Friday, 5 May 2017

Starting the climb

Don't know if it was the pork, apple and black pudding sausages, but it was a bit of a broken night last night. No matter, we wanted an early start today and were away by 7.15. It was my turn to steer and Sheila did all ten locks. They are quite spaced out – she walked some and hitched a lift between others. Locking up these beasts is remarkably easy provided you use a long throw windlass on the Ham Baker paddle gear.

The top paddle culverts open into the chamber at several points so that, provided the boat is settled against the lock wall to start, drawing the same side paddle results in the flow passing under the boat, reflecting off the opposite wall and pinning the boat against the side. In addition, the apertures are very large, so there's a good flow and the lock fills quite quickly. We use the centre line, extended by tying on the stern line, to hold the boat steady, passing it round the bollard halfway along the lock and back to the steerer.

Radford Bottom, the Fosse Three, Wood, Welsh Road and Bascote came in steady succession, finishing with the two chamber staircase at Bascote. There's then a decent length of pound before Long Itchington, and as it was now half ten, I made us coffees.

We were pleased to find that the Two Boats pub is still trading. It was one of our favourite stops in the days when we hired from Kate Boats Warwick in the 80s. In fact, we were so pleased, we went there for lunch. They do good pub grub at reasonable prices, as they always used to. It was a bit windy to sit out on the canalside, but there was plenty of room indoors. Alternatively, there's the Cuttle Inn on the other side of the canal, but we've never found our way over there.

Things went a bit quiet in the boat afterwards, but we did then stir ourselves to walk into the village as Sheila had a letter to post. It's footpath all the way, ending in yet another pub restaurant, the Harvester. Back at the canal, we ambled up to the lock, saw one of the current Kate Boats fleet work down and ambled back to the boat.

Tomorrow, we'll work up the Stockton flight and possibly on to Calcutt, depending on how we feel.

Location:Long Itchington

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