Friday, 30 March 2012

Another Adventure Begins, (in which I find myself surprisingly "famous"!)

(Boat Sickle - posted by Alan)

Well, as it very much looks like many boating plans may not happen this year due to the severe problems with water shortages, we are determined to try and get some trips in whilst it is still a possibility.

Crossing the recently refurbished Wolverton trunk aqueduct
We have had a long standing invitation to a big celebration event North of Birmingham at Easter, and had planned to do a “standard” trip with the comforts of “Chalice”, and a third crew member.   However time restrictions have prompted just the two of us to set off instead with “Sickle”, (a.k.a. “the Floating Patio”), the rationale being that she was a day closer to Birmingham to start with, and we expect to lose at least a day over “standard” times, as we keep reaching locked flights, and have to wait until the middle of next morning before we can continue.

Cosgove - the only lock possible on our first day
So I set off today with “Sickle”, and once Cath had finished work she used a combination of bicycle and train to join me at Wolverton.  We were then able to carry on only as far as Stoke Bruerne locks, which had already been locked up many hours earlier.

What I had not expected was the minor stardom I seem to have achieved by my attempts to get elected to the Canal and River Trust Council.  At least 4 times today somebody suddenly appeared on the bank, or at the hatches of their boat and said something along the lines of “You must be Alan – I voted for you!”.  So thanks to those of you that I did work out who you were, (most), but also at least one I couldn’t make out over the roar of the mighty Lister, (the lady from CWDF at Linford, I think it was).  I’m very touched by the number of people who have congratulated me on my efforts, and encouraged me that I should go for it again next time.

Speciality of "The Boat"
That said, we are used to slipping around the system fairly anonymously, but I guess “Sickle” is distinctive enough that even if lots of people have no idea what “Alan” looks like, they can fairly easily associate us with the boat.

As for “associate us with The Boat”, that also sounded like a good idea!  With only a single battery that provides both starting and “facilities”, coupled with early finishes, we can’t afford to be on board using too much electricity.  So, after arrival at the bottom of the Stoke Bruerne flight, and getting sorted, we walked what I guess is about a mile each way, and did indeed enjoy an excellent meal at “The Boat”.  I can recommend the “Hobgoblin”, at the moment – it was spot on!

Fenny Stratford to Stoke Bruerne Bottom Lock
Miles: 16.8, Locks:1

Totals for extended trip....
Miles: 16.8, Locks: 1

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