Sunday 29 May 2011

Whitsun Break - Back with Chalice, for Starters.

(Boat Chalice - posted by Alan)

Although the plan is to soon continue Sickle's journey, it's half term week, and three of us will not really fit in to Sickle.  So today we are out for the start of a trip in Chalice, but planning to head off towards Sickle's current location.

Our late starts are notorious, but today's probably beat all records!  We had already decided not to rush off yesterday, (we went to the "Wendover" canal festival at Boxmoor instead), but hoped to get going mid morning today.  In practice it was already well into the afternoon.

Waiting as Narrow Boat Trust get going again after being aground
We finally managed to get going, but as it turned out, just in front of the Narrow Boat Trust boats, Nuneaton and Brighton, something that initially seemed to meet with the considerable disapproval of some of their crew.  I'll not elaborate here, beyond saying they were neither the best of diplomats, or ambassodors for the causes of canal heritage, or working boats.

Our decision to let them go ahead meant slow progress for a few locks, but eventually after we had had to wait some time for some southbound boats to re-group at a lock, we were on our own, and back into a more regular pattern.

Waiting for Church Lock to be available
We thought initially we were not going to make our planned overnight stop in reasonable time, but eventually did so with ease.

We have only so far been out in Sickle for two weekends, but steering Chalice again today, I really was stunned at the total difference between the two boats.  Chalice is about as light on the tiller as you can imagine, whereas Sickle really does give you a major work-out.  One way however that Sickle benefits, we could have done with today, as she is very little blown off course by cross-winds.  Chalice's high cabin sides, on the other hand, act like a sail, and as soon as you try and stop mid-channel, there is a very good chance that prevailing winds will quickly start to propel you sideways towards a bank.

Approaching Leighton Buzzard lock
The menu choices had changed at the Globe Inn - in my view perhaps not for the best, although still of a very acceptable standard.  My beer tonight, (Speckled Hen), was a decided improvement over our last visit, too.

Boat "Chalice"
Cook's Wharf
to Globe Inn, nr Leighton Buzzard
Miles: 7.9, Locks: 10

Total Miles: 7.9, Total Locks:10

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