Saturday, 1 September 2012

Good walk, good food and low pound

(but not necessarily in that order.)

First the low pound. We I made an early-ish start, ascending Hillmorton Locks at 0730. When we got to the middle lock I saw that a paddle on a bottom gate had been left up. At least the lock was empty for us to go straight in. Unfortunately the top gates were very leaky, which meant that the pound above had been draining all night. It was now low, as the photos show.

I walked up to the top locks - only one side of which was in use, as was the case for the entire flight - and saw that a boat had entered the lock. I was just explaining to the steerer about the problem when the lockie turned up. With the knowledge gained from his 33 years on the flight he asked the descending boat to exit the lock and wait just below. Then we closed the gates and opened the paddles at both ends to start to refill the pound.

After a few minutes he said we could bring Shadow up, and we encountered no further problems.

Our next stop was at Bridge 80 from where we had planned to walk up Barby Hill. As we were just leaving the boat someone greeted us from the towpath saying that he reads this blog. It's humbling to realise that people actually read the rubbish I write! It was good to meet you, Andrew (I hope I've remembered your name correctly), and may you have many happy trips in your boat, Barbara Anne.

Then we said our goodbyes, and we walked up onto the bridge ... only we couldn't. Bridge 80 on the Oxford Canal is currently being repaired, and access was barred. So we cruised on to the next bridge and made our assault on the hill from there.

The views were excellent - we were above Braunston Church, and looked down on a skein of geese in flight.

In Barby itself we walked round the village. The church was locked and the pub was shut, but we bought a newspaper from the village shop.

Here's Shadow (on the right) across the hay field. (Part of Barbara Anne is visible on the extreme right.)

We continued our journey to Braunston, where we had a good lunch at The Boatman pub. My rump steak was perfect.

Then it was back to Wigram's Turn Marina as our time aboard drew to a close. I got Jan to take a couple of piccies of me steering, one with shades...

...and one without.

We really enjoyed our week on Shadow - it's a very good boat.

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