Monday, 17 July 2017

Lapworth (Norwegians in a pickle)

With just the odd bit of drizzle forecast for Sunday we decided to have a cruise down 14 of the 26 locks on the Lapworth flight.  There’s a long pound between locks 14 and 15 where we knew we could moor and it’s also right next to a pub so handy for Karen to leave the car.  Before setting off we put a chicken in the slow cooker so we could have a roast in the evening.

Karen happily locking

We knew we were back on the Stratford canal because many of the locks have the quaint split iron bridges.

Bridge, typical of the Stratford canal

We only passed three other boats even though we are in the holiday season – strangely quiet for a Sunday.  One boat was a Girl Guide boat but it only had two girls as crew, the rest were guys.  We chatted to them for a while and found that they have quite a gruelling weekend.   They leave from Hockley Heath on a Friday night, where we have seen the boat on its permanent mooring, and come back on Sunday.  They go down 20 locks of the Lapworth flight and then join the Grand Union canal, down the 21 lock Hatton flight, turn around and come back up the 41 locks again!

Soon after setting off we passed the archetypal sight of an English cricket match being played in the village.

Cricket match in progress – I hope the locals were doing better than England in the second test

We had to wait for the second boat we saw as they were coming out of a lock.  They had been helped up the flight by a volunteer lock keeper and they were so pleased as he had really speeded up the ascent for them.

Waiting for a couple to say goodbye to their lock keeper

The lock keeper went down and set a couple of locks for us and then disappeared into a house where he had been offered a cup of tea.  The weather brightened and warmed up so we changed into shorts and tee shirts at one of the locks.

We were in the sixth lock and saw a boat was coming out of the next lock but then realised they were having difficulty getting it to go in a straight line.  We stayed in the lock and went to help them.  They were a group of Norwegians in a hire boat and, surprisingly for Norwegians, had hardly any English between them.  Matt’s fiancĂ©, Marie, is Norwegian and speaks excellent English as do her family so it’s not like we have had to learn any Norwegian either.  We ended up communicating with hand signals and pulled them back into the lock to get them straight.

Boat at an odd angle across the pound outside our lock

A pleasant couple and their young children watched us go through the final lock and the children were so excited that we let them help push the gates open for us.

Our mooring for Sunday night

After mooring up, we did a few odd jobs before walking back to get the car.  Buddy did his usual, seeing that we weren’t moving any longer, and crashed out on the towpath.

Relaxing after the afternoon cruise

After picking up the car we drove down to the pub and popped in for a quick drink so we didn’t feel guilty about leaving the car in the car park overnight.

Quick pint in the garden

Although we were moored next to a road we couldn’t hear the traffic as we were also moored just below a leaky lock.  The sound of the water was enough to drown the traffic noise.

Leaky lock gates

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