We had high hopes, weatherwise, for today. The forecast we saw before going to bed last night suggested that by lunchtime the sun would break through the clouds, and the temperature would reach 19C. Neither happened.
We were awake quite early. There wasn't enough power in the batteries to get the Webasto going (not entirely surprising, seeing as the boat had been idle for several days, and we'd only boated for ten minutes last night), so showers were off the agenda. We had a quick breakfast, and set off at 7.30. It was a good while before we met another boat.
After Wheaton Aston lock, we decided we'd light the fire. The coal is a variety I'm not familiar with, as rather than the usual ovals, the nuggets are hexagonal. We've got only what's in the coal bucket; there's no bag on board. But I'd be interested to know what it is, as it seems to light easier than Taybright, and burns slowly too.
We're very familiar with this section of the Shroppie now. The only surprise was that the moorings (Wheaton Aston, Brewood, Bridge 8) were very empty. We passed Chertsey at Stretton Wharf, then went over the A5. We had lunch on the move just before Autherley Junction. Napton Narrowboats had lots of boats in, but didn't seem to be blocking the canal quite as much as usual. They were confident it wasn't going to rain, as they were painting the roof of one of the boats.
The stop lock was against us, but it didn't take long to turn, given that the rise is about three inches. Then we turned right onto the Staffs and Worcs, heading south. Soon afterwards, we saw an orange flashing light ahead. BW were dredging the canal. They had a hopper and a dredger, but there was just room to pass, and they beckoned us on. Unfortunately, we ran aground trying to get round them, indicating that the edges need work as well as the middle.
Compton Lock was in our favour. Once down the lock, I dashed off to the shop to get some washing up liquid. Last time we were here, I waked to the Spar shop; this time, I went to the Nisa because it's closer, and was very pleasantly surprised. It's very upmarket, with a deli counter and a little bakery section.
I caught up with Debdale before Wightwick Mill Lock, and we did a swap: shopping for windlass. This lock and the next one were against us.
We moored up for the night at the offside moorings just above Dimmingsdale Lock. It's a lovely spot which we've seen before, and which has been recommended by several people. There's no satellite tv, but the internet signal is very strong. Tomorrow, we start heading back.
20 miles, 5 locks.
8 hours ago