitted for fenders but we never used them.
    Enjoying your blog as you travel the same route as we did a few years ago.

    • Thanks Jo! We’re now thinking of getting them cut off when Cyan comes out of the water in the Autumn, the loops do stick out by about half an inch from the gunnel. We’ve never used them either. You’ll know what a beautiful part of the world where we are at the moment. Thanks for being in touch Jen 🙂

  2. Hi. Looks like you were moored at my favourite place yesterday, just above Bank Newton on the big wiggles. I love it up there. In 2014 we moored there and could see two other boats one each side of us on separate wiggles, each of us having the same view ahead. Love the Leeds Liverpool. Pip

    • Hi Pip, It’s so lovely here, we moved just around one of the ‘wiggles’ so we’re moored on armco now instead of being on pins. Our boat’s alongside the TV mast, and we can see boats moored or cruising from across the field, which is a bit weird 🙂 We might be here for another day or two, it’s bliss! Jen

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