Perfect Timing and Chimney Test Part 1. 2nd October

Red Bull to Westport Lake

It still being very calm by the services we planned to move on today. But first we had our shopping delivery, the chap turned up bang on 9.30am the start of the slot.  Now everything just needed stowing! The back steps had to come out (time the cellar had a sweep) so that I could make the most of the available space under there. We are now back onto trying to have two dry days a week so our supplies should last us a while.

P1140877smAfter another load of washing was done and dried in the services, yellow water tank emptied, I’d had a shower and we’d topped up the water tank we were ready to move onwards. Above the first of the last three locks it was quite blustery, we must have been quite well sheltered below.

P1140887smAt Red Bull Top Lock Mick pointed the bow of Oleanna to the port side lock, even though it was full. Below the two locks is a road bridge which slopes, the port side lock having the lower opening. A few years ago we came down this lock on our shareboat NB Winding Down and had to quickly put the breaks on as the chimney was too high to get under the bridge, Mick removed it and we carried on. So today we wanted to try out our new fixed chimney here.

P1140890smP1140892smWith the cap removed from the top it is just about level with the horns. These sailed through with inches to spare as did the chimney. Chimney Test Part 1 PASSED.

If we have enough time we’ll divert our route to check on other low bridges that we’ve come across. If we get stuck we need to have enough time to be able to reverse to a winding hole, which of course are not close by!

P1140893smP1140900smOnce we were up the other chamber we carried straight on to Harecastle Tunnel, resisting the lure of the Macc. Soon a boat came towards us, had we timed this well? The tunnel is one way traffic and the direction of travel is controlled by C&RT tunnel keepers. With the chance that we might be able to go straight through I grabbed our life jackets and big torch so that we could be ready. One boat was just starting to enter the tunnel and the keeper walked up to meet us. He could see that we’d been through before, he checked our tunnel light and horn were in working order and then asked us to pull up in the mouth of the tunnel. Even though we were prepared and had been through before, he still needed to go through what to do in an emergency, make sure it was fresh in our minds. He did complement us on our perfect timing, any earlier and we’d have had to moor up and wait, our arrival gave us just the right distance to the boat ahead so that we could enter. Any later and we might have had to wait for any boats coming the other way.

P1140915smP1140917smI’ve written about the tunnel a few times before, so here is a Link to Wiki about it. With our new super doper torch on at the back we are seeing things that we’ve never noticed before in tunnels. Today we saw the skeleton and Hull Rag Week graffitti, nothing new there. But on our port side we noticed what looked like tiles in the wall marking every hundred yards, counting upwards towards the southern portal. The meter marks are on the starboard side and count up to the centre point and then back down again. The lighting wasn’t good enough to be able to get a photo. Stalagmites of different colours hang from the ceiling, the best looking like they’ve been made from black treacle.

P1140921smOnce back in the sunshine we cruised on to Westport Lake where there was plenty of mooring free. We managed to tag onto the end of the 48hr VM. Once settled I realised that the boat in front was green, could this be Jaq on NB Valerie? Earlier in the day I’d read her latest post which said that she had moored here but would be moving off. A quick look at her blog to find a photo, the plants and wind chime in the well deck were hers. On his way back from sussing out the services Mick got chance to say hello and have a chat. Hope your trip up onto the Macc is a good one Jaq, enjoy the bridges, sorry I didn’t get chance to say hello myself.

P1140924smP1140926smWith the stove lit tonight we made full use of it, jackets in next to the coals and a pot of chicken stock gently simmering on top. I think this is our first go at jackets with our Bubble stove, next time we’ll leave them for longer or have a bigger hotter fire going. It takes a while to get used to a new stove.

DSCF7114sm3 locks, 3.68 miles, 1.68 miles underground,  8 boxes, 1 load washing, 2 new fans, 1 empty yellow tank, 1 straight on, 1 blustery day, 2nd and last in the tunnel, 2 many people, 2 much grass not enough friendly cover, 2 jackets, 1 homemade pie, 2 glasses water, 1 bag base crocheted.