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Drive carefully - and port to port


Time for an update: I still use film, though. Not vast quantities, but I have a darkroom, and I'm not afraid to use it.

I enjoy every image I take: I hope you'll enjoy looking at them.
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Drive carefully - and port to port

22 Apr 2022 8:21AM   Views : 251 Unique : 145


I remember the maritime rule from a Sixties TV series called Misleading Cases, adapted from stories by AP Herbert. The central character delighted in exploiting the quirks of British law. In the case in question, he explained that a flooded road had led to a collision because he was following the maritime rule (port to port) while another motorist was incorrectly following the landlubber's 'keep left' dictum, and was thus on the wrong side of the road...

So I was partly prepared for a family trip on the Rochdale Canal on Brontė Boats' Occam's Razor (who could resist a boat with that name?)) And I'd been on narrowboats before, years ago. I already knew that even a shortened narrowboats steers like a pregnant cow: angular momentum is a very real factor in turning...

There were six of us, including Mrs D (purely along for the ride and the granddaughter) so the active crew was four, at most. Really, lock gates require two for rapid operation (rapid is a relative term, in this context) and is physically demanding in a way that my Fitbit failed to acknowledge.

As is steering a narrowboat – standing, with a big handle that goes the opposite way to a driver's expectations. A moment's inattention leads to collision, near misses, or – in one case – grounding when filling a downstream lock lowered the level of water where I was waiting. Nifty work by my son with the lock above refloated us before a salvage company could claim the boat...

Everyone was asleep by 9pm and I had taken amazingly few pictures. My suggestion, if you want to record your journey on a narrowboat is that you have at least four fit, able and competent adults around to operate the boat and locks while you take pictures.



bluesandtwos 12 542 1 England
22 Apr 2022 9:12AM
Grin I hope you enoyed it!

We have one on the river Nene in Northamptonshire and if you think steering one is chaotic on a canal, try a river! When the wind blows one way, the current goes another and you don't want to go the way of either, it's humourous to say the least!!!

There is often only the two of us working it, so I hardly ever take my camera now as there is never the chance to use it unless moored up, but it's still very enjoyable. Smile
But if you ever see a dark blue boat called 'Marge the Barge' shout out and come aboard for a cuppa.

altitude50 18 22.6k United Kingdom
22 Apr 2022 11:53AM
We took out a hire canalboat from Napton with two children and their friends. They were all mid to late teens. We had a great time. Eventually I did all the 'driving,' and a lot of the time it was in heavy rain and in the open.
we decided to go off the Oxford Canal and onto the Ashby de la Zouch Canal, found some wonderful pubs and turned round at the end. On the way back we stopped near Bosworth field & walked through the site and across to Sutton Cheney where there is or was an excellent pub. The kids weren't interested.
When we returned the boat to Napton the hirer was amazed that we had used so much diesel, we were told that few people actually went on the Ashby Canal.
Highly reccomended.

dudler Plus
18 1.9k 1937 England
22 Apr 2022 11:54AM
I think we did see a Marge on Tuesday, but presumably a different one!

It was great fun, and Brontė Boats provide excellent value. Top tip - turn round at lock 14, not 16.
bluesandtwos 12 542 1 England
22 Apr 2022 12:47PM
Must be an impostor, Marge is on the Nene.Smile
altitude50 18 22.6k United Kingdom
22 Apr 2022 1:14PM

Just found this, a scan from a 35mm film print or transparency. We wre on the 'Skylark' . Could be anywhere.
James124 Plus
7 49 51 Portugal
22 Apr 2022 5:46PM
I once saw someone jam a narrowboat across the Regent Canal near Bletchley, one end on each bank! Took some time to free it!
Hope you've recovered from lock exertions!
pablophotographer 11 2.0k 428
23 Apr 2022 2:01AM
Congratulations Captain Dudler. If I remember correctly that is what the red and green lights indicate. Pass from right, do not pass from left. And at least you know when you see the lights if the boat sails to the same direction with you or it comes towards you. Do you need more coal to the engine?
PRC 7 359 United Kingdom
23 Apr 2022 12:26PM
I remember the Misleading Cases tv series from my childhood. Roy Dotrice was great to watch.

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