An Anglo-Welsh hire boat slowly went past us at 7.30am this morning and the crew gave a very friendly wave as I peered out the porthole. “Bugger!” I thought, now all the locks will be against us! Later in the day we received an email from Linda & Jerry Anderson whom we met last year when going through Harecastle Tunnel. They were on the Anglo-Welsh boat moving it from Tardebigge to Stockton. And the locks weren’t in their favour either!
We worked up the first two locks of the Stockton Flight stopping at the water point opposite the Blue Lias. Jan already had a load of washing going in anticipation of filling the tank. There is good water pressure here, but despite that it still took 20 minutes to fill the tank. We must be clean people!
Around the corner are the remaining eight locks of the flight. They are close together and we couldn’t see anyone coming down. We’d gone up the first two and I was setting the third when Jan called out advising a boat had appeared at the bottom. We decided to wait for Nick & Anne on nb Down the Hatch to catch up. With two experienced crews the locks went much faster.
Anne mentioned Nick used to read the blog. However Nick told me he only looked at the photos (must be some Australian blood there!). Actually Nick told me he used to look at the blog when he was trapped in an office. I can relate to that having done the same thing for two years waiting for retirement.
Nick & Anne on NB Down the Hatch.
We met a single handed boater coming down at lock five and then a second boat at the top lock. Fifteen minutes later a working boat selling fuel appeared travelling in the opposite direction. I enquired about some diesel (we like to support working boats) but was told he had no diesel for boats?????
Work on the arm at Willow Wren appears to be continuing. We wonder if they intend to develop it into a marina?
nb Down the Hatch turned into Ventnor Farm Marina whilst we continued on to Calcutt Bottom Lock.
There was a strong cross wind below the lock landing and opposite the entrance to Calcutt Marina.
Jan went up to the lock where there was a crew attempting to lock down and turn into the Marina. They were struggling because the wind kept blowing them against the towpath. I cheated and used the bow thruster to get off the edge.However I still “crabbed” into all three locks. The water level in the pounds between the locks was a good 18” down.
We stopped cruising for the day above the top lock and spent the afternoon tending to a few chores. It turned out to be a good decision as there was light rain mid-afternoon.