Fosse Locks

Well we ended up spending four days, moored in the pound between Locks 29 and 30 on the Hatton flight. This allowed the crew to jump ship, and go home over the bank holiday weekend, whilst me and four legs did some maintenance tasks. The pound we were in, whilst the longest on the flight, must also have been the leakiest. Several times a day, the water level would drop significantly exposing the propeller, and the water coming down the flight, was unable to keep pace with the water leaking out. Fortunately we must have been directly over a large area of silt, because even when the water dropped, the boat did not tilt much as it rested on the bottom.

The crew returned yesterday, so this morning we headed off down the flight. We also had another reason for moving. Last night the furry crew, inadvertently stepped on his ball and hurt himself. That will teach him to leave his toys laying about. We thought initially he had twisted something, but what he had actually done, was to rip out part of his claw, ouch. We had bandaged it up and stuck a boot on it, but we needed to get him to a vet, so our wallet could be emptied.

We descended the remaining four Locks of Hatton, then the two Cape Locks. A short distance further on, we stopped at Emscote. First a visit to the vets, who were very friendly. Four legs had his toe frozen with some spray, and then the partially removed claw, was fully removed with a quick tug, ouch again. So clawless, with some antiseptic solution, manuka honey to aid healing, antibiotics to prevent an infection building, and pain killers we were done. If only humans could receive such speedy and detailed treatment. Now he has to keep it covered when out and about, so he has borrowed a blue sock.

The wounded soldier, with blue sock

Back at the boat we had lunch, then the other crew went to the nearby Tesco supermarket, and replenished supplies. We now had two more Locks and three miles to go, to reach our intended destination. On the way through Royal Leamington Spa before, I mentioned that the graffiti was of an altogether different quality. This time I managed to photograph some.

Graffiti art in Royal Leamington Spa

Soon we had left the urban sprawl behind, and entered open countryside once more. We found our mooring spot above Fosse Lock No. 22 and secured the boat.

Mooring Fosse Locks

On our arrival, the water level in the pound was a little low, and we did wonder if this would be a problem. However on further inspection of our surrounds, we noticed that back pumps were active beneath the bywash. This pumps water back from the lower pound, and should therefore maintain a decent level.

Back pumps at work

Whilst this mooring is nice and quiet, and the sort of place we could easily stay a few days, we are in need of services in the next few days, so we will need to move on.

Totals 7 Miles 8 Locks

Running total 152 Miles 212 Locks 9 Tunnels

Hatton

During our two days at Rowington, we spent the first day cleaning the boat, then relaxing, and on the second day, we walked to Turner’s Green, to the Tom O’ The Wood P.H. The pub is described as dog friendly, and this was confirmed when we saw the sign outside, dogs welcome, people tolerated.

Tom O’ The Wood P.H.

I had the sea bass in a white mussel sauce, and it was very tasty. Back at the boat, we had a second afternoon of recovery from all our Lock working of the previous week. I also checked the state of the batteries, as we had not run the engine for two days. The monitor was indicating 80 percent, so we must be getting a decent amount from the solar panel now.

Today we were up with the lark, well 7.15 am. Underway by 8am, we had three miles and Shrewley Tunnel to navigate, before reaching the Top Lock of the Hatton flight. We needed water as well. Whilst filling the tank, I set the first three Locks, and just as we were finishing two boats came along and pinched them before we untied. It proved to be advantageous. One of them was a single hander, so the crew would have needed to do double the work, and by the time we eventually got going, the volunteers were on duty, and two of them assisted us down at least ten Locks.

On our way, Top Lock to the rear

You can see the cafe in the photo above, that we would walk back to for lunch. On draining, it appears that this Lock has suffered some recent damage.

Damage to the cill

After completing the first four Locks, we passed the yard and workshops for the Canal and River Trust. The next six are very close together as they stretch out before you.

Hatton Yard and Workshops

There are 21 Locks in the Hatton flight, but today we would only be doing 17. The volunteers left us to do the final three alone, when we met a single hander ascending the flight. His need of help was greater than ours.

Mooring spot on the Hatton Flight

Between Locks 30 and 29 is the longest pound, and the bank is lined with piling. This was where we would stop. After descending the Lock, we pulled in, close to the bywash, so as not to impede other boats using the flight and secured the boat. We then wandered back up the flight for lunch. By the time we returned, four legs was definitely feeling the heat, and was very pleased that the insulation on the boat had kept it cool inside.

Totals 4 Miles 17 Locks 1 Tunnel

Running total 145 Miles 204 Locks 9 Tunnels

Rowington

So having secured a partner to ascend Hatton Locks, this morning we had a leisurely start. Following breakfast we dumped some rubbish, and settled our bill with the Saltisford Arm Trust. At 10.15 we departed the Arm, closely followed by nb. Joss from Braunston. We began the ascent at 10.30, and decided that one crew would operate the Lock the boats were in, and the other would walk ahead to set the next lock.

Still a fair way to go
Looking back at what we had done

As expected on a warm and sunny bank holiday Monday, there were many Gongoozerlers out and about, watching the action. As we ascended the Top Lock we said goodbye to our Lock partners, we were stopping for refreshments, they were carrying on. It was now 14.00, the ascent had taken 3 and a half hours. We tied up on the rings, and had a late lunch at the cafe. The mooring at the top of the flight is heavily wooded, and having just washed a ton of tree sap off the boat, I did not want to remain under the trees for too long. Using a combination of the Nicholsons and Pearsons guide books, and Google Earth, we had identified a suitable spot, a couple of miles away. So once again we set off, soon passing through Shrewley Tunnel, with its unusual towpath Tunnel above.

Shrewley Tunnel and towpath tunnel, 433 yds

Rounding a couple of more bends, we arrived at our intended spot. There were some boats moored, but also plenty of room left for us. We picked a spot on the open embankment, with good views across the countryside.

Mooring at Rowington

Not an official mooring spot, and with no piling to attach our mooring chains, out came the pins, for the first time this year.

The views from our side hatches

We think we will probably move on tomorrow, but in the morning we may have seized up, so may be not. This is a nice quite spot, if we decide to stay put. We are now just over a mile away from the link between the Grand Union Canal, which continues north to Birmingham, and the Stratford on Avon Canal, which is the way we are planning to go.

Totals 5 Miles 21 Locks 1 Tunnel

Running total 34 Miles 59 Locks 3 Tunnels

Warwick (part 2)

So during our stay in the Saltisford Arm, we have taken the opportunity to visit a few places of interest. On Wednesday we took four legs for his walk, and decided to have a look at the Hatton flight of locks, 21 wide locks, stretching over a distance of two miles. It was a warm sunny day, and the weather for the next week is forecast to get even better. Located by the top lock is a cafe, and as it was lunchtime we thought we’d try it out. I had a lock keepers lunch, aka a ploughmans. It was very good. The pork pie was very tasty, and the mature cheddar cheese and pickles plentiful. Walking back was much easier, downhill all the way.

Part of the Hatton flight

Thursday was a fairly lazy day, although the crew did go shopping, to top up on some fresh supplies. Then on Good Friday, we walked into Warwick to visit the castle. In addition to the castle, we also had a talk about their Trebuchet, normally working but sadly not at present, due to a fractured throwing arm. Following that, a display of birds of prey, this was definitely the highlight of the day. We then had a snack lunch, before finishing with a tour of the dungeons, complete with ghoulish actors.

Warwick Castle is a pricey day out, but you can save a bit, by booking in advance online. Saturday we wandered back into Warwick, this time to visit Lord Leycester Hospital. A very attractive timber framed building approaching 900 years old. It has since at least Elizabethan times, been used to provide support accommodation to ex-service personnel, something that continues today. Currently six are in residence, and they perform various duties, in exchange for their grace and favour accommodation. For history buffs, this beats Warwick Castle. The kitchen doubles as a cafe, and has been in constant use for 500 hundred years, so patrons today, are continuing a long standing tradition. The food produced was of an excellent standard, and the salad was one of the best I’ve had.

Today, Easter Sunday, we headed off for Sunday lunch, at the Cape of Good Hope P.H next to Cape Locks. We had been told the food here was very good, and we were not disappointed. On the way back to the boat, we met another crew also moored in the Arm. During a chat it became apparent, they are also departing tomorrow. We now have locking partners for the Hatton flight. Our stay in the Saltisford Arm has been pleasant. The only issue is the tree cover, which has resulted in copious amounts of sap, dripping onto the boat. There was nothing for it, once lunch had been digested, out came the bucket and sponge.