Past Curfew! 27th April

Radford Smelly to Bascote Aqueduct

I’d rather not thanks!

Our morning routine obviously doesn’t match anyone else’s. Some boats were away before us and others were still pottering before setting off, which meant we’d be without a locking partner for the day, Oh well!

As we headed towards Radford Bottom Lock we passed a boat towing another, the lady didn’t slow down any and her boat made quite a list as we passed. Maybe this was just the water being sucked from beneath or there was an object below the water line that made her boat rear up.

Swapping with the heritage boat

A chap sat by the bottom gate of the lock, windlass on the paddle gear, the lock full, top gate open, waiting, but no boat in sight. We disposed of rubbish at the bins by which time his boat arrived, an Anglo Welsh Heritage Class. We’ve not seen one of these before, hardly surprising as there are currently only two of them on the system.

A grey day with layers required, working locks would get us warm but the cruise between them would keep us chilly.

Brake on

We worked our way up the first three locks and then trod water whilst a boat ahead was just finishing at the Fosse Road water point, we then pulled in to fill our tank setting the washing machine going hoping to catch the first rinse. But the pressure there was so good the tank was filled in no time. Another boat arrived squeezing in in front of us, their relief on being able to empty their toilet cassettes obvious.

The locks are spaced out along here, some looking like a new coat of paint wouldn’t go amiss, others looking like a new beam might also be required soon!

The temporary bridge

We paused for lunch a little after Fosse Top Lock, the noise from the HS2 works just audible. Once up Wood Lock we could see where the red earth has been moved and carved through to make way for the new track and just after Longhole Bridge a new bridge spans the canal.

On the southern bank large slabs of concrete have been laid as foundations for a new bridge. Certainly plenty going on. Welsh Road Bridge has traffic lights, a set just for the lock cottage. The only traffic today was lorries going back and forth with soil and rubble.

Lock ahead!

Now Bascote came into view, two single locks followed by a staircase of two. With no one coming down we had them to ourselves. I’d start a lock filling and then walk ahead to get the next one ready as Mick closed up behind.

Mick bringing Oleanna out of the lock

The staircase requires setting with the top chamber full and the bottom one empty no matter which way you are travelling. Somehow they were almost set for us, the top full and the bottom almost empty, this meant either two boats had shuffled round each other (one going up, the other down) or the gates leaked! We think it was the latter.

Rising in the bottom chamber

Once in the bottom chamber I lifted a middle paddle. Normally 20ish turns does the job, but here it took more like 40. The other difference with this lock is that so far Oleanna had been held to the side with the incoming water in all the locks (raising the paddle on the same side as your boat), but here she drifted across the chamber and then back again.

Leaky gates might be keeping the top chamber full

We were soon onto the longer pound and heading for our preferred mooring on the aqueduct away from the road and pubs. Tilly was given a couple of hours shore leave, which now that she has her freshly stamped passport she totally ignored, returning an hour and a half after cat curfew and me turning into the mad cat lady!

I wonder what’s down here, I may be some time!

10 locks, 4.76 miles, 0 locking buddies, 1 temporary bridge, 1 huge lot of earth works, 1 full water tank, 1 preferred mooring, 1 cat out after curfew!