Embankment Congregation. 10th May

Bridge 14, Stratford Canal to Rowington Embankment, Grand Union Canal

No relaxing in bed this morning, there were miles to cover and locks to work. Just ahead of us and a little bit quicker at getting away this morning was a hire boat. A stool and music stand to aid the helm. On the music stand was an enlarged version of a Pearsons guide, laminated and clipped on so it wouldn’t blow away.

Boat cat

We followed and pulled in at Lady Lane Wharf to top up on deisel, we’d hoped we’d be able to buy some more charcoal from them as we did last year. It was very cheap and good stuff, but this had been a one off sadly so we’ll have to restock by other means.

Pootling along under the tree cover was very pleasant, plenty of blasts of reverse needed as the lack of depth meant we had the potential to pick things up on the prop.

Up ahead in a dappled spot a blue boat, no sign writing. We always look carefully at such boats because it could just be….. The licence in the window faded but ……. Blue, then a person busy doing the washing up……. it was! Graeme on NB Misty Blue!

Graemes back

We pulled in for a chat and a catch up, we’d last seen him in Thrupp last year. He has plans for later in the year which sounded interesting, maybe we might want to join him? Maybe! As ever it was lovely to see the man who can’t help but smile, just too early in the day to stop for longer, after all we’d only just got started.

Fancy meeting you here!

Now the two lift bridges, time to flex those muscles, the first one a doddle to wind up, but winding it back down took far more effort. The second one goes on and on forever.

Not very Narniaesque today

Narnia Lock (Lapworth Top Lock), one of our favourites. I managed to get a photo from a different angle today, it may just end up being a painting.

For Sale on the Lapworth flight, click photo for details

The first four locks of Lapworth are spaced out and by the time we reached the bottom two boats were coming towards us. NB Hunky Dory that had been at the Electric Boat Show, because of the landslip on the North Oxford their lock count to get there had risen from 40 locks each way to 120, quite a lot of effort for a couple of days at the show.

After Lock 5 we paused, hammering in spikes, for lunch. On a normal trip this way this would be an overnight stop, but not today much to Tilly’s disgust.

Obligatory photo

Now to the flight proper, another fifteen narrow locks all down hill. No uphill boats to swap with, photo opportunities, no volunteers. We soon got into our rythmn. I’d open up a lock, walk down to the next one to set it whilst Mick brought Oleanna in, close the top gate and a paddle, he’d then lift a bottom paddle and return to the helm, as I walked back up to lift the second paddle and open the gates. Mick then closes the off side gate with a boat hook.

At the bottom of the thick of the flight

Then it’s repeat, until there are no more locks.

We made good progress. A boat was filling it’s water tank so no stopping there to do ours, down we continued. Taking the left hand lock towards the Grand Union I spied the nice new paintwork on NB Red Wharf, very smart.

Twit twoo! Nice paint job

Right onto the Grand Union, locks finished for the day, we just hoped the water point at Tom O The Woods would be free, it was. As the tank filled I had a shower, so that there would be enough hot water for Mick to also have one later when we’d moored up for the day.

Last Lock of the day done

Now there was a race on for moorings. This morning NB Lottie Jane had moved to the embankment above Rowington, our rendez vous point. Also we’d heard from Chris The Pink Hat Man, he was working his way up Hatton today teamed up with a hire boat. We’d checked Chris’s webcam at various points during the day to check on their progress. It had been good and topped off with a pint before they set off towards the embankment. Would we get there first? Clare and Graeme had been primmed that they may not hear Chris arriving, but they’d certainly see him!

I wonder if that pink boat has pink food inside?

NB Lottie Jane sat on the prime mooring on the embankment, a boat arrived just infront of us, pipped us to the next best spot, we pulled up infront. Our ropes were just about secured and Tilly given shore leave when up ahead NB Elektra came into view followed by NB Pip the hire boat Chris was travelling with. All four boats managed to moor up together. Introductions crossing three continents, then it was time for tea.

What a good name for a boat!

Out came the chairs and conversation over a cuppa and a slice of cake whilst Tilly checked out the friendly cover close by. That pheasant didn’t really want to come and play! Then we had a tour of NB Elektra, I impressed myself that my socks matched the interior colour scheme, just as pink as the exterior. It was very good to finally see his boat in person, Mick and Chris have known each other since their teenage years and we’ve followed his travels over the last couple of years. If you’d like to follow him cruising he quite often has a live feed via youtube. Just a webcam, slow tv from your armchair. We quite often tune in to have a guess at where he might be.

Time to settle down for the evening. So we all retired to our boats for food and the comfort of our sofas. I also had a bit of melting, mixing and baking to do ready for tomorrow and the Hatton flight.

19 locks, 8.4 miles, 1 leftish, 1 right, 2 lift bridges, 66 litres, 0 charcoal, 1 music stand, 2 Graemes, 1 rendez vous, 4 boats, 1 Mrs Tilly stamp, but please could I have another three days here!

https://maps.app.goo.gl/rTa9rGpZQDkwbVaG7

2 thoughts on “Embankment Congregation. 10th May

  1. SAM

    I was wondering if you might clock ‘RW’ on your way through.
    Yes John the Paint (John Sanderson) has done a lovely job. Now we’ve got the job of keeping it that way. We’re signed up for the BCN Challenge at the end of the month. I don’t think passage through the Gosty Tunnel – twice – might be the cleverest of ideas with this object in mind!
    That mooring on Rowington Embankment is one of our favourites, we call it the ‘Picnic Place’. We spent Christmas there a number of years ago.
    Those two lift bridges can be quite, ahem, ‘interesting’ when single handing.
    SAM
    NB ‘Red Wharf’

    Reply
    1. Pip Post author

      Now there’s an idea for next Christmas!
      The paint job does look lovely. We need to properly start thinking about Oleanna and not just hope a repaint will happen.

      Reply

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