Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Oh no! What's happened to forward gear?

We left Windmill End for the final time this morning, after walking down to Lidl for some supplies.

Having passed through Netherton Tunnel we stopped just after Tividale Aqueduct for lunch.

At Dudley Port Junction we turned left onto the New Main Line and after a while came to the former Watery Lane Junction.

The plaque reads: The Tipton Green and Toll End Communication formerly crossed the Birmingham Level at this point 1809 - 1960.

It was good to feel the windlass in my hand again for Factory Locks after more than a week on the Birmingham Level. But at Lock 2 … Houston, we have a problem.

Jan, at the helm at the bottom of the lock, reported that it would go no faster than tickover in forward. I filled the lock and had a feel of the Morse control. It seemed to be physically obstructed in forward. I would have to take a proper look, but decided to do this on the lock landing above the top lock. Jan steered into Lock 1 on tickover, ascended the lock and stopped on the landing. With the deck boards up I could see the cable moving as it should. The Morse lever seemed to be hitting something much nearer to the control itself. Opening the door on which it is mounted I immediately saw the cause of the problem. (And here I should have taken a photo. Perhaps tomorrow.) A woodscrew holding a metal clip thing in position had come loose; the metal clip had rotated such that it was stopping the lever travelling much beyond the vertical. It was a matter of seconds to tighten the screw with the clip in what I hope is the right place - and we were up and running again.

At Factory Junction, a few yards from where we'd stopped, we turned left to head to the facilities by the Black Country Living Museum. On the way we passed the site of the Tipton Canal Festival.

At least, this is where some boats had congregated. A bit further on we came across Andy and Helen on Wand'ring Bark and The Jam Butty. We tied up in front of them after the services and joined them for a cup of tea. Later in the evening Chris and Sally of Kairos came for drinks.

Tomorrow we don't have to go anywhere or do anything (much)! Oh, apart from joining a group of people going to Mad O'Rourke's Pie Factory. Will I have another cow pie?

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