Sunday, 9 October 2011

Summer Autumn Cruise 2011 (7-7)

Sunday October 9th

Sprotborough Moorings to Eastwood Moorings
Day 49

I was up early as the dogs needed to go “walkies”. The scudding clouds were now coming from a different direction so maybe the weather will take a change for the better. The wind has picked up a bit but not enough to keep us here any longer. The Tawny Owl of yesterday was not to be heard but a noisy Pheasant made an appearance strutting his stuff along the grass picnic area until the dogs chased him off.

At 9:15 we were under way passing a long line of fishermen setting up for a contest. The sky was soon filled with broken cloud and the wind took on a warm feel. Off in the distance were rain clouds but we managed to avoid them with just the briefest of showers much later as we reached our destination.

The River Don and the Navigation are at their scenic best after Doncaster Town Lock all the way up to Eastwood Moorings. The scenic quality goes down a bit as you pass through Rotherham and the Rotherham Town Lock. There scenery improves once more after leaving Rotherham behind.

The journey was quite uneventful with just the stupidity of British Waterways putting other waterways users at risk by grasping for cash and letting the lowest point of the lock landings be used for mooring two activity boats.

Is it unusual for long-term moorings to be allocated on a lock landing?

I say this because of the stupidity of British Waterways by putting other waterways users at risk by letting the lowest point of the lock landings at Swinton Lock be used for mooring two activity boats. One narrow and one widebeam.

Whilst I applaud the activity centre for the work it does. Their activity boats spend a great deal of time on a day-to-day basis moored on what should be a much safer landing area for other boaters, (especially for the older and less nimble ones) to operate Swinton Lock.

At the highest point of the landing area is a space that could be used to accommodate the mooring of at least part of one of the their activity boats. Thus leaving a larger clearer space for other waterways users to get on and off their boats much more easily. Achievable by mooring one of the activity boats (when not in use) a bit closer to the long term moored Waddington barge.

To get on and off our 50' boat currently requires the boat to be placed nose in to the high point in the lock landing piling between the two boats. (Yellow Star) Then climbing up a metal ladder set into a much higher point in the landing area. Imagine as a single hander climbing up whilst holding on to your bow mooring rope. Last time we went up the ladder there were also brambles growing at this point.

There is also a bywash outlet close to this point that makes it even more difficult to position the boat for someone to climb off the bow and onto the ladder. If there is any wind it is much worse and if the lock is full there is a great deal of additional water to be released. Swinton Lock is 230ft long and 20ft wide and has a fall of about 10 ft.

The other alternative has been pointed out to us several times by individuals at the activity centre - which we choose to ignore - is an even higher metal ladder set into the lock approach. (Red star)

Not far down stream from this point and almost as a warning is a flower bedecked shrine for an unfortunate young young man who drowned in the canal here.

This is a foreseeable accident waiting to happen to some unsuspecting boater. I have reported my about the potential for a serious accident to BW in the past, and not even had the courtesy of an acknowledgement.

We have moored up for the day on the Eastwood visitor moorings. We are moored in the company of Peter and Jeanette on Nb Joanie B. I had a nice chat with Peter and Mags had a chat Jeanette. Nb  Jazigcasane is just a little further along. The BW mooring power sockets apparently have been repaired, though one mains bollard needs the external hardware replacing. I did a quick fix using “gaffer tape” to make the card reader access doors usable.

Dear Agony Aunts.

I have just watched a puzzling action when someone drained down Eastwood Lock for no apparent reason other than to empty the lock. There were no boats going up or down - infact we had just come up through the lock. The individual operated the lock to drain the water then just walked away. I would welcome some good reason for doing this. So if you know of a reason why anyone would want to do this please let me know.

Bewildered of Eastwood Moorings.

Now, normally I am full of admiration for the crew of the Humber Princess. A large vessel is moved up what is in places a difficult piece of canal. Today on arrival at Eastwood I was surprised to see the Princess moored up in what is at best a questionable manner. With one line from the bow deployed and using only a centre line she has been moored for the weekend. The Princess is moored on the only lock landing point. She is also obscuring the entry point into Eastwood Lock. To compound the problem even further her stern has been left hanging well out over the centre line of the canal. As far as I can see there is no one on board to take care of any eventuality.

No Bats around tonight, I hoped the warmer weather would have brought some out, it seems that the rain fall is delaying play.

Daily Total
Distance: 10 Miles.
Locks: 6
Swing / Lift Bridges: 0
Tunnels: 0
Pump Outs: 0
Engine Hours: 1989.8

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