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.