Tuesday 17 January 2012

Grand Union Canal. Warwick. (Still)

We did go to the Cape of Good Hope and, three weeks later, we’re still here.
This has been due to two fundamental errors on our part. First we’d innocently assumed that the British Waterways Lock Closures List would have referred to Hatton Bottom Lock as “Hatton Bottom Lock”, which is what everyone knows it as, what the sign at the visitors picnic site calls it and what BW’s own waterways map has it marked as. Calling it Budbrook Road Lock and closing it two days before we had planned to go through it was a masterstroke in deception and caught us completely off guard. Not just us it seems, there are now several boats hanging about, their crews raising their eyebrows at each other and subsidising the local pubs.

Our second faux pas was to expect it to open when the aforementioned list said it would - ie. Saturday - and on that basis arrange for a posse of willing helpers to turn up on Sunday, ready and eager to wind paddles and push gates in exchange for baked goods. This morning we went for a walk and, noticing that one of the gates was missing and the other was being attached to a crane, thought it might be prudent to have a word with one of the Day-Glo suited guys inside the temporary fencing.
“Do you think you’ll be finished on time?” we asked.

“The timber for the new gates only arrived at the yard today.” He said, “So no, not a hope.”

So here we are. Which is nowhere near as bad as it could be. Warwick is lovely, as is Warwickshire. There’s a very productive bit of un-managed woodland right next to the boat and a healthy stack of fallen timber is now residing on the roof and in the front lockers. There’s a water tap nearby, the sanitary station is less than half a mile away, the pub is OK and there’s somewhere to park the car, a local shop, even a place that sells gas. If we had to choose somewhere to get stuck we don’t think we could have improved on this. We’ve been for lots of walks; here are some photos of wintry Warwickshire.
The helpful BW guy we talked to told us that the lock closures on the Stratford Canal will probably overrun as well, information we are very grateful for as our intention is to go down there and visit Stratford next. We’re hoping that even with the delays we can still do that and be up in Birmingham by mid-April.


Sarah said...

How nice to have problems like that!

Brett said...

What a great blog, so good I will follow it and keep up with your wanderings

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