This morning we were the first away leaving at about twenty to eight and arrived at Harecastle tunnel spot on 8 am with no other boats in sight, we were a bit slow getting into the tunnel with the safety talk, light and horn check etc. then the tunnel ventilation fans needed running for a bit and then the chap at the other end had to check the rescue boat out, finally after 20 minutes the chap pulled the barrier back, opened the doors and we were on our way, the north portal clearly visible almost 3000 yards away. Once in the doors closed and the fans came on, at this point the tunnel fills with fog. I don’t know what causes it and it soon disperses. The fans had been running immediately before we entered so it wasn’t damp overnight air. Just passed the 800mt mark and the doors opened behind us again and a second boat entered the tunnel.
I keep trying to get a photo of the skeleton in the recess but can’t judge the camera timing right as we go by.
It was quite wet in there but 30 minutes later we were out in the sunshine and heading for a flight of locks commonly known as Heartbreak Hill. Its a flight of 26 locks, many of them in tandem and we had quite a good run to Hassle Green with them all with us meeting 3 boats on the way. There was only one boat moored near the top and nothing at all at Bulls Bridge. At locks 47 and 48 one of the locks is derelict and I thought this notice from CRT rather stated the obvious. This is the first time I have seen a metal frame to hold the wooden stop planks.
“ of the locks on the flight now carry notices warning boaters that the locks are a bit narrower than normal and only suitable for boat that are 6’10” wide. Looking back along the wall of one of them you can see it bowing out quite badly. We stopped at Hassle Green for a bit of lunch, the Romping Donkey looks no closer to opening again, I don’t know if the planning battle is continuing.
Just as we finished lunch a boat came in sight behind us, it would have been rude to have hurried and headed for the lock which was with us so we finished of cup of tea and let him pass, lo and behold as I walked through the boat to start the engine another appeared so now even the tandem lock would be against us. As it turned out the second boat was just great and the lady set every tandem lock for us as her boat locked down in the other, it must have saved us well over an hour in all. Mind you we both sat behind the hire boat when we came to a single lock.
We finally arrived at the bottom of the flight at 3-30pm. and found a spot to moor at Wheelock Wharf, we are not on a vert straight section of hard edging but it will be OK overnight.
We think its quite a good flight of locks as they are nicely grouped in 2s and 4s, these are close enough together to comfortably walk between them, where as the groups are far enough apart to make it worthwhile getting back on the boat and riding.