As there were no other boats in sight we headed off down alone, but just as we were leaving the first lock a boat entered the bottom so we waited for them to work up before going any further. They informed us that there was a Kate hire boat moored on the bottom lock landing with no sign of life. Sure enough there it was secured by just the middle rope.
We met a few boats in the long pound to the Stockton fight and passed Jannock moored some way before the locks.
Just above the locks we passed Stockton Marina who were getting their hire boats ready to leave, its a pity they feel it necessary to moor them three abreast almost opposite the long term moorings. It would also help if they tied then tightly so they didn’t swing out and bash you as you swing round them, there isn’t room to take a straight line.
Stockton top lock was ready for us but the rest were empty, as worked the top lock Diana went to the second when we noticed a single hander working up. It turned out to be Callisto selling coal and diesel and working alone. A few locks later we met two more boats coming up and then shortly after that two more so we didn’t have a bad run down.
As we stuck our nose through the bridge hole at the bottom we could see that there were already lots of boats moored at the Blue Lias for the 2012 CIBC rally, some already doubled up. After winding we came along Enseebee a Dutch barge styled Narrowboat who is about the same length as us and have a nice flat stern deck.
So 2 PM. on a Friday afternoon and that is the end of our travels for the weekend. We will be staying meeting friends that some we have not seen for 12 months or more and some we have never met before.
As the afternoon continued more boats arrived and we walked up the flight to help a pair down, one who was single handing. We arrived at the top of the flight before them and helped a hire boat on their way. While we were waiting another hire boat came down so I turned the lock for them so that they could join the other hire boat in the second lock, but it wasn’t to be.
It turned out that Kate Boats had brought them down to show them how to work the lock and their intention was just to work through the lock and then go back up towards Calcutt. This meant that they received instruction in not only going down through a wide lock, but also coming up. So at least one yard make a good effort to ensure there customers know what they are doing.
By the end of the afternoon there were 16 boats moored outside The Blue Lias 3 deep. This did result in a bit of boat shuffling to get them all in and we had to slide Laplander from the middle of the moorings to the end and then draw the 3 moored abreast of each other from the end forward to allow another couple of boats to just get there bows in at the very bottom of pub moorings. There are also 2 caravans and several visiting for the day by car.