No Direction

No Direction is our 70ft Narrowboat which is now home to my wife Jayne and myself, it was launched on 4th February 2008.

We spend the Winters in a Marina and cruise in the warmer weather.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Not Many Days Like Today

Monday/Tuesday, 1st/2nd August 2011.
Festival Weekend.

The IWA Festival is normally held over the August bank holiday weekend, a 3 day event, this year it was held at the end of July, one of the reasons given for moving it was that the traders who attended wanted it in July.

Friday being a working day the Festival opened at noon and closed at 7pm, the attendance appeared low, however Saturday required an overflow car park to be opened up, Sunday the numbers were down again, I spoke to 2 traders who said it had not been a good show for them and 1 said he would not be coming back if the event was held in July again.

There will be no Festival next year as the IWA volunteers who make the show happen will be manning the British Waterways moorings in London for the Olympics, we did hear that the 2013 Festival will be at Newbury but nothing confirmed yet.

Some of the local residents whose gardens back onto the towpath where the visiting boats were moored, really entered into the event, one had a Barbecue set up on Saturday and Sunday with proceeds going to Macmillan Nurses , another selling cold drinks over the weekend supporting St Giles Hospice and another selling eggs and other produce.

On Sunday morning as I was walking along the towpath the Lady selling the eggs asked if I would like to buy some, but we didn't need any, then she asked when we were moving the boat and could she and a Friend have a ride on it when we turned around, so at 8.30 on Monday morning we had 3 passengers for the trip down through Dallow lock to Horninglow basin to turn and back to our weekend mooring, I think the real reason they wanted to be on the boat was to check out all the gardens which you can only see from the Canal.

The 3 Passengers

After turning round we moored up again for some breakfast, which turned out to be a good idea as we were to have a long wait until our next meal.

We slowly made our way through the moored boats and headed back towards Kings Bromley, we had slight delays at the locks which is to be expected in July/August, at Wychnor lock there was a bigger queue, this was the slow filling lock that had delayed us almost 3 hours last Wednesday, the delay today was about 45 minutes.

Kildare enters Alrewas Lock.

A strong boom to keep boats away from the weir on the River Trent at Alrewas.

We were behind the Historic boats President and Kildare  all the way back which included passing through Fradley Junction with plenty of photographers and Gongoozlers outside the pub and on the bridge over Junction lock, as it takes twice as long to get President and Kildare through the locks, our journey back was taking longer than expected.

We cleared Shadehouse lock, only 1 more lock to go now, we could see President and Kildare in the distance, the Canal goes straight for about 3/4 of a mile here, we could see something was wrong, President had got stuck on the mud, being a Steamer with a slow reving engine it needs a large diameter propeller, 36 inches and therefore needs over 3 feet of water to operate in, unfortunately the canals aren't dredged these days and this was the result.

A long range fuzzy shot of the crew trying to get off the mud.

We stopped about 100 yards behind the grounded boat and waited for 30 minutes, they had untied the butty which only takes 15 inches to float and moved it with a pole, they then sent a crew member down to us and asked if we could squeeze through the gap between them and the bank, we got through OK as we only need 27inches of water, then they asked if we would try and pull President off the mud, we attached the tow rope to one of our rear dollies and gently took up the slack, piled some revs on and bingo after a few seconds we started to move it, unfortunately the butty wasn't attached to President so we can,t claim to have towed them both.

Yes, it moves.

Once President was floating freely again I threw the tow rope to one of the Presidents men on the towpath and carried on to Woodend lock, tied up and allowed President to go straight into the open lock.

Kildare is pulled into the lock

After the crew had worked both boats through the lock we took No Direction through, we passed them after they had reversed in the new Ownashare Marina just before the A515 bridge where they had arranged to moor overnight.

We now have a week in the Marina before we set off again.

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