A busy day

Thursday was a busy day as I went by train and bus to Rose Narrowboats to see progress with repainting our boat.

The first few photos are from my previous visit.

Paul (the painter, not me) busy working on the roof, with the sides taken back to bare metal
Paul (the painter, not me) busy working on the roof, with the sides taken back to bare metal

Most of it was back to bare metal with Paul (the painter, not me) busy on the roof.

The sides were still in good condition.
The sides were still in good condition.

I was pleased to see the sides were lovely and smooth with no significant damage. They will look good when the painting is finished.

Rust on the roof will require treatment.
Rust on the roof will require treatment.

The roof has several rust spots which have spread from damaged areas.  I was aware the rust was there, but I hadn’t realised how far it had spread as most of this was still covered in blue paint.

Tunnel bands showing the water damage.
Tunnel bands showing the water damage.

The tunnel bands show signs of rust, still to be treated.  Despite blacking the bottom 5cm (2 inches) of the lower band instead of painting there’s still water damage there.

Tunnel bands with primer look a lot better
Tunnel bands with primer look a lot better

This week’s visit shows two coats of primer makes a lot of difference to the tunnel bands and the general appearance of the boat.

Paul (the painter) applying the primer
Paul (the painter) applying the primer

Paul (the painter) busy applying the second coat of primer with a long handled roller.  The primer is rolled on, but the undercoat and top coats will be hand painted.

Smooth sides with primer
Smooth sides with primer

The sides look lovely and smooth, any apparent unevenness is just the recently applied second coat of primer dryer in some places than others.

After the visit it was a quick phone call to check where another blogger was, then a walk south along the Oxford Canal towpath to see them.

Looking for the approaching boat
Looking for the approaching boat

This is the front of the boat I was looking for, it’s No Problem rounding the corner.

Sue, Meg and Penny looking out for me (Vic already has the kettle on)
Sue, Meg and Penny looking out for me (Vic already has the kettle on)

Vic already has the kettle on, producing a mug of tea as I stepped aboard, leaving Sue, Meg and Penny looking out for me.

We chatted about all sorts of canal things as we cruised northwards, back towards Rose Narrowboats where Sue and Vic had a chance to see narrowboat Waterway Routes in the paint shed.

Waving goodbye to No Problem
Waving goodbye to No Problem

I shut the swing bridge for them and left them heading north as I went to catch the bus to Coventry and train to Birmingham in search of more bloggers.

Granny Buttons
Granny Buttons

The first boat I spotted was the famous Granny Buttons, from a former blogger.

Waiouru and Valerie
Waiouru and Valerie

Then I spotted Valerie (disguised in her plain green paint scheme part way through repainting) and Waiouru.

I spent time with Jaq, on Valerie, and with Tom and Jan on Waiouru before catching the train back home.

First Top Coat

I was back at Rose Narrowboats again yesterday, to see even more progress with repainting our narrowboat.

Bows with second undercoat sanded down.
Bows with second undercoat sanded down.

The bows, which looked shiny in my last post because the undercoat was wet have been sanded down.  Now its the red paint looking good with the first coat of gloss complete.

Front with second undercoat sanded down.
Front, with second undercoat sanded down.

The whole of the front had been sanded down and will probably have the first coat of gloss on by the time I publish this.

Paul (the painter, not me) painting inside the marked panels on the left hand side.
Paul (the painter, not me) painting inside the marked panels on the left hand side.

Paul, the painter, was working his way along the left hand side of the boat, painting inside the marked out panels.

Paul, working his way around the outside of the panels.
Paul, working his way around the outside of the panels.

A lovely picture of Paul’s reflection in the red name pane.  He’s working his way around the outside of the panels with the blue paint now.

Right hand side with first top coat still wet
Right hand side with first top coat still wet

Paul had already finished the first (of three) top coats on the right hand side.  The reflections are gradually making it harder to photograph the boat as they fool the camera.  The red name panels in the last two photo really are the same colour, but the light and reflections make them look very different.

Paul has warned me that the boat will look different outside.

Helping Seyella

It was early yesterday morning when I arrived in Wigan by train.  I was on the way to help Geoff and Mags on Seyella come down the Wigan Flight.

Waiouru in Wigan
Waiouru in Wigan

I paused to say hello to Jan on Waiouru as I walked past on the way to the top of the Wigan Flight.

Seyella at Wigan Top Lock
Seyella at Wigan Top Lock

Meg spotted my arrival at the top of the flight as she waited patiently outside Seyella.

Wigan Top Lock
Wigan Top Lock

It was a lovely day once the sun had come out and Wigan Top Lock looked very welcoming.

Mags steering Seyella
Mags steering Seyella

There were no boats within the flight so I lifted one top paddle on the locks near the top of the flight so they would be full by the time we came down.  Geoff went ahead to open the gate and see the boat in safely as Mags steered Seyella and I shut the paddles and gates behind.

Geoff winding paddles down the Wigan Flight
Geoff winding paddles down the Wigan Flight

Geoff and Mags are used to working together and there was no need to hold the boat on the centre rope as the locks are gentle when emptying.

Jan arrives from Waiouru
Jan arrives from Waiouru

Jan walked up from Waiouru and met us part way down the flight, providing another pair of hands.

Jan winding the gate shut
Jan winding the gate shut

Some of the locks have winding hear to help close the gates.

Jan having fun on the Wigan Flight
Jan having fun on the Wigan Flight

Jan seems to be having fun – it’s not often that happens on the heavy locks of the Wigan Flight.

Meg, Geoff and Mags at Poolstock Bottom Lock
Meg, Geoff and Mags at Poolstock Bottom Lock

Jan left us at the bottom lock of the main flight and I stayed on board to help with the two Poolstock Locks.

I left Meg, Geoff and Mags looking very happy at Poolstock Bottom Lock.  It took four and a half hours from top to bottom, including a stop for a brew half way down with four of us working well together – it would have taken Geoff and Mags much longer on their own.  The 21 locks in the main Wigan Flight, plus two at Poolstock, are hard work, with some of them being very hard work.

I paused to help Jan with a minor problem as I walked back to the station and caught the train home.

Bridgewater Canal Stop Gates

The Bridgewater Canal has been closed since 2nd November 2015, just to the west of Worsley, for the installation of stop gates.

Advance warning of stoppage at Leigh
Advance warning of stoppage at Leigh

Large warning signs at each end, like this one at Leigh, handily positioned on the stop planks for a photo opportunity, tell boaters it will be closed until 29th February 2016.

Cycling along the Leigh Branches of the Bridgewater and Leeds & Liverpool Canals yesterday to check the data for my maps is up to date, I passed the work site as they were nearing completion.

New stop gates in the narrows
New stop gates in the narrows

The stop gates have been added at the Leigh End of the narrows for a former lift bridge which explains the old stonework in the photo.

Two sets of stop gates
Two sets of stop gates

Peering under the arm of the digger we can see one pair of stop gates closed and pointing towards us, with another pair behind them in the open position and pointing in the opposite direction.  With long lengths of lock free canals it’s important to be able to stem the water flow in either direction in the event of a breach.

Stop gates facing each way
Stop gates facing each way

The side on view show the gate beams at different heights so they can be opened and closed independently. These pairs of gates follow the convention of pointing away from each other. The water between them can be pumped out during tests every few years to check the gates successfully hold back the water.

Bunds at each end keep the water out
Bunds at each end keep the water out

They were clearing up the site as I passed and starting to take down the safety fencing.  They said they would breach the dams in the next day or two to check it all worked.  If they do that with the gates closed they can test for leaks into the central section which should remain dry, at least until filled by the inevitable small leaks, but that might cause another problem.

I could see no sign of any paddle gear and, having been separated for months the two ends of the canal are unlikely to be at exactly the same level.  When the leaks have filled the central section then one set of gates can be opened but any difference in water levels will still hold the second pair shut.

There could be a long wait until the levels in the two long pounds can be equalised if they test the gates this way. Removing the dams with the stop gates open, and testing by pumping might be a better solution.

Boaters who have been waiting for passage, like Tom and Jan on Waiouru, should find the canal open next week as planned.

UPDATE: New photos of the opened gates.

Bridgewater Canal Stop Gates – 2

I recently blogged about the new stop gates being installed on the Leigh Arm of the Bridgewater Canal.

Tom & Jan on Waiouru have cruised through the re-opened canal today and been kind enough let me have photos of the finished work, with permission to publish them.

New Stop Gates - © Tom Jones (Waiouru)
New Stop Gates – © Tom Jones (Waiouru)

I wonder what the mooring bollards are for.  Perhaps they will be handy for workboats when maintenance is being carried out.

The new stop gates have overlapping beams at different heights, although there is very little clearance between them.  It will take very little warping with age before they start touching each other and I wonder how long it will be before adjustments are required.

New Stop Gates - © Tom Jones (Waiouru)
New Stop Gates – © Tom Jones (Waiouru)

There are grooves for stop planks to be inserted so work can be carried out on the gates.  Hopefully that won’t be needed too often.