How Many Dumper Truck Loads Does It Take To…

Top Lock Claydon to Priors Hardwick Bridge 123

A sunny start to the morning, but by the time we were ready to push off the clouds had covered the blue skies, we wore our waterproof coats and started to make our way northwards across the summit pound. Pretty soon waterproof trousers were required. Then as the rain became heavier I was stood down from my navigational duties and allowed to retire below, let’s face it Mick would have to try really hard to get us lost.

Below decks I decided to get my yarn swift and winder out. Our dinette table with it’s rounded edges was hard to get a grip on, but I managed it in the end, three cakes of yarn all ready for knitting.


Outside it still rained. Mick slowed us to a stop, we must have been at Fenny Compton Tunnel. He held us back for a boat to come through, the narrowest part already done, the overgrown banks making the channel look narrower than it was.

Approaching the big wiggles the rain had stopped, I returned to the stern to watch the radio mast get closer. The moorings with a view over the valley only had a couple of boats moored there, is it now too close to the HS2 works for peoples liking?

Old and temporary bridges

The small gap after Bridge 128 and the new temporary bridge will one day be filled with a much bigger bridge taking HS2 across the canal.

Today we could see where the bridge will sit a hole dug ready for construction to start, then off into the distance the route the line will take very obvious with the amount of diggers and cranes in view.

The huge mound of earth that feels like it has sat there forever was in the process of being moved. A big digger gouged up jaws full of earth and deposited them into dumper trucks which then moved it to where the line will pass close to the canal. Here bulldozers moved the earth around, followed by two rollers, one flat the other with spikes on it. We wondered where all this earth had come from in the first place several years ago and how many dumper truck loads had it been then? How many dumper truck loads would it take to move it all into the right position? How many dumper truck loads will it take to reach Birmingham? I suspect next time we pass the big mound will be no more and an embankment will run past the canal instead.

Soon back to green fields with sheep grazing. Where should we stop for the day? The weather forecast had been for rain much of the day, but it had been drier than expected. A few moorings were occupied we carried on pulling in just before Priors Hardwick Bridge, we’d moored the other side of it on our way south a month ago.

Firing up the hot tub

Tilly was given four hours and vanished off into the sideways trees to be busy. Lunch was followed by a lot of budget wrangling for panto. New figures for the printing had come through this morning, some better but eaten up by things that hadn’t been included in the first quote. I’d passed this on with a couple of ideas to Gemma. I hate days like this, it’s days like this that make me want to pack my scalpel away.

Gemma sent an email regarding the overall budget with suggestions of things that would need to be cut to bring us into budget. A hope that some money can be found from other parts of the budget. I then spent the afternoon going through every element of the set trying to prune things that wouldn’t ruin the whole look, or different ways of building things. I collated a list ready for a meeting tomorrow. Fingers crossed that we can prune enough off and find a bit more money.

Chisel in hand

Mick busied himself installing our Nebolink. This is a little box that should automatically start and stop recording our journeys on Oleanna. Designed more for the cruiser market we’d had to think of where we could mount it for it to work. Being inside a metal tube was not going to be ideal, mounting it to an outside bulkhead also not ideal. Instead we opted for the underside of the cratch board, here it could be hooked up to the electrics via the light we have in there.

Getting the cable under the light fitting required a touch of carpentry. Wilkos in Banbury had provided us with a chisel and Mick started to notch out the wood. It being at an odd height and angle we swapped over. Gradually I worked away enough wood for the cable to pass under the fitting, now all that was needed was to connect the red and black wires, not a taxing job.

Red flashing light is important

Tomorrow when we set off the Nebolink should automatically start to record our journey, we’ll see how it does. A phone will also be used to track our journey for comparison.

0 locks, 9.2 miles, 1 soggy cruise, 220 grams of yarn wound, 4 inches knitted, 46783753289745664534218878664534 dumper truck loads, £600 mis calculated, 1 chisel, 1 notch, 1 nebolink installed, 4 hours, £4500 still to save, I hate inflation!