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stort_mark

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About stort_mark

  • Birthday March 22

Profile Information

  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    Fareham and Awassa, Ethiopia
  • Interests
    Photography, the BCN, industrial archaeology, south-west Scotland, Wolves,

Previous Fields

  • Occupation
    HSEC Director, geothermal energy start-up
  • Boat Name
    North Star & Cypress
  • Boat Location
    Newbold & Cowroast

Recent Profile Visitors

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  1. I was going to ask you this specific question when I'm back at the end of next week! 😊
  2. Anyone have any recommendations for engineers or workshops on southern GU (specifically not too far from Cowroast)? I'm looking to get a handful of things done on engine (Ruston & Hornsby 3VRH) and changes to 12V electrics? Small-scale stuff and maybe some servicing. I did email a few of the companies/individuals in the Ljnks Directory here, but no response.
  3. Well not really. Although often guilty of that! IIRC tea had arrived a little early and we needed to get off the river at the end of the day to moor and were planning to moor up in the basin. We had done much of the Huddersfield Narrow on 2" of water (a "flood" it was described as then; not sure if it's any different now) and the locks seemed easy later in the day. I'd love to do that trip again (Manchester to Sowerby Bridge) You know, I suspect, for exactly the same reason I know! 😂😂 I had read about hydraulic paddles before (and - I think - used locks with them fitted but I guess I had never experienced the need to suddenly need to wind them down. Until then. I *think* they are gate paddles too! It was like the opening of the sluices at the Hoover Dam. Anyway, what doesn't kill you, improves you as they say in parachuting. Thanks once again everyone for all the shared knowledge. A lot confirmed what I already thought or remembered but there were some really helpful new things (esp about using all the paddles...I would prefer to just use one set but I hadn't thought about the leakage; also the diagonal going downhill.) I have always been wary of people wanting to help. It happened a lot when I went through Birmingham.
  4. I must admit I don't remember wide locks after Shardlow. I *do* remember several locks having ridiculously leaky bottom gates, making it very hard to fill the chamber. That was 2007 though.
  5. Thanks for the excellent advice from everyone. Al makes good sense. There are a few things I don't understand though. I don't understand the bit about putting the boat in diagonally. I'm sure it's good advice, I just don't understand it. I would have thought alongside the nearside wall would be best. I would normally let the re-opening gate close by the outflow of water through the bottom paddles unless the gate was open more than a few feet. or is that frowned upon/banned? 😐I'd be worried about being yanked off the back of the boat if I was holding on to a heavy gate.... I thought all T&M was narrow locks. Or do you mean the locks at Sawley and Beeston, etc, on the Trent? A couple of additional points/questions: Going down, is it best to open the nearside paddle first or the offside paddle, or doesn't it matter? Is it best to have the boat fully forward when starting to lift the paddle? Going up, is it best to have the engine in gear (in reverse) to counter the pull forward as the lock starts to fill? And also to stick the stern against the lower gate at first, then shifting the boat forward as it fills? I think my concerns or nervousness is as much about the fact that this boat is much shorter too. Fortunately, all the plates, cups, on board are enamel and would be slightly improved by being hurled around the cabin. On the Calder & Hebble, the only lock that I remember causing a problem was the Upper Brighouse Lock. I must have done the lower lock off the river on my own too, but without problems. I recall that I stupidly (I was in a hurry, it was the last lock of the day) just raised all the top paddles including the gate paddles.....). Subsequent locks were down with three teenage boys manning the lock!
  6. I'm looking for tips on tackling broad locks single-handed (other than the obvious advice of "wait for a boat loaded with experienced boaters going in the same direction"!) I took my boat (56' trad) - 8 years ago - single-handed from Tamworth to the top of the Oldbury Locks but that was comparatively easy. Also, I was boating regularly and knew the boat and its habits very well. Now - after some years away from boating I need to move a different boat (44' trad) up the GU and onto the Oxford Canal. I realised recently that I haven't ever down a broad lock single-handed, and it is so long ago that I did them with others on board that I have forgotten the tricks and tips for working through them. Many years ago, I had a nasty experience at X lock on the Calder & Hebble (long story but was trying to do the lock with family aboard but having their tea and stupidly open the hydraulic paddle way too much) ; it left me nervous about doing a broad lock alone again. I have ordered several of the books people here often recommend (Going It Alone, etc) but wondered if people had specific tips about doing these bigger locks alone with just the one boat in the lock. As I said, it's 44' so **should** be straightforward. Grateful for all your collective wisdom on this. 😊
  7. I didn't know about the map. I'll order it. I will be interesting to see if the map shows rivers and canals formerly navigable. The photo is interesting. Is it a 'proper' lock or a flash lock like they used to have on the Thames? There's the remains of one on Bottisham Lode, as well. I keep thinking about how one would go about a trip from..say...Brest to Smolensk.....Pripyat, Dniepr, Desna. I suspect it would not be safe to take a big steel boat but perhaps something more lightweight, fitted with echo-sounders. It is clear that very few places have even rudimentary landing stages but there seem to be a lot of beaches. Would cost a fortune.
  8. I still haven't had time to sort out photos but have been GoogleMapsExploring (cheaper than Ryanair) rivers in the area. It is fascinating tracing rivers like the Seym and the Desna deep into Russia. It seems these rivers had plenty of navigational features long ago but it is very difficult to trace them from Google Maps now and I don't read Russian or Ukrainian so checking some of the links found on Google are not possible. It amazes me how little these rivers are used for navigation currently or at least up until the 1990s as they seem wide, slow and presumably deep. There is evidence of short-distance navigation on both rivers, even now, but it looks like mainly either dredging (presumably for flood control) or moving gravel or sand to local industrial facilities. There are very, very few boats - along most of the length of the rivers not even (seemingly) small boats for fishing nor ferries across. The Desna is now blocked upstream at the dam that holds water for the Smolensk power station and the Seym is currently blocked by a pontoon bridge not far from its mouth. Looking the other way, the Pripyat is not passable between Lake Kiev and the western edge of the Chernobyl exclusion zone somewhere around Narowla, but upstream there is plenty of river activity and even canal branches to reach large industrial complexes. At the Belarus city of Pinsk, the Pripyat is intersected by the Pina River as an extension of the Dniepr-Bug Canal (map attached). This takes you through to Brest along the Mukhavets River but this river has been subsequently dammed in the centre of Brest itself. It's odd because there is commercial traffic immediately upstream and downstream of the blockage. From Brest there's the Bug and then other waterways right across Europe. While short parts of the Pripyat River are industrial, most of all three rivers are spectacularly rural and isolated. It would make an amazing adventure. I suspect that all this will interest precisely no-one in this forum though. 😄
  9. Thanks for this. There is some information there and it confirmed what I suspected...that travel on the Dniepr and Desna is possible but "very demanding". A depth sounder is recommended. One intriguing statement was that boat tours have started again up the Pripyat River - surprising given the known high radiation levels in the silt in Lake Kiev.
  10. I'll try to get some pictures up. There are a lot of marinas around Kiev, and a lot of nice looking boats. Didn't see any up at Chernihiv though.
  11. That's a kind offer, Tony. As you suggest, it is easier with practical, hands-on experience on engines and equipment. I have got a number of books, which I am reading, including several mentioned here, but it's so much easier to understand when you can get your hands on the real thing while asking an instructor about things. I like the fact that the RCR course has a basic course and also a maintenance course!
  12. I recently spent a week in northern Ukraine, a beautiful area of endless forests, marshes and rivers (with background radiation lower than in London....but sure there will be radiation comments). While there I saw the really substantial rivers off the Dnieper river...in particular the Desna at Chernihiv and the Snov at Sedniv. At Chernihiv is a substantial but disused river port and I understand that all these rivers are navigable for many hundreds of miles further into Belarus and Russia. So has anyone done this? There are hundreds (possibly thousands) of pleasure boats around Kiev on the Dniepro and I know that there used to be a hydrofoil service in the 1970s and 1980s up the Pripyat River (with I believe at least one hydrofoil forever stranded at Chernobyl town). I also took a trip up to the Kiev dam at Vyshorod, including through the lock there into the Kiev Reservoir but was surprised at how few cargo ships there were: just dredgers, sand barges and plenty of trip boats. I just wonder if anyone has explored this region by boat before?
  13. Thanks. Much appreciated context. I was already a bit concerned about RYA content as I also sail and have seen widely varying quality. It's galling to pay a couple of hundred quid to be taught by someone who knows less than I do. I'm trying to arrange home travel in order to do the two RCR courses. It does surprise me that with a gap in the market, someone else hasn't picked up where you left off. Although RCR do seem to offer a "personalised" course as well. Again, thank you to all who contributed with mentions and recommendations! 😊
  14. Thanks also. I know Tony mainly from reading his brilliant posts in the infamous "Width of the canal" thread about boat squat a few years ago. 😊 His web page has a lot of valuable information as well. The RCR course explicitly covers both engine and electrics, so does indeed fit the bill for me! Edit: Having looked through Tony's website, it seems he has handed over his course notes to RCR.
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