Saturday 7 August 2021


 Today's Navigations - Basingstoke, Wey

We awoke to some very heavy rain which felt as if it had been teeming down much of the night as well. Everything was dripping wet. Around 8 o'clock a clear spell arrived which allowed Andrew to pop up to the supermarket for some croissant that were missing when we went last night.

Sadly the rain returned with a vengeance but we had a date with the lock keeper at the top of St John's Locks at 9.30 so we had .little choice but to set off. As Mike was taking this photo (not expecting much as the rain was so heavy) he was surprised when he seemed to see the camera flash. He quickly checked but no and then 'BANG!' - a very loud single thunderclap explained the mystery.

We arrived at the locks in good time and the other two boats travelling today had tied up overnight on the landing. (They had been paired up in the locks for the past few day) By the time the lock keeper arrived, one boat, Llamedos (yes, really, that was its name!) came to tell us that they would be joining us as the other had engine rouble and was awaiting RCR.

As you can see, by the time we were able to start down the locks the rain was still very heavy - actually the mistiness of the image is probably as much to do with the wetness of the operator as the scene itself!

We made progress down the first couple of locks but at the third we hit a problem. Neither bottom gate would fully open, so much that neither boat could exit the lock. After several attempts to dislodge the silt behind the gates we opted to re-fill the lock and proceed one at a time. When it was filled we remembered that one of the top gates would not move when we began so it was the other boat that had to reverse out! As it happened, we found several other locks later that would have given the same issue so it was as well that we had agreed to continue separately.

As we cruised along the long Woking pound the weather definitely improved and we stated to dry out once more.

And an even better background to one of the Bedser twins. (see blog for Tuesday)

Another sunny and green view . . .

Andrew was going to walk from the top of the Woodham flight to West Byfleet station in order to travel back to Long Buckby (remember when he joined us?) But we decided to stop on the lock landing long enough to have some lunch. We set the first lock so that when LLamedos arrived hey could continue ahead of us.

With Andrew now on his way to the station it was back to our usual mode of operation - somewhat slower! The bywash above the locks was running very feely so at least the rain has done some good!  We had just drawn the bottom paddles when the other boat, Woodham came to sight around the nearby corner. It is only polite, as well as canal commonsense, that we filled the lock back up and waited for him - a single hander. It seems that RCR arrived vey quickly and equally speedily diagnosed a simple problem of some 'dampness in the engine bay'

Here we are sharing a later lock in the flight.

We met the lock keeper a couple of times and were able to learn a bit more about what he has to do - this is his third year and he still enjoys it!. Interestingly, caulking uses sawdust/wood chips but they have to be composted down for a couple of years before they can be used. Raw, they just float straight back up.

Eventually we arrived at the bottom lock! (The sun was not well placed for a better photo)

At Woodham Junction we turned right onto the Wey, retracing the short route we did earlier in the week. Se weer in fairly urgent need of fuel for our tank and had checked earlier with Pyrford Marina that they would still be open to serve us by the time we reached there. Once we were happily filled to the brim we went back out of the marina just a few metres away to the same mooring we used before.

And we have learned today how the name Pyford should be pronounced - Purrford, two syllables. Not, as we had been saying to ourselves, Pie-er-ford!

8.9 Miles - 11 Locks

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