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John Liley

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  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    Cheshire

Previous Fields

  • Occupation
    Holiday Company MD
  • Boat Name
    Luciole
  • Boat Location
    Auxerre

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  1. We always use this third arch,with our hotel-barge Luciole - in both directions. It can be tricky coming downstream when the current is strong, since the bridge is on the skew. You have to continue the line of approach that is shown in the photo. In the days of freight loaded barges used the first arch, the one beside the towpath, making fast to bollards on the shore, then easing through gradually. I tried this once with our previous barge Secunda and was surprised how complicated it became. Each time we stopped the current pushed the stern in or out depending on the slant of the rudder. I saw then why it took the loaded freighters so long to get through, taking maybe fifteen minutes to do so . Because of the overhead clearance the wheelhouse came under threat and many a conference took place as ropes were released or tightened. The middle arch is better!
  2. This certainly sounds feasible. I am often struck by how useful a seven foot beam is, as opposed to six, as, allowing for the thickness of the hull timbers ,it still permits an average-sized adult o sleep across the hold of a boat. But let me not complicate the issue any further!
  3. Thanks very much for coming up with this. Having been taught with great certainty at my esteemed grammar school that the Duke of Bridgewater and James Brindley jointly invented canals I have been struggling ever since. Probably the Chinese will have something to say on who came earlier, but to build the Canal de Briare at the beginning of the 17th Century the size that they did was an achievement all the same. One wonders at what stage the Duke, having visited both the Briare and the even larger locks on the Canal du Midi, realised he could get away with the sizes that he did.
  4. Since work on the Canal de Briare began 130-odd years before the Duke of Bridgewater was even born, and since it is said to be the first summit levelc anal in Europe with chamber locks, I have often wondered what size those were. The lengthening of this staircase presumably follows the Becquey Plan of the 1820s when the entire waterway system of France was reviewed, and a lock length of 30.40 metres was established, with a width of 5.20 metres. But were the original locks of this width? It sounds mighty ambitious.
  5. A woolly photo shows our hotel-barge Luciole heading northwards down the Canal du Nivernais in the vicinity of Cravant. In the background, LH side, may be glimpsed one of the caverns in the hillside, limestone quarries cut centuries ago. In one, today, fine sparkling wine is produced. In the cave that is pictured, a French aviation company set up in business, only to find the premises taken over by the German forces of occupation. Here, safe from Allied bombing, Focke-Wolfe 190 fighter aircraft were repaired by a workforce of prisoners, local employees and, at one stage, 200 Russian women - there was an extensive White Russian contingent in the German army units hereabouts. Damaged aircraft arrived by rail and, three times a month by barge, unloading at a quayside nearby. Restored planes took off from the grass airstrip that still survives beside the canal on the western side. This was a large-scale business - when the Germans left 20 fuselages and 150 wing sets remained.
  6. There was an awful lot of rust around that engine so we did not feel inclined to try It was a CIE maintenace barge, apparently just left to decay, though I would guess that, in the canal enthusiasm that was starting to build, someone will have taken the boat over and restored her Regrettably I did not take her number, though another photo reveals that she was M thirty-something.
  7. In Ireland long ago a Grand Canal barge discovered up a creek on the Shannon in the 1960s
  8. Long ago on a trip up the Shannon, friends and I got as far as the entry lock to the Ballinamore & Ballyconnell Canal, opened in 1860 and closed again nine years later, having passed just eight boats in that time. On a later voyage, on Lough Erne, we looked at the other end, where the locks lay buried amongst the brambles. There seemed no hope in recovery, but, in the spirit of cross-border co-operation the Republic and Northern Ireland together rebuilt the whole thing. The Shannon - Erne link reopened in 1994. Will there, now we have left the EU, be a customs post part way along?
  9. Great stuff.What a broadcaster. Thank you so much for digging that little movie out. JL
  10. The Forth & Clyde Canal in 1962, and what became of it the following year. Yachts such as this could pass through without having the masts lowered, while fishing vessels also made extensive use. All bridges could be lifted or, more commonly, swung under electric power (unless the fuses blew -which in the last days they increasingly did did.
  11. Apologies for the repetition, but here's another picture of the Nivernais summit - the last time the Luciole went through.
  12. The Departement of Nievre in fact supports the Nivernais not only through the summit level, but to the bottom of the 16 lock flight on the northern side. That they took on the maintenance was braver than they knew, for it was then discovered that the reservoir walls were leaking and the tunnels near to collapse. A recession also arrived and the councillor who had promoted the idea had to keep a low profile for a while. Because the locks there are shorter our barge Luciole can visit no longer, the hull having been lengthened a further 4 metres to meet the rules regarding crew accommodation. A paradise we can no longer reach (even though we broke a propellor up there and knocked a substantial chunk out of another).
  13. I don't think I can help on this except to mention that timber ships, in my memory, went into Surrey Docks. But here, for old time's sake are some shots from the day a group cruise passed through Limehouse in 1964. This was a special concession, and the reason for the gathering, the Regent's Canal being normally closed a weekends. As each lock had a paid keeper, BW were anxious to limit their hours, a ruling we wanted to change. As can be seen, purpose-built narrow boats for leisure had yet to arrive. Those that did take part were retired working boats, including the Swan, which I was on.
  14. I took this picture half a century ago on one of several forays through London's waterways. Beneath the herbage lies a one-time connection between the Limehouse Cut and the Thames. Wikipedia's item on the Limehouse Cut - a splendid presentation, full of surprising information - says there is still a shallow pool there now.
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