Sunday, 12 May 2013

Will it never end?

Friday 10th May
Early start - 07:30 and we’re ready to leave our mooring above Railway Lock 42E.  According to today’s weather forecast the rain should hold off until about 10 o’clock - all being well that should give us sufficient time to descend 10 locks and 1 mile … we’ll see.

Immediately out of the lock I encounter the first problem … emergency stop here - that join in the pipe looked like it was either going to knock the chimney off or slice through the cratch cover and the aerials and pots were certainly in the way. George removed all the problems whilst I was gently in reverse …

… continued on into Dirker Lock 41E and just look at that view - wow!

Safely through Hooper and Warehouse Hill Locks (40/39E) - there seems to be plenty of water down this way thank goodness!  It was mizzling (very fine misty drizzle) by this time but it wasn't too bad. 

Then we realised why - one of the sluices on lock 39 had not been properly closed creating an overflow onto the towpath
Waiting for George to close the gates of 39 and open the sluices of Colne Lock 38E
I was fascinated by these terraced houses - if you look at the doorways there appears to be one very narrow house and then a wider one then another narrow one.
The earliest date stone I’ve seen so far in Smudgees Lock (lovely name) 37E
In White Skye Lock looking down the hill.
Ooo - health and safety haven’t seen bridge 55 yet - look no hand rail!
Waiting in Moorvale Lock 35E ...
… when George asked for the camera for this picture of the leaking leading lock wall.

And then our good fortune took a turn for the worse!

George has been having problems using the handcuff key to open many of the locks.  It didn’t work on approximately 40% of them because the bolts that it was supposed to fit round were so gnarled and worn down.  Up to this point in our journey it was only ever one vandal lock on the mechanism that wouldn’t release so we managed by just unlocking the one sluice to empty/fill the locks.

But not this time ... and we’ve only got 2 more locks to go today!

While I was getting Rock n Roll into the lock above George went ahead to get the next lock ready but came back because our handcuff key wouldn’t work on either lock gear.  He took his box of sockets to try, but none of them would fit so he came back for another set he had, but still to no avail.  Only one thing we can do ... ring C&RT… again!
It was 10am when he rang and he was not happy! Just about every time we’ve rung them with a problem on the 0303 0404040 number the operator hasn’t been able to put us through to the right department because it was either engaged or it was an answer machine and today was no different!  George explained the problem to the operator who promised to pass the message on as soon as she could and get someone with us ‘within the hour’ … sound familiar?
An hour passed and it’s now p*ssing down - George is fuming and I’m so cold I can’t stop shivering, we’re both soaking wet, tired out and pretty fed-up!
He rang CRT again and got the operator who said that she had passed on the message - George left her in no uncertain terms just how unhappy he was!

George hadn’t opened any of the sluices here in lock 35 but because of leaking water from the front it emptied itself after a while and because the gates were still closed and all the water in the picture above was leaking in the boat kept moving backwards and forwards.  I didn’t want to keep the engine running so asked George to open the gates and I looped the back mooring rope on the ladder to keep RnR still and I could see out.
17 minutes past 11 still in the pouring rain and here he comes  - hopefully with a decent vandal key! He had and he’d brought it all the way from the Ashton Canal in Manchester - no wonder it took so long to get to us!
He saw us down 34E (Cellars Lock) and opened Sparth Lock 33 for us.  George purchased a handcuff key from him and he went on his way.  And do you know?  That key only worked on one of the paddle locks on Pig Tail Lock 32E!
Midday and minutes after we stopped and moored up above lock 31 guess what - it stopped raining!

What is it with us? we’re certainly not having much luck on this cruise!

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