We chatted while they worked down Shadehouse and Middle Locks, then I left them to it as we needed to get going.
It’s been another fine day, sunny and warm, but a cooler breeze sprung up later this afternoon.
But, although we seem to have been busy, we don’t seem to have achieved much. We got off before noon, leaving a couple of spaces on the moorings above Shadehouse Lock.
Up the very pretty Woodend Lock the canal winds it’s way through Ravenshaw Wood.
This area is one of those to be blighted if the HS2 rail link goes through.
The canal will be crossed twice in ½ a mile, and new line will trash Ravenshaw Wood. See here.
Between Woodend and Handsacre we were caught up by another two boats. I hate being pushed by following boats so pulled over to let them past.
Then we had to wait for another boat to clear the narrows where Armitage Tunnel was cut. The tunnel was opened out after mining subsidence, but is now almost roofed over again by the concrete of the A513 crossing.
Maybe something to do with Hawkesyard Hall just up a little way.
There used to be a Dominican Priory here.
At the water point we passed one of the boats that had chased us earlier, and he pulled out behind us to resume the race into Rugeley.
Into Rugeley we met an oncoming boat in a narrow section and I was so distracted by the impatient guy hounding us that I ran hard aground 3 feet out from the towpath. I had to tell him to reverse so I could do the same to get off the obstruction. Annoying!
Then we met another boat late for something or other under one of the railway bridges, requiring hard astern to avoid a collision.
I was glad to make a stop at Bridge 66 to visit Morrisons. It gave me a chance to cool down.
We had an encounter with one of the Community Support Officers on the towpath. (Didn’t they used to be called “Specials”?). PC Dale was very pleasant, and we had a chat about the weather, boats, dogs and miscellaneous other topics.
We had an uneventful last couple of miles, out of the town to moor for the night near Taft Bridge. I guess I’m feeling a bit tetchy today; I was even annoyed that someone else had moored on my favourite spot! Roll on winter…..
Locks 1, miles 9