Saturday, 3 October 2015

To Lapworth and on to Earlswood

Friday and Saturday 2nd & 3rd October 2015

Friday 2nd October 2015
To Lapworth above lock 15
4 miles, 6 locks

Yet another lovely sunny day - how long can it last?

Although we were very happy with our mooring last night, if we had moved along for around another 30 minutes or so we would have had an even better spot.  Wide open with great views both sides of the canal.

 The autumn colours just enhance the view.  Something to remember next time we pass this way.

There are good moorings with rings at Tom O Wood close to Kingswood Junction with some rather charming neighbours on the other side of the canal.  A bit of useless information - next time you get up close to a goat look it in the eye!  Their pupils are rectangular rather than the usual round ones.

We wanted to get a bit further along, so did not stop and continued through this bridge at Kingswood Junction and onto the North Stratford Canal.

The barrel roof on this cottage confirms that we are on the correct canal!  We stopped to use the services by the cottage and then started up the 6 locks we were going to do today - the first narrow locks since mid June!

It was all very quiet - we only passed one boat going down and we were lucky enough to get the help of a volunteer lock keeper, so we whistled up in no time at all.

Just after lock 14 they are building some houses squashed between the canal and a fairly busy road. They look very compact and we were not sure what market they were aimed at - we shall see next time we pass.

We would have chosen to moor there as it was in the sun, however we did not fancy the construction noise, so we moved along into the shade.  This is the view looking back towards the building site.

Last time we came this way we were fighting for moorings - today it was just us, well until late afternoon when two more boats moored behind us and one more in front.

We were moored by 12:30, so tidied ourselves up a bit and went to The Boot Inn where we had lunch - they do a simple two or three course meal which we enjoyed, especially as it meant no cooking that evening.

Saturday 3rd October 2015
Lapworth to Earlswood
5 miles, 13 locks

Today dawned dull, grey and chilly.  Not bad for doing the locks, but decidedly nippy on the back of the boat after that.  Is that it for our Indian Summer?

One of the boats behind us was facing our way, so we decided to make a fairly early start and hope we beat them to it - we did!  We slipped away from our mooring at 08:40 (I did say fairly, not very early!!) in the hope that a VLK may come and join us, but alas it was not to be.  Mind you we did well and completed the 1.5 miles and 13 locks in 2.25 hours, meeting just three boats going down.

It was after all that that things went wrong - well not wrong, just very slow.   We had a couple of lift bridges to pass - this one (No 29) is really tough - 40 very stiff turns up and then down again.  I don't think Chris would have managed it at present as he is still very breathless, although he did manage to work about half of the locks. The reason for the delays - a lot of moored boats, shallow water which made passing other moving boats tricky and having to wait a couple of times for oncoming boats where there were boats moored both sides of the canal.

Under the M42

We stopped briefly at Hockley Heath where Chris went to get a paper and then again at bridge 20 for me to pop to the fantastic baker/deli/greengrocer, Wedges, which is just 100 yards from the canal.  I was sorry we were so close to home and needed so little!  We did treat ourselves to a sandwich as we had decided to crack on and get to Earlswood tonight, so we can be in Alvechurch Marina on Monday.  We are booked in there for 2 nights, so we can pop home and Chris has an appointment with the doctor on Tuesday.

So here we are at Earlswood and Chris is starting his preparations to light the fire!

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