Monday, 9 September 2013

Longest I Have Ever Boated Alone with Sickle

(Boat Sickle - posted by Alan)

I'm struggling to believe CRT erected these signs!
I didn't sleep great on my own, despite more space in the bed!  It was actually getting colder, but on my own I didn't want the effort of lighting or managing the Epping range, so I went for extra blankets.

The kettle is taking an inordinately long time to boil on our normally excellent meths fuelled stove - I don't know why, but was determined not to leave without a full thermos of coffee that I could pour from when under way.  I also made sure I had a proper breakfast, because lunch on the move would not be an option.

Ashby Canal Bridge No 1 - Nearly off this canal now.
Where we had moored last night near Stoke Golding was shallow, and I was on the bottom, some way from the bank.  I didn't realise how much I was on the bottom, until I attempted to "unstick" myself from it.  Whilst I was getting nowhere with engine power, use of a shaft, or indeed both, Trevor Maggs boated by on his working boat "Corona".  Trevor makes things look effortless, (he has more practice than most!), and I don't think was convinced by me pausing my attempts to get going, and trying to look like I could if I actually wanted too!

"Corona" and "Sickle" both await passage at the stop lock.
The next thing I learnt was that if following Trevor on "Corona" don't expect to catch up!  I kept getting tantalising glimpses of "Corona" in the distance, but only occasionally, and many miles ater, the gap seemed as large.  I finally only caught him when he had to wait for the stop lock at Hawkesbury.  He got through, but some CRT employees attempting to reattach the top balance beam rather better than it was made me wait some time while they "spannered" away.  By then Trevor was probably tied up back at base in Rugby, (OK, well not quite).  It seemed sensible to stop for sandwiches.

"Corona" glides into the stop lock at Hawkesbury.
I decided I would carry on until early evening, and Newbold looked favourite - I thought I might get a pub meal and some shopping there, and did not fancy pushing on into Rugby itself.  I had however picked the one night of the year that the nearest pub wasn't doing evening food, and the one next to it never does.  I thought I was scuppered, until I found there are three pubs in Newbold.  The Newbold Crown provided adequate food, but in completely empty bar, and I thought my pint of Doombar wasn't quite up to scratch.  Perhaps one is more demanding when you only have yourself for company?  The Co-Op, however, provided all my shopping requirements, and I managed to get back to the boat OK, even though I had failed to take a torch with me.

Leaving Newbold Tunnel - just before tying up for the day.
By putting in a long day today, Braunston should be reached fairly easily tomorrow, although I would have to work Hillmorton locks on my own.

Stoke Golding to Newbold
Miles: 23.9, Locks:1

Total Miles: 505.4, Locks: 252

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