Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Llangollen & Shropshire Union (26-31 Oct 2018)

Engine hours start: 421.2 end: 435.9 = 14.7 hours

Miles:16 Locks:18  Lock miles:34

Solo trip for Andrew for October half-term. Came to boat after staff development day.

Spent day in Nantwich on Saturday (27th) and stayed in basin to watch fireworks from the Spooktacular.

Bright sunny start on Sunday 28th October. Quite cold with ice on the roof. Clocks went back last night. Aiming for Wrenbury today.

Set off around 09:00. Arrived at Hurleston to find a queue of 3 boats ahead to go up the flight. Luckily with so many other boats I got lots of help with the locks and didn't have to climb a single lock ladder. Was even able to follow a boat through the first lift bridge at Wrenbury.

Only downside was getting very cold through lack of exercise! Moored up by 15:20. Fire and kettle on.

Monday 29th October
After a trouble-free trip to Wrenbury, the planned cruise then went awry...

After buying a bag of Excel from Wrenbury Wharf, set off about 10:00 and got through the main Wrenbury lift bridge without issues. However, then noticed that the alternator light was on and the rev counter was dead. Revving the engine had no effect.

Stopped as quickly as possible since one reason for alternator not working is a broken belt which would also stop the water cooling pump working. Belt was OK and no sign of loose connections but still nothing on rev counter. Battery volt meters both showed 12.5V which should have been over 14V if the alternator was working.

Rang RCR at 10:13 then settled down to wait. Had not lit fire earlier  as was due to be cruising so got that lit.

Engineer (Jake) arrived around 13:15 and soon confirmed that the alternator was dead. He didn't have a suitable replacement in the van so took ours back to base in Stafford. Unlikely to be back with replacement today.

Quiet afternoon. Went to Cotton Arms for a few pints before returning to boat for pizza & salad.

Tuesday 30th October
Phone call from RCR confirming that the engineer would be at boat later so went to shop for milk, baguette an scones. Also got a bag each of kindling and logs from Wrenbury Wharf. RCR office had promised further call with engineer ETA but this didn't happen. Engineer arrived about 13:30 just as I was about to ring to chase.

Refitting the alternator was straight-forward and all now seems OK. Reviewed cruising plans. Not enough time to reach Whitchurch comfortably and there are no winding holes after Thomason's Bridge. The Wrenbury Frith lift bridge had been lowered but I noticed it was now raised so took the opportunity to go down to Thomasons winding hole and turn the boat ready for the return trip.

Considered another trip down to Cotton Arms but it started raining so stayed on board and had a nice tea of baguette, cheese, salad and jam. Text from daughter saying projected completion on her house purchase is 9th Nov! Watched Ricky Gervaise DVD Ghost Town. Very good. Some echos of Groundhog Day: redemption through good works and Sixth Sense: I see dead people. Rather overfilled the stove and only made it under the duvet about 2am!

Weds 31st October
Set off arounf 09:15. Reasonably trouble-free passage through the two lift bridges; as much as single-handing through lift bridges ever is... 

Boat seems rather reluctant to enage forward gear. Need to check gear box ATF fluid level. Also lubricate gear lever cable. 

Through Baddiley 3 locks and Swanley 2 locks without issues. Some traffic in both directions so got some help with some of the locks. Considered mooring overnight before Hurleston flight but decide to push on. Very good decision as there were 4 lockies on duty so was able to stay onboard and have all the locks worked for me!

Back to base at 14:15. Fire and kettle on. Want to make a template of the bottom step drainage hole to plan the gutter arrangement that I want to make to avoid rainwater going into the engine bilge as currently happens.

Thursday 1st Nov
Packed and home in the morning.

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