We've had a really good day of boating today. We set off in rather cool conditions at 8am, and arrived at the foot of the Hatton locks less than half an hour later. There was no-one else around, so we set off, having to turn the first few locks. Then we caught up with a little trail boat, who waited for us at the next lock so we could share.
A couple of locks later we caught up with anothe boat, which was also short, so I suggested we tried three boats in the lock. It worked well. Between locks, the steel boats went side by side into the next one, with the plastic boat coming in last.
At a few locks we met boats coming down, which often meant quite a lot of boats in small pounds. All the crews got on very well, including Smuggler the dog.
I worked the first half of the flight, then we swapped over -- mostly because Adrian had a call to make, and it was easier on the bank than on the boat. We saw a number of volunteer lock keepers, but none of them did much to help. A couple said they'd set a few locks ahead, but did just one before vanishing. Then another suggested we were doing it wrong, but Adrian assured him we knew what we were doing, and he disappeared.
We were at the top at around noon, and we stopped on the water point, as we haven't filled up since before our August weekend. We started a wash load at the same time, and Adrian walked down to the cafe for some slices of cake for later. We also made lunch. Once the tank was full we set off again. There was a brief rain shower, but I got much wetter in Shrewley Tunnel -- the one that has a horse tunnel alongside at the northern end.
We continued to Kingswood Junction, and moored up just before the junction bridge. Adrian had more work to do and calls to make, so as we're going north on the Stratford Canal tomorrow, I walked the two miles south to Lowsonford to see the Anthony Gormley statue by Lock 31, opposite the Landmark Trust barrel roofed cottage. I thought it looked great.
On the way back I picked a few blackberries. I had nothing to put them in so hand to hold them in my hands all the way back. Halfway, I realised blackberry juice was dripping down me -- it looked as though I'd hacked someone to death!
8 miles, 21 locks. (21 miles, 43 locks)