Wednesday, 22 August 2012

The Big One (19-7)

Wednesday 22nd August 2012.

Bank Newton Bottom Lock to Sunny Skipton on sea!

The day was very changeable as the rain see-sawed between light and heavy. The wind was also quite changeable as it quickly alternated between a gentle breeze to a howling gale. The only constant was the sun, in that there wasn't any!

We were joined by a widebeam hotel boat on our mooring last night. I had a word with the operator about how the business was fairing with all the bad weather we have had this year. It turns out that there were one guest short for this trip. However overall for the year they were pretty close to a hundred percent take up. 

It felt like we were leading a training course for new boaters all day. Because we met a constant stream of hire-boaters going in both directions. All who were apparently dumbfounded by lock operation as well as control of the boat in high winds. However, most seemed to be enjoying the experience and there was a tendency for all the boat crews to muck in and help each other. 

There was a tangible sense of relief when someone came along who understood what to do. The Memsahib was offering advice wherever she could. 

We came across one family group who were placing themselves at serious risk by pulling gates open with their backs to the lock! And always opening all the paddles to the maximum. We had a word about the dangers and what they should do. It seems that they felt as a family that they were "holding everyone up" by taking their time. 

I thought at the time, that CART could put a on a few experienced lock volunteers on change over days at the first lock each side of a hire-boatyard. This would be a proactive way to spread the word about safety on the inland waterways. Rather than advisory notices intended to cover backsides!

We came across one or two had managed to find the odd mud-banks and had been struggling to get off. Our Mantra for the day was "the easiest way off was the way you went on." Many of the locks had problems with paddles that just did not work. One in particular lock had a huge leak on the top gate and only one paddle working on the bottom gate. Even when the lock looked to be level it would still take quite a while before the bottom gate could be opened.

Part of the problem for the hire-boaters was that they had not been warned to expect some of the lock paddles to be broken. They were working on the assumption that every one would be in working condition. As there is no recognised way of identifying broken  lock equipment, this just added to their confusion.

Daily Total
Miles: 6.6
Locks: 6
Swing / Lift Bridges: 5
Tunnels: 0
Pump Outs: 0
Engine Hours: 4.3

Accumulated Totals
Miles: 1121.9
Locks: 811
Swing / Lift Bridges: 125
Tunnels. 22
Pump Outs: 13
Engine Hours: 2386.6


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