On arrival at Cathrine de Barnes we had to do a bit of shopping, it just so happens the pub is across the road from the shop, so we popped in for a taste, well you have to, don't you. We got our beer and noticed we were surrounded by a funeral party, so being a nice day, the garden looked a good option, where we are now in the company of uncontrolled brats and a gang of breast feeding mothers. We drank up and thought we'd come back when all the little darlings had gone home.
The next morning we set off at 7:15 thinking we'd have a good run to Samson Road due to Sagitta coming through last night and clearing the way. How wrong can you be...we ploughed our way through mud all the way and having to rope through nearly every bridge 'ole. At one bridge some kind person left us an industrial bin liner, with a log in the bottom, that nearly stopped the engine and caused some hard work with the shaft. As soon as we got to the more industrial area, things seemed to get better and the going got easier. Also, the scenery got more interesting with the remains of the industrial past. I don't do flora, I'd much rather see a nice piece of brickwork or a riveted structure and appreciate the craftsmanship.
Surprisingly some of the buildings are still in use and the aroma of metalworking drifts across the cut, jogging memories of my days in the Sheffield Steelworks.
On arrival at Samson Road Depot. things didn't look much like the 1950's film. Obviously parts had been filled in and buildings demolished. We got here anyway, but I doubt Bill and Joe could make the trip today with their loaded pair. The bottom of the cut is too near the top nowadays.
Leaving Samson Road we head off down the Camp Hill Locks. It's nice to be back in narrow locks, being able to stride the bottom gates and use my less bulky Neil windlass. The locks are in very good condition and a pleasure to use, no anti-vandal key needed and the pounds are full. However, on reaching the bottom, nothings changed, all the lovely bridges and buildings covered in mindless daub by the latest generation of brainless brats. The two blokes who invented plastic bags and aerosol cans should have been throttled at birth!
We now turn right down the Garrison flight and again, a pleasure to use everything working fine and plenty of water.
On reaching Salford Junction it's my turn to steer and it's going to be fun due to the angle of the turn, about 270 degrees. I ended up with the Bow and Stern touching concrete and had to resort to ropes, no other way.
Had a reasonable run to Minworth then arriving at Curdworth at 4:00 decided to carry on to Fazeley, "can't be stopping at this time". By the time we got to Fazeley the weather was good and everything was running ok, so, we said sod it and headed for Fradley. Arriving at 10:45 tied up and in the Swan in 5 mins.
We've completed 350.5 Miles, 317 Locks in 164.5 Hours (that's 13days)
The next day I had a close look at the blown head gasket and the associated drawings. I discovered the oil blow was nothing to do with the head gasket but, a broken oil pipe dripping down the cylinder head, then running round the gasket, then, being blown off by the cooling air escaping through a gap in the cowling. After curing that I could see a small blow from the gasket, a quick tweak with the Torque wrench soon cured that too. While I was at it, I adjusted the Tappets, which were miles out, then ran the engine up and it seems to be a lot better.
Now it's back to the restoration of the hull, now the warmer weather is here.