Wednesday, February 19, 2014

A good morning for a spot of windlass winding.

The overnight rain cleared and this morning was bright and sunny. I made a quick trip to the local Co-op to top up the fresh veg, then we were away at just before 11:00.

A fine start to the day
The top five of the Atherstone Locks are all fairly close together, starting just around the corner from where we’d moored.

Lock 5, looking into the bright sunshine

A boat had dropped down the flight maybe an hour before, and whether they’d had a problem here I don’t know, but for whatever reason the pound between L5 and L4 was quite low.
Mags stuck to the middle of the channel, dead slow, but still ran aground just outside Lock 4. A quick squirt of power scraped the bottom over the mud, though, and she was in the chamber.

Between Locks 5 and 4. You can see from the bank that the pound is low.SAM_8334
Walkers taking advantage of the pleasant springlike weather had told us of a boat coming down; interrogation of a runner coming up had told us of an absence of boats coming up behind, so I saved myself (and the downhill crew) a job and left the top gates open.

The gates of Lock 6 weren’t the only ones replaced this year…SAM_8336

We passed the first boat down below lock 2, then another below Lock 1. SAM_8339
All going swimmingly…

That’s it, top lock after less than 40 minutes.SAM_8341
The icing on the cake was another boat arriving just as the top lock was filling. I’d not had to close a top gate on any lock.

The lock-cottage here was occupied by a full-time lock-keeper until a couple of years ago. He was very possessive of his locks but took very good care of them too. Woe betide anyone who treated them badly…
He was also an amateur weatherman. At this time of year, posted on the shed door, would be his prediction, month by month, for the year ahead. Miss that, now.

All the locks have disused side ponds. Apart from the top one. Not it’s original purpose, mind….  
….now a waterfowl nursery!

We had a gentle cruise from the locks, winding around the lumps and bumps leading up to the high ground on the right. I had a couple of phone calls to make, as we cruised along, and before I realised we were passing Hartshill Yard, maintenance depot for waterways craft, built soon after the canal.

Hartshill YardSAM_8349

We pulled in just beyond Bridge 31, the delightfully named Apple Pie Lane Bridge. That’s what I forgot from the shop this morning, Bramleys for a pie! Damn!

We’ll stay put tomorrow, I reckon. We’re due for some more rain and wind, I hear. Still, we’ve had two consecutive good days so can’t complain.

Thanks for the comments re the bulkhead thingy. Gary, Della, nope not a chippy, just an engineer who likes to keep busy… Should see you at some point in the next weeks.
Carol, looking forward to April. Bet you are too! Hope we can be there for the big event!

Locks 5, miles 3.

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