Saturday 15th May
Having settled in on the Friday evening by playing 5 games of Soddit before retiring to bed the crew of three (yes, we are missing one abscondee) stirred into action with a couple of bacon sarnies before setting off from Long Itchenden towards Warwick. We shared the first six locks with a Canalboat Club craft but then changed partners when it's crew decided to stop for breakfast. Luckily there was a single boat (Victoriann) following us down the locks so we waited and let them join us for the last three locks down to the bottom pound. We stopped for lunch and a session of non-contact fishing after Bull bridge and then continued on through Leamington and Warwick to the Cape locks which we passed up through solo. Above Cape we paused for a short chat with Kev Day who was moored on the visitor moorings there, we met him last year on the BCN Explorer cruise. As we were quite early we decided to start ascending the Hatton flight (last completed by Brenda and I in 2007) and passed through the bottom lock solo following a solo hire boat who was in the lock above. I sent Ian to let them know we were following and to try and get them to wait but they were chasing their friends who were also going up solo one lock in front. They paired up and having followed them up three locks we decided to stop for the night above lock 30. Whilst waiting for dinner to cook the evening entertainment was provided by Saffron the spaniel who, ignoring her owner, leapt into the canal and proceeded to chase a mother duck and her brood of 13 ducklings up and down the pound until she wore herself out. Throughout this Saffron's owner was desperately trying to coax the single minded dog across to the bank to haul her out but Saffron was having none of it. She finally gave in and submitted herself to the bank to be un-ceremoniously dragged from the cut and taken home. We ate Paella (without Saffron in it ;^) and then played another 4 games of Soddit before calling it a night at 11:30.
Sunday 16th May
I had intended to arise early and fetch the car from Long Itch. but the persistent rain on the roof at 5:30 and then 6:00 convinced me to stay in bed and collect the car later. As we untied to start the next 16 locks of Hatton flight I noticed a single boat coming up lock 30 and so we waited until Black Velvet joined us before making remarkable progress up the rest of the flight meeting only 3 southbound boats. As we ascended through the top lock Brian had Land of Hope and Glory playing loudly on Jannock's stereo much to the amusement of the gongoozlers present. We celebrated with an icecream from the cafe before passing, and saying farewell to, the moored Black Velvet crew and continuing on. Another rendition of Land of Hope and Glory followed by the Dambusters march saw us pass through Shrewley Tunnel with applause from a southbound boat. Crisis on the provisions front - the Vale beer supply has run out midday on Sunday. The only fish seen all weekend was in the Paella last night. We moored up on a 14 day mooring and had dinner before I went and fetched the car. Surprisingly we had no rain all weekend other than that experienced during the early hours of Sunday morning although it could have been a lot warmer without that strong wind.