Up the Hatton Flight and into Birmingham

All the way up from Braunston I’ve found the locks to be hard work. Each paddle requires 24 turns to raise and some of them are pretty stiff. I’m sure all that winding was good for my fitness regime but after a day of it my muscles didn’t half ache! Last Tuesday we made the trek up the Hatton flight – twenty one double locks in a row!

StartHattonFlight

The bottom 10 locks are fairly well spaced out, leaving time to recover on the walk between them. Half way up the flight they get a lot closer together.  The view of the top 11 locks is attractive but very daunting if you have to work your way up them!

HattonFlight

On the other hand, the view back towards Warwick when you approach the top is much more satisfying.

ViewBackToWarwickIt was half term week, the weather was lovely and so the canal was very busy with walkers, cyclists and gongoozlers, specially around the cafe at the top of the locks. At one point Gordon was mobbed by a party of walkers who were fascinated to watch a lock being operated.

GongoozlersAfter Hatton there was an extremely welcome lockless day. We moored up at Kingswood Junction and took the opportunity to wander across and have a look at the Stratford Canal with its characteristic barrel-roofed lock cottages.

KingswoodJunction StratfordCanal

From here there were only five locks left before we reached the end of the Grand Union.

KnowleLocks2

The top of the Knowle flight marked the very last wide lock we’ll be doing this year.

KnowleTopLock

When we reached the outskirts of Birmingham we encountered our first narrow lock.

FirstNarrowLockI can’t begin to describe how glad I was to see it! We saw another twenty five of them over the next couple of days as we made our way into the centre of Birmingham and even that didn’t dampen my happiness. We did get some help up the Farmer’s Bridge flight though. Nige, who we met last winter on the Titanic Brewery tour, joined us a few locks in and helped us to the top.

HelpAtTheLocksWe were then joined by Nige’s wife Trina and a wonderful afternoon and evening of drinking, eating, conversation and listening to music ensued.

TrinaNigeBoat

Looking forward to our next get together, whenever that may happen to be.

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