Friday, 6 June 2014

Two Boats, Two Crew plus Dog.

Retrospective post for Friday 6th June
(Boats  Chalice & Sickle - posted by Alan)

"Sickle" (Retired) meets near cousin "Arcas" (still at work with CRT)
A bit of an unusual day for us, as normally if we are moving both boats, we tend to have more than two of us doing it.  But today we needed to move the car over the same distance as we moved the boats.  So the plan was for David and I to make much of move North with the boats without Cath.  Cath would stay with us until Wolverton, then head back by train with a bike to Bletchley, and then cycle out to Fenny Stratford and put the bike in the car, before driving up to Stoke Bruerne.  She would then cycle South, to rejoin us wherever we had made it to by then.

I chose this photo, as others showed me on my mobile phone!
Although David does steer from time to time, he tends not to, and certainly not for such a prolonged period.  The good news was we only had the single lock at Cosgrove to work through, but of course we had Odin with us as well.  Whilst he is now recovered enough that he is normally allowed to roam fairly free on "Chalice", (albeit still with a life jacket on), we didn't fancy having him with free access to the rear deck with only the steerer on board.  So whilst David took charge of "Chalice", Odin was bedded down inside, which he seemed content to do.  I took charge of "Sickle".

"Sickle" follows "Chalice" into Cosgrove lock

In fact by the time David, Cath and Odin had set off on "Chalice", I found "Sickle" was very firmly stuck on her home mooring.  We have consistent trouble with there not really being enough water for her to float free, but today she was really stuck.  By the time I had managed to free myself with no other assistance available, "Chalice" was a long way ahead, and I only ever caught distant glimpses of them all the way to Wolverton.  This seems to dispel the myth that "Sickle" can be a lot faster than "Chalice", because I simply was never able to close the gap.

The rural beauty of the canal in this area is often overlooked, I think.
At Wolverton Cath left us as planned, and David and I pressed on to Cosgrove.  e got through the lock fine, including giving Odin a bit of a run around, but our departure from the lock was not our finest hour, and I will not dwell on that any further!

Cath met us about where we guessed she might.  The towpath South of Stoke Bruerne through Yardley Gobion is not particularly good for cycling on, and it is not reasonable to expect to do it very fast.

At Stoke Bruerne we only worked up the bottom 5 locks, rather than to the top of the flight.  "Sickle" would need to move up later, but "Chalice" would need to be left in the long pound, so this was a logical point to stop with both boats.

As is so often the case "The Boat", (jokingly called "our "local"), provided the meal and drinks again in the evening, with David and Cath playing Northamptonshire skittles, but my aim being poor enough that I sat most of it out.

Fenny Stratford to Stoke Bruerne Long Pound
Miles: 17.5 (Chalice), 17.5 (Sickle), Locks:6

Total Miles: 35.7, Locks: 8

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