Beardy Crew. 29th December

Cape of Good Hope to Hatton Top Lock

Josh’s odd feet!

On Saturday morning after breakfast the London Leckenbys headed back to London town. This had always been the plan, but they left early as their house alarm had been triggered overnight. It must have been a faulty sensor or a busy spider as the house was fine when they returned. Plans are in the making for us all to meet up in York this summer, here’s hoping the Ouse plays along.

All quiet again

The rest of the day we filled with water and pottered about allowing Tilly freedom of the bank next to the boat.


Sunday morning and a spot of baking was needed. A batch of biscuits were shown the oven and the stuffing for sausage rolls was put together for later in the day. At around 10.30 two figures climbed over the gates of the lock behind us with a large suitcase. This was my old college friend Mike and his partner Chris.

Five or so years ago they helped us climb up Stoke Bruerne Locks and had expressed interest in helping out at flights of locks. We’ve not managed to get our acts together for sometime but with Hatton on the cards and Chris having spent Christmas with his Mum in Solihull a plan just neatly fell into place.

We’d last seen them in Camden when Oleanna was new, so it was lovely to spend some time with them again. Cuppas were turned down and we headed straight towards the flight. At Budbrooke Junction we turned right, the stern of NB Hadar just visible down the Saltisford Arm.

Will they all be empty?

As the bottom lock came into view so did a boat, just pulling out of the lock. Would all the locks be in our favour? We hoped so.


Mike and Chris hadn’t worked paddle gear like this before and were a touch rusty on how to do things. So a chat through and demonstration were given. By the time Oleanna had risen in the second lock we could adjust our method a touch, with only one gate needed to enter or exit the locks people could be used elsewhere sooner.

First lock ascended

By the time the locks were getting closer together we had got into a rhythm with one person heading on to the next lock whilst the other two wound paddles, opened and closed gates to bring Oleanna up. We quickly became an efficient team. Sadly Tilly still hasn’t learnt how to make tea which would have been nice with one of my biscuits halfway up the flight.

Heading up

There were plenty of people out walking the flight. Many making obvious comments about the number of locks we’d got left to do. At a couple of locks I managed to get keen and eager kids to help with gates, one young lad managing to move a gate all by himself.

Looking up the thick of the flight

No boats came down and most of the locks were in our favour, just a couple had refilled themselves and a few just needed leveling out again before the bottom gate could be opened. The sun was out so as we worked our way up hill layers could come off as we generated our own heat.

St Mary’s Church visible down in Warwick

We’d entered the bottom lock at 11:12 and exited the top at 13:37, 2 hours 25 minutes. Not bad.

Last lock of the day in the sunshine

There was plenty of rubbish to dispose of and the water tank got topped up again whilst I made sausage rolls for our now worn our crew for a late lunch. Mick moved us along to a mooring. We’d hoped to reach Rowington for the views today, but it would have been dusk by the time we got there.

The Hatton Arms, just down the way would stop serving food at 6pm which would be a touch early for us. So we decided to stay put, let the incessantly protesting Tilly out and I popped a chicken stew on the stove for us to enjoy later.

The evening was spent catching up on news of fellow college friends and major critiques of Dr Who and His Dark Materials amongst other TV programmes.

21 locks, 2.88 miles, 1 right, 1 boat down, 2 beardy chaps, 2 hrs 25mins, 8 sausage rolls, 8 biscuits, 7 joints of chicken, 1 annoying second mate, 1 battery removed.

3 thoughts on “Beardy Crew. 29th December

  1. jennie230

    Our Hatton record was 2.25 hours, but that was a very very long time ago! We were moving Cleddau for Sue and Ken from near Milton Keynes to Cropredy via Stratford! We were going down with another boat – we would have been in our late forties, but they were probably some 20 years younger than we were. We even had time for me to dive into the garage near the bottom for much needed ‘iced medication’ all round! Your time is a great one and one I am sure we will never get anywhere near again!
    We are planning on going to York this summer, but then we were last year and never got there, so who knows?!
    Wishing you both and Tilly a Very Happy and Healthy New Year. Jennie, Chris and Monty xx

    1. pipandmick Post author

      It certainly beats our record for the longest time, which was our last time at Hatton on NB Lillyanne. 46hrs 34mins. Mick single handed it as Tilly and I sat below nursing my broken ankle. It also coincided with Storm Doris, so we had a day stationary half way down.
      Hope to see you in York or maybe Ripon next summer. Happy New Year

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