Saturday, 23 February 2013

Once More to the Saltisford Arm

Moored just a few berths down the pound from ‘Futurest’ is a 60ft narrowboat called ‘Midnight Sun’ and like us it has been here all through the winter. I discovered earlier that it is owned by a young couple called Marc and Pyn, who bought the boat earlier this year in Leamington Spa. Very courageously they decided that they would prefer to live on the waterways than in a house.

They told me that they were total beginners when they bought ‘Midnight Sun’ and having to work for a living, it means that they need to remain moored in the same place, certainly for the time being, with perhaps the occasional day out if they’re lucky. So for this reason until this last week their total boating experience had been limited to the short distance between Leamington and Warwick, after they had acquired the boat. The passage had been just an open pound with no turning round required and no locks to work for the whole length.

Therefore lacking a little confidence I suppose they asked me if I would go with them on their first proper voyage last Thursday in an advisory capacity, which I was honoured and thrilled to do; I love going for a cruise no matter how long it is or on whatever boat.

In order to gain lock practice in particular, they wanted to travel to the Saltisford Arm and back thus having to pass through the two large Cape Locks in both directions. This little run is good practice for any newcomer as they also have to turn the boat completely round at the entrance to the Arm.

There was a fresh and bitter easterly breeze blowing as we set off in the morning from Kate Boats and in spite of taking things easy, we arrived soon at the Lower Cape Lock. Pyn was at the helm going up while Marc and I worked the locks together.


001-1  nb 'Midnight Sun'

‘Midnight Sun’ lonely at her mooring at the Cape

At the top of the second lock we tied up on the totally empty visitor moorings and went into the ‘Cape of Good Hope’ Pub for a pint and hopefully for some lunch. But as we had just missed the latter we enjoyed another pint instead and another packet of crisps.

After our stop we journeyed the couple of hundred yards up to the turning point and then came back down uneventfully but very satisfactorily, though we had all grown very cold having stood on the stern counter with the wind in our faces for the whole time.

Marc took the helm this time through the locks while Pyn and I went through the business of locking. Everything went well and we arrived back at the berth just as the darkness was closing in.

The two skippers did exceptionally well and didn’t really need my help at all. But by the end of the cruise their confidence had grown enormously and I am certain they will both make excellent boat masters.

For me it had been another lovely day.


Val Poore said...

How lovely. Would love to have done that too I need more practice too!

Old Salt said...

Hi Val. You surprise me. Are you not well experienced handling your big barge? If you can drive that then I can assure you a narrowboat would be no challenge to you.