Tuesday 31 May 2011

Whitsun Break - Chalice and Sickle Meet

(Boat Chalice, initially, joined by Sickle later - posted by Alan)

Today's task was to get up to Whilton, where Sickle had been left, get one or two things sorted, then commence moving south with both boats.

Small Woolwich "Planet" - Not one I ever recall seeing before.
We had deliberately left a couple of locks to do, and these were quickly despatched.  One thing we had been considering was how both boats would get moved back South through Blisworth Tunnel.  For no particular reason Alan has generally taken the tiller in the longer tunnels, and nobody else has much recent experience of them, (David chooses to steer only infrequently anyway).  We decided David should take Chalice north through Blisworth, to build up his skills.  I found sitting on the front for a change quite fascinating.  You see all kind of detail, side culverts, signs, etc., that you miss as a steerer.  There are at least 3 different things in the tunnel marking distance through, as it turns out.  David did very well - without the lapses of concentration that often leave me fighting to stay away from a tunnel wall!

Trevor Maggs' "Corona" looking fantastic after a recent repaint.
It proved to be a bit of a "working boat spotting" day, so I hope people will not mind a selection of pictures of some of the more interesting boats passed.

I guess some of the boats already congregated at or around Stoke Bruerne will be attending the Gala Day there, the weekend after next.  There are usually a selection of interesting boats, but there were ones I have not seen before on this passage through.

"Large Woolwich" Butty "Bordesley" in superb BW colours

"Lone butties" was also a bit of a theme.  Several boats are now around that look immaculate, externally at least.

"Little Woolwich" "Cygnus" - yours for just shy of £30,000!
The butty "Cygnus" has been up for sale for a while.  It looks good, but is quite a lot of money!

Having just turned Sickle, Chalice is still pointing North
Not a lot else to report, really!  To get from Blisworth to Whilton is just a case of doing the miles, and occasionally dodging other boats in blind bridge holes!  Anyway, first objective achieved when we got to Whilton, and found Sickle still in good order.  We did a bit of sorting ourselves out, moving stuff between boats, for example, or proving we could start Sickles "Lister" diesel.  We then went and bought various things at the Whilton Chandlery, (why do I always walk out of these places having bought something expensive I didn't go in for?).

Environmental disaster caused by misfuelling an unfamiliar range!
We came to the stark realisation too that we have done far more miles on Chalice's last engine oil change than strictly we should have, (not quite as bad as it sounds, as we lost lots of oil in a recent incident, so a fair amount of replacement oil had gone in),  We decided to change the oil there, before starting the move South.

Both boats at Whilton, ready to head South.
Eventually we moved off for our first short stretch back Southwards.  David and me on Sickle, and Cath on her own on Chalice.  We didn't go far, planning to stop at Weedon, but it was our first ever case of moving two boats at once.

Long Pound, Stoke Bruerne
to Whilton then back to near Weedon
Miles: 17.1, Locks: 2

Total Miles: 49.4, Total Locks: 23

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