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stort_mark

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Everything posted by stort_mark

  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.
  15. Fantastic! That is exactly what I needed. Now I just have to plan my return around one of the dates! Thank you very much.
  16. What I know about diesel engines and gearboxes and batteries you can write on a postage stamp and still have space for a Jamie OIiver recipe. I really want to know more about them and be proficient enough to do more than percussive maintenance, and so would like to go on a training course to learn about how they work so I can actually be useful when something goes wrong, rather than relying on my girlfriend to fix it. I know that many colleges do adult education courses but I don't live in England currently and am only back for short periods, so I can't do an "every Monday at 8pm for two months" kind of course. I need to do a course all in one go for a few days. I do know of an RYA course (and know this might be the best option) but does anyone know of (or recommend) a training course that is, maybe, focused on diesel engines and gearboxes and batteries stuff for narrowboats? Is there anyone who perhaps has taught this and is willing to provide that training? (for a fee obviously)
  17. There's a stretch we have always called Windy Corner....actually the quarter-mile (seems longer) past Colehurst Farm on the North Oxford, between Brinklow and Ansty...that terrifies us. It's high up on a ridge and there is usually a strong south-westerly pushing you onto the seemingly never-ending line of moored boats. And there is always a boat coming the other way. Worse heading north, obviously. Acutely conscious of needing to not disturb the wind-chimes on someone's £160,000 boat or send destructive ripples across cups of Lopsang Souchong. Nightmare. It's always a relief to pass the last boat and get round the curve towards the M6. Personally, I quite like the quiet creak of the mooring lines and the movement of the boat as someone passes by.
  18. In recent investigations into the old North Oxford loops, discovered that in the 1851 census, the farm near Tuckey's Bridge was owned or run by a Martha Tuckey. Similarly, the farm near Walton Bridge was then known as Walton's Farm and there was a Walton family there, again in the same census. I guess in the days when the canal was the only thoroughfare, the families and afrms would all be known by the boaters.
  19. I am hoping to have a look through the 157 volumes of OCC records at the National Archives. Don't know if they are indexed. On the limeworks. There seem to have been six canalside lime and cement works in the Newbold area. Fennis Fields, Cathiron, then on the old Newbold loop - Umbers' limeworks, Norman's limeworks and Walker's limeworks. Then at the Quarry Park was Walker's 2nd lime and cement works (the first being at the New Bilton site). There were a further six limeworks west of Newbold, around the Lawfords, but none near the canal. The Umbers' limeworks was the subject of a contested will in 1836 when the beneficiaries of the will of Ann Umbers were claiming that they owned the limeworks. These were in the first small loop about 200 metres in from the western entrance to the loop. There seems to be absolutely no trace of this. The Norman's limeworks were where the old loop ran against the railway, with the pits being to the southwest of the railway line. Perhaps the wharf opposite Newbold Lodge was the loading point? In 1850, the occupier of Newbold House was a Mrs Mary Norman, and she owned the limeworks. The Walker's limeworks were at what became the end of the watered section. Production started in 1776, but I don't know when production ended. Thomas Walker seems an interesting character: they had been landowners in Newbold "since the 17th century, but it was probably not until the 1820s or 1830s that they began quarrying limestone for lime production" (http://freepages.history.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~simba/stockton/downloads/griffinsblueliasworkshistory.pdf). It closed in 1927 (by then owned by the Rugby Portland Cement Company) and the workers transferred to the New Bilton factory. All three of these limeworks, above, and one isolated kiln are shown as existing in 1834 and on a "canal map of 1857". The Walkers 1st lime and cement works was at New Bilton (what is now the huge Cemex plant, south of the Avon). He sold it to others and also sold land to the northeast of Newbold (where the Quarry Park is) to build his second plant. The four sources of material for the big New Bilton cementworks are listed as the four big pits immediately around the factory, and all to the south of the Avon, so it would seem that the Umber, Norman and Walker plants supplied other factories, and by water, whereas the New Bilton facility always used the railway. Thomas Walker lived at Newbold Grange and, in 1850, was described as a farmer, brick and tile maker and limew works. The Walkers 2nd lime and cement works was where Quarry Park now is, and was opened in the 1870s. There's a good history of that second plant at http://www.cementkilns.co.uk/cement_kiln_newbold.html with a really interesting account of a visit in 1892. Later on the two companies (New Bilton and [east of] Newbold) were definitely competitors as the company at New Bilton tried to stop Walker's company from using the Rugby name. Later on, RPC bought Walker's Newbold Cement Company after Thomas Walker had died (in 1871). This second, large quarry and cement works closed in 1923 when an underground stream was breached and the pit flooded. The workforce transferred to the limeworks, west of Newbold but that closed just four years later in 1927. Cemex produce a good little brochure as part of their community affairs material.It's here: http://www.cemexcommunities.co.uk/Userfiles/Documents/CemexRugbyHistoryBroch.pdf. There is also a fascinating overview of the industry and the archaeology of the area in the Cultural Heritage chapter of a planning application for a new Cemex factory in the area, here: http://www.planningportal.rugby.gov.uk/fastweb_upload/Planning Scanned Applications/R08-1499/R08-1499-Chapter 9 Cultural Heritage A.0.pdf Back to Hungerfield In 1850, the Boat Inn was run by a Sarah Thrasher, and the New Inn, next door, was run by a John Liggins, who was also a coal merchant and a carpenter. So, of the three dwelling-houses in Hungerfield, two were pubs. I knew I liked this particular spot for a reason. Sarah Thrasher was also a shopkeeper, so the Boat Inn probably doubled up as a store as well. The only brickmaker listed in the township is a William Johnson. At that time, the township had no school. Cathiron I have found some of the images on the CRT Archive website, but they are poorly scanned so very difficult to use online. (What's the point in having them at such low resolution you can't read much of the detail?) There is one that shows the Fennis Fields Farm loop. http://collections.canalrivertrust.org.uk/bw197.2.34.37. Cathiron Farm was originally called Waltons Farm (makes sense because Br 42 is Waltons Bridge) and a William Walton farmed there in 1850. Just west of the bridge is a small wharf; it is shown as a bit of swamp by the 1886 25 inch map. It also lightly marks Cathiron Lane. In 1850, there is a Martha Tuckey listed as a farmer at Cathiron. I can't find much about the Cathiron limeworks though. It is described as being to the west of the Cathiron Bridge, but that is Bridge 41 and not where the Cemex map puts it. It locates it to the east of Tuckey's Bridge, where the sewage works were. The 1923 OS map shows a distinct wharf to the east of Tuckey's Bridge on the north side. It also shows a saw-mill on the lane, to the north. But no sign of a limeworks, sadly. Possibly under the old sewage farm.... The 1850 Survey of Warwickshire has been helpful.
  20. Thanks Pluto and Anthony. I am not sure about the brickworks at Hungerfield. I don't have access to the 1886 map (it's not in the NLS collection) but by 1903 there was not even the remains of a track to it. So that suggests it probably was just for the canal. I noted on Sunday that there is a stile over the fence from the Hungerfield Farm field into the Brickyard Spinney so there must be some reason still for getting in there. I note that the farm there is now called Town Thorns Farm rather than Hungerfield. I think everyone ever passing that bridge must have wondered why the Boat Inn was ever built there. However, I understand that there were actually two pubs there, the New Inn (now Boat Cottage) and the Boat Inn. The name suggests that possibly they were open concurrently. The Wikipedia entry provides other little snippets of interest: that the lands here were owned by the Skipwith family (so yet another estate). They held it until 1852 so were the landowners during the original construction and also the modernisation. Not sure if their ownership extended over to the west to the Brinklow Arches though. There is mention of the 1829 land survey for the modernisation. Is that the same map as posted above? Wouldn't the original survey also still be around somewhere? So many questions stilll! Mark
  21. Ray: Those maps are extremely interesting, although the resolution isn't great. Do you have the originals or higher-resolution scans? Also does the first map have more to the west.Those maps are extremely interesting, although the resolution isn't great. Do you have the originals or higher-resolution scans? Also does the first map have more to the west. Anthony (or Chris), I assume: Thanks for that. Interesting about the Brinklow Arm. I wonder why they put that covenant in the sale contract. Was there any industry at the western end of All Oaks Wood? I know there were brickworks at the eastern end (and still some pools there I think). I find it odd that they would cut through a ridge there rather than run the canal around the end of the ridge which was just probably just a half-mile longer than the cutting. Similarly at the Cathiron Lane "ridge", it seems expensive to put the canal through the ridge rather than around it. The lane does seem to be older as the field boundaries don't cross over it, which they tend to do with newer roads. The way the lanes and copses is laid out around Tuckey's Bridge is interesting too. I see there was a timber yard there for some time. Does that show on the tollr records? At Fennis Fields Farm, did they ship stone from the wharf as well? They seem to be quite a bit lower down than the canal. I was surprised to see how much of the original Newbold Loop was in water right up until the 20th Century. Was that also lime or bricks from somewhere along that loop? On the estates, I see that the Feilding of Newnham Paddox estate archives are all in the Warwickshire CRO, together with some estate maps. These might be quite interesting records of the early canal days too. The Craven estate papers seem scattered among half a dozen libraries and archives, which is a pity.
  22. I am also intrigued by this area and wonder how much exploration has been done on foot around the fields nearby. For example, was there a line of the canal to the east and NE of the Brinklow Arches before they were constructed or completed? Aerial photographs and 25" maps suggest there might have been a continuation of the loop around to the south of Stretton Stop crossing even the railway line routing and then ESE curving around the 'tops' of the fields. There are several 'linear copses' - often a give-away for old canals and tracks, but - on the other hand - the full line isn't clear at all. Those two copses (one straight, one curved) are very close to the 300' contour. It does seem unlikely (as the 300' contour heads NE for a long distance, way past Newbold Revel.) Then further south, where the 'Brinklow Straight' turns east (heading southbound), it looks as if the Brinklow Arm doesn't make a straight connection back to the current canal line, but twists north, east and south again before heading east. There's also quite a drop to the stream here, with a (working?) sluice still there, just at that point where the current canal turns due east. I have often wondered why the village of Brinklow hasn't pushed to restore the arm right down to the village (at either end). I also wonder if the canal always ran straight through All Oak Wood west-east. There is a bit of a cutting, particularly on the north bank, and there's a more obvious, flatter route through the woods (much more obvious in winter) and there are pools of water here and there in the woods. However, I acknowledge that in a woodland, there should be much more obvious sign of a disused canal bed as no-one will have ploughed through it for 180 years. I am also puzzled by the quite substantial Cathiron Lane cutting, west of Tuckey's Bridge. Was this part of the modernisation, or was there an earlier loop around the (High Oaks) ridge to the south? There were a lot of stone quarries in this area in the Victorian era (both east and west of Fennis Fields Farm) so surely there would have been an attraction to this particular area. However, I notice that Cathiron Lane itself is absolutely level with the water at this point. Perhaps the canal ran along what is now Cathiron Lane originally rather than through the shoulder of the ridge. If you have a look at the NLS maps and compare it with the contours locally, you will see what I mean. Why cut through a ridge when there's a gap just 40 metres away? Has anyone got permission to walk the fields and woods to trace these old lines of the canal? I think the entire old line is now on private land.
  23. What an amazing project that would be, to complete the research and publish Vol II. (and III)
  24. It is interesting to note that from August this year, more than 1 in every 2 railway journeys in the UK (excluding London Underground) will be on railways owned or part-owned by a FOREIGN nationalised railway company. Our government only has an issue with a British nationalised railway company. Similarly, I understand that five out of the six best-performing bus companies in Britain are municipal-owned, yet the current and next government wants to end the practice, preferring to introduce a lack of co petition and mediocre management instead. Why do "we" blindly accept that privatisation is better?
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