Monday 13 July 2015

Top o' the world

In the battle between the already-made decision to stay put on Monday (making use of the rainy day to fix my sound insulation panels) and the need to get somewhere where Erin Mae's dodgy alternator could receive some TLC, the alternator won. We decided to make our way up the Barrowford locks.

The Met Office had promised it would be raining hard by 8 a.m., so we thought about delaying the start until things had cleared a bit. But it still wasn't raining by 9, so we felt we were onto a good thing and got going. No such luck. As soon as we started, so did the rain. Mind you, by Lancashire standards I don't think you could call it heavy rain, though it made taking photos more complicated than usual.

We're a bit torn about whether we like company / help on these wide locks, or not. On our own, we establish our own routines, and have our own standards for how much of a bashing we're prepared for Erin Mae to take with the currents swirling in the locks. On the other hand, both gates and paddles seem to require an inordinate amount of work for my best beloved, even though she'd still rather be out there than controlling the boat both entering and while in the locks. That's when extra muscle is useful, and we have to put up with someone else's ideas about managing the mechanisms.

Eventually we arrived at the last group of three, up to the top lock…

and emerged onto the pound that is the summit of the Leeds and Liverpool canal.

Having down so much uphill work to get here, you feel as though it must be the highest point on the whole canal network. But that honour belongs, it seems, to the Huddersfield Narrow Canal, with the Rochdale coming a close second. In fact there are eight canal summits higher than this one, and not all of those are in this neck of the woods – three belong to the BCN network (Birmingham Canal Navigations). It is high enough, however, for the pressure at the water point to be minimal (especially, we were told, when the person in the lock cottage is doing a wash or taking a shower!).

Looking back from our mooring we can see the Barrowford reservoir, which stores water surplus to requirement for the summit. The summit pound itself is fed by streams coming off the hills.

You'd think rainwater would be clear, wouldn't you. All day it's looked pretty grey to me.

Tomorrow we'll hopefully get to a boatyard where they can do something about the electrical problem being flagged by my auxiliary warning light. I posted a question on the CanalWorld forums last night, and the answers suggested worn brushes or a dying diode in the domestic alternator. Interestingly, this is where having fitted my Stirling gizmo a couple of years ago has paid dividends – not in terms of the wonderful things it is supposed to do, but in virtue of the fact that, as part of the installation, you feed the output from both alternators to it, and it combines them. So as the domestic alternator gives a problem, the engine alternator provides charge for everything. Without that, I think we'd be in more trouble than we are.

Isn't that good!


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