Locking UpApril 11 in the United Kingdom
We had a slower start this morning, casting off around 10:30, and took our time in the first stretch as another boat was just in front of us. We knew we would have wait at the locks anyway so there was no point rushing. We met oncoming boats at our first couple of locks which meant they were set in our favour. At the third Andrew left Sarah with the boat at the lock landing (holding the centre line) while he went to set the lock. We then swapped places with Andrew looking after the boat in the locks while Sarah took care of paddles and gates. We repeated this process at the next couple of locks (this gave Andrew a go at the fun bit while saving Sarah’s arms a little!)
Steering the boat into locks from the bottom is tricky as the overflow from the pound above flows out at the lock entrance. This results in a few bumps on the way in. Thankfully even experienced boaters were finding this a bit difficult. Locks provide a place to meet other boaters, with Sarah having various brief chats with several other crews. We even came across crews and boats we had seen a couple of days previously, heading the other way.
Upon arrival at Grindley Brook Staircase Andrew stayed with the boat while Sarah went to find the lock keepers. The locks must all be set in a particular way or there would not be enough water to raise the boat. The locks were set and we began the ascent, Sarah working paddles alongside the lock keepers while Andrew drove the boat towards daunting tall lock gates (leaking quite a bit).
Once we were through we stopped at the water point to fill up, this is a daily requirement. We then moved about 50m further on to stop for lunch before walking back to the staircase to have a look from a different angle. Having returned to our boat we got underway again and pressed on for a few miles, dealing with 3 lift bridges along the way.
We have seen all sorts of things floating down the canal; reeds, sticks, rubbish, a green pepper... today we saw a leek! One can only assume this has come from the Welsh end, but it did prompt the comment ‘oh look, the canal’s sprung a leek!’
We found a nice quiet mooring to stop for the night just south of Whitchurch.Read more