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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    SW Scotland
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    19,134

    Default Crinan Canal Capers

    Note: all canal staff have been friendly and helpful.

    Decided yesterday afternoon not to round the mull. Awkward the time and the your pilot has died. Used form to request convoy spot this morning. Confirmed within the hour. Overnighted in Ardrishaig sea lock to be here for 8.30 as requested.

    Five boats booked. One was in the basin, one limped in with engine problems at 10.30 and is awaiting repair, others didn't show. The other convoy boat is stopping at Cairnbaan overnight. Two staff at Ardrishaig, just one at Cairnbaan. No pilots available.

    Ambition curtailed to Cairnbaan. Maybe. Currently stuck in Lock 2 because Lock 3 is immovable. Three hours since our convoy was supposed to leave.

    Update: Lock 3 open! Off we go.
    "Seamen are always wanting to do things the proper way; and I like to do them my way."

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Scotland.
    Posts
    14,078

    Default Re: Crinan Canal Capers

    It sounds like a last gasp attempt to give a facade of working. The real objective (which is my conspiracy theory) is to make it difficult to transit the canal, which will have the knock on effect of turning people away, which will ultimately show as reduced numbers. The subsequent data will be used to justify closure of the canal. I always enjoy a transit through the canal but it just appears to be a hassle now.
    "'...contradictions .... are deliberate exercises in doublethink." Orwell from 1984

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    SW Scotland
    Posts
    19,134

    Default Re: Crinan Canal Capers

    Quote Originally Posted by BlowingOldBoots View Post
    It sounds like a last gasp attempt to give a facade of working. The real objective (which is my conspiracy theory) is to make it difficult to transit the canal, which will have the knock on effect of turning people away, which will ultimately show as reduced numbers. The subsequent data will be used to justify closure of the canal. I always enjoy a transit through the canal but it just appears to be a hassle now.
    I think you're right. Eight hours and forty minutes after our convoy start time we tied up at Dunardry, midge capital of Argyll. No west bound transits today. Passed two eastbound boats. What used to be fun is now a slow, unpredictable, frustrating experience. I can't see this lasting much longer. I wouldn't put much money it being open for our planned return in 4 weeks. At some point something will break and the canal will close indefinitely.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Location
    The Known Universe
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    1,073

    Default Re: Crinan Canal Capers

    Quote Originally Posted by JumbleDuck View Post
    I think you're right. Eight hours and forty minutes after our convoy start time we tied up at Dunardry, midge capital of Argyll. No west bound transits today. Passed two eastbound boats. What used to be fun is now a slow, unpredictable, frustrating experience. I can't see this lasting much longer. I wouldn't put much money it being open for our planned return in 4 weeks. At some point something will break and the canal will close indefinitely.
    Now youve done it the Curse has been set
    Im heading that way in around 4 weeks to know I need another plan
    Flying birds have no master

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    SW Scotland
    Posts
    19,134

    Default Re: Crinan Canal Capers

    Quote Originally Posted by FlyingGoose View Post
    Now youve done it the Curse has been set
    Im heading that way in around 4 weeks to know I need another plan
    I haven't done it yet. Still five locks and three bridges to go. If I'm still here when you arrive, come and say hello. Bring food.

    On the up side, the charcoal briquettes I bought are burning nicely and slowly in the stove, so although it has started raining again and we have been trapped in the cabin all evening by the WFBs, we are at least warm and dry.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Posts
    216

    Default Re: Crinan Canal Capers

    Came back through the canal a couple of weeks ago, what a mess! Held outside Crinan sea lock for 45 minutes waiting for two boats to leave,both boats sat in the lock for the whole time, got into the basin at 16:00hrs and asked if we could head up the canal a bit only to be told no as they were running water. Spent the night in the basin and started off in the morning at 08:30 hrs in company with another boat. Since we had 6 crew between the two boats we fairly rattled along, at lock 10 we were approached by staff and asked to slow down so that another boat could catch up with us at Cairnbaan, as we could see the other boat entering lock 12 we said ok, arrived at Cairnbaan and sat in the top lock for 30 minutes waiting for the other boat, which should have been only 20 minutes behind at most, so we pressed on as there were other boats heading the other way.
    When we arrived at the bridge staff asked us why we had not waited on the other boat, we explained what had happened and they grudgingly let us carry on. Anyway we arrived at Ardrishaig at 15:00hrs only to be held in the basin for one and a half hours as they were waiting for the other boat behind us, to say we were pissed off is an understatement ��
    Definitely got the feeling that they were trying to slow everyone down and noticed that all the staff were thin on the ground and of an older generation.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Argyll
    Posts
    6,241

    Default Re: Crinan Canal Capers

    Aaah, JD you bust the gate on lock 2, the balance beam is completely separated from the meeting stile with the securing bolts rocking about in the rotten wood. A month ago there were only a couple of sluices fitted with the new chastity belts to ensure you did not try to insert your key, now they are everywhere. (the man whose job was to maintain and service the sluice pumps has been redeployed as a bridge keeper) I brought two boats the other way, had to wait over an hour at 13 while they ran off the bit of rain from the day before but I managed to get them through and out by 15-00. had to go up to get the wife to help me push 3 though, you will need more porridge. You do not have to wait for a convoy, traffic is so light you can go (and stop) when you want, though it is a good idea to share the locks.
    I can not understand your problem with the Dunardry midges, the column of stour you were sending up last night when I drove past
    rivalled the Vic 32.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Scotland.
    Posts
    14,078

    Default Re: Crinan Canal Capers

    Why do the lock keepers have to “ran off the bit of rain”? Is the system so inefficient or decrepit that it can not do this by itself i.e. maintain a constant level through some mechanism or system of sluices or overspills?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Argyll
    Posts
    6,241

    Default Re: Crinan Canal Capers

    Quote Originally Posted by BlowingOldBoots View Post
    Why do the lock keepers have to “ran off the bit of rain”? Is the system so inefficient or decrepit that it can not do this by itself i.e. maintain a constant level through some mechanism or system of sluices or overspills?
    The canal was designed about 200 years ago in the days when every lock was manned, it is a scheduled ancient monument and Historic Scotland are happy to refuse any changes and watch its decline. When built it was a metre (3 ft.+) deeper than it is now, that is why locks 5 and 13 are so much deeper, it is just that the reaches are all now lower, if they ever let it fill to its original levels the banks would collapse. They used to run water at night but that involved overtime, the ingenious 'water waster' is the device that you refer to, (invented by a Crinan engineer when the canal had such lofty persons) but there is only one reach (Ardrishaig-Cairnbaan) equipped with one. I think the bolt on steel 'chastity belt' that goes round the drum and prevents you fekkin about and inserting your key into out of order sluices is the modern equivalent.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    SW Scotland
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    19,134

    Default Re: Crinan Canal Capers

    Well, we eventually made it through. I didn't particularly mind the delay while Locks 11, 12 and 13 were emptied to allow a boat up while we waited at 11 to go down, but I need less impressed with the "pilots" - not Quandary - who started draining them again from the bottom to bring two boats up. An hour's delay for us, four locks' worth of water wasted. We eventually reached Crinan just before noon.

    Lock 2 was fine when we were there. I'm more worried about Lock 11. The grass on the north side has two large sunken patches, with holes, when the backing earth has been scoured out. My money is now on a complete collapse of that side closing the canal indefinitely.

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