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Boat Blog: The Odyssey 2016 – Day 51 – Grand Union

Posted by indigodream on 16 September, 2016

Rewind to Sunday 21st August

Leamington Spa – Tom o’ the Wood

Plenty of room to move on a broad canal - we split up to let the widebean through the middle...

Plenty of room to move on a broad canal – we split up to let the widebeam through the middle…

We got up quite early by our standards because we had a potentially huge day of locking ahead.

But first we had a job to do – I’d spotted a damson tree just down the towpath from our mooring so we went foraging. We had plans to visit Andy and Helen Tidy while we were in the Midlands, and it didn’t seem right not to take a contribution to their jamming! We collected a tiny punnet of ripe damsons – just a token gift but it was obvious that we were reaching the end of the plum season, even up here.

On the way back to the boat, I turned my ankle ever so slightly on a loose stone on the towpath – ouch! I thought nothing of it then, I’d walked the pain off in a few strides, but it was a stupid thing that was to have an impact on our cruising later….

Then we come together for the lock entry - I really enjoyed cruising with Jean and David..

Then we come together for the lock entry – I really enjoyed cruising with Jean and David..

We had a relaxing cruise through Warwick and were soon at the Cape Locks, followed shortly after by the mighty Hatton flight. We didn’t have a fast trip up the flights – there was a slow boat in front of us. But once again we were blessed by excellent company in the form of David and Jean in nb Willy No Name. They were confident on the helm, and we soon fell into a rhythm of leaving the locks via one gate and coming together in tandem to enter the next. As David wryly observed, both boats were going in for blacking soon, so a few bumps would be of no consequence! Though it really wasn’t an issue, both boats handled beautifully and although we’ve never wanted bow thrusters, when we saw how neatly nb Willy No Name manoeuvred, we started to see the benefit! However, we’re not planning a retrofit. 🙂

The weather was much better today, and by the time we neared the top of the Hatton flight there were lots of walkers and gongoozlers around.We’d really enjoyed David and Jean’s company, so at the top lock, Richard hopped off and bought us all huge ice creams from the canalside cafe – they were lush!

Nb Willy No Name moored up at the top of the flight and we carried on – it’s quite a long lock-free pound so I went in to make lunch while Richard helmed us through the rather soggy Shrewley tunnel, which surprised us, I don’t recall it being particularly drippy on previous visits.

Classic view from the Hatton flight...

Classic view from the Hatton flight…

Although it hadn’t given me any bother all day, when I got up after squatting down to get things from the fridge for lunch, my twisted ankle suddenly became very painful and I started hobbling like an old woman and the offending joint puffed up alarmingly – meh!

We stopped at the waterpoint at Tom o’ the Wood, where we recalled there was good water pressure. It didn’t take too long to fill the tank and it was still only mid-afternoon when we coiled the hose and contemplated completing the Lapworth flight.

But I called it a day – my ankle had become ridiculously painful, despite being well medicated from the contents of the on-board pharmacy. We moved off the waterpoint onto the 48 hour mooring rings about boat length away. By the time we moored up I’d had enough – I pulled the bed down and had a long nap; actually, we all had a long nap – the boys were tired too!

We woke up feeling refreshed and my ankle was much less painful, so we planned a trip to the pub for supper; but before hobbling back there I gave them a ring to check that they were doing food. I’m glad I did, they stop serving food really early on a Sunday so we stayed in with a simple meal and our stock of DVDs.

When we’d moored up earlier, I was exhausted and out of sorts so I didn’t notice the noise of the M40 – but later on I became really aware of it – sandwiched between the Grand Union and Stratford canals it really exerts it’s aural presence, though the canal feels blissfully disconnected from the real world…

These wooden boats look so sad - big restoration project if they're to be saved...

These wooden boats look so sad – big restoration project if they’re to be saved…




One Response to “Boat Blog: The Odyssey 2016 – Day 51 – Grand Union”

  1. vallypee said

    Poor you! I hope the ankle doesn’t give you any further trouble, Sue! I’ve just watched a YouTube vid about the Hatton flight. It looks amazing. So sad about those old boats. I do hope someone rescues them!

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