Saturday, 8 December 2007

December Cruise - Part Three

Day Four - Tuesday 4 December

We left our moorings at Cape Locks at 9.30, and made two brief stops in Warwick: one at Kate Boats for a bag of coal, and one at Tesco for a new bucket (to replace one that's leaked the whole time we've had a share in Debdale). In Leamington, we had a huge piece of clear polythene hooked on the rudder. We got it off with the boat hook and kept it on board so it didn't make its way back into the water. But things still didn't seem right, so when we stopped for lunch below Radford Bottom Lock, Adrian had a look down the weed hatch and found a lot more polythene wrapped round the prop. Fortunately it wasn't hard to get off. After lunch, we set off up the locks, sharing just one (and that was with a single handed boater).

At one point, two British Waterways boats were coming towards us. The front one appeared to have no-one steering, and only moved over at the last minute. It turned out to what looked like a floating generator being pushed by a little tug boat, who's steerer couldn't see over the top of it. As it passed, he mouthed an apology. We thought it might have been better if he'd been towing rather than pushing, or let the other boat go in front.

The last locks of the day were the Bascote Locks, including the staircase pair. It's the only staircase on the Grand Union.

We moored for the night just past Bridge 27, as the wind got up, and admired the sunset.

9 miles, 12 locks (21,34)

Day Five - Wednesday 5 December

It had turned into a wild night with strong winds and heavy downpours. But by the time we set off at around 9.30 it had cleared up (although it was still breezy). We went up two locks, then stopped for water at Blue Lias. As we filled up, two Kate Boats came past bound for their base at Warwick, having had their bottoms blacked at Stockton Top. Apparently two more boats were on their way in the opposite direction, and the two crews would swap when they met half way.

The Stockton Locks were done quickly as they were all in our favour. We passed just one boat coming the other way. We'd been asked to moor ourside Stockton Top, ready for a pump out and diesel. The straight edge isn't quite long enough, so the stern was sticking out a bit as we tied up. It was at this point that Adrian fell in. He'd been taking the stern rope back to the boat when I heard a yell and a splash. He wasn't hurt, but the coldness of the water had come as a bit of a shock. A hot shower was in order.

We cleaned the boat, had lunch on board, before packing and heading home (through very heavy rain). The marina was pretty full, despite many OwnerShips boats being at Braunston for their winter maintenance.

2 miles, 10 locks (23, 44)

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