Plane, Santa And Trefoil. 21st June

Radford Smelly to between Bascote Bridge 27 and Former Railway Bridge 26A

A few boats had been on the move this morning before we got going, so we suspected we’d be following uphill boats. We pootled to the first lock which was just about full. A jolly chap from Chorley (well that’s where his boat suggested he was from) was very grateful that I opened the gate for him and lifted the paddle, all whilst Mick disposed of our rubbish at the bins.

Cheery Chorley Chappie

Yesterday we’d planned to reach this next pound where there are clearings in the woods alongside the towpath, but time had got away from us. Maybe next time.

The next lock was also full and a boat just arriving, soon followed by their partner. We came up alone, still no-one in sight behind. Our third lock was empty so we could head straight in, as I wound a paddle up two more boats appeared from above to make use of the lock as soon as we left.

Bow decoration

Yesterday we’d not finished filling with water and our yellow water was in need of disposal. But as the water point came into view it was already occupied, by an uphill boat. Dilemma! Should we wait to use the elsan and water point, or team up with them for the next locks. They were just rolling up their hose, we went ahead to set the lock and wait for them.

The modern trefoil

NB Tuptonia is a Girl Guides boat, we’d seen it at Lapworth at the weekend, a young crew on hand learning the ropes. Today however there were seven adults on board, two trainers, 3 novices and two people were being assessed to be skippers. All of a sudden we were mob handed.

I walked between Wood Lock and Welsh Road Lock chatting to Karen one of the trainers. She is currently awaiting the launch of a new boat built by Ortomarine, very exciting. We chatted bathrooms, gallies and toilets etc.

The redundant conveyor

The HS2 crossing wasn’t as impressive as when we last came through. The temporary bridge, possibly a conveyor belt over the canal, is now laying redundant in a field and there are just big banks of earth on both sides of the cut.

Leaving together

We carried on working up the locks, Mick was guaranteed to tell those at the helm that he used to be a Brownie, his Mum having been a Brown Owl when he was young.

Sorry I didn’t get anyone else’s name, Karen in pink

At Bascote I went ahead to set the last lock before the staircase, but suspected I should hold back when it came to the two rise. Here skippers were under assessment, photographic evidence was required for their reports. Everything went as it should, top chamber full, bottom empty, then the two boats were worked up with the many turns of windlasses.

We’d now reached the pound we’d been aiming for today, should we crack on with our locking partners or give Tilly a good afternoon of shore leave. We decided to stop, pulling in short of where we normally moor on the aqueduct at Long Itchington. Here the towpath is still more rural, after the next bridge it has had a make over suitable for cyclists.

Not quite the full crew

NB Tuptonia carried on, hoping to rise up the Stockton flight today as they are on a mission to relocate the boat to Weedon for the next seven weeks. Here it will be hired out to all sorts of groups not just guides and scouts. We hope that there are two new Skippers by the end of the trip and that it isn’t too much of a squeeze getting through all the historic boats at Braunston. We also look forward to meeting with Karen on her new boat sometime in the future.

I’m busy! Go away!!

Tilly headed off into the friendly cover. Stop distracting me I’m busy! Rule 1 was broken yet again and part way through the afternoon she decided to compare our new neighbours boat to Oleanna. No going on other boats! Rule 4 broken! At least she didn’t stick her head through their curtain to have a good look!

The drawing board came out again and another three sheets of panto drawings were updated.

Click on photo for recipe

Quinoa smoked salmon and camembert quiche for dinner tonight, yum!

10 locks, 4.5 miles, 7 shared, 1 busier canal than of late, 7 crew, 0 chilled medication at Welsh Road Lock, 0 water top up, 20 litres yellow water mellowing, 1 quiche, 2 1m x 2m rostra, 1 friend! 1 Mrs Tilly stamp of approval, 1 not very popular cat!

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