Saturday, March 15, 2008

Thrupp to Aynho

Having set off at 10am, in good time we found ourselves following the most painfully slow narrowboat couple. having taken an hour, including one lift bridge and one lock (which left me despairing) to get 20minutes away I wondered whether we would even make it to Enslow before dark. We made it to Aynho in 7hours - not bad! All the locks were in our favour. I have often wondered how I would manage lift bridges on my own. Normally, being a solo boater, I sit around waiting for a walker to stroll by to sit on the beam, this is all very well, but on one occasion I waited so long I actually made a wooden framed bed extension. People told me of the one handed technique a 'banbury pole' (actually, I don't think it is called that, but it is always how I hear it!). I gave this a go once; the idea is you lift the bridge and stick a pole underneath it to keep it up, then drive the boat under. I heaved and heaved and eventually managed to get the bridge up, then realised I had forgotten the pole (DOH). Back I went to the boat, picked up the pole, positioned it carefully and blow me down, I couldn't lift the bridge again - I had obviously exhausted all my strength the first time around.

So, that was the end of that... until yesterday. As I had someone to drive the boat through, I thought I would give it another go. I disembarked to mutterings from the newly appointed skipper - he wasn't entirely convinced by my plan, or perhaps he was un-nerved by my enthusiasm. I strolled down positioned the pole in a handy spot (ah I was GUSHING with pride for having remembered it) heaved and huffed, nearly fell in when the bridge was almost up, and then grabbed the pole. Or I would have done were it not JUST out of reach. A little foot work (Beckham eat your heart out), and me and the pole swayed in such an unnerving fashion I wondered whether I would decapitate myself if I fell in. I managed to get the pole in the right place, stood back and marvelled. I waved the boat through and lent against the gate post trying to look cool. I didn't look at all cool however, panic was written all across my face and I was quite sure my internal shakes would vibrate the pole out of position.

Here is the picture:

I think the idea is to lift the bridge from the bow of the boat and sick the pole under that way, so next time (if my nerves ever recover) I think I will try it that way!


Anonymous bottle said...


Having never tried the 'Banbury pole' but surely if you lift the bridge from the boat, the boat will go down before the bridge goes up.
Stay safe look forward to the next instalments.

7:59 AM  
Blogger Maffi said...

I think it is a bunbury pole.

8:52 AM  
Blogger Sarah said...

David Blagrave calls it a 'Banbury Stick - a pole or shaft used for propping open a lift bridge' - makes sense as these bridges are largely confined to the Oxford aren't they?

11:44 AM  
Anonymous Keeping Up said...

I've always it referred to as a 'Banbury Stick' too. The traditional way was to retrieve it without stopping, by tying the stern rope to it, but the bridges would probably collapse as they fell down if you tried that now.

3:49 PM  
Blogger Halfie said...

Plus you run the risk of getting pole or rope entangled in the prop.

8:48 PM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home