Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Very Easy Day

(Boat Sickle - posted by Alan)

A very relaxed day was planned for today, as one of needs to be in Berkhamsted today, and the other of us tomorrow.  So just a gentle run of 3 miles, although in keeping with this particular part of the Grand Union that still equates to 8 locks.

From memory the converted "Bantock" is named "Arden No 2"
We had only just got most of the way through our first lock, (the middle one at Winkwell), when we say someone approaching through Winkwell swing bridge, so we waited at Winkwell top lock for them to catch up.

The boat that arrived was an interesting one, and proved to be a "Bantock" boat built for carrying on the Birmingham Canal Navigations in the mid 1890s, and converted to a motorised leisure boat in the 1980s at theWarwickshire Fly Boat Company.

It's always a pleasure to share locks with an experienced steerer, particularly when it is just taken as read that wherever possible the steerers will "post" each boat into a lock at the same time, side by side, to avoid any of the hold ups caused when you attempt to stop a heavy boat in a broad lock, and will not remain tight against the side, thereby denying another boat a clean path in beside it.

"Sickle" leading, "Arden no 2" (I think!) behind.
In cases like this no words ever seem to be exchanged about how you will operate - both steerers instinctively somehow pick up that the other will be happy to do the same as them, and the result is usually a whole lot tidier and slicker than the alternatives.

Our sharers were only going 6 locks, so all too quickly we said goodbye, and carried on through one more on our own.

We decided that rather than go home by taxi with a dog, and a whole mound of "stuff" that we will instead wait for our son to finish work and pick us up, (he uses our car on work days, so even had one of us got ourselves to our home, no car would be available).

It has been a day of strange weather so far, mostly sunny and pleasant, but with occasional very heavy downpours, but only lasting minutes at a time.  Either way, it has so far been nothing like as bad as the BBC weather forecast, and for that I am grateful.

Having sat tied up in Berkhamsted for some considerable time now, I'm surprised how quiet the canal is - just one other boat seen moving since we arrived here.

Winkwell to Berkhamsted
Miles: 3.1, Locks: 8
Total Miles: 50.7, Locks: 91

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