Sunday, August 28, 2016

A day of sun and scenery

I checked the engine first thing this morning, as I usually do. There was no new gunk in the engine, the oil level was fine, but there were signs of fuel leakage from the injectors. It's not serious, but not desirable, either. I cautiously applied a spanner to each of the appropriate nuts, and did tighten some a tad. But there are copper pipes involved, soft metal, so I don't want to risk buckling one of them.

It was a day of sun and scenery. Being on the move again was wonderful. It was a week ago today that we broke down. Our enjoyment today was marred a little by having to trail behind some very slow boats. We don't speed. 3 mph is fine for us, but NB Sandpiper was just crawling along at lazy duck speed. I think there might have been problems with the boat, so I'm not unsympathetic, and eventually they did move over to let us pass.
Later, it was NB Hare (sic) of the Dog which headed a very slow convoy past about a mile of moored boats. Now, passing slowly is the polite thing to do, but he was going so slowly that Grace had to keep bringing Kantara to a halt to avoid collision. With the boat name in mind, we thought the slow, weaving passage of Hare of the Dog might have an alcoholic explanation. Eventually, he moored up, and the rest of us passed him gratefully.

In one of the beautiful narrow, wooded cuts, we spotted from a distance some kind of problem on the canal. There was a confusion of boats, apparently congregated together, stationary and pointing in both directions. We pulled over when we reached them, and discovered that a large tree had fallen across the canal. It was 12:00, and the first boat to be stopped by it had been waiting since 9:30. CRT staff had arrived very quickly, with chain saws and other tools, and had been working hard to cut the tree up and move it out of the way. In fact, they'd just finished, and needed only to remove the larger pieces of wood out of the water so that boats could pass safely. We didn't have to wait long, and the mess of about a dozen boats sorted itself out and we all went on our ways again.

This really is a beautiful canal. I've said it before, I know. The variety of scenery is striking. New to us are the long stretches of dark and narrow, deep cuttings, wooded on both sides and beautifully dappled by the sun. Sheer cliffs loom above us. Cowley Tunnel had originally been 690 yards long, cut out of solid rock, but all but 81 yards of it had to be opened up early in its construction because of faults in that rock. What an amazing bit of engineering, though!
It had been a longish day. After the single lock at Wheaton Aston, we moored at Brewood, ate at The Bridge Inn, and had an early night.

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