Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Hatton Locks

Last night when we arrived above Cape Locks we were told there weren’t any more moorings further along the canal, so we squeezed into the last spot under a tree, something we never normally do. Someone was having a laugh at our expense and next time we won’t be so trusting.  It got quite windy and rained quite heavily late evening and we kept hearing things dropping out of the tree onto the roof. When I went out first thing this morning the roof and sides of the boat were covered with pigeon poo and the things we’d heard dropping on the roof turned out to be about a hundred cherry stones! As it had been a very warm and sunny start to the day the poo had set like concrete and took almost an hour to wash off.
Google came into it’s own again today as we needed a vet for Charlie and it turned out that there was a vet hospital only about 200 yards away up on the main road and they managed to get us an appointment. When we got back from the vets we moved up the canal just 2 bridges, about 500 yards, and found plenty of good pilings to moor up to, outside the cemetery. After lunch we took Chico and walked into Warwick for a look around. I would have liked to visit the castle but they don’t allow dogs in the grounds and I thought the town itself was very disappointing.

St Mary's Church

Tourist Information Office

We set off again around 2.00 and paired up with a lovely couple on a boat called Honey. Again we’d been given duff information as the guy who told us about the moorings last night also told us there were really good moorings just 5 locks up the Hatton Flight. There wasn’t, so we ended up going up all 21 locks which are known as the ‘stairway to heaven’. These 21 locks are spread out over 2 miles and raise the canal up almost 150 feet. The lock beams are really heavy and I’m so glad we found someone to share with. I felt sorry for the woman on the other boat though, she’d already done 15 locks before they met us so that meant she did 36 locks in one day! Her husband did promise to cook her dinner tonight though.

Middle Lock Bridge

First view of the 'Stairway to Heaven'

imposing or what?

water pouring over the bottom gates as 2 boats came down

We shared a few of the locks with a pair of swans and their 2 cygnets. The swans had obviously done this before as they had the timing down to an art. Just as we were about to close the bottom gates they herded the cygnets in between the boats and right up to the front gates. They knew when the water level was right before we did and as soon as the gates started to move they rushed out only to repeat the same thing at the next lock. I suppose it’s the best way they can get the cygnets higher up the canal as they’re still far too young to fly.

On the way up the flight we passed British Waterways Hatton Offices where we've spent many a boring day at Canal Boatbuilders Association meetings.

looking back down the flight, St Mary's Church in the background

BW Hatton Offices

A bit lost?

water feature opposite Hatton Offices
There was a wasps nest in the lock beam at the top lock with plenty of the little beasties buzzing about.

We’re now moored about a mile past the top lock, a bit close to the railway but we have good internet and TV. The dinner’s in the oven and I intend to fall asleep in front of the TV later. I forgot to photograph tonight's mooring spot so I'll add it on tomorrow.

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