Snapped Gear Cable

All Oaks Wood, Brinklow to Hawkesbury Junction, 8.8 miles, 0 locks, 1 breakdown
            Once untied this morning Cleddau dived into a long wooded cutting.

A serious tree collapse in one place and overgrowth of vegetation in several other places

makes navigation along this stretch of the North Oxford interesting… After about two miles comes Stretton Stop where there is a busy boatyard and hire boat fleet. The boatyard staff dart backwards and forwards across the footbridge but it swivels easily on a pivot point.

 Just beyond some sunflowers provided a flash of bright colour.

Despite the tranquil looking setting there soon is a traffic roar from the M6 motorway

and a frequent whoosh from the railway line running parallel to the canal.

              At some point yesterday there had been an odd ticking noise against the hull – a quick switch into reverse gear had pushed off any debris from the prop and the sound was not repeated. This morning the same sound got the same treatment – but the gear cable refused to return to forward thrust. The boat swung wide across the canal …  As on a previous occasion (August 2012) the Captain swiftly lifted the engine board, grabbed his manual gear change lever (an odd device most often used to hoik the hosepipe from the bottom of the bow locker)

and proceeded to steer the boat from the back counter, the engine bay open before him.  Cautiously the boat was moved towards Ansty to moor close to a road bridge and a call made to RCR (River Canal Rescue).
              And so it was that several unplanned hours were spent at Ansty, a small village where rough-haired horses graze on the common land,

where the M69 drowns all conversation to the east, where the church is hidden away,

where from its graveyard Coventry’s tower blocks can be seen

and where the war memorial inscriptions recall a World War 2 past.

              Prompt at 3.30 the RCR engineer arrived having driven from Brackley in Northamptonshire; he replaced and tested the gear cable,

had a cup of tea and left 40 minutes later. A good result! (Reflection from the Captain: This is the newest part of the engine, replaced only twelve months ago – why did it go so soon? The previous gear cable was replaced on the K&A in August 2000…)
There was time to do some more miles then – and so Cleddaucruised under the second motorway of the day (M69) and after a further three miles the switch gear near Hawkesbury Junction was reached. Pylons dominate the immediate skyline and still the ground hereabouts sprouts Volkswagon and other vehicles!

Is it a respectful VW graveyard or an enthusiast’s paradise?!
               There was an unusual challenge on mooring: if you choose a cygnets’ teatime then you’ll have parent swan to contend with

– and how!
               Tomorrow: to Atherstone…

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