I thought I’d finished writing about our canal trip because we only had a few locks left. However, they were enjoyable locks and there were also a couple of tunnels. Therefore, I feel the need to record the last couple of hours for posterity. I have a rubbish memory and I write my blog so I’ll always recall the adventures John and I have had. It’ll be fun to read it in 30 years when I’m sat in my rocking chair by the fire, surrounded by cats.
We got up at 7.00 and washed, dressed and packed our food, clothes and other kit away into bags and holdalls. That didn’t take long and, after some breakfast, we set off down the canal to Tuel Lane lock. I was surprised that the boats ahead of us were still moored up and we were second in the queue behind a boat that had moored by the lock the previous night.
Before long the lock keepers began unlocking all the gates and filling the lock, and the other boats began to form a queue behind us. Once called, we followed the boat in front into the lock and the gate keepers closed the gates behind us and began emptying the lock.
This took a while because Tuel Lane lock is the deepest lock in Britain and we dropped 6 metres as around 600,000 litres of water emptied out. When the huge bottom gates were opened we could see Tuel Lane tunnel directly ahead of us, which was quite exciting. The other boat kindly let us go first.
As we left the tunnel, we could see Josh from Shire Cruises getting the next lock ready for us. As we waited in the lock for the second boat, he told us they had 10 boats with changeovers today. The lock keepers, boat engineers and cleaners were going to be busy!
Then we entered our final lock of the trip, once again sharing with the other boat, and sharing the work. After leaving the lock John carried on down the canal and around a couple of bends to the marina, while I helped close the lock gates and paddles and took a short cut to the same place.
John then parked at the the quay while the fuel on the boat was refilled before being directed to park alongside one of the other boats already moored in the marina.
We waited patiently for our turn, and watched the driver of the boat ahead of us struggling to manoeuvre his boat. Finally a man from Shire Cruises jumped on and parked it for him. John then did really well steering the boat into position at the first attempt, and was pleased to be given a 10/10 from the Shire Cruises guy who was waiting on the quay.
As we loaded the car and drove away, we agreed it had been a really good trip. It had turned out as we’d hoped with time on the canal, some walks and meals, and we’ve come home with lovely memories and stories to tell.