When I rang River Canal Rescue to request assistance yesterday they sent along Dave Ormerod from Bronte Boats and when I couldn't replicate the fault, he gave me his number to call him directly should it recur. So this morning when the mystery noise re-appeared I did just that. Dave was working on a job in Worsley but said he could be with me later and we agreed that I'd carry on until he was free.
We eventually met up just over the summit at Lock 32, where after a short examination with his stethoscope (!) Dave declared that it was my Python Drive - a flexible coupling that takes the engine power to the propeller shaft - that was the source of the problem.
After carefully establishing from River Canal Rescue that I was covered for replacement parts he declared that it was beyond hope. I could hear the person on the other end of the phone suggesting that perhaps re-packing the bearings would be enough, but Dave would have none of it!
As no one seemed to have a replacement unit to hand and as Dave was happy to do the job anywhere, we agreed that I'd carry on (It hardly mattered if I caused any more damage after all) and that he'd ring me early next week to arrange a place to meet. I remember that when I had the Python Drive fitted along with my new engine and gearbox five years ago it had cost several hundred pounds, which will pay for my RCR subsrciption for a year or two!
Annette, who was with us in Marple earlier, lives nearby so I wasn't surprised to receive a text saying "I'm in Walsden, where are you?" to which my reply was, er...Walsden! We met up five minutes later. What I hadn't told her was that Duncan was crewing for me, but I hadn't realised they hadn't seen each other for thirty years and the look of mutual recognition - and then shock - on their faces was a joy to behold.
|Typical Pennine scenery on the way down from the summit near Walsden|
One feature of the locks on this section is the amount of water that pours over the top gates. At Todmorden guillotine lock this was a major problem as there is a sensor that prevents the bottom gate being raised until a level is reached. When it was clear we weren't going to achieve a level we realised the only way to do so was to lower the level of the pound above and the only way to do this was to raise a top paddle. It's a long pound (well, for the Rochdale Canal at least) so as steerer I endured a turbulent twenty minutes sitting in the lock with paddles open at each end until the water stopped pouring over the gates!
|This isn't Todmorden Lock, but it gives an idea of the amount of water coming over the gates.|