After a quiet night (with rain) at Kingswood Junction we turn onto Grand Union Canal, which must be the motorway of the canals.
Bloody hell it’s wide! It’s amazing. What a difference compared to, for example, the Trent & Mersey around Acton Bridge. And no traffic…
It’s too much for us. After two-and-a-half hours we moor up, just before the Shrewley Tunnel.
A gorgeous place, in fact the cutting is a Site of Special Scientific Interest, for it’s flora and fauna. It’s just not a good place for solar panels…
But it enables me to take a picture to prove how glossy our boat is.
We go to the village shop for some items, and then to The Durham Ox, the local pub, for a drink. When we decide to have a meal there, we’re in for a surprise. Two absolute delicious meals (Goat’s cheese and mushroom risotto (L) and a quinoa burger (me)), very fresh, with fresh herbs, and very tasty.
The next day is another ‘very long’ day: we cruise for 45 minutes. While doing that we have a free shower. No, not the rain, it’s the inside of Shrewley Tunnel. Luckily we did have our water proofs on.
We moor up, more or less at the top of the Hatton Flight. It’s better for the solar panels, and we can have a look at the (completely different) lock system.
We have lunch at the cafe (Ploughman’s), speak to the CRT volunteer, try out the locks paddles, take pictures.
Tomorrow we will do all the 21 locks in one day.
The next day we start with Lawrance on the tiller. We pair up with another boat. She’s on the tiller, he’s doing the locks. At the first lock she runs into WRT on full speed.
Not a promising start.
From then on everything goes downhill. Literally (146′ 6″ or 44.7 metres), and figuratively. The locks are too heavy for me, so I end up at the tiller. And this other lady can’t steer straight, or grasp the concept of slowing down. We cannot stay together and go into the locks together; she pushes me (us) off the straight line, and just before the lock she uses her bow thruster to get straight in. No, WRT doesn’t have bow thrusters. So for the next locks I decide to go in first. Unfortunately she doesn’t give me any time to slow down in the lock, jump off the boat and pull WRT right to the side of the lock. More and more paint taken off…
And to make matters worse: it’s the worst weather of all our cruising days. All the four hours of going through the flight it is pouring down with rain. Even with water proofs on we still get soaked.
We make it into Saltisford Canal Centre. But don’t ask…