Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Good planning

Having clocked that the weather was going to start out not too bad and then deteriorate as the day went on, we devised a cunning plan and put it into effect. This involved getting up at six and dressing whilst drinking the first thing tea, then boating round to the Stop House water point to fill the tank and dump rubbish. We ate breakfast whilst there, then carried on to the foot of the locks, arriving just after seven.

There being no sign of any following boat, we decided to carry on up the flight on our own, Sheila steering and your correspondent twirling the windlass. The first two locks were with us. I duly drew the nearside ground paddle first, which in theory should pin the boat against that lock wall. Instead, the bow drifted slowly across until it nudged the offside wall and stayed there until I'd drawn the full paddle, when it drifted back.

We reckon that if the water level is a bit low, the flow from the culvert doesn't pass under the boat and reflect off the opposite wall as it should, instead pushing the bow across.

No matter, it wasn't a big deal. More problematic was the very low state of the pound between 2 and 3, the Nelson Pound named for the Admiral Nelson pub by lock 3. Sheila managed to persuade Sanity Again to get along it, though she said it was like boating through treacle. Once mostly in the lock, I hauled on the centreline to complete the entry. We crossed with another boat between 3 and 4 and were joined by the lockie who was sorting out the levels by running water down from above.

On we went, meeting another boat above 4, who were told to wait until the levels were right. A volockie was in control at the top lock, so altogether an interesting transit of the flight.

Sheila carried on steering as I started the washing machine, pre-loaded yesterday. I didn't quite finish adding hot water before we got to the tunnel mouth, but took over steering just after we entered. We crossed with a couple of boats inside, neither of them in the dog leg for once, and emerged just over thirty minutes later. It was raining a bit, but soon stopped.

We had an uneventful run to the junction, thinking of carrying on a bit as the machine hadn't quite finished rinsing, but the wind was rising and the clouds threatening, so when we saw a space on the towpath just beyond the visitor moorings, we hopped onto it. It's been chucking it down on and off ever since and I've had to light the fire.

Cala with Peter and Gill on board have been past this afternoon; we should see them tomorrow when we get to Crick. I've also had a phone call from Peter Mason, who plans to arrive with hired van and marquee on Thursday morning. I should be able to blog as usual tomorrow, but after that it may be a bit hit and miss, depending on work and social commitments.

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