Thursday, 5 April 2012

The Big One (1-5)

Thursday 5th April 2012 Broad Cut Low Lock  to Brighouse Bottom Lock 

What a change in the weather! I was up at 3am as one of the dogs needed to do whatever a dog needs to do. The dawn was just breaking and it was a blood red sky - going by the old maxim - red sky in the morning Shepard's take warning. I was expecting more bad weather. However, I awoke at the crack of 8:30 to brilliant sunshine. I;m going back to my seaweed and pine cone weather prediction system!!!

So we were underway by 9:00 and we left the pram cover up to let the sun dry off all the condensation that had built up. By 10:30 we were cruising once more with the top down. The river had fallen overnight and was several inches below the yellow mark on the indicator. So we had no problems or worries about joining the various river sections through various flood locks.

We managed to obtain some cut wood from a BW boat that was being used to ferry the remains of a fallen tree. The wood is still a bit sappy but the tree had been down for a while. The sun will soon do is magic on the wood and if we get anymore cold evenings we will be toasty  warm once more.

We came to Millbank Lock and after mooring up we were waiting in a queue for a boat in front of us to clear the lock. I looked over to the lock just in time to see a lady disappear head first and backwards into the lock. I ran up and shouted for all of the lock paddles to be closed. She was seen to go under twice but with the paddles closed the turbulence had stopped and she came back to the surface clinging on to a large piece of polystyrene. We manoeuvred her to the side and I engaged her in conversation about any pain or injuries that she was aware of. There were none that the lady could feel. So me and the Memsahib hoisted her clear out of the water in one go and laid her down on the lock side. It took a few moments for her to regain her composure. One wet, cold, bedraggled but glad to be out of the water lady was sent off for a hot shower.

I am pleased to report that the lady did not need my first aid skills. She was however feeling a little bit bruised and shaken up which under the circumstances was quite normal. We went back to clear the lock and bring our boat through. The paddle that the lady had been operating was very heavy and almost impossible to open. When the lock was drained, it was clear the the large heavy paddle counter balance weight has disappeared. All that was left hanging in place was a piece of chain and a broken shackle. It would seem that the sudden extra unbalanced weight on the paddle had thrown the lady and the windlass into the lock.

I reported the incident to BW as a "Near Miss" and informed them of the condition of the paddle and its missing counter balance weight. Some time later I was contacted by the BW Leeds Office who said that they would send out a maintenance crew. Al is well that ends well. The lady concerned had been a boater for over 30 years and this was the first time she had ever fallen into the water.

Thinking about it - I should have been at a meeting with BW in their Leeds Office today - Which by good a stroke of good fortune was cancelled. Otherwise the possible outcome if we had not been around does not bear thinking about. Just another one of life's little happenstances and coincidences.

Soon we were back to boating and we made our way river as far as Brighouse where we will spend the night. The  Memsahib went off to the supermarket to do a bit of stores replenishment. I made myself busy preparing the stove for lighting later!

There was more wildlife around today. I watched in amazement as two cock Blackbirds put on an an amazing display of close formation flying as the pursued each other in a dispute over turf or maybe it was over the hen blackbird? I checked along the river and round the basin just after dark. Several Pipstrelle bats were detected.

Daily Total Miles: 12
Locks: 13
Swing / Lift Bridges: 0
Tunnels: 0
Pump Outs: 0
Engine Hours: 9.3

Rosie's Running Totals
Distance 575.1 miles
Locks 599
Swing / Lift Bridges 100
Tunnels 6
Pump-outs 8
Engine Hours: 2038.6


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