Thursday, 3 September 2009

The weak links worked

It was still raining this morning so there was no point in moving until it finally stopped. Still not great boating weather as the wind was again very strong. Stopping where I did last night was a good move as I didn’t spot anywhere else that would have been suitable until I got to Barlaston, and there were loads of boats moored all the way from there to Trentham Lock.

I keep the bow of my boat at the front of the lock when ascending as I can see what is happening with it, but there is a protruding bolt on this lock which I could see was likely to catch the front fender. Sure enough it did and the upper weak links duly broke allowing the fender to drop out of the way and the boat to continue up the lock with the stem rubbing up the gate. I decided to wait until out of the other end of the town before stopping to refix the fender, but there was nowhere that would have been easy to moor as it was all a concrete edge so I would have needed to use pins whilst trying to keep hold of the boat in the wind.

Arriving at Stoke bottom lock there were already a couple of boats waiting so I had plenty of time to refit the fender using some more cable ties. When it was my turn, there were so many people about that the lock was worked for me, and one of the crew of another boat went ahead and prepared the next lock for me so the first two were very easy. I arrived at the middle lock just as another boat was leaving so had yet another easy lock. The next lock I had to turn and work myself.

Then came the top lock. Once the descending boat left I drove the boat in and suddenly realised how deep it is. There wasn’t a boat waiting to come down so I had to climb the ladder. Now I don’t do heights, I feel sick if I’m watching the TV and there’s a shot over a drop. The position of the ladder also meant that I was climbing from the counter rather than the roof. It wasn’t nice but I was soon at the lockside. After leaving the lock I winded in the junction with the Caldon and moored up as it was lunchtime.

It was still threatening rain so having had a look at the moorings at the start of the Caldon and deciding they looked nicer, and deciding that I wouldn’t go any further today, I moved the boat onto this mooring. Will be heading off up the Caldon in the morning so have staircase locks and lift bridges to look forward to.

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