The start of the Big Trip approaches at last!
The trip itself is dependent on almost split second timing, but with stops and festivities built in. The plan is this...
On Friday I have a work meeting at the British Library, so that will be handy as it takes me half way (in terms of time; a lot further than half way in terms of distance) back to Newhaven, so I will then go up with Jim in the car to Foxton, to rejoin Chertsey. Once we've unpacked the car, Jim will take it to Stretton to await our return there and come back to Foxton by train and bus. We plan to spend this weekend enjoying the Foxton Locks Festival and meeting up with the Herbies before departing for Braunston. The following weekend (27/28/29) will of course be spent at the Historic Narrow Boat Rally at Braunston, but we have to leave sharpish as we are due in Stratford upon Avon for the River Festival on Friday 4th. We'll be making the journey there by canal, but when we leave it will be by river - our (but not Chertsey's) first time on the Avon and on most of the Severn. When we get to Stourport we will stop to enjoy the delights of the Holly Bush, before continuing via the Staffs & Worcs and finally the Shroppie to Stretton. If I've Canalplanned this correctly, it's 171 miles and 149 locks, six tunnels and one major aqueduct (which I have a lovely photo of Chertsey traversing circa 1970).
The first week's travel will be very leisurely; the second less so! Hopefully we will be accompanied for part of the way by Herbie, and for another part by Bernard with Enterprise (in case we get stuck in one of those narrow bridgeholes...). New territory includes the Avon, the Severn, the southern Stratford canal and Stratford itself.
So far I fear we have not managed to secure an organ for the hold. But at least we will be there, fifty years after Chertsey's pioneering appearance at the IWA Festival of Boats and Arts in 1964.
2 weeks ago