A few weeks ago a good friend of mine asked me if I was free to help him transport his new home, he had bought a Canal Barge to live on from Milton Keynes and needed help sailing it back to Bromsgrove. The conversation started………..
‘You’ve sailed a canal barge before haven’t you Rubes’
‘Yea course I have no problem’
I held back telling him this was 20 years ago, but surely it’s like riding a bike.
So off we headed on the two hour journey to Milton Keynes to pick up his new home called ‘Stargazer’
We started the engine, stoked up the log burner and headed out of the Mariner asking the Manager should we turn left or right for Birmingham, he replied ‘are you for real, have you not got canal route maps?’ we replied ‘yes we’ve got google maps on our iphones, what more do we need’, how we laughed………
After getting quietly confident we decided to open the bottle of red wine & cider, not a good idea as two hours later we were zig zagging down the canal nearly taking out every boat in sight.
It took us six days in total to sail the boat from Milton Keynes to Bromsgrove, we sailed through rain storms, dropped a lock key in the canal, I knocked the chimey off the boat going under a narrow bridge whilst concentrating more on the pub menu on the side of the canal. We left the only lock key we had left on top of a lock and I had to walk back a mile to retrieve it.
We completed the Hatton flight – 36 locks in 6 hours, and the Tardeigge flight – 32 locks in 7 hours, in total we sailed through 132 locks.
Even my dog Fred managed to fall in the canal……..
We had the best fun ever, we laughed till we cried and can safely say this is one of the best trips we’d taken and have become firm boating friends.