Sunday, 24 September 2017

Shepley Bridge

Here I am Rune
Distance 3.6 miles
Total 2836 Locks  130 Tunnels
Running total mileage 4037.1 miles 

Today’s trip was even shorter than planned, a mere 3½ miles, but this was because of a bit of an issue with Shepley bridge lock. We are now back in the realms of short locks and with our 60 footer it does give me a bit to do on the boat in the lock. Getting it in is the first issue involving squeezing past the bottom gate, this wasn’t too much of a problem but once into the lock it was clear that the top gate was leaking badly through a variety of gaps. Since I didn’t want to flood the bow of the boat it involved trying to keep the bow out of the cascading water. There was a nice few gaps in the top gate in which it would be easy to get the bow caught so there was also trying to avoid that. Along the side of the lock there were a number of gaps in the stonework which is likely to catch on the gunwale as the boat goes up and finally at the rear of the lock is stupid walkway on the inside of the bottom lock gate. If you get caught under that you can either bend the tiller arm or, if particularly luck sink the back of the boat. The one thing that did prove to be an issue was the bolt heads sticking out of the lock gate, as the paddles were opened the boat is pushed back onto the bottom gate and the result was that one of these bolt heads caught on the base plate weld and the back of the boat stopped going up. Immediate call went up to shut the paddles whilst we tried to sort it out. None of this was helped by the fact that the water was leaking out of the bottom gate as fast as it was coming into the lock through the paddles so rising in the lock was at a glacial pace. Crew couldn’t get the ground paddles to open (one was out of order) so we had to fill the lock just using the gate paddles which cannot be opened fully until there is enough water in the lock for them to be underwater. It would be fair to say that there were times I wondered whether we were ever going to get out of this lock, and when the back of the boat jammed, sinking became a possibility!

After that little palaver, we decided to give up for the day since one helpful gent on his boat above the lock advised me that the next lock was even worse, we’ll save that pleasure for tomorrow.

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