Sunday, April 21, 2013

Stratford Canal back on to the Grand Union

Once again we were up and off cruising early. We knew that we had a fair few locks to go through today, 18 in all. Although we did not expect to end up off the Stratford canal so soon but we did swerve off it halfway along, to cut across to the Grand Union. I think that I would like to go back and do this canal again. It has it's own uniqueness and personality. One of them being the locks we did today. They are not actually termed a flight but the distance between them was such that it made more sense to walk to each lock, rather than hopping on and off the boat. So I ended up walking the remainder of the Stratford Canal, a whole 4 miles. Andrew and I had got a bit of a pattern going yesterday while doing the Wilmcote flight. I go ahead and open the bottom gate, emptying the lock if necessary. Andrew brings the boat into the lock, I close the gate behind him and open the top paddles to fill the lock. I then walk on to the next lock to set it while Andrew waits for the lock to fill, opens the top gate, steers the boat out the lock and keeps the boat in place while he closes the lock gate. He then tootles off to the next lock which I should then have ready.  This worked really well going up the locks but not sure it would work so well going down, as getting off and on the boat at the bottom gate is not so simple.

Dome shaped lock cottage. This one has been extended. This dome shape is unique to the Stratford canal.

Early morning on the canal

Kingswood Junction where we left the Stratford Canal and took a shortcut through to the Grand Union Canal

The narrow entrance to the shortcut

Narrow entrance to the left and the right, a lock to go up onto the Northern section of the Stratford Canal

Joining the Grand Union Canal.

We were both a bit tired after yesterdays and today's locking, that when we reached the top of the Hatton flight, 21 locks over 2.5 miles, I decided that I could not do another 21 locks. The other thing is that now that we are back on the Grand union all the locks are the big wide locks, so doing 21 locks would take us a good 2 1/2 hours to get down and then another good hour before we would get to any decent mooring. So top of the Hatton it is for tonight to rest before tomorrow's marathon.

Another first today, we saw some guineafowl, or we think they were but they are not in my UK bird book. So I cannot confirm that they are actually found in the UK. I also do not have the binoculars with me, they were on the boat, so I cannot be certain. The outline though was very distinctly guineafowl.
Some playful kids

A rather ragged looking Buzzard

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