Joe Blogs

Run/Walk along the River Dove

Jul
29

Last weekend, we were in Burton-on-Trent for a wedding. We were only attending the evening reception, so took the boys to Jangala soft play centre (recommended). Hannah suggested I take off for a little while and go for a walk, so I hopped in the car and drove around looking for somewhere to walk.

I parked up next to the River Dove and felt more like running than walking, despite the heat and just headed down-river until I ran out of time and had to head back. It was a pretty river, slowly meandering through fields, although the path, if there was an official one, was ill-defined and I was quite glad I chose to wear shoes and didn’t go barefoot.

Louth Canal Walk

Jul
22

This post has been sitting largely written, as a draft, since about last October!

While we were on holiday in Cleethorpes, I took off for my customary “alone time” barefoot walk. I’d had a look at the available options, and settled on a walk from Louth, along the Louth Canal to Tetney Lock, and then along the coast a little way to the Haven Holiday park.

Hannah and Oscar dropped me off in the centre of Louth, where I found a WHSmith and duly bought an OS map of the area. I didn’t expect navigation to be an issue, I just like having a map.

The trickiest part was figuring out how to get to the head of the canal. I got little help from the people I asked, most of whom hardly seemed to know there was a canal. I half-located myself on the map and headed for a thin blue line that looked like it hooked up with the canal, and after a bit of meandering through the streets of Louth, found myself in the car park of the Co-Operative supermarket with a small stream. So I followed it downstream.

It was hard to follow at times, but after a while I found myself at the beginning of the canal, where the stream is funnelled through a pipe, to trickle into the canal.

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The stream that drains into the canal. The River Lud, according to Wikipedia

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Louth River Head

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Having grown up near the Grand Western Canal and lived near the waterways in Birmingham and Reading, all navigable to some extent, it was a little underwhelming. The Lough end of the canal is very shallow and, as I would discover, most of the locks are in a poor state. Parts of the canal would be a struggle to navigate in a kayak.

However, it made for a pretty place to walk, and I finally set off on the walk proper.

The metalled path was hard going to begin with, and the area felt quite urban, so I didn’t dawdle and began a cycle of alternately jogging and walking.

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Rough stuff

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Tilting Weir

Tilting Weir

Tilting Weir

Keddington Lock

Keddington Lock

The locks were pretty, but in poor condition for the most part. The Louth Navigation Trust has plans for restoration.

Willows Lock

Willows Lock

Willows Lock

Willows Lock

Willows Lock

Willows Lock

Willows Lock

Willows Lock

There was a field with a bull and cows, which made me somewhat cautious. Being a country bumpkin, I’m not worried by cows, but have a healthy respect for bulls! Also, cows with calves are to be respected. I kept my distance and hastened on my way.

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Having a hard time identifying some of the locks.

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This fellow would have dearly loved to eat me, I think. I’ve rarely encountered such furious barking and snarling. I tried not to taunt him too much.

LET ME BITE YOU!

LET ME BITE YOU!

 

Being a canal, the terrain was flat and easy and I made decent progress. Jogging along for reasonable periods, walking when I wanted to enjoy the views, popping off the path to explore occasionally. I came across a few odd things…

A dead weasel, just lying on the tow path. No nearby road, no obvious cause of death.  A crow or similar had visited, however. Blech.

A dead weasel, just lying on the tow path. No nearby road, no obvious cause of death. A crow or similar had visited, however. Blech.

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As I got closer to the coast, the canal became deeper and fuller, more plausibly canal-like, and the tang of salt on the air. There was debris on the tow-path, high up from the water where I assume it had been dredged, and large shell fish. I think they were freshwater mussels.

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By the time I reached Tetney Lock I was tiring, and it was quite hot, so I stopped at the pub for a drink and some icecream. Some locals were quite perplexed that I had walked from Louth, with no shoes, but were friendly.

I had a dinner date with the family, back on the caravan site, so I pressed on towards the sea, following a footpath that should have taken me across the marshes so that I could join the beach.

Somehow, I went a bit wrong at the end of the canal.

Canal one side

Canal one side

"Estuary" on the other

“Estuary” on the other

I misinterpreted a path on the OS map and somehow ended up alongside a muddy creek. Being male, I wouldn’t go back until I’d gone far, far further down the wrong way than is rational. I kept thinking I’d be able to cut across back to the path, only to find myself on a narrow spit of land surrounded by mud and water. You can see from the embedded map further down the page just how far I went out of my way, and was just on the verge of panic as I wasn’t sure of the tides or whether they were a factor. Sanity ruled in the end, and I doubled back all the way to where I should have turned in the first place.

This doesn't look like much of a path.

This doesn’t look like much of a path.

This definitely doesn't look like a path. What to do? Press on!

This definitely doesn’t look like a path. What to do? Press on!

That looks familiar, I was here only a little while ago!

That looks familiar, I was here only a little while ago!

Finally, the sea!

Finally, the sea!

In the end, I got back in time to have dinner together. My feet had held up well, and the last section of the walk, along the edge of the sea, wading in the cold water to ease my muscles in feet and calves was blissful.

A good walk, but I’d recommend taking care to keep to the path near the coast.

(Not so) Mysterious Cutting Out

Jul
02

I got on Marlene yesterday to run some errands. She started up nicely, but every time I tried to engage 1st gear, she cut out instantly.

Given that it was instant I had an idea of what it might be. There is a safety cut-out on the side-stand, that prevents you from going into gear with the stand down.

I got off and took a look, and lo and behold, the switch (a plunger type) was stuck in. I was in a hurry, so I simply pulled it back out with my nail and went on my way. Next time, it wasn’t an issue, so I’ve just squirted it with some lube and worked it in and out a bit and hopefully that’s that.

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Fuel leak

Jul
01

The morning after the MOT, I noticed a dark patch under the bike, and assumed it was oil. It was towards the back of the bike, so I thought maybe it was the drive shaft leaking. I didn’t have time to look at it, as I was working.

During my lunch break, I took a closer look, and discovered it was fuel, not oil, but it was difficult to see where it was originating. The drip (very slow) was coming from the underside of the exhaust.

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I was quite concerned that it was a cracked tank or something nasty, as there was a lot of muck and rust in the area. Looking at manuals and on VMaxForum.net showed that removing the tank is quite a job. It sits inside the frame, under the seat, and seems to require removal of the rear wheel and swingarm, and other gubbins to do much with it. Even it it were a dodgy fuel hose, that could be quite a job.

After work, I had another look, with a torch and it looked as though it might be the drain bolt, but the whole lot was so mucky it was impossible to tell, except that that area looked wet with fuel and nothing higher than that was wet.

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I had a little scrub with a wire brush but that just spread the muck around, really.IMG_20130625_150200 IMG_20130625_150209

A bit more degreasant and cleaning up with an old sock (pro tip, save old socks they make good rags) made things a little clearer, but it still wasn’t entirely clear where the leak was.

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After leaving it for a little while, it became more apparent. The leak is from the fuel level sensor. Additionally, when cleaning it up, one of the wires to the sensor became completely detached, which probably explains why that hasn’t been working (knew about that when I bought it).IMG_20130625_151846 IMG_20130625_151911

It looks likely that the problem is simply the o-ring for the sensor, and I think I can get it out by draining the tank and just unscrewing it, as I can access those bolts without removing the tank or wheel (I think).

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I have the replacement o-ring, courtesy of my local Motorcycle Parts Centre. I also bought new bolts and a new drain plug washer to be sure. The leak has actually slowed or stopped since I used up some of the fuel in the tank, riding, so I’m going to wait until I’m back from Hayling Island, to avoid jeopardising that if I run into problems. I’ll also try to solder the sensor wire while I’m at it.

I was interested to find, in the Haynes manual, that they include a check on this in the 4000 mile routine service:

Check for leakage from the level sensor in the base of the tank.
If it is leaking, tighten the mounting screws (see illustration).
If leakage persists remove the sensor and replace its gasket with a
new one (See Chapter 4)