Sunday, 13 April 2014

A busy time for C&RT - Update

Repair to a leak above Tardebigge Top Lock

We headed off for one of our litter picks yesterday and came across C&RT busy at work above the top lock at Tardebigge.  We had heard that there was a problem as we were due to be lock keeping at Stoke Prior, but with all locks closed the only one likely to be in use was the bottom one, so we decided it was not worth our while just for one lock.

This is the view from the lock down to the temporary dam

The site of the leak - being filled with (we think) puddle clay mixed with ash

Two views from the dam

You can just see the top lock in the distance
They hope to be finished, re-watered and open for business tomorrow (Monday 14 April).  There are a few boats waiting below the top lock - we stopped and chatted to one crew.  They are moored in Netherwich Basin, Droitwich and had moved their boat up Stoke and Tardebigge last weekend to be in position to head off north for the children's school holiday.  Patience is the name of the game - I hope they are 'released' soon.

Update today: Sunday 13th April 2014:

We made our way back to Tardebigge today to see what progress had been made and were pleased to see no workmen and that the water is going back slowly.  I must apologise for the 'splodge' on the photos today - a result of our 5 year old grandson 'borrowing' my camera and getting (we think) a little too close to his little brother's nose!  The lens has now been cleaned.

 The site of the leak - there is usually a boat moored here, but we doubt it will be able to get close enough to the bank to moor up again.  Note you can just see some more 'lumps' just proud of the water.
Just 45 minutes later - you can see how slowly the water is rising

An Anglo Welsh boat moored below lock 57 which is locked.  They are due to finish their holiday tomorrow (base at Tardebigge Old Wharf) and have been advised that Anglo Welsh will collect them in a van to get them back to their car.
 There are a few more queuing between lock 57 and 58 - and just check out that sky!

We learnt today that a lady noticed the ground was a little damp on Thursday evening.  Someone reported it at some point on Friday and by that afternoon there were 4 scaffolders (2 in the water) erecting the dam and a further 15 or so workers on the embankment.  We gather the water was escaping at the rate of 50 litres a minute and had it not been stopped the whole embankment might have gone.

ps - as a point of interest to us at least!  The latest issue of Waterways World has a report about the Alvechurch boat that got stuck on the cill in one of the Bath locks and was subsequently sunk when a rescue was attempted.  Well these are a couple of pictures of that very boat (Yellow Weaver) in June 2012.  We had a wonderful week on her and very good boat she was too.

It seemed like a good idea at the time.....

Monday 17 March 2014
Droitwich Spa Marina to the M5 culvert and back again
2 miles max, 6 locks

We have our Brother in Law, Mike, staying with us and as the weather is so glorious at the moment we decided to take the boat out for it's first trip of the year.  The boat builder is fairly convinced that he has cured the leak that caused the header tank to empty, so a trial run seemed like a good idea.

The plan was to to down to Droitwich, moor in Netherwich Basin, have lunch in the Gardeners Arms and then head back, however it did not all go to plan.  Fist snag - we got to the marina when Chris realised he had left the boat keys at home!  Back for the second time and Mike and I were despatched to walk the dogs (we have a visiting black lab whose owners are on holiday) down to the M5 culvert to check on water levels.  The water was well in the green

we could just see the island

 and the levels at the culvert seemed to be okay.

A stroll back to the boatyard enjoying the sun and scenery (you can actually see the canal this year as a lot of reed cutting has been done).  We then set off,

Crew were waiting and ready
Monty's chosen cruising position has not changed from last year!

 through the stair case

 and the single lock and onto the culvert, but no joy - we could not get through.  We think the water we sent down from the locks must have just raised things too much.  Maybe if we had waited we would have made it, but then would we have got back?

Full stern reverse into the single lock, gently does it

Success - we are in

The crew are wondering what on earth we are doing!


back up the staircase locks into the marina.

Put everything to rights, lock up, into the car and off to the Gardeners Arms for a late lunch, head for home stopping at Stoke Prior to walk the dogs up the Stoke Flight and back to the car.

Boats are beginning to move - we saw three on the Tardebigge flight on Saturday and two of the Stoke flight today - they will be doing Tardebigge tomorrow.  We have seen a few lambs around, the daffodils are dancing in the breeze - I think spring has definitely sprung.

We will go back to check the boat in a day or two to see if the header tank is still full, then I think the big clean up starts along with some touching up ready for the summer.  Our first 'proper trip' will be to Birmingham and back towards the end of April.  It was good to be on the cut.

ps - I need to get back into the habit of posting promptly!  It is now 13 April!  The news on the header tank is that it seems to be okay.  Since the above trip on 17 March we have cleaned and polished one side and the inside is all spick and span.  We need to go back and turn her round to do the other side.  Mind you side one might need doing again as the 'sand from the Sahara' arrived after we cleaned her.  We have just come home after 10 days visiting friends in Spain, so a visit to do some more cleaning and touching up is on the cards for this week prior to our trip to Birmingham which is due to start after Easter.  Well hopefully it will happen - see next blog report,