Monday, 27 August 2012

Would Have Liked To Stay Longer!

(Boat Chalice - posted by Alan)

Starting to climb Atherstone locks.
 This was always an ambitious trip out - to be honest a too ambitious trip out, given the time we had available! Although we had planned to celebrate our Silver Wedding at some canal location during the Bank holiday weekend, we had neither initially planned for it to be as far away as somewhere like Alvecote, let alone factor in taking both boats - and hence have two to get back home.

Progressing well up the Atherstone flight.
I thoroughly enjoyed the first two actual days of this event, as well as a free day before that to get in the swing of it, but it was obvious that although the event was carrying on through the Monday, that we simply could stay there no longer.

Odin with "convincing" looking pheasant.
In fact any sensible evaluation of a canal planner said we needed five days to get back home, even with one boat, and we had only four.  Or at least Cath had only four, as this was Monday, and she needed to be in work on Friday.  This is not quite the problem it sounds, as there are convenient rail stations on the trip home where she could jump ship if she needed to.  However Odin the dog would need to stay on board, and with at least one son saying they would need to go home early, I was not sure I would ultimately have crew for one boat, let alone two, given that Odin needs some attention too.

Forging round the turn at "Sutton Stop".
It seemed sensible now to all go home in Chalice, and leave Sickle somewhere secure.  Would Alvecote agree to this ?  No problem at all, as it turned out, she could stay exactly where she was on a marina berth, so we had no fears about leaving her, and collecting her later.

So we had a major sort out of what needed to be on each boat.  We didn't do too badly, as it turned out, but did eventually travel with a few things on Chalice that might better have been left on Sickle.

Our strategy was simple.  Go as far as reasonable each day, without flogging ourselves to death.  We could react to any changes, (such as a departing son), as they occurred, but just needed to press on at a good speed.

What may not be obvious is that Odin was up on the bridge.
Such a plan can be scuppered if you get to somewhere like the popular Atherstone locks, and there are big hold ups.  Fortunately these were not to busy, and even passing the hotel boat pair operated by a rather infamous ex-vicar produced none of the difficulties sometimes reported when they are about.  Apparently we got lucky, though, as he later got involved in what seems can only be described as a "canal rage" incident, amongst the boats still at Alvecote.  I'll not try and repeat the story, as I didn't witness it, but it sounds like it was bad enough that formal complaints will be made about his behaviour.  Remarkable for someone who has paying guests on a holiday that they market as supposed to be tranquil!

In fact we continued to make good progress, getting eventually right through to Ansty.  Having come the other way, we expected problems mooring here, and indeed we had some.  The better visitor moorings always seem permanently full here, and the only obvious alternative is a stretch with a muddy collapsed bank, but where underground obstructions stop you getting near it.  After several attempts, we decided it was just too awful, and pushed forward a bit more.  Fortunately I spotted a single better length that looked like it could accommodate our 50 feet without blocking the nearby bridge at all.  It proved to be a much better option than where we had already tried.

We had made exellent progress, but not, we felt, enough to get all the way home, before Cath had to be back in school.  The planner seemed to still say the same.

Alvecote to Ansty
Miles: 21.3, Locks:12
Total Miles: 429.8, Locks: 261 (Worked)

No comments:

Post a Comment