Thursday, 10 July 2014

Bosley Locks

We cruised onwards to the bottom of Bosley Locks – we had thought we’d get up them on Saturday but as you cannot moor halfway up the flight of 12, it would be better to go up early in the morning when we were fresh. So we moored up just past the Dane Aqueduct at the bottom of the flight. It is an extraordinarily beautiful spot with views off to both sides of the river valley and the countryside. Very peaceful even though the trains could be seen and heard on the viaduct about a mile away. Olek instigated a competition to throw stones from the aqueduct down into the river – we were all winners: even I could get them there with my girlie throwing! We also did a bit of exploring trying to find the way down to the river valley and, in the other direction, up on to a dismantled railway embankment (the railway was dismantled, but not the embankment …). No go on both counts, shame.

We decided on an early start on Sunday to be the first up the locks (NZers are not good at queuing), so by 7am be were on our way. All went well at first, with Olek getting the hang of lockwheeling very quickly (the previous afternoon he and I had helped a couple down the last few locks [when we got bored looking for the way on to the embankment], so he was already primed). It all fell apart though when we got part way up the flight and David came back to tell me the next pound was almost empty with the mud flats showing. He had to send a lot of water down through the lock from the pound above before I could get through – and I still got stuck three times! Fortunately I knew enough to be going extremely slowly and not to try to push through what was making me run aground – the technique of reversing off the obstruction works well as long as you haven’t rammed on to it in the first place!

So what was meant to be a quick trip up the locks was quite slow as the pound above then had to be topped up using the same method. After that though it was plain sailing. At the top we decided to try out the self pumpout facilities – there’s a pump on board Waka Huia and all the accroutements required. It wasn’t a hard process and reasonably clean considering what we were pumping out of the black water tank … The hardest part though was cleaning up the pipe before putting it away. It needs to be flushed through and our onboard pump doesn’t seem to have the oomph required when it gets close to the end of the pumpout (i.e. when we’re flushing it through with clean water). So we had to flush it using the hose into the Elsan sink – quite difficult to get the end of it high enough to make use of gravity to flush it! At the end of the experience David The Profligate wanted to throw it in the bin but we kept it and will use it in emergencies. One thing we do need to buy is a CRT card so we can use their pumpout machines as we come across them.
Ready for action - 12 locks to empty and fill, open and close

Chief coach,  pound filler and pumpout operator

Winding up the paddles - David has the next lock gates open so Olek is on his own

David coming back to help, but no need really as Olek has it sussed although some of the winding gear is very stiff

The CRT services/facilities building at the top of the locks - showers, toilets, laundry, and pump out

My view 12 times that day. See the wine bottle holder? Mostly not used as I sit on the ledge beside it so I can see over the top of the boat.

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