Monday, 6 August 2012

Back To Boating With Just One Boat

(Boats Chalice & Sickle - posted by Alan)

When we moored at the bottom of Atherstone last night, I was well aware that "Sickle" was overdue an oil change.  I had been hoping to do this early on in the trip, but things had conspired against it.  Now, moored bank-side at a reasonable location, it urgently needed to be tackled.  I had pumped the old oil out last night, the easier part of the task, although "Sickle's" Lister holds massive amounts of oil compared to a modern leisure boat engine - almost three times as much , in fact!

Far the harder bit was still to be done - the oil filter is remarkably inconveniently placed, and a very messy time getting it off and cleaned up is guaranteed.  A filthy job, overall!  Also one does not need to think too hard about the cost of the replacement oil.  Some two and a half cans, at at least £25 each!

Anyway, finally we were running on new oil.  Then there was much shuffling of tools, possessions, food, and bedding between boats, because very shortly we planned to leave "Sickle" and carry on with just "Chalice".

"Sickle" at Grendon dock.
Eventually I motored on to Grendon Dock - an outpost of the big business at Alvecote Marina.  I had not been able to confirm arrangements, but we were hoping both to leave "Sickle" there, and to have her hull blacked.  Fortunately when I met Martin there there was no problem - in fact Martin's butty "Northolt" was in the very large dock, but in a state where it can be re-floated to allow "Sickle" in too - "Sickle" would be docked as early as tomorrow.

Josher "Tench" owned by Matt - former owner of "Sickle".
I have steered "Sickle" virtually all the way up from the start of the trip, and switching back to "Chalice" really felt most odd!  The steering is so light by comparison, and there is also far less maximum power for acceleration and stopping.  It really has taken several hours for "Chalice" to now feel in any way "normal"!

With all the time spent on maintenance at the start of the day, this was never going to be a long boating day.  There were only two easy locks to tackle, and now we needed to work each one only once.

Immedately followed by "Greyhound", sounding wonderful.
Hopwas seemed a promising stop, with a choice of two pubs, and the promise of an evening meal, and we felt we did well to slot into a mooring just as rain was starting again.   However a reconnaissance visit showed that neither could provide choices of vegetarian food that either dom would have much interest in, so we decided to eat on board.  However Cath and I decided to slip away later and enjoy some drinks, whilst Michael settled down to the Olympics , and David to the Internet.

Atherstone Bottom Lock (Coventry Canal) to Hopwas (Birmingham & Fazeley)
Miles: 1.2 (Sickle), 11.0 (Chalice), 8.3 (Combined),  Locks: 2
Total Miles: 184.1, Locks: 68 (Worked)

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