Thursday, 30 August 2018

Generally towards home, but with a detour.

(Both boats being moved together - posted by Alan)

Leaving Ansty - as seen from Sickle
We  continued our journey home with both boats, but had arranged today with Brinklow Boat Services to take Flamingo down what remains of the Stretton Arm.  There is a troublesome pair of welds where the "cloth shaped" front part of the cabin joins the main "box shaped" accommodation cabin.  We had had these welds remade at Brinklow a couple of years back, but for some not easily explained reason they quickly failed again.  The cracks only form over a curiously short length, but because all the rain that lands on the "top plank" part of the front cabin runs back to that point, a lot of water was getting in, making reconstruction of the woodwork inside the boat at that point a fairly pointless exercise.

Work in progress on Flamingo - sister boat Otley on the inside.
The journey down the shallow Stretton arm is always a challenge.  Boats being worked on mix with boats being lived on and boats just being stored, and usually at least one will need to be shunted out of the way to get through. Sometime it is narrow boat Tetris!  Not wishing to make the congestion even worse, we managed to tie "Sickle" up at a point before the junction to the arm, so that only Flamingo need travel down ot.  We only had to get one boat moved, but there was a further delay whilst the guys at the yard shuffled some others to get a different one against the wharf to be worked on.

The same, but viewed from the other end.
Our welding was quickly attended to, although first I had to strip quite a bit of woodwork out inside, and then stand guard with bucket and fire extinguisher, just in case the unexpected happened, (it didn't!).  A decision was taken to leave the welds raised and linished off, rather than grinding them flat, to give the strength of additional metal - hopefully the cracking will not re-occur.  Dave, who did the work, is threatening to cut the whole front part of the cabin off if it re-occurs - perhaps because e once tried to buy Flamingo, and that is what he would have done with it anyway!

David assists the turning operation with the long shaft.
There is always an interesting mix of boats being worked on.  We were particularly interested in Otley - recently  purchased by a very well known historic narrow boat researcher.  It is the same "Large Northwich" type as Flamingo, but has now had the start of a cabin conversion that was being built on it by a previous owner removed  It will once again be an unconverted boat.

Threading our way back out.
More "fun" ensued as we then had to take Flamingo the remaining length of the arm to turn it, ready to come out again.  This passage is between smart well presented boats with barely a mark on them, and their owners are keeping a firm eye in case you do anything to change that situation!  There is little margin on turning at the end, and it is too silted to have much success using the engine.  We found it generally easier to use the long shaft, or generally pull on roeps.  (Well, I found it easier, as it was David on the shaft and ropes!).

Motorised butty Hampton suffered damage to its hydraulic drive and missed Alvecote.
Once back up the arm, I "hovered" in the entrance whilst Cath and David wet to fetch Sickle.  Once underway again, we would have liked to go on to Rugby but felt we might fail to find moorings for both a 72 foot and a 40 foot boat, after which there are few suitable deep moorigs for many miles.  So we decided if we could instead stop in Newbold that we would do so.  Space was available, so we called it a day there.

Cath motors Sickle past the end of the Stretton arm, ready for me to follow.
For our evening meal we went to the Barley Mow.  We were last there for the wake after the funeral of the well known historic narrow boat owner and steerer, Trevor Maggs, when it was completely packed out.  Tonight was a much quieter affair.  The food was very OK, and significantly cheaper than many of the canal-side pubs we have visited on this trip.

Ansty to Newbold (Oxford Canal)
Miles: Sickle 7.7, Flamingo 8.4, Miles both boats: 16.1, Locks:0
Total Miles both boats: 242.9,  Total Locks both boats: 101

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