Saturday, 20 July 2013

July weekend - Day 3

We had a very quiet night at Becket's Park marina, a highly recommended place to stay:  very friendly staff, excellent facilities, and completely secure.  We set off at around 8.30, and headed back up the river to the canal.  The entrance to the canal looks very inconspicuous.

It was very cloudy today (particularly compared with yesterday) and at first rather chilly.  At the second lock, we avoided a huge log in the mouth of the lock, and we removed a big sheet of foam from the water.  The going on the Northampton Arm is pretty low, as the water is pretty shallow, and there's quite a lot of weed.  However, there's masses of wildlife:  the water is clear and you can see fish; crayfish; there are several different varieties of dragonfly; and we saw water boatmen.  It's also quite pretty.  At times, the channel is very reedy and narrow.

At the Rothersthorpe flight, we started up the locks.  A couple of locks up, some walkers told me there were empty pounds up ahead.  I walked up to see what was going on and found several pounds which were short of water, three of which were completely empty.

At the second lock, a boat was coming down, so I suggested they stay where we were while we run some water down from the top.  With their help, we opened paddles all the way down to lock 7, and Adrian phone CRT to alert them to the problem.

Filling the pounds took the best part of an hour.  When we were on the move again, we spotted a Kia four wheel drive heading up the tow path.  We and the boat coming down were about to cross, so we were all standing together.  the man in the can wound his window down and immediately accused us of leaving gates and paddles open.  We explained that there had been several empty pounds, and that there was another boat heading down from the top.  It was only after several more derogatory comments from the car driver that the woman from the other boat asked who this man was:  "I'm waterways", he said.

We were rather of the opinion that if you've reported a problem, the response of staff should be "I gather there's a problem, what can I do to help?", rather than criticising boats in an arrogant and  rude way.  In no way was he a good ambassador for the Canal and River Trust.  He didn't introduce himself, he berated us, and he didn't make any attempt to find out what was going on.  He told us his shopping had been disrupted.  Clearly, he doesn't appreciate what being on call means.  One of our number asked his name, so we know who to complain about.

At the top, we continued to Gayton Junction, we turned right, and moored up for lunch.  Afterwards, we carried on for a couple on hours, then turned at High House Wharf, and moored at Nether Heyford.  Just in front of us was the boat I tested last week, so I texted the owners and later they popped round for wine and crisps.  We had a very pleasant hour or so chatting to them.

11 miles, 17 locks.  (25 miles, 41 locks)


Kevin said...

Well I think that you should 'name & shame' the bad tempered C&RT man in the van!! Since when has his trip to Tesco's been more important than keeping the cut full of water?

Anonymous said...

Brilliant post--great pictures which will be proof to C&RT of the veracity of your story.