Saturday, 10 August 2013

On to Fradley junction.

I have noticed something this year in regard to the blog. I have hardly had a moan at all about other boaters!  May hap I have chilled out, or is it because there are so few boats on the move?  Who knows!

Hardly had a moan about the weather either, although today was a little chilly. The morning had an almost autumnal feel when we set off about nine. We then quickly descended the last two Atherstone locks, have I said how easy single locks are?  After a short hop we made use of the services at Bradley Green and then it was lock free for many a mile.

Now we have traversed this section more than once, so how come our joint recollection's of Polesworth were so vague? Maybe last time it was raining and we just charged through. Pleasant enough place though with some good visitor moorings.

Soon after this we passed under the M42, with what look like some "Arty" stencils now added to the walls. Not quite up to "Banksie", but pleasant on what was bare soulless concrete. (thanks to Keith & Dianne on Fruits of the Vine for mentioning these on their blog, so we could look out for them).  After this you pass through what must have been a pit and tip, but is now an amenity area and looks green and pleasant. Soon after this we were in the outskirts of Tamworth, which is all very pleasant.

As the first of the two locks came into view, (adjacent to S.M. Hudsons at Glascote basin) a boat was just exiting and so left the top gates open for us so we were able to cruise straight in. This was too good to be true and as we started to wind up the paddles, a chap appeared at the lower lock, which was in our favour, and emptied it!  No sweat, not in a rush. So I remained in the lock whilst Ali went to see if she could see what was going on. Turns out it was a single hander. He had opened the lock gates but left the paddles up, and was making a pathetic attempt to bow haul the boat into the lock but as Ali approached he was coiling his rope for Ali to work the lock for him.  Big mistake!  Whilst neither of us mind waiting or helping, this gent was taking the Michael. Ali waited until he had nearly pulled the boat into the lock before telling him to get on!  Once he had driven the boat in, Ali then closed the gates dropped the paddles and filled the lock for him. Not a moan as such, is it? Well suppose it is really, thereby making nonsense of my first paragraph....

Anyway, we were off once again and soon around Fazeley junction. Up to this point I think we had seen no more than half a dozen boats on the move.  As we entered the village of Hopwas, this soon changed. Boats were moored almost bow to stern along the visitor moorings, which made the available channel very narrow. As we approached Dixons bridge a boat passed under it and towards us and I just managed to squeeze into a space to allow him to pass.  No sooner was he abreast of me, then another appeared, then another, then another! Busy place is Hopwas.

Once through we entered a pleasant rural area, apart from the odd train on the adjacent line all was peace. Huddlesford was negotiated with no problems, as was the busy Streehay wharf. We also passed the now open Kings Orchard Marina. Well open it may be, completed?  I do not think so... Not another Barby though, too neat and tidy...

So we arrived at Fradley and moored at the first available spot before the swing bridge and water point. Not quite against the bank, but fine.  Think we will give " The Mucky Duck" a miss tonight.

This little fellow was sat on a cable watching us go past!

Miles 18
Locks 4

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