Having left Bluebell bridge this morning we stopped at bridge 22 as Pearson’s Guide was most emphatic that Wedge’s Bakery was not to be missed, they were absolutely right, we came away loaded with bread, rolls, cakes, pasties and milk. Hockley Heath was soon behind us and we tackled bridges 26 & 28 which are both hydraulically operated by windlass and surprisingly difficult to use.
The start of the Lapworth flight was reached and we followed a Black Prince boat through helping each other as we went, all went well and we met some more Swedish crewed Alvechurch boats coming up which should have made things easier but after we had done just two more locks, we found that someone had ‘dropped a paddle’ [as opposed to winding it down] and a pin had sheared and the paddle floated off!!
This was well timed for a lunch break so we moored up in the side pond (first time I’ve found a use for lock bollards) and enjoyed our fresh rolls from the bakery and waited for the BW maintenance crew to arrive, fair play, they were there within the hour and my ace photographic reporter has gone off to record the situation… and here is the evidence, both paddles replaced and we were on our way again once the knot of boats had untangled themselves.
We dropped down the rest of the flight, only meeting boats coming up as we neared Lapworth Junction, after the last lock we moored up, on the arm which leads to the Grand Union junction, a bit too near the railway bridge, but hey-ho we should sleep well tonight.