Tardebigge is a flight of locks not to be undertaken lightly. To get to the bottom there’s the 30 locks of the Tardebigge flight itself, then a further 6 in the Stoke flight. In all 36 locks to negotiate to get down past Stoke Prior and moor up outside the Boat & Railway pub. For us help was at hand! Paul and Elaine who have just sold their lovely narrowboat Caxton were suffering from withdrawal symptoms and, along with Elaine’s brother Trevor, drove 95 miles to give us a hand!
Knowing that they were on the way we set out at 8 o’clock to do as many locks as we could before they arrived. We didn’t do too badly as it turned out. We managed eleven or so locks on our own, getting into a rhythm where I would set the lock, open it ready for the boat, go on to the next lock while Gordon emptied the lock and brought the boat out. I could then go back and shut the lock while Gordon brought the boat down. The whole thing was made much easier by the fact that there was absolutely nobody else on the flight. Amazing considering it was Easter Saturday!
By about the eleventh lock down we were beginning to run out of steam and were very pleased to see Elaine and Trevor turning up having been dropped off by Paul who was leaving the car at the bottom of the locks and walking back. He was certainly going to have earned his keep by the end of the day!
Elaine and the dogs wandered down the locks with me while Trevor strode ahead, making sure that the locks were set for the boat coming down.
When we got to the bottom there was just time for us to say thank you by buying a drink and some nibbles in the Boat & Railway. Sammy was looking particularly appealing but still didn’t manage to scam any chips!
It was brilliant to see them again and we really appreciated the help. Lets hope it’s not long before we run across them again!