Flotilla ready to depart from Byfleet Boat Club
We set off from the boat club at Byfleet at 8.15am, turning into the Basingstoke Canal after a few minutes. There we waited for the BCA ranger who arrived at 9am to undo the padlock on the first lock.
Waiting at Lock 1, Basingstoke Canal
That Wey and Vulcan (?) were first in the lock, followed by Nexus and Petronella, and we shared the third with Yum Sing (Ian and Betty). There were a few incidents which slowed us down with visits to the weed hatch, lock gates not shutting properly, and boats getting stuck on submerged bits of tree trunk. There were a lot of rotting leaves causing propellers to struggle, and a plastic bag which blocked our bow thruster for a while. But there was an atmosphere of team work and a sense of achievement when we finally arrived at Bridge Barn at 2.15pm. 6 hours to do 6 locks and 5 miles!
Sharing locks on the Woodham flight with Yum Sing
Passing the community of houseboats at West Byfleet
Green duckweed on the Woking pound
Moored at Bridge Barn, a long way out
It was just as slow getting our food at the Bridge Barn pub, where we were seated at 6.45pm, and the food didn't arrive until 8.20pm. However, that gave us time for great fellowship with Byfleet Boat Club member Brian (Orion's Wey) and BCBC members Tim and Liz (Doreen C) who asked for a BCF leaflet.
Tim and Liz have a tiny trailable sailing boat that draws 18 inches and is 16 ft long. They are sleeping on board with no heating, and with a tent over the cabin roof to give a little extra insulation. Bottom right of the picture below. Ours is the boat with the pram hood.
Boats assembled at Byfleet Boat Club
We plan to visit the Coign (New Frontiers) church in Woking tomorrow followed by watching the procession of decorated boats. Then 22 locks on Monday!