Thursday, October 02, 2014

Days 7 & 8 - on to Stratford

With the prospect of the 21 locks of the Hatton flight, we set off earlier than usual on Monday. We had two locks straight away, passed the Saltisford Arm, then moored under the bridge below Hatton Bottom Lock.

We intended waiting for one hour to see if another boat came along with whom we could share the locks up the flight, but were quite expecting to have to do the lot solo, since there had been so little traffic on the canal for the past week.

After a mere twenty minutes, however, not only did NB Phoenix arrive, but also two volunteer lockies, and the six of us travelled together, completing the whole flight in just under three hours - very much quicker than if we'd done it alone. We felt sorry for the couple of boats coming down, each of whom was solo, and one lady was looking extremely weary when we met her at the half-way point.

The border collie belonging to the Phoenix couple was loving every minute of the trip up the locks, especially running up or down the towing path at top speed every time a train passed on the nearby, parallel railway.

NB Phoenix entering a lock ahead of Kantara

Half way - the Asylum Wharf pound

Looking down from Top Lock
We stopped at the top of the lock to use the services and have lunch, and said goodbye to the lockies and couple on Phoenix. They'd all been good company to us both. 

The top lock was the scene of an accident back in July 2007, when we were on holiday with the kids. On that occasion, we'd come up alongside another holiday boat. In the top lock, the skipper of the other boat allowed the bow button fender to catch under a cross-beam of a top gate, an no-one noticed until it was too late. The gate was lifted right off its hinges, and fell into the chamber. The beam, too, crashed to the ground, missing Jessica's feet by inches. If that two tons had fallen on her foot, it would have been totally crushed. She went into shock - we were all pretty shaken up by it. The other boat managed to weave its way around the gate which now blocked the top of the lock, and they made off as quickly as they could. We contacted British Waterways, and moored up for the night. The gate was relocated later on that evening.

Taken July 2007

You can vaguely see in the photos above that the cottage by the lock once looked lovely. It had fresh paintwork, and the lawn outside was well tended. Unfortunately I didn't take a photo on this visit, but it's sad to see the cottage empty now, and in very poor condition.

After lunch, we moved on through Shrewley Tunnel, then moored for the night between bridges 61 and 62.

As I walked ahead of Kantara to meet her at the proposed mooring spot, I had something of a shock. A blackbird, startled by something the other side of the hedge, flew out through a gap and literally bounced off the top of my head! I don't know which of us was most amazed!

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