Thursday, 8 July 2010

Record breakers

Yesterday we set a new personal best - thirty three widebeam locks in a day. Including the daunting 23 lock Hatton Flight.
I know canal boating is supposed to be gentle, relaxing, easy paced and, to be honest, we didn't set out to go racing when we set off in the morning. We eased through the mainly single locks that took us to Royal Leamington Spa and then Warwick. (Incidentally, there doesn't seem to be much 'royal' about Leamington these days - what a sorry for itself, down-at-heel place.)
At Warwick the locks stop going downhill and start to climb again. We went through the first couple; the Hatton Flight was round the corner, literally. It was five o'clock; we thought we'd 'just take a look' and maybe do the first few, then moor on the flight.
We'd just come into lock three when another boat appeared at the lock behind so, as you do, we waited to share the locks with them. But they were on a mission; the boat was due in Alvechurch on Friday morning for an engine service and they were going for the summit of the flight that night.Lock, Stock & Barrel's crew of three joined us two and we worked up through the locks like a McLaren pit crew. The two wives drove, the two husbands tried to out-macho each other with fast paddle winding and - the key to our speed - their 22 year old daughter raced ahead setting locks and opening gates with astonishing speed.An hour and a half later we were at the top! In time to hear the second half of Germany v Spain, eat a mega fry up dinner and crash out.
And now only narrow locks lie between us and B'rum - thank gawd.

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