Saturday, 15 March 2008

Double lock country.

5 locks and 5 miles, Now moored at Bridge 67 Grand Union Canal

Oh what a joy to be away from the squalor of Birmingham. We had a pleasant cruise down to bridge 71 where we moored up to walk into Knowle where there is a Tesco Metro supermarket which to be honest we felt was too small for the amount of trade they were doing, it was packed with shopper's and only has narrow aisle's. This town is delightfully Olde English but at a price. There must be a lot of wealthy people living here.

Back on board we decided to attack the Knowle flight of locks first before having lunch. These locks are an engineering marvel when you consider when they were built and the amount of work involved, more so than the Watford flight. Of course we are now back in the land of double locks and at the first lock we found the bottom gate left open. We soon found out why because it took all my weight and effort to close the damn thing with the help of some water being let down to give it a nudge. Needless to say we used the opposite gate and that was much easier.Some of the gates are huge weighing up to 3.5 ton and take a bit of shifting.

At the bottom of the flight we found ourselves having to quietly cruise past moored boats for the best part of a mile which we haven't had to do going through Birmingham because nobody moors along the towpath there.

Yesterday I forgot to mention that we thought we had a fouled propeller again because we were getting slower and slower no matter the amount of engine power. It turned out that we had picked up, literally, an 8 X 4 sheet of quite thick ply, width ways across our bow and it jammed on the base plate and was acting like a sea anchor. Once removed it made one hell of a difference.

Something else which came to mind was all the time we spent on the Ashby canal we only saw 2 Heron's and NO Kingfisher's. Perhaps there is a lack of fish in this canal because we did see some guys with the electronic stun fishing equipment either looking for Zander or doing a fish survey and they were not having much success either so the bird's would probably starve in this situation.

936 locks, 1308½ miles, 39 Tunnels, 41 swing bridges and 19 lift bridges since Nov 2006

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