And now onto a new canal for us - we rounded the junction and stopped at the first lock, Diane heading up to drop off the rubbish, I set the lock, she arrived back just in time to do the cassette at the elsan.
With each canal that you cruise along you get a feeling of the character of the canal - it has a sense of individuality, but immediately we started along this section there was a more definite feel to it - it was a quaint old fashioned canal, the narrow footbridges without a towpath through the bridge, very tree lined and a rustic atmosphere.
|These half-barrelled roofed houses are characteristic of this area|
|...lovely enclosed areas...|
|...with the sun filtering through...|
|...this is the style of footbridge along here...|
|...typical split bridge...|
|...and the rarely sighted mountain nymph has found her way|
down to a lock gate.
The locks were reasonably close together, but let's face with 34 of them in just 13 miles, they weren't bound to be that far apart.
The weather was with us and at times it was great to have the shade - sun was warm and the air was warm as well.
We worked the locks well and by the time we stopped at Preston Bagot we were ready to take a break.
|Diane jumped off to do the upcoming lock..|
|...she didn't realise that there were not any steps up...|
|...and she struggled to get a foothold...|
|...just a reminder of the effects of that extra drink...|
|...oh finally - up on two legs - it seemed like a mountain|
Wednesday was forecast as not a wet day but instead it was going to be a hugely wet day - we could not be disappointed about it's accuracy.
We sat it out and even needed to put the stove on later on in the day - it got a bit chilly.
Even on such a wet day there were still boats on the move - it was 50/50 hire boats to other boats, but given that is was still their choice to move and not all of them must have had a clear understanding of the term "Tick-over" - we did a bit of rocking.
Thursday was moving day again and we started to notice that it was that time of the year again - strange people who come out in boats and do strange things at locks, in locks, around locks and, well, just look strange - is there a full moon due soon.
Heading down through the flight of locks below Wilmcote we have started to see.
A crew on a boat (which happened to be a hire boat) were in a hurry so rather than wait for the boat about to come out of the lock above and enter the lock which was ready for them from the boat that had just left to move into their lock, they decided to turn the lock so that they could get through.
They complained to Diane about all of these slow boats around them! Look in the mirror mate !!
We met a boat at the last lock coming up - they had entered when the boat in front of us left.
It would only have been a 35' to 40' boat but a bow rope came out to tie up and a back rope and also a centre rope which the gentleman decided he would hold whilst sitting in the open cratch talking to his wife whilst she handled the lockside duties.
The lady remarked that they were more used to rivers and the locks really concerned them with so much movement.
|Edstone Aqueduct, with a different style towpath across|
|but it does give a chance for different shots|
|ooh its a long way down on that other side (without any walkway)|
|if I don't look at it then it won't be there|
|keep looking the other way|
|see, it's all done now!|
|Canal Wharf, Wootton Wawen|
|loved the look of this new build apartment block|
Closer to Stratford we passed by the long line of moored boats centred on the Western Road Marina at tick-over - slow enough that none of those aboard their boats had any problems (waving their thanks for slowing); we get to the marina office and two women who appeared to be marina management yelled for us to slow down - no boats moving mind you and they were on the solid footing of concrete - a little clue for you ladies - if the engine is only just engaged and the moored boats are not moving then the speed is fine.
Don't think we will be stopping to fill with diesel there on our return trip - their attitude and the mandatory 60/40 split have seen to that.
Judging by the efforts of their hire crews from the previous day the training to a new crew doesn't include an emphasis on slowing down.
It really is only so early in the season and already we are seeing an increase in the lack of consideration - let's hope it isn't a long summer of this part of cruising behaviour - and that the silly season ends PDQ.
We managed to find a mooring just outside the basin - at the road bridge and outside the pub.
I almost forgot to say this last word on strange people around the Wilmcote flight - around the middle of the flight a boat was coming up, into the lock it went; I didn't take much notice, even when the female half of the crew was closing the bottom gate, but the male half did seem familiar. It wasn't until the bottom was closed did I realise that it was Julie and Tony and the boat was nb Damper Van; what a stroke of luck to see you guys - it seems so long since March, but glad you are both well and Julie is now enjoying retirement.
Following closely behind were Dave and Sue on nb Cockney Sparra II - surprisingly they both returned my waves to them from a distance - not realising to which fool they were waving back - what a shock they got when they realised.
It is these fleeting moments during a long day that are so pleasing - strange - maybe a little - crazy - not as much as the rest of us.
|we did have a bit of a wander around Stratford|
|Absolutely no reason for this pairing|
|and my favourite building in Stratford - the old school|
|outside The New Place|
14 Miles, 34 Locks
Totals: 2540 Miles, 1889 Locks, 82 Tunnels, 32