After last nights rain we set off at at about 9 40 am.to a fine day but with thunder forecast for later, which never materialised. A boat that we had not seen for some time was moored at the MWYC. That is the Mid Warwickshire Yacht Club, I didn’t see many yachts moored there but there was the Fibre boat, this is not painted but printed vinyl film.
Shrewley tunnel was dry for the first half and then very wet for the remainder.Well we have had a lot of rain in the last 18 hours. You can see the sun coming in behind us, boater coming towards the tunnel in the opposite direction where having to shield their eyes.
The old wooden hotel pair are still floating, just. I understand one had gone right under last week and a chap was seen bailing her out. Old wooden boats need lots. los of time, enthusiasm, skill and finally money. If they are not all available in the right measure then it ends in tears. I think they are Mable and Forget Me Not, but they have been there so long I am not sure.
The smallholding at Tom O Wood now has even more goats than last time we were this way. Just the other side of the bridge we stopped for water, although there has been a tap there for some time, for quite a few years it didn’t have any water in it.
We arrived at Kingswood junction at 11-30 and turned hard left through to the Stratford canal and then right to go up the North Stratford Canal towards Birmingham. The finger post was supplied and is maintained by the Inland Waterways Association (IWA) I don’t know if they also supplied the one at the other end of the short link channel?
It had the makings of a good run up the Lapworth flight of 21 locks, meeting boats in the first 4 locks and then most were with us, but it went pare shaped before the end.
There are new houses being built beside the 48 hr. Moorings below lock 14. I wonder if the visitor moorings will remain. As we made our way up there was a boat following us, they were well crewed and setting well ahead, the lock wheeler (chap setting the locks read for the boat) was only one lock behind us at times. I don’t like being chased or holding people up so we decided to stop for lunch below lock 5 and let them pass. Turned out this was not only unnecessary but also a big mistake, it was some time before they passed us, so not as close as we had thought and if we had stayed ahead we would probably been in Birmingham 2 hours earlier than we were.
The lunch stop is where it started going wrong. I tried to fired up the lap top computer and nothing, not a flicker on the screen, only the blue power light came on and it stayed like that for 2 days, hence the lack of blogs.
After lunch we set off and met a boat coming out of lock 5, looking good we thought and another boat behind them. As we passed they told us that lock 4 had "dropped a paddle" when we arrived the near side paddle rack was out but not a problem as we were going up. Wrong, we couldn't fill the lock, the bottom paddle wasn't dropped it was right out of its guide, so we emptied the lock again and fitted the rack back into the winding gear, me lifting from below. Then the paddle came into view, not dropped but out of its rack, so we are going nowhere fast.
Once we could see the problem I rang CRT who had already had it reported and someone was on their way. Two CRT operatives where soon on the scene looking at it, another chap was coming to fix it. I backed out of the lock and down the next one so they could drain the lock to get to it. I then "assisted" them to disconnect the rack from the rod ready to put it back in the runners. Once the lock was drained it was obvious how it had come out, the frame holding the runners was hanging down at an angle.
Once the third chap arrived he was in there with his dry suit refitting the runners with the aid of some 6” nails, so I am not sure how long the “repair” will last. A couple of coach bolts and large washers would have been better than clenched over 6” nails in my opinion. The paddle was run back into its guides and the rod reconnected to the rack. Once this was done they started refilling the pound, luckily it's only a short one. I went Down and put Harnser into the lock 5 and let the lock fill as the pound level came up. Once I felt there was enough to water I opened the top gate and made my way up the pound. I left lock 5 for the second time today some 2 hours after I rand CRT to report the problem, so it was quite a fast response. As I reached the lock 4 they dropped the top paddles so that I could enter and we were away. One of the CRT operatives walked up the flight letting a bit more water down and opening the gates for us.
We continued on to opposite Swallow Cruisers were we moored for the night at about quarter to six and as the weather was so good we had a BBQ, probably the last for this year. The IWA had even thoughtfully provided a table and chairs for us to sit on.
I do wonder if they intended to spell Welcome like that, carved into the back of the seat in the far left photograph.