Tuesday 28 May 2013

And all for a fender…

First time we'd done the Tyrley flight on the Shroppie southwards. You come to the bottom lock through a narrow cutting in the sandstone rock.

(picture by Geoff Cryer and found on the Geograph Britain and Ireland website
© Copyright Geoff Cryer and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence)

As we approached I noticed that the front right fender had slipped off the gunwale and was hanging down – a sure recipe for losing it if the lock is a tight fit. The gates weren't quite ready, so I left Erin Mae in the slowest of tickovers, nipped down to the bows through the cabin and brought it in-board. Back to the tiller in no time at all, only to find that the press of water coming down the side-channels had pushed me over to the left side of the channel, hard up against the rock face. I reversed back down the channel, but no amount of tiller-work would bring the boat away from the rock.

I went forward again and threw my best beloved the front mooring line. She and a passing stranger hauled the bows across as I worked up into the lock. Unfortunately, as they took the line up the side of the lock, it snagged in the timbers of the gate. Erin Mae's momentum pulled it tight before I could reverse, and no amount of manipulation from above would free it. So, for the third time, it was down to the bows for me. Brute force freed the line, at the cost of a nasty bang to my elbow on the boat's roof.

A funny sort of day, overall. Soggy on the Shroppie. I was really grateful for the wet-weather gear lent by our friend Christian. Fortunately it wasn't windy, so I joined the rather ridiculous ranks of those who were steering under the protection of a golfing umbrella. We made it to Norbury Junction in time to stock up on solid fuel and diesel, and to get an anchor in preparation for some river navigation.

We are glad to be inside, warm and drying, catching up on the day's news and emails.


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