Queues, Leaks and a Sun Dog

After our night at Wolseley Bridge, and we did enjoy our meal at the Wolesley Arms, we travelled south to wind near Bridge 68 which is just north of Rugeley. There had been a number of crews going north before we cast off, and some passed us as we travelled south, so it was not surprising that there was a queue at Colwich Lock.  We have passed through Colwich on many occasions and many times we have met queues. This time the queue was long. Some anglers south of the lock got fed up with the boats waiting in their water and left with all their considerable equipment.

David & Rosemary waiting at Colwich Lock

A small girl holding a large boat
Picturesque barns by Colwich Lock

As often happens there was no obvious cause for the delay except for the volume of traffic. It was an opportunity to meet fellow boaters, most were patient, others were not, some displayed their skills at boat handling and others unfortunately did not. At least the weather was kind - it didn't rain.

NB Ling moored near Shugborough
Immaculate paintwork on NB Ling

We eventually got to Great Haywood about midday and Ginette took on water. We met some boats branching off down the Staffs and Worcestershire and the queue at Hoo Mill was short, but more boats appeared in the queue at Western lock because they had moored up for lunch and had just set off. 

We reached Sandon and found another queue, but this time the boats in the lock (two short boats sharing) appeared to be a taking a long time. The queue of boats going north was growing. From our perspective the lock appeared to be emptying whilst filling - as if a paddle was open. Unfortunately the paddles were down. A lot of water was gushing under the gates and also through the mitre between the gates. 

Gates leaking badly at Sandon Lock

The leak was so bad it was not possible to fill the lock. A growing cluster of boaters offered their opinions about the cause and possible solutions. This was the lock where we were held up on our way south after CRT had been carrying out repairs.The best we could do was to get the water within three bricks of the top before the outflow equalled the inflow. Opening and closing the gates and trying adjust how they sat did nothing to improve the situation. One boater called up CRT who indicated that it would take some time to get to the site and that they would probably have to use stop planks! This spurred the steeerer of one of the short boats to investigate the cill using a pole. Eventually he felt a loose brick sitting on top of the cill. He managed to dislodge it and that made the gates sit better when closed reducing the leak through the mitre to a trickle. It didn't change the leak under the gates but it did allow the lock to be filled.

Gates still leaking but no leak through the mitre

Both Ginette and Albert carried on northwards. The pound between Aston and Sandon Locks was definitely down because of the cill leak but at least the lock was operational. It will be interesting to see what CRT do about the leak in the next few days(?).

At Aston Lock Albert turned into the marina and Ginette, having to be back in Stone in the morning, continued up the lock and moored up for the night. We all met up in the Bistro at Aston Marina for a meal. As always it was busy, the meal was of the usual high standard and it was a most enjoyable evening.

Whilst at Aston I managed to photograph a meteorological phenomenon that I have seen a few times but not captured.  
A sun dog at Aston, Staffs
 7:38 PM, August 8, 2014

The phenomenon is a form of parahelia called a sun dog that occurs because of ice crystals in the upper atmosphere becoming aligned. It is to the right of the sun in the above photo, just above the tree line and looks like a very short rainbow. It isn't a rainbow because you can't see rainbows looking towards the sun. The sun dog lasted only a few minutes.