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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Grand Union - northern section

 We have left Napton after a very nice 6 days visiting friends and made the short journey to Napton junction and turned onto what I always refer to as the Grand Union northern section.
This is now for Jaq virgin territory but for me perhaps the description might be hazy not having cruised here for about 6 years.

After I had shown Jaq the different lock paddle winding gear we were going to face for the next 46 locks we set off through the first three at Calcutt. Now as I try to think back six years I`m having doubts about this same lock gear being in place all the way through to the top of the Hatton flight.
As you can see in the picture on the left it is a bit different from the type Jaq has been used to pictured to the right.
These tall lock paddle mechanisms are made by Ham Baker and the internal mechanism is geared so that a large number of turns are needed to raise the paddle that empties/fills the lock. Despite some people calling them hydraulic, they are not. Also they are designed to lower by gravity and not be wound down. A lot of folk tend to disagree about the winding down so let`s just agree to differ on that point and enjoy our boating. Some good pictures here of the Ham Baker gear and an empty lock chamber.

We found a quiet spot and moored for a couple of days not really wanting to do the Stockton flight of ten locks that would take us down to Long Itchington until the rain had passed by.

This is lock 12 and we have two more to do before Long Itchington our next mooring. These double locks still have signs of the single locks. This one over to the left is being used as moorings.

The boat painting is progressing and the stern locker covers have now been replaced. I have used exterior ply that has been stained the same colour as the wood/solar panel box on the roof. All the edges have been sealed with three coats of PVA glue and finished off with three coats of gloss yacht varnish.
Jaq and I used faux leather over foam to create a soft seat for us both. Each seat top lifts off for storage.

To the left the generator is housed below the seat while the right hand has a lift off lid to gain access to a large locker where we keep the water hose and a host of other bits and pieces including 40 litres of spare winter diesel in case we get frozen in.
I did manage to move the forward/reverse control a few inches that gave a bit bigger seat but any further movement was not possible without some major work involving removing a metal tube containing the cables.

Having finished this time consuming part it`s time to get some more coats of paint on the cabin sides. Two coats one side and one of four on the other have been applied and this is without the stern and bow decks so if you could all wish for some nice weather it would be appreciated.


antinady said...

Seats look good - glad all the shopping paid off!! Second batch of yoghurt made and consumed!!! Off to get some more soon.

antinady said...

Seats look good - glad all the shopping paid off!! Second batch of yoghurt made and consumed!!! Off to get some more soon.

Anonymous said...

Les, even though you are writing about things that historically have not interested me I find your delving into the history and the logistics of narrow boating to be fascinating. Thanks. A book perhaps in the making?

Awful awful smoke and drought in the northwest. Wonderful weather for us would be torrents of rain ... although then of course there would be flooding! :-( Sometimes it's hard to win. Jim is back in disabled mode ... this time with a broken heel bone :-( But we keep on getting up.

Karen in Pullman

Carol said...

Looking good Les! Apparently there may be some dryer weather coming up over the bank holiday weekend, let’s hope so anyway, surely summer has not ended yet! love to you both, stay well, warm and safe. xx

Les Biggs said...

Hi Tina
Yes that was a useful shopping trip. Thanks to you both. Yummy yog, glad you like it.

Les Biggs said...

Hi Karen
Jaq follows the fire news closely and we both just hope for an end to it soon.
History of the canals facinates me I can manage a blog but not a book.
Take care of my mate Jim.

Les Biggs said...

Hi Carol
Still hope yet. I guess the usual B holiday weather will prevent painting but that's nothing new.

Derek said...

Love that Ham Baker gear, a bit on the heavy side, but the water flow and locks are so engineered to fill and empty fast. There are a few that drop a bit quick, but most are steady.

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs