Saturday 28th June
Today we press ganged a crew to join us – Matt and Alice came along to assist (and do most of the hard work) down Caen Hill. It started raining as we arrived in the car at Horton bridge and so we got quite damp moving aboard Jannock. At least she wasn’t aground this time, makes a change. After waiting to see if the rain would pass I eventually donned waterproofs and set us off towards Devizes.
We stopped at the wharf and filled with water and then moved across onto the 48 hour moorings for lunch. It was still raining when we bit the bullet and set off down the first six locks to the top of the flight where we found another boat moored at the top of the flight. I went and had a look but there was no-one on board so we filled the top lock and started to get Jannock in when a man in hi-viz waterproofs asked if they could share with us. Of course we said so he explained they were just finishing their lunch in the cafe so we waited in the open lock for them to return to their boat and join us.
By the time we finally set off it had stopped raining and the sun was out. Our two crews, six peeps in total, soon mashed into a smooth machine only being delayed by meeting other boats coming up the flight. By the fourth lock even the steerers were making a good job of transiting between the locks in perfect harmony. A swan family did it’s best to upset every-one by trying to get squashed whilst sharing a lock but we’d been warned by the lockies not to let them transit down because of another family of swans in a lower pound. A gongoozler family did it’s best at ‘stating the bleedin obvious’ and running a crisis control centre having no idea of what was possible in the world of boat floatery of swan scaring. Our partners pulled over for the night near the winding hole after lock 29 and we collected new partners.
We now shared with a hire crew and yet more rain for the last six locks of the day. Our efficiency was now compromised by their boat being almost too long for the locks and so the bottom gate could not be opened without pulling the boat across to get the bows out from the gate recess. Therefore Jannock had to leave first in order for them to complete this manoeuvre to get out of the lock. It had not been a problem for them going up so they were surprised to have to issue going down.
We stopped for the night in the first available mooring after sells green bridge and went for an evening meal in the Three Magpies. It’s well worth a visit especially if you want to eat - that was the bribe to our lock crew. Try booking as they were very busy but managed to fit us in with a little bit of table jiggery-pokery. The boys really enjoyed their liver, bacon, faggots and black pudding with a wonderful gravy. After we had eaten, Brian and Jilly Rich, fellow Cutweb members, arrived and joined us for what was probably one drink too many. Then back to Jannock and all to bed. The crew reckoned that we’d broken them and we were all tired and full to bursting.