Thursday, June 06, 2013

Back on C&RT waters

Yesterday we had an errands day; first moving down the Runcorn Arm to empty loos and top up water tanks, then across the junction to Midland Chandlers before reversing a few hundred yards up the main line to moor again.

The shopping trip was to buy the paint, wet and dry, brushes etc for the on-going paint job. I’d bought some at Thorn Marine, just in case MC didn’t have the colours I wanted. I should really have waited and got it all here, they’re doing a special on International paints, 3 cans for £50. At just over £21 normal price, that’s a huge saving. Buying 9 meant I effectively got 2 for free!
So now I should have enough to do the job, and have been busy working on the roof these last few days. It’s almost all prepared now, just a final bit of titivating tomorrow and we’ll be ready for the grey gloss on the bands that break up the panels. Two coats on them, then I‘ve got sand-coloured Interdeck to roller on the panels.
Ooh, exciting init!Flirt male

Today we decided to move south off the Bridgewater, through Preston Brook Tunnel, to the Trent and Mersey. Chas and Ann were waiting at the motorway bridge for a courier to collect Ann’s laptop for return to the supplier, so I did a bit more work on the roof before we moved off to catch the 13:30 “window” through the tunnel.

Claymoore Narrowboats at Preston BrookSAM_5712 Preston Brook (1)
You’ll spot that our roof looks clear; in fact there’s less on it and it’s all on the front half at the moment. You might also notice that the mushroom ventilators and plank rack are being painted.
All are brass, but the rack is never empty to get polished, and the mushrooms look more like gunmetal than brass when they’ve been attacked with the Brasso.
So now they’re going to be Ivory White, to match the coach line on the new scheme.

We were arriving at the tunnel at about 13:35, expecting any waiting boats to have already disappeared into the gloom, but no, there was a queue of five boats ahead of us.

Queuing for the tunnel.SAM_5713 Preston Brook Tunnel queue
The reason for the hold-up can be seen left of centre. A work boat had made a very slow transit through, and it’s only one-way (hence the timed passage), so we all had to wait.
Consequently we couldn’t all get through before 13:40, us and the boat ahead had to wait till 14:30 before we could go.

It wasn’t all bad news though. The couple on the boat ahead (sorry, can’t remember the name, only that it’s Latin and only of significance to the former owner), Peter and Jennifer, are from Tasmania, bought the boat last winter and are on their first summer cruise, before returning home in the autumn. We had a good chat, mainly about roof painting, and found that Jennifer reads this blog, among others. Good to meet you both.
I didn’t take a picture, I thought I'd have a chance later as both boats were heading for the same mooring spot, but as it happens neither of us got there.

The spot in question is the new moorings on the repaired section at Dutton Hollow, following the disastrous breach last September. A passing cyclist told us that the moorings were all but full, so we stopped at our regular spot near Longacre Wood. Meg can get re-acquainted with the squirrel population.
She’ll enjoy that, not sure about the rodents, though.

South portal of Preston Brook Tunnel
SAM_5712 Preston Brook Tunnel
Dutton Stop Lock is only a couple of inches deep, but was built to 
a) protect the Trent and Mersey in the event of a breach on the Bridgewater, and
b) to stop passing boats long enough to extract tolls as they moved from one navigation authority to the other.

Mags in Dutton Stop LockSAM_5715 Dutton Stop Lock

Just beyond the lock there’s an abandoned, flooded cruiser, a bit of a hazard when approaching or leaving the lock.

Mags carefully passing the sunken cruiserSAM_5720 Sunken Boat
It was tied up on the lock landing, and I wonder if that’s how it got in this state. It’s a vulnerable position for a light plastic boat when there are 15+ ton steel narrowboats about – some with crews of questionable proficiency…..

We pulled in a little further along, just past another awash boat, this time a more substantial open pan.

Another sunken boatSAM_5721 Another sunken boat

I think it’s maybe off the ship canal, It’s open-decked, with “40108 MSC MB No 7” on the bow. And a patrol notice on the mooring chain…

After spending all day waiting for the courier, Chas and Ann finally joined us at about 6 o’clock, and have moored the other side of the wreck.

Not sure what we’re doing tomorrow, I’ll certainly be doing some more rubbing down, though.

Locks 1, miles 2


Unknown said...

Just wanted to say it was good to say hello as we passed (twice) I've been reading your blog for the past few years, while we were living in Australia waiting to move back home to live on our own boat... Also we had a spot of engine trouble and were sorted out by the excellent at Claymore boats, it's lovely to see a company with such a helpful attitude. Anyway we're heading back to our home mooring, Fettlers Wharf on the Rufford Branch.

All the best,

Mark & Nora on NB Bluegrass

Anonymous said...

The 'Ship canal' boat is in fact a Bridgewater boat. The Bridgewater belongs to the Ship Canal, hence MSC on its boats. 'MB' for Mud Boat.

And the Dutton stop lock, whilst yes it would protect the T&M from a breach in the Bridgewater, the actual reason was that the Bridgewater was built first. It therefore did not want a Johnny-come-lately canal to steal any of its water, so the T&M was forced to be built higher. A very common feature of canal junctions across the system. For many years Dutton had only one gate, as the Bridgewater was run with more water in it than it had ever been designed for, in order for the Kellogs boats going to Trafford Park to be more laden than would otherwise be possible. This is why the top gate of Dutton lock has (had? I haven't been there for some years, so it's probably been replaced by now) a particularly long balance beam. The Bridgewater breach at Dunahm persuaded them of the error of their ways, and the water level was dropped again back to the design spec.