Here I am Rune
Distance 8.4 miles
Total 2794 Locks 130 Tunnels
Running total mileage 3871.6 miles
Today has been what could best be described as ‘eventful’. It started off OK with the usual domestic stuff, top up with water, empty the Elsan cassettes, dump the rubbish, but then became more interesting as we started to pass through the locks. The first lock, Rhodesfield, leaks badly at the bottom of the gate and cill. This wasn’t a problem as we went down in the lock as I just kept away from it, to get out of the lock however involved reversing right up against the cill. The result of this was that water was flooding onto the back deck from the leaking gate. A group of gongoozlers on the lock-side looked quite concerned at how much water was going on the back deck but the drainage system seemed to cope reasonably well although I ended out with probably half a bucket of water in the bilge. Interestingly it gave me the opportunity to see if the bilge pump works since I’ve never had enough water in the bilge to enable it to operate. The good news is that it does work.
The next lock,Bell Furrows, was fine and we passed through without incident (stopping afterwards at Ripon Marina to top up the diesel tank).
The next lock however, Oxclose Lock created a major problem due to the fact that it is leaking very badly under the cill. As I went down in the lock I thought that there was going to be a problem and, sure enough, once we were down, there was. The inrushing water from under the cill pinned the boat against the lockside. I couldn’t move it neither with the boatpole nor with the engine. Fortunately there were two willing blokes on the lockside to whom I threw a rope (I couldn’t get up the lock ladder as we were diagonally in the lock) and the crew, with the assistance of these two willing volunteers, were able to haul the back of the boat out of the inrushing water which enable me to pull it back to clear the gate and then get out of the lock. Given that we also needed to set up a winch system to open the bottom lock gate because of the pressure of water on it, it would be fair to say that the lock needs some urgent repairs (before the water leaking under the cill washes the support away and the cill (and gates) collapse.
The final event was in the last lock, Westwick Lock. This seemed to be going well, we had gone down about nine tenths of the drop when suddenly, for no obvious reason, the back doors on the boat started to swing shut. Looking along the boat I could now see that the front had stopped descending whilst the stern continued to go down. A lot of blowing of the horn to alert the lock crew to the problem and the paddles were rapidly closed. Even now I do not know what the boat had caught on, there didn’t seem to be any logical reason for it to catch, the stern was clear of the cill and the front wasn’t against the side of the lock. The top paddles were opened and we refloated OK, but I’d love to know what we caught on. The final struggle was to actually get out of the lock, we were OK going up but it was extremely tight coming back down, if it had been any tighter we’d have had to refill the lock, go back up and turn around to come down backwards. I hope none of the remaining locks are any tighter than that.
So after an eventful day we are here at Boroughbridge.