Tuesday 11th and Wednesday 12th October; Fosse locks to Calcutt marina
It was a misty start on our quiet little mooring. Meg and I walked up to set Wood lock.
We started off on our own at Wood Lock but a boat appeared behind us as we rose, so we waited for them at Welsh Road lock then shared with them all the way to the top of Stockton locks.
NB Ruby was crewed by Jo and Stuart, professional boat movers WeMoveAnyNarrowboat.com. They are liveaboards on Nb Norma Jeane. We made a fine team. We heard some interesting tales of the boats they had moved – or not, such as the widebeam in Manchester whose new owner was most aggrieved when they told him they couldn’t move it down to the marina he wanted in the south! (For non-boaty types – narrow locks get in the way!) As you would expect, they have moved some lovely boats and some which are not so good.
A boat had started preparing to come down the staircase at Bascote locks, so we waited for it in the lock below before proceeding.
If we hadn’t had company we would have had an early lunch before tackling the bulk of Stockton locks but we made such an efficient team that it would have been foolish to stop. Just as well really as there were a few low pounds near the top and no boats coming down.
The paddles (which let the water into or out of the lock) are normally well below the waterline. Bottom paddle on the left, top on the right – you can see in the water the mud which has been pulled off the mud banks in the pound above.
When I opened one top gate of this lock the boats’ roofs were still level with the top of the lock wall. This pic was taken as Jo had started letting water down from the next lock.
I spotted a chap on a bike clearly lock-wheeling behind us so went back down to warn him what was happening. Then Jo spotted a boat coming down and very quickly the water levels were resolved. The boat behind us is waiting further back for the boat above us to come down, which is why the top gate behind Chuffed and Ruby is still open.
In spite of the water level problems we made cracking time and were in the top lock by 1. We said farewell to Jo and Stuart and stopped for lunch. The ‘stealth boat’, which people got so excited about a few years ago, is moored at Stockton Top marina.
We moored briefly a short way before the entrance to Calcutt marina, and Dave went to do the admin in the Calcutt office above the locks. I took Meg for a short but long-awaited walk – she had chosen to stay on board up Stockton locks, possibly because cake and biscuits were being handed around…. The birds have a feast this autumn. Folklore says it will be a hard winter!
We were moored up by 4 and getting on with a few jobs. The basin tap in the bathroom has been dripping, meaning that the water pump keeps cutting in and we have had to turn it off at bedtime for the last couple of nights. Dave couldn’t get the tap undone to reach the washer, as the tap started to turn against the basin top as soon as it came under strain. It needed a ‘bit of wood or something’ to hold it steady …..
The Calder and Hebble spike was perfect, braced between the tap and the shower wall. Job soon done!
16 locks, 6 miles
On Wednesday Dave walked up to Napton for the bus to Leamington and the train to Fazeley to fetch the car, and we were away home before evening. We haven’t winterised Chuffed yet; just left the water tank unfilled and the taps open.
This is why Meg likes Calcutt so much. She jumps across to the grass from the pontoon where we are moored.
Just under 110 miles; 75 on narrow canals and 34¾ on broad.
85 narrow locks, 48 broad, 5 tunnels; Curdworth, Factory Tunnel (the covered area below the works on the Birmingham and Fazeley), Galton (twice) and Shrewley.
New waters this trip; Tame Valley canal, Wyrley and Essington from Birchills Junction eastwards, the Cannock extension, Anglesey and Daw End branches, Rushall canal, Grand Union from Salford junction to Bordesley junction. We think we have been from Kingswood junction to Bordesley junction on a hire boat or our share boat Padworth, but we can’t really remember.