Monday, 6 July 2009

The evil weed

After Irthlingborough the next decent stop is Cogenhoe - eight miles and eight locks. Which doesn't sound a lot but when those eight miles are covered in blanket weed AND it's showering heavily it's a slog.
That weed is evil. It wraps itself around the prop like the giant squid did round Captain Nemo's Nautilus. In a precautionary weed trap visit before the off I pulled and cut off several large handfuls but it wasn't long before we were struggling, getting slower and slower, and stopped at a lockside jetty for another trip down under. Even more handfuls of the stuff removed.
The floating carpets you can see on the surface are bad enough; the stuff that lurks around by the exit doors of the locks is worse but the really evil stuff hides a couple of feet below the surface then reaches out and tangles itself around you.
In the final mile before Cogenhoe we once more found ourselves getting slower and slower until the poor old boat simply wouldn't move at all and started to drift backwards with the wind and current. I steered it towards a willow tree, Vicky held its branches and I went into the depths again.
There was no prop to be seen this time -- just a massive roll of weed wrapped everywhere. Ten minutes tugging and cutting and we finally got away. Moored up in Cogenhoe at 3.00pm - seven hours, eight miles, eight locks and three trips down the hatch after starting. (And a final inspection after mooring revealed yet more of the damned stuff insinuating its way round the shaft once more!).
Tomorrow it's the last five miles to Northampton. I hope.

No comments: