Thursday, 22 May 2014

Migraines and Variable Weather

(Boat Chalice - posted by Alan)

The biggest unknown at the start of the day related to a problem reported by the Canal and River Trust at one of their Birmingham locks.  If signed up for alerts, you receive mails like this one we received yesterday afternoon.



Navigation closure notice: Tame Valley Canal


Notice Alert



Tame Valley Canal

Starts At: Lock 1, Perry Barr Top Lock

Ends At: Lock 13, Perry Barr Bottom Lock

Up Stream Winding Hole: Rushall Junction

Down Stream Winding Hole: Salford Junction



Wednesday 21 May 2014 14:00 until further notice

Type: Navigation Closure

Reason: Structure failure



There is an obstruction blocking the bottom gate of Lock 10.



As this has left the gate inoperable we have unfortunately had to close the lock flight with immediate effect whilst work is carried out.

Further updates will be posted in due course.



Typical of the attractive (& named) bridges on the Birmingham & Fazeley
Now this one mattered because the closed lock is one we potentially needed to pass through to do the BCN Challenge, either possibly as part of the challenge, or maybe as part of a positioning move in advance of it.

The bad news is that although there are alternate routes to join the Birmingham Canal Navigations the way the rules and point scoring for the Challenge work, they are actually a very poor choice, with a lot of locks, many of which would get you no score at all.

"Cobbett" will be one of the other boats taking part - nobody there today!
We could hope the problem would be fixed today, but we certainly couldn't know that, so whilst we had until now planned to be quite leisurely we had to accept this might mean a major change of route.  So we thought we had better get moving today, whilst keeping an eye on developments.

In practice I managed to chat to the marina manager at Alvecote far longer than I intended, and our start was not particularly early!

The weather had not yet broken - quite!
Cath had agreed to do the first stint on the tiller, but called me out soon after we had set off.  She occasionally gets bad migraines, fortunately not at all often, these days, but when she does get one, they take over very quickly, and she is unable to carry on doing what she was doing.  So whilst Cath went inside in search of medicines, an ice pack  and a darkened room, I took over the boat.



Now it's raining!
Until you leave the Coventry Canal for the Birmingham and Fazely there were just two more locks which were quickly dispatched, but where we had planned for Cath to do a brief shop at Fazeley, David had to go instead, whilst I finally filled the water tank, which we had failed to do completely at Atherstone, due to a tap with a really slow flow rate.  There are no toilet emptying facilities on the Birmingham & Fazeley, so we made a further short diversion up to Peel's Wharf to do that, before turning around, back to the junction, and finally following the sign to Birmingham.


Now it is REALLY raining!
Cath was little better by the time we hit the top of the Curdworth flight of 11 locks, but David was more than happy to work up this flight, going ahead each time on the folding bike to speed our progress.











This should be view of the short Curdworth Tunnel
Fatefully though, he announced he was in danger of getting sun burnt, and demanded the sun block.  About 10 minutes later the heavens opened, and within no time at all both he and I were soaked to the skin.  Deciding we were unlikely to get any wetter even if we fell in, we decided to press on through all the locks, plus the diminutive Curdworth Tunnel that comes at the end of them.  As seems to happen quite often, the rain seemed to lessen substantially soon after we moored up, and has now been stopped for a while.


Oh, and during the day  this also arrived by email.....



Navigation closure notice: Tame Valley Canal

Notice Alert



Tame Valley Canal

Starts At: Lock 1, Perry Barr Top Lock

Ends At: Lock 13, Perry Barr Bottom Lock

Up Stream Winding Hole: Rushall Junction

Down Stream Winding Hole: Salford Junction



Wednesday 21 May 2014 14:00 until Thursday 22 May 2014 11:30



Type: Navigation Closure

Reason: Structure failure



Update on 22/05/2014:



The obstruction has been removed and the navigation is therefore now open.


So, all being well, we do not have to use an alternative route to access the action on the BCN Challenge!



Alvecote to Curdworth Tunnel
Miles: 10.6, Locks:13

Total Miles: 119.8, Locks: 64

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