Sunday, June 23, 2013

Moving on from Sawley

We set off from Sawley Cut yesterday, earlier than we usually start, in a strong wind with rain threatening. We made our way along the two miles or so of canal over which we'd been with Ray, getting into new water after Shardlow Lock.

Two days previously, we'd seen a swan, probably female, being attacked by a dominant male at Derwent Mouth Lock. At first we'd thought they were mating, but it soon became apparent that the male was trying to drown the female. There were several of us at the lock at the time, and we made a combined effort to chase off the aggressor. He came back several times, but finally got the message and skulked off. We went up through the lock to continue our training, but returned later to find the victim preening and cleaning herself, and drinking. Recovered, we assumed. Sadly, when we arrived back there yesterday, we found her dead on the embankment.

(as seen in the autumn!)
Weston Lock is eleven foot deep. The Nicholson map book says of it, “The wooden balance beams of the bottom gates, impeded by the bridge, are of necessity short; but they are massively wide.” However, the massive width of the beams is of absolutely no use when trying to close the enormous gates (made heavier by the massive beams!). Had it not been for the help of a passer-by, there was no way I was going to close one of the gates, which was enormously heavy, and hung at a slant. Grace was deep in the lock, so she couldn't help at all.

After Weston Lock it started to rain quite hard, so we moored at a quiet spot around bridge 9, Fine George's Bridge. The wind and rain continued all afternoon, but had abated by nightfall.

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