Monday, 20 October 2014

Up and down staircases gets us onto the glorious rivers

Our 2 week holiday is over but here is a short run down of the two weeks starting with days 1-5.
Day 1.  We left Napton promptly just before 2pm, having loaded all the gear we might need for 2 wks on a boat during the autumn (full wet weather kit, winter layers, sun cream, shorts T-shirts, you get the picture).  We'd even had a cup of tea before the yards man came to show us the workings of the boat.

After 1½ hours cruising we came to Braunston where we were soon negotiating the locks, sharing with another boat we made good progress, they had crew so I went ahead to set the locks ahead, whilst helping an older couple. Despite tales of very low levels in the pounds the previous day everything was good for us.  We stopped just before Norton Junction for the night.

Day 2.  An early start, Watford Locks were the first for today, having booked in we were told to proceed, making light work of them we stopped for breakfast overlooking the fields above. A wonderful sunny day and we finished by descending Foxton Locks, and an evening walk to the Shoulder of Mutton for a well earned Chinese meal.

Day 3.  We had a later start (late for us) we planned to get to Kilby Bridge, a wonderful hot sunny day again, and the one thing we hadn't packed we could have used - sandals.  We waited and shared the double locks with another hire boat, we were surprised to learn from them amongst other things that they hadn't been informed of what the cill was in a lock, or the importance of keeping forward of it, we shared some knowledge with them.  An easy day for us and an early finish, which we celebrated with a pint in the Navigation.

Day 4.  A long day so an early start, with the aim to get past Thurmaston at least. At Aylestone met a single hander just leaving the lock, so I asked him to wait for us at the next lock.  At Aylestone meadows the single hander  was indeed there as well as a local canal enthusiast who helped us through the next three locks.  We don't generally stop in cities, being country types we usually try and just get through them, we could've stopped though as Castle moorings were empty.  At lock 40 we were slowed up, having taken the tiller I found I couldn't steer the boat, suspecting a fouled prop I threw a line to Martin and we (he) opted to pull the boat in then out of the lock before investigating the problem, a white T-shirt being the culprit and rather luckily it came free very easily, this is the first time in the years of boating  we have had to venture down to the weed hatch, lets hope we don't become too familiar with it. We enjoy these river sections especially given the late summer weather, and reached Thurmaston later afternoon, having tried the Hope and Anchor past the water park last year we thought we'd like to try and get somewhere different, so Mountsorrel was to be our destination. At Silby lock we were starting to run out of good daylight, so having spotted NB Seyella moored I dared to knock for some advice from Geoff, after introductions Geoff kindly helped us through the lock and we were on our way, a short (quick) while later we were mooring up above the lock at Mountsorrel, and rewarded ourselves with a hot shower and a wonderful meal in the Waterside Inn.

Day 5.  A misty start but full of promise.  This is our river day and a day we enjoyed so very much. We'd gone past the Plough Martin was busy taking photos, so at 11.30 the time was right to have a coffee and use the free Wi-Fi, the stay turned into a lunch break too, with idyllic weather we could savour the day, bliss. We made our way off the Soar and onto the Trent, at Sawley Locks we were the first of three boats, I checked the locks to so if either was empty and then tried to get the BW key into the slot, no luck for me! no matter what I tried I just couldn't get the key in, a climb down the ladder and see how Martin can fare, needless to say he only tried the once, the gates were opening I was steering into the lock, a short while later we were approaching the moorings in Shardlow by the pubs, with a space just the right size, lovely, and help given by another boater to bring us neatly into the space.  A perfect end to a perfect day, two days ahead of where we got to on last years holiday, a restful second week perhaps?