Lapworth to Hockley Heath
2.25 miles, 13 locks
It was a misty but beautiful autumnal start to the day. We made the decision last night to try and get ahead of the boats ahead. Chris went to get the paper whilst I got the boat ready to go, however we were not quite quick enough. One of the hire boats went off 15 minutes before us at 8am. Luckily, they had a big crew and kept well ahead of us.
The first 9 locks are close together so are easy enough to lock ahead. There are some peculiarities on this flight that make life just a little more difficult than some other narrow flights.
Some of the paddles are really low - below knee level, which makes winding just a bit tricky. I usually step over the two bottom gates, but find it hard on this flight as the lock gear gets in the way. I will step and clamber from water to land, but not from land to water, so one walk round the lock is inevitable.
At the ninth there was a boat waiting to come down, so one less gate to shut
By the time we got to the last few locks there were boats coming down which helps a lot. Above one of them there were repairs to the ARMCO taking place leaving little room on the lock landing - no problem as long as no one came down
but he pulled in sufficiently for us to be able to get out and round the work boat
Sounds like a great plan. I have, however, looked at the website and quite frankly lost the will to live! Admittedly I did not download it all, but the bits I did see did not seem to give any real idea what it was all about.
We arrived at Swallow Cruisers where we wanted to get diesel, but had a short wait for space to become available. I just had to take a photo of the blue sky - it was stunning.
There are two drawbridges to go through on this stretch of canal and I am delighted to say that C&RT have done some work to make them a lot easier which was a huge relief.
Were they any good - most definitely yes. The haddock was tasty and the chips completely free of grease.