Cruising Peachy Queen Blog formerly Travels on Avalon Mist Blog has morphed into Lady Lock-n-LoL Blog. My BlogSpot will continue to bring the flavour of our life living aboard Narrowboat (NB) DolcieBlue (DB) and cruising the Canals and Waterways in England. We, Chris and Sarah, have the good fortune to lead a transient life floating on tea coloured waters with our dog Della.
It was our carefully selected day, Sunday, with 6% risk of rain, to leave Lapworth and cruise down the Hatton Flight with the aim of mooring in Royal Leamington Spa. We were both awake before ‘sparrowfart’ as we had impetuously bid in a Boat Auction on the Apollo Duck website. The 50ft Widebeam boat being auctioned looked photogenic (I’m a bottled blonde) and the description gave ample information for a non threatening bid of £1. The Auction was ending after Cinderella time in the small hours of Sunday morning so before bed we hit the ‘play’ button, I mean ‘bid’ icon, and outbid ourselves raising the ‘anti’. I’m not sure what went on but we were still winning. I slept, that night knowing one thing and the dream of a possibility. The lure of the message alert from the mobile phone woke us at 345 with news of ‘the possibility’. Result, we had won the Auction. A celebratory or should it be commiserative drink was needed and it took the form of Aldi’s finest government tea. Repetitive limited words “Wow I don’t believe it” were to stretch our lips throughout the day.
The sound of the early morning chorus of birdsong re-woke us an hour later and we were motivated to get ready for The Hatton Flight repeat experience. The two canopies covering DB’s stern and wheelhouse needed to be dismantled. Captain ‘Elf’ & Safety asserted safety on this almost frosty morn and the wheel house canopy was taken down in two part harmony. Port-side was readied so DB could bow thrust to move starboard-side for access from the towpath. The risk of slipping off the gunwhale was allayed.
Della was in need of a longer walk in territory she had not set paws on for a few weeks so I took her along the muddy puddled towpath which gave me the opportunity to photo DB cruising along the atmospheric Grand Union canal in the early morning haze.
Back on board at the Tom O’ The Wood water point, water tank filled and halogen lamp in place for the Shrewley Tunnel we set off. We were not stressing the Hatton Flight of 21 Locks. Every Lock flight begins with the first Lock. As we cruised past our favourite mooring site near Rowington, I saw a humanoid on the stern of a boat and movement indicated the brass tiller bar was being attached to the tiller. He called out
“Are you going down?”
“Yes. Are you?”
“Yes. We are.”
Result! The boats met at the Top Lock, as boats do. Chris suggested the two boats rope together with one person at the helm giving an eco friendly and fuel saving solution. Not to forget there are now 3 people on terra firma to operate the Locks. Lock-n-Lol!
The top Locks were not smooth sailing. At the second Lock the picture of the pound, below, turning to mud took the smile off my face. The boats were going to ‘ground’ in the pond and corrective measures were needed. The boats left the Lock and we ‘Lockies needed to wind up the paddles in order to open the gate sluice to let in water, from above, to flood the pound below the Lock. This emptied the pound, above, so I had to return to the Top Lock and open the paddles......... I have been thinking about this experience and think it would be helpful to have a note from C&RT on the Locks to aid our awareness and the best corrective measures. I know what I’ll do next time. That’s for me to know and you to find out!
Once DB moved through the first 4 locks it looked promising. There was one dodgy pound a few Locks on where the current placed a challenge but Chris nosed the boats into the Lock wall, at an angle, which prevented the boats being pulled out by the current. That’s my account of what I saw. Shortly after this lock I went ahead to prepare the final 11 locks, no further boat traffic ascending the Flight. A smooth Flight was had by all and thumbs up was given as the DB entourage approached the final Lock.
A good day made even better when we made it to the Lidl mooring, 2 Locks later, before nightfall with only a light dusting of rain.
That was the day we won the Auction for a widebeam. No word to date. Are we bothered? It’s just one of those things!