Supportive. 15th May

Bridge 41 to Former Bascote Railway Bridge 26A

Time of departure was checked this morning with our neighbours, the boat between us had already departed before 8am, we’d not be so early! It was decided to see how I fared at the locks, crossing lock beams with a wobbly head was not on the cards so that would be left to Graeme.

As we passed through Leamington Spa I waved to old work colleagues who live close to Europa Way Bridge. The murals here have been changed, the kingfisher that had been tagged is now a seagull and the not so hot painting on the side of the steps is now a rather good wolf. Unfortunately there was no time to slowly walk up to take a look at the new mural influenced by Alphonse Mucha, next time I will definitely go and find it. Leamington Mural Festival is worth stopping to take a look at if you have the time, sadly we didn’t.

The moorings at Radford Smelly were busy as ever, there feels to be more boats here, most probably due to the landslip near Brinklow. I wonder if the Hillmorton Locks will hold the record for most used lock on the system this year?

Diving helmet

In the parking area below Radford Bottom Lock there were lots of vans, men in high-vis. There were pipes laid along the floor and the divers helmet gave away their purpose. Bridges are being surveyed along the Grand Union today, we’d forgotten about it having other things to concern us, but luckily we’d come across them as they were finishing up here and moving on to the next location.

A boat was just coming down in the lock, nicely resetting it for us. Just enough time to dispose of rubbish before entering the chamber. Only opening one gate at the lock meant ending up on the wrong side to get back onto Oleanna, but with both boats stopping just above the top gates I could walk across the sterns, far better than crossing the gates for me today.

Sunny jolly day

We pulled in for NB Lottie Jane to fill with water at Fosse Wharf and for us to dispose of yellow water. A cuppa was had along with some date slice Clare had made whilst the hose filled their tank. One boat came down and another two went past us heading uphill, oh well we’d be resetting the locks now. Well that’s what we thought, but both boats ahead of us pulled over for a lunch break so we could carry on.

At Wood Lock there was activity. The lock having started to refill itself was still in our favour and the crew set it for us and opened the gates. Time to have a chat as our boats arrived and worked uphill. One boat was a hire boat with a lovely Doberman Rottweiler cross, the other had been planning on a trip to Cambridge, but due to Salters Lode being silted up they have decided to do the Warwickshire ring hoping that they’ll be able to head to the Great Ouse later in the year.

HS2 is progressing. Huge mounds of earth to the north of the canal, a pile driver busy here getting the supports in place. There was a bird kite flitting about in the wind, was this here to assist the crane driver with the wind direction?

Now to Bascote. As the boats entered the bottom lock I looked up ahead. Oh blimey the next pound looked to be down by at least three feet! Would there be enough water to get us over the cill. Mick explained to Clare that if she couldn’t get out of the lock it would be best to reverse back into it until the level could be sorted. Mick led the way, we reckoned Oleanna would have the deeper draught of the two boats. Sticking to the middle Oleanna got about two thirds of the way across the pound slowly, then stopped, aground.

Very low pound and Lottie Jane stuck for a while

The next lock was already empty, so I opened a top paddle and let some water down. Thankfully the wave lifted Oleanna just enough so she could carry on. However the wave pushed Lottie Jane’s bow over, pushing her stern onto the mud. Clare let the wind help, pushing the bow back once the water had calmed, a supportive shove from Graeme also helped to get the stern off and we were on our way again, thankfully without having to let too much water down.

Safely in the bottom of the staircase

Bascote staircase was set ready for us, meaning one of the two chambers must leak. In came the boats and up they came, the middle paddles taking quite some winding! We were soon up the top, below I could see the next boats arriving, hope they’d looked ahead and seen the low pound, at least they’d have our lock full of water to add to it.

Nice house

The lock cottage is under offer. What a nice cottage, with a mooring! Click the photo for details. I think I’d have plumped my sofa cushions up for the photos though.

Time to find a mooring. Once through Bascote Bridge 27 we decided to pull in. We normally pull up on the aqueduct, but with so many boats about we opted for the first mooring big enough for two boats. Plenty of room when we arrived, but within a couple of hours we’d been joined by several more boats.

He he!

Tilly had four hours and made pretty good use of them. They kept chatting to the Kwiwis and distracting my self catering attempts! An afternoon followed of sussing out how to embroider crotchets, minims will come tomorrow.

Pair 20

During the day I’d received an email from a lady at Dementia UK thanking me for my fund raising. So far I’ve raised £885 which is brilliant as that will cover the cost of a 12 week training course for a new Admiral Nurse, developing their dementia expertise so that families at breaking point receive the tailored support they desperately need. Thank you to everyone who has donated so far. There are still more pairs available for sponsorship!

Snugburys chilled medication

10 locks, 5.9 miles, 1 missed mural, 1 deep canal diver, HS2, 4 cuppas, 4 hours! 2 supportive crew, 0 widebeam in Leamington, 2 scoops, 1 Mrs Tilly stamp of approval.