Below lock 14 Lapworth flight to Earlswood
5.25 miles, 13 locks, 2 swing bridge
A lovely sunny morning for our trip up the rest of the Lapworth flight.
There was a bit of a queue at the first lock – a boat ahead of us, two to come down and then a hire boat behind us. We were lucky with the crew behind us were four very efficient adults and they were happy to shut the top gates behind us each time, so I could lock ahead. I guess it made things quicker for them as well, but we were grateful.
Whilst I was waiting for lock 6 to empty I saw a lot of activity on the tow path ahead
Then a whistle went and they were all off – simultaneous worm dangling!! There were 8 in total – competition day.
When we arrived at lock 2 the local volunteer lock keeper appeared out of his cottage. This is the man from Massachusetts as reported in Boatwifs blog on 26th June from nb Cleddau, once again not officially on duty – just helping out. His name is Jeremy Scanlon and he has written a couple of books. Both have one review on Amazon - Innocents Afloat has 5 stars and Hotel Boat Innkeeper has just 2 stars and a rather scathing write up.
We stopped at Swallow Cruisers for diesel, coal, and rubbish and at last Chris was able to get a new fuse for the bow thruster. After 2 weeks of "OFF" it was fitted before we set off and seemed to work as it was supposed to - "ON"! Then after 15 mins of gentle cruising and then following an urgent need to avoid a boat that appeared from nowhere and a 5 second burst of thrust it had blown again - "OFF"! Another thing for Pinder’s snag list. It has to be a problem with the bow thruster – it certainly was not over use! Swallow Cruisers has a great little chandlery with very helpful and cheerful staff and you can self-declare your diesel use. Off to report to Retirement no Problem!
Onwards and a quick ‘hover’ at Hockley Heath whilst Chris went to get the paper.
Oh how smug are we when we watched the traffic thundering by on the M42!
Now when you get to bridge 20
And see this sign
You need to stop
You have to follow it up the steps, turn right, across the bridge, up the road (about 100 yards) until you see this sign
And go in! It is so much more than a bakery. Lots of fresh vege, milk, meat, cheese, cakes, bread, pies and so much more. They do hot and cold sandwiches. I came away with a goodly selection and went back to get more! We have indulged ourselves and got a chocolate éclair (Chris) and cream slice (me) for dinner tonight! Hot off the press - they were very naughty, but oh so nice!
We have moored at Earlswood tonight
This is our view – can’t be bad!
At bridge 19 there is a sort of boat yard –well it is marked as a boatyard in Nicholson’s, but we did not see anyone there when we came past on our way to Stratford nor again today. They charge £1 for water and another £1 to use the elsan – our advice – go to Swallow Cruisers at bridge 27.
Compared to most of you Chris and I are beginners at this boating lark. Today sees us on board for 2 whole weeks which have sped past. To say we are enjoying ourselves would be an understatement! I am afraid you are stuck with us for a few years yet, albeit spring, summer and autumn cruises.
Tomorrow up to Birmingham.