Friday 14 October 2016

Heavy Hatton

Sunday 9th October; Kingswood to Cape Locks

Golly it was cold this morning.  The sun was up though there was still mist over the canal and fields.

1 misty morning

These boats on the way to Shrewley tunnel are getting more and more like a nature reserve with a young alder tree now growing on the closer one.  I thought the car on the bank meant someone might be looking after them but Dave said there was a fishing lake behind.

2 rotting boats

Shrewley tunnel was extremely wet which was unfortunate for our cups of tea.  At Hatton locks a boat was waiting for a companion, so rather than taking on water we joined Jenny and Michael on Khayamanzi.  Nearly every lock was against us but we were a good team with Jenny locking ahead and me closing up.  Gongoozler central though!  Groups of cyclists and walkers were already at the café, and strolling, but people were not hanging about to chat as the top three locks were still in chilly shade.  But the sun was breaking through so gradually all our warm layers came off and the shorts came out again.

3 hatton locks

There was a boat in front of us who had refused Jenny’s offers to close up for them so we kept catching them up even though we were only opening one paddle and gate at a time.  Before long the towpath was busy and we had a family with two little boys to help with the gates.  The parents were interested in hiring a boat now the boys seemed to be old enough to be sensible.  They worked so hard that Dave offered them a ride between locks and of course they had a little look inside too.  They were thrilled!

4 little helpers have a ride

There were only two volunteers today but they were helping a hire boat which was finding the flight difficult.  So as the weather was hot, and the paddles seemed stiffer than earlier this year, both crews decided we would have a lunch break on the long pound near the bottom. 

We finished the flight together, then moored above Cape locks at about 3.  We were in full sun till nearly 5 and just sat about drinking tea and reading the paper which I’d bought at the handy garage by Ugly Bridge.  We had Sunday dinner in the pub later on as we felt disinclined to cook after the day’s locking – and we like this pub so didn’t want to pass up the opportunity.

21 locks, 8 miles.

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