Saturday, 21 March 2015

Cruising in the dark!

Friday 20th March 2015

Our target today was Fradley Junction - it fits the criteria which is essentially 3 hours cruising per day.

It really is starting to feel a lot like spring and as we left, the sun was out shining down on us and it was feeling quite warm.

It was plain cruising for most of today with only one expected lock and we thoroughly enjoyed the easy pace through Rugeley, then on past Spode House and then to Armitage.
 
These cloud generators weren't going to help see the eclipse...


...and it was a bit foggy/misty anyway

Just before Armitage we have the tunnel and this time I went ahead to make sure that the way was clear, leaving it to Diane to take the boat through, which she did perfectly.
Getting clever she is - steering through a  narrow
cutting, approaching a tunnel and still able to
take a "selfie"

Past the Armitage-Shanks foundry and under the railbridge - we were keeping an eye on the time - not that we were in any sort of hurry, because that was simply not on our minds; it was that we were "looking"out for the eclipse.

Diane had read that it would be about 9:30, so at roughly 9:20 we switched the tunnel light on to make sure we could see where we were going in the dark (we really didn't do any such thing at all).

At the allotted time you could sense a change in the degree and intensity of sunlight - we weren't in a position to do much in the way of indirect viewing, and the chatter of the bird life reduced dramatically.
 
We think that this was the partial eclipse - as you can see the
cloud cover obscured any decent chance

Having experienced a full eclipse back in Australia in the 1970's, this was a bit disappointing - back then, it got eerily dark and very quiet indeed - so from that experience I could tell it was happening.

About 10 minutes later everything returned to normal and we continued on our way, catching up to a boat at Wood End Lock, and before ShadeHouse Lock we moored up - job done for the day.

We ventured out for a walk in the afternoon - it was very quiet around the corner on the Coventry Canal; we smiled smugly as one boat winded at the junction whilst another encroached into the junction area wanting to turn into the Coventry - he went too far in so as to cause the winding boat the need to hurry his about turn, and also caused himself problems in getting around.
We could tell from fleeting comments and looks of others around that they also thought him a pratt.
 
looking back up to Middle and ShadeHouse Locks 


A sole boat on the Coventry - never seen it empty like this

One here for Dot and Gordon

Just as we all like it - approaching the lock already set for you

At the nature reserve

The air was for a pleasant change quite warm and the first time in quite a while that I was without my coat.
 
The boat names are what we were looking at - the one in front is Diane and the
one behind is Sam (for Samantha)


Just love this old 1950's van - so well preserved


9 Miles, 1 Locks, 1 Tunnel
YTD: 144 Miles, 59 Locks, 3 Tunnels, 2 Lift Bridges, 6 Swing Bridges

Totals: 3038 Miles, 2180 Locks, 101 Tunnels, 36 Lift Bridges, 157 Swing Bridges

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