Tuesday, 9 March 2010

First signs of spring on the way to Chester

28th February / 1st March 2010
As I hadn't completed filling the water tank after discovering yesterday's burst pipe we decided to move on to the water point at Calveley to refill our jerry can of drinking water before attempting a repair.
Stopping for water at Calveley
In theory, the job was simple: saw through the copper pipe either side of the split, remove it and replace with two Hep2o couplings joined by a length of plastic pipe. First problem was the hacksaw blade - which turned out to be suitable only for cutting warm butter. The replacement blades found in the toolbox we acquired with the boat turned out to be the wrong size; and the second hacksaw on board, which they did fit, had a piece missing - the piece that holds the blade in! Luckily, the steerer of "Dutch barge" style narrowboat "The Viking" (sorry, didn't get your name) was happy to lend us some proper kit and we soon had the pipe off. 
In fairness to Nantwich Canal Centre, when they sold us the connectors and pipe they hadn't seen the job (although, of course, they could have offered to look) and what they sold us turned out to be unsuitable. Having fitted the connectors and pipe we turned the water back on to find it gushing out from one of the connectors. The length of pipe, which we'd had to form into a large u-bend to get to fit, couldn't take the pressure. At this point we gave up.
The Viking's steerer suggested that Anglo-Welsh at Bunbury might be able to help, so the following morning we moved on to Bunbury and although I was pessimistic about getting anyone at a hire base on a Monday morning out of season to do the job I was pleasantly surprised when the first person I approached in the yard said "No problem", just bring the boat down and I'll do it now - which he did, for £20 (cash - no questions asked) using some more suitable Hep2o units. So thanks, Anglo-Welsh (or at least, thanks, Anglo-Welsh employee!)
The Anglo-Welsh base at Bunbury
Whilst all this was going on, the sun had come out, the wind had dropped, and on a beautiful Spring morning we continued to Beeston, where we moored up, got the bikes out and enjoyed a 20 mile run through the lanes encircling the hilltop castles of Beeston and Peckforton, one a genuine mediaeval defensive edifice and the other a Victorian folly, now a hotel.
Beeston Castle from the canal

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