Monday, 31 August 2009

Weekend off and no delay at Fradley

Friday was windy, very windy. As it was blowing onto the towpath I had a bit of fun getting off the side at the start of the day. At times it was getting close to being a bit too much to continue but as I could still manage to steer a straight course at tickover past moored boats I carried on. Stopping at Pooley Fields for an early lunch proved to be a good move as it meant I was indoors when the heaviest  rain of the day appeared. Glascote locks tend to have queues of boats waiting, but apart from the ones coming through each of the locks there was no one about. The rain reappeared after Fazeley and continued until I found a mooring on the way out of Hopwas.

There was good dog walking at Hopwas, but a lousy TV signal and I wanted to watch the F1 so moved on a bit on Saturday morning. There was already someone moored at the spot I was thinking of using so eventually ended up outside Whittington. I stayed where I was for Sunday as I didn’t want to find myself committed to getting through Fradley and missing the Grand Prix. Staying in one place meant I had plenty of time to look around but Whittington didn’t really have much to offer, mainly fairly uninteresting modern housing, but the Co-Op was useful. it is also the location of what must be one of the most unassuming junctions on the whole canal system, no bridge, no stop lock, not even any gauging narrows, just a marker stone that is a recent addition.

29082009636 Junction of the Birmingham & Fazeley and Coventry Canals.

Left this morning prepared for the inevitable queues and general chaos that can be expected at Fradley at this time of year. It was a pretty slow trip up as there seemed to be a moored boat round every bend and the packed visitor moorings on my arrival suggested that it would be as busy as expected. As I approached the swing bridge a boater using the water point very kindly offered to work it for me so I went straight through to the junction and could turn left onto the Trent & Mersey without having to negotiate other boats making their way trough the junction. The boat leaving Junction Lock even turned down the Coventry after I was through so I didn’t even have a boat following me. No other boats were waiting to go up so I had a good run up the two locks and there was even space to moor up above the locks.

After the obligatory dog walking and early lunch I set off again. I’d slotted in after an ascending boat, which was waiting it’s turn to go into Woodend Lock, so didn’t even have a queue there. Not so the boats coming the other way as there were about 6 of them waiting.

I don’t know this bit of the network as I’ve only been this way once before which means I don’t know what’s coming up. The run through Handsacre, Armitage and Rugeley was a bit tedious, again seemingly at tickover the whole way. Luckily there was a boat waiting it’s turn to go through the old tunnel as I don’t think that sending my crew ahead to warn oncoming boats, as suggested by the sign, would be much use.

Moored near bridge 70 this evening, and Lyra has been able to find spots that she is happy to use to get into the river for a paddle.

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