*****Is going there and back to see how far it is.*****

Hi I am Jo…wife, lover, best friend and soulmate to Keith. Lover of all things to do with nature and the canals. I am passionate about the Waterways and its history.

I hope you will join me in my rambles and do please comment – I love to hear from and meet new people in blogland!

Life on the cut through my eyes.

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*****Stay safe and warm out there..*****

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Prestwood to top of Bratch Locks.

Map image

Is Moored above Bratch Locks.

Hi Folks.

4.30am and I was woken by the sound of rain on the roof of the boat, but it did not last so I turned over with a view to getting another half an hour of sleep before the alarm went off, but once I am awake that is it. So I lay and listened to an Owl calling in the wood opposite the boat. Paddy then came running up the boat to tell us my mobile phone alarm was going to go off. His hearing is so acute he hears it long before I do. Up and dressed with breakfast prepared and eaten, I took Paddy out for his walk and there was a Thrush standing on the towpath with a snail in its beak. The Thrush was bashing the snail on to the hard towpath, trying to break the shell, so it could eat the tasty meal inside. A Pheasant called out in the field, but nothing replied, so I think he was on his own. Our walk was dry but that did not last.

By the time we were ready to set off at 6am the rain had begun to fall as drizzle, so Keith's shorts stayed in the cupboard and his cords came back out again and we both donned our wet gear. I kept my shorts on under my waterproof trousers. Throughout the mornings trip it has tried to drizzle on and off. Nearly all the locks were set in our favour, same as yesterday. Keith reckoned he needed to check the bottom of his boots to make sure he hadn’t trod in something nasty! I personally think it was all the Seagull poop on the roof that did the trick when we were in Gloucester Dock.

At Swindon Lock we met another boat on the move, she was just about to close the bottom gates when she noticed us coming, so left them open for us to enter. We passed the time of day as we walked to the top paddles and I noticed a hedgehog swimming towards the lock. The poor little thing just about had its nose above the water, so before the lady on the other boat opened the paddle I leant in the water and fished the stricken hedgehog out of the water and put it in the hedge. After a quick shake to get the water out of its spines, it wandered off. So that was my good deed for the day.

At Botterham staircase locks I discovered that not only was the bottom lock empty, which was very handy, but so was the top one, I mean completely empty, so after Keith moved  Hadar into the empty bottom lock, I then had to completely fill the top lock, which leaks very badly through the gates. The bow was getting very wet, just as well we did not have an open hold.

Despite this holding us up a little we arrived at Bumblehole Lock, my favourite lock just because I love the name. We then moved on to Bratch Locks, where I went and asked the Lock Keeper if it was ok to come up, he gave me the thumbs up and so with the bottom lock empty Keith bought the boat in. The Lockie then very kindly came and helped me with the paddles. Blue paddles first, then red ones and that way you cannot go wrong. It was not long before we were at the top and looking for a mooring. Bratch Locks are incredibly pretty and made more so by the octagonal toll office half way up.

toll off 

Having moored up Keith was surprised because he thought it would take longer to get here,  he had calculated it would take us longer. I was a little surprised that I had done 12 locks this morning, I am obviously enjoying working locks too much!

Luckily we timed our mooring up just right as the drizzle turned to more steady rain, but this will not stop us going off to explore the area. We want to go and look at the pumping station, which is sadly closed now due to Health and Safety grrrrrrrrr.

Enjoying a coffee and a biscuit now, so chat soon xx

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