Tuesday, 23 September 2008

September Cruise - Day Twelve

Tuesday 23 September

It's been a day where the fleeces and jackets have been on and off all day, as the came out and then disappeared behind clouds. First thing, I went into Wootton Wawen to get a paper. It's quite a nice village, spoiled by a very busy road. The lane from the canal down to the main road is even worse, with no footpath, no speed limit, and people flying round blind bends without expecting anything to be coming the other way.

We got underway at 9.15, and didn't see any other boats until we got the the first lock where we were behind some hirers doing their very first lock, and a man single handing. One of the locks is immediately followed by the diminutive Yarningale Aqueduct.

We stopped for water at Lowsonford, and as the tank took a while to fill had lunch while we waited. Setting off again, we had more locks up to Kingswood Junction. It's a very pretty area, with little split bridges.

At our penultimate lock, Adrian (who was on lock duty) got rather frustrated to find an Anglo welsh hire boat on the lock landing above the lock. He'd hoped they were coming down, to save him some work, but in fact there was no-one to be seen. Five people arrived back on their bikes as we were rising in the lock, and one came over to say how pleased they were that the lock would be set for them. Adrian asked if they realised they were on a lock mooring; they did, but said there was nowhere else to stop. Adrian pointed out that there was plenty of space below the lock. Then to make matters worse, they all stood and watched, without even offering to help open the gate!

More excitement at the last lock before the junction, where a boat was being hauled across the basin. Its propshaft had become detatched from the gear box. We turned right onto the link, then right again onto the Grand Union. Now we're really on our way back home. We're moored just through Bridge 62, on the Rowington embankment, with a great view across the valley.

I'd forgotten to get milk at the shop this morning, so I walked the mile or so to Shrewley. It included going through the towpath tunnel up to the main street of the village. Nicholson says it's exciting and slippery; Pearson says it makes an entertaining walk. In truth, it's very steep and very dark. And I've no idea how you'd get down to the towpath the other side of the tunnel: there are no signs showing the way.

8 miles, 17 locks. (Totals: 117 miles, 179 locks)

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