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

Today was another day for doing Locks, 19 of the pesky things. First we had a three mile cruise to do. We set off from our mooring and at the next bridge pulled in, whilst the crew popped along to a nearby bakery, which was advertising its wares. Once underway, we passed through the next bridge ‘ole, to be confronted by an Anglo Welsh hire boat wedged tight across the Canal. Apparently rubbish round the prop had stalled the engine, and now they were stuck solid. Despite heaving with a boat pole, it wasn’t moving, so we attached a line and towed them out. Did wonder whether to claim salvage rights, but I don’t think marine salvage law applies on the canals. We also had a few lift bridges to navigate, not the easy sort which work with a key, these ones the crew had to wind up and down.

Draw Bridge near Hockley Heath

Soon we were at the Top Lock of the Lapworth flight. We did the first four on our own, then for the next nine, we were accompanied by some volunteers who work the Locks. Have the next Lock set ahead, certainly sped things up a bit.

A vlockie helping

After 17 Locks we reached the water point. The tank needed a refill, and it was lunchtime. Forty five minutes later we descended the final lock on the Stratford-upon-Avon Canal, and navigated through King’s Wood Junction.

King’s Wood Junction

Right for Stratford-upon-Avon, left for the Grand Union, we turned left. Down the final lock for the day, we joined the Lapworth link, and at the junction with the Grand Union Canal, we turned right, heading towards Warwick. A mile and a half later, we found our mooring spot and secured the boat. Tomorrow we will wash the starboard side, and tend to a few other maintenance jobs, but for now we are just going to relax for the evening.

Mooring at Rowington

Mooring pins are required here, but the ground is very solid so I doubt they will move. One other point to note, we have now completed more Locks in the six weeks since leaving Yelvertoft, than we did in the whole of last year.

Totals 6 Miles 19 Locks

Running total 141 Miles 187 Locks 8 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