Sunday 26th June 2016
We left our mooring in Bowling, a one horse village if ever there was one, at 8:45 this morning in order to meet the Scottish Canals team at the Bascule bridge at 9 o’clock. We can only imagine the noise, smell and industry that parented this little place when ships were born alongside this part of the Clyde, and moved goods and people across the world. Graham fell in love with this ‘mini’ Puffer moored there. The Aussies on nb Gosling a little way behind us so we sat on the landing and chatted to today’s duty crew until they arrived. Eddie was there, he was with us yesterday but we only have two guys today, not four like yesterday. As we passed through Farm Road bridge the guys were hinting about a hot drink, and knowing that the drop lock was likely to take 40 minutes Brenda put the kettle on whilst I took their orders.
On into Clydebank shopping centre and it’s two lift bridges. Once these were negotiated we had to stop at the ‘sail through’ chip shop to obtain our lunch, a bucket list item if you have a bucket list. A large portion of chips was not cheap and then Brenda put them into the oven to keep warm. unfortunately it was a long time till we stopped and so our chip butties were not as good as we hoped they’d be.
When we passed some flats yesterday we’d observed a swan bashing the patio door glass with his beak. We thought he might be fighting his shadow but he was doing it again today. Having had no response he then moved on to the next set of patio doors. Obviously he does this for food.
By now the rain had set in, and it remained with us until we cleared Maryhill top lock. In one of the Clobberhill locks I found a football floating near the bottom gate so I rescued it and sat it in the life ring on the rear hatch. We stopped above Temple locks so that the Canals guys could have a cup of tea in their Bothy, we were still finishing our lunch when they were ready to go again so it was back into the wet garments and back to the locks.
Maryhill bottom lock is the deepest in these parts and it was also where many prisoners took leave of land in the British isles. Maryhill was a military and prison area. Prisoners were put into boats to travel to the Clyde and their waiting prison ships from here. They would hope that they were the last to board and that the weather was set fair or they could spend months waiting for the ship to fill or weather to improve before sailing for …. Australia.
We were ably assisted up the Maryhill flight by the addition of two more Canals staff and four volunteer lockies, all cheerful even though the weather was far from pleasant. Out of the top lock and we bade farewell to the volunteers. Our Canals guys would open the two bridges in order for us to moor for the night in Spiers Wharf. On the way there Graham took us on a little detour through the lagoon outside Partick Thistle football stadium. We had checked that it was navigable, indeed there are even mooring pontoons there. There were also some very surprised fishermen who flapped a bit. To our surprise, they were not rude to us for interupting their fishing spot, they just said that boats were never seen in there.
Just past last Friday night's mooring spot, two little ‘erberts were walking along the towpath full of whys and hows. They asked whose football we had, the second set of kids to do so since I fished it out of the lock, very strange. Brenda offered the football to them and they were very pleased to accept, just wondering where we’d got it from.
As we entered Spiers wharf, we were following another hireboat which ran aground. I suggested they use reverse to get some water under the hull but that was ignored. I also asked if they would like me to take a rope as we passed to pull them off the mud but that was refused as well so we continued on past them, winded and moored up. By the time nb Gosling was passing them they had decided that maybe a tow would be beneficial and once they were free one of the Canals guys assisted them to clear a whole load of black muddy weed from around their prop. When all three of us were happily tied up at the wharf the rain started again. Haggis Pakoras for starter this evening – they are really nice, shame Tescos don’t sell them darn sarf.
Graham & Brenda