Sunday, 20 July 2014

Hatton heaven

After breakfast we moved off the Saltisford Arm so as not to overstay our free mooring period, tying up immediately on the main line. Then we went to the Saltisford Church (the coffee-and-walnut-cake and coffee were very good) and returned to have lunch on board Jubilee.

We couldn't ignore the lure of Hatton Locks any longer, so we set off. No boats had passed us in our direction while we were eating, but one had come the other way so we were blessed with locks in our favour. This made a welcome change from the last two days.

There was no boat behind us, so we cracked on by ourselves. We are actually very quick: I lockwheeling on my folding bike and Jan steering in and out of the locks. There's no need for ropes as the locks are superbly engineered. Raising the paddle the same side as the boat sends water to sluices the full length of the lock, pinning the boat gently to the side as it fills.

As we entered the third lock a boat which had been tied up in the pound above suddenly set off in front of us. I cycled ahead to ask if they'd mind waiting for us, and they said, oh yes please, we were dreading doing them without a locking partner.

So that worked out well, especially as the two non-steering crew were efficient paddle winders and gate movers. The boat we shared with was Mrs Noah, a cruiser with a date on it indicating 1968 vintage.

A standard Hatton view. The locks are sometimes referred to as the "stairway to heaven", but seem to be regarded almost as the work of the devil by some boaters. I like them as they are fast fillers and emptiers, and the gates, though heavy, are well balanced and not hard to move.

Jan took a rare photo of me in action.

We had originally intended to get to Kingswood Junction, but decided to stop on the embankment at Rowington so we could get the barbecue going. Here's another of Jan's photos.

Afterwards I cycled down the road parallel to the canal. From here the embankment looks impressive.

My Nicholson's marks a pub, "The Case is Altered" down this road. There are some fabulous buildings down there, but this is what's left of the pub.

(edited to correct name of boat)


Jim said...

I'm not sure "Heaven" is how I saw Hatton the time I worked down it single -handed with no other boats in sight and the whole flight except the top lock against me. The only "assistance " I had was from passers-by who "helpfully " opened both gates for me but didn't stay to help close them behind me! Great sense of achievement though.

Papa Charlie said...

Nice to share the Hatton flight with you Halfie. You reminded me of Billy Whizz, a childhood comic cartoon character, zooming up and down setting the locks on your unfolded bike. Very helpful you were too. The bank crew on Mrs Noah were friends from Berlin who thought it all utterly magnificent. Happy cruising.

Halfie said...

Papa Charlie, it was a pleasure sharing the locks with you and your super-efficient crew.