Monday, 21 July 2014

Wheezy hydraulic gear at Lift Bridge 28 on the Stratford Canal

Day 6 of the Big Summer Cruise saw us leave our lovely peaceful mooring on the Grand Union at Rowington and travel to Kingswood Junction. Here we emptied the loo cassette and had lunch.

Sagitta went up through Lock 20 as we sat on the mooring.

After we left enough time for Sagitta to move up the flight a bit we started up the Lapworth Locks ourselves. Just below Lock 19 is a water point; as we cleared Lock 20 the crew of a Valley Cruises hire boat in front of us frantically stopped taking on water and headed into the lock. No problem; we'd top up with water and let the hire boat get away too.

As we'd last filled up only two days ago this didn't take long, and we started up the locks. They are bunched together here, and are quick to use. After a while a volunteer lockie came along and started to help. He asked if we'd just watered up at the Lock 20/19 water point. I said we had, and he told us that CRT had just closed the water points in the vicinity on advice from the Severn Trent water authority. Something about a contaminated main. Oops! We'd just been drinking water to keep ourselves hydrated in the heat. I don't suppose any harm will come, though.

We needed a tea break, so stopped just above Lock 6. Jan checked her messages, did something on Facebook, and, as I was on my way to set the next lock, met former colleague (and top sports presenter on Midlands Today) Ian Winter walking towards me.

Ian joined Jan at the helm while I did the donkey work.

We were pleased to be invited for a cup of tea in Ian's garden, and met his parents-in-law Ron and Mary.

It was good to see you all; a pity Ruth wasn't there too.

This is a great bit of canal, with good narrow locks.

At the top lock we waited while a hire boat came down. It was their first lock, and they'd made sure their 68' boat wasn't going anywhere it shouldn't: it was being held with bow rope, centre rope and stern rope. I suggested to them that they didn't really need any ropes in a narrow lock, and using ropes was more likely to cause problems. They were grateful for our help (there seemed to be hundreds of them!)

After that we came to the first lift bridge of the trip: Bridge 28. This had hydraulic gear to raise the bridge deck, and it was very stiff to operate. It didn't sound at all well, making a ghastly screeching/wheezing noise as the spindle was turned. It was actually harder to wind down than up.

The next bridge, by comparison, was a dream. Smooth and light. A doddle.

A sign fixed to the bridge seemed to relate to a canoeing (kayaking?) event, encouraging Carl and team with the message "only 121.5 miles to go"!

Anything you know about, Ian?

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