Saturday, September 26, 2009

Brunel through the locks

After a comment tip off from Mike (Globetrotter) - thanks Mike- and it being a lovely day, we took the car down to Hanwell to see if we could catch Brunel being towed through the Hanwell flight. We parked outside the Fox and dashed to the canal only to find that we had just missed her. Leaping back in the car and for the first time ever passing the Fox without having a pint (!!!) we moved on to the park by Osterley lock where we found Brunel just below the lock waiting for her tugs to come down to join her.

Apparently she had got stuck in Norwood top lock just like Olive, but with the loss of a coat of paint and a few scratches here and there they just managed to scrape her through. All the locks below had been less of a tight fit.

One more lock to go before Brentford, so we walk down the towpath to watch . We didn't have to hurry as progress was pretty slow especially on a silted up bend where she went aground.

The man in charge told us that Brunel was carrying 30 tons of extra ballast in the form of big bags of water. This had been necessary to get her under some of the lower bridges.There was a crew of seven people and besides two tugs (one pulling one pushing)

to move her along, they were using a further boat in front to haul her out of the locks. So each lock had to be operated three times, once for the out hauling boat, once for Brunel, and once for the two little tugs.

Here she is in the day's final lock (Clitheroe) where she fitted snugly but easily.

We were told that tonight she will rest in Brentford, then tomorrow (Sunday) she'll go out on the tide and the Thames tugs will take her down to East India Dock.

1 comment:

VallyP said...

That must have been quite an adventure for those involved. Do you know what she will do at East India Docks? Will she have a use still? Great photos by the way, Neil.