Thursday, 31 December 2009

And RED means ……..

Well, I’ll start with the end of the day, and then go back.

I’d met a boat at King’s Sutton lock, and passed a couple of boats mooring up not far from Nell Bridge lock, and none of them had mentioned anything about conditions on the river section. Arriving at Nell Bridge lock I looked for the indicator to see what conditions were, but it wasn’t there. I crossed the road to have a look at the other side of the bridge and it wasn’t there either. Looking down towards the weir lock I saw a boat that must have just descended and was preparing to go through. Other boats had left Banbury this morning and must have gone down. Added to all this there is a headroom gauge as Nell Bridge is quite low and the water level was well down on the scale.

From all of this I assumed that the river section was ok to use though, given the flooded fields I had passed on the way, not in the green. So I dropped down the lock and headed downstream.

Whilst preparing the weir lock I noticed the level indicator at that end.

31122009724-001 Well into the red section. I was pretty much committed by that point, the alternative to proceeding would be to reverse (or more likely haul) back to the lock and ascend backwards. On this section the flow only crosses the navigation rather than boats joining the river for a longer period, so it was only a matter of keeping control for a short period and I got into the lock although a bit untidily.

Had I actually checked the conditions rather than assuming all was ok because other boats had been through I wouldn’t have come down but moored above the lock and waited for conditions to improve. There is another river section further along the canal, but one where you join the flow, and I’ll definitely make sure that is safe to use.

Up until that excitement it had been an uneventful day. I had planned to stop just before bridge 168 to do some shopping, but when I arrived I saw that this section is in the process of being improved, which is good as it use to be a matter of mooring on pins somewhere near the edge.

31122009714 31122009715 At the moment it wouldn’t be easy to get off the boat, but luckily the section just after the bridge has already been completed, but is still a bit muddy.

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