Thursday, 4 October 2012

Hotel boats “Oak” and “Ash” strike again at Hatton Flight!

Today started so well as we left our mooring at 8.30am in brilliant sunshine and had this little visitor by our boat -  not sure what type he is but he was all alone and very handsome.IMG_2771


Still on the Stratford Canal we thought we should take a photo of one of the “two piece” bridges designed for the rope to go through during the days of horse drawn boats.


We were soon making the transfer from the Stratford to the Grand Union Canal at Kingswood Junction – this short and very narrow link is all that needs to be tackled.


Doug, on his morning walk along the canal, took this ‘action shot’!


About half way between Kingswood Junction and the Hatton Flight of 21 locks is the Shrewley Tunnel.  At only 443 yards (you can see the end quite easily) it’s not the length but the West Portal which is interesting – it’s got a separate tunnel for the horses to go through.  The tunnel itself is bored beneath the village of Shrewley.


We were soon into the Hatton flight of locks.  We did it on our own this time and we found it very easy to operate – you only need to use one paddle and one gate and filling and emptying is easy and quick.

We had two unfortunate incidents on the way down however.  Firstly Oscar decided he couldn’t wait to go for a wee and,while James in the lock and was looking in another direction, he just walked off the edge of the boat!  We always make sure he has his collar on when he’s on deck and this time it proved very useful in pulling him out (when he eventually surfaced!) As usual he was fine and was wagging his tail as soon as he was back on board.

The other incident was far less funny!  We had the misfortune to meet the twin hotel boats ‘Oak and Ash’ – operated by the ex Rev. Martin Reed, coming up the flight as we were going down.  Cutting the details of this story to a reasonable length, he decided to come out of his lock (with his motor and butty sensibly tied together) and, instead of waiting for James to bring ‘Chance’  out of the lock, he decided to try and ram us out of the way!  James hastily reversed back into the lock while the “vicar”aggressively manoeuvred his boats to the side of the pound.  As James gingerly took ‘Chance’ past the hotel boats and asked “Why the hell didn’t you wait for me to give you priority!?” the kind reverend screamed back (with obscenities) his version of narrow boat etiquette and then promptly pointed his rudder towards ‘Chance’ and gave the engine full throttle!  The effect, which was intentional, was to shoot a huge quantity of water straight into the back door of ‘Chance’, flooding the bedroom! 


The rest of the story is not repeatable! safe to say that the lock keepers and there supervisor came to scene and took control.  We must say that they were incredibly concerned for us and very helpful.  They are now in the process of issuing a  formal complaint against Mr Reed as they are well aware, from their own experiences and that of many others, of the antics of this most dangerous and angry man.


We put what we could on the roof to dry in the sunshine but soon discovered that the water had affected the electrics, which are situated under the rear steps, and the inverter was no longer working.  The water had flooded the bedroom floor and soaking part of the mattress.

The rest of the afternoon has been spent mopping up and drying out and, very kindly, the head lock keeper phoned ahead to Ian at the Saltiford Arm in Warwick where a mooring was found for us this evening to sort out the mess.


Lock working continued as life has to go on!  No -  Doug hasn’t shrunk, but just look at the size of the paddle gear.


We are now moored with shore power in the secure and peaceful Saltisford Arm where we received a warm and concerned welcome from some of the residents as we arrived.  News travels very fast on the canal telegraph!

Stop Press:  The inverter seems to have dried out and is (fingers crossed) working again at the moment.


  1. That is disgraceful behaviour!

    This guy should not be in control of a pair of hotel boats, what about the safety of their guests?

    I am sure they dont want their peaceful holiday ruined by ramming boats and bad language either.

    This guy must have some sort of helmsmans certificate to drive these commercial boats surely.

    It should be taken away from him for sure.

    Glad you are both OK and hope the bedroom dries out enough for you tonight.

    You could of course claim for damage from their insurance company, seems you have witnesses to the deliberate actions.

  2. I was hearing only the other day about the Rev Reed's performance as his boats went through the historic boat rally at Alvecote a couple of weeks ago. Apparently many people complained to C&RT about him, so their file must be getting bigger all the time. The people at the Saltisford arm must know him well -- he keeps the boats there over the winter, and apparently does retreats on them (although you'd think the guests must be pretty stressed by the end.) Glad everything's drying out.

  3. Hi Sue, He didn't have any guests as we found out from his 2 helpers (not employees) that he's heading for Birmingham for the Conservative Party Conference, as MP's will be staying aboard his boats in Birmingham! Not surprised he had no guests on board really, there were plenty of witnesses on the towpath and also the two helpers, C&RT were taking statements from everyone...

  4. The duck is a Tufted Duck.

    Sorry about you’re meeting with the infamous ex vicar. Can you imagine what he was like in the pulpit?

  5. Sadly, this is 'normal' behaviour for him.

  6. Ken and Sue nb Cleddau4 October 2012 at 22:22

    We witnessed his awful behaviour when in Gloucester Docks in June 2011.
    Ken and Sue nb Cleddau

  7. Oak and Ash are apparently ceasing to trade at the end of the cruising season, you have to ask yourself why! Mr Reed states costs, I wonder if there are other factors he doesn't want to tell us about!


  8. Glad to learn that at least some Tories will
    have a nice time at the conference!

  9. We've had trouble with him on the Hatton - I have a photo of him deliberately turning his tiller so that the back of his boats rammed ID (waiting patiently at the edge of the pound).

    I'm so glad that there's a formal complaint going in.

    I don't know how he gets any customers - or does he turn on the charm for them...

    Sue, nb Indigo Dream

  10. Hope you are drying out! The guy is mad, glad you have witnesses hopefully they may do something about him, I agree you should make a claim against him.

    Say Hi to the lovely lady in the office with the adoreable spaniel that I wanted to steal!


  11. One also has to wonder if his attitude is the reason he is an "EX" vicar. What a horrible man.

    Do hope everything dried out, including poor Oscar.

  12. My son was employed by the 'Vicar' for a few weeks about three years ago to steer the butty, he found him to be a very unpleasant employer, unable to keep staff for any more than a few weeks, (I think my son worked for him about 8 weeks and in this time the 'Vicar' got through 4 Chefs!!) during my son's time on the butty the 'vicar' was told by other boaters almost daily that if he fancied a swim in the canal they would willingly come aboard and 'help the vicar over the gunnells'

    Beardy Chas

  13. Hi Doug & James,
    We hope there are no longer term adverse consequences for Chance after your most unfortunate encounter.

  14. Hi both

    That guy really is the limit! We've all got stories about him, won't bore you with mine.

    What he did amounts to trying to sink Chance - you could complain to the police so that he really has to face the consequences of his actions…

    Hope it all gets dried out soon.



  15. HI Guys,
    We had our own run in with the lovely vicar going down into Stratford a couple of years ago. Such a nasty man, he seems to think he owns the cut. Hope you're drying out and the electrics start working again soon.
    Poor old Oscar, must have been having a "senior moment", good job he likes swimming.
    best wishes
    Yvonne & Roger

  16. It really annoys us how people like the Rev Reed seem to get away with such anti-social behaviour that spoils everyone’s rights and enjoyment of the canals system. Hope your day wasn’t too stressful. Give poor Oscar a pat from us.

  17. Hi Doug & James, what an awful encounter with this despicable character! Hope there is no lasting damage, but if there is make sure you put in a claim against him. Take care both x

  18. I hope that the miserable old bugger is held to answer for his awful behaviour and for the damage to Chance too.
    Hope Oscar is getting over his early bath, bless him.
    Kevin & Harry

  19. He did exactly the same to me coming down Napton last year - he came out of the lock, I went in, he backed up to the upper gate, ostensibly so he was ready for the butty. He ten 'gunned' the engine sending huge quantities of water over the gate on to the counter of Leo No2. I complained to BW (as was) and also to the British Marine Federation (his trade body).

    Hope you are drying out.


  20. Criminal Damage Act 1971

    [edit] Definition

    Whereas the 1861 Act protected in detail many different types of property, the Criminal Damage Act 1971[9] provided a definition wide enough to apply to any tangible property. By section 1(1) of the Act:

    A person who without lawful excuse destroys or damages any property belonging to another intending to destroy or damage any such property or being reckless as to whether any such property would be destroyed or damaged shall be guilty of an offence.

    Report him to the police chaps.

  21. Guts - thats terrible. I guess the good news is that if he is going out of business we will have seen the last of him and he will take his foul and miserable countenance elsewhere.

  22. Hi
    sorry you had to meet such a nasty man with a pair of boats,we meet him at Kingswood Jnt,he was trying to bully us out the way but Richard was having none of it.Not everyone with a boat and butty is that bad,don.t let him spoil you time on the cut.


    seems the word is getting around

  24. I'm just shocked, read about this story on a forum and can only hope you have recovered from both the damage and distress. by all accounts its long overdue this person was called to account

  25. Take a look at this web page

    Seems the Rev Reed is hanging up his windlass!!!

    Nb Duxllandyn