Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Ey up chief, locks!

Sorry about that, I watched the last episode of The Guy That Boat Built on iplayer last night… I‘ve actually quite enjoyed the series, not much boating but good fun.

But it was a bit of a rarity to be working down a flight of locks. The last ones we did were the 3 at Hillmorton, 3 weeks ago.

We had about an hour to cruise before getting to the top of the flight, and although the canal runs through fine countryside there are reminders of it’s industrial origins every so often.

Old quarry and wharf near Bridge 35.

On the opposite side of the canal is the give-away. Stoneleigh Quarry Farm.

Up on the slope to the left is a small wood with a haze of bluebells just starting to show.

Bluebell Wood

We arrived at Atherstone Top Lock at around 11:00, behind a single-hander waiting for a boat coming up.

Atherstone Top Lock

As we had a few minutes to wait we shifted across the small basin to fill with water and empty a loo tank and the rubbish. Well, we managed 2 out of 3. Some herbert had half-inched the fittings off the taps, so I couldn’t connect the water hose. Beggers belief, doesn’t it. A local boater told me he’d reported the problem to BW, the last time 10 days ago. Apparently they’re waiting for the parts. No B&Q or Plumb Centre around here, then.

Anyway, we got in the top lock at around 11:30, and had a slowish trip down, inevitable really, following a guy on his own. I helped him out by closing the bottom gates after he’d left, but it was still slow going till he pulled over for lunch below Lock 7.

We were in no rush though, so it didn’t matter.

Looking across the Anker valley from Lock 8

We had an easier time of it after he’d stopped, being able to take advantage of locks left full by boats coming up.

Leaving the bottom lock.

We made a stop at Bradley Green Bridge to top the water up (this tap is intact) then pulled over a short distance after.

It’s been bright and sunny, but we’ve had a cold NW wind. We’ll be stopping here tomorrow, there’s rain and wind due overnight and through the day. No point in getting wet if we don’t need to…..

Locks 11, miles 4½

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