Thursday, 29 August 2019

A straightforward day.

(Boat Flamingo - posted by Alan)

(Post for Thursday 29 August)

Atmospheric morning.
We were away from Newbold before 9:00 am, I think - about as good as we generally manage, as David has the back cabin, so we can't really get going until he is up.  In fairness though, he has done a reasonable job most days recently of getting up before we have to nag him too much to do so!  I got going immediately before a boat behind us just doing the same thing.  When I do this I tend to think "will he be up my tail", as Flamingo can often be slower than a modern boat, but as is so often the case he was a fair bit slower than us - I'm glad I got away when I did!

The boys.
In fact we weren't going that far initially, as the Newbold Co-Op had failed to supply us many "veggie" items yesterday, so we needed the Tesco at Brownsover (Rugby).  This is often a busy place to moor a 72 foot boat, but I needed to do "services", (water, toilet cassettes & rubbish), and fortunately the service moorings were empty - it usually works out that the time taken is much the same as a quick shop, so it can work well, (as it did today).  The Brownsover visitor moorings were however quite chaotic, as many boats passed through the insufficient space, because the Canal and River Trust consistently fail to keep offside vegetation under adequate control here.

Scraping the bttom at Hillmorton.
Quickly underway again we set off for Hillmorton, but by Clifton, were following a very slow boat that had passed through Rugby.  There really was no need for us to have to follow him for several very slow miles, as there are long straight stretches beyond Clifton where he could so easily have waved us past, but he chose not to.  This is very poor etiquette in my view, but clearly some of those that like never to exceed snail's pace themselves think it is reasonable to enforce it on others.  Mercifully though, he pulled over before Hillmorton.

Back on to broad locks - Braunston.
We were warned of queues at Hillmorton, but in practice there really weren't any.  However I will make my usual complaint.  There were no less than three CRT volunteer lock keepers milling around at the bottom lock, and not doing a great deal, but the pound between the middle and top lock was again so far down that we bounced along much of it.  It's not just deep draughted "historics" - a steerer of an expensive build modern boat coming the other way complained of the same.  There are back pumps at Hillmorton, so letting down water to keep pounds topped up should not be an issue.  Why can CRT not train the "vollies" to perform this very useful task?

Braunston again
A reasonable run until nearly Braunston, but we caught up an exceedingly slow hire boat about 2 miles from the junction.  I actually stopped mid channel at one point, and went inside for several minutes to let them get ahead - it didn't work, as I soon caught them up again!

By Braunston locks, everybody ahead had pulled over, and we went up alone.  Despite it being August we got almost to the top before meeting the only pair of downhill boats encountered.  There was nobody in the tunnel either, so that was despatched quickly as well.

Tar boat Spey - usually Northern based, but has done a tour of the South.
The less said about the owner of the boat we had to wait come up Buckby top lock the better, though.  He told Cath she must not help, (fair enough), but expected to be able to bring a lock that is leaking liked a sieve at the bottom end to the point where he could open the top gates using just one set of gate paddles.  Sorry mate, but we would all still been there now had we not told you what was required!

Tomorrow back to the mooring should be a short day, but I suspect it will very much depend on what other boats we encounter in trying to get there!

Newbold to Long Buckby
Miles 15.9, Locks: 10
Total Miles 96.7, Total Locks:50

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