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.

Sunday, 28 September 2014

The Grand Canal Tour 2014. Heading South with problems.

I returned to Stronghold after six days and found her to be covered in willow leaves from the tree above her mooring; so that’s why no one else moors there! I decided to leave ASAP after cleaning off the detritus and because the motorway was too noisy to stay any longer. Having returned the key and hoping that they will tear up my £50 cheque, I headed further into the basin to wind, which is where Coventry Canal Society have their moorings.

I made for Sutton’s Stop, where I had arranged to meet my daughter the following day, and moored just beyond the pump house, where it was peaceful. Sunday came and we all had a good old fashioned Sunday lunch in one of my favourite waterway pubs. What is always amusing here is that people sit outside watching the boats come around the 180 degree turn, which is virtually a blind corner, so there is always the chance of chaos; even more so when a full length boat tries to make it. If all goes well, then the steerer gets a round of applause, but if there is a mishap there is a great deal of laughter and tut tutting. The last time I came around the turn, I was towing the butty on cross straps and we got round in one; unfortunately, when it all goes well, there is no one to see it!
Just to prove that it can be done............

................and the pub is closed!
I winded the boat the next morning and headed off down the northern Oxford canal, after changing the washers on the leaking banjo fuel connection. I stopped at Newbold for the night and checked the fuel line for any more leaks, which appeared OK, but much to my dismay, there was a lot of diesel in the bilge now and it appeared to come from the rubber leak off pipe going back to one of the filters. It was then that I realised that I had forgotten to turn on the fuel return pipe tap to the tank, which had pressurised the whole of the fuel return system. To me, it was fairly obvious where the leak was, as one of the engine bearers was very wet. I used the Pele pump to remove 5 litres of diesel, which I then filtered through coffee filter papers twice, before returning it to the tank. With tap now turned on, the leak was minimal, but the rubber pipe needed to be replaced.

I moored at Braunston the next evening and phoned Calcutt Boats, who are BMC engine dealers; sure they could fit me in the following day, so it was another day spent hanging around before I could get on their wharf. I spent the time picking blackberries and sloes to make some sloe gin later.  
Sunset over Napton reservoirs.
The engineer found several small leaks in the fuel system and replaced the spill rail and another pipe into the injector pump, but did not think the rubber pipe would have burst, so that was not replaced; I should have insisted, as it continued to leak slightly after leaving. By then I was already up on the summit above the Napton nine locks and it was too late to return to Calcutt.
The infamous bridge 141 where the Trust boats
have ground to a halt over the years. Not this year though!

I moored at Fenny Compton for the night and walked into the marina the next morning to find Mitchell Narrowboats, where the Trust boats had had some work done last year. Bob Mitchell came out to have a look and said that he could fix it later, when he was able to get a new pipe. In the meantime, he suggested that I carry on cruising to Banbury and he would then come to me, which he did and finally resolved the problem, for a minimal fee of £18 for the pipe and only £10 for his time; needless to say I parted with a bit more than that.

So there was a hole in the pipe after all!

The remainder of the day in Banbury was spent shopping and at the launderette. I do enjoy this town, with moorings right in the heart of the action, although having to carry everything from Morrison’s is a bit painful.

It was time to move on, as my CRT licence runs out on Tuesday and I don’t think I can be off their waters in Oxford by then. My boating friend Peter aims to be at Lower Heyford on Monday evening, so I hope to be there for a few beers.

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