Sunday 11th May
Fox and Hounds to Mytchett Lake
We put on the immersion heater and moved half a mile to Reading Road Bridge, where James had a shower before we walked to Fleet Methodist Church. The initial welcome was good as we came in the door, but no-one came to speak to us after we had found a pew. Doreen joined us later and it was good to pray with her after the service.
The music was led by a keyboard player, with a bass guitar, drums, and a guitarist, whose volume was too low. Two vocalists completed the team, and the songs were modern.
It was all age worship and we had the kids crawling around pretending to be sheep.
Good congregation numbers, and they have three services on a Sunday. We didn’t stay for coffee as we needed to move on.
We went to Waitrose in the shopping centre to buy some bits, including a lovely olive baguette which we had for lunch.
We travelled on to Ash Lock, where we couldn’t get through the side gate to use the facilities, so we had to dispose of rubbish at Ash Wharf again. Johnnie McDougall came to visit us there, and we had a good catch up session.
Approaching one of the flashes near Ash
Then we moved on to Mytchett Lake where we found Hazell Nut and Thatwey on the new moorings. There was also a boat called Sarah, from Crick. They are six monthers. Lovely sunny evening. We saw a common tern and a cormorant. Hugo happy to be allowed out, but the crows weren’t so happy. Hugo didn’t like the trains, and ran inside every time one went past.
Moored at Mytchett Lake
1 lock, 8 miles, 3hr10
Monday 12th May
Mytchett Lake to Brookwood Park
When we emerged from the boat Thatwey and Hazell Nut had gone. We never heard a sound, although the boat did knock against the side at one point, which we thought was due to the wind.
We paused at the Canal Centre to empty the cassettes. A work boat on the facilities mooring and rowing boats on the water point meant that Hazel had to keep the boat in one place while James went ashore to do the necessary.
When we arrived at Lock 28 we were the last, and we tied alongside Orion’s Wey. The ranger was 30 minutes late, which was a pity as it was a lovely sunny morning and it would have been good to get off early, particularly as wet weather was forecast for later.
Waiting for the ranger at lock 28
Lock 25 was still full of weed, and we couldn’t get the gates open fully. We ended up having one bottom gate open, and one closed, and flushing the water (and weed) through by opening a paddle on the top gate. If enough welly was applied to the prop, mostly the weed succumbed. However, we hauled out large piles of the green stuff on the sides of the lock.
Brian doing his best with the weed
The weedy challenge at Lock 25
As we descended the flight, the sound of marching bands came from the barracks.
Petronella in the lock in front of us was very slow, so the whole exercise took a long time.
Not so bad further down. Sharing with Orion's Wey.
When we arrived at Brookwood Park, we sat around in deck chairs and discussed boat toilets and similar. Meal on board.
Hugo sat on our plank for ages deciding whether to go ashore, and he then made a dash for it and crossed the path, hiding among the low leaves of a lime tree, where he stayed for about two hours.
6 miles, 17 locks, 6hr55
Tue 13th May
Brookwood Park to Byfleet Boat Club
We had been told 0930 at the locks, only 30 minutes away. For some reason there seems to be a competition among some BBC members on cruises like this to see who can get up earliest and creep away without being heard.
We didn’t see the hurry so we left at 0815, were at St Johns locks at 0850, but we had to wait until 1000 before we could get going into the first lock. We were sharing with Orion’s Wey, and we kept catching up with Petronella who was sharing with Hazell Nut.
We decided to break for morning tea at Bridge Barn where we moored up for 25 minutes, hoping to allow Petronella to get away on the Woking Pound. We should have waited at least 45 minutes, because we caught up with Petronella again well before the first of the Woodham locks. Ultimately Hazell Nut went first and Petronella came separately in the lock behind. We followed with Orion’s Wey.
The green canal at Woodham
Thankfully the forecast showers were only minor.
We got to the boat club at 1605 – a long day.
11 locks, 8 miles, 1 mouse, 6hr15