Thursday, 4 October 2012


“Never again,” I said back in 1974 after giving birth to Ben.  Just 3 years later, there I was back in hospital, more moaning and groaning, more huffing and puffing  ….. again.  Nothing unusual there – most women ‘fall’ for it!

Knackers Yard! 054

BUT:  October 2012 – The Grand Union Canal from Hatton to Napton –

“Never again”!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  We did this stretch only 3 years ago in 2009.  WHY did I not remember just how tough it is?  WHY did I not remember the pain?  The agony?  The callouses?

We ‘only’ had 5 miles and 10 locks to cover today.  The initial plan was to do 5 locks and then stop for a break (for me!) and for lunch.  It was not to be because we could find nowhere decent to stop.  All the best places were already inhabited by ‘gatherings’.

By lock 10 ……………. I was knackered!!  Those paddles!  Each one takes 23 turns (I know it’s sad but counting helps to focus the mind!) to raise.  And, I swear that the locks neither begin to empty or fill until at least turn 19!

 Knackers Yard! 064   Knackers Yard! 062   Knackers Yard! 063

Nobody else seems to find them so tough so I suppose the truth of it is I’m just a wimp, a woose, a namby-pamby, a pathetic cream puff!   

I would prefer to think that I’m just getting too old for this lark!!  Fortunately, with increased age comes increased short-term memory loss so, where might we cruise in 2015 I wonder? !!!!!!!!!

Something I failed to report:-  As we approached Birmingham on the B.C.N. we had to travel directly underneath part of the M5.  Scenic it may not have been but interesting it was.

    Knackers Yard! 051


  1. Oh Angela!

    I remember well one year we did that flight. Vic kept shouting at me for banging the boat coming into the locks. I must add that there was a howling wind at the time.

    So I went on strike, told him to drive the boat "I will do the locks".. Worse move I ever made that.. But I never told Vic so!

    I know exactly how you feel gal!

    1. One of those paddles is 24 turns! Yes, I get pretty anal when doing those - worse I STILL remember that that odd one takes 24 instead of 23! So, you see,you're not as sad as me.

    2. Although someone told me the other day that the paddles are actually fully open at 18 turns, so you could save yourself at least five turns per paddle!

    3. Hi Adam,
      Well ........... I have more locks approaching so, with my bi-onic arm, I'll test that out. I'll do 18 turns and see how long it takes to fill up as compared to 23 turns! Between here and Napton I think I've got 13 locks to go so ........ if 18 is correct,I can do 12 locks with only 18 turns and I will have saved myself ................ enough time for an extra cup of coffee!! xxoo

    4. Bless you Sue!
      I thought I was just being a complete wimp! Thing is - I need to learn to drive the boat competently!! But ...... I got shouted at too ..... Hey, Ho! xxoo

  2. Great Pictures Angela! We did them today as well, pity we missed you. x

    1. Hi Guys,
      We did Hatton on Tuesday. Luckily for us we have not had the misfortune of meeting that nasty chap on the hotel boat. He was sorting the boats out when we were in the Saltisford Arm but we didn't speak. Poor old Oscar. Lots of TLC for him tonight. xxoo

  3. Love the pic of the M5, not pretty agreed but a beautiful 'structural' photo.xxxx

    1. Thank you Lynn, that's one of mine photo.

  4. Those locks are tough, think its just the amount, rather than them being hard to operate. We came down in September on our own and I thought they were worse than when we went up last year (on our own), so you see we are worse than you doing them two years in succession! The rest to Napton don't seem that bad after Hatton! (and I count as well!)


  5. You poor creature, having helped you with the Hatton a few years back I know exactly what you're going through. BUT you have brought it on yourself, you should have "Insisted" your offspring start breeding some years back. Grandchrildren make wonderful surfs. "You want breakfast? Good, it'll be ready at the top, start winding". They'll be too knackered to keep you up late and if they are a bit slow in the morning a quick dunk in the canal should get the little buggers moving. "Cold? never mind, a few turns of this will soon have you as warm as toast."
    Child abuse? Never, its living history.....

  6. Del Boy! My little custard cream! I'm so glad that has been made clear to me! All this time I have thought it was ME helping YOU!! xxoo

  7. Did the Hatton flight in April - both ways. Going down was OK as we paired up with another boat with a crew of four and so managed to rotate the jobs reasonably amicably. But going up! We paired up again with a most charming couple from Lancashire but got stuck behind a plonker who was insistent on working up singly with a crew of two! It took us four and a half hours. No amount of pleading would entice him to either share or let us pass in a pound - "It's just had its paint job and I don't want it spoiling by hire boats" (I've been hiring for over twenty years and the Lancashire couple owned their boat)
    As for being a wimp, I can assure you that you are in very good company - if your are not in desperate need of coffee and cake top, middle and bottom, then there is something seriously wrong with you.
    Grumpy Yorkshireman

  8. Hi Angela
    I know exactly how you feel, I did the Hatton flight a few weeks ago and did eight of them single handed before pairing up with a hotel boat.