I am Linda and along with my husband Richard and our dog Muffin we enjoy our summers on the UK's canal system

Friday, 6 September 2013

Saddington Feeder Channel (Grand Union – Leicester Line) – Wednesday 5th September

I was woken to a little voice saying “I think I’ve got your bug”!  This meant that we wouldn’t be moving on today which was a great shame as we have been having such a great time with NB Ferndale.  I went and told the others the news then suggested that maybe I could single-hand with them!  I’m not sure I really thought that through before mentioning it!  The first job was to move across the canal, fill up with water, empty the cassettes, get rid of the rubbish, take down the TV aerial and generally get ship shape ready to move off – all things that Richard usually does.  It was also very hot and the perspiration was running off me (OK you didn’t really need to know that did you?)

Epiphany filling up with water at Kilby Bridge
When I was ready we set off to the first lock.  Poor Ray (I did say that I hadn’t thought this through!) had to do all the lock work and open a paddle afterwards to empty the lock for Mike coming up.  Oh and he also had to shut the top gates at each lock as a single hander was in front of us who was just pushing the gates open with his boat and didn’t bother to close them.  I eventually got very brave and jumped off the boat at the lock entrance and ran up the steps with the centre rope which I managed very well but forgot the windlass – ooops!  At the next lock I did it better but my knee was complaining about running up the steep steps!  We did five locks like this until we caught the single hander up and I joined him in the next couple of locks – however Ray was still working our locks and then charging back down to help Diane and Mike!  After seven locks we pulled over for lunch at an idyllic place – until the 13.30 to Leicester hurtled past about 20 feet above us!

A pretty lock cottage
Richard appeared at this stage, had a shower and said he felt a lot better J  I was really surprised that he lasted that long as at one of the locks there was an incident!  I hadn’t tied Mary H up to the bollard properly and was down below when I realised that we were speeding across the canal - sideways!  I’m not sure who managed to grab the rope but in the end there were about 5 people trying to drag me back across the canal while I was at the tiller – there was a lot of foliage in the cratch!


Saddington
After lunch Richard helmed while I helped Ray with the last 5 locks – it was so hot and I was very grateful to get to the top.  We went on ahead to find a mooring spot while Ferndale waited to help Mike.  We seemed to go on for a long way – in fact it was about 2 miles – before we got to Smeeton Aqueduct and found a really pleasant spot for three boats to have a BBQ.  You can see from the photo that there was a small arm which Isobel nosed into and we put two planks out so that we could cross from one side of the arm to the other.  We discovered later (thank you NB Epiphany) that the arm is in fact the Saddington Feeder channel from Saddington Reservoir, which was constructed in 1802 to feed the Grand Union.

The chefs
Barbecue - maybe not tonight!
 We had a lovely BBQ which Ray and Mike cooked – Richard did not partake though ate his beans on toast with us.  We sat out till quite late when the cold finally overtook us.
 
It all got too much for Banjo
 
Kilby Bridge to Saddington Feeder Channel
6.72 miles
12 locks

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