Heritage Working Boat Group (HWBG) provided a crew of volunteers to move heritage narrow boat “Swift” to the Canal and River Trust (CRT) depot near the top of Hatton Locks just north of Warwick.

I met up with the crew on their second day of travelling from the boat’s home mooring in central Birmingham.

The route was along the Stratford Canal from Swallow Wharf just north of Wharf Lane Bridge 27, down the Lapworth Locks then following the Grand Union down through the start of the Hatton Locks and mooring outside the CRT depot between Hatton Hill Bridge 54 and Lock 42.

The Background

The boat is from the Heritage Working Boats Group fleet. Centred on the BCN in Ladywood, Birmingham, the organisation is supported by volunteers to look after heritage boats for the CRT. They look after four boats there.

More information on the boat can be had by clicking here.

It was being moved from its base to Hatton for group educational visits from schools and scout groups between 22nd and 27th June. This is part of the Explorers education programme aimed at 7-11 year olds to inspire local children about waterways wildlife and history.

The boat will then move on to the Stratford River Festival July 1st and 2nd for public display.

The Crew

All are  volunteer members of the Heritage Working Boat Group. To see the men identified see final photo in the gallery below.

Nigel Hancock skipper for the trip at the tiller – one of the Heritage Working Boat Group qualified skippers – dressed in all blue

Charley Johnston, working all the locks – Chairman of the BCNS – all blue with khaki gilet on top

Paul Newton, working all the locks – CRT Volunteer  and BCNS member – white T Shirt

Fran Baxter, working the Lapworth locks – CRT volunteer lock keeper on the Stratford Locks

Plenty of experience there then to look after the precious vessel!

Plus me Geoff Caine – volunteer website creator and photographer on the trip whose photos are shown in the Gallery below.

The Journey

The weather was mixed cloud and sun but luckily instances of blue sky are evident in my photos. That’s what I like! The warm glow the sunshine enriches the natural colours of the canal and surrounding scenery.

The duration of the journey was 7.75  miles,  23 locks and took from 8:50 to 13:15 – 4 hours 25 minutes without a stop.

Only a gentle lockless cruise enabled rest for the hardworking crew.

This was from Kingswood Junction, Lapworth, at 10:35 to the Grand Union and onto Hatton top lock at 12:15 giving 1 hour 40 minutes of minimal activity.
Not so for the skipper, of course, having to be diligent in employing predictive skills to avoid collisions, wildlife and canal debris.

I was passenger in the hold of the boat during this – wise I thought as  not used to stepping round the minimal Gunwale.

Arrival at Hatton attracted Gongoozlers – not too many being a working day – but to their obvious interest and enjoyment.

The boat was turned around between Locks 42 and 41 then  moored outside the CRT depot below Hatton Hill Bridge at 13:15.

The Gallery

Below is a gallery of some of the photos I took on the journey.

To view photos:
1. Display an enlarged gallery – Left Click on an image – use the large side arrows to move between images – Left Click outside an image or press ESC to close the enlarged gallery.
View a larger version of a single image in a separate page – Right Click on the image then Left Click on “Open link in new tab” or “Open link in new window”.