Thursday, 22 October 2009

Locks, Locks and even more locks

Captains Log Canal Date 22nd October 2009 Travels Tuesday 5 1/2 Miles 5 Narrow locks Wednesday 42 Narrow Locks 6 1/2 Miles Current Location Tardebigge Top Lock Map Ref SO 991 691 Tuesday; We set off in so-so weather, a bit cool but ok. Not long after setting sail the weather did what it is best at and changed, and not for the better either, It changed from being a bit cool to being dam cold and then the light mist became persistent rain. Not the heavy sort, more the very small droplets but plenty of them. You know, the sort that makes you very wet. As a result of the weather (and me getting colder) we did not travel very far. We soon decided that it was time to stop and to get warm. This left us with even more locks to play with on the next day. Wednesday, Big day today. Not only is today the first anniversary of owning Daddy Cook, we also had some 42 locks to work! We woke up at first light, or at least we put the light on when we woke up. It was about 8.30 – very early for us. I had arranged for Dave, a good old friend, to spend the day with us and help us with the Tardebigge locks, he was keener than us and was walking down the locks to meet us a bit earlier than I had expected. He had a good 3 mile walk before he found us. It would have been less but we had a problem with one lock gate and spent some time trying to open it fully. We that is my excuse anyway. When we did met up we had already done 6 locks, he was a bit warm from his exercise so we stopped for a much deserved bacon butty and coffee. We were soon underway again and after completing about other 1,000 or so locks I sensed that a mutiny was brewing. In order to quell the mutiny I ordered that a lunch break should be organised. 45 minutes later we were fed and watered and on the move. On looking at the guide map we were not going to make the summit in daylight, not a problem, we would travel until light stopped play and moor up for the night. Not long after we started off, I had a call from Bob. He was delivering a load of fire wood for me. After a false start he arranged to meet up at a road bridge up the flight. Bob arrived as expected, we stopped for another coffee and a chat, it’s always nice to see friend, another 45 minutes later we were moving again, this time I was sure that we would not make the summit tonight. After speaking to the crew they said that we would indeed make the summit. I had my doubts. We had 20 locks left to do and only 1 ½ hours of daylight. Following our previous progress, this was not going to happen. I don’t know what happened but the locks were taking less than 5 minutes and it was looking more and more possible. Eventually we made the top lock with just enough daylight as to be safe. One more lock would have put us into darknessnes. It was a close call but we did it. Thursday, Day off from boating today, I looked round the boat, I will have to get the blacking out and replace a few bits where we tried to make the lock entrance just a bit wider for the following traffic. Later, we took the cratch cover back to Wilsons of Kinver to have the tear repaired. Bless them, they did it while we waited, the repair is not very noticeable and the cost was more than reasonable. Note to self: Must try harder to navigate through bridge holes without banging the sides!!! It is embarrassing and potentially expensive.

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