Monday, 26 March 2018

Hatton bottom lock (not such a good place to moor any more)

Sunrise on Sunday morning – looking promising

When I took Buddy out for his morning constitutional on Saturday I combined it with getting rid of our rubbish.  There is a handy enclosure at the bottom lock with rubbish bins for boaters’ use.  Our rubbish was in a couple of used coal bags and I carried them up to the lock, picking up any towpath litter that I saw on the way.   I wasn’t confident of carrying both bags across the gates at once so left one on one side whilst I walked across with the other.  When I came back to get the other the guy who lives in the lock cottage there was standing, in his dressing gown, outside his front door.  He asked if I hadn’t noticed and I said, ‘noticed what’?  He pointed out that the enclosure and bins had been taken away by CRT.

Apparently, rubbish was being left by non-boaters to such an extent that it was often piled up outside the bins.  Local businesses were even dumping rubbish there, which I had rather suspected before when I’d seen the amount and size of packaging material in the bins.  The guy wasn’t happy as he now must take his rubbish away in the car (the council can’t pick it up as there is no road access to the cottage).

As our rubbish was rather mounting it meant a car trip to the next boaters’ rubbish point at the top of the Hatton flight.  The facilities are really poor in this area.  The next rubbish point is through Warwick and Leamington at Radford Semele.  That point too, is probably in danger of being removed as it is often overflowing with public waste – it seems people can drive in their car to these places but not to the local tip – I suspect they don’t want to queue up.  Tips are also becoming a problem for boaters as they are increasingly only allowing locals in – you have to show proof of residence in the district.

Anyway, enough ranting 😊

The flight is now fully open and we probably saw a dozen boats on the move over the weekend.  Easter week really marks the start of the summer boating season.  It also means that the winter relaxation of mooring restrictions will be lifted soon (31st March) e.g. in the winter you can moor for 14 days nearly everywhere including sites marked for 24 or 48-hour moorings.  That doesn’t bother us as those sites get too busy in the summer, which is why the restrictions are put on in the first place.

The second lock up the flight was one of the ones being worked on over the last couple of months and now has nice new bottom gates.

Lock 27 with its new bottom gates

The side lock ladders had also been replaced as the previous ones were, apparently, unsafe:

The cill had been rebuilt and some of the barge boards replaced too:

Judith and Nigel came to stay for the weekend and we spent Saturday afternoon in the Old Post Office and Rigsby’s – two quirky real ale pubs in Warwick.

On Sunday we walked back to Leamington Spa along the River Avon so they could catch a train home.  It was a gorgeous day and we saw quite a few butterflies, including at least a dozen male Brimstones, several Small Tortoiseshells and a Comma.

I included pictures of a Brimstone, when we saw our first of the year, in a recent blog entry so here are a Small Tortoiseshell and a Comma that we photographed in previous years:

Male Comma

Underside of a Comma showing the white comma mark

An out of focus Small Tortoiseshell

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