Tuesday, March 25, 2008

We stayed at Drakeholes over the Easter weekend. The weather has been mixed; sunny spells, snow showers and wind. We woke up to 2 inches of the white stuff on Sunday morning, but it was all gone by lunchtime.

Basin at Drakeholes Tunnel.

Meggy the snow dog.

Carol had bought a canoe from a bloke on a boat at Willington a couple of weeks ago, and decided to have a test paddle.

Carol’s Canoe
Yesterday I decided to have another go at that elusive propshaft noise we have at around 850 rpm. So I unbolted the engine completely and lined it up thoroughly in all 3 axes. I had to redrill a couple of holes for the engine mounts, so that must tell you something!

This morning we set off, heading towards Retford and points west. Amazingly, NO NOISE! Just a slight hum at 900 rpm. Blessed peace all the way to Clayworth and the water point where we stopped to top up. But it came back as we set off again. Just as noisy, and in the same rev range. With mounting despair I pulled over at the next available spot (Hayton Low Bridge, near the Boat Inn.) I was tempted to just go to the pub, but checked the integrity of all the mountings. Couldn’t find anything amiss, so we carried on, and the noise got quieter until it faded completely by the time we caught up with Carol at the delightfully named Whitsunday Pie Lock.

Whitsunday Pie Lock
By the time we’d passed through the lock, the noise was back again, and remained with us to varying degrees for the rest of the day. Ah well, some more investigating, methinks.

We arrived in Retford after lunch, through Retford Town Lock (after retrieving an Asda trolley from the chamber), and then went and spent some money in the supermarket. It’s handily placed alongside the canal, at least the yobs who dumped the trolley thought so…..
Asda trolleys here have those locks on the wheels that engage when they are moved a certain distance from the store. So the hoolies have got to be pretty dedicated around here!

Asda trolley out of lock. Can we claim salvage?
One more lock at West Retford and we were out in the countyside again, and moored for the night between bridges 54a and 54, just past the winding hole.
It’s been a mixed day, it started cold but fine and sunny, but the wind got up later in the morning, the cloud built up and we had the odd shower this afternoon.

Simpson Sky this Morning
The canal is still attractive, but shallow. As one old bloke told me of the Ashby, ”the bottom’s too near the top”!

We’d originally planned to turn around at Worksop, after saying Hi to Carol’s Mum. But it seems a shame not to go up as far as we can while we’re here. So we’re going on to the end of the current restoration, just this side of Norwood Tunnel.

Oh, and in reference to last Thursday's post about a WWII bomb near Harecastle tunnel - it turned out to be a piece of a gas lamp, so panic over.

Locks 3, miles 9½

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