Monday 13 April

We were awake early and up, dressed and breakfasted by 7.30 am. The Tardebigge flight of 30 locks in just under two miles awaited us.

We entered the bottom lock at 7.50. Storm and Max were on dry land and I was steering. We’d agreed that Storm would open the bottom gates, wait for me to enter the lock, close the gates behind me, open the front paddles and then he’d move on to prepare the next lock.   Once the lock was full, I would drop the paddles, open the top gate, move the boat forward to just beyond the top gate, and close the gate behind me, while hanging onto the stern rope so that I could stop the boat drifting off.

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This method worked well and after two hours we’d done 19 locks and travelled about a mile. At our 20th lock we met the first of two boats coming down the flight and we had to wait for them to lock down. We didn’t mind the wait but it affected our lock average. We met the second boat at the 29th lock and they pulled in and waved us through. As we cleared the 29th lock, we’d taken 3 hours 10 minutes.   With good moorings and a hard edge ideal for gunwale painting, we pulled in and left the 30th lock for another day.

It was a nice, warm afternoon and so we managed to apply a second coat of undercoat and, as the weather forecast looks promising, we hope to apply a coat of enamel tomorrow.

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After a shower, we walked up to Tardebigge church that sits on a hill overlooking the canal. Its delicate spire sits atop an airy Baroque bell-chamber and slender tower, designed by Frances Hiorn, who seemed not to bother with such inspirational ideas for the rest of the building that is really quite plain.

We walked back past Tardebigge Wharf and on the non-tow path side we discovered a plaque that commemorates the founding of the Inland Waterways Association by Tom Rolt and Robert Aickman, aboard NB Cressy in 1946 which apparently had a mooring here at that time.

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We returned to the boat and I did some baking. There are 30 scones and a chocolate cake cooling this evening.

A busy day!

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