Friday, 24 August 2012

Hatton flight descent

Well the day dawned fairly bright and so we pulled the pin's and left our mooring above Rowington and began our journey towards Hatton and Warwick, passing no boat traffic and having an easy passage through Shrewley tunnel.

Two boats moored nearby overnight had already left their moorings heading in the same direction as us.  It was a pleasant morning, not too warm for the endeavours to come!  We arrived at the water point above the lock and filled the tank.  As we completed this a small plastic cruiser festooned with many a fender passed, entered the top lock and began to descend.  It was apparent that they had no desire to share the locks with a sewer tube.  Ali spoke with them and could tell they were reluctant to share although to be fair to them, I think this was more them being self conscious than selfishness.

As we prepared the top lock, two boats travelling together appeared.  Both were boats hired from Kate boats and we had met them whilst coming up the Stratford.  As we followed them up, we noticed that their manner of closing gates was to fully open a paddle, causing the gate to slam shut. This was both dangerous and possibly damaging to the fabric.  Ali politely informed them this, but was told "That's how we were told to do it"!  Somehow think the hire company may have suggested cracking a paddle, but surely never winding fully up whilst the gate remained half open.

Anyway, from that point the previous day, they took umbrage. Now they were following us down Hatton.  By about the third lock down Hatton, a Lock keeper told the plastic boat to share with us and so they waited and we joined them. It was fine if a little slow as they towed their boat out of and into the locks due to the amount of smoke the two stroke engine was emitting.  After a few locks, they decided they wanted to rest up and so once again we were alone!

The two Kate boats passed the cruiser and were breathing down our neck half way down the flight. There was no traffic coming up and Ali was having to fill each lock before we could enter and then trying to set the next lock, as I descended in the lock.  Fairly soon the crew from the two hire boats were joining us as we descended, but made a point of offering no assistance at all.  Clearly umbrage was still felt.  Neat the bottom of the flight Ali again prepared the next lock which was close by and as we left the lock a chap with a windlass appeared from below the lock, then disappeared. We entered and he appeared but was clearly upset that the lock was against him although he was doing the same as us, preparing ahead, but was not in sight when Ali arrived at the lock.  He then glowered and offered no assistance as we descended.

Anyway, three hours and we were down.  We then cruised into the moorings in the Saltisford arm, which are rather nice and very handy for Warwick town centre.  They are free for the first night and then £4 per night there after.  The laundry is one of the least expensive on the cut as well.  We had a wander around Warwick, now dodging the showers, then returned to the boat.  Whilst Ali laundered, I did a spot of fishing and caught a jolly decent bream.

Tonights Bream

6 Miles.  21 Locks  Shrewley Tunnel 433 yards.  A few grumpy git's!

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