Away from the mooring at 09:10, a cold and damp morning with drizzly showers.
Neil taking turns on the tiller eased the discomfort a little, and a 5 mile run took us to the back of a queue of 5 boats waiting to lock through Minshull lock. It took over an hour to get through, with crews helping each other to speed things up.
This was the shape of things to come, with the whole trip being busy with other boats, mainly hired.
Through Cholmondeston lock, and down to Barbridge Junction where we had a near miss with a boat turning into the Branch from the main line. Neil managed to wiggle us round with a judicious shove off the bank from me, and we were heading south to Hurleston.
On arrival there was a boat coming down the last lock, and one waiting to go up, so I hopped off while Neil manoeuvred to come in behind. At this point Meg decided to peer around the side of the boat, leaned out too far and fell off! Neil acted quickly and hauled her back onboard before she drifted off out of reach.
While this was going on, the boat had come out of the lock, another hire boat, a 70 footer from Viking Afloat had jammed itself across the junction trying to make the turn, holding up several more on the main line and our boat was drifting across the junction while Neil was sorting Meg out, so you can imagine the scene. And my camera was on the boat with me on the bank!
Anyway, we all got ourselves sorted out, mopped up the trail of canal water through the boat, and got going up the Hurleston flight with Mags on the tiller.
We were through the 4 locks by 15:00, did the essentials at the services at the top, then pressed on to and through the 2 Swanley locks before stopping between bridges 11 and 12 at around 17:35.
Locks 8, miles 12½.