Thursday, 11 September 2014

Car and boat leapfrog

After my few days at Napton it was time to move on.
I drove up to Marston Doles in the evening and walked back down the hill in the dark. Doesn't it get dark early!
Next day it was 'up the Napton flight' to Marston Doles. I had planned to stay in the short pound just below top lock but the tide level varied dramatically with each passing boat and lock fill/empty also the movement of the boats was causing Constance to bang on the Armco bank - so...
One of the first narrow locks that I have ever done on Constance

You can just see the tops of narrow-boats in the Engineering House Arm of the canal

It amused me!

The entrance to the Engineering House Arm of the canal

A different kind of paddle gear - with a stone support
 I decided to move on. This would be a giant leap as the canal follows the contours to Fenny Compton and circumnavigates Wormleighton Hill. Back into the car to drive to Fenny Compton. Parking was very easy not far from the Wharf Inn. Then it was the long walk back to Marston Doles. With the aid of the OS map I was able to cut off many of the corners and get back in time to move a couple of miles...
Napton top lock at Marston Doles

A beautifully remote spot for a night stop
 ...out into the remote part of the countryside. This was the morning wall-to-wall sunshine that greeted me next day.
Rural Warwickshire - miles from anywhere

The aptly named 'Ladder Bridge'

Napton-on-the-Hill in the far distance
So peaceful among the trees
 Eventually arriving at Fenny Compton in time for lunch. In the afternoon I went for a walk  as it was far too hot to work!

A few days of work at Napton

The weather forecast was set fair, just what I needed for a few days of painting and other outdoor jobs on Constance. Bearing in mind that Constance was built in 1980, the most recent hull survey found that the vent in the bottom of the gas locker was not at the bottom of the gas locker and constituted a failure of the Boat Safety Scheme. At that time it was impossible to tell how far from the bottom this hole was, just that it was not at the bottom.
So I removed the gas bottles and all of the bricks that made up the ballast and built the bed for the gas bottles to sit on and eventually go to the bottom of things. In a way it is a good job that I did because if it had been left much longer it would have been a very severe rusting problem.
With the gas bottle locker now completely empty I could see that the vent was about two-and-a-half inches up from the bottom. I removed as much of the loose rust as possible. The locker was (fortunately) absolutely dry, so I painted it with a very generous layer of 'boat blacking' and left it to dry.
The nest day I went to B&Q in Coventry to buy some sand and pre-mixed concrete. The sand was laid on top of the (almost) dry boat blacking and the concrete poured over the sand and smoothed down to make a reasonably level top with a drain-way to the drain-hole.
A nice peaceful place to work

A layer of concrete setting in the bottom of the gas locker
 Once the issue of the gas locker was sorted it was time to get on with painting. First there was some rubbing down to do. Getting rid of some of the little rusty pock marks that boats have. All suitably treated...
Rust removed and treated
 ... it was on with the undercoat layers. So far, two layers.
A grey-sided Constance
The next job is to get the Isopon and fill some of the worst of the pock marks, then more undercoat and see what she looks like before applying gloss.