Thursday, 19 June 2008

Swan Rescue

5 Locks, 12 miles now moored at Islip 48hr moorings

With the weather forecast showing doom and gloom for this afternoon we opted for an early start to hopefully beat the onset of wind and rain. We said farewell to Bill and Pam on N/b 'Pickle' but everybody else appeared to still be in slumberland so we just had to make do and send them text messages after we had left.

When we reached the first lock we found we had a problem in the form of a swan cygnet in the lock with the rest of the family above the lock. It appeared to have been swept over the top of the lock gate which is like a weir with water pouring over it and of course it couldn't get back. We stayed at the back of the lock leaving the cygnet in front of us but it panicked and nearly drowned under the flow of water coming over the gates. The next thing I saw was a half drowned cygnet trying to swim down between the lock wall and the boat. I managed to push the boat away from the wall so that it could get past without getting squashed but then it shot out of the lock before Dot had had a chance to fully lower the guillotine gate. It was now well and truly separated from it's parents and as such wouldn't stand much chance of survival on its own, what to do now?

Once the lock had filled we pulled the boats out of the lock and Dot lured the rest of the swan family into the lock with food. We shut the gates behind them and we could see the parents were not too keen on this but once we started to drain the lock there was no way back and they seemed to settle down and accept what was happening. As soon as Dot had opened the guillotine gate high enough the swans rapidly left the lock but the funny thing was that the isolated cygnet seemed oblivious to the fact that the rest of the family had now joined him and he just carried on as if nothing was wrong. Eventually he did spot the others and rapidly swam back to rejoin them. Now I think there is a message there somewhere for children, don't play around locks, they are dangerous.

After this little bit of animal rescue the rest of the cruise was pretty mundane except for the wind which was getting stronger by the minute. The rain never got worse than light showers but the wind was making locking manoeuvres difficult so by the time we reached our present location it was just about lunchtime so we decided to call it a day and moor up for the night.

Ilford Hall, Home of
Baron Ilford aristocrat and member of Parliament , on the banks of the River Nene close to Wadenhoe

1189 locks, 1747½ miles, 41 Tunnels, 41 swing bridges and 19 lift bridges since Nov 2006


Lesley and Joe K said...

Well done!
NB Caxton

Derek and Dot said...

Thanks Lesley and Joe for that just our good turn for the day