Tuesday, 23 June 2009

The Odyssey continues....

We also passed over our first aquaduct:

It's also worth pointing out that at Denver and at Marmont Priory locks you go down.....Nothing remarkable about that you might think, except that you are heading away from the sea and end up below sea-level!

Marmont priory was fun. The lock keeper was ready for us (you have to ring ahead first to give them an e.t.a.) so we went straight through. Jackie helped out by winding the paddles on one of the gates. She was very excited by this as all the locks we've done up until then were push-button operated electro-hydraulic guillotine gate jobs. (For some reason, I was a little backward in warning her that the novelty soon wears off, as I found out halfway down Hatton Flight on a hot day in June 1978.......)

We were booked in to the boatyard's slipway for 7.30a.m. on Thursday, so we arrived the previous evening and spent the night on board, moored adjacent to the slipway in the marina.

The following morning, we had a mad rush around taking things off the shelves and trying to prevent any breakables from getting damaged.

We needn't have worried. The whole process was slow , gentle and without any drama whatsoever. When I can persuade James from Lucky Duck to teach me how, I'll post a couple of short videos of the execise, which was actually rather graceful. For now, here are some stills:

Little Matt and Big Alan (at 6'5" he makes me look like a candidate for panto in Snow White....) wasted not a moment: the anodes were assessed and deemed too few in number and past their sell-by date. We elected to leave the part-wasted anodes in place and added another six for good measure:

The lads then got stuck in, scraping and pressure washing the hull before it had even stopped dripping:

Jackie shows the true extent of anode wastage by comparing new with old:

Alan wields the welder while Matt tries not to think about blacking baseplates on 60' by 10' boats.......

Having arranged with Alan that the new anodes down Pippin's sides should be placed under line of the existing fenders, we had to fill a gap. I made a trip to Ely chandlery and spent £50 very quickly on two large fenders and two stainless M8 eyebolts. We fitted these (our much mocked monster genny came into it's own again, providing power to my drill before I ran an M8 tap down the holes for the new eyebolts) in the morning before we set off to Denver.

Here is Jackie hanging the new fenders in position over the new anodes.

(It will help prevent them being scraped off the side by lock walls, pontoons, piling etc, though we will have to be much more careful in future to truly safeguard them.)

The trip back to Denver was uneventful. We had to take it really slowly along the narrow sections, as any increase in revs just blows all the water from under the boat, leaving you aground, so we trickled along at no more than 800-1000 r.p.m.

The water level had dropped about 5 inches since we were blacked, so at times the ratio of boat to channel was just plain silly:

We only got stuck once however, and then only briefly, under bridge 36. No pictures of this as we were concentrating on getting off the putty!

Having set off at about midday, we reached Salter's Lode at about 6.30p.m. Phew!!

We met James and Emma from nb Kestrel later that evening as they were making the same tip to have Kestrel slipped and blacked. We passed a pleasant hour or two with them, and the following morning we were all up with the larks to negotiate Salter's Lode and return back up to sea-level. We were expecting to go last so the rising water lifting Pippin up wouldn't compromise the lock's walkways by the tiller bar, or cause any noisome crunches at the bows. However, we were up, no-one else was, so in we went.

It was tighter than a tight thing!!

James and Emma have blogged brilliantly about this in "Pippin makes the tide" on Kestrel's blog. We were a bit busy trying not to dent locks, remove new anodes or spoil new blacking, so check out their blog for the details!

Fraught though it was, it was dealt with calmly, with no Dramatic Art.

I wasn't half glad to get through unscathed and leave the lock the same shape we found it in though......

We exited into The Great Ouse against both wind and tide, turning hard a' starboard for Denver with 2000 r.p.m. on the dial and Pippin handling like a dream, no longer hide-bound by her size and draught. After the long trudge back from March, she flew, and for a moment, became The Mighty Pippin once again.



  1. Hi Guys,
    I have some nice video clips of your masterful handling of Salters Lode lock. I will stick them on a CD and give them to James to pass on later this week.

    As Kestrel was lifted out it gave us lots of reassurance that the mighty Pippin had been on the same slip previously - a light little narrowboat was never going to be a problem after Pippin!


  2. Hi Jackie & John,

    Nice blog, found it thru Emma's post (nb Kestrel) it appears we share something in common - between us we have the only 2 widebeam blogs on blogspot. (I think!) For 2 years I've been hoping another would trundle on by & here you are...

    Keep on blogging - will add a link to my blog if you like,,,

    From Heather (& Dave)
    WB Takey Tezey