Friday, 13 June 2014

Locks, Locks and Two Smoking Canals

Monday 9th June to Thursday 12th June 2014

We had had our time in Stratford and thoroughly enjoyed it all - mooring up in virtually the centre of town; early morning walking and then also later in the evening without the usual throng of people around.

Maybe we could do without the people peering in through the windows.

So we headed off at about out usual time and began the trek up through the locks.

We have to say that some of the gates are pretty damn heavy.

We stopped briefly at the Western Road Marina - not to purchase diesel (as I said that we wouldn't at a 60/40 standard split) - instead we filled our water tank and made a deposit into the elsan.

Correct tanks filled and emptied we headed off - a hire boat that had left the basin prior to us and had in fact filled with water just as we moored up to fill ours, had decided to stop just through the next bridge - for breakfast.
Equally, we managed to leave just prior to another hire boat leave the lock that was behind us.

This meant that with ANY boat coming our way, the chances were strong that the locks at Wilmcote would all be empty and so much easier.

And that ladies and gentlemen, was exactly how it transpired - I wouldn't say we breezed through the 11 locks but it was easier than emptying each one.

The Edstone Aqueduct from below..

...going over the aqueduct...

...still going over

Lock Cottage at Lock 30

...apparently everyone takes a picture of the boat reflected
in the windows..

Not meaning to take the derriere picture - this hire boat decided
that the their need to stop for lunch was greater than caring about
anyone needing the lock bollards to get through - just what do they
teach them before they let them loose.

Finally we moored up just north of Bridge 59 with the intention of a visit to Mary Arden's house - but being after 2pm; us being a bit exhausted, and; we could see most of the external attractions from the road - we decided to give it a miss for now.
Returning back to the boat, the chairs came out and we relaxed a bit in the shade.

Tuesday was a much easier day - just over 3 miles and 1 lock to Wootton Wawen - we had a wander around the village; around the oldest Saxon church in Warwickshire; around Wootton Hall and back to the boat - Diane relaxed outside on her recliner; I got on with work.
Ooh, almost forgot we made a little visit to The Navigation Inn for a quick one on the way back.
Wootton Hall

Aqueduct at Wootton Waven

Mother Duck chasing her brood home from The Navigation Inn
- "drunk ducks"

The weather turned bad later on but didn't excuse the person in charge of the boat which was reversed at speed and scrapped along the side of Ferndale - worse was the hard bang when they decided to go forward - standing on the stern, the guy didn't even have the good manners (guts) to say sorry as we looked straight at him - the thought that we were snug and dry whilst he was dripping wet and looking thoroughly miserable made up for some of it - well done Black Prince hire boats.

After what was a relaxing day, we knew what lay ahead of us as we made our way towards the junction.

Another 17 locks and not in a close together flight, so we alternated at each lock and walked between locks - got the steps in.
Strange thing was that Diane, who had worked out which ones each of us would do, seemed to have made the rota such that I had the long distances to walk and she had the easier locks - just strange is all I am saying.

At the top it was water-tank filling time again and we took advantage of an elsan point empty the cassette.
Then around the junction and moored up on the Grand Union, just in front of nb Oakapple - Diane reliably informed me that they were fellow bloggers - Richard and Sharon - of course, I also got a reminder course about their history - steel trap mind when it comes to who has done what, where and with whom - but who's favourite question is "What day is it Ray?".

Another heavy day, a bit of relaxing, a tap on the boat - Richard from Oakapple - for a bit of a chat and an invite for later in evening.
We met up again with Richard and with Sharon and had a thoroughly enjoyable chat and cups of tea (for us - it was a fasting day).
I think we got through the evening without any discussion of toilets - gotta be a first - mind you, it did take a little time for a good picture of them both, that wasn't affected by an over zealous flash unit on the phone.
Richard and Sharon - nb Oakapple

by the light of the silvery moon

We now have a few days on our hands to move the 8 or so miles up to Catherine de Barnes, before launching the final assault to Birmingham hill.
The plan is to go in on Saturday.

Today was a short slow cruise up to The Black Buoy pub for some lunch and not much else. In the sunshine and a light cool breeze, this was just idyllic, and we didn't have a care whatsoever - mooring just in front of No Problem.
We had a chat with Sue and Vic before we all met up again at the pub for a pre-lunch drink.
They were heading back towards the junction; we stayed for the lunch, which was quite nice; back to the boat as the tennis was on, and more work for me.

16 Miles, 34 Locks

Totals: 2556 Miles,  1923 Locks, 82 Tunnels, 32 Lift Bridges, 151 Swing Bridges


  1. The South Stratford is very pretty and everything, but those locks up to the junction always seem like really hard work. Just the wrong distance apart, very heavy, and slow. So I feel your pain (even though you each did only half of them!)

    1. My arms, shoulders and backside were certainly feeling the effects, but worth the effort