Missing Link log 30 June 1999

Crew: Kim Hollamby, Michelle Hollamby and Jake Kavanagh.
From: Corpach Basin, Caledonian Canal.
To: Laggan Locks, Caledonian Canal.
Port engine start hours: 418.8. Finish hours: 423.1. Hours run: 4.3.
Stbd engine start hours: 419.3. Finish hours: 423.3. Hours run: 4.0.
Log start: 4793.2nm. Log finish: 4809.3nm. Distance run: 16.1nm.

Navigation log (full commentary follows below)
1000: underway and into flight of two locks at Corpach.
1040: leaving locks with ‘Canta Libre’ on side tow due to failure of volt and temperature gauges on that boat.
1055: waiting for Corpach rail and road bridges; quay full, so holding midstream whilst trying to fix ‘Canta Libre’.
1125: radio message from fleet saying wait will be another hour. Give up and return back to pontoon just above Corpach flight.
1135: alongside pontoon.
1230: underway running solo, having resolved Canta Libre problem.
1240: into first of Neptune’s Staircase.
1302: into second chamber.
1330: into third chamber.
1345: into fourth chamber.
1358: into fifth chamber.
1414: into sixth chamber.
1430: into seventh chamber.
1445: into eighth chamber.
1500: out of Neptune’s Staircase.
1550: Moy Bridge.
1635: out of Gairlochy upper lock (lower lock not in commission). Running at 6.5kn at back of fleet.
1805: alongside.

Kim Hollamby reports:

A bit of a strange day this. Colouring the whole thing was the rain that was still with us, intermittent now, but driven by a cold and brik wind.

Having decided that the original plan to go all the way to Fort Augustus would make for an over-long day for the MBM Cruising Club trailboats in the prevailing conditions, we settled instead on heading for the Great Glen Water Park on Loch Oich. Conferring with the keeper at Corpach Sea Lock, he agreed that our plan to get underway just before 1000 should see us there before the locks and bridges closed at 1730 and he radioed ahead to warn that we would shortly be underway.

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Given what was about to occur, it was somewhat ironic that the first keeper we met, in the immediate flight of two locks at Corpach, told us that leisure traffic levels through the canal were well down. The comment was probably prompted by discussions about last season’s awful weather and the not too fantastic start to this summer, but perhaps there might be other reasons also.

Whilst in the first of the two chambers in this mini flight, Eddie called across to say that the engine temperature and charge gauges on his Sealine 215 had failed. We walked Canta Libre into the second chamber whilst obvious points such as the drivebelt were checked, and then warped her across onto Missing Link and secured her alongside so that we could side-tow her up the short run of canal to Neptune’s Staircase of eight steps.

Having been warned of a “short delay”, we took our time on the approach to the quay below the road and rail bridges at the foot of the flight, the mooring there already full with the rest of our fleet and a large yacht. Holding midstream with a stiff, wet, wind up the stern wasn’t much fun, although Eddie and Jake were making some progress with ‘Canta Libre’s problem, aided by a telephone call to the nearest Volvo Penta agent, Caley Cruisers at Inverness. After half-an-hour of this the message came back from ‘Charlotte Jade’ on VHF that we could expect another hour’s wait.

That was enough for me. Asking for a radio call to warn us when there were signs of something happening, we turned back to a pontoon seen just above the Corpach flight and secured alongside. There we were finally able to track the gauge problem down to a loose connection or bad earth in the wiring loom, rather than anything more serious and ‘Canta Libre’ was underway again in her own right.

When the summons eventually arriv


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