Saturday, April 12, 2008

Big boats, sandpaper fingers and new friends...

We had a surprise at 11:30 on Thursday night. I was just letting Meg out for her last pee when I saw a large light coming up the canal from the Aire and Calder. As it got nearer it got bigger and bigger, and it became clear that it was attached to a large vessel. It turned out to be the 650 tonne oil barge Humber Princess, on route to Rotherham from Hull.

She stayed overnight at the lock, then was on the move again at 05:45.

Humber Princess and Sykehouse Lock
I’ll have to apologise for the darkness of the pictures, but it was dawn!

She was back down the lock this morning at 09:30, empty and heading back to Hull. Most weeks she does 2 trips.

Back to Hull
Yesterday, a day of mixed sunshine and showers, we got stuck into Carol’s paintwork, more rubbing down and making good. It’s getting there, slowly. I think Carol will be pleased to see the first brushful of new paint go on. The preparation is the bit of the job which costs the money if you have a professional repaint.

I was up on the lock at lunchtime today helping a solo boater through, when we had a visit from a water bailiff who told us about an angling match on Sunday morning. We were moored across some of the pegs, so wouldn’t have been very popular!

Four boats in Sykehouse Lock this morning. Plenty of room for a couple more….
Although it was windy we decided to push on down through the last 2 bridges and moor near the junction. It was an easier trip than anticipated; with the wind almost directly astern it wasn't too bad.

We moored on the right just after the River Went aqueduct. Carol will join us tomorrow.

River Went Aqueduct
Notice something missing on the roof of the boat? No? Well that lump of 4x2 I fished out of the canal is now two Calder and Hebble handspikes. At least, I hope so. I’ll let you know when we get to the first lock that needs one!
I should explain, I guess. Some of the locks on the Calder and Hebble have unusual paddle gear. A handspike or lever is needed to raise the paddles. These are available from local boatyards, but at around £8.00 a time I thought we could save some money. Time will tell...

Had a walk across to Sykehouse village this morning, over the fields. We both enjoyed it; it’s nice to get away from the towpath occasionally. Meg made a new friend; the Shetland pony with the brown face followed us for 100 yards! He only came up to my waist.

Shetland Ponies
Locks 0, miles 2

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