Slattocks Top Lock to Irk Aqueduct Moorings
An earlier start today. Graeme had walked down the locks yesterday and seen that C&RT were working on the second lock down, they had suggested that it would be good if we could be through the lock by about 8:30. So with ten locks to do today we pushed off just before 8.
Taking water downhill with us we certainly weren’t going to run out today, at times there was too much in the short pounds between the locks on the Slattocks flight. I walked on ahead to the next lock as soon as the top gates were closed hoping to lift the paddles on the next lock so that the towpath didn’t get flooded in between.
Our one gate method had to be put on hold this morning as Clare had managed to get a coat of paint on her gunnel yesterday, so scraping it off the following morning wouldn’t have been good.
After the first six locks the next two were slightly further apart, nearly half a mile. I decided to walk on ahead to get them ready, just as well really as the first one has to be left empty which a passing boat had just done, and at the second one both bottom paddles had been left up by a couple of inches so the chamber there had drained.
Here I filled the lock as a lady watched from a short distance below. No sign of a boat, so I hadn’t stolen the lock from her. She eventually came up to say hello just as NB Mr BS and Oleanna came into view above the lock. Her boat was a couple of locks away, coming up hill, so they would leave the gates for us.
By the time we were working our way down I could see her boat rising in the lock below. A crew member walked up and said they would pull in just after the lock to let us pass. which they did , but there wasn’t quite enough space for a Braidbar boat they were with to tuck in as well. All of a sudden from not seeing boats for days the canal was full and so was the towpath, eight crew between the two boats. We all do-si-doed to get past each other and then normality returned.
The last lock of the day was very full indeed. Here there is a small concrete wall that’s been built to hold back water from running down a track alongside, it looks like this lock overfills often. The top gates were below the level as I topped it up and remained so as the boats dropped down, so much so that it was like a waterfall behind the helm. It’s these moments that Mick is very glad not to have a 70 ft boat! Expecting the bottom gates to be seriously hard to open with so much water coming down, Graeme and I joined forces on one gate, yet it opened so easily we needn’t have bothered.
Just around the bend were our moorings for the day by the Irk Aqueduct. Clare tried the moorings through the narrow section, but there wasn’t enough depth so they pulled NB Mr BS back to join us.
Woweee!!!! 9 hours she said. A whole 9 hours!!! Trees, friendly cover, sideways trees, birdies what more could I want, oh a big green field too! Just quite a lot of woofers. One of whom came to try to say hello but had it’s mouth full with a ball. It really didn’t know what to make of me on my roof. This outside kept me busy, 5 hours went by in a matter of seconds. I had a game of cat and birdie up the trees, they encouraged me to climb higher and higher, the view was very good from up there, but then they all flew away!
We’d pulled in shortly after 10am. The cuppa Mick had made me in my thermos mug was at a good temperature, it just tasted a little odd, the milk having been kept hot for a couple of hours just didn’t taste good. Hope I find time to drink a cuppa tomorrow. We spent the afternoon watching The Grand Budapest Hotel for reference for panto. What a wonderful film, such a colourful feast for the eyes.
This evening we had a very pleasant couple of hours with Clare and Graeme having some food at the Rose of Lancaster. Time to chat without having to shout over the water in the locks. Tomorrow will be another early start, we head in to Piccadilly some 7 miles and 20 locks away. At lock 65 we’ll pick up a C&RT volunteer who will help us down. So early to bed tonight.
10 locks, 1.65 miles, 4 miles walked, 10:10am moored up for the day, 47 ft 8 inches dropped yesterday, 30 ft 10 inches the day before, 94 ft 5 inches dropped today, 86 ft above Sowerby Bridge still, 1 shiny gunnel, 3 boats, 2 hour old tea, 9 hours curtailed to 8, 6 biscuits for tomorrow, 1 chicken in a basket, 2 hours in the pub, 1 heel knitted twice, wrongly both times, 1 early night, 1 Mrs Tilly stamp of approval.