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Avon Adventure Day 1 Stockton

For our May 2008 canal cruise we planned on going from Calcutt to Tewkesbury by going down the River Avon and back up the Severn. Day 0 we arrived late at the boat and decided to just pop up to The Boat Inn at Stockton. I had set up the time lapse camera yesterday, but its only a small section.

Saturday morning, we set off to head down Stockton Locks. A few boats had passed whilst we were having breakfast, but it was still fairly quiet as we head towards the locks. These locks are wide locks and its more fun sharing, so maybe there will be a boat waiting when we arrive? There was, in fact there were two, which is unfortunate as it means they pair up and head into the lock. Still, as this is a fairly popular section another boater arrived just as we’d readied the lock, so we could share, hurrah!

This canal originally had narrow 7ft locks, but new wide locks were built later to allow both boat and butty to travel through paired up, and so speed up passage through. Oo, just on cue, up pops a boat n’ butty through a lock. Well that was well timed. The old narrow locks are no longer used, but remain visible alongside the wide locks – they mainly just had a wall built at one end and convert it into an overflow. Quite a few of the old narrow locks have concrete slabs placed over the lock chamber itself, which I guess stops accidentally falling in. The exception, to which, will be shown on the next days cruise – we had some gongoozlers on the Hatton flight, a couple (in their 50’s?) with two grandchildren explaining how a lock works. The woman steps backwards from the head of the wide lock and straight into the canal above the lock chamber of the old narrow lock. All was well, save for the obvious embarrassment of the woman in question, and the children had stifled grins obviously relishing the tales they could now embellish upon when they returned home, and again the next school day.

After Stockton flight comes Bascote Locks which includes a staircase pair built 1933-7.

“A lock staircase, or riser, is defined as two, or more, adjacent locks where the upper gates of one lock serve as the lower gates of the next. This means that there are no pounds between locks and on leaving one lock the next lock in the staircase is entered immediately.” (from staircase locks)

We had been following a pair of boats through the locks all morning, and mostly having to set them again unless we found an oncoming boat. After Welsh Road Lock we stopped for lunch on board.

After a leisurely lunch, we spy a boat (nb tricky) coming down the lock behind, and as they were unaccompanied we got ready to set off and then follow them, which they were happy with. After passing through Radford Bottom Lock we spy the Prince Regent Trip boat moored awaiting its next cargo or tourists and sightseers. The weather is now gloomy and overcast and no doubt rain will be on the way at some point. Although we get a short shower, we manage to get to Leamington Spa, and moor in the spaces outside “The Moorings” pub. Looks a nice place for an evening meal.

(or if you prefer here’s the lower resolution youtube version)

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