Day 3 Wheelock to Red Bull

Interesting people met – 0

Idiots encountered – 1 – Plus one absent idiot!

Classic album – Queen – A Night at the Opera

There are some days, when boating, that just happen! And today was one of those days. We set off, we did locks , we did more locks, and we arrived at our destination. As such, it’s a day where there is little to tell.

The locks in question were Heartbreak hill between Wheelock & Red Bull. I believe it is so named (and if this isn’t true it should be) because the 26 locks are spaced in such a way that you either walk a very long way, or are forever getting on and off the boat. Heartbreaking!

But before we get to the locks we come to the absent idiot who, deciding he no longer needed his boat, moored it on the water point at Wheelock with a for sale sign on it.

Understandably, someone (who wanted water presumably) moved it and tied it haphazardly to the bank 20 yards further up. As we set off from our mooring, it decided that would be a good time to shed its moorings and drift into the centre of the canal!

Resisting the urge to simply barge past it ( it was a fiberglass cruiser so I think I could have done that with little risk to Blue Rover) I re-tied it just as haphazardly to the bank, and off we went.

As flights of locks go, it was pretty plain sailing, with most locks set in the right direction.

One thing about Heartbreak hill that makes it less of a chore is that it contains the best lock on the network (Lock 58 at Hassle Green). This is where you go under the M6 and then immediately up the lock,  with the traffic streaming down the Motorway, though it’s at its best when the sun is shining and the motorway is solid with traffic so the cars are travelling slower than us. At that point, as you stop for an ice cream at the lock side shop, life is sweet.

The ice cream shop may be gone, but its still a wonderful place that reminds me why I love boating!

On up the locks and enter stage right today’s idiot. Today it was a chap walking down the locks as we went up. It was a duplicated lock, and we were going up the one farthest from the towpath. There was a boat coming down the lock above – perfect – we both leave our gates open, pass in the pound and continue on our merry way.

However, said idiot decided o be “helpful” and open the top gate of the other lock. On explaining the error of his ways, he simply said “never mind, I needed the excercise & there will be another boat along in a minute” and wandered off. AARRGH!

He did at least take the hint when a I set off round the lock to close it and came back to shut the gate.

Rest of the locks were uneventful and, fortunately, there was water in the pound past “Smelly Corner” (between locks 47 and 46), so called because it’s a corner and , thanks to a very large dairy farm by the canal, it smells. Last time we came this way, I was very glad to arrive safely at lock 46 having scraped the bottom all along the 1/2 mile pound from lock 47! (Leaking sill to blame apparently).

3pm saw us arrive at Red Bull and a perfect sunny mooring spot. Just in time to risk taking the drone to the air for a second time – this time, better shots of a boat coming through the lock and still managed not to kill or drown the beast. Result!


Night at the Opera really is a good Album – not a bad track on it!

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