Sunday, 26 October 2014

Buckets of blood and hooting

So on a nice and bright sunny morning we arrived at the water point at the top of the Hatton Flight.  We wanted, like all sensible middle-aged people "A Lock Buddy", there were none to be seen.  While I applied lipstick, David went forward and set the first lock, he carried on and set three.  When he returned, he implored me to drive the boat.  Said the paddles were going to be too hard for me, said something like we'll never get anywhere if you do them.... Ha! We'll see about that.  We had agreed that as there was no one waiting, that we would make a start and if a boat appeared we would wait and allow them to catch us up.  I was feeling pretty assured that if we could make it through the dreaded Kennet and Avon then frankly Reader we could do anything.
"I'll start off darling and we'll see how we get on, of course I can do them." Famous last words.  
Well Hells Bells and Buckets of Blood Reader is all I can say, Oh my word they weren't half heavy, I felt my favourite short windless slightly bend with my heaving on it...
So over the course of the first three locks developed a system, it mostly considered of David asking me (Yelling) to drive the boat and me ignoring him.  But the bike did come out.
So he drove into the full lock and shut the gate, some of them he shut the paddle done too.  Then I valiantly would up the paddle to empty the lock, now using the long handled windless which rarely comes out of the locker.  Then he drove the boat out and into the next lock with the previously opened (By me) gates.

Rather a nice piece of sculpture

Reader these are the unusual paddles here

This went on for a few more locks, Reader if you are unaware the Hatton Flight has 21 double locks and they are heavy beasties.
So as we carried on I was going ahead on the bike to prep three locks at a time then biking back uphill to close the gates of the lock behind him and then downhill to catch him up again,  now I do yoga, aqua aerobics and cycling so I think I am pretty fit,  but I was flagging pretty quickly. 

So David ended up going ahead on the bike to prep the locks and open the gates whilst I held the boat on a rope and if time pulled it out of the lock too, but I think that only actually happened twice, then he climbed back on, and off we went again.

So here he is opening the paddles 

Running carefully and safely back to the steering wheel.

So this was a bit later, off to prep the next few locks

He said he preferred to do all this than to wait for me, him doing nothing....

You can see that some pounds were long

It was pretty wonderful when finally the last four locks were in sight.  David went off on the bike and prepped them and came back, as he drove the boat off  I heard our hooter going off in a frantic sort of a way, it was a longer pound and  I was wondering what he had met out of my vision, I soon found out as on the bike I met a couple, Oh how they laughed, they had walked up from the bottom car park and found the towpath side gates opened so had closed three of the four.... "But we opened that one again for him" they declared generously, still laughing.  Small sense of humour failure on both our parts, but no punches were launched.

It had taken us three and three quarter hours to descend, that was us two alone and having to fill every single lock first.  We thought that pretty good,  I also couldn't help thinking of the more elderly couple we had met the day before on the Lapworth Flight who go to Birmingham each year via this route. Respect!!
Just out of the final lock and moored up immediately. We had delish egg mayo big rolls, then after David had collected the car from the top of the flight, we went here to Baddesley Clinton, yet another National Trust property....

Baddesley Clinton
 A stone house dating back from the 1300's.  It comes complete with a moat and three priest holes all used in anger too.

I do love a nice bit of Dogwood

Just loving these lime greens yellows and purples

I think this is Red Oak.
Supper was puff pastry tart with fresh figs, goats cheese, olives and capers and salad.
Delish I have to say.


  1. Well i must glutton for punishment , we have done Hatton three times this year !!! I thought stockton harder

    1. Three times eh Sharon.....? Respect.
      But yes I thought it would be hard and I wasn't disappointed. I think I am bendy and flexible but not strong, however I shall be undergoing an upper body workout regime though out the coming months, this will be mostly raising fork from plate to lips as befits a Lady Who Lunches. Reckon it will work?
      Happy Boating,

  2. Having never done the Hatton flight we have been forewarned now! the pictures of Birmingham from above were spectacular!! You have a very good artistic eye for photography. Baddesly Clinton is now on my list of places to visit too. Thanks for bringing us along vicariously. Lovely!!
    Jaq and LesXX

  3. Dear Les and Jaq,
    Thank you for your kind comments. I am delighted you enjoy reading it.
    Baddesley Clinton was made so thrilling by a Welsh Guide who was stationed in the kitchens, I asked one question there about the Priests hole which was there and that started a half an hours thrilling talk from this expert on the historical period with the politics of the day. So it was a great place to visit.
    When you go to Birmingham as you must, call up and we'll do the Hatton Flight for you!!