Narrowboat Tacet

Silent Movement - Our gap year travelling the inland waterways

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Challenging Weekend

We have had a great weekend.
On Friday evening we met 11 other people for the first time and then spent the next 2 days with them in the close confines of an old working narrow boat, travelling the canal network of Birmingham, doing as many locks and miles as possible during 24 hours in a 30 hour period.
It could have been a bit of a disaster, but it was brilliant.
Amy brought us all together, we have followed her blog Lucky Duck for a while, so it was good to meet her and James properly.  We have met too, Jim from nb Starcross another liveaboard and blogger.
We enjoyed a meal together at the Gourmet Burger restaurant, talking routes, strategies and getting to know each other. 
Yeoford, the boat we were supposed to be using had a problem with the gearbox, so we were accomodated instead on Collingwood ably steered by Graham the owner of Birmingham Canal Boat Services whose home is the back cabin of Collingwood. 
The old cargo carrying part of the boat is fitted out with bunk beds, two bucket loos and a makeshift kitchen.
The challenge started at 8am Saturday morning. Collingwood was ready at the top of Farmer's Bridge Locks waiting for the chimes of the church clock. A sealed envelope was opened, with log sheets to fill out as we went round with timings for each section we travelled.  There were some questions to answer on the way round too. Points are awarded for locks worked, miles travelled, with extra points given for questions answered and the more difficult waterways covered.
So we were off, with 12 crew working the locks we were soon down the flight of 13 and moving on to the next lot.

Farmer's Bridge

A tight fit, good driving from Mike
Perry Barr
Curly Wurlys on the Curly Wurly (Wyerley & Essington Canal)
Jumble came too.
Meeting Captain Ahab on Wand'ring Bark
Saturday night we spent at Pelshall Common, arriving in time for a quick visit to the pub before bed.
Sunday Morning, 5am. Wet,wet,wet.
It rained all day, and soon most of us were very wet, we didn't have many locks to do, so some stayed inside.
Sarah keeping warm, windlass at the ready!

At the water point  at Wolverhampton Graham lit his stove which kept him and whoever was standing at the back a bit warmer.
We were now heading back towards Gas Street Basin to return the boat. On the way we  got to the 2pm finish time.  We had clocked up 55 miles and 48 locks. We shall have to wait to see how our attempt compares with others, once the paperwork has been checked and sorted.
The food boxes empty, just right for a bed.
 Once we had said our goodbyes to our new friends we left Collingwood and and went with Jim to Walsall where the other competitors had finished up, to compare our journeys and adventures. It was good too, to chat with Andy, (Captain Ahab) whose Watery Tales we enjoy reading.
So a great way to spend a weekend, new friends made, a challenge met and boating fun.


  1. Good fun, wasn't it?
    Great pic of Sarah btw!

  2. It sounds like great fun! Nice one :)

  3. Great blog post, not sure about the Photo of me though??

    Highlight of the weekend was the look on Andy's face when he saw the bows of Collingwood heading straight towards him after a blind bend on the Daw End!!

    Great to meet you guys and Jumble, my favourite feet warming dog :)

    1. Good to meet you too. Didn't think you'd get away without that photo being published did you?
      Have fun on your new boat. Keep in touch.