There and back again

It was so hot last night that sleeping was difficult and we woke early. Not as early as some however, the first boat passed us just after 7.00. We got underway about 7.45 and made quick time through the first three locks reaching the lowest of the three separate Grindley Brook locks around 9.30.

We had thought that we would go through the staircase locks and on to Whitchurch to meet our friends but they had done a very long day yesterday and were already in Whitchurch. It seemed sensible, if we could manage it, to turn before the 3 rise staircase.

While we waited for the final of the three lower locks we chatted to a lady on the boat following us and she said that they had managed to wind in the pound below the staircase in the past and they were also 57 ft. The boaters waiting in front offered to let us go before them through the last lock: we would attempt the turn and descend immediately and if we couldn’t get round they would come up and regain their rightful place. So off we went. Alan put the bow into the curve on the far bank and started the turn. To me on the bank it looked as if we had masses of room. His more mathematical eye told him that we might not do it. Sure enough, with our long stern fender on we couldn’t, even with enthusiastic help from all the surrounding boaters. The fender had to come off, and we then managed the turn with everyone pushing and me pulling the stern rope. Back we went down the three locks to moor and wait. I suspect that the kind people on that boat in front of us were wishing they hadn’t let us go on when it all took a lot longer than we had hoped.

It was so humid that everyone was longing for it to get back to normal British non-summer. We put the parasol up for the first time since it once saw the light of day in June last year. It was such a novelty that I couldn’t work out how to get it down again. Around 12.00 we walked up to the Grindley Brook shop for bread and bacon for lunch and had just returned to the boat when we had a text message that the Australians were at the top of the locks. (I say Australians simply because that is where they are living: Chris was at school with me in New Zealand and Sheila is Irish.) We ate and then went to meet them on their way down.

By the time they had moored the rain had started and continued through much of the afternoon. The temperature dropped several degrees. Talk about a day of two halves. However at 5.30 the rain stopped and we decided to go on for a couple of hours. The mooring was very crowded and Chris and Sheila had a boat moored so closely behind them they were almost sharing living rooms. We returned to our mooring of last night. The sky was grey and menacing and as we came up to the mooring the heavens opened again and we were somewhat drowned by the time the ropes were fastened.

We have learnt something interesting while travelling along. We were in front of Chris and Sheila and were going at tickover past moored boats. Chris called to ask if we could go faster as even at their slowest they were over running us. Alan travelled on their boat between the last two locks and found that they had very little flexibility in speed: the smallest touch sent the boat off fast. We will understand in future when hirers go past us at a greater speed than we would wish. There’s still no excuse for the gentleman who was making waves the other day!

Today we did 9.31 Miles, 12 Locks

Statistics so far:-

2758.15 Miles, 1715 Locks, 177 Swing Bridges, 94 Lift Bridges, 50 Tunnels

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