Friday, 18 September 2015

To Hockley Heath

It was a misty start to the day but the weather forecast was for sun with some cloud so we decided to move.  There wasn’t a fixed destination and we didn’t decided to go up the Lapworth Flight until we arrived at the bottom.

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Our quiet departure was spoilt by the crazy boaters moored in front.  They stood at their window waving frantically and making faces.  It was such a surprise we failed to take a photo of the moment (OK we were too busy making faces back!)

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Hopefully we will see Les & Jaq (nb Valerie) later in the year.

Shrewley Tunnel was leaking like a sieve after the recent rain.  We should have realised it and worn coats.  Instead we both spent the transit unsuccessfully dodging waterfalls.

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Managed to avoid this one as there was sufficient light to see it.

Those two timber working boats we noticed 10 years ago are still in the same location.  One change, there is a For Sale sign.  I’m not sure why someone would want to purchase them.  It would be a seriously major restoration project.

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Lapworth Junction is a very picturesque location.  We last passed this way in 2007 when completing the Black Country Ring on a hire boat.  It was a diversion to the planned route because a couple of locals had warned us against going into Birmingham.

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Both of us felt we had the energy to go up the flight of 20 locks only to discover all but two were against us. Still, they are narrow locks.  We established a routine where Jan would empty the lock and I would enter on Waiouru.  She would then close the lower gates and raise the top paddles.  When the boat gunwales were at the same height as the top of the lock Jan walked on to the next lock to empty it and open the lower gates.  Meanwhile I would open the top gate when the lock was full and lower both paddles.  I’d then move Waiouru out of the lock and close the top gate behind me.  This method was quicker than that being used by the boat ahead.  It was halfway up the flight when we reached the bottom but we had caught up with them by lock 17. 

At our sixth lock we met a boat coming down.  The lady at the lock was obviously foreign and after a brief conversation Jan established she and her husband were from the Flemish speaking half of Belgium.  They come over to England and take their boat out cruising every summer.

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with all the lock work going on we failed to record their boat name.

Some information for any boater coming this way.  Between the top two locks is a well laden plum tree (Jan thinks they are Green Gages)  She managed to fill her hat with ripe plums whilst walking between the locks.

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A boat hook might be handy!

We ended the cruising day at 3.30pm finding a good mooring at Hockley Heath.  There was only one other boat here when we arrived but now the moorings are all full.

6 comments :

Hoits said...

I hope your not going to avoid Birmingham this time. There are some wonderful canals and provided you're sensible your biggest problem is likely to be what gets around your prop.

Tom and Jan said...

We did most of the BCN last year. Just two small parts to complete. And yes... we are going into Birmingham.

Judith Emery said...

If you can get through Gosty Hill Tunnel the diesel is only 54ppl. Serena is moored there while we are home in Wales, back on the 30th. I see you've given some more thought to your outback trip. Very sorry to hear about your mum.
Judith and John

Tom and Jan said...

Hello Judith & John,

We have an almost full fuel tank so may not go to Hawne Basin. We've previously been there andknow Waiouru will fit.

Hope everything is well in Wales

Adam said...

Diesel is now only 49p at Hawne Basin. (By the way, it's Kingswood Junction, not Lapworth Junction, and there are 19 locks up, not 20. It sometimes feels like 20, though)

Jaqueline Biggs said...

LOL! We did enjoy your company those few days and Jan looked totally perky and cute in her baseball camp and pig tails as you pulled away from us. We have fours weeks to pass before my first physio appt. for Birmingham here we come. We will see you somewhere along the way I'm sure.
Jaq and Lesxx