About Me

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After thirty years of hiring, I finally bought my own 50ft boat in 2005, which was built in 2001 by Andicraft at Debdale Wharf. I mostly cruise single handed and have no problem with that, although it does take a little longer than with a crew. My mooring is on the Wey Navigation, so I have a choice of routes on the Wey or the Thames.

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Etruria Canals Festival 4.

Another promising day with weather and another early start, with four Stone locks and three more at Meaford before breakfast. A long pound preceded Trentham lock and then we were into the outskirts of Stoke-on-Trent, with all it's waste areas of old buildings raised to the ground.

At Stoke top lock, things became more interesting, as the turn into the Caldon Canal was far sharper than 90 degrees and the width of the cut there was about 100ft. I managed to get the motor round with only one reverse, but the butty was then stern against the bank. With a little more forward movement, John Stevens could then push off the bank and I could pivot the centre of the butty on the corner of the turn and get us both round.
Exit the lock and enter the Caldon turn - surprise!

That went well, but there was more to come, as we had to wind the pair of boats in a small basin with shallow edges. The harbour master advised me to wind the boats individually and pointed out the shallow edges. The butty was pulled round fore and aft and moored up and then it was my turn. Against advice, I decided to put the bow into the channel and let the strong wind push me round. This would have been OK, except that the stern was now in the mud at the side of the basin. With a bow line off and John pulling the stern round, we eventually got alongside the butty to moor up. What I have not mentioned is that the whole fiasco was being observed by Blossom Edge, Sue Cawson, John Yates et al! Why were they not watching on the turn, when everything went so well?

John and I spent the next three hours sorting out the right top cloths for each boat, which meant untying all the strings, laying the cloths on the ground and seeing which ones were the correct length for each boat. They were then folded and put in the hold of the appropriate boat, after which, the side cloth strings had to be retied over the top planks. Needless to say, after a hard days boating plus sorting the cloths, we were both cream crackered by 7pm and it was time for fish and chips in the beer tent and a little alimentary canal lubrication, by courtesy of The Holy Inadequate, a local CAMRA Pub of the Year.

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