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Butty Reconstruction Part 2

Let's just cut the butty in half again!

The old steel stern and cab part company with the wooden cab and rest of the butty

Himself (Richard or Paddy as some of you know him) has never been happy with the original replacement stern he fabricated a few years ago, to take the place of the existing V-stern (push along).  I was happy with it, but he insisted that he was a lorry driver and mechanic, not a welder.....

Interior of remaining cab with wooden roof and sides down to the gunwhales

He wanted it doing properly by a proper welder and a new cab to replace the steel and wooden cab. The wooden part is a recent addition a couple of years ago, to enhance the existing boatman's cabin.

The steel has arrived!

After the butty was pressure washed, the men started work on the cab, cutting the old steel stern off and deciding on the new 'swim' to pull the sides in nicely.  When the steel was dry later on, we put the first coat of bitumen on the bare steel sides.

New floor going in.. 

In the meantime, Paul dragged the motor boat out, so that we could spend the week 'blacking' that as well, just as we had done last year.  We wouldn't normally do this every year, as it is costly and physically demanding, but it is our house and as the butty was out anyway.  If you think of a house, certain rooms would need a fresh lick of paint just as frequently?

First coat going on the motor, she looks better already

The weather is not helping our drying time.  We are being put back in the water on Monday, so all being well, the 3 coats should be dry by then.

Rain stops play, but it was late in the day anyway.  Sheets go over and the welding starts today instead!

The chaps work very quickly and impressively here at PJ Barber, Long Eaton.  Meanwhile, we try to get some more paint on the hull sides on both boats and keep the dogs happy...

Lots of walks and charging round fields...

and of course sleeping.....

Butty Reconstruction Part 1 (Derwent Mouth to Sheetstores)

Our time in the yard has arrived at last!

Scale of Tolls displayed at the Cavendish Bridge over the River Trent at Shardlow

We had to kill a bit of time in between us arriving at Sawley/Long Eaton and the yard being ready for us to commence alterations to our butty boat.  So we went a bit further up to Aston Lock, mooring at Shardlow on the way.

We've been on some long walks with the dogs.  This one took us up to Borrowash via Elvaston Castle

Of all the days we picked to go for a walk to the bank, we went when it chucked it down.  The boys had their coats on for most of it, so they were alright.  We had a lovely walk around the grounds of Elvaston before returning to the boat at Shardlow covered in mud and wet through!

Sitting nicely whilst we set the flood lock for the boats at Sawley on the way back to the Erewash Canal

PJ Barber (where we are having our alterations done) is based on the Erewash Canal, which is located at the junction of the river Trent and Soar at Long Eaton.  His yard is a short distance from the first lock (Trent Lock) off the river.

Leaving the cut at Sawley, we soon see the power station at Ratcliffe

Nearly there - sign depicts routes available: left for the Erewash Canal

Richard waits whilst I set the lock at the bottom of the Erewash Canal (Trent Lock)

The weather was predicted to be awful, so we got off the river early in the weekend so that we didn't get stuck at Sawley.  The water level was just in the amber as we came down, but not bad going.

The lock is usually full of the detritus coming off the river and coming down the canal (potty included!)

Steadying the boats in the lock as the water raises them up

We spent the weekend on the canal before setting off Monday morning for the small cruise up to the yard.  We had already ripped the inside of the cabin out in readiness for the new steel one to be created, so the inside of the butty is currently a no go zone, full of wood and everything rammed up beyond the cabin area.

Picking the cross-straps up on the butty

Gently winding our way past the houseboats

A much better morning, we set off to Sheetstores (PJBarber).

Breasting back up before the entrance to the yard

Do you think anyone is missing a tonne sack?  We found one round our prop just as Richard was about to reverse into the entrance!

We waited outside the yard entry as Paul had a reshuffle of boats to make some room.  As Richard dropped the engine into gear, an awful grinding noise made us both jump to action.
As we were mid channel in the canal, I went forward to fend off the widebeam moored just across from the entry as Richard went down the weed hatch.  Yes, our first tonne bag for this year, thank you very much!
Luckily as the motor is coming out of the water as well as the butty, we can check that all is well with the propeller.

The butty waiting for it's turn on the hard standing

Richard power washes the butty, getting all the slime and old bitumen off ready for blacking

For the next week and perhaps a half, we will be blacking both boats and getting the stern replaced on the butty as well as the new steel cab.  The 'swim' should be better, as at the moment the stern doesn't allow for the water to go around the rudder (elum) properly.  So lets get started!

Nottingham to Derwent Mouth (12 miles, 5 locks)

This winter's major event for us, which is our new butty cabin and new stern alterations, is just around the corner!

Enjoying the lovely sunshine on the stern of Comfortably Numb as we left Beeston (Nottingham Cut)

Last post on our blog got us up to and onto the Nottingham Cut, where we moored outside Sainsbury's for the evening.  Thankfully, much to Richard's relief we had no interlopers in the night, (apparently others have moored there) and set off first thing to get through Nottingham and out the other side back onto the river at Beeston.

Leaving Beeston Cut behind us, now back on the Trent heading towards Cranfleet Cut

We had the most beautiful weather to travel by.  The engine after the rebuild has behaved impeccably and the new greyhound Reilly has slipped into live aboard life like he has known nothing else!

View upstream towards Cranfleet Cut and Sawley beyond

Ratcliffe-on-Soar Power Station in the distance

We were getting quite excited at the prospect of finishing these major bits of river and getting back on the canal system and also getting the butty work done, the weather helped.  Optimism has taken over for a change!

Exiting Cranfleet Cut, we cruise past the entrance to the Erewash Canal

We soon arrived at the lock at Cranfleet and raised the boats onto the cut by nearly 8 feet.  A short distance on the cut of 1.13km and we were back on the Trent cruising past the entrance of the Erewash Canal.  Up there is where we will be taking the boats to get the work done in a week or so.

Pulling out of the twin double locks on the Sawley Cut

Roughly a mile upriver, Richard steered the boats into one of the double locks at Sawley Cut entrance.  These locks are operated by a key, as the large sea locks lower downstream.  Makes life easier!

Taking advantage of the water point whilst the going was good!

We decided that we would carry on through the flood lock at the end of the cut and do the mile or so of river up to the Trent and Mersey canal entrance.

Last lock to take us onto the canal system!

Mooring up above Derwent Mouth lock, we signed with relief that we had made it at last!  The journey from Bardney Lock in Lincolnshire; 79 miles and 16 locks behind us!

Reilly and Lister relax after their long journey

The big job of ripping out the back cabin of the butty commences now in readiness for Sheetstores to recreate a steel version and a completely new stern end.......

Kings Marina, Newark to Nottingham Castle (24 miles, 7 locks)

A better week this week!

The Lister - all pristine with new gaskets and 'second' new fuel lift pump and ready to go!

Last week, Richard painstakingly dismantled the old Lister and rebuilt it, in the hope that the leaks will well and truly be sorted.

The manifold on the exhaust needs attention, but she's not leaking, which is great and a relief!

We set off again in the ice, crunching our way out of the marina and heading for the canal system.

Staythorpe Power Station about a mile out of Newark

Richard took it steady, trying not to stress the engine too much and we both took it in turns to go and check for leaks or anything wrong.  That would do for day 1.  We over nighted again at Farndon.

Approaching the long bend at Fiskerton

7am early start as soon as we could see! The water was pushing quite hard still, so we tried to stay in the slack water and just keep a steady pace.

Dad's old boat 'Uhuru', now called Omnia, still looking good despite it's 20 plus years!  He would be chuffed.

Waiting at Hazleford Lock for me to set the lock

View above the lock

Approaching Gunthorpe Lock

Around 6 hours later from our 7am start, we moored up for the second day, above Gunthorpe Lock.  Another couple of locks off the list!

Peaceful mooring at Gunthorpe on the inside of this pontoon

Another 7am start, to try and get as much river done as we could before the Sunday cruisers came out to play.

Stoke Lock.  Richard holds the boats steady with the centre line, as I gently fill the lock

We had arrived at the serenely beautiful Stoke Lock approximately 2 hours later to raise the boats up by 7 feet.

The beautiful Stoke Lock.  The boats push through ice coming out of the lock.

I wait for the boats to wind and moor on the pontoon (so the motor is against the pontoon) then I can exercise the dogs, whilst Richard puts some diesel in the tank, the last before refuelling at Sawley.

And on we pushed for Holme Pierrepoint below Nottingham.  This is the last big sea lock before getting onto the cut at Meadow Lane.

A slightly wonky lock approach for Holme lock below Nottingham

Richard had quite a job getting the boats into the Holme lock approach.  He was being pushed quite hard from the sluices on the right of the picture, but managed to get into the side enough for me to jump off to set the lock.  It was quite scary, the power of the water!

Last big lock!  It takes about 20 minutes to fill, as it is 12 feet deep.  

Thankfully, we raised the boats up safely and without incident.  I was so relieved.  We moored up above the lock, but then realised it was private mooring, so had to push on to arrive at Meadow Lane lock about an hour later.

Approaching the lock approach at Meadow Lane, Nottingham with the sun full in our faces!  

Once we had swiftly got up through the lock, we had to separate the boats as a boat had sunk before one of the bridges on the canal.  We didn't think we would be able to get round it as it looked too close to the bridge hole.

Boats lined out ready to negotiate the obstacle

A Canal and River Trust work boat shielded the sunken boat with large buoys before the bridge, allowing just enough room to wiggle around and under the bridge.  A good challenge when I hadn't been on the butty tiller for a while!

Impressive new blocks of flats and offices now line the canal through this part of Nottingham

Nottingham Castle viewable from the canal

Sainsbury's closed in about 5 minutes, so I dashed in after we moored, for emergency supplies, realising that so far our journey was going well.  For once....

Newark to Farndon and an emergency return! (6 miles, 2 locks)

We haven't had much luck since we gave up our last 2 month's winter mooring at Bardney!  Wishing we had sat still!

Yes the engine is in kit form.....

A week or so ago, we had set off from Kings Marina, Newark, whilst the weather was fine, water level not bad and all things good with the world.

Approaching Town Lock with a good bit of water coming in from the river (left)

Thankfully out of the strong stream and in the lock approach

Entering the lock

Our intention was to get to Gunthorpe mooring on the Trent and that would do for the first day.  We knew that the old Lister had an oil leak, and Richard had fully intended to strip the engine one day and rebuild it with all new gaskets etc.

Passing Newark Marina - another marina just out of Newark town

Past the power station, Richard decided that the old girl was struggling a little and suggested that we drop the butty onto 'cross-straps' to relieve a bit of pressure on the engine.  I stayed on the big boat and we did a couple of miles dragging the butty but at the mercy of the wind and the water flow.

On a line

No good.  Richard suggested that I climb up onto the bow of the butty, crawl along the top planks of the butty to the stern and begin steering as he dropped the butty onto a line.  This means that the prop wash isn't corrupted by the bow wave of the butty.  We usually operate the pair this way on the canal as it saves fuel and means that I am independent.

Moored at Farndon for a couple of days

Still made no difference to our progress!  Richard pulled the butty back alongside the motor, reattached and we wound the boats to return to the recently passed Farndon.

View towards the pub - to the right is a lovely nature reserve where we were able to walk the dogs

Richard was mystified as to why the engine wasn't able to cope as the flow didn't seem too bad. Down the weed hatch, we discovered bailing twine and other lengths of rubbish, which would not have helped.  The engine itself didn't seem hot or anything other than the leak, but when Richard took a couple of panels off, he found that we needed a new fuel lift pump.  This would have explained our intermittent power.

View from Farndon Marina - our pair are in the distance on the bend

The following day, he walked back to Newark with Reilly and ordered a new pump from Parkinsons, whilst I went for a quick run round the block with Lister.
The pump was installed the next morning and we set off again, only to wind a little way up the river as the engine decided to drip with oil with renewed vigour from at least 2 locations!

Back at Kings Marina Newark (half way down the row of boats)

We whizzed back to the lock (it was a bit scary after the steady plod upstream) and then into the marina, where Rob still had a vacant double space, we could use.

The weir above Nether Lock, Newark

And this is where you find us, until the engine is repaired to Richard's high standards, the water from all the snow in the Midlands has gone and the weather is half decent.

Newark Castle ruins

The gaskets have arrived and Richard is painstakingly rebuilding the engine as we speak.  The main leak, he had discovered was underneath the fuel pump, which meant the gearbox and some large chunks of the engine had to be taken off to get to it!

Richard walks the boys around the castle grounds yesterday

We have been out with the dogs everyday trying to encourage them to play together, which is lovely to see and has alleviated the stress of the engine repairs.

Ref Notts County Council website : Early in 1881, Charlotte, Viscountess Ossington, proposed to present the town of Newark with a new cafe or "Coffee Tavern". It was to be built close to the River Trent, opposite the Castle and cattle market, on land purchased from the Handley family. The purpose of the coffee house was "to promote the cause of temperance therein" and hopefully lure farmers away from the town's public houses!!

We do enjoy Newark when we moor here. The town is a good mixture of shops with a marketplace and lot of lovely places to eat.

We have had visits from friends and family whilst we've been here and will miss the town when we leave hopefully mid week. Let's just hope that the repairs don't throw any other problems up!