Saturday, 11 August 2018

It All Takes Time.

(With both boats - posted by Alan)
(Retrospective Post for Wednesday 8th August

Buckby flight
What we did today really should not take as long as it did.  However increasingly we find that working through both the Buckby and the Braunston flights takes far longer than it really should.

We are not expecting to be quick with just the two of us.  I strap both boats together breasted,and take the pair, 14 feet wide, up or down the locks, always hoping that there will not be junk behind gates preventing them opening fully, and causing us to jam in.

Buckby again
Cath in turn generally opens and shuts just about every available gate twice, and winds the bulk of the paddles.  I step off and handle only those I can get to easily without being able to get quickly back to the tiller if the need arises.

I set off first tunnel trip in Sickle.
Even so it should not take anything like as long as it did.  There has been a persistent problem with both these flights for several years now, that levels in the pounds are not monitored or maintained, and often many of the pounds are a foot or more lower than they should be.  With an historic boat that matters.  With two breasted together it really matters!  The worst by far was the pound between Buckby locks 8 and 9.  Progress along this was so slow that at times I really wasn't moving much at all.  Had it been any lower we would have had to disrupt our flow by singling the boats out.  However with persistence we got there in the end.

Braunston flight
The other thing that greatly increased the overall time is that again we did not wish the dogs to be alone in the cabin whilst going through Braunston Tunnel.  We prefer to  have someone with them - not possible with two boats and only two crew.  So, exactly as I had done the last time we went to Braunston, I took Sickle through alone, tied it up at the other end, and then walked back over the top, to do the same with Flamingo.  Cath could then be with the dogs.  If  I didn't already know it, I am now certain beyond doubt that Flamingo is far the easier to take through the tunnel - Sickle's short length can make it a real challenge.  The tunnel was busy for both passages, but more or less bone dry.

Last time we arrived at Braunston we were too late for food at the Admiral Nelson - this time we were not, so that's where we went.  Whilst the food quality remains good, but I do think it rather expensive for bar meals.

Whilton to Braunston
Miles per boat: 5.5, Miles both boats: 11.0, Locks: 13
Total Miles both boats: 20.6,  Total Locks both boats: 13

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