Monday, 8 May 2017

Sea Searcher fails

Saturday 29th and Sunday 30th May; Calcutt and home

Boats were moving early and by the time we were ready to leave there was only one other on the moorings, with two about to go down.  Another approached so we thought we’d join them …. and disaster struck!  Well no, not a disaster of course but an annoyance just the same.  Somehow the tiller pin dived into the canal.  So a spot of magnetic fishing was called for.

1 oh no tiller pin is not magnetic

Except that there seems to be no steel in tiller pins – we checked with our spare, and the Sea Searcher couldn’t detect the one we lost.  We even tried fishing with Dave’s landing net but only caught mud.  We did establish what we already knew, from our mishap on the Erewash last year, that a floating key fob is no match for a padlock when you drop your keys.  I do hope the owner of this set that we fished out had a spare.  The padlock and keys were eaten away by rust and even the key fob was beginning to disintegrate so into the rubbish they went.

2 cork floats will not float a padlock

After a while we admitted defeat.  I seem to remember the first owners of Chuffed telling us they had the original tiller pin made for them when they were in the Far East.  It is a scarecrow-like figure which I have always found a bit creepy as it has no face but Dave was rather fond of it.  In this last picture with him it in it – taken  last night – has it looking into the darkness of Braunston tunnel.  Did he it have a premonition of doom?

The spare certainly lacks character in comparison.

16 the lost scarecrow   15 boring tiller pin

We started locking down with one of the many boats named Festina Lente

4 locking down wiht festina lente

I was accosted by a blog reader as we came down – it was Julia (NB Rune) who we had met on the K&A a few years ago.  Hi! I do hope I’ve remembered your name correctly.

6 rune we met on K and A                                     NB Rune

Some boats do have the oddest names.  I’m not sure I’d want to be on a boat called Creeping Death!

5 creeping death

At the moorings below the Admiral Nelson we had a chance for a short chat with Tom and Jan on Waiouru.  Sadly this looks as though it will be the last time we see them so we wish them all the best for their next adventure.

7 Tom and Jan

As we were approaching Braunston Junction NB No Problem passed us.  The new owners (not so new now) Clive and Liz are still loving it and it looked great.

9 no problem owner still happy

I haven’t snapped the pretty junction bridges for a while, so I rectified that.

10 pretty braunston bridge

We had lunch on the move and there was just space to moor above the locks so Dave could check in at the Calcutt office and confirm our pontoon number.  We locked down with a couple of chaps on their way to the Worcester and Birmingham.  The steerer had just bought the boat and they had left Whilton marina that morning, expecting to finish by tomorrow evening to go home to Bromsgrove.  I don’t know about the steerer but the crew was on his first trip.  He thought they might have been going to Stoke Prior, which, according to Canalplan should take 5 days at 8 hours a day – it’s over 50 miles and has 113 locks.  He had no idea what lay ahead.  I hope they had a Plan B.

Once more the wind was strong enough across the marina to persuade us to go in bow first. 

We drove home on Sunday, having booked in for the bottom to be blacked in the next couple of weeks.  We put books and ornaments away in cupboards as they take boats out of the water up the slipway, and the boat will be at a tilt as they do.  We secured the cupboard doors too and stowed things like cooking oil securely.

17 cupboards tied up for blacking

Protruding knobs tend to be a nuisance as they can catch in your clothing, but they do make it easier to  stop the doors swinging open.

7 miles, 9 locks.

I started this trip’s blog with the intention of keeping a running total of miles, locks and so on, but when I checked with there was a difference in our figures of 10 miles and 9 locks.   The difficulty of precise measuring using Nicholson’s, plus the errors in distance introduced by not being able to choose exact stopping places on Canalplan, accounts for the mileage difference, but the locks – well I counted wrong and also made an error in my sums.  So I have corrected the running total on this trip’s posts, but from now on it’s back to posting daily stats, then getting the trip totals from Canalplan.

Total this trip; 121 miles, 88 broad locks, 4 tunnels, 2 large aqueducts, 4 swing bridges.


  1. A tad optimistic going from Whilton to Stoke Prior in 2 days! We once met a boat going down the Tardebigge flight (we were on foot) expecting to get to Hanbury that evening. The helmsman had just bought the boat from Alvechurch. He did admit that it was a few years since he had been on a boat, but what was apparent. He certainly did not realise how long the trip would take. He was working from a very tiny map printed off from the internet and just had no idea how many locks and miles there were between him and his target. We helped them down a few locks, but by 5pm it was pitch black and we advised them they really should stop and get going again the next morning. I am glad to say they took our advise especially as they had a rather out of control youngster with them.

  2. I think you're right Jennie about maps off the internet - the chap we came up Buckby with the day before was relying on one too so had no idea about water points etc. They indicate lock flights but a novice might think that's just one or two locks! and has no idea there are lots of others too.

  3. From Julia on nb RUNE, (and fellow blogger) yes you did get the name right. Just for info I find the best mapping is the Waterway Routes computer mapping, shows pretty much everything you need (waterpoints,Elsan, etc). I get the distance we travel from google maps and our location from this site you just zoom into your location and right click the mouse, it gives the grid reference which you can post onto Google and it gives a mark of your location. Sounds complicated, but it's not!

  4. Hi Julia, I was trying to remember the name of Waterway Routes to tell the Buckby chap about! We haven't got round to 'going electronic' (though we know it is thought highly of) as we like to have Nicholson's out as we cruise and not have to worry about rain, bright sunshine etc. I have added your blog to our list