Monday, July 25, 2016

Sunday, moving on a bit

With our water tank now nearly empty, we were very glad to find that the tap shown on our map at Dean Lock exists – and works! The flow was uncommonly slow, though, so we had plenty of time to make tea, and drink it in a leisurely manner. I wandered around with my camera.

A parallel lock, now unused

An elderly woman passing by complained that our hose, of necessity lying across the towing-path from the tap to the boat, was “dangerous”. I pointed out to her that the hose is a nice bright yellow colour so that it's not difficult to see, and that it's very skinny, so that it's not difficult to step over, but she wasn't impressed. I almost offered to carry her over.

Appley Locks – lovely name! - were interesting. At this point, the canal divides in two. The left branch descends via a 12-foot deep lock, while the other branch disappears behind an island, where it meets two, 6-foot locks. These, however, are now is a state of total disrepair, but there's nothing at the entrance to the branch to say that they're unusable, and it's entirely possible for someone not in the know to take the two-lock option and find that they have to reverse out again.

The lower of the two disused locks
The 12-foot lock has issues, too. One of the top ground paddle mechanisms has a notice on it, handwritten onto the white paint, sating that CRT were aware that it was broken – in April 2014. It is still broken, as is the winding mechanism of one of the bottom paddles. I wonder if they've forgotten?

The scenery is delightful. Fields of barley set against a background of woodland, predominantly oak, that spreads across rolling hills. It rained a bit, on and off, but that did nothing to spoil our enjoyment of this lovely canal.

Our map showed five swing-bridges awaited us along our way today, but three of these were permanently open, having been last used several tens of years ago. The two working ones were well maintained, though, and easy to use – especially the electrically-operated one!

We finished for the day at Ring o' Bells bridge, next to the eponymous pub. Coincidentally, I learned later in the day that fellow Tweeps and bloggers on NB Hobbit had had lunch there earlier. They were, in fact, two of the last to eat there for a while, since the pub is to close from tomorrow, for refurbishing.

We moored here specifically because there's a farm shop close by that we want to visit. But it's Sunday today, and they're not open until Tuesday. So we wait. It's a nice enough spot. A small trip-boat operates from here, taking out up to a dozen or so people for a 90-minute trip accompanied by bread and cheese, grapes, and wine. They're quite merry by the time they get back!

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