Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Our Extended Trip with "Sickle" Is Finally Complete

(Boat Sickle - posted by Alan)
Having made such good progress with "Sickle" at the weekend, all that was required was to complete the final leg to her home base.  I'm not confident single handing "Sickle" through any significant number of locks, but after the weekend there was just one shallow lock remaining, making bringing her back on my own a realistic prospect.

The ornamental bridge, Cosgove
In fact I had messed up in thinking I was free for the move today, as when I checked, I had arranged for an engineer to come in and upgrade our broadband service at home.  So it was touch and go whether I would be freed up in time to head off to Stoke Bruerne.  In practice our engineer arrived early, and was fairly efficient, but even so I set off to "Sickle" somewat later than ideal.

What I know from experience, if I am to put in significant mileage on my own. is that time spent get everything spot on before you leave is actually time well spent.  There is nothing more galling than to set off, only to have to pull over again, because something has not been checked, or is not as it should be.

Cosgrove Lock
It started out as a nother fairly hot day, but thankfully cooled off somewhat as the day progressed.  The first part of the journey down to the only lock at Cosgrove was unbelievably quiet.  I really can't recall passing a single other boat until I got to the lock, where, most conveniently, two boats were starting to come up.  If single handing this is great, because you can "hover" outside until they leave, then boat straight in, without needing to pull over to work gates or paddles.

Linford Wharf
The lock was fairly swiftly worked, but the bulk of the miles were still to do, and I was down on the timings I had hoped to work to.  Traffic got busier after this, but only for a relatively short while did it slow my progress.  I rearranged with Cath the time she should come and collect me.  In fact she came up a little arly, and then walked up the towpath for a mile or so from our home mooring to meet me.  I think even on days she works, she craves to spend a bit of time afloat!

It has been quite an epic trip - our first really big one with "Sickle", albeit much of it done in stages as weekend only moves.  Sickle has been away from her home mooring for two months, and we have been aboard for at least 29 of those days, albeit that on about 4 of those we didn't move, and were simply using "Sickle" as a base.

As the rather boring pictures on today's post rather prove, one of the consequences of single-handing is that any photos tend to be only of "boat moored up", "boat in a lock" or "shot taken with the roof of the boat as a foreground".  It seems you have to look at other people's blogs on such days for any "boat moving" pictures, and it so happened I passed Adam on "Briar Rose" between Cosgrove Lock and Wolverton aqueduct.  Lo and behold, his blog post here does show a picture of me at the tiller!  Nice to "meet" you, Adam!

Weedon Embankment to Stoke Bruerne Bottom Lock to Fenny Stratford
Miles: 17.3, Locks: 1

Overall totals for extended trip....
Miles: 335.0, Locks: 265

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