19th and 20th July 2016
It’s been a rather hectic two days with guests on board. At last the weather has turned in our favour though a scorching 30c day sent us all for a sixer. We’ve spent the last few days cruising through some delightful countryside and have been going off the canal for a few walks.
We just chanced upon this lovely scene in a tiny village beside the canal side.
We have also come across some unusual lock door mechanisms which take a little while to get your head around. The reason for this winding system for the lock doors is due to the fact that there is the bridge in the way and no room to have the long arms.
We had our first full moon that we were able to see due to the heavy cloud coverage we have been having. It was so tranquil and almost surreal. It is also difficult to sleep due to the heat but we are not complaining.
We moored up above the Wigan flight last night in preparation for our big day of tackling the 21 locks. We had a crew of eight people altogether between the two boats. W+M had their guests arrive and our guests were still on board for the final day. We gave them an opt out if they didn’t want to do the Wigan Flight as it is a tough task but they were adamant that they wanted the experience. Probably an experience not to be repeated by them.
Lock number one at the top of the flight. It rained extremely heavily in the morning as per the weather forecast – they actually got it right this time. The rest of the day was meant to be thunderstorms with heavy showers and localised flash flooding. Well, this part of the weather forecast they got very wrong. We spent the rest of the day in beautiful sunshine but it was humid and when you are working the locks it does make for a tough day.
We did not get any photos of the actual flight as we were too busy working it but the landscape around us was green and cooling which was appreciated. We did have one very harrowing moment in one of the locks when one of the back paddles did not fully close and as the water in the level of the lock lowered the paddle started gushing water and filling up the back of nb Lucy. This is the problem with the cruiser sterns as they are very open to being flooded in leaky locks. W+M’s boat was OK as it is a traditional stern and the engine bay and the back of the boat can be easily and quickly shut off. We all had severe heart palpitations but quick action remedied the problem. Di who was driving at the time needed a bit of time away from the stern of the boat to settle down. We have said to many people that even though we are doing everything so slowly, when things do happen they happen quickly. Another valuable lesson learnt.
In total it took us four hours to do the 21 locks in perfect sunshine. Even though there were eight of us to help share the workload we are all rather tired at the end of it and no doubt will be stiff and sore tomorrow.
Our guests Susan and Allan left us once we moored in Wigan as they were off to London for a few days prior to returning home. Time for Di and Fras to clean up nb Lucy and enjoy a quiet night catching up on a few details.