Day 12

I spent last night somewhere in/near Nuneaton a few miles south of Springwood Haven Marina, they have all the usual services and also have a specialist electrical company, Onboard Energy on site. I thought I’d get some diesel and some advice. I didn’t get either, they don’t open Sat or Sun. So onwards to Atherstone Locks.

Presently surprised to find 3 CRT volunteers manning the top lock, 2 on #2, 1 on three and another running between 4 and 5. At the next four I managed to meet others coming up so only had to do two of them by myself. The best ego boost is that with the knee nearly better I can still stride across lock gates.

For those more used to wide locks it goes like this (going down). Narrow locks usually have a single gate at the top and a pair of pointing doors at the bottom, both have walkways bolted on, sometimes there is a bridge, but rarely. The top single door is obvious, you motor in leave the boat near the top gate and close it. Take a rope off the boat in case you need to stop it surging forward (though they rarely do) and in order to position it by the steps to get back on board. good idea to get off on the side with steps. You don’t really need to tie up. Open the paddles on the bottom gates, keeping an eye on the boat. When the gates can be moved, half open the one on the opposite side to your boat rope. Step on it while still moving and across to the other gate. Holding tight to the handrail, put a foot on the gate that’s half open and push it fully open, then open the other gate normally.

Once you’re out of the lock tie up below and go back to close the gates. The first one is easy but now you face a 50m walk up the lock and back, or you walk boldy across the closed gate and stride across to the other gate. It’s really not far, the locks are only just over 7′ wide and there’s a 9″ walkway facing you on the still-open gate so the gap is only about 3′. I’ve been wondering until today if I was still fit enough and bold enough to do it. Seems I am.

One odd thing about the Northampton Arm, the walkways on the bottom gate are on the wrong side, so when a gate is open the plank isn’t over the water, it’s over the lock side making the gap bigger and giving you nothing to step on to. I have seen fit, young blokes do it anyway but I’m not THAT bold.

After that the Coventry Canal meanders through Tamworth and a few villages. It’s really quite pretty and I love looking at canalside gardens. Some are neglected of course, or just fenced off from the canal but a lot of people make a real effort to treat the canal as a feature, lots of decks, patios, outdoor dining spaces by the water.

I’d decided to moor before Glascote locks but got there unexpectedly quickly because i wasn’t looking at the map. I was about to moor when I noticed a young couple with a tatty little cruiser already in the top lock and about to close it. I tooted the horn and they waited for me. So another two locks done with people to help. Stopped at Hopwas for the night. Two pubs look nice but haven’t any spare tables, it’s Saturday. And so to bed…

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