Oh Pooh! Breach Update 51. 1st June

Shardlow to Sarson’s Bridge 11, Trent and Mersey

An earlier start is required when the canals or rivers are busy, an early boater tends to get the better mooring. So to try to change our habits the alarm had been set for early o’clock, we’ve done earlier but that’s when temperatures are set to soar.

Mick got up to put the kettle on. He turned the kitchen tap to count to eleven/twelve (the correct amount of water to boil for two mugs of tea). A feeble noise could be heard. What was it? Was a small cruiser heading away from the moorings? I lifted the top step to where the water pump lives, it was quietly whirring rather than forcefully pumping.

The battery voltage was checked, 20. Not good it’s normally around 26.something. Lithium batteries can discharge more than lead acid batteries but this was the first time we’ve noticed them being low. After all the cruising we’ve been doing for them to be this low was a surprise. Yes Mick had run the dishwasher after we’d stopped last night, but we’ve done this before when we know the batteries are full after a days cruise.

Oh Pooh!

It was still before 8am so the only way to run the engine was by moving. We had our tea and then pushed off hoping to be able to top up the batteries a touch before breakfast. Maybe the amount of bird poo on the roof had drained the voltage away!

JD Narrowboats

We passed JD Narrowboats, plenty of shells sitting about waiting to be fitted out. Most would need grit blasting before a coat of paint could be applied as rust has set in from sitting about for a year or more.

Shardlow is so pretty. A wisteria arch at the bottom of a narrow garden, followed by a K6 surrounded by willow. The old warehouses glowing orange in the morning sunlight, hopefully one day they will be given a new lease of life. The clock warehouse sat peacefully, no doubt the pub being a pull on a summers evening.

Shardlow Lock

Shardlow Lock sat empty, waiting for us, the lock cottage wearing a wisteria moustache. Up Oleanna came. This is the easiest of the broad locks at this end of the T&M, the others have big heavy gates to hold back the depth of water, hopefully we’d come across someone to share the others with.

So pretty

Just past the line of permanent moorings there was a space. A couple busied themselves pushing out. Were they keen to find a partner for the big locks ahead, no they’d not spotted us, when they did they pulled back in to let us pass. We of course then just pulled in grounding where the bottom was too close to the top. A reverse and we found more depth and stopped for breakfast. Our batteries were already showing improvement after half a mile.

Aston Lock

An hour later we pushed off again, a couple of boats having passed us so we knew we’d have a wait at Aston Lock. Here there was a pair of boats waiting to come down too.

Watching and waiting

I walked to lend a hand and have a chat whilst Mick secured Oleanna’s bow with a rope. As these deep locks empty they can push the bow right out and if you are only tied up on a centre line this can be a problem.

Coming up

We were soon in the lock, followed by a small cruiser that was out for the day. They soon stopped where the towpath was wide enough to sit out with shade from some trees, a nice relaxed day planned before returning to their mooring.

Boaters PPE out again

At Weston Lock two boats had joined the uphill trend so there was a wait again. Here the gates can be a right pig, heavy and not want to come out of their recesses but fortunately by the time it was our turn another boat had appeared behind us and a crew member from the following boat came to help too. Many hands as they say.

Weston Lock

We shared the lock with NB Purple Emperor the couple of board were heading to the Gloucester and Sharpness. He was wanting to go down the Severn to Bristol for a second time, but his wife wasn’t too keen! Should that be our next big adventure? Or the Wash? Or the Humber? Who knows, for now we were just enjoying being back on a canal.

Lovely day for a paddle

Three canoes tucked in behind us after the lock, they then spent a lot of energy paddling to get past us. Maybe they don’t realise that boats slow down as they pass moored boats, then speed up once past. They overtook us then slowed down again, a touch slower than we’d normally cruise at. So we pootled along behind.

That will do nicely

Yesterday we’d got ahead of schedule, today we thought we might keep that up, climbing the next two big locks before the canal becomes a narrow canal, having a locking partner now this maybe would be wise. But behind the canoes it was slow going. Then trees offering some shade, an almost view of the River Trent and a wide towpath suitable for our barbecue came into view. We pulled in and called it a day.

The batteries had recovered, but some investigation was required once everything had cooled down.

Tilly headed off to explore the trees and friendly cover for the afternoon, life returning to some sort of boat normal.

I spent much of the afternoon getting the blog up to date. Our adventures over the last week have taken quite a bit of writing about. Not just an hour whilst having breakfast! I really must stop taking SO many photos and edit them before I even take them!

The legs are out!

Once the engine had cooled down Mick went into the engine bay to check the batteries to see if one of them was causing a problem. They all had the same voltage which was at 26.11, so no problem there. It must have been the running of the dishwasher once we’d moored up that did it. We’ll keep an eye on them over the next few days, hopefully there’s not a problem.

I made a start to an illustration which we’ll use as a card for people lodging in our house. I’m hoping to do a series of canal scenes to sell, but I’ve not had the time as yet to start on them.

All set up, it’s charcoal in the coal bag honest

This evening we dug out the barbecue for our celebratory meal, it was also our first of the year. The bag of charcoal we bought from Bollington Wharf isn’t even half used so should keep us going this summer.

A very pleasant meal with asparagus, veg kebabs, salmon with ginger and soya sauce, all followed by bananas with chocolate and of course a glass or two of wine. Tilly missed all of this as by 6.30pm she had totally worn herself out. They made me use all six hours finding and consuming friends, they made me!

They made me! It’s hard to breath!

3 locks, 4.09 miles, 1 early start, 20! 1 early but late breakfast, 2 locking partners, 4 legs outs, 1 early stop, 8 spears, 4 kebabs, 2 salmon steaks, 2 bananas, 8 cubes chocolate, 26.11, 1 Mrs Tilly stamp of approval,1 evening of speedy circuits, phew!


Breach Update

With the weather having improved Mark has been back to the breach site with his drone. Quite a lot has happened there.


A second line of piling has been put in in front of the line we’d seen a couple of weeks ago.


I can’t see from Marks photos if the outer line of piling goes right across the drain below, it might do.


The cofferdam has some water in it. Not sure if this is intentional as I can’t see any pumps or pipes that would have been used to do this.


Below in the drain the water looks cloudy as if water is coming from within the cofferdam. Possibly water is coming round over the top of the drain as it did when the breach first happened. If it is hopefully this is intentional.


A large mound of what might just be earth is towards the south east end of the cofferdam, it’s surface higher than the water.


Thank you Mark once again for the photos.


One thought on “Oh Pooh! Breach Update 51. 1st June

  1. Anonymous

    My vote gets down the Severn for obvious reasons!
    Might get a 2nd chance of a personal hello.
    2 if you want crew I’m but a call away!
    Another mammoth fab post Pip.

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