D2 Hatton Lock flight

On Sunday 14th March it was Mothers Day, we had spent the night in Warwick and was travelling a short distance today, just 4.5 miles, as we were booked into the Waterman pub for an evening meal. Under 5 miles, sounds like a short day? Well there was the case of doing 23 locks – Cape’s two and Hatton’s twenty-one. We’d also arranged to meet some new owners wanting to find out about the boat.
It was a lovely sunny morning with a bright blue sky, but very few boats on the move – still early in the season I guess. There was a cold wind blowing too, so although it was sunny a jumper was needed to keep the chill off. Cape locks were empty when we got to them – does this mean Hatton will be too, or that someone had spent the previous evening moored at the Cape of Good Hope and had set off down before us? the first two locks of the Hatton flight were full, so it looked like maybe someone had gone up in front or not come down. We then met a boat coming down so sailed into lock 28, and the rest may well now be empty?
John had telephoned just before we started into the first lock saying he & Brenda had arrived at the Waterman pub and were walking down to meet us, and had now arrived. It was still early and we took our time, and we still flew through as the locks were now empty. We passed another boat in the pound before lock 33, an old canal carrying boat, also out enjoying the weather – two boats in one day makes this our busiest day so far! Of course the downside of going slow is that the wind can seem to effect you more, though this was mostly when we were in the locks, blowing us across, but a quick tug on the centre line brought us back ready to set off through the open gate.
Hatton is an interesting place and there often is various walkers and families out. We had help from such a group of kids for lock 39, though they didn’t seem to be going upwards so no help through the next lock, ah well. Lock 43 was full when we got to it, so I guess it must have been at this point the canal carrier coat had passed a boat in front of us (possibly, all purely a guess of course). Passing in short pounds should be a relatively painless process, but sometimes there’s a confidence/ability issue or a level of brinkmanship that may change how you handle the manoeuvre. So when the crew of the on-coming boat close the gates when the boat leaves, what do you do? I suppose one option is staying in the lock entrance until my crew got up to open the gate, but that would have been unfair to the obviously inexperienced hirer, and progressing slowly forward may have been okay, but the cross wind would most likely have blown me into the path of the other boat, so I just went tow-path side and got off with the middle rope. This should have meant they had a straight run into the lock, which somehow they cocked up and came to an abrupt stop as they found out the boat couldn’t go in sideways – still two locks down and they may have it mastered by the end of the lock flight.
Once through the top lock we moored up on the spaces after the long-term mooring (or there about, it might have been before the visitor moorings started, but there was plenty of space).
[youtube width=”598″ height=”360″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6c_vC9x0NWc[/youtube]

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