Just as we set off it started to rain, I wanted to get away as I knew the first lock was with us. As it turned out nearly all of them where, I guess that mist have saved us at least an hour on the journey. On the Lee and Stort you don’t close the gates so if the lock is with you, its straight in, drain the lock and away. If its against you its stop, close both the gates, fill the lock, open the top, go in, drain the lock and leave. A big difference.
At Moorhen Marina we saw our old boat moored up, just after that we met one of the Canalability boats the Stort Daybreak as we were approaching a moored wide beam boat we held back to let them through.
Below the lock at the Outdoor Activity centre “Essex Outdoors” a group of children were just getting their canoes ready to launch, a short way passed the centre we past another group of older people canoeing.
We stopped for lunch just above Hunsdone Lock in the same spot we had moored at a couple of nights back. Since then the St Georges Cross has be replaced with the Jolly Roger and there was a very iffy chap standing by it with a hooked hand. He even had a bird on his shoulder, but I think it may have needed some Polly Filler.
After lunch the locks were still with us, the weather was showery, and some of them quite heavy even with a bit of hail in one, between shows it was quite pleasant.
One of the regular runs for the Canalability Boats is down to Roydon Locks. The lock house sells ice cream, and does teas, coffees and snacks, its also quite popular with cyclists and walkers. They are even rated on Tripadvisor and would you believe the locks were still with us all the way to Brick Lock.
Just above Roydon Road Bridge we found that Kingfisher was still moored up. I think this is a splendid looking inspection launch and would have been used by the canal proprietors to do an inspection of parts of their canal. It was the last inspection Launch built in Great Britain in 1928 and is petrol powered.
Brick lock was the first one against us, Diana was about to close the gates when a pretty little Narrowboat approached crewed by a young couple I would say in their late teens. The had very little idea what they were trying to do and it was their first time out, they eventually got ropes untangled and up to the lock side but came up minus a windlass. Diana and I worked them up while they held the boat. I hope they get on OK.
At Lower Lock there was a boat in the lock going down, the two chaps didn’t seem in to much of a hurry with one paddle up, they did raise the other when we arrived but I think the lock was already down, they just hadn’t leaned on the gate beam. Once we had them on their way we locked down and made our way to the River Lee again turning downstream. Almost immediately you come to Fields Weir Lock and there were two boats in there about to leave, one that we knew. We dropped down through the lock and carried on to Dobbs Weir. ON the offside is a Vintage Inn called The Fish and Eel so we have moored here for the night and will eat in the pub. The moorings are piled with a concrete topping that overshoots the piling by quite a bit, so we have deployed our wheelbarrow wheel fenders to keep the cabin side from the edge.
10 miles 13 locks, I junction, 2 rivers in 5 hours