Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Taking it a bit easier

(Boat Flamingo - posted by Alan)

Last night's mooring at Alvecote.
Before this big trip out with "Flamingo" Cath and I really have not had the opportunity to do any really serious boating for far longer than we would have liked.  Yes, we certainly managed various rallies and other gatherings last year, despite many major other things going on in our lives, as well as problems with the boats, but other than that most trips were fairly short ones delivering the boats to places they would be professionally worked on, or bringing them back to their moorings once works were completed.

In a rhythm ascending Atherstone locks
So to take on the current tour whilst not up to the full levels of fitness required to do it well has left us both fairly physically exhausted.  It is true that yesterday proved far easier than the several days spent on Birmingham's more run down canals, but I still wasn't going to argue with Cath when she suggested aiming for a shorter day today.

The bridges between the locks are a feature
In practice it has all gone really quite well, with both halves of our passage up Atherstone locks, (we moored up in the middle for a shopping trip followed by lunch), being particularly smooth.  These are very easy locks compared to many we have done in the last few days, and although we didn't need the help of the volunteer lock keeper that set a few in the middle up for us, we weren't going to decline it!  I love watching people's faces as each lock is finally full, and "Flamingo" slowly pushes the gate open and sets off without steerer - of course I hop on long before it is too late to, but clearly many other boaters are thinking, (or hoping?), I have forgotten.

Max jumped up on his own, but Odin seems less happy to be asked.
From Atherstone on through (particularly) Mancetter, this has been a useful test of the re-pitched propeller, because this is a stretch I have in the past really struggled to get around many of the worst bends before the propeller was altered.  Previously I had neither enough reserves of power to try and power out when things started going wrong, and certainly not enough to bail out in reverse if it became obvious that I wasn't going to get round.  Today I had no such problems.  I'm sure the propeller changes are a major factor, although I have also got more used to what works and what doesn't.  Overall I guess the improvement is partly in the boat, and at least to some small extent in what I am capable of.

Flamingo leaves a lock, waiting for me to hop back on.
Anyway, we felt the peaceful surroundings at Springwood Haven would be a great place to stop before the largely depressing environs of Nuneaton kick in, and make boating a less than perfect experience for quite a few miles.  A bonus was getting the boat right against the piling at the first attempt - it doesn't happen that  often, but means neither we nor the dogs need to leap across gaps in the dark.

Alvecote to Springwood Haven
Miles: 10.3, Locks: 11
Total Trip Miles: 125.6, Locks: 144


  1. It's when you leave a lock, throw it into reverse & step off to close the gate that people find even more "interesting" & are surprised when it glides back to you !

  2. Don't big up the prop's part! I'm sure practice is making perfect...


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