Category Archives: Audlem Flight

2023 A Sociable Year

A long post, it’s the annual round up.

January, we sat waiting. Waiting for a new alternator to arrive, for the River Trent to come out of flood and then for the canal to defrost sufficiently for us move. This meant Pip doing work on the boat instead of in the house, this made for smelly days and a very cold workshop under the pram cover.

After almost three weeks we were on the move again having to navigate through thick fog, navigational aids helping us not to bump into the banks! Ahead of us in Yorkshire was a troublesome swing bridge, closed to boat traffic. Our plans had to change, we arranged to moor up in Newark and head back to Scarborough by van. Chin rubs nearly made the longer journey better, but I really don’t like the outside moving SO fast!

Four days later we were back on board, the bridge ahead was now open. Tides were checked, locks booked, cupboards stocked for a few days cruising. Winter cruising can be so so pretty, yet so so chilly. A display by the Red Arrows as we left Torksey kept us amused and a defrost was very welcome when we arrived at Keadby. After four days cruising we were moored up in Goole and walking to catch the train back to Scarborough.

#unit21 in Huddersfield kept Pip occupied for much of February. Then it was time to give the house some TLC in between lodgers. A back bedroom got a makeover just in time. Mick had trips to see Oleanna, a jobs list left with Alastair and the covers headed off for some much needed mending. Tilly was kept busy checking out the neighbours, they stay inside so I get free reign of their outside!

April arrived along with two lodgers, it was not possible to do more work on the house, Pip chose to knit socks instead. Dementia UK her chosen charity this year. Donations of yarn came from dyers and Pip’s needles started to click away, keeping up with requests. 15 pairs knitted and her target met.

May, visits were made to Oleanna preparing her for cruising, these were interspersed with visits from family, delivering socks, getting the house ready and starting work on the design for panto. On the 9th of May we loaded a van and returned to life afloat. Tilly the happiest cat once she was back onboard! A day later we set off heading west. Leeds for a few days for Pip to head to Matlock for work and then a wonderful visit to see 93 year old Betty in Harrogate.

Working our way up the Leeds Liverpool Canal, locks and the new stupid swing bridge much lighter work with two boats. Our favourite canal with wonders of the waterways, friends on route, Mick’s birthday and a trip to Bowness to see the latest Ayckbourn play. We managed a night on our favourite mooring on the network sadly it was too windy to enjoy the view with a barbecue.

Up over the top, we teamed up with NB That’s It, thankfully descending the Wigan flight in a window between vandalism and blown cills that have hampered the flight this year. Then along the Bridgewater Canal, panto designing whilst on the flat. Through Preston Brook Tunnel and onto the Trent and Mersey turning right onto the Middlewich Branch.

Back on lockdown ‘Home’ waters we cruised the Nantwich pound, 5 hours 13 minutes including a lunch and shopping stop, back in 2020 we’d spent 80 days here. We cruised southwards on the Shropie joined for a day by Carol and George from WB Still Rockin’. Laura and Alison from NB Large Marge joined us for the ascent up the Wolverhampton 21.

Through Bumingham and on to Lapworth and then Hatton where we had an extra pair of hands from Jane, who hopefully now has her own narrowboat. A well deserved burger at the Cape of Good Hope with Emma and David, then a lovely evening with Lizzie (NB Panda) at The Folly, it was turning out to be quite a sociable June.

Oleanna wiggled her way across the summit of the South Oxford, very familiar water to us. Despite the sunny weather and us cruising most days our batteries were not happy, turning themselves off overnight! Diagnosis was required, we pulled into Cropredy Marina to plug in and run tests. One of our three batteries was dead, bad enough but thankfully nothing more. Once a panto meeting had been attended we could move on, except there was an emergency closure at Banbury Lock. C&RT worked hard to get the canal open as quickly as they could, thankfully our hold up wasn’t too long.

We met up with the crews of NB Azzura (Liz and Mark) and NB Perseus (Julie and Simon) both Finesse boats, had a visit to London for Andrew’s birthday. Then had a rendez vous with Paul and Christine and enjoyed a good catch up onboard NB Waterway Routes.

Down to the River Thames where we turned upstream onto waters we’ve only cruised once before. Such a lovely stretch of river, sadly with fewer moorings now. We sped up to Lechlade where we took up residence for a week so that we could attend a get together at Pip’s cousins which coincided with the Royal International Air Tatoo in Fairford. It was great to be with family on a jolly occasion.

Work took over for Pip as we made our way back down stream to Oxford, Cinderella had to go to the ball and the model needed to be finished. Then we sauntered our way back northwards. One day had us meet up with Frankie NB Discovery, NB Dusty the local coal boat and Graeme on NB Misty Blue, it was good to catch up with Graeme and hear of his adventures since we’d seen him last year.

A trip for us both back to Scarborough to do a turn around of lodgers, see a show and pick up post. Mick would have to return the following weekend to swap bedlinen over again, this time by train from Rugby. Stand still budgets and inflation required Pip to do more work on panto so her days were kept busy reducing Cinderella’s carriage from £2000 to £400.

Stoppages around the network meant we had only one real route we could take to head back north. We winded and climbed our way up to the Leicester Section. Here we met up with Ken and Sue NB Cleddau at Houdini’s Field sitting out till way after dark. Then a small detour to Welford to meet up with NB Panda and Lizzie for an evening before we continued our way north.

Another detour to Market Harborough before Leicester where North Lock had a badly leaking cill which required a crew of C&RT chaps to force the bottom gates open, booked passage was required, this meant we got a few days to enjoy the city whilst we awaited our turn.

Sadly by now the lack of water on the Chesterfield Canal meant the top end of the canal was closed, no point in rushing up the River Trent for a return visit. In Nottingham Pip’s little toe had a kerfuffle with a cupboard necessitating a visit to the drop in centre for her little pinkie to be realigned. This meant Pip had to hand the windlass and key of power over to Mick for the last locks of the year.

Downstream on the River Trent, stopping at all our favourite moorings. Pip’s knitting needles came out again to knit more socks for Dementia UK. We had a trip into Lincoln along the Fossdyke Canal, we actually managed to finally visit the Cathedral this time!

Tides were not helpful for the rest of our trip north so a couple of days at West Stockwith was needed, but that did mean we’d be sharing the tidal waters back to Yorkshire with NB That’s It whom we’d met earlier in the year.

There was time for a catch up with David as we passed through Bramwith, a jaunt up to Doncaster and then finally along the New Junction and onto Goole where a space had been found for us in the marina. A train ride to Scarborough to pick up a van and see the latest show before packing up the boat again for the second time this year.

Planned works at the house then went very smoothly. Scaffolding arriving the day after we arrived, new windows later in the day with four carpenters and two days later the decorator who was to give the house a much needed new coat of paint outside.

Mid October Pip moved to Chipping Norton for a month to work on panto, Mick and Tilly left to welcome a new lodger for the Christmas show in Scarborough. Panto was as much work as normal with the addition of Pip getting covid after the first week of rehearsals. The show opened to toe tapping audiences and many many bananas, getting great reviews. Mick had a days trip to London to support boaters who had gathered outside the Houses of Parliament for a Fund Britain’s Waterways rally.

Back in Scarborough Christmas came early with a visit from the London Leckenbys at the beginning of December, they hadn’t been to Scarborough for ten years. A few more house jobs have been done but a list has been compiled for the new year along with those on Oleanna. We’ve had a lovely Christmas, catching up with Scarborough friends, Tilly has slept lots, we’re lucky to see her before 2pm most days! I’m just resting for when the outsides start changing again.

Don’t worry Tilly the count down has started.

This year our plans changed all because of an invite from Pip’s cousins. We travelled our favourite canal, cruised many familiar waters , visited ‘Home’, climbed trees and pounced, caught up with many boating friends and made many new ones along the way. One very sociable year.

So our vital statistics for 2023 according to Canalplan are

Total distance of 805miles, 2.25furlongs and 436 locks.

There were 121 moveable bridges, of which 33 are usually left open; 151 small aqueducts or underbridges and 16 tunnels – a total of 6 miles, 5 furlongs under ground and 7 major aqueducts.

This is made up of 244 miles, 1.25 furlongs of narrow canals; 251 miles, 5.5 furlongs of broad canals; 69 miles, 1.5 furlongs of commercial waterways; 95 miles, 4.75 furlongs of small rivers; 57 miles, 3.75 furlongs of large rivers; 87 miles, 1.5 furlongs of tidal rivers; 185 narrow locks; 223 broad locks; 28 large locks.

Although according to Nebo we did

815.09 miles and 431 locks! Hmm maybe my maths isn’t so good. But then we only started using Nebolink in August, tracking our every move rather than just on our phones.

470 engine hours, 789.8 litres diesel! Ouch, having to run the engine to top the batteries up on an evening didn’t help with this, 150amp hours down to 100, 3 gas bottles, 120kg coal, 19.5 litres oil, 2 oil filters, 2 fuel filters, 1 shower mixer, 1 domestic alternator, 1 set new engine mounts, 1 overnight guest, 3 packs Dreamies, 1.5 packs Bonkers, 39 friends, 6 brought in, 34 Mrs Tilly stamps of approval, 34 pairs of socks, £1132 for Dementia UK, 2 shows, 9 lodgers, 10 supermarket deliveries, 33 boxes wine, 1 toe, 6 months cruising, 3 boat mover sightings, 209 posts, 184 likes, 9,503 visitors, 31,309 views!

Thank you for following our journey during 2023. We have a plan for 2024, but there are several invites and a rendez vous with some New Zealanders. Will we stick to our plan? Have to alter course to fit everything in? Wait and see, we’re already counting down the weeks to being afloat again.

Yarn Bombing. 9th June

Coxbank Visitor Moorings to Tyrley Visitor Moorings

Boats were coming up the locks behind us before we’d really got ourselves together. A couple pulled up in front of us pausing for breakfast, they had just come up the thick of the flight.

Almost to the top of Audlem

Two more of the Audlem flight to do, both had boats coming down and one arriving as we left making working them very easy. At the bottom of the two a lady walked up and chatted away, in her hand was a bag of crocheted flowers, she was a yarn bomber. This morning she’d checked she’d have enough flowers for each lock they’d pass through, crocheting keeps her arthritic hands moving.

By the top lock the cake stall was just being replenished for the day. A fantastic assortment of cakes then two small fridges one filled with pork pies and pasties. Mick had the required £3 for a pie, fresh from the bakers this morning the lady said as she brought out paper carrier bags filled with scones for cream teas.

Just restocked for the day

We decided to get the remaining lock flights done today, Adderley and Tyrley, leaving only Wheaton Aston and Autherley Stop Locks to do, so I’d be able to get on with panto again tomorrow.

Soon Adderley came into view, would we be so lucky here with boats coming down? After all the busyness of Audlem yesterday and this morning it suddenly felt as if we were the only boat in the world. Most chambers were empty, apart from one that had filled itself back up.

Not too supportive as a handrail

Into our rhythm of uphill narrow locks. I’d set the lock filling, wait until the boat was high enough for Mick to step off before walking up to the next lock to empty it and open the gates. Most of these locks I used to be able to kick/push open the bottom gates, reducing the number of times I’d have to walk round. However the handrail I’d need to grab onto to push the off side gate open was loose, unsecured at one end, unsafe for me to rely on it. I walked round. The next lock the gates were a touch too heavy, after recent back and calf muscle aches I decided I’d walk round this one too!

We pootled on to Market Drayton a mooring just after the water points gave us somewhere to stop for lunch out of the sunshine with a view of Betton Mill, THAT building where we’d talked at length to our first boat builders. Such a shame the building doesn’t seem to be used for anything.

Obligatory photo

Once fed and watered we were on our way again, entering the shaded cutting leading up to Tyrley Locks. Mick held back away from the most forceful of bywashes possibly on the Shropie whilst I walked up ahead and opened the bottom gates. A boat could be seen entering the third lock up, the second one in our favour.

Normally going up such locks, I go ahead to set the next chamber leaving Mick to close up behind, but this is not recommended at the bottom lock as there is a stone shelf lurking under the cloudy water. I opened the lock ahead and walked back to close the top gate behind us, much better than getting stuck on that shelf with the bywash sucking the boat towards it and the pressure of water coming down from above doing it’s best to push you further on it as well! All I need to say is, you really don’t want to be in that situation!

We met a couple of hire boats coming down and we were soon at the top of the flight.

Tyrley Wharf

The lovely buildings at Tyrley Wharf were lit wonderfully in the sunshine. The new owner of the end building owns the winding hole here, it’s one of those things on the Shropie. Over the last couple of months he has caused a lot of comments on social media as he won’t allow winding in his winding hole. First a sign went up. Then he positioned his boat in such a way to make it hard to wind and now there is also a rope across it. He is entitled to do this, but is really not making himself popular with other boaters. Rumours are that he also isn’t too keen on the locks being used after 5pm! Given time things will change, we hope.

Pulling in onto the visitor moorings the unwashed side of Oleanna presented itself. Oh dear!!! What a filthy boat. I set to with cloth bucket and water. Sadly this side was the side that got most of the sun when Oleanna was stranded in Goole during the Aire and Calder breach. The paint needs more than just a wash. To me that is a boy job, to Mick that is a job that should be put off for as long as humanly possible!

12 locks, 6.7 miles, 1 yarn bomber, 5 flowers, 1 empty workshop, 1 upside down 48hr mooring, 3 hours shore leave, 1 better cabin side, 1 bottle of polish sat collecting dust, 1 panto digs sorted.

Talking Of Palins. 8th June

Burrow’s Bridge 85 to Coxbank Visitor Moorings

On the move just before 10am another chilly start but the potential to be a lovely day. As we pootled along the rest of the pound towards the bottom of Audlem I gave the inside of Oleanna a bit of a tidy up. My work things tend to get sprawled out over a few days of work, they needed to be confined back in their boxes. With this done I was back up top shortly before we arrived at the bottom of the locks.

Sorry not the best photo

The bottom lock was just being emptied as two figures both holding windlasses walked beneath the bridge. A wave from us received a wave back, perfect timing all round.

Today we were being joined by two very experienced boaters, Carol and George. The Palins owned and lived on NB Rock ‘n Roll for seven years, then they upgraded to WB Still Rockin’ both built to their spec. WB Still Rockin’ was sold two and a half years ago when they decided to retire from the waterways, buying a house close to Audlem, so they could still get a regular canal fix. It would have been very rude not to get in touch with them.

Passing a water point at Audlem

I have only briefly met them both in passing, but Mick spent a couple of days in their company when the Thames was on red boards in October 2019 at Goring. Both boats eventually got to their destinations that year, battling up and downstream.

Up to the Shropie Fly

The original plan had been to climb the first few locks, fill with water and then head for an early lunch at the Shopie Fly. But with such efficient crew we were very quickly up the first three locks and breasting up against a hire boat to await the water point.

It didn’t take long for the hire boat to fill, the chaps had headed into the pub to get a half of Landlord each. So we helped the lady pull the hire boat out from the inside so that we’d be able to reach the tap easier. The elder of the chaps was on two walking sticks and was a bit concerned at getting back on board the boat, the crew had managed to help him on board so far but the bank was that bit lower, making the step up too high for the man to be confident.

We held the boat steady then someone came up with the idea of standing on the gunnel to dip the side of the boat lower. This almost worked, some rockin’ was required along with good timing and the chap was soon back on board safely.

That bywash can get fiercer than that

Our tank took that bit longer to fill, but we were soon heading up to the next lock behind another boat. Plenty of boats to help up and down. The one in front of us had obviously never been up Audlem before. Their approach was very candid, the lady hopping off the gunnel as the chap slowed the boat right down for her to do so as the bywash thundered down pushing them hard against the bank. Planks have been positioned so that boats don’t get totally stuck and not be able to pull out towards the lock. The lady pushed the bow out all the time her boat getting further away from the bank. All I could think was that if she fell in right now I hoped she’d be behind the plank. Thankfully she didn’t fall in and all was well in the end.

Here Oleanna comes

Next up was Mick who gave Oleanna some wellie, a couple of bumps heading in, but no chance of getting pinned to the bank, just a big burst of reverse to bring Oleanna to a stop before meeting with the top of the lock.

Very experienced crew, Carol and George

As it was still quite early we decided to carry on up the flight, boats were coming down and it was worth making use of empty lock chambers. George or I would walk up to the next lock to open gates (if they hadn’t been left by a downhill boat) and Carol would open a paddle at the top to start the fill. We were a well oiled machine working up the locks, a bit slow at opening the gates at times because we were too busy chatting.

Walking ahead you get a good view back down the flight

We were soon up the main flight of locks and decided to leave the last two for tomorrow.

Carol and George invited us back to their house for a late lunch, their car was parked just by the last bridge. So much to Tilly’s disgust we headed off for the afternoon for more chatting. Having read each others blogs for years we already felt like we knew each other. Then there was news of other bloggers, who don’t post so much anymore. There was so much to talk about my camera didn’t come out again.

Nearly at the top

Their house has all that they need. Plenty of garden with fields stretching out behind and a hut where we sat to have lunch. Views and the equivalent of the stern deck with pram cover of WB Still Rockin’.

Last lock of the day

George gave us a lift back to Oleanna late afternoon and Tilly was allowed ninety minutes of shore leave, meaning we could leave all the doors and hatches open to get a nice breeze through the boat.

Hmm, today’s outside went that way!

What a lovely day. Thank you for your lock wheeling and your hospitality, if there’s any chance of the recipe for the sticky pork Carol, that was yum.

13 locks, 3.9 miles, 2 extra windlasses, 1 full water tank, 1 immaculate bin compound, 1 lovely house, 1 lovely day.

2018 Round Up. 2nd January

HOORAY!!! Proper signal again, sorry for the delay. Here at last is a round up of 2018 and our vital statistics, who they are vital to I don’t know!

THAT Aqueduct!

We started off the year up on the Llangollen having spent Christmas up in the basin, if it hadn’t been for me getting some work I think we’d have headed back there this year as we enjoyed it so much. On our return journey we dropped down onto the Montgomery Canal for a few days. Then we gradually worked our way along the canal stoppage hopping, the last bridge holding us up by a few days whilst work over ran, but we were first through and soon back down on the Shroppie  at the end of January.

Ellesmere Port

A pootle up to Chester and then Ellesmere Port where we spent several days looking round the museum, mooring on site made this very easy.

Shuffling with Brian on NB HarnserDry bottom

Oleanna had a day in the dry dock at Chester to check out why our bowthruster had stopped working and gave me chance to do a quick touch up of the blacking.

Jaq from NB Valerie

We then made our way back to Nantwich where we sat out the Beast from the East and at last got chance to meet and spend a bit of time with Jaq from NB Valerie.

The magical Shroppie

Then we climbed the Shroppie to Autherley Junction turned right onto the Staffordshire and Worcester Canal and made our way down to Stourport where the river rose on us over night and left us stranded for far too long. This did mean that Tilly had her annual jabs gaining shore leave for another year. A hire car gave us a few days away from the flashing lights of Stourport, a trip to Beverley and to catch up with the John Godber Company in Bromsgrove along with a recky trip to Droitwich.

Long routeShort routeIn the end we got bored of waiting for the river to drop and decided on going the long way round to Droitwich. Of course about two or three days into ‘the long way round’ the levels dropped and we could have done a quick journey down the River Severn.

TardebiggeLock 40

Oh well we enjoyed all the locks having good weather for the Tardebigge Flight.

Once in Worcester we turned onto the river and made our way down to the Gloucester Sharpness Canal where we pootled down to the end with all the swing bridges being worked for us, met up with Jaye and Duncan (I’d have got into big trouble if I didn’t mention them!), saw the hulks, all sorts of flamingos and got to watch tall ship Kaskelot pass us.

Duncan, Jaye, Mick and meTall Ship

Back up the Severn for Micks 60th birthday weekend where all our siblings joined us to celebrate. We watched cricket at New Road in Worcester, ate in Droitwich, caught steam trains in Kidderminster and ate some more in Bridgenorth, a very good weekend.

Family at the cricketBirthday Boy

About time there was a picture of meYummy

By now the summer had already started with wall to wall sunshine and our Sunday roasts became Sunday barbeques. We made our way back to Worcester and turned back down stream to Tewkesbury (I do like a good Tewkesbury!) and the river Avon. The last rain storm for a while slowed our progress upstream, but we stayed safe.

A lovely Avon mooringThe Avon was a picturesque cruise and we met up with friends from Australia and old work friends of mine in Stratford, taking advantage to see as much theatre as we could.

The Swan, Stratford

Whilst in Stratford I heard that I’d got the job designing Panto in Chipping Norton this year. This would now affect the remainder of the year slowing us down somewhat. We headed back into Birmingham up the Lapworth flight (meeting NB Chuffed) to rendez vous with NB Blackbird and crew.

One last kiss with NB BlackbirdPerry BarHere we planned to explore all the back waters of the BCN, but the sun was now on permanently and the thought of spending weeks surrounded by brick work and concrete reflecting heat at us was not attractive. So we chose a route out of the city that we’d not done before (via Ryders Green and Perry Barr) and headed for the shade of trees.

Sheltering on the Ashby

Work and heat were the feature of the next few months. On days we wanted to cruise we tried to be up early to make the most of the cool hours before the sun got too high in the sky to avoid. We hopped from mooring to mooring hunting out good places with maximum tree cover, not so good for the solar panels but it meant we didn’t cook inside.

Loads of cars in CoventryCoventry BasinWe gradually cruised the Coventry Canal,  the Ashby Canal for the first and second times, all the way into Coventry, down the North Oxford onto the Grand Union and on up to the Leicester Section. All our favourite moorings on the summit pound were visited and the London Leckenbys visited us at Foxton. All this slow cruising was interspersed with Panto meetings in London and Chippy, necessitating being near to stations, but this worked out well with a bit of planning.

The finished model for Aladin

Leamington Spa was a handy station back on the Grand Union for my final  model meeting in mid September, freeing us up until rehearsals started a month later.

Well worth a visitLeamington Spa StationWe made use of the Heritage weekend visiting places in both Warwick and Leamington. Oleanna got to visit the Saltisford Arm where we worked our way through the dirty washing drawer before heading back towards the Oxford Canal crossing bows with NB Tentatrice on the way.

Lift bridges on the Oxford keep Oleanna smilingStunning sunsetsThe South Oxford Canal then became our home for the next three months.

Lunch at the Turf Tavern

First we cruised all the way to Oxford taking our time to return to Banbury. I then spent four weeks working my socks off in Chippy enjoying being creative again on Panto, returning each weekend to wherever Oleanna was with my head full of song lyrics and dance moves.

Final dress rehearsal

Once Aladdin was open and hoards of kids were shouting ‘He’s behind you!’ I could return to my normal life at 3mph, the boat, Tilly’s friends and Mick’s breakfasts.

What a way to spend Christmas Eve

Due to winter stoppages leaving the south Oxford couldn’t happen until near Christmas so we slowly made our way northwards breaking off to have a pre-Christmas in London and then once Napton Lock 9 was open we headed into the middle of nowhere for Christmas. The year ended with us returning to Crick and sadly missing out on the festivities at The Red Lion with friends.

We’ve had a great year travelling, meeting up with old friends and new. We’re looking forward to where 2019 will take us and who we shall meet along the way.


So our final statistics for the year are.

Total distance is 944 miles, 1 ¼ furlongs and 614 locks. There were 170 moveable bridges of which 77 are usually left open (although three of those weren’t); 131 small aqueducts or underbridges; 39 tunnels and 2 major aqueducts.

This is made up of 669 miles, 1 ¼ furlongs of narrow canals; 118 miles of broad canals; 35 miles, 5 furlongs of commercial waterways; 42miles, 7¼ furlongs of small rivers; 78 miles, 3 ¾ furlongs of large rivers; 476 narrow locks; 129 broad locks 9 large locks.

1084.6 engine hours, 7 hire cars, 1,383.63 litres diesel, 10 gas bottles (we do have gas central heating), 54 bags of coal, 2 waterway museums, 3 big houses, 3 versions of tuperware, 60th birthday, 2nd solar panel fitted, 7 overnight guests, 6 packs of Dreamies, 26 friends, 1 snake, 9 Mrs Tilly stamp of approval moorings, 7 pairs socks,  6 pairs gloves, 11 supermarket deliveries, 56 boxes wine delivered!

In Our Favour. 9th March

Above Audlem Lock 14 to above Audlem  Lock 3

New thyme. Old thyme in the background

The washing machine and dishwasher were put to use before we set off as we’d be filling up before going too far today. The chap on the plant boat behind us found me a very healthy looking Thyme plant to replace the sad looking one we’ve been transporting around the system for the last few months. My risottos will be flavoursome again.

The Shroppie Fly and the water point

The water point in our pound was being used so we made use of the empty lock to reach the one outside the Shroppie Fly. A boat appeared from the next lock and managed to squeeze itself in behind a boat that appeared to be moored on the lock landing. We then pulled out of the lock and straight onto the water point freeing up the lock for the descending boat. They were none too happy about the lock landing being occupied by a trading boat, setting up for the weekend.

L to R Tilly Too, Tilly, Mick, Pip and OleannaRubbish disposed off we had quite a wait for the tap to fill Oleanna’s water tank. Just as we were finishing a boat was starting to ascend the lock behind us, so we pushed off to take advantage of the next lock in front being in our favour.

Last lock before the flightBtwash with a kick

Mick brought Oleanna into the lock past the fierce bywash  which can pin a slow moving boat to the side. Once up there was a decision to make. Here is the last pound where you can moor before the next nine locks in the flight, my back had been twinging yesterday, so should we stop for the day, stop for lunch or carry on to the top. My back seemed to be behaving so we decided to carry on, with the hope that the locks ahead of us would be in our favour, meaning less work all round.

Looking down the flightLooking up

No kicking bottom gates open today, so there was an extra walk around each chamber. Mick would bring Oleanna in, I’d close the gates, open up the paddles and then when we were both happy I’d walk up to the next lock to open it ready. Once Oleanna’s lock was full, Mick would drop the paddles, bring her out and close the gate before moving on into the next chamber. This meant a lot of hanging around for me as every lock was in our favour, only two needed a paddle lifting to equalise the levels.

Come away from that wier

Coming out of lock 6 Oleanna got attracted by the weir too much, despite having been tied to a bollard. Mick tried to reverse her out of the situation, but being in the entrance of the lock didn’t help as there wasn’t enough room to swing the back round, if only our bow thruster worked! There was nothing for it but for Mick to step off and give her a good pull to straighten her up and try again.

Almost a full five drawer incident

Lock 3 has a fierce bywash and caught Mick by surprise. The water bubbles up from underneath some boards which make it not so obvious of the force. This resulted in a record breaking near five drawer incident in the galley. Nothing broken, just drawer runners straining under the weight.

Beams and beams and beams

Here we found ourselves a spot at the end of the 48 hour moorings, let Tilly out and settled down for a late lunch. Luckily we’d decided that it was too late in the day to hang the washing out as soon after the heavens opened. Another boat arrived up the flight an hour or so later, suspect they were a bit soggy.

11 locks, 1.21 miles, 2 miles at least with all the walking round included, 1 going down, 0 cheese bought, £3.50 thyme plant, 11 empty waiting for us, 6 orange poos, 1 soggy moggy.