Saturday, August 28, 2010

Rediscovery after 7 years

The last time we were on the Western Grand Union we were going east from Kingswood Junction.  Now we head west from Napton Junction.  It was there that we met Rose and Ray on Maddy Rose.  We shared tea and sandwiches over two days then went our separate ways, setting off down the Calcutt and Stockton flights.  We were joined by Misty Lady to go down all those double locks.
The skippers and crews were working well together as a team.  There were several boats coming up leaving the locks for us to go down.  It was sunny while we moved that morning but when we stopped at Long Itchington it rained.  Despite the wetness we walked to the village shop for provisions.  On our return to the boat we lit the fire to dry out.  August is a wet month.
Next day we set off and did another 9 locks with Misty Lady.  It was a damp grey day as we travelled down towards Leamington Spa and found a mooring just past bridge 33 in open countryside and bid farewell to our travelling companions.
It was sunny and warm as we continued our journey through the Spa town the next day.  We noted on the way that the concrete tow path prevented the use of pins for mooring.  There were however several bollards to tie to on the offside by Tesco where we stopped to shop.  Eventually spent the night by Budbrooke Junction and saw Ernie on 10 Bob Note pass us by.
We were not far from the start of the climb up the Hatton flight of 21 locks and were joined by another boat.  Double width locks need two boats to make the going easy and it does save the water.  It was at least dry n warm when we started off at 10.
3 hours later we had reached the top, an average of 10 minutes a lock!  It would have been good to find visitor moorings at the top.  There were plenty of car parks and gongooslers but the moorings were for permit holders.  We were obliged to move on just when we needed a rest.  Eventually found deep water and a low hedge so that we could ‘see’ the satellite signal.  Then it rained.

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