Monday, 22 August 2011

The Nearly Trip continued.

Moored up at Kings Lock we find that Leicester has even more parkland nearby in the form of Aylestone Meadows so the dogs get plenty of exercise and from there, you can access the old Great Central railway track bed which is now a cycle route. On the bridge over the canal I paced out the distance and reckon we should just about be able to wind, as there is no way I am reversing all the way to Aylestone Mill.
Joined at the mooring by nb Katelea (I think that was the name) who were waiting for the lock to be opened on the following morning. There being a restriction of 0900-1600 for passage of boats.
Tuesday morning I explained my plan to Philip from BW and he asked the family on Katelea to wait for a partner. After walking the dogs we were starting to get ready to reverse to the railway bridge when two narrow boats came past and asked if I was waiting for the lock. No says I but he is – indicating Katelea. As the second boat passed the fellow on Katelea called he was in the queue for the lock to which the response came ‘We are a pair and we take precedence. We have been paired since March’ and continued into the lock. So much for the fellowship of boaters thinks I. The family on Katelea were not to impressed either.
Anyway I digress – We duly set back to the railway bridge but it ended up like Delaneys Donkey, whichever way we pulled it, pushed it or shoved it we could not get round, we were just getting jammed every time. So back to the lock moorings we go and tell our sorry tale to Philip. The only option I can see is to go through to the winding hole above lock 35 and come back. Time is getting on but with luck we can be back below Kings Lock by 4pm and Philip reckons he can get us through.
Up we go between two pairs coming down, taking it nice and steady trying not to dig the back end in, all spare kit including the gas bottle has been moved to the bow to try and bring the back end up. Never thought I would wish I hadn’t taken so much diesel on. Scraping bottom by bridge 103 but no major problem.  Up through Blue Bank Lock and warned of another pair on the way down by the BW man there. Met the other two just past Blue Bank Bridge and moved out of the centre channel.  Oops that was a mistake, must have caught a rock or something as the stern kicked up about 9 inches. Good job we had taken that bloody great plate off the bow last month or we would have stuck into the canal bed like a dart. Creeping along and the time is passing, next lock is Gee’s Lock which is in our favour but oh calamity the bottom gate will not close. It stands off about four inches. We must have dragged something in with us. Karen opens one gate and I give the engine some revs to try and clear the obstruction. No good. Open both gates and try again. Still no good. Phone Phil from BW and put him in the picture. A true champion he is on his way with a 20 foot rake but it will take a while to get there. In the meantime we try another course of action and reverse out and then come through again.
Success, the gates close with a satisfying ‘Thunk’ and we can fill the lock. Call Phil back and update him also stating revised plan is now to wind and night stop above lock 35 at Whetstone Lane as we are now coming up to the 4pm deadline.
Made it – winded below bridge 98 and went back to moor on the lock bollards – nobody’s going to pinch our lock.
Spent the night with a bit of a list on as even here we are hard aground.
For what we achieved today it has been hard work.
Hopefully a better day tomorrow.

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