OD4A1860Well, it’s the 19th of May already and I have only ventured out twice along the canal towpaths this year. This must be even worse than last year for bad weather so far!

I arrived by car at about 1pm at Hatton Hill Bridge 54 by the CRT Depot and looked up and down the 21 lock flight to see if there was any traffic. No luck! So, I thought, it’s a nice day I’ll just go for a short walk downhill and then go to Warwick town and take in the atmosphere in Market Square.

Then after 1/2 mile at Lock 36 I came across some Italian visitors from Rome who had hired a boat at Alvechurch and were now heading back there. Luckily they encountered a CRT volunteer lock keeper who then helped them negotiate the remaining 10 locks to top lock 46. My Italian not being up to much I let them go by, and soon encountered two boats who were lock sharing up the flight.

These people owned their boats and were very friendly and not put off by gongoozler me bearing large camera. Braving the  locks of the flight with NB Suffolk Punch were a couple from a village in Suffolk with their 6 month old NB in mid blue livery. The lady skipper admitted that she normally crewed but as a special concession her husband had allowed her to take the tiller. And, with this female liberation, a smile never left her face during the following 10 locks. Her husband, Geoff, admitted that with the heat of the day and the exertion of winding the heavy Grand Union paddles he was getting pretty hot and was looking forward to a rest, but he soldiered on!

Meanwhile, the opposite situation existed with NB Jacaranda. The lady of the duo was the one working the locks while her husband skippered and tried to make things easier for the lady skipper of NB Suffolk Punch. All worked very well and after 3 hours they had climbed the 21 locks and were on their way towards Birmingham and looking forward to a few miles without locks.

When I arrived at 1pm there were very few gongoozlers about but when I returned to the top lock at 3pm there were many – obviously the Hatton Arms pub had been supplying them with Sunday lunch when I arrived.

Many thanks to the four boaters for allowing me to take photos of them and for putting up with my incessant chatter.

Below are some photos I took along the way; while the weather was warm and clement it did go a little cloudy so I’ve had to work quite hard to produce images which give a true flavour of the pleasure to the route. Click here to find out how to get the most out of the photos.