I am Linda and along with my husband Richard and our dog Muffin we enjoy our summers on the UK's canal system

Friday 27 August 2010

Friday 27th August

Caen Hill Locks again today. We got up quite early (for us!) and waited for a boat to come along to share the locks with. The first boat was Reed Warbler from yesterday AND they had extra crew – four people which was great as it meant that two would do one lock while the other two went on the prepare the next lock. Reed Warbler was on her way to Devizes Marina from Hilperton where she had been put in the water yesterday after three years ashore. She is an old boat – well about 50 years but has been totally replated and repainted – she is just waiting to be finished inside now. Arthur, the owner, is new to narrow boating so he had a friend, Ian, onboard to navigate the locks. The first six locks were easy and then we started to negotiate the flight. We were almost at the top when disaster struck – we got wedged together in the lock. I felt Mary H start to tip to one side and then Ian said that the stones on the lock side had risen up. We couldn’t move either backwards or forwards. Mary H somehow righted herself but we were still stuck. Richard and one other quickly let some water out of the lock but Mary H started to tip again. Ian phoned British Waterways as obviously we were going to be blocking the whole of the Caen Flight and this was the Friday before August Bank Holiday! Now I want no comments on the next bit please!! I got onto the side of Reed Warbler and jumped down onto the deck and somehow she freed herself off the side – as I said I want no rude comments here!! Richard put Mary H into fast forward and the two boats broke free of each other. We then continued on our way up the flight. Next thing there were BW personnel all around us asking questions and accusing us of being too wide! We are a standard boat and Reed Warbler has only recently been surveyed and measured at 6ft 10ins – the standard size. As we pointed out we had risen up the lock with no problem and only got stuck at the top. I’m sure they will try and get Reed Warbler’s insurance company to pay out for the damage but we all felt that the stones must have been overhanging the lock for Reed Warbler to get wedged. I hate to say it but it does look as if someone else had done the damage and not bothered to report it :-( Anyway we eventually got to the top of the 29 locks but it had taken us 4 hours and 45 minutes – we were on for a record if we hadn’t had the incident. There was lots of room at mooring at the top of locks in Devizes so we moored up, had some lunch then went into Devizes for shopping. When we were here last time Richard had seen a small 700 watt inverter in a hardware store and was eager to see if it was still there. It was so he bought it and then spent a couple of hours installing it. The 2000 watt inverter that we bought last month is very powerful as it has to power the washing machine and my hairdryer (did you know that hairdryers take about 2000 watts) this new one will reduce the drain on the batteries.

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