Seend Bottom Lock 17 to Caen Hill Bottom Lock 29
A slow start this morning, no alarm, a cuppa in bed and a slow breakfast. We were just starting to get ourselves together when we heard a boat above the lock, someone was about to empty it for us. Mick headed outside to start rolling back the covers and met a lady walking towards the lock with a windlass, there was a boat coming that we could join to go up the locks. Great timing all round.
We got ourselves ready and joined NB Chapman’s Rusty a hire boat in the lock. There was a crew of four and it was their first narrowboat holiday. Yesterday they had been through two locks today they would be doing a lot more.
As we started at the first lock the rain started. We’d hoped we’d missed the worst of it whilst having breakfast and maybe we had. Showers came and went meaning it was worth keeping waterproofs on all the way up the locks.
When asking our lock companions where they were from we’d expected somewhere like Shenzhen or Beijing not Bristol and Weston Supermare! Lynn and Janet are sisters and their other halves Steve and Kai were enthusiastic locking partners. It being their first time on a boat was obvious at times, but we have all been there. The chaps stayed on board and the ladies worked the locks. After a few locks I felt I could walk ahead to set the next lock and leave them to close up after the boats.
After five locks we had two swing bridges and then both boats pulled in to fill with water. Steve and Kai had been looking down the side of their boat puzzled as the shower gulper pumped out the water, I left them to work it out.
We chatted to the chaps, would they like to share the next seven locks with us, the bottom locks below Caen Hill. The decision was left to the ladies and they chose to accompany us. So we left them filling with water and headed to the locks.
The bottom chamber was empty but we loitered on the lock landing until their blue boat came into view, enough time to finish drinking our cuppas.
Kai joined the crew on the ground, so there were four of us working the locks, leaving Steve and Mick to bring the boats into the locks. The ladies by now had got the hang of windlasses and when to lift paddles, Kai had a little bit of catching up to do, but after the rest of the locks he’d got the hang of it.
The third lock looked like it was full, it was with the top gates wide open. I walked ahead to set it, noticing the next lock was the same, we were following someone leaving the gates. Soon I could see a chap on a bike stopping and closing gates, he was either a kind soul or had just come up the locks and was closing up behind him.
Crew were sent ahead and instructed that if nobody was coming down to empty the lock and open the gates. There was a little confusion over this but we got there in the end. After the seven locks we were at the bottom of the main flight at Caen Hill. The locks are now on winter hours and locked up at 1pm. So even if we wanted to carry on up we couldn’t.
Both boats moored up and arranged to set off early in the morning to climb the locks together, taking advantage of them all being left empty overnight.
Arriving later than we’d thought we let the cat out and sat down to a late lunch of the last of the pasties I’d brought home. I can recommend the cheese and leek ones.
At around four thirty we had a couple of visitors arrive, Duncan and Tilly. Tilly was very excited to be coming to see our boat and to meet Tilly, who of course was out finding friends. There was a full guided tour, well as full as a
four five year old would be interested in. I was told she didn’t like our bedroom because it was too dark, I soon sorted that by opening the curtains.
Dreamies time. But hang on! How can this be Tilly?! I am Tilly. This was all a bit confusing I had to have a couple of drinks to help it compute. That didn’t help. I decided that being in the outside might help. She made me wait though so that I could be in a photo with everyone, apparently I wasn’t being very helpful!
Duncan and I tried our best to get photos of the two Tillys together, the best one I got was with a window between them both. I decided that it was maybe best to stay outside and avoid any more photo calls, returning home well past dark time. She and Tom didn’t seem too pleased with me.
12 locks, 3.25 miles, 2 swing bridges, 0 held up, 4 novices on a boat, 1 full water tank, 1 damp day, 0 work done, 3 teas, 1 apple juice, 1 handful of raisins, 2 Tillys, 2 greats, 8pm!