Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Plan B

We’ve always been a No 1 but not today!  Today we became No 56!  ?????  The 56th boat to get stuck in Stret Lock!  Now, whether this is:-

*since the opening of the canal on June 4th 1777, or *the re-opening for navigation whenever that was or *since the Millennium or *so far this year – who knows.

What I do know is that we watched another boat go happily on it’s way up and another boat come happily on it’s way down …….. but this was not to be the case for us.  Why?  Why?  Why?  Neither of them looked any narrower than us!

We did see the sign:-

Plan B 019 (600x800)

“That’s OK,” we thought.  “6 foot 10 inches it says, 6 foot 10 inches we are!”Plan B 018 (800x600)

In we went – or rather, half way in!  There we ground to a halt and could get neither in nor out!

In the end we had to seek the assistance of ‘Canal & River Trust’ workers – these trusty employees had been made redundant by BW one day and re-employed by the C&RT the next and, to prove it, they were wearing their nice new T-shirts displaying embossed logos!

Having done this many times before, they flushed us out easily but we could go no further.  We have been forced to turn around – it’s the end of the Chesterfield for us and we are both very disappointed.  An article by WW ( 2009) stated that all locks are now 7 foot wide – obviously, not so!  One of the chaps informed me that this particular lock is going to be ‘sorted out’ in January 2013 so, he said, “Come back next year.”  At that point I could cheerfully have hit him!!  Just for a split second I regretted giving him a cup of coffee and a choccy biscuit!  It could, however, have been worse!  Apparently, some boats have needed to be winched out and others have even needed the services of a crane!

SO …… Plan B.  No good sulking is it?  In situations like this – when things don’t work out how you want them to – a salvage operation needs to be implemented.

SO …………….. we have moored up this side of the lock (amazingly we have got into the side), put on the washing machine (which was going to be doing over-time on hook up in Shireoaks Marina two miles further on) and, tomorrow we intend to cycle to the end of the navigation at Norwood Tunnel just to see what we have missed out on!

Are not Plan B’s all about making the best of a bad situation?


  1. Sorry to hear that you didn't get through Stret Lock. We are on Mary H and were the boat "happily on it's way down"! I was just searching blogs on this wet afternoon and came across yours and will dip into it from time to time. My blog is "and Millie make three" have a look and you can see how we felt about the canal further up!

    I suggest you go and drown your sorrows in the pub or failing that in Sainsburys!

    1. Thanks Linda,

      We felt we needed both!! We were both so disappointed.

      Enjoyed your very honest account of the trip. Would like some of our friends to be able to read it too.
      We cycled up there today and I agree - the top is very enclosed and not my sort of place either!
      Will follow your travels as you are going to places which, one day, we would like to do too.
      Take care.

  2. I'm really sorry that you didn't make it through - we did get to the end and back but there was a bit of pushing and shoving to get through Stret lock on the way up (we came down just fine!).

    Sadly (for you!) the last bit of the navigation is very beautiful - if you're near a train station then get a train to Kiveton Park, which gives good access to a nice little walk to the end of the navigation. Alternatively there's a canalside train station at Shireoaks station which gives access to a nice walk up the last flight of locks.

    Enjoy the rest of your trip.

    Sue, nb Indigo Dream

    1. Thanks Sue,

      Today we got out the bikes and cycled right up to the tunnel. The flights of locks are really lovely and as for Turnerwood ........... well, I would just love one of those little cottages.

      Not sulking quite so much now. We'll just have to come back another year when that lock has been sorted out. I think it's all down to us being so heavy and low slung!! xxoo

  3. Bugger!
    So plan B is......?
    Is that the first time you have had to go to Plan B? If so you haven't done so badly.
    Enjoy the cycle, hope you stay dry!!!!!!

    1. The cycle - god bless that motor! Lunch in a lovely village pub called "The Parish Oven" was pretty good too. xxoo

  4. John surely you should be aware being a "profesional" in your trade that 6'10" wont fit into into 6'10" you would need at least 5/64ths to give you a clearance, however with the amount of paint you have on your rubbing strakes this probably puts it over 6'10" by at least 11/128ths. Now, surely you should have calculated this before entering the lock or were you incorrectly informed by your crew that it would fit (where have I heard that before?)
    regards Paul

    1. Ha Ha Paul, it almost sounded as if you knew what you were on about for a second. Now in my trade, not boating, 6'10" does fit into 6'10", it's called a good fit. As for boats & locks, it seems they work to the nearest whatsit. As a matter of interest, how wide is your base plate & is your boat straight? It all makes SO much difference,so much to think about.
      Keeeeeeeeeep fishing.

  5. In view of your recent catastrophies , ranging from hurling bottles of wine around a superstore , throwing your glasses in the river and to thinking your boat is slimmer than it is and blocking the whole of the British Waterways system, you have been called for the following checks:-

    Eye test . You obviously have the wrong glasses or rose tinted ones;

    Tantrum Check . To avoid hitting shoppers with bottles of red wine when you hane a fit of pique ;

    Driving test . New test brought by British Waterways to avoid damage to their locks.It also gives a reading test to ensure you can read signs along the riverbank.

    Sanity test . An obvious failure here but it will give the examiners something to smile about and talk to their friends about.

    Once you have passed these , you can be let loose once again.In the meantime , don't move.


    1. My Dad said: "Son, don't take advise from one eyed, pedestrians even if they are tea total, oh! and count the number of 'Silver Skins' they pinch, dodgey lot,l every one of them!" ;<)

  6. Oh dear, this doesn't sound like much fun! I'm glad you were freed, and hope there was no damage to Ellen!

    It was certainly nice to talk to you the other night. I had gone out on the boat with Rodney and Derek, and I can certainly see the allure of narrowboating. It was good to "meet" you.


    1. Tray - it was so good to talk to you properly too.
      If you think that was a good narrowboat experience ..... you need to come and visit us with old Harpic next time you are over.
      Thank you for giving old Harpic a lesson - I will await to see how much attention he paid!
      Enjoy the rest of your time in GB

  7. Now John this may cause a bit of fluttering in your little dovecott.
    But getting stuck has got nothing to do with 17/124's of extra paint, its all to do with large bottoms,-like sitting in the bathtub and ones er, hips settle against the sides. Now we all know your bottom is as dainty as the come BUT.............. (I dare not say more)
    Del Boy..

  8. Del Boy! Harpic! You've had a lesson!!
    Take it from me - his bum aint as pert as it used to be!! It's all his fault ..... as usual!! xxoo