Friday, 21 July 2017

Hatton Ugly Bridge (an evening cruise down the Hatton flight)



Most younger people with dogs, that we meet during day, are dog walkers which is quite a pleasant job if you live in the country.   Mind you, you have to like dogs to do the job; I don’t think I would enjoy it as I am not really interested in most other dogs.  One dog walker, who walks three spaniels from three homes and has stopped to chat with Buddy a few times at Hatton, reminded me of a dog walker at Bidford on Avon.  She used to have eight large dogs with her first thing then two hours later come back with six little dogs and then she repeated the whole thing in the afternoon!

After a walk and lunch, I prepared a Kashmiri butter chicken curry for the slow cooker.  The idea being that we would do some locking in the evening, when Karen returned home from work, and we would have a meal ready for us when stopped for the night.

Setting off for our evening cruise

Buddy and I set out at 4.30 to fill up with water and then start going down the Hatton flight with the intention that Karen would join us when she got home from work - she had promised to leave early.

Looking down the first few locks – the café on the right had closed for the night

A boat had gone down about an hour before we set off so every lock was set against me but it was a lovely evening and as it was quiet I could leave Buddy off the lead whilst walking between them.

Our first daisies of the year – Karen said she was tempted to pick a few if we hadn't had fresh flowers on the boat already

Karen joined us at about 6.30 after we had been down the first five locks.  She had parked at the Hatton Arms pub and walked across the field to get to us.  We soon adjusted the routine from single handing to paired locking, which meant Karen did most of the walking 😊.

Looking down some of the locks with Warwick church tower in the background

We carried on for another nine locks and decided to stop for the night in a pretty pound between the locks numbered 33 and 32.  It was just next to a bridge called Ugly bridge and the lane that runs over it is called Ugly Bridge road.  It turned out to be a really quiet mooring and so much better than mooring up in Warwick where there are lots of tall trees making it feel rather gloomy.

Our mooring for Thursday night

The curry went down really well and we were pleased with our new chillies.  We have only just started harvesting them from an early chilli plant and it always takes a while to judge how many are needed to get the heat required for a particular dish.  Our recipes are annotated with descriptions of our chilli plants and the number of pods required.


View from our bedroom on Thursday night

When Buddy and I took the train to Warwick on Wednesday it made me do some research on Hatton station.  It is an unmanned station and not large enough for a ticket machine.  You have to put any amount of cash in a machine to purchase a permit to travel and then make up the difference at the destination or with a conductor on the train.

It was built in 1852 and was on one of the lines that had dual gauges. In its heyday, in the 1940s it was at its busiest.  I found it amazing that there were eight staff working each day (station master, two ticket clerks and five porters). In addition, there were signalmen for the three signal boxes (it is at a junction) and a gas lamp lighter.  There were 67 passenger trains a day and seven freight trains would stop to load/unload.  Increasing car ownership caused the decline in passenger numbers of course, and freight trains stopped in the 1960s due to increased usage of road freight.

I will go down a few more locks tomorrow and moor in one of the lower pounds.  We fancy going for a Friday night out in Warwick and it’s only about a mile to the town centre. 




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