Thursday 23 October 2014

Approaching Tyrley

The first time we came this way on the Shroppie, I got stuck trying to get into the bottom lock of the five at Tyrley. I'd been trying to hold Erin Mae's bows out in the stream, and got caught by the by-wash emerging from the overflow channel just below the lock. Took me a long time to extract myself and progress.

Most of the five locks have a strong by-wash, which can throw you to one side. This time I simply waited on the towpath holding the centre-line until my best beloved had opened the gates and then powered in considerably faster than I normally would. It worked perfectly, and I didn't touch anything as I entered. Another boat had come down the first four, and was waiting for us. They'd left the gate of the next one open, so I just drove straight across the pound and into it at the same sort of speed, with the same perfect result. And so it continued. In a flight like this, my best beloved sets a lock and closes one of the bottom gates once Erin Mae is in. I climb out of the lock via Erin Mae's roof, a ladder or both, and close the other gate. My best beloved starts to fill the lock while I control Erin Mae's movement with a centre-line. Once everything is stable and the lock is filling nicely, she goes to set the next lock. I open the top gate, bring Erin Mae out slowly and get off to drop all the paddles and close the gate behind me. By the time I've done that, the next lock is waiting with the gates open. It's a good system! And with the addition of a few engine revs, I got into all the locks with just the tiniest of contacts at the top one.

Unfortunately for the boat coming down who left the second lock's bottom gates open for us, they had waited against the towpath. But there is a serious shelf just there, and they got seriously stuck. I left Erin Mae gently rising in the second lock and went down to see if I could help, but by then, and with the aid of a passer-by, they were just managing to get their boat floated again.

You have to be careful how you approach the Tyrley five!


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