Thursday, October 23, 2014

A bit of canal, a bit of river.

There’s only one place that Mr Brindley allowed his navigation to get involved with moving water, and that is at Alrewas, our destination for today. He was quoted as comparing a flowing river to “a furious giant, running along and overturning everything; whereas if you lay the giant flat on his back, he loses all his force, and becomes completely passive, whatever his size may be.”
It seems that here, but no-where else, he was forced by the local topography to follow the river bed, but only for a mile.

Meg and I had a pleasant walk around Branston Water Park this morning. It was a warmer start to the day than of late, with glimpses of early sun through the trees. That done, dinner for tonight prepared, we set off, following a Shakespeare Line hire boat towards Tattenhill Lock.

There are good moorings either side of Branston Bridge, but some of those above the bridge are overshadowed by trees, which is why we prefer those below. At this time of year you don’t want to be moored beneath a crab-apple tree! 
We learned our lesson a couple of autumns ago, when moored beneath the spreading branches of a well laden oak on a breezy night…

Approaching Tattenhill Lock, where we had a spot of bother…IMG_2000

I saw the preceding hire boat out of the lock, then Mags came up to the bottom gates before I drew the lower paddles. Or tried to. She ran aground on something in the bridge hole. With a flush of water out of the lock, judicious tiller-waggling and a squirt of power she came in alright.

I don’t know why she’s smiling, she’s stuck!IMG_2001

Leaving the lock the canal runs between the access road to the gravel quarry on the right and the busy A38 on the left. And through what is believed to be the narrowest bridge on the network.

Lining up for Bridge 36
It’s probably no narrower than normal, but with no towpath it just appears so. The towpath changes over to the left here, but this isn’t a turnover bridge, so either the towpath has been moved or the bridge built since horse-boats plied their trade along the Trent and Mersey.

We overtook the hirer below Barton Lock while they were taking on water, and had an easy run up with a boat just leaving the empty lock and two more waiting to come down.

Out of Barton Lock.IMG_2006

A noisy straight pound alongside the main road ends at Wychnor Lock and the rise up to the river level.

Under Wychnor BridgesIMG_2009

The navigation above the lock takes the smaller of the two main river channels crossing the flat wash lands below Alrewas.

Looking back at the squat tower of Wychnor churchIMG_2013

Passing a large weir which takes most of the Trent water Alrewas Lock comes into sight.

A shame, no boat coming down!IMG_2015

Up the lock, and our planned overnight mooring was almost empty, just one boat on the length of piling.

I fitted counter-fenders in the spring to protect the stern paintwork when moving off from the bank. On the picture below Tattenhill Lock (above) the left one is still attached, but there was a bang as the mounting rope parted against the piling at Barton.
I can tidy it up but can’t refit it till we get around the corner at Fradley onto the Coventry Canal, where the towpath is back on the left. It’s odd, we must have spent most of the summer moored left side to. The mounting rope on the right is almost untouched, yet this one was badly frayed, just waiting for that final straw.

Locks 4, miles 5


Anonymous said...

Hi Geoff,
Where did you get the counter fenders and what size are they? They look like a good investment. Its where we have most scratches on our boat.
Tradline have what they call wrap around fenders on 'Kabelering' Are these the same thing.

Geoff and Mags said...

Hi Steve
I picked these up from a floating fender maker up Barlaston way. They're 2 metres of "knitting" with a metre of attachment cord at either end. There's a guy here at Fradley, NB Ratty, on a permanent mooring who makes them, he made two for our friends on Roosters Rest for a very reasonable fee. I think they're worth having, they do protect the paintwork when turning out from a mooring.
You can fit them at the front, too, on the top bend.
Not sure about the Tradline offering, sorry.