Sunday, 9 May 2010

May Cruise - Day 3

We woke to bright sunshine, a great contrast to yesterday.  We set off at 8.30, and were the first boat down The Bratch.  The lock-keeper's son helped us through.

Botterham staircase locks were quite slow, as there's only one paddle working on the bottom lock.  I was expecting the BW Aware ticket to have a date of 2003 on it, but in fact it was only put there last week.  We last did this canal about ten years ago, but neither of us can remember anything about it.  This came as a big surprise to us, as it's so picturesque -- you'd think we'd remember a lot of it.  Pretty lock followed pretty lock, with lovely stretches of canal in between, flanked by red stone cliffs and bluebell woods.  We stopped for lunch next to the remains of the round tower beyond Gothersley Lock.  Nowadays there's just a wall about three feet tall.  It used to look like the tower at Gailey.

We soon reached Stourton Juntion, but carried on down the Staffs and Worcs.  Hyde Lock has a lovely cottage with garden gates shaped like lock gates.  Whittington Lock is even prettier, and the lock cottage there is for sale.  Debdale enjoyed Debdale Lock, even though it's not the Debdale she's named after (that's on the Leicester Line).

The pub garden next to Wolverley Lock was packed with people enjoying the sunshine.  We moored up for the night just below the lock, and roasted a chicken for dinner.

13.5 miles, 18 locks (35, 26)

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