Monday, 25 November 2019

And the reason for the jaunt is...

Steadfast is now settled at Glascote Basin Tamworth for the winter where she will be repainted in a new livery by Sarah Edgson and team at Norton Canes.

Glascote here we come

Lazy start today we didn't stir ourselves until gone eight but we're on the move at 8.30.   The day started mild and misty then it rained... heavily and then the sun broke through..just.

Huddlesford junction.  When this link is restored, note we will probably be in our boxes by then, we could take Steadfast straight back to her mooring at Hatherton via Lichfield.


Peel Wharf Fazeley

He's coming up, Glascote lock 

Winded just past Glascote basin and moored  ready to go into the basin Monday morning.

Sunday, 24 November 2019

It's Autumn, it's leaf soup

We pulled pins at first light and moved off towards Rugeley. We needed to get to Fradley or beyond today in order to make it to Glascote for Sunday.
Wood End Lock

We met a boat, the first of the day, as we approached Wood End Lock.  There were no more boats on the move as we worked down to Fradley Junction.

Shade House lock

Steadfast turning on to the Coventry canal at Fradley Junction

We pushed on through the leaf soup, frequently employing a burst of reverse gear to clear the prop of leaves, and made our way to StreetHay Wharf where we filled with diesel and had a pump-out ready to leave Steadfast for winter. 
Moving on a little further as the light diminished we arrived at Huddlesford and The Plough pub. A pint of TT Landlords, and delicious pizza and a G&T with a local, Lichfield, gin rounded off the day.

Saturday, 23 November 2019

And we're off

We travelled up the the boat yesterday, our three weeks temporary mooring at Great Haywood  marina was nearly up and we were hoping that C&RT had completed the work on the lock allowing us to continue our journey to Tamworth.  We drove to the village and I skedaddled along to check the lock.... It was operational!
As soon as we were had loaded the boat with assorted paraphernalia we secured the car and headed out.

Great Haywood lock

Our second lock of the day , Colwich.

It rained heavily but intermittently but we were kitted out in full wet weather apparel including new warm sealskin gloves.  Frequent flourishes of reverse gear were required to clear the autumn leaf fall from the prop but we made steady progress and moored as the light failed at Brindley bank just north of Rugeley.

Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Tucked up

Himself and I woke this morning at 6am.  I rolled out of my warm bed to put the kettle on before retreating back to bed with cups of tea and biscuits. By 7am we were up and dressed and on our way slipping under the railway bridges mentioned afore.

We started off in clear weather but by the time we reached Tixal Wide the rain had started.

As we reached Great Haywood the rain eased a little. We turned left on to the Trent and Mersey canal heading north towards the entrance to Great Haywood marina. We have never moored in the marina though I recall using the laundry facilities when we were iced in at the junction over one Christmas period.  We were on NB Caxton but being unable to fill the water tank meant the onboard facilities were redundant.

Joe threaded Steadfast through the marina to our allotted berth at the rear and backed in to our slot.  Web breakfasted and showered before stripping our bed and packing for the journey home. We will be back in three weeks to resume the trip to permitting.

Return to boat

Half six Monday morning saw Joe and I strapped into the car and en route to Penkridge from Peterborough.  We arrived to find Steadfast all in order, got the kettle and the fire on and awaited the arrival of engineer Richard Milligan who was going to fit the new starter motor.

Richard arrived at 10am as promised, encumbered with tools and soon in the possession of a cuppa he set to work to switch out the starter.  An hour later all was done and Steadfast fired up.  I then drove to Great Haywood to hopefully arrange a temporary mooring.. the breakdown had thwarted our attempt to get to Tamworth so we have a three week wait before our road is clear of CRT repairs.

We were lucky, one space left in the marina.

Richard had followed me and gave me a lift back to Penkridge and the boat.

We set off at 3pm after visitors David and Amanda left us to head off to visit a boat builder they had an appointment with.

We made it to Radford Bank before the light failed. Mooring up we were asked by a fellow boater where we were headed. Great Haywood we replied, "You won't get through, they have scaffolded the railway bridge today and it is too low to get through."  Heart sinking I tramped on to have a look at the railway bridge followed by an extremely grumpy husband.  Torches in hand, pitch black by now, we arrived at the railway bridges to find...NO SCAFFOLDING!!
Thank you God. We tramped back to the boat and went to the pub for supper.

Sunday, 3 November 2019

Thank you Mr Bixter

Joe had spoken to Dave Bixter of Grantham Bridge Boating Services at Hillmorton, the Russell Newberry spares specialist and learnt that their was a suitable starter motor in stock. I called Saturday am to ask whether we could pick it up Saturday morning.  Dave Bixter was a star, he went the extra mile collecting the part and locating it discreetly at the Hillmorton site for us to collect.  We picked it up and headed home, dropping our crew, Amanda back in Norfolk.  Monday morning we head back to Steadfast to meet Richard Milligan who will fit the starter for us.  Hopefully, hopefully we then continue our cruise to Tamworth.

Friday, 1 November 2019

Captain we have a problem

So here we are again, back at the boat to take Steadfast to Glascote basin before the winter stoppages kick in. We travelled over Thursday evening so that we could have an early start Friday morning. Extra crew had been press ganged to assist with locks and try out a rudimentary guest bed. Amanda (of boat sharers fame with NB. What a Lark) has been persuaded to  join the Steadfast crew.
We were up an at em this morning at 6am and the boat slipped her berth at 7.30.
 We whizzed through the locks until we were out of Penkridge and had three hours under our belt and stopped for breakfast and a break. Cups of tea and eggs on toast saw us vitaled and ready for the off.  Amanda went to set the next lock as Joe and I untied...

A small problem had crept in, the boat wouldn't start.

Amanda was recalled, Joe took the engine room to bits to discover that the starter motor had failed.
We called Richard Milligan, (Black hands) who had rebuilt the engine. This will not be an off the peg starter so we will have to source a new one or have ours refurbished.  Given that we were now moored in the proverbial middle of nowhere we decided to bow haul the boat to somewhere it can be accessed.

Off we went, a mile to go and one lock to do.

So now hauling the boat was a new experience and perfectly okay until we encountered a moored boat.  How were we going to get around that?  The solution was Joe on the gas locker with a boat pole steering, a long line on the centre to haul until we got to the boat and then the person on the line carefully flipped the line over the chimneys, wood piles, solar panels and exhausts until we were passed.  We are now moored where a rescuer can access us so tomorrow we see how to resolve our problem.