Steppin’out; solo day two
A rather drizzly start to the day along with the noise of the gravel pit behind me starting the monday morning shift so I’m awake quite early. A cup of milky coffee to get the system going and before I know what’s happening I’m setting off at about 8.15 and was gentle past the other boats moored, just read the courtesy post, and then down to my first lock of the day Barton Turns with the pub of the same name beside it and a couple of miles along side the A38. Might be 20 yards away so not the nicest part of the canal but that’s how it is untill it brings you to Wychnor bridges lock where the canal turns off from the A38. There seems to be quite a few boats about this morning and moving early so others are there and helping me on my merry way. Up through Wychnor and then onto the river section at Alrewas as the canal uses about 100 yards of the river Trent and can be unusable when the Trent is in flood but open as normal today so no problems. and moor up and help with a paddle as someone is coming down.
Now we move onto Alrewas a nice little place from the canal and not too bad to drive through either. I’ve had the pubs here recommended to me but haven’t sampled their wares yet myself. Another lock and I think this was the one were the ladder wasn’t at either end but in the middle. Oh dear thought I, I’m not exactly built or happy climbing, I’m going to have to get on the roof so the little step on the side and holding the hand rail and then on my knees and up we got and while it may not have been elegant it was at least done with no damage to me or boat and moored up for lunch and posted yesterdays blog. It was nice and peaceful so I had a couple of hours all together and considered stopping there for the night but it was only 1 o’clock so I thought I’d go a little further.
I was only a short distance from Fradley junction and a kind chap who was filling with water at the lock mooring waved me straight in and I didn’t have to do anything, many thanks. The next lock had the ladder in the middle again so more climbing, I’m getting better at it, and there was a volunteer lock man on this lock. It appears that they have volunteers, I assume through the C&RT at a few places from what he was saying and there were volunteers on the next two also but not on the last one. Only had to do one lock out of a flight of five seems like a fair deal to me.
From Fradley the canal is quite wooded which makes it look so beautiful even if it is a bit of a problem when branches hang over the canal. Woods and fields and then a small rise lock and round the bend was Ravenshaw wood where because of it’s solitude I’ve decided to stay the night. It will get very dark later but very little road noise and plenty of bird song. Nearest house is a farm about 1/2 a mile away. Loads of Oak trees even if they aren’t two hundred years old they still stand about 30 foot high and are dropping acorns so I must remember that if I start to hear noises in the night.
The weather started drizzly but has warmed up in the afternoon and another good day has been had with plenty of help and friendly people to talk to as I’ve passed through. I’ve learned some more things about single handing like how the water drags the boat forward too quickly if you open the ground paddle too much too soon. How to climb on my roof and to take the windscreen off when travelling singlehanded as it gets in the way a little if you have to climb. This time when I moored up I had a small glass of Fettercairn whisky to signal the end of the travelling day even though it was only 4 o’clock.
Oh and I have a question but I don’t want people to think I’m a bit of a wimp but are there any fairly large crocodiles in the Trent and Mersey? Just asking like.
Todays stats are 7 miles, 11 locks in about 5 to 6 hours actual travelling time. Photos are Top; heading for Wychnor. Right; misty just before river section. Left; and Right; Common lock between Alrewas and Fradley. Left; my mooring for the night. Centre one unidentified swimming object.
Bon voyage me hearties till tomorrow.