Flapjack Pause. 11th May

Rowington Embankment to Cape of Good Hope visitor moorings

An amateur attempt

Late last night Mick looked out of the side hatch, would there be anything of the solar flare to see? It was worth going outside as there was something going on. Across to the north there were visible stripes like rays of sun on a cloudy day. Then to the west the sky was obviously red.

Sunrise was an easier photo to take

Only having my phone to hand set on night mode the photos I took were far from spectacular but did show the red up quite well. This is the first time I’ve seen such a thing, Mick having been to Norway BP (before Pip) has seen the full works.

Bye Chris, see you somewhere sometime

This morning everyone was getting ready for the off. NB Pip was the first to leave, Chris would catch them up before they ascend Knowle Locks. It had been good to have a catch up with Chris and maybe our paths will cross again later this year, he’s headed for the Lancaster Canal. We waved goodbye to his webcam as we pulled away, NB Lottie Jane following on behind us.

Lottie Jane following into the dark

The sun was out sun screen and shorts required for our day of working down Hatton Locks. Shrewley Tunnel was execptionally wet today, we’d not bothered with waterproofs, our damp soggyness would soon dry off in the sunshine.

Top Lock

We’d already been passed this morning by a couple of boats, a single hander and a hire boat, so unless we met lots coming up most locks would need resetting. Graeme and I were to be the locking crew, leaving Mick and Clare at the helm. NB Lottie Jane entered the top lock at 10:53. With paddles raised I walked down to the next lock to set it and open gates.

One, twenty to go!

At the top of the flight there are plenty of gongoozlers, so an extra pair of hands to open and close gates. At lock 43 by the C&RT welcome station a volunteer came out to help with the gates and paddles, could this mean we’d have a volunteer to help us? I chatted to him across the lock, there was one Lock Keeper on duty this morning and she’d headed down the flight with the single hander.

Turning to face the thick of the flight

Graeme and I leapfrogged each other, occasionally lifting a paddle or closing a gate as the two boats descended. Last year we’d managed to team up with a hire boat for the flight and had a welcome extra pair of hands from Jane, a friend of a friend. Having four crew made for an easy trip down the locks, with only two today it would be harder work.

The sunshine made for a pleasant trip down, good views to St Mary’s Church. We passed a single boat part way down the thick of the flight. Then a pair of boats a bit lower required a do-ci-do in the intermediate pound.

Below Lock 37 there is a slightly longer pound and with the locks switching over to the right hand side of the canal there is a handy place to pull in. Time for a flapjack pause. Slices of Lemon Drizzle from Wedges came from NB Lottie Jane and the Quality Street tin from Oleanna a fresh batch of apple flapjack made last night. As we had a well earned rest the volunteer Lock Keeper was walking back up the flight. She’d helped the single hander down another four or five locks, most probably until they become a touch more spaced out. She chatted away and as she’d been working hard was offered some flapjack.

Setting off again

Time to crack on down the flight. As we started on the next lock a Mum and three kids arrived and asked if they could help. Most certainly, they even had their own windlasses! Extra crew to help open and close gates.

Extra crew for a few locks

The paddle gear maybe a little bit heavy for them. At the second lock they helped, I offered the use of my long reach windlass to the young chap, mum shouting from across the lock ‘Don’t let go!’. He managed to lift the paddle and then lower it again when the time came. They were keen and wanted to help more, so came on down to the next lock too. Maybe the locks were now a touch too far apart, maybe the attention span of the kids ran out, they now headed back up the thick of the flight. Have to say I was a little bit relieved they didn’t come to the next lock as laying in the grass was a dead deer, antlers and flies having a good feast.

Being overtaken

Graeme and I now leapfrogged each other down the remaining locks, each working one lock, opening one bottom gate for the boats to exit through whilst the other went on ahead to set the next lock. The distances between locks now that bit further, only one boat coming up the flight towards us.

At the bottom however a couple of boats were heading towards the lock, we could leave the gates open and just step back onboard below. Exit time 14:20. 3 hours 7 minutes taking off 20 minutes for the flapjack pause. Not a record breaking descent, but not bad considering we only had two crew.

At last an afternoon of shore leave!

A turn at Saltisford Junction, then a zoom in on the camera to see if there was enough space for two boats at the 48 hour moorings. It looked good. Here we could let Tilly out, plenty of friendly cover and sideways trees to keep her busy. Time for a chilled afternoon before crossing over the lock for a meal this evening. A booked table at the Cape of Good Hope was most definatly a good idea as it was pretty busy.

Damn I missed Clare out

Another very pleasant evening with Graeme and Clare as we tucked into our Kiwi Burgers, Bangers and Mash and Ham and Eggs. Thank you for your company.

Then we sat down to watch the points come in at the Eurovision Song Contest. Somehow we manage to do this most years, having not see or heard any of the songs. Some of the costumes in the green room (or what ever they call it) were really rather elaborate, I suspect Ireland’s song wasn’t a gentle ballard!

21 locks, 5.7 miles, 1 left, 2 boats northbound, 2 boats southbound, 4 boats passed, 1 dripping tunnel, 0.5 tin of flapjack consumed, 2 burgers, 3 sausages, 1 ham and eggs, 4 pooped boaters, 1 happy cat, 1 Mrs Tilly stamp of approval.


2 thoughts on “Flapjack Pause. 11th May

  1. Clare L Henderson

    It was a great day, and so well described by you Pip. You write very well. Thankyou so much for letting us share the locks with you and for giving of your expertise. We loved thd day, evdn if you have done them fadter! Clare and Graeme

    1. Pip Post author

      You also helped with reducing our calorie intake too! Only one piece left of flapjack now.


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