|Posted by Allan Hickson (Mod) on November 2, 2016 at 5:00 PM|
We will start this report where we left off the September News – at the Leigh Arms Steam Party.
Having arrived at Acton Bridge, we berthed upstream of the swing bridge, rather than on our usual berth for the last 40 years or so just below the bridge, in order to allow the Daniel Adamson to berth there on her first visit to the event. As it happens our ‘new’ berth has better access to the pub therefore making it easier for the public to get to the Kerne and us to get to the pub and our exhibition tent in the grounds. This event saw the first airing of our new publicity attraction – a looped professional video depicting Kerne through the years as a Naval tug, as a commercial vessel, in preservation, and of the hull repair work undertaken as part of our Heritage Lottery Fund project. This was very well received and it kept those in the tent very busy throughout the weekend with a visiting public numbering in excess of three thousand over the weekend. Those aboard Kerne were similarly busy with large numbers of visitors keen to look over the vessel, particularly in the Wheelhouse, Boiler and Engine Rooms where the crew were busy raising steam for our return trip to Liverpool on Monday 3rd October. It was heartening to see the number of youngsters taking interest, particularly when asked if they wanted to shovel a round of coal into the furnaces – none of those I extended the offer to refused!
Monday morning saw us with a full head of steam and ready to go. We had used the inward trip to ‘blood’ one of our new volunteers, Stuart, into the ranks of our firemen, and a good job he made of it under instruction from Paul, one of our experienced crew, not letting the boiler pressure drop throughout the voyage. Similarly, on the return leg, the Chief had entrusted the engine controls to Dave, for his first long trip. I have to say that despite several of my fellow Engineers covering their eyes, crossing their fingers, and generally assuming a state of mock panic, his control was faultless (but don’t tell him I said so or he will think I’m going soft!). That said, our progress down the Weaver was somewhat hampered. Both Kerne and Daniel Adamson were moored bow upstream, so both had to swing. Unfortunately the ‘Danny’ had difficulty swinging in the confines of the Weaver, delayed the swinging of the bridge, but once open, we came through astern, and springing off the quay before heading off to follow the ‘Danny’ to Dutton Lock. Once through the lock we approached Sutton Weaver Swing Bridge, which initially refused to lock in the ‘open’ position. This delayed our passage down to Eastham Locks, which meant that we met with an inward bound freighter being turned by tugs at Stanlow Lay-by and by the time we locked out into the Mersey at 16.20 hours we had missed the last lock into Liverpool and had to wait for the next lock at 20.30 hours. This we shared with other inbound shipping. We finally berthed at 22.40 hours, but the good news was that after a total of 18 hours steaming to and from the event, only one fault was identified – a minor leak of a valve gland.
On our return to Sandon Dock, we immediately set about our winter lay-up; the boiler was drained, ash was removed from the furnaces, and the cover was placed over the funnel. Not wishing to waste the Indian Summer we were enjoying, the compressor was coaxed back into action and needle gunning of the side decks commenced to remove some thick scale prior to rust treating and painting. We also had a clear-out of the container, and we erected four sets of shelves so we can store a lot of the clutter that has been amassed during the hull repairs, ahead of our Winter Work Programme.
As many a wise man has said, there is no end to the jobs to do when you have a boat; we just have more jobs than most!
Our Exhibition Tent will be at the International Model Boat Show on 11 - 13 November- see Calender for more details, and don't forget to see Adam Slater at Mountfleet Models Stand, as they are working on a commercial model of Kerne that will be available for purchase in due course.