Monday, 1 May 2017

Down Hatton and into Saltisford

Well, we've made it down Hatton and are safely ensconced in the Saltisford Arm, but it's been a long hard day, even if it's only half four. Timings worked out pretty well to plan, mind. We set off in good time and I'd turned through the junction at 7.15 on a drizzly morning. The long chug along the five miles to the top of Hatton went well, Sanity Again swimming well in the deeper, wider waters of the GU.

Shrewley Tunnel was as wet as ever. I can recall a trip up Hatton on a scorching summer's day, one where we stopped at the pub near the top, which was heaving, and I bought two pints of bitter for myself, straightaway, drinking the first pretty well before I'd got out the door to where the rest of the family was waiting. Navigating through Shrewley was then complicated by the fact that the boat roof was scorching hot and the water cascading onto it immediately turned to steam and obscured the view forward.

Today, all was quiet when we got to Hatton Top, so we ran the hose out and spent 30 minutes filling the tank and waiting for a locking partner. None was forthcoming, so loins were girded and we set off down on our own at half nine. Most of the locks were with us and we soon acquired the help of first one and then another volockie. These made a big difference.

There were few boats coming up, though we crossed with a couple further down. As we emerged from the "thick" the volockies left us to it. We'd been changing over jobs about every five locks and carried on in this way. I must say that Hatton has got harder over the years, and I don't think it's just us getting feebler. After Tardebigge and Lapworth we're in reasonable training but still needed the long throw windlass most of the time. In addition, the gates are heavier than ever.

When we first encountered these locks, way back in the late 70s, you could wind a paddle up with one hand on a short throw windlass. Now, it's a two handed job and the mechanism is so worn that you daren't treat the Ham Baker candlestick mechanism as you used, knocking the retaining stirrup off to let the paddle wind itself down smoothly. If you tried that today, it would either jam halfway down or crash down, damaging the paddle.

The weather gradually improved until the sun came out and necessitated removal of waterproof tops. We emerged from the bottom lock at 1.15, so three and three quarter hours to do the flight, not pushing it, usually only working the towpath side paddles. It had clouded over again, so waterproofs were popped back on.

Just as well, as the heavens opened as we entered the Saltisford Arm and drenched us. We're on a visitor mooring just past the winding hole. It's a bit short for us, but a boat leaving tomorrow will enable the manager to do a bit of a shuffle and give us a full 70 foot by the new office.

With that in mind, I've set up an Ocado delivery for Wednesday morning. We plan to stay until Thursday. It's £5.50 per night, now, with no free first night unless you join the Trust, but it's still worthwhile to have a secure mooring near the city centre and with facilities to boot.

Keith and Jo on Hadar are still here and we look forward to catching up with them before we go.



Bridget formerly on nb Waveney said...

Hi Sheila, l always used Sue Allens hairdressers when in Warwick. She's very nice and reasonably priced. Her salon is on the left towards the end of the left hand road as you face the Thomas Lloyd.

Bruce in Sanity said...

Thanks, Bridget, I'll take a look there tomorrow.

All the best

Sheila, borrowing Bruce's account!