Last night there were three other boats moored at the base of the Tardebigge Lock flight, all facing the same way as us. We had a discussion about whether to get up early and hope to be the first boat up the flight, thereby ensuring the Locks, which would have no doubt drained overnight, would be in our favour. We decided no, we would wake up normally. We heard the first boat engine start at about quarter to eight, and by half past, all three other boats were on their way. No need to rush breakfast now, all Locks would be against us. Slipping our lines at 9am, we made our way into Tardebigge Bottom Lock, only 30 to go.
We quickly got in to a routine. Once the Lock chamber was half full, the crew would go ahead to set the next Lock, whilst I dealt with the current one. The system worked quite smoothly, and by the first hour we had passed through eight Locks. At one point we were even catching up with the boat ahead, which had set off about twenty minutes before us. The halfway point was reached after two hours and fifteen minutes. We were slowing slightly. It was about this time we also encountered a shower, which had not been forecast. Fortunately it was only brief. On reaching Tardebigge reservoir, we knew we had cracked it, only five more to go.
Tardebigge reservoir was built about fifty feet below the summit level, and a pump house was therefore needed further up the flight, to pump the water back up the hill. There is a large field adjacent to the reservoir, so four legs was allowed to get off the boat to have a run around.
Once we passed the former pump house, we had made it. The Top Lock is actually located a bit further on, beyond the visitor moorings. We would not be doing that today. We found a spot to secure the boat, then collapsed into our armchairs, for a mug of tea and a well earned rest.
As you can see in the photo above, we have needed to utilise the wheelbarrow tyres here, because the mooring is shallow. The mooring rings have also not been well spaced for a sixty foot boat, so the extra long ropes have been required. One other reason to stay put for today is, that we need a fair amount of diesel and a pump out. The Anglo Welsh hire base just above the Top Lock, cannot serve us today as they are busy with boat hand overs, so we will wait till tomorrow.
Totals 2 Miles 29 Locks
Running total 120 Miles 167 Locks 4 Tunnels