Saturday, July 02, 2016

Hillmorton to the M6?

Our overnight mooring
We got excellent phone and internet connection here!

 So the first thing to do the next day was to go down Hillmorton Locks. There wasn't much traffic, so we descended quickly. There are three sets, each of two locks here, remember, to speed the passage of boats.

At the bottom lock, I had the great pleasure of meeting vollie Maurice Farndon. We're mutual Twitter followers. No only does Maurice have the distinction of being a really nice man who loves his volunteer work, but also that he features in one of Cruising the Cut's vlogs (in which he speaks about a new project at the locks), that he has a golden windlass, and that he's read and "really enjoyed" my book.
Maurice Farndon - The man with the golden windlass. Narrow Boat nut. Volunteer Lock Keeper at Hillmorton and Watford.

There was a lovely mood of helpfulness amongst boaters at the locks, with people operating paddles and gates for others who weren't on the right side of the lock at the time. I think Maurice sets a good example.

The sun was out, the sky was blue, and rabbits bounced into the hedges as I walked down the towing-path.

From Hillmorton, on now through Clifton-upon-Dunsmore and into Rugby, where we moored to do shopping at the nearby Tesco. This is our third day out, yet this spot is just a 25-minute car journey from our marina! After lunch, we moved on again. Brownsover, Newbold-on-Avon, and through the very short Newbold Tunnel. 

Tiny, or what?
We passed NB Glascote, moored at the side. The woman was cleaning the roof.

"Hatton Flight, pouring rain, two years ago!" Grace called out.

"Oh, I remember it well!" she said, pulling a wry face. We laughed and drove on.

The sky was looking a bit threatening, time was getting on, and we were needing somewhere to moor. The problem was that the bank now was not really moorable. In places, it was breaking up. Elsewhere, it was edged with bags of cement (which absorb water and become solid blocks) against which mooring's not recommended. Everywhere, it was overhung by grass and other plants. At one point, I told Grace with great confidence that we could moor "right here!". I jumped off the bow with a rope, expecting to help pull Kantara in to the bank, and tie her up. Instead, we found the water was too shallow there, and I lost the opportunity to get back aboard. I walked ahead, hoping to find a spot. Behind us, NB Takara, a hotel-boat, was trying a similar manoeuvre. They failed, too.

At a point where the M6 motorway crosses the canal, I waited for Kantara. I'd be able to get on from the concrete bank here. Takara had failed to moor, too. Grace waved them past as she moved to pick me up, and the skipper called out that he knew a place to moor.

"Follow me!"

The spot was the length of the two boats, and moorable. Far too close to the railway, but now was not the time to be fussy! We moored.
Views through our windows...


I said I'd be reporting back on the alternator replacement job done by Ed Shiers of Four Counties Marine Services in Leek on Tuesday. I'd contacted him just the day before. I'd seen his advert on Ebay, selling a package deal on a replacement for Barrus alternators (now hard to get, and rather pricey). The job took him a couple of hours or so, during which time he also told us all sorts of things we didn't know about our electrical systems. His work was tidy and through, and his charge - including a per-mile travel cost - was less than I would have paid simply to buy a Barrus model, let alone having it fitted. When we're close to his home in a few weeks' time, he'll come out to us, tighten the new alternator belt, and fit a modified regulator on the alternator, to make it even more efficient. All part of the service. We'd not hesitate to call on him for any other work on our engine, and we recommend him very highly.

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