Cape of Good Hope to Hatton Top Lock
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
We’d entered the bottom lock at 11:12 and exited the top at 13:37, 2 hours 25 minutes. Not bad.
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.