Thursday, 21 April 2016

Earlswood to Tardebigge

Tues 19th to Thursday 21st April 2016 

Tuesday 19th April 2016
Earlswood to Hopwood
10.75 miles, 0 locks, 1 lift bridge, 2 tunnels

We were back to spring again today, but with no locks, so Monty, Kiera and I headed off for a good walk with Chris following behind.  We made good time and walked the 2.75 miles to Shirley Drawbridge where we had to stop to raise the bridge for Chris to go through.

At one point on our walk Monty dashed off behind the hedge -probably after a squirrel and this is how he came back!  Thankfully he had dried out before he had to go back inside the boat.

We passed a contractor strimming the edges on the tow path - my thoughts were I was glad we were not the moored boat he had just passed (the grass goes everywhere), but little did I think about the strimming wire he might have left behind - yet another trip down the weed hatch for Chris.

There were very few boats around, but we did meet a few - this one was at Kings Norton Junction.  It must have been warm on the trip from Birmingham as this helmsman was in shorts and T-shirt, whereas Chris and all others we had seen were in coats and woolly hats!  Despite the sun the wind was cold.

So here we are moored at Hopwood visitor moorings - a beautiful evening

I took Monty and Kiera for another walk and saw our first ducklings of the season.

At the Bittel Reservoir the dummy on the fishing boat appears to have gone, however, when Chris went past on the boat the next day he said it was still there, but much closer to the wall and therefore not visible to me on the tow path.

My first photo through the side hatch for this year.  Hopwood was where Kiera's owners were due to meet us to take Kiera home, however, it was not to be.  They were due to travel home from Roscoff to Plymouth on Monday, but one of the two engines on the ferry was unserviceable, so at this stage they had no idea when they would actually make it.  Once again the best laid plans....

Wednesday 20th April 2016
Hopwood to Tardebigge
5.25 miles, 0 locks, 2 tunnels

Another wonderfully bright and sunny day, but still with a chilly wind.  I set off with the dogs and walked the first couple of miles.

I love these houses at Withybed Green.

It was here we saw a Mandarin Duck

It was just a short trip today and we pulled up at the water point in Tardebigge to empty and fill containers as appropriate.  Then it was time to wash and polish one side of the boat - there was a lot of mud to contend with despite such a short trip.  Monty and Kiera found it really hard work!

Whilst we were there Kiera's owners made it to us - we did not need any encouragement to stop for a cup of tea.  They had a great holiday apart from the ferry journey out (very rough) and the delays on the way home.  Monty hopped into their car as they were leaving, but was persuaded to stay with us. He will be going to them when we go to France in June and July.  The two dogs get on really well and it was a pleasure to have Kiera as an extra crew member.  She will be back for a couple of weeks in September.

Once we had moved across to the tow path I headed off with Monty for a walk and came across this 'crowd' of youngsters at the reservoir.  I have never seen so many people here at the same time.  I could hear them long before I could see them.

Thursday 20th April 2016

Another lovely sunny day and it was across to the other side of the cut again this morning having winded (turned around) so we could clean the other side of the boat.  Our daughter and youngest grandson came for lunch and we then, winded again and moved back across to the tow path.  We do not make a habit of 'hogging' water points, but this one is not used a great deal and we always keep our hose out ready for anyone to use if they need to breast up with us to take on water.  No one came along on either day, so we timed it all to perfection.

Once we had moved across Monty and I went off with a litter picker to do one of the stretches we clean up for Canal and River Trust when we are in the area.  The bank above the top lock at Tardebigge is very soft and we have had pins pulled out before now, so we always use cross pins, but the reason for this photo is to thank the blogger (and I am afraid I cannot remember who it was, sorry) who recommended buying reflective tape to adhere to the pins to save using tennis balls, bags etc to make them visible day and night.  It only cost a very small amount of money and works a treat.

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