Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Continuing to Clock Up those Final Miles.

(Boat Chalice - posted by Alan)

Newbold tunnel, where less and less of the coloured light now work!
All we could do today was more of the same really!  We needed to keep Chalice moving towards home at as good a pace as we could, without knackering ourselves.  Even if Cath was going to not be there at the very end, due to work commitments, it was sensible to continue to keep moving as much each day as was reasonable.

My lock team at Hillmorton.
Michael, our younger son, is not a huge fan of the boats, but the deal struck was that to be with Odin, he would need to be with us - it didn't seem practical for Michael to head off home with Odin alone, for a number of reasons.  Michael was clearly torn - cabin fever was starting to set in a bit, after so many weeks afloat, but he wasn't keen to be without the dog.  At each point we might have put him on a train, he eventually decided to stay put, and maybe go at a subsequent station, even if less convenient.

In a way, I guess we were hoping he would stay, both because he is doing so well with training Odin, but also because he is actually very useful crew, if he wants to be.

Another gratuitous picture of the lovely Vesta.
Very variable weather wasn't helping us a lot, and as Cath was frantically trying to get on with work, I often found myself at the tiller for long periods, trying to hold an umbrella, without it getting blown inside out.  Another feature was pulling over regularly to allow Odin his comfort breaks - we have been 100% succesful with no "accidents" on board, but if I have just managed to pass a slow boat, I don't relish being told I must now pull over again, to let the dog have a pee!

Hillmorton locks proved to have one lock of every pair out of use for various reasons, but didn't hold us up hugely.  A hire boat asked us to go in ahead of them, because they didn't want to hold anyone up.  It was pointed out it was busy enough they could end up doing that all day!

He looked like he had ceased any attempt to try and stay dry!
Things continued to go well to Braunston, where we were straight into the flight again.  Cath and I wanted to try eating at the once again reopened Admiral Nelson, but whilst their "veggie" menu would have fed us, the sons didn't fancy the limited options offered.  So we decided we had no reason to stop, and would carry on right through Braunston tunnel - further than we had expected to get.

At the top of Buckby locks we met a young chap called Luke, paddling a bath tub all the way from Birmingham to London, in aid of the Red Cross.  He seemed a bit ill equipped, (he didn't even have a piece of rope or string to hold the bath with, for example), but as he had already come all the way from Birmingham, he obviously had stamina.  He has to carry it around all locks - the bath being less of a problem than all his kit oaded in to it.  At Buckby this involves passage through a narrow foot tunnel, so David helped him get bath and possesions below the lock.

David helps carry the bath at Buckby top lock.
There is sadly no option of a pub meal now, at Buckby, as the pub at the top of the flight has recently closed down.  However, we were going no further, but already starting to wonder if we could now get back to base in the remaining two available days, if we put in longish hours.

Ansty to Below Buckby Top Lock
Miles: 23.5, Locks:10
Total Miles: 453.3, Locks: 271 (Worked)

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