Sunday, 22 May 2011

Hanbury Wharf to Hopwood

We left Hanbury Wharf early on Friday morning with the intention of getting ourselves to the top of the Tardebigge flight.  That would be 42 locks away - were we mad?  We had made a bit of a pigs ear of  the trip planning but one learns.. Anyway, off we go first stop Stoke Works and a water tap.  There are six locks to get through, a water tank to fill and rumours that there is a shop at hand for those essential supplies. 

Approaching Stoke Works I came across Nb. Khayamanzi, Andy Edward's former boat.  Looks OK Andy.
Caxton passing through Stoke Wharf - the large Black Prince hire boat fleet being prepared for their new crews.

Water tank filled, shop located and essentials purchased - though not fresh veg or fruit as the local store only had three dried carrots and some yellowing cabbage - we were off to find the next half a dozen locks.
Caxton entering the second of the Stoke Locks

It is now 1.30pm and we have reached the first of the Tardebigge flight.  I got the bike off of the boat and kept the dogs with me to 'help' with the locks.  It was then a case of getting Caxton into a lock and the filling started before I head off on the bike to the next lock to get it prepared. Cycle back to Caxton, gates open, boat out, gates closed and then beat Caxton to the prepared lock to start the process all over again.
Stoke Pound lock cottage now owned by the Landmark Trust and rented out for holidays.  We lunched here in February with our favourite 'stalkers' David and Amanda when they had a 'narrowboat fix' by having a weekend break here.  
It took us three and a half hours to 'do' the flight by which time Floyd was demanding to be carried or left to sleep on the towpath, Fletcher had climbed back aboard Caxton and I aware of a bunch of muscles that I didn't know I had.

The last lock

Next morning we were up and on the service point at Tardebigge before anyone else had stirred.  Once serviced we pulled off and made our way through the Tardebigge tunnel.  I stayed aboard getting off with the dogs once we were through the tunnel. 

Moored at Hopwood in time for the qualifying session of the formula 1 on Saturday.


Amanda said...

"Stalkers" green with envy that you have done it by boat and not just walked it. It looks beautiful by boat as does the whole canal. Can't wait for two day canal fix coming up. Looking forward to Sunday.


Nb Caxton said...

This is indeed a lovely canal and we look forward to ambling down it at 'Caxton pace'in the next few weeks. Looking forward to meeting up again..