Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Slow Boat Up the Creek

Day Four: 6 July. Birstall to Pilling's Lock.
And this was the day things stopped going according to plan....
After breakfast and a quick shopping trip, it was business as usual, with added clunk. A grass snake swims across the river ahead of us as we leave; naturally the lens cap is on my switched-off camera.
The clunk gets worse. We don't like the sound of it, and there seemed to be trouble with the steering, so after Thurmaston Lock we stop to check the hatch again.
Plastic bag.
Still clunking, so we get to a reasonably accessible stopping place, and ring the boatyard, who send out helpful mechanics who arrived with about an hour.

Spirits plummet, and 
we halt. Going nowhere fast
we call the boatyard.

After poking about in the bowels of the boat, they deliver their verdict.
Not good news.
The bearing on the prop-shaft has popped out, so the shaft etc isn't properly supported going through the hull to the prop. And it's hitting the prop on it needs taking out and refitting - which means finding a yard and taking the boat out of the water. I can feel the holiday falling apart around us.
So we wait, to see if there's a yard that can handle us...

Help is soon at hand.
with stilson wrench and grease:
Matt, our new Best Friend.

Well, Pilling's Lock Marina can take us, but it's quite a distance away, so Matt the Engineer is coming with us to make sure things don't get worse, and AngloWelsh have been real stars - they've offered to either pay for us to have a day out somewhere while the boat is fixed (on a reimbursement basis) or the boatyard will let us have a dayboat for the day. PLUS as we'll be losing 2 days of our holiday, and Jupiter isn't booked out next week, we can stay out until Monday morning instead of returning to base on Saturday. A couple of quick phone calls and it's all agreed - so as long as it gets fixed tomorrow, all is better than good!
So here we go, letting Matt and Drew do the locks and steering.
Cossington Nature Reserve slips past, with terns screeching overhead. Lots of sizeable weirs (mostly dry-ish), some very posh houses, long gardens, some boats, overhanging willows (of course you always meet the oncoming boat where the willows mask it!).  Not quite sure why one house appears to have cannon on the waterfront...
The river widens rapidly after Montsorrel, very rural and lovely. We get to Pillings Lock by 1700 and then there is all the messing about getting to our mooring, and finding someone who knows what's happening.
They say they'll start at 0700...
8 miles/7 locks/0 tunnels/River Soar

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