3 July 2012
LONG TO RAIN OVER US
Blogland should be renamed Bogland.
when you step outside the 4 steel walls on water, you enter the wetness of the
day, and the ground is sodden once you leave the pontoon. We have just fininshed the
wettest 2 months in the recorded history of weather. I remember in the late ‘80s
visiting Scotland and having
a giggle at the Postcard that photographed Scotland
in the rain with words to the effect of ‘ Scotland on a good day’. Well that
postcard would be appropriate to the Midlands.
Needless to say it is now July and the weather shows no change.
We did have a day out cruising on AM last Friday when we went to Willington to collect Geoff and Jane. There was a bit of sunshine, that afternoon, and we thought we’d wind at Willington and then moor up to walk to the train station. We approached the Winding hole and were greeted, unexpectedly, by Isle of Aran, who had moored in prime position. So Chris moved AM alongside so we could double berth while we popped over to meet our friends.
Willington Train Station is just the railway track and 2 platforms. We climbed up the stairs to the platform and saw a chap, with a video camera on a stand which was close to the edge of the platform. I thought I may as well find out about the attraction of photographing trains, while we were waiting. What a nice man, he was mega enthusiastic about trainspotting and had been for some years. In his working life he said he had been a surgeon. I asked him if he was Mack the knife! To continue, he talked of all the wonderful train journeys he had taken in many places around the world. Some of them involved his day job but the locations sounded exotic. Anyway he looked so happy to be trainspotting. He said there is a big demand for photos of trains. I had no idea!
We walked with our friends to AM, got on board, Chris started the engine and we released ourselves from Isle of Aran. It was very pleasant cruising along, and enjoying the feel of AM on the move. A little while later we came to Stenson Lock. Our plan was to head from there to the next Lock and wind. So that’s what we did.
I jumped ship with Della shortly before Swarkstone Lock, thinking I could take Della for a walk and meet up with AM as she returned to Stenson. I called out to a passing narrowboat and the people on board said there was no winding at Swarkstone, we would have to go down the lock. I ran back in the direction of AM in case we had to go down the Lock. Thinking about it, now, I should have just left Chris to it. But we ended up going down the Lock. It was a real hard lock to work. Not only are the paddles difficult to turn, one of the gates is impossible to close singlehandedly for a woman of my age! We had to go, nearly a mile along the canal to get to the winding hole. Knowing that the speed of a canal-going boat is just slower than a fast walking pace, time was not on our side. We realized that the planned dinner out was a no-go, so I had to make a dinner I hadn’t planned on making. Yes the dinner was good, I have the best kitchen to work in.
I have emailed Canals&Rivers Trust (CART) formerly known as British Waterways about the Swarkstone episode. Copies of these will fill out my Blog….
Please will you explain to me why the Winding hole above Swarkestone Lock (which is marked on the Nicholson's waterways guide) is no longer allowed to be used. (I can only assume that the boat club have taken ownership of this part of the canal. Yesterday, we had planned to 'wind' at this point and head back to Willington. It was 5.30 pm when we arrived at the lock, and we would have had ample time to Wind and return to Willington where we had arranged to meet friends. A notice, in situ, from British Waterways stated that 'winding' was not allowed. We were extremely unhappy about this but went down the lock to the next winding hole before Bridge 11 (Sarson's Bridge). Swarkestone Lock is extremely difficult to work and is in need of urgent repair. One of the gates is impossible to close single handedly, and is dangerous. We last used this Winding point in September 2011 and had planned our journey with this in mind.
I await your reply
Thank you for your email dated 30th June with regard to Swarkstone lock.
With regard to the condition of swarkstone Lock. We are aware at the waterway of the issue with the downstream lock cill and the imbalance of the lock gate. We have panned in the winter stoppage to try to address both the gate balance issue and the Cill which should improve the operation of the lock significantly.
With regards to the winding hole. I have reviewed our current information provided on www.waterscape.com at Swarkstone lock there are no winding holes identified. As I am sure you can understand the Nicholson's guide can only publish what there are aware of and we cannot guarantee that the information they contain is accurate. I have spoken to the supervisor who has looked after that area and as far as he can remember the sign has always been there with regards the “no winding”.
If you require any further information please contact me.
Oh well I suppose we’ll wind where we’re not supposed to wind, now, like everyone else does. I’ve written them my response. Oh, you can’t see it.
|Jane, Chris, Geoff|
We have been staying up until now at the
Initially we knew we had to get work done to AM. The past few weeks we have
been hanging out so I can play Ukulele at the Marina open weekend. Now we are days away
from the event and 3 of us from the local Uke workshop are doing a ½ hour gig
on Sat and probably Sun. I thought it would be fun to get out and play the Uke
and have a wee sing. Oh the weather forecast is heavy showers, sun and cloud. Marina