Duncan joined us again today so being three-handed we made good progress, hoping to pull back some of the time lost yesterday.
All went well until leaving the top lock at Slattocks I noticed a horrible grating noise coming from below my feet.
(Name redacted) who had been steering earlier then told me it had started some time ago and had been getting worse! I wish he'd said!
A quick check revealed it was neither something on the prop nor an alternator belt and a towpath walker, who turned out to be a boater that recognised Starcross from Norbury Junction, also helped me diagnose that it wasn't the gear box either.
Friday afternoon is not the best time to call out River Canal Rescue and we waited a good three hours before they could find an engineer who had to come over the M62 from Bradford. By then everything had had time to cool down so when I started it up to show him the noise, it wasn't there!
I was not amused and more than a trifle embarrased and all we could do was to carry on. We knew better than to seek a mooring in the badlands of Rochdale so pushed on to Littleborough - with the noise re-appearing just before we arrived!
The day had a better ending though as we were joined at Littleborough by a pair of single-handed boaters travelling together and who make their living on the cut; Geoff being a wood turner and Michelle an artist.
We'd seen them on and off over the last couple if days and had been helping each other as boaters do. Now we enjoyed a convivial evening together in the Red Lion - a good reward for another frustrating day.