Monday, 8 October 2012

Problems at Crofton Top Lock

We set off from Wootton Rivers after what is now becoming a bit of a habit. Problems starting the engine that is.
The engine had started well for many months since finding a very minor diesel leak, fixing that and then converting the old style CAV filter to one of the new spin-on kind. During the summer we witnessed an odd problem that the engine would start OK if it was cold, but not if it were hot. When hot, it would require a full bleed of the fuel system. This has now become worse and is required for every start and we suffer little speed changes whilst the engine is running. This was getting worse as we went through the Bruce Tunnel on the K&A Summit Pound.
The peaceful setting of Wootton Rivers Top Lock
Phil came and enjoyed the day!
As we passed the restored 'Burbage Wharf Crane'
In to the western portal of the Bruce tunnel
And safely out of the Western Portal, heading east!
Thankfully we emerged from the tunnel, but stopped somewhere just after the first lock on the way down towards Crofton.
I decided not to attempt a full bleed on a hot engine as it would smell so badly with hot diesel, so we decided to tow the boat as the old fashioned way would have done.
I joined both bow lines together, this gave about 80 feet of line to tow with and we steered with one of the mid-lines ttached to the stern.
A little incident at Lock 56:
We managed to pull constance out of Lock 56 and tied her to the lock operation mooring while we tidied up and offered the lock to an approaching boat. The skipper of the approaching boat said they wished to land, explaining that we could not move under engine power they agreed to come alongside and allow their crew to cross our boat over our stern. Their approach was not very good, they were slightly wide, at an angle and moving a little to quickly for the agility of their crew. Yes, you've guessed it, one of their crew members fell in, btween out boat and theirs. The two boats were converging and the crew member was likely to be crushed. This was avoided with a bit of boat shoving. The crew member stayed calm amd moved towards the wall but was unable to climb out. Three of us tried to lift, to no avail. Eventually a step was lowered and the crew member was eventually, safely, lifted out. It was all good humoured all round, nobody was hurt, nobody had hysterics and we all went off on our respective journeys.

I became the horse, towing the bow line. This worked well and was not too difficult except for the vast amount of very tall vegetation. The bow line had to be lifted over plants and trees, some as high as 8 feet or so, to allow the bow line to pull correctly. We went down through four more locks and eventually moored safely and near a road.


  1. Sorry to read about your engine problems Colin. I wonder if air is getting into the fuel lines rather than diesel leaking out. Chas

  2. Difficult to say, all the work of last Saturday got the engine going OK, but I cannot say that I actually found something.
    Thanks for your comment and for reading the blog.