Thursday, April 24, 2014

A bit of kerfuffle at Wheelock

As I came back from my run this morning I passed the locks that we were to be descending later. The pound between L65 and L66 was almost dry, apparently quite a common occurrence. I’d helped a hire boat last night who was struggling to get out of L66, coming uphill. We had to drop a couple of lock-fulls of water into the pound to get him across.

By the time I’d showered, had breakfast and was out with Meg a couple of boats had turned up, one above and one below. There was a fair bit of water coming down the by-wash, but they had to open up the sluices at both ends of the upper lock to get some more down.

Lock 65 / 66 pound this morningSAM_9132

Our mooring was in the longish pound above Lock 65, and of course this is where the water was being drawn from, with inevitable results…

Ooh ‘eck!SAM_9133


We were well stuck, but I had a few jobs to do before we were to get away so was hoping for a few boats coming down to bring water with them. Unfortunately more were going up than coming down, inevitable really when you consider the moorings below the locks at Wheelock.

Finally a boat started coming down from above, I felt the surge of water as he opened the paddles and got the bow pushed out. But the stern was still stuck fast, it took two of us, with Mags stood at the fore-end, to get it clear.

We let the descending boat go first, only fair really, then scraped our way across the still-low pound to wait for a boat coming up, the ex-working boat NB Badger

Swapping locks with NB BadgerSAM_9135

The short pound looks a bit fuller now…SAM_9136

In Lock 66, the bottom of the Wheelock Flight, with a sigh of relief.SAM_9137
It took over an hour to negotiate the two locks…

I hear it’s to do with the new gates on Lock 65, and old ones on Lock 66. The new gates are tight, preventing leaks into the short pound, but the old ones aren’t, so the pound tends to to empty overnight. The old ones are going to get replaced next winter, all being well.

We topped up with water and emptied the loos, then moved through the bridge to moor so I could get some bread and milk from the village shop and dog food from the pet food shop.

Leaving Wheelock Wharf

Shopping done and lunch partaken of we pushed on, through the bendy bits along the River Wheelock valley, and moored at Paddy’s Wood.

Lush fields at this time of year

A fortnight ago the sight of ducklings created a period of excitement. Now they’re getting commonplace…

Another batch of ducklings… yawn.

Moored opposite Yeowood Farm at Paddy’s WoodSAM_9145
I’d checked up on Brian and Anne-Marie’s website last night, and knew they were heading our way today. A flurry of text messages confirmed they were passing us this afternoon, a chance to get fuel stocks topped up.

NB Alton approachesSAM_9146

Diesel and coal transferred, tea and coffee drunk and gossip swapped, and they were on their way.

Anne-Marie just looked away at the wrong time!

This lovely couple work hard to keep boaters supplied. They left Acton Bridge this morning, and will be stopping near Red Bull tonight. Tomorrow they intend to be back at base, Oak Grove on the Macclesfield, to reload for another trip.
That would be 48 locks and 40 miles in two days! It’d take us two weeks…

Locks 2, miles 1½ (more our pace).

No comments: