FRIDAY 16TH APRIL 2010
Nine o’clock and we are on our way, the first two of the twenty one locks we do on our own, when I spy behind us, somebody on a bike who alights and starts to wind up the paddle gear. We decide to wait for them to catch up and never a better decision taken. Mum, Dad, married daughter and a small grand son in a life jacket soon came alongside on N.B. Astralis and after I unloaded the bike from the back of SKYY we made short work of the remaining nineteen locks between us, arriving at the top lock by twelve thirty. The weather was warm and I must say that we were both exhausted when we got there, we found the first mooring spot and took in easy for the rest of the day.
All of the locks from Napton right up to the Knowle flight of five locks, on the outskirts of Birmingham are all double locks with the same type of paddle winding gear. These locks were state of art, circa 1932 when the all of the single locks became redundant when the new double locks were built along side them; this shortened the passage time between London & Birmingham to sixty hours, that still seems an amazingly short time, but the locks fill and empty very quickly allowing us to get through each lock in less than thirteen minutes and without doubt the professional boatman would have been much quicker.
In the evening we met up with friends John and Angela, who live in nearby Dorridge and had a good meal at the Waterman pub.