Saturday, 2 April 2011

Birthday Cruise -- Day 3

Dimmingsdale Lock is a very good mooring, dark and quiet.  The only morning sound was birdsong.  We had a very relaxed start, which included a cooked breakfast.  It was 9.40 before we set off, filling the lock and going down.  I was just opening the gates when an old working boat with a cargo of boy scouts arrived at the top of the lock.  I explained that we were winding and coming straight back up again.  Adrian quickly turned the boat and came back into the lock, and we had no shortage of helpers to wind the paddles.

Once we were on our way again, we passed two more old working boats crewed by scouts.  They'd told us they'd started at Wolverhampton yesterday, and were heading for Birmingham.

After about 40 minutes, we moored at Wightwick.  We got out our National Trust membership cards (those of us who'd remembered to bring them), and were at the visitor reception waiting for it to open at 11.  We did two tours of Wightwick Manor: one about how they care for the collection, then a "freeflow" look round the house.  It's a fantastic house, with great gardens, and well worth a visit.  Both tea rooms were rather disappointing, though, so we had lunch at The Mermaid instead.

We set off again at 2pm, and passed a procession of boats based at Norbury through the locks.  These included several ex-OwnerShips boats and Norbury's new hire boat, Ember.  By now, the sun was out and it was quite warm.

We turned back onto the Shroppie at Autherley Junction, and continued to the SUCS moorings between Bridges 7 & 8.  Having moored up, we sat in the well deck with wine and crisps in the sunshine.

8 miles, 6 locks (28 miles, 11 locks)

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