At 58 feet length, TQ (as we call her) is a steel hull narrow boat built by Colecraft and fitted out by Elton Moss Boatbuilders. Currently based at Aqueduct Marina in Cheshire we're able to cruise some of the most popular waterways in Britain. The Shropshire Union, The Trent and Mersey, The Llangollen Canal, The Four Counties Ring and Cheshire Ring and more.

Our friendly Syndicate decided to go down the Self Management route on 1st March 2012 and so far it has been very successful. Please visit the other pages in this blog to see the new Web Site and if shares are available for sale. (There'll not be many).

I am having to place a watermark on the blog content as someone on Facebook is stealing photos and claiming them as their own. I wouldn't mind if they asked first and attributed it to my blog. If it continues I will name and shame them. I hope it doesn't spoil your enjoyment.

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Monday, 3 October 2011

WWW - Wild Windy and Weedy plus a couple of confessions.

Oh! what a day, started off fine but as the the day wore on, things got more and more difficult. We slipped our moorings at 08:00hrs and started what was to be a long journey to Billing. Our first stop (barring locks) was Wellingborough where we went into Tesco to do some (no, a lot of) shopping. We came out with four brimming bags and they were heavy, toddled off across a busy main road and nearly got knocked down twice, they drive like maniacs around here, back across the parkland to the Embankment where we moored TQ earlier. The wind was beginning to pick up by now, but nothing too serious yet. Onward, and as we left the comparative shelter of Wellingborough the wind picked up and blew quite hard, I reckon around 30 mph gusting to 40mph at times. Although the wind was mainly head on, any slight angular crosswind made manoeuvring at locks very difficult. As if that wasn't enough, there was a lot of weed about and one boater we spoke to said he had to call out the Environment Agency to clear it for him as he couldn't get into the lock. All the locks from Wellingborough to Billing have had weed to some extent, but three of them were so choked we had to fill the lock without TQ in, open the top gates and let the wind blow the weed into the lock and empty it again and then, with the lower (guillotine) gate raised, open the top gate paddles to flush the weed out of the chamber. In other words, we had to operate the locks twice each, once to let the weed through and once again to let TQ through.

After the weed had been cleared

In these large locks, going upstream, we find its best to tie up TQ fore and aft to the bollards conveniently placed on the quayside, and open the paddle only on the same side as TQ is tied and by one third to start as some can be quite fierce. This way the water enters the lock across the bow of TQ and hits the opposite wall keeping TQ pinned to the quayside. There may be some forward and back movement, but nothing the engine can't handle.

You'd never believe it could be so windy

We've had to contend with chunks of weed like this jammed in lock gates.

Now Lin and I have a confession each to make. First mine - I lost control of TQ in the wind today. Well that's a slight exaggeration, although Lin would disagree. What happened was, Lin opened the top gate of Doddington Lock and I tried to get on the lock landings on the starboard side while Lin emptied the lock. (All guillotine locks have to be left empty). The wind blew me across the river toward some sticky outy branches, so to avoid broken windows I opened the throttle and went forwards away from the lock and got stuck against the bank where I thought Lin could walk to and board TQ there. Not so, it happened to be someones garden and access was impossible. So I went forwards again, of the end of a headland where the wind caught me good and proper and forced me to do a 180 so I then headed back into the lock landing and just managed to pick up Lin on the bow of TQ. Then I had to back out into the area where I did a 180 earlier and somehow do another, without losing it again down someones private backwater. This time it was successful and I managed to miss all the obstacles and head off in the right direction.

Now for Lins confession. We entered Cogenhoe Lock and I was just mooring up on the starboard side, Lin was on the roof with the centre rope ready to jump up onto the quayside. Instead of waiting for me to get TQ closer she decided to go for it and jumped up onto the quay and then discovering she didn't have enough inertia to get her all the way there, did a half turn in mid air and landed back on TQs roof now with too much inertia, and only just managing to stop herself falling off the port side. Lucky or what?

We're tucked away safely in Billing Marina now. Hopefully nothing much can happen to us here. Its been a long day, maybe tomorrow will be better.

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