Sunday, 28 August 2011

Endon to Rode Heath Via Harecastle Tunnel

Captains Log

Canal Date 27th August 2011
Travels 15miles, 21 locks, 3 lift bridges 1 Very long dark & low tunnel
Current Location   Rode Heath 

How can the Met Office get it so wrong for the next day and be so sure about Global warming?

If the forecast had been correct, then we would never have moved. But once we had started we were committed, and very wet. I will not moor in Stoke and it is a long drawn out town.

We knew we were in for a long day again today so we got out of bed at the ridicules hour of 7.00. The weather was doing exactly what yesterdays forecast promised. It was light rain. This is expected to be clear by 10.00 and a fine day. We set off before 8.00. Today’s run is going to be a bit tough as there are so many locks and many of them are close together, so poor old Pam had a lot of walking to do. At 11.00 the expected clear weather had not arrived. Instead we had torrential rain. As heavy as any rain can get. It then turned to hail, just as heavy as the rain only much more painful. Job done, we were both soaked to the skin. Luckily, it was not too cold and we soon dried out once the storm passed. This was not as forecast!
For the last few days I have been worrying about Harecastle Tunnel. I know that there are some low sections and we are a high boat with the sat dish and top boxes. Also there have been tails of very long waits for passage through. When we arrived it was like a ghost town. Not a boat or person in sight. I took the front cratch cover off as a precaution, I had already removed the TV aerial. Pam soon found the BW man, eating his lunch. There was no waiting we were going straight into the mouth of the tunnel. At the entrance, there are chains hanging to indicate the max height. This was the test, will we fit, if it is close will we do damage in the tunnel. I crept up to the chains, they looked so low and we looked so high. At that point the BW man said “you should have come yesterday – the water was down 4 inches” That was not a great deal of help. As we approached the chains it became clear that we would clear them. It was close, really close. It did nothing for my confidence of travelling the 2 miles with out wondering off the centre of the tunnel and knocking off the top boxes. As we entered the tunnel, it was huge. Much larger than I expected. Every few hundred yards there were yellow markers high lining the different roof levels. Most of it was high enough to have had the rear canopy and the TV aerial up. Towards the centre we came to the low roof section. This was it. Time to concentrate now. Yes it looked very low indeed but there was much more clearance than the hanging chains would have you believe. It is almost painful when the bright sunlight meets your eyes. The sunlight did dot last long and quite soon we were in rain again. After half an hour of drizzle the rain suddenly changed completely and turned into yet another rain storm. This storm was much heavier than the one this morning. I would not have believed that possible, but this was the mother of rain storms. Within seconds we were both drenched. Although I had decent Gore-Tex coat, the rain was so heavy it ran down my neck and soaked me. It was just as if I had jumped in the canal. I stopped as soon as I could and came inside to change clothes and sit out this storm. This was also not as forecast! When the storm stopped we continued our journey. We where now looking for a Pub mooring. Few found one at Rode Heath. We moored alongside the Pubs grounds and soon were inside having a welcome drink and meal.

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