Sunday, 20 September 2009

Day off

Woke fairly late on Friday morning, but it was still pretty cool, cool enough for Lyra to not want to have a swim on her morning walk. Had a short run into Rugeley where we stopped so that I could pick up a few things that I had forgotten when I last went shopping, which merged into an early lunch break. Passing through the town I witnessed a first for me, in the 6 or so years and however many miles I cruising I have passed countless fisherpersons, but Friday was the first time that I have actually witnessed one of them catching a fish.

Armitage “tunnel” is one of the few places that I find does cause me a problem as a singlehanded boater, but I came up with a cunning plan. I needed water anyway so stopped at the water point on the straight before the “tunnel”. Just as the tank filled a boat passed me so I could pack my hose away and follow the other boat through. Once through I held back to create a decent gap between us. Once out of the towns, the next section of canal seems very remote, at times the only buildings visible being the cooling towers at Rugeley. I caught the boat I had followed just as we were arriving at the lock but they moored for the night so I again had a quick passage.

I expected the moorings above Fradley locks to be full,it being about 4pm by the time I arrived, and they were. I didn’t want to go through so had a feel for depth just before the VM. It was pretty shallow but I could get the front of the boat to the edge if I left the stern quite a way out in deeper water. I could probably have moored parallel but then would have needed to use the plank which Lyra is scared of. 

I walked down to the junction, and had to have a pint outside the Swan, only one boat passing in the time it took to drink it, and noticed that there was a space on the moorings at the junction and a bit of space below Junction lock.

As I was firmly on the bottom I didn’t feel boats passing, but they must have made bow the boat creep forward and the stern inwards as by the morning it had moved quite a bit.

IMG_8986 This did cause me a bit of a problem as I couldn’t pole the stern off the mud, Seeing a boat approaching I ran back to ask them to pass quickly in the hope that it would float me off the mud. It worked enough to make poling off possible.

Despite it being Saturday morning, getting though Fradley locks was quite quick, with only a couple of boats waiting at Junction lock when I got there. There was a space just above Bagnall lock when I got there, and as it was about lunch time by then I moored up expecting it to be busy in Alrewas, but walking Lyra down the towpath revealed that there were only a few boats moored.

The river was well down, it wasn’t even in the green at Wychnor lock being at least an inch below the bottom of the indicator board. Once through the lock the next section of the canal would be wonderful it it wasn’t spoiled by the constant traffic noise from the A38 running alongside, but soon the canal veers away and peace is restored. Soon after we arrived at my planned destination at Branston. We ware moored next to the water park entrance which is very convenient.

I was feeling pretty tired when I got here so decided to do as little as possible today so have stayed here. Lyra has loved it as it means she has had lots of walks and swims. The dog swimming area being just a few yards from the boat.

IMG_9020 IMG_9031

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