Thursday, 13 August 2015

Warwick (Hatton flight of 21 locks)

We gave Buddy a walk on Wednesday morning as we had a flight of 21 locks to descend which would be a bit boring for him as he would not be running around.  On our walk we came across this boat with a cockerel and hens in a pen on the tow path.  We both felt it reinforced the idea of living on a boat and moving our home wherever we wanted.

Looking back through the pictures Karen took during the day I was rather taken with this one showing several bridges.

On our way to the locks we went through Shrewley tunnel which was unusual in that it had its own horse/towpath tunnel.

The tunnel was very high and although it was brick lined it was covered in residues – it was also the wettest tunnel we had ever been through, since the winter, in terns of water coming through the roof.

After trying in dozens of tunnels, Karen finally got a picture of a tunnel halfway point.

It was pretty emerging from the tunnel.

There is a lot of animosity (unfortunately) between boaters, cyclists, runners and pedestrians but this is the first sign we have seen acknowledging it.

Sadly we passed two wooden freight boats that were for sale but looked like they needed an awful lot of love and attention to restore them.

We also passed our first stanking planks for several weeks.  We didn't see any on the Stratford canal and assume they must be kept in maintenance yards and carted out on boats when required as we did see a CRT boat with stanking planks in it just outside Stratford.

After a few miles we reached the top of the Hatton flight.  These are 21 locks very close together and we were fortunate to pair up with a family on a hire boat which made the whole descent a lot easier and we completed it in 2 ½ hours. 

It is difficult to get a shot showing a whole flight but this gives an idea of the scale of it with just a few locks in sight.

There was a large old maintenance boatyard on the way down...

...and a sculpture of a dragonfly guarded by two ducks.

Wendy and Graham who we locked down with also had a dog, Max, who played with Buddy during the descent.  Wendy's two children were also helping out.

The flight was originally built with single width locks and the double width ones were added in 1930 just before canal traffic started to decline.  The single locks are no longer in use and are either gated off or concreted over like this one on the left.

After we got down the flight we were in the outskirts of Warwick and moored up for the rest of the day.  To celebrate the descent and the lovely hot day we went for a drink with Wendy and Graham and their children (not our picture - we forgot to take one).

Here are the rest of the locks we went down today.

 And, finally, the 21st!

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