Lock Slaves put to work –  17th July 2022

For nearly a week now we have been hearing about a severe heat wave heading towards the UK and the press have been putting out a lot of warnings. Today it is expected to reach 32c, so we decided for a quick breakfast and then out on the cut as soon as possible

This is what we have to contend with today. Each little black arrow you see is a lock and altogether there  are 36 locks on the Tardibigge flight. We tackled the first six yesterday which leaves us 29 to do today. The Tardibigge flight represents a boater’s Rite of Passage.

It was a Sunday, the towpath was very busy with walkers, joggers, cyclists, boat crews and this very happy chappy who was a headed out for the day with his two kids to go fishing. He had the full kit and proudly posed for us as he set off in pursuit of a shady spot to spend the rest of the day.

We did the flight back in 2016 with friends Pete and Nadine, but in that case we came down the flight.

The locks are spaced tightly together, so not a great distance to walk between them. The scenery is rural and in a lot of places it was shady, thank goodness.

As the day heated up we rotated the crew onto the boat except for poor Karen as she had no boating experience to be able to steer the boat. We did let her have little breaks now and then according to her working conditions that had been laid out in advance in her contract.

We would say this is an original ground paddle to allow the maintenance staff on the canals to add additional water to the canal from the reservoir.

We will apologise in advance for the noisy quality of the video as when standing on the elevated bank of the reservoir the wind was quite strong.

What made our hot day very bearable was the constant breeze which when added to the shade made our advance up the flight so much easier to handle.

We were rightly chuffed with ourselves when we got to the top as we worked out that if you took out our hour lunch break, we did the flight in just under four hours.

The final hour of cruising included two small tunnels, shaded cut throughs and a kingfisher and a turtle. Karen and Miles spent this final time sitting at the front of the boat enjoying a cool peaceful end to the journey and learning that it isn’t all about doing 29 locks in one day.

We moored up at Alvechurch in the shade as by now the thermometer was reading 32c. Quick cool showers and over the bridge to a pub where we sat in the beer garden under an umbrella playing the card game of golf. We retired early as all four of us were pretty much burnt out.

2 thoughts on “Lock Slaves put to work –  17th July 2022

  1. I am glad you enjoyed the trip up Tardebigge despite the heat. Lock slaves are always welcome! We found child labour in the form of grandchildren very helpful! The town you could see from the reservoir is our home town of Bromsgrove. I think most of the water for the canal comes from Birmingham and it is only overflow from the reservoir that it used. Enjoy the rest of the summer. Good news that you have interest in your boat already. They are selling well at present – ours went within a couple of days of going up for sale last August. Jennie


    1. Thanks Jennie. Hope you enjoy the blog. We still have another six weeks to go with us ending up in London meeting up with the owners of the boat.


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