Sunday 15th May
There was rain overnight, but by the time we left our mooring at 8.15, the sun was shining and it was already quite warm.
We had the remaining three Aston Locks to do and as two of them were set for us, we should have done them quickly, but the bottom gate of the middle lock wouldn’t open fully and Steve only just got through (probably removing a few millimetres from both gate and boat!). There had been two C&RT men around checking water levels, but they had already left when we had our problem.
We made our way through Salford Junction to continue on the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal, accompanied by the M6 today rather than the M5.
There were a lot of fishermen (I think they were all men) on the stretch around Bromford – 21 of them setting up for a competition. They were all remarkably cheerful about us, and a boat coming the other way, disturbing them.
Next were the three Minworth Locks at which we met a couple of boats. We also saw the C&RT men again and told them about the problem with the gate on the Aston lock. A man off one of the boats was using an electric scooter to lock wheel. As these are illegal to use on the towpaths, we wondered if the C&RT men would have something to say to him.
We saw four moving boats before lunch, but generally the last 2 or 3 days have been very quiet. We stopped for lunch before starting down the Curdworth Locks – a green and pleasant spot but accompanied by constant traffic noise (M6 Toll Road) as have a number of our moorings on this cruise.
The weather was duller than the early morning sunshine had suggested it might be. But we had also avoided all the showers which had been forecast.
After lunch we went down the eleven Curdworth Locks. These run through some lovely countryside – you just have to ignore the HS2 construction sites and the M42!
Just after 4.00, we moored up opposite Kew at David and Mary Litchfield’s.
We had a cup of tea with them and collected display boards and other stuff to take to Crick Boat Show when we go there at the beginning of June. Later we went with David and Mary to the evening service at their church. Later still, we enjoyed a curry at the Ivory Tusk.
Today’s miles and locks – 12.75 miles 17 locks
Total miles and locks – 129.75 miles 119 locks
Monday 16th May
We left Fazeley just before 9.00 in light drizzle, but this soon dried up and we had a lovely sunny day. We soon reached Glascote Locks and then had a pleasant run towards Atherstone.
|Floral arrangement at Glascote - wisteria growing through a hawthorn tree.|
We had lunch before starting the locks; we did 6 of them and then I deserted Steve to go to the Co-op for one or two things. He sent me a message to say that a VLK was helping him and that I should meet him at the top lock, but when I got there, he was nowhere in sight, so I borrowed a windlass from the three VLKs at top lock and wandered down the flight to find him. He and the VLK who was helping him were at Lock 4, but she was due to go home, so she left us, but would set Lock 3 ready for us on her way up the flight. We went up Locks 3 and 2 and the one remaining VLK at the top helped us through the last lock. We always seem to misjudge our arrival at Atherstone Locks – it’s either VLK lunchtime or going home time!
|Tolson's Mill at Fazeley is now apartments ......|
|...... contrast with the old Hat Factory at Atherstone|
I realised that if we went as far as Mancetter, I would be able to go to the Mothers’ Union Deanery Service in Mancetter Church which I had thought I would have to miss. We moored at Bridge 36 and after having our evening meal, we walked up the road to the service, Steve having decided to come too.
After the service (and refreshments), we walked back to the boat as the sun was setting.
Today’s miles and locks – 11.25 miles 13 locks
Total miles and locks – 141.00 miles 132 locks
Tuesday 17th May
Another hot sunny day – we left Mancetter at 8.30 and just over four hours later, arrived back at Wyken Basin. We had an uneventful journey with just the one lock at Hawkesbury. We had lunch on the boat and then moved stuff from the boat to the van and went home.
|The Wyken Basin swan family|
We have had a good trip, exploring new territory and meeting new people. The display of wild flowers in many places was stunning, we’ve seen lots of new coot, goose and duck families, though not many swan and no moorhen families. Other things missing were swallows – I saw one, but that was all.
Today’s miles and locks – 11.50 miles 1 locks
Total miles and locks – 152.50 miles 133 locks