Sunday, 30 April 2017

Bendy Lapworth

Another day, another lorra locks. We made another early start, getting away at ten past seven. I walked to the first lift bridge which opened readily – they are bascule bridges with hydraulic drive worked by a windlass, similar to the ones on the Upper Peak Forest. The second bridge proved to be a problem, though. Turning the spindle vigorously opened it only a few inches. I paused for a bit, tried again and it opened a bit further.

Several iterations of this finally got the bridge deck raised enough to get the boat through, but it wasn't a comfortable situation. Reminder: must email CRT West Mids about it.

Soon we were at the top of Lapworth and the serious work began. These are narrow locks, of course, and quite easy to work, but almost all of them were against us.

We worked in blocks of six and progress was steady rather than spectacular. The challenge is more for the steerer than the lockwheeler, as even on the straight section of the "thick" there is a bit of a bend between the bottom of one lock and the top of the next and for once the geometry doesn't favour a 70 footer.

There's a longer pound just a few locks down and here we found Anna and Martin on Braidbar 140, One Day. We know them well from the Owners' Group and because they moor in Mercia. I was lockwheeling at the time and stopped for a bit of a chat. Sheila paused beside them to carry on the conversation whilst I got the lock ready.

It was good to catch up, have a good run to Stratford, folks!

On and on we went. An Anglo-Welsh full of novices turned one lock in front of us, one of the few which had been mostly full, and there were towpath walkers and gongoozlers aplenty. We reached Kingswood Junction by half eleven and we've tied on the visitor moorings on the linking arm between the Stratford and the GU. It's very near the railway bridge carrying the Oxford - Birmingham line but the trains, though quite frequent, aren't very noisy.

Tomorrow, we've got around an hour's boating to the top of Hatton and then the slog down it. We'll stop at the top to fill the water tank and hopefully pick up a locking partner, the locks being broad like all of the GU mainline.

Location:Kingswood Jn

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