Leaving Stratford (with some helpers)

We’re off camping in the Yorkshire Dales this coming weekend with most of our children and their partners.  This means we need to leave the boat moored somewhere where we feel it is safe.  We are quite used to this but there is an added dimension as Karen is worried about the boat garden drying out.  We now have to find somewhere shady as well as safe.  Shady means under trees and we normally avoid these places because of birds muck, sap and general stuff that falls out of trees.  Anyway we spotted a place on the way down to Stratford so are heading there over the next few days.  

Richard and Liz and their children joined us for the trip out of Stratford; Liz’s father, Gerry, joined us too.  First of all I had to turn the boat round on the River Avon and head back to the start of the Stratford upon Avon canal.  I had to bide my time as there were many rowers out but as they were so fast a couple arrived out of nowhere and had to wait for me.

We had to wait on the river whilst a tourist cruise boat was coming out of the lock.  Karen was helping at the lock but was asked not to open the left hand bottom gate.  Because of the balance it opens on its own when the lock is empty. 

The on board commentary on the cruise boat explains to the tourists that there is a lock ghost that opens the gate for them.

We went up five more locks as we left Stratford and our visitors soon learnt how to help Karen operate them.  This is Richard and Ted closing one of the lock gates.

And here is Gerry keeping an angry swan at bay whilst making sure the bottom gate was closed.  The swan's family were below the lock but he didn't seem to realise where they were and was being very aggressive to anything that went near him.

We stopped to fill up with water as we left Stratford behind and our visitors left us to walk back to their hotel.  It started raining and, as we were at the bottom of an 11 lock flight, decided to moor for the rest of the day.  It was an ideal opportunity to relax after quite a hectic weekend.  In retrospect we were glad we made the effort to get the boat down to Stratford as it gave the 13 of us somewhere to gather especially as there were two days of rain.

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