Monday 2 July

Last week’s childminding must have tired us more than we realised as it was almost 9am before we stirred this morning; not quite the early start we’d hoped for.

The delayed start though worked in our favour as the first boat up the flight arrived at the top just as we were ready to set off and this meant that all the locks were set in our favour.  We’d cleared the 21 narrow locks of the Lapworth flight before noon.  This was good timing because there were one or two paddles out of action that slowed us down slightly .   As Storm had worked all the locks he disappeared inside to cool off and I continued on towards the Hatton flight.

Paddle out of order?

Despite days of soaring temperatures, Shrewdly Tunnel was still dripping wet but rather than put up an umbrella I savoured the cooling drips.

The water lilies were in bloom, turning their heads towards the sun.

Thankfully there is lots of shade at the top of Hatton and so we moored up on the lock  mooring to show our intent that we were keen to descend the locks as soon as possible.  The CRT volunteers had worked the flight all morning and were on their way home and we hadn’t the heart to ask them to stay on to help us.

We had a bite of lunch and some chilled medication to revive us and waited for the arrival of a lock buddy.

At 3.45 a Valley Cruisers hire boat approached with a family on board and we began our decent down the 21 broad locks.  Conversation flowed easily and we’d soon developed a good system working the locks – only passing one boat coming up.  After 2 hours, 45 minutes we’d reached the bottom lock.

We’d hoped to moor near the Cape of Good Hope, one of the gems of canal-side pubs.  If there had been fewer “gitgaps” this would have been possible, but as it was we had to do another two locks before we were able to moor up for the night.

Two cold showers and we were ready to walk back to the pub.  We ordered beers, but sadly they were only serving food to those who’d pre-booked and so after we’d consumed our first drink we went back to the boat and I conjured up a chicken curry.

46 locks and 8.5 miles today.  A good day!

On the phone front, a new sim card is being sent out to our house so once we get back from this trip I will continue with the same number.   Just need to find a cheap handset and I’m all sorted.

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