Things don’t always go to plan and sometimes you go forward half a mile and back four. Today was like that.
About 2-30 we walked back to the boat and decided to set off north. Just before we reached Harnser a hire boat came by with a young lad and a dog playing on the roof, I said to Diana I really don’t want to share locks with them, so we set to removing the bunting, we had just about finished when another hire boat came by so I had avoided that one. When we reached Knowle bottom lock there was another boat waiting to go up and the two hire boats in the full lock, waiting for the second to open, when they moved off we turned the lock and boat went in. The other boat had the same thoughts about them as we did so were pleased when a second boat arrived. As we looked up I could see that at the lock ahead which now looked full someone was winding the bottom paddle up with the boats still in the lock. By the time we could find out what was happening the paddle was closed again and the boats left.
We were soon to find out what was happening as once we were up Diana and the chap from the other boat went forward to turn the lock, They drew the paddles but water was coming in nearly as fast as it was going out. What had happened was that the top gate had been lifted out of the cup and was sitting at and angle.
I rang CaRT and they called back within minutes to say that someone would be out from Birmingham. Both the other boater and I decided we would go back down and use the North Stratford, so we winded in the pound and locked back down. By now there was a hire boat waiting to go up but they decided the would go to Stratford instead, so we all trooped back through the rally site to Kingswood junction, hence half a mile forward, turn round and four miles back. The pound between Knowle and Hatton has been quite low all weekend and we have spent most of the time listing, you can see from this weir how low it is.
I went into lock 20 first to find a family of swans at the top, mum and dad on the bank and four cygnets swimming around the top gate, so we could only use one paddle as no way was dad letting anyone near the other. Just as the lock filled both parents launched into the cut and they all swam round to lock 21.
Before we cleared lock 20 a boat had come up the South Stratford so they were now right ahead of us, as it turned out this didn’t make much difference as they were mob handed and worked ahead.
We went as far as lock 15 and then moored for the nigh about 6-30 so in three and a half hours we have gone fore miles backwards. Done one wide lock twice, up and down followed by 6 narrow lock once. Still the sun was shining and we have enough time in hand. If you look at the map you can see how far we went north before coming all the way down to the junction to do about another half mile north.