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In 1977 we hired our first narrowboat from Anglo Welsh at Market Harborough.From that moment our destiny was set. In 2006 we finally purchased our own brand new 57' narrowboat which we named 'Free Spirit'. Our aim is to travel the length and breadth of all the navigable rivers and canals of the UK. This will be our story as it unfolds.

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Sun Dance day 5 Lots of locks and another blustery day.

First light and about to set off
 You were right Adam, loads of locks to do before Hatton.. Ian always does the calculations on what mileage is to be done in any one day, so as to keep us on schedule mind, and it wasn't until we had set off this morning, early again, that Ian broke the news on just how many locks there were before Hatton. 22 to be precise!!!! It's not hard work for me (unless it's very windy) as I do all the steering but for Ian, all those heavy Grand Union locks with each paddle taking at least 20-30 turns to wind up, and down, its a lot to ask. Pretty tough though, is my old man and apart from a huge blood blister forming on one of his fingers from the windlass, he took it all in his stride.  On FS we take our time, do a bit here do a bit there, but boat moving with a time limit means we have to keep moving regardless on distance, locks and weather!

The first 10 locks at Stockton, 4 at Bascote and the 6 spread out, took roughly 4 1/2 hours.

Stockton top lock

Looking down the flight

Second lock had a lowish pound

Half way down Stockton another early bird, this time ascending.

Bascote staircase lock. Ian noticed a dead animal in the lock. Turns out it was a hare.

Not at this time of year surely! Although we did see a wasp flying earlier on so who knows.

Then it was the long run through to Warwick and Cape locks before the Hatton 21. Rain arrived during this time and I relinquished the helm to Ian as he had all the wet weather gear on including trousers. No point in both getting wet. Then the wind picked up......again.....and we debated whether to carry on. Time was still only 2ish so we decided that to get a few of flight under our belt would be a bonus.

As we approached the bottom lock Ian spied a Mandarin duck.with its mate. I know that Ian, owner of the Saltisford Arm, had two a year or so ago and wondered if they could be the two. I grabbed the camera and passed the tiller to Ian. Unfortunately at that self same time a huge gust of wind took the bow round to the bank and towards a moored boat before Ian could do anything about it. He reversed rapidly and I managed to get down the side and fend off just before we were about to hit the boat. Phew no damage done I'm pleased to say. Tried to hail the boat owner to apologise but no one appeared so assumed they were out.

Bottom of the Hatton flight
 The wind, although very blustery, didn't cause me any problems and we managed to do the first 6 locks. Got moored right by a garage and on rings which was a bonus but we have no TV or phone signal. We may have to resort to the life ring as a fender tonight.....we had to last night as Ians rope fender was not man enough for the job.

12.5 miles, 28 heavy GU locks, 8 hours

On route,

1 comment:

Jennie said...

Irene that wasp nest sign was in situ when we went past at the end of September! On the broad canal locks - do you open up the paddles on both sides? We were told that on the Hatton flight if you only open the paddles on one side it only takes 45 seconds longer! We reckoned it takes longer than that to climb across and wind up and down, so went all through those broad locks on one paddle! It seemed to work a treat. Don't envy you having to keep going through all this wind. Take care and safe travels. Jennie

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