Friday, 3 June 2011

Whitsun Break - Starting to head for home

(Boats  Sickle & Chalice initially, then just Chalice - posted by Alan)

We delayed our departure from Blisworth for the very short run down to Stoke Bruerne for a while, completing a few additional maintenance tasks.  We did notice that the canal had become very busy, with boats passing very regularly - the large numbers of big new marinas built in this area are no doubt a prime reason for this.

We did finally get going, having sorted logistics for Blisworth Tunnel.  I would lead, alone, on Sickle, David would steer Chalice through behind, with Cath also on Chalice.  Sickle is still running with a less than ideal temporary tunnel light - the bulb ordered for it's proper light not having arrived before our journey started.  The temporary light had to be taped on, and switched on as we left Blisworth, as I was on my own, and the switch is in the engine room!

However at the very first bridge there were around half a dozen boats in slow procession coming the other way.  As I pulled up with Sickle, the nose swung hard to the left, blocking their approach, just as the engine decided to die on me - not ideal!  Fortunately somone came to my aid, and once I had sorted myself, six boats took an impressively long while to negotiate just one bridge, (perhaps two of them might have done better if not distracted by using CB radio!).

A rather different ice boat to Sickle, but still a beauty.
In the tunnel the lamp proved to be pointing too high, and too much to the right. I was in no position to alter it, but at least it wasn't going to dazzle oncoming steerers!  The noise from Sickle is "impressive", and I had chosen to use the "tall pipe" to throw the exhaust higher, but was surprised how near it came to the tunnel arch on a couple of occasions.  Boats coming the other way were passed OK, a bit of a relief, as I had not passed boats in a tunnel with Sickle before.

We found satisfactory mooring spots after the tunnel, and mixed further painting with a quick trip to the pub to give it time to dry!

Sickle cleared and locked up.
Eventually it was time to leave Sickle, and continue down the locks with just Chalice, to start the main trip back home.  We transferred much of what we needed to Chalice, and were joined by another boat that we worked down the locks with.  Being later in the day, nobody else was moving, and any queueing was avoided.  We made our overnight stop at the very tranquil Yardley Gobion.

Sharing the bottom lock at Stoke Bruerne

Blisworth to Yardley Gobion
Miles: 6.8, Locks: 7

Total Miles: 66.0, Total Locks:30

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