Tuesday, 28 August 2018

Homeward Bound

(Back with both boats being moved together - posted by Alan)

We have had a cracking time at Alvecote, but I must admit very few pictures got taken so it isn't that easy to do posts about the actual event.  I might try and do it retrospectively, but for now will just concentrate on the first day of our return trip.

Cath was working Sickle up the locks largely on her own
In true Fincher style we left far later than planned, and having largely got through the weekend with no "navigational errors", I managed to make a spectacle of myself by getting caught by the cross wind in the marina, and ending up with Flamingo resting on the bows of other boats, rather than making a neat exit.  Needless to say many old hands were watching, proving the old adage that the more you are observed, the more likely you are to cock it up!

I was following with Flamingo, seldom more than a lock behind.
Generally our standard way of working now is for Cath to lead with Sickle, and me to follow on with Flamingo.  This works well, ut as Sickle is the faster and more maneuverable boat Cath does need to watch she has not got too far ahead of me.

We moved along well, but were not surprised to find a queue of  boats at the foot of Atherstone locks.  Sometimes this would represent a big delay, but most of the crews were people who were working fast and efficiently, and it cleared relatively quickly.

Just short of halfway up, and about to moor up to go shopping.
The big difference from our outward trip with both boats is that we now have David with us.  This doesn't change much when we are on long lock-free lengths, other than we can summon him to assist if we need to stop and tied up.  However it means locks can be tackled far more easily, and we can go up flights with both boats at the same time.  Today at Atherstone this involved David on a bike, with both dogs in pursuit, as he raced to try and set up locks for both of us.  Cath did a reasonable amount on her own with Sickle, me rather less so with Flamingo.

Restarting after our shopping.
Half way up we tied up for a while and went shopping for vital supplies.  After the stop nobody else seemed to be moving, so all locks had to be "turned" twice, but with David working hard we got to the top quickly.

We then covered a few more miles leaving Atherstone and passing through Mancetter.  This stretch has a surprising number of bends that are tighter than they look, and it does feel like a bit of a work-out sometimes.  We had tied up at Springwood Haven on the way out, so aimed to do the same on our return.  Ut has proved to be surprisingly full up here, but we found a stretch that would accommodate both boats without much problem.

Same lock, different boat.
We had an evening meal on the boat - something that happened little at Alvecote, where the food in the Samuel Barlow regularly proved to be too much of an attraction!

The dogs meanwhile seem to be completely exhausted by David insisting on them covering all his mileage lock-wheeling, and both are now fairly motionless in their respective beds.

Alvecote to Springwood Haven (Coventry Canal)
Miles per boat: 10.3, Miles both boats: 20.6, Locks: 22
Total Miles both boats: 204.1,  Total Locks both boats:99

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