Narrow Boat Trust Loaded

Nuneaton and Brighton turned up at Awbridge on Saturday afternoon and were loaded and away for Sunday afternoon. Just over 19 tonnes on the Nuneaton and twenty tonnes on the butty, Brighton were thrown on by John and the NBT crew in blazing hot sunshine. A visit to the pub was also fitted in due to judicious planning.


Sunday afternoon soon turned from good to bad for two reasons - both down to Canal and River Trust. 

First up was the removal by vandals of the wedges holding the lock gate anchor on Wolverhampton Lock 9, which resulted in the gate hanging off and being un-useable. This happened on Saturday but we only found this out purely by chance as CRT had not bothered to send out the usual stoppage alert. As the solution to the problem seemed to be the simple application of a Tirfor winch together with two new wedges being fitted, we did not anticipate much of a problem. How wrong we were. Somehow, someone on the boating forums had found out that no work would take place until Tuesday, so the Narrow Boat Trust decided to head off to the Grand Union Canal via Great Haywood - an extra days boating. 


The second problem arose as the boats were navigating the pound between the two Wightwick Locks on Sunday evening. There is a drain that enters the canal on the off-side from school playing fields that feeds a permanent silt scour across the canal. The recent heavy rain had ensured that extra silt was added to this scour, and it took four hours to batter a passage through. The pound was full, and could not be raised further because of the very large weir above the lock below, so a combination of chain winch, flushing water from the lock above and sheer grunt from the Lister had to be utilised. Four hours! I had gone out to help and got home at half past midnight. Luckily, Jenny is well trained and had the whisky handy upon my return. This canal was spot dredged last year, but clearly needs regular attention. I have to say that I am not hopeful of the requisite attention being given. 


When last heard from, the NBT pair were on course to make Braunston for next weekend albeit with some long days in front of them. © John Jackson 2014