We pulled pins from our mooring outside of Ventnor farm marina at 07.10 and with a good 6 to 7 hour cruise and 18 double locks in front of us we made good time and soon past the Willow Wren training centre where it looked like they were building a new canal next to their Wharf.
I mentioned in the last blog about how we liked the paddles on the locks on this stretch of The Grand Union Canal. They were manufactured by a company called Ham Baker who are still in business to this day. But what is unique about these paddles is that you can let them drop under their own weight. On most paddles you are told to wind them down to avoid damage ,but on these you should just let them drop. The only downside to these paddles is that it takes 22 winds to lift them up.
If you look inside the paddle you will see a massive lump of rubber which cushions the paddle when it gets to the bottom. Last year we shared some of these locks with a Canal and River Trust work party who told us how these lock paddles worked. We have had some funny looks from other boaters when we just let the paddles drop and even after explaining to them that they are designed to operate in this way they still think we are in the wrong…..To all boaters ,Just let them drop !!!!
After a good days cruise we moored up and this boat with it’s vintage engine passed us. It smokes a lot more than a certain boat we know of with a vintage Gardner engine ,so I will never mention that Smokey Gardner again Rich and Sharon (well maybe occasionally).
Tomorrow and we will attempt to do The Hatton flight of locks which is also known as The staircase to heaven. Hopefully there will be a few volunteer lockies on duty to speed our journey up the flight, but if not we will take our time and enjoy the experience.