Experiencing a Canal Shut Down – 28th July 2019

We left our quiet countryside mooring at about 9.00am for a day of 5-6 hours cruising on our way to Newbury.

After being on the cut for an hour and a half we came up to an electric bridge that would not go up so it involved us calling the Canal and River Trust to ask for assistance. Initially they sent out a mechanical person who was unable to resolve the problem so he put in a request for an electrical engineer to come out. We were told this would take three hours.

We decided that it was a good time to do the oil change, air filter and fuel filter replacement which we had planned to do tomorrow. This job should be done every 300-400 engine hours which works out to be about twice a year. One of the most difficult things when working on an engine on a boat is the limited space available. The task took just over an hour and we also filled up with fuel as we were right next to a marina.

Whilst all of this was happening at the rear of the boat, Di was up the front cooking up a storm without burning the boat to the waterline!!


The CRT people rolled up and after plugging in a computer to the gate console, they reset it and and bingo, we were in operation again. It appeared the problem was an electronic fault which controlled the signals to drop the boom gate. They did tell us that this bridge has been problematic.

We got underway again at 3.00pm and continued west along the canal where we encountered a lot of bridges, locks and fast flowing weirs which kept us very busy. Most of the locks were in a bad state with either paddles not working or very leaking causing equalization of the water levels difficult. We just hope that the 29 locks on the Caen Hill which will be coming up in a week are in a lot better condition to these ones.

Toque is turning into quite a canal dog. She is getting very protective over the boat and loves her walks along the towpath when we are walking between locks. She is quite the hero when sitting on the roof of the boat letting any other land loving dogs know just who is boss. She met a gorgeous Beagle puppy today and dictated terms and conditions of play. We do have to watch that she does not get over confident as that could be when she goes for an unplanned swim.


A few blogs back we mentioned about what could happen if you do not watch out for the cill in a lock when you are letting out the water. Well this is an example of exactly what can happen and a lot of insurance companies will not cover this kind of accident as it comes under neglection of duty.

We are often asked where we come from by other boaters as the accent gives us away. After thinking about it we discovered we just about have the United Nations covered.

Fraser – Australia
Di – New Zealand
Toque – America
Live – Canada
Boat Owned By – German Friends
Name of Boat – French
Cruising – UK canals

Our usual answer is, we are confused!


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