Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Gently Onwards And In No Rush.

(With both boats - posted by Alan)
(Retrospective Post for Saturday 11th August

Cath takes Sickle into "Sutton Stop"
We were now firmly at the situation where we have ample time to complete the trip at a leisurely pace, so no rushing from this point onwards.

We made a latish departure from our overnight mooring at Hawkesbury, but before we even travelled through the stop lock, tied up again to take water.  Whilst the tank was filling I also took rubbish up to the refuse point, and went to empty a toilet cassette,

Flamingo follows Sickle though

Eventually we were ready to go through the shallow stop lock, and as nothing came the other way were able to hold Sickle in the exit from the lock whilst we worked Flamingo through.

I don't think I have gone round the 180 degree turn from the Oxford Canal onto the Coventry with nobody else on the boat before, so I knew I had no look out, and nobody to assist if I fouled up the turn.  Going "round in one" is always worth trying for, but Flamingo is a heavy boat, (effectively "part loaded"), and doesn't turn anything like easily as an empty motor.  I've never made it in one yet, so wasn't trying that hard today.  I misjudged the early part of the turn, and had to hold back slightly, but was then surprised that it did go the whole way around after that without too much of a fight.  For the first time with Flamingo I felt that "round in one" could work after all.  One to try again the return trip?

Taking Flamingo round the 180 degree turn.
The Coventry Canal was fairly quiet - certainly quieter than the last few days on the Oxford, but inevitably when we did meet someone it was often on a bend or at a narrow bridge.  We quickly discovered a flaw in our planning.  We like to use the Nicholson Canal guides to know what is around the next bend, and where the tricky curves are.  However today we moved from the area covered by Book 1 to that covered by Book 3, and it turned out we only had one Book 3 on board.  So whilst Cath leading with Sickle had a map, I following on Flamingo did not.  Fortunately Cath usually signals me about other boats approaching, or what she can see through the bridges I am still unable to see through, so we got along OK.  I would still have preferred to have maps of my own though.

Typical Coventry Canal bridge.
We don't travel the Coventry Canal that often, but do so enough to have an idea of where good overnight tying up points are, and the area near Springwood Haven Marina is we know a good choice.  This would mean a short day, but, as I said, we are now in no rush at all.

There is a good circular walk from where we tied up, so the dogs got a proper outing, not just a quick trip up and down the towpath.  One of the fields we had to cross is the type where the footpath passes straight through the crops, and the farmer flattens that bit out.  However as the field was just being harvested, (literally!), we had a bit of guesswork to do, and at points actually had to step over piles of the crop still waiting to be gathered up by the relevant bit of farm machinery.

Hawkesbury to Springwood Haven
Miles per boat: 7.6, Miles both boats: 15.2, Locks: 2 
Total Miles both boats: 82.3,  Total Locks both boats:21

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