We thought we deserved a lie in after our early starts and long days of late: in fact we didn’t really give it much thought, we simply woke later. Maybe it was our brains telling us that we didn’t have to be wide awake by 6.00. NB Trivial Pursuit was moored behind us. We spent a couple of nights next to them sheltering from high winds in Rodley on the Leeds and Liverpool. They also crossed back on the Rochdale and we have seen them a couple of time since, though not to speak to. Anyway an hour or so was spent in one of those pleasant tow path chats before we headed off towards Kingswood Junction and they went on their way towards Birmingham. They were enthusing about mooring in Birmingham and saying that it’s one of their favourite places and we are feeling a little sorry that we have missed it on our travels.
It’s surprising that no matter how many times one goes shopping there are still things needed almost every day. Today it was bread, especially if we wanted some for sandwiches for tomorrow’s descent of the Hatton Flight. We pulled in to the side at Hockley Heath and Alan put some more grease into the propeller shaft while I ran along to the shop. Our son-in-law and grandson would have loved the McClaren car shop above the canal where there were some wonderful racing and sports cars.
As we went on towards the Lapworth Flight we passed through two lift bridges. At the second a boater from a hire boat ahead of us waved us through with them. The first lock was just ahead so we asked them to go back in front of us but they said they were travelling in a very laid back fashion so we should go first.
There are 20 locks in the flight between Lapworth and Kingswood Junction. I personally found them fairly difficult to steer. The pounds between the locks are very small and each has a torrential waterfall by-wash to the right of the lock. For the lock operator it’s also trickier to cross the two bottom gates than on other flights: Alan went through the handrail loop while I clambered over the high post at the inside edge. As we approached lock 4 a woman from a hire boat coming up emptied the lock that was set in our favour. I pulled into the side and we waited and waited. Alan went to see what was happening and found that her boat hadn’t been able to leave the lock below because they had been filling the lock with the bottom paddles up and had drained the intermediary pound. Alan had to organise sending water down from the pound I was waiting in (luckily one of the longer ones) and get them out of the lock. When I finally took our boat in and descended another boat had come up the lock below and the pound had drained again so Alan flushed water through while I sat in the lock being buffeted by the flow.
As we continued down the flight we passed several other boats most of whom were hire boats who found the passing as we changed locks very difficult – goodness knows we weren’t enjoying it either. We were very glad when we finally pulled in to a mooring at the Junction: even more glad when we walked back for an icecream and found that a boat we had passed in the final two locks hadn’t got much further because a rock had been trapped in a gate and the BW staff had been called out. Not my favourite section of canal however historic and attractive!
Today we did 4.89 Miles, 19 Locks
Statistics so far:-
2882.77 Miles, 1867 Locks, 177 Swing Bridges, 97 Lift Bridges, 56 Tunnels