Tuesday 10 September 2013

Bangs and Rattles

It was far too nice a morning not to go boating, so it was up the locks instead of up the hill. We'll no doubt see "The Cloud" again.

The locks are the Bosley flight, twelve in the space of a mile, climbing 118 feet.

These on the Macclesfield are the first single locks we've met with double gates at the top as well as the bottom. The helpful CRT man who gave us a hand didn't know the rationale for one system over the other – said he'd look it up. But these top gates had another characteristic – no walkway across. So whoever is opening the top paddles has to go back to the little bridge at the bottom end and around to do the second one. My beloved got more exercise than she was bargaining on. In addition, some of the paddles were really stiff, and that new windlass is taking a bit of getting used to. I would have climbed out of more locks to give a hand, but I wasn't all that comfortable leaving Erin Mae on her own, with the way the currents were flowing.

As we came into the penultimate lock, there was the most horrendous, metallic clatter from down by Erin Mae's stern gear. The tiller suddenly became very stiff, and wouldn't move to one side at all. The clunking continued as we rose in the lock and sounded really serious. A bit of reverse gear seemed to restore movement to the tiller, so I crept gingerly forward to the last of the flight, sounding like a blacksmith going at a horseshoe, and regretting that I hadn't already joined River Canal Rescue. At the top we stopped for water, and to investigate the problem. I pulled a metre of fender cable and half a white poly-whatsit fender hanger from where it had tangled round the propellor shaft. I can only assume than when we first encountered it, the fender itself was still attached, jamming the rudder and making all the racket. It was a relief to find nothing worse down the weed-hatch, and the propellor seems to be in reasonable nick.

Enough excitement for one day, so we tied up for the night. Shortly before the troublesome lock we'd passed John and Jenny Jackson on Roach the Coal Boat, so we bought a couple of bags of fuel. The evenings have been cool enough for a nice fire – and since that's exactly what we need to calm the spirits I'll get it going as soon as I've posted this.


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